Mar 042013
 

(I can’t help it, I just like writing it that way. Very metal.)

Greetings fellow Druids! I’ve compiled a brief review of the important changes dropping tomorrow, along with links with more detailed information for each spec.

General

  • To get to the new island with the dailies/raid instance, you take a quest from the Shado-Pan Offensive camp in Townlong Steppes. Subsequent trips are via a portal in the same location. You must have completed the 5.1 intro questline, Landfall, to receive the Thunder Calls quests.
  • Two new factions are being added with VP gear; the Shado-Pan Assault (rep gained by raiding) and the Kirin Tor/Sunreavers (rep gained by dailies).
    • SP Assault gear is all ilvl 522, and costs from 1250-2250 VP. Neckpieces are available at neutral; trinkets, wrists and rings  at friendly; cloaks, legs and hands at honored; chest and waist at revered; and shoulders at exalted. As of right now, it is not known how much rep is granted per boss (or from trash), but a blue post has stated that “a single boss kill should get you mostly to Friendly.” Bosses can only be killed once a week for rep, in any difficulty.
    • Kirin Tor/Sunreavers provide ilvl 476 belts at Honored, ilvl 496 cloaks at Revered, and ilvl 496 rings at Exalted. The 476 gear costs a small amount of gold; the 496 gear will cost VP, presumably at the same price as 5.1 VP gear. Icy Veins has an awesome guide to all the new dailies and stuff to do on the Isle of Thunder, so I won’t recap that here.
  • Apart from the new raid, there’s two new world bosses that drop ilvl 522 gear. Nalak is roughly equivalent to the Sha of Anger; however, he will not be unlocked “until Lei Shen is defeated.” (It’s unknown whether that means progression in the server-wide daily events, or raid progression.) Oondasta is found on the Isle of Giants, and is reportedly very difficult; that said, the new Tap-to-Faction system means you can grab a ton of people (multiple raids) and just zerg him down, presumably.
  • Throne of Thunder gear that goes unused can be DE’d and will reward one Haunting Spirit per item. New crafted ilvl 522 boots and helms are available that require 6 and 8 Haunting Spirits, respectively.
  • The 5.2 legendary questline will require 40 Trillium Bars (buy them now if you can), 20 Secrets of the Empire (aka Sigils of Power), exalted with Wrathion (kill stuff on the Isle of Thunder), and 12 Titan Runestones (aka Sigils of Wisdom). It will reward a very strong metagem that will replace your current meta. The Eye of the Black Prince from the 5.1 legendary questline can be repurchased and used on 5.2 weapons to add an additional socket.
  • All the old VP gear was reduced in price (5.0 by 50%, 5.1 by 25%), which will help considerably in getting alts geared for Throne LFR (ilvl 480 requirement).
  • Item upgrading is going away, so today’s the last chance. (That said, it’s likely best to hold on to your VP at this point to buy new gear.) Ask Mr Robot’s Item Optimizer is now updated for 5.2, so go check them out if you’re unsure. (Actually, go check them out anyway, they rock.)

For all the other stuff (pet battles, profession changes, etc) go check out MMO-Champion.

Class Changes

All Specs

  • Talent Changes:
    • Displacer Beast no longer Prowls and now adds a speed boost Still not much of a use case for PvE compared to Wild Charge, but I’m happy to be proven wrong.
    • Cenarion Ward was doubled in effectiveness. It’s now the highest throughput healing ability, but least bursty. Try it and see what you think; overall, I think Feral will like it, but that’s about all (Guardians prefer burst healing CD’s for oops moments; Restos already have a strong HoT; Balance loses a lot of DPS from healing every 30s).
    • Faerie Swarm can snare multiple targets, and Mass Entanglement/Typhoon were both set to 30s CD’s. Not much PvE impact.
    • Force of Nature and Soul of the Forest were both buffed; more on those in the spec-specific sections.
    • Nature’s Vigil’s damage boost was reduced to 10% and the CD reduced to 90s from 3 minutes. Mostly a PvP nerf to prevent lining NV up with Incarnation, but a slight PvE nerf as well. One interesting caveat; since NV lasts 30s and has a 90s CD, you have a 33% uptime on the single-target healing effect. If we assume 100k DPS, that averages out to 0.25*0.33 = 8.3k HPS sustained, which is something like 20-25% of a full-time healer.
  • Symbiosis nerfs: Dispersion CD was increased to 3 minutes, and Shattering Blow received a 1.5 second cast time. Both abilities are still useful in the appropriate spots, but SB should definitely only be used for 25’s now.
  • Revive and Mark of the Wild was reduced in cost significantly, which is nice. No more having to drink after rezzing one person as Feral, or drinking after changing specs so you can rebuff.

Feral

Yeah, you knew this spec was going first, right? :) Really, very little has changed for 5.2 mechanically.

  • The biggest changes are obviously gear and stat weight-related. I’ve written up a whole ‘nother page for 5.2 gear questions, so go there. Stat weights, PvP gear, set bonuses, trinkets – gear page. I’ve also updated the general Feral guide for 5.2. As always, ask specific questions on the forums, or go here for boss-specific discussion.
  • Rip was buffed by 15%. Rotationally, this won’t change anything significant, you’re still prioritizing SR uptime.
  • Cyclone now has a 20 second cooldown (yes, this is only for Feral). PvP change.
  • The NV change means NV+Incarnation+Berserk is no longer super-awesome-good burst DPS every 3 minutes (just super-good burst DPS). Most ferals weren’t taking NV anyway, so not much of a loss there.
  • Wrath damage was buffed by 9%, which in turn increases the damage of Heart of the Wild Wrath-spam; I’ll have to take a look at it to see if it’s worth incorporating in a standard rotation or not.

Balance

  • Wrath, Starfire, and Starsurge were all buffed by 9%. Enjoy.
  • Force of Nature was buffed, so it’s now on par with Incarnation for DPS. SOTF was also buffed a bit, but is inferior to the other two talents.
  • Make sure to check out Hamlet’s Balance thread on EJ for more specific info and discussion of trinket effects, etc.

Restoration

  • 10% healing increase across the board AND Rejuvenation’s mana cost was reduced by 9%. Yay buffs!
  • Wild Mushrooms now store 25% of the overhealing done by Rejuv (up to 33% of the casting Druid’s health), and release it as a smartheal when popped. This makes them much more useful, but placement will be critical. Teach your raiders to get friendly with some fungi.
  • The SOTF and FoN buffs are nice, but I’d still recommend Incarnation. With the NV nerf, it’s probably best to go with HOTW.
  • Jasyla has a much better breakdown of the 5.2 changes on her blog Cannot be Tamed, and also has a 5.2 resto gear list. Dayani’s also got some good Throne healing tips at Healiocentric.

Guardian

  • Frenzied Regeneration and Tooth and Claw got a 10% buff. Yay buffs! (again!)
  • Mastery was buffed; still not as good a choice as Crit (for RPS) or Dodge (for damage reduction).
  • FoN isn’t terrible now, but they can’t taunt bosses, which limits their effectiveness. Stick with Incarnation and Nature’s Vigil (the cooldown reduction is HUGE for Guardians).
  • Some of the feral PvP set bonuses now have Guardian bonuses too, for you crazy types who do BG’s as Guardian.
  • Arielle has a roundup post going up later today on The Inconspicuous Bear; until then, check out his guardian guide, which has been updated for 5.2.

If you find anything else that’s interesting, drop it in the comments!