Adventures in Azeroth

It’s a Druid’s World (of Warcraft)

Final Notice – We have moved!!!

This blog will be deleted soon.  We have moved to nedruid.com, transferring all old content.  Please update your bookmark.

If you are the admin of a board or guild website, please update your links.  The feral gear posts, Kara guide and Bartender overview are all on the new site, in addition to plans on upgrades to all those posts and more. 

See you there!!!

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February 21, 2008 Posted by | 1, Attunements, Burning Crusade, Custom UI, Druid Blogs, Druid Gear, Enchants, Factions, Fun, Instances, Interface Add-ons, Must have addons, Online resources, Raiding, Site Meter, Strategy - Balance, Strategy - Feral, Strategy - General, Strategy - Resto, Way off topic, Wordpress, World of Warcraft | 3 Comments

Shartuul event walkthroughs

Want a Badge of Tenacity but just not sure where to start?  Figured out you need to complete something called the “Shartuul Event” but keep getting killed.  Amanna (via Slipslappy) to the rescue!

 I’m never sure if you all read the comments to my posts, or simply the posts themselves.  But embedded deep within the comments to my last post, Slip gave us some links to very useful guides to mastering this event. 

The first is the WoWwiki guide.  This guide has good community-contributed strategy tips.  What I like the best is actual images of the controls for the various demons you will control.  While I think the next walkthrough has move detail, I love being able to see and familiarize myself with the actual icons before attempting the event.  Definitely check this guide out.

There is great guide on Slipslappy’s guild website, appropriate titled The Guide to Not Sucking.  This guide doesn’t have ability icons like thw WoWwiki guide, but is more detailed.  Whereas WoWwiki is a community article with various strategies to try, this formum post was written by one person so you only get their perspective.  It does appear this person has the event on farm so they presumably have a winning strategy, just keep in mind you are only getting one perspective.  Highly recommended though for the level of detail to the walkthrough.  I was sorely tempted to copy the walkthrough over here as I think the color scheme is hard to read (and my readers LOVE walkthroughs), but having not done the event myself, that felt too much like stealing.  Be sure to read the entire post for updates and clarifications.

Thanks Slipslappy for the great links.  I have not gotten back to playing yet, but I hope to soon.  When I do, I will definitely be giving this a run…

Forms Bar

September 24, 2007 Posted by | Druid Gear, Strategy - General, World of Warcraft | 14 Comments

Take it for a ride; let me know what you think

I was able to finish up a piece of my mini-site for enhancements research, so I figured I’d publish it before my week-long break and get some feedback.

You should see a new page listed at the top of the blog now – Buffing Up.  Click the link to get an overview of what I’m trying to accomplish with this section.  Basically, I’ll be giving you lots of different views into the various items beyond gear that can augment your stats and effectiveness during gameplay.  Specifically, Buffing Up will have three sections: Consumables, Enchantments and Gems.

Probably most of the stuff you’ll find is things you already know about, or maybe you’ll find a little surprise you weren’t aware of.  Either way, I find myself continually researching ways to enhance particular stats or slots, so I thought there might be some value in putting all those searches in one place.

The Enchantments section is open for business, and I’d like your feedback.  Is this useful?  What have I forgot?  What should be done differently?  Really – you won’t hurt my feelings, let me know what you think (although a little praise now and then feels pretty good too…).  I’ve turned off comments on the pages in this new section, so give me your feedback via this post, or the contact form on the About page.

I sincerely hope this is of value to you, and I hope to build out the other two pages soon.

Forms Bar

June 29, 2007 Posted by | Enchants, Online resources, Strategy - Balance, Strategy - Feral, Strategy - General, Strategy - Resto, World of Warcraft | 3 Comments

Weekend Update 5/7 – Questions

So my WoW weekend was pretty boring – lots of real life stuff got in the way of playing much and when I did it was mostly circling The Blasted Lands looking for Thorium Veins and skinning Helboars!  I’ve got my mining around 280 and skinning is at 275, so I’ll be back in Outland pretty soon. 

I was posed two very interesting questions this weekend that I thought warranted feedback from this ever-growing Druid community.

Question #1 – I had dinner with a good friend of mine that I hadn’t seen in a while.  I turned him on to WoW a while back and while we’ve quested together a few times, I hadn’t seen him online in quite a while.  The reason turned out to be he has a fun little experiment going.  He, and four of his friends, have all rolled up Horde Druids, have leveled to around level 13, and now plan on leveling the rest of the way to 60 via Instancing only.  How fun is that – 5 Druids leveling through 60 only through instances.

So what’s the question?  My friend really didn’t ask me any questions, he’s a long time gamer and I’m sure he and his friends can figure this out, but their little plan got me thinking.  First – what group composition do you think they should have?  Obviously they need at least one healer and one tank, but past that what would you do with five Druids for instancing?  As a followup, how successful do you think they will be?  Personally, I think they will rock well into their 40s or 50s, but may start having some issues in later stages due to no crowd control.  Let me know what you think.  My friend (Hi James), and his group are going to start reading the blog, so give them your thoughts.

Question #2 – I got a question via the contact form over the weekend.  Ken writes to ask:

“…I used to be 0/30/21 Feral/Resto hybrid.  I would be able to tank with around 6k armor, and put out some decent DPS as well, but could also heal very well.  I PvP’d a lot back then so it was awesome for that as well.  But since they’ve changed the talents around, I was wondering if perhaps you knew of a solid Bear-Healer build?  I mean, I’d problably quest in Cat, but on my servers tanks are non existant, and healers are all shadow priests or Elemental Shamen who get forced into the role.  Thus i’d like to tank the instances (Hellfire to Crypts), or heal, as needed.”

So what do you think everyone?  Is there a viable, post-BC build that would let Ken effectively tank and heal?  My experience has been that the gear in BC has forced us more or less into specific roles, and outfit changes are required to switch roles and be effective.  So help Ken, and Amanna, understand how to fulfill our hybrid role in a BC environment.

I hope you all had a good weekend.  I may post one more time this week, then I’m traveling out of town the rest of the week.  Stay tuned though, some big changes are coming and I’m very excited about them…

Forms Bar

May 7, 2007 Posted by | Strategy - General, World of Warcraft | | 6 Comments

I’m not sure what this means, but it’s interesting…

WoW Insider recently reported on some research a player named Zyph posted in the forums.  Basically Zyph wrote a program to pull around 6,600 profile names off Allakhazam, look them up on The Armory, and collect talent point distribution stats.  In particular, Zyph first grabbed some percentages on how many players in each class specialized in a particular talent tree (where specialized was defined as 31 or more talent points in that tree).

Then Zyph went on to examine, for those that specialized, how many skipped the 31 point talent, and how many skipped the 41 point talent.

I’m kind of struggling to decide if the results really tell us anything meaty, but they are interesting.

First of all – Feral is the most popular by a long shot.  Of all Druids in the study, 60% specialized in Feral, 27% went Resto, and only 13% were Balance specialists.  Hey wait – that adds up to 100%  I guess that means there aren’t any Druids out there that don’t specialize?  That’s kind of interesting in itself.

Where it gets interesting for me though, is how deep each specialization goes. 

It looks like us Ferals go deep.  Virtually no one (0.5%) of ferals skipped the 31 point talent (Leader of the Pack), and only 2.7% skipped the 41 point talent (Mangle).  If any of those 2.7% ferals are reading now, please take a moment to go outside, find a hard stick you can get a good grip on, and beat yourself senseless!  Respec NOW – take Mangle.

Okay, moving on.

Resto Druids start to get more interesting.  Only 2.8% skipped the 31 point talent (Swiftmend).  I’m no Resto, but I know enough about Swiftmend, that you 3% should probaby join the Mangle-skippers outside.  Maybe they would offer to beat you also, since you’re obviously not interested in healing.  The number jumps for the 41 point talent (Tree of Life) with 22% skipping this talent.  I guess you Resto’s don’t like walking around as a tree with all those sharp weapons out?

The most interesting to me though was the Balance Druids.  With only 13% of all Druids in the survey specializing in Balance, 7% of them skip the 31 point talent (Moonkin form), and 24% skip the 41 point talent (Force of Nature).  That tells me that folks are dipping into the Balance tree, but looking elsewhere to compliment those talents.

Now, Zyph has lots of qualifications – only level 70’s were examined, some profiles were on Allakhazam but not the Armory, etc. etc.  Plus, who knows if this breakdown accurately reflects your server, or is even statistically significant to be worthy of review (can 6,600 random level 70s really reflect 8 million players worldwide)?

Maybe, maybe not.  But I still find it interesting and I’m wondering how you all feel about these numbers?  Do they sound right to you?  What’s up with you Balance folks – why are there so few and what to you have against Force of Nature?  Lastly –  how come 72% of Hunters went Marksman?  I bet BRK will have something to say about that…

Forms Bar

May 4, 2007 Posted by | Strategy - General, World of Warcraft | 20 Comments

Druid Tips & Tricks – Summary

Okay, no earth-shattering revelations; no blinding flashes of inspiration; but lots of good suggestions for staying alive and increasing your effectiveness as a Druid.

seansflow reminded us that there are lots of great add-ons and mods to help us do our job.  We both agree that the add-on that should be at the top of every druid’s list is Outfitter.  This add-on automatically changes gear based on form and other special circumstances (riding, Argent Dawn, etc.).  Download it.  Use it.  The other mod I’d recommend is a action bar mod.  You can certainly get by with the default action bars, but I’ve found customizing the bars can make them a little easier to use.  I use Bartender 3 – check out my overview for setup and download info.

Jeff extolled the joys of Frenzied Regeneration – also one of my favorites.  Always know what key FR is bound to.  It can save your hide.  If I’m in a particularly rough fight, or fighting multiple mobs, I will probably not use a lot of my rage and save it for a Frenzied Regeneration if I need to.  You can regain health without switching out of bear form.  This is a very good talent for PvP also.  I don’t do much PvPing, but FR helped me beat a Warlock one time and his comment after the fight was “how did you get your health back???”  Jeff reminds us that FR is a great way to use leftover rage, and he’s right.  I would just add to be aware of the cooldown – don’t pop FR right before a boss fight where you might need it.

Jeff also called out a lot of our innate talents like Thorns, Roots and Swiftment/Nature’s Swiftness.  I think the point here is to make sure you understand your talents and how to use them.  Experiment with them; many of our talents can be used in multiple ways.  Entangling Roots is not just good in PvP, it’s our crowd control technique for PvE.  You get the idea.

Bruennor had a number of good strategy comments.  Use Hibernate and Soothe Animal to pick herbs without having to kill surrounding mobs.  If you still get attacked and don’t feel like fighting, just cheetah and run away.  If you’re the tank and need to innervate a healer, then communicate with them to get a shield on you.  You should be able to quickly pop out of bear form, hit the priest with an innervate, and switch back without taking much damage.  Same strategy could be used for Rebirth. 

Bruennor also followed the theme of making sure to use our talents and stressed to always have Demoralizing Roar up on your targets.  It’s not just about decreasing the amount of damage you take – that effect ripples down to your Priests as they then have to use less mana to heal you and therefore the entire party can last longer.  Bruennor suggested a number of synergies with other party members:

  • Demoralizing Roar and Thunderclap
  • Faerie Fire and Sunder or Expose Armor
  • Coordinating your Bash and Stun with Rogues stun abilities to keep the target stunned even longer

Another good strategy comment Bruennor had was to use Swipe to quickly get aggro on a number of incoming mobs so other party members can do their job without having a mob in their face.  I must admit, I have never been a big fan of swipe, but this is a great comment and helps me understand the value of this talent. 

My comment was to remember all the scrolls, potions, elixirs and flasks that can give you some very nice buffs.  While Bruennor corrected me on armor buffs from potions not being multiplied in Bear form, you can still get a +550 armor buffs with the strongest current potion.  I’ll do some research and post a separate entry on all the consumables you should be on the watch for.  They can vary in price, especially the highest levels, so it makes sense to keep an eye out for them on the AH and buy replacements when you can find them at a reasonable cost.  Or maybe you have a guild Alchemist who can make them for you.

Finally, there was a post from Damh giving some tips on how to kill us Druids.  He claims it was a honest misunderstanding.  I’m inclined to believe him – Hunters aren’t known for being *cough smart cough*, I mean insightful and compassionate.  And he was nice enough to post this apology giving us Druids some insight on how to handle a hunter.  The best part for me though was forming a ummm, “kinship” shall we say, with BRK.  All I can say is that if you’ve never had your Night Elf toes licked by an 800-pound, 10-foot long purple male cat, you haven’t lived!

So there you have it fellow Druids – our first list of tips & tricks for being better players.  I hope there was a gem in there for you, there was for me.  Please continue to post ideas and suggestions and I’ll continue to feed them back via the blog.  Just remember – we can help our party in many ways.  Don’t get so locked in to one thing that you forget about all the other tools we have at our disposal.

March 20, 2007 Posted by | Strategy - General, World of Warcraft | 7 Comments

Druid Tips & Tricks

I remember a long time ago I was in an instance with a PUG and I noticed a little gleam every once in a while on the end of one of the warrior’s weapons.  Kind of like that little white starburst the toothpaste commercials show on your teeth.  Anyway, at the time I thought it was just a cool visual effect Blizzard had added.

Fast forward many months and I create my Hunter alt.  For professions I choose Mining and Blacksmithing.  Well it didn’t take me too long to figure out that little gleam is the effect of sharpening your bladed weapon with a sharpening stone.  If I hadn’t taken blacksmithing as a profession, I probably won’t know about sharpening stones to this day.

That’s what I love about this game.  There are all kinds of little tricks that while not major by themselves, can add up to give you a definite edge.  Some are just general, some you come across based on the professions you choose, and even others you just figure out on your own. 

I had intended to put a couple of the little tricks I’ve figured out along the way in this post, but let’s try something different.  I know there are a few of you out there now reading this blog on a regular basis.  I’m further assuming that most of you are Druids (or druid sympathizers).  So I’m going to leave this post open-ended and ask you all to post your favorite Druid tip or trick that you use on a regular basis to give yourself a little edge. 

My personal focus is PvE not PvP, but feel free to post any and all suggestions.  If I get enough feedback, maybe we’ll start a separate Tips & Tricks page on this blog.

This is dangerous territory here – calling out for feedback.  I know there is a tendency for the Internet to be more vouyerism than participation.  So come on, take 2 minutes to post your thoughts – I guarantee it won’t hurt and it might even be fun. 

March 15, 2007 Posted by | Strategy - General, World of Warcraft | 34 Comments

Attack Power deconstructed

Okay, I had an afternoon meeting and got out of work a little early today.  So I’m relaxing at my local bookstore and thought I had enough time to shoot off a quick post about Attack Power (AP).  I had a lot of great comments on my previous post Some thoughts on feral forms.  I hope to work them all into follow-up posts.  Things like when to stop increasing your armor and switch to agility, details on agility and comments on attack power.

Well, attack power is fairly easy to break down.  For my previous post, I relied mainly on two wowwiki.com pages: Attack Power and Damage per Second (DPS).  (Note:  if you’re a stats junkie be aware I don’t think wowwiki has been updated much since The Burning Crusade.  Everyone’s probably having too much fun…)

I’m not going to go over the DPS page, you can check it out on your own if you wnat.  It just talks about how DPS for individual weapons are calculated and how certain individual stats and talents affect that base rating.

What was interesting to me was how AP added to that base number and how the additional damage is computed.  For that, check out the Attack Power link.

Us Druids have different AP calculations depending on what form we are in:

Druid form:  AP = (Strength * 2) – 20
Bear form:  AP = (Strength * 2) + (Character level * 3) – 20
Cat form:  AP = (Strength * 2 + Agility) + (Character level * 2) -20

So you see where my basic comments came from saying strength was most important for Bear AP and both strength and agility for Cat.  As was correctly pointed out in comments to the post was that strength added in double for cat form.  However, as agility benefits us in many other ways (dodge, crit, etc.), I recommend a balanced approach to the two attributes for your cat form.

The wowwiki page goes on to show us some very simple formulas for how AP translates into damage.  At the simplest level, each 14 attack power translates in 1 additional damage per second.  So the final computation of dps for your weapon ends up as:

DPS = (Min weapon damage + (AP/14)) / 2 + (Max weapon damage + (AP/14) / 2) / Weapon Speed

I really don’t think about formulas too much when looking at new gear, but it is interesting to understand how the different attributes affect final damage.  Especially for our cat form, when damage is what we are interested most in.

So, take the wowwiki formulas with a grain of salt.  If anyone out there can either verify these formulas are still valid, or point me in the direction of updated formulas, I will update this post to be current.

 Otherwise – happy shredding…

March 13, 2007 Posted by | Strategy - General, World of Warcraft | Leave a comment

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:

  1. What are the real differences and strengths of each particular form, and what gear do I equip to best complement them?
  2. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

February 28, 2007 Posted by | Burning Crusade, Druid Gear, Strategy - General, World of Warcraft | 4 Comments

Remember to stay flexible

My guild is currently alternating between ZG and AQ20 for instance / raid runs.  Every once in a while an Onyxia run will get thrown in.  I just noticed on our schedule that our guild leader has added some battleground runs into the schedule due to the great PvP rewards that are out there and the (somewhat) relative ease in obtaining them.

Anyway, I was in AQ20 the other night with my guild.  This was about the third time I had been in there with them.  We were at Rajaxx and had had trouble with him the times before.  I had always gone feral during this fight, but this time decided to stay out and help with the healing. 

We got through the entire script with no problems!  We had a couple deaths, but no major incidents and Rajaxx went down without a hitch.  I was able to pop into bear form and get a couple swipes at him towards the end.  Very satisfying.

It just served to remind me that there is more than one reason we all picked Druids.  Sure – they are fun, which is my main reason.  But the other reason that’s easy to lose sight of is that we can help our party in several ways.  I was stuck in the mode of “I like feral fighting so that’s how I’m going to contribute” and lost sight of providing back-up healing to help out a particular boss fight.  I am certainly not saying that just because I healed instead of fighting the script was accomplished, but our group composition wasn’t that much different than other nights, so I am convinced it definitely had an impact.

I think it’s a good lesson for all of us.  Have fun, but don’t forget there are other ways to contribute to the group’s goals.  Use all your talents and be wise enough to pick the best one for the particular situation.

December 13, 2006 Posted by | Strategy - General, World of Warcraft | Leave a comment