Saturday, February 12

Archeology sucks less, and other things from the patch

Let me preface by saying that Archeology still is a huge time sink and can slowly kill hopes and dreams if you are trying for something like the Troll sword.

However, if you are a druid, a few things added to the tradeskill makes it easier to deal with.

Works with shapeshift forms Really this means that you don't have to come out of Flight form before clicking on the dig button. This makes things move along at a lovely pace. Couple this with the guild perk working for birdies and ZOOM!

Lower cooldown Finally, it's dropped to a 3 second cooldown. This is just about perfect and there's no need to wait for the button while you moved a few yards.

Increase on Tol'vir spawns Many more sites have been added, which was badly needed. This is great news for folks looking for Canopic Jars or other goodies like the Ring of the Boy Emperor and Staff of Ammunae.

And lastly, the sale price of the trash increased. This is still based on RNG, but in my efforts for the trinket, I netted about 1k gold in trash in about 10 hours or so. Are there better ways to make gold? Yes but archeology isn't about money making, now is it? I would highly recommend getting Archeology Helper if you are going to be doing serious digging. Having this sped up the time spent on dig sites tremendously.

Around the forums

Since I was sick and basically spent all day digging, I managed get caught up on the goings on in the druid and healing forums.

There is a small debate on Haste vs Mastery right now. Not sure why, to be honest. I feel that if you can get to the WG haste breakpoint, sweet. If you can't, then Mastery might be for you.

And there are reasons to look at Mastery right now, if you weren't before. Wild growth dropped to 8 seconds and changes to Nature's bounty with Rejuv means the two spells work together more effectively and it speeds up Nourish if you choose to top them off that way. I am still working out the best way to fit Nourish in so I can't comment on if Nature's Bounty is truly an effective route for raid healing.

Be careful, though. Just when you got used to a lower mana cost on Rejuv, now it costs a little more and you may find yourself losing more mana with the Wild Growth. It took me a few pulls to adjust to this and be more cautious. (Speaking of mana, TBJ has a good write up on Innervate.)

All of this is in effort to increase our healing throughput, which they did. We still have bursty issues outside of Tranquility,

I need to take a moment and mention the great bear scandal.

Reesi, a long time member of the community posted some information about Thick Hide and inconsistencies with taking damage between bears. This was followed up by a blue

After the designers looked into this issue more, there appears to be a pretty complex series of bugs that may have led to where we are now. I'll do my best to explain.

Early on in Cataclysm, it was concluded that druid tanks took too much damage and we deployed a hotfix to buff their armor through Thick Hide. Originally, we had thought that 4.0.6 was just updating the Thick Hide tooltip as well as the armor display on the character sheet for the earlier hotfix, but we think now that the armor buff itself was actually correctly applied with 4.0.6, and the previous hotfix had never taken hold properly.

The reason we missed this is because there is no easy way to know what your armor actually is when you can’t trust the tooltip – you have to have things beat on you and see how much damage you take. This test was tainted by a second bug however, where some druid characters were invisibly retaining the 12% damage reduction benefit of the obsolete Protector of the Pack talent. Even though we removed that talent, its effects were still benefitting some characters, and we didn't know who or how many. Again, there is no easy way to know if your druid was affected without a lot of testing. We knew about the Protector of the Pack bug but were hesitant to try and mess with it too much via hotfix since bear survivability was where we wanted it to be for those characters and we didn’t want to risk making anything worse. In any event, those characters appeared to be taking the correct amount of damage, so we thought the Thick Hide hotfix was successful. In reality, we think we were seeing the Protector of the Pack damage reduction and not the Thick Hide armor buff.

We believe the 4.0.6 patch finally removed the Protector of the Pack effects while finally getting the Thick Hide buff applied. Characters who had the Protector of the Pack benefit won’t see their survivability change much (they lost damage reduction while gaining armor), while characters who lacked that talent will see their survivability improve (they gained a lot of armor). The good news is that current bear survivability in 4.0.6 appears to be where we want it to be for everyone.

We’re still not 100% sure that the above explanation is what happened, but it seems consistent with our observations. Again, as of 4.0.6, bear armor should now be correct.

TL;DR Things are now normalized between bear tanks. If you are like me and switched to feral after the patch, you should feel a little less squishy.

Threat changes still seem to be a issue. Believe they are recommending adding a little more hit/expertise to your gear. For heroics, I switched to my Left Eye of Rajh to compensate.

Other things not druid related: Pallies got nerfed a bit through the latest hotfix, and Discs finally got the bubble love they needed.

Shaman still need hugs... so go hug one today.

Tuesday, February 8

4.0.6 Patch Day

Many of you have probably been reading the patch notes (and other information) for a while now regarding the changes to druids.

Some things from the patch that caught my eye:

Symbiosis (Mastery) benefit from mastery increased by approximately 16%.

Coupled with some other changes to our talents, I see they are trying to make mastery a little more than a tank healing talent. I know I have been throwing on pieces that have more mastery on them, and if you look at the Valor Vendor, our gear is rife with it.

Making mastery work well takes some practice for me. I make the mistake of throwing rejuv on targets NOT affected by WG or not throwing WG down before Tranquility is up, etc. This will become easier once the fights have been done more (only a couple bosses are on farm for us, and we have been moving between 25 and 10s during the week).

Rejuvenation is now trained at level 3, down from level 8. In addition, its mana cost is now 20% of base mana.

Sad, but this was needed. You don't want to rejuv spam but at the same time, the change to Nature's Bounty would be moot if the cost was too high.

The instant Rejuvenation heal from Gift of the Earthmother should no longer gain bonus healing from haste too soon, and should now correctly benefit from Symbiosis

Somehow I overlooked this piece of information a few weeks ago. I had dropped to 1 point in GotEM to tweak with things, but if it will work with Mastery then perhaps adding back a point may be worth it.

Glyph of Regrowth now causes the heal-over-time effect to refresh itself on targets at or below 50% health, up from 25%.

This makes me want to take the glyph again. With my current progression, I am still not convinced I would get much use out of it. I mainly heal for 25's, and with our two holy priests, shaman and other resto druid, most folks don't stay at that critical level for very long. Perhaps later on in progression, this may make more sense. For 10s, I could see this getting more use as their are less people to draw from and tighter mana restrictions.

Tree of Life duration has been reduced to 25 seconds, down from 30.

With talents, this will last 31 seconds. There are quite a few people upset by this but I think it will pass.

Omen of Clarity can no longer trigger from helpful spells (aka heals), unless the Restoration talent Malfurion’s Gift is chosen.

If you didn't already have Malfurion's Gift before, this probably affects you a great deal.

Also note:

Mandala of Stirring Patterns now increases Intellect instead of mastery rating.

This sounds great. However, reports on PTR suggest that is is not procing off hots or dots which puts this at a really low priority for me. I know that I saved up tokens to get this but after reading the findings, I will be spending my tokens on stuff for tanking.

The tauren racial trait War Stomp can now be used while shapeshifted.

War Stomp-ing in Bear makes me sqeee! Getting myself to remember I can do that will take getting use to. Hell, some days I forget I can use a pot or healthstone in bear since I haven't actively tanked since early Burning Crusade. At least we will be closer toward Warriors and their shockwave.

What this means for my spec

I thought I had my spec set up nicely so I wouldn't have to worry about changing anything after the patch, but Efflo seems weak even in 25s. GotEM will be stronger, in theory anyway.

This is what I will probably be taking later today. I keep Nature's Cure because I still run a fair number of Heroics for the guild and I don't over gear the content so much that I want to just heal through it all. In addition, if you heal BH without Nature's Cure, you are asking for trouble.

I will drop Efflo. After a couple weeks worth of parses, I find it doesn't seem to be as effective as I wish it could be. And, as most of us know, being linked to Living Seed is just terrible. Even with Nature's Bounty and such, Living Seed still did pitiful healing. For the love of leafy things, unlink the two talents please!

Given that Healing Rain and Sanctuary are already in use for our raids, I find the green circle is not as needed. Our other tree will probably keep it, so it won't disappear from our raids entirely.

Interestingly, I find that it actually hinders me. Knowing that swiftmending will throw down a circle which may or may not be correctly placed means that I hold back quite a bit. Removing that from the equation will probably mean an increased usage of Swiftmend. And, one of our tanks thanked me when I told him I won't have green circles. I do admit that green circles with other nasty green stuff can be confusing for some to interpret (silly tanks).

There's also a ton of changes to ferals (why did you nerf bear threat?) and moonkin which are met with interesting responses on the forums.

Enjoy patch day!