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).
- 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.