Friday, 13 May 2011

4.2 Mastery change, Innervate nerf, and PTR Raid Testing

Patch 4.2 is under testing on the PTR and the news keeps rolling in! While everything is still very much subject to change, there are some interesting changes slated for Druids already, including a new Mastery for Resto and a very significant change to how Innervate works. We've also had two of the new Firelands bosses up for testing and I've got some cool screenshots of those as well! As you can see in my screenshot above, the new Firelands zone looks awesome. That shot is actually taken inside the instance - it's a massive zone, and you can mount up to ride to each boss.

New Resto Mastery
There was a recent blue post with 4.2 patch notes which included this gem:

'Symbiosis (Mastery) has been removed and replaced with Harmony. Harmony increases direct healing by an additional 10%, and casting direct healing spells grants an additional 10% bonus to periodic healing for 10 seconds. Each point of mastery increases each bonus by an additional 1.25%. Healing Touch, Nourish, Swiftmend, and the initial heal from Regrowth are considered direct healing spells for the purposes of this Mastery. All other healing from druid spells is considered periodic.'

This is looking like a really great change, so hopefully it'll make it through testing to live. The old / current Mastery has some issues; though it's not too bad, it's much stronger in 5- and 10-mans, where HoTs can more easily line up with other heals. Probably the most frequent question I get is 'Should I be putting Rejuvs on my Wild Growth targets to activate the Mastery?', which really shouldn't be done unnecessarily (ie, on targets that don't need all that healing), so it likely ends up just encouraging spamming.

The new Mastery not only will boost our direct heals and encourage more direct healing, it's also a great boost to our direct heals and hence our tank healing as well as our raid healing. The mastery will proc off of Swiftmend too, so even if you're focussing on raid healing, you'll still be gaining the Mastery through your Swiftmends.

By the sound of it, it seems like it may proc a buff (increases periodic healing for 10 seconds), which would be nice if an actual buff comes up as that can be easily tracked with something like a Power Aura to make sure we maintain it, but we'll have to see. Either way, a very positive change!

Innervate changes
The Innervate changes slated for 4.2 so far are mostly nerfing Innervate's effect for OTHER healers. The effect when used on oneself will be the same - a 20% mana return. The change is when we cast our Innervate on someone else, it will now cause them to regenerate 5% of THEIR maximum mana.

Innervate: now causes the target to regenerate 5% of their maximum mana over 10 sec. Still regenerates 20% of maximum mana on self cast.

So this is basically just a nerf to Innervate trading. The Glyph of Innervate will be unchanged - if we cast it on someone else, we'll still receive half of our own Innervate (so 10%), but the other person will only get the 5% of their maximum mana rather than our 20%. If this change goes live, Innervate trading will basically be worthless as a mana strategy. It's still certainly viable for helping other healers when they're in need of mana, but trading the Innervates around won't be anywhere near as powerful as it is currently.

This is a slight buff to Feral innervates, though, as the Innervate on someone else will amount to 5% of the target's maximum mana (assuming that it is based on the target's maximum mana, which it appears to be), so Feral innervates will be slightly more useful now.

PTR Testing!
I've been hopping on the PTR for some of the raid testing. The new Firelands zone looks awesome inside - it's a massive space and it just looks great. We've tried out two of the bosses so far, Beth'tilac the spider boss and Lord Rhyolith. I won't go into too much detail on the fights yet, particularly as they're still subject to changing and tuning, but this should whet the tastebuds!

This is Beth'tilac. The fight itself looks like it will be pretty interesting, though it may be yet another fight that's bad for melee (and Rhyolith seemed bad for melee too, to be honest). The fight itself was ridiculously overtuned (mostly in Phase 2, where outgoing damage was ridiculous). The boss itself retreats up on top of her web when you engage. Some of the adds you deal with lower themselves down on webs, and you kill them to get a web vehicle which will transport raid members up on top of the web to engage the boss. Fortunately the web area is a normal platform - when I first heard about going into the webs in the Blizzard previews, I had a sudden fear that we'd be hanging upside down or something ridiculous. The upper web area though is a normal, fairly flat surface, though, so there aren't any weird swimming mechanics or camera angle quirks to it, which is great.

This is Lord Rhyolith. This will be a fight that ultimately requires a lot of coordination. He doesn't have a threat table (tanks will be busy rounding up adds), instead you attack his Left or Right Foot. DPSing either foot will cause him to turn in that direction, so you steer him around the area by DPSing the Left or Right foot, whichever way you want him to turn. He starts with an 80 stack of armour, which reduces his damage taken by 80%, so you have to steer him over volcanoes to melt the armour off and increase his damage taken. It looked like both feet share a healthpool, and supposedly his body will not be targetable (or at least not damageable) when this goes live - we were able to target it on the PTR, but it was obviously unnecessary to do so.

I'll leave it at that for now! As there may not be many screenshots of these bosses and Firelands things around yet, people are welcome to use my screenshots, but I ask that if you do so please link back to the blog for crediting. :)


Unglar said...

Thanks for the boss previews. I really like the look of the Rhyolith fight and being able to steer a boss by attack one foot or the other looks like a really fun mechanic. Did you try making him walk straight at any point? Do you have to balance DPS really well to achieve it?

Feral Tree said...

The Rhyolith fight seems like it will be pretty fun. We did try having him walk straight at times, the volcanoes spawn pretty randomly around his platform so you end up having to turn him left, right, or guide him straight to go over the active ones or to avoid the inactive ones. Balancing DPS didn't seem to be an issue, at least on the PTR - his Feet share a healthpool, so it didn't seem to matter which foot you started on, to make him turn the other way you just had to switch to the other foot and DPS it hard. There's actually an achievement for doing the encounter without ever having him turn left, so it seems like if you wanted you could solely DPS one foot the entire fight. The main DPS balance seems to just be having enough DPS free to handle the adds which spawn.

Unglar said...

Thanks! I dread to think what terrible pun Blizzard will inflict on us for that achievement.

I have to say I'm getting quite excited about Firelands - Rhyolith looks fun but Staghelm is my number one goal for the awesome feral staff.