Sunday, August 29, 2010

Cataclysm Druid Armor Set Bonuses

I am a big fan of armor set bonuses.  They present Blizzard with the opportunity to gift new and interesting class mechanics upon dedicated raiders.  When we review the List of Druid Set Bonuses, we see that the developers have frequently taken advantage of the chance to flex their creative muscles.  The transformation of Enrage into a defensive cooldown in tier ten, the instant cast Starfires in tier eight, and critical Rejuvenation ticks in tier nine; each succeeded in changing the way a particular spec played.

The problem with tier bonuses, however, is that each new one must be bigger and better than the last.  An inferior set bonus can easily turn a new raid set into a total dud.  With Cataclysm on the horizon, Blizzard once again has the challenge of crafting a new set of mechanical goodies to accompany the expansion's first raid set.

Unfortunately, no word has yet been released on what Cataclysm's tier set bonuses will be.  Nevertheless, what's to stop us from coming up with our own tier bonus ideas.  Seeing as this is Druid Digest, I thought it might be fun to come up with some hypothetical Druid set bonuses for as of yet unreleased tier eleven.  Check out my ideas after the bump and feel free to leave yours in the comments.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Dual Specialization Price Reduced in Cataclysm Beta

The price of learning a second class specialization has just dropped in the Cataclysm Beta.  Where as the feature costs 1,000 gold on the live servers, the Beta price has been reduced to only 100 gold.  It is unclear at this point whether the change went into place simply to facilitate more specialization testing within the Beta or whether it is ultimately intended to go live.

Personally, I really hope that the change is a legitimate re-evaluation of the feature's price.  At level 40, 1,000 gold is a pretty heavy price, especially for characters which are not being supported by a level 80 sugar-daddy.  I also firmly believe that the dual spec is a welcome convenience which greatly benefits the entire World of Warcraft community.  More people being able to afford a second spec can be nothing but good in my opinion.  Then again, as a chronic altoholic and hybrid class aficionado, my opinion may be slanted.

Guild Recruiting the Right Way

Recently, I have been posting a lot about guild management.  This is because, as of late, fulfilling my Guild Master duties has been sucking up tons of my time.  Holding a guild together during the transition between expansions is tough.  Growing it is even tougher.

As the last breezes of summer stir a wildfire of raid fatigue, I am frequently finding myself short raiders for our guild 25 mans.  As a result, my leadership team and I have sprung into recruiting mode.  We have been at this long enough to learn there is a right way and a wrong way to go about building your raiding guild's roster.  After the bump, I'll offer my lessons learned by providing tips on how to recruit for your guild the right way.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Pet Reward for BlizzCon 2010

World of Warcraft fans who attend BlizzCon this year will be awarded with a brand new in-game companion.  His name is Deathy and he is a baby Murloc fashioned in the style of Cataclysm's antagonist Deathwing.  For Starcraft II fans, a Murloc character portrait and logos will be gifted as well.

Live feed subscribes will also gain access to both rewards so those who can't make it to the West Coast still enjoy both the fun and prizes.  I for one just hope this new pet isn't too loud.

Follow Druid Digest on Twitter

I am pleased to announce that Druid Digest is now on Twitter. 

Follow us through @DruidDigest to get regular updates on World of Warcraft, Cataclysm, and the website.

Which World of Warcraft Twitter posters should we follow and re-tweet?  Let me know in the comments.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Symbiosis in Warcraft: Building the Perfect Guild

Symbiosis is a biological term used to describe the interactions between different living organisms.  Generally speaking, three different kinds of symbiotic relationships exist within the natural world: mutualistic, commensalistic, and parasitic.

Now you may be asking yourself what in the world all this has to do with guild management.  Well, within the ecosystem that is World of Warcraft, a guild can easily be likened to a living organism.  It moves, grows, and seeks to fill various needs.  Similarly each guild member also exists as an independent organism.  The relationship between a guild member and a guild can then logically be defined as symbiotic.  After the bump, we'll walk through the different kinds of symbiosis and how, through a World of Warcraft lens, each type can help or harm your guild.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Hot Video: Dark Pheonix Mount

The good people over at one of my favorite World of Warcraft websites, MMO Champion, have just posted a video of the model for the new Dark Pheonix Mount.  This mount is set to be available as a reward through Cataclysm's new guild leveling system.  Once a player's guild has leveled up enough, they will be able to purchase this mount provided they have the funds and guild reputation required.  Check it out:

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Planning for Cataclysm

There are rumors that we may be playing Cataclysm as early as this November, so it is far from too early to start planning to get the most out of your fresh Goblin or Worgen.  For those of you who are serious about making the push to level 85 with one of Cataclysm's new classes, a little preparation can make all the difference.  After the bump you'll find my tips for getting your new character off to a great start when Cataclysm ships.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Druid Changes in the Current Cataclysm Beta Build

A new build has just been launched for the Cataclysm Beta and with it a number of significant Druid changes have been unveiled. First and foremost, Druids now join Hunters and Rogues in being able to remove Enrage effects using a revamped version of Sooth Animal called simply Sooth. More raid utility is always a good thing.

Most of the other significant changes are for Ferals.  Looking at Feral tanks, two major cooldowns have seen a big shuffle. Frenzied Regeneration has now absorbed the effects of Survival Instincts and will not only convert rage into healing, but will also increase a bear's maximum health by up to 30%. As a result, Survival Instincts has been retooled to simply reduce all incoming damage by 60% for 12 seconds. This makes Survival Instincts an even more valuable ability for bears, so Blizzard has extended its cooldown from 3 minutes up to 5. Lastly, Enrage has been altered to increase damage received by a flat 10% rather than decreasing armor.

Moving next to Feral dps, Savage Roar has been changed to increase auto-attack damage by 50% rather than increasing all damage by 30%. The net result is that allowing this buff to fall off is slightly less detrimental to a cat. The bonuses for Master Shapeshifter have also been increased to 4% and Furor now allows for up to 100 Energy to be preserved and raises the chance of shifting into Bear Form granting rage to 100%.

The bear form changes are certainly worth getting excited about. Assuming that the Glyph of Frenzied Regeneration survives in Cataclysm, Feral tanks will be in possession of one of the most potent tanking cooldowns in all of Azeroth. The Survival Instincts change will also be a benefit, though I personally will miss seeing my health top out at over 100k when I pop it.

Which changes have you the most excited? Are you worried about the new Savage Roar mechanic? Let me know in the comments.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Best Balance Spec in Cataclysm

UPDATE:  A new Guide to Balance Druids for 4.0.1 has been posted

Over the past two days, I have laid out the ideal raid specs for Feral DPS and Bear Tanks in Catalysm.  Today, I turn my attention to our feathery Moonkin friends.  The Cataclysm Balance tree contains tons of interesting and entertaining talents, but in terms of maximizing your general raid performance there seems to be only one way to go.  Check it out after the bump.

Friday, August 13, 2010

No New Raids Before Cataclysm

Blizzard poster Zarhym announced yesterday that Blizzard has no plans to release any new raid content before Cataclysm hits shelves.  Though there will be a final major content patch before Wrath of the Lich King bites the dust, no raid will be included.  Instead the patch will simply introduce some of Cataclysm's features to the live realms.  Feel free to read Zarhym's post to confirm the details for yourself.

Odds are, this announcement will only exacerbate the feelings of burnout sweeping across Azeroth.  With each passing day, more and more raiders are deciding to take a break from World of Warcraft until Cataclysm hifts.  At this point, Blizzard can only hope that Cataclysm packs enough punch to bring everyone back.

Best Feral DPS Spec in Cataclysm


Continuing my rundown of the ideal Feral Druid specs for Cataclysm, today I will be laying out what I believe to be the best Cat Form spec.  As I mentioned in my post on the problems with the Feral Tree in Cataclysm, there are not very many talent options for Feral dps in the current 31 point talent setup.  As a result, I believe that this spec is not only the best Cataclysm Feral DPS spec, but it may in fact be the only one that makes any sense at all.  Check it out after the bump.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Best Feral Tanking Spec in Cataclysm

UPDATE: There is a new Feral Tanking Spec Guide for 4.0.1
UPDATE: Be sure to check out our new Feral Tanking Guide for 4.0.1


Yesterday, I made a post about the problems with the Feral talent tree in Cataclysm.  Today, I will be addressing the less problematic of the two Feral specs by laying out the optimal Feral Druid tanking talent spec for Cataclysm.  Check it out after the bump.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Problem with Cataclysm's Feral Tree

Several weeks ago, Blizzard announced they would be reducing the size of talent trees in Cataclysm.  Rather than capping at 51 points, the depth of the trees would be reduced to 31 points.  Since at least a 31 point investment investment in a single tree will become mandatory, players have a maximum of 10 points to distribute outside of their primary tree.

These changes were made with the intent of increasing player choice.  Basically, by simplifying the trees and cutting out both fluff and mandatory talents, players should be more free to spread points amongst the remaining talents as they choose.  This attempt at enhanced flexibility has been mixed in its effectiveness across different classes and specs.  Unfortunately, it has failed miserably with respect to one particular talent tree: the Feral Druid tree.  Find out why after the jump.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Heirlooms Will Work in Cataclysm

Blue Poster Lylirra announced yesterday that the current heirloom items will continue to function in World of Warcraft Cataclysm.  However, the equipment will provide extra experience only up to level 80.  At that point, you will need to get your hand on Cataclysms new heirlooms which will likely be available through both the guild perks system and another system similar to what is in place now.

Obviously, this announcement is great news for players interested in leveling up a Worgen or Goblin when Cataclysm arrives as they will be able to do so up to 25% faster.  I am curious to see how/if the new heirlooms will be superior to the old ones beyond the ability to provide experience all the way through level 85.  How would you improve them?  Let me know in the comments.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Unintended Consequences: Why Badges and Expansions Don't Mix

Many World of Warcraft players these days, especially those on the higher end of the raiding spectrum, have been taking vacations from Azeroth.  Claiming everything from burnout to boredom, there is a certain dissatisfaction amongst the harder-core adventurers that has lead large numbers of raiders to hang up their epic boots until Cataclysm.  This sort of migration is not at all uncommon in the summer, where real life events and trips hinder raid scheduling.  Further, a certain sense of player fatigue near the end of an expansion's shelf-life is to be expected.

This time, however, something seems different.  Rather than being limited to just a hand full of progression pushers, even middle tier raiders are feeling the need to spend some time without their spellbooks.  Some have speculated that this migration is simply a sign that the level of Warcraft participation has reached the top of its bell curve.  I, however, believe that certain design choices made in Wrath of the Lich King as well as changes planned for Cataclysm have contributed to the recent decline in player activity.  Find out what they are after the jump.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Original Video: Mulgore Changes in the Cataclysm Beta

I have been bitten by the video creation bug and have produced another Cataclysm Beta video. This one showcases some of the changes coming to Mulgore complete with narration.

As always, feel free to leave suggestions or requests for future videos in the comments.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Original Video: Goblin Starter Area

Rather than just writting about the Goblin starter area, I figured I would take a hand at putting together Druid Digest's first ever original video! The video is just a series of fun clips from the Goblin starter area and is spoiler free. Enjoy!

If you would like to make suggestions for future videos, please leave a comment.

Can't Train Skills in the Cataclysm Beta

Sadly, there is a major bug in the current build of the Cataclysm Beta that is preventing a number of characters from training any skills. Apparently any character with two primary professions is unable to learn any new skills. Specifically, the "Train" button in the interface accessed at a skill trainer will be permanently grayed out so long as the user has two major professions (such as Alchemy and Herbalism or Inscription and Enchanting).

This poses a significant problem for copied characters, especially considering that some low level skills need to be relearned after coping. As an illustration, my initial foray into the Cataclysm Beta yesterday was limited to an overview of Cataclysm interface changes because after setting up my Druid's Feral Tanking Spec I came to realize my toon had forgotten how to shift into Bear Form and I was unable to retrain it. Bummer...

There is a workaround for those who can't wait for the bug to be fixed. If you delete one of your two professions, the trainers resume working properly. I will be waiting a little while to see if the problem gets ironed out as I don't want to preclude myself from testing out what Cataclysm has in store for both Herbalism and Alchemy. If you aren't that into testing professions, however, and want to jump right into your new skills, can a primary profession and be on your way.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Cataclysm Hunter Starting Pets List

Before creating a Goblin I took some time to toy with the Cataclysm Beta Character Creation Screen. While doing so, I put together a list of the new Hunter starting pets. In case you didn't know, in Cataclysm, each new Hunter starts out with a pet right at level one. To find out which pet each race starts with, check out the list below.

Orc: Black Boar

Tauren: Plainstrider

Troll: Red Raptor

Blood Elf: Dragonhawk

Goblin: Crab

Worgen: Mastiff

Draenei: Moth

Night Elf: Nightsaber

Dwarf: Black Bear

Human: Wolf

Undead: Bat

Also, if you are wondering how you are supposed to control your pet at level one, check the Beast Mastery tab in your spellbook. For some reason Blizzard decided not to have the classic pet control bar visible by default so your pet appears to be autonomous until level ten. By clicking the control ability in the spellbook, however, your pets bar will magically appear. I would imagine Blizzard will fix this before release.

Cataclysm Interface Changes

After hours of downloading and installing I was finally able to make my way into the Cataclysm Beta. The first thing I did was hop on my Druid to check out some of the changes to the interface. You may be surprised to hear that my Druid was right where I left him, sitting by the bank in Dalaran. I suppose that only those who log out in old world Azeroth will see themselves relocated by the Cataclysm.

Aside from a strikingly empty Dalaran, the first thing I took a look at was the character panel. As you can see from the screenshot below, it has been updated and improved in a number of ways. First, the detailed information has been moved from two windows below the character portrait to a vertical frame on the portrait's right. Each individual subsection can be minimized so you only need to see what you want to see. Second, a shadowy race specific mural now sits behind the character portrait. It is a nice touch in my opinion.

Next, I took a look at the Cataclysm Spellbook. Blizzard has made a number of great changes here. First, as you'll notice below, you can now see not only your trained spells, but also your trainable spells. The spells surrounded by gold are those currently available at your trainer while the greyed out spells are only available at higher levels. This is a handy feature in that you no longer need to consult a trainer or internet guide to know when the spells you crave will become available. Second, there are no more spell ranks; your spells now simply improve on their own as you level.
If you were wondering about the little Professions tab at the bottom of the Spellbook, it leads you to the new Professions Window pictured below. I wouldn't say a new Professions Window is really something World of Warcraft fans have been clamoring for in Cataclysm, but it is still a welcome addition.

I then made my way over to the talent window to go about reallocating my talent points. When you first enter the talent screen you choose your spec using the screen shown below. As explained in a number of Blizzard posts, you are then held to that specs tree until you have invested 31 points. I think the initial spec choice screen is a nice touch that will really help out newer players. I then went about building an ideal tank spec which I will walk you all through in a later post only to discover that my Bear Form had been untrained so, off to Thunder Bluff I went!

Once in Thunder Bluff I was disappointed to find that the Druid Trainers were broken so I would have to be without my precious Bear Form for a while. Nevertheless, I did manage to see my first "Holy Cow," Tauren Priest Trainer, Tahu Sagewind. I also flew around Thunder Bluff for a little bit, for those who are curious, no special training or anything was required. Perhaps later some gateway to flying in old Azeroth will be added, but for now you can fly free as a bird (pun intended).

With my lack of Bear Form cutting my Druid antics short for the moment, I turned my attention to the Horde's newest, shortest members: the Goblins. If you want to hear about how that went, check out my next post.

Also, if you would like any questions answered about the Beta or if there is anything you really want to see, let me know. Either leave a comment or send me an email to and I'll be happy to share the information you desire a future post.

Cataclysm Beta Invite!

I appologize for the break in my posts, but I have been on an extended vacation. It was lovely, thanks for asking. Upon returning to the comfort of my email inbox, I was delighted to find that Blizzard had left me a welcome back gift: a World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Beta Test Invite!

Needless to say, I was more than a little suspicious. I have, in fact received a number of "invites" since Cataclysm was announced. Often they contained broken english, ridiculous claims, or links to websites that were poor imitations of legitimate Blizzard fare. This one, however, caught my eye both because of how it was constructed and the fact that it was sent to my official email.

To avoid becoming a victim, I did not click any of the links in the email and immediately hopped over to the official website. I logged in, clicked my account and grinned from ear to ear as I saw the Cataclysm Beta as one of my available games. It was real; Cataclyam Beta here I come!
The first thing I did was move to the character copy section to get a couple of my toons in the que to be duplicated on the Beta servers. There are a limited number of copies allowed per account during the life of the Cataclysm Beta, so I started conservatively by only moving two toons. My super beefy Druid and a well equiped and funded Warlock alt. The character copy page advertised an hour wait for copy requests to go through, so it was time to download the Beta client.
The initial client download, which can be done through, took a while, but the real bear so far has been the patches. All in all, I would say it has taken around twelve hours to get the Cataclysm Beta up and running. Now I am fully patched and ready to log in, but I had to pause to update my loyal readers. Stay tuned over the next several weeks as I plan to keep you updated on each step I take through the Beta. Here we go...