So, my healing druid is finally level 85. However, instead of having a party, I just got right back to work. (Disclaimer before the doom & gloom – remember that there are still approximately 2 months to go until Cataclysm comes out, so it’s still possible for problems to get fixed).
Last night, with the help of Matticus from World of Matticus, I set out to test the resto druid mastery. However, even having someone else reasonable & rational around while I was doing my testing, I still wasn’t able to come to terms with the mastery we have right now. I just don’t see how it will work in Cataclysm in any way that ends up being balanced with what other healers have.
What the druid mastery is:
Increases the potency of your heal over time spells by up to 20%, based on the current health level of your target (lower health targets are healed for more). Each point of Mastery increases heal potency by up to an additional 2.5%.
So, what’s the problem with the druid mastery? Well, the first problem is that most of the benefit requires your target to be low on health. However, the shaman one also requires the target to be low on health, but due to the fact that the shaman one is on all of their direct healing, and ALL of their spells have at least some direct healing component, their mastery has a potential to benefit any spell they cast.
For resto druids, it is a bonus to our HOT healing, which is not something that can benefit every cast. Instead, at least half of your healing in Cataclysm is supposed to come from direct heals: The direct heal component of regrowth (along with effloresence procs), Nourish, and Healing Touch all can’t benefit from the resto mastery at all, regardless of the health level of people we’re healing on. If most of your healing done to low health targets is direct healing, then you don’t benefit at all from your mastery.
So, we have the double whammy of maybe half our spells being HOTs, and only half the HOTs we cast benefiting from the mastery at all (with these estimates being very generous). So, at most, a quarter of the healing you do can benefit from the druid mastery. That double whammy makes resto druids’ mastery stat worth much less to us than spirit, haste & crit (which will have a potential effect 100% of the time, as opposed to not being beneficial very often).
The mastery doesn’t even work with Lifebloom’s nourish refreshing mechanic, and Wild Growth is not currently benefitting from our mastery on the beta server (which is probably bug related).
However, here’s some actual numbers on why the mastery would be weak even if every spell you cast was a HOT on someone low on health:
100% HP 2928 per tick
76% HP 3072 per tick
46% HP 3255 per tick
15% HP 3425 per tick
So, lets say that rejuv healed for 3,000 HP per tick. 20% of 3000 is 600 HP (at 2 seconds per tick, this is 300 HP per second). So, the absolute maximum additional healing from rejuv is still small. It’s much more likely, however, that I would only get 200 or 300 extra per tick from rejuv, as casting rejuv on a target at 15% health would be a really stupid thing to do.
Now, regrowth is only healing for about 1,000 HP per tick, so 20% of 1,000 is only 200. So, regrowth’s HOT (which we’ll likely cast on people at the lowest amount of health) is only getting maybe 100 extra healing per tick on people at low health in actual instance running.
Why is this weak? Well, lets look at the Holy priest mastery bonus:
Your direct healing spells heal for an additional 10% over 6 sec. Each point of Mastery provides an additional X% healing over 6 sec.
On the beta server, the priest bonus is stacking, and when Matticus cast heals on me, it could hit anywhere from 500 to spikes of over 1,000 HP per second. I don’t see the druid mastery coming anywhere close to being as powerful as this mastery, and this creates a stat imbalance, where holy priests are going to get better as their mastery on gear increases, and druids won’t keep up with that gear scaling pace. Resto druids would literally have to cast nothing but rejuvs on people below 25% HP all of the time to keep up with that pace of mastery bonus.
So, here’s a summary of the current resto druid mastery’s problem:
- Not every spell we cast is a HOT (ie. we’ll cast more direct healing spells in Cata).
- Not every HOT we cast is on a target with low HP (you probably shouldn’t put a rejuv on someone below 25% health).
- Tanks may have up to 100,000 HP in Cata, so something adding an extra 200 HP tick at low health is not going to prevent the tank from dieing. In fact, casting a rejuv on someone at low health is likely going to cause them to die before you get off another cast. Regrowth benefits so little from the mastery that casting a regrowth on someone at low health keeps them from dieing but has almost no mastery bonus.
- Something that works only on low HP targets should be a direct heal (like the shaman mastery) where you really are going to bring your target back from the brink of death. A HOT will never bring someone back from the brink of death.
- “but you have multiple HOTs“: It still requires you to cast those HOTs on people who are low on health for it to work, which means you’ll only very rarely have more than 1 HOT ticking at a time that is getting much of a bonus from the mastery, combined with just how little HOTs tick in general relative to the HP of your party/raid members.
What should the new druid mastery be?
Now that I’ve explained why the current druid mastery won’t work, we need to come up with a new solution.
- The easiest solution would just be to give the HOT bonus regardless of what the target’s HP is at. This is similar to disc priest’ absorption bonuses being better regardless of the target’s HP.
- Scrap the HOT-only bonus and give us something that would effect both HOTs & direct heals (such as: all healing done is increased on low HP targets), so that all of our spells have a chance to benefit from the mastery.
- Or, leave the mastery bonus as-is, and just don’t put the mastery stat on resto druid set pieces so we can avoid it.
- Or, come up with another totally new & interesting mastery bonus that I haven’t already thought of yet.
In conclusion, our mastery bonus doesn’t effect enough of our spells, and the spells it effects isn’t even really a noticeable bonus. So, giving resto druids a more functional/useful mastery bonus would go a long way to making resto druids more viable Cataclysm healers.