Tag: mists of pandaria

Patch 5.0 :: First Impressions

by on Aug.30, 2012, under Mists of Pandaria

Now that the Mists of Pandaria patch has been pushed to live and we now see what most likely will be our toolkit (at least to start with), I’ll begin posting my opinions.

Overall, I’m happy with the toolkit we have.  The changes to Eclipse, giving us both Moonfire and Sunfire, Astral Communion, and our cooldowns are very nice.  I no longer feel penalized at the start of a fight.

Multi-dotting is a great tool, especially with multiple adds up, because Starsurge procs back to back to back.

Celestial Alignment is great to punch out extra DPS in periods where you know you’ll have some sort of damage modifier, or you have a long period to stand and nuke.

With Soul of the Forest, Eclipse transitions are a joke, especially at our high haste values in Cataclysm.  I can easily make it between Eclipses with Nature’s Grace still active.

There are however, some large problems that I see, mostly in the number balancing that has recently occurred:

  • Wrath and Solar Eclipse in general is extremely weak for direct damage DPS.  They wanted to add “flavor” to our Eclipses, so they buffed Hurricane and nerfed Wrath.
  • The problem with this is obvious:  We spend much more time in a direct damage mode than in a AoE mode.  This methodology would work fine if we could keep ourselves in one Eclipse and only switch when we needed to switch between direct damage and AoE, but that isn’t the case, and at that point Eclipse wouldn’t be much more than a stance that we’d have to manage.
  • We still see the ebb and flow damage in Eclipse that we did in Cataclysm, however now instead of being weak just between Eclipses, we’re weak for everything EXCEPT Lunar Eclipse.
  • At this point I’d be much more happy if they got rid of this “flavor” and balanced both Eclipses, which is what they initially did in Mists beta.

For reference, Starfire did 19% of my damage on a recent LFR Deathwing fight (9m) while Wrath did 13% (6.6m).

What are your initial impressions?



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It’s coming…

by on Jul.25, 2012, under Mists of Pandaria

September 25th.  Are you ready?

Have you purchased the pre-sale?



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Mists of Pandaria: Moonkin PvP Initial Thoughts

by on Apr.03, 2012, under Mists of Pandaria, PVP Discussion

There was quite a bit of Moonkin PvP today in Dawn’s Blossom on beta, and I was able to get a feel for how PvP is shaping up.  I’m a bit concerned.

First off, the loss of Insect Swarm as a DoT really makes hardcasting much more important, and it’s still very hard to do that considering how many classes have an interrupt/spell pool lockout.  And to counter, Solar Beam still has a high cooldown and is not effective against a caster more than once.

So far it appears our snares and roots are right where they should be, although I’m not sure about reducing the charges on Nature’s Grasp from 3 to 1.

Right now, besides hardcasting, the only option we have is to spam moonfire and utilize Lunar Showers.  Additionally, we will no longer get Nature’s Grace right out of the gate in arena, since it is solely tied to Eclipse now.

An ability that should be useful for druids is Celestial Alignment, but honestly, the usefulness is limited for a few reasons:

  • The initial strike is not applied for both moonfire and sunfire, you only get the additional DoT ticks.  This is pretty crippling.
  • Since there’s only one initial strike it only stacks lunar shower once per application.
  • Lunar/Solar energy resets to 0 when you’re done.

I think the issues with Celestial Alignment are easily fixable.  Right now, it sets your energy to 0 at the start and finish of Celestial Alignment.  I propose we no longer set the energy to 0 at the end.  Starfire, Starsurge, and Wrath do not gain/consume energy under Celestial Alignment, so the only energy gains would be from our 4 piece PVP bonus.  I’ve verified that we properly get energy when crit under Celestial Alignment.

Also, causing Moonfire to apply the Sunfire initial damage under Celestial Alignment would help out a lot for burst as well.

Fixing Celestial Alignment alone won’t fix our problems with hardcasting and interrupts, but it’s a start.  Perhaps some sort of interrupt immunity (or even 50% change of immunity) while under Owlkin Frenzy would do the trick.



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Astral Form, Stag and Orca screenshots

by on Mar.22, 2012, under Mists of Pandaria

I’m quite literally a sad panda, no pun intended, as I do not have beta access yet.  Lissanna of Restokin has the beta downloaded and has begun to share with us her findings.  Here’s the screenshots for stag and orca form, as well as Astral Form.

Orca:

Stag:

And last but not least, Astral Form:

What are your opinions so far?  I wish they would have done more with Astral Form then give us the one graphic that’s possibly older than Moonkin Form… but, at least it’s something.



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MoP: Balance Abilities Updated

by on Mar.21, 2012, under Mists of Pandaria

I’ve began the MoP hub, and started with a page detailing the balance abilities that are currently listed for Mists of Pandaria.  These, of course, are subject to change.

You can access the page here.  I suggest you bookmark it for future reference.

I’ll admit I haven’t bothered looking much since they were introduced at BlizzCon.  I’m excited by a lot of the changes.  (Starfall resetting on Lunar Eclipse especially).  The 3 minute damage cooldown is nice, and actually gives us, well, a real cooldown. (LOL Treants).

What do you all think so far?



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Mists of Pandaria Buff Strategy Released

by on Mar.09, 2012, under Mists of Pandaria

Ghostcrawler recently released the buff strategy for Mists.

While some buffs were removed, the strategy is similar to that of Cataclysm, where multiple classes will bring identical buffs to the raid.

There are no major changes that affect druid, however Mark of the Wild was retooled to only affect throughput stats.  That means it will no longer buff stamina.

Also, there is a new mastery buff that will be provided by some classes.

Here’s the buffs / debuffs we provide:

Stats
Effect: +5% Strength, Agility, and Intellect
Example: Blessing of Kings
Brought by: Any druid, any monk, any paladin

Spell Haste
Effect: +5% spell haste
Example: Moonkin Aura
Brought by: Balance druids, Shadow priests, Elemental shaman

Weakened Armor
Effect: -12% armor
Example: Sunder Armor
Brought by: Any druid, any rogue, any warrior

 

Here’s the information on the new mastery buff.  I’m going to venture a guess that Ghostcrawler meant 5%, and not 5 mastery.

Mastery
Effect: +5 mastery
Example: This is a new category
Brought by: Windwalker monks, any paladin, any shaman



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Question of the Week: World of Warcraft: Annual Plan

by on Oct.22, 2011, under General

I’m sure you’ve all heard about the World of Warcraft Annual Plan by now, and rest assured, I’ve already signed up so I can get into the Mists of Pandaria Beta ASAP!

Another neat aspect of the Annual Plan is that it will give it’s subscribers Diablo III for free.  It was also just announced that for those who desire to be Annual Plan members and also purchase the Collector’s Edition, part of the price of the Collector’s Edition will go towards your WoW Annual Plan as a credit.

What are your opinions of the annual plan?  Will you be signing up?



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Mists of Pandaria: Talents

by on Oct.21, 2011, under Mists of Pandaria

The Talent Q&A has finished, and there’s some interesting news as a result.

  • An entire class will share one common talent tree.
  • Talents will be at every 15 levels, starting at level 15.
  • Every tier of talents has three talents available.  You will have to choose one of the three.  You cannot have more than one per tier.
  • Talent changing will be much easier, similar to glyph changing.
  • A lot of Druid talents morph depending on your spec, current form, etc.
  • Many talents force you into the form that’s required, which makes things a bit easier.
  • Most core abilities have been baked into a spec.  You will no longer need to talent into them.

I will outline each tier of talents below, as well as my opinions on the individual abilities and the tiers.  While there are a lot of COOL things that I currently see with Druids, it still looks like, for most fights and min/max, there is going to be one clear winner.  That being said, some tiers seem to be more PVP or flavor, and not really important for PvE scenarios.

First, here’s a screenshot of all the talents:

Tier 1 (Level 15): This tier revolves around movement speed and escaping.  A PVP tier, mostly.

  • Feline Swiftness: Increases your movement speed by 10% and by an additional 20% in Cat Form
  • Displacer Beast (3 min cooldown): Teleports the Druid up to 20 yards in a random direction, purging all periodic damage effects and providing stealth for 10 sec. Attacking or taking damage cancels this effect.  Using this ability activates Cat Form.
  • Tireless Pursuit (3 min cooldown): Removes all roots and snares, and increases movement speed by 70% while in Cat Form for 15 sec.  Does not break prowling.  Using this ability activates Cat Form.

While Displacer Beast looks amazing for PVP, especially as a Feral (think blink and vanish together), and Tireless Pursuit looks really viable for balance druids and restoration druids, I think the clear winner for a PvE environment would be Feline Swiftness, simply as it’d get rid of any movement speed increases we’d need on boots.

Tier 2 (Level 30): A healing cooldown tier.  Not too impressive for DPS.

  • Nature’s Swiftness (3 min cooldown): When activated, your next Cyclone, Entangling Roots, Healing Touch, Hibernate, Nourish, Rebirth or Regrowth becomes instant, free and castable in all forms.  The healing and duration of this spell is increased by 50%.
  • Renewal (2 min cooldown): Instantly heals the Druid for 30% of maximum health.  Useable in all shapeshift forms.
  • Cenarion Ward (30 sec cooldown): Protects a friendly target, causing any damage taken to heal the target for 2660 every 2 sec for 6 sec. Gaining the healing effect consumes the Cenarion Ward.  Useable in all shapeshift forms.  Lasts 30 sec.

First off, I’m not concerned with actual raw numbers (outside of percentages).  Cenarion Ward is obviously not tuned yet, or the tooltip shown is for a very low level.  That being said, Nature’s Swiftness is no longer “Nature spell”, and Wrath is out.  This makes it not very viable in a PvE setting.  Renewal looks to be a great tank cooldown, and also a great cooldown for PvP, but probably not effective in PvE.  Cenarion Ward looks to be promising as another tank cooldown, and we’ll need to see real numbers.

Tier 3 (Level 45): Crowd Control

  • Faerie Swarm: Decreases the target’s armor by 12% for 5 minutes and reduces the target’s movement speed by 50% for 15 sec.  While affected, the target cannot stealth or turn invisible.  Deals 49 damage when cast from Bear Form.  Useable in all shapeshift forms, but incurs a 6 sec cooldown while in Bear Form or Cat Form.  This talent replaces Faerie Fire.
  • Mass Entanglement (1 min cooldown): Roots all enemies within 12 yards of the destination for 8 sec.  Damage caused may interrupt the effect.  Cannot be cast while in Bear Form or Cat Form.
  • Typhoon (20 sec cooldown): Summons a violent Typhoon that strikes targets in front of the caster within 30 yards, knocking them back and dazing them for 6 sec.  Useable in all shapeshift forms.

Faerie Swarm looks to be more of a tank/melee type ability, and mass entanglement looks amazing for PVP.  That being said, I think the only real viable option would be Typhoon, but that’s all dependent on raid mechanics as well.

Tier 4 (Level 60): A cooldown tier that gives unique abilities depending on your current form or spec.

  • Wild Charge (cooldown not listed): Grants a movement ability that varies by shapeshift form:  Moonkin: Bound backward and gain 20 Lunar or Solar Energy, whichever is more beneficial to you.
  • Incarnation (3 min cooldown):  Activates a superior shapeshifting form appropriate to your specialization for 30 sec.  (Tooltip did not list one for Moonkin, but think of this as comparable to Tree of Life for Resto Druids, it will be a “super moonkin” form.)
  • Force of Nature (3 min cooldown): Summons 3 treants to assist in the Druid’s current combat role.  Treant capabilities vary by specialization.  Useable in all shapeshift forms. (Think Guardian of Ancient Kings for Paladins).

I think Wild Charge will be very interesting in PVP, as it’s form based and not spec based.  This could add a lot of utility depending on what you’re currently doing, whether it be defensive and needing to escape, or offensive, such as chasing down a flag carrier.  Incarnation will hard to be beat in PVE (and PVP), if the scale that they applied to Tree of Life for Restoration is now applied to Moonkin.  I’m interested in seeing what it provides for us.  I’d love to cast on the run.  Force of Nature will be interesting too, and we’ll need to see what it provides.  I think it’ll come down to Incarnation or Force of Nature in PVE, but hard to make a call until we get further information.

Tier 5 (Level 75): Another crowd control tier

  • Demoralizing Roar (30 sec cooldown): The Druid roars, disorienting all enemies within 10 yards for 4 sec.  Using this ability activates  Bear Form.
  • Ursol’s Vortex (30 sec cooldown): Conjure a vortex of wind that pulls all enemies within 15 yards towards your own location.  Useable in all shapeshift forms.
  • Bear Hug: (1 min cooldown): Melee attack that stuns the target and deals 10% of the Druid’s health in damage every 1 sec for 3 sec.  Effect canceled if the Druid moves away, attacks, or takes any other action.  Using this ability activates Bear Form.

All of these talents look pretty cool in a PVP scenario.  I can’t wait to see AoE deathgrip, and that’s probably the option I’d take in PVP, especially in a CTF type scenario.  None of these really look that great for PVE.  Demoralizing Roar might be a great cooldown on AoE/add type fights, but that’s about it.  Bear Hug just looks.. awesome.. especially for bears with huge health pools.

Tier 6 (Level 90): Hybridization tier

  • Heart of the Wild (6 min cooldown):  Dramatically improves the Druid’s ability to serve combat roles outside of normal specialization for 45 sec.  Balance:  Healing spells generate Lunar or Solar Energy and benefit from Lunar and Solar Eclipse.  In addition, 50% of Intellect as Agility, 100% of hit rating as expertise rating, and increases armor by 95% while in Bear Form.
  • Master Shapeshifter:  Improves the Druid’s effectiveness at briefly switching between forms.  Your melee abilities increase your spell damage by 10% and your non-instant spellcasts increase your attack power by 10%.  Both effects stack up to 3 times and last 15 sec.  Each ability used which benefits from one of these effects consumes one application of that effect.
  • Disentanglement: Shapeshifting now removes roots.  In addition, shifting into a form heals the Druid for 20% of maximum health.  This heal cannot be received more often than once every 30 sec.

All of these talents sound pretty cool for hybridization, and disentanglement looks pretty great for PVP, but I’m really not happy.  For every other class, Tier 6 is their “uber” talent tier, where they get really cool abilities.  I play balance druids to be a spellcaster DPS, not to be a healer, or to be a feral druid.  I want abilities that further enhance my balance play, and not abilities that still make me a watered down healer, melee DPS, or tank.  I really hope Blizzard looks into this.  I know a lot of people WANTED hybridization, and I’m glad that there’s a viable option now, but I don’t want to be FORCED into it.  Heart of the Wild looks great for that aspect.  Master Shapeshifter looks really weak, and I hope they consider giving us an ability for our main spec.  The shaman tier 6 suffers from ‘luke warm’ tier 6 as well, although the Paladin tier is incredible.  I don’t see any other class being FORCED into hybridization besides Druids.

 

Anyways.  This is my opinion.  What do you all think?

 



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World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria announced!

by on Oct.21, 2011, under Mists of Pandaria

The opening ceremonies of BlizzCon have just ended.  Mists of Pandaria is official!

Here’s what we know so far:

  • New race: Pandaren
  • New class: Monk
  • New continent: Pandaria
  • Focused on war between Alliance & Horde
  • Level Cap increased to 90
  • Challenge Mode Dungeons
  • PVE Scenarios
  • Pet Battle System
  • New Talent System

Here’s the cinematic in-case you missed it:



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Mists of Pandaria announced today?

by on Oct.21, 2011, under General

While I won’t be at BlizzCon, I will be watching the LiveStream and I’ll be tweeting and covering all changes that could possibly affect balance druids in the new expansion.  Expect a talent overhaul!  Make sure you follow and participate @SunfyresNest on Twitter.



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