My random musing on Cataclysm changes for healing Druids and Shamans

Otherwise known as “Ghostcrawler never promised you a rose garden”.

I beg your pardon, speculation is fun. So partly because it’s fun and partly so in a year’s time I can see just how wrong I called it, I’m going to go through the new healer spells and tricks we’ve seen revealed or hinted at so far to see how many (wrong) conclusions I can draw.

Shaman.

Healing Wave (level 4): While the shaman already has an ability called Healing Wave, we’re adding another spell to the class’s direct-healing arsenal and giving it a familiar name. The current Healing Wave will be renamed Greater Healing Wave, and the intent is for the ‘new” Healing Wave to be the shaman’s go-to heal. Lesser Healing Wave and Greater Healing Wave will be used on a more situational basis.

This isn’t particularly exciting. Although you can’t help wondering whether in a few more expansions, just like A & W Canada with their family burger line: we’ll have a Grandpa heal, a Daddy heal, a Mummy heal and so on all the away down to Baby heal.

My favourite new Shaman ability has to be the wonderfully named Healing Rain. As the song goes “There’s gotta be a little rain sometimes” and now its coming straight to raid near you.

Healing Rain (level 83): An area-effect heal-over-time (HoT) spell that calls down rain in a selected area, healing all players within it. There is no limit to the number of players who can potentially be affected; however, there are diminishing returns when healing a large number of targets, much like the diminishing returns associated with AoE damage spells. This should give Restoration shaman another healing tool that improves their group-healing and heal-over-time capabilities. 2-second cast time. 30-yard range. 10-second duration. 10-second cooldown.

Now that Blizzard have stated so many times I’ve lost count that they want us to be concerned about mana, I can only foresee the return of the set in stone healing assignment. No more will we have the heady days of Ulduar and ToC when you healed whoever you felt like (unless you were a holy paladin) and whoever had the fastest reactions topped the epeen metre. So Healing Rain coupled with Chain Heal could again see Resto Shamans as kings of melee.

It will be interesting to see what kind of radius the selected area has, if its too small the spell could be situational to the point of being useless. If that’s true though I’m sure the graphic and the spell icon will be awesome to compensate.

Spiritwalker’s Grace (level 85): When this self-targeted buff is active, your spells are no longer interrupted by movement and possibly even by your own attacks. This will give shaman of all three specs another way to heal or do damage when it’s necessary to move in both PvE and PvP. Instant cast. 10-second duration. 2-minute cooldown.

Not being able to move and heal well has always annoyed me when I’m playing my shaman, so I’m rather fond of this. Although it’s duration/cooldown don’t give you anything close to the freedom of movement say a druid does. As for PvP, I love  anything that allows healing myself whilst running away.

Deep Healing: Your direct heals will do more healing when the target’s health is lower. This will scale to damage (e.g. someone at 29% health would receive more healing than someone at 30%) rather than have arbitrary break points.

I rather like the idea behind this and the resto druid mastery, which in theory would be to allow people’s health to drop as far as possible before healing them to maximise your returns. I’m just not sure in practise it will work, I think people are too used to WotLK’s react, react, react style of healing. Although if mana needs watching as closely as Blizzard claims it will, then perhaps we will have no choice in the matter.

Druids

Tree of Life is getting a whole new model (think Ancients of War) and will also “morph” some of your spells to do crazy things while in the form, such as cause Regrowth to be instant, or Lifebloom to apply two applications at once.

I have my doubts about the whole Ancients of War thing, mainly because I don’t see the existing models scaling down well and I really don’t want to be a huge tree in PvP. Unless we get some kind of AoE warstomp thing which stuns all enemies in a 100 yard radius which might be classed as a tad overpowered by everyone who isn’t a druid. Althought, “I would give you the world right now on a silver platter“, if I thought that would secure it. Also the Ancients have really bad teeth like male Nightelves… which is off-putting. Depending on how long this mutant treeform lasts though I like the ideas mentioned so far, especially instant regrowth because I’ve been overly fond of  that spell since Vanilla.

I’ve never been attached to that hunk of dead wood which is currently known as Treeform. The cower and sleep animations had me briefly and I admit that levitated trees with wriggling roots are cute but I never bonded. It just never fit my playstyle in PvP as I hated being locked out of certain abilities like cyclone, roots,hibernate and moonfire. I loved my resto druid in Vanilla when all PvP required a full toolbox, from feral charge to hots and having that flexibility taken away always bothered me because I rolled a druid for that dynamic playstyle. I’m secretly hoping they make feral charge either lower down the tree or baseline this expansion.

The picture is of my first druid, now languishing at lv 72 because Tansy overtook her and stole her place. Taken fairly early on in Vanilla, I think she’s sporting 5 pieces of the Cenarion set (got them all in one Molten Core run) and the weapon from winning Alterac Valley.

Restoration druids will have a new talent called Efflorescence, which causes a bed of healing flora to sprout beneath targets that are critically healed by Regrowth.

I never promised you a rose garden“, but you’re getting Efflorescence instead. According to Wikipedia, Efflorescence means “to flower out” in French as well as being something bad which can happen to brick work. Would be cool if we could knock down walls with our flower beds, make the walls of Wintergrasp crumble before our floral might… unlikely though. So by the sound of it, we are getting another hot on top of an hot. Pretty please be an aoe hot that heals everyone standing inside the flowers, it would be even better if triffid-like tendrils sprouted out and pulled fire hugging dpsers into the flower bed.

Tranquility will always be raid wide, just because the concept of a “group” within the raid is kind of a strange one.

Yay. Hope they keep the same graphic though.

HoT Scale Healing: HoTs will do increased healing on more wounded targets. The mechanic is similar to that of the Restoration shaman, but with HoTs instead of direct heals. In Cataclysm, we anticipate druids using a greater variety of their spells so there is a distinction between healing and HoT healing.

Given what they have said about Mana concerns, I like this or at least I think I do. More people are likely to be at low health longer because they can’t be spam healed up which makes hots more powerful than they currently are in today’s zergfest healing. Of course, it’s usefulness all relies on Blizzard keeping their word about mana being an issue. The second people can spam away happily, our mastery loses a great deal of it’s potency.

Also I know it’s not a resto ability, but I’m excited about the Magic Mushrooms.

But you don’t find roses growin’ on stalks of clover.” You don’t find heals growing on invisible mushrooms either, but I’m sure there will be lots of fun applictions for them.

Finally,

You better look before you leap, still waters run deep,
And there won’t always be someone there to pull you out
,”

Hello Life Grip.

With my most heartfelt apologises to Joe South for borrowing his song.

Sunday morning blues

Random thoughts are random
  • Happy Easter to those who celebrate it.
  • Unless my eyesight has deteriorated, there are no eggs in Terokkar this year. Sad druid is sad.
  • My favourite Alliance egg hunting zone at the moment is Dolannar. Check the bushes, especially around the graveyard which seems a little worrying. Zombie eggs?
  • My first attempt at making Simmel Cake for Easter turned out far better than I had hoped. Lovely and moist with a melted marzipan centre. Now I’m worried that I’m turning into my Mother.
  • You get too much experience from the Call to Arms: Warsong. At lv 77, you can get 150k for winning your first game of the day. Given that you can win in 10 minutes or so, there is no way questing can compete with that. Subsequent winning games net around 75k for winning. Bear in mind that this doesn’t include the experience you get for each flag. It’s just what is handed out at the end.
  • Given the Warsong thing, I’m so glad I’m levelling a druid. Ticking off Warsong Achievements really quickly at the moment.
  • Starfall is amazing for midfield ganking, especially if people are too busy trying to focus the warrior with 20k health who is being healed.

Shared topic – A new beginning

The shared topic on Blog Azeroth this week is:

If you had the chance to start all over again in WoW, but your char is already level 80, or level 1 depending on if you like to level or not :>. What class would you pick? What race? What faction?
Why would you pick that class/race/faction?

And most of all what would you plan to do with it? Raid, PvP or just hang out in Dalaran?

It just fascinates me what people would do if they would be given the option to start all over again on the highest level, would you pick the same class you play now or would you make your secret wish of playing (say) a mage come true?

suggested by Pieces of  Blasting Away.

Whilst it’s not strictly a fresh start, I’ve done something like this recently. Our raiding guild collapsed just before Christmas and my adored priest had started to feel a little stagnant so my boyfriend and I rolled two little druids. We have both played druids before but this is the first time we’ve levelled the same class together.

We decided to level from scratch even though we both have lv 70 plus druids because we both enjoy levelling. The fact that Cataclysm is hovering like a dark cloud somewhere on the horizon also encouraged that decision. We wanted one last run through Azeroth as it currently is before things change. Besides that there is the “learntoplay syndrome”, I think levelling also gives you more time to improve and work on your play style. For example I’m playing Tansy as a Moonkin at the moment but none of my other druids have ever been anything other than feral or resto so its a whole new ball game. Figuring out what’s best for you is far better done at low levels than at 80 when people are 10 times more critical.

For faction we picked Alliance again. We’ve played Horde to lv 70 in the past and whilst we considered making Tauren druids, I’ve hated the Tauren cat form/colours ever since Blizzard introduced the new flavours. Yes, I know the old Tauren kittie model looked like the bastard child of a windrider and a plagued lion, but at least your fur colour didn’t play any part in the mix. Besides the cat/bear models look too male and aggressive for my tastes. It looks so wrong when that evil looking white cat with blue facepaint shifts unto a cute little female. So Nightelf it was, better colour flight form, acceptable hair/fur combinations for both cat and bear and of course access to our main’s gold without having to buy apples through the neutral AH for crazy amounts of money. Oh and mustn’t forget shadowmeld, which when combined with instant flightform makes levelling from 60 to 80 on a PvP server considerably more fun.

Why druids? We both love the flexible nature of the beast. One minute you can be shredding people to ribbons the next tanking an elite or a raid group. Flip out of chicken form and you can provide fairly decent healing in a variety of situations if you need to. One class offers four different rolls, if you bore of one, try something new without having to switch class.

Our future aims for them? Not 100 percent sure, get 80 for definite and then probably PvP. This late into an expansion I’ve no interest in doing any PvE other than the odd heroic so most likely they will make their home in battlegrounds.

Feathery thoughts on ganking, flying and Outlands

Random thoughts on Outlands and Druids.

Our druids hit lv 58.

For a brief happy moment, I really thought that BoA gear would solve my “I don’t want to look awful all the way to lv 68 and Northrend” issue. The first pair of pants I got was a pretty embroidered kilt which contrasted nicely with the shoulders/top. All forest greens and feathers. Next I got my bracers with their lush grasslike strands reaching up my wrists. I looked like a druid. A proper one.

Then my adored levelling partner bought me a present. New pants……

So this time I don’t look like the type of tramp who sleeps on the streets, now I look like the other type of tramp. Not sure that’s really progress.

In between questing, we’ve been doing a fair amount of Alterac Valley. What’s with the Moonkin hate? I’ve had people chasing my cute feathery butt right across the Field of Strife. Ignoring people on half health and low levels all ripe for the ganking just because they MUST kill the chicken. One charming Deathknight chased me from Tower Point all the way to Icewing Bunker at which point he ran into an thirty person Alliance raid and died, but even so (I’m not naturally cowardly, he just happened to be 8 levels higher than me) his loathing was palpable. Is it the size? I mean we do make temptingly large targets that even the most myopic Hordling can spot but to keep chasing to your doom…? What I need is something that shrinks me into a tiny ball of feathery doom. Wish you could attack whilst under the effects of the World Enlarger.

The other issue praying on my mind at the moment is flying mounts whilst leveling in Outlands. As a druid its awesome, pick-up quests, no problem just hover like a Harrier whilst you loot. You aren’t on the ground so the mobs don’t bother you as you steal parts from under their noses but it feels wrong. Need to kill a particular mob for a quest and oh look, he’s surrounded by twenty minions. Just land on his head, no need to kill anything else. It just seems to trivialise the game a bit. Sure, this is my 8th character to level through Outlands, so yes, I’ve seen it all before, read the quest text, bought the tabard but at the back of my mind it  smacks of cheating.

I could just ride everywhere on my mount, but since we’ve done more than our fair share of World PvP recently… that could be dangerous. The number of people who bring their mains after one death in a fair fight really surprise me. I suppose because even when a lv 80 kills my alts, I’m rarely mad enough to bring my main. After all, I picked to play on a PvP server and besides riding around on an 80 trying to find whoever killed you is mostly a complete waste of time. Then of course as the video link illustrates, just because you bring your main doesn’t mean you’ll be able to avenge your alt. Especially now everyone lv 60 and above is flying high on their mounts. Which leads me back to flightform, yes I feel slightly dirty everytime I hibernate/root whatever is guarding my mine, take the ore and then shadowmeld and fly off. I feel bad swooping down on top of mobs or some little Troll and starfiring them before they even realise I’m there.. but it could become addictive very fast. It’s like eating sweets before dinner, you know it’s wrong but at the time as the sugar dissolves in your mouth it feels so right.

Mark of the Wild

First, the Gnomeling has re-enabled WoW. It turns out he couldn’t stand watching me PvP alone any longer, which is rather sweet. Especially since the final straw was when my priest got smothered by 90 percent of the opposing team in Arathi Basin and died rather fast. I’m really not sure what difference his presence would have made.

So we have finally got around to making our two little druids (his 4th and my 3rd). Which brings me to the rant bit. So you make your brand new character and start running around whatever flavour start zone goes with your race but nothing attacks you unless you smack it first. Perhaps fair enough for the first few quests, break new players in gently, but quest after quest, still facing yellow mobs seems a little unfair. I remember the days (you know the ones, when warlocks had to climb mountains barefoot in search of elusive soulshards and ret paladins were rare and fabled beasties that everyone had a story about, but no one had actually seen one) when that spider cave on Teldrassil was a dark and dangerous place. Each and every step inside had to be tentative, drop your guard once and flock of spiders would leap on your face. Now you can saunter through the place, hands in pockets whistling and they don’t even stop and look at you.

Having battled your way through a horde of green hairy limbs, you came to face with Mummy Spider. Big teeth, bad attitude… not any more. Now she’s more than happy to stand by whilst evil little elves make off with her eggs.

A candidate for Azeroth's most careless Mother award?

A candidate for Azeroth's worst Mother competition?

Now I don’t particularly like whining about how much harder the game used to be or how Blizzard have sold out to Casuals (a favourite refrain of some of my ex-guildmates) but I do think this creates a bit of a false impression. When the majority of mobs make a beeline for you, all teeth and claws, having this sense of kindergarten til lv 5 seems a bit too much. Githylss should be vile and nasty and fond of biting your face off, after all she’s a mother being robbed of her children, not to mention a rather large spider and the first challenge nightelves  face. Once you leave the safety of whichever start zone your new character calls home, the world becomes a much scarier place. Maybe our training leads should come off a little sooner.

TLDR version of above: Make Githylss vile again. Mobs with names should make you tremble as you sneak closer, not giggle as you waltz past.

The second thing which has been annoying me recently is heirlooms. Now I somewhat naively assumed that everyone would have heirlooms (well not everyone but certainly the majority) and that idea has swiftly been proved false. We entered WSG at lv 16 for some fun and much to our surprise discovered we had by far the most health. In some cases twice as much and that was without needing to go bear. Now, I’m against a two tier system. It hardly seems fair that just because this isn’t my first character, I can have far better second hand gear in a competitive PvP environment. After all, its not like I farmed the gear on the character who is wearing it, a la lv 80s. If Blizzard had wanted to give an experience boost to people rolling through content on alts, they could have just made that aspect of the heirloom gear into something like an armour patch which you could buff onto a character. So yes you would  level faster but the playing field isn’t so screwed in other ways.

Leading on from that is my third annoyance of the week. People who enter battlegrounds at lv 10, particularly those with sub 250 health. Apart from getting in the way, they don’t usually bring anything to the battle. Well, apart from being cannon fodder of course. I wish Blizzard had increased the number of battleground brackets, so that it went 10-14 and 15-19, 20-24, 25-29 etc. The difference between a lv 10 and a lv 19, especially when the latter is wearing heirloom gear and the former isn’t, is just too big.

Butter wouldn't melt in our mouths

My heirloom gear looks better than his, although I have to admit I don’t look particularly druidic or at one with nature.

Anti Druid Goggles

It really should come as no surprise that when you view the Alliance Faction Champions through the Belbi’s Eyesight Enhancing goggles that this is what you see…

druiddiscrimmationIs it just me that finds it odd that the shape shifting class aren’t allowed to have any fun with random shape shifting items. That even the NPCs seem to be suffering from the whole druid plus Noggenfogger = unfair duels whinefest of 05/06. I really don’t see why outside arenas, transforming effects can’t work on druids. Maybe in Cataclysm…

For the rose has thorns

Now that the only remaining unconquered content is Yogg 0, its time to break out the alts. First to be transferred was my little kitty druid Briarrose.

Now I haven’t really played her since the new cat/bear forms were introduced so this was the first time I had a good look at her new flash looking fur. She looks more like a domesticated house cat than a ferocious wild beast.

briarrose01

Briarrose would be perfectly at home in Silvermoon City being dragged around on a ornate silver chain by some Bloodelf. Lying on a stack of cushions and purring for treats, extra loud for gnome snacks. Then there is the jewellery. I mean going into battle wearing necklaces and trinkets doesn’t seem like the most practical idea ever. Don’t think I’d like being strangled by my own fashion accessories and a cat wearing ankle bracelets.. come on.

You enter a battleground and spot a bright pink cat. Its possible you could think a variety of things from “oh poor kitty got lost” to “lol who wants to pvp looking like a cuddly toy” and no doubt several far ruder and more critical things. However you aren’t going to be trembling in your shiny boots. No fearsome Orc warrior is going to stare down a plush toy and blink first. It just wouldn’t happen.

Its bad enough when seen by itself, but when you put Nightelves and Taurens together, our shame becomes much more apparent. Tauren cats have evil written all over them and ooze bad assness from every pore. They look mean and aggressive, just waiting to rip your throat out and we look half asleep.

On a slightly related note I want a tree form that looks like this, autumnal. Anyone else find it odd that the current model for the “Tree of Life” looks half dead? They should have gone for brighter colours.

treeoflifeshouldbe01

First order of business once I can bring myself to look at her without giggling  is dealing with the epic flying raven quest line and then I need to figure out what easily craftable gear I can make myself in readiness for hitting 80.

Have a break, have a Kit Kat

Still no instance servers for anything other than raids unless you are willing to run backwards and forwards for up to hours on end. Unfortunately bouncing doesnt seem to help at all and the movement ends up giving me motion sickness, so I’ve shelved that idea for the time being. The new flavour of the month battleground is the Isle of Conquest which I already find disappointng, partly because despite it having such epic possibilities the tactic on Misery EU at least is simple:

The majority of both sides rush the hangar. The one with the most healers/superior firepower wins and gets on their airship. Defending is for sissies and the bored guy up a tower semi afk  reading porn. The side that got the airship plants bombs til gate explodes, meanwhile the opposing side are off having a picnic somewhere not interfering because thats not cricket. The gatedown side then kill the boss. This usually takes 8 to 10 minutes and completely avoids the point of a battleground, i.e. Player versus Player. Its only remaining plus point is that the Alliance boss is the totally awesome High Commander Halford Wyrmbane, he of the 7th Legion previously found hanging out in Dragonblight. Although given his speech:

Through the valleys and peaks of Mount Hyjal, across the shifting sands of Silithus, against the Legion’s dread armies – we have fought. We are the nameless, faceless, sons and daughters of the Alliance. By the Light and by the might of the Alliance, the first strike belongs to us and the last strike is all that our enemies see.

We are 7th Legion

given when you talk to him in Dragonblight its pretty disappointing that his Keep seems to be made of paper and that he goes down like a stone even when faced with the puniest of enemies.

Alterac Valley is now comprised of 32 people not lv 80 and 8 stupid/insane lv 80s trying to carry them to victory (Ok, thats data based on one battleground, but why let accuracy stand in the way of a good bitch). Which I have to admit I find a bit offensive. Don’t get me wrong, I help guildmates out with boosting instance runs (at least I did when we could get the servers) and I’ll help people with elite quests if I’m passing etc, but I really dislike the principle of having to work four times as hard in a battleground to carry people I don’t know through level.

Which brings me to the title of this post. Am I quiting, of course not. I’m far too addicted, plus my GM would hunt me down and slaughter me. So, in order to take my mind off annoying battlegrounds and unavailable instance servers I decided to make a new druid. Now I already have two sitting at lv 51 and 71 respectively, one horde and one alliance. However neither are on my current server and in this particular case, its more about the journey than the destination, starting at lv 1 made the most sense (to me at least).

So Thalia was born. Which give me one last thing to moan about, Heirloom items. Ok, so Thalia was born with a silver spoon in her mouth, lucky her. But what about people who don’t have the luxury of a main with badges to spare on that particular server? WoW by its a very nature will never been balanced at the top, those with the most time to spend will always have better gear faster than the rest. However I feel pretty strongily that the getting to that level cap part should always be fairly balanced. However it seems like Blizzard are doing the complete opposite. On the one hand they are trying to level the playing field at 80 by making epics and raid content more accessible, yet they unbalance at it lower levels by making it easier and faster to level successive characters on the same server.

thaliaCan’t help thinking the new bearform looks rather dumb, rather like a circus bear all dressed up for other’s amusement rather than some fearsome force of nature.

Anyway thats the all the negative energy purged from my mind (for this week) at least. I intend to write some much less whiny posts encompassing stuff like my 5 favourite underused NPCs, the joys of low level battlegrounds without twinks (on Thalia) and possibly some useful stuff about raiding as a priest (but probably not), oh and more screenshots, lots more screenshots of random shiny stuff.

Hello Kitty

kittyI always wanted to be a pink kitten. Pretty sure I have a plush toy that looks rather like the pink and white one hidden away somewhere.

Much to my surprise I actually like all of them but its like the tauren cats are all male and the nightelf ones are all female which is a bit weird considering most gamers are male.  If “My little pony” came with a pet cat, it would be the same hues as these. Lovely in a little girl’s bedroom but slightly out of place when a male nightelf shapeshifts.

This sounds so horribly ungrateful but

I hate the new Alliance bear forms. The yellow glowing eyes give a slightly rabid look and I loathe the brightly coloured sideburns. I don’t want to look like some weird experimental cross between Elvis and a polar bear.

bearforms

My biggest issue however is, what if I really like a certain cat form but loathe its corresponding bearform. Am I going to have a pick an acceptable middle ground that I’m not too keen on but at least I don’t get embarressed about having to go bear/cat. Then there is hair colour. My little druid still has the hair colour she was made with, it goes part way to defining her and looking at these pictures I feel shes going to have to hit the hair dye.

briarrose01As you can see from this picture of her taken one frosty morning in the Borean Tundra her hair colour is probably best described as teal. Its a colour I happen to like a lot and one she’s been happy with for the last three years. However looking at the picture above, I can’t help but think the one on the bottom left is likely to be what she will morph into and its my least favourite of the lot. If I had to pick one, it would be the bottom right so already I have a dilemma and we haven’t even seen the cat form ones yet.

Looks like my dual spec will be boomkin/resto.

Edit: The boyfriend thinks she will be the bottom right so all whine is temporarily suspended til the cat ones are released.

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