Cataclysm Expansion

Of Rubies and Betas

Ruby Sanctum was released, I plan on doing it in 10 man Thursday night, I missed it in 25 last night.
After I run it Thursday night I will post up some feral strats and thoughts (Yay for something new to write about)

I have to update my gear list, I am running all Sanc T10 264 now and was lucky enough to get Heroic hurt stick Distant Land. Incredible how good this staff is that it essentially unbeatable until a Heroic LK weapon. I think someone messed up when they let this drop off a boss not LK, Sindy, or Putricide.

The closed beta has started… I am hoping to get invited. If I do, expect ALOT of posting as I am VERY excited about the changes in Azeroth.

Please Blizzard, don’t hold it against me that last time the invite ended up in my junk mail bin… by the way, watching my junk mail bin is not fun but I am watching it hard core this time.

I r still around.

Just to let everyone know, I am still around. I have no plans to talk about Cataclysm until we are closer to release or I get my hand on beta and can talk about some odds and ends that I directly experience.

Vallen has a preview up here that is spot on and happens to almost be a word for word post I was debating to make.

While I wait for Thursday night and my 10 man escapades (we are down to 1 night of raiding now), I am converting my DVD collection using DVDFab and Handbrake for use on my Apple Mac Mini which I have connected to my living room TV in order to run XBMC. It works beautifully, keeps my kids from destroying their movies, and is having no problem streaming x264 encoded 720p Blu-ray over wireless… is just plain sick I tells ya. This is what it looks like on the TV…

Summer Blues

Just a short update.

Aetherial Circle has once again gone on a raiding hiatus until the next expansion.

My plan is to join another guild with the majority of my 10′s mates to get in at least some 25 man raiding until Cata and then go from there.

Our 10 man group have all decided to stay committed to one another and down the Lich King on Heroic in 10 and knock out whatever easy sauce Ruby Sanctum content they decide to give us.

I still owe everyone a good overview of 10 man Heroic modes tips and hope to get those together soon.

If/when I get into the Cataclysm beta I will be spending some time playing and reviewing so stay tuned.

I finally got over 9000 achievement points having fun in Naxx 10/Maly 10

Cataclysm Raiding Changes

So… if you have not heard there are changes coming to raiding in Cataclysm.

  1. The same gear will fall in 10 man and 25 man raids (exact same Ilvl and stats)
  2. 10 man raid bosses and 25 man raid bosses will share the same lockout. You can’t kill the same boss in both in the same week.
  3. 25 man raids will drop more items and reward more gold.
  4. Difficulty should be equal in both 10 man and 25.
  5. Progression is awarded for a boss kill only once and can be done so for either raid size.

To sum up, here is a blue quote… Overall, our goal is that you make the decision between whether to raid with 10 players or 25 players based on what you find fun and not because of the reward structure.

Of course there has already been a large amount of discussion on the subject, here is my 2 cents…

I like the whole idea of 10′s because you have a better chance of playing with the same people week in and out which improves the team as a whole. Now if your guild runs 3 10′s instead of 1 25 you might actually as a whole guild stay on pace with gearing up. That and you can have friendly competition within the guild between raids which could be fun.

I bet a lot of guilds ditch 25 honestly, even the better guilds are no where near some of the top world guilds cause they still carry at least a person or 2 in 25′s on any given night for whatever reason (connection, fps, stand in fire syndrome). Combine that as well with the better fps in 10′s and I think you see a lot of guilds switching it up at least in the beginning.

I would have thought Blizzard would at the very least kept special mounts (Mims Head for example) limited to 25′s… but if you really think about it that alone would still not make a difference. By the time a guild can farm Mims head they have moved on to another raid. So that alone is not a good enough reason to get 25 people to cast aside 10′s just so one… maybe 2 people in guild can get a special mount.

I think Blizzard will see more of what is already happening… dedicated 10′s and dedicated 25′s… the only difference is the difficulty in 10′s will not be from lesser gear and 25′s can’t dip into the 10′s pool and be successful from gear differences alone… a great change IMHO.

Couple this with little to no advantage in PvP from PvE gear with the new rated battlegrounds rewards and the changes to Resilience and it all makes sense.

Strong uber 25 man guilds will stay 25 to continue to compete with the same folks and against the same folks… this is more a Blizzard community thing than an in game thing. Other guilds not at the cutting edge of world progression will at least consider 10′s just to see if they can be more competitive in that bracket than they were in 25′s… or if anything else to have a friendly competition within the guild.

The bottom line is, if Blizzard can keep the difficulty the same across the 2 raid sizes, guilds should fair no better in progression than they do now… however, it might be easier to create a more successful synergy in 10′s in “non hard core” guilds which would lead to better progression.

If all guilds in Blizzard ditch 25′s… and are happy… you could see them doing away with larger raids altogether and sticking with 10′s going forward.

I guess people will now choose raiding sizes based on things like social factors and cpu performance than gear… I don’t see how that is a bad thing. Sure, if 24 of my best friends raided with me 3 nights a week without fail, my FPS was 60, and vent chatter with 25 was fun… I would raid 25′s… all things being the same why wouldn’t I? But if I only had 20 friends I could now be in a 10 progressing against my other friends 10 within the same guild and that in itself could be more fun than world or server progression.

Feel free to discuss more in comments…

Feral in Cataclysm

If you have not read the coming class changes head over to MMO-Champion and take a gander.

Let’s look at the changes coming up for ferals.

  • Thrash (Level 81): Thrash deals damage and causes all targets within 10 yards to bleed every 2 seconds for 6 seconds. The intent here is to give bears another button to hit while tanking. Talents will affect the bleed, such as causing Swipe to deal more damage to bleeding targets. 5-second cooldown. 25 Rage. Ok… quick summary… more AoE threat and damage than we have now by adding a second AoE ability… sounds fun.
  • Stampeding Roar (Level 83): The druid roars, increasing the movement of all allies within 10 yards by 40% for 8 seconds. Stampeding Roar can be used in cat or bear form, but bears might have a talent to drop the cooldown. The goal of this ability is to give both bears and cats a little more situational group utility. 3-minute cooldown. No cost. Um… ok… so obviously handy for PvP I guess… and now instead of just running away in PvE raids we hit this ability then run away… sounds fun I suppose.
  • Wild Mushroom (Level 85): Grows a magical mushroom at the target location. After 4 seconds the mushroom becomes invisible. Enemies who cross the mushroom detonate it, causing it to deal area-of-effect damage, though its damage component will remain very effective against single targets. The druid can also choose to detonate the mushroom ahead of time. This is primarily a tool for the Balance druid, and there will be talents that play off of it. No cooldown. 40-yard range. Instant cast. Blizzard fans, please stop sending the homemade brownies to the Devs. This looks like a balance PvP spell but I guess it might have bear pull potential depending if we have it without being spec balance and how long the CD might be… sort of like pulling with Hurricane but without the channel component.
  • We are getting our own version of rogue kick for a reliable interrupt. This is a very nice addition for both PvE and PvP.
  • Barkskin is undispellable. This is inline with Blizzard trying to make PvP encounters less bursty. If you don’t PvP this is meaningless.
  • We will be buffing the damage of Mangle (cat) significantly so that when cat druids cannot Shred, they are not at such a damage-dealing loss. So instead of removing the positional requirement of shred they buff Mangle… I guess this will give us something to debate as Mangle spam builds will be looked at once again. Obviously another decent buff to our PvP ability.
  • We want to make the Feral cat damage rotation slightly more forgiving. We do not want to remove what druids like about their gameplay, but we do want to make it less punishing to miss, say, a Savage Roar or Rake. The changes here will be on par with increasing the duration of Mangle like we did for patch 3.3.3. I am going to go out on a limb here and say they give Savage Roar a Horn of Winter like CD. This would go a long way to making our rotation a little easier.

Mastery Passive Talent Tree Bonus

Feral (Cat)

  • Melee Damage
  • Melee Critical Damage
  • Bleed Damage

Feral (Bear)

  • Damage Reduction
  • Vengeance
  • Savage Defense

Bleed Damage and Savage Defense: Feral druids will receive two sets of passive bonuses depending on whether the druid is in cat or bear form. Bleed Damage will be improved for cats. Savage Defense is the current bear mechanic for converting crits into damage absorption and will be improved for bears.

Vengeance: This is a mechanic to ensure that tank damage (and therefore threat) doesn’t fall behind as damage-dealing classes improve their gear during the course of the expansion. All tanking specs will have Vengeance as their second talent tree passive bonus. Whenever a tank gets hit, Vengeance will give them a stacking attack power buff equal to 5% of the damage done, up to a maximum of 10% of the character’s unbuffed health.

So nothing crazy fun for us kitties or bears really from what I can see. I was going to list some of the more interesting changes for other classes but there are so many you should visit MMO Champ and just take a read of all the classes for things like Hunters getting unlimited pets finally and rogues getting an AoE smoke cloud which makes melee impossible within it.

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