Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Ignis Macro?

Some have been asking me about a macro used for the Ignis fight, a macro for finding the victim of the Slag Pot quickly. I've never had any trouble finding the victim manually in a 10-man raid, but I suppose trying to pick them out quickly in a 25-man raid is a bit more tricky. Below I have outlined some options on how to pick these targets out.

Mix and match
these recommendations as you feel necessary!

Recommendation #1:
Have a raid leader or raid-assist using Deadly Boss Mods. It will put a skull on the victim (and announce it to the raid via a colored raid warning).

- Recommendation #1.5:
Have raid icons enabled on your raid frames. I use GridStatusRaidIcons and GridIndicatorCornerIcons to allow my Grid frames to show the raid icons (the graphics) in the corners of each health box.

Recommendation #2
Add the Slag Pot debuff to your raid frames, if available. Grid users, you can follow instructions here on how to do that. The Slag Pot debuff is also included in the GridStatusRaidDebuffs extra addon. Other raid frames may or may not have automatic adding of these debuffs (Xperl does, and sRaidFrames needs to have debuff tracking enabled for it) .

Recommendation #3
Use an assist macro and click it whenever Ignis is choosing his target. This requires awareness of when he's charging/grabbing his victim, because once they're in the slag pot, Ignis will target the MT again and thus the macro will fail to target the slag pot victim. If you want to go this route, though, here is the assist macro:

/assist Ignis

Recommendation #4
Have them call out in your voice chat/ventrilo. They should say their name, and if your raid doesn't know each other well, their class so that the healers can more easily locate them. "Druid Kae in the slag pot!" etc.

Hope this helps :)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

New Druid Forms Preview: Thoughts

So, Blizz has put up an official announcement about the new graphics, with screenshots. For 3.2 (I am guessing, as they said "major content patch"), they will be adding new models for druid forms, primarily focusing on cat and bear form.

I gotta say, though, that when they had originally announced that they were working to design them more along the lines of the detail in Swift Flight Form and the Raven Lord mount, I expected more of a change than what this preview shows. Granted, I don't have much issue with the current graphic design of the tauren bear: it's a decent model, far more bearable (heh) a design than, say, tauren cat form.

Tauren Bears: Blizzard's image + Tigerfeet's Color Chart

These are some of the changes I noticed in the preview.
  • Different fur colors, changeable at the barbershop (via hair/hide color in caster-form)
  • War paint and recoloring of the druid tattoo to match
  • Eyebrows??! heehee
  • Eye color and angle/shading looks more intelligent
  • The large fangs on the lower jaw are less pronounced than before
  • Ears held at a different angle
  • Horns are behind ears now, and arc forward rather than up
  • Fewer wrinkles in the face (around the snarling muzzle, etc)
  • Decorations in the form of horn-wraps, arm bands, collar, and "earring" (maybe coming from a horn rather than an ear?)
  • Bird-skull pendant on the collar: we ate our bird form.
  • The "beard" is now just a tuft of chin-fur; feels more appropriate for females than the full Wolverine thing
  • Edit: 4 claws per paw instead of 3!
They are small changes, and certainly pleasant, so I'm not saying I don't approve... but I had imagined bigger changes, like the distinct difference between Flight Form's crow and Swift Flight Form.

ROARS: the bears can and will close their mouths. Blizzard chose screenshots of the bears roaring, so it only looks like they all still have the same open-mouthed grr-argh expression, but the blue-posters have confirmed that the bears will usually have their mouths closed while idling/sitting about/standing around etc.

COLORS: For a full color chart, I recommend Tigerfeet's blog post! Tiger made a great chart that shows what skin color will result in what bear/cat color.

I am very excited at the idea that multiple colors will be available to choose from, such as what was hinted at in the pre-WotLK-ptr minor cosmetic glyphs. The ability to have 2-3+ bears in a raid and be able to tell them all apart at a glance is really nice, particularly after I had raided through TK/SSC with 4 total feral druids. Was fun sometimes having the kitty squad, though...

"FIRE ZE KITTY LAZERS! PEW PEW!" Anyway, back on-topic...

I love that it will be tied to your actual character's own hair color: for night elves, your hair color will determine your cat/bear fur colors. For Tauren, they're adding the ability to re-dye our caster-form cow-fur, as our cow-fur will be the basis for our bear/cat colors. My own tauren bear will be the sandy tan color.

Night Elf Bear: Blizzard's image + Tigerfeet's Color Chart

...They have sideburns?!

That's my only complaint about this version. I do love the facial markings, especially as they more or less match the markings on my own elf's face. Their faces actually have fur, rather than looking as though they have mange. I think the teal-haired and white-haired elves are easy to pick out, but I'm at a loss for guessing on the others: the dark blue hair is the darkest color of those available to night elves (tieing with the dark purple), so I would expect such a color would be given the darkest bear, but then there's a brown bear with blue "hair," so I may very well end up with that form (unfortunately so, as I don't really like that blue/brown combination as much as I do the black bear). The faintly-purple-tinted bear will probably be the bear for all of those elves with purple hair. The greenish-black bear... green hairs that aren't teal, I suppose? Or the lighter blue? Maybe? /shrug

I'm not giving up Kae's dark blue hair, regardless, so I'll have to live with whatever I end up with. I just hope I don't get disappointed.

EDIT: feral-Kae will be the black bear, as that was the color paired with the dark-blue hair :) Blizz released the full color breakdown, and you can see what colors will result in the link above!

What about the other forms?

This is all the preview they've given us so far, and it's a nice teaser :) I look forward to seeing what they've come up with for the other forms, particularly tauren cats. I do still love the original night elf cat model, though, and hope that the new form for NE cats does it justice. They have promised future updates with previews of the other models they're planning to release in the next content patch, so let's keep a close eye on them!

EDIT: Cat forms post here.

As for tree, they did add that it's something still under development, so I imagine that they just can't make any promises for a tree-form graphic upgrade being ready in time for the next major content patch.

I have wild hopes of them changing night elf travel form to that of a wolf rather than the "open plains" cheetah, but I think that's just a pipe dream :) I love wolves, but shaman have had a claim on the ghost wolf for so long that I think they'd complain otherwise.

Monday, May 25, 2009

How to add Debuffs to Grid

This is just a basic walk-through on how to add specific debuffs (or buffs) to Grid.
I personally do not use the extra addon GridStatusRaidDebuff, though I have heard many raid leaders say they love it. If you'd rather select your own specific debuffs for Grid to show, read on :)

Addings Debuffs to Grid:
  1. In your Grid Menu (either the drop-down menu from the screen icon, or access by typing /grid config), select Status.

  2. In the Status menu, select Auras.

  3. In the Auras menu, type the appropriate debuff name in the "Add new Debuff" window. You can see this in both the Grid Config panel and in the drop-down menu, as shown below.

  4. Type in the EXACT name of the buff or debuff you wish to see, such as "Sara's Blessing" or "Frost Blast." Buffs are positive things like Thorns and Mark of the Wild; debuffs are hurtful things.

  5. Now that you have added the debuff as a status, you can set its specific options to your liking by selecting it in the list of added debuffs:

    The color setting can be used to control transparency of the debuff's icon, and/or the actual color of the debuff's box if you wish to add it to a place on your grid frame that does not support showing the actual graphic icon (in the default Grid package, there is only one place that supports icons, but other positions that just set a little colored box indicator).

    The priority will control whether this debuff is shown over another debuff or alert you have set in the same frame for that player, and you can filter the classes to not show this debuff if you wish.

    The range filter will keep the debuff from showing on your frames if you are out of range of the person. Showing the duration will only work if you plan to set this debuff as the "center icon" in your frame: it will add a timer for the debuff's remaining duration.

    Unchecking the "Enable" will, of course, disable the debuff from ever showing on any of your frames.

  6. Now that you've added the status to Grids' "library" of available statuses, it is time to add it to your frames and choose where you want it to appear. From Grid's main menu, select Frame.

  7. My preference for showing most debuffs is in the Center Icon frame. To do this, select Center Icon from the Frame menu, and then put a checkmark next to your selected buff(s) and/or debuff(s). You may select more than one in this list, but remember: only one can show up at a time. Each of these status' priorities (configured in the status menu) will decide which is shown over another if multiple buffs and debuffs occur at the same time: the highest priority will show. If two or more have the same priority, then Grid will choose the oldest one to show.

    ** Alternatively, you can add the statuses to a different frame, such as to a corner or to the Border. This will change the color of the border or corner box to the color you selected in the debuff's Status options. If you set it as the "Health Bar," it will change the color of the person's health bar to match the debuff. Again, priorities will decide which status added to that frame are shown over the others!**

  8. Congratulations, you've now added a debuff to your grid frames!

My personal center icon in the frame settings uses the following debuffs:
  • Buff Group: Mark of the Wild (only out of combat and if missing. Added using GridStatusMissingBuffs)
  • Debuff type: Poison
  • Debuff type: Curse
  • Ready Check (added using GridStatusReadyCheck)
  • Boiling Blood (Saurfang)
  • Burn
  • Death Plague
  • Dominate Mind (Deathwhisper, Yogg)
  • Frenzied Bloodthirst (Lana'Thel)
  • Frost Blast (Kel'Thuzad)
  • Frostbolt
  • Fusion Punch (Iron Council)
  • Gaseous Bloat (Putricide)
  • Gut Spray (Dreamwalker)
  • Harvest Soul (Lick King)
  • Impaled (Marrowgar)
  • Inoculated (Festergut)
  • Instability (Sindragosa)
  • Necrotic Plague (Lich King)
  • Pact of the Dark Fallen (Lana'Thel)
  • Pyroblast (I hate Molten Colossusesses!)
  • Saronite Vapors (General Vezax)
  • Swarming Shadows (Lana'Thel)
  • Unbalancing Strike (Thorim)
  • Unbound Plague (Putricide)
  • Volatile Ooze Adhesive (Putricide)
  • Wounding Strike

Each of my chosen debuffs (and the MotW buff group) has a "color" setting of gray with 50% opacity. They show up in the center of the frame as their own graphic icon, but at a 50% opacity so that I can still easily see the health bar underneath, as shown to the left.

You can faintly see the "skull" icon in the top left corner of the warrior's frame, which is telling me that he has been marked with a skull. This is an extra Grid addon module, GridIndicatorCornerIcons along with GridStatusRaidIcons.

I also use GridIndicatorCornerIcons with the following:

Raid Icons

Top Icon (top right corner left):
Essence of the Blood Queen
Frost Beacon
Gas Spore
Mark of the Fallen Champion
Recently Infected
Sara's Anger
Storm Power
Plague Sickness

Bottom Icon (bottom left corner right):
Gastric Bloat
Iron Roots
Rune of Blood
Sara's Blessing

For Sanity on Yogg Saron, I use an extra addon called GridStatusSanity. More on it here.

Other Grid Addons that you can use for adding graphical icons to new spots in your frames include:

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Quick Note on Power Auras

EDIT: For full breakdown of the buffs/debuffs I use for power auras and the settings I used to make them (with import strings), check here!

I've been trying out a new mod (well, new for me!) called Power Auras the past week, and have fallen in love with it. The gist of it is that it adds a customizable graphic on your screen that can be set to different transparency/color/animations when you have a select buff or debuff up on you or your target.

Technically it has settings for showing when a spell is "useable" and I tried setting up graphics for Swiftmend and Nature's Swiftness, too, but that didn't seem to work for me, as they didn't go away when the spell was on cooldown. :( (there's a fix for this by editing the lua code, you can see it in this post's comments). Power Auras works great, though, for the buffs and debuffs!

Above, you can see the big leaf I have for a NG proc, and the red aura zooming into existence since I just took a backstab from a roguely trash mob!

Things I am using it for include:
  • Clearcasting: a big blue circular runic thing around my HuD when it's active
  • Faerie Fire: a smaller pinkish rune thingy sorta off to the side, underlying where I still have my Debuff Filter timers, almost like a backdrop. It shows up when any faerie fire (feral or otherwise) is currently on the target.
  • Nature's Grace: a green leaf just to the right of my HuD, big and noticable, lasting until the buff wears off. It's a great "hey you're casting faster and your GCD is like 1sec long right now!" announcement.
  • Eclipse Proc: A faint half-circle outline aura. Since the eclipse buff has the same name for both solar and lunar procs, it can only monitor the general "hey eclipse has procced," but I like having that extra graphical alert to remind me that it's there, one that isn't lost among other buffs or timers.
  • Berserk: for my feral, it shows up a bloodsplatter off the side of my HuD when I have berserk active.
  • Mangle/Trauma: I have aligned a runic half-circle to look almost like it's a targeting circle around my feral feet, and it will only show up if the current enemy target does NOT have a mangle OR a trauma debuff on them. (still trying to tweak this to work as an either/or... )
Non-druid buffs I have added include:
  • Bloodlust: nice red "fang marks" over my character in the center screen.
  • Mana: a pulsing purplish light right over the low-mana-end of my mana bar on my HuD directs my attention to the fact that I have less than 20% mana.
  • Health: a giant red twisty aura thing boxing around my HuD that shouts "holy crap HEAL" when I have less than 30% health.
  • Mark of the Faceless: you know that leech debuff General Vezax puts on you? This puts a giant pulsing skull over my head on my screen as an extra warning ;)
  • Saronite Vapors: again for Vezax, this puts a smaller green skull on my character when I have more than a 5 stack on me. It's a not-so-subtle reminder to gtfo of the puddle!
  • Defend: this is specific to the joust at the argent tournament! If my target has any shields up, this puts a nice white shield graphic just off the side of my HuD. Very useful on the smaller opponents like the mechanostriders and hawkstriders, who it can sometimes be difficult to see if they still have shields up.

Have any suggestions on other things it monitors really well? I'd love to hear them!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Patch: 3.1.2

Building upon my previous post regarding the 3.1 Nature's Grace, I wanted to look into the 1-second GCD limit and figure out at what spell-haste rating it would come into effect for caster druids.

EDIT 3/21/10: 3.3 Resto druid GotEM changes are in a new post, found here. All moonkin stuff in this post should still be current.

Base Hasted GCD limit:

Ignoring both Nature's Grace and Gift of the Earth Mother (as well as any other raid buffs or potions), it will take 1639.5 haste rating at level 80 to reach the 1-second GCD limit (which is 50% spell haste). The conversion from haste rating to % at level 80 is 32.79 %/rating.

Base Formula:
HastedCastTime = BaseCastTime /(1 + (% SpellHaste / 100))

1639 haste rating / 32.79 = 49.98% Spell haste at level 80
HastedGCD = 1.5s /(1 + (49.98 / 100)) = 1.00013 seconds

Going from 1639 to 1640 haste rating will push you to a 0.9999 second GCD (at level 80), just below the hard-set 1-second limit; thus, 1639 haste rating is as close as you can get to a 50% spell haste unbuffed by procs/talents/potions/abilities/etc. You are extremely unlikely to see this raw amount of haste rating on your gear in the current game, and if you do, you are probably severely gimped in all other stats. Do not try to get that much haste rating.

I repeat: do not try to stack haste on your gear to reach that 1639/40 limit. There are many raid buffs and talents in the game that will boost your haste for you, instead.

Other Haste-effecting Procs, Buffs, and Talents:
Raid-wide buff spells do not stack with each other if they provide the same buff. Thus, the haste from imp. moonkin aura will not stack with the haste from imp. ret auras (the other parts of the moonkin/ret auras still work, like the spell crit), and Bloodlust/Heroism does not stack with Power Infusion. There are 3 distinct raid-buff categories here, in which the buffs do not stack within their category:
  • Bloodlust/Heroism and Power Infusion
  • Imp Moonkin Aura and Imp Ret Aura
  • Wrath of Air totem
The distinction for Wrath of Air is that it is a generic haste increase, while Imp Moonkin and Imp Ret specifically say "spell haste." Why they decided to do this, I don't know, but if it's stacking the aura with the totem, should we really argue? ;)

Notes on Haste Math:

My assumption is that each of these buffs will also reduce the GCD, proportionally. Note that when it comes to calculating hasted cast times, whether you apply a 3% haste bonus or a 20% bonus first does not alter the outcome of your cooldown time. Haste will also stack multiplicatively (crit, on the other hand, stacks additively).

3% first:
1) 1.5s -(1.5*0.03) = 1.455 seconds
2) 1.455s - (1.455*0.2) = 1.164 seconds
20% first:
1) 1.5s -(1.5*0.2) = 1.2 seconds
2) 1.2s - (1.2*0.03) = 1.164 seconds

HOWEVER, if you have any talent that reduces a cooldown/cast-time by a set amount rather than a percentage (ie -0.5 seconds), it MUST be taken into account first before applying any percent reductions, including haste from gear.

Moonkin vs Resto GCDs:

The following charts assume that:
  • Celestial Focus and GotEM will stack with raid buffs.
  • Moonkin will have both Celestial Focus and Imp Moonkin Aura.
  • Resto druids will either have 0 points in GotEM, or 4 points, or 5 points.
  • GotEM will only reduce the GCD of Lifebloom, Rejuv, and Wild Growth.
  • Raids may or may not have a WoA totem
  • Resto druids' raids may or may not have a moonkin or ret pally.
  • Wrath of Air totem (edit) stacks with Moonkin or Ret pally talented auras.
  • Moonkin and Ret haste auras will not stack.
  • Bloodlust will stack with all other raid buffs (excluding Power Infusion).
  • All haste buffs and talents will affect the GCD.

NOTE: The GotEM haste variable in these resto tables is no longer accurate.
For updated resto druid tables, go here.

So what does all of this mean?

Any time a line in the graphs above dips below 1 second (the heavy red line), the GCD is at its 1-second limit. The GCD can never be less than 1 second, no matter what kind of spell haste or buffs you have! This is a hard limit put in place by the game's developers and designers.

The haste that you have on your gear, as well as buffs and talents, will push the 1.5 second baseline GCD closer and closer to this 1 second limit, as shown above. What buffs and talents you have will impact how much haste is needed to reach this 1-second GCD limit, and may impact your choices in what talents you take (such as how many points in Gift of the Earth Mother) and how much haste you put on your gear as a insta-casting-fiend of a resto druid.

In most all cases, getting Bloodlusted will reduce your GCD to its 1-second minimum. The few cases that it does not are when you have low haste rating on your gear, have no moonkin/ret pally/WoA totem, and are not using a spell that has been reduced by GotEM.

Remember that this talent will only reduce the GCD of lifebloom, rejuv, and Wild Growth. Spells such as remove curse, abolish poison, and Nature's Grasp will not be affected by GotEM. However, in regards to GotEM: the higher your haste rating, the fewer points in it you will need to reach the base of a 1-second GCD.

To reach a GCD of 1.0 seconds with GotEM (rough estimate):
  • On average with only a WoA totem, each 150 points of haste rating beyond 500 will reduce the number of points you need to spend in GotEM by 1.
  • On average with only a ret pally or moonkin aura, each 150 points of haste rating beyond 550 will reduce the number of points you need to spend in GotEM by 1.
For a more accurate assessment, I am reminded to link over to Phaelia's calculator at resto4life!

Take into account your trinket use, potion use, and Nature's Grace procs as applicable.

Nature's Grace:
This talent will reduce much more than just your GCD, but my focus in this study is looking only at its impact on the GCD (which has particular importance with instant-cast spells). Proccing it in combination with GotEM will assuredly reduce your GCD to the 1-second limit, even if you have but 4 points in it and low haste rating. For other insta-cast spells such as Abolish Poison, you cannot count on GotEM to contribute, but the cooldown will still be lowered significantly by the NG proc. NG itself has the same % GCD reduction as a fully-talented GotEM, and though it is proc-based, it will effect all of your spells.

For turkeys, this talent is pretty much a necessity, and should be factored in on any haste calculations. Graylo at Gray Matter has a great post about the "soft haste cap" for moonkin, assuming Nature's Grace.


In summary, you have a 1.5 second base global cooldown (GCD), and it can be lowered down to a minimum of 1 second by haste rating and talents and raid buffs. Depending on your expected raid buffs and talents, you can determine what sort of haste rating is "overkill" for your GCD, since it would always push against the 1-second minimum cap.

Why is this important? For any spell that takes longer to cast than your GCD, it's not! (Such as Starfire, regrowth, etc). But, if you're casting lots of insta-casts or quick spells such as nourish, wrath, or talented+glyphed HTs, the GCD is a big deal, because it is often your true limit to your cast time. If you over-stack on haste without accounting for talents and raid buffs, then you're wasting stats on your gear.

The exact makeup of your raids, spec, and spell rotations will determine your "soft cap" for haste for your GCD. You can browse through the charts to see what best applies to you (where the heavy red line is the 1-second cap), and look at the haste rating on the x-axis from there.

  • Always remember that while haste may be worthless beyond a certain point for you for your GCD, it can still affect other spells you cast, if they take longer than a base of 1.5 seconds to cast. Your use of these longer-cast spells will in turn affect your overall soft haste cap, depending on your spec, class, raid makeup, and healing style/turkey tactics.

~ As always, I have an ear open for comments on the math and any buffs or druid caster talents I may have missed or misinterpreted!

As a random note, I myself run about 320 haste rating with 4 pts in GotEM and full Nature's Grace. This doesn't put me at the 1-second cap, but meh :) ~

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Ghostfish + some LS gfx

Funny story and a "O.o" at the patch notes for today:
  • Phantom Ghostfish: Can now be caught from Nettlefish Schools in Scholazar Basin.

I *swear* this was originally the case when the fishing dailies were first released. I was able to fish them out of schools around Scholazar, and I know for a fact that I looted many of them from a school spawn in the swamp just west of River's Heart. Then, one day, I went out to fish one up, and it just wouldn't drop.

I flew all over the basin, fishing out of every pool I could find... ironically, ignoring the ones in River's Heart because politely I didn't wish to steal from those already fishing there. I fished, I fished, I fished... cast after cast of nettlefish, suckerfish, and miscellaneous flotsam. By the time I had 3 stacks of Nettlefish, I thought I was just cursed with a streak of poor luck. By the 90th Nettlefish, I thought I was bugged. I asked my guild, "Is the Ghostfish quest broken?"

They replied, no, it only took them the normal 6-8 or 16 casts to get the ghostfish that day. "Hrm," I replied, "I've got 90 nettlefish alone, and no ghostfish! I'm chasing schools all over Sholazar."

Zendaire (who has the Salty title) was confused. "I thought you could only get them out of River's Heart..."

"I don't think so... I've gotten them out of the schools before," but I brought up my quest log anyway, and sure enough, it said River's Heart.

Any Northrend angler worth her salt knows about the pygmy suckerfish. It's not edible, but sometimes useful to alchemists.

There is, however, a stealthy fish that hides among the suckerfish in the River's Heart of Sholazar Basin. The phantom ghostfish. When out of water, they become increasingly translucent until they fade away completely. Some hypothesize they return to Sholazar, and others are more... superstitious.

I want you to catch this fish and discover it's secret by any means!

Scratching my head, I swooped down to River's Heart and started fishing. My luck wasn't ready to right itself yet, so it was a good 20 casts more before it popped up, but it did! I finally had my ghostfish, fresh from the school-less, overfished waters of River's Heart.

I sighed, and figured it was another "fix" added to 3.1, and have since then just fished up my ghostfish among the dozens of other anglers crowding River's Heart. Until now. Until this patch, when I can again fly forth over the shallow rapids of the jungle rivers and fish from the gathered schools, where there might be turtles all the way down!! (Edit: which a guildie got today :p )

Side note for those of you using LunarSphere, I made a handful of new sphere graphics today using a couple images I found being used as avatars. Pretty stuff. Some of the graphics are from the game Nevermore3 (lots of fun!). As .png files, you will need a converter to turn them into blp or tga files. These graphics are only for personal, non-commercial use.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Yogg-10 Musings: P1, P2

Recent guild attempts have brought us into phase 3. This fight is truly a challenge, and has had many tripwires for our raiders to navigate and hurdle. With any numbers mentioned below, remember that this is for a 10-man raid!

Phase 1: Frogger Nightmare
The keys: don't touch any of the gas clouds that circle the room in all directions, and don't be near the adds when they die if you can't take the explosion. Touching a cloud will trigger an add to spawn out of that cloud, in addition to the normal spawns that increasingly occur as Sara grows lower in health. Magic-cleansers need to be dispelling the Dominate Mind debuff. The goal of this phase is to explode adds on Sara to reduce her to 0% HP.
  • Note: add the debuffs "Sara's Blessing" and "Sara's Anger" to your Grid frames. You can't cleanse it, but it's good to know who's gotthese debuffs so you can keep HoTs on them while they're eating the damage.

  • The Clique addon currently has a bug that will prevent its user from dispelling the dominate mind debuff. If you are a priest/pally, disable this addon for this boss, until the bug is fixed.

  • A great view of the cloud patterns can be seen in this youtube video (CLICK).

We tried several strats, attempting a "raid is by the door" strat, a general chaos scatter strat with two tanks, and a middle-tanking strat with two tanks, but each of those always resulted in someone dieing from range, or too many adds would get spawned and overrun the raid. Overruns tend to go like this:
  1. Someone(s) touch a cloud and spawn more adds.
  2. More adds = more mind controls.
  3. Mind controls run into clouds and get dispelled while in/near the clouds and spawn more adds.
  4. Tanks focus on picking up the extra adds rather than getting any killed, to rescue healers.
  5. Adds use a dark volley that aoe's the raid and puts a 10-second debuff on everyone hit that reduces the healing done to them.
  6. We wipe in a chaotic spiral of death.
The strat that won out for us was to have ONE TANK in the middle of the room, dodging clouds in the pool around Sara, with several durable melee. The ranged and healers would circle the room out of the pool of liquid in the center (out of range of the dieing adds' explosions), moving mostly as a group to dodge the comings and goings of the clouds, which have a habit of boxing people in since they move in both directions. Any squishy melee need to run out before the adds explode, since the boom does 25k damage.

The first time we attempted this one-tank strat, we got to phase 2. There was much rejoicing.

Macro this and use for an achievement at the transition from P1 to P2, when Sara goes from being a green friendly to a red hostile:

/tar Sara

Phase 2: Love Your Cleanse Button
The keys: have speedy cleanses, keep a close eye on your sanity debuff, move with your tank, don't touch the green Wrath-graphic eyebeams, and stand near whoever you have a brain-link with.

This is the first phase where there is a high chance that a player might go insane and thus loose complete control of their character. Even battle-ressing them will not save them. EVERYONE needs to watch their sanity debuffs and renew them as often as possible by standing in the happy green Sanity Well beams of light that Freya casts to help the raid. Don't let yourself get too low, or a chain series of unfortunate sanity losses may make you loose yourself.

"Outside Group:"
Things get chaotic in this phase, and you should probably have a raid icon marking your topside MT so that the topside (or outside) group can stay together while running around killing the giant crusher tentacles. You do not want people splitting up in this room, or fate will giggle at them and brain link people too far away to reach each other before they die.

  • The brain link does 3k damage + 2% sanity loss per second to both afflicted players if they are more than 20yds apart. You can tell the "safe distance" by the color of the beam: it is red if you're too far apart, and yellow if you are safe. It is possible to be brain-linked to yourself: in which case, don't leave yourself behind ;) It is okay to enter a portal with a brain link, because entering the portal will break the link safely.
  • CLEANSE!! There are poisons, curses, diseases, and magic debuffs all being thrown around the raid like a giant tossed salad of doom. These are cast by the corrupter tentacles. The more corrupter tentacles, the more debuffs on the raid. Cleanse as much as you can, as they stack and generally make you think that you, as a player, are going insane when they start to overwhelm the raid. Ranged DPS should be taking these corrupters out as you move around the room, but only as a third priority.

  • There's an occasional single-target fear effect that will last about 4 seconds; it is contagious, so move away from feared players so you don't catch it when their fear wears off.

  • Crusher tentacles are the MT's target. They're big and you shouldn't stand next to them as a healer, in case they decide to take a swipe at you. The more attacks done to them, the faster and harder-hitting they get: thus, if they get too strong, the group should move out of melee range of them and wait for the Focused Anger buffs to reset (like the Snaplashers from Freya). These are the major priority to get down, because they reduce raid-wide damage (even those inside the portals) by 20% for every crusher tentacle up.

  • Constrictor Tentacles can and will pop out of the ground and grab someone, waving them around in the air while damaging them for about 6800 damage per second. You can heal through it with a heavy hand of hots, but you should alert your dps to rescue you if you're grabbed, so that you can continue moving freely with the group and save mana/GCDs. These are the dps' secondary kill priority, outside of Yogg's Mind.

"Inside Group:"
The group tagged for combat in the Mind's Eye must jump into individual portals that spawn abut every 90 seconds around the room to enter Yogg's mind and combat the Influence Tentacles and Yogg's brain therein. We had an enhance shammy in there helping top off heals, since the portal group didn't have much time outside before they had to hop back in, and most of that was spent in the sanity wells. Those that enter the mind's eye have the strongest chance of going insane, since there are laughing skulls down there that drive you insane just facing them.
  • Avoid facing the laughing skulls inside Yogg's Mind, as they will rapidly deteriorate your sanity. Facing away from them prevents the sanity loss.

  • Yogg will also cast Induce Madness that will cause anyone still in the Mind's Eye to automatically go insane; you are safe from this if you are outside of his mind. You need strong dps in there, since they are the ones that will bring you into Phase 3, by bringing Yogg's brain to 30%.

  • #1 priority when exiting Yogg's Mind is to restore sanity in the Sanity Wells.

Phase 3: In Progress
We've only seen this phase a couple of times so far, enough to know that there are more adds that must be dps'd down quickly, and that all healers should just face a wall to keep from loosing sanity looking at the laughing skulls :)

Any further advice would be appreciated! We've been combing the strategy guides for tips, but most of them are just for 25-mans. My favorite of the video guides among the 25-mans is StratFu's 2-part instructional video by Kyth of Fusion.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Resto Glyphs Breakdown

Patch: 3.1

Glyphs are what personalizes your spec, and what highlights and builds upon its strengths. You should choose your glyphs not because they are what is "popular," but based on how useful they will be to YOU, in YOUR gaming situation.

Major Glyphs
  • Swiftmend: Take this if you use Swiftmend at all.

  • Wild Growth: Take this if you raid and find yourself using Wild Growth regularly. It can also be useful if you run lots of 5-man instances and almost always have lots of pets in the party who could use the 6th splash HoT, but remember that ranged players may be too far away to get the WG, so a 6th target per cast may not see much use in 5-mans even then.

  • Nourish: Take this if you use nourish with any regularity. It will stack with 4pc T7 bonus. Don't bother with this glyph if you are not level 80.

  • Lifebloom: Take this if you spend much time rolling lifebloom(s) on the tanks; it works well in tandem with the Nature's Splendor talent to maximize your lifebloom duration, giving you more time before having to spend the mana (and GCD) to renew it. It will increase the amount of time before it will grant the mana-restoring bloom heal effect, however, so if you regularly use lifebloom as a short-duration raid heal or rely at all on the bloom portion, this glyph may not be for you.

  • Rejuvenation: Take this if your tank(s) spend a lot of time below 50% health AND you use rejuvenation as one of your most-cast heals. It can be even more useful if a good majority of your raid spends a lot of time at sub-50% health. It will not proc off of the 4-pc T8 bonus. This is a niche glyph, as most raids avoid letting their members sit below 50% health for any amount of time. EDIT: one such niche has been discovered for some players healing in hard-mode Ulduar25.

  • Regrowth: Take this if you regularly reapply a regrowth before the HoT has worn off from a previous regrowth.

  • Innervate: Take this if you have severe mana problems (for boosted self-innervates), or if you regularly give your innervate to someone else but could use a mana return off of it yourself. 3.1.2 Patch, Innervate is set to exactly 15,732 mana; this glyph will give you (the caster) an additional 3,146 mana with your innervates.

  • Healing Touch: Take this if you want to emulate a paladin or are sub-80 (no nourish) and need a "flash heal," otherwise ignore it. Few druids go this route, but I *have* seen druids make good use of it at 80, in a 25-man lacking much in the way of MT healers. This glyph is built for MT-healer druids. Be aware that the Naturalist talent + this Glyph will give your HT a 1-second cast time unhasted, so it will ALWAYS either match or clip the Global Cooldown (which has a hard-set 1-second minimum time).

  • Rebirth: Take this if you find yourself battle-ressing once every hour at least, often in situations of AoE splash damage (which might otherwise kill your freshly ressed buddy), and only if you don't think any of the other above glyphs would be more useful.

Minor glyphs are of far less importance.
  • Unburdened Rebirth will save you a bag slot and money spent restocking on the reagent.

  • Thorns decreases the number of times you have to reapply the buff on yourself, but how often are you getting hit to even make use of the damage?

  • Wild will reduce the mana cost of your MotW/GotW buffs, which are usually cast out of combat.

  • Aquatic Form: swim faster, pudgy seal!

  • Dash: reduce the cooldown on Dash, if you find yourself needing to use it that often.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Revitalize: WWS report

I've been keeping an eye on my raids' wws reports, and wanted to share some of the charts I put together using last Tuesday's raid, May 12th, 2009, lasting approximately 2.5 hours (Flame Leviathan was cut out, where no one was using spells/abilities).

First, here is a sample of the number of Revitalize procs vs. the number of times Rejuvenation or Wild Growth was "applied" as a buff by that player. I am assuming that the buff applications from WWS are the number of times that spell was given to that player edit: the applications are the number of times the spell was given FRESH to that player; the applications are not counting the number of times the HoT was renewed before a previous version wore off.

  • Wild Growth fresh-applications were pretty even across the board (among melee), with a 6-target splash across 10 people (+ pets).
  • Rejuv applications were focused on the two tanks, of course, and both tanks saw a greatly increased number of revitalize procs from this. NOTE: tanks' rejuvs were often refreshed before they ran out to keep them swiftmendable, and these refreshes are not counted in the applications numbers, but they did contribute significantly to their overall procs of revitalize.
Revitalize is definitely proccing fairly regularly. The proc chance itself is given as 15% per tick, but I cannot judge the exact number of ticks based on the HoT's application alone: though my Rejuv has 6 ticks and Wild Growth 7, each spell may be over-written by a fresh Rejuv or Wild Growth before each tick has occurred. For this reason, I don't want to try to reverse-engineer an exact procs/tick rate right now, like I did pre-3.1 :)

The data stands fairly well on its own since most of the spellcasts were (usully) made specifically to heal the targets, so there is no need to argue for its mana cost. Those times I did cast it specifically for the revitalize portion for the DK, warrior, and/or cat, I did so when I had plenty of mana to spare. I did check to make certain that the feral druid never cast Rejuvenation over the course of the raid, so his untalented spellcasts are not skewing the procs (no offense, Cel!).
  • I want to reiterate that Revitalize WILL PROC even when the healing from the HoT's tick is not applied (due to the target being full health). The game will not apply the healing to a full-health target, but the game will still give that hidden tick a chance to proc the power return.

Now I will be comparing the FRESH applications of the spells on the individuals, and their resulting revitalize procs. Note: 24% of my healing done was Rejuv, and 23% was WG.
  • When Rejuv > WG applications, procs per combined FRESH spell application (rejuv + WG applications) were roughly 60-65%.
  • When WG > Rejuv, procs/freshapplication = ~45-50%.
This makes me scratch my head, since Rejuv has 6 ticks (I have Nature's Splendor), and WG has 7 ticks (thus should have a greater number of procs per spbuff application). EDIT: those who had Rejuv > WG were tanks, and their rejuvs were very often renewed as well, so each "application" may have had 6 ticks or 20 or more. For dps/ranged, WG's 7th tick was sometimes over-written as its cooldown is up before the last tick occurs, but not to the same level as rejuv was, since rejuv is usually a permanent fixture on my tanks, while WG is not permanently upon the raiders. This constant renewal resulted in the higher rate compared to those who received more fresh WG's than fresh rejuvs.

Combining all 6 classes resulted in a 54% procs per fresh application, with WG > Rejuv. Combining every member of the raid (13 total due to some switch-outs for Emalon) resulted in a 50% procs/fresh application rate, again with WG > Rejuv. Remember that this estimate is also including every procs from the unaccounted time that rejuv or WG was RENEWED on the target, thus extending the chance for ticks. Unfortunately, given that procs are not specified as coming from rejuv or WG, and that any given cast of my WG may have hit 1 target or 6, that number of refreshes can't easily be found, even when parsing manually through the combat log.

This chance will fluctuate per person, per raid size (chance of over-writing a Wild Growth is less when there are more targets to choose from), how frequently the caster refreshs Rejuv vs letting it tick fully, and probably a slew of other variables hiding. This is just the estimate derived from my playing style in a 10-man raid on a single night.

  • Important: Any given spell application could proc once, twice, even three times or more before the buff wears off, or it may not proc at all! Also, the procs are determined for each individual's own buff ticks, so while one person may proc on a wild growth tick, the others who have the same wild growth upon them may or may not get a proc themselves at the same time. It is for this same reason that ticks can't be counted up in a combat log to compare against procs, because the HoT may proc revitalize without actually ticking a heal.

Now, let's ignore the craziness of procs per fresh applications vs refreshes, and just look at the breakdowns of individual players' power gains. I have selected a Prot warrior, Deathknight (blood), Feral Druid (cat form), Prot Pally, Warlock, and Resto Druid (me!).

The returns from revitalize are all shaded in the pale violet-blue, and I included the raw power numbers returned by each element. The prot pally had quite a few other smaller returns from misc things that I cut out to reduce clutter, all returning less than 6k mana each over the raid night; I also only counted the feral druid's energy returns, ignoring the rage and mana he gained while briefly in bear or caster. Otherwise, each of the other classes shown show their full power returns per type for the night.
  • Prot Warr: massive rage returns with rejuv kept on, taking up roughly 1/3 of their rage power gains, equalling or surpassing their rage returns from bloodrage and shield specialization.
  • Blood Deathknights: between WG and some occasional thoughtful Rejuvs, it beat out his own runic power regenerator, butchery.
  • Kitty Druid: it's no Tiger's Fury, but as any feral kitty will tell you, more energy is a wonderful thing. Surprise ticks of energy make for happy kitties (and rogues), and bloody mobs.
  • Prot Pally: matches/exceeds mana tide totem's returns, and that shaman had to intentionally put that totem down; also matches illumination. A relatively small portion of the returns, but noticeable.
  • Warlock: same relative percentage (and amount) of mana as the prot pally was returned to the lock by revitalize, though the lock received fewer ticks. This is because warlocks have larger mana pools than prot pallies, so each proc restored more mana (as 1% of mana pool). A small slice, but that's less life-tapping and thus less healing you need to give them, I suppose!
  • Resto Druid (myself!): Lifebloom's 3.1 change of refunding half its mana cost on bloom has really borked the energy meters, and innervate is not included since it only speeds up passive regen (atm). Again, though, it matches mana tide's contribution (a 5-minute cooldown), and that's pretty nice when I catch a WG splash or keep rejuv on myself for environment damage/aoe.

10-MAN vs 25-MAN RAIDS
Your use of WG and Rejuv will affect how useful this talent is for you. The more players that are in your raid, the smaller the proportion of players you will see this proccing on (from your own spells), due simply to the limited proportion of the targets you can cast on at any given moment. It will not, however, reduce the raw amount of power returned to your raid: it only spreads it out, just as your healing done is spread out among your targets. Having more resto druids with the revitalize talent in a 25-man raid will increase the proportion, of course.

Having more players in the raid as targets for your Wild Growth will impact how often your WGs overwrite themselves on your targets as well, which affects the "application" rate.

If you are raiding with other druids who do not have revitalize, it may throw off your own measurements of fresh HoT applications vs revitalize procs from your WWS reports. Know at least that since HoTs are not overwritten by other casters, your own spells will not be affected negatively by raiding with druids who do not have Revitalize, unless the other druids also use an unglyphed Swiftmend and thus remove your Rejuvs (fail!).

The thing to ultimately keep in mind is that if you're casting these spells anyway, this is purely passive power regen for your targets. You don't have to specifically cast it as a buff at someone, nor do you have to drop down a totem for it. You just have to heal, which you'd be doing with or without this talent.

If you're using rejuv and WG, there's no reason not to get this talent. Every bit of mana regen adds up, and for those classes with limited power regeneration options, talents like this are a blessing. Warriors/bears, rogues/feral kitties, and DKs don't have as many options for power return as mana-users, and for some of them (such as DKs and warriors) the returns can be a significant part of their overall power returns. This in turn will increase damage output and tank threat, giving you shorter combats to heal through and quicker boss/trash kills. It will also give DKs/warrs/bears that extra little bit of power to help start off threat, or to get in an interrupt early in the combat.

Modelling revitalize is a headache. You can mathematically estimate chances, but who's to tell what will happen in the real raid, when you're throwing spells about and refreshing them before they tick fully? The best way you can really determine how good revitalize is, is to look at what it did. Look at how it impacted your raid, who it boosted, how it may've even given you as much mana back as the priests' hymn of hope gave to you over the course of the raid.

I whole-heartedly support this talent.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Uld10: General Vezax

General Vezax: "Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Oh, what horrors await you?"

(For a guide on the hardmode achievement, check here!)

Our strat (normal mode):
We tanked the boss in the center of the room; healers (3) and ranged dps spread out in a circle around the boss, mixing ranged dps and healers to maximize vapors + heals coverage while also spreading out from shadow crashes and the life leech.

Below, you can see our "default" layout, with healers and ranged DPS interspersed roughly in the shape of a triangle. Given the need to flee from shadow crash and cluster into healthy pools o' mana, there was much shuffling during the fight, but for the sake of coverage we had default places the ranged would return to or center on, while all melee and the tank were clustered at the feet of the boss. The triangle isn't a "do not cross" zone, just an outline to show our basic configuration.

  • HEALS: You should be able to keep a rejuv and a full stack of lifebloom on the MT, while adding in nourish and swiftmend as needed to help offset Surge of Darkness, raid heals, and the larger hits. You should be ready with a swiftmend during the pull itself, since the other healers may not be in position yet to heal the tank. This is assuming you are using Saronite Vapors to regen your mana.

  • GEAR: trade out any mana-regen trinkets (ie +spirit and increased regen while casting, like the MDF) in favor of -mana cost, spellpower, or other trinkets, since the mana regen will not be active during this boss.


*The most important part of this fight that you should know is that you will have NO mana regen.*

Innervate won't work, blessing of wisdom won't work, spirit regen won't work, mp5 won't work, mana pots won't work, replenishment won't work, not even the ticks off of druids' revitalize will work (so far as I have seen for mana, they count as "misses")... your only source of mana will be the green puddles of saronite vapors, laid down when the ranged dps kills the vapor clouds that spawn around the room and float about (they should be killing them as soon as they can, provided they are not hiding in a corner or floating around in the melee). I recommend going with +spellpower foods rather than spirit for this fight.

Resto druids: lifebloom will still return mana to you on its bloom, half the mana cost of the spell. In our recent work to do Vezax hardmode, I have taken to being in melee and punching the boss for OoC clearcasting procs, and using the procs to cast a free lifebloom. When it blooms, it will give me half the base mana cost of the spell back, even though I spent no mana on it. Using this strategy, you can go through the whole fight without needing to stand in any vapor puddles, using rejuvs and a rare regrowth and swiftmend to help out, but this will require a lot of gear and group coordination. If you are using both vapors and OoC procs, beware getting lifeleech or shadowcrash near the melee or tank.

Going with the above outlined raid layout, any given healer should find an adequate number of pools dropping in the 3/5 of the room closest to them. You should not need to run clear across the room to get in a pool unless you have a seriously unlucky string of vapor spawn locations. You may need to cross to the other side of the boss to find a puddle, but if the ranged dps are paying attention, you shouldn't need to run very far. Healers sharing a triangle point will likely be sharing puddles together.

Stand in the puddles to a stack of 5-6, maybe even 7 if you have the gear and health to take it. The puddles apply a stacking debuff that both deals shadow damage to you and restores your mana at the same time. Pop Barkskin to help mitigate the damage; you should also have shadow protection if available (you can use shadow protection potions if necessasary!). Try to get in every green puddle you can, or you WILL go OoM.
  • 6 Stacks: 3,200 Mana for 6,400 Damage
  • 7 Stacks: 6,400 Mana for 12,800 Damage
  • 8 Stacks: 12,800 Mana for 25,600 Damage
Stand near the edge of the puddle to spread out from others sharing your puddle, and to give yourself a chance to jump out without taking another hit on your vapor stack when it might kill you. Once you've got a stack of 6, you should be looking to jump out... you could possibly take a 7th stack if you have the health to take the next 12.8k hit. Don't risk getting one-shot by the 8th. Once you jump out and let the debuff drop off of you (and heal yourself up), you can jump back in the puddle again. This, combined with running away from shadow crash and avoiding being close to anyone with the leech, is the majority of the fight for a resto druid.
  • Note: only 8 total vapor clouds will spawn during the fight (ty Beru for clarifying this!). Make sure your dps does not break too many at once, or the clouds will be wasted and you will run out before the boss is killed. It is still possible to kill the boss even if you run out of vapors at 20% or so, depending on your raids' remaining healer mana and dps levels, but it is something to be aware of.

  • Surge of Darkness: many strats recommend kiting during this, but it is not necessary if you have enough pallies and healy priests to bubble through the damage (or a DK tank with appropriate cooldown abilities). We found it rather easy with a holy priest, prot pally, and holy pally to just bubble/shield through it, though I pre-loaded some heals as the surge was cast to help offset the massive damage the General deals. If your raid does choose to kite, be especially aware of your range to the tank, and that interrupters may be out of range to interrupt the searing flames during/right after the kiting.
  • Searing Flames: your dps (and some healers as class-applicable) should be interrupting this. It will cast every 11 to 23 seconds (per our shaman's careful watching), so it will take multiple interrupters coordinating their kicks/shocks/etc. If they miss, it will deal an unhappy amount of raid-wide (100 yard range) damage and apply an armor debuff may kill off your tank, nevermind the amount of mana you'd have to expend healing up the raid when mana is so precious a commodity! Your raid should avoid letting any of these cast.
  • Shadow Crash: the spell is just like it is with the trash before the boss, except it leaves a puddle of bubbly darkness behind when it lands. RUN the moment this is cast at you (or someone near you), as it will land where you were standing at the moment of its casting, and being in range of it when it lands will knock you flying through the air and hurt you. Do not stand in the black puddle it leaves behind: it reduces healing done by 75%. These puddles are for your magical dps casters (it increases their damage and reduces the mana cost of spells). Note: the BigWigs boss mod has an option for a say speech alert to pop up whenever you get shadow crash on yourself; this will announce to you and all near you to MOVE.
  • Mark of the Faceless: a life-leech spell that will hurt anyone around you and use that damage to heal the boss by a significant amount. It is usually cast on ranged players, though it can sometimes catch a wandering melee as they dodge a misplaced saronite puddle. The leech is mitigated by simply not being near other players. If someone has the mark on them, don't go near them. DBM will put a nice mark on their head.
This is certainly an interesting fight, and healers have the most difficult job in it. Good luck, and have fun!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Some Feral PuG Fun

It's good to step back from the healing job every now and then and experience something different.

I finally got Kae (my feral on Alliance) up to 80, mostly through doing the Tournament dailies from 77+, which net between 10 and 20% of my xp bar each day, and doing the Sons of Hodir questline. At various free points I had over the past week when I didn't feel like grinding the dailies on my horde characters, I decided to jump into some PuG Naxx raids. I was worried about how I'd do given that my gear was entirely composed of level 70 epics and a couple quest blues, but I had a really good time.

I have decided that feral is more fun to play than my rogue, mostly because of the mechanic change to Tiger's Fury with the talent, making it pretty much restore your energy bar once every half minute or so (something my little assassin doesn't have). I find managing the feral timers more interesting than juggling SnD (Slice n' Dice) and rupture and poisons, though in concept it's not all that different.

I had a blast shredding things to death, and somehow managed to net around 1900 dps in the 10-man, and 2300 in the 25-man. I seriously wasn't expecting to be that high with the gear I had and lack of experience; somehow I managed to top the damage-done meters in the Naxx10 run, though I think a factor in that was the DPS warrior having to AFK continuously (he said his mother-in-law accidentally set her car on fire... O.o ) and the ret pally kept having to go prot to OT.

I used the importance ranking of Savage Roar > Rip > Rake, while working around keeping Mangle up admist the sporadic Traumas. Swipe did some massive damage and I found a great love for OoC procs during trash, though I was a good kitty too who paid attention to when I might need to swap bear and save the healers. There was a resto druid in the 10-man raid who did a good job of saving my fuzzy tail when swipe pulled threat :) ...and they had me OT a couple bosses as a bear. Good experience all around, though I was sad that both pugs fell apart ~2 hours in from people having to leave.

I walked out from the raids with a 213 belt and T7 legs, which make me feel a bit more comfortable about advertising myself as a possible tank for instances (though I am still remarkably squishy compared to the tanks I'm used to playing with). Again, I wish that I could group her with those in my horde guild so that I could do some serious work with her (tanking off-night heroics and Naxx10s), but I doubt the game will ever allow such cross-faction cooperation... I shall have to make do with the antics of puggers. :)

Regardless, it's been fun to shelve the heals and just tear into things again with a cat model that is sleek and pretty. I doubt I'll have time to spend more than an instance a week with her, but it's worth it, because I have honestly missed the feral side of things. I love healing, but I love being a clawed fury, too!

(I also enjoy doodling her...)

As an aside, I'd like IceHUD to include a timer bar for Savage Roar, like it does for SnD. For now, I just use Debuff Filter to watch it.

Friday, May 8, 2009

The Hidden Newman's Landing

Long ago, in the midst of druidly wanderings around Azeroth, a seal-form friend and I stumbled across an empty cottage nestled away in the side of the mountains along the Great Sea, north of Stormwind. It was deserted and in disrepair, with bones littering the floor, though had a dock running the length of the water's edge. Judging by the fanged teeth in the skulls, they were not humans or dwarves that had inhabited this cabin, or at least that had died there. One skeleton was in the fireplace.

A signpost outside announced the location to be Newman's Landing, and when anyone tried to locate you, your location was Unknown.

The recent cross-blog chatterings about newbie memories reminded me of my adventure to this place, so I took it upon myself to swim out there today and relocate it. Indeed, I did find it again! But... it seems like someone else has found it, too.

Goblins! They're flagged to Booty Bay, and the retired High Admiral is spending his days fishing and offering repair/blacksmithing services to whoever happens to find him!

A bit of googling uncovered that his existence (along with the change that the location is now in Dun Morogh) is new to patch 3.0.2. There are some interesting theories about this place as a smuggler's den or having been wiped out by plague, and even possibly as a place that newly made characters appear briefly without knowing it before being ported to their starting zones. I haven't seen any newbies appear there, but hey, who knows?'s_Landing

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Nature's Grace update

I have re-edited my original post with this update, but wanted to highlight it now, since it's pretty interesting.

What does this mean for us?
  • Turkeys: your talented wrath spell does not clip the GCD with NG procs.
  • Trees: nourish does not clip the GCD with NG procs. Our insta-casts will also have reduced GCDs during the 3-second proc.
For moonkin, it is pretty self-explanatory. It's still awesome for them. I had seen in my own testing that my wraths were not clipping the GCD, but couldn't be certain if it was due to latency or not, but seeing this confirmed on WoWwiki settled the matter for me.

For resto, the nourish aspect sounds to have been the deciding factor in whether or not druids took this talent post-3.1's release. The assumption that nourish would then clip the GCD made some druids shy away from the talent.

What about HoTs?
While drifting to sleep last night, I had a sudden question dance around my mind like a leaf on a sudden spring breeze: if the proc now affects ALL spells cast during those 3 seconds, and will reduce the global cooldown by 20%, would it not then reduce that global cooldown for our insta-cast spells as well? How would that play in with Gift of the EarthMother? Is it not cumulative?

Going by my current steady haste rating of ~300, my NG-procced Nature's Grace should reduce my GCD to approximately 1.1 seconds. A further reduction by GotEM, even with only the 4 points I put into it, would drop the GCD squarely against the 1.0 second minimum GCD time.

My head's still a bit muzzy from the flu, so I don't want to sit down with full math right now, but I have a further question to ponder on:

When I was testing both Nourish and talented Wrath, I assumed that a 20% GCD reduction would make the GCD to have the exact same timer as the spells themselves, since they all have the same base timer of 1.5 seconds. I noticed, however, that the GCD was (almost) always a little bit faster than the cast bar.

As you can see by this screenshot of my quartz casting bar with 0.2 seconds left of a 1.1 second cast with 260ms of latency, the GCD ticker attached to the bottom says that the GCD is just ahead of the orange cast bar; 260ms = 0.26s of latency, but this doesn't match the GCD's tick spacing, so it isn't bumping the tick ahead by that much. Not only that, but the GCD ticker wasn't always that exact distance from the wrath spell cast: sometimes it was closer, othertimes it was faster. Sometimes it was slower. It confuses me greatly, since the only difference between them was latency and what mob I was shooting at. What I found, though, was that higher latency (260ms, 501ms, etc) made the GCD faster than the spell's own cast bar, and lower latency (90ms) made the GCD slower. How accurate is the Quartz GCD tick? How much is our GCD affected by latency?

My thought is that the latency was affecting Quartz's ability to estimate the GCD, since I didn't notice ever having it clip the GCD. However, the mobs tended to die fast when I was getting the NG procs (that whole crit thing), so a lot of my spells were being interrupted by my target being dead... so I suppose for real testing, I should go find a target dummy, or practice nourish instead!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Memory Lane: When I was a Newbie

Averna at Nerf This Druid has tagged me to follow in her pawsteps (root prints?) and reflect on some of my memories as a newbie druid/WoW Player. I think I had a bit of an edge in that I had played City of Heroes beforehand, and had played much D&D (both tabletop and the Baldur's Gate/Neverwinter type games), so I had at least some idea of what a druid was and I knew about item/class restrictions :)

My husband and I were each given copies of the game and time cards as a wedding present from some of our gamer buddies. Not your typical wedding gift, certainly, but they wanted us to come play with them, and we were a bit low on funds at the time (that whole newly-weds with lots of student loans dealie). They all had level 60 characters already, but rerolled some new characters so that we could level up as a group on Alliance. This aided my leveling as resto, since I was rarely ever alone :)
  • I was given the guided tour of the world around level 8, when our friends picked me up from Darnassus and walked me all the way down to Elwynn Forest so that I could level with my husband. The Wetlands' crocolisks freaked me out, and I nearly jumped out of my skin each time one aggroed and came after me!

  • When I found what emotes were in the game, I hand-wrote a list of my favorite emotes and taped it up next to my computer. Then my pet rats decided it would make great bedding.

  • I wore spirit gear. "...of the Owl" seemed to be the most sensible choice of gear for a healer, I just had no idea that spirit at that time was completely, entirely, 90% worthless (even more so given that innervate was a 31-pt talent at the time). At least the others were usually tanking and killing for me, so it wasn't too big a problem to have nil stamina :)

  • I put my first 2 talent points in the feral tree. I leveled all the way to 60 as resto, and didn't take those feral points out until I hit 60 and decided to finally respec to fix it!

  • My first "tanking" job was at level 50ish for Sunken Temple. I was incredibly nervous, had no idea what I was doing, and we wiped so much that we decided to just have the hunter's pet be the tank instead. The instance went smoothly after that.

  • I intentionally kept the black bucket-hat Engineer's Guild Headpeice over upgrades while leveling because it just looked cool.

  • I refused to wear robes, because I couldn't see how a druid could manage to run around in the woods while tripping over the skirts. I got over it at level 60 when I got the Cenarion Vestements... go purples.

  • I didn't learn how to take screenshots until I was well into my level 40s. My husband and I got exploratory and decided to swim north from the Hinterlands and clamber up into the mountains that now house the Ghostlands and Silvermoon (CLICK to see full thing, I'm being lazy and not cropping it!):
(my husband fell off the cliff and had to corpse-run through the Plaguelands to get back to civilization).
  • The first time I saw hurricane, it was in Ironforge outside the bank. I thought it was awesome and asked how I could learn it. Their reply was to laugh, and they said that any good druid would never have hurricane, because it was the 31-pt talent in the balance tree, and no druid who wanted to raid would ever be balance (or feral). Ahh how times change!

  • I had heard rumor from beta-players that druids had a critter form. I was very upset to find that I had not gained a critter form by level 60, because I thought it'd be awesome to run around as a rat and then kill people who dare try to attack me.

  • I absolutely hated the idea of pvp, particularly after being camped by skull horde in Redridge. I started getting a bit bloodthirsty when our friends hopped on their 60s and came to help, and earned me some HKs... that character is now a Commander in rank, and Justicar. Rawr!

That's all I can remember for now, but those were good times!

Monday, May 4, 2009

U10: Mimiron

Mimiron: "Gaze upon its magnificence! Bask in its! I present you with...V-07-TR-0N!"

Now this was a fun fight, and a true challenge. So much of this boss requires precision and coordination, and all players in the raid must be ever-aware of things that might just kill them. Overall, Mimiron has 4 phases, where he tests each of the three components of his machine on you, and then combines them all for a last phase. You will probably need 3 healers for this (when learning it, at the least), given players going out of range and mana concerns; have shaman/pallies run fire resist auras/totems to help mitigate damage.

Phase 1: The Feet
One tank, and ranged need to spread out a bit from each other, but remain in range of the healers. Healers should stay relatively near the MT
  • Plasma: there is one tank in this phase, and the most deadly thing to happen to them is Plasma. Keep up full LB and Rejuv, and when Plasma is casting, pre-load regrowth/nourishes to start landing the moment Plasma hits. As tree druids, the only thing we can do to mitigate plasma is to just heal through it, so be ready to spam Nourish, Swiftmend, and even let your LB stack drop for a chunk of healing, and be ever-ready to use NS+HT. It won't last terribly long, but this is what kills most raids in phase 1.
  • Napalm Shell: a targeted attack on a random ranged player that will put a dot on the target and drop a patch of fire on the ground. It is for this reason that you want to have your ranged players spread out from each other, so that multiples are not hit by the same shell.
  • Land Mines: these are spread in a circle around Mimiron's Tank, and remain there until someone runs over them or Mimi decides to detonate them all himself. Avoid running into the area at all costs, or you will trip over one. Beware, they can be hidden under the skeletons of previous attempts!
  • Shock Blast: an aoe he casts that requires all in melee range to run away. You should be safe from this unless for some obscure reason you happen to be within 15 yards of the boss. Melee will need to be ever-aware of their escape routes from this through the mines, and as a healer, you need to be ever-aware of your tank's location so that they do not run out of your range to avoid this attack.

Phase 2: the Torso

One tank and much fleeing. Ranged should spread out in an arch around the boss to limit how many people are taking damage at any given time from the smaller Rapid-Burst attacks he shoots around the room (easily healed through, but stay on your toes and use your rejuvs to prep for emergency swiftmends), with healers interspersed to blanket the raid.
  • Spinning Up for Laser Barrage: Laser Barrage will usually kill anyone caught in it, melee and ranged alike. This is similar to C'Thun's eye beams, and will move clockwise around the room from its starting point. The spin-up is your warning of where it is going to start: if he spins up and faces you, RUN. The whole raid needs to move to avoid being hit by this. It will not be a complete 360-degree barrage around the whole room when he starts shooting... closer to 180 degrees, I think, but don't quote me on that as exact! You CAN dps through the spin-up to prevent him from using laser barrage, but I don't know the exact specifics of what stops him from starting the barrage.
  • Rocket Strike: he sends up a rocket that will each be targeted at a certain person, but unlike the napalm shells, these can and SHOULD be avoided. A red-orange firey cricle effect will appear on the ground where they are going to land, and move away from it so that it splashes down harmlessly. It will target melee and ranged players alike. It will one-shot whoever is caught in the blast zone when the rockets land.
  • Heat Wave: a constant source of raid damage, which should be mitigated some by pally/shaman resistance auras.

Phase 3: the Head
Adds, bomb-bots, and a helicopter-boss that's probably going to be focused on one of your ranged dps. You will probably want to designate a single, strong ranged DPS player to act as tank in this phase, while your melee tanks handle the adds and wrangle the bomb-bots.
  • Plasma Ball: standard attack on the person with highest threat (your ranged tank). It is not an AoE, so it is safe to hang out with the ranged tank.
  • Bomb-bots: these are dropped out of the flying boss helicopter-head, so everyone needs to stay out from under him. They will pick a random target to chase, but can be taunted off, slowed, or even killed before reaching their target. They will explode on death (or if they catch someone). We decided to have our feral druid go bearform to "tank" these, pulling them to him and eating the explosion, nothing a swiftmend and a small hot couldn't fix.
  • Adds: these spawn along the "spokes" of the wheel on the floor, in each of the three circles along the spoke. A colored light--green or red--will signify which will next spawn adds, and your tank will be quite busy rounding them up. If you get an add on you, run it to them (avoiding bomb-bots) or call it out for them to taunt it off (target the add to assist their taunt). You can take a few hits from the junkbots, but they're pesky.

Phase 4: by your powers combined...
Now it gets REALLY fun: you get to fight all 3 at once, and they have to die within 15 seconds of each other. The pieces start this phase low health to begin with (50%), but your dps must be well-trained in switching targets and monitoring the health bars. You now must watch both your melee tank and your ranged tank for healing, as well as the standard raid damage.

The attacks have the same effect as before.
  • Laser Barrage (with the warning Spinning Up)
  • Rocket Strike (but with two rockets instead of just one, now)
  • Land Mines
  • Shock Blast
  • Plasma Ball (just at ranged tank)
He has one new attack:
  • Hand Pulse: a cone of fire damage cast at a random target. Your raid needs to be spread out to lessen the impact of this, and your good old pally/shaman fire resist auras.
Resto druids in this last phase will usually focus on assisting with raid-wide healing, and possibly be the ranged tank's primary healer since full LB + rejuv should be able to keep them up.

Have fun with this fight. It is exciting and challenging, and I look forward to killing him again next week.!