Monthly Archives: September 2010

Updates at restokin: preparation, guides, & podcasts

So, there are a couple things that I have going on that I wanted to post updates about:

  1. Preparing for the 4.0.1 patch  (for both moonkin & resto druids)! This weekend, I hope to post about things like glyphs & gems that you should be acquiring before patch day hits. Not all of the glyphs will be available on patch day, but you will be able to set up with a temporary glyph set to get you started.
  2. Both my healing and leveling guides will need a facelift the day that 4.0.1 hits the shelves. I will have something in place on release day, but neither will be a full guide, and the guides will stop at level 80 content. So, I will have a guide tailored to level 80 healing with the new talents (mostly with an explanation of what changed and how to deal with the new changes at 80 before mana becomes a problem). I will also have something resembling a 1 to 80 leveling guide ready to go at that point which will receive frequent updates as I have time and we get closer to Cata’s release.
  3. Prior to cata’s release, I will get leveling guide updated for all 3 specs from 80 to 85 ready to go (along with probably getting the resto/bear instance healing/tanking leveling stuff ready to go, which won’t make it in for my 4.0 leveling guide).  I will release a complete version for 85 resto healing after Cataclysm hits the shelves and we see how people are actually healing, and what the raid mechanics actually look like.
  4. I believe that WoW is going to be migrating to new a new forum format, where we will have to start from scratch by re-posting all of our guides and such. Blizzard has done a WoW forum migration once before in previous patches, and has put Starcraft on the new forum format already. They haven’t announced anything about this lately, but I’m still anticipating the move. My leveling guide will likely move to the new forums first, and then the healing guide will follow after I get the leveling guide set up. All guides will also be cross-posted on the blog, and the blog will contain more updates as we work our way through the transition.
  5. Oh, and this month is also Blizzcon, which I’ll be watching from home (since I didn’t get tickets). I’ll report on any big druid announcements over that weekend.

Now that you know my plan for the next ~3 months… I have a fun announcement! I’m planning on joining a bunch of my fellow druids in recording a Druid Roundtable podcast with the Raid Warning Podcast this NEXT weekend. (Date postponed another week...) There will be resto, feral, and moonkin druids. The lineup of people they sent the contact e-mails out to was a rather large list of big druid names from the community. We’ll be recording segments over this weekend, and they plan to release the podcast to everyone on Tuesday, the 5th in mid-October. I’ll let you guys know when it is posted, and will give you links and more info at that point. It won’t be recorded live due to how complicated it will be for the Raid Warning crew to coordinate so many different schedules.

Prior to the podcast, we’re supposed to ask for questions that people want answered. So, if you have a burning question you want discussed by the druid roundtable, you are welcome to put it in a comment to this post. You can also follow @RaidWarning on Twitter, and send your questions directly to them. In addition, if you are on twitter and are not following me (@restokin), you are also missing out on all my fun beta testing rants!

That’s all I have for now. Oh, and ontop of all of this, I’m supposed to be sending my advisor a draft of my dissertation proposal by the end of the weekend. Oh joy!

Posted in Cataclysm, Druid - General, Feral DPS Cat, Leveling, Moonkin Balance DPS, Restoration Healing Trees

Beta testing numbers for resto 13066 build

So, now that I’ve had a little bit of time to play with some Beta testing numbers, I have removed the old number testing from my healing page, and have updated it with more recent numbers. I deleted the old testing values because my spell power & talent makeup is different for this round of testing. I tested out numbers for all the druid spells with no HOTs on myself, and then did another round of testing with a HOT on myself before casting the spell.

I also updated it to have the most current mana cost numbers. You can find a link to the updated resto spell info here.

Also, since the radius of Efflorescence has doubled, here is a picture of what the graphic now looks like at the larger radius (click on thumbnails for full sized picture):

For reference with how this compares to the previous graphic size for efflorescence, please see the outdated pictures in several of my old posts (that looked much more like healing lava). Note that I actually had to expand out my camera distance to fit the new efflorescence graphic in my screen better last night, so in the most recent picture, my character size is actually smaller. :)

Conclusions from my testing: efflorescence is a really nice AOE heal now, and our mastery is going to be a lot of fun. For more info on Efflorescence mechanics, please see the post by R4HealingTouch.

Please let me know if there are any burning questions you need answered! I’ll post more about moonkin stuff later this week.

Posted in Cataclysm, Restoration Healing Trees, Uncategorized

Cata: Resto druid changes in Beta_PTR 13066

I have been holding off on posting about the latest resto changes in the PTR build because I’ve been waiting for Beta changes to see how things are shaping up.

Here’s what resto druids got from the PTR build 13033:

  • Rejuvenation now costs 20% of base mana, down from 25%.
  • Mastery: Symbiosis (Revamped) – Increases the potency of your healing spells by 10% on targets already affected by one of your heal over time spells. Each point of Mastery increases heal potency by an additional 1.25%.
  • (I’m excluding the rebirth note because it feels more like a bug than a real change)

Here’s what we got from the Beta build’s resto patch notes from 13066 (some minor changes omitted):

  • Lifebloom can now be cast on an unlimited amount of targets while under the effect of Tree of Life.
  • Tree of Life now lasts 30 sec, down from 45 sec. Costs 6% of base mana, down from 13% of base mana. (other people are reporting that the tooltip now says 3 min cooldown)
  • Efflorescence no longer procs from Regrowth critical heals, now procs when you heal with your Swiftmend spell. Now heals all nearby friendly targets within 8 yards (up from 4 yards) for XX%  of the amount healed by your Swiftmend over 7 sec. (not sure what the real heal amount is yet – should be either 30% or 120% of the healing done by swiftmend. I think 30 sounds more reasonable, lol).

So, what we have is a new mastery, tree form fixes, and a major efflorescence change. These are all really major things that are all basically buffs.

Tree form actually lasted too long, so I don’t mind the duration reduction. If we can use it more often, then that’s even better. It makes the talent easier to balance, since it mostly encouraged us to drain our mana bar by spamming regrowth before. Also, being able to sprinkle lifeblooms on more than one target should more than make up for it. Also, more lifeblooms on people should work well with the mastery bonus, too, since lifebloom is our lowest mana cost HOT. A shorter duration tree form on a shorter cooldown makes tree form more useable in instances, because it encourages us not to save it so much, and prevents us from wanting to spam ourselves OOM with regrowth with having a 45 sec duration which was almost as long as some 5-man boss fights. A 30 sec duration will feel better with a shorter cooldown in making the healing style feel more cohesive. The mana cost reduction also helps with the OOM issue I was having with tree form.

Efflorescence being something that procs off swiftmend will be awesome, so long as it’s a 100% proc. It makes swiftmend way more useful, and prevents our mana expensive regrowth from always being the “right” answer to every question. Swiftmend will now be our AOE heal (and we get an improved range to go along with it). If the heal doesn’t hit hard enough, we can always get the numbers tweaked (and we won’t know what the numbers are until the patch is in beta). I’m really happy about this change because I didn’t like the random and unreliable proc off regrowth that somewhat caused regrowth to be too powerful when it crit, and too underpowered when it didn’t crit. We would benefit a lot more from efflorescence if it counted as a HOT to buff our mastery (I haven’t been able to play with it yet, so we’ll see), or if we could get regrowth’s HOT duration extended back to last longer. This is a good change because it allows our abilities to be a fun and balanced healing style. It fixes the problem of swiftmend feeling useless, and regrowth feeling like it was trying to be too much.

Symbiosis mastery is actually potentially really awesome. However, I haven’t been able to try it out yet. It is definitely an improvement over the old mastery, so I’m happy with this improvement. Since it hasn’t been on Beta yet, I haven’t been able to play with it. However, if you missed the blue post about what the new mastery can do, you can find what information I have now on symbiosis here.

So, resto druids really are starting to shape up in these last few weeks of Beta, PTR testing. The benefit of starting out underpowered is that we get buffs in the last couple weeks of testing that give us something to look forward to. I’ll try to get some testing results when the build is up on the PTR.

Posted in Cataclysm, Restoration Healing Trees

The history of resto druids

So, sometimes it is helpful to take a step back and regain a sense of perspective. Someone posted up a link to very old talent trees from way back when I was a baby druid just learning how to play the game, and inspired me to post a little bit about what resto druids used to be. So, we interrupt your regularly scheduled Cataclysm posting to go back into the history of what druids used to be long before a lot of my readers even played this game (and is a nostalgia trip for those of you who are old-school druids like me).

So, lets take a look at the original release talent trees for resto druids. I’m assigning points in talents mostly so you can easily see in the pictures what the talent point costs of the spells were, along with approximate “cookie cutter” PvE healing-oriented talent builds. I can’t remember the exact talent builds, so I’m just going to mostly estimate as I go along.

An early (1.1) healing resto build may have looked something like this:

Highlights: Innervate was our 31 point talent. Omen of clarity was a balance talent, where you had to hit something with your staff to proc the free mana (it wouldn’t even proc in bear/cat form because it was a weapon proc buff, and weapon procs didn’t work in feral forms). You could also pick up a build that didn’t have OOC, but went for feral charge (11 point feral talent). Those 5-point resto talents didn’t actually do much (lowered mana cost of one spell, reduced threat, reduced spell pushback, etc). They were actually huge dumps of points for little return.

Healing Style: At the beginning of the game, you leveled up as resto and you were probably only healing 5-mans (raiding wasn’t open yet). Your main spells were regrowth (with a 50% crit rate), healing touch (super long cast time), and rejuvenation (a HOT). When you were really in need of AOE healing, you got to pop tranquility about once every 10 minutes. When you did start raiding, you mostly cast healing touch (rank 4 or 11) on tanks. Only one druid could put a HOT on the target, so the druid with the most spell power could put a HOT on their targets (otherwise, you got an error message “a more powerful spell is active” or yelled at). You mostly came along to cast innervate on priests, or because your raid really needed healers and had no other choice.

While we got some changes in 1.8, the largest healing style difference didn’t come until 1.11, with the implementation of swiftmend:

Highlights: Here, we have the biggest change: swiftmend replaces innervate, and innervate becomes baseline for all druids (patch 1.11). In patches 1.8 to 1.11, there were several other additions: Improved healing touch reduced HT’s cast time by 0.5 secs, insect swarm was added as a resto talent, some of the feral talents were removed/combined, and gift of nature was increased to 5 talent points for a 10% increase to healing.

Healing Style: A druid could have a rejuv HOT on the tank, so you would keep up rejuv to be able to swiftmend it, and then you’d otherwise mostly spam healing touch on the tank. If you had extra mana, you could put an instect swarm on the boss, too. At this point, druids healed with: rejuv, swiftmend, Healing Touch (rank 4 or rank 11), and sometimes regrowth. You still mostly got brought so you could innervate the other healers, but now feral or balance druids (who started being able to raid sometimes if they were lucky) could also bring innervate, too.

Burning Crusade – patch 2.0 (birth of lifebloom spam & tree form):

Highlights: Burning crusade added another healing spell, Lifebloom. They finally let more than 1 druid have a HOT on the same target at the same time. We also got tree form (but that tree form had a movement speed penalty, so it was more situational). We were still tank healers, but we became more HOT-focused, and people tried to convince us not to use healing touch anymore. In addition, you started to get “restokin” builds, that invested more heavily in the balance tree, splitting points between balance & resto (mostly for PvP), which was the talent build style that this blog was named after. Very little changed between 2.0 and WotLK’s release in terms of talent changes for resto druids.

Healing Style: Roll 3x lifeblooms on 2 to 3 tanks. Don’t let lifebloom fall off the tanks. You may even cast rejuv on the tanks if you have time (so that you could swiftmend in a pinch), especially if you only had 1 or 2 tanks to heal. You were unlikely to be able to heal many people besides the tank. Here’s the “how to heal” picture for Burning Crusade druid healing (make sure you zoom in to read it). Trust me, if you haven’t seen the Burning Crusade “how to LB spam” comic/picture, it really is worth your time. You got in trouble for using Healing Touch, because you couldn’t actually even cast Healing Touch in tree form (and ever since HT stopped being a spell we could use in tree form, it has never regained the status it once had in the original WoW). You probably only wanted 1 resto druid per raid group, since you only really needed 1 set of HOTs per raid, but sometimes raids brought more than one for extra HOT stacking.

Conclusions:

I think a lot of the newer resto druids forget that we used to basically only be tank healers for most of the game’s existence. Rejuv/WG spam on the raid is a super new healing style (and wild growth was a spell we didn’t even have until the 3.0 WotLK patch). If you tried rejuv spam on the raid in Vanilla or BC as your primary healing strategy, you probably got kicked out of your raid/guild. So, there’s nothing at all saying that rejuv spam is a healing style we’d get to keep, and there’s no indication of whether or not we’ll be able to AOE/raid heal with the Cataclysm healing style changes (especially since we didn’t get an AOE spell to replace Rejuv/WG spam).

What is definitely true is that we’ve never really healed in previous expansions in a way where we used a wide spell selection (healing in raids has mostly consisted of focusing on 1 button and sometimes hitting other buttons for the whole time I’ve been healing, with very few exceptions). So, trying to get us to use more of our heals all the time is definitely a goal that will be hard for Blizzard to achieve. However, WotLK tank healing had a much wider spell selection than we’d normally heal with (rejuv, lifebloom, regrowth, swiftmend, & nourish).

When evaluating the healing changes over the next few weeks, the resto druid community is going to have a really hard time adjusting to a totally new healing paradigm. However, these growing pains are something we’ve experienced every expansion. So, keeping a sense of perspective is the only way we’re going to survive yet another huge change in healing. It’s a little bit of history repeating, but hopefully it will all work out for the best.

Posted in Druid - General, Restoration Healing Trees

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