Gear and Forms – Stop the Madness!
We all know that us druids are somewhat gear-dependant; casters like Intellect and Spirit, Healers like plusses to healing and mp5, bears like armor, defense, stamina and strength, and cats like agility and strength. Like a lot of folks, I use an add-on to manage my different outfits and help auto-switch between them. (I happen to like Outfitter, but there are plenty others).
Pre-Burning Crusade it was pretty easy. If you found something with Intellect and Spirit, or maybe some +healing, it went on your caster outfit. If it had strength or agility or armor, then you put it on your bear/cat outfit. With the relative lack of specific form itemization (that’s a fancy word I’ve seen through around on other blogs and forums a lot that I think means gear pieces created with one specific form in mind), it seems like my various outfits are separating more and more.
For instance, before Burning Crusade, I think I had about one piece of equipment that was different between cat and bear. Now, I would guess roughly half of the gear between the two is different. And I’m not even an “uber player” – I’m level 64 and Mana Tombs is the highest level instance I’ve been in. I can only imagine the situation getting worse as you get higher and higher level gear.
This hasn’t really been a problem for me until around last week. As I wrote in a previous entry, I bought the Preserver’s Cudgel having achieved Honored with Cenarion Expedition. After picking up another item or two that had +healing or +mp5, I created a Healing outfit in Outfitter. I haven’t traditionally done a lot of healing in instances being feral, but I know the day is coming (and I do need to practice more on it), so I thought I’d start creating a decent healing outfit.
Well, that healing outfit is now my fourth outfit: casting, bear, cat and now healing. All those outfits have some specific gear, so they all take space. Add to the fact that you can’t switch gear once in combat, nor can Outfitter do it for you, and you start to think about why you have so many outfits and wonder if you don’t need a more reasoned strategy.
Back before Burning Crusade, back before level 60, when I was around level 30-50, I basically had one general purpose outfit. I did a lot of soloing and my strategy was pretty basic (and probably pretty similar to yours): root, Fairie Fire, Moonfire, Starfire/Wrath, then shift into either cat or bear to finish the mob off. Once I started itemizing my gear more (don’t I sound impressive saying itemizing???), I kept the same strategy for a while before I realized that Outfitter wasn’t switching my gear automatically. Call me a n00b – I always wondered what those sounds were right after combat ended until I realized it was my outfit changing. lol!
The gear in Outland is great and I’m not complaining, but it is really pointing out the differences between our different forms. As I put together more and more outfits, I’ve begun to ask myself two questions:
- What are the real differences and strengths of each particular form, and what gear do I equip to best complement them?
- What do I wear in my “general casting” mode? This is my non-bear, non-cat, not in healing mode outfit.
I don’t have a good answer to #1 yet, as I haven’t really thought through the various forms completely. I hope to do that soon and post another entry on that topic. I’m very interested to get feedback from all of you on your experiences and what you are doing.
I have been giving some thought however to #2, and here’s what I’ve come up with. At least for me, it doesn’t make sense anymore to wear some general purpose “casting” outfit while in humanoid form. With the specializtion of gear we’re finding here in Outland, I’m finding my general purpose casting outfit is the most mediocre – being just a hodge-podge of items adding to intellect, spirit and +healing. Plus, being feral and not Balance, it’s not like I’m going to root, then stand around nuking things to death.
The problem is, if I need to heal my good +healing and +mp5 equipment is all on my healing outfit. And I don’t want to equip my healing outfit for general purpose adventuring, because then I’ll be stuck with that equipment in battle while soloing.
So I’ve come to two realizations:
- I need to dump my general purpose “casting” outfit. I’m going to take the best +healing and +mp5 gear off of it and transfer it to my “healing” outfit and vendor whatever is left over.
- My new general purpose soloing outfit needs to be either my bear or cat outfit.
My thought process on #2 is that this is the outfit I will be wearing when solo questing. As I said before, my mob strategy when questing (for strong mobs) is to root the mob, shoot off a couple Balance spells, then switch to bear form to finish off the mob. If the mob is not as strong, then I’ll switch to cat before entering combat, build up my power, then prowl up to the mob and finish them off in cat. I don’t need a huge mana pool just to get a couple approach spells off, and whatever is left over is usually more than enough to get some emergency heals off should I need them.
So you can see where I’m going with this. I’ve decided that my general purpose outfit while questing should be my Bear outfit. That way I’m equipped with my strongest gear all the time, especially for those times you get jumped by a random mob you didn’t see or accidentally aggro additional mobs. I tend to use cat more selectively given the reduced defenses, and as such switch to cat form out of combat.
That will get me down to just (ha – just) three outfits: Bear, Cat and Healing. That sounds reasonable to me, plus let’s be honest – the feral weapons in Outland are way cooler looking than the healing weapons. It doesn’t make sense not to show them off.
As always, I’m interested in your thoughts and what you are doing. Please post your reactions and any different strategy you are using.