What is wrong with resto druid healing design for 3.3

WARNING: Incoming frustrated rant. You have been warned.

The WotLK design has been to have high amounts of raid damage going on, while still having a fair amount of tank damage at the same time. This design means that having the ability to heal multiple people at the same time is good.

The druid AOE heal problem: How do you heal multiple people if almost all of your spells are single-target heals?

  • The answer is: spam single-target HOTs around on multiple people. We have one real AOE heal (wild growth), which is still a Heal over Time spell. Then, we have a couple single-target HOTs: rejuvenation, regrowth, & lifebloom.
  • Tranquility doesn’t get used because it only targets your group, has a terribly long cooldown, large mana cost, and is channeled so that you can’t do anything else while it’s working.
  • Since rejuvenation is better than regrowth & lifebloom, we don’t use much regrowth or lifebloom for raid healing currently in 3.2.
  • This means that our two commonly used HOTs for raid healing are: Wild Growth and rejuvenation.

What’s the problem with only using these two spells (wild growth & rejuv) for AOE healing?

  • They “snipe” healing from the meters, and stabilize people without usually healing people up to full in a short amount of time. Rejuvenation (without the instant heal) takes a full 3 seconds before it does any healing at all, and then ticks again every 3 seconds for a decently long duration.
  • Blizzard goes back and forth about whether or not they want us to use this two-spell healing rotation, and work to try and make other heals more appealing, while nerfing spells that we use too much. SO, they have turned regrowth & lifebloom into nearly worthless heals, and promoted rejuvenation to be more godly.
  • Then, in 3.3, they are removing a tick from rejuvenation in hopes that it becomes less appealing. However, at the same time, they give us Tier 10 set bonuses that we really ONLY benefit from if we do nothing but spam rejuv & wild growth. The tier 10 set bonus punishes us by being a crappy bonus if we don’t blanket the raid with rejuvenations because of way it is designed. Even if the proc rate was higher, it would still encourage rejuv blanketing.
  • Then, they plan to release a glyph that increases the haste of rejuvenation ticks based on your gear, meaning that it ticks faster (so it won’t stay on the target as long, but the ticks will happen in less than three seconds). However, faster ticks means that the duration is shorter, and thus you can keep it up on fewer people at the same time. So, even if you do nothing but cast rejuv, it will be up on fewer people at the same time. This glyph will probably replace the Nourish one in everyone’s glyph slots, further making Nourish and our other HOTs under-used.
  • The haste bonus seems counter-intuitive when paired with a tier 10 bonus that lets rejuv “bounce” to other people (ie. blanket the raid more).

What happened to promoting spell diversity? While we had a bunch of different healing styles in 3.0 (and briefly in 3.1), everyone in 3.3 will be converging back on the same healing style once they get the tier 10 bonuses. Every set besides Tier 10 promoted a bigger variety of spells (with swiftmend, lifebloom, or nourish bonuses).

Instead of promoting using a diverse number of spells, the tier 10 set pieces (especially the 4-piece bonus) encourages one-button-spamming healing styles, which went against what I thought Blizzard wanted for the druid healing design.

We don’t benefit from the 4-piece bonus if we only have a couple rejuvenations running, since we only have about a 10% chance that one rejuvenation will cause a proc of the set bonus. A lot of people have done math showing that the set bonus is more useful when you blanket more of the raid with rejuvenation. It’s not a healing increase if you only have up 1 or 2 rejuvenations at a time.

So, the tier 10 bonus is actually punishing people if they use a diverse number of spells. This pigeon-holing people into a raid healing style (which won’t be able to cope with high amounts of burst damage) really seems to go against what the direction of the resto druid spec should be.

We have a ton of different tools. Why are we excited about set bonuses that will essentailly force us to spam the same 2 buttons over and over again until our keyboards break? I didn’t really like lifebloom-spamming in Burning Crusade, either. I like healing styles that are more flexible, which allow the healer to actually have to think about what they are doing, and choose what spells they are using.

The 4-piece Tier 10 bonus really just makes me want to delete my whole healing guide and replace it with “lawl spam rejuvenation & wild growth because that’s all we’re good for”. I really think that we started out at a good place at the beginning of Wrath and got more and more pigeon-holed into a singular healing style as newer content has been released. While this is the opposite of what Blizzard wanted to do, unfortunately, it seems to be the effect they have caused with their gear design so over-focused on the two spells we use the most. If you can top the meters by 2-button spamming, why should you put in twice the effort to try and heal with a more diverse tool set if the more diverse spell users will just to heal for less & benefit less from their gear than the rejuv-spammers in Icecrown Citadel? Why nerf the ticks of rejuvenation at all if the goal is to still have us spam it all the time?

I’m likely to actually just not pick up the tier 10 4-piece, but instead go with the tier 9 2-piece (nourish crit), & the 2-piece tier 10 (Wild growth), so that I can benefit from using Nourish in my spell rotation to help deal with burst damage or tank healing.

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9 Comments

  1. Meugly
    Posted October 9, 2009 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

    I agree that we were in a good place around 3.0.

    Then things started to become more consolidated, as you have accurately noted. I think they point that things started to go south was the repeated Lifebloom nerfs. Well, let me back up a sec, check the history books!

    Burning Crusade, we got a spiffy new healing spell, Lifebloom. Didn’t take long for folks to realize that rolling 3 stacks on LB on 3 tanks was a ton of healing, and very effective when part of a *team* healing effort. Note that word ‘team’, will be coming back to that.

    Quick side note: I healed all BC, Illidan in to Sunwell, all of it, with what was originally called a HT/Regen spec. It became better known as the Dreamstate Healing spec, misunderstood by most, mastered by very very few, and tremendously effective when done right. Of course the almost purely predictive healing style rubbed most healers the wrong way, reactive healing was what people were used to. However, I can say that I used everything in my arsenal every single night.

    Back on target here. Didn’t take long for Resto Druids to also realize that rolling lifeblooms on tanks got pretty boring pretty fast.

    Blizzard heard our plea for more interesting healing, but knee-jerk reacted early in to WotLK. Their honest desire to make Druid healing more interesting, and the massive power of Lifebloom in arenas led to repeated LB nerfs, until it bordered on being a useless heal spell.

    However, with better and better gear, and increasingly massive raid-wide damage in more and more boss encounters, we Druids quickly found that putting Rejuc on as many raid members as we could was good. It was really good, really effective. We could be completely mobile, and raid heal for incredible amounts.

    Oh, that is not too unlike the LB rolling on tanks we used to do.

    I do think Blizzard has made some interesting progress toward spell interaction between our heals, especially with nourish. However, its not enough, Rejuv spamming is still what saves the raid and gets bosses dead.

    So it all comes down to 2 things here:
    1) Nerfing LB to the ground baby.
    2) Totally ridiculous raid-wide damage on so many boss fights.

    These two are the root problems, at least as I see it. And they have led to something even worse that rolling Lifeblooms or spamming Rejuv: Every-healer-for-himself healing while we watch the heal meters like some megalomaniacal Mage watching DPS meters.

    Healing is just not the *team* effort it used to be. There just doesn’t seem to be much benefit anymore to team healing strategy. Its just “Pallies heal the tanks, Druids and Shammies on the raid” with Priests filling either role. I think the exception is the Disc Priest, which benefits greatly when integrated in to an overall healing strategy. Us druids? Just shutup and spam your rejuv or the raid leader will kick you out for an undergeared and unskilled Pally who looks better on the meters.

  2. Bai
    Posted October 10, 2009 at 1:20 am | Permalink

    I agree about the lack of teamwork mentioned in the first comment. Healing has largely become a big competition between people whoring meters up and trying to get big numbers, and often times at the expense of what would benefit the guild most. Shielding or rolling LB on the tank will keep the raid from wiping but it will lower that HPS!

    I felt like BC healing was a lot more team-work oriented and healing in Wrath for most fights has become too simplified. I do commend BLizzard for Heroic Anub 25m, however. It does bring a large degree of healer cooperation and coordination back into the game, but only once a week. And because of that a lot of guilds are struggling with the fight because healers haven’t had to really work together like that for a while now. General Vezax was primarily about the healers but not really requiring intense coordination or teamwork.

    I hope H Anub 25 (I say 25m because the heroic 10m version doesn’t have as intense tank damage and Penetrating Cold healing issues) is a teaser for the type of fights we can expect in Icecrown. Fights where DPS, tanks and healers need to be coordinated with one another, not make any mistakes, and work as a team and a little less like cut-throat competitors.

    Don’t get me wrong, competition is great- it makes things challenging and pushes us to be on top of our game- but we should have game mechanics forcing us to do that too. In reference to this blog post, it doesn’t take much player skill at all, maybe a trained monkey hitting a couple key board keys, for healers to top meters and ‘win’ competitions with the way many of our skills have been pigeon-holed.

    We need game mechanics that test our reflexes and class knowledge in a do it or the raid wipes and everyone knows it was your fault type-scenarios to bring back the ‘spice’ in WoW PvE!

  3. Owen
    Posted October 10, 2009 at 3:06 am | Permalink

    I don’t think the tier bonuses are such a big deal…the 2 piece bonus for WG is basically the equivalent of letting it have one more full tick (about 783 health more…my first WG tick does avg 799). The 4 piece bonus, in terms of raw numbers, is almost 13k…but you have no control over who it lands on or how often. I would bet most likely it will land on someone who already has rejuv and it will refresh the tick count, so if anything, it won’t affect your healing output but rather reduce the amount of mana you expend in rolling rejuv’s on the raid.

    If anything, I think blizzard’s goal over the last couple tier sets has been to eliminate set bonuses as a requirement of good healing. Having full T7 felt like a requirement for Ulduar when it came out; same for T8…but with T9 and the forthcoming T10, the bonuses feel less like must-haves and more like ‘oh neats’, freeing us up to heal according to style and need.

    Blizzard has also said that they want to facilitate healing styles more through glyphs than through gear. I’m betting the glyphs are the place to look for key improvements and play style changes…the real function of the gear will be for stats.

  4. Lissanna
    Posted October 10, 2009 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    Yes, but Blizzard is too over-focused on buffing & nerfing nourish at the same time. We lose a tick to the base spell, but gain scaling with haste (glyph) AND the 4-piece bonus. A new rejuvenation glyph means that you won’t have space in your glyph set for the Nourish glyph, if you have to pick up a second glyph centered around rejuvenation (since the swiftmend one is, too). Then, without the Nourish glyph, Nourish isn’t going to be such a great heal anymore… and you start the further downward spiral of two-button healing.

  5. Astrouid
    Posted October 12, 2009 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, below is a post that I made this morning on EU’s official 10 pc bonus feedback thread.

    Druid
    Restoration

    2pc: On most raids, the only spell that heals more that Wild Growth is rejuvenation. I am therefore very excited to have this spell buffed.

    4pc: I am not excited at all for this bonus. There are limited situations where it is helpful to “blanket” the raid with rejuvenations (e.g., XT temper tantrum, Twins TOC hardmode, etc.), and for the other 95% of the raid this random proc will go towards overhealing.

    This bonus, coupled to the reduction in duration of rejuvenation coming out in 3.3., means that around every 10th cast of rejuvenation, we get a free one randomly assigned to a raid member. Said differently, this is like a free Rejuvenation proc that we can’t allocate to the raid member we want healed, and we can’t predict when it will proc.

    At its most useful, this bonus, during the rare “blanket the whole raid with rejuv moments”, means that I save a bit of mana and save a global cooldown about every 16 seconds or so.

    Well, I’ve never had mana issues at all (3/5 TOC hc), even during tries on Twins hardmode where I spam rejuvenations and wild growths non-stop.

    I’m also not particularly excited about saving the 1 second it takes to cast Rejuv on the target of my choice rather than a random proc that randomly targets a raid member who may or may not need healing (and if she does need healing, I’m most likely casting a Rejuv on her anyway).

    Finally, I’m assuming:

    (i) that I’m assigned to raid heal for purposes of this post. I’m duel spec Resto / Resto, and use a nourish build for tank healing. When I’m tank healing, I never blanket the raid with rejuvenations and will get almost no benefit from this 4pc bonus; and

    (ii) i’m in a 25 person raid. In 10 mans, I’m perfectly capable of blanketing entire raid by myself without any mana or GCD issues.

    SUMMARY: 4pc bonus is slightly useful during rare “blanket the raid” moments on 25 man raids where the druid is raid healing (assuming it targets someone who needs healing, and assuming you or another healer weren’t already targeting that person with a heal, and assuming the extra mana and GCD saved is needed).

    Except for that very specific example in the summary, this 4pc bonus really doesn’t help or excite.

    To be honest, I sincerely hope you do something that would make life bloom or regrowth worth casting again, rather than trying to buff a spell that I’m frankly tired of spamming.

  6. mushu
    Posted October 12, 2009 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    Don’t forget, per GC the “nerf” to rejuv is actually a bug fix since the extra tick was not intended to begin with.

    This is all about how you view the changes Blizz makes, not about the end result. It’s easy to QQ at every perceived nerf but let’s face it: Blizz has to keep more than each player’s own tunnel vision in their sights–they have to make sure that the *entire* gameworld is as balanced as potentially possible, while we are simply concerned with our guilds and the meters. With a few notable mistakes I think they do just fine thank you.

  7. Ditto
    Posted October 12, 2009 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    For what it’s worth, hasted Rejuv’s would not have an impact on how often the T10 bonus would apply. It is a flat chance per tick.

    While haste would reduce the number of people you can have a rejuv on at a given time, it wouldn’t change the average number of ticks per second you get, since you are GCD bound in the number of Rejuv’s you can cast anyway.

    Thus, if you have enough haste to have 1 second ticks, you can have 5 rejuvs out at any given time. For an average of 5 ticks per second.

    If you don’t glyph rejuv, and thus have 15 rejuvs out at once, each ticks every 3 seconds.

    15 rejuvs / 3 second ticks = 5 ticks / second.

  8. Astrouid
    Posted October 13, 2009 at 5:22 am | Permalink

    Yeah, true, but the issue is the HOT front loading time.

    Using your example, without the glyph you need to use 15 global cooldowns to get the max benefit from the t10 4pc bonus.

    Using the glyph, you can max the potential of the 4pc bonus in only 5 CDs.

    For “blanket the raid w/ rejuv” moments like XT temper tantrum, you would need to start blanketing the raid much earlier without the glyph to max out the benefit of 4pc t10.

  9. Astrouid
    Posted October 13, 2009 at 5:29 am | Permalink

    Also, at the end of the day, isn’t this really about HPS? Haste glyph is useful for healing per second (HPS) moments when you need to heal large amounts over a short period of time, but resto druids have never been the best class for that and this glyph isn’t going to solve that.

    Also, everyone assumes that we’ll be raid healing when talking about this haste glyph. For druid tank healers, we use a nourish build and we want our rejuv to be as long as possible because its primary purpose is to use with Swiftmend and to boost the healing done by Nourish. The healing rejuv does on the tank is simply a nice bonus that we don’t really care about because it is so relatively small compared to current tank health pools.

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