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Shifting Perspectives: Answers to questions nobody asked, part 2

Allison Robert

What can I expect to gain/lose in stats between live servers and the beta?

Pretty much what you would have expected given Blizzard's previous statements on the stats they want to tweak. Sort of. Maybe. Again, this is beta. All you're going to see below is what my main's stats look like on the current beta patch with the current El Busto version of the druid talent trees, for whatever that's worth (which is to say, not very much).

This is a snapshot of my main on the live servers, completely unbuffed, in bear form while running a standard druid tanking spec:

HP: 50,757 (caster form is 38,987)
Mana: 6,096
Melee speed: 2.24
Attack power: 7595
Hit: 244
Expertise: 38
Armor: 32,452 (68.06% damage reduction)
Dodge: 44.81%

And this is the same character in the same gear at the same level running Kalon's new suggested bear build:

HP: 54,807 (caster form is 41,927)
Mana: 5,616
Melee speed: 2.19
Attack power: 4401
Hit: 244
Crit: 48.20%
Expertise: 38
Armor: 28,512 (65.18% damage reduction)
Dodge: 45.93%

Snapshot of my main while specced resto and in tree form (i.e., what we're currently balanced around using) on the live servers:

HP: 21,187
Mana: 24,411
Healing: 3,433
Crit: 13.90%
Haste: 873 (yes, I'm over the soft haste cap)
Mana regen: 907 mp5 out of combat, 490 while casting
Armor: 12,205 armor in tree form (44.48% damage reduction) and 4,187 armor in caster (21.56% DR)

That same character on the beta server outside of tree form running a basic resto spec:

HP: 31,897
Mana: 28,896
Healing: 3,364
Crit: 15.73%
Haste: 873
Mana regen: 894 mp5 out combat, 456 while casting
Armor: 19,603 armor in caster (55.58% DR)

Hey, wait a minute. What about cats?

"World server is down." Welcome to beta!

What does the new version of tree form look like?

Your guess is as good as mine. Right now it's still the Dying Broccoli model we've got on live.

What's rage generation like now that it's been "normalized?"

Rage generation seems fine, at least for the moment. You'll hear from me again on this after I get the chance to tank some runs, but I was pleasantly surprised while taking my main for a spin through heroic Shattered Halls (see below).

How are the new resto talents playing out?

Insert helpless shrug here. Efflorescence isn't working. Empowered Touch isn't working. I'm not even sure how much of the tree isn't working because I don't think that mastery's in the game yet, and healing just feels weird as a whole. Unfortunately for me, the new tree cooldown's speed penalty is working and it's already an enormous pain in the ass. Blackrock Caverns with a nasty boss AoE got unpleasant fast.

How are the new feral talents playing out?

This is pretty much the same deal as resto, although the spec does outwardly seem to be more functional. Or at least it does until you realize that bear damage is bugged (e.g., Swipe is only hitting for about 243 a pop) and you can't hold aggro in the event that one of your noncombat pets decides to attack.

I was horrified to discover the loss of Improved Leader of the Pack. Not a good day.

What's the best part of the beta so far?

I feel kinda bad about being negative in this column, because the truth is I've spent most of my time there with a big silly grin pasted on my face for the following reasons:
  • Flying in the old world. It is glorious.
  • The character selection/creation screen. Click over to the male worgen death knight when you can.
  • Blizzard's less-than-serious in-game references to how much work they're still doing on the expansion.
  • The cat's Skull Bash animation is cute.
  • Anything to do with goblins or worgen.
  • Seeing the most annoying, time-consuming, soul-destroying questing areas in the old world blown up.
  • The overall sense that Cataclysm is everything that you liked about World of Warcraft but 10 times better.
As an aside, there's been a lot of changes to specific zones, and not so many changes to others. You'll be flying over mountains or previously-inaccessible portions of the world and you'll notice a lot of places that are oddly empty. I can only assume these were the sites of a quick patch job by programmers to get them flying-compatible. If Blizzard wants to do so, it has a ton of places to spend changing patch by patch if Deathwing's cataclysm is a process rather than a one-time event.

So how many times have you killed yourself on the live servers jumping off Thunder Bluff before realizing on the way down it wasn't the beta?

Only twice. Honest.

Trainers don't train stuff like Mangle anymore. How do we get it?

When you pick a talent specialization, you immediately get whatever "bread and butter" ability is yoked to that particular tree. For example, if you pick the feral tree, Mangle becomes available in your spellbook. If you pick resto, Swiftmend becomes available.

Once you've picked a tree, you have to spend at least 31 points in it to be able to get points from an additional tree, e.g. if you go feral, you can't touch talents like Furor or Blessing of the Grove in the restoration tree until you've got 31 points in feral.

Is Pulverize working and what the hell does that tooltip mean?

I got this wrong earlier. Pulverize does work, although not in the sense that it's hugely useful for tanking right now due to bear damage going into the toilet. Anyway, the deal with the ability is that you stack Lacerate to whatever number you want, smash Pulverize, get a big chunk of instant damage in return for sacrificing your Lacerate stacks (all of them), and gain a crit buff for however many seconds you've talented into. I took a road trip to heroic Shattered Halls to see what tanking would be like without the pressure of having to hold aggro against other players and reached 64% crit after Pulverizing a Lacerate five-stack. Unfortunately, Pulverize itself wasn't/isn't hitting all that hard: I saw numbers around 2,900-3,200ish. Not hugely inspiring, but it's almost certainly the victim of the bear's bugged damage.

Druids sound fun! I think I'll make a premade.

Don't bother unless you only want to play balance. Premade druids are only arriving in game with a balance and cat set, but no feral weapon. If you want to play a moonkin, you're all set, but you're not well-placed to do much of anything else.

Every week, Shifting Perspectives treks across Azeroth in pursuit of truth, beauty and insight concerning the druid class. Sometimes it finds the latter, or something good enough for government work. Whether you're a bear, cat, moonkin, tree or stuck in caster form, we've got the skinny on druid changes in patch 3.3, a look at the disappearance of the bear tank, and thoughts on why you should be playing the class (or why not).

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