Tag Archives: cataclysm

Lather, Rinse, Repeat

Patch 5.4 and Siege of Orgrimmar was released on September 10, 2013. We’ve been in there for 4 months so far but to me it feels more like 4 years.

This week we learned that there is another PVP season planned during Mists. This means we’re likely looking at another 6 months in Siege of Orgrimmar before Warlord of Draenor comes out. At least. Blizzard does a lot of things well, but pacing their raid content releases is not one of them.

The most recent three expansions have had a pretty distinct pattern when it came to time spent in a tier vs. number of encounters available in that tier. The first tier goes quick. There are a lot of encounters, but the tier isn’t current for that long. In the middle tier, the ratio of encounters:time goes down – the tier stays current for roughly the same amount of time (give or take a month), but there are less bosses to fight. In the final tier of an expansion that encounter:time ratio drops even more. We get more bosses than the middle tier, but the tier drags on for 10-12 months while we wait for the next expansion to be released.

Wrath of the Lich King
Tier 7  (5 months, 18 encounters – 3.6 encounters/month)
Tier 8  (3.5 months, 23 encounters 6.6 encounters/month)
Tier 9  (4 months, 11 encounters – 2.75 encounters/month)
Tier 10 (1 year, 26 encounters – 2.2 encounters/month)  

Tier 11 (6.5 months, 25 encounters – 3.8 encounters/month)
Tier 12 (5 months, 14 encounters – 2.8 encounters/month)
Tier 13 (10 months, 16 encounters – 1.6 encounters/month)

Mists of Pandaria
Tier 14 (5 months, 32 encounters – 6.4 encounters/month)
Tier 15 (6 months, 25 encounters – 4.2 encounters/month)
Tier 16 (10 months?, 28 encounters – 2.8 encounters/month)

Tier 8 (Ulduar) in Wrath of the Lich King is an outlier in this – an example of creating a tier that was amazing in both quality and quantity, but then pushing it to the background with another tier extremely quickly. WotLK is also a bit of an anomaly in that it was the only time in any expansion (or original WoW) that we got 4 raid tiers.

The question is…why the hell do they keep doing this?

I can understand some front-loading of content. When a new expansion comes out, having a ton of new content is going to help convince people to purchase it. But they need to spread the content out better. Here’s what my generally mindset looks like as expansions proceed:

Game is released
“Oh my god, there’s so much to do! Level! Get rep! Get enough gear to start raiding! Try to check out the new features that were introduced.”

First raid tier ends
“I wish it had lasted longer! I’m sure my raid could have defeated a couple more raid bosses if we had an extra month, and there’s still so much other stuff to do.”

Second raid tier ends
“I feel good about this tier. We had a decent amount of time to progress, and I’m ready for a change of scenery.”

Six months into the final raid tier
“Is this tier ever going to end? Can we hear some news about when the next expansion is coming? Pleeeease.”

Eight to twelve months into the final raid tier
“I’m so bored, we killed everything months ago and playing has been a huge waste of my life for the last few months. Fuck this fucking game, I hate it.”

They need to learn to hold something back. Maybe instead of having 3 raid instances at the start of the xapc, only put out 2 and save one for the last tier. I know I’m not the only one who gets bored doing the same, single raid for almost a year.

Mists of Pandaria also had the least amount of raid zones. In Burning Crusade we had 8 different raids – Karazhan, Magtheridon’s Lair, Gruul’s Lair, Serpentshrine Cavern, Tempest Keep, Hyjal, Black temple and Sunwell. Some of these only had one or two bosses, but 8 raids make for a tremendous amount of variety in scenery, lore and types of bosses encountered. It makes things much more interesting. In Wrath of the Lich King there were 9 different raids. In Cataclysm we had only 6 raid zones. In Mists? Only 5, and 3 of them were squished into the first 5 months. This made for a lot of monotony over the next 10 months.

Is providing varied, interesting raid zones becoming less of a priority?  It seems that in Warlords, a lot of attention is being paid to allowing people to raid in 700 different ways (LFR, normal, heroic, flex, cross-realm, mythic). How much attention will be paid to the variety and amount of raid zones themselves?

After the original release and four expansions, will Blizzard ever learn how to not suck at timing their raid content releases?

Tier 11 Retrospective

With Firelands on the horizon, Tier 11 raiding is coming to an end and I’ve been thinking about how this tier measures up.


Tier 11 served as a huge wake-up call after Tier 10. I played with a number of people in ICC who I thought were fairly competent raiders. Then we stepped into BWD. With no 30% buff to back people up, all of a sudden they didn’t seem so competent anymore. Spending 6+ months being completely overpowered for the content we were doing certainly made raiding in Tier 11 a challenge to start with. Everyone had to remember how to play again.

I really liked the step-up in difficulty. Normal modes were doable, but most had at least one or two tricky mechanics to overcome. Nefarian and Al’Akir were much more challenging (as end-bosses, they should be) though I found Cho’gall to be a bit of a disappointment.

I’ve only done half the available hard-modes, but overall, I’m very pleased with the difficulty there. Halfus makes a good stepping-stone into the world of heroics and I feel like there really is a progression – some bosses take only a night or two to master while some take many, many attempts and lots of trial and error.

Atmosphere and Aesthetics

Blackwing Descent was nothing we hadn’t seen before. It looks and feels very much like the rest of the Blackrock Mountain instances and raids. The lava pit where you fight Nefarian is the most interesting part of the instance as far as looks go. I did enjoy Nef’s introductions to the boss fights, it helps to tie everything together from a story perspective.

I really disliked Bastion of Twilight. There wasn’t anything interesting about how it looked, it was just a bunch of generic rooms and corridors and no real scripted events or story infused into the place.

Throne of the Four Winds was gorgeous. It’s certainly the best raid in terms of looks. It was a very nice change to have a raid in the great outdoors with pretty, bright colours and interesting architecture.

Tier 11 was pretty weak in this category. Though TotFW was very pretty, the raids overall weren’t that impressive in terms of atmosphere. Compared to the wonderfully detailed, varying and lore-infused raids like Karazhan, Ulduar, Black Temple and Mount Hyjal, Tier 11 fell flat.

Staying Power

I love that we had 3 distinct raids to work in, it really helped to prevent boredom.

I think the length of Tier 11 was good. I began raiding in January, meaning I spent ~6 months raiding this content. Though there has been the occasional time where I wished for new content already, it has managed to keep my interest. Honestly, I wouldn’t mind it if Firelands were pushed back a bit and I got to spend a few more weeks with this content. I think there are one or two more hard modes that are doable for both my guilds.

The Bosses

This is the most important part. How were the bosses? Were the mechanics interesting? Were they fun and challenging to heal?

Bastion of Twilight

I feel like Bastion of Twilight as a whole was weak. I can’t put my finger on the problem exactly, but whenever BoT is on the raid schedule I don’t feel nearly as excited as I do about spending a night in BWD. Perhaps it’s the trash. I think I’ve been killed by the first trash packs and the awful elementals before Ascendant Council more than I’ve been killed by any boss in there. Perhaps it’s the atmosphere – gloomy, with very few interesting things to look at.  Maybe it’s the bosses – there are only 4 of them and none of them stick out as particularly exciting or fun to heal. Or maybe it’s the uneven difficutly range of the hard modes. Most guilds kill Halfus as their first hard mode, then ignore the other BoT hard modes completely while they master 4 or 5 others in BWD and possibly Throne. Coming back to kill normal V&T, AC and Cho’gall always seemed like a let-down compared to the rest of the boss fights available.

Throne of the Four Winds

This raid instance is quite polarizing. Some people love it while others never want to step foot in it again. I enjoy the place for the most part. Conclave of Wind and Al’akir have new, interesting mechanics and can be quite challenging. I do have a few complaints though.

Conclave of Wind

I found this fight unique and a lot of fun, especially on heroic. There are a lot of mechanics to master, a lot of bad things to avoid (damn you Wind Blast) and a lot of coordination needed between platforms. Heal, heal, run away, heal,  fly through the air, heal, heal, move, heal, heal, jump. This fight really keeps you on your toes. It does have its downsides though. Because of how far apart everyone was, I often felt helpless. People would die on other platforms and I knew I couldn’t do anything to stop it – it was quite frustrating. However, when you finally master the fight it feels pretty fucking amazing.


Though this fight is interesting and I learned it can be fun (after many, many, many wipes) I don’t think this encounter was successful. The first phase is too RNG dependent. Too many bad things converge at once and you’re pretty much out of luck. Phase 3 is frustrating. There are some players who just aren’t good at navigating through 3 dimensions. I even found it difficult to judge my position correctly on this fight, which I found surprising since I thought I had mastered that back in my Dreamwalker portal days. I know very few people who look forward to repeat kills on Al’Akir once they’ve gotten the one they need for their title.

Blackwing Descent

I think BWD was the high point of Tier 11 raiding. Each boss fight tested something different: healing, tanking, dps, awareness, damage avoidance, coordination.


I love healer checks, so I loved this fight. More than any other boss fight, Chimaeron made me change the way I healed. I couldn’t rely on Rejuv and WG to heal Caustic Slime damage, I had to use direct heals, and I had to use them fast. I really appreciated that. Healers develop certain patterns for healing and Chimaeron made you reconsider those to adapt to the fight. Variety is always a good thing.


I really like the sound mechanic in this fight. It enforces that everyone is in charge of their own survival. Screw up and everyone sees you get pelted by massive fireballs that can’t be healed through. If that isn’t a deterrent to standing in bad things, I don’t know what is.


Nefarian is everything an end of dungeon boss should be. It tests healers, tanks and dps. It tests coordination, kiting ability, interrupts, running out of fire, and each raider’s ability to jump out of lava and onto a pillar (which can be the hardest part of all). It took my 25-man guild ~65 attempts to get our first Nef kill, and that seems to be a fairly common number. The fight required a lot of practice and hard work and made for a very rewarding kill.


Overall, I think Tier 11 was strong. Through Bastion of Twilight fell short for me, Throne was interesting and gorgeous and Blackwing Descent was a very strong raid that kept my attention for a full 6 months. It wasn’t the best tier – it doesn’t compare to the awesomeness that was Tier 6 (Black Temple & Mount Hyjal), but I think it’s been more enjoyable than any tier in Wrath (Ulduar-lovers will likely argue with me on that).

What do you think? Does Tier 11 still amuse you after 6 months? Any bosses you love or hate?

Resto druid specs for 4.0.6

Looking for a spec for 4.1? Look here.

4.0.6 brought a few changes to the restoration talent tree. These changes are:

  • Empowered Touch now also affects Regrowth. In addition, after Tree of Life is no longer active, this talent will only refresh the most recently cast or refreshed Lifebloom, and will not refresh other copies of Lifebloom.
  • Natural Shapeshifter has been reduced to a 3/6-second increase to Tree of Life’s duration, down from 5/10.
  • Nature’s Bounty no longer affects Swiftmend, but now has a new effect. When the druid has Rejuvenation on 3 or more targets, the cast time of Nourish is reduced by 10/20/30%.

There are currently a LOT of desirable talents in the resto and balance trees, but unfortunately we don’t have the points to take them all. Individual specs will vary based on playstyle and gear level.

Here is a basic spec that includes all the talents that I consider mandatory for PVE:

Basic restoration druid spec for 4.0.6

This is a very bare bones spec. It leaves 5 points that must be spent in the restoration tree, plus another 10 points that can be spent elsewhere. The mandatory resto talents are:
Natural Shapeshifter
Heart of the Wild
Master Shapeshifter
Improved Rejuvenation
Nature’s Bounty (at least a couple points)
Empowered Touch
Malfurion’s Gift
Wild Growth
Nature’s Cure
Gift of the Earthmother
Tree of Life

Here are some possible talent specs:

Efflorescence spec

Restoration druid spec with EfflorescenceLink

If Efflorescence is something you just can’t give up, I’d suggest a spec like this. It leaves room to put full points in Nature’s Bounty and GotEM, while still leaving room for mana talents like Moonglow and 1 point in Furor. If mana isn’t too much of a concern you can flip some of those points into Genesis or Swift Rejuvenation.

Efflorescence-free zone

Restoration druid spec without EfflorescenceLink

If the six points in Living Seed and Efflorescence are too excessive for you, try out a spec like this. You can use your 6 ‘found’ talent points to fill out other optional talents in the resto tree with things like Swift Rejuvenation, Nature’s Swiftness and Blessing of the Grove. This leaves 2 points to spend as you like. Go with Furor if you need more mana, Genesis if you want more throroughput or Perseverence for damage reduction.

Screw mana, give me more thoroughput

Restoration druid spec without mana talentsLink

If you’ve got the gear and a variety of mana cooldowns in your raid group, mana might not be an issue for you. If that’s the case, try out a spec that maximizes healing output. The big difference in this spec is that is takes 3 points in Genesis, and none in Moonglow or Furor. This spec leaves you with one point to spend as you choose: you best bets are Swift Rejuvenation or Nature’s Swiftness.

Note: I have updated my Restoration Druid Guide to include the changes from 4.0.6, please check it out.


Restoration Druid Guide for Cataclysm

My resto druid guide has been put together and posted. It includes information on talents, spells, glyphs and stats. I will be updating it as changes are made and will likely be adding new sections on dungeon and raid healing strategies shortly.

If you have any comments or notice any mistakes, please comment here or send me an email at cannotbetamed@gmail.com.

Cataclysm Restoration Druid Guide

Resto Druid Guide: Glyphs

Druids don’t get a lot of choices for glyphs. Here’s a review of the ones available to us.

Prime GlyphPrime

There is really no question when it comes to which Prime Glyphs to choose.

The good:

Glyph of Lifebloom – Increases the critical strike chance of your Lifebloom by 10%. Lifebloom is something you should be keeping up 100% of the time, so this is a very valuable glyph. The crit applies to both the ticks and the bloom.

Glyph of Rejuvenation – Increases the healing done by your Rejuvenation by 10%. Rejuv should still be getting a lot of use for raid healing so this is a nice glyph.

Glyph of Swiftmend – Your Swiftmend no longer consumes a Regrowth or Rejuvenation effect from the target. Excellent for two reasons: First, we don’t have to spend the mana to re-apply the HoT if it’s consumed. Second, if you consume another druid’s HoTs you will receive a beating.

The bad:

Glyph of Regrowth – Your Regrowth heal over time will automatically refresh its duration on targets below 25% health. This is a poor choice for a number of reasons: Regrowth is too expensive and not used much, the HoT only lasts for 6 seconds and ticks for an insubstantial amount, no one should be under 25% health for too long. Skip this one. *We’ve been promised a change for this glyph so it may become more useful in the future*

Major GlyphMajor

In the Major Glyphs, we’ve got two clear winners and then a choice between two situational glyphs.

The good:

Glyph of Rebirth – Players resurrected by Rebirth are returned to life with 100% health. With this glyph we don’t have to worry so much about battle rezzing at the perfect time to avoid our target dying again due to raid-wide damage. This also saves the mana it would take to heal the rezzed person.

Glyph of Wild Growth – Wild Growth can effect 1 additional target. A nice improvement to our major AoE healing spell.

The Situational:

Glyph of Healing Touch – When you cast Healing Touch, the cooldown on your Nature’s Swiftness is reduced by 10 seconds. If you don’t have Nature’s Swiftness in your spec, obviously this is a bad choice. If you do it could be useful in order to get out more emergency heals.

Glyph of Innervate – When Innervate is cast on a friendly target other than the caster, the caster will gain 50% of the Innervates effect. I’d place this above Glyph of HT in terms of usefulness, but it depends on your group makeup. If you play with another resto druid, definitely take this and trade Innervates with them. If some mean raid leader expects you to Innervate other people (the horror!), definitely take it. If you’re the only resto druid and you use your Innervates on yourself, it becomes useless.

Minor GlyphMinor

Minor glyphs don’t effect combat mechanics and are really a matter of personal preference.

Glyph of Unburdened Rebirth – Your rebirth spell no longer requires a reagent. This is the most useful minor for me. It saves an inventory slot and helps avoid the embarrassment of having to announce that you can’t battle rez because you have no reagents.

Glyph of Mark of the Wild – The cost of Mark of the Wild is reduced by 50%. This is useful if you need to buff someone mid-fight.

Glyph of the Treant – Your Tree of Life form now resembles a Treant. If you don’t care for looking like Grampa tree, you can go back to wilted broccoli for your Tree of Life look.

Glyph of Aquatic Form – Increases your swim speed by 50% when in Aquatic Form. This could come in handy if any underwater fights are introduced, but for now it’s just nice for swimming around Vashj’ir.

Glyph of Dash – Reduces the cooldown on your Dash ability by 20%. Could occasionally be useful if you use kitty>dash to move around in fights.

Don’t forget to carry around some Dust of Disappearance so you can switch your glyphs to suit particular fights.

My full resto druid guide can be found here.

Hola Amigos!

I am back from Mexico!

Unfortunately I have nothing to post now because I’m too busy trying to catch up with everyone and get my characters leveled. Jasyla’s almost level 82 and my poor little priest (my new Horde main) is only level 70. You know what sucks? Having to level through Northrend when new content is out.

I felt a little lost when I signed on yesterday. I ran around Stormwind for a bit looking for all my trainers and trying to figure out what to do. But now I’ve gotten the hang of things. I’ve done some quests in Hyjal and Vash’jir, explored most of the new zones (oh my god, Uldum is amazing! Can’t wait to quest there), and have done three of the new dungeons. Overall, Cataclysm is a lot of fun so far.

There probably won’t be any posts here for a couple of days, but I will get to work on responding to all the comments left while I was gone.

Cataclysm leveling spec

Wondering where you should put your shiny new talent points once you starting leveling past 80?

I’ve got this as a starting point at level 80. As you level, you’re likely going to want to take talents that help your mana bar. These are Furor and Malfurion’s Gift. Put points in those talents (doesn’t really matter which one comes first) to give yourself some extra sustainability in the new, tougher 5-man dungeons. Once you reach 85, your spec will look like this:

Resto druid leveling spec for CataclysmLink