So… if you have not heard there are changes coming to raiding in Cataclysm.
- The same gear will fall in 10 man and 25 man raids (exact same Ilvl and stats)
- 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.
- 25 man raids will drop more items and reward more gold.
- Difficulty should be equal in both 10 man and 25.
- 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…
So a little update…
My 10 man raiding has completely stalled as of the first week in April…. so we have dropped to 2nd on the server… /sigh. Our MT had to take a series of trips and now our OT is out of town as well… what can you do, RL crit us worse than Sindragosa.
Our 25 man raids have been hurting too… Spring Break… people looking ahead to the new expansion and playing less… bads… people jumping ship thinking it’s different for other guilds… same old, same old. 25’s is quickly on the way to getting fixed thanks to some hard work by 2 new officers in our guild and a blogger or two advertising beyond our website and trade chat. Looks like we are getting some real talent and people with good FPS and Latency.
So with raiding stalling like it has been here are some suggestions of things you can do in order to still enjoy playing WOW…
- Achievements – I know this isn’t for everyone but they can be a ton of fun with friends or alone. Personally I am trying to get to 9K and I am 16 more 10pt achievements away. This leads to my 2nd suggestion…
- PVP – As far as gear goes we have heard that rated battlegrounds are the thing of the future. Start getting good now and beefing up your PVP set and resilience. Queuing with friends (Premades) can be lots of fun and there are a lot of PVP related achievements to be had. PVP as feral is much better than it used to be. When you start off and don’t have PVP gear just burst down a caster… I recommend locks as an easy start, Pounce, Mangle, Shred, Berserk, Maim, Shred… just kill them. The key on that series on locks is Berserk so you won’t get feared away. Once you get comfortable start going after priests and shammies. Hunters are a little more challenging and I recommend putting mages last on your to kill order, especially those of a frost variety… let the DK’s kill them. Once you have a decent PVP gear set you will be able to do more than burst down an enemy in exchange for your life… something to look forward to. For some real good pro tips head over to Starmist, though most tips are for arena he has a lot of good PVP advise and some sweet video that can be a lot of help.
- Farming mounts, pets, gold, and other fun stuff – A good place to start is Rarren’s blog where you can learn how to pimp your druid. If gold is your thing you better be selling now before everything becomes worthless after the expansion, head over to the Greedy Goblin for some tricks of the trade.
- Level and gear alternative characters – You never know what an expansion will bring, have your other toons ready to go just in case druids are no longer fun. They took away tree form and boomkins got an invisible mushroom… I guess it can only get better. It also helps to learn other classes to better understand the game and lingo. It will improve your raiding and give you a PVP edge the more experience you have playing other classes so give it a try or a little bit of your time if it is something that sounds like fun.
- Start a blog – We have lost quite a few druid bloggers and there are even less blogs of classes that don’t have pets for some reason. It can be a lot of fun learning how to create and design your website. Joining the Warcraft blogging community has other perks like helping new players, spreading good tips to experienced players to better represent our class, and even in some cases if you really contribute getting items in game named after you like the BRK-1000, Phaelia’s Vestments of the Sprouting Seeds, Astrylian’s Sutured Cinch, and Toskk’s Maximized Wristguards. Jacemora’s Helm of Reason anyone? Named after my lack of over theory crafting for just a few DPS here and there… ok, so maybe not…
- Run 5 mans – With the new random system in place this can be a fine way to meet new people, possible new recruits, or just get a good laugh at the various noobs and crazies that also exist in our online world. You can also get emblems for PVP gear, second spec gear, or to buy and sell items for gold.
Anyway, that is just a start of some of the things you can do in game if raiding is slowing down.
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
- Melee Damage
- Melee Critical Damage
- Bleed Damage
- Damage Reduction
- 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.
Now I am really freaked out. Read the following post pertaining to the pending DK change of only tanking as blood spec…
In Cataclysm, we are introducing the concept of passive talent tree bonuses and we think that feature is a lot stronger when the talent tree has a particular focus (such as damage, tanking or healing).
So what does this mean for the feral tree which includes both DPS and Tanking talents? Ferals really have 4 trees now.
My guess is 3 possibilities…
- We are back to being feral hybrids of tank and dps in 1 build and not be able to do either as well as the other classes (my fear from my previous post)
- The Balance tree will become the DPS tree and will merge Kitty and Boom somehow (would be fun if not for the gearing stats issue)
- Send balance over to the Resto tree with passive stat bonus going to spell power or haste and split up the DPS and Tank trees.
I guess all we can do is wait and see. My guess is we end up with useless passive stat bonuses for kitty and maybe become the tanks with the most threat?
Maybe I am just being a little paranoid here but the lack of feral kitty talk by the blues in such a long time is making me nervous.
Feral kitty is in a really good place atm, a complex rotation that rewards high DPS along with good raid utility. Mind you we gave up the ability to be good DPS and a good tank in the same spec but still… how long will Blizzard allow us to be competitive with the other pure DPS classes?
Maybe my memory of Burning Crusade is still too fresh.
I just don’t know if I could stand being sent back to mediocre DPS results becuase they feel they need to rework hybrids… again… This blue post is what got me thinking:
Hybrid Tax System
We’ll continue to polish it, but we’re not fundamentally changing the design. We think there is plenty of evidence to suggest that pure dps would die off if more flexible classes could do everything they could do and more. Again though, in most cases gear or skill will have a much bigger influence on your performance than the potential maximums we engineer into the classes. While the averages more or less follow our general design (with some exceptions that we need to address), you can find plenty of individual parses where a hybrid “wins” or a pure “loses.” (Source)
So with all the changes coming to Talents Trees and stat changes in Cataclysm I just prey we are not the exceptions that they need to address.
Note to Blizzard, leave us kitties alone we are just peachy… k? thx