Mar 182012

Briefly, here’s what I’m predicting we’ll see come out of the press event. (Note: Yeah, I contribute for WoW Insider, who had two people there, but they haven’t told me anything. Despite attempted bribery via baked goods.)

  • A big focus on the Pandaren starting zone and the new 85-90 zones. Lots of videos showing off updated animations, high-res screenshots to really sell the Asian theme, etc. A bunch of stuff about the new dungeons and the dungeon revamps as well. The male pandaren model already got lots of attention during Blizzcon, so you’ll see it, but more emphasis will be placed on the new female model.
  • Lots of info about new grouping features. Challenge modes will be highly talked up as the “new heroics.” Lots of attention as to what you can get here. (Quietly,  the previous normal/heroic difficulties now have nothing to do with difficulty. Normal mode is what you do on-level; heroic mode is what you do at 85, but they’re both 4.3 5-man difficulty.) Also, much more about scenarios, which are designed to be even easier and shorter versions of group content. (Dear reader, if you think things are already too easy…well, I agree, but you and I are not the target audience here.)
  • More on pet battles. My first reaction to hearing about pet battles was, of course, “PokeWoW yay” but I could see it being mildly interesting. I’m probably overly down on the ides; I’m sure there’s some good strategy to be had in Pokemon, somewhere, I’ve just never been able to stick with one of the games long enough to see it. (Now, a Pokemon/MTG hybrid, where you get a “deck” of pets from which X number is randomly drawn for the battle,  would be something.)  I’m assuming there will be some form of quickmatch/queue type system.
  • New battlegrounds and raids. Goes without saying.
  • No major mechanics news. Nothing about raid size changes, dailies, very little about class changes (unless it can be spun in an unabashedly positive light). Basically, if it’s controversial at all, you won’t see it here. This is a hype event and they don’t want anything detracting from that.

We’ll see; remember, all the goodies will go live at 12AM PDT. If you want the straight data dump, I’m pretty sure Wowhead will cover you; WoWI will probably have more bite-size pieces along with analysis. I’m not really paying attention; still messing around with the SWTOR free weekend. I’ll throw up my thoughts on that after all the press news settles.



 Posted by at 4:34 pm  Tagged with:
Mar 072012

While this isn’t specifically Druid-related, I’d like to highlight the two Cataclysm postmortems that just came out from senior Blizzard developers that are incredibly illustrative.

The first, Daelo’s, is absolutely TERRIBLE. It was very short and read like Cataclysm promo material. “My greatest weakness? I care about work just a bit too much. *snif*” It reads like he just blew off the email from the CM’s asking him to fill this out, and some junior intern got stuck with it. “Mr. Mercer, how does this look? Fine. Go away.”

In contrast, Ghostcrawler’s is absolutely excellent, and reminds me of why I keep coming back to this now seven-year-old game. It’s chock-full of honest discussion about what worked and didn’t work. So go read it. I agree with 90% of what’s there; the only thing I disagree on is legendaries, and even that remains TBD. Personally, I think legendaries should go away entirely, but if they must be kept, I’d like to see the legendary crafting materials/progress be guild-bound and the proc be one that buffs raid DPS/DTPS/HPS, not personal. That way, when the next content tier comes out, you take a small personal hit if you keep using it but it still buffs your raid more than the amount you lose.

(Back to ME3. /poof)

 Posted by at 10:16 pm  Tagged with:
Jan 012012

Last one of these for a while, I promise. Here’s a quick list of what I’m planning for TFD in 2012:

Short-Term (pre-MoP):

  • Get back to regular updates. With my schedule, that wasn’t possible before, but I plan to start writing a weekend recap post, even if nothing else is going on.
  • Add some merch. As I mentioned before the holidays, I’ve had several requests for shirts/etc., and I’d love to put something together.  I’ve done some looking around on Cafepress, etc., and at the moment I still feel a bit overwhelmed.  I’m a writer, not an artist, and I don’t want to sell something crap. If anyone has experience with Cafepress or similar sites of that ilk, please shoot me an email.
  • Update the guide. Yeah, the feral guide that’s still labeled 4.0.3, that’s about a year out of date. That one. :P
  • Participate more in the forums. Not much to say here, but I like to be accessible.
  • Remember that I have a Twitter account. Uh, yeah.
  • Refresh the site theme. The theme is getting a bit stale. I like the overall presentation of information, but there’s lots of little niggling things that I want to fix.
  • Add some solo-specific content. This is our last and greatest opportunity to experiment with soloing content, to see what we can push. The item level “squish” and the removal of hybrid speccing is going to make old raids more difficult.

Long-Term (for MoP)

  • Video Guides. Yes, I’m entering 2007. Go me. I will still do a fully-written guide for Mists of Pandaria, but I will supplement it with a video guide as well. There will be a small charge for the videos (still determining what a fair price would be), but everything else (text guide, blog, forums, etc.) will remain free. I plan to cover both Guardian and Feral. I will probably do some smaller videos pre-MoP to make sure I have a good product; those smaller videos will be free or almost free. I don’t do scammy; refunds will be available, sample clips will be available, etc.

Feel free to jump in and tell me what else I should cover (or tell me I’m crazy for trying to do videos, either works). This is still just an idea at the moment, so there’s lots of flexibility.

 Posted by at 2:55 pm  Tagged with:
Dec 242011

So, things have settled down for me again, and I’d like to take a little time now to look back at the site for 2011. (I’ll do some looking ahead to 2012 in a future post.)

Website Stats

People were excited to finally dig into Cataclysm content, and it showed. The site had a huge spike in popularity, going from ~50k monthly views in Nov/Dec to ~150k in January, then slowly fell back to the 50-60k level. (Of course, we also had a lot less to talk about in the later half of the year.)  Subscribers to the RSS feed (as measured by FeedBurner) jumped from 500ish to about 800 in January, and are now hovering around 1k. I don’t have good stats for the forums, but we’re up over 6k total posts, so obviously something’s going right there. :)

Popular Posts:


WoW Insider offered me a columnist slot back in January, which I accepted (first column for WOWI). Admittedly, the timing wasn’t the greatest:  I completed my training in Georgia in February (CISSP passed! Yay!) and moved to Texas in March to deploy to Iraq in April. Whew. Sylvaneart, Qbear, Tinderhoof, and Leafkiller did an excellent job filling in with guest posts while I was occupied, and they of course continue to contribute in forum discussion, which I am slowly dipping my toe back into. Due to a highly unlikely set of coincidences, I was actually able to keep raiding in Iraq, even though I had to wake up at 0330 to make the 8PM CST start time. Due to a lack of healers and low FPS, I ended up raiding as Resto.

September saw me leaving Iraq for Kuwait; no more incoming fire (good) but, ironically, worse Internet and housing arrangements meant no more raiding. Yay. I wrote a story for the Blizzard writing contest, which didn’t win anything. I’ll post it, in case anyone is interested in reading my first attempt to write fiction since high school. (TLDR: Not very good.)

Now that I’m home, I’m playing through all the great games I missed (got Portal 2 on my 360, with Arkham City waiting as soon as I finish Arkham Asylum on the PC). Raid Finder is cool, but ultimately boring in the lack of difficulty. I feel like I’m cheating somehow; I’ve still got a lot of 359 gear, but I’m hitting top 5 on the DPS meters for every fight. (UPDATE: Wow, Happy Winterveil: I’ve done RF twice now, both parts, and come away with 3 pieces of T13, Kiril’s, and the Wrath trinket. I actually topped the DPS meters on Ultraxion.)  I may come back to normal raiding, but I’m not ready to commit time to a schedule yet. We’ll see on that one.

Anyway, enough navel-gazing. (At least till my next post, where I discuss where I want to take TFD for 2012.) What’s your favorite moment of 2011?

 Posted by at 2:43 am  Tagged with:
Sep 172011

So, lots of plans for more writing went by the wayside. Ughh. Nothing much of note, just RL soldier stuff. (I’ve packed up and moved to a new base…another fellow officer was injured, so I’m temporarily pulling extra duties…that kind of thing.) Tonight is the first night in a few weeks that I’ve been able to actually catch my breath and type out thoughts. Running down the past three weeks-

Void Storage/Transmogrification:  Nice for compulsive hoarders (which is probably a trait that overlaps a vast majority of the MMO population), but doesn’t really do much for ferals, for obvious reasons. I’ve never really cared for looks, tbh, except for staff/polearm models.

Tank Changes: Blizzard can’t seem to make up its mind on whether they want to make tanking less challenging or more challenging (excuse me, “interesting.”) I think Dungeon Finder has proved by now that incentives for tanks simply aren’t cutting it; unfortunately, with incentives being primarily tied to random groups, there’s a high barrier to entry, (There needs to be a skirmish system with NPC’s, so players can get used to fulfilling their roles in a group context. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this featured in the next expansion pack.)

New Darkmoon Faire: Looks great, though it seems more designed for alts than mains.

Rogue Legendary Dagger: Apparently, the vast horde of daggers that dropped in Firelands weren’t enough to suit. (I’d already given up hope for a feral legendary;  was hoping for a legendary 1H axe/fist for our shamanistic brethren. Ah well.)

Looking for Raid tool: Well, here comes the attempt to prop up 25 man raiding. I’m very interested to see the direction this goes, and if current (i.e. Deathwing) will be offered as LFR functionality, or just “older content.” (4.1,4.2, BH, etc.) It seems the majority of the playerbase is looking for easier (zerg-type) content to begin with, so I”m not really surprised by this.

On a personal note, someone asked me what my new living conditions were like, so here you go:

This is the sum total of my living space (plus an unpictured wall locker and camping chair that my tentmate stole earlier tonight) Probably about 50 sq. ft. or so. Hell, this is great, compared to what the soldiers in Afg get.  I have it easy…I don’t even have anyone in the top bunk.

 Posted by at 2:20 pm  Tagged with:
May 272011

In February of 2011 Alaron asked for help with the site, as he was about to embark on his military commitment.  Leafkiller, Qbear, and myself answered the call.  Since then we have brought you pretty pictures and explanations of a Proper UI tables of stats and information to min/max your toon,  A You Tube channel to show the feral way of doing things and so many more articles.  We have also spent countless HOURS on the forums offering help, analysis, and slight moderation(I have deleted many Viagra advertisements).  As we introduce a new contributor (in Tinderhoof) I felt it was time to recognize a little milestone we have reached.  The Fluid Druid has added 100 users since we started.  While this isn’t Charlie Sheen getting 2,000,000 followers in 48 hours it is pretty big for a Feral Blog.  The 3 of us don’t take credit for this growth-we thank you.  Unlike most WoW websites TFD dosn’t need moderation.  Our users have made a home for both long in the tooth cats and kettehs just starting out.  So thank you TFD followers.  Keep reading and asking questions and we will all keep answering them.

As always be sure to subscribe to the RSSfeed and use the forums. Are you on Twitter? I am, follow me @Sylvaneart. Feel free to PM me with any questions you might have, but the forums on this site are your best bet. This will help to answer one question one time instead of one question multiple times. This site is a posting spot for many great cats. If you are the noob with a noob question and are a little embarrassed then a PM will do fine. I will never ridicule you.





Mar 242011

(snarky reference to reuse of tired insert title title)

Anyway, now that’s that out of the way, a few notes:

  • First off,  I want to thank my guest authors for their work so far. I’ve seen links from other blogs for posts that all three have written; one site went so far to call it “Qbear’s Fluid Druid blog.” Heh. :)
  • I’ve added a section on the forum for UI/addon issues (since the kitty DPS forum was getting cluttered with non-DPS posts.) We may move a few threads around, so just a FYI. If you’d like to see another forum, let me know.
  • I’ll be driving to Texas on Monday, and I’m still heading for the desert in 4-6 weeks. My name’s not really a secret anymore (thanks, WoW Insider!) so if anybody would like to keep up with me personally via FB, I’m here (just make sure you indicate that you found me from the website, I usually reject random friend requests). I’ll make every effort to respond to emails/PMs/comments about the site while deployed, but no guarantees.
  • I also created a FB page for the blog here, not that I intend to do anything with it. Like it if you want, I guess.
 Posted by at 1:56 pm  Tagged with:
Feb 202011

First, thanks to all of you who responded to my last post. As always, I’m amazed by the number of people who actually read this thing. :)

I was less than clear in my postscript, when I stated that I’d canceled my subscription renewal. A bit of background: Many long-term readers know that I serve in the U.S. military. Well, I’ve been in a year-long set of training courses, that is now coming to an end.

Recently, I was notified that my follow-on assignment had been changed; I was now going to a unit on an accelerated deployment timeline. Essentially, this means that I will be heading overseas (sorry, I can’t give more details than that) for a year in the next 2-3 months, to a place where my connection to the Blizzard servers will be…less than optimal, shall we say. I had planned to re-sub for one more month, but I think it’s important that I communicate my displeasure with the direction that Blizzard is taking feral (or lack of direction, possibly) and unsubscribing is the strongest message available. I have about 2 weeks left on my sub, so we’ll see what changes between now and then.

About the site: While my blogging frequency will probably diminish markedly, I plan to keep paying for the site and the associated hosting costs. The forum and the community here has succeeded in providing a place where new players and veterans can come to get help in a non-elitist environment, and I want to keep that up. (Of course, donations are always welcome. :)) I can’t really say for sure anything more than that, until I get on-ground and see what my workload is going to be like. If anyone is interested in guest blogging, send me an email/PM, and I’ll look into how to set it up.

 Posted by at 10:23 am  Tagged with: