Monday, August 11, 2008

WotLK Beta Update

There are a couple if interesting changes with the new Beta build over the weekend. There are also some things I missed in prior builds that I wouldn't mind talking about.

- Winter's Chill (Frost Mage Talent) is now a 3 point talent and gives your frost spells a 33/66/100% chance to apply the winter's chill effect. increases the chance Arcane, Fire and Frost spells will critically hit the target by 2% for 15 seconds. Stacks up to 5 times. - This talent has been hinted at in the offical talent calculator for the beta but hadn't been included in the beta until the last build and Lissanna has confirmed that this included in the latest build. From a moonkin perspective this is an awesome change, but it maintains the status quo. After the changes to Natures Grace, Curse of Elements and the Mana on Crit mechanic, I have openly wondered if Starfire would still be our primary nuke. This talent combined with Imp Scorch ensure Starfires future as our main raid spell. These buffs are highly dependent on your raid make up and the encounter, but they are also very powerful since the provide 10% buff to damage, 10% buff to Crit, and therefore more mana regen.

The down sided to this is that it reenforces the status quo. Currently Wrath has no real use in a raid. It uses more mana, and with raid buffs does only a little more damage then Starfire does. If you of Tier bonuses Wrath actually does less damage. Murmurs on the Druid forums was saying that the changes in CoE and Natures Grace was an effort to make Wrath a High DPS, High Mana Cost spell that we could use at the end of a fight for alittle extra DPS to empty our mana bar. Imp Scorch and Winter's Chill appear to contradict his. Anyway, it is still early. This chould change.

- Potion Sickness is not included in the latest Beta build. - This is according to WoWInsider. There were a lot of different opinions on Potion Sickness. Some felt that it was awesome in that it reduces the amount of cosumables that would be needed for Wrath raiding. Moonkin and some other classes were worried what this would mean for their mana regen. Many Alchemists were mad because this would significantly reduce the profit ability of thier profession. Well it appears that the anti potion sickness people have won. I as never a fan or a hater of Potion Sickness, but it is good to know that my mana regen isn't changing significantly in a negative direction.

- Wild Growth - Embrace the natural energies surrounding you, healing you for 2000 over 15 sec. Instant, 5 min cooldown. - A while it was released that gatheing professions were getting passive buffs that were trainable. Miners got extra stamina and skinners got extra crit, but the herbalist buff was not released. Well, now it has and its name is Wild Growth. To say the very least I am NOT happy. It is an underpowered heal that isn't affected by any of the usual modifiers. I currently have close to 10k raid buffed, by the time I hit 80 I am sure that I will have close to 16k at least. This ability will heal me for only 1/8th of my health and will only get worse as my gear improves. On top of that it is a 15 second HoT that takes a global cooldown, so it reduces my DPS and by the time it is done I will have most likely been healed to full or killed. The only good part I can see about this is that it is usable in forms. This one needs to go back to the drawing board.

-Totem of Wrath (Elemental Shaman) increases the damage done by spells and effects by 6% and increases the chance strike chance of spells and effects by by 3%. (Previously increased hit chance by 3%) - This is an interesting change. It's hard to say if it's good or bad until we see how easy it is to hit cap. From my perspective I currently don't need the extra spell hit. So an extra 6% damage to my spells is a great trade.

- Ritual of Souls now lasts 3 minutes or 25 charges (instead of 10). - WOOT!! I'm not a warlock but any raider should love this. Many times I have seen a cookie basket drop and be gone in seconds because all 10 stones were taken. This just makes sense.

- Starfire Rank 9 and 10 had their damage increased a little. (661-779 to 670-790 for Rank 10) - Not huge but better then nothing.

Glyphs: Blizzard added a bunch of Glyphs to the beta for Pallys, Priests, and Shaman. There wasn't anything too exciting there from my perspective, but I would like to go back and look at the Druid Glyphs released a few weeks ago.

Glyph of Starfire - Your Starfall ability increases the duration of your Moonfire effect on the target by 3 sec.

Glyph of Moonfire - Increases the periodic damage of your Moonfire ability by 75% but initial damage is decreased by -90%.

Glyph of Insect Swarm - Increases the damage of your Insect Swarm ability by 30% but it no longer affects your victim's chance to hit.

Glyph of Hurricane - Your Hurricane ability now also slows the movement speed of its victims by -20%.

Glyph of Starfall- Increases the duration of Starfall by 2 sec.

Glyph of Wrath - Increases the chance you'll resist spell interruption when casting your Wrath spell by 50%.

Glyph of Entangling Roots - Increases the damage your Entangling Roots victims can take before the Entangling Roots automatically breaks by 20%.

Glyph of Thorns - Empowers a Minor Glyph to reduce the mana cost of your Thorns spells by %s1%.

These are all the Balance related Druid Glyphs. We don't know what level of Glyph most of them are but It does provides some interesting possiblities. My first question is, does the Glyph of Starfire increase the MF duration every time you hit the mob with the Moonfire. Basically, could you keep one MF rolling the whole time by just casting SF over and over? This is a mechanic that blizzard has implented for Priest and Warlock DoTs. If that is the case then this glyph should be used in conjunction with the Glyph of the Moonfire and the damage would be awesome. Moonfire would probably tick off eventually but having to refresh it only once every 30 seconds instead of once every 12 would be awesome.

The other Glyphs aren't that big of a deal to me right now. Glyph of Insect Swarm will make it into a decent DoT damage wise, but it looses its avoidence. This could be good or bad depending on who you talk to. The Roots and Thorns Glyphs are ok to if they both are Minor Glyphs. Over all I'm not that inpressed with Incriptions yet as a non professional. People who take up the profession have some nice abilities like the hearth scrolls but they aren't good enough to make me think I should switch.

Edit: Eclipse: I wanted to let all of you know that I am offically off the Eclipse train. In a couple of posts ago I linked a thread on the WoW forums talking about Koraa's comments. In that thread I started debating the value of Eclipse with them. This thread is what clue'd me into Winter's Chill, and showed me how Eclipse compared to other talents available. I also did some more math.

My new thinking comes down to three things. 1) Preemptive casting to get a buff is a bad idea. You will spend extra mana to get extra damage, but by my math that extra damage is very mana inefficent. 2) Winter's Chill combined with Improved Scorch make SF a superior spell. With the Wrath buff you will be doing more DPS but it is a huge mana efficency lose. 3) The extra damage you get for a Tier 9 talent is small compared to Improved Shapeshifter and other talents.

So If WotLK dropped right now I see no need to pick up this talent by anyone.

Toon Update:
Graylo - He had a very busy weekend. I transfered Graylo with only 400 gold. I did it because I wanted Grayfel to get his flying mount as quick as possible when he hit 70. I figured 400g was enough to deal with repairs and reagents and such and that I could farm gold fairly easily when I needed it. Well, there was one thing I had not considered. Shadow Resist Gear. My new guild is fast approching Mother Shahraz. Luckly I have been selected as part of the group that will get SR gear for the progression kill, but that has sent me scrambling.

To build the full SR gear sets provided by the BT rep you need 9 Heart of Darkness, 5 Void Crystal, 13 Primal Life, and 18 Primal Shadow. An entire raid will need that times 25. Even more if you don't have the same 25 each week. As you can imagine that is lot to provide for a guild that has only been around for two months. So what they desided to do was make us get the Cloak on our own and they would provide the Heart of Darkness for the Wrists, Belt, and Boots. We are ignoring the Legs for now until we get more HoDs.

Well, Hearts of Darkness currently cost about 500g. Along with that I needed 12 Primal Shadows. Luckly I transfered over most of my Primal Lifes and was able to trade some of them for Primal Shadow. All I had to do was come up with the HoD. I did all of the SSO dailies on Saturday and got the money for one Heart, but it left me fairly broke. Plus, If I wanted to get SR cloak enchant I would need another 8 primal shadow. So, on sunday I did another 24 dailies and I am up to a decent amount of gold.

I do have a lot of Shadow Resist now. The 4 peices of crafted gear and the BT attunment neck give me 228 Shadow resist. On top of that I have a pair of green SR gloves and a green SR ring that I just happened to get from my SSO dailies. I also have my old T4 helm in the bank (being a pack rat paid off) which I as able to put a SR enchant on for another 20 shadow resist. These three items bring my SR up to 292. With the buffs I will be up to 362, only 3 below the cap. This should be enough. The problem with all this is I am dropping a lot of DPS gear to get there. Hopefully we will get enough hearts to make the pants soon.

On top of all this I need to get the [Medallion of the Alliance]. Apparently it is needed to down Archimond. So I had about 7000 Honor to farm on a WSG weekend. I was not looking forward to it. Luckily I had a lot of honor marks in the bank from the various BGs, and as able to turn them in for honor.

Graypal and Grayfel didn't see much action, due to my focus on Graylo. I originally had a goal of getting Grayfel to 70 by the end of August, but that doesn't look likely anymore. There are just to manythings I need to do with Graylo right now to push him forward.


Anonymous said...

Hi. Wanted to hear your thoughts on these issues.

1. What do you think about the talent redundancy regarding spell pushback. There are 9 talents for this: Control of Nature, Celestial Focus and Owlkin Frenzy. Don't you think Celestial Focus should apply to Starfire and Hurricane, and Control of Nature to Hibernate, giving Owlkin Frenzy stun immunity or damage reduction instead of pushback immunity?

2. What do you think of Typhoon and Starfall? Isn't Starfall cooldown just too big for a top tier talent? Also, don't you agree Typhoon's knockback is laughable as a defense mechanism for pvp?

3. What are your thoughts on Treants? Mage's WE has a lot of synergy with Frost's Spells (as well as a Pet Bar, and is in the same Talent Tier as Force of Nature). Shaman's Wolves apparently will have abilities as well. I'm underwhelmed with the current status of Treants, even after the cd reduction and daze mechanism (another proc for moonkins...)

I'm a little worried that Balance Druids are not getting the attention and playstyle consolidation it needs, when I read the Beta Forums.

Cdin said...

Great questions. Of course I willl be answering these from my PvE raiding perspective unless stated otherwise.

1) I don't really know how I feel about this since it isn't really an option. For most raids pushback resistance is nice but not required. Raid wide damage is infrequent enough to not significantly reduce our DPS. However, I am starting to do some of he BT fights were raid wide damage is high and I am wondering how this will limit my DPS.

So, I would love Starfire adn other spells to be included into Celestial Focus. My problem is I don't know If I could pick it up. I already have almost all of my Talent Points used and don't know IF I could find 3 to put in CF. Ulitimately I don't think Pushback resistance should play a big roll in raiding as long as a tank is doing his job. If pushback is going to become a big part of all boss fights then blizzard needs to provide an good way to combat it. That means reducing the number of talent points you need to get some talents.

Control of Nature is fine as a separate talent in my opinion, but I do think it makes sense to include Hibernate in the talent.

Owlkin Frenzy is mostly a PvP talent in my opinion. In such a case the push back resistance is a little redundant with CF. Eljefe has proposed that OF might be a good raid talent though if WotLK bosses are designed like the BT and SWP bosses with a lot of raid wide damage.

In short, I think there is some redundency there and there are holes in the protection, but we won't know if it matters until we see how new bosses are designed.

2) I don't really like Typhoon or Starfall.

Typhoon is a pvp talent that might be ok in BGs but I don't know how it would work in arena. In raiding it would suck because of its cooldown and you can knock mobs out of range for the other AoE.

Starfall sounds cool but seems to have limited use. Its an AoE spell that requires me to get into the thick of the fighting and it has a 5 minute cooldown. Using the BC boss fights as an example, when would you us it. Every third of fourth wave in Hyjal, 2 or 3 times on tidewalker, phase two of keal. I agree that it leaves a little to be desired given that it is so high in the tree with such low utility.

3. I actually like trents and I think some of the things they are doing in WotLK fixes most of their problems. I have heard rumors that They have a pet bar in WotLK but haven't seen anything offical. Also brambles will increase their damage a little. I'm not sure they are worth a 41 point talent, but they are a good source of threat free DPS if used correctly.

Thanks for reading.

Anonymous said...

Another thing that came to my mind is, if Owlkin Frenzy is changed to reduce dmg by 10%, if Typhoon is changed to apply a slow, and if Celestial Focus is changed to give pushback protection to Hurricane, Moonkins can become AoE offtanks for pulls like the ones in Zul'Aman, or Morogrim (not Hyjal obviosly). Remember also that Hurricane now reduces spell and attack speed by 50%.

Anonymous said...

Don't you think Eclipse would be a lot better if instead of activating on casts, to be activated by an ability?

Eclipse: Earth. Increases the damage done by Nature spells by 10% but decreases damage done by Arcane spells by 10% for 10/15/20 seconds. 3 minute cooldown

Eclipse: Moon. Increases the critical chance of Arcane spells by 10% but decreases the critical chance of Nature spells by 10% for 10/15/20 seconds. 3 minute cooldown.

The talent itself would provide both abilities, and each point would give 5 more seconds to the buff duration.

Cdin said...

@Anonymous #3

Making Eclipse an Activated/Trinket-like ability would definately improve the talent and most moonkin would pick it up, and it is a decent idea. However, there is no chance of this happening in my opinion.

I think this because an activated ability wouldn't accomplish Blizzards goal. They have designed this talent to create more casting complexity so that wrath is used in raids and starfire is used in pvp.

The problem comes down to the math behind the spells. In a raid with normal raid buffs (CoE, WC, Imp Scorch) Starfire will still kill Wrath in mana efficency, and they will be very similar in terms of DPS. If you add a 10 buff to wrath then you would get a DPS buff of about 13% but Wrath would be about 27% less mana efficent. So activating the nature buff could potentially kill your mana.

In the end People would only use it for the Arcane buff thus not promoting the casting diversity that blizzard wants.

If they want us to use Wrath more in raids then they need to increase the buffs that Eclipse would give. So that preemptive casting and reactive switching would actually benifical.

Anonymous said...

I think its OK for PvE because you can control your rotations more easily. The problem is that the talent is very difficult to use in PvP, when you consider Resilience reducing crits, and the fact that using Starfire in PvP is difficult, because of no pushback protection and its long casting time, and we are subject to a lot of interrupts.

If it is changed to an ability, it would be benefitial to both PvE and PvP. We would have more control burst, something that in PvP we currently lack.

Also, for PvE, depending on the complexity of a fight, sometimes its better to depend on an activated ability, than on a proc chance that could likely be wasted because of the proc timing.