Cata mechanic changes: Further Resto analysis

Okay, so between Friday and today, I’ve had at least a little time to look more in depth at the resto druid changes, and I’ll go back over things in a little more detail. Since a lot of the community is upset right now, this will not be all happy, but I’m going to try and be slightly more objective in reasoning through the issues, so I’ll try to be a little less reactive.

Tree form: First, the hottest topic in the resto community is about tree form, and how we don’t know what the future of the shapeshift form will be. There seems to be two confounding problems people are talking about:

  • People are worried about possibly losing the stat bonuses that we gain by shifting into tree form. However, it’s possible that Blizzard can make all (or most) of those bonuses as a passive bonuses or auras instead of being tied to the form. Currently, we gain: a personal armor bonus, increased healing, reduced mana cost, and a group aura for increased healing by 6%. They plan on overall increasing everyone’s survivability with additional health across the board, so people will die more slowly. Improved barkskin already gives 160% additional armor in caster form – so I would expect that we’d be able to keep some type of armor boosting talent. The group aura can just be a constant bonus aura that isn’t ever interrupted the way it is now. The personal healing bonus basically becomes the mastery bonus. So, I don’t think this will end up being a real issue, as we’ll either gain them some other way, or we’ll be balanced around not having some of those bonuses when they tweak the nobs on our talent tree.
  • People are worried about losing the tree form graphic from a purely cosmetic standpoint. Once there are no bonuses from being in tree form all the time, besides the graphic, it becomes a cosmetic issue. Some people like being in their forms all the time. This is something I don’t really care that strongly about one way or the other. I’m just as happy to be in tree form some of the time compared to all of the time. We aren’t losing tree form, so much as tree form being a “sometimes food.” In addition, GC has already said that he may be willing to make a minor glyph that allows you to keep the graphic up all the time if you want, to make it an option. Other people have talked about maybe using the Worgen toggle-ability functionality to be able to toggle on & off tree form.
  • Non-druids said that then they would worry about not knowing when tree form was being used as a constant graphic versus when we use the cool-down version (ie. if tree was up all the time, what would be the graphical difference between the two identical forms). However, all you have to do is change the color scheme, and people could use that as a graphical indicator (your leaves were yellow, but now they are green). I don’t think that other players need something as obvious as a full shape-shift to figure out something that they would generally have to see from MUCH more subtle graphics on other classes. It is almost also unfair for resto druids in PvP to have to come with such a dramatic change every time they use a cooldown, depending on what that cooldown happens to be.
  • I think a major problem for druids is that people have no idea what that “sometimes shift” will be. If they had unveiled a really fun, interesting, & powerful mechanic in the preview, I think that fewer people would be upset.  Also, if we knew more about what forms would look like for troll & worgens (or that the tree for troll/worgen was going to be the same as tree for NE/Tauren), then I think that we’d be more willing to want to heal in worgen/troll form. However, a sure thing was replaced by a giant question mark, and people get upset more about not knowing what the future of resto druids will be.

Redefining our existing spells:

  • I think that some people are majorly over-reacting to not getting a new healing spell. I mean, moonkin haven’t had a new damage spell with less than a 1 minute cooldown since Vanilla, while resto got 3 new spells with less than a minute cooldown (lifebloom, nourish, & wild growth) in that same span of time that have all been important or iconic at some point. So, instead of being jealous for no reason, I’m going to focus on the improvements they seem to be wanting to make.
  • First, he talked about four of our spells: Rejuv, regrowth, lifebloom, & Nourish: “our challenge instead is to make sure all of them have a well-defined niche. A druid should be able to tank-heal with stacks of Lifebloom, spot-heal a group with Nourish and Regrowth, and top off lightly wounded targets with Rejuvenation.” I would like there to be less of a focus on raid healing with rejuv/WG all the time, and for our other spells to increase in usefulness. They’ve had such a hard time balancing our heals versus our other heals that we tend to end up one-button spamming too much of the time (it was lifebloom pre-LB-nerf, and rejuv post-LB-nerf). I would much rather have spell diversity by improving the ones we have than by adding another new tool to replace one we currently use.
  • I also like the idea of each spell having a more clearly defined role – though I’m not sure that Nourish will make a very good group spot-heal, as the HOT buff mechanic always made it a much better tank heal. I would rather see Regrowth/WG/Rejuv/tranquility be our raid healing tools, and then LB/Nourish/Healing Touch/rejuv become tank-focused heals. I think that would make our “kits” feel more complete.
  • In addition, they did announce a change for Tranquility, which may feel like getting a new spell, only with an old name, as they are “making it more like divine hymn“. Divine hymn is the priest group heal, which can lead us to believe that Tranquility will heal X number of party OR raid members, within X number of yards. Divine hymn is like a channeled HOT, the way that tranquility is, where the major difference is being able to target people outside of your 5-man group. The change to tranquility should make it a cooldown that we actually want to use in our normal raiding rotations.
  • He talked about making Healing Touch more of a viable heal. I think the Glyph for healing touch probably would need to be removed, to keep HT as our big heal all the time, and possibly then, Nourish should be available at a lower level. Having nourish & Glyphed HT serving the exact same purpose in WotLK has been pretty darn pointless, and has made Healing Touch serve a really awkward purpose the whole expansion.
  • So, focusing on our under-used tools basically gives us new abilities with old names. I think we can handle that, rather than having one sparkly new toy and a bunch of old broken toys we threw in the closet…
  • In addition, things like HOT scaling with haste & crit will be HUGE for resto druids, especially with changing the way that haste interacts with HOTs (ie. by not decreasing the length of time they have the HOT on them).

Mastery Bonuses

  • The first two are standard healing bonuses (ie. +healing done, and mana regen from spirit).
  • The last mastery bonus increases our HOT healing on targets who are lower on health.  This seems like an interesting mechanic, but as Galashin pointed out in my previous thread, it runs the risk of being pointless.  It is only good if people spend a large amount of time at low health. We had a glyph of rejuvenation that I bashed on pretty much all expansion that did the same thing – it made rejuv heal for more on low-health targets. However, the glyph seemed lame in WOTLK because everyone’s goal was to never let people sit at low health, so there was very little benefit that people got out of the glyph most of the time. If people in Cata are going to sit at lower health and not receive immediate direct heals, then our Hot Scale Healing mastery bonus can help. If people are being constantly topped off by direct heals when they get low, then our mastery bonus could be lame. At this point, we don’t know what Cata healing will look like, so it’s hard to tell how it will really work out, and needs serious testing (and the developers need to be willing to change it if testing finds out that it doesn’t give us enough of a bonus).

Need more info:

  • We really have no idea what resto druid healing will look like in Cataclysm, and the teaser taster previews were not meant to be a complete picture. We just have a couple of the puzzle pieces now, and so we’re scratching our heads trying to see what the bigger picture is going to look like. I understand that this process frustrates people, but it’s better to get some of the pieces now than to be hit with everything all at once. When beta starts and we see all the new talents, and we can see all the changes to all the spells, then we’ll have a much better idea of what tree will look like in Cata. It’s not time to give up hope yet, since we don’t have enough pieces to make any real decisions about things.
  • Resto druids have always come out of Beta Testing Phases on good footing, even if things at the beginning start out rocky. We also have tons of spells & tools, some of which we don’t even ever use right now (ie. HT & tranquility were voted least likely to be used by my survey a while back). I’d rather see the effort be put into balancing our existing spells, rather than trying to add a new tool, as that will really make us come out stronger in the end.

25 Comments

  1. Posted April 13, 2010 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    I had not seen the “Tranquility like Divine Hymn” tidbit. Thank you for scouring the remarks and bringing this to our attention. That would make Tranquility a much more powerful cooldown in a raiding situation. Right now, I try to stack the groups to try to maximize Tranq, but that’s an imprecise calculation.

  2. Posted April 13, 2010 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    Nourish is decent as a spot-heal on non-tanks when they already have a rejuv ticking; I prefer it over regrowth simply due to cast time (and mana cost). I see regrowth as more a tank heal than a spot-heal due to its longer cast, HoT component, and subsequently larger mana cost :)

    Efflorescence may change my opinion of that, however, depending on how it works out.

    (T is for Treeform, that’s good enough for me!)

  3. Lissanna
    Posted April 13, 2010 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    My problem is that I primarily thought of Nourish as a tank heal, and if they discourage HOT-spamming on raid members, that it may lose some of it’s potency as a raid heal (why push a button to heal one person in the raid, when someone else can spend about the same amount of time to top off 3 to 5 people?). HOTs are easier to see how they make good raid heals than a single target flash heal. I’d rather have our single target flash heal be focused for tank healing (which you always could use on the raid).

  4. Posted April 13, 2010 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    May just be a difference in raid size? With 8 non-tanks and only two of them are healing, in circumstances where AoE doesn’t catch everybody (they’ll likely always make bosses with mechanics like that for variety’s sake), I use nourish quite a bit as a snap-heal on players who missed the AoEs. Then, too, are bosses like putricide where DPS or healers become “tanks” for the slimes, and at that point, it’s a matter of definition on what a tank is for “tank heals.”

  5. Lissanna
    Posted April 13, 2010 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    Yeah, I would suspect 25-man in raids to not be totally covered in HOTs, especially with the healing mechanic in Cata where they want us to pay attention to our mana bar. I just don’t like the idea of single-target heals being focused on as raid healing tools in Cata’s design. I would rather see our tank healing ability being more closely examined with how our direct heals will work, since other people fill the role of direct-heal raid healing better than we do. Regrowth makes a better direct heal possible tool for raid healing, since it comes with HOTs that will tick even if someone else beat you to the direct heal portion.

  6. Chezza
    Posted April 13, 2010 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    I still really want to keep tree form…
    As for it being “a sometimes shift”, that just makes Blizzard look really bad. I’m someone who grew up watching Sesame Street, and I’m appalled to know that the Cookie Monster doesn’t devour cookies anymore.

  7. Vyll
    Posted April 13, 2010 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    Instead of going off the deep end about losing treeform, I think that suggesting alternatives might be a good idea.

    I’d like to see a mechanic where during a fight, we “take root” and it gives us a buff to our healing while making us completely immobile for a set period of time.

    This would be a nice compromise to the current suggestions. It would give us a temporary buff to our healing without making us shift out of tree form and the immobility would make it so that it couldn’t be used in every situation.

  8. Lissanna
    Posted April 13, 2010 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    The “take root” thing was what they originally tried with tree form (only it came as a 50% speed debuff), and was really super annoying rather than being a fun mechanic. It would suck to root yourself in AOE’s all the time. :(

    I do agree that we should be talking about possible mechanics to replace what we have now (ie. what the community would want to cooldown to look like – if we can find ways to keep the graphic aspect as something optional that isn’t a talent).

  9. Maor
    Posted April 13, 2010 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    I’m on the “I’m glad tree form is going” side of things, but I do think that there should be a cosmetic option (like the glyph) for people who do really want to be trees. I don’t mind tree form being around as long as it’s not a mandatory or you need to switch to it in X situation. The X situation is what the cool down will cover.

    As for me, the most interesting part that they mentioned on the cool down was having it change how your spells work (people seem to close over this possibility). The problem is that I have no idea what they could mean, and I don’t think anyone else does. I would like the cool down to both increase healing and do some other effect which could be a change in how our heals work.

  10. Neyuna
    Posted April 13, 2010 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    Great analysis as always!

    Thank you for pointing out that moonkin haven’t gotten any new spells in a very long time. I for one was ready to throw a fit if I saw yet another new resto spell in our preview. ^_~

    It would be nice if they could balance out our spells so that we use more of them. Tree form and the 1 or 2 button spam is what has kept me away from the resto spec lately. I the various resto spells already but it seems they have a low niche right now.

    Since the preview is out, here’s hoping that the beta is not far off!

  11. Sylvandren
    Posted April 13, 2010 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    I would like to see Healing Touch become a more useful spell. Currently, I use Healing Touch with Nature’s Swiftness as my “oh snap” heal, as many do. It would be nice to have Healing Touch see more use on its own and Naturalist not appear a waste of talents.

    I am pleased to see that Tranquility will change. I can’t remember the last time I used it as a healer. I have used it quite a few times in heroics as dps to save the group but probably never as a healer. Used after Wild Growth, it would make a great raid saving spell when things are going south.

  12. Neyuna
    Posted April 13, 2010 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

    I thought of a cool thing for the new “ToL cooldown”. What if it gave us a nice tank-saving ability like Guardian Spirit or Pain Suppression? (which is also useful in pvp)

    Something like a super-powered Barkskin that can be put on a player that decreases damage taken and healing received. I’m not very good at coming up with these things so obviously it would need to be a little more exciting than that. :P

    Just something to think about, though.

  13. Locopooh
    Posted April 13, 2010 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

    As a new tree druid, I’m not excited after hearing the preview for cataclysm. Restoration druid seemed to be getting just a patch instead of an expansion. Same spells, with a little flower effect. They finally fix tranq. as they should. The LB nerf got more attention than these minor modification to our existing spells.

    This whole to tree or not to tree almost feels like a distraction rather than a new fun healing mechanic to play. Why mess with something that’s not broken? Improved healing form is like another trinket button to push.

    This time I really really hope Blizzard’s Druid class development team ran out of time before the deadline and have not finished with their work yet. Cause that’s exactly how it felt like when I saw our class preview.

    I felt exactly the way you describe it, scratching my head mumbling to myself, ‘Is that it?”

  14. Lissanna
    Posted April 13, 2010 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

    They haven’t announced what will happen to the talent trees, and that is really where all the interesting stuff ever happens, lol.

  15. Maor
    Posted April 14, 2010 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    I think the previews, while nice, worked a bit too well. They gave an idea of where things are going, but left large holes in the picture that every class wants filled, though some are larger than others.

  16. Chipster
    Posted April 14, 2010 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    I think the third mastery bonus will work better in Cataclysm than it would in the current environment. From a post from Ghostcrawler in the Healing forum:

    ” In one of our playtests recently, the healer came back frazzled. “I couldn’t keep everyone topped off,” she said. “It took me half the dungeon to realize that I didn’t have to.” Once that clicked, she said she started having fun. Hopefully it will click with other players quickly too.”

    http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.html?topicId=24038740321&pageNo=2&sid=1#37

    So if everyone is spending less time at full health, that will mean your HOTs will actually be improved more often than not.

    Right now, if someone isn’t topped off, it’s a bad thing because they will probably die if they get hit a second time. The larger health pools will also help mitigate this problem. So the mastery bonus would be terrible now, but I think it could actually be pretty powerful in the context of the overhaul of everything we currently know.

  17. Gothia
    Posted April 14, 2010 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    Gothia – Your post was removed by Lissanna because Restokin does not allow petitions & protests to clog up actual discussion. Gathering in Dalaran on a weekly basis between now and Cataclysm does nothing but cause disruptions of other people’s gameplay, without the effect that you want. I’m sorry you are sad. We can find better ways to get your point across to Blizzard.

    -Lissanna

  18. Lissanna
    Posted April 14, 2010 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    Chipster – I think your point is important. We really don’t know what healing in Cata will look like. It’s something we need to keep an eye on though, so I wanted to highlight it. In WotLK mechanics, it looks bad – but it may turn out to be much more powerful in a world where people sit at low health a lot (ie. Anub in ToC 25-man, only without the punishment for healing more).

  19. Lotha
    Posted April 14, 2010 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    I have to take issue with TOL form being on a cool down for the same reason I avoid trinkets with an on use effect as a healer. When is a good time to use it and is it really important to use on a particular fight. It will end up like most of the abilities on cool down as healer seldom used because you’re afaird when you really might need it.

  20. Lissanna
    Posted April 14, 2010 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    Lotha – It depends on what the new tree mechanic does. My bet is that the timing of when it is used in PvP may matter more than the PvE timing. I would want the tree-cooldown to be something we wanted to pop every time it came off cooldown.

  21. scaresome
    Posted April 14, 2010 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    I love the information and speculation!

    We know some things about the mechanics (as said already) — bigger health pools, big emphasis on haste and crits, not everyone will be topped off.

    I read the Paladin preview and they’ll have a healing aoe spell; my guess would be our tree form will evoke an aura of the same. Healers won’t want to stand too close to each other: spacing will be crucial.

    In all (and all my guessing), I think the mechanics will be streamlined and oh so much more fun. Theorycrafting will be less needed to get in and play the game.

    I saw a hunter with decent gear from the Frozen Halls who was stacking a lot of haste, he just didn’t know better. My hope is that the average player won’t have to know that “MM stacks agility until a certain point and then re-stacks all to ArmPen.”

    I can imagine some much wider fights. With bigger health pools, I’d guess no one is going get downed by a one-shot. Or downed because they pulled aggro on a boss in cloth. But, we have to run about to get into range to heal people; that’d be totally fun. Some of the new spells others get include a speed increase.

    Look at me, I’m so excited I’m blathering! So, sorry … great post and comments!

  22. Shingetsu
    Posted April 15, 2010 at 3:44 am | Permalink

    I can see where the designers are comming from, its like we love druid forms but druids have to loose too much when going into there forms.

    Now i agree and disagree with that, see if a warrior could use all there moves within one stance why would they need those stances. The same can be said about druids, we all ready have tons of moves that are only one forms specific and thats fine how it is.
    Okay rant over ^^, now for some ideas.

    -==Tree Form==-

    I personally believe we should keep this form the way it is, tweak it for what ever is needed to keep inline with the armor pools for cata and leave it how it is. Instead why not give the niche moves that are reason for the devs trying to change our form some love and tweaking.

    ==Current Spells==
    -Cyclone-
    Why not allow this move to have a double barreled/double graphic effect. Say when in caster/moonkin form it is still cyclone but yet when in tree form it does exactly the same but instead is like roots. Meaning it sprouts from the ground but instead ingulfs the target in unbrakable magic infused bark. Shoudl be completely shared with cyclone but just when in different form the graphic and wording is changed.

    -Roots-
    Now this is still a mystery why i cant cast that in tree form, i mean there roots, what do i have on my feet ?? ^_^
    If its down to allowing to much for druids to root while in resto form then make this move a penaulty, like once cast it then travels along to the target( Think incinerate type of pathing ). While this is happening the druid is rooted until the roots make it to the target or braking tree form will remove the current roots travel effect. This means u have an option of staying tree form and casting once, or brakling tree form cast spell and back into tree form( wasting at most 3sec ). Maybe to boost this effect the roots from tree form comes with a silencing effect( perhaps 2 sec of silence or less, and daminishes quickly ).

    -Dmg speels-
    Now i dont think we should be aload to cast dmging moves while in tree form much do i agree we shouldn’t be able to heal in moonkin form. This should be a sacrifice for us, our forms and its bonus’s.

    ==New spells==
    Tbh i agree with Lissanna we already have alot of spells and with the changing of the two under used spells in our arsenal i think we have enough now my only request would be to solve the one annoying spell we have.

    -Lifebloom-
    We should have an ability to proc its bloom at our choosing( with a penaulty ). Now i like the new concept we should be tank healing with LB and using nourish to spot heal. Now i love LB is a good mechanic and has been well balanced but i would LOVE to be able to proc the bloom at my choosing instead of letting it bloom( or bloom by accident ) at times that just go to overheal.

    =Flouring Bloom=
    My suggested mechanic is: when used cause the tagets Lifeblooms to bloom early causing the target to heal for 45% of the final blooms tick and 55% of the rest of the lifeblooms periodic heal.

    Now the numbers are just made up and intern is something that would be better left to devs and beta testing. My point with the harsh penaulties is that although an attractive ability it would mean that you dont see some druid running through bgs/arena popping rejuve and 3 stacks of lb and then see them become impossible to take down cause of it. Woudl also insure that druids dont become the biggest healer in the game.
    Personally all i am asking for is to make the constant rolling of LB and option and not mandatory. I believe cata is all about options and this should become one for us. This would also address the mana issue they want to address as i believe the mana gained from LB procing back mana is something they will want us to do instead of just lossing that mana to rolling of LB( again this should be an option fo the druid playing ).

    Ideas for glyphs could be to reduce the cd while reducing the final heal of this move or increase the heal from it at the cost of increasing the cd. I believe glyphing this should be something of a panaulty at the same time, the reason behind this would be that we already have swiftmend and allowing a similar move but for a different cause may give druids to much instant cast healing.

    For me on the final outcome with the current changes we have i dont see problems with druid restoration in cata, i would just like something shinny or atleast a little more ideas being thrown around rather then the idea of loosing tree of life form to making it into a cd move instead.

    Extra Note:
    -=Paladin vs Druid=-

    For me after reading the new palading spells( and yes i know they stressed paladins are up for more changes then other class’s )fill like the aoe from caster and there new pet( spec specific bonus )makes them a really tasty healer. Now I agree with Scaresome about that perhaps our tree of life meta-form might come with this radiating heal ability. But unless u are in the thick of things( where healers shouldn’t be )i dont see this being to helpful. From the way most of the encounters have been designed it seems that movement and player position is soemthing they have focused on, grouping up at specific times while being spread at others. I am not sure how helpful this ability paladins are getting is going to be but more to it paladins have bubbles to allow to run in activate there aoe heal and if things get scary( like 360 cleaves or something then they can pop bubble and still stand there ). I doubt we will see druids with bubbles so making the meta-form do this could be annoying if not wasteful.
    Theres no point to this rant i am just throwing in my view ^^

  23. Moonspeaker
    Posted April 15, 2010 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

    Currently there are a couple of other benefits to healing in tree form vs healing in caster form:
    1. Immune to polymorphs
    2. Can quickly shift to caster form and back to clear snares, while continuing to heal

    I’m not sure how these benefits will be affected by the change (although they did say the new cooldown tree form will be immune to Banish). Thoughts?

  24. Shingetsu
    Posted April 16, 2010 at 2:16 am | Permalink

    Humm yeah the poly is one of the strongest brakes i know of, and then quick-shifting to brake snares is a god send, have to say both are like core for arenas and pvp.

    Perhaps this is there reasoning for changing it, but wait that wont make sense cause then every other form would have to take it.

    Yet another nail in the coffin of why loosing Tree for to a meta-form is a misplaced idea.

  25. Lissanna
    Posted April 16, 2010 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    As of now, you should still be able to break polymorph by going into bear & cat form. They would have taken away polymorph immunity from tree form because you are being given a dispel magic ability that would have been OP if you were also immune to most forms of CC. Even if we had kept the old tree form version, polymorph immunity went away when we were given magic dispel.