Monthly Archives: February 2012

Repost: Resto druids in 4.3: It’s a utility problem

So, my poll measuring how people feel about druid healing (for patch 4.3 dragonsoul) has ended at this point. I wanted to briefly go over some good news and some bad news as it relates to the data I’ve collected through the poll.

For the below poll results, I’m going to exclude the data for the people who don’t raid each raid size when reporting percentages of participants. The total number of people responding to my poll who had raided the content sizes are: LFR (454), 10-man Normal (365), 25-man Normal (152), 10-man heroic (130), 25-man Heroic (57).

As you can see, the LFR raid size is the most popular raid size, with 10-man normal coming in second. The other three raid sizes have much fewer participants. I likely got a pretty representative sample of players here, as fewer people usually raid heroics or 25-mans. The LFR is going to be run by people participating in all the other raid sizes in addition to people who don’t raid the other raid sizes, since people could vote in more than one poll.

Results for LFR & normal-mode raids

The good news is that the most common response for LFR and 10-man normal-mode raiders was largely that we were fine (48% and 38% respectively). However, by the time we hit 25-man normal, perspectives have started shifting such that only 27% of respondents think we’re fine.

For people who thought we had a problem, the overwhelming response was largely one of having a utility problem, with our healing being fine (25% to 30% of responses across the three polls). Only around 10% of people from each poll said that our utility was fine but our healing was lacking. The rest of the people are largely detecting that we are having both healing & utility problems for normal-mode raids. The 25-man normal-mode raids are much more likely than 10-man normal-mode raids to say we have a healing and utility problem.

Results for the Heroic-mode raids

These heroic-mode polls are harder to interpret upon inspection because the vast majority of people haven’t raided that content size. So, lets see the numbers when excluding non-raiders, and collapsing across raid size, since my sample of 25-man HM raiders is so low. This gives us a total of 187 votes (keeping in mind that a handful of people may have voted in each of the 2 polls).

  • Utility only lacking: 64 responses (34%)
  • Both Healing & Utility lacking: 58 (31%)
  • We’re fine: 31 (17%)
  • Benched or rerolled: 23 (12%)
  • Healing only lacking: 11 (6%)

So, for heroic modes, only 17% of responses say that we are doing okay, which is a large jump down from the look we got from LFR and 10-man normal-mode raiding. The vast majority of responses indicate that our utility is lacking for heroic-modes, with or without having a healing output issue for this raid content difficulty. There is definitely an indication that healing output could also be a problem for some healers in heroic-mode content.

Putting it together: It’s a utility problem, especially for HM raids

I did each of the polls separately because I expected to see that larger raid sizes and harder content would end up showing our weaknesses more than just looking at how we’re doing overall. I also knew that we couldn’t measure utility problems just by looking at WoL, since WoL doesn’t have a utility meter and doesn’t measure damage prevention cooldowns.

This poll is confirming WoL reports of our healing output being fine across most of the raid content sizes. The polls indicate that healing difficulties are happening in 25-man normal and both heroic raid sizes, which is likely due to not having good enough burst AOE healing. For 25-man healing, our HOT-blanketing doesn’t usually cover enough of the raid and we don’t have much in the way of burst healing to get people back up after they take a big hit. The other problem is that paladin healing output with HR spam still hasn’t been toned down to bring them in line with other healers, so they are out-shining druids. A nerf to paladin HR spam would probably help take care of the healing weakness resto druids are feeling in Heroic Modes compared to other healers.

Across all the raid sizes, the results also point to a problem with our Utility that we bring to the raid for pretty much every raid size (even LFR).

What does this raid utility problem mean?

For pretty much all of Cataclysm, when we have talked about our utility issues, we have talked about the lack of ability to reduce the amount of damage other people are taking. Bringing people’s health bars back up is fine, except when the hits they are taking are so big that your target dies before you can heal them.

With a lack of damage reduction tools, all we can do is rely on other people to throw out the damage reduction cooldowns, absorption effects, or death prevention cooldowns of some sort  (that all other healers have) and hope for the best. Especially in heroic-modes for Dragonsoul in 4.3, the damage reduction cooldowns are things that are being heavily relied upon, which leaves resto druids in a really awkward position of feeling like we lack important tools that everyone else brings to the table even when we come out fine on healing output meters.

MoP will fix it: We know that we are getting Ironbark (a damage reduction cooldown usable on other people) in Mists of Pandaria. We also know that we are getting a burst AOE healing ability (wild mushrooms). We also know we are getting other new tools through the new talent system. So, we know they already have a long-term solution to our major problems. Thus, the good news is that resto druids are going to be really awesome in Mists of Pandaria when we finally have a complete toolset for the first time.

However, the developers need to take a long, hard look at resto druids and decide if we need to be fixed before Mists of Pandaria. Also, it’s not enough to just look at healing output done, but to think about how the resto druid toolset is interacting with encounter design in Dragonsoul. In particular, we need to be looking at utility problems that don’t show up in any of the tracking tools we currently have for looking at healing output, since the problem is NOT just about HPS. It’s too soon to write off Cataclysm completely and Dragonsoul doesn’t seem to be that druid-friendly at the moment, especially for Heroic Mode raiders. Class balance still needs to be a concern in the tail end of Cataclysm, especially as more and more raiders complete normal-modes and start to hit Heroic-Mode content.

Disclaimer: To the resto druids -With the future outlook being good in MoP, it’s worth hanging in there for now, especially if we see more balancing fix patches in 4.3. Don’t panic!

Posted in Druid - General, Written By Lissanna

Repost: Bearcat Madness

OK, so I (Garnaph) know this is a Resto/Boomkin blog, but it’s about time I posted something that’s pretty hardcore Feral. Blizzard is soon going to split Feral into two separate trees, and what I’m about to say is the reason why. Also, with this being the last tier in which I’ll be able to pull off this trick, this is the perfect time to blog about it.

My raiding team got into P2 madness this week on 10 man normal, in spite of the fact that most of my top raiders are away, and I had to grab guys from the other team (which is also having attendance issues), alts, basically whatever I could find to get a group together. It’s not a kill, but progression is progression, and this was a pretty big deal for us.

Our success came down to a few things. Naturally, the team worked together well, but I’d like to think I pushed everything I could out of my Druid. Arielle and Reesi talk a lot about Bearcatting. Here is why it’s the most OP crap in Wow right now.

That’s me, tanking tentacles when my Pally tank gets an impale, but otherwise staying in cat as much as possible. My gear is optimised for cat, with reforges into stats that are good for both (Mastery, then Crit), with Mastery and Agi enchants, DPS leg enchant, and Assassin’s Step on boots, because I just can’t live without the speed increase in Bear. Oh, and the DPS meta.

Then, I have a spec that’s as pure cat as I can get it, with the vital Bear talents thrown in : Thick HideNatural Reaction, and Pulverize. When I shift bear, everyting works as intended. I had to make sure I took Stampede for Kitty 4pc, and Blood in the Water for 2pc. With 4pc, the kitty rotation is a joke. About to drop Rip? Either 1+CP Bite at under 60%, or pop Tiger’s Fury, get a free Ravage and 2 Shreds with the energy you just got, and you’re good to go for a 5CP Rip. If your target is over 80% health, Ravage is basically a Guaranteed 2CP.

Speaking of tier bonuses, I make sure I’m in bear when we’re on the 4th platform (we do Blue last, so we eat the shard on the last platform), which means my FR 4pc is up as the raid takes the mental burst. 15% health + 30% healing taken (make sure to have the FR major glyph). I also stay in bear when we’re killing the shard, since I don’t want to strain my healers any more than they already are.

So basically, rather than sitting around being useless when I’m not needed as a tank, I push DPS as good as the next guy, which helps to get over the fairly rough DPS check on later platforms, where you start losing haste, dmg done, while having to deal with adds that are increasingly hard to kill, especially once Alexstrasza decides to take a nap.

In spite of the emphasis on cat dps, remember there are times that a bear can push nice AOE. When bloods are about to spawn, I shift bear, autoattack the limb to get some rage, then as they move in range, I pop enrage (15% dmg anyone?), and Swipe-Thrash-Swipe. With the Spellweaver splash damage, plus the Vengeance that you quickly get, this is some intense burst AOE.

Oh, one final tip. Since cats really suffer on target switches, ask your raid leader really nicely if you can stay on limbs, and not have to switch to take down Blistering Tentacles. It makes your life a lot easier, and you push way more DPS, which in the end is good for the raid. Alternatively, just don’t switch, and see if anyone notices :P Being a raid leader myself, I get away with murder sometimes…

Druids are the only class in game with 2 specs in one. Enjoy it while it lasts.

Posted in Feral Bear tanking, Feral DPS Cat, Written By Garnaph

Repost: How is your resto druid doing in 4.3?

So, now that we’ve had several weeks of raiding in 4.3 Dragonsoul raids. I wanted to check on how raids of various types are doing, so I’m creating a series of polls to ask about how people feel they are doing in 4.3. While it’s not a great way to test out actual numbers (world of logs is a better source for that), it does get at some of the psychological effects of the patch and how people feel. This also has the neat effect of seeing what kind of content my readers are doing. :)

Please only rate your healing & utility for content you have raided in. Polls will be open until January 1st.

For the purposes of the poll, “Healing Output” is defined in terms of things like: overall healing output compared to other raid members, HPS, and being able to keep up with the incoming damage for whatever role in the raid you are assigned to. If you don’t feel your healing output is keeping up, then you would consider your healing output to be low. Just coming in 2nd instead of 1st on meters doesn’t count as having low healing output – your healing output has to be impacting your raiding group in some way.

For the purposes of the poll, “utility” is defined as things like: burst healing from tranquility, battle res, and replenishment – compared to the utility of other classes. If you feel like your missing of tools is effecting your raid group’s ability to kill bosses, then you would say that we don’t have sufficient utility. Just wanting tools other people have don’t count as having low utility – that lack of utility has to be impacting your raid group negatively in some way.

<Note: All polls are now closed. Thank you for voting!>

Disclaimers: Thank you for submitting your opinions. You can add any additional comments you want in the comments section. Keep in mind that the above shouldn’t really be used when asking for buffs or nerfs, as the polls here aren’t going to have a representative sample of the entire class, and reflect opinions rather than actual hard data. It does, however, give us some idea of how the 4.3 changes & healing in Dragonsoul feel in various raid sizes and difficulties if the sample sizes are large enough. This is more for seeing differences of identifying where possible problems could be for looking into the content further and satisfying my own curiosities.

Posted in Patches, Restoration Healing Trees, Written By Lissanna

Repost: Shakk’s guide to surviving patch 4.3

I (Shakk) have been doing a lot of studying of logs, analyzing data, compiling fight specific information, and testing in-game, what 4.3 means to resto druids. My conclusion, we are in a very good place in both 10 and 25 man raids for healing output. Some folks would question my logic on this, some folks would follow me into a black hole blindly, and some folks will test the numbers for themselves. However, no matter if you fit into one of those categories, or you’re simply looking for information on our changes, I encourage you to read through my information, and tips before you make a final decision on the state of resto druids.

4.2 Wild Growth vs 4.3 Wild Growth

Like myself, when most people heard about the 20% reduction to WG, they were completely blindsided. I actively started crunching numbers, and throwing out what if type statements, and even considered brushing off the dust on the old paladin and gearing him up to play in Dragon Soul. However, I’m still actively raiding on my resto druid. At first glance the hit to our WG looks like a kidney shot, shadow dance, and ambush to our healing numbers. (I’ve had my rogue on my mind all day, love my fear and vengeance) But, after entering into heroics this weeks, I think most of the community way overlooked the positive side of these changes.

Lets take for example in 4.2, the power of WG vs Rejuv. Rejuv, is hands down our best heal. It is efficient, it does a small direct heal, and we can swiftmend off of it for a super efficient direct heal, with an added AoE effect. On average, I found that a fight that utilizes both stacking and movement phases (much like the bosses in Dragon Soul) our WG healed for 31% of our effective healing, assuming 100% up time. Thus it allowed for an average of 16% effective healing from rejuv. Which, was fine if you are into a basically fixed rate of healing between your GCDs and the next WG you have to cast.

Now, 4.3 drops you have WG glyphed (which I highly recommend doing), and you heal a fight. You pull up that good old recount to see how much you crushed the other healers by, and notice that on average your WG is only doing 22% of your effective healing. You scratch you head for a second, but overlook an important part of your effective healing. Rejuv is now sitting at a 25% effective healing, you cheer to yourself for a second, and then fear strikes you for the sake of your mana. (Editor’s Note: Lissanna would like to note that the benefit/cost of the WG glyph changes somewhat depending on whether you are raiding 10-man or 25-man. You should try raiding with & without the WG glyph and choose what works the best for you and your raiding situation.).

Hi, I’m Your Mana, Please Manage Me

I think part of the change came, when blizzard realized that we could drop our spirit to super low levels and boost our throughput significantly. It felt like a wrath style of healing, and I for one did not like the direction this model was taking us. So by helping us choose to use rejuv more, we now have a new problem. Our mana isn’t endless anymore. Have no fear though, you still have that little button on your bar called innervate, and it still works.

If innervating yourself, using a potion, and utilizing other raid members mana cool downs isn’t enough anymore, try looking at other areas that you can change to fix your healing issues. Consider swapping out a throughput trinket for a regen trinket, altering your spec for less throughput and more conservation, or reforging off some of that 22 mastery you have for a little bit more spirit. If that still doesn’t correct the problem of you going oom 3 minutes into the fight, consider adjusting your healing style, to conserve your mana.

FYI: Tranquility’s graphic is broken in tree form.

Compensating Without Running Oom

So you just jumped into Dragon Soul after reading the first section of this guide, you got some more spirit, adjusted your spec, and dusted off innervate and bound it your action bar just like I said. You pulled Yor’sahj the Unsleeping, slapped a rejuv on each person taking damage, swiftmended on cool down, and even spammed Healing Touch on the tank when he took high amounts of damage, but during the second round of adds you had 3.2k mana left, and were fresh out of cooldowns.

In all seriousness, a lot of druids will run out towards the end of the fight if they aren’t careful. Let your heals run the full course, don’t overlap and stomp on them. If there is a period of high raid damage cast WG and then start your rejuv and mastery cycle. You want to start with the players that weren’t hit by the initial WG, but only to a point where you feel you can recover and regen more before the next big burst. Utilize Efflorescence on clumped up players, and don’t take nourish for granted. If you can’t use rejuv anymore, because your mana is pretty tight, toss out nourish. The other healers in your group will appreciate the small heal, more than you standing there looking pretty.

If there are multiple phases of high AoE damage, plan them out accordingly in your head, while you are learning the boss. If I spam rejuv during one of the phases, typically I will enter into a regen phase during the next one with ToL and rolling LB out to raid members taking damage, then for the next one I might tranq if the damage is high enough.

Part of compensating is also managing mastery. I can’t stress this enough to players that ask me for advice on boosting their output. Especially now that WG had its healing reduced, you need to keep harmony up. It can and will save your mana. One heal, is always going to be cheaper than two, when you are topping someone off. Its free additional healing, utilize it.

Final Thoughts

As with any change to a class, it brings in new ways of doing things. The nerf to WG, is not by any means a game changer for us. We simply must learn how to compensate without over compensating, and manage our mana like the rest of the healers. One can not simply look at how another class is performing, and rate their class based on it. Druids are still the best mobile AoE healers, we still bring a strong throughput cool down with us, and we are still a very competitive class, that I don’t see being tossed aside. Learning how to appropriately balance spell usage is part of being a good healer and is not restrictive to one class. Having a properly set-up druid, and using our entire toolkit, go a long way.

Source: World of Logs

*In an effort to protect the information I gathered from particular fights, and players I will not be disclosing which guilds/players I selected for the data*

Posted in Cataclysm, Patches, Restoration Healing Trees, Written By Shakk

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