Since the patch for 4.1 has now been on the PTR for a month, that means it is possible it could go live at any time from this point. With their goal of having more “frequent” patches, this also means we need shorter PTR cycles. I’m going to start preparing now for the 4.1 patch, especially since I’m going to be out of town most of next week for a psychology research conference.
So, lets look at the overall set of resto changes for 4.1 & what they mean:
- Cyclone was reduced from 6 to 5 seconds in the official patch notes, but mmo-champion is reporting this reversed back to 6 in their latest datamined set of notes. So, cyclone may or may not have been changed.
- Lifebloom’s bloom has been reduced by 20% (note: no change to the mana cost). This will be a minor bummer for people who let their LB bloom often, but it should still be pretty strong.
- You no longer need to use barkskin before tranquility, since tranquility will innately have pushback protection (meaning that getting hit with melee & spell attacks won’t shorten the duration).
- Malfurion’s Gift talent: now reduces the cooldown on tranquility by 5 minutes at 2 ranks. This means that you will get to pop tranquility every 3 minutes (so, likely twice per fight).
- Efflorescence has been changed. It is now smarter, and will heal the 3 most wounded players standing in the healing circle. It also now scales with haste. The benefit of the new version is that it will do substantial amounts of healing to wounded players, rather than wasting most of the heal by dividing it by up to 25 people. While the tooltip change is slightly confusing, the talent heals more than before, and heals more meaningfully than before. It will feel less wasted when used on a tank, and it will still do decent healing as an AOE heal.
- Living seed has also been unlinked from Efflorescence, giving you more options & choice in making your talent builds. In some cases, tank healing resto druids will want to keep 1 or 2 points in living seed, and in other cases, you may skip it in favor of other healing talents (not that your other options are much better, however, as several of the lower tiered talents have very small/negligible effects on your overall healing).
The newest addition to our round of changes comes to Nature’s Swiftness, which needs further discussion below:
Nature’s Swiftness may be getting buffed. It is showing up in mmo-champion’s unofficial patch notes and WoWhead’s latest PTR info. The change would make Nature’s Swiftness increase the size of the heal by 50%, meaning that when you paired NS with Healing Touch, you’d get an even bigger HT. While this isn’t as helpful as a damage reduction attached to it, the change makes NS slightly more useful, and makes the talent slightly better (but still not “required”). While it won’t look great in your HPS according to WoL, sometimes that extra instant boost to save a tank may be worth investing in (because your job as a tank healer is to keep the tank alive, not to top meters).
If you are often assigned to tank healing, then I would recommend that you pick up the 4.1 version of Nature’s Swiftness along with the Healing Touch glyph. With the glyph, your healing touches on the tank will reduce the cooldown on nature’s swiftness and amplify the effects of this buff on keeping your tank alive. In this case, you would keep the rebirth glyph and then either drop the innervate or WG glyph from your set (drop innervate glyph if you only innervate yourself, or drop WG glyph if you do trade innervates). You may be able to shave a minute (or more!) off the NS cooldown timer with a normal tank healing rotation (given that you can’t just spam HT the whole fight). I wouldn’t recommend the HT glyph for people who AOE/raid healing primarily, since you may not cast enough HT for the glyph to be worth it compared to the benefits you get from the other glyphs.