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Posts Tagged ‘druid’

Last night Reversion joined another guild’s raid on his hunter to help them out. He’s done that a few times now with this group and they’re all nice people. Less progressed than the Crits and Giggles raids are, but working hard. Last night they were having trouble getting people, or getting the right balance, and I listened in on vent.

 

They decided to have one of their two shaman healers (they were running two shammies and a disc priest) switch to her druid, which she did good naturedly although expressing that she likes her shammie a lot more. After they downed Magmaw with that setup she stuck with the druid and they went to  work on Omnitron.

I guess they had a little trouble with him; they spent a while analyzing what was going wrong and the druid said something about how “she was sure she’d done way too much overhealing”. I got Reversion to check his meters. She was at 27% overheals.

Druids of the world, that is not too much overhealing!  I went back to a kill we did on Omnitron last month (I haven’t been raiding much so I don’t have anything more recent than that) and looked at our numbers.

 

31.8% overhealing and as a raid, we do darn good at stay out of bad stuff, our tanks aren’t squishy, they use their cooldowns. In a group struggling to get this boss on farm I’d expect to see more overhealing, honestly.

Broken down further, the actual numbers for our healers looked like

 

 

(I cheated. This fight is always really good for my numbers. It’s the same fight this other raid was talking about, after all!)

Might be hard to read, but I’ve got 28% overheals, the paladin has 27%, and the Holy priest as 24%. As a rule of thumb I’ve noticed druids and paladins top the overhealing meters this expansion. If you’re one of those two classes, don’t panic. When I was starting I was getting closer to 37% overhealing. As the raid gets better and you learn the fights, the overhealing drops.

(Note for numbers people: the reason our cumulative overhealing is a lot higher than our individual percentages is that we have a bear tank. Reversion’s mastery procs healing, and it usually inflates overhealing numbers a lot)

So why was the druid healer I eavesdropped on worried? Because she wasn’t really a druid healer; she was a shaman healer in a druid body. Shaman right now look at meters and see overhealing as bad. I won’t go into all the details there because I’m not a shaman expert at all. It’s important to remember when switching classes but not roles that more than just spell names change.

I’m guilty of that. When I paladin heal, I notice I’m better at triage healing than a lot of pure paladin healers; I can get a party up from low without losing people, and I’ve heard other paladins complain about that. But I’m terrible at using cooldowns. Druids have…. er….. Tranquility. And Natures’ Swiftness which I think I ditched the last time I redid my spec, it’s really useless. Paladins have Hands of Various Things, Divine Favor, Divine Other Thing, Shiny Big Angel Thing, Avenging Wrath….If I want to be half as good on my paladin as I am on my druid, I need to get better at using those. They’ve got a great toolset and I’m not working it right.

But anyway; if you switch to a druid and see overhealing, don’t panic.  This is Working As Intended.

 

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Save the Trees!

Stolen fromTreeBarkJacket with Keeva’s blessing. Just Say No to losing Tree of Life!

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I’m a bit of a control freak.

(Reversion is not allowed to make a comment on that statement)

I’ve always had control freak tendencies. Sometimes they come in handy, like when I was applying to grad school. Or organizing a bookstore run with my younger siblings. All six of them. No surprise it would spill over to WoW; the biggest surprise is how long it took me to roll a healer.

As a Resto druid, my inner control freak is very very happy in 10 man raids. I feel like I’m responsible for keeping everyone alive and I like it. Even if I’m supposed to be raid healing I can keep an eye on the tanks for a good time to drop a Swiftmend or my Nature’s Swiftness + Healing Touch macro.

25 mans are another beast. “Ok Analogue you keep Rejuvs on groups 3-5″. There’s my healing assignment. Drop a WG on the melee if I can spare the GCD. Otherwise, Rejuv, wait for the order to battle res. Drop a hot on the tanks. Don’t even think about Nourish, unless the fight goes to heck and the healers start dropping.

It’s fun, don’t get me wrong. I see more of the fights in 25 man. I’m glad I did Rotface in 25 first; I have a really good idea of what to do in 10 man now. But I’m not in control. How could I be, as one of 25, one of 7 healers? It’s as bad as being DPS. In 10 man, I’m one of two, maybe three, performing my role. I can challenge myself a lot more. Should I Swiftmend the tank or heal up that mage over there that took a few ticks of fire damage before moving? Do I need to focus heal the Mark target? Doing my own thing and actually thinking for myself is an asset. In 25 man, I’m part of a team, greater as a whole than as a part. We can do some awesome things together – but deep down inside I feel insecure.

Do other healers feel this way? I bet it’s more of a Resto druid thing than, say, a Holy Pally thing. I think we probably are more likely to feel like we have to heal everyone at the same time rather than focusing on assignments, but I might be wrong.

And how, when the tank’s health bar keeps going down, can I NOT heal him?

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Pairs Leveling: The Druid

After doing the warrior post I decided it would be better to focus on the characters I know best. My top level Warrior is languishing at 59, whereas I have two max level druids.

Druids are outstanding pairs leveling characters.  I highly recommend them. They are survivable, have good dps, and have multiple ways they can be leveled. They stand with paladins as the only classes that can be all three roles: dps, healing and tank. They stand alone as the only class that can play all FOUR roles: healing, tank, melee dps and ranged dps.

They make a good choice for if your partner has their heart set on leveling a particular class. Because they are so adaptable you can tailor your play style and spec to match the person you are leveling with.

Overview

Druids are in touch with nature and use its power to obliterate their foes, or smash them in the face, or sneak up and rip their guts out, or, for the nicer druids, to nurture and restore their allies. At level 10 they get Bear form and turn into a baby tank. At 20 we get cat and can do mad crazy dps. Around 50 we can become a tree or boomkin, and either have uber heals or good ranged casting. Because we don’t get to pick those paths right from the start, we adapt our play style over time. This might require respeccing at key points. It also might mean saving a few pieces of gear for an upcoming spec change. How you handle all that will depend on who you are leveling with.

I am going to further break things down into level ranges.

1-10. In this range there is not much variety. Just Wrath things to death with some staff ‘thumping’ thrown in until you hit 10. You will basically be a ranged caster with some melee ability (easier if you have the BOA weapon).

Levels 10-20

At 10 things start to diverge. Not a lot, but they do. You get bear form once you do the level 10 quest. It is about now you have to ask yourself ‘am I going to tank?’The answer to that lies partly in who you are partnered with. You have the choice in this level range of spending most of your time as a bear or as a humanoid caster doing ranged damage and/or healing. You have to decide what you want to do if you are going to run an instance. If you want a fast queue you can chose to tank or heal. You can make that decision in advance and practice the play style by questing mostly as a bear or a caster.

A Bear plays like a warrior. It uses rage is its fuel and the major abilities are all analogous to warrior skills. If you are familiar with warrior tanking a bear will either be comfortably similar or boringly the same. Of course since a druid has an extended bag of tricks you might still love it.

Caster druid, 10-20

One strategy in this level range is to stay humanoid and throw spells around. This is versatile since you can cast or heal as needed. You will not have a large pool of spells but you will have a nice variety.

If you are planning to run instances later as a healer you should probably be getting familiar with your healing spells at this time.

In the future playing as a caster could mutate into Tree or Boomkin (or you can respec completely). If you want to be pure dps and want to be a cat but don’t like bear form, you can stay in a caster spec until you get cat form and then respec. If you plan to do this don’t forget to hang on to a few pieces of agility gear as you level up.

Staying in caster mode is very good if you are paired with a pure melee class. This is even truer if your partner is a tanking class. Casting alongside a warrior or Paladin (or a bear druid) is a very good combo. The pair will be durable as heck and able to take on many foes at once.

Druids are durable enough that you can even distract things while a rogue backstabs them.

With a warlock or hunter partners you can let their pet tank while both burn things down.

Mages are soft and have little ability to keep things off them. They focus mostly on killing things fast, before they kill them. You can both burn things down pretty fast and not have to worry about taking a lot of damage. If you pair with one as a caster you will want to get familiar with your ‘root’ skill and the mage will want to be using frost abilities to slow things up. This will be a pretty soft pair however, so if you get in trouble you might be doomed.

Comboing with a warlock that does not like tanking with their voidwalker will be much like pairing with a mage.

Comboing a caster druid with a priest gives you redundant healing but not a lot more durability. This pair will require more finesse to play.

Comboing with another caster Druid will be similar to the mage and priest.

Comboing with a Shaman will be a little of everything.

Bear druid, 10-20

The main reasons to go bear at this level are to practice tanking or to keep things off a softer partner.

Bear is going to have a little lower dps, so if you are not trying to do one of the above things you might not want to level 10-20 as a bear. One other reason might be so you will be ready when you get cat form. It is not really necessary though, because you can always respec when you get to 20.

One of the nice things about being bear (or later cat) is that you almost always have full mana at the end of a fight. This lets you heal yourself and your partner up for the next round.

One final reason to go bear would be to have both partners have the same range. If you are paired with a melee class it can be frustrating to have everything be half dead by the time your partner gets over to it. Keep this in mind if you are playing a bear and paired up with a ranged dpser. This consideration (and the heals after fights one) makes a rogue+bear pair a good choice.

Basically bear is a good choice to match an melee class played as dps or a soft caster. It is a bad choice for any melee class played as another tank

Recommended pairings: 10-20

Pally + caster druid

Hunter + caster druid

Mage + either

Warlock + either

Warrior + caster druid

Shaman +caster druid

Priest + Bear

Rogue + Bear

Pairs druid, Levels 20-40

Feral druids, 20-40

At level 20 the druid learns how to be catty. Or at least how to turn into a cat. A cat is a baby rogue. It uses energy and is all about combo points and finishing moves. It has a lot fewer abilities than a real rogue so if you are a hard core rogue addict those missing bits might drive you nuts (no vanish, no sap, no fan of knives, etc.). But, if you love all the versatility a druid offers then you are going to love having ‘cat’ in your bag of tricks.

If you leveled up as a bear so far you might want to opt for a cat/bear hybrid. Such a hybrid is viable for either tanking or DPS up until high end lvl 80 instances and raids. I leveled my first druid this way. For most fights you are going to want to be cat. Cats do a large amount of single target damage. But, unlike rogues, they can pop into bear form at any time. If you are leveling with a caster or other soft DPSer you will want to get good at dropping into bear on demand. Even if you don’t get good with bear form it will do you good to know have to work the basics. At a minimum you will need to know how to work your taunt (growl) and some swipe for aoe threat and damage. With just those abilities (and maybe a couple more) you will be able to not die on demand.  Going Bear is not like a pally bubble, but it is fast and effective for either pulling a mob off your softer friend, or being able to take more hits while your friend heals you or dpses the pack down. You CAN live without learning your bear as a feral druid… but it is well worth it to set up its hot bar and learn your way around a few of its moves.

Caster druids 20-40

As you start getting up to 20 and 30 talent points you will, as a caster druid, get pretty far down one of your trees, balance or resto. So you will need to decide how you are mostly playing the druid and take as much healing or dps as your pair needs. Play it by ear and don’t be afraid to respec. You probably will respec at 40 anyway so don’t sweat it. In the past, leveling resto, even in a pair, was annoyingly slow and not really worth it. Today, with LFG, you can level mostly in dungeons where a dedicated healing spec will speed things up, not slow them down.

Recommended pairings: 10-20

Pally + either

Hunter + caster druid

Mage + either

Warlock + either

Warrior + either

Shaman +either

Priest + Feral druid

Rogue + Feral druid

Notice most say either? Here is why… as a hybrid class any druid can heal, and with instant cast hots you can throw at least some healing around very fast. Additionally, unless you put all your points into resto you will still do decent DPS. What this all means is that you don’t want to over specialize while leveling in certain pairs. For example if you are leveling as a caster with a priest you can get away with almost no healing ability. But if you are leveling feral with a warrior you would be well served to get good at dropping out of cat and throwing some heals at your friend. Again, play it by ear. If your pairs keeps dying, practice dropping out and throwing heals.

We’ll talk about post-level-40 in another post.

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Mentoring

Last night I took my new pally tank on a badge farming  run with two other  newly 80 alts in the guild; a mage whose main is a priest and a priest whose main is a prot pally. None of us were very geared (well, mine is getting there) and we had a blast, ran about 8 instances and had a ball.

Toward the end, the priest who is a prot pally go in Vent and started chatting with me. He remarked how easy I was to heal and that he was trying hard not to bubble me since I get mana back from direct heals, and then we chatted about prot pally spec and techniques. He looked over my talents, said that they were not quite cookie-cutter but he could see why I’d used the build I did, and then suggested a few changes and exactly why I’d benefit. We ended up talking for a while. Reversion got into the action when we started comparing pally and druid tanking, and it was a great conversation. I ended up re-speccing slightly, changing some of my gearing priorities, and coming away with an even better understanding of paladins.

Mentoring discussions like that are great helps to those of us with alts, who know how to play WoW but are new to a class. And they’re fun when we’re on the teaching end too. It can be hard to give advice to a guildie or random pugger, but when you find someone who wants to learn, give them the benefit of your experience.  My paladin is pulling over 2k dps in most heroics right now, and my gear score is still “low” for today’s standards. I’m hoping to find a group that will let me off-tank Patchwerk for this week’s raid quest and thanks to my guildmate, I’m even more prepared now.

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Looking for More!

I don’t remember whose idea the druids were, but it was brilliant.

I’d been hooked on WoW for a while now. It took a little time; the first character I rolled was a hunter, like my husband’s. WoW was my first MMORPG. I hadn’t even played that many computer games (shocking admission for a self-proclaimed computer geek, yes) but he was determined to share the game he loved with me.

It worked, sort of. I got that hunter to about 40 and I enjoyed the game but not so much the hunter. “Fake die!” he’d say, and I’d look for the button but too late. “No, use this shot, not that one!” I was always running out of bullets, panicking because my pet was unhappy, and to make matters worse, I’d rolled a dwarf hunter. A FEMALE dwarf hunter.

Then I made a mage, a cute little gnome with little red buns and balls of fire shooting out her fists, and it was a whole new game. It took me a while, but I got her all the way to level 70, and now we had a max level hunter and mage and it was three months out from Wrath of the Lich King and we had nothing to do. We weren’t in a guild, I liked PVP ok but it got old… and then the Refer-a-Friend program came out and we made the druids. We gt a third account and started Night Elves and had them almost to 60 before WotLK. Then they went into storage until the mains were levelled. But after that, out they came to run dungeons until they hit 68. A tank and a healer, we got parties whenever we felt like it and the levels just flew past.

They’re our mains now, although our hunter and mage are pretty well geared and we have fun with them too. But my Tree and his Bear get to raid ICC, or pug until we get bored, or whatever we feel like. The synergy that they have is awesome. Nothing says “date night” like slaughtering iron dwarves together!

Anyway, we learned a lot of lessons from that experience. It’s easier to level together. If leveling a pair, make one a tank or healer. If you’re bored with WoW, roll an alt. Always level your professions. Don’t try to do holidays on two sets of characters. Levels 45-58 are the most painful. It takes a long time to kill stuff by hitting it with your branches.

This blog is about alts, about duos, and about WoW. Want tips on getting your girlfriend to play WoW? Stay tuned. Dedicated to leveling Resto? I feel your pain. Not really sure whether you want an alt? You do.

Off and Away!

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