Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Patch 4.2 for teh Durid!

Patch 4.2 is live now. What impact will it have on the Druid?

    *     New Daily Quests: The Regrowth and Molten Front
          o         A large assortment of all-new daily quests and rewards are now available in Hyjal, where players can help the Guardians of Hyjal push back the allies of Ragnaros and establish a forward operating base in the Firelands! In order to partake in the Regrowth and Molten Front daily quests, players must have at least completed Mount Hyjal up to and including the quest Aessina's Miracle. Once this quest has been completed, players should speak with Matoclaw in the Sanctuary of Malorne to take part in the Regrowth efforts.
These new dailies will eventually reward item level 365 gear, in the ring, trinket slots plus one other, depending on whether you are tank or DPS. I waffled about this already. So there is a lot of grinding to be done (around 31 days to unlock one vendor and thus some rewards but not all), but the rewards are there if you are into soloing or just running 5 mans. Raiders may not bother. I probably will for my off spec. However the new Tier 12 is item level 378, so 365 is not ideal.
New Quest Chain: Elemental Bonds
    *         A New quest line is now available to level-85 Horde and Alliance characters, bringing brave adventurers to Thrall's aid. The Call of the World-Shaman, the quest which will point players toward Thrall and The Nordrassil Summit, can be obtained at the Earthshrines in Stormwind or Orgrimmar.
Lore-tastic, but also for the loot whores among us, the quest rewards an item level 365 cloak at the end, with a choice of tank or DPS item. So this one is well worth doing. Even maybe for raiders!

# New Raid: The Firelands
    *         Located within the Elemental Plane, the Firelands is an all-new 10- and 25-player raid featuring normal and Heroic difficulties! Battle-hardened veterans of the Horde and Alliance now have an opportunity to strike at Ragnaros the Firelord and his loyal servants by venturing into their domain via Sulfuron Spire in Mount Hyjal.
#     New Legendary Item: Dragonwrath, Tarecgosa's Rest
The Tier 12 raid is here. How hard it will be is not well known by me, I think my guild intends on having a poke in there, then concluding whether some more Tier 11 needs to be grinded up or not. The legendary staff is exciting, although equally cool is that you get two epic staves during the quest line.
Classes: General
  Crowd Control
    *         Many crowd control abilities no longer cause creatures to attack players when they are cast. The creature will not attack the player when the crowd control wears off, and nearby creatures will not become hostile to the player either. However, if a visible player gets too close to the target creature, the creature will remember and attack the player when the crowd control effect wears off. The intent is to make it easier for dungeon groups to manage crowd control assignments and pulling packs of hostile NPCs. The abilities affected by this change are: Hibernate, Entangling Roots, Wyvern Sting (will still cause hostility when it begins to deal damage), Freezing Trap, Polymorph, Repentance, Shackle Undead, Blind, Hex, Bind Elemental, Banish, Seduction.
Now this, if you are a tank, should make heroics easier, if you bother with crowd control at all. Certainly I've seen that no one does bother with crowd control in 5 mans, and I hear not even in the new Troll instances. If you are DPS, you may even get asked to apply Roots to something in heroics, which you can do whenever you want and not pull everything. Nice. How much this feature is used is undetermined yet.

    *         All class abilities which place a buff on friendly targets no longer generate any threat. This goes for raid-wide buffs like Mark of the Wild and Power Word: Fortitude, as well as triggered effects such as Blessed Resilience or Fingers of Frost, and single-target buffs like Dark Intent and Hysteria. The exception is buffs which directly cause healing or damage, such as Thorns or Renew. Abilities such as these still generate normal threat.
Not that I've ever pulled aggro by buffing people during a pull, but if I had, I won't any more.

Next there is the mother of all class change notes:

# Druids now gain 1 attack power per point of Strength, down from 2. They continue to gain 2 attack power per point of Agility while in Cat Form or Bear Form. In addition, Cat Form's scaling rate from gear upgrades was slower than other classes, which was causing them to fall behind in damage with higher item levels. To counter the Strength change and improve scaling, the following changes have been made. All numbers cited are for level-85 druids.
Throw away your strength cloak from Guardians of Hyjal, and replace it with a reward from the Thrall quest line.  
    *         Ferocious Bite damage has been increased by 15%. In addition, its base cost has been reduced to 25 energy and it can use up to 25 energy, for up to a 100% damage increase.
    *         Mangle (Cat) damage at level 80 and above has been increased to 540% weapon damage, up from 460%, and bonus damage has been lowered to 302.
    *         Rake initial damage on hit now deals the same damage as each periodic tick (and is treated the same for all combat calculations). Periodic damage now gains 14.7% of attack power per tick, up from 12.6%, and base damage per tick has been lowered from 557 to 56. There is a known issue with Rake's tooltip being incorrect from this change will be corrected in a future patch.
    *         Ravage damage at level 80 and above has been increased to 950% weapon damage, up from 850%, and bonus damage has been lowered to 532.
    *         Savage Roar now grants 80% increased damage to melee auto attacks, up from 50%. The Glyph of Savage Roar remains an unchanged bonus of 5% to that total.
    *         Shred damage at level 80 and above has been increased to 540% weapon damage, up from 450%, and bonus damage has been lowered to 302.
Buffs to Cat DPS right here. The Fluid Druid estimates 8% or more, so that's pretty cool.
#     Entangling Roots and the equivalent spell triggered by Nature's Grasp no longer deal damage.
#     Innervate now grants an ally target 5% of his or her maximum mana over 10 seconds, but still grants 20% of the druid's maximum mana over 10 seconds when self-cast.

Actually the Innervate change might be a buff for ferals, I guess our mana pool is so small that 5% of the target's mana pool may well be bigger. It is still fairly useless however. For Moonkin self-innervating is still useful.

#     Omen of Clarity clearcasting buff from now lasts 15 seconds, up from 8 seconds.
#     Starfire damage has been increased by approximately 23%.
#     Swipe (Cat) now deals 600% weapon damage at level 80 or higher, down from 670%.
#     Wrath damage has been increased by approximately 23%.

The two main nuke spells in the Moonkin rotation are buffed, which is interesting all right. Cat swipe was nerfed, but then it was fairly powerful before so this isn't entirely unexpected.
#     Talent Specializations
    *         Balance
          o             Earth and Moon's duration has been increased to 15 seconds, up from 12.
          o             Fungal Growth spell visual effect has been updated to be less visually intrusive and more aesthetic.
          o             Lunar Shower has been redesigned. When casting Moonfire, the druid gains Lunar Shower. Lunar Shower increases the direct damage done by Moonfire by 15/30/45%, and reduces the mana cost by 10/20/30%. This effect stacks up to 3 times and lasts 3 seconds. While under the effects of Lunar Shower, Moonfire generates 8 Solar Energy, and Sunfire generates 8 Lunar Energy. The amount of Lunar/Solar Energy gained does not change based on the number of points spent in the talent, or stacks of Lunar Shower. Those druids who wish to delay transition in or out of an Eclipse state should now cast the one of their two basic attacks which will not move the Eclipse bar (either Starfire or Wrath).
          o             Solar Beam has a new spell effect.
          o             Wild Mushroom: Detonate can now also trigger Earth and Moon, in addition to Starfire and Wrath.
The Lunar Shower change is basically to stop Moonkins from getting into Solar eclipse, then spamming Sunfire on adds in an AOE situation. Now Sunfire will generate energy, which means you will end eclipse if you spam it too much. This means I guess in some AOE Moonkin may suffer, but only if the adds last long enough that the Sunfires you are casting suddenly push you out of Solar eclipse. It may be necessary to use Insect Swarm as well, and only refresh Sunfire instead of spamming it. There is always the possibility of dropping the Lunar Shower talent, but the EJ Moonkin thread doesn't conclude anything, because the talent is useful when you have to run around like a headless laser chicken.
    *         Feral
          o             Bear damage abilities were scaling too fast with higher gear levels compared to other tanks, so the following balance changes have been made. All the numbers cited are for level 85 characters; numbers will be lower for lower-level characters.
                +                 Faerie Fire (Feral) base damage has been raised to 2950, up from 679. Attack power scaling has been decreased to 10.8%, down from 15%.
                +                 Maul base damage has been raised to 35, up from 8. Attack power scaling has been decreased to 19%, down from 26.4%.
                +                 Pulverize weapon damage percent has been decreased to 60%, down from 80%. Damage per Lacerate application has been increased to 1623, up from 361.
                +                 Mangle (Bear) weapon damage percent has been decreased to 190%, down from 260%. Bonus damage has been increased to 3306, down from 754.
                +                 Swipe base damage has been increased to 929, up from 215. Attack power scaling has been decreased to 12.3%, down from 17.1%.
                +                 Thrash initial base damage has been increased to 1042, up from 339. Initial damage attack power scaling has been decreased to 9.82%, down from 19.2%. Periodic base damage has been increased to 581, up from 189. Periodic damage attack power scaling has been decreased to 1.67%, down from 3.26%. In addition, a bug was corrected where armor decreased the periodic damage done by this ability.
                +                 Lacerate initial base damage has been increased to 3608, up from 2089. Initial damage attack power scaling has been decreased to 5.52%, down from 7.66%. Periodic base damage has been increased to 69, up from 16. Periodic damage attack power scaling has been decreased to 0.369%, down from 0.512%.
          o             Natural Reaction damage reduction has been increased to 9/18%, up from 6/12%.
Some damage nerfs which may or may not bugger Bears up at current Tier 11 levels, Blizzard claim not but we shall see. The Natural Reaction change is interesting and makes Bear damage reduction even better than it was.
    *         Restoration
          o             Symbiosis (Mastery) has been removed and replaced with Harmony. Harmony increases direct healing by an additional 10%, and casting direct healing spells grants an additional 10% bonus to periodic healing for 10 seconds. Each point of mastery increases each bonus by an additional 1.25%. Healing Touch, Nourish, Swiftmend, and the initial heal from Regrowth are considered direct healing spells for the purposes of this Mastery. All other healing from druid spells is considered periodic.
Umm. It's for such insightful commentary you come here, eh?
#     Glyphs
    *         Glyph of Berserk duration increase is now 10 seconds, up from 5.
    *         Glyph of Ferocious Bite has been redesigned. It now causes Ferocious Bite to heal the caster for 1% of maximum health for each 10 energy used.
    *         Glyph of Innervate now causes the druid to gain 10% of his or her maximum mana over 10 seconds when Innervate is used on a friendly target, in addition to Innervate's base effect.
Berserk just became even better, which is nice.
#     Set Bonuses
    *         The 4-piece Balance druid tier 11 PvE set bonus, Astral Alignment, now provides a total of 15% critical strike chance with 3 charges, decreasing by 5% per charge, instead of 99% decreasing by 33% per charge. This change was made because the set bonus proved so valuable it was not possible to upgrade out of the set into tier 12. To compensate, changes have been made to Starfire and Wrath (listed at the top of the druid class section).
    *         The 2-piece Restoration druid tier 11 PvE set bonus has been redesigned to work with the new Restoration druid mastery. Druids with this bonus now receive the bonus to Spirit while the Harmony mastery bonus to periodic healing is active.
I know the Moonkin Tier 11 bonus was too good, so it got changed. This is a good thing, as being stuck on an old tier of armour is no fun for anyone.
#     Druid Bug Fixes
    *         It is no longer possible in some encounters to use Feral Charge when closer than its minimum range.
This stops Kitties from charging into bosses, even though they were still in melee range, so if you used that to increase DPS, its a DPS loss.
Valor & Justice Points
    *         All existing Valor Points in the Currency tab have been converted to Justice Points. Any points above the Justice Point cap will be converted into gold at a rate of 47 silver per point and mailed to characters.
    *         The maximum number of Valor Points which can be earned in a week from any and all applicable dungeons and raids is now 980, down from 1250.
          o             The maximum number of Valor Points awarded for completing Rise of the Zandalari dungeons remains at 980.
          o             The maximum number of Valor Points awarded for completing Heroic dungeons remains at 490.
          o             The number of Valor Points awarded for killing a boss in the Firelands is 120 in 10-player mode, and 140 in 25-player mode.
          o             The number of Valor Points awarded for killing Occu'thar in Baradin Hold is 120 in 10-player mode, and 140 in 25-player mode.
          o             The number of Valor Points awarded for killing a boss on Heroic difficulty in The Bastion of Twilight, Blackwing Descent, and Throne of the Four winds is 35 in 10-player mode, and 45 in 25-player mode.
Is someone trying to drag out Tier 12, by limiting how quickly people can gather Valor? Looks like it, doesn't it? If you are over 4k Justice + Valor, best spend some before the patch drops. I bought a trinket for my off spec, I'd hate to see hard-earned Valor being turned into silver.

Dungeons & Raids
Baradin Hold
   *         Occu'thar has broken free from his cage and presents an all-new boss challenge to players in 10- and 25-player arrangements who control Tol Barad.
   *         All Tier 11 raids nerfed by 20% (my words)
A new boss to pug in Baradin Hold, plus all Tier 11 nerfed by 20% means grinding this content in PUGs has become easier. Sadly Tier 11 normal now only drops Justice points, so you are better off using the Dungeon Finder to run some heroics. Our guild may still have a look at Tier 11. It depends on how hard Tier 12 is really.

# If a player wins a Need roll under the Need Before Greed system on a Bind on Equip item, the item will become Soulbound to that player. The item will remain unbound if won via a Greed roll.
So no more needing on BoEs to sell on the Auction House, now the only place you'll be selling them is the vendor. Of course, this doesn't stop enchanters from needing things to shard them.

#     Applicable tier 11 items now cost Justice Points.
Rendering all the changes to crowd control utterly pointless, soon everyone will be in 3 piece Tier 11 (I assume the token pieces are not applicable) and associated boots, cloaks, trinkets, etc. Thus crowd control is no longer needed in instances, and we can face roll everything! (This is sarcasm). Still, now there is once again a reason to run heroics, plus the JP I stock piled beforehand can be spent on something shiny and epic.

#     The Keyring bag slot has been removed to make room in the user interface for new features.
    *         Keys which no longer serve a purpose in the game will be removed from player inventories. Compensation for the keys will be automatically provided in the form of each key's vendor sell price in gold.
    *         Keys which are obsolete quest items will be removed from player inventories.
    *         Keys which may still be of use to players will be transferred to regular inventory space. If a player's bags are full, these keys will sit in a backlogged inventory until sufficient space is made available. Once space is opened, the keys will appear in regular inventory upon the player logging out or switching zones.

I remember when they added the key ring to the game, before then my bags and bank were choked with bloody keys everywhere. Now they are taking it away, but giving me back any keys I need? I am really hoping there are no keys I still need, otherwise I'm going to be quite mad I've got more useless keys to fill my bank up again.

    *     All character races now have a /roar sound.
/ flex!

User Interface
           * The order in which characters are listed at the Character Selection screen can now be rearranged and saved.
Best feature of the patch, right there.

So general impressions then. The patch introduces a fair number of changes for Druids, some DPS increases for Kitties, some more survivability for Bears, plus some odd threat and damage adjustments. I am hoping the threat adjustments for Bears do not mess us up starting Tier 12. The new dailies are a hell of a grind, but do at least give non-raiders something to do, plus there is a lot of Valor point items on the JP vendor to go hit heroics for. Sadly there are no more Archaeology items, so I guess the best you can get without raiding is still 359 and 365 from the Firelands dailies. The new Thrall quest line looks like it will be very cool, plus there is an epic at the end, so that's all good.

EJ Druid tank thread
EJ Moonkin thread
EJ Druid Cat thread

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