The curious case of the missing tick

I was playing around with WoWhead’s Cataclysmic data and I noticed something horrible. Renew on the beta only lasts 12 seconds down from the 15 it is on live.

A quick check of rejuvenation indicated the same thing, the level 85 rank has a 12 second duration.

If this goes live, it seems as if Blizzard are intent on stamping out pre-hotting one way or another.

Also

Healthstones are good and good players use them. If bad players continue to ignore Lightwell, we can live with that. If it becomes as useful as a Healthstone, perfect.

Also note that ignoring a Healthstone (or Lightwell) will be essentially like casting a mana drain on your healer, which is not the case today.

If Lightwell worked the same way as a Healthstone I would use them all the time. If the Lightwell went down before the fight began and people could collect a little beam of light to use whenever they needed, every Holy Priest would take Lightwell. However since that is not the case, two are not comparable.

I’m also a little worried about the implications of that statement. Holy Priests are the only healing spec burdened with a Lightwell so are we going to be the only ones suffering from these “mana drains” because our regen model is designed around people using it (even though it’s an optional talent which the majority of people hate)? Or are raids expected to bring a Lightwell and Healthstones as well as Health pots and bandages? Either way I have mixed feelings about Cataclysm and healing already.

Cataclysm – New Druid Talent Trees

So Blizzard released another draft of their proposed talent trees. I’m not going to go into details, the information can be found here if you are interested. I just want to jump around with joy. I realise it may not go live like this but you can’t blame a girl for being excited and hoping. What’s the reason for my excitement?

Feral charge is back down on the third tier of feral. 11 points into the tree so my resto builds can once again include it for PvP. Yay. All through Vanilla this was a staple of my druid build and I’m so happy at the thought of having it back again.

The added icing on the cake is the fact that you could technically pick up both feral charge and solar beam (the balance silence which is also 11 points in) whilst having a decent resto build.

In which I disagree with Ghostcrawler

Raising the cooldown on spells like Wild Growth and Circle of Healing are good things for healers. It’s one of the few* things that will buy you GCDs to actually cast other spells. With a 6 sec cooldown, you really only get to cast maybe 3-5 other spells before you need to hit that magic button again.

Just No.

Am I alone in finding this insulting and patronising? I’ve healed on both druids and priests prior to the wild growth/coh cooldown addition and I used other spells. In fact I use whatever spell I believe to be the correct one in any situation. Healing, to me at least is about understanding the mechanics of any given fight and then reacting appropriately, whether that’s pre-hotting when you know damage is coming or getting a serendipity stack ready for a fast Prayer of Healing. It is not about using abilities when they come off cooldown because you will probably need them again in 10 seconds time.

What about other healers? Will it still be acceptable for Shamans to get the bulk of their healing from chain heal and possibly healing rain, or can we expect to see a cooldown appear on chain heal because they aren’t using their new shiny Healing Wave enough? Is the plan really to force us to cast heals which might be second best in any given situation just because they don’t want bad players just using one heal. I suppose I find this even more unacceptable given the fact we are meant to be struggling for mana come Cataclysm. So our AoE heals get an increased cooldown and we’re meant to use less efficient clunkier spells in an environment where mana might be an issue? That sounds slightly counter productive to me.

When you take away healing choices, you make the game less interesting and less interactive. I’ve played all five healing specs at one point or another and I’ve raided cutting edge content on all of them. For me, playing a Paladin and a Shaman with their smaller toolboxes was boring.  The vast range of spells available to the Priest and Druid is what drew me to the classes in the first place and I really don’t want to be in the position of having 10 spells but you can only cast in them in a certain sequence because they all have cooldowns.

I realise there will always be people who want to spam one spell over and over again all the way to epics and that those people shouldn’t be encouraged but there are other ways to make spells less attractive. Perhaps an arcane blast type debuff, where if you cast wildgrowth/circle of healing twice in a 8 second window, the mana cost increases exponentially. Maybe each time you cast it without using another spell inbetween your spirit decreases, 10 percent the first time, 20 the second and so on. So if you need to use those spells, you can but they come with a down side. Anything but an arbitrary cooldown please.

Yes, Cataclysm isn’t even in beta yet but pre-emptive whining is always better than saying nothing (and far more fun). It might turn out just fine, after all we have no idea about how those spells will scale nor what raid encounters will look like. However I really dislike in principle the idea that healers should have rotations and/or cooldowns. On our first hardmode 25 man Anub’arak kill we lost half our healers at around 8 percent. The three remaining healers, myself included struggled on juggling global cooldowns in an attempt to keep our 2 tanks, ourselves and enough dpsers alive to kill him. Somehow we managed and to me, that’s what makes healing epic. The fact that we could given the freedom to pick and choose our spells, manage to keep enough people alive to win. We had choices and we made the right ones. Taking away that choice diminishes healing and makes the game less appealing.

Having read this though, I’m really interested in how chakras will work out for Holy Priests. I’m sure I read somewhere a Blue saying that they were considering a cooldown for Prayer of Healing and it sounds like Circle of Healing is getting a bigger one, so exactly how are Holy meant to ramp up their AoE chakras? Obviously if they manage to get it working, there are some really potentially cool things they could do, for example once you are fully chakra-ed up for AoE healing, perhaps the cooldown and cost of those spells could come down a bit. Wonder if Holy Nova will be getting a cooldown by the time we make it out of beta. Anyone care to bet?

The Ghostcrawler quote comes from this thread here.

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.

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