Bear-y Leafy Kitty

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:


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

On finishing the bucket list:


One long-ass, annoying, artificially-lengthened questline and $DEITY I hate farming Elementium so damn much, I am DONE with the AQ questline. Push button, receive shiny Feat of Strength.

On other things:

  • Complete Loremaster.
  • Get Raven Lord mount.
  • Get Twenty-Five Tabards: 
    • Failed. Somehow, I conflated this with Twenty-Five Exalted Reps. Whoops.
  • Get Insane in the Membrane: 
    • Scratched. It will continue to exist, sans Shendralar. I am very pleased that when it was announced that it might not make it, that I was able to unload all of my stockpiled Darkmoon Cards, Pristine Black Diamonds, and Librams for DISGUSTING MARKUP. =3
  • Get a rogue to level 60 to use for Insane in the Membrane.
    • Scratched. See above. Also, couldn't stand doing ANY 1-60 content. I blame Loremaster.
  • beat The Lich King like a rented mule.
  • Get a Venomhide Ravasaur.
  • Run Zul'Gurub as many times as possible in order to try to get the mounts.
    • But, given my luck, I will likely never see one drop.
  • Finish out the holiday events for a VPD.
    • AND I didn't cave and buy super-fast-flap. =3
  • Get an Ulduar drake.
    • Scratched. No raiding. ._.
  • Farm up mats to sell once Cataclysm hits.
    • Will be working on that soon.
  • Farm up a Piccolo of the Flaming Fire for the sake of goldseller griefing.
  • Farm up a Deathcharger
    • There's still hope that it will drop before Cataclysm!
  • Farm up a full set of Dungeon Set 1
    • Scratched. The dungeons aren't going anywhere.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

On Eating Crow:

Here's a quote from a while back:

"Now, we move on to Ulduar, and knock out those hardmodes so we can get 310% speed mounts before the expansion hits, save everyone 5K gold. Again, not as excited for this, because you know that I am only ever going to use Swift Flight Form, anyways, although the extra speed boost will be nice."

 ...okay, confession time. I finished the What A Long, Strange, Trip It's Been achievement, which, as I have mentioned, came out literally days before I was ready to finish it and get the VPD. And despite the ghastly purple color.... Proto-drakes are REALLY REALLY COOL! +_+

Which makes it all the more tragic that we stopped raiding due to people's schedules changing. I am not *entirely* opposed to the idea of actively seeking a Rustbound Proto Drake anymore. (You know, as opposed to passively, "Oh, well, if I get it, I get it. I'm just along for the ride")

....pardon me. I need to go bribe some people into Ulduar. +_+


Saturday, October 23, 2010

On the definition of insanity:

  1. N [60] What Tomorrow Brings - 250 reputation
  2. N [60R] Only One May Rise - 500 reputation
  3. N [60G] The Path of the Righteous - 500 reputation
  4. N [60] Anachronos - 500 reputation (requires neutral with Brood of Nozdormu)
  5. N [60] Long Forgotten Memories - 50 reputation
  6. N [60] A Pawn on the Eternal Board - 100 reputation
  7. N [60] The Charge of the Dragonflights - 10 reputation
  8. Obtain the Shards:
  9. N [60] The Might of Kalimdor - 500 reputation
  10. N [60] Bang a Gong! - 500 reputation (only within the first 10 hours of opening the Gates of Ahn'Qiraj)
  11. N [60] Treasure of the Timeless One - 500 reputation (after 10 hours)
Why yes, I very clearly AM insane, thank you. For the record, I only need to grab Fox and have her soak a mind control so we can burn Dr. Weevil down, and then farm some Elementium, (easy enough, I have an open raid ID set up for it) and that's it.

Elementium counter: 2/10.

(The above excerpted from Wowwiki.)


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

On big farewells:

Last night, just before the servers went down, Kirin Tor-H got together a bunch of trees, and started dancing the night away. It started over at the north bank in Dalaran, but eventually, we moved it all over to the fountain in the middle. I give you this screenshot:

Obviously you should click to embiggen, but yeah, that's Bloodlusted trees, all the way around the fountain, both Alliance and Horde, popping one final Tranquility before we go poof.

Now, again, I should state for the record that as far as changes go, I am neutral about this. Yes, it's rotten brocolli. At the same time, where is our Tree Form armor increase? They said they were going to roll the bonuses from Tree of Life into the spec, but unless they decided they were going to give a flat 150% armor boost to all pieces of spell leather, I don't see it anywhere.

Here's to a new era.

Here's to hoping they don't f&$! it all up.


Thursday, October 7, 2010

On terrible puns:

Okay, I know that nobody out there reads my blog, but I'm going to pimp this anyhow:

Yes, I love terrible puns. Yes, I also love the Raid Warning podcast. But the class roundtable special podcasts are particularly awesome, and you should all totally go listen when it goes down October 12th.


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

On a finalized tanking rotation and spec:

So it's coming close to Cataclysm, and my usual druid tanking forecasting annoyances aside, I think we can finally put together some kind of tanking priority list.

Since I generally tend to do The Hybrid Thing, here's the spec I've been throwing around lately: 0/31/9 with one floater.

I think it, as well as some of my glyph choices, could be tweaked significantly, especially since switching glyphs back and forth will be much easier. The fact of the matter remains though, that there is really no good 3rd bear tanking glyph, which is what I usually will be doing. Lemme break it down row by row:

T1 Feral: Of the three talents, only Predatory Strikes is not hybrid, so we don't take it. The other two are both useful to us, and we need five points to get to T2, so we grab them all. The five-point requirement aside, maxing Furor will save us headaches down the line when we make our initial charges, as we will likely be using the redesigned Thorns spell on ourselves just before we shift to Bear and charge in. Since word is that it's not castable while in Bear or Cat form, we don't care about the glyph as a result, but it will definitely be used just before pulling despite its steep mana cost. Yes, 3/3 Furor is also wasted on a cat, since between the GCD afterward and haste increasing our energy regeneration, we likely will shoot from 66 to 90 or 95 energy before we can even do anything, but having to shift back and forth to get the rage required to Feral Charge will save some sanity. Feral Swiftness, free 4% dodge, 30% extra movespeed. Yaaaaaay.

T2: Oh how I hate this tier so much.

Infected Wounds is necessary as a tank. Primal Fury is necessary whether you tank or DPS. Fury Swipes is purely a DPS increase, but math right now says it's more useful to Cats because of their inherently faster swing timer. Feral Aggression is also valuable to both tanking and DPS. Since we're hybrid, we put points into everything except Fury Swipes.

But why Feral Aggression? And why 2/2? Unlike Warriors, we are going to have to juggle both Lacerate and Feral Faerie Fire stacks on our tanking targets. We also don't have a Devastate to apply stacks of Faerie Fire/Sunder Armor for us as well. And given that it only stacks to three instead of five, I figure it's better to eat the extra talent point in Feral Aggression to save the many, many extra GCDs needed to apply that ONE last stack of Faerie Fire. As a result, in for a penny, in for a pound. This may pan out differently, though, since more classes are getting the major armor debuff, it may not be imperative for just us to handle it. No word on whether any one will overwrite the other, though. It would totally suck if you slapped a stack on a boss, only to have someone accidentally hit the wrong button and wipe it out, making you start over.

T3: Get everything.

Okay, so maybe it's not that cut and dry. King of the Jungle is necessary to DPS with, although whether or not we can get by with just 2/3 or 1/3 remains to be seen. Feral Charge is absolutely necessary, no contest. Thick Hide is necessary for tanking. But IFC/Stampede... well. The increased melee haste after a Bear Charge is interesting enough. It's not increasing haste rating, otherwise, you'd never see a Cat Charge ever again, but the way things are set up right now, I would say is a bit of a tossup. If you were a full-on Cat, I could see you Bear Charging in to take advantage of the immobilize and increased melee haste to throw out more white hits and proc more Fury Swipes. It's a LONG buff, relatively speaking, too. The damage on Ravage still needs to be shaken out, a bit though. If this becomes more attractive to Cats than Cat Charge + Ravage, something probably needs to be tweaked. As it stands, Stampede isn't *explicitly* necessary? But it's certainly very tasty. If you choose not to put points here, hold onto them until T5.

T4: Leader of the Pack got it's Improved effect rolled right in, grab it. Brutal Impact is necessary as a tank, grab it. (We have a ranged interrupt now! Yay!) Nurturing Instinct is one of those spells that only helps if you have the time to shift out of form to take advantage of, (i.e., emergency Cat Tranquility) but since we're tanking most of the time, no-go.

T5: Primal Madness: I don't see this as explicitly necessary for tanking or DPS. It's just one of those talents that boosts the top end damage. Survival Instincts is necessary as our Shield Wall. Natural Reaction is required as a tank. If you didn't take 2/2 Stampede earlier, you can grab 2/2 Endless Carnage here, which pads out the Rake, SR and Pulverize durations. Since physical bleeds aren't affected by haste, (no, you read that right. Bleeds aren't affected by haste.) this will primarily just make the rotation less tight.

T6: Blood in the Water: Damn you for changing the name, Blizzard. ;_; Cat-only talent, also dead to us. Dead to us, I say! Rend and Tear gets maxed, as before. Pulverize.... I wish we didn't need to take Pulverize. I wish it were more like Devastate, were it refreshes instead of consumes. But alas, it is not to be. Necessary tanking tool, take it.

T7: Berserk: Take it.

Resto T1: Blessing of the Grove no longer buffs Rake damage, so that's one less thing we have to take. Naturalist is useless to us. Heart of the Wild is only three points, so what's left? Natural Shapeshifter. I'm not thrilled to have to take it, but since Thorns has a very steep mana cost, (35% of base) it helps take the sting away. On the plus side, it makes Master Shapeshifter (just one point) available, so.

Resto T2: Hooray for Perseverance. 6% less spell damage will stack with the Effulgent Skyflare Diamond, bring that passive spell damage resist up to 8% Are we still going to be of the "we handle spell damage by having massive health pools" school? Probably not, since we now have a Shield Wall equivalent, so it remains to be seen how important it is. But less damage taken is always a good thing, so 3/3 that sucker. Drop a point into Master Shapeshifter while you're at it.


Saturday, September 11, 2010

On Bucket Lists:

Things to do before Cataclysm hits:

  • Complete Loremaster.
  • Get Raven Lord mount.
  • Get Twenty-Five Tabards.
  • Get Insane in the Membrane.
    • Bloodsail Admiral
    • Steamwheedle Cartel
    • Darkmoon Faire
    • Ravenholdt
  • Get a rogue to level 60 to use for Insane in the Membrane.
  • beat The Lich King like a rented mule.
  • Get a Venomhide Ravasaur.
  • Run Zul'Gurub as many times as possible in order to try to get the mounts.
  • Finish out the holiday events for a VPD.
  • Get an Ulduar drake.
  • Farm up mats to sell once Cataclysm hits.
  • Farm up a Piccolo of the Flaming Fire for the sake of goldseller griefing.
  • Farm up a Deathcharger
  • Farm up a full set of Dungeon Set 1
 More to come...


Friday, September 10, 2010

On /khaaaaaaaaan:

Blizzard, you bastards, why did you have to change Nom Nom Nom to something else?!