Thursday, February 21, 2008


Off for a business trip for a week out of country. Not sure if I'll be able to post.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Alt update

Level 29.

6 levels away from Heart of the Wild.
11 away from Leader of the Pack.
21 painful levels away from Mangle.

But what I'm missing most right now, believe it or not, is Ferocious Bite. Rip is absolutely terrible as a finishing move whilst soloing. You've got basically two choices - rip at 2 or 3 combo points so that it ticks a decent number of times for insignificant damage, or rip at 4-5 combo points with better (but still rather insignificant damage) for very few ticks.

3 more levels until Ferocious bite. I expect a significant increase in DPS, and much more efficient utilization of combo points when I get this.

Special note: discovered a level 28-30 mob in the game that gives double XP. It's a bug. In my opinion, not worth exploiting due the relatively few number of such mobs and the increased quest XP from the 2.3 patch, but it was nice to discover that while doing a quest over the weekend. Bonus points to anyone if they can guess which mob it is.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Arena gear 4 piece set bonus changes

From mmo-champion, the latest change to the 2.4 PTR:

  • 4-piece bonus on Restoration-spec Arena and PvP sets has been changed to "The casting time on your Healing Touch spell is reduced by 0.25 sec." (Was a 15% increase to the outdoor movement speed before)
  • 4-piece bonus on Balance-spec Arena and PvP sets has been changed to "Your Wrath casts have a chance to reduce the cast time on your next Starfire by 1.5 sec." (Was a 15% increase to the outdoor movement speed before)

My take on this: Huge nerf to Resto, buff buff to Balance.

The movement speed buff is of enormous benefit to resto druids in 2v2, good benefit in 3v3 and largely useless in 5v5. A 2.75 second cast Healing Touch? Useless everywhere. Seriously, this is a mind boggling stupid change. If Blizzard wants to nerf the movement speed bonus due to the perceived advantage it gives druids in 2v2's, then at least replace it with something mildly useful - say +x healing to lifebloom. Maybe take the dodge rating bonus to rejuvenation from the Moonglade set. There's so much better Blizzard can do here.

The balance change, on the other hand, is a nice buff. The +15% move speed bonus was largely useless to moonkins. An occasional 1.5 sec cast Starfire is a nice bonus, especially considering any PVP specced moonkin is going to have the 15% chance to stun on Starfire. It's a good change.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Whoa! Dreamstate rocks!

I respecced last night to the 37/0/24 Dreamstate build, and I've gotta say that I'm extremely pleased with it - at least when it comes to battlegrounds. Haven't tried arenas with it yet.

I'm wearing healing gear, so I only have about ~500 spell damage (~1500 healing). My survivability went way up, and my dps wasn't bad either - Moonfire hitting for ~500 (~1000 crits), wrath hitting for ~750 (~1500 crits) and starfire hitting for ~1200 (~2400 crits).

In one AV, I had 16 killing blows and 123 HK's to my 1 death - and we lost that AV.

Let's talk about healing - my lifebloom ticks went from around 170 to 159. My rejuv ticks went from around 710 to 680. Regrowth crit for much less, but healed for approximately the same.

Let's talk about mana - whoa! Running out, even while spamming wrath/moonfire/insect swarm and/or healing was never a problem. Amazing.

So let's summarize: much better survivability, much better dps, much better mana regen and slightly lower healing.

I'm a huge fan.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Dreamstate FTW?

Our 5v5 team has had a couple of good weeks - going from a 1430 rating (328 points) to a 1605 rating (471 points!). We've all managed to get some better gear, learned to play better and learned to coordinate better.

I've been going with the standard 8/11/42 resto build for these matches, but I'm thinking of changing it up to a Dreamstate build like this one (37/0/24).

I find that my role in 5v5 is to keep someone perpetually cycloned. I'll hit 1 person up for 9 seconds (6 seconds initial, 3 seconds 2nd cast). I'll switch targets for another 9 seconds of CC, then usually back to the first target. In between cyclone casts, I'm either throwing a hot or two on whatever people on our team may need some spot healing. Often, no healing is necessary (because our disc/holy priest has everything under control), and I'm not doing anything.

I feel that my 8/11/42 build is suboptimal for 5v5 - it's really more geared to 2v2's and to a lesser extent, 3v3's. In 5v5's, mobility is almost unimportant - you can get away and hide from 2 people, maybe 3. You're not hiding from 5, and you can't get away when you're the target of focus fire from 3-4 people.

So let's take a look at pros vs. cons to the Dreamstate build over 8/11/42

- Insect swarm - 2% hit reduction and a dot? Yes please.
- Nature's reach - 20% extra range on cyclone? Yes please.
- Improved DPS through focused starlight, improved moonfire, vengeance, celestial focus.
- Improved healing and DPS through lunar guidance.
- Higher survivability through moonkin form (+400% armor) and balance of power.
- Great MP5 through dreamstate.

- No feral charge. Not a big loss for 5v5.
- No swiftmend. A significant loss, but not so important in 5v5.
- No natural perfection. Ouch - but does 400% bonus armor make up for this?
- No empowered rejuvenation. Ouch - but does lunar guidance make up for this?
- No improved regrowth. Significant, but less so for 5v5.

Seems like almost a no brainer. Anyone had any experience with this build?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

2.4 on the PTR

As usual, hit up for all the latest updates.

Here's the druid changes:
  • Empowered Rejuvenation: This talent now properly affects the final heal from Lifebloom.
  • Gift of Nature: This talent now properly affects the healing from Tranquility.
  • Insect Swarm: Casting lower ranks of this spell is now properly penalized like other healing and damage effects.
  • Lacerate: This ability now deals additional damage based on the attack power of the Druid.
  • Mangle (Bear) now properly triggers a 1.5 second global cooldown, increased from 1.0.
  • Natural Perfection: This ability will no longer be triggered by taking critical strikes while sitting. In addition, it is now affected by the Subtlety talent.
  • When a Druid in cat form casts Pounce it will now properly animate.

Yawn. All those changes are good, although unexciting and really pretty minor. For those of us hoping for a feral arena buff, continue waiting. I suspect we won't see anything until Wrath of the Lich King is release (my bet is August for that).

Monday, February 11, 2008

Level 20 and loving it

Made it to level 20 and picked up cat form. The difference in how fast you can take down a mob is breathtaking. I would estimate that I kill mobs perhaps 3 times faster, and finish with much much higher health and mana.

And that's without any kind of opener. No Pounce (level 36) or Ravage (level 32). When I trained cat form, I tripled checked my spell book looking for either of those two spells. I had forgotten it's not until much later that you get them. At level 20, there is literally no combat reason to use your newly acquired stealth (prowl) skill. Only at level 22 when you learn Shred does Prowl become useful in a poor man's version of Ravage.

Speaking of cat form... Why does the Horde cat form look so horrible? The run animation looks (at best) weird and ungainly. The mane and horns look tacky. A night elf cat looks like a svelte killing machine. A horde cat looks like a freakshow animal escaped from the circus.

Here's some suggestions Blizzard:
- Make different female and male versions of both cat and bear forms. Perhaps make the female versions a bit slender and lose the mane for the horde version.
- Improve the run animation. I've seen excellent move animations in the game, I know they can do this. Less circus freakshow, more lithe killing machine please.


Friday, February 8, 2008

More gear for lower levels

Up to level 20, rings and amulets are hard to come by.

Correction: prior to TBC, they were hard to come by. With the Jewel crafting profession, lots of people create lots of low level rings just to level up. You can find these on the AH for very cheap.

Check out a handy list here. The Bronze Band of Force, is pretty sweet. You should be able to pick one up for a couple of gold. Sure, that's a ton of money for that character level - but it's nothing for an alt. Plenty of green rings for 20-75s too. Here's a good list for amulets.

My update: level 18. So close to cat form, yet so far away....

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Absolutely Fake Patch Notes

2.4 is coming. Everyone knows it; Blue has been parceling out tidbits of information over the forums. With an impending patch comes fake patch notes! The latest I've seen are posted here at

They list the probability that the patch notes are real at 50%. I put the probability at 0.00%.

Let's look at a couple of the best druid notes:
  • Nurturing Instinct: Increases your healing spells by up to 50/100% of your Agility, and increases healing done to you by 25/50% of your Attack Power.
  • Force of Nature: Treants now have a 15% chance to proc Entangling Roots on the target.
Nurturing Instinct: It sucks right now, even for hybrid builds with hybrid gear - but this change would be so overpowered that there's no chance it's real. A bear tank with KZ/ZA gear and perhaps a bit of Gruul gear can approach 2000 AP. That would give the bear tanks' healers an effective +1000 healing to each and every one of them. Ha! Why would you even consider bringing a prot warrior or prot pally to a raid when it's so incredibly easy to heal a bear tank? 3 healers; +3000 effective healing on the bear! So overpowered, it defies comprehension. How about a little credibility in my fake patch notes please? A bit of plausibility? Come on, try harder people.

Force of Nature: How often have you heard balance druids complaining about how much Treants suck? Oh right. Never. Well maybe you have, but I haven't. I don't know what the attack speed of the treants is, but let's say it's 2.0. 3 treats x 0.15% chance to proc Entangling Roots x 2.0 attack speed = roughly a 22.5% chance to be rooted every second. Double that for a 1.0 attack speed. I really don't see this as plausible.

Other druid notes pretty much nerf resto druids. A bit more plausible, but unlikely in my opinion.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Life as an Alt

WTB Cat Form. Will pay hefty price. PST.

Levels 1-19 suck - when you know what you're missing. Sure, they go by pretty fast - but wrath, wrath, wrath (maybe), moonfire, whack on target with large stick for a while is not my idea of fun.

After flying around with swift flight form, walking around everywhere is pure pain. Arrrrrgggghhhh. Why, oh why, can't I play Blizzard $25 for a premade level 60 character once I've hit 70 with a normal character? It's a win for everyone, and it would not be that hard to develop.

I'm pretty much playing my horde druid now, unless a ZA or KZ run is happening, or some short queue arenas.

Monday, February 4, 2008

To Reroll or Not to Reroll, that is the question

The friends & coworkers I play with are convinced that rerolling Horde is the way to go. They're probably right - but - with so much time invested in my current Alliance characters (that I continue to enjoy playing), I'm finding it unappealing to reroll and level 1-70 all over again.

I could level my 46 Shaman and save myself 46 levels. But Shaman suck. I find them boring to play, so screw that. I've played long enough with enough alts to realize that I enjoy druids and warlocks; the rest of the classes don't appeal to me.

Well, I decided to create a horde druid and see if I can stomache the leveling process all over again. Whimzy, currently level 11, let's see if you hold my interest.

Notes so far: I enjoy a NE character model over a Cow. Shocking, I know.

Friday, February 1, 2008

2.4 Patch Notes.... Sorta

Blue forum posters have been posting bits of info on upcoming 2.4 changes today. I'm not going to bother listing all of them; just go to mmo-champion for the latest and greatest.

However, he's two of my favorite upcoming changes:

- We've reached a point where we're now confident that applying diminishing returns to honor is no longer necessary, and we're currently planning to remove it with the 2.4 patch.
- What the removal of diminishing returns means for you is that as soon as you defeat an opponent that rewards you honor, you will receive that honor, and you will be able to spend it right then.

Good stuff. I really hated the difference between the "estimated honor" and what you actually got. Seemed to be that you received anywhere from 10-20% less than what was estimated, likely due to the diminishing returns on honor kills.


dG Killshot Notifier - It was Dusky the other night who said over Ventrillo, "If I had to have only one addon, this would be it".

There's no other addon that I've found that adds so much fun to the game.

I'm at a loss for words on how awesome it is. It's really, really simple. For everyone who runs the addon, you get a voice notification and big text notification whenever someone gets a killing blow. The Unreal Tournament sounds are used.

It adds so much fun to any premade group as you hear "Killing spree!", "Unstoppable!", "Double kill!" and "GODLIKE!" amongst others. While as a healer, you rarely get killing blows yourself, it's still fun hearing others in your group get the kills.

BUT WAIT! There's more!!!! If you act now...

I've found that besides being fun, the mod actually helps me in arenas (especially 5v5), by increasing my situational awareness. I'm running around trying to keep opponents cycloned, rooted and teammates healed. I'm paying little, if any, attention to enemy health bars. When I hear the killshot notification go off, I get an update on how we're progressing, I get a heads up that DPS is looking for a new target. It's surprisingly useful.

You can get different voice packs here. I recommend sticking with the original voicepack.