There are altaholics.... and then there's the rest of us. A Druid blog for the player that never wants to have to roll another character again. A Bear/Tree/Cat blog dedicated to being able to queue for all three roles in the Dungeon Finder.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

On topics that change while you write:

So I figured at some point, I should write some articles about actual Druid issues in general again. But let's face it, I can't bring myself to write about the stuff that's going on now, not when there are others who are still writing excellent articles about things like tanking cooldowns.

(That, and it's kind of hard to hold a candle to the Big Bear, y'know?)

So then I decided that I should look forward to druid tanking in Cataclysm. Specifically, cooldowns.

Mechanically speaking... we really ARE becoming like Warriors. Survival Instincts is becoming the bear's AND cat's Shield Wall, while Frenzied Regeneration picks up the old Survival Instincts's effect in addition to its old regeneration effect. Barkskin, thankfully, remains just the same. Skull Bash is Intervene + Gag Order. Bash is becoming Concussion Blow.

My criticism of the druid tanking experience in general still holds, namely, that it is becoming incredibly close to Warrior-style tanking, that is, tanking in the buff. (An awesome shirt, by the way, even if it *is* a Night Elf. *rolls eyes*) Recent changes to the game bear this out as well, given that Swipe is no longer spammable, and the threat values of our attacks have been shuffled around. At this point, it appears that we will likely deal with trash packs as Warriors do now; Feral Charge in, (Note the lack of an interrupt effect.) Swipe, Thrash, Demoralizing Roar, then tab-target around and Lacerate, (Only stacks to three, now) Mangle, and Feral Faerie Fire. (which is now a Sunder Armor effect. Both only stack to three.) The only appreciable difference is with the new changes to Maul/Heroic Strike, (Maul hasn't gotten the tooltip updated to reflect the changes to it yet.) where we can no longer macro these in with every attack, and instead now save those abilities to burn off excess rage.

For reference, the current Cataclysm Warrior setup is to Charge in, Shockwave, Thunderclap, Demoralizing Shout, then tab target around with Revenge, Shield Slam, and Devastate, using Heroic Strike or Cleave to burn excess rage. As I understand it, Warrior tanking is not fundamentally changing.

I suppose homogenization is inevitable, really. Even as big a studio as Blizzard is, I really don't expect them to try and create two completely different tanking methodologies with two completely separate toolkits using the same energy source. It's a Herculean task of asinine proportions.

But I still have a number of reservations about this setup.

Namely, uptime. Between all of our abilities, in order to maintain the absolute maximum threat on a group, we need to, in no particular order:

1) Keep 3 stacks of Lacerate going
2) Keep Pulverize going
3) Keep 3 stacks of Feral Faerie Fire going
4) Keep Mangle up
5) Possibly keep Thrash up, depending in how the numbers bear out.
6) Keep Demoralizing Roar up

Of particular contention is the difficulty of maintaining stacks of two abilities on multiple targets. Warriors only have the one to deal with, Sunder Armor, which not only is automatically applied with Devastate, but is neither consumed for any ability, and when glyphed, applies multiple stacks at once, or if a glyphed Sunder Armor is used, affects two targets at once. Sadly, the glyphs are purely speculation at this point, given that the new glyph system is not yet implemented, especially with the added tier of glyphs.

It's pointless for me to complain about this, given that I don't have a beta key with which to test things and see just how difficult this task is going to be, but I do hope that the consumption effect of Pulverize is either changed into a "Adds a charge of Lacerate" a la Devastate, or "adds X seconds to the duration of Lacerate" or "refreshes Lacerate to its full duration".


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