As we fall on the eve of Wrath of the Lich King, and approach the dawn of Cataclysm I find that a lot of people are falling into two camps. The “been there done that” camp, that logs in, does their raids, and then logs out to enjoy some non-WoW time doing other things; and the “I need to finish” camp. You know, the people that are frantically trying to get “x” done before the new expansion.
Most nights in our guild, you will see somewhere around 30 people online at raid time, and within 15 minutes of the raid finishing that number dwindles down to somewhere around 10. I’ve also noticed that more people are taking their off-nights WoW free. I may see them log in to do transmutes or check their auctions, but a lot of folks are enjoying the quiet before the storm. Taking in movies, or doing some things around the house before Cataclysm hits.
I find that I tend to be in the second camp of folks. I had a small bout of WoW malaise for the past month or so, where I would log in to raid and take care of guild matters, but as soon as we were done I would log out to tend to other things. However, I seem to have gotten my second wind again. As Cataclysm draws nearer, I look at the list of things that I’d like to accomplish and find that I am fairly motivated to work on them, as a result I find that I’m once again spending a fair bit of time in game, and generally having a lot of fun! Read the rest of this entry »
Prior to this expansion, raid progression usually started with 5 man instances. You didn’t enter 5 mans to zerg them for badges, you entered them for gear, for quests or for attunements. The bottom line of it is that 5 mans actually mattered in your linear raid progression. I mean think about it, you didn’t enter Molten Core in your greens; you didn’t enter Karazahn in your Stormrage Raiment. Well, to be fair, that might have been because you couldn’t even enter those zones without having to trek through numerous 5 man hurdles to gain access, but my point still stands!
With Wrath of the Lich King, I feel that 5 mans changed. They were no longer a stepping stone to raiding, the pre-req that they once had been, either because of gear requirements or attunements, but they became throw away things that you didn’t really have to engage in because raiding was open and available to you as soon as you reached level 80. Not everyone zoned into Halls of Lightning and experienced how beautiful it was, not everyone explored the lore within Zul’Drak. They just dinged 80 and headed to Naxx. And honestly, I think it’s a bit of a shame that people weren’t required to experience some of the instancing that the game offered. Read the rest of this entry »
The last few weeks have been a little “WoW Lite” for me, at least compared to my historical play up to this point. Sure, I’m still raiding on my scheduled raid nights…but its taking us less time to clear the content, leave more “free” time outside of scheduled raids. I’m doing some alt raids on some of those nights, but frequently I’m spending some of those nights outside of WoW.
Hell, I didn’t even log in this weekend until raid time on Sunday! Granted, I had other plans and had to clean (oh god…housework!); but not even the offer of a 10 man ICC could draw me into the game over the weekend.
I have unleveled alts that have basically stagnated, their future uncertain. But when I go to think about leveling them I become unmotivated to follow through with the actual process of doing so. Granted, this is normal for me. I go through stages with my alts, so this isn’t hugely shocking! I think I feel another alt splurge building up steam, so maybe one of those sad, neglected alts will make its way up the leveling ladder soon. I just need to commit and dig in, and I’ll be fine. But it’s the getting motivated to commit that I’m lacking right now.
So exactly what have I been doing with my extra time? I have a long list of games waiting to be played that I’ve slowly been considering finishing. I just finished the first chapter of The Tales of Monkey Island yesterday (yarrr). I’ve been watching some TV, I’ve been grilling, I’ve been cooking more, I’ve been reading and I’ve been going to the movies. Nothing overly exciting, really.
I frequently run through a check list in my head making sure that I’m not missing something important that I want to complete with Beru, with the list coming up short or empty. Outside of taking the time to fish Old Ironjaw before everyone’s hanging out in IF again or PvP, there really isn’t much left for her in this expansion.
So, in my current state of bleh, I’m curious, how are you spending your pre-Cataclysm time? Are there certain things that you are trying to finish? Are there projects that you have set for yourself that you’d like to share? Are you still finding things in the game to occupy your time or are you finding things outside of the game to do?
Oh, and completely randomly, have a really yummy, but healthy, pizza recipe that I concocted in my free time!
Serves 2 (because there aren’t enough tasty things for just two people!)
2 whole wheat pitas
1 Turkey Italian Sausage Link
16 Pepperoni (can substitute Turkey Pepperoni!)
1/2 – 2/3 cup Shredded Part Skim Mozzarella
Pizza Sauce (I like the Ragu kind)
Pre-heat oven to 375
1. Remove casing from sausage and brown meat. (This is pretty easily done, just use a knife to slice the sausage down the middle, and peel the casing away)
2. Lay each whole pita flat on a cookie sheet or pizza stone.
3. Add sauce to the top of each Pita – as much or as little as you like. I tend to put a little more than I normally would to help soften the pita some.
4. Add 8 pepperoni to each Pita. You can add more if you like, but 8 covers your standard size pita pretty well!
5. Add 1/2 of the sausage to each pita.
6. Top each pita with cheese (1/4 – 1/3 cup per pita)
7. Bake in oven for 10-14 minutes until cheese is melted.
You can, of course, substitute any toppings that you like on the pizza. These turned out REALLY well, and are surprisingly tasty as well as quick and easy to make!
OMG! A druid…posting about druid things?! INCONCEIVABLE! (*****SPOILERS AHEAD*****)
Ok, maybe it’s really not, and I just wanted to be able to shout the word “inconceivable!”.
Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya…
Wait, I’ve seriously started to digress! Where was I going with this post again? Oh yes, I remember now, the Druid Talent Preview! Well, if you haven’t heard yet Blizzard has released an official preview of the druid talent trees for Cataclysm (http://cata.wowhead.com/talent). Kae (www.dreambound-druid.blogspot.com) and Keeva (www.treebarkjacket.com) have already done some fantastic write ups of what has changed, what hasn’t, as well as what’s new and what’s not there anymore. I highly recommend that you check them out for a comprehensive listing of the changes.
Me? Well, I’m going to talk a little bit about where I feel these changes are going to take healing in Cataclysm and some things I find interesting about the talents. Keep in mind that these are largely my thoughts are PURE speculation. I could be completely wrong and then have to come back and eat my words when it goes live. As such, I am going to flavor this post strawberry, so that my words are at least tasty when I have to eat them.
The first thing in the new talents that caught my eye is that Naturalist is now a required talent to access Nature’s Grace. As such, it’s basically moved from a “nobody takes this” talent to a “required” talent for resto druids. While that is somewhat interesting to me, what makes it more interesting is that it is one of several shifts in the talents that lean towards direct healing for us. I’ve commented on it a bit before, but I’m really a bit leery of the push towards our direct healing spells that I have been seeing for Cataclysm.
If it’s done well, I think it could be fine. But for that to happen, I also think it’s going to be vital for the developers to remember that we are HoT healers, not paladins. I think this might work…as long as they find a way to permit us to creatively thread our HoTs, and utilize our direct healing spells as fillers, but not our main source of healing. What I do not want to see happen is a revert back to Vanilla style healing. Having done Rank 4 HT/cancel spam for an entire expansion and having seen the role of a resto druid grow into one of the most complicated classes to master with what I feel the most immersive healing (and I have all 4 healing classes with some raid experience on all of them!), I very much want to continue to be required to master the use of my HoT arsenal and not become a healer with a largely single target focus.
Something else to consider: If direct heals are going to be a large part of our healing rotations and mana is as much of a concern as it’s been hinted at, does this make tranquil spirit, another talent nobody puts points into, a necessity?
Fury of Stormrage/Imp Tree of Life
The next thing that worries me a little bit is the focus on damage. Fury of Stormrage give you insta-cast, no mana wraths on HT/Nourish crits (again with those direct heals), and Imp ToL boosts that damage by 15%.
I am of two minds on this. Right now, I am looking at this as a boost for PvP resto druids. This is giving druids the ability in arenas or battlegrounds to do a little more in a pinch than just heal. (As a side note, it seems that we will not be limited to only healing in ToL form). In this mind, I think these talents are fine. But, I am also going on the assumption that Fury of Stormrage is going to largely be considered a PvP talent (all resto druids will still take imp ToL for the 90 second cooldown it offers).
However, what has me slightly nervous is what if the devs aren’t on the same page with me here, and they are considering these PvE talents? I don’t think that is the case, but what if? I guess what is making me wonder is the way that Imp ToL has the damage component worked into it. Personally, I really don’t want to have the expectation that I will be doing damage when my primary task is healing. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s probably going to be great for our PvP folks, but it could be completely disastrous if it’s intended to be carried over into PvE.
Tree of Life
This is still completely lack luster. It has the given spell power boost (hello click on use trinkets, how I have avoided you this entire expansion!), but then the description still doesn’t tell us what the OMG AWESOMENESS is going to be. That tells me that the devs have no clue wtf they are going to do with it yet. As an additional downside the snare is back.
I am hopeful that it doesn’t go live that way. There was good reason that they took the snare out in the first place, I am quite honestly a little bit surprised to see it back as part of the tree of life mechanic. Hello OMG HUGE DAMAGE, I need to ToL STAT! But I…can’t…quite…get…out….of…the…fire…fast…enough. Owie, one burned up tree. Anyone, remember Gruuls as a tree with that snare still active? How about Shade of Aran and trying to move from the blizzard? Yea…good thing we had barkskin!
It really does seem a bit harsh to put the snare back in, what other druid class is PENALIZED in their main roll for shapeshifting? This seems very counter-intuitive to the statements that Ghostcrawler has made for why they are removing trees from the game. I just don’t get it, honestly. Here’s hoping that it’s removed during the beta and doesn’t see live.
This is interesting. Again, a push towards single target healing, but the added lifebloom bump with nourish could be very good. Well, at least for tank healing anyhow! Unless of course lifebloom becomes a raid healing spell again. I sort of see this two ways: another push towards single target healing (boo), but also a bump up for an largely abandoned spell this expansion. I don’t think this is bad, per se. We will have to see how it plays out on live.
I am a little bit excited about this, actually. It’s one of the first spells regarding our HoTs that has had a boost to our HoT healing. I also think it’s a bit of an interesting mechanic…and is the first thing that I’ve seen that leans towards making “interesting” healing decisions. I would think that you would want to pop that regrowth on a person that is clumped with other people to get the maximum benefit from the effect. The spell wants you to think about where you put it, and to use it smartly. To me, that is a little bit interesting.
Of course…if we have huge movement fights, I could also see people running right out of it. But then again “run to the flowers as you flee!” may have some promise. All in all, I think it’s going to be great…or terrible. I’m hoping for great!
I’m not really sure what to think about this change. I liked the way it worked before, and resto druids brought something very unique to the raid that no other class did. Of course, that is probably why it is being removed with the push towards homogenizing the healers. Another talent that is leading us back to our HoTs though…but oddly just regrowth and lifebloom. Two HoTs that weren’t widely used in 25 man raiding. (I think that we are starting to see a trend here).
However, anything that can return mana is probably going to be good. And it seems that the mana return that is going to be provided is greater than what revitalize currently offer. And think about the possible mana return with multiple lifeblooms ticking every second (even with the internal cooldown on the revitalize proc!), could be very om nom nom-y for mana.
Gift of the Earth Mother
This is a very interesting change. Very interesting indeed. I guess Blizzard really didn’t like the haste effect it provided previously, or don’t want to offer us so much haste upfront and want us to make smarter gearing decisions. But again with the push to lifebloom. I really think they are trying to get this spell back on our plate. However, I am happy to see an “empowered renew” type ability for our rejuvs go here. One of the biggest weaknesses today in druid healing is our lack of burst healing (somewhat covered by Wild Growth). I like that the T8 set bonus was a big enough success that they are incorporating it into our talents.
All and all, I think this is a good change. I think it will make for interesting decisions both in gearing and in choosing a spec. It also gives druids a boost in an area they were slightly behind the other healers, in my opinion. However, one thing that I think it may caution a little bit is perhaps we are going to move from a more pro-active healing style to a more re-active healing style.
What could be interesting about this is that our HoTs would still remain pro-active, to an extent, but the push to our direct heals will fall into a more re-active healing category. I think this could be a fairly cohesive way to tie everything together for us. At the minimum it has potential!
Empowered Rejuv/Nature’s Bounty/Genesis (Balance)
Two talents to boost swiftmend…and hey! Look! Push regrowth! Really, I like that swiftmend is getting a little bit of love. We have very few panic buttons as healers, and it’s good to see one of our two get a boost. I really don’t see a downside here.
We knew that they intended to nerf the cooldown on this by adding 4 seconds. Really, I don’t think this is terrible. There were only a handful of encounters in WotLK that I tried very hard to stick to a 5:1 rotation with WG. Usually I use it when I think it’s needed but I don’t find myself leaning on the spell. Honestly, I just don’t see that extra 4 seconds being a huge deal.
As there is discrepancy on if the amount healed was nerfed also, I am going to be bold and say it’s not…and then hope for the best!
A brief few thoughts about the balance changes for resto druids
I don’t want to go into too much detail on it, and honestly I don’t have a whole lot to say about it, but what I find very interesting is how deep into the tree we have to go in order to access Nature’s Splendor. It seems strange to me largely because we’ve got to take some potential crap just to get to it. Why? It was clearly moved deeper into the tree for a reason, but I really don’t see that reason. Am I missing something here?
I also find it interesting that Celestial Focus no longer gives haste, another nod to needing to make different gearing decisions, and the fact that perhaps we aren’t to be casting every global cooldown and thinking more about what and when we are casting.
We also get a silence. Hmmm. Ok. Why not. (Although, I think this is more to help support Moonkins in PvP than anything else).
What I Think Is Missing
Druids still do not have any mitigation abilities or offensive protection abilities, such as paladins and priests. I was really hoping to receive some kind of cooldowns for us to use in case of emergency. A barkskin that is castable on another target, for example, would be really great. Even though they’ve given Swiftmend a few boosts here and there, we are largely missing some sort of mitigation ability. Even if it was a cooldown, it would be nice to have a way to temporarily “save the day” that didn’t involve just flat out healing.
Overall, General Opinion: They are really pushing spells that have fallen to the wayside very hard. Regrowth, Lifebloom, Healing Touch and Nourish all see some changes, while Wild Growth gets nerfed and Rejuv remains largely the same with a small burst buff. I think that this is a good thing. I tend to utilize all of my tools when I heal, but I certainly favor my powerhouse heals: Rejuv and Wild Growth. I think equalizing our other HoTs is a positive change, if that does in fact happen. The danger, however, is that we will just find a new “go to” heal. I hope that isn’t the case, but if history has anything to say…
They are also really pushing some of our direct heals. I am unsure how I feel about this as yet. I don’t want to just spam my HT and nourish buttons. But, there is some potential here if everything is done well to give us the option to fully use our HoTs and provide solid single target healing as well. I hope that we keep our identity as HoT focused healers, because that is one of the things that I enjoy most about my druid.
I also remember reading a post from GC where he said that in Cataclysm there is not going to be the expectation that the green bars remain full. So where currently we want everyone “topped off”, in Cataclysm the goal is to heal enough to “survive”. I think I like that. In that I think that it does mean that you have to make some choices on who to heal, and how to heal them. It also means that healers will have to make decisions on what heals to cast again. If someone only needs a little bit of life, maybe x heal will work, where y would be overkill. I am looking forward to seeing how this plays out. I think it has great potential to improve healing.
Right now, I’m going to go with cautious optimism. The only thing that I am definitively unhappy about is how lackluster ToL currently is. I have a few worries here and there, but I don’t think I can get worked up about them at this stage of these things.
So…what do you think?
This week’s shared topic over at Blog Azeroth asks “what are you doing, if anything, to prepare for Cataclysm”? So I thought I’d chime in with what I’m doing to prepare, because just like all expansions you never know what is going to be added to the game, or change with the game! That is even more prevalent with this particular expansion.
First and foremost in my preparations is completing those things on my wish-list that I think might change or be removed. Some examples of this are Loremaster and The Timbermaw Hold grind. I don’t know that they will be going anywhere, but it isn’t a risk I wanted to take! I also want to make sure to gather all of my crocolisk pets, I still need two more for Beru. I don’t know that they will be taking this quest out of the game with Org changes, but I don’t want to miss out!
I am also making sure that I’ve done everything in Northrend, and with this expansion, that I’d like to do. We have a couple more ICC Hard Modes to finish out, but I’ve done all the quests in all of the zones on Beru, so I don’t have to worry about that. I think I’d like to go back for a Yogg 0 kill, and there seems to be a fair bit of support for that in the guild, so I am hopeful! Guild wise, we’ve started a “Pre-Cataclysm Wish List” asking what people would like to do before we get to Cataclysm, so I’d like to make sure to knock a few items off of that list for everyone as well!
Gathering. From herbing to mining, I’m stockpiling for early level profession skill points. A number of things are still of “orange” quality, which means that they will give me a decent number of skill points for things once my skill is raised. I did this going into this expansion, and I had flasks for all of my instancing, leveling and a decent portion of Naxx. So my banker’s bags are filled to the brim! Anything I don’t use will also sell fairly well if I hold onto it for a few months after the expansion releases and the items become rare.
Hoarding Gold. I don’t know what is going to be introduced, but I want to make sure that I have the coin to buy whatever I want! I have been gathering funds any number of ways, from working the AH to just not buying everything that catches my fancy (which is harder than it sounds!). I don’t know how much the new flight is going to cost, or what kind of toys they are going to introduce with cataclysm, but I intend to be prepared! I have frequently found myself pondering “how much gold will I need?”, and the answer is that I just don’t know! So I will just keep earning and sticking it in my “rainy day” jar…I don’t think there will be a “too much”!
Getting all of my alts “cataclysm ready”, from clearing out quest logs, to making certain that their off-spec gear is in order (I have 5 healers and a tank! That’s a lot of off spec DPS gear!). I would probably also include “finish leveling alts” in this category as well. I have a DK at 72 (/yawn), a hunter at 71, a warlock at 70 and my baby druid at 60! I don’t know if they will all make it to 80 this expansion or not. It depends on how much down time I have as we wind down, and if I find other things more intriguing than leveling them (right now, it’s reading!). I also might try to put together some alt groups for Uld 10 for 310 mounts for the toons that I don’t have them on yet….but I’m not quite certain if I’m that ambitious yet!
Capturing memories before everything irrevocably changes. I have been traveling the old worlds making sure that I have some memories of all of the zones. I am curious to see what is going to be changing as we go forward in time. I have a lot of very fond memories of Vanilla, and while I am sure that I will gather fond memories of Cataclysm, I don’t want to wash away all of my old memories either!
How about you? What are you doing in preparation for Cataclysm?!
Over the weekend, I was struck by a very nasty bout of apathy. No matter what I sat down to do, I ended up feeling very “meh” about it. Personally, I blame the never ending rainy season…if I don’t get some sunshine soon *mumbles* So I decided that perhaps it was the perfect time to tend to an item that was on my “things to do before Cataclysm” list…get my Timbermaw rep to exalted.
And farm I did. I went from neutral to exalted all in the course of a day. I don’t know that I would necessarily recommend grinding all of it out over the course of one day…unless, of course, you are feeling quite apathetic and nothing else tickles your fancy! However, here are the results of my efforts!
Cute little bugger, isn’t he?! What is that you say? You’d like one of your very own? Well, why didn’t you just say so! Here is the advice that I have to impart on the adventure:
Read the rest of this entry »
One of my favorite places in all of Azeroth is The Hinterlands. I always make an effort to come out to this zone to quest. I know a lot of people dislike it, but I love it. I think I’ve done it on every character that I’ve got. I think the troll lore is fascinating, and really enjoy many of the troll towns that are in the game. I find this particular zone peaceful and tranquil, in a very sort of naturey way. I think that this is the true habitat of the trolls of Azeroth, and I’m not sure if there is another zone currently in the game that exhibits it quite as well. I also have fond memories of coming out and doing the Jintha’Alor quests, trekking up and through the cave for the Ancient Egg. Dying as the runners got loose, or you made one too many friends :)
Of the zones that becomes drastically changed with Cataclysm, I really hope that this one doesn’t get destroyed. I hope that the forest here stays mostly in tact. I think I would become very sad if I came out here and found it a barren wasteland, torn apart.
I think it’s partly because of it’s rich Troll Lore, which I love (plus they’ve got great music!).
And I think it’s partly because of how beautiful the zone itself is.
What memories do you have of The Hinterlands?