Discipline Priest – WoD

Discipline Priests

A lot has been changed about Discipline Priests from the last season on Mists of Pandaria moving towards the first season of Warlords of Draenor. The Discipline Priest has always been a specialization that heavily relied on its absorbs. This is still true with the release of WoD as several of Disc’s spells have been changed or removed. Blizzard wanted to have healers make decisions as to what spell they are going to use rather than pressing one or two keys to top off the tank every few minutes. With Draenor, they are purposefully forcing players stay below 100% health. Blizzard has deliberately made heals less potent than the damage of the monsters. Direct from the Blizzard website, “We want healers to care about who they’re targeting and which heals they’re using…” Blizzard is looking to make healing more interactive than the previous expansions by making healing more of a challenge while still allowing players to have the time to make decisions.

Here you can watch as I heal through the bosses of The Everbloom Heroic Dungeon as a Discipline Priest. There is not much but spamming Flash of Light when it comes to healing as a Discipline Priest since the release of WoD.

Once you hit level 100 the real test begins. To do heroic dungeons you are now required to have at least a silver ranking in the role you are queuing for. So if you are healing you have to enter the proving grounds and pass both Bronze and Silver rankings. When I went into Heroic dungeons fresh from hitting level 100 my first heroic dungeon was more stressful than being locked in a room with my mother for three days. Healing as a Discipline Priest has taken a new turn, and the difficulty in some of the dungeons is very real. I had not read about how Blizzard wanted players to sit below 100 percent health, and I couldn’t figure out for the life of me why I couldn’t keep anyone topped off (it really didn’t help that our hunter was pulling extra mobs and standing in the fire). Healing had really become more of a challenge, and even today when I have a substantial amount of gear healing is still difficult and I really have to think about what I’m going to cast before I cast it. I personally had become so used to Pandaria healing where you could stand in fire and not worry about a thing. Now in Draenor dungeons, the mechanics really need to be followed or your group will be in for a world of hurt.

In my opinion playing discipline priest is a lot more challenging, but also feels empty. With a lot of removed and changed spells I think the Discipline-spec is now missing a lot of the spells that once made it more fun. Renew used to be a big spell when playing the Discipline Priest. You would throw a Power Word Shield, and an Renew on the Tank. Next, you would do the same for all the other players in the dungeon. Lastly, you topped off the tank with a Penance. Halo, Cascade, or Divine Star could be used when they were off cool down in order to get out your area of effect heals without slowing down the use of absorbs and Flash of Lights. The fast pace of Prayer of Mending (PoMs) could be used every chance you got. Now healing has definitely slowed down in pace. Healers watch the health of the Tank and DPS; while quickly glancing down at Penance to see how long you have left on cool down and filling the time with Flash of Lights. Mana is your greatest enemy in dungeons as you have to watch it carefully so you can make it through the fight. I do love the new challenge that comes with healing, but I miss the other spells that made this spec my favorite when I played my priest.

Spell Changes

Removed Changed:
Renew Cascade has a 1.5 second cast time
Inner Will Halo has a 1.5 second cast time
Inner Focus Prayer of Mending has a 1.5 second cast time
Void Shift Divine Star has a 1.5 second cast time
Hyme of Hope Renew is now only for Holy Priests
Heal Greater heal has been renamed Heal
Silence has been added to the Discipline Spec
Focused will is triggered by any damage taken

 

Some other changes to Discipline Priests are:

  • Dominate Mind now shares diminishing returns (DR) with other mesmerize effects.
  • Psychic Scream is now a level 60 talent and replaces Psyfiend, and has a 45 second cool down up from 30.
  • Void Tendrils now will break after the target receives sufficient damage.
  • Holy Nova is now learned at level 20 and the mana cost has been lowered while the healing has been buffed.
  • Evangelism no longer affects the damage or mana cost of spells.
  • Spirit Shell is now a level 75 talent replacing Divine Insight for discipline priests.

*New* Level 100 Talents

Clarity of Will: Shields the target with a protective ward, absorbing 23,608 damage within 20sec.

40yd range   5,040 mana   2.32 sec cast

Words of Mending: Your healing and shielding spell casts grant you a stack of Word of Mending. When you gain 10 stacks of Word of Mending, your next targeted healing or shielding spell also casts a prayer of mending at them.

Passive

Saving Grace: Heals a friendly target for 23,275. Reduces your absorbs and healing done by 10% for 8 sec, stacking up to 10 times.

40 yd range   4,800 mana 1.39 sec cast

The Complete Tank Transformation – Classic to WoD Walkthrough!

tank

Welcome everyone, I’m making this article specifically for two reasons. The first of the two is because a lot of people I speak with make comments such as “Man I can’t believe how much tanking has changed” and its inevitably returned with “Has it really changed that much?” The second person is who this article is for, as after that conversation progresses even further, its obvious a LOT of people don’t have clarity on this topic.

The second of the two reasons, is because I’m frankly getting sick of people complain about tanking changes on the WoD beta. You guys simply don’t understand the change, which is fine, and I’m sure this one article won’t change that, but at least its off my mind. So let’s begin.

Classic -

First thing to recognize about classic is that there were three specs that could even tank for any reason whatsoever. Protection Warrior, Protection Paladin, and Feral Druid. The issue however, is that only Protection Warrior had a taunt, so as a Paladin you could only ever tank something that would never need to be taunted (ie nothing.) Feral had a different issue, that being a lack of agility gear that was relevant. Pretty much all leather gear had weapon specialization on it, or things of that nature (the stat that eventually became expertise.)

Model: tank
In general, the model can be summed up by one word – Threat.

You can tell that Blizzard wanted there to be more to it then that already, by giving them an ability like Shield Block, but it was simply too infrequent and not enough in a pseudo triage healing model. Shield Wall was also a 1 hour CD originally, but became 30 minutes at some point through out classic!

For five mans, your job was to lead the group, mark for CC, and threat what you could. You CC mobs mostly because its impossible to keep threat on them, but in classic it was also very dangerous to tank many, because dodge, block, and parry (combat table coverage) are not what they are today. It was very very common to take unmitigated swings.

Burning Crusade -

In TBC, they gave Paladins and druids real taunts, and real gear options to tank from level 70 normals all the way through sunwell. Each tank had its ups and downs, but many people still considered a warrior to be the only option for a raid tank, because the others still lacked definite cds and debuffs.
Its at this point that people first start recognizing the important of Thunderclap, Demo Shout, Disarm, and Shield Block.

Model: Even more surely a threat based model, especially outside of raids. tank

In classic, there was very little to worry about in the way of 4-6 mob packs that weren’t just AOE trash, but TBC introduced this type of pull in a lot of its 5 mans. Historically, people remember these as a true challenge, but it lied at the heart of the tanking model, not the mechanical design. The tank simply could NOT get threat on them all unless they were a paladin with high spell power.

Towards the end of TBC we start seeing the new model surface, likely by accident.

Wrath of the Lich King -

Wrath saw the introduction (finally) of rotational defensive CDs. Divine Protection was the biggest one; the spell changed from a weaker hard bubble to a 2 minute 20 percent damage reduction and we never looked back.

Shield Block, shield wall, and last stand all became useable in rotation, and the birth of Combat Table Coverage caps (CTC) was born. With defensive stats readily selectable from gear options, the game had come a LONG way, maybe not even intentionally.

Model: 50 percent threat, 50 percent survival. tank

Honestly, I struggle to believe they wanted this to go this direction this quickly, but once people saw how easy Wrath five mans were, there was no turning back. But once again, you need to understand WHY this was the case. We went from 5-7 mob packs in TBC that simply COULD not be pulled without some dedicated CC. It literally was not possible to threat them all. In wrath, these 5-7 mob packs were just more heavy damage then a 3-4 mob pack. Every tank had a viable AOE, and with the introduction of DKs, we see the first real overpowered AoE to join a tank arsenal since Paladins got sorted out in Howling Blast. Frost DK tanks simply had no concerns with threat, and thus the model was shattered.

A warrior still had to battle, but Thunderclap’s threat was dramatically increased, so if you just charged in, tclapped, and then tabbed and cleaved, you would have no concerns either. The dawn of the new age has begun!

Cataclysm -

I consider this the dim hours for Tanking. They were crossed up between what happened with the abandoned threat model, and what was emerging as an overpowered reduction model, giving way to the submodel of DPS. Cataclysm five mans were considered among the toughest, but entirely because of the incoming damage being overwhelming. CC was used to prevent a tank death, but as they settled into this model tanks started to realize that if they simply just went ham AOE, they could do more dps then the actual players…

Model: 10 percent threat, 70 percent Survival, 20 percent DPS. tank

Long story short, the availability of stats like Critical strike on Plate gear since the advent of the specialization perks make warrior tanks (and others) really consider ditching conventional tanking ideas and become another DPS. If they used their rotational CDs properly, the stats on their gear became nearly irrelevant, however a full ctc capped paladin would essentially need no healing, so it was up to the raid on which direction they wanted to go. Regardless, this solidified the death of threat tanking, and would usher in the brilliance that we see in Pandaria.

Mists of Pandaria –

This is how tanking should have always been. Threat was a fun mechanic, but felt clunky. You are the tank! Keeping yourself alive should be what its all about.

tankModel: Active Mitigation Survival and Vengeance DPS.

With the advent of Challenge Modes, we see this model in its purest form. Every tank has an AOE stun, and between 3-5 rotational CDs with Active Mitigation tied in. A tank who can keep his active mitigation up simply can not be killed, and this allows the spec and class to be pushed to its most extreme limits. When you pull the entire room of Scholomance and see 1.5 million DPS as a protection paladin with 960k vengeance and 300k ticking hots from your own spell, you know you have broken the video game.

The active mitigation is amazing, and so is the defensive benefit of Vengeance, but the dps aspect is simply cheesy, and was far too abused in raid encounters where a tank would be the top dps by a mile. Lesson learned, let’s move on. RIP vengeance

Warlords of Draenor -

With 6.0 comes Resolve, the child of the deceased Vengeance. It is essentially the same thing, but it only effects your self preservation, and doesn’t last nearly as long. Its very akin to the DK blood shield concept, but now for all tanks.

Model: Active Mitigation 100 percent.

tank

At least that’s how its shaping up. It has yet to be claimed how it will transpire, but the way I see it, its all about you now. There is no super hero complex where a tank with 1.5m attack power can trump 5 dps, and there is no need for silly gear choices. All secondary stats, even critical strike, give some offensive and defensive benefit, while Bonus Armor and the tertiary stats seem to be your main difference between sets.

The point of complaint is the reduction of Shield Wall type CDs from 12 seconds to 8 and a general nerf to active mitigation, but this seems neccessary to me. 12 seconds is a long time, despite it being a 3 minute CD, and hopefully wont hinder the model too much in the long run.

Metro’s Summary and Favorites -

In brief, it has come full circle. From a pure threat model to a pure survival model. It took 10 years, but I feel both have their merits. What did NOT strike me as fun was the in between years. Especially in Cataclysm, tanking just made no sense. It was basically frowned on to do something other then try to be the top DPS, and even in the one “challenging” 5 man heroics, a fury warrior was a more capable tank then a protection warrior.

My preference is the two extremes without question. Tanking MoP Challenge Modes is the most fun I’ve had in the game, and tanking Classic five mans (and TBC five mans to some degree) is just one notch lower. The threat model was simpler but still engaging. The MoP model is far more complex, but far more rewarding when you can negate the panic.

Even with the ability pruning in WoD, there is very little lost in the way of tanking. Looking forward to a new season of CMs and the culmination of 10 years of tanking work. Can’t wait!

New Mage Spell Graphics – WoD Alpha

magethumbforstrat

awesomessssssssss

Recently I had the fortune to check out some of the new Mage talents and abilities on the Warlords of Draenor Alpha, and whilst not actively playing a mage as a progressional character, I did find the changes to be obvious from the outset, regardless of my play style and previously stated distance from the class itself. Filling my screen with fire and ice is something I will never complain about, so let the lag-inducing experience begin!

The graphical fidelity of World of Warcraft has been somewhat of a backseat in recent years some could argue, with many graphical changes in recent expansions being more akin to literal patches applied on an old leather coat, rather than a new coat entirely. This is not a bad thing, as much of what makes that coat unique and interesting is shared with World of Warcraft for me personally. With many changes, including those to the actual races and characters we play comes wonderful revamps and opportunities to implement visually stunning effects for various abilities. Mages are considerably livelier than most classes with their abilities, often filling the screen with fire or frost based explosions, so it makes sense to up the graphical quality of those effects primarily as to not make other changes look alien in a relatively old game. The character models themselves are owed this attention to detail, especially after how ridiculously good they look in comparison to the older models, on that im sure we can all agree.

The first Mage ability I looked at was called Supernova; an interesting talented replacement for the spell Frost Nova. Specifically for mages of an Arcane disposition, Supernova allows the caster to place a pulse of energy around either another player or the enemy, which then pulses for 112% of the casters spell power as arcane damage to all enemies within 8 yards of the target. This ability also causes the target to be knocked upwards, if the target is an enemy that you originally placed the ability on, then that enemy will take 100% extra damage whilst the effect is in place. The ability itself seems rather useful and adds extra utility to the level 75 talent choice. Im not a mage on the live game servers, as I have mentioned before, however I would feel that this seems to be a rather exciting and powerful choice that will likely be extremely useful in both PvP and the PvE situations with a large amount of additional creatures. Graphically the spell does exactly what you would expect, as it says on the tin. A large purple explosion of energy protrudes from the targets I placed it on, circling out in waves of pink tipped fire. Nothing short of extraordinary and certainly a pleasant selection of colours from what I would say usually remains, in my opinion very samey for many mage abilities.

spellsarecool

Secondly I looked at ‘Evanesce’, despite my first time reading the ability as ‘Evanescence’ and unfortunately expecting Amy Lee to pop out and serenade me to sleep; I was still pleasantly surprised when presented with another visually appealing, if not slightly ‘over-pink’ palette. I shrugged this off as possibly a theme suited to mages and read that it replaces ‘Ice Block’, immunity ability, which is extremely useful in PvE and PvP. What this talent choice (available at level 15 on the first tier of talents) does then is actually replace it with a shorter duration immunity lasting 3 seconds, only this allows the mage to actually continue moving AND can be used as an immunity WHILST casting other spells. Situational events where a full duration immunity do exist, however I still feel that the majority of the time, at least in PvE the choice may remain fundamentally towards Ice Block, rather than a heavily time sensitive replacement.

Thirdly, and lastly I got my hands on the level 75 talent choice, this time for Frost Mages only. Again replacing Frost Nova, this ability, dubbed ‘Ice Nova’ places a whirl of ice and snow around the targeted friendly / non friendly player or enemy monster and deals 95% of the mages spell power as frost damage, again if the primary target is an enemy, then that enemy takes 100% additional damage whilst the effect is in place. As stated before, I know little to practically nothing about mages anymore; however it seems like a particularly strong choice for the level 75 tier talent and actually looks the best out of the spell effects ive seen thus far. Unfortunately the place I tested this ability out in the video you will see below was predominantly the same colours of the actual spell, i.e. ice, however rest assured the visual fidelity and quality of the effect is sublime.

As much as the abilities which I have talked about today are interesting, it would seem there are even more mage abilities available only to level 100 mages which I hear are sublime and put these three to shame. I wait with baited breath then to be able to test out those potentially lag-inducing morsels of entertainment. I honestly want to see Blizzard address more spells for more classes, especially other magic users, as I find that if you increase quality in one place and not all, sometimes you can end up with obvious old versus new side by side comparisons. Warlocks are set to possibly get the same treatment, and my mind can only dream of what explosive options Blizz has up their sleeves.

Until then enjoy the various other changes to World of Warcraft, that honestly are making Warlords of Draenor look to be the most promising advancement the game has ever undertaken, a worthwhile leap forward in a sea of competitors, which are honestly put to shame by this aging, yet beautifully designed and evolving videogame. We intend to cover as much as possible over here on WoW.Stratics and personally in video form over on www.youtube.com/acegamestv.

If you have enjoyed my article, please feel free to continue the discussion over on our forums or leave a comment below. What are your favourite changes so far? What do you want to see from our Alpha coverage? Let us know!

 

Play Like a Pro! – Survival Hunter Weak Aura / Information!

transmogrification-hunter-pve-tier-14-challenge-mode

Hello and welcome to our newest series inspired by our third Podcast (http://wow.stratics.com/interviews/wow-stratics-podcast-3-spotlight-disadvantaged-gamers/) where Metro discusses how simple UI elements can make a world of difference and helps players looking to take their character to the next level do just that. As mentioned in the Podcast, if you aren’t playing with proper Keybinds, Macros, or Addons, you might as well be missing a hand compared to players who are! These guides will be focused on players who already understand the class/spec and are looking to elevate their game to the next level. The experience I have with each spec is almost purely through Challenge Mode dungeons, and can say these design elements can make or break your play and will tell you if / when you are ready for that next step. Let’s get started!

Today we will examine Survival Hunter Weak Aura set up and show how a few simple indicators can take your play from moderate to exceptional. This one will be especially important, as from my experience, I literally have never played a DPS spec at any high level. Yet with this combination of Auras, I am able to hang with anyone!

The Weak Aura set-up we will be examining today is once again wholly different from the Tanking and Healing ones I have posted, mostly because the spec and playstyle is quite different. As a DPS, you have one real focus, but its more about maximization than anything. In order to do this properly, you want as many tools as possible helping you with your rotation, CDs, and procs. Doing this helps you focus on the more important things, especially in small group content such as Interrupts, Dispels, and AOE stuns. A lot of people play a DPS spec to be the ultra dps machine, but I promise you that if you focus more on your own survival and those around you, you will be helping your group more than if you stand still, eat all the mechanics, and do one point hundred kay dps. Let’s move on to how you can do that easily with this weak aura set up!

Hunter Weak Aura

Clink to Enlarge!

At face value, there is a lot going on in this screenshot, but by the end of this, you should understand exactly what you need, why you need it, and how it can benefit some like me who does NOT have the DPS mindset already ingrained in their skull.

Rotation Helper -

Compared to the Frost Mage cluster, this is as basic as it gets, however just as effective when dealing with the Survival Hunter rotation. There is little complicated about ability usage, therefore there is little complicated about the string.

Hunter Weak Aura

You’ll see two icons in the screenshot, hopefully both of which are familiar! On top we have the Hunter’s Mark warning indicator, which will simply appear if your target does not have Hunter’s Mark. Its set up so that any hunter’s application will count, so you should get used to pretty much never seeing this while doing anything serious.

The icon on the bottom is of course for Serpent Sting, but is a dynamic icon that will rotate through the ability selection preferable. The list of abilities and priority are as follows:

1- Serpent Sting (If not applied)
2- Kill Shot (If Available)
3- Black Arrow (If not applied)
4- Lock and Load (if Procced, explosive shot 2x)
5- Explosive Shot (If available +focus)
6- Glaive Toss (If Talented, and higher priority on CD)
7- Thrill of the Hunt Proc (If talented, and everything  else on CD. Note for AOE!)

Of course, those who have played the class for a long time will find flaws or say this isn’t necessary, but as mentioned before, the more tools you have to guide you the better you can play!
The Weak Aura String for this set is part of the CD set as well, so keep reading!

Major CD Set -

Nearly as important as any rotation tracker, you’ll find the major CD tracker to be your best friend in 5 man content especially. Lynx Rush can be extremely important for AOE, so knowing its precise CD can mean big things. Of course, even in raids its very important to be aware of exact timers, but you’ll notice when pulling bosses 200+ times, the CD timers become more muscle memory than anything. Regardless, this will help guide you along your path.

CD group

In case you need this level of explanation, The top left icon is Rapid Fire, the top right is Stampede (aka zoo), and the bottom left is Lynx Rush. I currently do not run Dire Beast, and only do CM on this toon, so likely never will. If you need to add it, you can copy and paste the coupled icons for each CD and simply change its ability target to be Lynx Rush instead of whatever it is. Then just place them where you want, and enjoy!

It should be noted that the space on the bottom right is typically occupied by a Aspect tracker, which will be separate from these pieces, and will be explained shortly.

To implement the Weak Auras described as the Major CD Set, as well as the Rotation Helper, copy from the pastebin!
http://pastebin.com/RfEHweHH

Focus Bar -

Focus bar

Even more basic, but even more important for some one learning hunter. This bar will track exactly how much focus you have and display it in both a progressive bar, and as a finite number at the end. As before, the more you play the less you will need something like this, but its helps tremendously when attempting to pool Focus for upcoming aoe or even Black Arrow Global.

Find the Weak Aura String for this here!
http://pastebin.com/Vb8BvUY1

Aspect Tracker -

Aspect Tracker

As mentioned previous, please take care to note that the bottom left symbol is the only one relevant to this section. I show them all to denote the slight size increase in the Aspect tracker, to help it always be your eye’s focal point. This is important, because if you are ever accidentally in the wrong aspect, it could be disastrous for your group. Especially in Challenge Modes, you should constantly be switching between speed aspects and DPS, to assure both you and your group are being maximized. Using Aspect of the Pack at every safe availability can save a LOT of seconds, especially in the larger dungeons.

In terms of display, it will simply show the icon for the aspect you are in. As depicted, shows Iron Hawk as well!

Not shown is the indicator for when you have no aspect up. This is obviously just an oversight, but if something causes it, an icon will appear towards the middle to help you immediately resolve the issue.

Find the String here!
http://pastebin.com/Cp8YAyXd

Pet Isn’t Attacking!? -

Most annoying thing ever about the Hunter class. Its a real issue as well, especially on some raid encounters and Challenge Modes. This icon will help discern where your pet is, and will help you know when Lynx Rush is actually possible.

Pet attacking

You’ll see that when your pet isn’t doing damage to something that matters, the cute little bear icon will be jumping up and down. This will help you notice it, and also remind you never to hit your pet. They aren’t children for ever, and its important to cherish the time you spend together.
Please not that this is only for combat purposes. If for some reason you do not have a pet altogether, there is another weak aura for that.

Find the Weak Aura String Here!
http://pastebin.com/behnknT2

No Pet Currently Out! -

Whenever you pet is actually alive, but you do not have it out, this icon will appear.

No pet whistle

If your pet is dead, this will not appear though. This is only for alerting you that you have a living pet that isn’t active.

No tint, Fishbowl. It ain’t hard to spot ‘em.
http://pastebin.com/msWAsdJi

Potion CD -

Just like with Frost Mage, potion maximization is extremely important for Hunters in Challenge Modes. I wouldn’t imagine you will need an aura like this for actual raiding, but it is more valuable than all the rest when you are a spec that doesn’t require an invisibility potion to make most skips. There will be some that are risky with Camo, and for those, you can either intentionally pull, disengage, and then Feign once the group has passed, or you can simply go Engineering.
Regardless, the options are very important to your success, and should be used to their fullest.

Potion cd

The potion Tracker consists of two separate trackers. I use both for CM, but only 1 for actual raiding, as having a potion icon on your screen when you are intentionally saving it for 5+ minutes is really distracting. Get both, and activate each separately, if need-be.

Potion is Ready!
PotionCD Tracker!

 

Well that’s everything, so if you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the forum attached to this topic, or contact me in game.
As always, I am not fluent in the program, and usually find people who ARE fluent and modify their work. Most of this was assembled from two separate concepts. A few was taken from the Huntman’s Lodge blog and some other pieces were taken from this thread on the official WoW forums.

Either way, it’s important to remember that you are the best person to help yourself improve, but with tools and help from those already experienced you can transform yourself into a top-tier player near instantly.

Discuss this Topic at:
http://stratics.com/community/threads/survival-weak-aura-set-up.316376/
See the set-up in action:
Soon to come!
Check out my Hunters’s Armory:
http://us.battle.net/wow/en/character/firetree/Metrohahaha/advanced
Download Weak Auras Two:
http://www.curse.com/addons/wow/weakauras-2

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication

Leonardo da Vinci
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Play Like a Pro! – Prot Warrior Weak Aura / Information!

Z57ril

Hello and welcome to our newest series inspired by our third Podcast (http://wow.stratics.com/interviews/wow-stratics-podcast-3-spotlight-disadvantaged-gamers/) where Metro discusses how simple UI elements can make a world of difference and helps players looking to take their character to the next level do just that. As mentioned in the Podcast, if you aren’t playing with proper Keybinds, Macros, or Addons, you might as well be missing a hand compared to players who are! These guides will be focused on players who already understand the class/spec and are looking to elevate their game to the next level. The experience I have with each spec is almost purely through Challenge Mode dungeons, and can say these design elements can make or break your play and will tell you if / when you are ready for that next step. Let’s get started!

Today we venture into the iniquities of the Protection Warrior Spec and discuss how a few simply, but incredibly useful Weak Auras can do WONDERS to improve your awareness and play overall!

Now let’s start at the bottom and work our way up. The first thing some one like you needs to understand about this spec is that is it NOT the prot warrior from Classic and TBC. By no far stretch are the two even similar, other than names of abilities. Everything back then was about keeping threat and dumping rage to do so. Now, its the exact opposite. All your threat should be managed to keep your self alive, and your CDs will do the rest of the work. The life of a Protection warrior is still very versatile, having options to do INSANE amounts of damage, but sacrifice survivability resource-spending. Both options have their merits, and regardless of which line you walk, this set up will help you do so.

With this in mind, let’s examine the screenshot below.

Click to Enlarge!

You’ll see a lot of action immediately here, but unless you are completely new to the class, it should be pretty obvious what most things are pointing towards. I’d equate this one similar to the Frost Mage guide I published earlier in that its goal is to help you track your many abilities, allowing you to keep your eyes on the more important aspects. Let’s break things down on a macro scale to help you understand each part.

Before we do so, understand that with this set up, it is all part of one big group. Take a moment to read through the description, and return here to import the string once you are comfortable. Once you do, the entire set up will appear as it does in the image above!
Import from Pastebin: http://pastebin.com/eDHxvbSw

Individual Component Explanation -

Main Bar:

Main Bar

If you only pay attention to these icons, you will still be doing a great job. Understanding why is hopefully obvious once you play the class, but if not, let’s walk through it.

On the further left, we see the Skull Banner Icon. Unfortunately, this ability will be removed in 6.0, but until then, its extremely important. The set up details not only the CD and usage of the icon, but WHO in the group or raid dropped it. This is extremely important, as if you have more than 1 warrior in the group, you should regard this as mandatory. Otherwise, expect to be overlapping, and that simply will lead to intense sub-optimization.  If you’d like JUST this string for your own set up, feel free to do so.

Skull Banner Single Aura + Raid Member Text: http://pastebin.com/TishvDjV

Next to the skull banner icon, we see the CD and timer for Commanding Shout. This should be used on CD as a rage generator, or saved a few seconds to line up a full rage bar when expecting big damage. If you only ever use it when its on CD, you will still be doing just fine in nearly all content.

In the middle, we see two large icons. These are your Go-to rage generators and have CDs that procs refresh. Because of this, the icons are extremely important, and will flash to alert you of their refreshing. These abilities also need to be used on CD. Avoid saving them, as its very possible you may be wasting another potential proc if you sit on them.

On the right side, the first icon we see is currently Bladestorm’s CD, but has the potential to change dynamically based on which talent you choose. This is incredibly important, as in 5 man content, you NEED to be using Shockwave on CD, or around other diminishing returns. You can also benefit from seeing Bladestorm’s CD so you know when to spin to win!

The final one on the right is the CD and usage of Demo shout. This is essentially your best reduction CD as it reduces all damage taken by mobs within 10 yards by 20 percent. Realize this has to apply to the mobs for it to work, and if you just use it with nothing around, the CD will incur and tick on the aura, but no benefit would have been achieved.

Bottom Bar:

CD Bar

This bar is simply for your benefit, and will provide a few key timers to help you improve your awareness.

From the left, we see the Enrage icon. Remember, its important to understand that enrage procs from crits of Devastate and Shield Slam, which gives you even more rage and makes you do more damage. A great warrior will use this to his benefit, as riposte gives crit, crit gives enrage, and enrage gives rage + damage. Maximizing this can lead to you doing millions of damage, all while easily staying alive with rolling block and shields.

Next is the Second Wind icon, simply to indicate when it is healing you. This means you are low health, so it doubles as a health indicator.

Third from the left is the CD and usage for Rallying Cry, followed by its partner Last Stand. Just another cd tracker, so pay attention to it!

Second on the right is the Recklessness usage and CD, once again as basic as it gets. Just for your benefit of knowing! The more you play this character though, the better you’ll get at understanding exactly when you doing damage is good for the group.

Final one on that line is for Shield Block, a useful icon that helps you know when the usage is expired or available again.

Rage + Bar:

Rage +

This one is a bit less obvious, so let’s delve into what we are seeing here.

First of all, this is four auras put into one small area for your benefit. There are three colored bars total, but you only see 3, for a specific reason.
The easiest to identify immediately is the White bar at the top. This shows the duration of your Block coming from Shield Block usage, and will help you manage your down time around it. Pretty easy to lose track of, and if you never do this, don’t feel you are letting anyone down. Just a level of optimization that can go a long way if noticed.

On the bottom, we then see the Green bar. This is your vengeance, and will help you track how much you have. This is also a level of optimization most players won’t conceive, and without much loss. It can help if you use it to your advantage though, thus it is there.

Now in the middle there are two bars. In the image, you see the Blue bar, which is the amount of your Shield Barrier ability. When not active, the bar is Red, and indicates your rage. The goal is, to never see it red! The reasoning behind this, is typically, you want to use rage on Barrier constantly, so in a time of burst damage and incoming damage, you simply keep it rolling. In the few seconds the absorb lasts, you can build enough rage for another supplement. Not only does this track the numbers and progress, but it gives an amazing visual indicator to help you know when you are doing things well. This is one of the finer points to mitigation as a warrior, so if you are struggling to keep spikey damage down, get better acquainted with this mechanic and Weak Aura.

Extra Procs:

Other stuff

These featured are regarded as a catch-all wrap up of other procs that might not fit elsewhere. The one on the left of center is to track Impeding Victory or Victory Rush. Extremely useful in 5 man content where there are lots of adds!

On the far right, you see Ultimatum proc, which helps you track and understand when to use your free Heroic Strike or Cleave. Should be looked at as free damage, no point in passing it up!

In the middle / bottom, you see the Meta gem proc. This can be pretty useful to track, but if you do not possess it, it simply will never appear.

Finally, the top of the image portrays the word “Reflected”. This helps indicate when you successfully reflect a spell with Spell Reflection. Can be very useful, if only for peice of mind. One area it immediately comes to mind for is the first pull in Shado-pan Monestary Challenge Mode. You can reflect the stun they do! What a great feeling that is!

Level 30 Healing Talent Discussion:

One final thing that we should discuss before we go our separate ways is the different options in this tier. Many people see Second Wind as mandatory, and others see it as useless, but I’ll explain the pros and cons of both sides, and weigh the choices that remain.

Its actually quite simple, at least in my eyes! Second Wind is a raid talent purely. In raids, its really not uncommon for the tank to sit at 50 percent or lower heath, often dropping even lower to 30 percent. Second Wind can very often save the life of the tank, without any effort put in.

However, in 5 man content, this should be quite the opposite. Especially in Challenge Modes, if you are that low, you are either dead, or saved back to full immediately. There is no spread healing, so every second you should receive attention. From my personal experience, I have never once been that low that I couldn’t immediately heal my self back up with Impending Victory, or could of survived no matter what healing I had. Because CD usage is much more preventative than reactionary, I find no need for Second Wind in Challenge mode or smaller group content.

Its then down to Enraged Regen and Impending Victory. I choose IV because of its ability to be used as an on demand heal on a moderate CD, something warriors need very badly. You’ll find it really useful when doing Challenge Modes, especially on bosses. The spell turns into another reliable defensive CD, much like a Paladin would have!

Enraged Regeneration is quite useless to me, at least from what I’ve seen. Its strength is the potential 20 percent regeneration over time after the intial, but once again, you either need the healing now or death, or you are over healing with this. The only time I can see it useful is in 25 man heroic raiding, but once again, Second Wind gets my vote there because of massive health pools and saving power without button usage.

 

Well that’s everything, so if you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the forum attached to this topic, or contact me in game.
As always, I am not fluent in the program, and usually find people who ARE fluent and modify their work. This Aura string was devised by a brilliant person and moderator over at MMOchampion, known as Clampy. I encourage you guys to check out his thread on the topic and let him know you were referred to him by Metro from WoW Stratics!

It’s important to remember that you are the best person to help yourself improve, but with tools and help from those already experienced you can transform yourself into a top-tier player near instantly.

Discuss this Topic at:
Stratics Forums Thread!
See the set-up in action:
Youtube Video!
Check out my Warrior’s Armory:
http://us.battle.net/wow/en/character/firetree/Precussion/advanced
Download Weak Auras Two:
http://www.curse.com/addons/wow/weakauras-2

Latest Healer Mana Changes – Regen THIS!

mana cds

As of April 17th, we see Blizzard going back on their word already, and instead of removing all the Mana CDs current to MoP they are just COMPLETELY remaking most of them. Its possible this could be another late April Fools joke, or gets reverted quicker than I can type this article, but I can’t see the future, so for now let’s discuss!

We will start where is most logical, and discuss each potential strength, meta usage, and give opinions.

Holy Paladin
Divine Plea-  Instantly regain 4.5% of maximum mana. Paladin – Holy Spec. 3 Holy Power. Instant.

Probably the singularly strangest thing I’ve ever seen as a component of a healing spec in the game. I’ve played this game for a longgg time and healed for more than 80 percent of that time, and never seen something this strange. Maybe other games are doing this? Regardless, if it operates as it states, this will be a spammable Mana Regen ability with no cooldown or cast time that can be used every three globals if necessary. Where it gets really strange is that building HP quickly (at least right now) would equate to much more mana than this restores, but the 75 point tier makes this right back into a concentrated CD depending on selection. If you pick Holy Avenger or Sanctified Wrath, you can pretty much control a massive income of mana, and if you choose Divine Purpose then you will often get free mana for no reason.
The meta strategy behind this spell immediately seems, given the current model, that if we have HP and have to move, use it on Divine Plea. If we have a Purpose proc, use it on Divine Plea. And if the fight is too long, use Divine Plea instead of the ludicrous cast time spells known as Word of Glory and Light of Dawn!
Overall, I see this not making it live. Having a Holy Power spender regen mana on no cooldown is just way too strange given the Holy Paladin spell kit, but I’ve been wrong many times before. We shall see.

Mistweaver Monk
Stance of the Wise Serpent – While in Stance of the Wise Serpent, Crackling Jade Lightning costs no mana and refunds 2% of maximum mana if channeled for its entire duration.

Much less strange the the Paladin option, and much more recognizable to the Shaman’s Lightning Bolt option that already exists. The biggest issue I see here is that it has to be channeled for its duration to receive the mana, and there are a lot of reasons right now that doing this can be more for difficult. Either way, it should work nearly identical as LB for a Shaman. in down periods, you use this and regen some mana. It’s important to note that the channel time has gone down to four seconds, from six.
There is no real meta strategy to be perceived for this ability, but may be some application with “stance dancing.” It seems as if the new stance and its associated play style will make for many opportunites to switch between, and one special purpose may be to be able to use this free of charge + regen some.

Resto Druid
Innervate – Causes the Druid to regenerate 2.50% of maxmimum mana every 4 sec for 8 sec. This effect is cancelled if the Druid spends mana on a healing spell. Druid – Restoration Spec. 30 yd range. 2 sec cast.

The more I look at this, the less strange I find Divine Plea for Paladins, but still even this seems more real. Either way, read what that says and let it soak in. First of all, its a two second cast… Why the hell would this need a cast time? That seems ridiculous given the fact that it can only potentially give you 5 percent of your maximum mana back after EIGHT seconds of not casting. You might get that much back just from not using spells! The even crazier stipulation is that you can’t spend mana on heals. They did take the Omen of Clarity and clearcasting requirements away from Nourish, so to meta game this spell you would use it before using that proc and hope to get lucky, but either way it seems like a huge pain.
What may not seem obvious the first time you see this is that there is potential to dish these out to other healers. You are the only one who can’t cast, and this has no cool down, so what you can do is take Heart of the Wild, cast it, do as much DPS as you can, and keep refreshing it for whomever needs their whole mana bar back. By the time you are finished DPSing (which won’t break the mana restore, as it much be mana cast on heals) that person should have received a HUGE chunk of their mana back, provided you were able to give them it on CD. Another annoying thing about this is that the druid will need something to monitor exactly when its been each 4 second interval. Immediately it seems like this would be quite difficult to track without a weak aura, but hopefully Blizzard recognizes this and incorporates something. I don’t know though, maybe I’m missing something, but this just seems like an insane ability to have all of a sudden. Can’t wait to see what happens with it.

Discipline Priest
Penance now costs 2.9% of Base Mana, down from 3.1%. Now also restores 2% of maximum mana when damage is done,
Atonement no longer works with Penance.

First of all, let’s have a moment of silence for Penance. There will likely be no more cast-while-moving as it is, and now it doesn’t even do healing :(
Either way, now its a mana restore, nearly identical to the MoP Lightning Bolt, but has a small CD. Not much to discuss here, except what this may do to atonement healing, especially in five mans. Maybe the spell will retain its movement, but either way, it went from being dealing crazy damage, healing for high amounts, and being usable on the move… to this. RIP.
Better go Holy. jk

Holy Priest
Chakra: Chastise – Increases the damage done by your Shadow and Holy spells by 50%, grants a 10% chance for Smite to reset the cooldown of Holy Word: Chastise, causes Smite and Holy Fire to cost no mana and refun 0.75% of maximum mana, and transforms your Holy Word spell back into Holy Word: Chastise.

The underlined words are whats new, and to no surprise! Welcome back to “stance dancing!” Of course, there are many options for making use of this, but since it regens so little mana you’ll likely have to sit in Chastise Chakra for quite some time. They have already changed the way things operate revolving this mechanic, and much to my dismay. I expect to see it go away entirely, but I suppose this makes things a bit more interested. Now, you have to make better choices, and hopefully see high rewards on down periods when you can afford it. This also makes you do a lot of damage while restoring mana, so nothing wrong with that! Should be cool in progression raiding, just pretty much useless in 5 man content.

Restoration Shaman
Telluric Currents – Your attunement to natural energies causes your Lightning Bolt spell to restore 1.25% of your maximum mana instead of costing mana.

This is the “zero” if you understand me. This was the baseline for every other change that we have seen. Some were strange, some were awesome, but they will all take some getting used to. Meanwhile, nothing changes for shaman. They removed the fact that it costs mana and restores mana, likely to bring it in line with the other spells. Either way, now that this can’t be cast while moving, even this is a huge nerf. The spell was such a great filler for moderate movement.
*On top of this, you should also be aware they have reduced the base mana cost of nearly every heal in the game by some amount.

That’s a wrap then. Care to take a vote on what will change and stay as is? I imagine none of these, honestly. Given the fact that they first said they would all be removed, anything can happen!

Play Like a Pro! – Resto Druid Weak Aura / Information!

Resto ss

Hello and welcome to our newest series inspired by our third Podcast (http://wow.stratics.com/interviews/wow-stratics-podcast-3-spotlight-disadvantaged-gamers/) where Metro discusses how simple UI elements can make a world of difference and helps players looking to take their character to the next level do just that. As mentioned in the Podcast, if you aren’t playing with proper Keybinds, Macros, or Addons, you might as well be missing a hand compared to players who are! These guides will be focused on players who already understand the class/spec and are looking to elevate their game to the next level. The experience I have with each spec is almost purely through Challenge Mode dungeons, and can say these design elements can make or break your play and will tell you if / when you are ready for that next step. Let’s get started!

Today we will examine Restoration Druid and show how a few simple indicators can take your play from moderate to exceptional.

To understand Druid is to know that your most powerful healing is done over time and on the move. While it typically a cliche to “set it and forget it” this is VERY much the case, especially in large group content. It can easily be said that a druid who uses things like Rejuvenation and Wild Growth with nothing else can do a fine job in 25 man raiding, but when we delve into 5 man content such as Challenge Modes, or even 10 man progression raiding, you won’t be able to just sit around and toss hots at players!

With this in mind, let’s examine the screenshot below.

Druid full UI

Click to Enlarge!

In this screenshot you will see multiple spells and timers, all aiming to take the guess work out of the Restoration Druid spec. In this article, we will discuss the individual contributors, and break down each section piece by piece.

Main Cooldown Tracker

As a Restoration Druid, especially in 5 man challenge mode content, or even raiding, its extremely important to maximize Tree of Life, Ironbark, and Innervate. As per usual, I will preach that having a visual indicator on the screen should reliably help control their usage, and with a ticking CD, you will know exactly when they become available. If you are doing progression raiding, this will help your brain recognize patterns through out the encounter, and eventually you will be able to judge time without looking at a clock or timer, just because you know how often you are able to use your abilities. If there is one thing that’s important about 25 man heroic progression, its this aforementioned level of understanding and optimization. Lets’ examine the screen shot below and discuss exactly what you are seeing here.

CD group

You will immediately notice two rows, and some variety in each. Beginning with the top left, we see Ironbark. This is a simple visual indicator to help plays recognize the spells availability. When its available, its on the screen. When its not, its gone, to help prevent clutter. With a 1 minute cooldown, this should be something that you can get used to using consistently, with a helpful reminder from our friend Mr. Aura :D

Next to Ironbark, still on the top row, we have the same type of indicator for Innervate. The icon will be present when the spell is available and disappear when its not.  This one is even more vital, and should help you get into a habit of using it early and often. Its by-in-large the main reason Restoration Druid can spend mana as much as they can without worry.

Jumping now to the bottom row, we see both Battle Rez and Barkskin. These should be regarded as personal trackers, and will give you an immediate indication whether you can battle rez a dead player or pop a CD to survive some predictable damage. They will both operate the same as the two discussed previous, and with Barkskin being only a 45 second cooldown, its easy to forget about. With these auras, you won’t have to worry!

The final four spaces remaining are the most important. With this in mind, we have two separate trackers for each. On the bottom we have an indicator for its availability like before. This will tell you its usable, and after you use it, the icon will shift to the top row and tell you the remaining CD. This is extremely important for both these spells as knowing exactly when they come up can mean life or death for your raid team. In challenge mode content, Tree of Life is your most important CD, so once again, not knowing its exact CD can be the reason your tank dies or lives.

You can find this Weak Aura string here!

Minor CD Group

Its not uncommon for healers best spells to have small CDs, and that is certainly the case with Swiftmend and Wild Growth. Without a doubt, the go-to instant single target heal and aoe heal, and arguably the best in the game, especially when examining heal per mana. Originally, I attempted to operate these spells on the same mental clock I discussed earlier, but the facts are that they are just too short a CD for my brain to wrap itself around so I was constantly having to check and see when they were available, or be trying to cast them when they were still on CD. With these strings, you will see that problem dissipate, and you will gain a better understanding of when to use each spell. Let’s check out the image below and discuss what else we see.

Minor CD

As mentioned, you will recognize the Swiftmend and Wild Growth icons. You can see their CDs will appear when applicable, but the icon will disappear when otherwise. This is something I prefer, as it helps me realize that if there isn’t an icon always there, I am mismanaging these abilities. They are ALWAYS worth using. Maybe hold on to them for a second or two, but the blank void should scream at you that you have amazing heal per mana spells with an instant cast just sitting there waiting to be used.

Now the final one may take you somewhat by surprise, but I will explain why its there and what its used for. First of all, if you don’t recognize the icon, its for Cenarion Ward. It operates the same way the other two do, so if you don’t have it talented, it will simply never appear. When it is talented, it should ring loudly as the other two did when there is that empty space where its timer should be. This should be your best tank heal and IMO rivals Earth Shield (without the set bonus) and even Beacon to some degree. Having another hot is never a bad thing, but of course ysera’s gift can really be strong in most cases. Let’s discuss why you SHOULD NOT use it in Challenge Modes though!

Ysera’s Gift vs. Cenarion Ward

Ysera’s Gift is an amazing ability in raiding, especially 25 man heroic progression. On a fight like Malkorok, where people constantly need healing anyway, this spell will dominate. Its a no-brainer really! But, in Challenge Modes, it will be quite the opposite, and for reasons you may not predict.

The spell is essentially a ticking threat modifier! Of course, any AOE threat anyone else does will over ride it, but there will be a lot of cases where your tank will want to pull mobs quickly and gather them all up, and THEN do threat. With ysera’s gift constantly ticking, you will be the number one on the threat table while these situations arise, and thus destroy the well laid plans of your tank. Especially since its uncontrollable, this is a real big issue. The biggest example of where this will destroy you is the Shado-pan mount skip. Some people employ a controlled wipe, where you simply run allll the way from the second to the third boss, but if you have ysera’s gift on, all the mobs will focus you 100 percent of the time, and you will get all the debuffs, get sha-punched, and die before you get half way there.
Couple that with the fact that “Your most nearby injured ally” will likely NEVER be the tank, and this spell is really useless. Its strength comes with the high healthpool and high demand for aoe smart healing 25 man heroic progression demands, but is weak here, and neat unusable because of the threat issues it presents.

So I’m not saying Cenarion Ward is amazing, or even better in most situations. But it is a reliable hot for the tank, who always needs healing, and can be controlled. Make use of this spell, and its associated weak aura.

You can find the minor CD string here!

Harmony!

The Restoration Druid Passive that has been the subject of much debate is known as Harmony. Whatever your take on this mastery, understand this much. The usage of it dramatically increases the healing Regrowth does, and keeping it active in small group content like Challenge Modes is default, so it makes your hots that much more effective. That’s all you need to know for now, because thats the important part. When you are spamming Regrowth as your primary ability, it doesn’t matter if you like the passive or not. Its active all the time, so its effectively a full-time passive buff!
Of course, in actual raiding, you can’t afford this type of spending. You will need something to track its usage so you aren’t just haphazardly casting spells to try and meta-game your hots. And boy do I have just the thing to do it!

Harmony not Active!

Harmony not Active!

Harmony Active, with remaining Duration!

Harmony Active, with remaining Duration!

These two are pretty self-explanatory, but to be brief, the yellow symbol will be your alert to its non-activity, and the green bar will tick its duration before you need to cast again, should you wish to keep it up.

Both of these are individual, so if you don’t feel you need either, don’t feel obliged.
The Yellow activity indicator can be found here!
And the Green duration tracker can be found here!

Other Remarks

Now that you have all these tools, you should feel well equipped. The only thing other than these that you will need to monitor is your hots and their duration on the target, especially Lifebloom. For me, this is done via Healbot, and is by default. Hopefully you are choosing to equip yourself with a clickthrough addon such as Healbot or Vuhdo, and if you are, it should be defaulted. If not, you should really consider it. Otherwise, you’ll have to find another way to monitor your hots!

 

Well that’s everything, so if you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the forum attached to this topic, or contact me in game.
As always, I am not fluent in the program, and usually find people who ARE fluent and modify their work. The original source of this came from searching the internet and finding multiple threads discussing this topic. I then pieced them together and placed them in a comfortable spot for my playstyle!

It’s important to remember that you are the best person to help yourself improve, but with tools and help from those already experienced you can transform yourself into a top-tier player near instantly.

Discuss this Topic at:
http://stratics.com/community/threads/restoration-weak-aura-set-up.314517/
See the set-up in action:
Youtube Video!
Check out my Druid’s Armory:
http://us.battle.net/wow/en/character/firetree/metrohehe/simple
Download Weak Auras Two:
http://www.curse.com/addons/wow/weakauras-2

Druids In Warlords of Draenor – Healing Discussion and Overview of 6.0 Changes

sizes


druidy

Recently with the patch 6.0 Warlords of Draenor Alpha patch notes, Blizzard gave us a substantial amount of information as to the progression of both talent additions and changes to each class. Add to this the recent data-mined information from both MMOChampion and WoWHead forums; we can begin to piece together the possible state of classes and their functionality within Warlords of Draenor and Patch 6.0.

Druids in particular have seen some interesting decisions and changes which ultimately change the play style and quality of life for each specialisation.

Let’s take a short rundown of each specialisations changes and the talents within, looking primarily how they compare to current in game states and what exactly has changed. This article will however focus primarily on Healing changes and written from the perspective of a restoration druid player, so expect more lengthy details and comparisons in that area in particular.

Firstly let’s look at removals from the class. As a whole, across the board many classes have had many of their abilities cut out or changed so that they better represent their specialisations. Mages for example have seen changes to fire spells being more used and some only accessible to fire mages for example, this is pretty much the same theme across the board for all the classes in the game. This homogenisation actually specialises the player to a specific role and allows for unique benefits for bringing certain specialisations, rather than just the highest dps role in any given situation.

rippers

The Removals.

First on the chopping room floor to go is Innervate; currently in game used as a near endless tap of mana usable every 3 minutes, replenishing mana equal to 50% of the casters spirit every 1 second over 10 seconds. This particular ability was a primary cool down which would be used half way / towards to the latter phases of fights and would allow you to spend much greater amounts of mana than you would without it, knowing that you have the cool down if it was needed. It also allowed for use on other players as a resource for their own mana restoration in various situational fights or if the other player needs a cool down more than you later into fights.

The removal of the spell in my opinion is more of a removal of a utility than anything else, yet the idea is that the mana restoration effects it would provide will now be hard wired into restoration druids instead of a cool down to restore the same amount which would now be static additional regen.

This, however well implemented does alter the play style of a restoration druid, as much of the usability of Innervate was dependant on the gear level of the character. Many of the gear improvements I acquired later into Mists of Pandaria allowed me to use my Innervate on other players in our raids due to my regen reaching the point where additional cooldowns were almost un-needed. However early into the expansion the cool down was used more and more frequently earlier in fights, so it will be interesting to see how Blizzard implements that missing regen early on in a tier when the player is less geared.

Other removals include; Enrage, Mangle-cat form, Swipe-Bear Form, and Symbiosis. The removal of spec specific mangle and Swipe is understandable and works very much as I previously mentioned with the Mage idea, however some changes actually added to all specs of the class. Shred for example is now available to all Druids. Symbiosis is actually a pleasant surprise, the whole idea that situational events would require certain specs of certain classes to then gain a weakened version of an extra ability such as tranquillity from a Shadow priest for example. This idea, although good on paper actually forced confusion and far too much meta gaming and objectivity within raids, with many of the potential benefits being too weak or simply negated as they were not widely understood due to the complexity of setting up what does what where and how useful it would be in a given situation.

Nourish is also getting removed, a small filler heal for restoration druids that would amplify in its potency if the target being healed had a heal over time on them already such as Rejuvenation, lifebloom, Regrowth or Wild growth. This spell soon became less useful as we progressed through the expansion in favour of only slightly more costing abilities would heal for more and even hit multiple targets, which ultimately makes the spell an extra button that we could do without. One further, yet expected removal is the passive ‘Balance of Power’ for Balance Druids, which if you never knew is the name of the skill that grants hit rating based on the amount of spirit you have from equipped items or status effects, this is ultimately due to hit rating being removed completely from the game within WoD.

jews

Additional Changes to Existing Abilities / Spells

Many of the removals from the class are fundamentally to make way for the changes to other spells which help accommodate the class and rebalance it. One such change is to Cyclone, our Crowd Control ability, which presently cannot be cancelled by immunity effects such as a paladin bubble. This is changing in 6.0, with Cyclone finally being broken by Divine Shield, Ice Block and other immunity granting abilities. This change is long overdue, as it falls in line with other crowd control abilities within PvP that already break from such effects.

One of the most significant changes to restoration druids is one effecting the cast time of Wild Growth; a key healing ability that applies a heal over time to multiple targets and presently works as an instant cast spell. This is set to change with 6.0, with Wild growth now having a 1.5 second cast time. A change like this does alter the usability of such a spell, especially due to the fact that Wild Growth is currently an extremely viable filler and low cost way of AOE healing. Having to plan the use of this ability more doesn’t make it completely useless; it just means that you could have been healing a single target for more during that time. Many instant cast healing abilities from other classes have had a similar treatment in the patch notes and it’s no surprise that Blizzard want to make healing more defined and forward planned rather than sporadic and wasteful. Remember that Rejuvenation still remains as an instant cast past these notes, and that that along with improved Mushrooms we will still have the effective healing we currently do in my opinion.

Swiftmend remains in the game thankfully and has avoided the chop, however it seems that the glyph that added efflorescence to Wild Mushroom’s Bloom ability was seen as a success to the point that in 6.0 it will be the only way to cause the efflorescence effect and to spawn it at the mushrooms location. This adds more flexibility and positioning for this powerful ground ability, something that definitely makes for a more powerful and effective utility rather than accidently causing the effect on one player at range when all you wanted was to heal them up quickly.

Tranquillity doesn’t avoid the list of changes either, with Blizzard mentioning something about the spell being confusing to players (I would love to meet these confused players), regardless the spell is changing to heal every party and raid member within range every 2 seconds for 8 seconds total. It no longer places a periodic effects on each target either, weakening one of the strongest healing cool downs in the game. The total healing it generates should be the same as it currently is on live in raids, but to be honest I’m not sure how that could be the case, but I’m sure time will tell. The spell was never confusing to begin with, and saying it will be just as strong without its periodic attribute is hard to imagine, even with it now definitely hitting EVERY player nearby.

talents

Talent changes

The level 90 talents seem to be getting some changes, but more interestingly out of all of them is one of my favourite abilities; ‘Natures Vigil’, essentially a power button you would usually press in dire situations as one of your direct healing cool downs. Natures Vigil currently in game amplifies healing caused by healing spells by 25% and all single target damage spells to heal a friendly target for 25% of the damage dealt. In 6.0 Blizzard are planning to change the healing caused to only 16% but actually buff the damage to healing portion to 35%. This change is somewhat of a nerf to the part of the ability that I liked yet it still seems like one of the most viable of the tier of talents, with the damage to healing buff being useful in some situations, but perhaps not for general use in raiding. Many of the talent choices are options to add hybridity to the specialisation you are playing, something that doesn’t particularly make me too excited. Even though the plan was to add more flexible utilitarian options, I think that they end up just never being used. In my opinion, if I wanted flexibility with these talents they could tailor the way certain abilities heal, not add benefits to damage dealing abilities that I find a fairly wasteful use of mana that could be used to heal directly in encounters.

Changes are one thing, and no matter how you look at it all classes are getting cuts that may or may not make sense at this time, but we also got some information on additions to each class that make things more positive to imagine. The level 100 Talent ability choices were unveiled with some interesting functionality. The way we see talents in WoD will be dependent on specialisation within the class rather than see the same abilities and have to read tooltips on those abilities to see what they do for your spec. So below are the NEW talent options listed with notes dependant on spec.

 

Talents-

Left

Sunfall (Balance) – Entering Solar Eclipse will transform your Starfall spell into Sunfall and reset its cool down.

Lunar Inspiration (Feral) – Moonfire is now usable while in Cat Form, generates 1 combo point, deals damage based on attack power, and costs 30 energy.

Guardian of Elune (Guardian) – Savage Defence now lasts 4 sec, and increases your chance to dodge by 100%.

Moment of Clarity (Restoration) – Omen of Clarity now lasts 5 sec, instead of 1 cast.

Middle

Insect Swarm (Balance) – Swarm the target enemy with insects which deal XXXX Nature damage every 3 sec for 15 sec. Each time that it deals damage, it also generates 5 Lunar or Solar energy, whichever is more beneficial to you. May only be cast while not in an Eclipse. 2,688 Mana, 40 yd range, 1.5 sec cast

Bloody Thrash (Feral) – Thrash now also applies the Rake bleed effect to all damaged enemies and awards 1 combo point if it strikes your current combo target.

Pulverize (Guardian) – A devastating blow that consumes 3 stacks of Lacerate on the target to deal 500% weapon damage, generate 30 Rage, and reduce damage taken by 20% for 10 sec. Melee Range, Instant, Requires Bear Form

Germination (Restoration) – You can apply two Rejuvenations to the same target.

Right

Savagery (Feral) – Savage Roar is now passive.

Bristling Fur (Guardian) – You bristle your fur, reducing all damage taken by 50% for 3 sec. Instant, 1 min cool down

Rampant Growth (Restoration) – Swiftmend now consumes your own Regrowth or Rejuvenation, but has no cool down.

 

The new talent options from a healing perspective are very interesting and will be extremely exciting to test when we gain access to beta testing later in the process of development. For now when I look at prospective choices, I really like the idea of ‘Germination’ and its application of two Rejuvenation’s on the same target, I remember how in Wrath of The Lich King and to some extent beyond that Druids would ‘roll’ rejuvenation on as many targets as possible and with changes to Wild Growth and other Hot’s it seems like this will likely be a viable and very powerful option once again, especially with Genesis being used in conjunction. The other choices; Rampant Growth and Moment of Clarity are nice, Moment of Clarity seems the weakest link of the three for general purpose encounters, however Rampant Growth offers an interesting and possibly equally powerful way of healing as Germination, with the removal of the cool down being extremely strong.

It remains to see how these talents will change and what will remain throughout the testing processes before us, but I can only comment on what’s written before us on paper, which so far looks fairly promising for the playstyle of a resto druid, yet cannot be hidden that many of the changes feel like they have removed more than they have added to the class in all. As any of these changes alter throughout the Alpha and Beta process, you can be sure to stop by WoW.Stratics to see updates and opinions on all aspects of the changing World of Warcraft we play towards Warlords of Draenor.