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Category Archives: World of Warcraft

Monk Heirlooms

With the beta invites being sent out by the hundreds of thousands and the expansion drawing ever closer to going live, I think it’s time to start getting plans for heirlooms in motion.

I know a lot of people will not want to use heirlooms on their monks, especially since the class and expansion are going to be brand new, but I also know that there are a lot of people who really don’t like the leveling process at all who are going to make use of every heirloom they can get their hands on. And you can’t forget the twinks, of course.

This guide is written for those of you who do want to use heirlooms on your Monks, and would like a little direction in which purchases to make, and which enchants to use on them if you feel like maximizing your leveling potential.

As you continue reading, please keep in mind that this guide is aimed strictly at showing you which heirlooms are you best option among the heirloom gear; I am not necessarily saying that you should use these heirlooms exclusively and ignore all other gear. For example, I would never use the Dread Pirate Ring unless I really wanted to level a character quickly because it offers only secondary stats and an experience bonus. I would much rather use rings that provide a bonus to my primary stats that I know I’m going to use. As a guide that covers heirlooms though, I’m going over every slot for which heirlooms exist to say, “if you’re going to use an heirloom in this slot, then this is the one you want.”
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Posted by on April 9, 2012 in Guide, Monk, World of Warcraft

 

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How I Write Leveling Guides

Part I ~

“Psyn, when are you going to write more leveling guides?”

I’ve heard that question quite a bit lately, along with a few people asking whether or not I’m going to get back to writing leveling guides for WoW, so I figured I might as well answer it on the blog where everyone who didn’t ask could see the answer as well.

I could answer the question in short as, “hopefully soon for SWTOR, and maybe sometime after MoP for WoW,” but to really answer that question I need to explain a little bit about how I go about writing my guides.
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Posted by on February 23, 2012 in Blog, SWTOR, World of Warcraft

 

6 ÷ 6 = 1

This morning Cynwise tagged me for the Sixth Meme, which means it’s my turn to share with you the sixth image in my sixth subfolder.

However, I don’t keep images organized in the same way that other players do, I guess, and I’ve recently made the transition from WoW to SWTOR which throws another little spin on things as the Sixth has been going around the WoW blogosphere up to this point (as far as I’m aware).

So, since I use a more elaborate organisation system, and I have a lot of screenshots from two different games, and the fact that I don’t usually join memes because I don’t like spreading them to other people, I’m putting a Psynister spin on this meme. Instead of giving you the sixth image from my sixth subfolder, I’m going to give you six images from six of my sixth subfolders.

As far as tagging other people goes, it’s not really my thing. So, consider my tags open to the public. If you want to partake in the Sixth, but haven’t been tagged yet – then consider yourself tagged. If you haven’t been tagged yet, and you don’t want to be tagged – then consider yourself tagged anyway!

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Posted by on February 20, 2012 in SWTOR, World of Warcraft

 

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Druid Leveling: 1-29 Feral

Playing a Feral Druid
Feral Druids are an odd class to play at low levels. It’s almost like Blizzard tried too hard to make us viable with a limited tool set early on and then slowly trickled in all the other abilities that we actually need to be more than mangle-spammers. In short, if you’re new to playing a Feral Druid be prepared to relearn how to play your class every ten levels because our spells are scattered all over the place.

Feral is also somewhat unique because it’s both a tank spec and a DPS spec at the same time. That also makes your talent choices interesting because some talents benefit both roles while others do only one or the other. You’ll need to decide whether you want to focus more on DPS or on tanking, or if you want to play that middle ground as much as possible.

While playing as a Cat you have the option of using stealth to move around undetected in PvE and PvP, though you don’t get any direct benefit from being in stealth right away. As a Bear you just run up to things and smack things in the face until they’re dead. For most of the leveling process Cat damage is based on bleeds and burst while Bear damage is based on steady, repeated blows that utilize the Bears added survivability to be able to live long enough for those steady blows to win you the fight.

Important Spells & Abilities
I’m going to do the spell breakdown a little bit differently this time around than I have in the past. I’m going to break down the important spells based on which forms you have available to you (Caster/Normal, Cat, and Bear) and also which type of spell it is. Druids are the ultimate hybrid class and even though a LOT of the spells you learn aren’t important to being a Feral Druid I want to cover the ones that are worth noting so that you have a firm grasp of what you’re capable of.

I’m still not listing every single spell (though close to it) as not all spells are useful to every spec.

Note that all numeric values are taken from the level 29 version of the spell for the purposes of this post.

Caster Form (Levels 1-8)

  • Wrath (1): Deals 45-49 Nature Damage to the target.
  • Moonfire (4): Burns the enemy for 11-13 Arcane damage and then additional Arcane damage over 12 seconds.

I list these spells primarily because this is what you’ll use to level until at least level 8 since you have no forms to choose from until then. However, it’s also important to be familiar with these if you’re going to PvP. As a Feral Druid there’s a lot of crowd control that you can shrug off, but being rooted in place is not one of them. In cases like those, you need to be able to pop out of your feral form to attack with spells. Even as Feral I keep Moonfire keybound an in reach for just such an occasion. I’ll get into more detail on when using Moonfire and other caster spells is a good idea as a Feral even though using these spells pops you out of your Cat/Bear form in a later post directed specifically at PvP.

For leveling from 1-8, you’re basically going to spam Wrath and/or Moonfire until your targets are dead.

Cat Form (Levels 8-29)

  • Cat Form (8): Shift into Cat form, causing Agility to increase Attack Power (2:1). Also protects the caster from Polymorph effects and allows the use of cat abilities. Shapeshifting frees the caster of movement slowing effects.
  • Claw (8): Claw the enemy, causing 100% of normal damage plus 38. Awards 1 combo point.
  • Ferocious Bite (8): Finishing Move causes damage per combo point and consumes up to 35 additional energy to increase damage by up to 100%, and heals you for up to 1% of your total max health for each 10 energy used.
  • Rake (8): Rake the target for Bleed damage and additional Bleed damage every 3 seconds for 9 seconds. Awards 1 combo point.
  • Mangle (10): Mangle the target for 354% normal damage plus 3 and causes the target to take 30% additional damage from bleed effects for 1 minute. Awards 1 combo point.
  • Prowl (10): Allows the druid to prowl around (stealth), but reduces your movement speed by 30%. Lasts until cancelled.
  • Ravage (22): Ravage the target, causing 664% damage plus 3 to the target. Must be prowling and behind the target. Awards 1 combo point.
  • Skull Bash (22): Charge and skull bash the target, interrupting spellcasting and preventing any spell in that school from being cast for 4 seconds.
  • Tiger’s Fury (24): Increases physical damage done by 15% for 6 seconds. Requires Cat form. Does not break prowling.
  • Cower (26): Cower, causing no damage but lowering your threat by 10%, making the enemy less likely to attack you.
  • Dash (26): Increases movement speed by 70% while in Cat form for 15 seconds. Does not break prowling.
  • Feline Grace (26): Reduces damage from falling.

In case you haven’t noticed, Druids get a crapload of spells. And these are just the ones that you use strictly in Cat form.

As a leveling Cat the most important spells for you are: Mangle, Rake, Ferocious Bite, Prowl and Ravage. Prowl (stealth) and Ravage are used as openers and with decent gear you can one-shot a lot of quest mobs with Ravage. Especially if you buff your damage with Tiger’s Fury first. Mangle is your spam-attack, Rake is your primary Bleed, and Ferocious Bite is your finisher. We’ll get into more detail about how to use these in the sections below.

Claw is mentioned SOLELY because it’s your only decent attack from level 8-9 in Cat Form. At level 10 you’ll take this off of your bars and never look at this worthless piece of garbage again. This spell only exists to give non-Feral Druids an attack to use while in Cat Form, it’s not meant for you. It costs more Energy than Mangle and does a fraction of its damage, so don’t use this ever again once you reach level 10.

While Skull Bash won’t see much use while you’re leveling, it’s good to stay familiar with it and keep it somewhere easily reachable. You don’t need to interrupt spells from quest mobs, but if you develop that habit now you won’t have to worry about trying to get into the habit when you reach max level where dungeon and raid fights demand interrupts.


Bear Form (Levels 15-29) [jump to tanking]

  • Bear Form (15): Shift into Bear form, increasing armor by 120% and Stamina by 20%. Significantly increases threat generation (500%), causes Agility to increase Attack Power (2:1), and protects the caster from Polymorph effects and allows the use of bear abilities. Shapeshifting frees the caster from movement slowing effects.
  • Mangle (10): Mangle the target for 88% normal damage plus 93 and causes the target to take 30% additional damage from bleed effects for 1 minute.
  • Demoralizing Roar (15): Reduce the physical damage caused by all enemies within 10 yards by 10% for 30 seconds.
  • Growl (15): Taunts the target to attack you, but has no effect if the target is already attacking you.
  • Maul (15): An attack that instantly deals 35 physical damage. Effects which increase Bleed damage also increase Maul damage.
  • Swipe (18): Swipe nearby enemies, inflicting 51 damage. Damage is increased by attack power.
  • Enrage (22): Generates 20 Rage, and then generates an additional 10Rage over 10 seconds.
  • Skull Bash (22): Charge and skull bash the target, interrupting spellcasting and preventing any spell in that school from being cast for 4 seconds.
  • Faerie Fire (24): Decreases the armor of the target by 4% for 5 minutes. While affected, the target cannot stealth or turn invisible. Stacks up to 3 times. Deals damage and additional threat when used in Bear Form.
  • Challenging Roar (28): Forces all nearby enemies within 10 yards to focus attacks on you for 6 seconds.

Did I mention Druids get a crapload of spell? Here’s the list of the ones strictly used in Bear form.

Bear form is most often used for tanking, but it’s also a strong option for leveling; especially for those of you who enjoy using AoE and fighting multiple mobs at once. All of these spells are important in one way or another. For boss tanking Mangle, Demoralizing Roar, and Maul are your primary spells with Growl getting an honorable mention in case you’ve got some strong DPS in your group. For questing or fighting trash your major spells are: Mangle, Demoralizing Roar, Maul, and Swipe with Challenging Roar and Growl being mentioned again for those DPS that might draw agro in dungeons.

We’ll talk more about Bear tanking later on. For now, know that if you’re going to be bear tanking you’ll make use of basically all of these spells. The least likely spell for you as a tank is going to be Skull Bash since you usually have DPS focused on interrupts, but if you can add yours to the mix then you only strengthen your group.

Healing Spells (Levels 3-29)

  • Rejuvenation (3): Heals the target for 70 every 3 seconds for 12 seconds.
  • Regrowth (12): Heals a friendly target for 182-202 and another 57 over 6 seconds.
  • Revive (12): Returns the spirit to the body, restoring a dead target to life with 35% max health and mana. Cannot be cast when in combat.
  • Rebirth (20): Returns the spirit to the body, restoring a dead target to life with 20% health and mana. Can be used during combat.
  • Remove Corruption (24): Nullifies corrupting effects on the friendly target, removing 1 Curse and 1 Poison effect.

I wouldn’t ordinarily bother listing healing spells on a guide written specifically for a Tank/DPS spec, but Druids are special.

There’s a method of healing that we call pre-HoT’ing, which is casting Heal over-Time (HoT) spells on your tank before they pull so that you nullify or greatly reduce the amount of initial damage that they take once combat begins. Bears operate off of a Rage mechanic which starts at 0 and fills up during combat. Because of this you can take great advantage of pre-HoT’ing yourself while questing or during dungeons to lessen the load on your healer. If you’re always out of Rage between pulls then you can also make use of your talents for a free 10 Rage after casting your HoT’s to give you a head start in the pull.

The most likely spell for you to use in a pre-HoT is Rejuvenation because it has a longer duration and a cheaper mana cost. Regrowth only lasts for 6 seconds and it’s a front-loaded HoT as well as expensive, so only use it when you know there’s going to be a lot of incoming damage or when you need to top yourself off from the last pull.

Rebirth is mentioned because being able to resurrect someone mid-combat is pretty stinking useful. Revive I mention only because I can’t believe how many times I’ve had people die in pugs and nobody in the group has or has bothered training a resurrection spell. Learn it. Use it. Love it.

Remove Corruption deserves special mention because you can’t use Prowl (stealth) while you have DoT’s on you because taking damage removes you from stealth. You can enter prowl, you just won’t be able to stay in it for more than a second or two. Removing curses and poisons that deal damage can save you a lot of problems when playing as a cat.

Utility Spells (Levels 4-29)

  • Thorns (5): Thorns sprout from the friendly target causing Nature damage to attackers when hit. Lasts 20 seconds.
  • Entangling Roots (7): Roots the target in place for 30 seconds. Damage caused my interrupt the effect.
  • Teleport: Moonglade (15): Teleports the caster to the Moonglade.
  • Aquatic Form (16): Shift into aquatic form, increasing swim speed by 50% and allowing the druid to breathe underwater. Also protects from Polymorph effects. Shifting frees the caster from movement slowing effects.
  • Travel Form (16): Shift into travel form, increasing movement speed by 40% and protecting you from Polymorph effects. Only usable outdoors. Shifting frees the caster of movement slowing effects.
  • Omen of Clarity (20): Your damage spells, attacks, and auto-attacks have a chance to cuase you to enter a Clearcasting state. The Clearcasting state reduces the Mana, Rage or Energy cost of your next damaging or healing spell or offensive feral ability by 100%.
  • Faerie Fire (24): Decreases the armor of the target by 4% for 5 minutes. While affected, the target cannot stealth or turn invisible. Stacks up to 3 times.
  • Innervate (28): Causes the target to regenerate 5% of their maximum mana over 10 seconds. If cast on self, you regenerate an additional 15% of your maximum mana over 10 seconds.
  • Sooth (28): Soothes the target, dispelling all enrage effects.

Yep. Crapload.

Thorns is a really cool spell that actually puts out a surprising amount of damage. The bad news is, it kicks you out of bear/cat form to use it. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t cast it, but it does mean you should generally avoid doing so mid-combat. This is another spell you should be casting in between pulls for extra damage. If you’re not the tank, cast it on your tank between pulls instead of yourself.

Entangling Roots isn’t used much by Ferals in PvE, though it’s pretty common in PvP. In terms of leveling and questing I like to use this when I’m gathering mostly so that when I don’t want to fight a mob I’ll just root them in place, gather my node and then leave. If you’re a Bear that’s pretty much the only time you’ll cast Roots in PvE.

Teleport: Moonglade is a free ticket to your class trainer any time you want it. Moonglade also has a couple of professions trainers (Herbalism and…something else, I think) and a couple of vendors that sell items that often can be flipped on the AH for a decent profit.

Aquatic Form and Travel Form are both great for mobility, and they can both be cast while you’re in combat. They’re fantastic for PvP, and occasionally useful in PvE.

Omen of Clarity is worth mentioning because you’re going to see those two bars of green leaves pop up on your screen from time to time and you might as well know what it means. Omen of Clarity (OoC) essentially makes your next attack or heal free, so you generally want to make use of the OoC proc by casting a spell with the largest Rage/Energy/Mana cost that has the most benefit. For Feral that’s almost always going to be Mangle or sometimes Ferocious Bite in Cat form, though you may also want to use it for a quick Regrowth if you need some emergency healing.

Innervate doesn’t mean much to Ferals since you almost never use mana, but your healers will love you for casting it on them.

And last is Sooth. Sooth is very often overlooked by Druids because you get it at such an early level and yet have virtually no reason at all to use it. For leveling purposes this spell can pretty much be ignored since anything that does enrage on you will likely die within a matter of seconds if you’re attacking it in Cat form. In dungeons you’ll occasionally run into a boss that you can use this on where it’s useful, but it breaks Cat/Bear form so doing so is risky. The main reason why I mention it is because it does have some definite uses in PvP against Warriors and some class pets that have enrages.

Leveling a Feral Druid

  • Questing Single Mob Stealth: [Cat Form] Prowl, Tiger’s Fury, Ravage, Mangle, Rake, Ferocious Bite, Mangle spam
  • Questing Single Mob No Stealth: [Cat Form] Tiger’s Fury, Mangle, Rake, Mangle x1-3, Ferocious Bite
  • Questing Multi-Mob: [Bear Form] Mangle (mob 1), Demoralizing Roar, Maul, Swipe, Maul, Mangle (mob 2), Swipe, Maul

Questing Single Mob
The fastest way to kill things 1v1 is to use Prowl to sneak up behind them, pop Tiger’s Fury for added damage, and then use Ravage for big burst damage followed by Mangle for even more burst. If the mob manages to survive, you follow that with Rake’s bleed effect which is 30% stronger thanks to Mangle’s debuff, and then Ferocious Bite as a finisher. If the mob still isn’t dead, switch to spamming your Mangle attack until the mob is either dead or has 5 combo points on it at which time you Ferocious Bite again and then return to Mangle spam.

Rarely should you ever have to worry about normal mobs surviving through that full rotation as a Feral.

While using stealth is often looked at as the “right” way to play a Feral, it’s not really necessary. It’s perfectly acceptable to just run up to something and Mangle it’s face a bit before using Ferocious Bite to finish them off. This is most effective when you’re in heirloom gear or other good gear for your level rather than a hodgepodge of whites and greens that don’t add Agility.

Questing Multi-Mob
Using AoE to take down groups of mobs is my favorite way to kill things. This rotation is also what you’ll use when tanking dungeons. Those four spells are the key to tanking form level 15 up to level 69. For that massive stretch of levels there’s virtually no change at all to your rotation for taking. You can assign Mangle, Maul, Swipe and Demo Roar to your 1-4 keys and after hitting Demo Roar once at the beginning of a fight you can spam 1-3 without even looking at your monitor for the rest of the encounter and you’ll do just fine.

The reason why I mention using Mangle on multiple targets is two fold. First, Mangle is your hardest hitting attack so spreading out that big damage will help bring all of the mobs down faster and more evenly time-wise. Second, because Mangle increases Bleed damage by 30% which Maul takes advantage of even though it isn’t a Bleed effect. By default Maul only hits a single target, but with a Major Glyph you can make it hit two targets which is why it’s great for AoE situations.


How to Tank: 29 Feral Druid
Tanking on a Bear Druid is easy while you’re leveling. Before patch 4.3 it was a little bit tougher because Bear Form didn’t get its full defensive bonus until higher levels, but now you get it from level 15 on. To see which spells you’ll be using as a Bear, refer to the Bear Spells section above for a list of all the spells you’ll need to have ready in this level range.

Tanking as a Bear is incredibly simple at early levels. It can be a little bit boring since you’ll be using the same three attack spells over and over as they come off of cooldown, but tabbing through multiple enemies to keep threat spread out over all the mobs can keep it a bit more interesting.

Pulling
There are three methods of pulling that you can use: body pull, feral charge, and faerie fire.

Body Pulling is simply running into the group of mobs and letting the presence of your toon draw the agro. This is the simplest method of pulling, but also the least effective since it generates no threat at all.

Feral Charge is a bit more effect since it’s a gap closer, meaning you rush right in quickly and get started with combat and threat right away.

Faerie Fire is much like Feral Charge except that the range is longer and you’re not closing the gap any faster than with a body pull.

The most effective way to start a pull is to combine those last to. You do this by casting Faerie Fire on the target furthest away from you, then casting Feral Charge on the mob closest to the center of the pack you’re about to pull (any mob in the cluster will work, though).

Once you’re in range of the mobs your first priority is to cast Demoralizing Roar to reduce the damage of all of those mobs. From there you move on to your damage rotation.

Damage Rotation
Until you learn Lacerate at level 66 there are only three spells you’ll need to worry about for your damage rotation: Mangle, Maul and Swipe.

Mangle is a solid burst of damage on a single target, with a 6 second cooldown.
Maul is reasonable damage on a single target, with a 3 second cooldown..
Swipe is an AoE attack that hits all enemies within 8 yards of you, with a 3 second cooldown.

You want to try to use Mangle on each target in the pack at least once so that Mangles +30% Bleed damage debuff is on as many targets as possible. The reason for this is that Maul benefits from Mangle’s debuff even though it’s not actually a Bleed effect. Another reason why we’re spreading it around instead of just focusing one target is because you also want to use the Glyph of Maul which makes Maul hit two targets instead of one, so being able to increase Maul’s damage by 30% on multiple targets is just free, extra damage.

Since Maul and Swipe both have 3 second cooldowns, you’ll alternate these a lot, with Mangle thrown in when it’s available.

If you’re facing a boss or a single mob, you can leave Swipe off the list and just use Mangle/Maul as they’re available, filling in the empty spaces with Faerie Fire until you have 3 stacks of it (the max).

Taunts and Drawing Agro
Bears have two taunts, one that’s single target and one that’s area.

Growl has a single target, and an 8 second cooldown.
Challenging Roar hits all mobs within 10 yards, forcing agro (not threat*) for 6 seconds, and has a 3 minute cooldown.

Growl is going to be your primary taunt because of it’s significantly shorter cooldown. The main thing you need to know about taunts, if they’re unfamiliar to you, is that terms of threat a Taunt puts your threat equal to the person who currently has threat. So if their threat is 500 and yours is only 300, your threat meter immediately jumps up to 500 to match theirs. This is important to remember because taunting something doesn’t just instantly guarantee that the problem is going away. Unless you do something to generate more threat on that target than whoever had threat before is continuing to generate on them, you’re going to lose it again.

For example, if a Mage pulls threat on one mob and you taunt it, but don’t do anything else, if that Mage continues to cast spells against that mob he’s going to steal threat again as soon as he reaches 130% of your threat level (assuming he’s at caster range and not melee range, or else it’s only 110%). The way you combat that is to use attacks on that specific mob to generate a significant enough threat lead that you will not lose threat again before the mob is dead.

If you taunt a mob and they’re not close enough for you to just hit them right away to reestablish agro, use other means of generating agro such as Faerie Fire or use your Feral Charge to close in with the stray mob, followed with Mangle to boost your threat back up.

Challenging Roar forces everything in its radius to fight you for 6 seconds no matter what the threat levels are. Even if your threat level is 300 and theirs is 3 million, you’ve got agro for those 6 seconds. The key issue here though, is that this isn’t an actual taunt. A taunt resets your threat level to match whoever had threat at the time, where this spell leaves threat levels where they are an instead just makes the targets ignore everyone else until the spell ends.

In order to use this spell effectively you need to follow it up immediately with as much AoE as you can. That means hitting Swipe, Maul, Demoralizing Roar, and anything else you have to throw at them (like Engineering explosives). As a Bear you generate threat at 5 times the amount of damage that you put out, and no DPS classes near your level should be able to put out 500% of your damage. Certain spells, like Faerie Fire, also generate threat which is not based solely on damage, but you don’t need to know all the math behind those so I’m not going to mention it.

[Note: I've had some trouble finding the exact percentages that are used currently for pulling threat. General consensus on twitter was that 110% is correct for melee range threat, while there's some confusion on ranged being 120% or 130%. I'm not an expert on threat, so if I got the numbers right just let me know and I'll get it corrected.]

Talent Spec: 29 Feral Druid

  • Feral Swiftness 2/2: Increases your movement speed by 30% in Cat Form and increases your chance to doge while in Cat or Bear forms by 4%. In addition, your Dash and Stampeding Roar have a 100% chance to remove all movement impairing effects from affected targets when used.
  • Furor 3/3: Grants a 100% chance to gain 10 Rage when you shift into Bear form, allows you to keep up to 100 of your Energy when shifting into Cat form, and increases your maximum mana by 15%.
  • Fury Swipes 3/3: When you auto-attack while in Cat or Bear form, you have a 15% chance to cause a Fury Swipe dealing 310% weapon damage. This effect cannot occur more than once every 3 seconds.
  • Primal Fury 2/2: Gives a 100% chance to gain an additional 5 Rage anytime you get a critical strike while in Bear form and your critical strikes from Cat form abilities that add combo points have a 100% chance to add an additional combo point.
  • Feral Charge 1/1: Teaches Feral Charge (Bear) and Feral Charge (Cat). Bear – causes you to charge an enemy, immobilizing them for 4 seconds, 15 second cooldown. Cat – causes you to leap behind an enemy, dazing them for 3 seconds, 30 second cooldown.

This is the spec that I would recommend for level 29, regardless of whether you want to be a Bear tank or a Cat DPS. I have some alternative suggestions down below, in case you like the sound of some of those better for your early leveling. The Feral tree is packed with lots of really cool talents, and depending on what your focus is in game you may prefer one over another.

Feral Swiftness is one of the more iconic talents of the feral spec, allowing you to move faster in Cat form and granting an extra 4% dodge while you’re in a feral form. Increasing your movement speed is often considered a trait of PvP, but it’s a quality of life thing that does have uses in PvE as well. I suggest you spend both of your first points to max this out.

Furor is a stable for every Druid, regardless of spec. For Ferals the main thing is free Rage when shifting into Bear form and not having your Energy drained when shifting into Cat form. It’s a big time saver, and it’s especially useful when tanking so that you’re not constantly having to body pull and start from scratch every time.

Fury Swipes is free damage. Whether that free damage is helping you deal more damage as a Cat, or it’s helping you deal more damage (and thus, more threat) as a Bear, it’s helping no matter what.

Primal Fury is the most changeable talent on my list. It gives you free Rage as a Bear and free combo points as a Cat, which both serve to make you more effective in combat. This is more important for Cats than it is for Bears as oftentimes you can end up with excessive amounts of Rage as a Bear and nothing to dump them into, where a Cat can often end up starved for energy and get better damage on their finishing moves from free combo points without having to spend the energy to generate those points otherwise.

Substitutions:
If you’re going for a straight Cat build and you know you have no interest in tanking, then there are a couple of other choices you might want to consider.

Predatory Strikes 2/2 is a good substitute for points from Furor. It will give you an extra 50% crit chance when using Ravage on targets above 80% health, and give your finishing moves a 20% chance per combo point to make your next Nature spell an instant cast and cost no mana. This is very much a PvP talent, but it also adds survivability in PvE by giving you access to free and instant healing or crowd control spells.

All four of the talents on the 2nd tier of the Feral tree are good. Infected Wounds 2/2 causes your primary attack skills to slow the target’s movement by 25% and their attack speed by 10% which is great for survival and PvP. Feral Aggression 2/2 increases your Ferocious Bite damage by 10% and causes your Faerie Fire spell to apply all 3 stacks of FF in a single cast.

Glyphs

Prime Glyphs

There’s really no question of which glyph is better for you here. Mangle is your primary attack for both Feral forms. The only time I would settle for Tiger’s Fury is if you can’t find or can’t afford Mangle.

Major Glyphs

If you’re going to participate in Bear tanking, use Maul. If you’re a crazy cat lady, use Ferocious Bite. If you don’t have heirlooms, use Thorns.

Maul gives you no benefit as a Cat, and FerBite gives you no benefit as a Bear, so if you’re going to specialize in one or the other then don’t go for a glyph that does you no good.

Thorns does a lot of damage for a cast-and-forget spell, but only if enemies have enough time to hit you. If you have fully enchanted heirlooms and you’re slaying things in a couple of globals, then Thorns isn’t useful to you either.

Minor Glyphs

I’m going to leave the minor glyphs up to you. Personally, I love the Aquatic Form glyph because I hate moving slow and I love taking advantage of water areas in PvP that my opponents cannot. Dash is another favorite of mine since I’m all about moving faster and doing it often. Unburdened Rebirth is first on the list because in practical terms it’s got the most benefit in the long run if you play with other people in your group.

Gearing Up Your Feral Druid
When choosing your gear your top priority is Agility regardless of being a Cat or a Bear. If you’re a Bear tank then your secondary stat is Stamina. If you’re a Cat, then your secondary stat is Agility.

No, that wasn’t a typo.

Other stats that interest you are: Hit, Crit (Cat), Haste, and Dodge (Bears).

You can get some pretty decent Agility gear from the Leatherworking profession at all levels. It’s the one profession I have never maxed on any of my characters, so I don’t wish it upon anyone, but if you know a LW or have on already then you can get yourself some decent upgrades in advance.

If you like to run dungeons, you can get some pretty nice upgrades.
Ragefire Chasm: Chest, Cloak
Deadmines: Cloak, Weapon, Legs
Wailing Caverns: Chest, Belt, Boots, Legs, Gloves, Shoulders
Shadowfang Keep: Shoulders
Blackfathom Deeps: Legs, Bracers, Weapon, Gloves
Stormwind Stockades: Helm (Alliance only), Boots, Legs
Gnomeregan: Rings, Bracers, Chest (Alliance only),

Macros
At Cynwise’s suggestion, I’ve decided to put the macros for each class on their own page. For Druid macros, simply click on the following link, or look under the Macros menu at the top of this page: Druid Macros.

 
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Posted by on December 9, 2011 in Druid, Guide, Leveling, Macro, Melee, Player vs Player

 

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Heirloom Farming: Darkmoon Faire

[Update 12/6/11: Two artifacts require level 85.]
[Update 12/6/11: A blue post by Blizzard has just junked most of my assumptions and changed some numbers.]

As I’m sure you’re aware by now, the new Darkmoon Faire is in town for the week.

The Darkmoon Faire offers all kinds of fun little games to play, achievements to…achieve, and quests to complete. And of course, it brings along the focus of this entire expansion – yet another grind.

This grind doesn’t get you any end game gear though. Instead it provides a nice collection of pets (6), mounts (2), toys, PvE heirlooms, and gear from the past for all your transmogrification needs. Basically, this is Cataclysm’s version of the Argent Tournament. The major difference is that the DMF is only around on the first week of every month, starting on the first Sunday of the month.

The purpose of this particular post is farming for those heirlooms. Why? Because heirlooms are kinda “my thang”. You feel me? You know what I’m sayin’? You smell what I’m stepping in? Alright, let’s get to it then.

At the end of the article I have a summary of how many tickets it’s possible for you to farm so that you know what kind of schedule you’re looking at regardless of what items you’re farming for.

Minimum Requirements
I wanted to include this in the guide with the F2P community and the Gnome Clones in mind, though I’m sure some of you other players might like the heads up as well.

The regular daily quests are reportedly able to be done by a character of any level. I’ve heard people say you have to be level 10, other say there’s no level requirement. I don’t know the actual answer just yet, but I will have it as soon as servers come back up today and I can test it (or rather, have it tested by my brother in law since I’m stuck at work). We have confirmed that you can start the DMF daily quests at level 1.

In order to do the professions quests, which can be done only once per Faire, you have to be the minimum level to have the profession (which is 1 for non-crafting professions, 5 for crafting). You also have to have a skill rank of 75 in order to open the quests.

For the Darkmoon Artifacts to drop for you in dungeons and battlegrounds you have to be at least level 15. Which bosses drop a particular artifact are tied to the bosses themselves and which artifact you’re looking for. I’m sure that sentence made almost no sense, so let me clarify. For example, bosses that are “monsters” like the Hydra in Zul’Farak can drop the Monstrous Egg artifact because that boss is a monster thus tying him to that artifact. Other artifacts are similarly tied to bosses that are related somehow to the concept of the artifact. Some you’ll see tied to noble or military leaders so when you see a boss whose name is General, Lord, Commander and so forth, they are the bosses that drop that type of artifact.

Battleground artifacts come from the corpses of your opponents, so make sure you’re looting those insignia. It doesn’t matter who killed them, you can run around just looting dead bodies and not participating at all in the PvP and you’ll get artifacts. No, I absolutely do not suggest you do that, I’m just letting you know there’s nothing required to get them other than looting enemy bodies.

Also, dungeon artifacts come up in the Need/Greed rolls while for battlegrounds to the looter go the spoils.

Archeology is the exception to the professions rule since it has a level requirement of 20. It also requires to you have a skill level of 75 and the quest itself requires you to have 15 Fossil Fragments to complete the quest. So not only do you have to have this profession, you also have to have spent the time leveling it and collecting specific fragments in order to do the quest.

So the absolute minimum level to do everything is 20. So the minimum level I would suggest for seriously farming the Prize Tickets is level 15 since you have access to almost everything. Level 20 opens up one more monthly professions quest (Archeology) and then you’ve got access to all but the two artifacts that require you to be level 85. However, you can start this farming at level 1, so there’s no reason to wait if you have a fresh toon and the faire is in progress.

[UPDATE: Two artifacts require level 85.

Through further research I have found that the A Treatise on Strategy artifact requires level 85 and so far all reports show that it drops only from level 85 Heroics, and typically from bosses whose names reveal them to be somehow related to a military calling such as Commander Ulthok, General Umbriss, and Admiral Ripsnarl.

Also, the artifact called Soothsayer's Runes requires level 85 as well and is confirmed to drop in Tier 11+ raids. This one is unique then in two ways. First, that it's the only one dropped in a raid rather than a dungeon. Second, that this one does not require a loot roll; instead, everyone in the raid who has a copy of the Darkmoon Adventurer's Guide in their inventory will receive it when it drops and is looted.]

Heirloom Prices
Before we get into how you go about farming these things, it’s important to know how much farming you’ll have to do.

Of the 25 PvE heirlooms that you can get from the Darkmoon Faire, 19 of them (chests, shoulders, one-handed weapons) require 110 Prize Tickets, the two trinkets both require 130 Tickets, and the two-handed weapons require 160 Tickets.

You cannot get heirloom cloaks or helms from the Faire, and no new item slots were opened in this patch so legs and rings are still unavailable all together (save the ring from the Kalu’ak tournament).

The good news is, these prize tickets aren’t that hard to get your hands on. The bad news is, the event is only around for the first week of every month which means you have a set window in which to do all of your grinding and your grinding potential is limited by the small number of available quests.

Questing for Tickets

Daily Quests: 40 Tickets per Faire
Questing is your steady source of tickets. There are five daily quests that you can do, and each of those rewards a single ticket. You can do those daily quests eight times throughout the week, for a total weekly farm of 40 Prize Tickets. How do you do daily quests for eight days in a seven day week? You log on at 12 A.M. server time on Saturday night and do the dailies before 3 A.M. server time on Sunday morning when daily quests are reset. There’s your weekly exploit report, now back to our regularly scheduled farming guide. So 1 ticket per quest, 5 quests per day, 7(+1) days per week.

Blizzard quotes this as being available only seven times per week, but unless they put something in place to stop it, you can still farm an extra day’s worth of dailies during that three hour stretch each time it opens. This functionality has been around for years and I don’t see them fixing it now. They’re well aware of it and Bashiok even quoted someone who mentioned it on the boards and corrected his own total count to include it.

Monthly Quests:
Each month, once per Faire, you can do a quest related to each of your professions and secondary skills as long as you have at least skill rank 75 in that profession. Each character can have a total of six of these (two professions, four secondary skills) at one time. Professions reward 4 Tickets each while Secondary Skills reward 3 Tickets each.

For most players that’s going to be the final count on this type of farming. However, if you’re all kinds of serious about farming these heirlooms you can actually (ab)use the system here by leveling your primary professions to 75, doing their quests, dropping the professions, picking up 2 new professions, leveling to 75, doing the quests, drop the professions, rinse and repeat for all eleven professions. So crazy people can get a total of 3 tickets per quest, for all 11 professions and all 4 secondary skills, for a total of 45 prize tickets per month.

Other monthly quests include the Test Your Strength quest which has you collect 250 Grisly Trophies from targets you kill, and quests that start from all of the Darkmoon Artifacts that you get from dungeon bosses and looting insignia from opposing forces in battlegrounds.

[Update: Blizzard has confirmed that all of these are repeatable each month.]

There are a total of nine Darkmoon Artifacts: five from dungeons (one of those 85 heroic-only), three from battlegrounds, and 1 from T11+ raids. Each of these artifacts starts a quest which is simply turning the item in at the Faire.

4 Dungeon Artifacts – 10 Tickets each (40)
1 Heroic Artifact – 15 Tickets
1 Raid Artifact – 10 Tickets
3 BG Artifacts – 5 Tickets each (15)
2 Primary Professions – 4 Tickets each (8*)
4 Secondary Professions – 3 Tickets each (12)
1 Test Your Strength – 10 Tickets

So the grand total for Monthly Quests (not counting the dailies) is: 110*

I’m awaiting confirmation on whether or not Blizzard has put a stop to the dropping/repicking professions thing I mentioned above. If it’s gone, then 110 Monthly is the limit, while if it’s not you can add another 36 to the total.

Total Farming Per Month
This is the part of the guide that’s applicable to everyone who wants to farm the prize tickets, even if you have no interest in heirlooms. These are your total farming caps per month for you to determine how long you’ll have to farm to get all the items you want.

Total Weekly Farming: 40 Tickets
Total Monthly Farming: 18-45 Tickets
Total Artifact Farming: 100 Tickets

So, you’re able to farm a maximum of 158 Tickets if you’re sane, or 185 Tickets if you’re no longer restricted to the realm of sanity.

That’s a lot of tickets. You can basically get a new heirloom every month, or two heirlooms every two months depending on how seriously you farm and which ones you’re going for since there is some variation in price.

 
12 Comments

Posted by on December 6, 2011 in World of Warcraft

 

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Upcoming Content

My WoW blogging has been really out of whack here for the last few months, and posting frequency here has slowed quite a bit. Now that we’re back into the full swing of things though, more posts are going to come out shortly.

My latest obsession has been level 24 twinks, but I’m not sure I’m going to post about them here since leveling to 24 is about as easy as breathing. Those twinks are part of why I haven’t done much posting lately as I’ve had no leveling to really blog about. And while I don’t mind putting twink information here, I don’t want that to be the only thing you see from me since that’s just one thing I like to do in WoW.

My current project is a level 70 Resto Druid which I probably will blog about at least a little bit since I’ve actually had a blast leveling her. I’ve done a lot of dungeon runs, a lot of PvP, tons of gathering, and quite a bit of questing as well. With the exception of two dungeon queues that have popped with me as DPS, I’ve done all of that so far as Resto. She’s currently level 65 and her total Honor earned so far is around 3,600. I’m really looking forward to getting her to 70 and getting her geared and enchanted. I really like the idea of being able to actively twink somewhere besides WSG and AB.

Other projects that I have planned that will also include some blogging time potentially include:
– Level 70 Frost Mage Twink
– Level 70 Holy Priest Twink
– Leveling 1-85 Prot Warrior

Which of those I actually follow through with my plans on remains to be seen. If you’ve followed me for any length of time I’m sure you’re aware that I frequently change my mind when it comes to alts so who knows what will actually come to pass.

The project I had been working on, Project High Heals, is probably going to fade away. I might level the Priest the rest of the way to 85, but I don’t know that I’m going to level the Shaman any time soon, and I don’t feel like leveling a Paladin at the moment either. So maybe I’ll just back burner it, or it might be dead. We’ll see.

 
6 Comments

Posted by on November 18, 2011 in World of Warcraft

 
 
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