Improved Barkskin: Explaination and suggestions

Okay, it has taken me a few days of watching the forums to get a really good handle on what’s going on with the improved barkskin change.

Originally, I thought the extra armor bonus would only be active when barkskin was (which made sense in my head). However, ghostcrawler clarified what the talent will do here:

The caster and travel form armor benefits occur if you have the talent even if Barkskin is not up.

While we were succesful getting Resto druids into tree form in Arena, we were a little too succesful. We’re not sure it’s fun for either the druid or the people trying to kill the druid to be locked in tree form all the time. This change will hopefully make the fights a little more dynamic.

Okay, so it’s a constant armor bonus for caster form and travel form for a 2 point investment, in addition to the original benefits (dispell protection  & more powerful barkskin damage reduction).

I think a lot of resto druids really wanted access to their crowd control tools (ie. cyclone) which can’t be cast in tree form. So, the armor bonus for caster form gives PvP trees a chance to not get instantly killed by melee the minute they shift out of form. Yay for resto druids. However, there is another point I need to emphasize when talking about this talent:

This new talent seems like something moonkin needed.

Right now, improved barkskin is super high in the restoration tree, and only restoration druids have access to it.

Seriously. What’s one of the worst parts of moonkin PvP? Having to shift out of moonkin form to heal and thus losing the armor bonus when you are out of moonkin form. If moonkin had more armor in caster form, then they could heal themselves without it being such a high risk of stunlock-death. So, the resto side of me thinks this is a great idea for encouraging resto druids to be able to shift out of tree form in arenas, but the moonkin side of me is incredibly jealous and confused about why resto keeps getting more and more survivability in heaps, wheras the moonkin pvp community has basically vanished due to lack of viability and survivability in general.

I think it would really help moonkin if this talent was low enough in the tree that they could pick it up, however that would cause problems for feral druid tanks who would pick up the extra barkskin bonus for tanking. I still think Improved Barkskin should be moved to the balance tree, probably where Brambles is (and then GC could take away Brambles from resto PvP and solve their thorns problem). Feral druids aren’t going to waste 12 points just for a 5% more powerful barkskin shield. This would make moonkin viable without hurting resto PvP in any serious way. So, why not make the switch?

I’m sure you guys are probably tired of me making so many posts about moonkin PvP, but I have a long-standing tradition of finding the weakest areas for druids and repeatedly asking for fixes for what I think is broken…

6 Comments

  1. Posted June 1, 2009 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    Do moonkin have to be good at PvP? Especially now that we can so easily dual spec, I’m not sure Blizzard needs to ensure shift happens. Reading through your post, it made me feel like moonkin are already losing some of their uniqueness — ie, as non-squishie casters — if the new [and? ;^)] improved barkskin acts this way. Sure, this isn’t half-way to ‘kin bonus, but it’s significant. Add trees’ 100% (iirc) and you’re getting close.

    How did a tree’s dmg mit compare to priest plate before the change?

    I wonder if they/Blizz could have hit something between 80 and 160% more armor with druid-specific gear rather than a talent. Might have kept more balance across specs.

  2. Posted June 1, 2009 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    Improved barkskin is only available to restoration druids, and this gives resto druids to shift in and out of tree as much as they want.

    Moonkin don’t have to be great for PvP, but it needs to be an option. Not all druids like to PvP as healers…

  3. Posted June 1, 2009 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    You’re absolutely right about Moonkin needing this for viability and functionality. I feel like the caster form/travel form portion should be a third tier talent in the Restoration Tree, just like Brambles in the Balance Tree.

    As we’ve covered before, the Moonkin arsenal in PvP poses an issue because locking down the Nature tree locks out all but two of our spells. We also have no midrange cast. We have a GCD cast and a long cast (which is basically unusable against good opponents). It was quickly determined by the Arena/PvP community that you cannot allow a Moonkin to stand and deliver because we nuke very hard if allowed to cast Starfire uninterrupted.

    As far as feral tanks exploiting the positioning of this talent (if it were third tier), I don’t see that as being a gigantic concern. 12 seconds of 25% damage reduction instead of 20% damage reduction does not seem like a huge boost. Tanks would be forced to dump some other talents (i.e. feral aggression) that reduce incoming damage or TPS (i.e. ferocity/feral instincts/savage fury). The best option is of course feral aggression because a warrior can bring Demo Shout.

    I think this talent does belong in the Restoration Tree but I feel that it should be moved up to somewhere more accessible to the other specs as it has minor PvE implications (in my mind).

    @ Jalindrine –
    I think saying that dual spec alleviates the need for Moonkin to be viable at PvP is the same thing as telling someone to roll a Pally or DK to /faceroll people. Having a second spec requires you to have a second play style that you may not enjoy. I don’t think anyone is asking for every 2v2 team to have a Moonkin. But when none of the best teams have one, there is an issue.

  4. Kazril
    Posted June 1, 2009 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    Moonkin are in the same position as Shadow Priests in that regard. Shadow priests give up survivability bonuses to heal themselves. Trees, on the other hand, were the only healers who had to switch a form to use non-healing spells, which was the biggest complaint.

  5. Steve
    Posted June 2, 2009 at 2:20 am | Permalink

    Include feral in there 2 – I would love that talent on my feral to be able to swap out and heal … I think that only resto should have it tbh;

  6. Xenian
    Posted June 13, 2009 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

    I was very upset when i heard this talent was going to resto druids since its something ive been asking for since vanilla when barkskin increased our cast time. Moving Imp Bark to tier 3 balance would be very viable since all resto druids spec that far into balance anyway and no feral would ever dip into balance.

    The benifit form Brambles should be compensated some way though, loosing the treant daze and damage bonus would be pretty bad mabey adding it to celestial focus? Balance really does lack survivablilty so badly its rediculous.