Category Archives: Cataclysm

Current Resto Druid changes on PTR (WG changes)

There is very little up on the PTR that has been “officially” reported, however there are currently two changes that have been made for resto druids and both involve Wild Growth.

  • Wild Growth healing value has been reduced by 20%
  • Glyph of Wild Growth now also increases the cooldown on Wild Growth by 2 seconds.

Both of these obviously have some impact on our AOE healing capability as WG is a standard heal for raid wide damage. It has been especially important in Cata content due to the attachment Blizzard seem to have with bosses casting massive AoEs.

If they nerf both the healing and the CD of WG then that could be quite a hit to a raid healing druid’s throughput, unless they either reduce the amount of AoE damage bosses are outputting, or give druids some sort of mitigation/buff other AoE heals (like effloresence). I think the latter is unlikely, and it will be more likely that we will see (relatively speaking) slightly reduced AoE from bosses. Additionally it will lead to much more thought on whether or not is better to heal 5 people with 87.5% max uptime or 6 people with 70% max uptime, I suspect that unless there are periods of extended raid wide damage, the glyphed version will still be superior.

Looking around at the the various other posts on the matter, there are some particular thoughts that repeatedly crop up:

Glyphs: In his blog, GC states that “We want major glyphs to be a decision, which usually involves them having some kind of downside.” This idea is all well and good except for one small detail – there reallt are only 3 decent major glyphs; Rebirth, Wild Growth and Healing Touch. This is partially due to the previous nerf of Innervate that now makes it unattractive to cast on other people, thereby rendering the glyph of innervate pretty useless. If they want us to have more choice for glyphs rather than pick a standard set, they are actually going to have to give us a good range of glyphs to choose from that will allow players to tailor their glyphs to their role better.

No Mitigation! – As I said above as well, we don’t have shields, absorbs, mitigation etc and the developers seem completely reluctant to give us any. That’s fine and I don’t mind that, however to compensate for it we have high throughput. They massively improved Tranquility in order to give us a good 3 min raid CD, ToL buffs healing throughput as does our mastery. This means that while we may be higher than other healers on pure HPS at times, this is balanced by the fact that pure HPS is all we can do. Additionally, we make better raid healers than tank healers, so we will naturally be pumping out more healing and over a wider area than say a holy paladin on tank duty. WG is a primary spell and the major party/raid healing spell we use. By nerfing it while not giving us mitigation, they are directly reducing the capability of a druid to fulfill its primary role as a raid healer.

High throughput – This is similar to the above point. GC’s post also makes it very clear that they are wanting to nerf and limit the high throughput of resto druids. Another way to look at it though, is to buff other healers here and there so that their heals remain competitive (while allowing for the bonus of having shields etc) without relegating druids to the back seat or nerfing druids too much. Not so long ago WG was actually buffed (along with Tranq and Eff), so all our AoE healing was buffed as we were lacking in quick bursty AoE, a raid CD and so on. Those changes placed us firmly back as excellent, high throughput raid healers. It now seems they are backtracking and thinking it was too much. However, if we are high throughput, it is only because of the way we are designed. We cannot work any other way and to nerf that too much is to systematically lower to overall effectiveness of druid healers.

This is not an angry rant or such (PTR has barely been active for 36 hours or so) and everything may change before next week, it is however an impassioned plea for Blizzard to be careful in their tweaking of our class and to please not make any major mistakes. They should have plenty of class feedback by now, and I bet the majority will say “we have good solid healing, but are lacking mitigation.” I am willing to bet that few say WG is OP and needs a nerf.



Thoughts after being in a nerfed Firelands (and my WoL debrief 4/1)

Last night was Otaku’s first foray into Firelands since the nerf. After Tuesday night’s successful raid (Beth + Shannox down and first time into Rhyo’s P2) we were expecting a good night due to everything being nerfed. We countered this slightly by only running two healers (one of the resto shammies went enhancement instead). So, how did it go and what was the view of the nerfed bosses from a very casual guilds PoV?

Otaku’s Firelands raid post nerf 

Pre-nerf we didn’t have too much trouble with Beth. To begin with we had an evening of wipes (about 8 in total). The second night we faced, she went down after a couple of attempts. The recent nerfs have reduced her damage and HP by 15%. This means that any dps upstairs are actually doing more damage to the boss relatively than they were before and the upstairs healer has an easier job than before. Downstairs, not much has changed, but as we never really had add trouble that isn’t a problem. However, the additional dps upstairs means that by the time she comes around to phase 2, not only is her AoE weaker, she also has much less health relatively than before so the phase is much less strenuous and lasts a shorter time.

The actual fight itself was rather easy. Got her to 54% (or there abouts) before P2, and just after the shammy popped SL totem she died, despite our mage having dc’ed as we entered P2. I never even got to use Tranq or ToL. Even from our position, she is pretty much going to be a pinata now.

As with Beth, Shannox hadn’t given us much trouble pre-nerf. Post nerf, our tactics remained the same (kill rageface immediately, get boss to 35%, then riplimb to 5, clear stacks from tanks, nuke riplimb, nuke boss). Again, as with Beth, Shannox has had his HP and damage reduced by 15%, while his dogs have had a 15% reduction in their HP. Other than making the initial kill of rageface quicker, this didn’t make much difference to our kill. Again, the P2 didn’t really last very long and we simply burned him down very fast. The extra damage and flame debuff really caused no trouble. Same as Beth, he is pretty much a Pinata, looks like we may have to try one or both of them on HC soon.

This chappy still presented us with some issues, namely the fact that he didn’t seem to want to steer properly. However, after a number of attempts wiping at around 50%, we went back to three healers, had one final push and got him down. While (for us) phase one seemed basically the same, phase two was another matter entirely. We popped hero at 25% and nuked; it all seemed to be over in seconds. The second phase really presented no problems. Hopefully this wasn’t a flash in the pan and we will get him again next thursday.

So, conclusion?
Overall, the nerfs to normal mode do seem rather OTT. Beth and Shannox have gone from being fights that we had a greater than 50% chance of winning to basically going afk and collecting loot. Alyzrazor wil be our first boss attempted entirely post nerf and so how quickly we down it will give us a better idea of how extreme the changes have been.

Certainly from our point of view, the bosses have had their teeth pulled and are rather a joke. I suspect that now Rhyolith is down, we probably won’t have much trouble with him again. It is very much a double edged sword – on one hand we were unlikely to see Ragnaros in 4.2, though we would have really felt like we fought our best, on the other hand, if we don’t have much trouble clearing to Rag now, it will feel that we had it handed to us rather than working for it.

The latter means that the final triumph really feels anti-climatic. It was the same on Arthas when we finally downed him the week 4.0 came out; I almost felt sorry for him and I certainly haven’t ever worn the “Kingslayer” title as it just does feel right. The only possible bright side is that the nerfs may allow us to fully clear Firelands and get geared enough to hit the new raid as soon as 4.3 hits, which would be a first for us.

Kat’s debrief week 4/part 1

WoL link for the raid

After the other night, I added a few extra items to my list of things to watch and improve. How did I do? Well I was expecting to at least maintain where I was before (due to the encounters being nerfed) but also expecting much more CD usage (due to only running two healers). The actual specifics are below.

Well, the addition of an audio cue has certainly helped. Beth was 15 uses in a 6 min fight, so greater than half the max possible (24 if used on CD). Shannox was 10 uses in a 5:39 fight, so just under half (max possible was 22 uses) and Rhyolith was similar with 9 uses in 5:40 minute fight. While still not great, I am pleased to be making progress, though it does mean that my game is starting to sound like some weird thing with sonar pings, splashing water and cat meows all over the place to remind me of CDs and such.

Harmony Uptime
This is still being well maintained, with 90.4%, 94% and 90% for Beth, Shannox and Rhyolith respectively. Not much else to say about it really, just need to keep maintaining it at at least those values and not drop below 90% uptime.

ToL, Tranq and Innervate usage
Innervate saw more use, as I was expending more mana because of duo healing and with losing moonglow. However, tranquility and ToL were being used less as I was keeping them for the last phases to counter additional damage that never came due to the speed of the kills – both Shannox and Beth were around 1 minute quicker than our previous fastest kills. Next time they should see more use as I will know that they will not necessarily be critical for the burn phases.

Managing Nature’s Grace
Was pretty bad tbh, as I was trying to keep an eye on when it would be good, I never really used it and so it was only active once per fight.

Nature’s Swiftness usage
Due to the general lack of major damage for my healing targets, this didn’t really get used much. Though this was due more to the fights that my mistake.

Mana regen with TFD
I used this more than in the past due to expending more mana. Around 60% on Beth and Shannox and about 33% on Rhyolith.  I need to try and get used to working it in more regularly, and after specific events e.g. a combustion on Beth or spear throw for Shannox. Hopefully this will increase its effectiveness.

So overall my original three points are seeing improvement – especially SM (at last!), but my 3 new areas for improvement still need improving. Which is no surprise frankly and hopefully they will also see changes for the better in the coming weeks. The changes I made to my talent setup don’t seem to have affected my mana too much _ as I wasn’t using innervate much before it simply means that I pop it a little more. Additionally, I think that living seed is doing a good bit more healing that it was before, though it is hard to tell as one fight is pre nerf and one is post. However, I am generally pleased with the way my healing is going 🙂


New thoughts on recent nerfs, T13, 4.3 etc

Last week I gave into my inner nerdrage and posted a rather lengthy rant about the incoming nerfs to Firelands and the class feedback that was being given on the forums. Since then various other bloggers have posted regarding the same issues. These range from the also ranty (Kurn’s Corner), through the slightly more mellow (Cannot be Tamed) to the downright calm and much more reflective (Manalicious).

It was after reading Vidyala’s post on Manalicious (How I learned to stop worrying and love the nerfs) that I started to think more about my rantiness the other day, and that maybe it wasn’t as well founded as I thought. I do not often give into nerdrage, in fact that it just about the only time I have (publicly anyway), usually I think things through an awful lot more, and after reading Vidyala’s post I think I should have done the same with this.

Class feedback and gaining other class abilities
Firstly were my thoughts on the class feedback. I still think complete homogenisation is a bad thing, and that each class should keep its unique feel. However, there are many times when various classes are unbalanced (iirc the first T11 were all paladins/priests because druids and shammies were not competitive). Also, with Blizzard pushing us more towards 10 man raiding, there possibly is a need for a greater coverage of certain abilities, as long as it is done without destroying the essence of what makes the class special.

In my case, this would be keeping the fact that my druid primarily works with HoTs. I find that the style of healing as a druid  flows nicely and is very fluid. The maintaining of LB, harmony and so on makes the druid more than simply spamming rejuv and big heals. Additional abilities and tweaks should be worked into this style rather than either roughly tacked on or just ignoring it. How can this be done? I have to say that to be perfectly honest I don’t know. Personally I don’t have any great desires for new abilities so I can’t really think of any or how they would be implemented.

Nerfing normal and heroic Firelands
I also ranted at length about the nerfs to heroics Firelands while it is still current. Once again, after reading other posts from people who are currently progressing through HC Firelands my opinion has changed somewhat and mellowed. Ultimately, Heroic Firelands (or any heroic raid for that matter) is not my game and is not likely to be ever. It doesn’t really affect me at all, though for some people who are skilled, geared etc enough for HC modes but just don’t have masses of time to sink into it (I recall a recent tweet I say from someone saying they were up to 100 wipes on HC Raggy and some of their guild still thought they hadn’t progressed sufficiently in learning the fight) these nerfs will be helpful and will be gratefully received, though possibly a little sadly.

I still disagree with the concept of simply whacking all of Firelands with a huge nerfbat and simply reducing damage/hp etc by 20%, an incremental buff similar to ICC would be better or simply tweaking/nerfing those mechanics or bosses that are particularly troublesome. Equally, I still don’t like that there is a group of people who cry for nerfs because they choose to do something they then find too find and instead of improving themselves or admitting it’s beyond them they want blizzard to make it easier. However, personally I will be welcoming the nerfs to normal Firelands as it means that unlike T11 content we may get it finished while it is still current, we often are lacking players or certain setups (e.g. no melee for Rhyolith) and this means that our progress can be very slow at times.

T13, LFR, new heroics and the Deathwing raid
It was then with this calmer frame of mind that I looked at the new T13 (here) and the available info for 4.3. Personally I have to say I really like the look of the druid T13 and for once I am actually a little envious of those who will manage to get the full set. It isn’t too over the top like some previous sets have been, it doesn’t (to me) look silly like some others and the ornamentation isn’t too fussy. To me it just looks nice, balanced and something I would be quite happy to run around in. Given that I probably won’t assemble it, heres hoping that the new visual dungeon set for int leather looks as good. This is especially the case as T13 will not be purchasable with VP and will only be available from raiding.

One of the other changes we are getting in 4.3 is the introduction of the LFR (Looking For Raid) tool. This will work similarly to the LFD tool and will put you in random or specific raids in 25 man groups. To ensure that more people can enter and use it, the difficulty will be turned down from normal and accordingly the iLevel requirement  will be lowered appropriately. This means that raids will now basically have 3 settings – LFR, Normal, Heroic (or Easy, Normal, hard). The 3 separate tiers will each have their own iLevel, with the LFR (I believe) level being somewhere between that of the new 5 man heroics and 10/25 man normal raids. This has caused a lot of backlash in the WoW community with LFR being referred to variously as Bad/Scrub/N00b Mode and other derogatory terms. However this is no the case than normal mode is currently only for “bads”. Sure, you will get some of the usual “Delmers” you find in all PuGs but hopefully in a group of 25 they will have less of an impact.

Blizzard has said that the lockout for the LFR will be separate to that for the 10/25 normal/heroic raids. This means that you can poke around in the LFR and still get to do your standard raiding with your guild, and you may even find some loot while you are there. This is no bad thing, and will allow people to experience boss fights and get some experience of a raiding environment.

4.3 will also see the arrival of 3 new CoT instances as well as the final raid (maybe) of the expansion. In this we will finally get to poke Deathwing and dance upon his bleeding and broken corpse. As someone who rather enjoys the lore and history of the Night Elves, the whole shebang surrounding the the Demon Soul, War of the Ancients and so on, I am rather looking forward to this. I also rather suspect that regardless of how they are to play (please Blizzard not another HoR ><) they should be quite entertaining and fun (though hopefully with skippable RP for when you are doing it for the nth time ^^)

I haven’t really tried to go too in depth about anything in this post, it is more of a way of self redeeming after the vitriol I spewed last week. Reading other posts from people in a similar (raiding) position to mine, or who are further progressed put a different spin on my outlook on these changes and I think that generally I am looking forward to them and to 4.3 a lot more than I was. In a game I play for fun this is obviously a good thing 🙂

So on with Brewfest! further progression in Fireland! and other things that don’t make me whine!