Numbers and I don’t get along (some of you already know this embarrassingly well). I created TLBC to take the very math-driven things I read elsewhere, learn how to apply them, and then chew up that information and spit it out in easy-to-swallow chunks (ewww, I know, sorry).
Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of that I can do when it comes to beta.
***Spoiler alert: While there are no story spoilers within, there are screenshots from and obviously lots of talk about the Cataclysm Beta. Proceed at your own risk!***
Talent trees get shifted around a lot still, the rotation gets tweaked, and we’re barely starting to get into the new glyph system, not to mention the bugs and spell changes (like new Thorns).
There are plenty of awesome theorycrafters out there talking about the numbers stuff, and I’ll link those for you at the bottom. Right now, though, I want to give you my initial reactions. No numbers, no thick theorycrafting, just the things I’ve been thinking as I progress.
I’m not going to lie, I like the aesthetics of the new talent trees. Choosing a spec is clear-cut and there are a lot fewer talents to choose from. In fact, in order to spec into other trees, you first have to spend 31 points in your chosen spec. As I specced through the tree, though, I found myself disappointed a bit in some of the choices I was being forced to make. Genesis still feels like a throwaway talent, and I can’t figure out how well Fungal Growth is going to work. I generally save treants for bosses, so the application there seems extremely situational and much more oriented towards PvP. We can’t get to Wild Mushrooms yet, so I only have a vague idea about how that will work with the talent. Owlkin Frenzy, Typhoon, and Solar Beam are all situational talents, so in the end we’ll have to pick up some talents we’re only half-interested in.
As it is, I went with a leveling spec because I wanted to quest to 83. I picked up Owlkin Frenzy but skipped Gale Winds after realizing how ineffective AoE feels right now, even after the recent buff. I took Solar Beam and Typhoon because they’re useful against quest mobs.
Moonfire feels weak, even with the new Lunar Shower mechanic. It doesn’t matter how much you hop around and cast, it doesn’t feel like a big boost. When leveling, a 1 second Wrath to the face is far more effective, and while it might give us something to cast while moving in boss fights, it doesn’t have the kick I was hoping for.
Insect Swarm is completely broken for me. My spellbook says I need to see my trainer, but the trainer says I already know it. There are already bug reports about it on the forum and I’ve submitted two of my own in-game.
Hurricane feels pointless right now. I’ve done one instance so far, Blackrock Caverns (twice), and there were no good opportunities to use AoE as the tanks were deftly trying to control aggro. Furthermore, Hurricane is like throwing bits of wet paper towels at the mobs. Slightly annoying, but hardly harmful. I found myself struggling with more than 2 mobs at a time soloing, and AoE didn’t help at all; in fact, they died so slowly that they had plenty of time to eat up my health. I’ve found it easier and more effective to single-target.
Typhoon hasn’t changed. Same graphic, same mechanic, same everything. I don’t mind that terribly. Still dislike the graphic, but the mechanic has been extremely useful for questing.
Solar Beam is…okay right now. It does interrupt the target which, if I can remember to use it in time, is extremely useful. The “cone of silence” mechanic is pretty useless. It doesn’t have a huge diameter, so really, only one or two mobs could be silenced by it anyway, and even NPCs don’t stand in beams when you silence them, they come and stab you.
This is the big one, the one everyone talks about, and it makes sense. Most of our dps happens during Eclipse. When I first got into the beta and started playing around with it, I hated it. It felt clunky and obviously new (if you haven’t read about it yet, it’s on a points system: when you cast Wrath, you get points towards Lunar until you proc a Lunar Eclipse, and vice versa).
The most frustrating thing about it is how totally useless it is for leveling. You start losing accrued Lunar/Solar points at an extremely quick rate as soon as you leave combat. As you can imagine, unless you’re chain-pulling quest mobs, you’re not going to see a useful Eclipse proc.
Once I got to a boss fight, I did find it more comfortable, because at least I was getting through the entire rotation and actually using Eclipses. Starsurge felt a little out of place for me, but I was advised to use it when Eclipse is up to maximize its potential damage, and that works well enough for me to accept. I’m not in love with it yet, but I at least don’t want to throw it into a pool of lava.
The recent patch fixed scrolling combat text, so I’m going to play around a little and get a better feel for exactly what’s happening on the other end of my casts.
As promised, here are the places I’m checking out for more concrete and number-related information and opinions as I go along: