I had intended to work on the post giving a third look at the state of Druid healing, but when I opened my email this morning, there was a note from the photographer letting me know that our pictures were ready. So you are getting wedding pictures instead. Out of the massive file that was sent, I managed to find a few that I liked! I’m sure that we are all our own worst critic, and that Brade will like different ones than I do, but the ones below we’re amongst my favorites. It was a very lovely (albeit Seattle rainy) day – and in the end, I suppose that I am happy we ultimately decided to hire a photographer.
While I am still quite disappointed with the state of druid healing, I thought I’d take a bit of a break on my continuing evaluation on the state of resto druids to talk about something else today. Progression. (Don’t worry, I do have a two week follow up coming this week and I will get back to it, I just need to talk about other things for a bit). I’ve had a few people ask me how we decided to approach progression this tier, so I thought I’d go ahead and give a few thoughts on our decisions with regards to progression as a guild for this unwieldy first tier in the expansion.
However, before I get to that, I thought I’d spend a few sentences talking about something else that is related in a tertiary fashion and has been on my mind: the T14 gating.
When the gating was announced, I remember being very excited about it because the amount of content being released as T14 was staggering in the number of encounters presented, and subsequently overwhelming. I still like that there was gating for it, but it the execution of this particular gating was a little…clunky. Which, in turn, means that I didn’t care for how this content was gated. What ultimately happened was that when Mogu’shan Vaults was released there was a large period of time before the next zone was released. This meant that your above average guild was able to clear the zone, and then subsequently work on a few heroics while waiting for the new content. However, when the new content released, you stopped your heroic progression push to clear the new normal mode zones – and then two weeks later had another new zone to tackle. And then, only after that, would your progression push be back to heroics.
The problem I had with this was that the long period of gating with the first raid disjointed what is normal progression, that is to say that most people would push all of their normal mode content and then start heroics once that was cleared. And I’d wager a fair bet that most heroics are tuned with the expectation of having gear from all three of the zones. This meant that everything with progression was just thrown off by the awkward way that the content was presented. In hindsight, I wish that the gating was more fluid and smooth or that heroic content was approached differently. Should Blizzard opt to gate content this way again, I hope that they make that decision from the outset of the development of the content so that progression isn’t quite as disjointed.
Planning for T14 Progression
Ok, so now that is out of the way, let’s talk a little bit about how we decided to attack T14 progression. Read the rest of this entry »
The devil presents me with three choices, one of which I must choose.
I ask if, in my heart, I believe.
With my sincerest apologizes to Dr. Seuss.
At the far end of town, where the fool’s cap grows and the wind smells slow and sour and no bugs ever sing excepting old Klaxxi is the street of the lifted Lorax. And deep in the fool’s cap, some people say, if you look deep enough you can still see, today, where the lorax once stood just as long as it could, before someone lifted the Lorax away.
What was the Lorax? And why was it there? And why was it lifted and taken somewhere from the far end of town where the fool’s cap all grows? Ghostcrawler still lives here. Ask him. He knows.
You won’t see Ghostcrawler. Don’t knock at his door. He stays in his tree, planted in his grove. He lurks in the branches where the leaves have all fallen, and he makes his own clothes from mushrooms and rejuvenallen. And on special dank midnights in November, he peeks out of the shutters and sometimes he speaks and tells how the Lorax was lifted away.
He’ll tell you perhaps…if you’re willing to pay.
On the end of a line he lets down a tin pail and you have to toss in the cap of three mushrooms and a snail. Then he pulls up the pail, makes a most careful count to see if you’ve paid him the proper amount. Then he hides what you paid him away in the claws, his secret strange hole in his gruvvulous paws. Then he grunts, “I will call you by crab-a-phone, for the secrets I tell you are for your ears alone”.
Down inches the crab-a-phone until it reaches your ear and the old crab’s whispers are not very clear.
“Now I’ll tell you,” he says, with his claws sounding gray, “how the Lorax got lifted away”.
It all started way back, such a long time ago, in the days when the fool’s cap did not grow. When the trees all had branches, leaves rustling in the wind. Before mushrooms bloomed, and dangers loomed, I came to this glorious place. At first I saw the trees! The glorious happy trees, with bright colored branches and heals that didn’t sneeze! Their leaves, oh their leaves! All dancing in the breeze!
And under the trees, I saw brown guardians frisking in their big bear butt suits as they played in the shade and were healed by the trees. From the rippulous pond came the comfortable sound of the orcas all humming while splashing around. But those trees! Those trees! Those healing trees! All my life I’ve been searching for trees such as these! The touch of their rejuvs, the tickle of growth, warmed my injured heart like butterfly milk. I felt a great leaping of joy in my heart, I knew just what I’d do and I unloaded my crab cart!
I no time at all, I realized they needed a change. So I sat in my shop and pondered giving them the chop. With all my great skill, and with my great crab speed, I realized I knew just what they need! I planted my mushrooms and awaited fungal explosion, my claws were crackling with the thought of implosion! The instant I’d finished, I heard a ga-Zump! I looked, I saw something pop out of a stump! It was a sort of man.
Describe him? That’s hard. I don’t know if I can.
He was shortish. And oldish. And brownish. And Mossy. And he spoke with a voice that was sharpish and bossy! “Mister!” he said with a fungal born sneeze, “I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees. I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues. And I’m asking you sir, at the top of my lungs!”. He was very upset as he shouted and puffed. “What’s that thing you’ve made from my trees tuft!”.
“Look, Lorax” the crab said “There’s no cause for alarm. The Mushrooms will heal and I’m doing no harm. I’m being quite useful, in offering this tool, mushrooms are something that all people need! They plant, they heal, they have other uses! They aren’t rotational, but druids will love them and sing of them like muses!”.
The Lorax said, “Sir! You are crazy, my friend. There is no one on earth who will use them in the end!”.
The crab laughed at the Lorax, “You poor stupid guy! You will use them, and like it, or just manage to get by”.
“I repeat,” cried the Lorax, “I speak for the trees!”
“I’m busy,” I told him. “Shut up, if you please”. I rushed to the phone to put in a quick call, I called all my brothers and uncles and devs and I said, “Listen here! Here’s a wonderful chance to plant with mushrooms and watch them explode! Get over here fast! Take the road to the Steppes and turn south at the wastes”. And, in no time at all, in the grove that I built the who crab family was working full tilt. We were all planting mushrooms just as busy as bees, to the crying sound of all of the trees.
We were planting mushrooms as fast as before, and that Lorax? Well, he didn’t show up anymore.
But the next week he knocked on my new office door. He snapped “I’m the Lorax, who speaks for the trees, who you seems to be stifling as fast as you please. But I’m also in charge of the guardian bears who played and received heals in their big bear butt suits. NOW…thanks to your mushrooms there aren’t enough heals for the trees to toss around. And my poor guardians are all getting the crummies because they have mushrooms rotting their tummies! They loved living here, but I can’t let them stay. They’ll have to find heals, and I hope that they may.” And then the Lorax sent them away.
I, the crab, felt sad as I watched them all go. BUT…Mushrooms are Mushrooms, and they must grow, regardless of crummies in tummies you know. I meant no harm, I truly did not. But I was sold on three mushrooms, so a planting I got. I planted them here, I planted them there, I advocated their usefulness everywhere. I went right on planting my mushrooms, and I didn’t worry about the healing, which the trees didn’t need.
Then again he came back! I was trying new shrooms when that old nuisance Lorax came back with more gripes!
“I am the Lorax,” he coughed and whiffed. “Crab!” he cried with a croak “Crab! You’re making such your making the blooming broke”. My poor moonkin, why they can’t starfall a single star! No one can with no healing to keep them afloat! And so”, said the Lorax, “please pardon my fear, but they cannot leave here. So I’m sending them off.”
“Where will they go?” I don’t hopefully know. Somewhere with rain and mists I imagine. To escape from the mushrooms you’ve planted here. “What’s more,” snapped the Lorax (His dander was up) “your mushrooms are send the trees into a gloom.”
And then I got mad. I got terribly mad. I yelled at the Lorax, “Now listen here, Dad! All you do is yap-yap and say BAD BAD BAD! Well, I have my thoughts and I’m telling you I intend on doing just what I do! And, for your information, you Lorax, I’m figgering on keeping mushrooms without biggering! Because mushrooms are the answer that EVERYONE needs!”.
And at that very moment, we heard a loud whack. From outside in the grove came a sickening smack.
We look out the window to see the last tree had fallen. Their spirit crushed and their branches swaying. The trees walked away, the grove left decaying. The devs looked around me, and started to pack up, with no trees there was no back up. Now all that was left ‘neath the mushroom covered sky was my big empty grove…the Lorax…and I.
The Lorax said nothing. Just gave me a glance…just gave me a very sad, sad backward glance…as he lifted himself by the seat of his pants. And I’ll never forget the grim look on his face when he heisted himself and took leave of this place. Through a hole in the mushrooms, without leaving a trace. And all the Lorax left here in this mess was a small pile of rocks, with one word….”UNLESS”.
Through the expansion, as my mushrooms have fallen apart, I’ve worried about the trees with all of my heart. “But now,” says the crab, “Now that you’re here, the word of the Lorax seems perfectly clear. UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not. SO…Catch!” calls the crab and he lets something fall. “It’s a mushroom spore, the last one of all! You’re in charge of the fate of the trees, and trees are really what everyone needs. Plant a new thought, treat it with care. Give it clean water and feed it fresh air. Grow a forest, make it big and strong. Protect it from Mushrooms, and sing it a song. Then the Lorax and all of his friends may come back.”
Two weeks ago I wrote this post, were I took an early look at how Resto Druids were faring comparatively to the other healing classes, and addressed a glaring issue in our toolkit (lack of ability to deal with the very prevalent burst raid wide AE damage in a 25 man setting) that was causing us to start to fall behind. In my last post I stated that this gap in our toolkit would continue to become more noticeable.
As the weeks have passed and other healers have obtained more gear and become more comfortable with their toolkits, the discrepancy only continues to become more noticeable. This is only further exacerbated by the fact that every other healing class received abilities permitting them to be stronger at dealing with this type of raid damage.
Today, I want to take another quick look at how Druids have done after two more weeks of content, two more weeks of gear, with more knowledge of the content and presumably more people being able to see the content. For the purpose of this I have again only pulled 25 man normal parses, and I have looked at both the top 100 as well as all parses. I have again not pulled out heroic data, as there is still not a particularly large sample size – but I will talk about what some of that data shows us later in the post.
As an additional note and reminder: I am not looking at 10 mans. I am a 25 man raider, and I am interested in fixing my class in my raid format. If you think Druids are awesome in 10s, that’s great! I don’t raid 10s. I raid 25s, where my class is currently not great. Which is, subsequently, why I am focusing on 25 man numbers.
Now, in looking at both of these sets of data, we can see a few things. Firstly, in the past two weeks Shaman, Priests and Paladins have closed the gap some and are all relatively competitive amongst each other while Monks remain the outlier and continue to remain miles ahead of the pack. However, while priests have picked up some, Druids have fallen to the bottom and continue to decline. A move that is attributable to my thoughts in the last post – in our current state, as other healers grow stronger, Druids will continue to underperform and fall further and further behind. Read the rest of this entry »
Brade and I had a few extra funds lying around that we were instructed to “do something fun” with. So, about a week or so ago he looked at me and said “we should get you a new computer”. At first I wasn’t sure about it. We have some remaining wedding expenses (but not too many) and we are taking a trip down to Disneyland in January. But once the thought of (finally) getting a new machine (mine is more than five years old) was planted in my head it grew. It started out as a tiny seed that I could almost forget was there, but soon flourised into a giant beast that could think of nothing but super awesome computers and how nice it would be to have a new, shiny one of my very own.
As a result, last Friday I looked at Brade and told him that if he was okay with the whole new computer thing, I would really like one. He told me to head over to MMO-Champion and look at some of the builds of the month and we could take a look at putting one together. Of course, he had the misfortune that I did this while he was out getting his haircut, which meant that I went straight to the Louis Vuitton rack and skipped over the knock off/clearance items.
Okay, that’s not entirely true. I did glance over at them on my way by!
In the end, I had decided that there two were things that were must haves on my list: an i7 processor and a really kick ass video card. From there, I largely went with the “unicorn” build that was recommended. I made a few changes – I opted for 16 gigs of RAM instead of 8, I opted for a larger SSD and I opted not to get a new internal HD as I had a relatively new 1 TB one in my current system that I’m just going to pull out and continue to use.
All in all we spent a little more than I think Brade and wanted, but I was really pleased with what our purchase. Ok…mostly pleased, let me tell you how hard it is to make a really large online purchase these days with credit card companies being hyper vigilant about fraud! But we won’t get into that!
Anyhow, for those interested, here is what we went with:
Cooler Master HAF X Full Tower (although, Brade did try to talk me into going with a smaller case – I was worried about the video card fitting, so opted to stick with the full tower).
For those interested, we priced everything at both NewEgg and Amazon, and they came out within twenty bucks of each other for the total. We opted to purchase at Amazon for aforementioned credit card security issues and NewEgg not having weekend customer support (where Amazon did). The downside was that we had to pay sales tax, where NewEgg would have been tax free (I don’t even know how they get away with that!). We also have Amazon Prime, so we get super fast shipping and it’s free, which is also nice!
I’m really looking forward to everything arriving and being able to put it all together! I think the worst part is going to be that everything but the case arrives today and tomorrow, with the case arriving on Thursday. However, my parents get in town on Thursday, so I won’t actually have the opportunity to put it all together until next Monday/Tuesday. It’s going to be sheer torture looking at those amazon boxes and knowing that my new shiny is being held hostage inside!