Throwing The Cat Amongst The Pigeons

Posted: 27 August, 2008 in Druid, Mage, Raiding, Wrath of the Lich King
Tags: , ,

I was going to make this a post about 10 man content, but news that Blizzard are shipping all the Wrath of the Lich King talent changes with their next patch came out of left field and caught me a little cold.  Since it’s the biggest news in town at the moment, it’d be remiss of me not to comment, so before we go any further, here’s the blue post:

With the release of Wrath of the Lich King approaching, we wanted to provide you with some important information. In preparation for the expansion, we will be issuing a new content patch in the coming weeks. Much like the patch made available shortly before The Burning Crusade’s release, this content patch is designed to bridge current game content with that of the expansion and will contain some exciting changes and additions.

We have outlined some of the larger features scheduled to release with the patch below:

New class spells and talents
Stormwind Harbor
Barbershops in capital cities
Zeppelin towers outside of Orgrimmar and Tirisfal Glades

Two brand-new Arenas featuring challenging new layouts, terrain hazards, and moving obstacles
Guild calendar
Hunter pet skill revamp
New profession: Inscription

As mentioned above, this is not a comprehensive list, just some of the major highlights. We’ll post the full patch notes as soon as they’re available. Regarding Inscription, please note that all Burning Crusade players will be able to select Inscription as one of their two professions and level up to a skill level of 375 with it. Upon the release of Wrath of the Lich King, players who purchase and install the expansion will be able to continue leveling in Inscription and the other professions beyond 375.

So, much as when The Burning Crusade was released, we’re getting a whole bunch of changes released prior to the expansion to smooth the transition.  So far so good.  Or is it?  Rather than refer you to our full panel of experts, we’ll just get Calli and Shinano to cover the things I’ve looked at most closely.  Gorn also had something he wanted to say.

Calli, any comments from the mage perspective?

Well my major concern isn’t so much related solely with mages, but more with the raiding community as a whole.  This is a BIG change, not just the talent trees, and without the full patch notes we don’t know exactly what else is going to happen.  Is the spell downranking nerf going to ship with this patch?  Are the spell pushback mechanics included?  It’s too early to predict anything with much certainty but one thing that IS certain is that raids are going to falter for a week or two while they get used to all the shiny new stuff, 25 man raid groups in particular.

As for mages, we probably shouldn’t get ourselves too worked up in any frenzies of excitement just yet.  Frostfire Bolt isn’t available until level 75 although for those of us determined to try to make Fire a workable raiding spec we will at least get to play with Rank 2 Living Bomb.  Those of seduced by the lure of the Arcane or shiny new Frost trees should remember that we’re probably (depending on your level of raid progression) going to have to re-enchant our gear to a certain degree.  Sunfire won’t do an Arcane or Frost mage any good, and Arcane mages value Intellect to a much higher degree than the rest of us.    Arcane Mages will get to play with Rank 2 Arcane Barrage and the so-awesome-it-must-get-nerfed Rank 6 Focus Magic.  Frosties will get their all-new, all-singing, all-dancing Water Elemental too.  There’s a lot to look forward to in raiding and a lot to get used to in raiding.  Roles are almost certain to shift slightly, with Frost mages no longer being the red-headed stepchildren of the mage family when it comes to competing for 25 man raid spots.  I’d not be at all surprised to see Frosties as highly prized for their utility as Afflcition warlocks currently are in end-game raids.  However, whereas you gimp your raid dps if you currently take more than 1 Affliction warlock with you into Tier 5 or 6 content, I’m not at all certain the same would hold true for Frost mages.  The potential is certainly there for them to do respectable dps, although almost certainly not as much as Fire or Arcane.  We shall see.  It seems to be a general rule that the more utility you offer, the less maximum dps you can output, and Frosties are set to be offering a whole lot of raid utility.

Arcane is looking awfully tempting to me, I have to admit.  It all depends on what stage of raid progression you’re at.  If you’re still working your way through Mount Hyjal and you can keep a lid on the insane aggro deep Fire aoe is going to put out, then deep Fire is looking like a no-brainer for the ridiculously over the top aoe trash in there.  If you’re into Sunwell or Black Temple, Arcane is looking very, very sexy indeed.  I confess I’ve done absolutely no theorycrafting on any of this and for those interested in something more than blatant speculation and uninformed opinion, you should probably head over to Elitist Jerks and read more.  I certainly will.

All in all, we seem to be living in interesting times.   Shinano, any comments?

Aside from the obvious raid balancing issues you already covered, I’m in two minds about this.  While I’m obviously happy to finally get an out of combat Ressurection spell, and overjoyed to be getting access to the lovely Flourish and Gift of the Earthmother, the news that Lifebloom is getting a nerf makes baby Jesus cry.  This in particular made me want to strangle the design team:

Compare how you healed in dungeons and raids pre-Burning Crusade to today. Before you used nearly every healing spell you had, today you just use Lifebloom and maybe your other HoTs just because they stack with Lifebloom.

No, you moron!  Today we just use Lifebloom and maybe our other HoTs because some cretin at Blizzard decided that those were the only healing spells we could use in our HEALING FORM!  Druids spam Heals over Time and almost nothing else because that’s the way YOU designed us!


Ok, got that off my chest, feeling much better now, thanks.

So…  moving along swiftly, what does the Feral tree hold for us?  Well…  good things and bad things.  Bear tanks are getting some nice new abilities as are Kitties.  The problem is that even at level 80 with 10 more talent points, you will no longer be able to enjoy the versatility that Ferals currently have, because you won’t have access to all the Bear and Kitty talents at the same time.  Now I realise that the Warriors have been whining since the dawn of time about the fact that they had to spec heavily into Protection to be a good Main Tank (and make themselves useless for anything other than tanking) whereas Ferals got to have their tanking cake and eat the dps icing too with the Feral tree.  I had this argument recently with a Protection Warrior who was happy that Ferals were going to have to choose between tanking and dps, since he had to make that choice when he specced as a Protection Warrior.  What made the argument surreal was that two days before he’d been crowing about the massive dps he was capable of as Prot spec in his dps gear.

Go figure.

The point is moot, however, since Kitties do not do great dps in end game content anyway.  Yes, I’m sure there are people out there who are going to claim that they raid Sunwell as a Feral dps Cat and they rock the damage meters.  All I can say in response to that is that it might be a good idea to perhaps recruit a Rogue for your raid.  You’d be surprised at the dps that class is capable of.  Oh, and start taking your medication again.  Seriously.

I guess where I’m going with this is that Ferals are usually only dpsing in a raid when you either a) outgear the content or b) don’t need the extra tank for that particular fight.  In which case it’s great to have a Feral along because while the Warrior’s tanking the big bad boss the Feral can switch gear, do some dps and not be totally useless.  So while Protection Warriors are getting several dps buffs in the expansion to allow them to tank AND dps, Feral Druids will have to choose to be either a mediocre tank and a great dps, or vice versa.

But then it struck me….  The only actual change here is that we have to choose to be mediocre tanks or not.  We’re already medicore dps, so I suppose at least being given the option is a good thing.  It may finally mean that a Kitty can get a dps raid spot as full time dps instead of being expected to tank and only allowed to dps when he’s surplus to the tanking requirements.  Might this actually be a good thing?  If we take a step back, ignore all the whining and complaints and actually LOOK at what’s on the table, isn’t this a good thing for Ferals?  I think it might be.

Sadly I’m afraid the laser chickens out there will have to look elsewhere for their news, as I have to confess I have never, ever specced Balance and have had only the most cursory look at that talent tree.  My apologies to you all, but I can’t comment responsibly on something I know very little about.  Gorn, I’ve given Warriors some stick in this post, care to respond?

What look best?  Gorehowl in der left hand an Destiny in der rite hand or udder way round?

Err..  which one is der right hand again?

Hurr hurr hurr!

  1. Euripedes says:

    Go with Destiny in the left hand. You need your right hand to gesture when you say “It is your Destiny!”

    It’s possible that the water elemental buff might just be good enough that raiding mages will not be allowed to be any other spec.
    Then again, frostfire has been putting out ridiculous DPS… I’m talking 5k DPS in level 80 blues…

    I wonder of Focus Magic is a flat increase or is changed depending on spell coefficients…

    Interesting times indeed.

  2. pewpewlazerz says:

    Latest news just in about focus magic is that now instead of debuffing the boss it will buff the raid. This from the blue post just out about the buff/debuff stacking nerf. I’d have thought it would be simpler to give the target a debuff with a countdown on it every time a spell hits, but unless they’re changing the way focus magic actually works completely, they seem to be going to Pittsburgh to get to Los Angeles again.

    We shall soon see. Blue post at:–on-debuffs-buffs-and-raid-stacking.html

  3. Euripedes says:

    Hmm. Buffs the raid, they say.

    How so? 50 charges per person? Or are the charges spread around to different people? Or does it provide a passive time period of spell damage boost, similar to Ferocious Inspiration? Or does it apply a raid wide buff, with all the charges centered on the mage, and then they tick down as other people use spells?

    Gah, want to buy Beta key so I can test this stuff out. 😦

  4. DW says:

    Think its a good thing, shadowpriests are allready qq’ing about thir dots beeing bumped off bosses, so the fewer debuffs on bosses the better.

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