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Going Forward: Cataclysm Discussion

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Druid preview is up and linked in the first post. Keep things unretarded, this is my Friday night you're going to screw up if not and I will have no problem throttling you for several days if you piss me off. You've been warned. Discuss intelligently, thanks.

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-The movement buffs (Now have seen them for Shamans, Priests and Druids) keep on coming. Blizz also referred to them as group utility rather than PvP buffs. Seems like there is a definite push towards a much greater degree of movement in fights moving forward.

-Magic Mushrooms seem to play right into this as well. Again, second ability (along with the new Warrior bleed) that is keyed in on movement to trigger the attack.

-Resto changes were pretty minimal, but I think everyone knew that coming in, as Druids have probably the most versatile toolbox to meet their role of HoT-based healing. Good change to move Tree to a cooldown and bake the healing bonuses in as passive (and new tree art, yay). Pure speculation, but it may meet the role of the Tank cooldown ala Pain Supression.

-I think the HoT haste mechanics are still the most interesting change to Cataclysm resto druids.

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Tree of Life becoming a cooldown ability is something I hoped for but didn't expect them to do especially after mentioning designing an updated graphic for it. Hopefully they will work out something more interesting than just more healing while in the form but without more information we cannot really say much about that aspect.

Mastery being an equivalent of Deep Healing for HoTs seems acceptable although it'll put more emphasis on prehotting than I would like. Efflorescence seems cool in concept however I retain my dislike for casting a spell for a secondary talented effect so I'll have to wait and see on how they end up amending some of our toolkit before passing judgment there.

Their mention of Lifebloom in regards to tank healing has brought up some hopes they will think about it this time despite the huge disparity between the tick value and tank health these days and no doubt upcoming in Cataclysm - one aspect I have always thought of as a useful possibility is having it have a secondary effect that increases healing by direct spells on the target of your LB so that while the spell itself is not incredibly strong it works well with targets that need consistent and strong healing (tanks). Alas again until we see their intentions and base changes to spells it's hard to discuss much more on that.

Not many changes or much information but that was pretty much expected, at least nothing bad came about :) the lack of a mention about a targetted defensive cooldown is fine to me because that game is really a horrible concept and with tanks not in risk of dying in 2-3 hits the whole reliance on it should be fairly well reduced and it becomes a non-issue for healers without them.

I have some concerns with how they will handle hots that scale with both haste and crit combined with the mastery enhancing hots further and the stated "players will not be at full health as often". I don't think it will be as bad as how Lifebloom got treated to from Sunwell->Wrath but I don't expect to get away feeling unscathed either - a necessary but unpopular decision bound to cloud a lot of useful feedback during the beta will arise I'm sure.

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As balance I'm quite excited by the concept of Wild Mushroom, will be interesting to get some more details on that as they come about. I'm curious to see wether there will be a limit on the amount of 'active mushrooms' you can have out at once; my first assumption would be just 1, but nothing was mentioned in the post, hopefully it'll come up in the FAQ. Regardless it'll be interesting to have another spell to cast during movement.

My initial reaction to the new eclipse mechanic was positive, but then after thinking about it I was surprised to see no changes to Nature's Grace mentioned. It's only a preview and alot is likely to change but I would be disappointed to think there would still be so many issues with haste as a balance stat at 85.

Eclipse has always been something unique to Balance druids though and I'm glad to see it staying that way, I was worried about it becoming a very boring talent and hugely simplifying the rotation.

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Initial thoughts based on the preview:

Thrash sounds like a logical extra button for bear aoe tanking. Unsure from the description if it would have a use for single targets.

Stampeding Roar has a pretty steep cooldown and will be a pvp spell that's only rarely used in pve. If it were used often in pve, it would be something necessary, and since it's entirely unique to feral druids (I don't really count the priest run-speed-with-shield thing) that won't be the case.

Wild Mushroom sounds like a horrible gimmicky mess that would only be useful for pvp. With no cooldown and no debuff/dot/whatever, it would be used as your entire AoE or not at all depending on its damage vs. Hurricane (or the small possibility of Typhoon mixed in, depending on if they want Typhoon to be more useful in pve). As a primary AoE, launch-detonate-launch-detonate would be incredibly annoying.

With shamans getting an aoe HoT and chain heal, druids not getting a new spell feels a little lame. I'm guessing rejuv/wg blanketing will continue.

ToL as a cooldown was hinted at already, and I pretty much expected it. Hopefully they come up with something good for it, like absorbs added to all healing done (tree? bark? toughness? I think it works).

Efflorescence should also apply to nourish, IMO.

The changes to eclipse sound like a new, unique, and fun way to implement the current eclipse concept without the RNG element. Bravo on this one.

Savage Defense as a mastery makes perfect sense. Bears innately lack mitigation, and this is a great way for them to stack it, even on their leather dps gear.

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As a feral these changes are nice but not particularly exciting. Thrash has been hinted at and asked for in various forms since WotLK beta, but it's not a particularly exciting change. Cats being able to do more damage when mangling is nice but again, nothing exciting. Having a kick/pummel analogue is another nice thing.

Essentially ferals appear to largely have gotten the same treatment that they did going from BC to WotLK, which is to fix up class issues that were a problem in the previous content but not give significant changes to the actual class such that it was new or interesting. I was truly hoping ferals would get something on the order of camo, smoke bomb or heroic leap; even if those aren't raid-useful, they're fun, new abilities that do something very different.

I'm also disappointed that savage defense is sticking around. Hopefully they'll have revamped it considerably from its current clunky, unintuitive system.

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I have to say I'm very pleased with our preview, if nothing else just due to getting out of tree form and being able to better use roots and cyclones.

For the feral kind Thrash surprised me a bit, but if bleeds increase swipe damage by the way of talents that means at least one more button for tanking multiple mobs. An easy to use interrupt is something ferals have needed for a long time in my opinion and I'm happy to see it even if it does make classes more the same on that front (I expect Paladins to get that too). Stampeding Roar will be situational of course, but another unique take on group utility.

Moonkin-wise I'm not really experienced enough to judge how much an improvement the new Eclipse will be but hopefully the meter will move differently on crits versus nomal hits so it won't just be a mathed out strict rotation. Shroom throwing sounds fun and something resto druids can chug too before an add wave or the like.

I was surprised to not see Healing Touch mentioned with regards to tank healing, but of course it is just a preview and hopefully they reintroduce the spell to our arsenal.

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Hopefully they clarify Eclipse in another post. From that small description, it sounds like it will just be a 1 Wrath to 1 Starfire ratio? They specifically said "to maintain the balance", which seems like you want to keep the new UI's dial in the middle? And how will mastery rating from gear affect Eclipse? There has to be some RNG in there somewhere, but I guess this way is better than the current 15sec time frame.

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I was surprised to not see Healing Touch mentioned with regards to tank healing, but of course it is just a preview and hopefully they reintroduce the spell to our arsenal.

Good point, now that you mention it. They only offhandedly mentioned lifebloom for tank healing. I kind of expected more emphasis on HT as a large throughput nuke like Greater Heal, Greater Healing Wave etc. will be. Maybe we'll be moving a little back towards the BC days of being supportive tank healing and "cushioning the blow" for other healers. Or, maybe propping up nourish will continue to be the order of the day.

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Hopefully they clarify Eclipse in another post. From that small description, it sounds like it will just be a 1 Wrath to 1 Starfire ratio? They specifically said "to maintain the balance", which seems like you want to keep the new UI's dial in the middle?And how will mastery rating from gear affect Eclipse? There has to be some RNG in there somewhere, but I guess this way is different from a 15sec time frame.

From the description of Nature's Torrent "moving the eclipse meter more", I'm not reading it as a binary thing at all. We're probably looking at something like 3 casts of each (or two with NT). I'm picturing it working like the ideal rotation would be to move it all the way to one extreme, then swap spells and move it all the way to the extreme on the other end. You could mix that up if, say, a mob was near death and you wanted the stronger nuke even though it wasn't fully "powered up" yet.

Edit: or you could spend 2/3 of your time using one school, having the eclipse meter move from (for example) middle to left to middle to left again. It's going to be very interesting to see what happens.

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The only downside I see to losing Tree of Life as a permanent form will be the inability to shift into Tree while already a tree (/cast !Tree of Life) to break snares. It's a minor complaint and can be remedied with new macros that use bear or cat but it will be a difference between the other specs and Restoration.

Healing Touch was mentioned while I was writing this but I'll mostly be watching to see if they tinker with Tranquility. While HT has a spot in our toolbox with NS, Tranquility simply has too long of a cooldown and too narrow of a focus for any regular use.

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No mention of fixing Tranquility (I was hoping for it to become a raid cooldown for us). Would have been nice to have a targeted Barkskin also.

These sorts of changes are possible at a later point, of course, as they are existing spells.

Regrowth may become a 'raid heal clumped targets' spell, due to the talent.

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Hopefully they clarify Eclipse in another post. From that small description, it sounds like it will just be a 1 Wrath to 1 Starfire ratio? They specifically said "to maintain the balance", which seems like you want to keep the new UI's dial in the middle?

And how will mastery rating from gear affect Eclipse?

My assumption was the opposite: (with made up numbers)

-Start at +0% bonus

-Every time you cast a nature spell you get a +10% damage bonus to Arcane

-Cast Wrath 10 times

-Your next 10 Starfires will be +100% damage, +90% damage, etc etc.

-Once you get down to 0, start casting Wrath again to build up your meter.

Probably will have an added wrinkle somewhere, but that would mimic the Eclipse of WotLK without being based on hidden cooldowns or wasting the buff if you had to move.

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As a feral these changes are nice but not particularly exciting. Thrash has been hinted at and asked for in various forms since WotLK beta, but it's not a particularly exciting change. Cats being able to do more damage when mangling is nice but again, nothing exciting. Having a kick/pummel analogue is another nice thing.

Essentially ferals appear to largely have gotten the same treatment that they did going from BC to WotLK, which is to fix up class issues that were a problem in the previous content but not give significant changes to the actual class such that it was new or interesting. I was truly hoping ferals would get something on the order of camo, smoke bomb or heroic leap; even if those aren't raid-useful, they're fun, new abilities that do something very different.

I'm also disappointed that savage defense is sticking around. Hopefully they'll have revamped it considerably from its current clunky, unintuitive system.

This pretty much sums up my thoughts. None of the big changes were particularly surprising, the main ones could have been predicted by anyone who had played a druid for more than a few weeks. Stampeding Roar could have been an interesting ability if it were given to a class that didn't already have sprint/dash, it is a cooldown that does provide unique utility and I don't doubt it will be very useful in quite a lot of situations, it just seems we could of been given something a little more fun.

Wild Mushroom seems to me like a concept that Blizzard liked but really didn't find a proper use for. I don't really see what this ability does for the balance tree at all.

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My assumption was the opposite: (with made up numbers)

-Start at +0% bonus

-Every time you cast a nature spell you get a +10% damage bonus to Arcane

-Cast Wrath 10 times

-Your next 10 Starfires will be +100% damage, +90% damage, etc etc.

-Once you get down to 0, start casting Wrath again to build up your meter.

Probably will have an added wrinkle somewhere, but that would mimic the Eclipse of WotLK without being based on hidden cooldowns or wasting the buff if you had to move.

Except that once you're at the endpoint, there's no reason to move back to center. Alternating SF/Wrath will give you 100% extra damage on half of your casts. If you cast back to center, you'll get an average of 50% across your next 10 casts, but then you'll have to cast 10 0% wraths to get back up.

Finding an implementation that actually encourages moving between center and an endpoint isn't easy. Not to mention finding an implementation that encourages moving back and forth between both endpoints.

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As a Resto Druid, I kind of wanted something about Healing Touch and Tranquility, two spells that currently have almost no use where others have a well-defined (if narrow) one. And the information is meager at best, what Efflorescence is supposed to do? Regrowth heals more? Or is it a healing Consecrate-like ability?

Tree of Life could become our 'save-the-tank' talent with these changes.

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My assumption was the opposite: (with made up numbers)

-Start at +0% bonus

-Every time you cast a nature spell you get a +10% damage bonus to Arcane

-Cast Wrath 10 times

-Your next 10 Starfires will be +100% damage, +90% damage, etc etc.

-Once you get down to 0, start casting Wrath again to build up your meter.

Probably will have an added wrinkle somewhere, but that would mimic the Eclipse of WotLK without being based on hidden cooldowns or wasting the buff if you had to move.

This new Eclipse appears to be a lot more, shall we say userfriendly. It is now a planable effects rather than a chance. For instance a fight with definate burst phases would cater extremely well to this. Say BQL just before a bite, there you stack up whichever side is best and unleash hell when needed. Or if you know a lot of adds are coming you build up the Nature side and blow them away with Hurricane... Hmm, then one should expect IS and MF to be affected as well.

They do need to explain how long the meter stays on one side. Until formchange? Until out of combat? Set number of seconds/minutes? Doesn't reset?

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Except that once you're at the endpoint, there's no reason to move back to center. Alternating SF/Wrath will give you 100% extra damage on half of your casts. If you cast back to center, you'll get an average of 50% across your next 10 casts, but then you'll have to cast 10 0% wraths to get back up.

Finding an implementation that actually encourages moving between center and an endpoint isn't easy. Not to mention finding an implementation that encourages moving back and forth between both endpoints.

I don't know that it's necessarily needed to find an implementation where you use both endpoints in the same fight, as long as they get balance druids to use more than one set of spells it might be fine to only use one half of the meter so to say, the choice being made by whether you favour the arcane or nature side which could come down to encounter, gear, talent setup or something else.

I agree though that pushing the needle to max and then alternating starfire and wrath (for simplification) is likely not what they are going for. It might be something like that it takes fewer casts to empty the meter than to fill it up, or that Nature's Torrent takes big chunks out of it.

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Interesting that there is no mention of our dots benefiting from haste and crit innately, as compared to the trend of the other classes with Dots previewed so far.

Also with the eclipse change, it says the bonus is by damage type not by specific spells. I can only imaging the horrors of theorycrafting when to moonfire or insect swarm as to not swing the bonus around irregularly without your direct control.

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Finding an implementation that actually encourages moving between center and an endpoint isn't easy. Not to mention finding an implementation that encourages moving back and forth between both endpoints.
Yeah, they left out the important part(s). Perhaps you don't gain any increased damage until you hit "full moon" or "full sun", at which point your meter goes back to "balanced" and you gain a short buff that increases Nature or Arcane damage? There would have to be an ICD to convince you to swap between sun and moon. How will they add mastery into this? Each cast has a chance (increased by mastery rating) to move the meter? That sounds just like WotLK's Eclipse with a bit more control.

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Interesting that there is no mention of our dots benefiting from haste and crit innately, as compared to the trend of the other classes with Dots previewed so far.

Clarified by Ghostcrawler just now.

Most hots and dots, including druid ones, will benefit from haste and crit. The exceptions are things like Deep Wounds and Ignite, which are already tied to crit.

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Except that once you're at the endpoint, there's no reason to move back to center. Alternating SF/Wrath will give you 100% extra damage on half of your casts. If you cast back to center, you'll get an average of 50% across your next 10 casts, but then you'll have to cast 10 0% wraths to get back up.

Finding an implementation that actually encourages moving between center and an endpoint isn't easy. Not to mention finding an implementation that encourages moving back and forth between both endpoints.

I can see your point. The quick-and-dirty interpretation would be to get the meter moved all the way in one direction and then alternate your fully-eclipsed spell with your other spell to keep the meter full. The easy fix that comes to mind would be to have a short cooldown after an eclipsed spell is cast (read: only when the spell is powered up) that prevents the opposite spell from affecting the eclipse meter. I guess we'll see what they come up with.

And how will mastery rating from gear affect Eclipse?

It will improve the damage gained from eclipsed spellcasts, presumably.

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I can see your point. The quick-and-dirty interpretation would be to get the meter moved all the way in one direction and then alternate your fully-eclipsed spell with your other spell to keep the meter full. The easy fix that comes to mind would be to have a short cooldown after an eclipsed spell is cast (read: only when the spell is powered up) that prevents the opposite spell from affecting the eclipse meter. I guess we'll see what they come up with.

Right. I haven't even figured out an implementation yet that doesn't just encourage 1-1 swapping. I assume that Blizzard has, because they've had time to work on it (we've known Eclipse was changing for months now), and I'd like to know what it is. Until we get clarification, though, I'm good with puzzling it out on my own (or collectively).

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I'm wondering if it'll end up being similar to Arcane Blast; casting Wrath boosts the damage of your next Arcane spell, then it resets back to zero after you use it.

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Sounds like cats are getting quite a boost between mangle damage getting buffed, a kick, bonus bleeding from mastery, and haste and crit on bleeds--presumably removing Primal Gore as a talent.

I do wonder how they plan to both add haste to bleeds and make the cat rotation easier--it likely will mean more Rakes will be necessary without at least 34% haste (to get one extra tick). Rip will, thankfully, get a giant boost without a huge amount of micromanagement.

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