So the 4.3 PTR patch info is out! So far, resto & moonkin druids have gotten nothing interesting. Nope, nothing to see here… Please keep in mind that this is early in the PTR patch development cycle, and that you shouldn’t start screaming about the sky falling based on what I write here. That said, lets look at what we’ve got on our plate for 4.3.
Our Tier 13 gear? The look of this set is pretty boring. The coloring is just kinda bland and we’ll blend in with the fauna in the dungeon. Look forward to getting to use transmogrification on this one. I haven’t seen it in action, so maybe if the shroom animation is neat, it might turn out okay. Or, maybe if we camouflage into the surroundings, deathwing won’t see us? One can only hope.
Our set bonuses? The 2-piece resto & moonkin bonuses are okay. The 4-piece bonuses both leave something to be desired. I’d be surprised if the Moonkin 4-piece made it Live.
- Balance, 2P — Insect Swarm increases all damage done by your Starfire, Starsurge, and Wrath spells against that target by 3%.
- Balance, 4P — Starsurge generates 100% extra Lunar or Solar energy while Eclipse is not active.
- Restoration, 2P — After using Innervate, the mana cost of your healing spells is reduced by 25% for 15 sec.
- Restoration, 4P — Your Rejuvenation and Regrowth spells have a 10% chance to Timeslip and have double the normal duration.
The Restoration 4-piece bonus ends up running a high risk of being overhealing. It has a high risk of not actually doing anything useful. It has a high risk of us not being able to swiftmend it (which was a problem that plagued the last bonus that gave us free rejuv’s). It’s likely too random to be helpful, and is likely going to end up mostly overhealing unless there’s so much AOE damage going on that we’ll be required to Rejuv-blanket a whole raid.
The moonkin 4-piece bonus is terrible. It is actually very similar to the 4-piece T12 (showing a lack of creativity). However, it has the problem of being entirely random as to whether it will give us any benefit at all. If you never cast starsurge when Eclipse is down, then you gain a 0% DPS increase from this bonus. Given that Starsurge has a long cooldown (AND that the current rotation encourages saving starsurge for when Eclipse is up), there is no way that this set bonus should have even been an option. It does nothing for you in AOE situations. It does nothing for you when Eclipse is up. It just makes our rotation harder by trying to figure out what to do with Starsurge. I’d honestly rather just keep my little burning tree buddies another tier than pick up this set bonus. There are plenty of other options as to what we could have for a set bonus that might actually be useful. Dear Blizzard, please give us just about anything besides this set bonus. Love, Moonkin
Wild Growth Nerfs in 4.3
Okay, so now we get to the heart of the thread. Blizzard said in their latest explanation of changes: “We’re okay with Resto druids using Wild Growth frequently, but we think we allowed it to become too powerful given its ease of use. As I suggested above, this may or may not be sufficient to nerf Resto druid throughput overall.” With the changes to wild growth, there is a flat reduction in the amount of healing it does. Then, they added 2 seconds onto it’s cooldown by adding that onto a mandatory glyph you have to take anyway. Looking at the estimates of how bad this nerf could be, they kinda took a huge chunk out of our overall healing. With Wild Growth coming in as our #1 healing spell right now, it could be somewhere between 5% to 15% overall nerf to our healing done, based on what Foofy quoted in the post I linked, and thinking slightly more realistically about what our healing % from Wild Growth usually is (I expect a lot of heavy AOE fights in the new raid, but 40% of our total healing done is still an extremely high estimate). Now, if we were getting too far ahead of other classes during internal raid testing, I’d be okay with the nerfs, but call a duck a duck. Don’t try to explain them away as something positive for us.
There is still no glyph choice.
Ghostcrawler tried to put a positive spin on the increase of our Wild Growth cooldown by talking about glyph choice. Now you have the choice to lose a large chunk of healing to pick up glyph of thorns. Oh wait. Why the hell would we pick up anything else besides the Wild Growth Glyph? Maybe now, we can just leave glyph slots totally empty and say “OMG GC we need something to put in HERE”. Yes, it is as bad as Glyph of WG versus Glyph of Thorns. Now, instead of having one good glyph, we just have a bunch of sucky glyphs. In fact, for 10-man raiding, there was no guarantee that your WG would actually hit 6 people. It is just as likely to only hit the 3 people standing in melee and not the people in range, or maybe the range is all spread out and it hits 5 people in range of the person you targeted. The range limitations on the spell limits the usefulness of having the possibility of it hitting another person.
Major Glyph options:
- Glyph of healing touch – Kinda sucks because Nature’s Swiftness isn’t that great, but we probably take it anyway right now
- Glyph of Rebirth – Our only good one as of 4.3, that only helps after people have died, which obviously has the down-side that it requires them to die first.
- Wild Growth – Has been nerfed by 4.3 so now it kinda sucks for 10-man raiders in some situations where it wouldn’t normally hit more than 5 people anyway. It’s still going to be mandatory for everyone, even if it sucks, just because there will be some situations where the good outweighs the bad and your other option is to leave an empty glyph slot out of spite.
- Glyph of Innervate – Got majorly nerfed in 4.2 because now we can’t cast innervate on other people anyway. This is not a viable option for glyph usage in 4.3 because we’ll need to innervate ourselves.
- Glyph of Thorns – The only other glyph we could possibly replace Glyph of Wild Growth with is this one, and I haven’t actually used Thorns in a raid encounter all of Cataclysm.
If you want us to have alternative glyph choices, then you need to give us alternative glyphs. The issue of choice was NEVER about the strength of the Wild Growth glyph, but about how terrible the rest of the glyph choices are. Making all of our glyphs terrible does nothing to give us any resemblance of choice, since there isn’t anything else to pick up. So, the change does nothing but indirectly nerf Wild Growth on top of the direct nerf to Wild Growth showing up in the patch files.
But there was a reason Wild Growth was strong in the first place. With this change, Hamlet higlighted why Wild Growth and druid overall healing numbers look high on meters. Wild growth, effloresence, and tranquility all got buffed in previous patches because we lacked sufficient tools to do our AOE healing job. Being limited to HOTs on long cooldowns makes being a raid healing druid difficult. Instead of giving us a damage reduction cooldown and the direct healing tools we asked for, they just buffed our AOE HOTs in a way that looked strong on paper. Since developers and the community sometimes has a memory span shorter than goldfish, everyone has now forgotten why druid numbers were high (see question about healing meters & talking about tranquility inflating our meter numbers).
Since we know that AOE damage is likely going to be high in the new Deathwing raid, and druids still don’t have damage reduction cooldowns, having our healing numbers brought back down leaves us exactly in the same crappy spot we were in before we got buffed up. Just buff/nerf/buffing the same abilities is apparently just not working if they have to essentially un-do the previous patch’s changes the next patch and leave us in a worse place by doing things like destroying glyph of wild growth and leaving us without viable glyph options in the first place. Nerfing wild growth too much runs the risk of getting druids benched because our high output was the only thing we really had going for us, since we lack the tools that all the other healing specs had (and they’re buffing holy priests’ AOE cooldown tools which will make us even more likely to risk being unwanted in comparison).
So, after all that, there is still time to fix the problems, but that would require giving us new tools. Maybe I’ll just stay moonkin in 4.3 and not heal. Then again, Blizzard still didn’t fix some of the AOE damage rotation problems for moonkin, so I just can’t win.
However, I’m still excited about Transmogrification & void storage!