Thursday, December 11, 2008

Druids and Paladins in Patch 3.0.8

It looks like the next patch is finally coming. The notes are up on the official site. Oddly enough, it's 3.0.8 instead of 3.0.4 so Blizzard must've gone through a lot of internal builds since the launch of Wrath. I tip my hat to them. They've been busy people.

So what's in store for us tank/heal/dps hybrids?


  • Feral Attack Power: All weapons now have the potential to grant feral attack power based on their dps (as compared to the best superior-quality weapons available at level 60). Players will see their existing feral weapons grant roughly the same attack power as they did before (+/- 2 or so), but many new weapons will be options for the feral druid. Some feral weapons have had strength converted to attack power to be more appealing to other classes able to equip them. All druids will see the amount of feral attack power granted by an item in the item tooltip, if it grants any, but other players will not see that information.

  • Remove Curse and Abolish Poison can now be used in Moonkin form.

  • Genesis: Now works with Tranquility and Hurricane.

  • Growl: Range increased to 30 yards.

  • King of the Jungle - The Bear effect is now physical, and thus cannot be dispelled.

  • Nature's Grace - Now also effects Revive.

  • Primal Tenacity: Now reduces the cost of Bear Form, Cat Form, and Dire Bear Form by 17/33/50% in addition to its previous effects.

  • Protector of the Pack: No longer changes value based on party size.

  • Savage Roar: The buff now persists outside of Cat Form but only provides its benefits while in Cat Form.

  • Starfall will now be cancelled by any shapeshifting.

  • Survival of the Fittest: This talent now grants 22/44/66% bonus armor in Bear Form and Dire Bear Form in addition to all of its previous effects.

  • Swipe: Swipe (Cat) has now been added at level 71, dealing 260% weapon damage, costs 50 energy with no cooldown. All talents affecting the Bear Form version affect the Cat Form one as well.

  • Wild Growth now has a 6 second cooldown.

  • Most of it involves the promised changes to feral. The change to FAP could be a godsend for ferals. Assuming all the numbers work out, there won't be any more looking for that "special" FAP weapon. Primal Tenacity will be fantastic in PvP. (I sense a respec in my feral's future to pick up that talent again.) I just wish it affected travel form as well. There are few things more annoying in PvP than to pop out to cast, heal, and then realize you don't have the mana to return to bear (or cat, but usually bear is the most important when you're in trouble). Protector of the Pack is nice to prevent the yo-yo-ing of our armor based on the number party members and Survival of the Fittest… wow! My feral will be happy to have her armor back. Ever since the nerf to the base dire bear armor multiplier she's been feeling a little squishy in BGs.

    As far as balance druids goes, there are three items of note. One is the buff to Genesis, which has always been viewed as a talent for resto druids. Now the increased damage and healing will also affect Tranquility and Hurricane. It's not enough to really wow me as a moonkin since I still don't use either for the majority of boss fights, but it should help resto druids and balance/resto hybrids.

    The Starfall change raises a question in my mind though. It says it's canceled by any shapeshifting. Does that include going to caster form? I'd hate to lose the rest of my Starfall because I had to shift out to battle rez someone or bust out an emergency Tranquility.

    The final balance-specific item is that we can now use Abolish Poison in moonkin form, which is fantastic. We've already been able to cast Remove Curse (I've been doing it for Noth and Sapphiron in Naxx), but Abolish Poison will give us greater group utility without having to shift out.

    Lastly, though I didn't quote it above, mobs will be tagged as soon as the player casts any spell to make them aggressive to them. No more casting Entangling Roots or Moonfire only to see the mob turn gray before the first tick of damage sets in!

    And for the other side of me…


  • Avenging Wrath: Divine Shield, Divine Protection, and Hand of Protection, and Avenging Wrath cannot be used within 30 seconds of each other anymore. Forbearance removed from Avenging Wrath.

  • Divine Protection: The penalty has been removed.

  • Divine Shield: The penalty has been changed so that all damage done is reduced by 50% in place of an attack speed penalty.

  • Hand of Reckoning(NEW): Available on trainers at level 16. It’s a 30 yard range taunt that causes Holy damage.

  • Judgements of the Pure: This Holy talent now increases the damage done by Seals and Judgements.

  • Judgement of Wisdom: Now returns a percentage of base mana instead of a percentage of max mana.

  • Sacred Duty: Interaction with Divine Shield and Divine Protection removed, but stamina bonus increased.

  • I'm glad Avenging Wrath no longer causes forbearance. The 30 seconds could still be incredible inconvenient, especially in PvP where my paladin will have to choose between burst output and risking his own survival, but at least in PvE raids and instances where Divine Shield is less likely to be used I can be reasonable certain that it'll be okay to use Avenging Wrath.

    The change to Judgements of the Pure is a step in the right direction after all the previous nerfing to seals and judgements to bring down the ret pallies. A holy paladin's dps anecdotally seems to have been among the lowest of all healing specs for a while so it'll be nice to be able to do more damage. That's good for fools like me who like to holy tank and it'll be nice once I start leveling in earnest.

    Judgement of Wisdom saddens me though because it's my favorite judgement and while I haven't run the math I have the suspicion I'll get much less for it. It seems like I run out of mana often enough as it is (when I'm not instance healing). I continuously use JoW while solo-ing or tanking and my mana pool doesn't refresh as fast as I'd like as is. Though I don't have Divine Plea yet so that could be part of my problem. (Is it wrong to have tanked three Northrend instances and dps-ed one on my holy paladin and still be level 70?)

    The rest of the changes are of little interest to a holy paladin though the new Divine Protection is a nice tanking buff. I'm inclined to think that Sacred Duty is a buff, just based on the fact I've rarely felt the cooldown for Divine Protection and Divine Shield was too long while tanking. And the new Hand of Reckoning is a much needed single target taunt I'm sure I'll enjoy. The change to Divine Shield doesn't really bother me either way since I'm rarely attacking while my shield is up. In a way it could be a nerf since it affects damage rather than attack speed. Previously our instants such as Holy Shock weren't affected by that, but due to cooldowns even holy paladins rely on actual weapon swings to do dps.

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