In my last post, I explained my history with tree form – and one thing that people caught on to was that how much fun I have with tree form is pretty much tied up in whether or not healing as a resto druid is fun for me.
To me, tree form is pretty much just a graphic, that has very little functional value at this point. In a raid with another druid in tree form, or a prot pally with the right talents,I could probably heal outside of tree form and no one would know the difference in terms of my healing done. I basically gain a tiny bit of spellpower from spirit, and that’s about it. My armor is a little higher, but if I’m taking melee hits, I’m probably dead anyway.
So, is healing in tree form different from healing out of tree form? Not really. Does it need to be different? Not really. One of the reasons that our mana reductions were given to us out of tree form was to take away some of the cost of shapeshifting to normal caster form during PvP. Not being able to do things out of tree form is annoying to PvP druids and all the other specs that rely on our heal spells. Making it such that I HAD to be in tree form to be a good healer would anger me much more than it would make healing fun for me.
That’s why about the only thing they could do to make ‘tree form’ more fun on it’s own would be to change the graphic (make the leaves/necklace color customizable, give us new graphics so that we don’t look just like the moonkin pets, etc). Outside of graphic changes, I don’t really see the need to do something to make the FORM fun. Giving tree form “unique” abilities that aren’t available outside of the form would actually make things worse in some ways. I mean, the “unique” abilities that retoration druids get are things like wild growth that you spend talent points on that help define the spec as a whole. One talent point shouldn’t really be that big of a deal – and tree form is basically just a talent point (or a couple if you include the improved tree talent).
Silly things like the mini-tree pet from the Argent Tournament actually makes tree form more fun. I mean, all you really get out of being in tree form for raiding is the looks and a little spellpower. So, it’s really hard to analyze and give feedback on whether or not a graphic form is fun, when all I think of it is a graphic form that is fundamentally tied to whether or not I think healing in said form is fun. I have fun /dancing with my mini-tree pet that follows me around and gets bored & falls asleep when I’m working on my fishing.
The old “only HOTs in form” restriction was what actually part of what made the form not fun, so now that we have access to a lot more abilities in form, it’s actually kinda fun to heal in that form – because it doesn’t feel as restrictive anymore. Sure, I have to shift out to moonfire something, but shifting back in doesn’t even cost that much mana anymore.
So, as long as graphic form changes are eventually coming for trees (please!), that’s pretty much all I can really hope for in terms of making tree form more fun. Bear and cat forms have much more definition than moonkin and resto, in terms of giving access to abilities – but that’s okay in my book, because cat form can still not be fun if you don’t like how cat form looks (or the playstyle), even though it has it’s own set of abilities. Shapeshifting is what druids do, and so having a shapeshift for healing is fine, even if it doesn’t really give us all that much.