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Category Archives: Druid

Weekend PUG Report: Three Stooges and a Dwarf

This weekend was one for leveling various alts. I didn’t want to bother farming or raiding on my mage, I wasn’t especially in the mood to kill people (PvP) either for some odd reason, so I just focused on the alts. First up on that list was my little druid, Hotstuffbaby who was initially created as a 19 Twink who I then decided to level as a 29 Twink, and then throwing that idea out the window as well, have decided to level to 80 as my healer on my main server.

Lucky for me there are a few other people in our guild right now that are leveling alts as well, so we had four people ready and willing to group for randoms with a 5th that we were sure would join us once she woke up (sorry Cat, had to mention that part too).

While in a group of four we were missing our tank. Luckily all four of us were able to “tank” in some form or fashion (Warrior, Warlock Pet, Hunter Pet, Druid) if the tank we got sucked, so we queued up anyway. My evaluation of low level dungeons in the new LFG is that generally speaking the healers are usually good though often the most impatient of the bunch, DPS are usually the most annoying with no knowledge of threat management or playing some odd spec that puts them at half the tank’s DPS, and tanks are either unbelievably good or suck about as much as humanly possible.

Tanks are the primary example here in this post, two tanks that absolutely failed followed by a third that had some great threat skills and allowed our DPS to go all out and still have no problem. I am going to list names and servers here because anytime I post someone that failed at something, I took the time to try to help them in game first. If they make some effort to improve, then they get left off of the blog. If they do nothing to correct the situation, then maybe they should have thought about that before being a moron in the presence of a blogger.

Example Time

Kremul, Madoran-US (A)
The first fail tank was a Warrior named “Kremul the Clothy”. I thought I got a screenshot from when I had moused over his chest piece, but I didn’t. So in case you can’t tell from the picture, he was wearing Shimmering Silk Robes. He was also wearing +Intellect rings, grey pants and grey shoulders, but those can be somewhat excused if we assume he just hasn’t had any good drops. The robe though? I can’t get passed that one. He got kicked from the group and then we just 4-manned the dungeon.





Arzoft, Bloodhoof-US (A)
Right after we were done with the fail warrior we got in a group with this druid whose idea of tanking was to cast Starfire on the mob and then attack him in caster form with his staff. After that first pull I said in party, “Arz, you did notice you’re the tank for this run, right?” He then shifted into Cat form, cast Dash, and ran down the hall to agro ever mob and then bring them back to us. I had already had enough fail tanking from Kremul so I told everyone in vent to just hold off and let the stupid cat die and then we finished off the pack. You can look at the chat log in the picture here to see the level of Arz’s intelligence. He typed to us about 20 times in that “language” of his before we managed to vote kick him after his timer was done. I tried to speak his language of random character strings, but I don’t think we made any progress.





Gingerdread, Stormrage-US (A)
We didn’t want to have our Fury Warrior tank SM for us though, so we requeued and found ourselves a Dwarf Warrior. When he joined I took a look at his spec to get an idea of what to expect and I saw a combination of Arms and Prot. My initial reaction was a facepalm, no lie, but I’m willing to give anybody a shot at anything at least once, so on we went. This guy was generating crazy amounts of aggro, allowing all of our DPS to go all out without any worries. If someone did steal threat from him, he used his taunts and got it back. Ginger is easily the best Warrior tank I’ve seen outside of Northrend.





Gotuhunter, Trollbane-US (A)
We’ll break away from tanking now and go back to another example of failure. I hate to leave you on a bad note, but this one is worthy of being mentioned as well. It’s a level 79 Hunter that decided he just had to roll need on a cloak that dropped. It’s a tanking cloak as you might notice from the Armor, Strength, Stamina, and Defense bonuses on it, or from the fact that both plate wearers in the group rolled Need on it (I got picked for DPS in this one, but I’m main spec Frost tank). His reason for rolling need on it was very impressive, “lot bette then the won i got and it still has strenght”.






The cloak wasn’t a huge upgrade, as you can see from my RatingsBuster addon, but did I mention that I’m 3 points away from being Defense capped? Screw you too, Gotuhunter.

 

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Druid Twinking: Hotstuffbaby

Well, I told you I wasn’t fully finished with twinking, so here’s some more proof for you. Sorry, I just can’t help but enjoy facing opponents with actual intelligence:

As with Killutiludie yesterday, she’s got some progressing left to do. But, she’s got most of her gear already set aside and just needs to level. There are three instances that I need to run for gear, but the three items I need are all the higher of the drop rates for the specific bosses. [Edit: Progression is done, gear is obtained, twink healing has begun. She'll typically be seen in her caster gear on the armory, and there are a few pieces that can be upgraded via BoE blues I haven't manage to get my hands on yet, but there she is. Herbalism should be maxed tonight or tomorrow. Just shy of 1600 hp in bear form, without sacrificing all other stats for stam.]

Hotstuffbaby isn’t mean to kill people, so where Killutiludie ends up with over 100 kills almost every battleground, Hotstuffbaby settles instead for healing more damage over the course of a battle than most of the dps put out. She actually finds herself at the top of the charts at the end more frequently than my hunter does at this point.

Leveling a Druid Twink Through Battlegrounds
Looking back on my previous post you’ll see that leveling in today’s game is pretty well the same for twink as it is for a non-twink. Most of Hot’s leveling since level 10 has come from battleground experience, which makes the process slow sometimes if my entire team feels the need to do solo fighting in midfield or everyone decides that a strong defense is the best offense (and then completely ignores the flag carriers). But when we’re good, we’re friggin’ GOOD! And that’s where the experience really comes rolling in.

Since I’m doing most of her leveling via BG’s there’s some special things to take note of. First off, if flags aren’t getting captured, then you aren’t getting experience in a WSG. You’ll get some when it’s all over regardless of win or lose, but the only way to get experience in WSG in the 19 bracket is from flags being captured. So if you want to level from this method, then do yourself a favor and do your job, which means being part of the team not trying to be superman.

Forget the fact that you’re there to level yourself and do what it takes to help your team succeed.

Gearing a Druid Twink
Gearing a druid depends on what you plan on doing with that druid. From my own personal experience, there are only two types of druid twinks that I have seen in the 19 bracket that actually perform well: healers and flag carriers. I have heard tale of some decent Balance twinks out there, but from what I see it’s always someone with Resto or Feral builds with Resto being significantly more common.

Gearing a Druid twink is a bit easier in some respects to other twinks, and also somewhat harder. The best setup you can have for the druid twink involves a high level rep grind for an offhand item known as the Furbolg Medicine Pouch. You have no chance of getting this item yourself at this level so it requires help from a higher level toon to kill things for you. You also earn that rep at a wonderfully slow 5 points per kill, though there are items you can turn in to get more. I haven’t gone after this item yet myself, though I do have the perfect setup for getting it. Right now I am trying to decide if I want to go with this item for extra hit points or if I would rather go with the Twisted Chanter’s Staff for the boost to Intellect instead.

Right now I’m not sure whether I will need the Stamina more or the Intellect, so only time will tell at this point.

A Druid is about 50/50 on their best in slot gear for twinks between world drops and dungeon loot, and some of their rare drops while being rare also have their highest drop rates located inside specific dungeons. For the druid, Blackfathom Deeps is the location of your best chest piece while Shadowfang Keep is the location for your best weapon if you decide to go for the Medicine Pouch.

Some of the green items you’ll need happen to be among some of the hardest to find though, so be prepared to watch that Auction House pretty close if you’re building a druid. The items themselves aren’t too hard to find, it’s the one with the specific random enchantments on them that you’ll be struggling with.

Playing a Druid Twink
Playing a twink is serious business.

Because of the versatile nature of the druid, there is really a lot that can be put into playing them. Having the ability to switch your role at the drop of a hat is a pretty big deal, even if you don’t necessarily have the best gear for your off-spec roles.

I primarily play Hots as a healer, with crowd control ending up as one of her biggest contributions to actually winning. Sometimes though I have to take on the role of the flag carrier and running around with my big bear butt waving around the screen and relying on someone else to do my healing for me. Right now all of the gear I’ve been building up is centered around healing, but I plan on getting a high Stamina set of gear for when I’m running the flag as well.

Utilizing your versatility is one of the cornerstones of being a Druid twink, so be sure to put that to use when the situation presents itself.

While versatility is your cornerstone, the keystone to your druid twinking is going to be your mobility.

A druid’s mobility is key to everything. You can heal on the move, you can dps (sort of) on the move, you can root (sort of) on the move, and you can move faster than most of the other classes that you’ll be facing as well. These things all combine into one big kick in the teeth for your opponents. Keep your distance when enemies are around and use what spells you can while you’re on the move.

Tactics
Defense: When you’re playing defense as a druid you have two primary contributions. First, Entangling Roots/Nature’s Grasp – these spells are going to stop people from being able to move. They can use trinkets or racials (humans and gnomes) to get out of it, but those things are limited and have cooldowns where your Entangling Roots does not. Second, you’re a healer. When you see someone engage one of your fellow defenders, it’s time to start throwing some heals. If they happen to be focused on you then take advantage of your healing there as well and try to heal through whatever they’ve got. If the enemy is focus on you or your teammates, then they aren’t focused on your flag, and that’s a good thing.

If they do manage to get your flag then your main focus should be rooting the flag carrier in place and throwing Moonfire on him when you can to help dps him down. And for the love of Sylvanas, please don’t forget to let people know where the flag carrier is taking the flag: “efc going tun/ramp/gy”.

If you’re trying to heal the flag carrier, then do your team a favor and forget that you have any damaging spells and save your mana for heals and roots.

Offense:
Crowd Control is one of your key traits here, especially if you’re a healer or a bear. You probably don’t have the mana or the spell power to be a true dps powerhouse, so the strongest offense you have to offer is crowd control and healing to help out the ones who do have the ability to pack a punch for you. If your hunter mate is getting his face bashed in by a warrior, then you should probably root the warrior and then throw some heals on that hunter while he repositions to finish up the job.

If you see a rogue running towards a teammate, then tag him with Moonfire and rob him of the ability to use stealth. If a shaman is dropping totems to slow down your team, then feel free to Moonfire his Earthbinding Totem (that one above all others). If someone’s low on health, then don’t hesitate to try to finish them off with Moonfire or Wrath, especially if it’s some form of caster.

A Beautiful Thing:
One last little bit that I’m going to leave with you is in relation to the Night Elf race in particular, though it does apply to the whole race instead of just the druids. Shadowmeld is your best friend. If a Hunter or Warlock sends his pet after you then this is how you get them to drop their agro. When you use Shadowmeld, the pets will lose agro on you and return to doing what their owner told them to. A lot of people aren’t used to actively controlling their pets, so I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve been able to use this to drop the pet agro and then finish the fight without the pet ever even trying to hit me again.

The best time to use this is right before you’re going to heal yourself, or when you’re camping the enemy’s flag spawn. If you pop Shadowmeld and immediately follow it up with your instant cast HoT then your enemy is less likely to notice that his pet isn’t hitting you anymore. It may also make the enemy player target someone else instead of you which allows you to drop back into a healing role.

While the reaction of the player is completely out of your control, it will always drop agro from a pet which might buy you the time you need to heal. There’s nothing stopping the enemy from immediately sending his pet right back to you, but a precious second is a precious second indeed if it means the difference between life and death or victory and defeat.

 
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Posted by on December 7, 2009 in Druid

 

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Druid Leveling: 21-30 (Feral)

Leveling a druid through the 20′s is going to be either extremely easy where you finally catch a break, or it’s going to break you and cause you to give up on the character.

Druid Form Names
Since I know at least some of you will not be familiar with all of the druid lingo around the web, I’m going to take just a second to talk about the name of some of the various forms. I am talking about commonly used names here, not every single thing people will ever call you in your various forms.

Caster Form (Level 1) This is the easiest one to get confused if you are a new druid. When I first started seeing this I thought it was just another name for a Moonkin. Resto druids were always called trees as far as I knew, so surely Moonkin would be the form called “caster” right? Wrong. Caster form is your regular form, whatever your base race is. Caster form is Tauren/Night Elf form. Another way of saying it is that Caster Form is the lack or absence of a form, which is to say using no special druid forms at all.

Bear Form (Level 10) While there are actually two bear forms, Bear and Dire Bear, they are both referred to as simply Bear Form. In battlegrounds you might hear it called Tank Form in some battlegroups, but the vast majority call it Bear. Bear Form has its own special attacks and a separate action bar for those attacks as well. This form is best for tanking and in mid-later levels it can be used for melee-ranged AoE grinding.

Aquatic Form (Level 16) I don’t really hear this one called anything other than what it is. Sure, you hear nicknames for it from time to time while you play and such, but when people are talking about it in forums or blogs it is either Swim Form or Aquatic Form. This form is used only for travel, and only while swimming. You are able to attack in this form, but cannot cast spells, and this form has no special attacks nor its own action bar.

Travel Form (Level 16) This is another one called most often by its actual name. I have heard it referred to as “run form” in battlegrounds a couple of times, as well as “cheetah form”, but primarily this is Travel Form. As with Aquatic Form, this one is used for travel (land-based) and while you can attack in this form you cannot cast spells and it does not have a dedicated action bar either.

Cat Form (Level 20) Cat form is known as cat form; pretty simple. I have seen it called by different names from time to time, but none of them stick and are usually made in jest anyway. This form is used for melee dps. Back in the day it used to be used as a bit of a mini-mount as you can spend talent points to get +30% speed while using the form. Now that travel form shows up at level 16 instead of level 30 though, it’s not used so much for that. But, that speed increase can still be used and since you can be in Cat form while indoors it’s still great for moving around quickly when you are otherwise unable to mount.

Important Spells
Here we have the most important icons for you to familiarize yourself with while leveling your druid through his 20′s as a feral cat.

From top to bottom, left to right:

Cat Form is how you will spend all of your time in the 20′s except when you have to take a break for a few seconds to heal yourself. Nature’s Grasp will be your primary source of Crowd Controll (CC) since you will not be in caster form very often. Faerie Fire (Feral) reduces your target’s armor making them easier to kill.

Rake is how you will start most of your rotations. Claw is your primary attack in cat form and the ability you will spam more than any other. Rip is your finishing move and how you spend your combo points; not used very often in early leveling as most mobs will be dead before Rip would be useful.

Prowl is the druid’s version of the Rogue’s Stealth ability, allowing you to sneak up on your targets. Tiger’s Fury boosts your damage for 6 seconds, and Shred is your biggest attack but has to be used from behind the target.

These abilities will be discussed in more detail in the sections below.

Leveling 20-25: Secondary Zone

Rotation Option 1: Claw, Claw, Claw, Auto-Attack
Rotation Option 2: Prowl, Shred, Claw, Claw, Auto-Attack
Explanation: When you’re first starting off as Feral, you can kill most things just by spamming Claw. Using your finishing move is a waste at this level, but you’re free to use it if you wish. Most mobs will die to three claws and whatever damage you deal with your regular attacks in between; assuming of course that they don’t die before then. If mobs are lasting notably longer than that, then you may want to look at getting some better gear with more +Agility on it.

Now, I’m not sure that all secondary zones can extend to level 25 or higher, but I would imagine they probably do. Regardless of where you go, just make sure the mobs are close to your level. For my druid, this area is the Barrens. I’ve been hanging out here since level 12 and loving it. Quests are everywhere here, and mats for all professions are easy to find here.

When you use Claw your auto-attack will kick in all on its own, so there’s no need to activate that yourself or via a macro like I suggested during your Teens. Whether or not you use stealth is up to you. Sometimes I use it and sometimes I don’t, it just depends on what is going on at the time and how fast you want to move.

If you want to get into the stealthy side of the cat form, then go ahead and pull up Rotation 2 and give it a shot. Shred uses a lot more energy than everything else you have right now, but it does some high damage. Sometimes I stealth and then just start off attacking with Claw instead of Shred to save the energy for more Claws. At this point, do what you feel works best for you.

Where the Barrens is normally dull and boring for me I actually had quite a bit of fun there with the druid. Maybe it was because I could be a cat and sort of ‘fit in’ with the place. I don’t know why I enjoyed it so much this time where I have not enjoyed it previously, but I had a blast. I liked it so much that I actually stayed in the Barrens until level 27 with this druid, though I did gain a few levels from running instances.

Leveling 25-30: Pick a Map, Any (level appropriate) Map

Rotation Option 1: Rake, Claw, Claw, Claw, Rip (if needed), Auto-Attack
Rotation Option 2: Prowl (stealth), Shred, Rake, Claw, Rip, Auto-Attack
Explanation: Mobs at this level are going to start running away from you more often, and at higher speed, than the lower level areas you have been in up to this point. Using Bleed effects like Rake and Rip on them help you to maintain control of these running mobs without having to worry so much about overpulling. Make use of Tiger’s Fury and Faerie Fire as needed to help with the mobs you face.

There are two spells I pointed out at the top of this post that I have not mentioned yet: Tiger’s Fury and Faerie Fire. These two spells are utility spells to be used whenever you feel it might help or may be necessary.

Tiger’s Fury gives you a slight boost to your damage dealt. It’s not huge, but it does help. I tend to use this a lot more when I am using the Prowl/Shred method of attack, and pop Tiger’s Fury while still stealthed, right before I attack with Shred. You can use it whenever you want, and with a fairly small cooldown time you might as well pop it whenever it’s not on cooldown.

Faerie Fire lowers your target’s armor, making them easier to hit. A lot of the mobs at this point are not going to have a great deal of armor anyway, but it never hurts to lower your chance of missing. I don’t cast this nearly as often as I do other spells, but it can be a great help. In PvP, I slap this on every Rogue that I ever see because it also prevents the target from being able to use stealth.

Personally, I like to take just about every character I ever level into Hillsbrad Foothills to quest during my mid-20s and early 30s. Sometimes I will take Stonetalon, Ashenvale, or Thousand Needles instead, but I like Hillsbrad enough that I go there more than all of the others combined.

This is about the time that mobs you face are going to have more hit points so that just spamming claw will not quite do the job. This is where I change up my rotation to include Rake first and actually put some use into the Rip finishing move. Rake is a bleed effect, meening that it takes away hit points over time. It also deals a bit of damage to get you started off and awards you a combo point. Follow that up with a couple of Claw attacks to build further combo points and dish out some respectable damage as well, and then finish off with Rip.

There are two reasons why I use both of the bleed effects at this level, and that is because of the high population of humanoids. Humanoids love to run away like a bunch of sissies when they get low on hit points, and I hate having to chase down a mob only to find that they’ve agroed another mobs or six, and then having to go crazy fighting them all off while also trying to stay alive myself. But using Rake and Rip to put bleed effects on the targets, I have a chance of killing them after they run so that I don’t end up facing off against too many mobs for me to handle.

If you go to Hillsbrad before level 25 then you will likely find yourself running out of low level quests to do around level 27 or so. Hillsbrad is a bit of an oddity in that it gives you a lot of quests in your low-mid 20′s and then hits you with quests in your low-mid 30′s and skips over the high-20′s all together. A lot of people find that hard to play through thinking that they have to go find somewhere else to quest.

If you are are going to quest in Hillsbrad like I do, then wait to go there until level 25 and then you should have enough quests to get you up to level 30 before moving into the next zone. I also like to do a lot of grinding in Hillsbrad as there are mobs all over the place as well as nodes for various professions. I love grinding the mobs in the Yeti cave in particular once I get around level 27 or so, and early on I focus on the farmers and peasants in the small farm areas.

A lot of quests in this area send you into areas that are thick with mobs. You have two options here as a Cat Druid. First, you can go right in and just own everything with your claws grinding mobs in the area for experience along with your questings. Secondly, you can take advantage of Prowl to stealth through most of those areas and only fight where you have to.

If you choose to grind mobs while questing here then you are like me and will find a pretty fast and steady source of experience. If you prefer to use Prowl, then you may actually level up faster from being able to do so many quests in so short a time. While you do lose time in walk/run speed during prowling, you also aren’t spending that time fighting trash mobs.

If you find yourself out of quests in the upper 20s, go ahead and jump on over to Arathi Highlands. Some of the quests here are going to be higher level for you, but there are at least some quests to do. Arathi is my location of choice for leveling through my 30′s anyway, so I always end up bringing my characters here.

Macro Suggestion
I don’t have any particular macro suggestions for use as a Feral druid in the 20-29 bracket. Most of what you do is fairly simple and easily done and doesn’t require a lot of extra effort for anything.

Where I use the macro to start attacking while also casting Wrath for the balance build, your opening attacks with feral will always start attacking for you by default.

Talent Points and Glyphs: Level 21-30

Photobucket

Glyphs
Glyph of Rip This glyph extends the duration of the bleed effect on Rip, which in turn increases your overall damage.

Glyph of Thorns No change here over last time. This glyph increases the duration of Thorns from 10 minutes to 1 hour. It saves you some downtime but that’s about it. It’s a solid minor glyph and one that will serve you for many levels.

Glyph of Aquatic Form
This glyph will be included for just shy of forever, and I still prefer it to Thorns myself. I still find it useful in 3.2 even though Travel Form which is also received at level 16 will move faster out of water. This glyph is not as useful as it once was, but it is still a great glyph and I have no intention at this time of replacing it even with Thorns. There is no doubt that this glyph went from epic to decent in a single patch though.

Gearing Up for Feral

As I mentioned previously, the key to Cat DPS is always Agility. The two best sources for Agility for starting out in your 20s are the “of the Fang” set as I mentioned last time, and the gear made by the Leatherworking profession. You get more Attack Power from Strength, but Agility gives you Attack Power, Dodge, and Crit all in one stat.

I have a level 21 Hunter who has his Leatherworking maxed for his level at 225, which allows me to make gear for up to level 33 characters. The gear that you make for around level 20 is not all that heavy in materials and you can probably farm it pretty easily if you have Skinning yourself, or it should be fairly cheap on the Auction House if you’re not one for farming.

You can look for “X of the Fang” set in Wailing Caverns, or call up a Leatherworker and have them make you some solid starting gear. Grab a weapon that either adds to your Agility or has a solid “Chance on Hit: ” proc on it and go to town. As a Cat Druid you either want bonus stats or you want procs because the damage of the weapon itself means absolutely nothing. A weapon that has its own proc along with an enchant that can proc, such as Black Malice with the Fiery Weapon enchant is an excellent example of a dual-proc weapon that can increase your dps greatly.

If you don’t have the luck, or the gold, to get a weapon like that then don’t worry. A weapon with bonus Agility on it will still serve you well. If you can find one with both Strength and Agility on it, then even better. Weapons that add straight Attack Power are alright as well, but I will take raw stats over AP any day so long as they are fairly close in value.

I have confirmed that proc-based enchants work in druid form as well, so if you’re able to twink to any degree than you can use both Fiery Weapon and Crusader on low level druid weapons and claw much face. If you don’t have access to these enchants, or prefer to save your money for other things then feel free to do so. I personally like to feel overpowered for my level, so I don’t mind blowing gold on enchants or gear I may very well replace in 2 levels. It just doesn’t bother me in the least.

 
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Posted by on August 11, 2009 in Druid, Guide, Leveling

 

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New Druid Forms: Color Charts

We have some further detail on which hair/skin colors will result in which forms for the druids in the upcoming patch. With the possible exception of the change to shaman totems, this is really the 3.2 change that I am most looking forward to. This change is completely full of win on an epic scale.

The source of this information is EpicWins.com. You can check the link there for information on where to find your nearest barbers to getting the job done.

Also, here are some links to the image charts you can use to determine which changes you need to make for the form that best suits your taste. Clicking the image will direct you back to EpicWins’s website.

[EDIT: Alright, EpicWins.com took down their pictures and deleted the post that they were in as well as everything else Warcraft related. As such, I've looked for some other pictures to use here instead. These I'm borrowing from MMO-Champion instead. The small images here I host in my photo-bucket account, but clicking them will link you to MMO Champ instead.]

Tauren




Night Elf

 
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Posted by on July 30, 2009 in Druid, Patch Notes

 

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Balance Druid Gear: Gnomeregan and Scarlet Monastery

This weekend our Twitter-inspired guild, My Other Tweet is Epic, is going to do a low level instance run through Gnomeregan and Scarlet Monastery. Since we are a new guild and consisting mostly of people who rolled new characters to come join us, we are going to stick with low level instances for now.

In preparation for this, I did a quick check on the loot tables for Gnomer and SM for gear on my Balance Druid, Belgawrath. The items I am going list here are strictly going to be drops that come from bosses, and for the most part only “blues” and “purples” as the vast majority of green items can be found all over the world.

The items I discuss down below are specific to me, meaning to say that these are items that I am going to be looking for myself. You might want the same items, or you might want different items. Some items that are not upgrades for me (and as such were left off of the lists) may be upgrades for you. If you want to run these instances yourself, then it doesn’t hurt to familiarize yourself with the loot that can drop. Always keep in mind that gear does not make your character, and you can certainly play the game with poor gear. I like to upgrade my gear on a near-constant basis because that’s something that I just like to do. I don’t mind spending time or resources on items that I know full well will be replaced in two levels. But that’s just me.

I leveled Belgawrath through his 20′s as Feral and had an excellent time doing it. When I got to 29 though I went ahead and twinked him to some degree for battlegrounds and found that I actually enjoyed healing and balance dps more than I did feral face clawing (hard to imagine, even for me). So when I hit 29 I went ahead and respecced back into Balance because I, personally, found it more enjoyable. Feral has less downtime and is overall perhaps a bit stronger or faster. But, Balance has more survivability, is a bit less gear dependent, and just fits me a bit better overall.

So, enough rambling from me, let’s look at some loot!

Gnomeregan (Levels 24-33, Min. Entry Level 15)
In looking through the loot tables in Gnomer, there really was not a whole lot of caster gear that drops. Some of it that does really doesn’t compare with some lower level tailoring or leatherworking items and so forth, so I left a few items off.

When I finished checking all of the bosses, as well as giving a quick look at the overall loot drops, I came down to a sad little list of only three particular items that I want.

Item Name Type Level Req. Drop Location Drop Rate
Charged Gear Ring 28 Mekgineer Thurmaplugg (Boss) 33%
Electromagnetic Gigaflux Reactivator Helm 28 Mekgineer Thurmaplugg (Boss) 9%
Schematic: Craftsman’s Monocle Eng Schematic Eng 185 Mekgineer Thurmaplugg (Boss) 0.5%




Sadly, all of the items that I want drop from the very same boss. And two of the three items are Bind on Pick Up (BoP) so I have no chance to farm them with my higher level characters.

The Charged Gear has potential to be a good ring for me, but the enchantment that goes on it is chosen randomly, so while it has the highest drop rate at 33%, it is entirely likely that the ring will do me little good. For myself, I am looking for “of the Eagle” (+6-7 Int and Stam), “of the Falcon” (+6-7 Int and Agi), or “of Intellect” (+10 Int).

The reason for including “of the Falcon” in that list is because the bonus to Agility would allow me to use the ring effectively in both my caster and my feral cat gear sets. Even though I am too low for dual spec, I do carry two full sets of gear to change in and out of as needed for the situation. If I ever run out of mana, I switch my gear and go into Cat Form instead and use my mana only for healing until it is safe for me to drink.

The Electromagnetic Gigaflux Reactivator is a very interesting item that could be useful for several different classes. My first thought was that it would be excellent for a Protection Paladin with it’s extra AoE damage that it can deal. But with +15 Intelligence, +12 Spirit, and the fact that it’s made out of Cloth suggest that it is geared more towards a caster. Its “Use” ability deals 147-167 damage in a large cone to the mobs standing in front of you, and it puts up an effect similar to the Shaman’s Lightning Shield spell for 10 minutes.

The Craftsman’s Monocle is a cloth head piece that provides 40 Armor, and +15 Intellect. I want this one first off because it looks cool. I’m not afraid to admit that I am willing to wear slightly worse gear simply because it looks cool, though +15 Int is certainly not bad. At the same time, I also don’t mind wearing powerful gear that looks stupid (like the EGR head piece up above). Luckily, if this does not drop, which is likely considering its low drop rate, then at least I can come back and farm it with a higher level character if I really want to get it. Don’t forget though, that you do have to be an Engineer with at least 185 skill in the profession to even wear it.

Scarlet Monastery (Levels 34-45, Min. Entry Level 20)

Item Name Type Level Req. Drop Location Drop Rate
Bloodmage Mantle Shoulders 30 Bloodmage Thalnos (Boss) 49%
Deadman’s Hand Ring 29 Arcanist Doan (Boss) 2%
Illusionary Rod Staff 34 Arcanist Doan (Boss) 44%
Mantle of Doan Shoulders 33 Arcanist Doan (Boss) 46%
Triune Amulet Neck 39 High Inquisitor Whitemane (Boss) 37%
Whitemane’s Chapeau Head 39 High Inquisitor Whitemane (Boss) 39%
Embalmed Shroud Head 30 Fallen Champion (Rare) 37%
Blighted Leggings Legs 30 Azshir the Sleepless (Rare) 32%
Ghostshard Talisman Neck 30 Azshir the Sleepless (Rare) 30%




With bonuses to Intellect, Spirit, and Crit chance Bloodmage Mantle is a solid choice for shoulders. These shoulders are not a huge upgrade over my current shoulders, but the extra boost to crit appeals to me.

Deadman’s Hand is an excellent “purple” item from SM:Library. With +10 Stamina you get a strong boost to hit points, which is twice what my Heart Ring gives me right now. It also has an excellent proc that gives you a chance to freeze any enemy that hits you. Since I am playing a Balance spec right now this means that I can occasionally root the mob in place long enough to get my spells off without having to cast Entangling Roots myself.

The Illusionary Rod is a huge upgrade to my current staff, and is one of the best staves for its level that can also last for quite a long time. It offers 15 Int, 7 Stam, and 10 Crit instead of the 7 Int and 7 Spirit that my current staff gives.

Mantle of Doan is about equal to what I am wearing right now, with slightly more spirit and 9 Hit in place of the +2 Spell Power I have right now. Not a huge difference, but if you don’t hit then it doesn’t matter how much damage you might have done with the spell in the first place.

Triune Amulet is one of the most solid neck pieces you can get around this level. With +7 to Int, Stam, and Spirit, it can be used by pretty well every class in the game. It leans more towards casters, or at least classes that use mana than to ones that do not, but anyone could use it. My current neck piece gives 3 Int, 5 Crit, and 9 Spell Power.

Whitemane’s Chapeau is a definite upgrade to what I am currently wearing. 9 Stam, 10 Int, and 14 Spirit kicks my 10 Int, 6 Spirit to the curb. This is one of the biggest upgrades I am looking forward to, even if I can’t wear it for another 7 levels.

The other items drop off of rare spawns that truly are rare. I have literally ran through SM well over 1,000 times across my different characters, and in all of those times I could count the number of times that I have seen these rare spawns one hand. Embalmed Shroud is a good backup head piece in case the Chapeau doesn’t drop. 7 Stam, 11 Int, and 14 Spell Power is quite a bit better than my current setup.

The Blighted Leggings also drop from a rare spawn, and are a fair upgrade. Sadly, I would trade 8 Int for 7 Stam which while it would help me live longer in combat, it would slow me down a bit from the mana loss. But, it does provide more than double the amount of spell power that I get from my current legs.

About These Items
You will notice from looking at those lists that many of the items that I am interested in fit in the same slot. So I do not need to find all of the items on the list, but all of them would be helpful to me in some way.

When I looked at the list for what items I needed, I looked for specific stats. Since the druid has such good survivability I focus more on Intellect with my druid than I do Stamina. It certainly does not hurt to have more hit points, which is why many of the items you see there also include stamina buffs.

After Intellect, I looked for either Spell Power or Spirit as both of these help as well. Spell power increases the damage I deal so that I don’t have to cast as many spells, thus conserving my mana. Spirit helps to regenerate my mana while I am between fights or while I have a mob stuck in Entangling Roots, which also helps with my mana. At level 34 I had over twice the amount of mana as the best “water” I could buy was able to restore. Now at level 36 I have 160% more mana than the new “water” that opened up at 35.

After Int, Stam, SP, and Spirit, I look for the other two stats that can really help me: Critical Hit and Hit. The more you crit, the fewer spells you have to cast, and the same can be said for the more often you hit rather than miss. With Starfall currently scoring crits for over 800 damage, which is about 75-80% of the total health of most mobs my level, a solid crit can go a long way towards reducing downtime.

 
3 Comments

Posted by on July 24, 2009 in Druid

 

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