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After long hours of tweaking, I’m happy to announce that the new website is ready for your viewing pleasure. Please visit http://fluiddruid.net for continued shapeshifty goodness!

If you subscribe to this blog via RSS, the new feed address is http://feeds.feedburner.com/fluiddruid (or click the large orange button on the new website!) Please update your feedreaders, as I will not be posting to the old feed from now on.

New Features:

  • Forums! This is the part I’m most excited about. Blogs are great for one-way conversations, but they tend to be lacking for in-depth discussion. I hope to build a good-sized community of fellow WoW players here who are interested in developing their skills. (Of course, if you just want to post lolcats, that’s totally cool too.) Please let me know what you think, either via comments or on the forum. I’m still working on the forum themes…it took me 3 hours tonight to figure out why my theme wasn’t displaying any buttons. Finally realized that the board language was set to American English (enUS) but the theme images were set up for British English (en). Bah.
  • Wowhead tooltips! All those kitty gear guides that I posted previously? Now Powered by Wowhead (TM).
  • Kickin’ styles! Well, sort of. This will be my first site, so I’ve taught myself bits of CSS, PHP, and phpBB over the past few days. I now know enough to be overconfident. :)

About the Ads:

You will quickly notice a small Google Adsense box on the new website, so I’ll address that now. This is up here primarily to appease my significant other, who wants to know why I waste so much time on some silly blog. :) I get a lot of traffic from search engines from people who come here for one of my guides and disappear–this is who I am targeting these ads at. Most of my regular visitors have some sort of adblock tool installed anyway, from what I understand, so hopefully this is not an issue. The forums and RSS feed will remain ad-free. (Unless someone offers me like three figures. Yeah, I’m cheap.)

To Come:

Now that the site coding/design work is at a lull (for now), I’ve got several topics that I hope to knock out posts on soon.

  • Cat Gearing Guide, Part 4 (ICC-25): Let’s get to the good stuff.
  • Kitty Trinket Analysis: Should I use the Deathbringer’s Needle-Encrusted War Token, or the Whispering Verdict of Victory? We’ll figure it out!
  • PanzerKitty: What to Do When the Boss Likes You
  • Advanced Feline Concepts: A few tips on how to eke out extra bits of DPS on each encounter.
  • Auto John F’ing Madden: How to use Ovale to maximize your DPS
  • Why Hunters Must Die for Stealing our Weapons…err, okay, that’s enough for one day.

I’ll be adding many more sites to the blogroll…please post if I’d already talked to you, as I’ve got a lot going on right now. Enjoy the new site!

Site upgrade coming soon

I haven’t put pen to paper fingers to keyboard recently on this blog, since I’ve actually buckled down and started working on a new self-hosted site for it. It’s actually up and running now, but I still have a bit more work to do on it before going public (should be sometime this week). I’ve got several topics that I’m excited to be covering.

Screamin Mimi

We were pretty stretched for people last night, due to some unexpected cancellations/issues, so  we decided to go do some Ulduar, after zerging Naxx for the weekly. (It’s a bit sad when you can down Anub’Rekhan in under a minute.) Apparently, CD had tried to get to Algalon-25, but never made it through Mimiron HM, and had set it aside when TOC came out. After a breezy clear, we get to Mimi, and our RL asks for those with healing off-specs to go heals for some learning attempts.

Now, I hadn’t healed in a while, but I still had a decent T9 set in my bags, so I threw that on, quickly set up my spell bindings in Vuhdo (lost all my settings in the move, haven’t healed since) and was ready to rock…I thought. (Note: I’ve never done 25M Ulduar past Auriaya, period.) Phase 1 wasn’t too bad, once we worked out spacing issues. Phase 2?

HOLY S***. HOW did people do this in Ulduar-level gear? My stream of consciousness was something like this:

rejuvrejuvgetoutoffirerejuvdodgerocketrejuvgroupdyingWGSMcraponfiremoverejuv
crapmeleeoutofrangemoveWGrejuvabouttodiebarkskinrejuvNSHT
dodgelasersmovecrapcleararcisburningrejuvWGwtf20%manainnervahhburnin….kindling.

Okay, our full-time resto druid can take over, I’m done now. Seriously. I looked at WoL, and the P2 raid damage is roughly equal to BQL raid damage, and burstier. Thank GOD our RL marked group leaders; it was all I could do to follow that triangle (and I failed a lot…I’m pretty sure I took the most flame damage for the whole raid)

We actually almost beat him; we lost half the melee to a frost bomb in P4 and couldn’t make the enrage timer. Bah.

(Hopefully, there’s a couple old cannon-cockers out there who get the title reference.)

I’ve been waiting to comment on the new mastery system until we got a little more info, but I feel compelled to note Eyonix’s clarification today, as it directly affects feral druids.

First, the original Mastery summary:

…Here’s how the system works: As you spend points in a given talent tree, you’ll receive three different passive bonuses specific to that tree. The first bonus will increase your damage, healing, or survivability, depending on the intended role of the tree. The second bonus will be related to a stat commonly found on gear desirable to you, such as Haste or Crit. The third bonus will be the most interesting, as it will provide an effect completely unique to that tree — meaning there will be 30 different bonuses of this nature in the game. This third bonus is the one that will benefit from the Mastery rating found on high-level (level 80 to 85) gear.

Several examples were given in the original post, such as a holy priest which received +%healing, +mana regen, and small HoTs on direct heals. You will only get this bonus from the tree in which you have the most points, and there will be a cap to discourage 0/0/76 type builds. Now, while this is a good system, I (among others) were unsure on how it would handle ferals (and DKs) who have two separate roles within the same tree. Hence, today’s clarification:

2) Ferals will have passive bonuses that say Cat: melee damage done, Bear: damage reduction. For death knights we have a different plan in mind that we’re not quite ready to discuss. DKs are undergoing some slight changes so they aren’t so GCD constrained and are less limited by rune cooldowns.

So, presumably, bonus 1 will be Bear +damage reduction / Cat +damage increase, bonus 2 will be +agility, and bonus 3? Dunno. Maybe Cat +bleed damage, Bear +%HP? That sounds pretty good, and it also sounds like we’ll be able to continue with a limited hybrid spec for early content.

PP down

Well, that wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought it was going to be. Got him on our ninth pull and had an hour left in our raid time to wipe on Sindragosa trash. :) We effectively 24-manned, since we had a healer auto-release (oops), so I think we would have still gotten him without the buff.

Fight tips:

  • Pick a strategy for experiment management and stick with it. We kept PP permanently on the green side; this let our melee stay stacked up to take a hit, or move with the slime and then jump in front for ranged. Gas clouds were easier; the target kites it past PP so the melee can break off and kill it quickly without having to run halfway across the room. It sounds complicated, but it’s not too difficult after a few attempts.
  • Managing phase transitions are a pain, but it’s important, especially going into P3 (you lose the abom, so no slows on the add). We were stopping DPS on PP at 36%, which worked most of the time. If you’re having problems with this, try splitting DPS with PP at 36-37% while a slime’s up. An add at 20% health isn’t a big deal, but an add at 100% health will probably wipe your raid.
  • Tanks really have to be on the ball for this one, kiting wise. The slime’s easy to stay out of; the choking gas bombs, not so much, but make the effort. Melee DPS will be target switching so much that they’ll have trouble tracking the gas bomb timers (I know I did). Our tank did an amazing job of kiting PP, and our other

Feral tips:

  • Bears make for a great OT here, since they can go cat and dps P1/P2.
  • Use your speed! You should be in on every slime stack (unless your strategy dictates otherwise). Pop Barkskin to help mitigate the damage. Also try to position yourself so that the explosion sends you back towards PP; if your DPS is reasonable (and it should be if you’ve made it here), the slime should be mostly dead at the first explosion, so you can just switch back to PP; this will save you some time.
  • Save FC/Dash for getting back to PP. Dash is also great for kiting the Gas Cloud (If it’s up, pop BS to help with the damage)
  • Berserk in P1 and on CD in P2; save the third for P3.
  • Do NOT get hit by Choking Gas in P3. The tank should be kiting away from them, but he’ll be constrained by slime. They’re almost impossible to spot (IMHO) if you don’t see them spawn, so keep your eyes open when the timer goes off.
  • I didn’t on the kill, but in retrospect, one of our previous wipes might have been a kill if I’d used Tranquility. With NI, you’ll be kicking out 10K hps for 8 sec. Great for keeping the tanks propped up for the final 5%. It’s especially good to do this if you get hit by the Choking Gas, as you’re pretty useless dps-wise until that wears off.

This and that

Not a lot to say tonight; just a few random thoughts floating through my brain that don’t really deserve their own post. We’ll call them postettes. (postellas?)

  • Personally, I’m pretty happy with the DPS I’ve been doing. I don’t have a good measurement for this week, but I did pull top DPS for my “segment” on BQL. (As in, I was one of the last 8 to get bitten, and I was ninth on overall DPS, just over 10k.) As much as I enjoyed shepherding my previous guild, it’s a welcome change to be nearer to the bottom of the DPS charts than the bottom. I should come up a little bit as well next week, now that my desktop has finally arrived from Korea…DPSing at 4-5 FPS is a challenge. I’m okay with the standard rotation, but as soon as I start having to move, things get ugly.
  • It’s a bit unfortunate that we chose BQL as our first end-wing boss to work on, as the 5% buff makes the gear check much, much easier. We had the mechanics down two weeks ago, but never the raw DPS/HPS (we’d always lose at least one person coming out of the 2nd air phase). We probably put in 30+ attempts over those two weeks (and there was more before I joined the guild) and the closest we came was 3% before our first kill last Sunday (pre-buff, FWIW). After the buff, we rolled in there with one less DPS than normal (went 7 heals instead of 6), with a few key people out, and 4-shot her. We also downed VDW for the first time…not a terribly difficult fight, it just takes a few attempts for the healers to get used to the portals/buffs. (And apparently, they’re hotfixing that to make it easier as well.) We’re taking our first shots at PP tomorrow night. I’m still amazed at the amount of progress we’re making though…we raid 8.5 hours per week, and we’re a top 5ish guild on our server. (Or maybe we’re just a backwater server…who cares.)
  • Speaking of the ICC buff, I don’t really have a problem with it; however, they really should have found a way to prevent it from being applied in heroic before they rolled it out. (At this rate, once the buff hits 30%, we’ll have people pugging the heroic version and skipping normal, just like heroics.) At the very least, have achievements that differentiate. Since it’s impossible to tell if a kill was done with it off, I predict that 99.5% of guilds will leave it on (and many of those will lie about it).

Aissi brought up a good point in the comments to my last post, noting that the 3 points previously used to take Imp. Mangle were now freed up to take Feral Aggression. Technically, that’s correct, but really, all I can say is “meh.” Imp. Mangle currently is worth about .5% DPS per talent point (so it was okay but never that good to begin with) and Feral Aggression is worth about .2% (blech). After the Mangle changes, Imp. Mangle will be worth about .1% DPS per talent point (double blech). Sure, you can move 3 points into FA if you want, but we’re talking a TINY increase. As in, my projected DPS goes from 10579 to 10621, a .4% increase. Remember, this is assuming perfect fight conditions with no movement, where you have surplus energy and CP’s to burn on bites. (FA gets a bit better if you’re ArPen capped…but I’m not talking to you. Shoo, vastly OP kitty…but give me your DBW before you go.)

Seriously. Look again at your utility, and remember you’re a hybrid class. I’m still going 0/5 FA, and maxing Nurturing Instinct (+20% healing received, plus a halfway decent Tranquility) and going for Imp. LOTP (extra passive healing is never bad) or Protector of the Pack for vastly improved emergency tanking. It even works out mathematically; in the case of Nurturing Instinct, I’m trading .4% personal DPS (from FA) for 20% personal heals, or a .8% increase in raid heals (even more in 10-man). Think about it.

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