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.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

On State of the Blog Speeches:

Yup. I did exactly what every other blogger out there did, once Cataclysm came out. I started playing, and didn't stop until I hit a wall.

Oh come on, like blogging would be the first thing on YOUR mind with a new expansion out there dangling in front of you!

So, one... two? Two months in now? And I've made some impressions.

I am not pleased with the state of Bear.

In Wrath, Druids were THE tank to beat. Oh, go on, say what you will about Paladins and Warriors. Druids had the spammable AoE snap threat, massive HP pools, and more avoidance and mitigation than you could shake a stick at. I tell you the truth, there is no way that my guild would have downed Sindragosa with a disconnected MT if I was anything other than a druid, putting my fuzzy butt on the line there. 22 stacks of Mystic Buffet, I held her, and was able to properly hand her off to the MT as soon as she reconnected. Had I been able to do it one second earlier, I would have been behind the ice block, been able to drop stacks, and return to the fight.

Now, not so much. Bears are fantastic in single-target fights, just as Warriors are. A Bear's Mangle is analogous to the Warrior's Shield Slam. Both hit like a truck and a half, and fancy mechanics affect it in some way, shape or form, like Shield Block boosting its damage, or Berserk letting us spam a cleaving Mangle for 15-20 seconds. We're great there. No problems with threat whatsoever. But the AoE threat game is dominated by the Death Knights and the Paladins. Now, obviously, I don't expect a tank to be absolutely phenomenal at everything. The last thing we need is Wrath 2.0 to roll back around again. But Bear tanking worries me somewhat, especially given how much of a hell it is to juggle Thrash uptime, three stacks of Lacerate, Demo Roar, Pulverize, watching your rage for Maul, and Berserk proccing mangles.

It's no secret that Bears take the most about of damage when tanking multiple mobs, compared to the other tanks. As far as survival is concerned, Warriors are seen gearing straight Block, to get themselves as close to a passive 30% physical damage reduction as possible. Death Knights, are stupidly hard to kill, what with that one DK Ragewyn soloing Marrowgar. And Paladins, well. You know what I say. Paladins are the cockroaches of Azeroth. Savage Defense sucks compared to Blood Shield + Death Strike. Savage Defense only stops one hit then disappears, regardless of whether it was 1 million damage, or 1 damage. Savage Defense sucks compared to Paladins and Warriors. Their mitigation mechanics are entirely passive, whereas Savage Defense requires continued, active damage output. And it only has one charge. We smack a mob, put up a shield, his buddy taps us for 1/5th of the shield's strength, pops it, and until we get to attack again, we're taking damage. I would like to see Savage Defense be turned into an absorption shield, a la Death Knights, where if the damage doesn't total up to the bubble, it doesn't pop.

I'm also concerned about some fairly large nerfs on the horizon:

  • Skull Bash (Cat) / Skull Bash (Bear) now prevents spell from that school from being cast for 4 sec, down from 5 sec.
  • Maul now scales from 24% of Attack Power, down from 30%.
  • Lacerate now scales from 7.66% of Attack Power, down from 9.58%. Now makes enemies bleed for 35 + 2.56% of Attack Power, down from 35 + 3.2% of Attack Power.
  • (Mangle) Mangle (Bear) now deals 235% normal damage plus 681, down from 300% plus 870.
  • Pulverize now deals 80% weapon damage, down from 100%. Additional damage reduced by 20% as well, from 450 to 360.
Also, Berserk doesn't break Fears anymore, and shifting doesn't break roots. I confess to not having tanked as much as I would have liked. I resolved to not tank myself until I had learned every dungeon as a DPS. I still mess up here and there, but I am mostly able to keep the rising sense of dread in check.

Cat State of the Blog comes next.


Sunday, January 2, 2011

On Karsh Steelbender's easy mode:

I was taught how to do Karsh Steelbender by a bunch of people in an RDF they other day. (Whodathunk? Learning from an RDF group!)

The method that was taught was sufficiently awesome that it just completely blows everything that anyone else is doing out of the water. Here's the skinny.

Karsh Steelbender is a fight that is exactly identical between both Normal and Heroic modes, save the increased damage output. It may be worthwhile just to practice this method in normal before you do Heroic.

At no point in time will you ever "soak" Karsh in the forge. Ever. This places too heavy a burden on the healer with the reflected AoE that pulses with each stack of debuff he gains, and can quickly obliterate a group. Instead, the tank should "dip" or perhaps even just "clip" him into the forge every time his debuff gets down to about five seconds or so, by kiting him through the edge, only adding one or two stacks of the debuff each time. To visualize, think of a circle, then draw a pentagon, that is just a little bit too small for the circle to fit into. The sides of the pentagon are the path that the tank should kite along. If by 12 or 13 stacks, Karsh does not look like he will be dead within the next application of debuff, allow the debuff to drop, kite the adds out into the grates surrounding the forge area, and kill them there, before repeating.

This method:

Eliminates the need to manage adds when the debuff drops off.
Makes incoming damage manageable by spacing out the pulses of AoE damage caused by the application of the debuff, allowing your healer time to top everybody back up.
Eliminates the need to worry about group members standing in the "Ring of Fire" that erupts when the debuff is dropped until the very end.
Allows DPS to conserve their cooldowns until Karsh has seven or eight stacks, and not have the usable uptime be wasted by the debuff dropping.

I've posted this to Wowhead, just because it *needs* to be seen by everyone. Hopefully it'll be up there soon.

Here's an explanatory image, whipped up in GIMP: