Monthly Archives: May 2009

I missed the point? What about tree FORM is fun?

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.

Posted in Restoration Healing Trees

GC asks: “Is druid tree form fun?”

I try to avoid writing more than one long post every day, but I wanted to start organizing my thoughts on this one early. So, this is likely a topic that I’ll post on again sometime in the next few days. This afternoon, Ghostcrawler came to the healing forums and actually started a thread about tree form. The opening of his message says:

This is an open question to the community. Is druid Tree of Life form fun?
The question applies to both PvP and PvE, so it would be helpful to provide for which part of the game your answer applies.

I have a very hard time answering this question. Most people will easily answer “yes, of course tree form is fun!” However, I have a really hard time coming to this conclusion. I need to tell a story first, and fill in a little bit of tree form history for those players that are new to this class. If you want to skip ahead, I’m happy to say that I currently think that tree form is fun for me, but that if you asked me not that long ago what I thought, I would have told you that being in tree form made me the most unhappy druid in the world.

When I was a young druid…

When the original World of Warcraft came out, druids had 4 shapeshift forms: Bear, cat, travel (cheetah), and aquatic (sealion) forms. The huge druid revamp in patch 1.8 brought us moonkin form (or, as it was originally introduced to us: Moonlit flesh angler form – who else remembers the botched translation?!?).

In late alpha testing for Burning Crusade, I was introduced to tree form. It looked JUST like the purple trees in Darnassus, only we weren’t purple. It also looked just like the treant summons that were given to moonkin, only our leaves weren’t the same color. The “feature” that came with this form was about a 50% movement speed debuff, I couldn’t drink water or take potions in the form. So, the first time I ran an instance in tree form, I would have to shift out of the form between every pull, drink, and then run to catch up with the rest of my group outside of tree form, and then lose a huge chunk of mana when I shifted back into tree form. At this point, I didn’t even have lifebloom yet. We didn’t even get a dance or other emotes until much later in testing. I hated tree form with every inch of my being, and spent all of Beta for Burning Crusade trying to save my beloved healing spec – but by the time BC went live, it still wasn’t in a condition that I could enjoy.

I worked out a way to NOT have to pick up tree form when BC went live: Restokin spec. I worked out a spec where I could pick up points in the balance tree & the resto tree to buff my Healing touch & regrowth spells, to make tree form healing unnecessary for me. I tested this spec on the Beta server before BC went live, and I healed Karazhan for months after BC was on the live server as a moonkin/healing hybrid, where I would switch back and forth between damage and healing in a hybrid role (so fights like Curator that required heavy DPS, I’d go moonkin – and fights with higher healing requirements, I’d go healing). It was my own personal version of a dualspec, and I got to avoid the one thing I hated most in the game: Tree form.

So, when I tell you that I cried and quit a guild within weeks of the first time they made me spec into tree form (around the time that we started SSC & TK, and figured out that restokin hybrid was out), you really shouldn’t be surprised. I tried on multiple occasions to find a place for myself as a healing druid that hated tree form, and that was part of the reason why I transferred servers & changed guilds multiple times during Burning Crusade. This is also the point in time when I quit my druid altogether, and rolled a shaman. I healed with my shaman and I loved spamming chain heal WAY more than I enjoyed failing at lifebloom rolling in tree form. I didn’t completely give up on my druid, since within a few months of switching to my shaman for raiding, the Alpha & Beta testing for Wrath of the Litch King started.


Wrath of the Beta Tree – It got better!

So, at this point, I’m sure that most of you think I’m completely insane. How could one of the most well known restoration druids hate tree form through all of Burning Cruasde? More importantly, when (and WHY) did I go back to tree form after just telling people how much I hated it in Burning Crusade?

I worked really hard during my second chance to give Blizzard feedback on tree form: Alpha & Beta for Wrath of the Litch King. At this point, there wasn’t a movement speed debuff, we could drink & take pots in forms. At some point, we even got to cast direct heals in tree form (for a while, I was pretty sure they were going to give us Nourish, but force us to shift out of tree form to cast it). They toned down lifebloom, but beefed up our other spells, and gave us Wild Growth, our first useful AOE heal (lol tranquility).

It turns out that it wasn’t tree form I hated, but it was being forced to have lifebloom 3x rolling accounting for 75% (or more) of my healing done in a form that looked like a tree that I really hated in PvE. I started to enjoy healing in tree form with Regrowth, rejuv, and some lifebloom (with much less of an emphasis on lifebloom). There were also promises of dualspecs (one of the first announcements GC made about dualspecs was in one of my threads, on the Beta server). When WotLK went live, I leveled up my druid and not my shaman. I was back to being Lissanna again, and I was back to the class that I loved the most, and I was still back to healing on my druid (a role I enjoy in raids).

Tree form is fun now in PVE raids.

I do have fun as a tree form druid now for raiding healing. With dual specs, I can have both a moonkin spec and a tree spec. So, I can solo outside of raids as a balance druid, where I don’t have to heal things to death. It’s not that tree form changed all that much, but druid healing style got a LOT better in WotLK. I can fill any role in raids, and I’m not pigeon-holed to livebloom tank spamming anymore. I have a ton of diffrent tools. I’m not forced to use only 2 of my buttons. I have many different strategies I can use. Ulduar is interesting and fun for resto druid healers. I feel generally balanced with the other healing classes, even though I never top the meters in our raids, I’m usually not last, either. I can tank heal (and I enjoy it now) using a mix of HOT and direct heals. I posted a few days ago about what I thought made healing interesting. In the article, one of the things I talked about when defining intersting was that there were a variety of spells to cast. This is one of the points that makes tree form fun for me in PvE.

The one major improvement I would like to see now, that would make tree form more fun, is the idea of having new and/or customizable graphic options (which I have commented on several times on my blog!). At this point, the most boring part of being a tree is that we all look the same. While all the other classes get cool set graphics, it doesn’t really matter what my gear looks like, since all tree form druids look exactly the same. Honestly, graphic form coloring is the only current complaint I have about being a resto tree druid. After all the hate I had for the spec in BC, what the form looks like is the only current complaint I have.

Healing as a druid is what makes restoration fun in PvE. We could do it without tree form and it wouldn’t really matter. As long as healing as a druid is fun, it doesn’t really matter if we have a shapeshifting form to do it in. It’s our other spells (and how they interact with eachother) that makes druid healing either fun or not. Fun is also very much a matter of personal oppinion. I’m sure that 90% of the people reading this post disagree with just about everything I said about healing during Burning Crusade. A lot of druids had fun healing in BC as a tree druid. It just wasn’t for me back then. I bet half of those people also dislike the fact that lifebloom rolling spam is now discouraged.

Posted in Restoration Healing Trees

Off-Topic: When culture clashes with copyright, everyone loses.

Blizzard’s legal department seems to have gone completely crazy the last few months, with sending Cease & Desists to a variety of people, even including Breanni at Warcraftpets.com. Since we don’t generally understand the copyright laws that Blizzard has to follow, we assume that Blizzard is somehow being malicious in stomping on the fans that are seemingly doing GOOD work for Blizzard (addons, iphone apps, etc.).

In theory, every time I take a clip art picture from Google and put it on this blog, I’m probably breaking copyright laws, because I’m making a “copy” of someone else’s photograph or artwork wihout their permission – even though I make absolutely no profit when I do it (as I don’t even have advertisements on this blog). Everyone that records their raid with Fraps, sets it to music, and puts it on youtube is breaking copyright laws (from the music industry’s standpoint – because you are making a “copy” of the songs you use when you put it up on youtube).

So, what’s going on? Really, I don’t think it’s Blizzard’s fault that they have to enforce copyright laws. They actually let us get away with a lot of things that fall in the “gray area” surrounding copyright issues.  While Blizzard can let everyone do whatever they want, they undermine their own company when they allow people or other companies to profit from their games without oversight.

The best explanation of what is wrong with the current copyright laws, and how the law interacts with our current internet culture, is a talk given by Lawrence Lessig at a conference in March of 2009 at the OFC conference in San Diego. I really strongly recommend that you watch the whole thing. It’s about an hour, but it’s one of the most helpful and informative hours that I’ve spent my entire life.  Click here for a link to the whole video.

If you aren’t quite willing to spend the full hour, here’s a 10 minute clip from the middle that I think best introduces the problem:

Okay, so at the end of this clip I put here, Lawrence Lessing talks about a “sharing economy”. He better explains the interaction between sharing & commercial economies (turning into “hybrid” economies) in the next part of the video. Things like addons that charge for their use would probably be more of a hybrid economy. Wowinsider (that got renamed by AOL to “wow.com”) is a hybrid economy (they make money off their advertising, right?), however Blizzard hasn’t shut down wowinsider – because they aren’t doing anything that Blizzard would want to shut down. Here’s section 4 of the video explaining more about hybrid economies (in companies such as Amazon.com & Microsoft):

For the most part, Blizzard does their best to not interfere with people who want to make things and share them for free. Blogs like this do a huge service for Blizzard by explaining to other people HOW to play the game, thus making Blizzard more money in the long run (without costing them anything, or making me any profit). Blizzard does, however, tend to crack down on people who make a profit at Blizzard’s expense (with a few exceptions). When Blizzard sent their C&D to warcraft pets, what they were cracking down on was selling T-shirts, not the information being shared on the website. Blizzard encourages “sharing economies”, but if Blizzard allows people to directly make money off their games by selling WoW-related products, then they open doors for bad practices (such as the botting programs we all hate) to win lawsuits against them. So, fairly innocent practices (like warcraft pet’s T-shirt store) has to get shut down so that Blizzard can prove to the legal system that Blizzard does care about the copyright that is on their material.  It’s really the law’s fault that Blizzard has to enforce the law. I’m pretty sure Blizzard’s staff doesn’t actually care about warcraft pet’s t-shirt store.

I spend an aweful lot of time giving away my time for free to make Blizzard’s games better (from my blog posting, forum posting, and Beta testing their game), and I don’t currently even have advertisements on this blog because I want to stay as far away from the gray areas of the law as I can (although I probably break some copyright laws by posting other people’s copyrighted artwork and pictures on this site – even if I don’t profit from doing so).

I think we can all agree that making botting programs, hosting private servers, and profiting off hacking accounts to sell other player’s gold is definitely wrong. However, if warcraftpets doesn’t want to shell out money from their own pockets, and instead wants to support the site by selling t-shirts, that’s something that the laws need to stop criminalizing. When we’re “remixing” Blizzard’s work, it needs to not be so closely regulated by copyright laws. Until the laws change, however, Blizzard has an obligation to also follow the copyright laws, as much as they ask us to follow those laws, as well. It sucks, but it’s really up to us, and the lawmakers, to change the copyright laws to allow our internet “rewrite” culture to flourish. Until then, all of us are going to continue breaking the copyright laws accidentally as we conduct our lives, because the laws were not designed to handle the new interactions that have emerged in our culture. Really, I don’t blame Blizzard for what they have to do, even if I don’t personally have the law degree that is required to understand what’s going on.

Posted in Uncategorized

Glyphing after 3.1.2 – is the innervate glyph worth it?

Okay, I’m going to borrow some numbers from 4haelz’ post about innervate:

  • The new innervate should always return 15732 mana at level 80. It doesn’t matter what any of your stats are. This is what it returns.
  • The glyph will give you 3146 mana if you cast innervate on someone else
  • If you cast innervate on yourself with the glyph, your total mana return is 18878.

So, should you bother getting the innervate glyph? Probably not. The glyph basically restores the amount of one mana pot every 6 minutes.

For level 80 raiding moonkin, my answer is definitely not. Since it’s always been a waste of a glyph slot for moonkin raiding. Raiding moonkin should be using the starfire, monfire, & insect swarm glyphs.

For PvP moonkin, it may actually be a possibility now, but it still really depends on how big your mana pool is, or how despterately you need mana, and what glyph set you work out…

For level 80 Restoration raiders – In any raid with Replenishment, and where you are letting lifeblooms bloom often enough, you shouldn’t really have mana problems. So, I could see this being useful only in situations where you are running OOM (probably 10-mans without replenishment, and maybe hard-modes in Ulduar). I’m using the Swiftmend, Nourish, and wild growth glyphs now.  I think all three of these benefit us more than the innervate glyph. We may end up needing the innervate glyph after Ulduar, when our mana pools get bigger – since Innervate won’t scale with our gear. Until then, I recommend skipping it.

In general, you should glyph for innervate if you really need the mana it returns. If you always cast it on someone else, but really need a little boost of your own, then you are welcome to keep using the glyph.  I just think resto druids got better glyphs than it in 3.1, and that we should be using the best available resources. I’m also updating my glyph recommendations in my healing guide to better reflect the glyph changes & what players have been saying about them after 3.1.

Innervate does not take you out of the 5 second rule while casting.

Based on my testing today, it looks like Innervate does NOT take you out of the 5 second rule. Thus, you gain zero spirit-based mana from innervate now. I tested this by un-specing my moonkin talent points, and comparing how my mana bar ticked when I was resto spec (with 3/3 intensity) verus how it ticked with a 0/0/0 spec without any regen talents or mana/5 on gear. In both tests, I spammed Nourish to keep me in the 5 second rule for the whole 20 seconds.

When innervate isn’t active and you are under the 5 second rule with intensity, the numbers on your mana bar scroll faster than you can actually read them to write them down and keep track of what your mana returns are. Under the 5 second rule, without any mana return talents or gear, your mana bar never ticks up, and only subtracts the mana that your spell costs you.

When innervate is active in my intensity spec, I get both the ticks from intensity and the ticks from innervate, so I have a constant increasing scroll of mana numbers flashing every few miliseconds. When innervate is active on my 0/0/0 spec, my mana bar increases at the rate that I get innervate ticks, and goes down at the rate I cast spells, and is visually very dramatically different than the ticks I get when I have the out of casting regen from spirit. So, no, without instensity, I’m not gaining any regen from spirit when innervate is active. I don’t really even need to do math on this. It’s not ticking like it does when you are out of the 5 second rule.

Posted in Moonkin Balance DPS, Restoration Healing Trees

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