Druid Q&A with GC is up now on the druid forums!

So, sometime while I was sleeping (or maybe it was during my raid & I was AFK from the forums), the druid Q&A jumped a few spots in line to come out early. They hit most of what I think are the “major” druid issues, but I’m sure there is still plenty of controversy around. You should really go read the whole thing for yourself. I can, however, take some quotes out of context and analyze them a bit. However, GC has a habit of writing really long-winded answers that make more sense in context. Also, this Q&A is not a “list of things that are happening today,” but more likely things that will be looked into sometime between now and the next expansion – and the answer to some questions is mostly just that they think X or Y ability is fine. I have to split this post into 2 pieces because it got to be too long, so today is just the Moonkin & Resto analysis. I’ll post bear & cat either later today or tomorrow.

First on the analysis were moonkin.

  • The most interesting part of the entire Eclipse discussion: Long-term to fix this problem we need to add another spell, separate out Starfire and Wrath from each other a little more, or make one of the other spells, like Moonfire or Insect Swarm, more dynamic

Well… look at that, we may eventually be able to flesh out the moonkin rotation to not just be Eclipse proc watching as a long-term type of thing. Anyone who reads my moonkin posts would know that I prefer adding another spell. Only having 4 single-target damage spells is just really limiting, and it’s just hard to make 2 dots and then rotating through 2 nukes actually interesting. He answers 2 questions about moonkin that basically discuss spell rotations not being interesting, and while the Q&As aren’t supposed to actually be about planned fixes, just acknowledgments of long standing problems is what we have to accept.

  • Moonkin PvP: : We don’t think Moonkins are quite there yet

This much we knew already, but it looks like at least moonkin PvP is on their long-term radar. He talks about this twice – once in the intro questions, and then once again as a specific question.

Now onto Restoration healing trees:

  • GC recommends that you read the whole first rambling philosophical post about restoration druids. I’m going to quote a whole paragraph from it (less than half of the text for that question) that the community needs to think about and talk about:
  • In addition to having to give up utility in order to heal as a Tree of Life, we have become less enamored with druids locking themselves into one form. In fact, you really never see the basic tauren or night elf druid form (you know, the one that actually shows off the awesome armor art) because all druids are in cat, bear, tree, or moonkin form nearly 100% of the time. I’m not saying we would just cut Tree of Life from the game. It’s been around awhile and for better or worse, it’s part of World of Warcraft now. However, we could see taking the druid in a direction where shifting was much more common and easy to do. Maybe you only go into tree form for certain spells but leave for other spells — this didn’t work previously because of the high cost of shifting, but in the absence of power shifting, we’d love to get rid of the costs completely. Another way to go would be to make Tree of Life form a cooldown, more like Metamorphosis. You shift into tree when you need a healing boost, but you don’t stay in it all the time. Now, I am totally waving my arms here. This is not the kind of change you are going to see in the next patch. But it is something we’re thinking about long term, and the kind of thinking we’d love to have more feedback on from the community.

In PvE, there are specific roles assigned – if you are a healer, you pretty much just spam heal buttons. If you are DPS, you aren’t going to throw around many heals.  Also, dual specs were the best thing ever given to the healing class to encourage filling more than one role and doing more versatile things. We lock ourselves into forms and don’t come out because that’s what druid playstyle IS at this point. It’s possible that tree form could work differently than our other forms, but doing that would probably be lame, because the druid class expects to spend all of our time in a form. In PvE, there can be more shifting around to use Utility spells (hurricane & roots, etc) that aren’t useable in tree or feral forms. The problem of sacrificing everything else to be able to fill our roles well is just that… we have to sacrifice everything else, and in the end, that’s fine. Making tree form a shapeshift on a cooldown is actually a lame idea, since none of our other forms would have that, and it would go against what it is to be a druid.

  • Okay, on to the rest of the restoration druid questions… the answers are basically that Tranquility & Healing Touch are fine for now. And that’s about it it for specifically restoration questions. Resto druids are (in PvP and PvE) in a pretty good place right now, so I wasn’t expecting much here for that spec. Tranquility won’t be an okay spell until we can target what group we want it to heal. I use it maybe once or twice a week out of all my raiding days (not even once or twice a day). At least Nature’s Swiftness makes Healing Touch more useful, since it makes a good burst healing mechanic (especially with the improved talent we’re picking up in 3.2).
  • When talking about itemization, GC mentioned that critical strike rating for restoration trees may not be attractive enough, but doesn’t really offer much more than that.

Highlights from the last hodge-podge topics (things that could effect all druid specs):

  • They are looking into how relics are itemized, but don’t really have any changes they are planning on at the moment.
  • At this time we want to keep the 310% flying speed very rare
  • We like the fact that Innervate requires shifting. We want druids to shift more.
  • long-term we’d love to get druids shifting more often, which means shifting has to be less painful. I don’t know for sure that changing the GCD needs to be a part of that, but it could be.
  • We do have plans to update additional forms at some point in the future.

Okay, so that gets us to the end of the druid Q&A for things relevant to our caster trees. I had the feral parts ready to go, but this post was just way too long to do all 4 specs at once, so I’ll post that piece “soon”.

9 Comments

  1. Chipster
    Posted July 15, 2009 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    With regards to this Q&A (and by extension all the other class Q&As) leaving a lot of people unfulfilled, I would have to ask what you were expecting from this?

    Right from when I read the first shaman one, I wasn’t expecting anything hugely groundbreaking from these. However, they are good for a few reasons. the first and foremost is that we get an idea of what is going on behind the scenes. Nobody really likes it when a development change comes out of left field, so having a bit of advance warning on some ideas they are kicking around is a good thing.

    I seem to remember that not too long ago (before WOTLK) we as players would pretty much never hear from anyone in the development team. There was a multitude of forum posts screaming that we had no idea what the developers were thinking at any given time, and people felt ignored. Now we have Ghostcrawler who is giving players feedback on all the half-brained ideas (and good ideas) that get posted on the class roles forums. The player base has pretty much been given what they were asking for for the better part of four years.

    The fact that none of these Q&As reveal any earth-shattering news is not a bad thing. Those sorts of news releases are better left to posts that have a lot more pomp and ceremony. These threads just serve as a small window into Blizzard HQ and lets us pick the brains of the developers a bit.

    Yeah, we may not like exactly what is being said, and yes more specifics are always desired, but this is far better than the pure silence that we got before.

  2. Maor
    Posted July 15, 2009 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    I agree with Chip. I was overall happy with the Q&A, but I wasn’t expecting it to give us ground breaking information.

    As far as the PvE roles and Tree Form. The reason we have tree form is because, well, we have forms. The reason its used in PvE is because of the bonuses you get. But to get those bonuses, we have to give up the ability to use our damage and CC spells. We are the only healer who has to do this. Druids have been complaining about this, and I can understand why. While its very very situational where a healer would be DPSing or CCing while healing, this situations do happen and it would be nice to not have to be a less effective healer to be able to do so.

    Now I’m fine with tree form the way it is now, and I agree that most of the time when you are in a raid your pretty much just healing. But there are times when you will need to do other things.

  3. DIllion
    Posted July 15, 2009 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    I think they would have to work on some sort of synergy for shifting that makes shifting useful. Take for instance the Feral talent that increases healing based on I think agility or strength. That’s the type of item needed to make shifting worth it EXCEPT that if needs to be useful. The Feral talent isn’t useful what so ever because ferals do not have a large mana pool. They shift out and maybe cast Tranq which only sees 33% per person being healed increase from SP. Useless.

    I went from WoW to Warhammer for a short period of time because of something that I saw as synergy from one of their characters. The Goblin Shaman is set up to benefit from healing and DPSing at the same time. As you healed you would increase gain an increase in your next DPS and vice versa. It would allow you to go back and forth during a battle and be more than just a healer. Its a idea. Once I played it it was not quite what I wanted and I came back to WoW. Game client issues, not class issues.

    Seems like the only way they could make it beneficial for us to shift out is to make our current healing inadequate. Or to take away some of the updates that they gave us previously, Healing Touch and Decurse/Abolish Poison in ToL. While I’d like to see it done proper to benefit us I think it’s working backwards from what our current talent trees do at least for PVE. PVP power shift is acceptable to get out of roots and to continue DPS for feral between Bear and Cat.

    I’d love to have come with a suggestion with my complaint on this but I don’t seem to have one.

  4. Posted July 15, 2009 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    Chipster – The “unfulfilled” comment actually goes a lot better with comments I had from the feral part, but I accidentally left that sentence in the caster half, where it makes a lot less sense (and trust me, it was hard to split one of my wall-o-text posts into 2 pieces). I had it all written up as one post and then split it into two when it got too long, because I was having to cut commentary to leave in quotes. I had written something about the comments on the druid forums and some of the blue posts on the Damage Dealing forum that got posted after people read the Q&A, but I took that part out when I split the post in half. It wasn’t meant to be a reflection of my personal feelings towards the Q&A, since I really wasn’t expecting much out of it based on what the other classes got. I’m going to take that sentence back out for now, since the context that I’d written for that statement already got “chopped”.

    Please focus back on the issues at hand, don’t mind my poor editing skills sometimes. ;)

  5. Posted July 15, 2009 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    So yeah…who’s up for a Metamorphesis-style Tree of Life Form!?

    Anyone?

    Anyone?

    Bueller?

    Bueller? *crickets*…

    I’m more interested in the stat changes on gear than anything else…I don’t roll Feral anymore so those changes come with apathy on my part but I’m sure they are important to the Ferals, so hopefully they can see where their future lies.

  6. Posted July 15, 2009 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    Also, the comments GC offers on the healing capabilities of a Tree versus other healing classes is, at best, lame. The form is called TREE. OF. LIFE. If we choose to take it on, we need to be GREAT healers otherwise it’s just a cute name and not a name we have EARNED: TREE. OF. LIFE. I’d actually be a bit worried here for us trees…because saying they want us to shift in and out of forms means our healing in general might take a hit, particularly when you consider that in form, we offer a group buff that increases healing received and that means that would either go away completely, or not be there when it’s critically needed (Sure they could throw us a Gift of the Wild-style, reagent-dependent healing buff, but why? TOL Form takes care of that forthwith).

  7. DIllion
    Posted July 15, 2009 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    That was kinda what I was looking at. They’d really have to try to make our healing dependent on something that’s only available outside of ToL thus making it inadequate. If they don’t do that then there is no real reason to shift out.

    CD on ToL would require us to consider if the utility we’d provide would be prudent at the time due to inability to heal as effectively. This would leave us at the same consideration we are now. Would it be more benefit to heal DPS or Cyclone what’s hitting them? Removing the GCD from our shifting COULD make that decision easier as we’d be able to start Cyclone at near instant but if it missed we’d be in trouble and might not be able to get back into ToL quickly enough.

    Perhaps shifting out of Tree of Life could leave a momentary buff that slowly decreases effectiveness of the ToL buff. IE as time goes the % of increased healing would degrade from 6% to 0. That would give allow us more viability with shifting out.

    What I don’t like is that he was pointed about Resto shifting more often where as the other specs don’t appear to require this. Our forms are our stances. They provide function and specifics. Granted you may find a warrior in battle stance for use against fear mechanics but you won’t see him tank that way all the time. 98% he’ll be in prot. So why would Blizzard want to see Tree specc’d druids shifting from their “Healing” stance/form? Again, I say it sounds backwards.

  8. Watreskell
    Posted July 15, 2009 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    In attempting to make the druid class unique, they have narrowed our effective scope. Remember when trees moved slower and had no rez and couldn’t decurse or even use Healing Touch? We have come a long way, and everytime they give us another ability we become more like the healing class we should be. The things I would like to see is cyclone/roots to be able to be cast while in tree form, and unique tree forms like they have done with the bear and cat. I would love to be able to see my armor and weapons while in form. This has been a sore spot for me. We always have at least 3 resto druids in our raid, and it looks like the boomkin always has her treants out.

  9. Maor
    Posted July 15, 2009 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

    I’d kind of personally like to see tree form be optional. I’m not upset that its not now, and I’m not going to make a thread demanding they change it. But I think I’d like the option to be able to heal in caster form or tree form.