PTR Thoughts

I’ve messed around on the PTR a bit, and thought I’d share my initial thoughts.  Please keep in mind I haven’t spent huge amounts of time on the PTR, it’s been two or three dungeons for each class I tried, and some time on target dummies.  Not exactly exhaustive testing, but enough for me to form some opinions.

Mage (I used a pre-made, since my Mage’s gear is pretty bad since I don’t play her much).

—The blast wave change makes me a sad panda.  Yeah, from a tank perspective the knock back could be a pain in the ass, but, when soloing/questing/PvP it was a handy survival spell for fire.  Turning it into what is, essentially, Flamestrike with a slow, doesn’t make sense to me.

— I’ve only messed with the Fire tree so far, but, despite the BW change, there are some nice synergies and buffs..getting Pyroblast as our ‘signature’ spell when you specialize Fire is nice… still has too long of a cast time to be used for anything but your opener or when Hot Streak procs and you get it for free.

— For an expansion that is going away from the AoEFest that Wrath is, and closer to the Single Target/CC needed that TBC was, I don’t get the overabundance of AoE spells in the Mage arsenal.  BW, Flamestrike, Blizzard, Arcane Explosion, Dragon’s Breath (kinda), The new Mage Fire Orb thingy (81 spell, so I couldn’t test it).  It seems like a good portion of our arsenal is going to be unusable for a lot of content (until we get back to where we are now in Wrath, with everyone grossly over gearing the content).  We’re still going to be using FFB/Fireball/Icebotl/Arcane Blast, as our ‘main’ attacks, so there probably won’t be a whole lot of change in our rotations, compared to other classes at least (from what I’ve seen so far).

If I get a chance, I’ll try arcane and frost out, to see how those feel but, at this point, I’d have to say that getting my Mage to 85, won’t be a high priority (4th out of 5)- we get Heroism, but, everything else feels like more of the same, only with less survivability.

Druid —

I’ve tried Kitty, and Resto so far on the PTR.


– No Tree form is… interesting.  The couple of times I’ve healed, have been in the easier of the Wrath heroics, so I haven’t felt the need to switch forms.. being able to see myself casting is odd.. but, at least it means druids might finally be able to get those achievments that require us to “wear” a costume that we can’t ever shape shift in without losing it.

– My biggest gripe with Resto is that for years people have been told ‘standing in stuff on the ground, is bad’ for most fights… with the addition of Efflorescence…. people need to stand in stuff on the ground to be healed =(   Hopefully, Blizz won’t screw with us, and add a Boss mechanic that has a similar visual appearance to Efflorescence.

– The LB change to one target only will take some getting used to.. I kept trying to do what I’m used to, and keeping 3 stacks of LB up on the tank + whoever was also taking decent damage.. and kept removing LB from one of them.

– The increased Mana costs and, in some cases, longer CDs for our spells, makes healing less of a ‘spam WG’ thing, and makes you put a bit of thought into it, to try and conserve some Mana.

– Mana… my mana bar MOVES!  I had no idea!   ;)  On live, as long as no one in the group is stupid, I can heal the easier heroics without stopping and without my mana bar getting below maybe 75% over the course of the entire run.  The healing runs I did so far on the PTR, the tank tried for non-stop, but the DPS kept dieing due to some of the tanking changes and not letting the tank build aggro, even with the “extra” mana cost of the Revives, I didn’t drink during the runs, and still ended up with between 25-40% of my mana left.  So, I’d imagine that come Cata and the supposedly harder dungeons,  waiting for mana will again be something tanks need to do.

—- Kitty

Overall, Kitty didn’t feel too different.. my DPS was pretty low, but some of that is because Blizz hasn’t tuned all the numbers yet, and part is.. I’ve never been able to get super high DPS via kitty, I always clip my DoTs.  The changes I’ve noticed so far to kitty, do make it more forgiving if you don’t have the rotation down to the split second that the live version feels like it needs.

— Feast of Flesh — Should have been left called  ‘nom nom nom’, it was way cooler of a name.

Like Mages, kitty felt pretty much the same to me, we’re still basically rogues when we’re in kitty form, with the same combo point mechanic (which Pallies now also get..Blizz must really like CP).  I think Blizz spent the bulk of their feral time, on Bear to make the tanking rotation something more than binding swipe to every key and sleeping on the keyboard (just kidding! everyone knows you bind it to every other key  ;) )

I haven’t had the opportunity to tank anything yet on the PTR..but hope to soon so I can chime in on that side, but I’m concerned that this latest attempt by Blizz to normalize rage generation will screw things up as badly as their last attempt.  Right now, the druid would probably be 3rd on my list (of my 5 80s) to take to 85 first and claim as a ‘main’ for at least the first part of the expansion.

— Hunter

– First, no ammo — YAY!

– Increased durability levels on all armor to match Plate durability = Boo!   If Blizzard wants to ‘normalize’ repair costs to make it ‘fair’ for plate wearers, there’s gotta be a better way then charging the rest of us more.  (Ok, technically, this isn’t hunter specific, but I thought of it while working on this part).

-Focus -  Obviously, outside of the whole ‘No Ammo’ promise Blizzard is finally delivering on, the switch from Mana to Focus as our resource is the big change for the Hunter class.  It’s going to take some getting used to, especially until Hunter’s get aspect of the Fox and can move and shoot at the same time.  As Survival, my rotation on Live for a Boss fight is basically Black Arrow -> Appropriate Sting, Explosive Shot, Steady Shot, SS, ES, lather, rinse, repeat, and use LnL procs when they pop up.   On the PTR, because of how expensive some shots are, I’m having to go Black Arrow, SS, Sting, ES, SS, SS, to get enough focus up to continue the rotation.  I’m sure Blizz is still tweaking focus regen numbers and focus cost numbers, so I’m not too concerned about “wasting” part of BA’s up time by not getting ES up right away after it.

-DPS – Numbers are still being tweaked, but for non-BM hunters, it feels about the same.  BM is crazy right now on the PTR, with Kill Command critting for like 12k pretty regularly.  Expect a BM nerf before 4.0 goes live, or, we’ll all be BM for the xpac, just like we were for most of TBC.

– Pets –  Blizzard gave some much needed love to the pets this patch.. giving each family a different buff/debuff/ability to make it easier for a 10 man raid to provide a buff without a class… including Heroism via the Corehound (OMG! BM will be a raiding spec!).  Hopefully, we’ll get some more pet types to tame, so everyone won’t feel the need to bring a wolf just because that pet is the ‘raiding’ pet buff wise.

– Trap Launcher  — One word… Awesome.   Takes the Ice Arrow idea, expands it to every type of trap we’ve got… so LnL procs can be ‘forced’ for Survival, without having to run into melee the boss to drop a trap, will make CC in Cata 5 mans easier, won’t have to kite the target to the trap, take the trap to the target.

At this point I’d put the Hunter as 1st or 2nd on the list of ‘main’ choices, I think once people get used to Focus, it will feel like a more appropriate mechanic than Mana.. and hey.. at least we don’t have Combo Points.. plus, we get camouflage!

– Death Knight

— I’m digging the change in the way runes ‘refill’ now.. it takes a little getting used to, and it is easy to unload everything and then not have ANY runes left if you’re not paying attention..

– Runic Empowerment — WAY too random, having another way to recharge runes is good.. having it be RNG over happening, and what rune it refills is less good.  For Frost (which is my prefered spec, I like dual wielding Tankards O’ Terror) this isn’t as bad, because frost has been more priority based then a set rotation for quite some time now.  For Unholy, this is a bigger pain.  Ghostcrawler has said they’re considering adding a way for Unholy to turn this off, because it messes that playstyle/rotation up soooo much.

— Dedicated Tanking tree –  Boo.  This was one of my favorite things about the DK, was that if you took the ‘required’ talents (5/5/5)… you could tank in ANY tree, as long as you clicked the Frost Presence button.  I’m also not sure that Blood is the appropriate tree to have picked to be the ‘tank’ tree, but, I guess with all the changes to healers in Cataclysm, it makes sense to give your tank some self healing abilities to help keep himself standing.  I’d try tanking on the PTR..but my tank gear is predominatly Naxx level, so I’d get pwn’d pretty easily.

— Festering Strike — This is nice, a way to extend disease duration on your current target, that unlike Pestilance (on live), doesn’t also spread it to nearby targets, thus breaking CC.

— Unholy is gaining some nice pet buffs with SI and Dark Transformation, that, combined with the talents to make the disease harder to dispell, makes me think Unholy will end up being the PvP tree.

Kids are calling, so I gotta stop now.. but, I’ll rank the DK as 1st or 2nd on the list with the Hunter.. looks like one of those two will be my ‘main’ to start Cata with, at least based on how things feel on the PTR right now.  In case you’re wondering, my Pally is taking the 5th spot.. I can’t play a pally with combo points… it just feels wrong (no, I haven’t actually tried… so, it might be better then it reads in patch notes).