Patch 7.1.5 PTR Changes

A few changes were released as Patch 7.1.5 on the PTR on Tuesday. Among those affecting Restoration Druids:

Posted by MMO Champion on Nov 17, 2016
Talents
  • Displacer Beast Teleports you up to 20 yards forward, activating Cat Form and increasing your movement speed by 50% for 4 2 sec.
  • Guardian Affinity You gain: Thick Hide Reduces all damage taken by 10% 6%.
  • Mass Entanglement Roots the target in place for 20 30 sec and spreads to additional nearby enemies. Damage may interrupt the effect. Usable in all shapeshift forms.
  • Moment of Clarity Omen of Clarity now affects the next 3 Regrowths and increases their healing by 15%

This will be an annoying change to Displacer Beast whose trailing speed increase has never struck me as particularly overpowered and is likely intended as a reduction to PvP performance. The decreased damage reduction associated with Guardian Affinity will be painful for Restoration Druids who choose that affinity for raiding (and is also likely PvP-driven). The change to Moment of Clarity is very nice and may prompt me to forgo Flourish and Stonebark to finally give this talent a try.

And in a surprising change to one of the non-spec-specific Druid-only artifacts, our Legendary chestpiece Ekowraith, Creator of Worlds is getting a buff to the percent bonus of its effect from 50% to 75%. This will affect wearers’ primary ability and the secondary ability derived from their chosen off-spec affinity:

Ability
Spec
Current
Patch 7.1.5+
Balance
5 to 7.5 yards
5 to 8.75 yards
Feral
15% to 22.5%
15% to 26.25%
Guardian
6% to 9%
6% to 10.5%
Restoration
3% to 4.5%
3% to 5.25%

May the Legendary Gods smile upon you and grant you good fortune (or may you benefit from what seems like a server glitch and pick up a couple of Legendaries within the same 24-hour period like I did)!

There are many other changes affecting Guardian, Feral, and Balance specs as well as a long list of PvP-specific changes, so be sure to check out the full patch notes over at MMO Champion.

Dressing to Impress

wardrobe

Because there simply isn’t enough to keep me busy in Legion (har har), I often spend spare time collecting transmog items — the more Druidly, the better. In fact, six of my favorite words are You have not collected this appearance. When I first started “shopping”, I didn’t really make a plan, assuming that anything I managed to acquire was going to be great, but I eventually found myself running the same dungeons over and over, mostly because they were easily accessible. Even when I began to specifically target set pieces, I had a fundamental misunderstanding of how setting raid difficulty worked. As it turns out, setting your Burning Crusade raid’s difficulty to Mythic doesn’t actually set it to the highest available level of difficulty!

For the longest time, I had a certain sentimental item languishing in my bank. I had repeatedly tried and failed to find items that coordinated with it when I happened to stumble upon a post by FlashYou: Looking for Transmog? (Leather Edition) which renewed my interest in turning the robe into an outfit.

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Masquerading Mana-Kitty

Kudos to Blizzard for the — at least so far as I am aware — unannounced change whereby shapeshifting into Cat Form while in Suramar City no longer results in you losing the Masquerade buff. You now instead shapeshift into a Manakitty!

masquerading-manakitty

If Cat Form looked like this all the time, I might actually be tempted to play Feral. (No, I wouldn’t.)

Cruelty-Free Animal Questing

card-dehta-membershipLegion is probably the most well-written expansion I have played. It makes me wonder if Blizzard might have found themselves with a surplus of excellent writers when Project Titan was shelved and decided to put them to good use developing class-specific content and innumerable world quests. With the introduction of Order Halls and spec-specific Artifact questlines, tremendous effort was obviously devoted to inspiring a sense of class immersion. And so, as a Druid, it causes me great distress when a world quest such as Munitions Testing calls for the mindless and exceedingly unsportsmanlike slaughter of otherwise inoffensive wildlife.

If you haven’t yet done this quest, it requires the player to kill five hawks and five packs of wolves. To aid you in this endeavor, you are provided a mechanical rabbit with two abilities: the first, to lure the unsuspecting creature; the second, to detonate and kill them. Once I understood how the dynamite rabbit mechanic worked, I was so horrified I tried completing the quest without using them. Unfortunately, at the point where you have to kill the larger wolves and her two smaller packmates, it was just so much easier to use the rabbit. This quest made me extremely unhappy as a Druid and as a player (honestly, I expected Archdruid Lathorius to jump out of at tree and demand I hand over my D.E.H.T.A. card). If it weren’t the only quest remaining to fulfill an Emissary requirement, I would have abandoned it altogether.

An actual robotic rabbit, used for composting and companionship
An actual robotic rabbit, used for composting and companionship … not carnage
It is probably too late to ask Blizzard to re-write this quest and those like them, but I would implore their quest design team to consider offering alternative methods of completing similar quests in the future. Some examples could include:

  • Convince the questgiver there are better uses for her munitions.
  • Sabotage the collection of munitions.
  • Catch and relocate the animals further away from the murderous NPC.
  • Side with the animals, putting players in PvP state with players that choose to side with the questgiver.

I realize that many quests require the seemingly pointless slaughter of wildlife. But the exploding rabbits made this one seem particularly egregious. What do you think? Are you similarly bothered by being asked to kill wildlife as a Druid or are exploding bunnies just another objective in your quest toward the destruction of the demonic hordes of Legion?

7.1 PTR Changes to Cultivation and Prosperity

MMO Champion is reporting that two changes affecting the Restoration talents Cultivation and Prosperity were applied to the PTR this week:

Druid Talents
  • Cultivation: When Rejuvenation heals a target below 60% health, it applies Cultivation to the target, healing them for [*60% 72% of Spell Power*] over 6 sec. Restoration Druid – Level 75 Talent.*(please see note below)
  • Prosperity: Swiftmend now has 2 charges, and its cooldown is reduced by 5 3 sec. Restoration Druid – Level 15 Talent.
Source: MMO Champion

This is actually a sizable nerf to Prosperity, one of my favorite talents to use in conjunction with Soul of the Forest. We still benefit from being able to have two charges queued up, but it’s a Swiftmend cooldown reduction decrease of only 10% rather than the current 17%. Interestingly, both the buff to Cultivation and nerf to Prosperity will steer more Restoration Druids away from Soul of the Forest.

PTR Talent Calculator
PTR Talent Calculator

As of today, WoWPopular is listing builds with Prosperity/Soul of the Forest as the most popular of the Restoration Druid specs, pretty much to the exclusion of everything else. No doubt this is seen as a problem by developers who want players to have interesting choices and tradeoffs.

Part of the problem is undoubtedly that Cenarion Ward is more useful in 5-man content than raids. Likewise, Cultivation is much more useful in 5-man content where it can actually do some good since your heals aren’t as likely to be sniped by another healer. Unless something is done to make these two options more attractive outside of Heroics/Mythics, I’m afraid this is just a nerf to Restoration Druids, at least for raiding content.

*Note that the percentages for Cultivation listed in the summary on MMO Champion are different than the ones listed in their PTR-datamined tooltip and would actually represent a huge nerf. I think the correct value is probably the 144% in the tooltip (which is an increase over the current value of 120% listed on WoWHead). Someone please correct me if I’m misunderstanding this, however.