The joys of PTRs and bugs!

So, 4.1 has been on the PTR for a while. Like usual, the PTR testing phase is an exercise in patience and sorting out changes from bugs (both in-game AND in the patch notes). So, lets play a fun game called “it’s a bug vs. working as intended” for some resto druid changes people are talking about…

Working as Intended (at this point):

  • Lifebloom is getting nerfed. This is going to come in the form of a reduction in the amount healed by LB’s bloom, and an increase to the mana cost of LB. However, the mana change appears in some versions of the notes but not others, so this is another case of “wait and see”. I’m pretty sure this is intended to be more of a PvP nerf, but I’m not sure why they’re making this change.
  • Efflorescence has a new graphical spell animation (ie. looks less like a slime puddle). With multiple ground-covering healing effects, it’s really hard to tell the difference between bad stuff & good stuff on the floor. So, the changes to some of the ground-covering heals should help with the fact that I get blinded by spell graphics when multiple healers drop their ground-targeting heals all on the same spot.
  • Tranquility’s cooldown is being reduced. This is likely NOT the cooldown pony druids were promised. Keep an eye out for future patch notes for druids’ actual cooldown ability, and just hang in there (this is where the exercise in patience comes into play).
  • They gave DK’s a battle res that shares a res cap limit with rebirth & soulstone.  My guild always has so many druids that this doesn’t really change anything for us, but this means that battle res will not give druids any sort of advantage in terms of being invited to raids, because now they could bring a DK instead for the same thing. In the world of “bring the player”, this means that druids need to be able to stand on their own two (or four!) legs without needing Battle Res as the reason to bring us.

It’s a bug (at this point):

  • Efflorescence’s change in mechanic on the PTR is a bug (hence why it’s not actually in the patch notes). This doesn’t prevent Blizzard from changing the mechanic in the future, it’s just that the current PTR implementation is not right (ie. the healing in the combat log would say “efflorescence” if it was actually working correctly). I would expect to hear more about this spell in the future, and I’m sure the devs are open to suggestions about what to do with Efflorescence if you guys have feedback.
  • The patch notes say that there are 2 ranks for tranquility’s CD reduction tied to a passive (gift of nature) that can’t have ranks. So, either there is only one rank for that OR the tranquility CD reduction is supposed to be tied to a 2-rank talent and not gift of nature.

I’m sure there is more that I could talk about, but that’s what I’ve got figured out so far at this point. For these types of patches, they tend to release patch notes in small chunks, where an earlier note may only make sense in the context of something that will be put in the patch notes later, making the whole process something that requires a lot of patience on our parts.

Remember: Don’t Panic!

UPDATE March 3rd: The changes to the PTR now address both bugs I described above. I’ll post more info “soon”. My spring break starts Saturday, so I’ll have plenty of blogging time after I get through tomorrow. :)

26 Comments

  1. Nymerias
    Posted March 1, 2011 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    I’m really saddened by the lifebloom changes, but I can see how it can be a little op in PvP when tree form is proc-ed.

  2. Posted March 1, 2011 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    The PvP community thinks that the Lifebloom nerf is aimed at PvE. I had to giggle when I read yours. Well, I guess it really means that none of us have a clue what Blizzard is thinking with that one. All I know is that the Lifebloom bloom is the one thing I had left in the healing department that gave me any hope of survival.

    I am also concerned about the cyclone change. Might be an issue. As for my Starsurge, I am sad to say it kinda deserved a smack. Not sure about a whole 20% but it needed something.

    • ricree
      Posted March 2, 2011 at 5:46 am | Permalink

      My take on this is that it’s a nerf to Tree of Life in pvp (and maybe rated bgs?).

      Outside of it, lifebloom rarely ever blooms, but in a raid situation where there’s a big aoe spike those extra targets will be blooming quite a bit.

      I can kind of see the bloom decrease as being deserved. ToL does seem to have a really high raid throughput right now. On the other hand, it’s all from hots, so it’s mostly good for topping off a raid after an aoe rather than saving people during one.

  3. Magickats
    Posted March 1, 2011 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    I went to re-read the ptr patch notes, and I noticed that the base mana increase to LB was removed. I wonder if they thought raising the mana cost was a bit too much, considering that LB is a major component of druid healing. Here’s hoping for good news, instead of nerf after nerf . : /

  4. Kayeri
    Posted March 1, 2011 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    I’m sad about LB, more mana for less healing is never a good combination, I am blinking at the CD reduction on Tranquility and wondering if they really want us using that more than once per boss encounter, and thinking probably not, so I don’t expect it to last. As for DK’s b-rez…. well, my DK guildie gave the most perfectly stated answer I’ve seen, “I’m a dead guy bringing someone back to life, yet they are not undead?” Raise Ally needs some changes, a DK should not have the ability to restore life… Ghoul, fine, even change ghoul to retain class abilities of the raised player? Fine.. it’s a nit-picky issue on game mechanics, I know, but that which is not alive should not be able to grant life, period. That bugs me far more than the instant-cast thing that our more feral-oriented brothers and sisters are cheesed about.

  5. thehampster
    Posted March 1, 2011 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    The tranquility CD reduction is a total slap in the face b/c it’s still only usable once per boss fight. Does Blizz think we’re stupid or something? BRez is not a mandatory raid buff, so there is no reason another class had to have it. Especially not dk’s of all classes!

    Given how this is coming right after feral druids’ mobility was crushed, it really is too much for me to swallow. My head might explode if I have to read more patch notes anytime soon. What are they going to do in 4.2, make cycone dispellable and give rogues treeform? I think i’ll be focusing on rift until we’re midway through cata and things have settled down.

    • Lissanna
      Posted March 1, 2011 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

      Innervate is on a 3 min cooldown, and I use it twice per boss fight in most raid situations… So, the max # of times you can use it has been raised to probably 2 (maybe 3 in some extreme situations).

      • thehampster
        Posted March 3, 2011 at 10:38 am | Permalink

        Innervate is different because it’s used as soon as you hit below 80% mana and then everytime it’s off cooldown. Whereas, Tranquility must be saved for the right time. It will be rare (and perhaps ill advised) to use tranq early on the majority of boss fights. And if we do start using it often during boss fights, then be prepared for it to get nerfed.

        Furthermore, we already have a great raid healing CD: tree of life. LB blanketing combined with free instant RJ’s is great for raid heals. So giving us potentially one more tranq for boss fight (but usually not) really doesn’t help much. Also our ToL LB blanketing is getting nerfed b/c of the LB pvp nerf.

        I realize that I’m whining quite a bit, but these frequent class changes are just getting out of hand. I’ve already relearned how to play all my alts enough frickin times over the past 6 months. It’s good that Blizzard wants things balanced, but they have to slow down the frequency of these changes. Furthermore, lately their “balancing” changes have just been pushing classes more and more toward homegenization, which is very lazy and boring game design. It makes me wonder if they’re top developers have been pushed to the new mmo they’re developing.

  6. Ellie
    Posted March 1, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    I am not pleased with the Lifebloom nerf. I mean really? How much more are we Druids supposed to just stand there and take? It’s bad enough they put Tree of Life on a CD. Yes, I liked being in tree form to raid. I don’t need to look at my epics all through a raid. Then they make it so you can only use Lifebloom on one person, unless you pop into tree form which is now on a CD. They lengthened the cast time on Nourish. And now they want to give DKs a Brez too that will share our CD….I mean really? REALLY? Come on what the heck are they even thinking over there at Blizzard? I’ve got mixed feelings about the Tranquility CD. I’m trying not to panic here but Blizzard really isn’t giving me anything to feel confident with my Druid about these days.

    • Lissanna
      Posted March 1, 2011 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

      Since 4.1 isn’t shipping Live tomorrow, you are going to have to wait & see.

    • The Gecko
      Posted March 1, 2011 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

      But come on! Efflorescence got a new, unique spell effect!

  7. Wharep
    Posted March 1, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    I don’t see any major issues in the current changes.

    Nerf to LB doesn’t bother me. It’s very little mana and most of the time I refresh LB on the tank via Nourish/RG/HT. The bloom reduction smell of a PvP nerf to me, as it’s very hard to time the bloom in PvE and tbh, I don’t think I’ve ever seen it save a tank.

    TranQ cd reduction is fine. I don’t think it’ll help our ae healing that much Though, bringing it down to 3 mins cd means that I can use it at least 2 times pr raid encounter, which I’m pretty happy with. Also, no matter what, it means it’ll be ready for next boss attempt. I was getting rather sick of it not being ready for next Chim/Nef attempt at some points.

    B-rez, who cares really. If B-rez is what gives you a spot in the raid, you probably doesn’t deserve that spot. The more I’m getting brought because of my skills as a player, above the buff I bring, the happier I am tbh. (Which in turn doesn’t mean I’d like to loose utility. But unique utility is fine by me). Lets not discuss the issue of whether or not it suit a dead guy to ress someone. Game mechanics sometimes will defeat lore issues.

    I’m hoping they’ll give efflorescence a little buff, that makes it more of a clear choise to go for, when speccing. Atm I like it in some very few fights, but mostly I’d rather spend those 4 talent points somewhere else.
    I like the idea of the spell, because it require a bit more thought than WG, but with the low healing and the somewhat awkward connection to SM, bothers me a lot. I still consider Liss suggestion about healing shrooms to be one of the best ways to solve this.

    LS have to be changed tbh. Could be the place for the cd they’ve mentioned (or reversing it, requiring Efflo to get it), but somehow it needs to be beefed up a bit.

    • Benarus
      Posted March 2, 2011 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

      While the bloom is difficult to time correctly… it can absolutely be a lifesaver. Think of Heroic Chimaeron (25)… keeping the LB rolling and ready to bloom just as the offtank takes a Double Attack.

  8. Lyna
    Posted March 1, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    So I was talking with the paladin healer in my 10 man yesterday, before the PTR notes came out, discussing me changing to my priest (currently level 80) since we’re missing Fortitude for our group. We decided that we really needed me to stay on the druid, because we’d lose battle rez if I switched, and that’s a really really valuable thing.

    Difficulty: We have 2 DK’s in the group.

    Priests get 2 buffs (Fort and Shadow Prot). Paladins get Might and Kings. Shaman get a ludicrous selection of options. Druids get…Kings. That’s it. Well, fine, thorns. In this day and age of bosses with 4-5 second swing times, we get thorns.

    Right now if you’ve got a level 85 druid and a level 85 priest, why would you pick to heal on the druid instead of the priest? If you’ve got a level 85 druid and a level 85 paladin, why would you pick to heal on the druid? I do have both, the only reason I’m still on the druid is that my druid has better gear :P. My priest can be raid ready in a couple weeks, and I’ll see if I can’t get into a couple of our non-progression fights for gear.

    On Efflorescence: It needs to be balanced better. Right now I think the total healing for Efflorescence is balanced around 5 people being in it full time. As a result, the healing is so low that there’s no reason for anyone to stay in it for full time. On a fight that involves any movement at all, it’s going to be better to move than to stay in Efflorescence. It’s not even a choice, I see it ticks out at 735 health. 735 health isn’t even a whisker of a health bar. The heal needs to be high enough that it’s worth people’s time to not run out of, or it needs to keep working if people run out of it. Maybe have it heal for more if players are lower on health. Maybe have it apply a HoT to anyone who runs through it. Maybe if someone at high health and someone at low health both stand in it it will heal for even more than if someone at low health stands in it.

    There are many creative solutions, and the only solutions we’ve seen are to reduce the effectiveness and increase the opportunity cost of the 6 talent points necessary. They buffed so many other talents and abilities that the cost of keeping efflorescence is really high. If you’ve still got it, you really need to ask yourself: Are you keeping it because it works for you, or are you keeping it because it’s the only new thing we got in Cataclysm and you have some attachment to it.

  9. Tuethis
    Posted March 1, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    I’m at a loss on the LB change. The bloom nerf isn’t that big of a deal since it rarely blooms but the mana cost nerf is so strange. on live choosing how to refresh LB is really well designed.

    Small ———————————Large (Thank Health Deficit)
    LB —–> nourish —–> HT —–> RG (Optimal Spell choice)
    little ————————————Lotta (Mana consumed)

    The PTR change would swap LB and nourish around and screw up this really nice, intuitive piece of design. What on earth are they thinking here?

    I also firmly believe that the duration of LB should be buffed so we have more time to worry about other things. At 10s, it seems high maintenance, play a resto shaman for a while and you will start to agree.

  10. Lyna
    Posted March 1, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    On B-Rez specifically: yeah, if it’s the only thing securing your spot in a group then you’re probably bad. I agree. Bring the player, not the class and all that.

    But if I have 3 healers, all at identical gear level, that I can play (not pick for the raid, I’ve got alts), why would I bring a druid after 4.1? They have no unique buffs, no unique abilities, and might be lacking an ability other healers have. I used to like the playstyle because it was very mobile and flexible. Now it’s not mobile at all (all cast times are greatly increased) and doesn’t have the same flexibility.

  11. Geros (VeCo)
    Posted March 1, 2011 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

    Hey, we’re still the only one’s that Battle Rez to full health. Can’t remember the last time I saw a shaman ankh and live more than 3 sec in a heroic.
    I foresee lots of antsy dead people clicking accept as soon as they see the rez without giving a DK tank to reposition and popping up in a cleave zone. They will quickly return to their dead state, thus alleviating people’s concerns that undead are restoring people to life.

  12. Synackk
    Posted March 1, 2011 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

    I <3 the Tranquility change.

    Right now in most situations I am afraid to use Tranquility because we might need it later in the fight. Now I can feel good about using it early in a fight because it will be available later as well.

  13. Posted March 1, 2011 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

    I fear that a cool down reduction to Tranquility will also bring a reduction to its throughput. I’ve always said Tranquility is a disgustingly powerful spell but not over powered because of its cool down. Blizzard’s trend of lowering a cool down is to also lower effectiveness, and I’d hate them for doing that. Tranquility is practically perfect how it is (except for when we wipe right after I used it and it isn’t ready for the next attempt :-/).

  14. Posted March 1, 2011 at 11:09 pm | Permalink

    The Lifebloom nerf comes as no surprise.

    If you think about it…I mean REALLY think about it….it is bordering on OP. With minimal gearing, manaregen negates the cost of LB to the point where you’ve regened the cost before you’ve even put up the second and third applications. So, increasing mana cost just puts it in line with where it used to be before we got better gear. In all honesty, the mana cost increase should be minimally felt especially as we get better gear from future raid tiers and patches.

    As for the nerf to it’s bloom…well, that is also bordering on a little OP in comparison to our other spells. For what our other spells cost and the return we get back on them, LB does way more healing by comparison. That’s not to say it’s our top heal spell, as I believe rejuv still holds that spot. But if you just look at investment to output ratios…LB is on top by a rather large margin.

    So… the key to keeping it from getting even MORE OP and to keep the druids from getting too comfy with an OP spell, they are nerfing it….i said it before but it’s worth repeating…they are, so to speak, nipping the bud before it blooms into a problem :D

    • Posted March 2, 2011 at 10:57 am | Permalink

      Bah…change has been reverted on the mana cost. I still think they might look at that in the future.

  15. Bisclavret
    Posted March 2, 2011 at 12:03 am | Permalink

    Don’t forget that druids will still be preferred b-rezzers thanks to Glyph of Rebirth. I don’t think that DKs will be getting something like that.

  16. Terogaxu
    Posted March 2, 2011 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    Hello guys and girls,

    below there a topic on the offical forums, made becaus if the lifebloom chance and i am gonne keep it up-todate

    http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/1776391818
    ————–
    They set Recent restoration changes
    We’re a bit worried about Resto being too powerful in PvP. We wanted to try out the Lifebloom changes to see if it fixed the problem. We don’t think it’s quite the right change though, so we’re going to revert the Lifebloom mana nerf, but keep the reduced bloom effect. We’ll have to keep watching this.
    ————–

    Noting to worrie about for now :)

    • thehampster
      Posted March 3, 2011 at 10:55 am | Permalink

      Well it’s a pretty big worry if you like pvp, especially 2v2 arena. Let me explain why:

      Initially in Cataclysm (before everyone had 3.5k+ of resilience), 2v2 was abysmal for resto druids b/c all you could do was continually run away while spamming instant cast heals and CC. Playing agressively was out of the question. This led 2v2 matches to last forever, as neither side could risk playing offensively. The first team to get bored and stop turtling lost.

      Finally, after getting enough resilience, 2v2 is actually fun again. Resto druids can actually stop running once in awhile and cast offense spells to help pressure the other team. Sometimes you still get burned for it, but you also can sometimes win by it. Matches no longer last 30 minutes each. This new LB nerf, combined w/ the across the board nerf to resilience, risks sending 2v2 back to the abysmal state it used to be.

  17. Foofy
    Posted March 2, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    Recent updates is they are reverting the lifebloom nerf but leaving the change to the bloom. I’m ok with that.

    They are also reporting that Eff being useful was a bug but since we liked it so much, they will bring it to a normal patchnote

    HAHA!

  18. Shaloxeroligon
    Posted March 4, 2011 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    Hey,

    I saw some of the (potential) changes to Effloressence, and to be honest, I don’t see how this is better. The old one healed people in the area for 30% of Swiftmend’s heal, while the new one only heals for 12%. How is that an improvement?

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