So, Ghostcrawler replied to my post about druid raid healing in Cataclysm. While I responded some directly in the thread, I wanted to take some time to post directly here for everyone who hasn’t read all 20+ pages of the thread…
Resto discussion about AOE/raid healing in the forum threads by GC (click here):
As far as the AE healing goes, it’s definitely something to keep an eye on, but we’re not worried about it yet. We are trying to cut back (yet again) on the dominance of the smart AE heals. The cooldowns of CoH and WG need to stay high. We do have some room to lower the mana cost on WG, and probably will.
I personally think Wild Growth would work better at around a 35% to 40% mana cost, depending on what level 85 mana pools look like (ie. it would still take a big chunk of mana, but we would still be able to use it when we need it).
The fact that they want us to use less Wild Growth, however, is exactly why I wanted another AOE (non-smart) heal added to druids’ spell bar. The neat thing about Healing Mushrooms would be that we’d have to target it at a spot on the ground, rather than targeting people. That would give druids the type of AOE healing tool they are giving to other classes (things that makes us have to watch something other than health bars), but it would have it’s own unique feel by using the same Detonate mechanic as the moonkin version.
It could also be possible to redesign tranquility to something we could use once every 1 to 3 minutes, rather than being limited to once every 8 minutes (ie. in a 15 minute heroic 5-man, we get to use tranquility like twice at such a high cooldown, making it something that we’ll even forget to use because the cooldown is so long).
We don’t like prehotting (or pre-shielding) as a general strategy. On certain fights where you know that the damage is going to come fast and furious then maybe it’s appropriate, but we don’t want the current LK style to continue. I’ve healed a lot as both Resto and Disc, so I know the power of prehealing, though it’s not as if you need first-hand experience to understand how useful and powerful it is.
On the other hand, if a lot of people take damage at once, we have no problem with getting a Rejuv out on several of them at once, and a lower GCD will help there. It’s still possible to screw that up (by which I mean we want healing to have some player decision-making as part of the gameplay) by using too much mana on Rejuvs or casting too many Rejuvs when the situation called for something else.
The problem is that our alternative to rejuv is regrowth, and regrowth costs more mana than a rejuv. So, if we are raid/AOE healing, and rejuv is actually the lowest mana cost of our tools that we can actually use, then putting rejuv on someone is always going to be the lowest mana cost choice. So, I still haven’t figured out what that “something else” we’re supposed to do would actually be.
At the point where rejuv is costing too much mana, we’re probably not going to be assigned to raid healing because we just don’t have the right tools for the AOE healing job if we’re not supposed to pre-HOT the raid anymore. We need a reactive AOE healing spell that heals more than one person at a time. The instant heal through talents on rejuv is so pathetic that it won’t really make more than a drop in the large health pools that people have. Regrowth with Effloresence is not going to flesh out our toolset enough, due to Regrowth costing a ton of mana (ie. we can’t spam it 4 or 5 times just to get efflorsenece to proc). We can’t force a regrowth crit because we don’t have a cooldown that increases our crit chance.
I still can’t figure out how druids are supposed to fill an AOE/raid healing role in 25-mans or 10-mans, since Blizzard is trying to discourage the only AOE/raid healing strategy we have. In a raid healing role, druids have no alternative to stacking rejuv & regrowth on multiple people. Just being able to rejuv-spam faster still leaves us with rejuv-spam. I don’t see how they can make rejuv, regrowth, & Wild Growth healing on the raid any better than what it feels like on Live right now.
We won’t really be able to use Nourish or Healing Touch very much as an AOE/raid heal, because it only heals one person at a time (and it will almost always make a heck of a lot more sense for chain heal or some other AOE heal to be used instead of single-target heals). Nourish & HT & lifebloom are part of our tank healing toolset that will never really be that great for raid healing (so they’re always going to make up a tiny % of our healing done when we’re assigned to raid healing).
The only real solution is to introduce a new AOE healing tool to our healing strategy, because giving us more AOE healing tools is really the only way to get us to use a wider selection of tools for AOE healing (which is exactly why shaman & paladin are getting new AOE healing tools in Cata).
On not having enough buttons to push:
Usually the feedback we get from druids is “I have these heals that I never use,” not “I don’t have enough heals.”
This is actually driven by the fact that druids have a lot of tank healing tools, but don’t have enough Raid/AOE healing tools. So, when tank healing, we have been using a lot of spells in WotLK, but since Paladins are more dominant in tank healing, druids tend to just be support tank healers, where we put HOTs on the tank and then spam rejuv & wild growth around the rest of the raid. So, if we’re tank healing in Cata, we will be using a lot of spells. However, for raid healing, we only have a few buttons to push in Cata (regrowth, rejuv, wild growth, swiftmend, & tranquility). While 5 spells seems like a lot, I still predict seeing regrowth & rejuv make up at least 80% of our healing done, with wild growth’s % of healing done dropping and being replaced by regrowth’s healing.
People don’t generally sit around coming up with what new spells we would need – because in WotLK, the pre-HOT strategy is great, and we’re viable in WotLK for raid healing. In addition, some healers are perfectly happy spamming one button all day long, so people never ask for more tools because they’re happy being one-button spammers. Druids tend to not use their tank heals while raid healing, and since we don’t have a big enough AOE/raid healing toolset, we tend to not push many buttons while we’re AOE/raid healing (and before WotLK, we would have NEVER been assigned to AOE/raid healing in the first place).
“Again, if the good healers were rewarded for their diversity, then everything would be peachy. The problem is that healing badly works really, really well. You may have a slight advantage over the “bad healers” with your strategy, but only a slight one. The ability to run yourself out of mana by casting inefficient spells when they aren’t called for will help the situation all by itself. Someone who casually Rejuvs the entire raid when people aren’t taking damage will just be OOM.”
The problem is that resto druids don’t have a reward for using a diverse spell toolset if we are AOE/raid healing. We’ll either have people dieing because we can’t heal more than one person at a time, OR we’ll have to do enough pre-HOTs and we’ll run OOM. I don’t see an AOE/raid healing role for druids that allows for smart choices to be made – because druid HOTs only work well if we start healing people at a higher % of health than people with direct heals would start healing them. Since druids don’t have a direct multi-target heal, we have to HOT people early & often in order to fill their massive health pools back up.
It’s because we don’t see a niche for it, while meanwhile buttons like Healing Touch get removed from bars or used only with NS.
Healing Touch is getting added back to our tank healing toolset in Cataclysm. However, using single-target direct heals as part of our AOE/raid healing toolset sounds generally rediculous. Due to raids needing healing assignments to reduce the amount of overhealing, the niche that is needed to fill is an AOE heal that we can choose instead of single-target HOTs or wild growth. We need one more multi-target heal that we can choose to use if we don’t want to run OOM trying to keep people topped off at 100%. If multiple people drop below 25%, druids have no way to get both people out of the danger zone in one GCD, and they are going to either die or need to be healed by someone else. So, to be able to be a reactive healer, druids need a reactive multi-target heal that we do not yet have, which would allow us to sometimes avoid pre-HOTs. Without a NEW direct AOE spell, there will be zero difference between a good & a bad druid AOE/raid healer, because we’ll just be assigned to tank healing when pre-HOT raid healing isn’t a good healing strategy.