Friday, July 31, 2009

Kae's Flag-Carrying Song

Vroom vroom kitty kitty
with a pretty flag!
Zippy zippy over da hills,
it makes da horde so mad!
Shifty shifty vroom vroom,
Free action pots for me!
Don'try to chase cuz I'm too fast,
Faster than can see!
...oh no I stepped on a flower :'(

Vroom vroom kitty kitty
Streamers trail behind!
Pretty pretty spark-a-ly,
that priest is in my mind!
Sneaky sneaky turn-about,
they're all com-ing for me!
Protect the red and kill the blue
streamer that you see!
...yay I capped! /bear dance

Yes, I really sang this. In vent, on a couple occasions. Grinding honor with the Marshals group in the original realm-only BGs lead to quite a bit of insanity :) I made up additional lyrics on the fly as we played in Warsong Gulch, but I can't remember all of them, and these were honestly the best ones. Click the link to download an mp3 version, if you're zany enough to want to hear it!


I pieced another verse of my old flag-carrying song together from memory... it's one I hadn't previously written down, but I remembered parts of it because of the green whelp armor. That armor was awesome, pity they nerfed it to only work on targets below 51!

Vroom vroom kitty kitty
With my set bo-nus!
Speedy speedy fifteen percent,
Too fast n' make you miss!
But if I ever do get hit,
To sleepy sleep you go!
This pretty green whelp armor here
Isn't just for show!
...hehe, yay leatherworking.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Learning Never Stops

Keeva wrote a very good post today about the black sheep talents, and in her introduction, she explains:

The point is that things are always changing; a talent that might have been considered useless 6 months ago might suddenly become super amazing after a patch, or extremely helpful for hard modes. Don't become too set in your opinion on what's terrible and what's good.. because changes to talents (or to gameplay and fights themselves, or the introduction of new content) may find it very hard to accept that you need to dust those spells and abilities off.

But as raiders - especially hard mode raiders - you should also be careful not to dismiss something as terrible; it might actually be awful for most fights, but incredibly powerful on one particular hard mode. You may think, as a min-max hardcore raider, that the widely-accepted cookie cutter builds are the best you can get - but you never know when something once labelled a waste of points will turn out to be valuable.

Keep an open mind, basically.

This is such very good advice to everyone, all classes, all players, in and out of game. Things are always changing, and no one is perfect: we all must be willing and able to adapt to the changes brought on by patches, raid/party makeups, boss mechanics, gear levels, and just life itself. Be adaptable, and don't let yourself fall into the "comfort" of thinking you've got it all figured out and are perfect.

A little story...

I raided briefly with my feral druid in an Alliance guild last fall while waiting for WotLK to be released. I had already healed through BT and Hyjal in a progression guild that spring so I knew the instances very well, but only from a healer's perspective. On the trash leading to Supremis, I forgot about the cone attacks and had faced the mobs towards the raid. Another druid whispered me tentatively, "Sorry... but could you try to face those away from the raid?"

"Oh, sure!" I replied. "Sorry about that."

"No offense," he said. "I'm not trying to tell you what to do, but that cone attack hurts."

I was a bit confused at his defensiveness, but laughed. "lol... I'm always open for advice. How else would I learn?"

He seemed relieved at this. "Some tanks don't like being given advice... I didn't want to step on your toes."

I was honestly shocked that he would have experienced or been worried about such a thing. Why would someone get upset at being given advice to turn a trash mob to face it away from the raid so that it wouldn't be able to breath fire on the dps and healers? Who would be so arrogant as to be offended by such advice? "Don't worry about that for me," I finally replied as we moved on to another trash pull. "I'm always open to advice. I can't become a better druid if I don't listen! :)"

It was a reminder that some people simply are that arrogant. I've met them, and was boggled by them. There are people who hate to think that they could be wrong or in any way imperfect and fallible. They don't like that there are other possibilities, or circumstances where something they had previously dismissed will actually be useful. They can be so arrogant that they see things in extremes, and refuse to consider that something they've decided to be right is, in fact, wrong, or just too narrow-minded.

We all fall prey to narrow-mindedness in varying degrees. How can we not? It's impossible to consider ALL of the alternatives without experiencing the possibilities for ourselves or, at least, being alerted to them. However, we can do our best to think for ourselves and keep an open mind regarding our choices, our playstyles, our specs... beyond that, our lives. In our interactions with others, we need to remember that life does change, and that things are rarely in straight black-and-white. We need to remember that not all circumstances are the same.

Avoid being too arrogant, and remember that your own experiences are just that: your experiences. What works in one situation may not work in another as factors change. Life, as well as this very dynamic game that we play, are always changing and have too many factors for us to ignore the grey areas and maybes. Be ready to learn from the experiences of others and be open to change, because no matter what, there's always something new to learn.

If we can't adapt to a situation, we'll wipe... or at least make things much harder for ourselves and everyone around us.

U10: Knock x3 Freya Hardmode

This achievement is earned by leaving each of the 3 Elder elemental bosses still alive when you engage Freya. Each of them grants her an additional power that makes the Freya fight much more difficult. You must still face 6 waves of the three types of add spawns, and there's still a major sigh of relief once you reach the end of the add spawns, but overall this fight is far more difficult and intensive for your whole raid.


Our MT and our warlock each frapsed it so you have choices on perspective: the prot pallie's video can be downloaded from filefront, while our warlock's is embedded below from YouTube (and may or may not be muted :( ).

Raid Makeup:
On our kill, we used:
  • Prot Pally
  • Resto Druid
  • Holy Pally (with Aura Mastery)
  • Holy Priest
  • Fury Warr
  • Ret Pally
  • Feral Druid
  • Frost DK
  • Surv Hunter
  • Destro Warlock

New Abilities

These are the powers Freya has gained over normal mode.
  • Freya: +60% magical damage, +75% physical damage
  • Adds: +60% magical damage, +50% physical damage
  • Unstable Energy: don't go sunbathing here. These sunbeams are big and bright and can be easily moved out of, so make sure to watch out for them around all the raid's own AoE.
  • Ground Tremor: raid-wide AoE that will also interrupt any spell being cast. It will eat a chunk of every player's health and spell-lock anyone too slow to cancel their casts as it goes off.
  • Strengthened Iron Roots: these roots make druids jealous. They will root the target in place and do massive damage; they must be destroyed by DPS to free the player. Targeting macros can be made with "Strengthened Iron Roots," and "Iron Roots" can be added as a watchable debuff on your raid frames.
These powers will be used randomly and regularly throughout the entire fight.

P1: Adds

The spawn order of the packs is semi-random, just like Freya easy-mode. The first 3 spawns will be each of the 3 packs in any order, and the second 3 spawns will be a second wave of each of the 3 packs in any order. Thus, you will always see each type of spawn twice, and can usually guess which the third and sixth waves will be by process of elimination.

Ancient Conservator:

: All DPS should halt immediately and move to the safety of nearby mushrooms; melee should follow the tank, and healers should do their best to run to a mushroom within range of the tank's chosen mushroom. Avoid clustering too many people at one mushroom, as it will doom you to more damage if any of those players are hit with Nature's Fury or Unstable Energy. The raid leader can, at the start of this spawn, call out "Mushrooms!" as a reminder to healers who may be otherwise busily Gridlocked on their raid frames (it is a very healing-intensive fight!). As with normal mode, being out of range of the mushrooms or an Eonar's Gift will prevent the player from being able to attack or cast spells.

Wait until the MT is comfortably in place at her mushroom before beginning dps. A hunter can quickly misdirect the conservator to the MT upon its spawn, but both the tank and the hunter will still need to find a mushroom in order to really establish threat. Freya can easily wipe out a DPS who begins too quickly and gets aggro.

  • Ranged DPS: You will be responsible for almost every Eonar's Gift tree that spawns during this add wave, so be sure to keep an eye out for them. You should also be dpsing any Strengthened Iron Roots that are cast during this phase, as the melee will have limited mobility in assisting this. Remember to stop casting when Ground Tremor goes off. Keep a constant eye on the growth of your mushroom and any new mushrooms growing nearby, as you will need to hop from mushroom to mushroom as they grow and die. If you get Nature's Fury on you, the most important thing is to run away from any players you may be hitting with it! Being in range to DPS the conservator is of less importance than making sure you aren't hurting the other players nearby, so if there are no free mushrooms, just run out in the clear spaces without them, as long as you are in range of healers. Also bear in mind that if a healer gets Nature's Fury while you're sharing a mushroom with them, it would be better if you moved away and left the healer to the mushroom by themselves, because silenced healers result in dead tanks.
  • Melee DPS: As you will have limited mobility, you will be mostly focused upon the Conservator as you share a mushroom with the MT. It is of utmost importance that if you get Nature's Fury on you, or if the tank gets Nature's Fury, that you run away. You can sit out where there are no mushrooms if you have the lightening on you, as long as you are still in range of the healers. Otherwise, if there are any Strengthened Iron Roots or Eonar's Gifts spawning in range of your melee attacks while you are under cover of a mushroom (or Eonar's Gift), take them out quickly then return to dpsing the Conservator.
  • Healers: HoTs on the MT will help a lot as you and the other healers find yourselves a safe mushroom. If at all possible, select a mushroom that is within range of the tank but not being shared by other players, to reduce the impacts of a sudden Nature's Fury. If you get Nature's Fury on you and have no other mushrooms to run to, use your judgement based on the number of other healers sharing your mushroom: if it's just dps, tell them to go away and leave the mushroom to you :) The important thing is to keep healers and the tank alive and unsilenced, so healers have priority on mushrooms! Keep a constant eye on the growth of your mushroom and any new mushrooms growing nearby, as you will need to hop from mushroom to mushroom while the dps works down the conservator.

The Trio:

This pack can instantly wipe out a player who is caught near them as they spawn. There is no real difference here from the normal-mode, except that they deal far more damage than before, so all players must be especially aware of staying out of range of the Snaplasher (once it is rooted), and interrupts should be on the Stormlasher. Our lock died on the kill because of doing a flying-tackle-hug into the Snaplasher ;) He's not gonna live that one down for a while. <3

Detonating Lashers:

This is the group that gave my guild the most trouble.

When they spawn, the entire raid should move in on Freya, circling the area in a small ring with the lashers in the middle. The ring should be about the size of the typical AoE attack, so that all AoE can readily hit the lashers evenly. You don't want to be too close together, or the sun beams will make short work of your group. The raid leader can call out when a sun beam forms, so that DPS can note it and move away from it, rather than mistake it for friendly AoE.

Once the Lashers are AoE'd down to around 20% HP, DPS needs to STOP and the group needs to spread out. At this point, there should be a cooldown timer up on your boss mods regarding the next Ground Tremor: wait for it to cast, and then wait for the healers to catch up on raid heals. Only then should your DPS be allowed to continue: they then pick a single target of their own and dps it down. When the Ground Tremor cooldown is up, all DPS should STOP again and wait for the healers' "all clear" signal before continueing again.

It is your own DPS that can wipe the raid on this pack.
  • Ranged DPS: will be in charge of killing any Eonar's Gifts that spawn away from the group during this pack, while melee can easily take care of any Strengthened Iron Roots. Stop all AoE when the lashers reach about 20%, then spread out so that you don't take all of the detonations when the lashers begin to die. Wait for ground tremor to be safely out of the way and for the raid to be moderately healed up before beginning single-target dps on a lasher of your own choosing. If at any time you hear a stop/hold on DPS, then STOP.
  • Melee DPS: you will likely be in charge of killing any Strengthened Iron Roots that spawn in the group during this add wave. Stop all AoE when the lashers reach about 20%, then spread out so that you don't take all of the detonations when the lashers begin to die. Wait for ground tremor to be safely out of the way and healed up before beginning single-target dps on a lasher of your own choosing. If at any time you hear a stop/hold on DPS, then STOP. If you have a taunt/death grip, you can use it to pull a near-death lasher away from a healer or other squishy before it explodes. Avoid clustering too closely with other melee while killing lashers.
  • Healers: call out for DPS to stop if any players are near death. This add pack is the easiest to wipe to, and wipes are by your raids' own hands and claws. The Ground Tremors just complicate things all the more. Move out of sunbeams, call out if you have roots on you, and move away from the pack when the lashers reach about 20% health and the dps starts single-targeting them. HoT up as many people as possible.
Holy Pallies: akin to Vezax hardmode, you may want to pop Divine Shield and then use Divine Sacrifice on the raid (holy pallies may want to thus pick up Divine Guardian in their spec for this fight). If there are multiple pallies available to do this, then one can use their sac on the first lasher pack, and then the second on the next lasher pack. Also, if your raid is having particular difficulty with this add pack, you can spec into Aura Mastery to add a click-use buff for your FR aura.

Resto Druids: Keep rejuvs and WG rolling as much as possible, and use swiftmend/NS+HT to quickly pop someone up who is close to death. Keep regrowth and a lifebloom or two running on the MT, as they will still be tanking Freya.

P2: Just Keep Killin'

Grats, you're almost out of the woods now! Just like in easy mode, most of the trouble stops once the 6th wave of adds has been defeated. Kite Freya to move the raid out of the exploding cabbages, stay out of the sun beams of unstable energy, free those caught in the strengthened iron roots, and stop casting when ground tremor is about to cast. Compared to juggling all of this when there were adds up, this is a victory lap.

At about 1%, Freya is once again knocked to her senses, and she will gift you with extra goodies for not killing her Elder buddies.

"I'm just going to keep kiting, kiting, oh hey a tree.... SWEET, I FOUND A TREASURE CHEST UNDER THE TREE!!!! Were we fighting something?... meh"

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Feral +Hit Cap

Patch 3.1 - 3.3

To compliment the previous moonkin +hit breakdown, I wanted to record the cat druid +hit cap and the hit needed to ensure that bear form growls will not miss.

The hit a feral druid wants to aim for is 8% +hit, or 263 (262.32) hit rating at level 80.

You can probably get away with 262 hit rating, which is 7.99% hit. There is a very very very small chance that you will miss (1 in 10,000 attacks). If your gear collection leaves you at 262, don't sweat finding that 1 hit rating too much.

You may notice that this is the same hit rating a moonkin aims for, though the percent is different. Melee and Magical hit ratings require different amounts to achieve 1% hit at level 80: it takes 26.23 hit rating to achieve 1% spell hit, while it will take 32.79 hit rating to achieve 1% physical hit.

Weapon Skill?
Not having a maxxed weapon skill will reduce any player's chance to hit, requiring them to have more +hit rating in order to make up for their lack of skill. Feral druids are unique in that they do not have to worry about their weapon skill for their +hit, however.
  • Your weapon skill does not matter in feral forms.
Druids in feral forms (cat or bear) are automatically considered to have maximum weapon skill with their claws and fangs, being as they are parts of their bodies rather than an external tool. Your skill with your currently equipped weapon does not matter, because your equipped weapon is only there to provide you stats/procs, and is not the part of you that is actually dealing damage.

Hit per Mob Level
  • Level 80 mobs: 5% miss chance. This is 164 hit rating (163.95).
  • Level 81 mobs: 5.2% miss chance. This is 171 hit rating (170.508).
  • Level 82 mobs: 5.4% miss chance. This is 178 hit rating (177.066).
  • Level 83 mobs: 8% miss chance. This is 263 hit rating (262.32).
Feral druids have no talents that will increase their hit rating, so they must rely purely on their gear to reach their hit cap.

Draenei buddies!
If you raid with a draenei, then you can reduce your required +hit rating by 32.79 for physical attacks.

The hit cap for a feral druid with Draenei buddies is 7% +hit, or 230 (229.53) hit rating at level 80.

Taunts and Growling?
Abilities such as taunt and growl are considered spells, rather than physical attacks, so +hit with these abilities follows the spell-hit calculations rather than physical hit. Spell-hit and physical hit are all derived from the same "hit rating" found on gear. Assuming you are hit-capped for melee at 8%, you will have about 263 hit rating on your gear already. This same amount of hit rating equals 10% spell-hit for calculating your miss chance for spells. The cap for bosses at level 80 (a level 83 mob) is 17%, so you will have another 7% chance to miss the boss with your bearform growl.

The Glyph of Growl increases your chance to hit with growl by 8%, which more than makes up for the hit rating over the melee cap. This does mean that you can be below the melee hit cap while still having enough hit that your growl will not miss!

With the Glyph of Growl, you will only need 236.07 hit rating on your gear to ensure that growl will not miss.

If you have a draenei in your party, this lowers further to 209.84 hit rating. Keep in mind that the draenei are providing you with a percentage 1% hit, which is only 26.23 spell-hit rating when calculating your +hit with growl.

Hey, what about this Armor Pen thing I keep hearing about?

Altosis posted a great explanation of armor penetration for feral druids. Go check it out :)

Monday, July 27, 2009


Sometimes I have guildies ask me about my guild note: "Go for the eyes, Boo!"

I suppose I can now just point them to this post :)

Meet Boo.

Boo is the most powerful druid in the game. Boo has been a class leader in a 40-man raiding guild. Boo has been challenged to duels from across the faction boundary. Boo has defeated numerous bosses, and served as a mentor to several druids, including Kae, for years.

Boo is summoned and dismissed through use of a [Prairie Dog Whistle].

Who is Boo??

Firstly, Boo is a miniature giant space hamster, companion of the berserking ranger Minsc, who served as a comic relief character in Baldur's Gate. Boo was a running joke throughout the games of the Baldur's Gate series, and present to provide "wisdom and moral support to Minsc." Minsc and Boo were my favorite characters in Baldur's Gate, so it was only a matter of time before the joke entered my WoW play.

The story of Boo as a druid goes back to my first days of raiding. I had picked up a Brown Prairie Dog off of the cross-faction AH, and loved the little critter; it quickly became my favorite pet. First, I made a simple emote macro that was:

/e tells her Brown Prairie Dog to attack %T. Go for the eyes, Boo!

Other players of the Baldur's Gate series loved it, and Boo became something of a celebrity within the guild. As Boo became a popular running joke, some of course wished to bully him and thus make themselves feel superior to his popularity or some such a thing (ahhh social dancing!), and they would attempt to emote attacks at him, etc.

This is where WoW-Boo diverged from Bioware-Boo.

In defending Boo against these crazy attacks, a story was woven that Boo was no ordinary prairie dog (nor even an ordinary miniature giant space hamster!). Boo became a powerful druid, one of few to have discovered the legendary Tunnel Form (which prompted some giggles on its own >_> ). Boo grew in power to finally becoming an Arch-Druid 10-20 levels beyond the in-game character level cap, and he usually looked down on the pitiful attacks with mild humor until the raid was distracted by needing to kill a boss.

Over time, he even became known to the horde that I PvPed against, and one even came to Ironforge under pretense of seeking to challenge Boo to a duel (the forums were amusing).

Boo: Druid Class Leader

During a switch in officers, it was Boo who became the new druid class leader... I just had to be bumped up to officer as well so that I could serve as his translator. Seriously. It's the only way I agreed to becoming an officer! The other druids were very supportive of Boo, and most perpetuated the joke.

Boo even made it into the holiday picture, which had an honorable mention in Blizzard's art contest for that year. Thus, Boo has even been on the front page of the WoW website :) The originally submitted version had no names, but I will share the named version here:


Boo preferred to stay in his small form for several reasons. For one, he was far too high level to really think much of the content, and just hung out with us for humor. For two, in the larger raids, he had to hide so that Blizzard would not think we were hacking the game by having a 41st person in our raids, and thus he could not contribute unfairly beyond being moral support. Oh, and what moral support he was! To paraphrase from memory,

Kae tells her Brown Prairie Dog to attack Nefarian. Go for the eyes, Boo!
[Guild]: GO BOO!
[Kae]: [Boo]: SQUEAK!

[Kae]: Boo says Nef's a pansy.

Oh, and there was a Boo 2. He was companion to a rogue in the guild, Sazoroth, and was known to wield a Maladath. There was some threat that Boo 2 was going to slice open Saz's smoke detector if he didn't change the batteries soon.

I don't include Boo in my serious character background developments, but he is a large part of my history as a player in this game.

Go for the eyes, Boo :)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Feral Expertise Caps

Patch 3.3

What is Expertise?
Expertise reduces your chance to be parried or dodged, and is mostly of importance to soloing or tanking druids. Capping out your expertise will prevent your mob from dodging or parrying your attacks: something that plain old "+hit" cannot counter. +Hit will only reduce your chance to miss; without expertise, there is still a chance that your attack will be dodged or parried, even when you are hit capped.

How much do I need?
The Primal Precision talent grants 82 expertise rating, or 10 expertise. With this talent,

  • A feral tank needs 377.2 expertise rating (46 expertise + 10 expertise from talent) to reach the hard tanking cap for raid bosses (level 83), as they have a cap of 14% parry.
  • A cat or bear dps needs 131.2 expertise rating (16 expertise + 10 expertise from talents) to cap out against the 6.5% dodge rating of a raid boss at level 80. This is because they are attacking from behind the boss and thus they should not be parried, so they only need to get enough expertise to negate the dodge chance.
  • If a dps wishes to attack from the front of the boss, they will need the same amount of expertise as tanks do to prevent getting parried.

Only YOU can prevent Parry-Storms!
"Parry Storms" occur whenever a boss or mob is parried repeatedly, as each time they are parried, their attack speed will increase. This results in faster attacks coming in at your tank. Generally, you want to avoid this, but I *have* seen circumstances where a group intentionally caused Parry Storms because the healers were bored and the tank needed rage/mana. :)

Operation: Parry Storm!

Expertise for Non-Bosses
  • For anything less than a raid boss (level 82 or less mobs), you will need no more than 98.4 expertise rating (12 expertise + 10 expertise from talents) for parry/dodge negation, if you have the primal precision talent.
  • Without the talent, you will need 180.4 expertise rating (22 expertise).

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Moonkin +Hit Cap

Patch 3.1 - 3.3

The hit a moonkin wants to aim for is 10% +hit, or 263 hit rating at level 80.


17% hit is needed overall to hit a raid boss at level 80 (~level 83 mob).
  • Of this, 4% is gained through the Balance of Power talent.
  • Another 3% is gained by having IFF or Misery (from shadow priests) up on the boss.
  • This leaves 10% hit to be made up for on your gear.

What about non-bosses?

A full chart of spell-hit compared to level difference can be found here at wowwiki. Long story short, though, for a PvE mob that is the same level as you, you need 4% spellhit to overcome the base miss chance, which is made up for by Balance of Power alone.

The following spellhit numbers assume base -hit chances. Any further affects that increase your chance to miss, such as Choking Cloud, are not included.

  • Level 80 mobs: you need no +hit gear or IFF/misery, unless there is a special -hit reduction being applied to you.
  • Level 81 mobs: 95% chance is 1% more than Balance of Power. You will need to use IFF/misery, or have about 27 hit rating available to make up for that 1%.
  • Level 82 mobs: 94% chance is 2% more than Balance of Power. You will need to use IFF/misery, or have about 53 hit rating available to make up for that 2%.
  • Level 83 mobs: 83% chance to hit; this is a large drop from the level 82 mobs. You will need a total of 17% spellhit, requiring Balance of Power, IFF or Misery, AND 10% spellhit on your gear, which is 263 (262.3) hit rating.
It is extremely unlikely that we will come up against anything above this level in the current PvE expansion. Any misses that occur when at the 17% "cap" will be due to external -hit effects.

Draenei party members!

They'll buff you with another +1% hit rating, reducing your hit rating requirements by around 27 (26.23 to be exact). Moonkin who raid with draenei will only need 9% additional hit rating over Balance of Power and IFF/Misery, which is about 237 (236.07) hit rating.

And PvP?

The base PvP hit chance for equal-level players is the same as for an equal-level mob: 96%. This is covered by our Balance of Power talent, so unless your opponents find a way to reduce your chance to hit with spells, you should be covered. If they do reduce it, you can use IFF to increase your hit by another 3%.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Revitalize Use (and WWS)


Rambly Intro

Last night (July 21, 2009) was a good raid. DPS was overall spot-on, and we did Hodir hardmode with 15 seconds left on the clock, not to mention finally bursting through Thorim hardmode without a bloodlust. Kitarha (DK) was trying out a new frost spec (he's normally blood), and I had to pull out my Enchanted Broom to mop up the puddles of drool left by the ret pally and feral druid once they realized that they had imp icy talons.

I also haven't caught up on all the sleep I missed out on last week while helping run the camp, so I was a little loopy. I vaguely remember having a dance party at some point, running into Hodir with an army of Giant Sewer Rats, the prot pally and priest throwing cascades of flower petals at each other, a group of us giggling with the alliance players of Factum non Lacuna, having a Roflwolf look-alike contest (Roflwolf is our hunter's pet), and putting Abolish Poison on a couple people to reassure them that my cooking (the Fish Feast) wouldn't poison them.


It's been a while since I last looked at my numbers for revitalize, so I pulled up the wws report from last night and took a peek through.

Revitalize 3.1 and Log Parses

Revitalize is now much more difficult to numerically look at in a per-cast breakdown, if reverse-engineering from collected raid data. It can proc off of both Rejuvenation and Wild Growth, which are not recorded in the combat log as "casts," but as "gains" of the HoT: and with Wild Growth, any given cast may hit between 1 and 6 players (if glyphed)... as well as pets, summoned minions, mind controls, and even some few "vehicles" such as the trash to Mimiron.

The best sources we can go on to find revitalize's worth are to look at the raw data from combat logs, organized by sources such as WoWwebstats. If your raid has a webstats report up, you can find this data by browsing Abilities -> Energy -> Revitalize to see the full, consolidated list of how much total energy every player in your raid received from the procs. In the case of shapeshifting druids who collect energy, rage, and mana, you can go to their individual page and look at their Energies & Dispells tab to see the full breakdown of what they received.

Remember that the larger your raid, the more your casts will be spread out among the group; in turn, the more druids in your raid that have revitalize, the more raiders will benefit. Thus, the percent breakdowns you may find for each individual player in your raid will vary based on group makeup, size, and additional talents or abilities your group may have, as well as how often your group feels the need to cast things like innervate, mana pots, mana tide, arcane torrent, and hymn of hope.

That said, let's take a look at my ten-man raid from last night.

Energy Gains Per Class

(Click to view fullsize)

The revitalize sections are colored in bright blue.


>25%: Revitalize is a large part of the (non-natural) energy gains for Cat Druids, DKs (even those with Butchery!), and Warriors, making at least a quarter or more of their power gains. This will, in turn, increase their dps and (for the prot warrior) threat. We can assume that rogues will receive a similar benefit as cat druids do, a safe assumption since I have looked at a rogue in our ten-man before (just didn't document it on the blog).

>9%: Revitalize did make up a significant chunk of the mana regen for the resto druid (myself) and the mage. The mage did not use arcane torrent as often as our priest, however. As for myself, lifebloom blooms were the vast majority of my mana regen, followed closely by replenishment; overall, revitalize does make up a great majority of my own passive mana regen. Granted, I did not have to cast innervate on myself much last night; those druids that are having mana difficulties will most likely find their innervate use outstrips their percent returns from revitalize.

<9%: I suspect the reason why it did not make up more of the priest's mana regen was because our priest regularly used Arcane Torrent to return mana to herself; the warlock in turn had lifetap. As for the hunter, ret pally, and prot pally, each had several more significant sources of mana return ranging from judgement of wisdom, spiritual attunement, arcane torrent, divine plea, viper, etc.

Percents vs Raw Numbers:
Looking at the raw mana numbers, I saw that similar amounts of mana were returned to the lock, mage, priest, and prot pally by revitalize; the hunter and ret pally received less raw mana off of revitalize over the night than those players. It is also important to note that revitalize will return a percent of the players' base mana: those with larger mana pools will recieve more mana per proc than those with smaller mana pools (such as hunters, enh shaman, and ret pallies).

The prot pally was our MT, so she was rarely without rejuv proccing away at her mana; thus, despite her relatively small mana pool, she recieved more mana overall than did the hunter or ret pally.

Variation in the revitalize procs and percent of total power regen is based on:
  • How often I heal them
  • In turn, how often they take damage that makes me heal them
  • Size of target's mana pool
  • Target's usual distance from the rest of the group (in range to catch WG splashes?)
  • Proportion of resto druids in the raid with revitalize, compared to raid size
  • How bored I get (and thus start throwing moonfire & hurricane rather than rejuv & WG)
  • Whether the player has and uses Arcane Torrent
  • What other tools that class/spec has to regen their power, and how often they use them
  • Other mana sources available in the raid
Ultimately the question really is: who needs the procs the most?


Revitalize provides a nice background power regen for a raid with druids who make regular use of rejuvenation and wild growth in their healing. It often matches the power returns of Judgement of Wisdom and Mana Tide totems, though each raid and individual player will vary in how much it seems in comparison to their other power regeneration abilities. There are fewer abilities to restore rage, energy, and runic power, however, so to those classes without mana, revitalize is a particular blessing!

Your raid will benefit from the procs gained just through your normal healing. However, if you find your raid is not taking much damage and you have plenty of time and mana to spare, you can select individuals of your raid to cast on specifically to grant them revitalizes' power procs, effectively converting your mana (and a small mana cost at that, if you have Spark of Hope and Idol of Awakening) into power for your dps classes.

I have habit of making sure that non-mana users get rejuvs when I have plenty of mana and GCDs to spare, because it will increase their overall dps by giving them more energy/rage/runic power to play with. Mana users, on the other hand, vary greatly in whether or not they really need your rejuvs, and should be handled on a case-by-case basis.

Things to keep in mind when giving out spare revitalize-proccing rejuvs:
  • Is the target actively using their energy? If any player is sitting with a full bar of power already, extra procs of power won't likely be used.
  • Is the group not in combat yet? Warriors and DKs and bears start with zero, and can use the procs for power in gaining threat or getting off early attacks/interrupts. Cats and rogues start with full energy, so there's little reason to give them a rejuv before combat starts.
  • Most mana users have plenty of other alternatives to replenish their mana, so they will rarely need your gift of 1% mana procs. You are more likely to give an innervate than rely on revitalize procs to regen an OoM friend if you're at a point where the raid's not taking much damage, since it means that your own mana is probably quite safe and you don't need to hoard your innervate for yourself.
  • Prot pallies who aren't taking much damage are not, in turn, regenning much mana through their Spiritual Attunement. If they are tanking, they should have a rejuv on them regardless, imo, but do keep in mind that your rejuvs and WGs can proc them back some mana even if it's not healing damage!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A Druid Beyond the Game

No, I'm not talking religion, but being a druid in the game resonates with my own ethics regarding nature, wildlife, and the environment. A lot of my actions and values as a camp counselor are the same things that druids, as a group of players and per the lore itself, tend to be as well.

Druids in WoW tend to:
  • Be versatile and adaptable
  • Be protective of their comrades
  • Be sturdy, dedicated, and determined
  • Connect to nature (night elves and tauren alike)
  • Be close to and understanding of wildlife and flora
  • Seek to emulate the traits of various aspects of nature
  • Be willing to teach others of their class how to improve
Frequent readers have probably picked up that I am a Girl Scout and a sometimes Camp Counselor. In this, I am required to:
  • Be adaptable
  • Be dedicated and determined
  • Protect those that are in my care
  • Play mother to those that need it
  • Guide them into their own independence
  • Understand and connect to nature, even the parts that are feared
  • Help others to do the same
Not too different, is it? The piece with greatest difference is in playing mother to a homesick camper--that doesn't really happen in WoW, exactly, but there are certainly times where something from beyond the scope of the game (camp) is affecting a player's ability to participate, and they need advice or support. We don't know all the intimate details of that person's past, and we get all kinds of people in our groups: those with perfectly normal homelives, those going through divorce or loss, those being abusive, or even those that just didn't prepare them for the social world.

Though I was a Scout and Camp Counselor before WoW was released, I can't help but take what lessons my druid has taught me and apply them to my work at scout camps. The protective power of the bear, the nurturing and steady limbs of the tree, the seed of rebirth hidden to start life anew, the freedom of the wings of a bird, the joy of just running in the breeze and the sun, and... yes, the nighttime prowly stealth of a panther! I just giggle a bit that at least I don't have to wear "moonscreen" at night to protect from moonfire; it's hard enough remembering when I last put on enough sunscreen (and my arm is still red in painful testiment to my forgetfulness!).

Does my druid fear the night, to walk the paths in only the light of the stars, or is she unwilling to stand drenched in the rain and just laugh about it? Would she not be able to handle 80 screaming kids after raiding through 40-mans, 25's, etc, or just reading through the slosh that is trade chat? Would she not know the value of selflessly helping another, after all of the times that I would stop and heal another, or invite an unknown, lowbie druid to my group to run them on my mammoth over to the saftey of the next flight path in a zone that is way past their ability level? Does she not feel a kinship to fellow druids that crosses boundaries of race and faction, just as a Scout should?

I don't know what parts are just me and what parts are true among most other druids, but this may be why I love my druid so much. She reminds me of my youth in the mountains and rivers, finding family amid strangers, and finding a home among trees. She reminds me to never let that go and that I should continue to share what I've learned with others, so that they too may learn how to love the natural world.

~~ As a note, we're already beginning our plans for the camp next year, where we plan to expand to a week and add more activities! ~~

Monday, July 20, 2009

U10: Vezax Hardmode

This achievement is gained by not destroying any of the saronite vapors, thus allowing them all to coalesce into a 2nd "boss" type add: the Saronite Animus. You must defeat this Animus before defeating Vezax in order to earn the achievement. The biggest difficulty this poses to groups is that you cannot drop the saronite vapor puddles to provide mana for your healers, because doing so will prevent the animus from spawning.


Our lock got a video!! You can d/l it from filefront here, or view it at Youtube here. From a warlock perspective, this video shows the dodging/casting/puddle-dance the ranged dps need to do!

Raid Makeup:
On our kill, we used:
  • Prot Pally
  • Resto Druid
  • Holy Pally
  • Disc Priest
  • Fury Warr
  • Ret Pally
  • Feral Druid
  • Surv Hunter
  • Destro Warlock
  • Frost Mage

We split our raid with 6 players in melee, and 4 in the "outfield" as it were. The disc priest danced around the shadow crashes with the ranged DPS while the resto druid and holy pally stood in melee range. This limited the number of players having to dodge the shadow crashes and lifeleeches, let the pally not have to interrupt his casting to move, and allowed the resto druid to punch the boss to proc clearcasting.

I recommend that, if you go with this raid makeup or something similar, you place all of the ranged players together in the same group so that when the animus spawns, the priest can use PoH to AoE heal her party. It is a party-only spell, and it is the only group heal that a disc priest will have.

Resto druids:
you will need to be punching the boss as often as possible to allow for Omen of Clarity to proc clearcasting. Stand behind the boss with the rest of the melee so that you won't get parried, and give those branchy limbs of yours a workout!!

P1: "Before the Animus"

The tank and melee should run in together so that the melee can begin immediately, and interrupters will be in range to quickly stop any of Vezax's Searing Flames casts. HoTs can be applied before the boss is pulled, but make sure all mana is regenerated before entering combat.

  • Tank: get aggro and keep timing on Surge of Darkness casts. If you and your healers are well-geared and have adequate shields to protect against the damage influx, you will not have to kite out of the Surges.

  • Melee DPS: go to town, just mind your aggro. There should be one player dedicated to interrupting the Searing Flames, so that the others do not have to break their dps rotations. Avoid cleaving or AoEing any of the wandering saronite vapors.

  • Ranged DPS: with-hold using mana when outside of the shadow crash puddles. I will assume that your group will know the strategy from none-hardmode Vezax, so I won't go into much detail, but suffice to say, don't get hit by the shadow crashes and don't life-leech on each other. For the sake of mana, you should only cast mana-using spells when you are standing in the black puddles to reduce your mana cost.

  • Healers: you have the hardest job. Congratulations! We had the holy pally and resto druid doing the bulk of the healing in this phase. The disc priest did spot healing on the raid and cast shields on the tank from within the shadow crash puddles, where the spell cost was significantly reduced. We had our prot pally and holy pally trade cooldowns to guard against the extra damage from the Surge of Darkness casts; if the holy pally is using hand of sacrifice, the other healers will need to be ready to heal them as well.

Holy Pallies:
You cannot, under any circumstances, use Divine Shield when using Hand of Sacrifice on the main tank. You will need to save Divine Shield so that you have the cooldown available when you use Divine Sacrifice in P2, or you'll die in less than a single gcd!

Resto Druids:
3.2 Edit: grumble grumble, clearcasting no longer procs for casters on this fight. Strat changes are pending further testing/experience.

3.1 strat: Keep a rejuv on the tank as often as possible, though you do not need to refresh it immediately if the tank is beng shielded and isn't taking damage at that moment. Use ALL of your OoC procs to cast lifebloom. If you get an OoC proc, use it to cast lifebloom! Let them bloom rather than refreshing them without an OoC proc, if at all possible. When you get a stack of 3 such lifeblooms on the tank, let them bloom before casting a new one (aka don't roll it!) so that you can get mana back from the bloom. The blooms will give you mana back even though you spent none on the cast due to the clearcasting proc. This is how you will be able to have the mana to heal through this fight!!

is also useful, even though it has a relatively heavy mana cost, because it has a very long-duration HoT. Living Seed is be useful to have in this fight because of regrowth and bloom crits, but try to save NS+HT for P2.

Overall, rejuv and lifebloom will be most of your healing done, and you will probably find yourself on the top of the healing charts from these alone. The OoC procs for Lifebloom casts are critical (or were, in 3.1!).


Once all 8 of the vapors have spawned, they will collect together in the spot where Vezax stands before the pull, and coalesce into the Animus. We did try having two tanks for this, but found it split healing too much and gimped our dps; we had more success by having only one tank, making our MT pick up this add in addition to holding Vezax. The animus is NOT tauntable, so DPS cannot begin attacking it until the tank has established threat. Vezax will have a personal damage shield up while the animus is active so dps on Vezax will be tiny (casters should just stop and save their mana), but the dps needs to hold back from attacking the animus until the tank is ready so that they do not pull aggro.

We found that Vezax will not cast Searing Flames while the animus is active, so once threat is established, all dps can move over to the animus to bring it down quickly, even those that would be interrupting the Searing Flames cast. Vezax will, however, continue to cast Surge of Darkness, so vent needs to stay clear so that the healers and tank can continue to coordinate their shields. The tank will be taking excessive damage in this phase, so all 3 healers need to be on their toes.

The animus himself will cast Profound Darkness every couple seconds, doing raid-wide damage.

  • Tank: you should carefully position yourself so that you're standing in Vezax's starting position, so that when the animus spawns in the spot, you can quickly get aggro before it floats over and smacks down a healer. Call out on vent when you feel like you have sufficient threat so that dps can begin. You will need to continue monitoring Vezax's surges, however, so make sure those are still coordinated. The use of focus targets will help a lot, along with mods that show your focus target's cast bar.

  • Ranged DPS: You NEED to continue to pay attention to shadow crashes and life leech. The stacking debuff will quickly reach a point where shadow crashes can one-shot you, and healers will be busy enough as it is with keeping the tank alive. Use healthstones as necessary, and make sure you don't run out of range of the healers for very long. Again, use puddles to conserve mana and don't start dpsing the animus until the tank has established aggro.

  • Melee DPS: No more interrupts are necessary until the animus dies, so just switch over to killing the animus as soon as the tank has picked it up and has sufficient threat. Kill animus. /stabby stabby.

  • Healers: all three of you should be healing the tank at this point. Provide HoTs to the rest of the raid as necessary to keep their health from getting low with the profound darkness ticks. You will still need to keep track of surges and shield through them. This phase will blow most of your mana, so it is preferable to enter this phase with 60-75% mana or more. You can have your priest help heal the ranged with PoH.

Ret/Holy Paladins: In this phase, you may want to pop Divine Shield and then use Divine Sacrifice on the raid (holy pallies may want to thus pick up Divine Guardian in their spec for this fight). If there are multiple pallies available to do this, then time yourselves so that you do not overlap. With 2 pallies doing this for us, the animus was in execute range by the time the second sacrifice wore off, and this saved a lot of the mana needed to get through the remainder of the fight.

If you have multiple pallies as well, we recommend having a ret pally handle keeping Sacred Shield up on the tank, to conserve the healers' mana.

Resto Druids:
On top of rejuv, regrowth (as a HoT), and lifebloom from OoC procs (pre-3.2), you may need to cast swiftmend, NS+HT, and nourish to help keep the tank alive. Rejuv will be cheap to cast, especially if you have the Idol of Awakening and Spark of Hope, so you may want to help raid heals by popping a rejuv on those that need it. Having the 4-pc T8 bonus will also help.

P3: "Phew, just hold out now!"

Once the Animus dies, you continue on with killing Vezax just as was done in P1. There are no changes, just kill him before mana runs out, and keep dodging lifeleech/shadowcrash! Your interruptor will need to remember to still look out for Searing Flames casts and stop them, as Vezax will resume casting them once the animus is down.

Have fun, and good luck!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Off-Topic: Back!

I am back.

I am exhausted.
My feet are in a constant state of ache.
My back is killing me in all places.
I am covered in bug bites.
I am convinced there are ticks on me that I haven't found yet.
One arm and one leg are stinging from sunburn.
I am running on an average of 4 hours of sleep each of the past 5 nights.
I have been running around non-stop.
I was driven to my first ever cup of coffee around 2am Saturday, and had 2 cups.
I was surrounded by 80 hyper girls for the past 5 days.
I don't want to SEE another dome tent for at least 3 months, after erecting and later dismantling about 60 of them.
I am completely shocked at the number of kids who can't keep track of their own water bottle.
Being able to shower without having to wear flipflops is a novelty.
Knowing that I don't have to get up until 7:30am tomorrow feels like "sleeping in."
I have been prone to manic giggle-fits the past few days at the simplest things, like a napkin flipping into the air from a puff of wind.
I am falling asleep at my desk as I type.

...and I am feeling so incredibly fulfilled. In spite of the chaos that became of the weather, schedule, and lack of staff, the camp was incredibly successful, the kids had a blast, and I agreed to do it again next year... this time for a full week.

EDIT: in spite of my exhaustion, we got I Love the Smell of Saronite in the Morning and Three Lights in the Darkness during the raid tonight, hehe. Whoot.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Character Background

Raíne posted recently about Character Backgrounds developed for non-RP characters. There is a trend of druid players (and other classes, as well) often feeling very attached to their character's identity, something which I am very much aware of for my own characters, and is at the heart of my own faction-transfer dilemma (for my feral druid).

I would like to also link Sylly's "What's in a Name?" post, since it's in the same vein of thinking: what you name your character will often depend on or help develop your perceived character background. A good read on the styles of druid character names.

Raíne asked the general blogging community,

"What made you decide to play [insert class name here]? Was it because it sounded fun? Did you feel a sort of "calling" to play your particular class? When you made your character did you create a back story or other sort of role playing element? I'm interested to know about the scope and lengths taken to make your pixelated image seem more like a living being."

What made you decide on Druid?

I have a dirty secret: the class I wanted to play first was a Shaman. I absolutely love wolves. They are my favorite animal, a guiding totem if you will. Thus, when I first looked over the available classes in WoW and saw that shaman had a ghost wolf form, it was what I wanted to be.

Alas (but perhaps for the better?), shaman were not available for play on Alliance, where the very friends who had purchased the game for me already had established (vanilla wow) level 60 characters. The druid was the "next best thing," as it were, since it provided the option to play in multiple animal forms as well as be the healer/support character that I was used to playing in City of Heroes (I played a Mind Control/Bubbler character there, which did lead me to leveling a priest alt in TBC).

I'm glad that I leveled as a druid, instead. I have attempted to level a shaman, and she is only about level 44 right now, after... about 3 years of existence. She's a glorified bank alt. I have about 10 characters higher level than her. Playing her just feels tedious.

Okay, so you went druid. What about backstory?

I didn't really develop this immediately, since I didn't have a firm grasp on Warcraft lore when I started the game. I hadn't played any of the previous games, and all I knew of night elves was that were the only alliance race able to play the druid class and that they lived in a big tree.

I started her off with the name Kae, a shortened version of Kaera, a name I had used for a recent D&D game, where my character had been a wolf monk (yeah, my DM let me play an intelligent wolf, and later regretted it for the Trip-on-bite ability ;) ). In naming her, I used the Faerun/Cormanthyr elven name generators, specifically aiming to make this lawful-good monk’s name the antithesis of my (chaotic evil) werewolf ranger from a previous game. The werewolf’s name was Sirius Giauzar, star names which literally translate to “Scorching Dragon.” For my monk, I chose Kaera with the Cormanthyr naming table, which translates very roughly to “Dragon Winter Song.”

In this way, Kae, as a character, had a bit of a legacy already, but in a "past life" kind of sense. I was shy to really build on the druid backstory when I knew so little of the Warcraft lore, and decided to let her story build over time, as I played her.

Is there a story, now?

Why yes, after 4 years of play, Kae and even Kaelynn have their own backstory to fit into WoW lore. It's nothing out of the ordinary for the world, but they have their clans, families, and connections. I still think of the rogue Tulaar to be Kae's brother (he was one of the friends who got me into the game), and Kae herself is a bit of a druid mentor to Kaelynn (a Mistrunner). Kaelynn's mother, ironically enough, I named the same as my lowbie shaman (Stardance), as a personal nod towards my original shaman wolfie aspirations, though I've flipped back and forth about whether this Stardance is a shaman or a druid, herself. Kae's own mentor is the druid Maxhunter, though he quit the game long ago (slipped into the Emerald Dream, perhaps?). I haven't developed the background too extensively, nor do I ever really roleplay them seriously, but my druids are more than just pixels and data to me.

  • Began her path as a healer and, in the end, decided to be more up-front in her protection of others by becoming a tank.
  • She is a bit more sensitive about the horde-alliance conflict, however. A good chunk of this comes from having originally leveled on a PvP server.
  • I wear on her the Justicar and Commander titles as a badge of experience (without the insanity that comes with Marshals), as a reminder of the months I spent supporting a Marshal team as both healer and flag-runner, and of the odd friendships I was able to forge with the horde druids across the faction boundary: a real feat on a PvP server. Krang, this is a nod to you, if you ever stumble across this.
  • Her favorite mount is Suraku, the Azure Netherdrake, a dragon she worked hard to free in the Outlands.
  • The forced break from my first raiding guild was rough on me (raiding with them was giving me panic attacks since I am far more hardcore than was comfortable in a casual guild, though I loved the people there), and equally left a sad spot on Kae's history as a character. She slipped into the Emerald Dream, and awoke months later knowing she had no "pack" of her own anymore. For now, she walks the world alone, though she will assist groups from time to time. She is Dreambound, and the details of what may be going on with her are even unknown to me, until the full lore of what is going on in the Emerald Dream has been released.
  • Thus, she is now my pugging feral, quietly stepping in to tank or dps with strangers. She will warm up to some to the point of warmly joking around with them as though they were old friends, and remain quietly aloof to others.
  • Moonglade is her home.
  • Began as a soloing feral druid, a free spirit of a lioness that then turned to the ways of the oak, seeking instead to heal and nourish, though not quite ready to give up her melee habits (read: I often punch things while in treeform).
  • She is quite willing to jump into the PvP fray to save a friend.
  • I wear PvE titles on her, most often "Chef" or "the Undying." Starcaller will probably be my favorite, once I achieve it.
  • Her favorite mount is the Swift Brown Wolf, a mount I quickly ground rep for in Alterac Valley to purchase as my first epic ground mount rather than getting the kodo.
  • She is at peace with her "grumpy old man" treeform. I, as a player, would far prefer to see something more feminine, but Kaelynn knows herself to be more than the gnarled bark and sour face of a shapeshift, and knows that connecting herself with those hunched treants gives her a deeper understanding of natural magics. This is one point at which she differs greatly from Kae; Kae has an intense stubbornness against treeform.
  • Thunder Bluff is her home. I find it odd that she doesn't relate as closely to Moonglade as Kae does, but I let it be: the green plains of Mulgore are her home territory and where she feels most at home.
Both seek to protect and support their comrades, they just do it in different ways. They are quite similar (being aspects of my personality), but have some uniqueness as well, and both are far more to me than just pixels.

~~ I will be AFK until Sunday, helping to run a 5-day/4-night camp of 80 campers. Volunteer work is awesome! ~~

Monday, July 13, 2009

TBC Memories: Al'ar Strat!

A strat that I and an old mage guildie put together back in the days of The Burning Crusade, for Al'ar the phoenix boss of Tempest Keep. I stumbled across it in my photo album and wanted to share :)

They don't quite fit in the blog's width, so go ahead and click to view them fullsize.

I've been crazy-busy this past 4-5 days prepping for the camp; been helping sort paperwork, create props, design riddles, iron on the logos to 100 t-shirts, find foodstuffs in the giant Sam's Club, and even took a visit to the site on Saturday to mentally plan out tent arrangements and hike one of the trails to plot the night hike (btw, the blackberries were ripe and yummmm)... not to mention packing, including finding a chance around the rain to air out and check my tent. I've even taken a page out of my druids' book and did a tiny bit of leatherworking.

Around that, my guild picked up a few new achievements the past week, including Steelbreaker hardmode (with 3 strong healers and quick DPS, it IS easier than Molgeim). We put some work into Vezax hardmode, and were close to getting it done; we even killed the animus once. We were falling apart between the split-healing on the two tanks (and having the cooldowns up to shield through the surge) and the ranged dps loosing focus and getting slaughtered by crashes/leeches, but ohhh we were close... had we more time in the night we could've had it, luck be with us. We went ahead and killed him normally so we'd have time to quickly KO Yogg. We'd intended to try Yogg with only 3 watchers, but we just ran out of time since we put so much more into Vezax.

Next weekend, perhaps :) Right as I get back from camp!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Power Auras: Hodir

(For my main Power Auras settings post, see here)

I'm still tweaking the positioning on these, so I'm withholding a screenshot until I can fight Hodir another time and check that they're not as cluttered as they were this week :) However, since it was requested, here are the settings I'm using for my Hodir Power Auras buffs:

Toasty Fire -

~I like standing in these, so I made a nice little fire icon. I like knowing when my little camp fire is no longer there, too, so that I can go find a new one! This is great for quickly making sure you're in range of the fire's anti-chill buff.~

Import String:
gcd:bofalse; soundfile:st; owntex:bofalse; b:nu0.12941176470588; anim1:nu1; duration:nu0; g:nu0.24705882352941; thresholdinvert:bofalse; ignoremaj:botrue; opt2:nu0; speed:nu1; finish:nu1; icon:stInterface\Icons\Inv_Misc_SummerFest_BrazierOrange; size:nu0.5799999833107; torsion:nu1; multiids:st; stacksOperator:st=; realaura:nu1; sound:nu0; optunitn:bofalse; off:bofalse; symetrie:nu0; begin:nu3; x:nu-162; texmode:nu1; textaura:bofalse; timer:bofalse; target:bofalse; timerduration:nu0; wowtex:bofalse; groupany:bofalse; customsound:st; combat:nu0; y:nu56; randomcolor:bofalse; unitn:stOnly for raid/group.; bufftype:nu1; r:nu1; aurastextfont:nu1; party:bofalse; opt1:nu0; focus:bofalse; isenchant:bofalse; raid:bofalse; isdebufftype:bofalse; texture:nu13; anim2:nu5; buffname:stToasty Fire; customtex:bofalse; stacks:nu0; threshold:nu50; exact:bofalse; alpha:nu0.5; aurastext:st; customname:st; isdebuff:bofalse; inverse:bofalse; ismounted:bofalse; targetfriend:bofalse; mine:bofalse; isinraid:bofalse; stance:nu10

Texture 13
Opacity 50%
Symmetry None, Deformation 1.00
Size: 58%

Buff: Toasty Fire

Opacity Only / Zoom Out
Static / Bubble

Storm Cloud -
~This I made as a pair of arced "lightening bolts" around my center screen, very similar to how I added my clearcasting proc. I added this one so that I could notice when I needed to run around and share it with others. Thanks, Leifo, for the distinction between this and the Storm Power buff!~

Import String:
gcd:bofalse; soundfile:st; owntex:bofalse; b:nu0.99607843137255; anim1:nu7; duration:nu0; g:nu0.76470588235294; thresholdinvert:bofalse; ignoremaj:botrue; opt2:nu0; speed:nu1; finish:nu1; icon:st; size:nu2; torsion:nu1; multiids:st; stacksOperator:st=; realaura:nu1; sound:nu0; optunitn:bofalse; off:bofalse; symetrie:nu0; begin:nu0; x:nu0; texmode:nu1; textaura:bofalse; timer:bofalse; target:bofalse; timerduration:nu0; wowtex:bofalse; groupany:bofalse; customsound:st; combat:nu0; y:nu63; randomcolor:bofalse; unitn:stOnly for raid/group.; bufftype:nu1; r:nu1; aurastextfont:nu1; party:bofalse; opt1:nu0; focus:bofalse; isenchant:bofalse; raid:bofalse; isdebufftype:bofalse; texture:nu3; anim2:nu7; buffname:stStorm Cloud; customtex:bofalse; stacks:nu0; threshold:nu50; exact:bofalse; alpha:nu0.75; aurastext:st; customname:st; isdebuff:bofalse; inverse:bofalse; ismounted:bofalse; targetfriend:bofalse; mine:bofalse; isinraid:bofalse; stance:nu10

Texture 3
Opacity 75%
Symmetry None, Deformation 1.00
Size: 140%

Buff: Storm Cloud

None / Zoom Out
Electric / Electric


Flash Freeze -
~I made this one a big, giant, pulsing pink snowflake, as a "OMG KAE GO JUMP IN THE SNOW!" reminder, especially when I get gridlocked while healing during Frozen Blows. The timer is excellent for counting down how long you have left before you'll be turned into an ice-cube.~

Import String:
gcd:bofalse; soundfile:st; owntex:bofalse; b:nu0.76862745098039; anim1:nu2; duration:nu0; g:nu0.49803921568627; thresholdinvert:bofalse; ignoremaj:botrue; opt2:nu0; speed:nu1; finish:nu1; icon:stInterface\Icons\Ability_Mage_DeepFreeze; size:nu1.2799999713898; torsion:nu1; multiids:st; stacksOperator:st=; realaura:nu1; sound:nu0; optunitn:bofalse; off:bofalse; symetrie:nu0; begin:nu0; x:nu-358; texmode:nu1; textaura:bofalse; timer:botrue; target:botrue; timerduration:nu0; wowtex:bofalse; groupany:bofalse; customsound:st; combat:nu0; y:nu23; randomcolor:bofalse; unitn:stOnly for raid/group.; bufftype:nu13; r:nu1; aurastextfont:nu1; stacks:nu0; opt1:nu0; focus:bofalse; customtex:bofalse; raid:bofalse; isdebufftype:bofalse; texture:nu12; anim2:nu5; buffname:stFlash Freeze; isenchant:bofalse; party:bofalse; threshold:nu50; exact:bofalse; alpha:nu0.65000003576279; aurastext:st; customname:st; isdebuff:bofalse; inverse:bofalse; ismounted:bofalse; targetfriend:bofalse; mine:bofalse; isinraid:bofalse; stance:nu10

Texture 12
Opacity 75%
Symmetry None, Deformation 1.00
Size: 130%

Spell Alert: Flash Freeze
Enemy Target (thus this will only work if you have Hodir targeted)

None / Zoom Out
Flashing / Bubble


You can also add a seperate Buff aura for Starlight, so that you can more easily monitor if you're still in it. Storm Power can be added as a buff as well, letting you know when your critical strike damage has been boosted; I recommend including a timer for that one.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Changes I'd like to see for PvE Resto Talents

Patch: 3.1

This is a run-down of "faults" I see in the resto talent tree: those talents that I am "forced" to take but find little to no use for as a PvE healer, and the talents that I feel are relatively useless to most any type of druid, and some ideas on ways they could be changed.

3/3 Nature's Focus
What's wrong?
This talent is PvP, or solo/leveling PvE. With the advent of dual-spec, few raiding PvE resto druids are seriously soloing in their healing spec! I have little to no use for the talent, never mind that both of my "oh shit" heals are instant-cast (NS+HT, Swiftmend), along with lifebloom, WG, and rejuvenation. I can pop barkskin on a 1-min cooldown if I really need some interrupt resist.

Alternative Talents:
The alternative available is to put 3/5 points in Furor, which has no benefits for a tree druid at all.

How could it be changed?
Perhaps Furor could be given some treeform utility useful specifically to a raid setting, such as increasing treeform spirit or mp5 (would be interesting to balance in the light of all of the recent 3.2 mp5/replenish changes); Nature's Focus would then still be a talent of choice for PvP and solo/leveling builds. Alternatively, Nature's Focus could also include a buff where your helpful spells have a chance to proc that same level of interrupt reduction to your target, or provide a +healing received buff to your direct-healing target (regrowth, nourish, HT) akin to the balance talent Earth and Moon (albeit much smaller to account for its teir 1 position, and perhaps limited to only buffing your own heals/HoTs rather than everyone's).

3/3 or 2/3 Subtlety

What's wrong?
This is a pvp and leveling talent, or one for those druids whose tanks are reaaaally weak on picking up adds and keeping threat on them. Serious raiding guilds, and even most casual raiding guilds and pugs, do not have this problem. In TBC, "world threat" was a huge issue for healers, but WotLK brought with it insane amounts of increased tank AoE threat and AoE tanking. Now, if a tank has at least touched a mob, it shouldn't be running off towards the healers. If a tank hasn't touched a mob, then of all the healers, a druid's going to end up with the aggro regardless of this talent, unless they just aren't healing.

Alternative Talents:
The alternatives available would be to put those points instead into Naturalist (when I don't cast HT without NS), Furor (see comments on Nature's Focus Options above), or putting 1 of 3 of the points into Tranquil Spirit and giving up on the last two talent points as some sacrificial offering to the Spec Gods.

How could it be changed?
Well, if Furor were to be changed to have some PvE raiding tree usefulness, I could easily see moving 2 points into Furor from this tier (thus capping out Furor at 5/5 with the points from Nature's Focus). Alternatively, and I feel crazy for suggesting this, Blizzard could add more mobs/bosses that have a chance to dispel buffs, as Epoch Hunter did in Old Hillsbrad Foothills, so that our anti-dispel portion of the talent would actually feel useful.

2/2 Improved Tranquility
What's wrong?
This is, pretty much, a sub-60 (pre WG) leveling resto druid talent, or filler for those that are *purely* raid healers and choose to not cast much in the way of nourish/regrowth. As a party-only heal with a relatively long channeling time, Tranquility does not see the use it had back in the vanilla raiding scene. These two key aspects: party-only and channeled, are not addressed by the talent, only the threat (see my comments on WotLK threat in the Subtlety section above) and the cooldown (which assumes druids are using it at all). Tranquility is more often used, imho, by moonkin or feral druids, or resto druids not yet high enough level to take Wild Growth; the ferals/balance druids aren't going to invest their talent points this deep in the resto tree unless they're taking NS instead, so they won't be taking this talent. Wild Growth's introduction and 6-second cooldown more or less removed Tranquility from most raiding restos' action bars and minds.

Alternative Talents:
There are alternatives for where to put the 2 talent points, certainly; the reason I mention it is because I pity the talent. I honestly don't see many druids taking this talent, and those that do don't seem to be making regular, strong use of this talent to the degree that makes up for them not putting those points in a different talent, such as revitalize, living seed, empowered touch (particularly with the 3.2 change of adding nourish to the talent), and/or nature's grace. If it's taken, it's viewed as filler, or with some spark of hope that it may actually be useful, if they ever find a situation where they need to cast Tranquility, while remembering fondly the days of ZG and MC where pretty lights were cast frequently and with fervor. As such, I feel like it is now a dead spot in the druid talent tree, in need of some tweaks to bring it back in line with the other options available.

How could it be changed?
The talent could, perhaps instead of threat reduction, address the limitations on what players it can heal or the fact that it is channeled (cutting the channel-time in half and providing the rest of the healing by a HoT buff, for example, thus allowing the druid to continue casting other heals while the spell finishes itself). Depending on how extremely different it makes Tranquility, they may remove the cooldown-reduction from the talent to help balance the changes.

~~ What are your thoughts? ~~

Monday, July 6, 2009

Faction Transfer and Character Identity

Note: I am neither on an RP server, nor have I ever played on one. However, like many long-time druid mains, I am attached to who my characters are.

Ever since the announcement that faction transfers would be available, I have felt myself backed into a corner. I have two druids: my feral is my first character, and alliance; my second is my resto main now and is horde. I have longed to be able to play my feral druid with my horde friends, and often wished that she could just flag herself "Cenarion Circle" and thus raid with the horde guild.

Faction Transfers will, in a twisted way, give me the opportunity to have feral-Kae join my horde guild.

The price? She'll be a moocow.

No more slim elven features. No more blue hair. No more panther form. No more Shadowmeld. No more flippy-jumps. No more "Justicar" title, nor "Commander." No more saber mounts, no more war pony that I ground both pvp and Stormwind rep for 6 months to earn in vanilla WoW. No more glowy silver eyes. No more facial tattoos. No more elf.

She'd be a cow.

Would she still be Kae? I have played her for 4 years now; I have written little stories about her... she is thoroughly ingrained in my mind as an elf. I can't help but feel a bit of awkwardness towards the idea of changing her race. I'd be able to chat in guild-chat, run instances with my guildies, and more easily run their alts through instances if I switched her to horde, but... can I get over the loss of her identity to do so?

I'm not sure, yet.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Polar Bear Attack!

My vacation consisted of much sleep, playing with kitties, making the guys look bad at Wii boxing (/flex), and...



:D Clearly, a pair of druids at play, here. I had a blast watching these two swim about, toss the ball around, and chase and wrestle with each other. What I don't understand is why the Fetch Ball doesn't work with hunter pets or druids ;) These bears seem to have no such inhibitions against fetching balls!

Oh, and it has been determined that Seal Form IS 4 NAP!!

I also managed to find myself a Little Fawn pet; got 75 pets just before I went on vacation last week, when I managed to get the Scorchling pet out of Ahune's chest. So cute! These are klipspringers, but close enough :)

~ Photos taken with a Nikon D60 camera. Zoos are a lot of fun, even for grown-ups! ~