It’s been awhile since I’ve done one of these types of updates. I could probably tell you I didn’t have much to say – but since I often did updates that were almost completely devoid of WoW information, I’m not sure that’s entirely true. I think it would probably be more accurate to say that I’ve been busy…and lazy. I mean I could have easily offered an update on any number of things, but when I had my down time I simply found I wanted to do something other than write! As harsh is that might sound…honesty is best! (Right? RIGHT?!).
Whatever! I have both time and desire to write at this moment, as well as things to say! So I suppose that we should get to that before I lose any of the above.
Wait, what?! (It’s okay, I know that you are probably thinking it, I can hear the wheels turning from here!). Remember that post about the 5.3 PTR I did the other day? The one where I said I had reason to believe that I’d probably have a little more to say about druids as we moved forward? No? Okay, perhaps we should start from the beginning here. Read the rest of this entry »
Yesterday there were some Druid changes announced for the PTR. While these aren’t guaranteed to make it to live, I still think that it’s valuable to explore them and consider what the changes will do, and any potential consequences that may arise as a result. As such, let’s take a look at what we might be seeing here in the next couple of weeks!
Ironbark now has a cooldown of 60 seconds, down from 2 minutes.
While it could be argued that this wasn’t strictly necessary, it is a very nice change that I’m in favor of seeing. While a lot of people view this as a “tank” CD, I’ve often found use for it on members of the raid that are in danger. Being able to use it more freely in this regard is going to be quite nice and a very strong update to the ability itself. I think it’s a very good change and I’m happy to see it go in – hopefully everyone will be a little more aggressive in using it!
Swiftmend’s area-of-effect component now heals injured allies within 10 yards, up from 8 yards.
While I’m happy to see an increase in range, I’ve long since taken the stance that I’m either throwing this on melee, I’m using it on myself and positioning it where I want it, or I’m using it on the tank (or someone else not grouped up) and may not be taking full effect of the ground effect. It’s nice that it’s bigger, I just don’t see it really having a huge effect on the ability overall. I could be wrong and the extra two yards could be profound! I’m just not certain that is going to be the case. Either way, it’s not a bad change. So, yay?!
Wild Mushroom: Bloom now heals all allies within 10 yards (up from 8 yards) for 100% more, and includes bonus healing from Rejuvenation overhealing.
This change is very interesting. While I’m not entirely thrilled that they still haven’t fixed the main issue with this ability (the extremely clunky targeting mechanic) I’m also not positive that this change, as it stands, is going to go live. Ghostcrawler clarified that both the base healing and the bonus rejuv healing is getting increased by 100% – and, well, that has the potential to be just ridiculous!
Right now a set of fully charged mushrooms can pack a punch – just placing them, charging them and blooming them is incredibly cumbersome and heavily penalized if your raid has to move after they’ve been placed/charged. With the buff, this will be even more true than it was before. Not only that, but the amount of healing mushrooms will now have the potential to unleash is going to be enormous. Like mind blowing levels of enormous. Like I’d be surprised if this pushes to live like this enormous.
That being said, if the change makes it I think it supports using your mushrooms singularly when your raid isn’t clumped up. Right now, on certain fights, I’m already just placing them under ranged or lining them up along the path the raid will be moving.
I do worry a little bit if such a big change doesn’t risk running them back towards rotational. I also dislike the fact that they encourage some poor healing to maximize their effectiveness (much in the same way I disliked the original version of Harmony). I also worry that they are going to become so much of our healing that we are going to be slow to see any changes to them (if we ever were to begin with), simply because druids will be making even more concerted efforts to use them. I suppose we will have to wait and see how it plays out. I would very much like to see some mechanical changes to the ability emerge, but it seems like Blizzard is very hesitant to head in that direction to date.
(And yes, I still hate mushrooms. So very much. I don’t care how much healing they do, until they are less cumbersome to use I will always take issue with them!)
Tranquility now targets 12 raid members (up from 5) each time it heals when used in a 25-player instance. This change also applies to players using the Symbiosis version of Tranquility.
This is a very nice change to tranquility and a buff I do think is needed to the ability. It’s very cool that they are opting to adjust it based on raid size so that it mirrors what it is able to achieve in a smaller setting. I am happy to see this change go in, and I hope that it is a buff that makes it live.
That being said…I don’t really feel that this change is going to solve much in regards to Druid woes. I talked a bit about this a couple of posts ago – but I feel it’s important to reiterate. Throughput is not the number one issue facing druids right now. Is that our toolkit is ill equipped to deal with today’s healing environment and that mitigation healing is so dominant that it stomps on the potential effectiveness of throughput healers. Sure, it’s going to promote slightly higher throughput in the situations that we utilize it – but I suspect in the big scheme of things it’s not going to be make or break (I’m hesitant to say it will have a negligible effect, because I don’t think that’s entirely true, I just don’t think it’s going to all of the sudden right resto druids).
Overall, I think these are good changes.
While I’d like to see more to even out the mitigation vs. throughput playing field I’m not really sure this patch is the place we’d see that play out. I will also admit that I was hoping for a little more relative to Ghostcrawler’s “druid changes” tweet, but will also concede that if all of these go through it is not a terrible haul.
I’m curious what all of you think about the changes! Need? Un-needed? Fixing all the wrong things?
Have you ever played any of those word association games where you see a picture and spout out the first thing that come to your mind? I’m pretty sure there’s even some psychology test with ink blots that is functionally the same idea. You see a picture, you have a reaction.
Now that you understand the rules, let’s give it a try! I’m going to post a picture below, tell you it’s from LFR and you are going to have a reaction. Let’s see if it works!
What was the first thing that came to your mind? If it was “how many times will we wipe to this” or “I wonder how many people will die” or “UGH DURUMU!”, then I would speculate that you’ve experienced this encounter in LFR and had an experience relative to mine. But never fear! Because I’m here today to tell you how to stop the madness and guarantee a one shot Durumu kill each and every time.
Ok, maybe not, but I promise you less people will die!
How to Succeed at Durumu Without Really Trying
So I was in a LFR this weekend with my shaman, and as is typical, we got to the eye beam phase and 3/4 of the raid died. We wiped and had to start it over. Only before we pulled a second time I decided to have faith in LFR and the players there, and I asked if anyone would like me to explain how to know which side of the eye beam to stand on. I was a little surprised by the overwhelming response of “YES PLEASE!” – especially when I was expecting something more like “lol just don’t be bad lol”. So I took two minutes to explain it, and wouldn’t you know it, in the two eye beams we had only one or two people died.
You see, the problem isn’t the “maze” part of the phase as much as it is solving which side of the eye beam you need to be on to start the maze.
After we finished, Brade looked at me and said “you have just planted a seed that will save hundreds of hours of LFR pain for many people”. So with that thought in mind, I thought I’d go ahead and share the message with more than just the 25 folks who happened to be in that LFR.
It’s All About the Purple Squiggles
The trick to being on the proper side of the eye beam to find the maze is actually really simple! Basically what happens is the following:
- Durumu will announce that he is pre-casting eye beam and lasers will start shooting out of his eye.
- The eye beam will always start facing the entrance of the room (look for the staircases that you came down to enter).
- Immediately to the left or right of the eye beam the floor will have little purple lightning squiggles shooting through it.
- These squiggles indicate the side of the room the eye beam will move, and which side of the room will subsequently reveal the maze.
- You want to stand in the squiggles (they are safe!), and then move with the maze.
- Collect Loot.
To help better illustrate, here is a graphic! (Be in awe of my mad paint skills!)
I was honestly shocked at how many people understood the maze, but simply just didn’t know where to stand as it was starting and died as a result. Once we fixed that, the fight was simple!
So, in the interest of everyone’s sanity, please share this and take the time to educate and help your LFR compatriots! If enough people do this, Durumu determination will be a thing of the past and we can save our energy for trying to convince folks that Dark Animus really is easier if you don’t AE all the golems down at one time
I haven’t posted specifically about druids on my blog about druids in four months. To be fair, I haven’t really posted about much in this space in the same amount of time. However, I’m recently feeling reinvigorated and revived, and I have reason to suspect that you may well start to see an increase in my posting habits again. But more on that later! Today I want to talk about druids.
A while back on Twitter, someone commented that they were surprised that the 5.2 changes to resto druids really didn’t seem to have the results that he was expecting to see – and that they felt a bit bad for the resto on their raid team (I think it might have been Derevka). At the time, I made a snarky comment that amused me greatly – but followed it up with the more serious comment that a druid’s mileage is likely to vary largely depending on the number and strength of their disc priests and holy paladins. It’s the latter part of that comment that I’d like to explore a little more today.
I think I heal just fine
Anytime that the topic of resto healing comes up, there are always two groups of people: those who are incredibly frustrated and those that come out of the woodwork (see what I did there?!) and state “I heal just fine” or “I always top my healing meters”. The statement of that second camp of folks ultimately leads to the declaration that they feel “druids are fine”. Which is then followed by an uproar of those who disagree and, of course, nothing ever good really comes from the subsequent conversations. Read the rest of this entry »
I’ve known for a while now that I wanted to do a post on Challenge Modes. In fact, I have about 5 drafts of posts on the topic that I started, and then decided weren’t really what I wanted to say. I’d debated writing a resto perspective of them, but Hamlet has already done a great job of that, and I don’t really have much more to add in that regard. I debated writing a comparison of my experiences between my shaman and my druid – but then realized that is colored by the experience gained in my first efforts making the second efforts seem easier. And so I sat pondering what I really wanted to say about challenge modes – about exactly why I find them so fantastic.
And today it hit me. I was at physical therapy, chatting with a new therapist because my regular one was on vacation, and there it was. A blog post writing itself in my head.
You see, back during vanilla, when I had the misfortune to be both a night elf and a hunter, I was one of the first people on our server to have completed and obtained Rhok’delar. I was so proud of that bow. I worked hard to obtain it. I researched each of those demons, I had pots, I had wing clip, I had that damn sinew from Onyxia taking up my bag space. I was ready to go and started after those demons with a vengeance…then I hit Winterspring and I learned I was terrible at kiting. No, really. I’m not exaggerating here. I was awful. I couldn’t jump shot if you sat a pint of Ben and Jerry’s on my desk and told me it was a reward for when I got to the end – you’d simply have ended up with soupy ice cream. And that is just a shame. Read the rest of this entry »
Recently I decided to pick up Diablo 3 again. I hadn’t played it in a quite awhile, and when I had stopped it wasn’t because I wasn’t enjoying it, but rather because I had a flare with my hands and the Diablo controls were pretty hard on them. But now that I’m not spending a lot of time playing as much WoW and abusing my hands with raiding, dailys and whatnot there, I figured I’d check out the many changes that were made in Diablo (most of which I really like!).
It’s been so long since I’ve played, and there have been so many changes, that I found myself pretty lost. While the spec I was running when I stopped playing is still serving me very well, a little bit of research has shown me that other specs may now be more viable. That being said, I don’t know if some of the more popular specs really fit my preferred playstyle so I’m toying around with meshing what I like about my spec into what I like about those specs and seeing how it works for me. Anyhow, because I felt so out of touch, I decide to simply restart inferno from scratch and play my way through again. I’m at the point in act two where I’ve finished assembling Zultan Khule and I need to go meet his treacherous, double crossing self. In the process I’ve found three legendaries (two of which I am pretty sure are rubbish) and gained three and a half paragon levels. Not too shabby.
Since I have decided to pick the game back up, Brade also decided to update his and resume playing again as well. We generally had a lot of fun playing together and I imagine that once his schedule settles down (and I’ve finished my current play through), we will pair up for shenanigans again. One of the topics that came up while we were discussing some of the changes was the auction house (not the real money one, which we’ve never used, just the gold one). He made a statement that he thought the game would have been more fun without the addition of the auction house – and I tend to agree with him.
As such, I wanted to explore that thought a little bit – but break it down into two areas: The dominance of the Auction House “game” and the subsequent loss of community by virtue of the convenience of the auction house. Read the rest of this entry »
I haven’t given up on the blog here and I’ve been meaning to post for awhile and every time I sit down to write I just got…distracted. I couldn’t even tell you by what – just that I’ve started this post probably no fewer than five times, and I somehow couldn’t manage to find the words that fill the page. I know it’s not the best of excuses, but none the less it is what I’ve got to offer. I’ve given it a lot of thought and I don’t think I’m quite ready to be done with this blog. I probably won’t post with as much frequency as I once did, and my topics may vary more than they have in the past (although, they were pretty wide spread to begin with!). So, I am sure you are wondering why, if I am going to keep blogging, I haven’t posted in a month. The truth is that after we stopped raiding, I spent a lot of time not really doing any gaming. I’d log in, and then decide I’d rather be doing something else – which meant I’d log right back out. And I’m not going to lie, there was a few weeks that I questioned if I’d even keep logging in.
Adjusting to the Casual Side of WoW
If I am being honest, once my raid schedule was gone, and subsequently my obligations in the game, I felt a little lost. I wasn’t quite sure what to do with myself. I knew that I had a whole laundry list of things that I wanted to accomplish, yet when I logged in I felt…displaced. The only real goal I had was to have fun. And yet it seemed so abstract and convoluted and I questioned if it was even possible to meet that goal anymore.
The truth is I was simply having a hard time adjusting to no longer being part of something that defined my WoW career for eight years. I didn’t (and don’t) have regrets about it – I just didn’t know where I fit in anymore. How to spend my time or what I wanted to do with that time. This, subsequently, meant that I was finding other (less confusing) things to do with my free time and spending less time in WoW while I worked it out in my head-space. Read the rest of this entry »
Do you know what has always amazed me so much about Jim Croce? The fact that a voice like his comes from a mustache like that! Okay, okay – I’m (half) joking! It’s the way that so many of his songs really hit home. I sit and listen to the lyrics, and I can pair almost any significant event in my life to a Jim Croce Song. I am not really sure how I came to really know him as an artist, as I would consider the 80’s my decade, but somehow I came across his music at some point in my youth and couldn’t get enough. I bet I had his greatest hits album on loop in my car in college for almost a full year. (Well…that and Graceland. I can’t help it, I love Paul Simon!).
Anyhow, if you aren’t familiar with the work of Jim Croce I would encourage you to do yourself the favor of looking him up and blocking out an hour or so to really listen to what he is saying when he sings. Seriously. It will be time well spent, and if you don’t tear up at least once you simply aren’t human. Read the rest of this entry »
It’s been pretty quiet here the last month or so, and I’m not entirely sure what to say about the silence. The truth is that when I created this blog, it was supposed to be a venue for me to express my thoughts, frustrations and cleanse my mind. Unfortunately, as more people started reading my blog, I stopped using it as much to do something that was very healthy for me, due to adverse reactions from some people in my guild and people getting upset. Which is unfortunate, because it was a wonderful venue to think through things that were challenging and frustrating me and I needed to work through – and I want, no need, to return it to that. Over the past six months my blog became a lot less personal, and as a result my internal thoughts a lot more crowded.
So, in the interest of getting back to my roots (pun intended!), this post is going to be personal.
This past Monday Brade and I disbanded the raid team in Monolith. It was not without hurt feelings and controversy – and I will not be surprised if someone childishly (and most likely cowardly) posts hurtful things in the comments to this post (which I reserve the right to monitor and remove). But the truth is that it was long past time. Back at the end of Cataclysm Brade and I discussed at length, over the course of several months, shutting down the raid team. Ultimately, after much back and forth, we made the decision to continue for one more expansion. We thought Mists had promise – and many of the things that were weighing on our minds, and most personal conflicts, seemed resolved. So it was with enthusiasm that we pushed forward.
Unfortunately, once we got into the expansion it became clear that those resolutions were not permanent, and many of the things that made us question continuing on into the expansion resurfaced, and seemingly multiplied. It was disappointing, but because we are stubborn and committed we put our heads down and continued to push on. We don’t quit simply because things are hard – we have over eight years of success to back that statement up.
But then, on January 2nd, as I was driving into work, this happened:
I was driving my normal route, moving with the flow of traffic, when my car hit an ice patch on an elevated part of highway and I lost control of the vehicle. It did one of those scary spin around things before hitting a car entering from an entrance ramp and getting hit by the car that was travelling in the lane next to me. Fortunately for me I drive into work early in the morning, before rush hour traffic is in full force. And that the bus behind me had time to react and stop before plowing into me as well. And that I purchased a car with a very high safety rating, and a bajillion airbags.
I walked away with a minor concussion (a bump on my head about the size of an orange), pretty beat up (they took xrays of my knee to make sure it wasn’t broken) and extremely shaken. Driving to work today, with the weather in the same conditions as it was the day of the accident, was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I drove like a grandma, and just about every other car on the highway passed me, but I made it to work in one piece and imagine I will be a little less scared next time.
Anyhow, the accident had a profound effect on my thoughts. It’s strange how one, very scary, thing can make you see things more clearly. Things I had been struggling with, were now crystal. The fact was that Monolith’s environment had morphed into something completely unrecognizable, and completely unenjoyable for a lot of people – including myself. I realized this was no longer the guild that Brade and I had decided to fight to hold onto, and we no longer wanted to see it continue to degrade. Attrition was high – for any number of reasons – mostly real life. And community was almost non-existent. After a blow out on Sunday night, Brade and I spent a lot of time discussing this, and after Brade fell asleep I stayed awake with my thoughts.
The truth is, life is simply too short to do things where the enjoyment doesn’t outweigh the stress, and to surround yourself with people who make you feel bad about yourself and miserable. My car accident was a trigger to make me finally acknowledge this. I realized that I want to write my history in more than pixels, and I want more than regrets on the pages. And letting Monolith’s community degrade to the point that it was a shadow of what we had worked so hard to create was a regret I didn’t want.
Upon announcing that we were disbanding the raid team, many cruel things were said to me. I was told I was selfish – despite the fact that I had given over eight years of my life putting everyone else’s happiness in front of my own. I was told I was mentally unstable and needed to seek professional help – despite the fact that this is the best decision for everyone involved, even though it probably doesn’t feel like it at the time. I was told that the guild deserved to die under my leadership – despite the fact that it didn’t die, we killed the raid team and all the toxic vitriol that came with trying to maintain it, but in the process saved the community and the guild.
And while I would be lying if I said these things didn’t bother me a little, I can honestly say that I’m not upset about them. I am 100% comfortable with the decision we made, and I know it was the right one. But for every nasty comment I received, I got two from those who understood and supported our decision – those who agreed with our assessment of the situation and valued the importance of community. And for the first time in months I logged in and enjoyed guild chat again. There was laughter and fun. People were in high spirits and joking around. It was almost like playing an entirely new game, and I was reminded why we valued certain things over others.
For those of you wondering if the current state of druids played into my decision – I would be lying if I said no. Was it a main factor? No. Was it a top 10 factor? Yes, but towards the bottom of the list. I truly feel that Blizzard needs to do a better job of balancing classes if equality is their goal. I continue to feel they should abandon the idea that 10s and 25s are equal, because they never will. Hating my class was certainly a factor in my decision, and certainly had an impact on my ability to enjoy the game. For right or wrong, I struggled with coming to terms with how poorly resto druids scaled in 25s, and got to the point that I almost didn’t even want to try because it didn’t matter. And, in all honesty, I don’t feel the “new” mushrooms, in their current iteration, are going to improve our situation any – but that is likely a topic for another time.
So many of you are probably thinking “what now, Beru”.
Well, I’m not really sure. Something I haven’t been hugely open about is that Brade and I have decided to start a family, and have started trying to conceive. Because I want to bifurcate my gaming blog with this effort, I did start a new blog, Wind Blown Tree Tops to chronicle my adventures. Right now, it’s simply a completely generic, blank blog as it has been since I created it in September. But I imagine in time I will have a lot of things to say there and will nitpick both the style and the content until I’m happy with it. You are all welcome to follow me through this adventure if you’d like, although I don’t know how exciting it will be
Will I keep blogging here and about druids? Well, I don’t know. I’d like to, but I also don’t know what I’ll have to say. I suspect only time will tell. Will I keep playing WoW? Brade and I have decided to play very casually at this time. We are finally getting around to challenge modes (which are immensely fun!). In time, we will probably do a 1 night a week ten man with friends to see what the new content is all about. I will continue to enjoy the addiction that is pet battling. But I don’t know if I will ever raid seriously again. I find that as time goes on I am less inclined to have my gaming environment constrict my time. I want to be able to take the aquasize class that meets two nights a week. I want to be able to come home from work and relax, game if I want or watch TV if I want. And I strongly suspect that as I continue to have less of an obligation to be online, the value of no longer having a raid schedule (and all the things that come with it – like dailys) will outweigh any desire to be competitive again.
And, I am content with that. For the first time in years I feel a freedom that I had forgotten about. Will I miss raiding? Yes, absolutely. And I will continue to cheer on and support those of you who are still pushing through it. I have many happy memories brought to me from raiding and I think it is a fantastic group effort that can teach valuable life lessons. I don’t have any regrets about the time I spent in WoW – it was well worth it and got me through some of the most difficult times of my life. It is my hope that I can still continue to enjoy it, just on my terms now.
And, well, if things go as planned, I have some big changes on the horizon
See you in 2013!
(Perhaps, maybe, I’ll find time to do a pet leveling post, but no promises!)