Pulling Patch 3.1 – Part 1: Balance Druids

Apparently I have more influence than I thought, as not long after I posted yesterday’s blog, the PTR shut down in anticipation of patch 3.1 going live today.  I will still take screenshot submissions for the previous post, though; because it will still give me a good chuckle to see your guildies scratching their heads.

One of our insomniac priests posted the patch notes going live today.  I’ve singled out the relevant druid ones to discuss:

Druid (3.1 Skills List / 3.1 Talent + Glyph Calc.)

  • Abolish Poison: Now ticks every 3 seconds, up from every 2. Now lasts 12 seconds, up from 8.
  • Faerie Fire and Faerie Fire (Feral): Now decreases armor of your target by 5%. Has a 5-minute duration, and a 40-second PvP duration.
  • Innervate: This spell no longer costs mana.
  • Starfall: Cooldown reduced to 90 seconds.Balance
  • Celestial Focus redesigned: Reduces the pushback suffered from damaging attacks while casting Starfire, Hibernate and Hurricane by 23/46/70% and increases your total spell haste by 1/2/3%.
  • Eclipse: The benefit to Wrath triggered by casting Starfire has been increased to 30% bonus damage.
  • Insect Swarm: The bonus damage from spellpower on this damage-over-time ability has been increased significantly to match similar spells on other classes.
  • Mark of the Wild and Gift of the Wild can now be cast while in Moonkin form.
  • Moonkin Form: Mana cost reduced.
  • Nature’s Grace redesigned: All spell critical strikes have a 33/66/100% chance to grace you with a Blessing of Nature, increasing your spell casting speed by 20% for 3 seconds.
  • Owlkin Frenzy is now properly considered an Enrage effect. Now also does not trigger from spell hits, only physical ranged and melee attacks.
  • Typhoon: Now causes a 3-second daze.Feral
  • Improved Mark of the Wild: Now also increases all of your total attributes by 1/2%.
  • Intensity: Now grants 17/33/50% of mana regeneration while casting.
  • New Talent: Improved Barkskin: Increases the damage reduction granted by your Barkskin spell by 5/10%, and increases your resistance to Dispel mechanics by an additional 30/60% while under the effect of Barkskin.

Some of the above are pretty self explanatory, both the good and the bad.  GotW in Moonkin?  About time.  But here are some to consider:

Faerie Fire – If you run in a raid without a Misery-casting shadowpriest or a feral druid, using your Improved Faerie Fire hit bonus just got easier for you.  It now lasts 5 minutes, meaning you can throw it on at the beginning of a fight and either not have to refresh it or only refresh it once.

Innervate – Ever suddenly ran out of mana (this happens a lot to me while hurricaning Naxx trash because we chain pull, and the chain is very, very short) and realize you can’t cast Innervate because…well, you don’t have mana?  Fixed.

Celestial Focus – If you have before used Starfire + Celestial Focus in battlegrounds to stun enemies, you might be a little disappointed.  I admit, I’ll miss the stun when I’m just questing or farming.  However, less pushback is nice, and 3% improved haste is nicer.  I’ll have to play around with working this back into my spec.

Eclipse – Does this mean spamming SF to get Wrath Eclipse is now raid viable?  Probably not.  Does this mean we will be encountering single target trash in Ulduar where this will be awesome?  You bet your sweet moonkin tushy it will.

Insect Swarm – Good DoT made better.  The improvement to the spell coupled with the glyph should return this as valuable dps.

Nature’s Grace – This is an interesting change.  For those of us who have tried to stack haste, it’s a very slight improvement.  Almost negligible.  But for those who are behind on stacking haste, it’s a pretty significant boost.   Let’s use two numbers we can all understand: the base casting time of Starfire and my current casting time with the amount of haste I have.

Let’s start with the pre-3.1 Lich King.  The base Starfire cast time with no haste whatsoever is 3.5 seconds.  Mine is currently 2.54.

3.50 – 0.5 = 3.00 second SF casting time with Nature’s Splendor.
2.54 – 0.5 = 2.04 second SF casting time with Nature’s Splendor.

Now let’s look at the change to 20%:

3.50 x 0.20 = 0.700 second reduction, or 3.50 – 0.700 = 2.80 second SF casting time with Nature’s Splendor.
2.54 x 0.20 = 0.508 second reduction, or 2.54 – 0.508 = 2.03 second SF casting time with Nature’s Splendor.

My casting time has barely changed, while someone with very little haste might see a decent improvement. As I’m pretty much unaffected, I feel kind of so-so on this change.

Typhoon – Still useless for PvE, but for PvP this is a pretty sweet upgrade.  Now you not only pushback your enemy, but stun them as well.  Go go stunned arena healer.

Improved Mark of the Wild – Give it up, guys; you’re not going to get dedicated ferals to spec into IMotW.  But since most of us balance druids  already do: cool, more stats.

Intensity – If you were having serious mana issues, you should have already considered picking up Intensity, although there are a few other options (Dreamstate, OoC) in the talent tree.  If you’re still having mana issues, there’s absolutely no question about it now.  Get Intensityx3, period.

Improved Barkskin – Lumped in with Typhoon as useless for PvE but a change that makes Barkskin way more useful in PvP.

Relevant General Changes

–Applying a glyph no longer requires a Lexicon of Power. The same rules for switching between dual talent specializations now apply to switching glyphs and cannot be performed while in combat, Battlegrounds (except when Preparation is up), or Arenas (no exceptions).

The applications for this are easy to see, and both awesome and scary:  healer drops out mid-raid, now you can respec and reglyph on site, assuming you have raid-worthy healing gear.  And if you don’t, you might want to consider getting some 25-man PuGs in for healing gear.  It’s nice to have options.

–Mana Regeneration: The amount of mana regeneration derived from intellect and spirit has been reduced by 40%; however, talents that allow for mana regeneration while in combat have been increased. As a result, in-combat regeneration for classes with those talents will stay the same, while out-of-combat regeneration will be lower.

Am I the only one who doesn’t understand the need for this change?  Explain, please.

–The shaman’s Fire Elemental and Spirit Wolves, mage’s Water Elemental and Mirror Images, and druid’s Treants have all gained avoidance from area-of-effect damage similar to what warlock and hunter pets already have.

Amber like.  This change makes sense, unlike some others…

I want to go into more about some of the less class-specific things, but I don’t want to be verbose in one post, and this one is already over 1000 words.  I’ll probably have time to whip up Part 2 in the midst of the inevitable server crashes tonight.

Happy Patch Day to you all, and to keep you entertained until it’s over, I highly recommend The Ulduar Cinematic.

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7 Comments

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7 responses to “Pulling Patch 3.1 – Part 1: Balance Druids

  1. Sounds like you’ve got a good handle on the changes – I’m kinda just gonna jump into it and see how it goes 🙂

    Of course, I’m not main tank or any such important role – as a healer with good ‘situational awareness’ I’m lucky, I suppose! 🙂

    Valdesta
    http://WoWGrrl.com

    • battlechicken

      I was always a jump-right-in and learn-as-I-go healer, too; there’s not as much pressure to “show off” when you’re a healer, I think. As long as you and the people you heal are all staying alive, it’s win. I do miss resto sometimes…lol.

      Now that I’ve had to become super competitive because of the overwhelming amount of dps raid-spot grubbers, I’m starting to see the value in doing a little research. Anything that puts me an inch ahead is good stuff.

      Good luck in Ulduar–let’s go kick some Old God butt! 🙂

  2. Capo

    Hey great blog!

    Horde boom here, enjoying your information you posted. We should talk boom sometime, i am having problems getting constant 4k+dps and i hate falling behind mages/locks/warriors.

    ill keep checking back!

    Capo
    Alleria

    • battlechicken

      I’ve been struggling with that since I respecced moonkin halfway through Naxx. Granted, it didn’t come to my attention until 3D Sarth, but since then I’ve had some massive improvements. Check out my Noobkin to Boomkin series for some ideas.

      I’d love to talk shop with you anytime! Drop me a line at druidambermist@gmail.com. 🙂

  3. Lykos

    Hey,

    One quick thing about your math section. Yes, your casting time hardly goes down with the natures grace change. However, it is a 3 sec. buff instead of a charged buff. You get 20% haste for not one cast, but all casts in that 3 sec period. So technically, you will get off 2 casts that fire as quickly as the old natures grace, which is a lot better than the old one.

    • battlechicken

      Ah, I didn’t catch that! You’re absolutely right. I’ll make sure I update it in Part 2 to reflect that. Thanks, Lykos!

  4. Like Lykos said, Natures Grace will now affect multiple casts if your chain casting. On top of that there are a couple of issues with your Haste Math in general.

    You calculated your new cast time as:

    2.54 – (2.54*0.2) = 2.032

    That is incorrect. The way haste is calculated is:

    Base Cast time / (1+haste) = new cast time

    or

    2.54/(1+0.2) = 2.117

    You didn’t really get into this in your example, but it’s also important to remember that Haste affects are multiplicative. For example if you have 15% haste from gear, 3% from CF, 3% from Imp Moonkin form, 5% from Wrath of air, and 20% from natures grace your cast time would look like this:

    3/(1.15 * 1.03 * 1.03 * 1.05 * 1.20) = 1.952 seconds

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