13 March 2009

T8 set bonuses

I know Lifebloom, regen changes, and dual specs have occupied my attention with patch 3.1. But there's a ton of other stuff going on and some is very interesting. I saw the T8 set bonuses today on MMO-Champion and they're pretty sweet.

DISCLAIMER: All subject to change of course! So don't assume this stuff will really happen. But it's cool enough to think about anyway.

Tier 8 of course will be the new sets that come from Heroic Ulduar. They have an iLvl of 226, compared to 213 for heroic Naxx/OS and normal Ulduar, or 200 for normal Naxx/OS. But the set bonuses are exciting:

T8 Feral Druid

2 pieces: The periodic damage dealt by your Rake, Rip, and Lacerate abilites has a chance to cause you to enter a Clearcasting state.
4 pieces: Increases the duration of Savage Roar and Survival Instinct by 8 sec.
I don't know feral well enough to give a full analysis here. But the Clearcasting proc seems like it could be fairly powerful, depending on how often it procs. Free abilities are pretty cool. The 4pc duration increase isn't sexy but it has punch. For Savage Roar, it depends on how long a combo point cycle takes. If it allows you one more 5-pt finishing move before you have to reapply Savage Roar, that will be a sizeable buff for cats. For bears, adding 40% duration to Survival Instinct sounds like a big enhancement for a major panic button.

T8 Balance Druid
2 pieces: Increases the bonus granted by Eclipse for Starfire and Wrath by 6%.
4 pieces: Each time your Insect Swarm deals damage, you have a chance to make your next Starfire cast within until cancelled instant.
As of WotLK, a big question for Moonkin is how to manage your Eclipse procs. Do it well, and your DPS goes way up. The 2pc bonus really rewards skilled Moonkin with a 6% buff to the talent, which is great. The 4pc bonus could really multiply that even further, depending on the proc chance. If you get a few instant-cast Starfires in your rotation, that's huge. If you can work in 1-2 extra instant Starfires while under Eclipse, that's immense. It also sounds like a fun mechanic to work with. I hope it has a distinctive sound and/or a nice visual effect when it procs.

T8 Restoration Druid
2 pieces: Increases the healing done by your Swiftmend spell by 10%.
4 pieces: Your Rejuvenation spell also instantly heals your target for its periodic healing amount.
The 2pc bonus here is both boring and useful. I have to admit that I'm not great at using Swiftmend, and I need to do more to work it into my rotation. But it's a great spell, and buffing it by a straight 10% is fairly big. Now, the 4pc bonus is slightly vague to me, but it really sounds like it gives Rejuv an instant heal in addition to its HoT component. Really? Because that would be amazing! If Rejuv becomes an instant-cast mini-Regrowth, then you've got a damn powerful tool at your hands. It could be useful for tank healing, but it would make Rejuv the hands-down best option for raid healing, no question.

Edit: Tree Bark Jacket confirms this as an instant heal for a single tick of Rejuv. That makes a lot of sense but not a "mini-Regrowth". That's still a fairly powerful ability however; Rejuv ticks are sizeable and usually the first one is 3s away.

The only thing depressing about these set bonuses is how difficult they'll be to acquire. I haven't looked yet but it's clear that some tokens are going to drop from some difficult bosses. So, getting to your 4 piece bonus won't be trivial. Of course you want great gear to be hard to get, there's nothing wrong with that. But some of these bonuses — Resto, in particular — can really change the way you play. It seems odd to give game-changing abilities to such a small percentage of Druids.

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