A beautiful conclusion – 13/13H Throne of Thunder /w Ra-Den Video

This tier is finally over for us killing Ra-den tonight with plenty of attempts left for the week. It’s a little anticlimactic I will admit but it is gimmicky enough as a special optional boss that it proves interesting enough as a footnote. I’ll probably be writing a Tier 15 retrospective soon as I’ll have a little bit more free time with a lighter raid week.

From the folks at Capital Vices happy hunting and we’ll see you on the flipside :)

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Our kill video has been uploaded…complete with amazing drunken moonkin singing! (note website in video splash is outdated)

Ramblings – Saving Throw Vs. Death in MMO’s

It’s been no secret that I have been playing quite a lot of The Secret World lately especially if you’ve been monitoring my twitter feed. It is a game I have grown to appreciate despite that fact that it is decidedly less robust than WoW in terms of content and non-endgame group content available to players. I like the game because I enjoy the flavor and enjoy the combat.

The combat is TSW is extremely customizable and is both complex and not complex at the same time. Mush like playing a CCG you are tasked with building a ‘deck’. Your deck consists of assigning 7 active and 7 passive abilities to your character. The complexity lies in making sure these abilities all synergize well between actives and passives as well as the stats you’ve assigned to your gear (since most gear is entirely customizable for a price). Once assigned though, playing your build is much simpler. Good play however is entirely on you and your ability to stay alive.

What makes the grouping in TSW interesting, and slightly different than wow are the responsibilities:

Tank: Hate, Survivability, Interrupts, Avoid-or-die

DPS: Hate-management, Damage, Self and Group Cleansing, Avoid-or-die

Healer: Hate-management, Healing, Self-Cleansing, Avoid-or-die

Secret World has embraced a rather interesting take on MMO combat. This is a world where people have guns and monsters wield some fairly frightening magic. As such it is almost always going to kill you if you get hit with ANYTHING. You are tasked with avoiding every single aspect of a nightmare encounter that can be dodged in order to stay alive and continue doing your role. DPS are responsible for a bulk of the cleansing and there are a host of abilities tanks must interrupt or they can (or will) kill someone. I like this!

I understand however that this is incredibly daunting to a new player. Secret World tries its best to help you through them by adding ground warning effects for EVERY AoE attack in the game. You will always see where an attack is going to land before it happens if you are expected to avoid it. That part isn’t so bad I don’t think. The mechanics where a tank must impair (their version of interrupt) or DPS must cleanse themselves by way of Sleight of Hand is nebulous at best. Here are three examples of non-raid level nightmare capstone bosses.

Polaris – entry level Nightmare Dungeon

Final Boss – The Ur-Draug

-Cleave – will kill anyone but the tank in a frontal cone

-Ground Slam – warning shown for the cone affected – tank must avoid

-Submerge – when the boss submerges bubbles will appear around the party in the ‘safe’ zone completely immobilizing you. The only way to get out is use a spell to remove the hinder effect or use a ‘jump’ type skill. Failure to do so leads to death

-Blue phase – Boss shifts dimensions and wanders looking for you, part must play hide and seek behind rocks while dealing with adds. If you are seen by the boss you will be killed

-Pillar Explosion – when the boss drops to very low health he shatters all the large rocks in the zone originally hid behind, kills anyone near them other than a tank

That’s 4 ways you can instantly die instantly as a dps or healer on this encounter

 

Hell Raised – entry level Nightmare Dungeon

Final Boss – Machine Tyrant

-Anima Overcharge – boss puts up a shield after a timer has wound down that persists until dragged over a anima well. Will kill any DPS that hit him with the shield up

-Cleave – will kill anyone but the tank in a frontal cone

-Knockback – will kill or severely damage any melee who do not avoid the warning circle

-Firmament Barrage – moving crosshairs chase players dropping bombs periodically. Will kill anyone they hit

-Wave of Immolation – moves to the center of the room and creates a very large spiral of runes around him that will kill anyone caught in one

There’s 4 ways you can die instantly as a dps or healer on this encounter

 

 Hell Eternal – Tier 2 Nightmare Dungeon 

Final Boss – Eblis

Solar Collapse – huge crosshairs of doom and bombs or destruction. Run like hell or die

Drink Deep – tank interrupt or likely someone is killed

Occluding Lense – reflective shield DPS can easily blow themselves up on using finishers

Consummation – reduces a party member to 1 HP (can do tanks). Particularly deadly with the above Occluding Lens

Cast Out – pulls the party into a barred off area with:

-moving death circles on the ground

-Painwheel Overdive – tank must interrupt or we all die

-Vanquish – line attack to the boss’s left and right in the way he’s facing when casting it initially. Kills you

Chains – movement hinder ability that kills you when it expires. Remove it or die.

There are 8 ways a player can instantly die on this fight: 8 of which as a tank, 7 as a dps, and 5 as a healer.

 

I might be a little bit of a hard-ass but I honestly like this kind of punishing encounter. This might also be a reason why TSW isn’t really doing amazingly because the encounters are extremely difficult if you are not acutely aware of your surroundings and the fight itself. Couple that with it being a heinous gear grind once all story plot has been completed and you have a fairly tough sell.

As a healer in WoW I find it frustrating that some avoidable mechanics are not necessarily death related but simply painful. You will primarily see this in normal and LFR Difficulty as well as 5 man content. I think there needs to be a strong push for players, not just DPS, to be much more self sufficient when it comes to their safety. Having the security blanket of the healers is always a dangerous notion especially when you’re trying harder content and cutting back on the healers present. For our progression group we tend to rarely run more than 5 healers unless we absolutely have to for the encounter to function.

Secret World trains you hard from the very first moment you step into the game. Every mob from the most basic to elite and boss level all telegraph their moves to give you an option to avoid them. You are also given a quick directional dodge ability with a cooldown you can always use to move from place to place quickly. On top of that mobs are fairly lethal in general. Unless you give yourself self-healing or damage mitigation you’ll find yourself getting low just by taking on two or three of them and you might even get yourself killed easily enough if too aggressive. In a game with an extremely harsh environment I think it breeds a level of awareness players need to survive at the endgame level.

Because so much pressure is on players to avoid and dodge mechanic during fights I’ve found almost all players, except for tanks, shed ALL excess +hitpoint stats from their gear and streamline their damage and healing output. When a fight comes around where there is heavy periodic damage that cannot be avoided it is expected the player knows enough to swap in a health item to bring up their max hp. Failure to do so often leads to death.

I’m a weird individual though. When it comes to games like MMO’s I like punishing (but not unfairly so) environments because I think it makes better players. At the same time though I almost refuse to go back and play old retro console games without a save state function. I think for me the line that can’t be crossed is when challenge becomes frustration. A Heroic fight in WoW is challenging. The speeder bike level in Battletoads is frustrating. I think game developers need to be aware that creating a fight with immense amounts of luck required or hidden knowledge it can easily cross into the realm of frustrating. WoW heroic encounters as of late, and most of what I’ve seen in Secret World, are very learnable fights that require people to iterate on previous attempts in a logical manner. Having Save or Die mechanics in your fight are perfectly fair and do not in and of themselves make a fight a poor design.

There are my ramblings for today complete with some mild stream of consciousness in there as well. I hope I’ve at least given you a little something to think about

Preliminary Patch 5.4 Resto Druid Changes

So there’s datamined patch information that has a rather hefty list of changes for you as a restoration druid. Let’s just dig right in and go through them as well as what the ramifications will be.

1.) Nature’s Swiftness has become baseline. You no longer have to give up a talent option to take this iconic, and mandatory, talent. In place of Nature’s Swiftness there is a new passive ability that bears looking at: Ysera’s Gift. Now here are your two options for 5.4:

-Ysera’s Gift – passive – heals you for 5% of your maximum hp every 5 seconds. If you are at maximum health, it is smart healed to an ally. Assuming early 5.4 gear you’ll probably have in the low 600′s K for health meaning this will be ticking for roughly 30,000 every 5 seconds. Assuming the raid is not entirely full on health, this will always produce worthwhile healing adding up to 5K hp/s in this case. Is this worthwhile healing? At the rate at which it ticks i’d argue that it would more often than not end up as meter fluffing and never really save anyone except yourself. Your mileage may vary.

-Cenario Ward – 30s CD – Protective barrier that triggers upon taking damage healing for a large amount over 6 seconds. At ~40K spellpower this heals for roughly 54,000 every 2 seconds or 162,000 total over 6 s. This is not an overwhelming amount of healing and will usually not be enough to save the tank from imminent demise. It can however soften damage from blows that would generally not outright kill the tank anyway to lighten the healing load. It’s about 5K hp/s at that gear level as well.

I think this will be a case of pick your flavor. If the fight requires more direct tank healing you can opt for Ward. If the fight has consistent raid damage that needs addressing, then Ysera’s Gift provides it with absolutely no thought required.

2.) Soul of the Forest was buffed to 100% spell haste bonus. Didn’t really think it was necessary but perhaps their internal math felt it wasn’t pulling its weight on a throughput level (not factoring in mana savings). All this will really do is force us to create a new haste break point spreadsheet :)

3.) Tier 6, Level 90 talents, received a revamp.

Update: NV is actually quite amazing in practice with the smart healing component and currently is looking to be a clear cut winner for level 90 talents. Further discussion pending additional feedback.

Dream of Cenarius is no longer the terrible shell of a talent for us that it used to be. It now grants you the ability to attonement heal. Every wrath you cast hits for 20% more and heals a raid member for 100% of the damage done. Note that wrath has had its mana cost increase by roughly 50%.

Nature’s Vigil now also allows all direct heals cast while active to heal additional raid members for 25% of the amount healed. The rest of the talent remains the same. Update: It is unclear at this time if it is direct heals or all single target healing spells which would include lifebloom and rejuvenation. 

Heart of the Wild, when activated, also increases your healing done by some percentage. It seems to be them justifying the talent for restoration since many people i’d wager never activate it. Update: Buff is 25% to healing done! Fairly significant even if it is only once or sometimes twice an encounter if they run long.

I think this is a choice that remains simple yet complicated. Personally I think it comes down to Heart of the Wild and Dream of Cenarius on a fight to fight basis. I don’t particularly enjoy parking and casting however I am willing to admit that for some encounters with tight DPS checks and phases with minimal damage it can be an option. Heart of the Wild plays more to your strengths overall however it obviously doesn’t allow for the flexibility DoC does in that while DPS’ing with the CD (should you do it) you can’t heal at the same time without shifting gears. I will still probably default to Heart of the Wild as it still benefits our HoT centric style of play, especially with the new addition of Genesis.

I stand by Nature’s Vigil being the most lackluster of the bunch according to my taste. A 10% throughput boost, while very good, is not significant enough to really feel like a bonus from my point of view and the trigger activating only on direct heals seems counter intuitive. Depending on HotW’s throughput bonus, once we know more, we’ll be able to math out ultimately which will provide the most consistent benefit. Stay tuned to this one. Preferences for these talents change at the drop of a hat. 

4.) Genesis – activated ability with no cooldown listed as of yet. This spell will quickly activate all of your remaining rejuvenations making them heal and expire at 400% the normal rate. If you cast 6 rejuvenations for example and then immediately used Genesis you would have the first one expire in a little over a second, and the last expire in just over two and a half seconds. Each would produce healing equivalent to however much is left on them.

This spell, provided that it doesn’t play havoc with haste break points and allow for additional ticks that were otherwise unobtainable, is a slight mana loss (the cost of genesis) for a break even in the amount healed and a significant increase in your burst. Since there is set up required for genesis in the form of multiple rejuvenations, it does not need a cooldown. Much like Wild Mushroom: Bloom you are responsible for how aggressive you wish to be with it. You can use it a little or a lot provided your rejuvenations haven’t come close to expiring before hitting the button.

Expect to see this ability as a staple in your healing rotation/toolkit come 5.4. There will more than likely be multiple raid wide damage events that can be predicted in much the same way priests use their absorbs. Prehot the number of people you feel reasonable (3,4,5 perhaps) and let it rip once the damage goes out. Just make sure if you plan to use Swiftmend that you keep the last rejuvenation target as your fuel as they will disappear fast.

Genesis can also be used to TURBO charge your wild mushrooms if you deem it absolutely necessary. Since the window for genesis is small, limited by the time remaining on the heals, storing it up in the mushroom for imminent use gives you a slightly large window if absolutely need be.

5.) Wild Mushroom Bloom received a massive fix. The mushroom’s base healing was significantly increased because now you can only plant one of them. It accrues overhealing at 2/3 the rate they do now but holds the same maximum amount. The plus side though is that it is completely transplantable. You can pick it up and move it without losing the stored bonus healing. While not a perfect spell you can always guarantee you have it active and ready for raid damage with this new change.

Update:

  • Wild Mushroom: Bloom is no longer capable of critical strikes, and accumulates overhealing done by Rejuvenation by 100%, down from 150%. Overhealing bonus no longer benefits from Naturalist or Mastery: Harmony.

Make no mistake, this is still a great buff. Wild Mushroom is already potent and you can easily work around the drawbacks that come with this change. Between this and Genesis you are now armed with some really nice Burst options for healing. Keep this in mind when you’re looking at heroic encounters in 5.4. Having a fully charged mushroom you can literally transplant and bloom immediately as needed has far reaching applications. Sure this new found versatility is offset by the overheal the spell is likely to do but that is factored into the spell’s throughput by Blizzard I would imagine.

6.) Innervate finally scales with our stats! It is truly a miracle. We have been stuck compared to other healers unable to really benefit from spirit as much as other classes for a long while. This break has left some druids eschewing spirit for mastery when possible and some (of which I am one admittedly) going up into the 12K spirit range for heroic encounters. The new innervate model grants us 50% of our spirit as mana per second for 10 seconds.

Presently Innervate gives 60,000 mana every three minutes. A total of 1,667 mp/5. A number that was probably more impressive doing Tier 14 normals. Comparing that to Mistweavers Brew, Shaman specific MTT benefits, and Rapture is fairly lackluster with current gear.

The new innervate, provided that you have at least 12,000 spirit will give the same amount of mana in return. This seems to be initiated to balance what it provides using a ToT Normal gear level as a pivot point. Every 1 point of spirit you add beyond 12,000 provides 1 mp/5 more than what you would have with the current version on top of its usual benefit. I’ll probably do some gear related math once we know more in order to show just how much regen you’ll really be getting when deciding what spirit soft cap to settle down with.

Glyph of Innervate introduces the innervate swap trick we used to do between two druids. If you have another restoration druid in your raid, however unlikely this might be especially if you are doing heroic content, you could each take this glyph and swap with each other for a 20% boost to each players gained mana. This assumes of course you are both at roughly the same amount of spirit. Personally I am not convinced this is enough of a gain to make it worth it especially with the coordination involved.

7.) Tier 16 set bonuses are poop.

8.) New Glyph: Glyph of Efflorescence increases the healing done by Swiftmend by 20%, causes the Efflorescence healing effect to be triggered by Wild Mushroom instead of Swiftmend, and lasts as long as the Wild Mushroom is active. This glyph is actually fairly significant. It transforms Wild mushroom into a constant effloressence field along with boosting Swiftmend as a direct emergency heal. This could very well become a staple for us moving forward given its implications. Being able to constantly move and replace mushrooms seamlessly can translate to a large amount of bonus healing through the Efflo field.

I may be leaving some things out and I’m rather tired at the moment so my analysis is probably full of holes but please read and enjoy.

Wild Mushroom Usage in Heroic Throne of Thunder (5.3)

Note: Need to thoroughly spellcheck this later so be gentle if you find typos

It was a week into 5.2 that I created a brief guide on how I was using wild mushrooms through all of the normal modes of Throne of Thunder. Now that I have worked on 10 of the 13 heroic encounters I thought it might be worthwhile to revisit these fights and see how, if at all they have changed. I also may want to revise my previous statements now that I am more familiar with each fight. Let’s begin.

The mushrooms themselves

The change to the mushrooms is fairly complex but simply to understand. Each mushroom now stores 50% of your rejuvenation overhealing up to a maximum of 66% of your total health. The radius of the mushrooms has been increased by 25% and the area covered by the explosion increased by 56%. What this means is that your mushrooms hold twice as much and store it twice as fast. You will fill them at the same speed but enjoy a significantly larger bloom.

If you are using the custom weak aura that I linked to in my original post you’ll want to edit it to work with the new mushroom specs. If you go to the triggers tab and look in the custom text boxes you’ll clearly see the lines that refer to the amount of overheal and storage per mushroom. In the first box under trigger there is a note on the amount of overheal to be tracked and it is set to .25, you want to increase that to .50. Similarly you want to adjust the amount each mushroom can hold from .33 to .66. The last box that controls the creation of the bar you’ll want to edit also. You want to adjust the total held with three mushrooms to 1.999*player health, two mushrooms to 1.333*player health, and one mushroom to .666*player health.

I’ll update this with specifics later on tonight.

With my current gear I sit at roughly 509K hp with ~7300 mastery. When I detonate three full charged mushrooms they heal 3x for ~500K. Odds are one of these mushrooms is going to critically heal in a raid setting so even without Fort and a mastery buff that would heal for ~2 million HP. This gives you, very roughly done, the following breakdown:

1 target: ~2 million

2 targets: ~1 million

3 targets: ~666K

5 targets: ~400K

10 targets: ~200K

15 targets: ~133K

25 targets: ~80K

The same rules of thumb when using the spell still apply though it is now much more flexible as you can imagine. Be aware that Wild Mushroom: Bloom benefits more from Mastery than it does from Spellpower. While spellpower and mastery both make the rejuvenation ticks larger (charging the mushrooms up faster) and boost the base heal for the mushrooms, only mastery boosts the bonus healing provided by the mushrooms.

THRONE OF THUNDER HEROIC

Jin’Rohk – Normal

What I said before: Viability Low with a lackluster use during the encounter

Jin’Rohk – Heroic

As you’ll see with most heroic encounters a change in fight mechanics or increased damage done will create new uses for your abilities, one of which is wild mushrooms. I found myself opting for one of two uses for bloom in varying states of charged capacity

1.)    Some puddle mini phases end up taking some heavy raid damage before ionization comes out. Having a bloom of any magnitude available to pop right afterwards is incredibly useful. You can also reapply the mushrooms after this damage wherever you see fit to cover the DPS whose ionizations are left to fall off on their own. Do not focus on having it be 100% charged up.

2.)    For the lightning storms, depending on whether you huddle near raid CD’s or spread out don’t hesitate to throw your mushrooms in advance where you think people will be hanging out. With the recent buff even one mushroom hitting a couple of people will be a noticeable heal

Mushrooms can make up large portion of your healing done during this encounter with heroic level damage for the fight.

Horridon – Normal

What I said before: ‘Not mushroom friendly’ and Low Viability during the encounter

Horridon – Heroic

With the addition of the Dire Call mechanics during the four doors and final phase Wild Mushroom can actually be utilized fairly well during this fight. This is the first encounter where I really needed to know how our raid paced through kiting the mobs from each door and where exactly everyone will be during every dire call. Once I did this I saw a nice increase in its effectiveness. Typically speaking it will be the following:

1.)    From first door set the mushrooms spaced in a line or triangle roughly half to two-thirds of the way from door one to door two. Ranged will be near them for the first dire call

2.)    Move back and place mushrooms part way into the door two to three path slightly inboard towards the center of the room. Depending on how Horridon’s movements work typically I can predict where ranged will shift for the second call

3.)    For each subsequent door the location of the first set of mushrooms varies as some adds are kited at a faster rate

For the final phase it is a matter of grouping up and taking very little raid damage between Dire Calls so you’ll have no problem charging them up. All in all I thoroughly support mushrooms for this fight. This is a fight where the damage goes from being fairly minimal to significant with Dire Calls (and some of the later door abilities). Generally you will be able to get fully charged mushrooms but even three partially filled ones covering a chunk of your raid, provided the healing is needed, can be a significant help.

Council – Normal and Heroic

I would still stand by my moderate statement for this fight. My best suggestion for Council is to not get too attached to using mushrooms at full strength. Part of the reason the mushroom change is so important is that you shouldn’t get too attached to having them fill up and then just be wasted with no one nearby. Keep moving them and keep detonating them at will for this encounter.

Tortos – Normal

What I said before: Very high viability during this encounter due to the quakes

Tortos – Heroic

Mushrooms go from being actually wonderful to being almost completely useless. This isn’t due to any of the damage in the fight changing though. If you are unfamiliar with Tortos heroic there is a new mechanic that interfered with mushrooms directly. Players are allowed to attack crystals which place a protective shell on them. This shell takes ALL healing done and charges it up as an absorb bubble that caps out at a percentage of your health. The problem is that while charging, and even when capped, your spells will never overheal and will never charge up your mushrooms. You can precharge one set and you might get some partially charged sets during the fight but on the whole they become completely unreliable and borderline useless.

Magaera – Normal and Heroic

Little has changed during this encounter. The rampages continue to be the most harrowing moment damage wise during the fight and you will want to have a fully precharged set of mushrooms for all of them just as you would in normal mode. Given that charging them does not take more than 15 seconds or so, if you feel you need to keep some partially charged mushrooms near melee in case they have a brain lapse with cinders then you can do that. Just try to make sure that you get your Rampage Bloom ready to go in time.

Ji-Kun – Normal

What I said before: High if you are stationed on the main platform, situational otherwise

Ji-Kun – Heroic

If you are only on the main platform for this encounter then mushrooms continue to be pretty awesome for handling quills and melee /w feeding pools. Mushrooms + tranquility + Swiftmend when needed can cover a lot of ground for you here. If you are on nest duty however, heroic Ji-kun has a rather strict order to things and you’re on the go quite often. I think for our kills my order was something like: Down purple, Up Green, Up Center, Down Red, Down Yellow, Up Center, Up Purple, Down Purple if needed then win (colors mean little to you of course). On at least two of these platforms I was required to heal our group through Quills. Knowing which platforms will have that attack allows you to precharge your mushrooms, have barkskin, 3x lifebloom, and even Ironbark at the ready to ensure no one in your team takes any threatening damage.

Durumu The Forgotten – Normal

What I said before: Fairly low viability

Durumu The Forgotten – Heroic

I will up the usefulness of mushrooms on this fight by a good bit given that partially charged mushrooms are significantly more potent. In general when neither the maze or beam phases are occurring raid damage is fairly minimal and generally only certain people are taking noticeable damage at any time (tank, people with debuff, life drain, puddles etc). You will find that during the beam phase you can utilize the mushrooms some depending on which one you are in.

1.)    If your raid has watchers who place raid markers where all of the red adds are just prior to the beam phase, you can actually drop your mushrooms on the move towards the next add and get them slightly charged for use when you get there.

2.)    If you don’t have the luxury of knowing ahead of time where the red adds will be simply drop one, or more, mushrooms when you stop for an add and detonate them as needed. They still have a base healing amount that is nearly free mana wise and worth using. This is optional and you might find that it is overkill with your healing setup and that is fine.

For the Maze phase I would opt for one of a couple of options. You can drop three mushrooms at the group up point before the maze starts which will be roughly where you end the maze (at the same ground marker) to top people off once it concludes. You can also place some mushrooms along the path the raid will be following before the ice walls go up to help top people off as you run through. It’s pretty boss and I need to give some credit to some twitterfolk for suggesting it.

Primordius – Normal

What I said before: Low/myself as the raid is fairly spread out to warrant needing mushrooms versus your other spells

Primordius – Heroic

While little has changed the damage in the fight is scaled up by a decent amount. The only mechanic I think mushrooms offer some assistance with is the caustic gas attack that divides out among the number of players hit. While Primordius is going to move, you can still keep even partially charged mushrooms near the melee at all times to help them absorb some of the impact from this attack. You can also keep them spread out among the ranged near the middle to handle his volleys. Aggressively using prtial blooms is the key to making the spell work for you here.

Iron Qon – Normal

What I said before: High for the fire add phase and final phase, low elsewhere

Iron Qon – Heroic

What I said before definitely still stands. For the fire phase when your melee are dancing around to take the hits from his Unleashed Flame having wild mushrooms ready (even partially filled) for each one is guaranteed to be effective and extremely useful. Since we stopped using ranged to handle that element of the fight it meant that mushroom placement was much easier to predict and execute.

For the lightning quillen you will still be dropping mushrooms in melee more than likely but it isn’t until the frost quillen arrives that you can get more bang for your buck. Ro’shak will be using Unleashed Flame on your melee at a pace that perfectly suits charging wild mushrooms. You might be providing almost a Lay on Hands to them after each hit which is impressive nonetheless. This continues when you are fighting all three quillen at the same with as Iron Qon especially with Fist Smash.

Once it is just Iron Qon alone you will be stacked up and constantly charged and detonating mushrooms with each fist smash regardless of how much you’ve been able to charge them. If you see healer CD’s have a fist smash almost entirely covered and you are very low on your charge you can consider waiting for the next one to detonate an even bigger one.

You can expect, if used aggressively, the new bloom to make up a very size-able portion of your healing done.

Twin Consorts – Normal

What I said before: Fairly low viability

Twin Consorts – Heroic

This is a fight, similar to Council, where the raid is going to be spread out for most of the encounter. As such you will generally only have the option to utilize partially charged blooms and they will often be in one of a couple places:

1.)    Moved with the boss to provide some free healing on the tank and melee

2.)    Behind the meteor you believe will be a group up point for Nuclear Blast

3.)    Near you and any nearby ranged to soften the impact of the stars attack

If you find yourself attracting the attention of…say…ALL The invisible mobs like I seemed to do on the first couple of attempts you can keep a mushroom near you (or 2 if need be) and the rest in melee to cover yourself. If used aggressively a rather size-able chunk of your healing (10-18%) could easily come from mushrooms.

Conclusion

This is a preliminary guide and I’ll try to add a little bit more when I have the opportunity but hopefully this can be useful to you. Maybe this just gets your creative juices flowing on how to utilize bloom and maybe it doesn’t.

Legendary Meta Gem – Napkin Math Edition

The Legendary quest line meta gem is incredibly powerful we all know that. I thought though that I would just lay out some quick numbers for those curious about what you’re really getting. This is all basic napkin math though so don’t expect a riveting expose.

Looking at the logs from my guildmate (as I just got my meta last night) you are going to average somewhere in the ballpark of 12% uptime ± 1% depending on the intensity of the encounter. This is pretty significant. During the 4 second window you will more than likely cast either three rejuvenations or 2 rejuvenations and 1 wild growth. There will technically be situations where you may need or want to cast a regrowth and that could certainly squeeze in in place of a rejuv.

Using a 12% uptime, you are looking at approximately 1.8 procs per minute. During one proc of the meta, given intense healing, you will save 26,100 mana casting three rejuvenations and 31,140 mana with 2 rejuvenations and 1 wild growth. Multiplying that out you average 46,980 to 56,052 mana per minute. This equates to 3915 to 4671 mp/5.

Given statistical variation and fight diversity the mp/5 of the trinket will vary ± 380 mp/5 on average but its value can sometimes fluctuate much more than that. There are two things that may affect your benefit:

-The first is that its uptime can get oddly high on some fights. I have seen uptimes as high as 19% in some logs which could push it as high as 7,785 mp/5. It can also drop down to only 8-10% uptime if luck isn’t on your side. Either way you’re getting a sizeable bonus just not one that fits the expected average.

-The second issue is that this isn’t actual mana gained which is something I’d like to take into account but it isn’t really possible. If a proc happens during a moment in the fight you are distracted, or there is down time, a lull, or any other reason why you might not have needed to throw out the free heals you threw out you aren’t actually saving any mana. With wild mushrooms working the way they do though, free rejuvenations can still serve to grow them making the free heals not entirely wasted. I would safely wager that heroic encounters with more difficult damage patterns will allow for greater benefit.

Conclusion:

While this isn’t telling us anything we didn’t already know it does shed some light on potential gearing adjustments down the line. Once you get this meta gem and get a chance to trial run it through some of the more grueling encounters you are currently progressing on, you may find yourself tweaking the amount of spirit you plan on running. Something to keep in the back of your mind.

Druid Forum (EU) Recap – Method

Good afternoon Druids,

It’s a slow news day and things here in Boston have been hectic to say the least. But in light of the blue posters cryptic comment that changes are coming our way for druids its worth looking at some very well written posts from Method on the EU forums. Please understand english (or proper english grammer and spelling) aren’t always their #1 priority, the message is.

Post #1 by Nagura of Method

Id like to say something to the current restodruid situation too, ill just put it in this thread since i kinda liked your arguments.
Im playing a restodruid in Method and i actually dont like whining on forums, but since it doesnt seem like blizzard wants to change something anytime soon, ill just try.

First of all: Since im playing with probably some of the best healers out there, no one can say the healers in my guild or me are doing something wrong.

So here is my opinion:

Restodruids are just too weak right now. We are a pure healing class (no absorb, no dmg reduction cd or hp increase) but still cant compete on healing with other healing classes. 
But thats not the main issue, the main issue is, every other healing class brings some awesome utility to the raid (aura mastery, disc barrier, hp increase from shamans, slt, strong tank cds like painsup, guardian spirit, live cocoon, revival, manatide, manahymn, all sort of absorbing spells) and restodruids have just nothing like this (ironbark is a nice spell, but just not good enough compared to all the other classes cds).
The only raid cd a restodruid has is tranquility, and a shamans healing tide is healing more + they dont have to channel it for 7 secs and a moonkins tranq with heart of the wild is doing double the healing of a restodruids tranq and even more.

The only thing restodruids are good in right now is tank healing, but since paladins are doing good tank healing too + more raid healing + have aura mastery + hand of purity + hand of protection + absorbs, why bring a restodruid?

There is absolutely no reason to bring a restodruid into the raid, unless your raid needs roar and doesnt have enough moonkins, theres a point in the boss-fight where you need to do burst dmg and restodruids can help with heart of the wild or immunity spells are needed (i rly like symbiosis).

I have to say, im raiding 25 man only, and im pretty sure resto druid is not that bad in 10 man compared to 25 man if it comes to pure healing (aka on healing meters), because reju is by far our best healing spell and the reju uptime on 10 ppl is ofc higher than on 25 ppl and consumes less mana, but since 10 man has limited raid cooldowns because of less players, you obviously dont prefer bringing a restodruid over another class in top pve guilds. 

Conclusion: Restodruid cant compete with other healers in its current state.

Another problem is our gear scaling. In my opinion other healers are scaling way better with gear than restodruids do. Paladin with their mastery ofc, shamans get more spirit = manatide gives more mana, discs get more spirit = get more mana from rapture, and so on.
Restodruids gain mana through innervate, and since the manapool is 300k and doesnt change with gear, we always get the same amount of mana. With more gear we gain more int + more mastery, but it only increases our pure healing and doesnt give us anything else and a LOT of our healing is overheal anyway (thanks to absorbs and smart heals).

Now something about our mushrooms. It was a nice idea and i rly like it because you actually have to think about what youre doing and not only brainless press a button and smartheal ppl, but its rly hard to find a good use for them in most of the fights since players have to constantly move around. I would suggest to give the druid an ability with a cd on it to move all 3 of the mushrooms to another spot (with their current absorbed reju heal), just like shamans can move their totems. Or let us just place the shrooms one by one on another place while keeping the already absorbed reju overhealing.
Also mushrooms are currently healing pets too. So in a 25 man raid with hunter, warlock and dk pets on the boss, the mushrooms just heal a LOT less on the players itself if u put them in melee range. The mushrooms should only heal players, i dont see any use of the mushrooms healing pets.

Also increase the wildgrowth range to 40 yards (from the target casted on), since theres no point to let it on 30 yards, its just annoying.

And we need some useful lvl 90 talents. Our natures vigil is “okay” for resto druids, but we only use it for the 10% healing increase anyway, no one needs the little dmg it does (its just annoying if it breaks cc). But a 10% healing boost every 1,5 mins is just not as good as other healers lvl 90 talents, its too weak to count it as a healing cd. Our heart of the wild passive int/stamina increase is “okay” too and the 6 mins dmg cd is nice for maybe 1 fight out of 10, but other healing classes can do the same dmg without a 6 mins cd on it (monks/disc priests) and they can even heal while doing dmg, and we are doing 0 healing with the cd up, if we dont want to waste it. And dream of cenarius is just bad. So its nice to have hotw or natures vigil, but its just way worse than other healing classes lvl 90 talents.

But even if you would change those things i suggested, we could still not compete with other healers. I dont have a solution to make druids stronger, i think we just need some sort of utility for the raid to make us useful. It wont help to just buff our healing spells like reju or wildgrowth, it wont change a lot.
And the paladins mastery need a nerf finally. Its simply too strong and gives other healers (especially restodruids) no chance to get even close to their healing, but i think thats already known, i dont know why it takes so long to nerf an op healing class while dps classes get balanced/nerfed/buffed way faster. Paladins are just doing up to 40% of their healing with their mastery, thats just so wrong.

So yes, i like playing restodruid and im one of the very rare restodruids playing in the top pve guilds right now. So i would be very happy to see some changes soon so i dont have to reroll another class, just like many other top healers already did.

Post #2 by Owld of Method

As we’ve discussed it extensively with Nagura I’m roughly of the same opinion. And we’ve discussed it on our healing channel and we could see how people are disagreeing on this as well.

All of your ideas show one thing : druid haven’t evolved when other classes did. Druid playstyle is still the same, they just replaced some constrains with others.

Druid has long been a class with a lot of constrains that others did not share. We used to have to keep Mastery up and a 10s Lifebloom. Some will say that other classes have/had different constrains but I strongly disagree. Ours are not tied to our healing but are direct constrains to our gameplay, making it an actual pain to play our class to an above-average level.

The clear lack of potent smart healing spells that have no downside, Wild Growth being heavily lacking behind compared to CoH, Divine Star, Chi Burst, Chi Torpedo, Healing Stream totem or even Light of Dawn (when it was actually used), is making druid an excluded class. 

The lack of passive spells, that does the job for you without having to worry, is just mindblowing. We have close to nothing that is removed from our attention and actual actions and is free of constrains. Things like Earthliving, Restorative mists, Ancestral Awekening, HST, Prayer of Mending, Echo of light, Divine Aegis, Attonement (lol), Beacon of light, etc.. are simply making druid a subpar class.

We now rely more and more on a Rejuv blanketing, hoping that the target you just rolled Rejuv on will not get 4 smart heals instantly. You barely control your healing and it’s relying on a lot of RNG when there is quality healing to be done.

I’m not trying to say other classes have it easy. I’m simply stating the simple fact that they have the tools required for every situation and resto druid is just a pale alternative.

There have been way too many passive spells, smart heals, absorbs, procs and CDs added to the game and given to the classes during the past 2 expansions. All of them besides druid have seen their playstyle overhauled and now fit with the current content. Druid is just the same old stuff and this is why it’s currently lagging behind.

The change to mushroom was a good idea, one that has been around since CATACLYSM BETA, 3 years ago when mushroom was first introduced. And when it comes, it’s with 2 major constrains : 3 gcd and a build up mechanism.

Having played this game for more than 7 years, I think “continually evolving” should be called “permanent BETA”. There is no regularity and no precise view as to what classes should do/be. The amount of time it takes the devs to fix things like disc priest pre-5.2 is astonishing. The amount of time it will take them to fix paladin mastery will probably be on the same level (aka not before 5.4).

As much as I would personnaly hate it, the only way to fix druid is to give it the same attributes as the other classes. So you can understand my point here is a list of ideas (not at all that I want them all together applied) :

- Living Seed should be buffed to work on hots and proc on any damage as well as post-absorb. On the other side you reduce all our hots by a certain %.

- Lifebloom should always account for more than Beacon of Light on tanks. Simple logic = more constrains should reward more. Whether you buff it or nerf paladins, doesn’t matter. It’s still mindblowing for me to see how stupidly powerful Beacon of Light is and requires close to 0 attention. I’ve been complaining about this since early Cata (when LOD was transfering, what a joke).

- Change Nature’s vigil so that 10% of all your healing is evenly distributed in the raid. Make it 20% or 30%, considering how much better everyone else’s 90′ talents are.

- Change our mushrooms, again, so that you maintain the build up and make it so you can put 3 at the same time.

- Remove the f**cking pets from Wild Growth and Mushrooms targetting. This should just be common sense. You litteraly can’t pre-hot with WG, everything goes on pets.

- Harmonize Tranquility, Divine Hymn and Healing Tide totem. Either your remove the channeling, or your nerf the sh*t out of HTT.

- Make our gear scale better, thanks.

Honestly I have plenty of ideas to change every single spell we have to make them more competitive, not healing more but just to expand our toolkit.

ROUND UP

I understand that many of you feel anger and hurt at our current state in 25 man raiding and I totally get that. We feel under-appreciated and undervalued. But the truth is it is because we are less useful and less potent. The sooner we come to terms with that and hope that Blizzard tries to improve us or put us on par with the other healers (25m specifically) the sooner we’ll improve.

I think many of the points brought up by both of them echo sentiments many of my fellow druid bloggers. We need improved raid utility, improved smart or attention free healing, moving or perhaps non-channeled tranquility, moveable or player mounted mushrooms, WG and WM:B not hitting pets, any other combination of issues plaguing us fixed.

I don’t have the energy today to write a really long and thoughtful number crunching post and quite frankly they said everything perfectly fine.

Resto Druid Roundtable (My First Podcast)

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This past weekend was my first ever chance to be on a podcast and it was a real treat to be invited to Team Waffle’s Resto Druid Roundtable to discuss 5.2 content and our current quality of life.  We talked about everything from glyph and talent choices, play styles, current performance in PvE and PvP, and much more.

It was my honor to join with the following people to make it happen:

Arielle – the host of Team Waffle and runs The Inconspicuous Bear

Hamlet – Druid trainer who runs a blog as well as manages Tree Calcs

Jasyla – 25 man resto druid raider and blogger who runs Cannot Be Tamed

Sodah – 12 time druid gladiator, an impressive source of PvP information

You can go take a listen here