Monday, June 29, 2009

Healing Glyphs!

With the introduction of the latest expansion, Wrath of the Lich King, came a new system of spell enhancement, glyphs! Glyphs are made by scribes (or inscriptionists if you're in trade chat) and while they are relatively cheap to make, many times the scribe will markup the price quite a bit per glyph. Glyphs work to boost up certain aspects of individual spells. At level 80 each player has 3 major glyph slots and 3 minor glyph slots. Below is a list of glyphs pertaining to Resto druids and how useful I feel each glyph is.

Minor Glyphs:
None of the minor glyphs really boost any in combat resto spells so you can really pick and choose pretty much any three glyphs you want. Currently, I'm using Unburdened Rebirth, Thorns, and Dash.

Glyph of Unburdened Rebirth
Removing the need for a reagent means no more trips to the reagent vendor for your battle rez. Very nice minor glyph to pick up.

Glyph of the Wild
Reduced mana means less for you to regen. May come in handy after a battle rez and you want to buff someone up.

Glyph of Thorns
1 hour thorns is much nicer than 10min thorns, especially while doing dailies/quests and such.

Glyph of Dash
I personally love dash and use either kitty dash or cheetah form to travel around Dalaran.

Glyph of Aquatic form

For those of you who love splashing around in seal form this minor glyph would be pretty useful.

Major Glyphs:
I feel that the glyph selection for Resto druids is varied enough that a tree could choose any variety of major glyphs to fit his/her playstyle. Currently, I'm using Swiftmend, Nourish, and Wild Growth.

Glyph of Swiftmend
Keeping the HoT on my target after using Swiftmend has shown to be invaluable in numerous situations. Plus it opens up the ability to cast rejuvenation then swiftmend immediately and leave the HoT on the target to finish healing any amount of health not topped off in the following seconds. Basically, leaving HoT's on our targets is a good thing and this glyphs allows us to do that and cast swiftmend at the same time.

Glyph of Nourish
This glyph is essentially the same as the 4 piece Tier 7 Restoration set bonus. The set bonus and the glyph also stack with each other and with 4 HoT's rolling on a target (Regrowth, Rejuv, Lifebloom, Wild Growth) the amount of added healing is substantial. Even without the set bonus, an extra 6% healed per HoT is enough for me to use the glyph and see a noticeable difference while using nourish.

Glyph of Wild Growth
This is almost exclusively a raiding glyph since Heroics only have 5 people so your 6th wild growth will be wasted. That being said, the glyph is an AWESOME raiding glyph since druids are most times placed into the position of raid healing and there's always a pack of melee dps that needs a wild growth somewhere.

Glyph of Rejuvenation
I personally despise this glyph and think it's absolute garbage. But my feelings set aside there has been a heated community debate on the Elitist Jerks forums as to the effectiveness of this glyph, especially compared to the glyph of Nourish. Since we Druids are primarily designated as raid healers and Rejuvenation is generally our #1 top healing spell on healing meters it would make sense for the glyph of that spell to be quite effective. But from personal experience even when raid healing, only casting Wild growth and Rejuv on as many targets as possible with lots of raid damage (Iron council hard mode, mimron, etc.) the amount of bonus healing from the glyph of rejuv simply does not make up enough effective healing to be as viable as Nourish. It looks like I've got a subject for a future post here but I'll have to do some more number crunching. Moral of the story, I HATE this glyph.

Glyph of Regrowth
I used to use this glyph prior to 3.1 in place of my Nourish glyph. Unfortunately for Regrowth, this is no longer my primary direct healing spell of choice and has thus taken a backseat to Nourish. A good glyph but the spell itself needs to be buffed before I'd consider using this glyph again.

Glyph of Innervate
For beginning tree druids I'd highly recommend this glyph. The added mana gained by innervate and the ability to innervate someone else and receive mana return yourself is vital until your gear is able to keep you casting without going OOM for long periods of time. This glyph should be ditched once you have a sufficient amount of natural regen but that in no way makes this a bad glyph.

Glyph of Healing Touch
This is a niche glyph for a niche spec. I've tried the Healing Touch spec for both PvP and PvE and personally don't care for it. I think there are other ways to make the druid much more effective as a healer though there are those who think otherwise. Unless you're prepared to go balls out for Healing Touch, this isn't the glyph for you.

Glyph of Lifebloom
With the added cost of Lifebloom and the mana return given by it's bloom druids now are actually wanting the spell to end sooner which is the exact opposite of what this glyph does. The slight added HPS (heal per second) provided by this glyph is severely outweighed by the effectiveness of the bloom and mana returned by the bloom.

Glyph of Rebirth
I've heard horror stories of guilds forcing their druids to get this glyph so that the battle rezzes can be all the more effective. I really don't see the need to waste a major glyph slot for a glyph that is just as easily negated by a rejuv/swiftmend.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Healing Spells!

Over the course of this blog I plan on making writeups on different aspects of a Resto Druid. Today I'll delve into the world of the Resto Druid's abilities and give some of my insight as to their usefulness for keeping people alive. So here we go!

Healing Touch -
Talents directly related to the spell:
Moonglow (Balance)
Nature's Majesty (Balance)
Nature's Focus (Restoration)
Naturalist (Restoration)
Tranquil Spirit (Restoration)
Empowered Touch (Restoration)
Living Seed (Restoration)
Glyph: Glyph of Healing Touch

This is our slow cast big heal. In days of old downranking this spell and selecting which one to use was the primary way to heal as a druid, but those days are no more. Due to being an extremely long cast and having relatively few talents which enhance the spell Healing Touch has taken a backseat to most other Restoration spells we have. Currently, I do not even have Healing Touch on my hotbar except as macroed with Nature's swiftness.
Note: there are those who have a hard time giving up this once staple spell for resto druids and go out of their way to spec specifically for Healing Touch and equip the glyph in order to make a viable healing spec. But spamming 1-1.5sec Healing Touches until your eyes bleed looks an awful lot like paladin healing and I don't think it utilizes a druid's greater healing potential.

Rejuvenation -
Talents directly related to the spell:
Genesis (Balance)
Moonglow (Balance)
Nature's Splendor (Balance)
Improved Rejuvenation (Restoration)
Empowered Rejuvenation (Restoration)
Swiftmend (Restoration)
Revitalize (Restoration)
Tree of Life (Restoration)
Gift of the Earthmother (Restoration)
Glyph: Glyph of Rejuvenation

This is our primary Heal over Time (HoT) spell and in many raids can be the Resto Druid's #1 effective healing spell. The low cost and no cast time of this spell make it a wonderful heal to throw on as many raid members as possible when incoming raid damage is expected. Although the glyph is a bit lack luster, the spell truly shines on its own and should be extremely liberally.

Regrowth -
Talents directly related to the spell:
Genesis (Balance)
Moonglow (Balance)
Nature's Splendor (Balance)
Nature's Focus (Restoration)
Nature's Bounty (Restoration)
Swiftmend (Restoration)
Living Seed (Restoration)
Empowered Rejuvenation (Restoration)
Glyph: Glyph of Regrowth

This is a decent direct heal spell with an extremely long HoT attached after the direct heal. the HoT is nice to have on raid members in case an emergency Swiftmend is necessary to heal them up quickly. The HoT is also something you can toss onto a Tank to provide some extra healing buffer for the other healers if your assignment is something else like raid healing. Since 3.1 this spell has taken a backseat to nourish as my direct healing spell of choice mostly due to the slower cast time and the change Blizzard did in 3.1 that gave Nourish the same critical chance from Nature's Bounty as Regrowth. I generally keep this HoT up on tanks and use it on certain encounters like Mimron phase 2/4 and XT-002 in preparation of tantrum.

Swiftmend -
Talents directly related to the spell:
Swiftmend (Restoration, duh)
Glyph: Glyph of Swiftmend

This is a handy little heal that will consume a rejuvenation or regrowth HoT (but not if glyphed) and heal for a healthy chunk of life. I don't use the spell as much as I probably should but even still I use it very liberally in order to get a quick heal off.

Lifebloom -
Talents directly related to the spell:
Genesis (Balance)
Nature's Splendor (Balance)
Empowered Rejuvenation (Restoration)
Tree of Life (Restoration)
Gift of the Earthmother (Restoration)
Glyph: Glyph of Lifebloom

An interesting spell that has been called the "reverse regrowth" with it's HoT component at the beginning followed by a large direct heal at the end. Blizzard has had a heck of a time trying to tweak this spell to how they want players to use it. In Burning Crusade resto druids used one spell and one spell only, Lifebloom, and they had it 3 stacked on as many tanks as they possibly could. With Wrath and especially the 3.1 patch, allowing the spell to "bloom" at the end has become a necessity due to the mana return and the high initial cost of the spell. While there are a multitude of ways to use lifebloom in its current state I use it on the tanks whenever I have a free Global Cooldown and my decision to let it bloom or not depends on my current mana situation and whether I think the bloom can be timed to occur when the tank takes a large amount of damage.

Nourish -
Talents directly related to the spell:
Moonglow (Balance)
Nature's Majesty (Balance)
Nature's Focus (Restoration)
Tranquil Spirit (Restoration)
Empowered Touch (Restoration, tentative change proposed on the 3.2 patch notes)
Nature's Bounty (Restoration)
Living Seed (Restoration)
Glyph: Glyph of Nourish

Nourish and Wild Growth are the two latest additions to a Resto Druid's arsenal of healing spells. While Nourish was a bit lack luster with the release of Wrath, periodic buffs to the spell through talent changes and things like set bonuses and the glyph has turned it into quite a powerful direct heal. While some druids out there cry foul that a Druid is a HoT healer and that using nourish will make us into 1 button paladin healers, I think that those qq'ing druids should take a look at the mechanics of nourish and then they will hopefully realize that in order to make this spell as effective as it possibly can that lots of spells will have to be cast beforehand. I like this spell and am liking it more and more with each patch.

Wild Growth -
Talents directly related to the spell:
Wild Growth (Restoration, duh)
Genesis (Balance)
Empowered Rejuvenation (Restoration)
Tree of Life (Restoration)
Revitalize (Restoration)
Gift of the Earthmother (Restoration)
Glyph: Glyph of Wild Growth

Awesome spell, end of story.

Tranquility -
Talents directly related to the spell:
Nature's Focus (Restoration)
Tranquil Spirit (Restoration)
Improved Tranquility (Restoration)
Empowered Rejuvenation (Restoration)
Tree of Life (Restoration)
Glyph: None

Unfortunately this is just a bad spell in its current state. Long cooldown, only affects party (not raid) members, has a 30 instead of 40 yard range, and needs to be channeled are the reasons why this spell is rarely if ever used. In the world of speculation I would make the spell targetable on other raid parties, increase the range, and significantly lower the cooldown. The fact that it is channeled is unique but at least the other suggested changes would make me at least put the spell back on my hotbar.

P.S. This is my first attempt at using wowhead mouseover links so any input/advice as to whether they work and how to make using them easier (took about 45mins to link everything in) would be greatly appreciated.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Amazing Race!

So the guild has run into a bit of a roadblock. Our 25mans have been extremely sketchy due to absences, lack of focus, and general badness. We raid two nights per week and for the past three to four weeks we'll have a really spectacular night one day then an absolutely awful night the next or vice versa. An example from last week should help illustrate: on our first night we spent four hours just to get to and down Auriaya. But then the next night we one shotted all the keepers and actually 2 shot General for a guild first kill on him! Yogg will take a while simply because I think not enough of our melee have experienced the fight in phase 2.

We also have two pretty solid 10man groups that go in either during the afternoons or on non-25man nights. The 10's also appear to be causing some drama because of who goes in which group even though the main person setting them up has pretty strictly followed each member's posted availibility times from our forums. My genreal feeling about the 10mans is that they should be giving more of our players experience with the bosses in Ulduar so they can be better prepared for the 25man. Because honestly, how many guild members are really going to wowwiki, boskillers, tankspot, etc. to read up on boss strats and abilities? Hell, some of them don't even show up with flasks and potions, or they mysteriously hearth back to dal saying that they need to repair (repair at entrance Ogre plz?).

Right now a lot of the drama from the 10's is that we have an "A" team that is leaving everybody else in the dust and nobody else gets to do 10's. What I think is making the "A" team so super is that the players in that group actually show up to their assigned raid times. Some weeks I'll be sitting in guild chat while the leader of the 2nd and sometimes 3rd raid are short a healer or tank which essentially stops them from taking off/continuing.

Ok end of ranting, here's my potential solution:
One week instead of a 25man on our two raid nights we do a Draft style competition! Invite everybody who is online at the raid time, divide the total number by 10, pick officers to be team captain/raid leaders, then one by one draft the players into 10mans to race to yogg. Oh and the prize for the team that finishes first could be a stack of flasks for each member.

Hopefully a draft like this would aleviate some of the drama and stress caused by our 10's for at least a week, and hopefully more of our melee can get some reps in the yogg phase 2 encounter. People picked towards the end may grumble about others being favorites but that's just going to have to be dealt with.

Good idea/Bad idea?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

My Day in Azeroth

I spend a lot of time playing WoW. By a lot I mean A LOT. It seems to be one of the perks of being a lazy bum during summers and not going out and finding a job and whatnot. I have found that most of my mornings have now turned into a nice little routine that I'll share with you now.

1. I wake up and say goodbye to the soon to be Mrs. Sunkist as she scurries off to work, she's a much better go-getter than myself in the job department.
2. I read (and hopefully work post into the rotation) blogs for between one to two hours while I wake up a bit.
2.5. I also scan the AH during this time on an alt, multitasking ftw.
3. I do Argent Tournament dailies and Frenzyheart dailies on Sunkist
4. I spend the next few hours milling around doing either random things in game to help guildies or else logging off for a while to be a good house husband and get some errands done.
5. There's usually some sort of 10man raid in the afternoon whether it be Ulduar or a fun naxx clear.
6. Soon to be Mrs. Sunkist comes home and I log off to fix dinner and such.
7. If it's a Tuesday or Wednesday I'll get back on at 8pm to do 25man raids otherwise my WoW day generally ends at around 5:30-6.

I think I shall write a followup post to this one talking about time management and compromises between real life time and WoW time, especially concerning spending time with loved ones when there is so much WoWing to be done. But that will have to be tomorrow's post!

Monday, June 22, 2009

4 Haelz Scenario questions

Bellwether from 4 Haelz posted some hypothetical situations so I figured I'd post my response:

1. You've just started a guild. You're guild leader, and you have a decent sized pool of regular players. It's time to create officer positions. You can have six officers. What jobs would you give them, and what character traits would you find most desirable for those officers? Keep in mind, you can have less than six officers, that is just the problem's max range.

Answer: First I wish I had 10 positions available because I do enjoy a good "Class Leader" position to go with officers. As for actual jobs officers should take on, here's a list I've compiled:
- Raid Leadership
- Loot distribution (whether through Loot Council or DKP, with DKP the officer should be able to track each raid member's points via addon)
- Strong class leadership through the sharing of knowledge of their specific class and WoW general knowledge
- Website/Vent management if not done by the Guild leader
-Player recruitment
-Bank manager for the guild bank
- Sometimes raid morale can be boosted by an officer over vent or chat but this can really be done by anybody in the raid with a good sense of humor and timing.

As for an officer's characteristics, I think consistency, honesty, and a level head are three traits that make a good officer.
- You want an officer who is online when many of the guild members are online. That way the officer can answer questions and interact with the rest of the guild. What good is a person with a guild leadership position when they are never online?
- Honesty is an important quality to look for in a guild officer. All too often guild drama sparks from small miscommunications and turns into heated words that could all be stopped with an honest answer from the guild management. The biggest situations where this happens in my mind are loot distribution and roster setup for a raid. For loot, making sure everybody knows and understands the loot system before stepping foot inside the instance is key. Being up front with the guild by saying, "Hey, in order to progress as a guild we are going to gear out our tanks before anybody else, that means they will be the first to be receiving the tier tokens," this clears the air of any misconceptions dps or healers may have on being the first to get loot or whatnot and informs the raiders as well that the guild does have a plan on how to progress through the current content.
- Level Headedness is something I think is invaluable to a guild officer. People always have problems, and these problems will inevitably come to the attention of the guild management, how the officers deal with the problem will determine what quality of players stay with the guild and those that hop fence to greener pastures. Returning petty insults with petty comebacks is no way to act in a position of authority and it is on the guild leadership to be mature and think before they speak. Remember, it won't just be the complainer that sees and hears about the conversation if an officer decides to turn on the caps lock and make a complete fool of him/herself.

2. You're in a raiding guild. You're not a "new" member (you've been around a few months) but you're definitely not one of the senior ranking members. However, you notice that there is a job that could be filled. None of the officers are taking it on, but the GM has stated that he does not want to promote any more. Would you offer to do the job without the officer title? If yes, how would you discuss it with your GM? Would you be hoping for eventual promotion or would you be fine without the title and promotion? If the GM decided to simply pass off the job to an officer and not you, would you be okay with this?

Offering to do something for the guild and not asking for a reward is an excellent way to show your dedication to the guild and shows good character. As for approaching the GM, bring up the job as a suggestion and see if the GM/officers have discussed the situation in the past, if this job is something that the guild has previously tried and chosen not to continue then that should probably be the end of it, but if it's a novel idea then the GM will hopefully sign off and approve the idea. Hoping for a promotion is really all under the control of the player, some people aspire to fill leadership positions within a guild while others enjoy simply being able to raid and not have to worry about 24 other people's concerns. Personally, I enjoy the added responsibilities of guild leadership and though hoping for an eventual promotion is all well and good, throwing a fit without the title just isn't good etiquette. If the GM decides to pass off the job to an officer I'd be more than fine with this, this means that my idea is being implemented in the guild and this will hopefully make some part of the guild run better/smoother/etc. The only time I'd be irked is if I put a lot of work into the job with the guild leader's knowledge and then handing off my work to an officer, not cool.

3. You are the GM of a relatively successful progression raiding guild. Within your guild, you have a large amount of couples. One of your tanks and one of your dps are a couple. They will not raid without each other; however one of them is exceptional at their job, and the other learns slowly and does poorly. This situation is slowing your guild down and a lot of adjustment needs to be made for the one who does not do as well. Though you have other people who can fill the job of the person falling behind and their partner, they are inconsistent in showing and for the moment, you need them. What do you do?

This is a difficult situation and one my guild is currently facing but not quite as dire as this hypothetical appears. Here's a list of possible outcomes and what I think of them
1. Continue taking both the exceptional and the mediocre and hope to simply push through the content. By the looks of this hypothetical this has been tried and is not working for progression anymore so it is not a good option
2. Take neither the exceptional nor the mediocre. Many people have many reasons for playing WoW and it appears this couple chooses to always play together even if it is at the expense of the raid. This is a choice they've made and the guild can also make the choice of honoring that by filling their spots with other players.
3. Coach the mediocre. Having an officer, preferably of the same class, coach the poor player both during and outside of raids could potentially help the poor player perhaps improve and finally be able to carry their own weight. This strategy should be taken with caution however as not all players are open to criticism and can be sensitive. So starting with simple things like spec, gem selection and slowly tutoring the mediocre player could warm them up to the idea of having a "mentor" or something of the sort. This is where I think class leaders as officers works very well because the officer can immediately start coaching with the justification that it's his job to do so.
4. Compromise with the couple. If one partner is hindering progression but is able to do well once the strategy is figured out then it sounds like they would do just fine on farm nights. Ask and see if the couple is alright with only taking the exceptional player during progression nights and bringing the mediocre player on farming nights. Here we're forcing the couple to choose how they want to play the game and who they wish to play with. It sounds like the mediocre player knows they are holding back progression so they they should hopefully know that in order for the guild to progress that they either need to step it up or move out of the way.
5. Recruit more consistent players. There's a whole World of warcrafters out there, while finding exceptional players can sometimes feel rare they are out there. This selection goes along with the taking neither the exceptional nor the mediocre and should probably be done only if no compromise can be met and the couple is adamant in their goals to stick together at the expense of the guild's progression.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Thoughts on 3.2 Patch Notes 1.0

By the looks of it us Resto druids are being only slightly tweaked with no overwhelming changes.

Here are the highlights I found relevant to us Trees:

Mana Regeneration: All items that provide "X mana per five seconds" have had the amount of mana they regenerate increased by approximately 25%.

- This appears to be directed more at shaman and paladin healers since a majority of our Tree regeneration should be through Spirit regeneration. My guess is that this was added primarily to make up for the loss of mana regeneration Paladins are getting with their illumination nerf.

Replenishment: This buff now grants 1% of the target's maximum mana over 5 seconds instead of 0.25% per second. This applies to all 5 sources of Replenishment (Vampiric Touch, Judgements of the Wise, Hunting Party, Enduring Winter Frostbolts and Soul Leech).

- So instead of 1.25% mana over 5 seconds we get 1%. Not a huge deal but still a slight lowering of our replenish regen. Also notice that our Revitalize talent is not mentioned.

Innervate: Duration reduced to 10 seconds, and cooldown reduced to 3 minutes. This means each use of Innervate will give half as much mana as before, but it will be available twice as often.

-Eh take it or leave it. I'm handing out my innervate to mages on non-hardmode fights anyhoo. When I first saw this my initial reaction was remembering back in BT when I had to decide when to drink my first mana potion so my next one would be off cooldown at the appropriate time in the fight.

Lifebloom: The final heal that occurs when this spell blooms has been reduced by 20% on the base and on the spell power coefficient.

- Pretty significant nerf to the bloom though this appears to be a PvP nerf more than anything else. The only fight where I could reliably time my bloom to go off at a good time was Maexna and maybe Iron Council: Steelbreaker if I was lucky, the rest is generally overheal. Gone will be the days of seeing 18k lifebloom crits :(

Empowered Touch: Now also increases the amount of bonus healing effects for Nourish by 10/20%.

- This change caught my eye right away. Nourish has already taken Regrowth's spot as my primary direct heal and with another 20% bonus from spellpower I'm very excited to see how high these Nourish crits can go. Currently I'm wearing the glyph but not 4pc Tier 7 and fully HoTted peeps can receive crits between 10-11k.

Although this is all preliminary it appears that us Tree druids are simply being tweaked a little, nothing major. I think that is appropriate as I'm personally happy with the state of druid healing at the moment and I know there are other classes that have had issues for quite some time *cough shammy cough*.
Source: MMO-Champion

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Mah Ulduar Progression

So I suppose I could indicate just how much and how far I've raided with the current content. I'm in a guild called Rabble, we raid 25man content 2 (perhaps soon 3) nights a week for ~4 hours per night. We also have 2 10man groups. Just this past week my 10man group cleared Yogg and last night the 25man group took down General Vezax and got in a few attempts at Yogg.

One thing I've come to realize is that in order to make this blog a little more interesting I will have to start taking a log more screen shots. I made the mistake of not even taking one after our General Kill but such is life.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Dual Spec

So with the release of patch 3.1 players at level 40 have been given the option to pay a 1 time fee of 1000 gold in order to have access to 2 talent specs that can be changed at almost any time. Needless to say as a druid I jumped at the chance to no longer pay 50g + glyphs per respec which was generally happening 4-5 times per week.

At first my second spec was a Feral tanking spec which I figured would be handy both for soloing quests/mobs/etc as well as tanking an occasional heroic or 10man instance.

After a few weeks with feral tank as my second spec I decided to swap some of those talents and glyphs around and turned it into a feral dps spec since tanks seemed to be in abundance and doing some high dps from time to time is rather fun.

At some point my bro Logsie and I decided to give arenas a shot for the new season and my second spec turned into a pvp resto spec which severely limited my soloing ability for quests/grinding and such since both specs were Restoration, but I kept this spec for a few weeks as well.

I'm now back to a PvE Resto main/Feral dps dual spec and I think I'm just going to have to bite the bullet once a week and change the feral spec over to PvP Resto so arenas can happen then back to the Feral dps spec once we've finished our games.

All in all I'm very happy that blizzard has given us the ability to freely swap between two different talent specs. It has saved me a considerable amount of gold and my changing to PvP resto then back to feral once per week isn't nearly as big of a burden as respeccing prior to 3.1.