July 24, 2009

WoW Cunning PvP Pets

This is our last installment in our series exploring the different pet families. In the first post we explored raiding with a Ferocity pet. We identified the current recommended raid pet for each raid build. The next post in the series discussed why Tenacity pets have become the pets of choice for while grinding and farming.

This week I'm going to talk about Cunning pets. I like to think of them as the "Fun Pets."

I think of Cunning pets as fun because of the different abilities they have. If you're lacking a particular ability or need an extra debuff, stun, even snare, the Cunning pets are there to help fill in the gaps.

Because of this utility Cunning Pets have often found it difficult to secure a regular place in the PvE world of raids. However, some of the more popular ones are starting to see some success in PvP. So let's take a closer look at these unique pets.

Cunning Pets

The Birds of Prey are a great example of how a pet can help supplement your own abilities. They can disarm your opponent for 6 seconds using Snatch. That might not sound like a lot but if you happen to be in a battleground or 1 on 1 in an Arena battle, 6 seconds can see like an eternity when all you can do is run and take damage. And thanks to your pet, that's about all that pesky Rogue can do as we fire shot after shot.

How about keeping that Blink happy Mage in place for once. Well you got a couple of choices. You could go with a Bat that can emit a Sonic Blast. This little nasty inflicts Nature damage and stuns the target for 2 seconds to boot!

Maybe you don't like the flapping noise of the bat. Well another good option is the Spider. Spiders use their sticky Web to prevent the target for moving for 4 seconds. Both of these are almost like having an extra trap.

You could almost look at Nether Rays as our own version of having a pet Shaman. Okay, maybe not really! But their Nether Shock is a good way to inflict a similar effect like Shaman's Earth Shock. But more frustrating to any caster will be its ability to interrupt spell casting and preventing the target from casting a similar spell back at you 2 sec. Take that you shifty Shaman!

Plate wearing classes are a pain. They have a ton of Armor and Resilience reducing the damage our shots can do to them. And add to that, one Warrior can ruin our whole day by using Sunder Armor and weakening our defenses as they charge into our (yes smaller than before) kill zone.

The Spore Bat, a funny looking creature that can give those Warriors a small taste of their own medicine for once. By casting a Spore Cloud and dusting the nearby enemy. The Spore Bat causes Nature damage but also reduces their armor by 3%. That may not be a lot, but enough to make our shots sting a little more that's for sure.

With all this talk about normal pets available to everyone don't think I've forgotten about the Beast Master Hunter and their ability to tame Exotic Pets. Beast Master's have a couple of options available to them in Chimaeras and Silithids.

I'll grant you that having this monstrous flapping pet with you might seem intimidating, but really it's just painting a huge target on your back saying, "Here I am!" That aside, I do think Chimaera's have a pretty neat ability called Froststorm Breath. Basically they can lay a combination Frost and Nature damage attack slowing your target. Sounds pretty good, but I'm not entirely sure if it makes up for painting a bulls-eye on my back as I try to navigate battlegrounds.

My personal favorite of Exotic is the Silithid. This one is just too creepy not to be fun. First, who doesn't want to have their very own Starship Trooper bug? Besides that the Silithid can spray Venom Web Spray at your enemy. It'll superglue them into one spot preventing movement while also causing Nature damage. The Silithid is as Moomkin at Arena Junkies put it, "...a crab with remote pin." Definitely worth considering if you're going to PvP as a BM Hunter.

It seems that Cunning pets are extremely situational. Even over on Arena Junkies and Elitist Jerks the overwhelming school of thought seems to be to just use a Ferocity pet. That being the case, here's my crack at what seems to make sense for a either a 16 point or 20 point Cunning Pet talent build.

Tier One

Great Stamina (Recommend 3 points/2 points Optional) adding 12% more stamina is always nice. The only trade-off that I can see on this would be if you decided to put 1 point into Cobra Reflexes. Having a faster attack speed even with the reduction might be worth it. But I'll stick with the extra stamina for now.

Tier Two

Boar's Speed (1 Point) Here is where I increase my pet's movement speed. Boar's Speed is more beneficial by giving a consistent 30% speed increase trumping the individual 18% from Dash or Dive given up in Tier 1.

Spiked Collar (3 Points) Adding 9% additional damage with all attacks is a nice little bump.

Tier Three

Avoidance (3 Points) Being able to reduce the damage your pet takes by 75% on AOE's is a pretty nice bonus. Some might think this is a waste of a talent point, but you need to put 3 in here in order to eventually unlock Wild Hunt.

Lion Hearted (1 point) One of the most annoying things I run into is when someone smacks a stun on your pet and then charges into you. Using Lion Hearted will help reduce this by 15%.

Tier 4

Feeding Frenzy (2 points) There is nothing like the joy of seeing a target panic because your pet is taking huge chunks out of its hide with each attack. Feeding Frenzy does just that. With each attack doing 16% additional damage they'll stop worrying about you and try to get the little bugger off their back.

Cornered or Great Resistance (BM Only 1 point) I like Cornered. In PvP Pets seem to run out of Health faster than normal anyways. So why not take advantage of that last gasp and do 25% more damage, while at the same time reducing their chance of suffering a Crit by 30%.

Cornered is purely a manifestation of my offensive, "Gotta eat some Warlock faces" side sneaking out. The more defensive and careful side says take the point into Great Resistance and reduce the damage from those pesky casters by 5%. But this is PvP right? So I'll stick with Cornered.

Tier 5

Wolverine Bite (1 point) This attack brings back the days where Bestial Wrath couldn't be stopped. By doing, at level 80, 405 points of damage (Pet's level * 5 + 5) from a single attack that cannot be dodged, blocked or parried has to be enough to make anyone a bit weak in the knees. The only caveat I see is the target must dodge the initial attack. Which one would think in PvP really shouldn't be that difficult.

Roar of Recovery (1 point) One of the historical problems for Hunters in PvP has been Mana. Our only hope to survive for any length of time was to play the drain game. Now we have a way to help combat that. Maybe not the most efficient, but Roar of Recovery will restore 30% of your Mana over 9 seconds. This can be the difference from shooting blanks or firing of that ever fulfilling Kill Shot.

Grace of the Mantis (BM Only 2 Points) The 2% reduction on critical hits to your pet is not really that great. The main reason for speccing here is to open up Roar of Sacrifice.

Tier 6

Wild Hunt (1 point) This is just a pure pet buff. The one point will get your pet an additional 20% of your Stamina contribution, as well as a 10% Attack Power increase.

Roar of Sacrifice (BM Only 1 point) This is purely a selfish point for the BM Hunters. It's your pet's way of taking one for the team. By swooping in and absorbing 30% of damage for 12 seconds it can give you a second chance to get your revenge.

That brings us to the end of our review of Cunning Pets. I'd like to hear what you have to say. Have you used a Cunning pet in PvP? Maybe you have a suggestion on the proposed 16 point or 20 point specs? Maybe you can shed light on how Silithids compares to Crabs for pining down the enemy? Let's find out more about these unique and curious cunning pets and leave a comment below.

Ghostcrawler adds to Hunter Q&A

As promised, there's a new version of the Hunter class Q&A up on the official forums. Very little has changed from the previous version, actually, but they did add the following question:

Q: Do we have plans to increase the number of stable slots available to hunters?

A:Obviously we increased it a lot in Wrath of the Lich King. We want to try and keep the pet as some kind of decision - they aren't supposed to be like mounts or titles where you just collect as many as you want. We expanded the size so that players could have say a Tenacity pet for soloing and a Ferocity pet for raiding, but we don't want every hunter to have every family available here. Now one potential problem are the Spirit Beasts, which are collected by hunters and not trivial to replace. We have also discussed expanding the Spirit Beast concept to have rare skins of other pet families (that otherwise don't convey a combat bonus). If we do that, we'd probably have to expand the stable slots.

We've also considered a model where the hunter doesn't even need a stable and can work more like a warlock where they can just summon their pets whenever they want - with the remote stable ability from the dual-spec feature, we're pretty close to that already. If we went this route then maybe the stable could just become pet storage in the same way your bank has all those Invader's Scourgestones and Zul'Gurub bijous that you don't use often but can't bear to part with.

That's all we can see that's changed with the Q&A.

WoW Rogue and Shaman Tier 9 sets

The Mighty Battle continues! Today we'll took at another pair of mail and leather sets, this time for the Rogue and Shaman Tier 9 sets from the Crusader's Coliseum. For the past three days, we've pitted suits of armor against each other in an all-out brawl determined by the armor design's faithfulness to its class, representation of its faction, and overall badassery. It's the first time we're seeing faction-based PvE Tier armor in the World of Warcraft, so we'll see who comes out on top.

While I've outlined my criteria for judging the armor sets, we've spiced things up with a reader poll to see which armor you guys like and from the results thus far it looks like the Horde have gained a good edge in the voting. Is it a result of faction-bias? Are the armor sets really that much better for the Horde? Hit the jump to find out!

World of warcraft Stat Changer v2.0

World of warcraft Stat Changer v2.0 Change character stats to any number

Remove casting cooldown on any spell Change your equipment stats/bonuses
Change critical hit to 100%

Level to 70 in just a few hours

100,000+ Health/Mana

Solo 40-man raids by yourself, keep all loot!

Works on all official US, Europe & Asia servers

Tired of the time it takes to get to 60 or 70? It can take WEEKS or MONTHS for most people to level that far. Our Stat Changer can get you to 60-70 in less than 2 days! wow Stat Changer works by allowing you to change ANY stat on your character. This enables you to do insane damage to creatures. Use this to solo instances (perfect place to level and the drops are really nice)

DETECTION UPGRADES: The Stat Changer is now COMPLETELY UNDETECTABLE! New injection algorithm disables wow_warden.dll, preventing blizzard's anti-hack scanner from running.

Take advantage of this programming breakthrough - why waste time grinding with the grunts.... play wow in GOD MODE!

Buff Freezer included... freeze any buff for your entire session! Imagine getting a monster heal buff from a priest, then running around for hours killing anything in sight without ever dying!

Our time is important, isn't yours? Why grind when you can play God mode, collecting the best items, the most gold and soloing the hardest monsters. You owe it to yourself to spend your hours playing wow enjoying your new position at a cut above the competition. Our utilities and hacks work on all World of Warcraft servers! Our tools and cheats have been created by gamers, for gamers to maximize your gaming experience.

Mmorpg Cheats... As gamers first and software developers second, we are committed to providing you with the latest in quality world of warcraft cheats and hacks. Why buy wow gold when you can quickly collect it yourself with this tool? Use Stat Changer to freeze your buffs, change your stats, solo bosses without a healer and more.

WoW X-Perl UnitFrames 2.4.3b

A much enchanced version of Nymbia's Perl UnitFrames, and a complete replacement for Blizzard's default unit frames, including raid frames and raid tools, with many additions and improvements over the original Nymbia code.

Range Finder (combined with optional health check) for all frames based on spell or item range test.

HoT Monitor will highlight units clearly that have your own active Heal over Time spells.

Debuff Highlighting in standard debuff colours on all friendly frames. Priority given to show debuffs that YOU can cure first.

Raid Frames, buff icons, MT list units and some other portions or X-Perl are Created on demand. Saving a lot of time and memory at system startup. Defering the creation of many parts of X-Perl to when they are actually required. And of course, most often outside of raids they are never required and are never created.

Raid Target icon support for Target, Target's Target, MT Targets.

Unit tooltip will show much CTRA information, with the addtion of combat rezzers available (druids with Rebirth ready (or very soon available) and any normal rezzers out of combat) if you bring up tooltip of a dead person.

'In-combat' indicators for Pet, Target, Target's Target, Party, Party pets, Raid, MT Targets.

3D Portraits for player, pet, target, focus, party. Optional. Of course this may degrade your framerate somewhat because you are displaying more 3D character models that without this option. But some like it pretty, and it does look cool.

Red and Green combat flashes for frames when player, pet, target, party, partypets, raid take damage/heals. Useful indication of things happening.

Added time left on party member/target buffs/debuffs when in a raid, these depend somewhat on CTRA/oRA/oRA2 sending appropriate information over the addon channel, although some of it can be determined at run time by X-Perl, when a player gets a buff for example, we know how long it should last, and therefor when it should expire.

Totally new options window including all X-Perl options and access via minimap icon.

Configurable colours for borders and backgrounds. Including class coloured names, and configurable reaction colours.

Much care has been taken with code size, memory load, memory usage per cycle and so on. LuaProfiler/OnEvent mods used extensively and regularly to ensure that X-Perl does not do more work than is absolutely necessary.

With that in mind, the event system was totally re-written, and is as kind to system performance as possible. The majority of events are disabled while zoning to alleviate any event backlog issues. And where most addons use 1 event handler per unit frame, which although standard, the alternative has improved X-Perl's performance. By using single main event handlers, we can route the events to appropriate units. So, for example, when a single UNIT_HEALTH update is fired, then just a single raid frame or party frame etc. gets the event, rather than 40 raid frame's handlers, 4 party and so on. Nymbia's Perl used to do a lot of crazy full frame udpates all over the place, eating away at CPU cycles. This was all fixed to only update what was necessary based on events.

Liberal usage of local functions to cut down compiled code size, and increase speed since functions are called directly rather than by name. Every time you have a global function, you have a global string name associated with it, so size in the global environment saved where possible.

XPerl_RaidHelper sub-addon
Assists View
Will show anyone from raid assising you with your target, and can also show healers or all plus known enemies targetting you.
Tooltips for the same also available (on player and target frames) if you prefer to not use the main window.

MT Targets
Replaces CTRA/oRA2 MT Targets window, and doubles as a replacement for the Perl RaidFrames warrior targets.
Indicator shows which target you are on.
Frames will be coloured to show if tanks have duplicate targets.

XPerl_RaidMonitor sub-addon (WORK IN PROGRESS)
Casting Monitor
Shows selected classes in a list (much like the MT List), but with some differences.
Shows mana bars and cast bars on left. Their targets on right. Health bar as normal, but a secondary small red bar on targets which shows the maximum single hit this unit has received since entering combat. The secondary bar will extend downwards from their current HP level down to as far as zero.
A green name on the targets indicates this is the same target that you have.
You can click on casters or their targets as expected.

All bars can be re-sized in X-Perl main options (Monitor section).

Totals can be toggled (from the 'T' minibutton at top of frame) which gives overview of raid mana status.

XPerl_RaidAdmin sub-addon (WORK IN PROGRESS)
Raid Admin
Save/Load raid roster setups
Only does direct save and load for the moment, but more to come (templates and such).

Item Check
Replacement for /raitem /radur /raresist /rareg. Use the old commands before, or drop items in the left item list.
Query button will perform /raitem on all ticked items (query always includes dur and resists) and you can then view and review all the results whenever, without having to re-query each item.
Includes everyone in raid, so you don't have to work out who doesn't have items, it'll list them with 0 instead of no entry.
Active Scanner to check raid member's equipment for the item selected. So you can be sure that people actually have the item worn (Onyxia Cloak for example), without having to go round single target inspecting everyone who 'forgot' to install CTRA for the 50th raid in a row.

XPerl_GrimReaper sub-addon
The Grim Reaper remembers the most recent combat events for each unit in the party or raid, so that you may mouse over someone and immediately see the kind of damage/healing they took prior to death.

/grim for options

Right click Reaper for menu (when un-docked)
Alt-Mousewheel to scale the reaper window (when un-docked)

Supported Addons
CT_RaidAssist, oRA2. Shows tooltip info and player status, replaces MT Targets List, improves raid frames, shows player status, resurrection monitor, buff timers aware.
MobInfo-2 / MobHealth3 - Shows target health from MobHealth database.
SmartyCat, DruidBar and SimpleDruidBar - Shows druid mana bar from DruidBar when shapeshifted.
Clique compatible. And any other click cast addon that uses the same communication method.

X-Perl UnitFrames by Zek (Blood Cult) - Bloodhoof-EU

WoW AtlasLoot Enhanced v4.06.03

==What is Atlasloot==
AtlasLoot Enhanced is an UI mod allowing for loot tables of bosses to be browsed whenever needed within the game. It can access full item tooltips, show drop rates, allow items to be chat linked and to use the dressing room.

==Integration in other mods==
Atlasloot can be used as a stand-alone browser without a host mod or integrated in any map mod (works at the moment with Atlas and AlphaMap.)

Want Atlasloot Loot tables in your mod? Simply call the new function AtlasLoot_ShowBossLoot().

Example: You want to see Lucifron's loot attached to you player portrait....
pFrame = {"TOPLEFT", "PlayerFrame", "BOTTOMRIGHT", 0, 0 }
AtlasLoot_ShowBossLoot(MCLucifron, "Lucifron", pFrame);

pFrame is an array holding how to display the loot.
pFrame = { anchor point, frame to anchor to, relative anchor point, x offset, y offset }

AtlasLoot_ShowBossLoot has the location of the data, text to be displayed as the boss name and the pFrame.
AtlasLoot_ShowBossLoot( dataID, Boss Name, pFrame)

==Latest Beta==
We do not officially release beta versions for Atlasloot. But you can update the mod daily through the wow Ace SVN. Please note that we can not guarantee a bug-free and fully functional mod if you update from Ace.

==Configuration Menu==
Accessed by right-clicking the AtlasLoot minimap button or from the 'Options' button available on any AtlasLoot interface.
* Show Minimap Button: Adds the Atlasloot icon to the Minimap.
* Hide Atlasloot Panel: Removes the Atlasloot Panel from the main Atlas window.
* Safe Chat Links: Can only link items without the (Item Unavailable) tag. Slight chance of disconnect if you have an item in your local cache the server has not seen for a while, but unlikely.
* Enable all Chat Links (USE AT YOUR OWN RISK): Strong chance of disconnects, especially on items your server hasn't seen yet.
* AutoQuery items on loot tables (Disconnection risk): Atlasloot will automaticly query the server for all items on any loot table opened. Chance of disconnects.
* Supress text spam when querying items: This option disables the text, that is shown in your chat window, when you query the server for an item.
* Enhanced Tooltips: If you have Lootlink or ItemSync installed, you can use tooltips generated by them instead of the default tooltip. I recommend the Lootlink tooltips, they handle data not in your local cache well. If an item has (no iteminfo) after it you can only get the tooltip via Lootlink or ItemSync. Be careful with ItemSync, it is unstable on items not seen on your server (just the way ItemSync is).
* Show itemIDs at all times: Adds the itemID to the item tooltip.
* Show Comparison Tooltips: If you have EquipCompare installed it will use it, if not it uses the default Blizzard stuff.
* Notify me when a LoD Module is loaded: [something]
* Load all loot modules at startup: Atlasloot contains several modules. With this option enabled all of the modules, that you have installed, are loaded at startup.
* Make Loot Table Opaque: Makes the loot table background black so you can't see the map underneath.

==Slash Commands==
* '/al' or '/atlasloot' by itself brings up the loot browser.
* '/atlasloot options' brings up the options menu.
* '/atlasloot reset' resets the last viewed loot table (fixes disconnects when opening AtlasLoot) and moves all draggable frames back to the middle of the screen.

Drop Rates: Appended to the bottom of the tooltip of an item when moused over (if available).
Dressing Room: Control-click items to show them in the Dressing Room.
Price Preview: See the prices for token items like PvP rewards.
DKP systems: Simply edit the file 'dkp.lua' using data from localization.en.lua (for the item ID numbers) and your guild's fixed price values to allow for DKP values to be shown in the tooltip. The stubs of some Lucifron items have been included to get you started and show you how it's done.
Security: AtlasLoot flags as unsafe any items it detects that may cause you to be disconnected from the server if you try to link it in the chat window. To attempt to get the item information from the server, simply right-click on it. Note: you may get disconnected if the item is not available on your server.
Instance Loot: All instance loot from every Dungeon (Normal and Heroic) and Raid.
World Raid Bosses: Highlord Kruul, Azuregos, Dragons of the Nightmare, Doom Lord Kazzak and Doomwalker.
Factions: wow Factions and Burning Crusade factions rewards.
PvP: World PvP Items, Battleground Items including low level items, Honor rewards - Weapons and Armor, Arena Rewards - Weapons and Armor for all seasons.
Sets: ZG, AQ20, AQ40, Dugeon 1, 2 and 3, Tier 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 Armor sets, Pre-60 sets, Crafted Sets, Crafted Epic Weapons, Tabards, Rare Mounts, Legendary Items, World BoE Epic Weapons, Heroic Token rewards.
World Events: Skettis, Abyssal Council, Ethereum Prison, etc.
Season Events: Feast of Winter Veil, Hallow's End, Brewfest, etc.
Wishlist: Alt-click on any item to add it to the wishlist, alt-clicking on an item in the wishlist deletes it. There are buttons added to the Atlas panel and the loot browser to open the wishlist.
Partial Searching: Allows searching the whole AtlasLoot database for an item where you only know part of the name.
Quicklooks [b]NEW IN 4.06.00[b]: Bind up to four loot tables to 'Quicklook' buttons, allowing you to jump to them with only one click.

===Using AtlasLoot Search===
To use the search function, just type as much of the name of the item as you can and click search. For example, if I type 'Potion' I will get multiple pages of results as every item in the database with 'potion' in its name is displayed. From here, just left-click on the item you were looking for to jump to the loot page it came from.

The small '->' button next to the search box allows you to toggle on and off which Load on Demand modules you want to search through. For example, you may only want to search PvP items, so you would untick all the LoD modules except the Sets and PvP module.

===The Wishlist===
The Wishlist is a much demanded feature that is finally available from version 4.05.00. The wishlist is accessed by clicking the 'Wishlist' button at the bottom of the Atlas frame or the loot browser. To add an item to the wishlist while browsing in AtlasLoot, simply Alt-Left Click on the item. To remove an item, click on the 'Wishlist' button to enter the wish list, and alt-click any item to remove it.

AtlasLoot was originally created by Pernicius as a plugin for Atlas and contained a handful of raid loot tables to browse. Unfortunately, Pernicius was unable to maintain the mod, so Daviesh took over and renamed it to AtlasLoot Enhanced to provide a distinction between the two versions. Since that time, AtlasLoot has grown to cover every loot table for every boss, every item set, PvP Items and items for every reputation faction.

This mod is distributed under Version 2 of the GPL. A copy of the GPL is included in this zip file with links to non-English translations.

==Current Team==
Author and Coder: Daviesh
Co-Author and German translator: Hegarol
Co-Author: Celellach
French translation by TrAsHeR
Simp. Chinese translation by Kurax
Spanish translation by maqjav
Trad. Chinese translation by Arith

QuestGuru 0.9.4

QuestGuru is a Quest Log replacement that includes a Quest History, showing all quests that have been completed since installing QuestGuru. It uses a side-by-side quest log format to show you more quest titles than the built-in quest log. It also enhances the quest tracker, giving it more options and a better look.

Features include:
- Displaying quest starters and finishers
- Coloring of important names and places in the quest description
- Built-in announcer with customizable messages
- Abandoned quest log
- View progress of your alts on quests you have in common

QuestGuru is now available on GoogleCode. Click here to view QuestGuru's Google Code page. I will keep wowUI updated like I always have, but GoogleCode is the place to go if you want pre-release versions.

LATEST RELEASE: July 1, 2008
Version 0.9.4
* Added track/untrack quest to right-click menu in quest log
* Added shift-right click menu to quests in tracker
* Added Echo option for Announcer
* Bug fixes


Q. Why can't I see the History, Abandon, etc. tab?
A. All tabs other than "Current" will ONLY be shown if there is something to display on that page. For instance, if you don't have any abandoned quests, the Abandon tab will not be visible.

Q. Can I import my history from QuestHistory?
A. Not at this time, but I do hope to add this option in a later version.

For LightHeaded users: As of 0.8.9 you must use a 2.4 compatible version of LightHeaded, pre-2.4 versions will no longer work with QuestGuru. Also, when viewing quests in your History that you finished pre-2.4, QuestGuru may not have the information necessary to tell LightHeaded which quest to show.
Update LightHeaded

Using version previous to 0.8.8 on wow 2.4 will cause a stray "Title reward" element to appear in quest text, often covering reward items. To fix this, upgrade your QuestGuru to at least 0.8.8

WHEN POSTING A BUG REPORT - Please include the version of QuestGuru you are using and copy/paste the error message you receive.

Pleast note: If you are currently using another quest log replacement, such as Bayi's EQL, you MUST disable it when using QuestGuru. Using multiple quest log replacements will cause errors.

Updated images for v0.9.2

July 22, 2009

WoW Patch 3.2 PTR Trial of the Crusader testing schedule

Daelo posted an official schedule for testing the Trial of the Crusader content on the current PTR, which further explore the perils inside the Crusader's Coliseum. There are two different schedules for players on North American and European realms, who will be squaring off against different bosses:

On the North American test realms:
Anub'arak - Tuesday Night, July 21, starting at 7pm EDT. Normal and Heroic.

On the European test realms:
Val'kyr – Wednesday Night, July 22, starting at 19:00 CEST. Normal and Heroic.

Blizzard is implementing both Normal and Heroic version in varying difficulties and set-ups. Daelodev also mentions having different Test Patchwerks that hits "VERY hard" to better test sustained tank damage. He reminds everyone that feedback from all the tests - which include their combat logs - is incredibly useful to the development team. He ends the post with the usual FAQ that notes that 1) there's no trash in the zone, 2) loot is implemented, and 3) Achievements are in place. Check out the official post for more details.
Tags: Anub-arak, Anubarak, Daelodev, patch-3.2, patch-3.2-changes, patch-3.2-wow, PTR-testing, Testing, Val-kyr, Valkyr, world-of-warcraft-patch-3.2, wow-3.2-changes, wow-new-patch, wow-patch, wow-patch-3.2, wow-patch-news

Getting started and wow leveling 1-9

Greetings, Druids. I took the liberty of rolling a few new Druids to test out the improved leveling process, and if possible I'm going to level a brand-new one all the way to 80 to make sure everything in the guide's been personally tested and accurate as of the 3.1/3.2 game world. Today we'll start off with a baby Tauren Druid on the PTR who's now level 9; later I'll be switching between a Night Elf and a Tauren.

Level Feral.

This is the single best thing you can do for yourself, at least for leveling in classic content. As we've previously discussed, the Druid is still hobbled by its initial design as an endgame secondary healer, but you can skip a certain portion of this early weakness by leveling feral. Piggybacking off all of the DPS leather that went into the game to support the billions of people who rolled Rogues is a nice advantage, but the real attraction of leveling Feral lies in the ability to DPS in forms that don't require mana. Being able to save your mana bar for healing and buffing decreases downtime enormously (more so as you gain levels, as our mana efficiency and damage aren't that great early on).

Leveling Balance is significantly easier than it used to be (particularly if you're using BoA items), but you will need significantly more downtime to drink. Past 40, Balance leveling becomes a bit more efficient, but you may want to save Moonkin for 58+ when Blizzard really put some effort into making the spec viable (and I say this as someone who did level Balance 40-69).

Leveling Restoration is not recommended. The Druid's offensive capabilities from this tree are designed to complement talents and abilities from the Balance and Feral trees. Unlike talents in other classes' healing trees (Tidal Mastery in the Shamans' Restoration tree is one such example), there's almost nothing here that increases your offensive output.

Macro and hotkey your forms as you get them.

For all I know, the readership plans on ignoring this guide and Moonfiring its way to 80, but if you do absolutely nothing else that I suggest here, macro and hotkey your forms. Successful management of the Druid is all about swift and fluent shapeshifting. Having to click in order to enter and exit forms is not only cumbersome, but also a death sentence in emergencies. Wowwiki has a more extensive list of useful macros here, but to boil the forms down to what you need for early leveling:

/cast Bear Form

Level 10. This becomes available after a short questline that will take you between the Night Elf/Tauren starting areas and Moonglade (for which you will be given the permanent and enormously helpful Teleport: Moonglade spell). Because Bear, Aquatic, Cat, and (as of patch 3.2) Travel forms all become available between levels 10 and 20, I'll shove them all into the next leveling guide.

/cast Aquatic Form

Level 16, and now trainable, although for nostalgia's sake I do recommend doing the original questline. As an FYI, it's only possible to cast Aquatic Form while swimming (i.e. your character can't just be standing in water), and you will be de-shifted as soon as your character can stand upright.

/cast Cat Form

Level 20 and trainable. You can find a Great Cat Spirit in southern Moonglade, hinting at Blizzard's original intention to implement a Cat Form questline akin to that of the bear's, but unfortunately that never happened.

/cast Travel Form

As of patch 3.2, level 20 and trainable.


If you want to leave whatever form you're in without having to use a caster-form only ability. As of patch 2.3, using a caster ability automatically pops you out of whatever animal form you occupy, but if you want to see the royal mess that Druid macros looked like pre-2.3, here you go.

Got your macros? Good stuff. Hotkey 'em however you like, then practice shifting back and forth when you get the forms themselves. This becomes second nature fairly quickly, although you'll want to experiment to find a set of hotkeys that are easiest for you to use.

If someone else doesn't want the gear and you can wear it, /roll.

This applies more to 5-mans, but also to quest rewards and suchlike. Don't be shy about /rolling on gear even if you're not specced to use it, particularly if it's useful for tanking or healing. One of the major impediments to respeccing as a Druid is that each spec increasingly requires entirely different sets of gear. If there's a quest reward that's useful for a different spec, don't sell it -- bank it. If something drops in a dungeon and nobody else wants it, don't be shy about asking for it within reason. Remember, other people also build off-sets.

Don't be shy about offering to do something you're not specced to do.

Don't pigeonhole yourself into one role so thoroughly that you miss out on valuable practice doing something else (I see a lot of panic from Druids who leveled with one spec, then find themselves doing something completely different at 80, and this is why). Most normal 5-mans aren't insanely difficult, and are designed to be tanked and healed by people who aren't the "correct" spec in order to accommodate players who are still leveling. If a group needs a healer and you're Balance or Feral, feel free to grab your Resto set and go anyway -- ditto Balance and Cat.

The only spec where I'd be leery about doing this is tanking when you're not Feral. I've tanked as a non-Feral Druid previously and it is possible, but a fairly miserable experience. To be frank, most of the Bear's viability is baked into talents, and you will have considerably more difficulty than your plate tank counterparts do while not explicitly tank-specced, particularly with respect to threat generation. Honestly, I wouldn't bother.

All set? Let's move on to rolling an actual Druid. The class is the most racially-restrictive one in the game, so if you're playing Alliance, welcome to the Night Elves, and if you're playing Horde, welcome to the Tauren. If you don't really care either way, most people pick the race they enjoy or identify with more. Neither possesses a racial ability that will make or break your endgame, although it might be more accurate to say that both possess racial abilities that are useful in the endgame, but are ultimately a wash once compared to each other.

If someone else doesn't want the gear and you can wear it, /roll.

This applies more to 5-mans, but also to quest rewards and suchlike. Don't be shy about /rolling on gear even if you're not specced to use it, particularly if it's useful for tanking or healing. One of the major impediments to respeccing as a Druid is that each spec increasingly requires entirely different sets of gear. If there's a quest reward that's useful for a different spec, don't sell it -- bank it. If something drops in a dungeon and nobody else wants it, don't be shy about asking for it within reason. Remember, other people also build off-sets.

Don't be shy about offering to do something you're not specced to do.

Don't pigeonhole yourself into one role so thoroughly that you miss out on valuable practice doing something else (I see a lot of panic from Druids who leveled with one spec, then find themselves doing something completely different at 80, and this is why). Most normal 5-mans aren't insanely difficult, and are designed to be tanked and healed by people who aren't the "correct" spec in order to accommodate players who are still leveling. If a group needs a healer and you're Balance or Feral, feel free to grab your Resto set and go anyway -- ditto Balance and Cat.

The only spec where I'd be leery about doing this is tanking when you're not Feral. I've tanked as a non-Feral Druid previously and it is possible, but a fairly miserable experience. To be frank, most of the Bear's viability is baked into talents, and you will have considerably more difficulty than your plate tank counterparts do while not explicitly tank-specced, particularly with respect to threat generation. Honestly, I wouldn't bother.

All set? Let's move on to rolling an actual Druid. The class is the most racially-restrictive one in the game, so if you're playing Alliance, welcome to the Night Elves, and if you're playing Horde, welcome to the Tauren. If you don't really care either way, most people pick the race they enjoy or identify with more. Neither possesses a racial ability that will make or break your endgame, although it might be more accurate to say that both possess racial abilities that are useful in the endgame, but are ultimately a wash once compared to each other.

Spiritual Guidance: Are 2 Discipline Priests a problem?

I received a kind email the other day from a raiding Disc Priest. Their Priest is already established within the raid. They've been Holy for many years and decided to try Discipline. Like many Holy-to-Disc Priests, they discovered they really liked it. An issue that I can see some guilds experiencing is when they have more than 1 Discipline Priest within their ranks.

Is that a good thing? Is it a bad thing?

Understand that having two Disc Priests is a sign. It's an omen that your guild is going to be crushed and destroyed because no organization can withstand the egos of two similarly specced classes.

Well, okay, maybe it can.

The role of the Disc Priest

The Disc Priest job is to heal. They can group heal but they excel under single target healing. We understand that! So what do you do when you have two Disc Priests?

Simple! Give them two separate targets!

Identifying your irritability

Is it annoying having two Disc Priests in the raid? Why is that? I'm Discipline myself. I have no problems with other Disc Priests in the raid. I've cooperated with them before in countless raids and on bosses.

But if you're a Disc Priest raiding with another Disc Priest and that fact bothers you, find out why. There have been raids in the past where I've raided with 2 other Holy Priests. I've seen raids filled with 4 Paladins. Sunwell raids were stacked with 5 Resto Shamans. There is nothing wrong with having healers that are the same class.

Look, you can't exactly go to the raiding supermarket and buy yourself the classes and specs that you need with the appropriate knowledge or experience. It just doesn't work that way. People will play the classes and specs that they want.

Here's the thing about figuring out a raid's healing load out that I've learned. Each encounter has a minimum number of healing required in order to complete it successfully. Your raid group is going to take a certain amount of damage and your raid healers have to either prevent or heal that up. The days of extremist Sunwell raids are behind us. You don't have to stack half a dozen Holy Priests on one raid and then ask players to switch to their Resto Shaman alts on another raid to beat an encounter.

Sometimes I read about such disputes on blogs or forums about how a Disc Priest despises having another Disc Priest in the group. I can't help but wonder if it's a competitive or territorial thing. I've seen this kind of behavior before in previous guilds (and in pugs). One player doesn't like the idea of another player healing their tank. Or maybe they don't like to share healing assignments with another player.

I'd just tell them to pull their head out of their ass.

That kind of animosity isn't really warranted. I honestly don't see the point. I've triple stacked healers on to one target before simply because the encounter and our raid composition required it.

The reality of class specific healing

If your server or guild is limited to a handful of healers, you just have to work with what you have. 9 times out of 10, any combination of healers is enough to get through most encounters. Yes, you're gimping the raid out of many buffs that would be nice to have. But that doesn't mean it's impossible. You might be missing a Blessing of Wisdom here or a set of totems there.

As a raid leader, I understand that I have to work with what I have. If that means one day stacking extra Paladins or having multiple Disc Priests, then so be it. The big picture and ultimate mandate of a raiding guild is to kill a boss using whatever players and assets we have at our disposal (legitimately). I know that if I don't want three Disc Priests in the raid, I'd simply put the call out and start looking for a Resto Shaman or a Holy Paladin or whatever it is that I felt I needed.

I understand that some servers or guilds may not have those kinds of resources to get the classes that are necessary. Not everyone's on a high pop server or has access to such a large pool of players.

We're pretty lucky to be able to afford a wide range of flexibility in terms of what classes we bring. Is it possible to knock out bosses with specifically one or two types of healers? Yes. Is it optimal? No. But you don't have to be optimal to be successful.

The thing about 2 Disc Priests

A key component of Disc Priest healing relies on their shields. Unlike heals, only the shield of one Priest can be active for any given time. No other shields can be applied on an already shielded player unless Weakened Soul wears off. That's when players can do it. Versus healing, it's possible for heals from different players to land simultaneously. There's no error message that says you can't heal a player because they've just been healed by someone else.

Clear communication becomes extremely important. Working with multiple Disc Priests, each one has to talk to the other and outline specifically which Priest is covering which target full time.

For example, when I was working with other Disc Priests, I stated that I would specifically be covering the Warrior tank. I instructed the other Priest to look after the bear tank. Every other player within the raid was fair game for our shields. But we would not deviate from our assignments and hit the other Priest's target no matter what (unless a Priest died or something). I have raid frames set up in such a way to show which players had Weakened Soul. I knew I wouldn't have to worry about that player for a few seconds if they just gained the debuff as they had either been shielded by myself or by the other Priest.

Anyways, it's possible for two or more Disc Priests to work together in a raid. In a 10 man, it may not be the most ideal, but it is what it is and if that's what you have to work with, then it's best to try or to convince the leaders to come up with a different solution.

WoW Druid Q&A followup

In a somewhat surprising turn of events, the devs have decided to do a followup to the recent Druid Q&A, tackling certain things with more specifics rather than the general approach they took originally. The followup seems mostly aimed at Druid PvP, perhaps an omen of the future. It reminds me much more of the unofficial Shadow Priest Q&A that Ghostcrawler tackled, addressing very specific issues.

For convenience, the full followup can be read below.

Q: Players feel that the effect of Feral Cat Charge isn't as good as the Feral Bear Charge yet the cat charge has double the cooldown. What is the reasoning behind the cooldown difference of these two abilities?
A: Feral Charge Bear mirrors warrior Charge (15 sec), while Feral Charge Cat mirrors Shadowstep (30 sec). They are really different abilities. We just had to put them on a shared cooldown to keep the druid from using them back to back.

Q: Are we satisfied with the damage that Shred does without a bleed/mangle effect on the target compared to how much it does with the bleed effect?A: Shred ultimately needs the bleed requirement and the positional requirements met to make it work optimally. We buffed Mangle to make it a better button in PvP when you can't get the most out of Shred. But Shred still does great damage when you can use it.

Q: What is the reasoning behind leaving the positional requirement for Shred in the game after removing this requirement from the Rogue ability Mutilate?
A: The analog to Shred is Backstab, which is positional. We like the positional requirement because without it, Shred is just a damage ability, and we think the positional requirement is one of those skill cap issues that lets good Ferals do more damage than mediocre Ferals. Really though, the underlying issue here is that we are happy with Feral damage in PvP. Also remember the secondary benefit of positional requirements, which is that the enemy often needs to keep in movement to keep you from getting behind them.

We don't think Ferals need to do more damage to be good in PvP. What they need to do is be able to survive (while in cat – they do okay in bear), and the fact that if you're looking for a melee partner, one who brings Mortal Strike might be more attractive.

Q: Players felt we are not giving much attention to balance and feral druid PvP concerns when their arena success is very limited. Can you give us a more definitive answer on how we feel about these specs in PvP?
A: We wish there were more teams with Feral and Balance druids on them, and wish we saw more Feral and Balance gladiators. In short, we think they are underperforming. The reason we haven't showered those two specs in PvP buffs are because: A) Druids have a great PvP spec they can use, while hunters and perhaps warlocks and shamans have none. B) A lot of the specs that are underperforming are doing so because they don't have the ability to chain CC or multiple escape mechanisms. We don't want to give those to every class. We'd rather change the PvP environment to where those aren't all necessary. We also want to de-emphasize the 2 vs. 2 bracket and emphasize BGs a lot more so that the entire PvP experience doesn't come down to the synergy you have with other classes. And again, it's not necessarily that their abilities don't cut it – it's that when you're putting a team together, a mage or rogue might be more attractive.

Q: What is the reasoning behind allowing Warstomp to be useable in Tree of Life and Moonkin forms (assuming this is correct) but Bear and Cat forms have to shift out to use it?
A: You need to be in a humanoid form to do abilities like Warstomp. Tree of Life and Moonkin (and also things like Shadowform) are considered humanoid. They are bipedal for instance. This is a data construct more than a strict balance reason.

Q: With the changes on the PTR, what forms of interrupts and what forms of stuns do we plan for druids to have in patch 3.2?
A: Maim and Bash are interrupts on monsters. Feral Charge is an interrupt on monsters and players. Maim, Bash and Pounce are all stuns and never interrupt players. The stun itself will often stop the spell, but may not in the case of a Blinking mage.