Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Minutes 4 and 5 on the PTR's

Based on Xtian's comment on my post from earlier, I took the Shadow Priest for another spin, this time making sure to focus on nuking instead of DOT's. This proved far more effective. I'm still less than fond of having a channeled spell as my bread and butter DPS, but at least I don't feel like I'm doing it wrong anymore. Apparently that tasty passive mana and HP regen that my mage enjoys when a Shadow Priest joins the group is one of those perks that one saves for when one has a tank.

Meanwhile, What's My Main Again? suggested that I try the talent that lengthens the stun duration on the cat's stealth opener by a second. A single second is one of those things that sounds stupid in the abstract, but in this case makes the difference between having the enemy come un-stunned before or after you've shredded its rear to mangled bits.

I still think that I'm more interested in OOMkin than the cat side of Druidism - a good thing since the combination I'm describing isn't even available until level 50 (!) - but adding the stun talent might elevate the spec from "don't bother" to "worth keeping on a dual spec slot".

Druids are the only class that has separate resource bars - a Shaman can dual spec caster DPS and melee DPS, but both sides use the same mana pool, which will be emptied when you click the switch spec button. By contrast, a Moonkin who runs totally out of mana 7 kills into a kill 10 rats quest can shift to kitty form, switch to a feral spec (you shift before respeccing because shifting costs mana, which you would have to regen after you specced), wait 5 seconds for their energy to regenerate, and go. Throw in the utility of being able to go into stealth mode, and this could be well worth the cost of dual speccing at level 40, even on a character that I'm not intending to use for group content.

Meanwhile jumping, clicking storm crow form, and instantly flying off is a very neat trick. So is dying your hair and having your cat form change colors. I can imagine clicking the barber button very frequently on the hypothetical Worgen druid if this is the type of perk I can look forward to. :)

Oh hai, I changed colors.


Anonymous said...

> "shift to kitty form, switch to a feral spec (you shift before respeccing because shifting costs mana, which you would have to regen after you specced)"

Last i checked, if you are in a cat or bear form while not feral, then switch spec from that form, it does *not* update your stats based on the new talents. E.g., you won't get mangle, or the improved crit chance.

This may have gotten fixed since i last ran into it; it may be that after the eek of that experience i've always made sure to change spec from tauren form.

Anyhoo, just innervate after any spec change. The cooldown (and effect) is so reduced you should use it whenever you can.

Anonymous said...

Ferals and Boomkin generally itemize differently too. Ferals going after the usual melee stats; boomkins chasing the usual caster stats. So a gear swap is needed too, but that's easily achieved with Outfitter or some other add-on.

Alaron said...

@GA Yeah, kitty soloing on non-elites feels a bit off; you can stealth Pounce->Rake->Maim, but since the Maim nerf, it's kinda pointless. If you go straight in, you can't shred, and Savage Roar/Rip is pretty inefficient since you need 5 CP's to use them effectively, so you're stuck with mangle+rake into a FB.

My advice: go Bear and AOE tank when you can for non-elites. For example, I usually do the "kill 15 cultists" daily in IC in 2 pulls. Bears have excellent DPS when multi-mob tanking (with the Maul glpyh) and great mobility.

@Anon1: I think spec-switching forces you into caster form? I'll try to check that when I get home.
Also, if going from Resto/Balance to feral...cast Lifebloomx3, then quickly swap spec (Lifebloom refunds half its mana cost when it expires). It's not much, but it's something.

Green Armadillo said...

@Anon1: I don't know about the passive stats, but shifting specs does NOT force you into caster form on the PTR, and I'm pretty sure I was able to use mangle after doing so. Non-elites are easy enough that I wouldn't know if I was missing some crit etc.

@Anon2 (or 1 if you're the same person): You don't need a third party add-on for that anymore, Blizzard's gear manager makes it pretty easy to make an alternate set and put it in an obscure corner of a hotbar somewhere. But yes, on paper it might make sense to put on your feral set first and heal up so that you'll be closer to max health after shifting.

@Alaron: Yeah, I suppose a real feral build wouldn't be able to spring for the two points to make pounce last long enough for a mangle+shred combo. Like I said, I'd mostly be keeping the feral build around as a stealth utility spec on a OOMkin, so I can afford to be a bit suboptimal.

What's my main Again? said...

@Alaron- You have to disconnect group dps from solo dps. In a group putting up your dots and savage roar are essential... but when you are soloing Burst is much more effecient and taking down mobs. Pounce>mangle>shred>shred>FB will kill a mob 90% of the time. A raid build though will not include those points in pounce... but then the same can be said for most specs in the game.

There are a lot of tools that are awesome in solo and almost usless in groups. Living bomb, for instance is one of a fire mages highest dps spells... but to use it in solo play is a waste because the chance of a mob living long enough to get the full effect of the dot and explosion isn't very high. Unless of course you are aoeing with it (dotting up a bunch of stuff and watching them explode when they get close to eachother).

On the same note many arcane mages drop Slow out of their build because it has little use in a raid environment.

Ultimately the success and enjoyment of solo play and leveling comes from picking a spec and build that feels natural and comfortable. Raid specs with long rotations become really clunky when you try and apply them to solo play. There are exceptions of course... my ele shaman plays the same inside and outside of raids... except outside of raids I'm too damn lazy to drop totems and stuff dies in 2 hits.