Leveling Gear: Druid Casters

This is not intended as a best-in-slot list, but merely a general listing of possible sources of caster gear for druids. I have included quest, dungeon (normal and heroic) and crafted pieces. Due to the buff provided by wearing leather, I have considered no other armor type. In order to get the most bang for your buck, try to prioritize the following stats:

Tanking Tips: Casters

I *almost* hate to write this post from a “omg, everyone knows that” perspective; however, it’s darn obvious that not everyone knows it, and if it helps a single player learn a basic tanking skill, well, I’ll never know it, but at least I’ll feel better for having tried.

As a tank, you have two basic options to deal with casters in groups:

1. Charge in
2. Line of Sight pull

The reason you want to do this is simple — generating threat. If the caster is not being hit by your AoE, the person building the fastest threat is either your healer, or the dps with the largest AoE ability.

Recognizing Casters

Not all casters are ranged, however, enough of them are that it’s better to play it safe than be sorry halfway through a dungeon. The easiest way to tell if a mob will cast spells is that it has mana. You can get this information on any standard frame (including the default) or plates addon.

The second, and sometimes trickier way to tell is by the name of the mob. Many casters have caster in their name, or some type of class that generally casts, such as mage, warlock, shaman, etc.

The third, and least desirable during a pull, is to look it up on a site that compiles such information, such as Wowhead. Feel free to prep ahead of time though ^^

Now that you know you’re dealing with casters, let’s discuss how to get ‘em gathered up.

The Charge

Running into a pack of mobs is a perfectly viable and acceptable way to start a fight. However, when there are casters involved, positioning gains a bit more importance. Casters will not voluntarily follow you, so you must make sure that you either attack them first or have positioned your mob pack in such a way that casters are affected by any AoE abilities you may be sporting.

The Charge works best when you have 1-2 casters that are placed in relative proximity to each other. Larger groups can be handled with the charge if the casters are close enough together, or you happen to be a blood elf with that nifty spell, Arcane Torrent. Otherwise, a line of sight pull is preferable.

If, for whatever reason, a line of sight pull is not possible, it is imperative that some effort is made to maintain threat on casters not easily accessible through AoE. This may mean more dancing around the floor than what you’re comfortable with; however, if you do a fast burn on a particular caster, and then move to the caster with the least threat build-up, it will help limit your movement.

Light of Sight

In Theory, Line of Sight

Line of Sight, often abbreviated LOS, is a pull that makes the mob pack run to you. The tank is the best person to make the pull in most cases as you don’t have to worry about potential threat issues with a fellow team member. The goal in a line of sight pull is to tag a mob in the pack, and then retreat behind an available wall to break the caster’s ability to hit you with spells. When you duck behind an obstruction, casters will run to re-establish line of sight, and if handled properly, bunch up on the tank.

The problem with a LOS pull is that there isn’t always an appropriate object to break the caster’s sight. However, this does not mean that they cannot be effectively moved to a more appropriate position. Running a certain distance from a caster will work the same as breaking LOS as you exceed the maximum range of their spells. If you must resort to this type of pull, it is advised to drop an AoE ability, like Consecration or Death and Decay at the point you make the initial pull before, running back until the casters enter this area, and then returning to your initial pull point to begin dps. If you have a reliable dps, preferably a hunter with Misdirection or a rogue with Tricks of the Trade, they can take over the caster kiting and assist in transferring threat when the mobs are properly positioned.

Final Thoughts

While we’ve discussed LOS from a threat generation/mob pack perspective, LOS can also be a useful tool in assisting your party members in applying and maintaining crowd control in an area separated from the group. In addition, expectations in most groups at this point in the game tends to run towards the group moving in a forward direction at all times which prohibits many players from feeling comfortable with LOS pulls. It is ok to initiate LOS pulls, even in today’s content, but you must notify your team if you expect compliance. New dungeons may require old strategies, and practicing in familiar territory can be a big help.

From your semi-retired tank, and your grumpy healer who’s tired of being shadow/frost/fire/arcane-bolted ~

Drafts I’m Killing

I don’t know how anyone else handles their draft folder, but mine is generally comprised of titles, some with a paragraph or two to remind me what I was planning on talking about, and pretty much nothing else. If I’m working on a rather large project, I might have a draft for a couple of days while I compile links or finish testing/researching something, but no other work is being done until I get that darn post out the door.

I figured my first year has come and gone, so I should take the time to toss out those drafts that are lingering on, with no hope of being written anytime soon, despite the grand promise the earned them a note. Instead of just trashing them, I’m gonna give them their day in the sun by incorporating the little bit (if anything) I did do/plan to do with them now!

But first, the two screenshots that I didn’t feel like posting separately:

OMG, I’m In Outlands and I Don’t Look Like a Clown

New UI Party Shot (Still In Progress — As Always)

And, on to my dead drafts:

Touring with TourGuide

I actually deleted this when it was transferred to another owner for a short time. I blame that short hiatus for my long-time abadonment of Corrinna, who was my guinea pig in using the program for the first 80 levels. Of course, it’s borked again atm as people field test the new quests, and I don’t intend to ever bring this one back. I like it for leveling on alts as it takes the guesswork out of “where do I go next.”

Evaluating Your Raid Team: Mages

This post killed this project sadly. I love mages, but finding a way to say, if you’re numbers aren’t high enough you’re pressing your buttons wrong, was getting old, and saying it THREE times for Arcane / Fire / Frost was tortuous at best. RIP WoL evaluations — I love you, but I hate explaining you!

Add-Ons for Auction Hounds

I hate the AH, so field testing the few remaining Auctioning programs was a little more work than I had intended for myself. It seemed like a good idea at the time!

First Things First

Basically, this post got caught in the cross-fire between examining a raider’s guild application and a lecture on the importance of secondary skills. Since my tone varied so widely, and the topics were connected but becoming increasedly muddled, I just abadoned the post altogether.

Vuhdo the Way That You Do

I keep debating whether I want to toss this one or not. I like the idea of Vuhdo, and I strongly believe in providing manual type instructions for common addons. Vuhdo’s menus underwent a change while I was working on it, however, and having to start over from scratch made me want to scream.

Distributing the Treasure

This was a post on modifying a guild’s EPGP system to deal with changing variables (such as expansions). My husband gave me a great idea for a section which neither of use could ever remember later, so the entire post has been sitting in reserve for months now. It also used PK’s EGPG system as a base, and since they have already addressed their changes for the next expansion, it seems fairly silly to post it… if I could ever remember what I’m missing.

Heroic Preparation: DPS Death Knight

A companion to the heroic prep for DK tanks, it was just too darn close to the margins for it to make the cut. I also realized that I never “geared” myself for heroics as a DPS class anymore–if the little button says I can DPS it, I DPS it. Would have been much better as a non-raiding gear guide.

Twilight Days

A whiny post that I needed to write, but I didn’t feel like foisting off on my readers. You dealt with enough of my angst this year, and I <3 you for it.

Tanking Comparisons

I got about halfway through and went meh, in part, because I was missing a druid tank to use for testing some things I wanted to discuss. Who cares anyway? Play what you find fun.

What do you do with drafts that have been sitting around too long? Is there such a thing?

 

What Your Guild Forums Say

I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m always excited when I get the first crack at a guild’s forums. Something about the ability to read what people take the time to write out, past the one-liners that compromise most guild communications, gives a really solid idea of what you’re facing and who you’re dealing with past the pixels.

I am currently a “member” of Production Company, and as such I’ve been invited to the guild in-game, but even better, I got access to the guild’s forums a little over a week ago.

I wanted to talk about the forums because I found something I wasn’t expecting, and have yet to see in any other guild I’ve been a part of — individual forums.

The general set-up for most guilds runs something along the lines of this:

Public

  • General / News
  • Guild Guidelines
  • Funny Stuff
  • ApplicationsPrivate
  • General / News
  • Funny Stuff
  • Class/Role Forums
  • Raiding Strategies / DiscussionOfficers
  • General / News
  • Policy DiscussionNow some of these things are duplicated, because in many cases, they are duplicated in many guild’s forums, or pertain “public” vs. “private” news and information. No one wants to air their dirty laundry, and no sense announcing to the interwebz that you’ll be on vacation from the 20-30th of next month.

    Primarily, forums function as a free-flow of information among guildmates who may only meet in “real-time” at set times… such as the raid–not exactly the best time to be mucking out the latest strategy or notifying people that you’re planning a vacation in the future. A healthy guild forum equals a healthy guild in my opinion.

    ProCo has taken that private among the guild conversation and restricted it even further. Each guild member has a forum that is accessible to the guild member and the management. This provides a few things:

  • Direct line of communication to management that is not reliant on schedules matching up
  • Private forum for airing problems without fear of repercussion
  • A place to be criticized about performance without the “all eyes are watching” feelingWhile the management likely feels the last is the most important, from a member perspective, I feel that the first is. Finding time where you don’t feel like you’re “bothering” management likely leads to most of the dissatisfaction people feel about being able to communicate their fears/worries/concerns about the guild or their place in it.

    The second ties directly into the first. I know when I was an officer/guild leader the biggest problem I had was personal issues/concerns spilling over into guild chat/guild forums that opened a whole can of worms that often had nothing to do with the original problem. Once one person vents a tear, it seems that everyone gets the bug, and its sure hard to stamp out that infection once it starts. By allowing people to voice their problems in an “this is my entire argument” way without having to worry about how its going to come across to EVERYONE in the guild is a HUGE relief. While some episodes of guild chat/forum spewing actually help you resolve issues by allowing everyone a rant, the number of times this has been true has been, oh, about… once.

    The last is an awesome way to handle constructive criticism. Being called out in a raid is likely the most humiliating experience that a person can have. The problem is, most people don’t follow up after raids/in private communication to criticize either — it’s time consuming, the back and forth in /tells can send the wrong message, and frankly, it’s just easier to say “you’re in the bad.” Criticizing performance on the forums has the same problem, in many respects, to criticizing management on the forums — it can easily get out of hand. The member feels too “exposed,” other members try to “help,” and the whole thing ends up looking like a witch hunt. Knowing that you are in a “safe zone” with only management there to try to point out your performance areas and help you improve can do a lot to seeing an actual improvement instead of a /gquit.

    I will say, that for a larger guild, or a guild with high turnover, establishing and maintaining a forum for each guild member would likely cause more stress than the enterprise is worth. However, for a smaller guild, or one with little to no turnover, the extra communication could help cement your guildmates more tightly to the overall goals and direction of the guild.

     

A Failed Attempt at Saying Happy Blogaversary!

It’s always nice to wish a favorite blog a happy anniversary, and this time around Alas of Kiss My Alas is celebrating her first year. She issued marching orders to her blogging readers to answer a prompt of her choosing in honor of her big day. Being in the middle of a frantic rush to finish the semester, coupled with a lovely bit of a writing slump here at the blog, I happily took my instructions.

My Orders

It’s a dark and stormy night (obviously) and you’re stranded outside Gilneas. You need shelter from the weather and the fearsome beasts and your hearthstone broke when you fell off your horse earlier. What do you do?

My Mission

It all started so innocently.

I had traveled to the fallen city of Lordaeron to interrupt the yearly Wickerman Festival and was judiciously falling back to a more advantageous position when it happened. What seemed to be a washed out stream outside the Sepulcher was in actuality a ravine that required crossing the enemy controlled bridge or a detour of several miles. Being the impatient sort, I decided to attempt to leap across with my mount. I made it. My mount didn’t.

I can’t say that the successful leap deposited me on the other side in pristine condition either. I found several flasks crushed, a nick in my favorite blade, and a crack through the center of my hearthstone. The flasks and stone promptly joined my horse, and after little consideration of my non-existant options, I decided to head to Southshore to procure a flight to the nearest urban center where I could procure a new mount, and with a little haggling, a new hearthstone as well.

As I traveled through the forest of Silverpine, I found myself ruminating on the twists of fate that had made the Forsaken my enemies. If my kin had rejected me when I had been freed from the power of the Lich King, I might have found myself among their ranks, cast into the necropolis instead of enjoying the cool breezes of Ashenvale Forest once again.

But no matter.

These thoughts were replaced soon enough with a glum resentment as the heavens opened above me. I found myself nearly blinded by the ferocity of the storm, yet I continued in a generally southern direction. In the distance, I began to see pinpricks of light, like fireflies, creating starbursts upon the falling water beckoning me ever closer. If I had thought, but I did not think–I merely placed one foot in front of the other, vaguely wondering when I would arrive at the Wizard’s enclave.

Instead I found myself flanked on both sides by the gaping cavern of an open wall. Greymane’s wall… open? It could not be. Now I saw the source of the flickering lights, a town, squatting in the darkness of the storm-tossed night. The wall had risen after the Second War, and not opened its door to any visitor to help or hinder, and now it stood open to the night, seemingly inviting anyone into the gloomy light. The town… it could only be Gilneas.

—-

Alas… I love you, but I just can’t seem to figure out what the hell to do with the rest of this post. So, a lone night elf, lost in the rain without a hearthstone or mount standing at the wall. A scary attempt, I know, but I DID try! Happy Anniversary!

Tales of Noobkin: L1-50

This is a 4.0 leveling guide for balance druids from 1-50. These are observations based off my own game-play, as I began leveling soon after the changes took place. In it, I aim to provide general information on when new abilities become available, tips on how to use those abilities effectively, and my talent and glyph choices as I leveled my own balance druid.

The title of the article should give you a good clue as to my experience with all things druid until this point, which is just a nice way of saying “Take everything I say here with a grain of salt.” There are definitely viable and alternative talenting choices in a number of different areas; however, this is a rebuild of how I chose to specialize and level, with my resulting spec looking like this at L50.

And, without further ado, how to get from 1 to 50 as a noobkin!

Menu

1 – 1011 – 2021 – 3031 – 4041 – 50Maximizing EclipseReturn Here!

Level 1 – 10

Level 1 – 2

All druids begin life as casters. The first few levels will require you to beat on your enemy as often as cast at them due to our limited repetoire.

Wrath is a base in the moonkin’s rotation. Energized by Solar Eclipse, see Maximizing Eclipse for more information.

Level 3

Healing Touch is a druid’s first healing spell, and functions as a large, slow heal. It is difficult to cast effectively in combat due to its casting time. It should be noted that healing spells can only be cast in your native form. If you are in moonkin form, you will be knocked out when casting any type of healing spell.

Level 4

Druids continue in the casting vein with the addition of Moonfire, and an additional healing spell. Although you may be tempted to spam Moonfire, be aware that it has a high mana cost, and the DoT effect provides more damage than the initial hit. Primary DoT for Lunar Eclipse, see Maximizing Eclipse for more information.

Rejuvanation is a HoT, and is perfect for casting in combat when needed. It should be noted that healing spells can only be cast in your native form. If you are in moonkin form, you will be knocked out when casting any type of healing spell.

Level 5

Thorns is a buff that can be applied to yourself or a party member. It is great for soloing in that it allows you to inflict a large amount of damage when you have multiple mobs attacking you. Thorns can easily kill a mob, so be sure to hit or DoT everything–you don’t get kill credit for a mob killed solely by your Thorns.

In parties, Thorns is often best applied to the tank in order to aid in threat generation.

Level 8 – 9

Starfire is a base spell in the moonkin’s rotation. Energized by Lunar Eclipse, see Maximizing Eclipse for more information. Due to long cast times, best used prior to entering combat.

Entangling Roots allows you to control the flow of the battle a bit better, and *hopefully* find you leaving your battles with less overall damage. I’d suggest using ER only when you need it–to kite a hard-hitting mob or hold in place a surprising 2nd addition to a pull. While ER can be a life-saver on difficult solo pulls or to kite away from a bad encounter, use it when it’s needed!

At this level, utilizing cat form until level 10 may be your best option. While the number of spells has increased, the cast times of spells often makes battles seem overly long.

Level 10

  • Abilities: Starsurge, Moonfury (Talented) | Other: Mangle, Prowl
  • Talent Choice: Starlight (1/3)
  • Whether you’ve utilized cat form till now or not, you will definitely want to switch back to your native form to become a spellcaster again when you reach level 10. With the addition of Moonfury, you should notice an appreciable difference in the amount of damage being caused by your primary spells.Starsurge is a primary moonkin rotational ability, and in almost all cases, should be used off cooldown since it provides a faster casting time than Starfire, but more damage than Wrath. Starsurge also provides the most lunar/solar energy–see Maximizing Eclipse for more information.

    You will also have your Lunar/Solar Bar appear at this point in time. See Maximizing Eclipse for more information.

    At this point, reducing the cast times of your primary spells, Starfire and Wrath, can significantly improve the time it takes you to complete battles. Highly suggested as your first choice.
    Back to Top

    Level 11 – 20

    Level 11 – 12

  • Talent Choice: Starlight(2/3)
  • Abilities: Regrowth, Revive
  • Regrowth is an interesting healing spell that heals a medium amount of damage and applies a HoT for a short time. I use this much more often than Healing Touch as it allows me to toss a single heal and continue fighting in that the short HoT provides a small buffer against the next mob’s damage. When pulling a large group, I often use Regrowth and Rejuvenation pre-pull to lessen overall damage. It should be noted that healing spells can only be cast in your native form. If you are in moonkin form, you will be knocked out when casting any type of healing spell.Revive is our out-of-combat resurrection spell.

    Level 13 – 14

  • Talent Choice: Starlight(3/3)
  • Abilities: Teleport: Moonglade | Other: Bear Form, Demoralizing Roar, Growl, Maul
  • Although switching into bear form pre-4.0 was a good survival technique for leveling, with the changes in talents/spells, it’s simply easier and faster to just lazer beam your enemies to death in almost all cases.

    Level 15 – 16

  • Talent Choice: Nature’s Majesty(1/2)
  • Abilities: Aquatic Form, Travel Form
  • Faster movement speed on land and in the water! Travel form can be activated while in combat.Either Nature’s Majesty or Nature’s Grace is a solid choice for a secondary Tier 1 talent. The increased damage should prove more useful at this stage.

    Level 17 – 20

  • Talent Choice: Nature’s Majesty (2/2), Moonglow(1/3)
  • Abilities: Insect Swarm, Omen of Clarity, RebirthThis will be your first “dry spell” in terms of new abilities, as you won’t receive anything new until level 20.Insect Swarm completes our moonkin rotation, providing the Solar Eclipse DoT we’ve been lacking until this point. Unlike Moonfire, it provides no burst damage upon application. See Maximizing Eclipse for more information.

    Omen of Clarity is a clearcasting proc that can be activated by any damage from your abilities (including DoT ticks). If you have the in-game auras activated, you will see your character surrounded by leafy greens when active.

    Rebirth is our in-combat resurrection. It does require a Maple Seed unless you use the Glyph of Unburdened Rebirth.

    Either Moonglow, Nature’s Grace or Balance of Power would be a good choice at this point. I suggest Moonglow since I personally had some mana issues starting in the 30’s, and regretted not taking Moonglow earlier. If you find yourself utilizing the LFD feature primarily to level, taking Balance of Power first may be a better choice as it improves your chance to hit.
    Back to Top

    Level 21 – 30

    Level 21 – 22

  • Talent Choice: Moonglow(2/3)
  • Other: Enrage, Ravage, Skull Bash
  • No new abilities.

    Level 23 – 24

  • Talent Choice: Moonglow(3/3)
  • Faerie Fire, Remove Corruption | Other: Tiger’s FuryFaerie Fire won’t impact you much as you solo; however, don’t neglect to find a spot on your bar for it. FF is a powerful armor debuff that is only provided by Rogues, Warriors, Druids and certain pets, so you may be called on to apply it during raids. FF must be stacked three times to reach its full potential.Remove Corruption removes debuffs (poisons and curses) from yourself or other players.

    Level 25 – 26

  • Talent Choice: Balance of Power(1/2)
  • Other: Cower, Dash, Feline Grace
  • Glyphs: Wrath, Thorns, Unburdened RebirthNow if you need to jump off a cliff, you can utilize cat form to take less damage.Dash is also nice when you are in an order area, although you must be in cat form to use it.

    Balance of Power allows you to gain hit rating through spirit, which may or may not be particularly useful at this point depending on if you are doing dungeons or not; however, the additional damage to all your spells is a good bargain.

    As for glyphs, there are a ton to choose from. While I would not suggest that you keep Glyph of Wrath for anything but solo’ing; but, in solo situations, I find myself casting Wrath more frequently than any other spell due to the low cast time and the high probability that a mob is trying to beat my feathers off. I chose Thorns for similar reasons, since a reduced cool-down allows me to produce extra damage at little to no cost very frequently. Unburdened Rebirth is a clear winner since it’s that or Aquatic Form, and how often are you a sea-cow?

    Level 27 – 28

  • Talent Choice: Balance of Power(2/2)
  • Abilities: Innervate, Sooth | Other: Challenging RoarInnervate is tied to your own mana pool, so it will not provide miracles, but it can reduce down-time.Sooth can be used any time you see some crazy mob go red and start to beat the crap out of you. Although the cost is somewhat prohibitive in normal mob v. player situations, against elites or in a raid setting, you’ll definitely want to remember you have this one!

    Level 29 – 30

  • Talent Choice: Moonkin Form(1/1)
  • Abilities: Mark of the WildAlthough they may seem slim compared to some earlier levels, level 29 is the best time to be a moonkin because you ARE a moonkin! Whatever you do with talenting, make sure that you are able to reach Moonkin form and TAKE IT NAO! The bonuses for being in form are too great to wait another couple of levels.Mark of the Wild is a flat 5% stat increase, and should be worn at all times. Kings does overwrite it, and I have yet to have a paladin in group who didn’t do just that.
    Back to Top

    Level 31 – 40

    Level 31 – 32

  • Talent Choice: Tyhpoon(1/1)
  • Other: Bash, Pounce, Track HumanoidsTrack Humanoids is the only ability you might find yourself using–simply use cat form and activate to find that pesky mob that is eluding you!Talents are once again a matter of some choice. You still have Nature’s Grace, and Shooting Stars is an awesome talent. For solo’ing, I still suggest taking Typhoon first as it greatly increases your survivability, although the knockback can you get you a sound scolding in a party setting.

    Level 33 – 36

  • Talent Choice: Shooting Stars(2/2)
  • Other: SwipeThe talent Shooting Stars creates a new possible proc for you to keep an eye on. Activated by a Moonfire/Insect Swarm tick, this proc resets the cool-down on Starsurge and makes it an instant cast. If you have the in-game auras on, you will see a purplish “comet” of stars over your character when activated.

    Level 37 – 40

  • Talent Choice: Euphoria(2/2)
  • Other: Savage DefenseEuphoria decreases the down-time between Eclipse procs by giving Starfire and Wrath a chance to produce more lunar/solar energy in the “downtime” between eclipses. Although Nature’s Grace is still taunting us from the first tier, I would wait until after talenting Euphoria to pick it up since having Eclipses occur more often also allows the talented proc from Nature’s Grace to be available more often. For more information see Maximizing Eclipse.
    Back to Top

    Level 41 – 50

    Level 41 – 44

  • Talent Choice: Nature’s Grace(2/3)
  • Ability: HurricaneHurricane is our first AoE ability. Although it can be quite strong, it is also prohibitively expensive if used for small enough groups. I would suggest a grouping of 4 – 5 enemies before casting, and then, only in a group setting. Thorns in addition to Moonfire and Insect Swarm can produce similar if not greater damage and are not interruptable when solo’ing. Using Glyph of Hurricanecan improve the efficacy of Hurricane when solo.Now is when you should see the greatest benefit from Nature’s Grace provided your other talent choices. You might prefer Owlkin Frenzy if you find yourself solo’ing primarily.

    Level 45 – 46

  • Talent Choice: Nature’s Grace(3/3)
  • Other: ShredNo new abilities.

    Level 47 – 48

  • Talent Choice: Owlkin Frenzy(1/3)
  • Abilities: HibernateHibernate is not the most useful CC tool available, affecting only beasts and dragonkin, but that is not to say you’ll never want it. Primarily a group/raid tool, hibernate can help in select situations where you want to limit the interference of a hunter’s pet or dragonkin patrols.When solo’ing, things are going to hit you, and Owlkin Frenzy can help. When it procs, it prevents push-back while casting, which is a blessing since you had to get a pop in order for it to activate. It also increases damage while active.

    Level 49 – 50

  • Talent Choice: Earth and Moon
  • Abilities: Leather Specialization
  • Glyphs: Insect Swarm, Monsoon or Hurricane, Mark of the WildMake sure that every armor slot contains a leather piece when you reach this level. Although pre-Cataclysm leather caster pieces are sparse, it is possible to get enough greens together to make sure you get the bonus. An additional 5% Intellect is awesome! Make sure you get it!At this point in the talent tree you have several very useful talents to choose from. I suggest Earth and Moon because it is self-applying whenever you cast Wrath or Starfire, which should be every battle! It has additional use for those partying as it will increase the damage for other spellcasters as well.

    For prime glyph I chose Insect Swarm since I am most likely to cast it due to its low mana cost. Moonfire and Starfire would also be good choices. Monsoon and Hurricane are both useful for helping the solo player survive, and your choice will depend primarily on your style of play. Any minor glyph is fine, honestly, the mana benefit from Glyph of MoTW is minimal considering the spell lasts an hour.
    Back to Top

    Maximizing Eclipse


    When choosing the balance tree, the player will gain a new “energy” bar, the Eclipse Bar. The Eclipse Bar shows whether the player is building towards a Lunar or Solar Eclipse, and whether the player is currently under the effect of an Eclipse. Moonkins base their priority system on what Eclipse they are currently in, and what Eclipse they are working towards.

    Spells by Eclipse at L50
    Lunar Eclipse: Increases damage done by arcane spells.

  • Starfire – Primary
  • Moonfire – DoT
  • Starsurge – When AvailableSolar Eclipse: Increases damage done by nature spells.
  • Wrath – Primary
  • Insect Swarm – DoT
  • Hurricane – AoE
  • Typhoon – AoE
  • Starsurge – When Available
  • Sunfire (If Talented) – DoTWhen you are in an Eclipse state, at a minimum, you should apply the appropriate DoT for your current state, and spam your primary damage spell for that state. Starsurge is a nature/arcane spell, and so should be used whenever available regardless of state. When you lose the Eclipse affect, you will maintain your rotation UNTIL you hit the OTHER eclipse, and then reverse your spell choices.For example, if you have just started a Lunar Eclipse, you will cast
  • Moonfire
  • Starfire
  • Starsurge as available.When you reach the center mark of your eclipse bar, you will lose the glow effect (blue glow), but you will continue to cast Starfire and Starsurge until you proc Solar Eclipse and your bar begins to glow yellow.When Solar Eclipse procs, you will cast
  • Insect Swarm
  • Wrath
  • Starsurge as available.You will continue to cast these Wrath and Starsurge until you proc Lunar Eclipse, and you repeat the above.These rotations will ensure that you proc Eclipses as frequently as possible. You want to cast your DoT first thing upon attaining an Eclipse in order to activate your haste buff from Nature’s Grace. When you have Shooting Stars talented and it procs, it will make your Starsurge instant cast, and should be used ASAP, but otherwise, upon every cooldown.

    Only Starsurge, Starfire and Wrath allow you to gain/lose Lunar/Solar energy, so do not hold back when refreshing a DoT in the fear that you will waste some of the damage increase from an active Eclipse state.

    Likewise, Hurricane does not consume solar power. In a party setting where frequent AoE for trash is required, it can be beneficial to force yourself into a Solar Eclipse and then refrain from casting Starsurge or Wrath in order to keep the bonus damage from Solar Eclipse for your Hurricane.

    On bosses, you should keep both Insect Swarm and Moonfire active, regardless of current Eclipse state, although refreshing when you activate a new Eclipse state is suggested to gain the haste buff and empower your DoT with additional damage.
    Back to Top

    Make those lazer beams go pew-pew! See you at 80!

     

Pre-Cata UI

Although I’d love to say my work is done, there are still some nitpicky things that require a bit of work on my latest UI. I dumped all previous settings and started from scratch for the latest build, and I spent some time at WoWInterface looking for some inspiration. While I loved the look of RealUI, in practice, it was a little too much in some areas, and not quite enough in some others.

So, with a rough template, and a clean start I began downloading, and this is my current set-up:

Out of Combat

In Combat

Addons Used

AI-Chat
Aptechka
AuctionLite
Bartender4
ButtonFacade: Elegance
cargbags: Nivaya
Clique
DBM: Core, Party, PvP
DXE
Gnomish Vendor Shrinker
GoGoMount
gxCooldowns
kRestack
MidgetMap
mLootRoll
Omen
Opie
Panda
Postal
Satrina Buff Frame
Skada
Stuf
TidyPlates
TipTac: Talents
TourGuide
VendorBait
xCT
Shared Media: Ferous Media

I apologize for the lack of a party/raid shot, but I have a pesky .lua error that I’m still trying to track down. It seems to come up whether I use Stuf party or Aptechka (previously Injector). I’m not thrilled with Tidy Plates, but it works and hides nameplates out of combat, which is more than I can say for the combination I was using previously.

Major additions include xCT, a lightweight combat text addon, and gxCooldowns, which provides an abilities cooldown bar. I changed to Midget Map so that I could move the pesky quest frame without an additional addon.

I was rather proud of the rather severe cut I managed to make in my addon list–we’ll see how long the temptation to try out a few more holds out.

Being an Experimental Subject, Oh My!

I’ve debated writing on this topic for the last couple of weeks, but I figured since my entire WoW life is currently wrapped up in the process, I should probably come clean. I am being used, with my consent, as the test subject for the great Wrath / Cataclysm mantra:

Bring the player!

How It All Started

I’ve been ineffectively wringing my hands over here for the past month or two, bemoaning the fact that while I like my guild mates, its not the right home for me in terms of raiding. While I’ve tried to just sitting it out and waiting, I realized that I don’t ever log in when I’m not raiding — raid time is for mains, non-raid time is for achievements and leveling alts, which I tend to guild with my bank alt to make all that mat switching easy.

Friends and family members offered advice: make a guild, start applying, wait until Cataclysm and then guild shop, and even a few offers to check out specific guilds. I tentatively looked around, but I had two major obstacles: my availability, and my desire not to carry Windsoar into another cycle of raiding. For the right guild, I would consider it, but it’d have to be perfect in every way. The second causes a rather singular problem when applying, as guilds need something to look at, and for progression oriented guilds, things like parses are standard.

Into this conundrum, I received an e-mail from Gaia, a new blogger running Dedicated Insanity with Roksi, and I must say it peeked my interest. I was being recruited… sort of.

The Experiment

Gaia & Roski run a progression oriented 10-man raiding guild. Their guild is winding down for the end of the expansion after their heroic Lich King kill, and the guild is working on finishing up a few achievements that they missed along the way. From crawling through my thoughts on WoW and raiding that I’ve shared here on my blog, they think I’d make a good fit in personality for their guild, although my skill in a dungeon is questionable.

Still, despite that, they’ve issued an invitation to apply to their home. What they needed was either a dps/tank or healer/dps combo to fill out their ranks. Talking to Gaia, I learned that if they had their pick, a restoration/balance druid would fill their needs perfectly. The problem: I don’t have a druid. While I could have fit either Windsoar or Nightfall into the criteria of what they’re seeking, for a small 10-man team, meeting the exact need would be the best. Instead, I did the next best thing, and rolled an entirely new character in order to apply.

The Concerns

Of course, there are concerns on both sides about whether I will actually be a good fit once I am in a position to raid with my druid.

I have little to no proof of my ability to raid at the level in which this guild has performed throughout the expansion. Throughout my WoW career, I have had 4 different raiding mains. Listing out my guilds and progress was fairly depressing as I noted the littering of failed guilds that followed my name. My current characters that *could* potentially be considered raiding fit have not been touched since 4.0 came out. They’re missing glyphs, gems, and enchants, all of which doesn’t bespeak someone who takes good care of their character’s gear, a bad sign for a progression guild. They’ve expressed concern about my being an “alt-person” which apparently is synonymous with upsetting the roster on a semi-permanent basis.

My concerns are a bit different, but still there. While I have sat in on vent during a raid, it wasn’t progression–personalities seem to fit together rather seamlessly, however, which is a good sign. Where I will fit in is not exactly clear either. I may end up being in a second-string position, a fall-back for people who have longer ties and excellent records for showing up and doing things right. Since the guild is firmly established, it is not somewhere I can suggest that my friends apply on a whim, which can be good or bad–good because we rarely have the same schedules anyway, but bad, because for the first time in years I know that if accepted I will not be raiding with people who I know and know me and the way I twitch intimately. Even more embarrassing to think about is, what if I don’t measure up. I’ve never played a druid at end-game–although I feel confident that I can play anything well, that doesn’t mean it will be so. What would be worse than taking the effort to level up, feel all good about being a part of the team, and then getting a very polite rejection that I would then feel compelled to tell the rest of the community about. Yikes!

The Potential Gain

I can’t speak for what Production Company feels they’ve receive from the process, other than another applicant who may or may not work out. From my end, I am looking at a guild that matches exactly what I consider a raiding guild to be. The guild is a dedicated 10-man, I can meet all current raiding times, raid rules are set up to maximize time and limit distractions, such as /afk’s, needless buff asking and the like. Expectations for out of raid are what I’d expect: getting your stuff together and being prepped for raids. From my end, it’s very easy to see what I’d be getting–the raid experiences I’ve been lacking since the beginning of this expansion, and I must say, the idea of having a home again is appealing.

Despite the potential for a bruised ego, I’ve decided to talk about this application process. It’s interesting to be recruited from the pages of a blog, and even more so, to see what challenges arise from something a little out of the ordinary. If it doesn’t work out, I won’t bat an eye over the leveling process–leveling a druid with the new talent trees has been a blast so far, and deserves a post of it’s very own!

I’m also curious what others think about such a different take on the application process. Here I am, a virtual unknown to the people recruiting me, yet offering a chance to someone starting a brand-new character on a brand-new server to apply with them. Would it be something you’d ever consider, as an applicant or a guild leader?

If I Only Had a Map

The expansion twilight keeps getting just keeps getting a shade more of the gloaming every time I turn around. Seriously, what’s going on here people?

Patch 4.0 dropped and made everyone madly scramble to figure out these new, shorter talent trees. For the most part, I found myself mashing blind at my grouping of talents, trying them out, and then running to the various drawing boards to see how I stacked up. For the most part, I ended up fairly cookie cutter for my specs–apparently, the trees ARE easier to figure out. Not to say everything went smoothly.

I’ve got a leveling destruction warlock who, for tier two, had the choice between three talents. Two of them buffed a spell she wouldn’t receive for, oh, about thirty levels, and the other one is a talent I generally look at with mild distaste on a fully leveled ‘lock. But, what’s a leveling person to do? Spec for end-game or for the next 30-ish levels? *grunt* I went for leveling, but I found the whole process distasteful. I’ve always viewed the talent trees as a progression that helps my character now AND later, and I seriously hate feeling forced to respec, not because this talent is a trifle more useful now, but because the other choice was completely empty talents that did absolutely zilch.

So far I’ve respecced and played on about 6 of my characters. Across the board, I find most of my characters feeling the love. My leveling frost mage is just too much fun for words. My DK feels more fluid now, and has lots of interesting things to clickie. My resto shaman and disc priest don’t feel majorly different, and I felt myself falling back into old rhythms fairly easily.

And then we come to my paladin. I want to shoot myself. It’s not that AoE threat is more difficult–I could live with more target switching and paying more attention instead of just spamming more AoE bombs, but that’s not what’s happening. Instead, I’m winding up a good head of steam, and then fumbling through, waiting for things to come off cool-down and forced to rely on taunting to keep my team alive. HELLO! I don’t want to taunt to maintain threat. I associate taunting with hitting the wall, and totally failing at my job of threat generation. Not to mention they took my totally fluid rotation, and mangled it so it feels clunky and like I’m constantly standing around with my thumb up my arse waiting for things to go wrong because, well, I can’t do anything about it.

Now, I don’t think this is some diabolical plan to screw up my game. Not quite. I think it makes some nice little holes that will be nice to throw in things like bubble-wall and salvation, and other awesome cool-downs. However, if I don’t need/want to use a cool-down I don’t have anything else to fill that hole. I just have dead-time–the bane of my existence. I can’t really use my holy power for anything besides SoR, because of the way the mechanic works, taking a minimum of 9 seconds to build up sufficient charges to keep my holy shield up, and then, I spend the next round of time building it back up to renew my shield. If it’s supposed to be a renewable resource to help power abilities, either make my charge on something I think most paladins would agree is essential (holy shield) longer OR make my freaking holy power renew button cooldown faster so I could build up for some other hole-filling ability… or something. I’m not a game-crafting genius here, but I know darn well when I’m frustrated.

Otherwise, things are sitting rather oddly at the moment. I haven’t seen a raid in a few weeks, and it’s getting downright depressing. I’m still having the main problem I’ve been having for, oh, months now, and I still haven’t resolved it. I was starting to get used to the idea of going back to my paladin, but my current angst over the class is making me lean the other direction towards Nightfall, who is currently who I’m spending most of my time on anyway. I’ve flirted with the idea of finding a guild, but the whole thing feels like spring cleaning right now–I know it needs to be done, and that I’ll be happy with the result, but oh lord, the drudgery, the pain, and having to examine all that crap that searching brings up will just make it a crappy job. I’m still safely ensconced in PK, but they haven’t seen much of me, as my DK is guilded with my bank vault, and I find myself randomly logging in and out.

The other problem is an old one between my spouse and I–he wants a happy fun guild that raids like they’re hardcore (and I’d be happy with that too) but I’m generally more realistic and tend to look for hardcore guilds that, if I’m lucky, don’t think they’re paragons of the universe because they can down content. As you can imagine, we’re never too happy in each others ideal homes, and it’s another component in the search for a guild that has me throwing up my hands. However, some interesting things have come of it. We’ve been talking more recently about exploring Horde-side servers. Our warlock/shadow priest duo died after encountering the prepubescent trade chat of one particular server, and another suggestion didn’t even get a toon rolled because I don’t fly on PvP servers.

Currently we’ve tentatively settled on a horde server that my brother played on for a couple of years, and so far we haven’t run screaming from trade or general chat. We’ve got a couple of VERY flirty cows who ramble around the countryside… well, if two giant cow-people in mail can really ramble. This time around we rolled up a pair of warriors–I’m trying prot out since it’s barely seen the light of day on my arms warrior, and he’s going arms (charging stun FTW!) Whether they’ll live or die, and whether we move or not is yet to be decided, but it’s a nice interlude of stress-free playing that we don’t often allow ourselves, so if you see a herb-picking prot warrior on Rexxar, feel free to /wave.

The other thing that’s changed since the various changes, in guild and in game, has been my use of Real ID. I honestly thought I’d rip off my arm and feed it to rabid wolves before I’d countenance using it, but the constant hopping between servers to talk to people and try out new characters has left me bereft of my favorite people. So, instead of being sensible and playing one of the 9 characters I could play on my current server, I gave myself permission to be contacted my not strangers who manage to get my e-mail addy. So far, I must say, I like it, even if it’s slightly confusing. My legal name isn’t what ANYONE would call me, and I’ve found that I’m not alone with people having accounts under all kinds of name that make you scratch your head, and wonder if the telemarketers have cracked the code. Fortunately, they do give you that nice little note section so you can give a biography of all your toons to assert your authenticity as a REAL friend.

As you can tell, I’m still a little lost, even after a couple of weeks to think things over and try to get used to the changes here and there. I’ve noticed a slew of players quitting either the game or the blogging scene recently–Cataclysm isn’t holding the appeal that they thought it might, so they’re writing things off before investing in the next expansion. That’s not me. I think me and my pixels are ready for the next stage of the game–I just wish I’d bought a map so I knew where to go from here!