Monthly Archives: April 2012

MOP Feedback: Healing Shrooms Revisited

I ran my first beta instance last night, which gave me the opportunity to test the Healing Shroom spell outside of Stormwind or solo leveling.

Healing Shrooms overall have gotten really mixed reviews. Some people really like the concept, and some people (I’m looking at you, Beru) really hate it.

The current problem: Dragonsoul’s mechanics have highlighted our need for a burst AOE heal. There are some times where stacking HOTs (and then holding your breath hoping it works) becomes a really ineffective strategy for healing 5-mans or raids. However, Blizzard doesn’t really want to just give us a copy of someone else’s healing spells (because that would further homogenize us). The solution implemented was to make our moonkin’s damage shrooms into healing shrooms. This is a really controversial spell, however, and some of the resto druid community would like to see healing shrooms thrown out and replaced with something else altogether. If anyone has ideas of what that “something else” could be, I’m all for hearing it. This post, however, is going to focus on how to improve the mechanics of what we have now.

How Healing shrooms work in beta: In this early stage of the development process, they work just like damage shrooms do, except that when you detonate, they heal people.

You place the little shroom on the ground, and then when you hit the “detonate” button, your little shrooms explode heal people. This healing is a burst direct heal.

You can place down up to 3 shrooms at a time before detonating. The detonate doesn’t require you to have all 3 shrooms down, so you can detonate a single shroom if you really want. However, in most cases,  you may end up needing all 3 shrooms for maximum effectiveness.

Shrooms are on a 10 second cooldown, but they essentially require 3 GCDs to set up before you can detonate (detonate is off the GCD). NOTE: the Shroom placement GCD is 1 second, just like rejuv. This still means they cost you 3 rejuvs. This means that it really isn’t something we are going to want to use every 10 seconds in their current state because that leaves little time to do much of anything else.

Shroom Graphic Problems: Right  now, in beta, shrooms still have the tiny targeting circle that balance druids have been using to target them. This circle is smaller than the size of the AOE healing radius, mostly because as DPS, you never needed to worry about the whole radius of the effect when setting up your shrooms (you could pretty safely put them on the tank who was tanking all the things you wanted to AOE). The shroom graphic is also pretty subtle because the original intent of damage shrooms was supposed to be that they were more like traps or bombs that you stepped on and didn’t see when used in PVP.

This method, however, doesn’t work for resto healing shrooms, where people need to know where to stand. Shrooms need the targeting circle to be as big as the healing effect is, an they need a ring indicating where the DPS/tank should stand to receive their heal. Since shrooms require a lot of setup time, the worst thing that could happen is for you to waste mana because people ran away from your shrooms or weren’t inside of their radius. So, shrooms need more obvious circles like all other ground-targeted heals have for other classes. For the time being, I’d be okay with them sharing the Efflorescence ground graphic if needed (that may actually be preferable, since we have trained our raiders to stand in the efflorescence circle instead of running out of it, LOL).

Shroom Mechanic problems: So, the problem of re-purposing a pretty gimmicky damage spell for healing is that you can’t ever just copy that kind of damage spell, slap a heal on it, and call it a day. The graphic problem isn’t the only problem with the spell, though the graphics are easier to fix than mechanics. Now that Healing Shrooms and Damage Shrooms can basically be completely different spells due to the new specialization mechanics, there is absolutely no reason for their mechanics to need to be identical. They only needed to be the same if Healing Shrooms was just a talent we picked up that modified the existing spell. Since they can be different spells now, they should be different spells.

  • Shrooms need to activate the Harmony mastery. We need an AOE heal button that activates our mastery to use between Swiftmends, so that we don’t have to waste GCDs on single-target direct heals if we don’t want to. If we spend a lot of GCDs on dropping shrooms, it is likely that maintaining Harmony is going to be difficult or impossible if shrooms don’t activate harmony. Right now on beta, detonate isn’t activating my harmony buff. This should be a pretty easy fix.
  • A 6 yard radius for healing shrooms is too small, since you have a pretty high risk of someone moving out of range of the shrooms on pretty much any fight that isn’t stand-still. They should still have the same diminishing returns for AOE targets that all other ground-targeted AOE spells have. However, right now, it looks like shrooms in MoP Beta are healing for somewhere around 8 to 10 yards based on using the Efflorescence graphic & healing effect as a guide. They should have at least a 10 yard radius to be effective, since 6 is too small for a heal (10 is the radius of healing rain, so if you stuck a shroom in the middle of Healing Rain, it would hit everyone there when you bloomed). I’m okay with Wild Growth & rejuv still being the go-to buttons for when everyone is super spread out. However, a 10 yard range really should be the minimum for this kind of heal (with 15 to 20 yards probably being more ideal for reducing the risk of people moving out of them, especially if we drop down to only 1 or 2 shrooms instead of 3 – see below comments).
  • We need some sort of HOT component on application when dropping the shrooms. I think that healing shrooms should activate some sort of efflorescence effect when you set them down. That way, your mana isn’t totally wasted if people move out of the way before you could drop  all 3 shrooms and bloom them. A HOT portion would help stabilize people until you got all your shrooms down, and would fit in line with druid’s mixing of HOT & direct heals, since Detonate would still be a big burst direct heal. There’s nothing worse than trying to set up a heal that you know you’ll need, and watching people die while you are still setting up your shrooms. The HOT duration would need to be short, however, to encourage us to still want to bloom (ie. maybe the HOT lasts for 3-6 seconds or something). That would reduce the risk level of using the spell, since no one else has to both place & detonate their heals (and it would let DPS know that they are in the right place).
  • Three shrooms feels like too many. I like the idea of being able to place multiple shrooms. However, resto druids are pretty GCD-locked right now, with having a bunch of HOTs and our mastery to actively maintain. Having to drop 3 shrooms on a 10 second cooldown is too much, because it will end up encouraging shroom-spamming (which won’t be fun for resto healers). Overall, I think we should reduce the number of shrooms down to 2 total for resto druids. This would keep the unique feeling of the spell, but reduce the burden on resto druid healers that the spell seems to be creating. Having 3 lifebloom stacks AND 3 shrooms is too much, because you could honestly spend all day just keeping up LB and shrooms, and shrooms weren’t meant to dominate our entire healing rotation. It could also be possible to put in a major glyph that increased the cooldown of shrooms to 30 seconds but allowed you to place one mega-shroom that dropped all 3 shrooms at the same time (OR just make this mega-shroom the baseline ability for all resto druids). If none of those options would work, then I’d suggest increasing the cooldown on shrooms to 15 or 20 seconds baseline to make them less problematic in our rotation (even moonkin would potentially benefit from a 15 sec cooldown on shrooms in MoP so that you could fit a Hurricane and set up your shrooms before they came off CD).
  • Another option would be to somehow remove the detonate (so, shrooms count down from X and then pop on their own?), however I like the idea of being able to control when the heal happens. I’m really not sure how shrooms would work without a detonate, but having to both place things on the ground AND detonate them seems to be the major sticking point for some shroom-haters. So, finding a way to remove the detonate could be a solution, so you can “set and forget” like other class’ AOE heals.
  • Shrooms could also work by casting “spores” on people, rather than the ground (so someone would carry their shroom spores with them when they moved, and you could detonate their spores when you wanted the heal to work. The spore mechanic would be better for PvP where people move around a lot more unpredictably than they do in PvE).

Conclusions:

I think there are a lot of options for making healing shrooms viable in our rotation. However, just slapping a heal on the damage version isn’t going to integrate very well into resto druids’ current healing style, where we are already mashing buttons every second just to try and keep up. I think there are ways to change Healing Shrooms to keep the idea alive, but they have to be their own spell (not just the moonkin version) for a healing shroom to work. If healing shrooms don’t work, the developers also need to be willing to basically completely scrap that concept and give us something that does work for better filling the current hole in our arsenal that is begging for a direct AOE heal.

Posted in Beta Feedback, Mists of Pandaria, Restoration Healing Trees, Uncategorized, Written By Lissanna

MOP Feedback: Crowd Control Tiers

This is part 2 in my series of MoP talent feedback. See part 1 on the level 90 talents here. For today’s post, I want to talk about the two crowd control tiers in the new MoP talent calculators. These are our level 45 and 75 talents. This is written from the perspective of Resto & Balance, where I mostly do PvE, so I know that some of the things are potentially better for feral druids or have PvP uses I’m not aware of. That said, lets see what we have.

Typhoon (level 45)

  • Typhoon is a knockback that also has a daze attached, which slows the target’s movement speed. This has been a balance ability for quite some time, and it got a significant facelift for MoP. It has a new graphic, and they fixed some of the bugs associated with it. However, it no longer does damage to your foes when you knock them back.
  • Uses: Moonkin have used this ability pretty regularly in PvP, and in some fights it has been useful in PvE for controlling mobs when we need knockbacks or slows.
  • Feedback: This ability is largely fine, though I think they could have left the damage component on it, since the relatively small amount of splash damage wasn’t largely overpowered on Live. This is a pretty obvious choice for caster druids for either PvP or PvE, since we largely want to make things go away from us (this would be slightly less helpful for PvP feral druids who like being up close & personal with things, but it could have uses in PvE for boss fights requiring knockbacks even for feral or guardian).

Mass Entanglement (level 45)

  • This is an AOE root, where you root one person and then it will bounce to nearby people. I haven’t been able to test this mechanic very easily in-game because it doesn’t like bouncing to nearby training dummies that easily.
  • Uses: In PvP, the use of an AOE root would be any time we use roots now. However, roots are pretty fragile, and this AOE root isn’t any stronger than our normal roots are, so it still breaks on damage (whereas the slowing effect from Typhoon doesn’t break on damage).  I’m not overall impressed with this, but it would be useful for PvP in any situation where you had to use an AOE root on things, and that would be really encounter-specific.
  • Feedback: Compared to typhoon’s 20 second cooldown, the 2 minute cooldown on Mass Entanglement is going to make it considerably worse than typhoon for moonkin & resto druids, who will be more easily able to control things with typhoon. It may work out better for feral druids who are more likely going to want to hold things in place to nom their faces. For resto & moonkin druids, our single-target roots along with Nature’s Grasp should provide enough root options (especially if they end up sharing diminishing returns in PvP with our single-target roots).

Faerie Swarm (level 45)

  • Faerie Swarm adds a single-target slowing effect to Faerie Fire.
  • Uses: For PVE, I honestly think Typhoon is going to be a better option than Faerie Swarm for either resto or moonkin. This is possibly more useful for feral druids, but they have a glyph that allows mangle to slow their targets, so I’m not really sure why Faerie Fire should have a slow attached to it at all. I’m at a loss for uses on this one. Moonkin have a 50% slow attached to the shroom detonate, and typhoon is a better PvP effect for resto druids overall.
  • Feedback: This ability should really get turned into a glyph instead of being a talent. I mean, feral druids can already glyph into having mangle slow targets. Moonkin already get an AOE slow from shrooms or glyphing hurricane to apply a slowing effect (and Ursol’s Vortex is basically an AOE slow with a deathgrip attached and highly superior in it’s own way). We have enough sources of slows that The glyph that gives a silencing effect to Faerie Fire would honestly make a better talent (or maybe if the talent applied BOTH the silence and the slow, it would be better). This should probably just be replaced with something more compelling. This wins for like most boring talent ever.

Ursol’s Vortex (level 75)

  • Ursol’s Vortex actually has a different tooltip in-game than what it says on the talent calculator, which ends up describing how the mechanic works a little better. You can cast it up to 30 yards away. In that spot you select, it places a vortex on the ground. For all targets within 8 yards of that point, the targets are slowed by 50%. The first time the target leaves the vortex, they are pulled back into the center of the vortex.
  • Uses: This is going to be pretty handy in PvP for keeping people off you, especially when combined with Typhoon (ie. knock them back, then vortex them in place). It’s more durable than the AOE roots from the level 45 talents and is more effective at keeping people off you than the AOE roots is. So, this is really the most obvious go-to choice for caster druids in MoP for crowd controlling things that melee. Obviously, casters can still cast from the vortex (though for moonkin, vortex + solar beam could be a lot of fun).
  • Feedback: This ability is awesome, and amazingly better than anything else on the level 75 tier, due to it being a really new and interesting mechanic. It is nice for caster druids to keep things away from us, and helpful for melee/tank druids to keep things close to them.

Disorienting Roar (level 75)

  • This ability dazes all targets within 10 yards of you for 3 seconds. Any damage done to the target breaks the disorient effect.
  • Uses: Compared to our other CC options, this has pretty limited use. The only bonus with a disorient versus Ursol’s Vortex is that you can disorient casters (whereas casters won’t be interrupted by Ursol’s Vortex). However,
  • Feedback:It’s really a boring & flavorless CC talent that seems to have really limited uses. If this did damage or something, then maybe it would be a worthwhile talent. I’m mostly just going to pick up Ursol’s Vortex and forget that Roar exists unless there is some sort of gimmick fight that requires me to have it. Compared to the type of talents other classes have, this really has no business in our talent trees at all. Blizzard could do better.

Mighty Bash (level 75)

  • This is a stun that lasts for 5 seconds and requires you to be in melee range of the target.
  • Uses: Honestly, for caster druids, since this requires your target to be in melee range, it has very limited uses. You could use it any time you currently use bear form’s bash  (*crickets*), or when you were in melee range  and would have liked to use bear form’s bash but didn’t want to go into bear form (*crickets*).
  • Feedback: If they are going to keep this talent, you  need to be able to stun things up to 15 or 30 yards away from you. The melee-range requirement makes Ursol’s Vortex automatically a far superior talent. Otherwise, we’re just spending a talent point on an ability we’ve had baseline for the entire time the game has been live, and that’s actually pretty extremely lame. Bear Hug would have made a better talent than bash, just because at least then it would have been mildly new & interesting.

Overall assessment: We really only have 3 worthwhile CC talents (Mass Enganglement, Ursol’s Vortex, and Typhoon). Using both Ursol’s Vortex and Typhoon seems like it could be really fun for solo leveling or PvP. Crowd Control in general has limited uses in PvE raiding, since you can’t CC bosses (you can only CC adds on gimmick boss fights that have adds that need to be controlled). I’d actually prefer if they just had one crowd control tier with Entanglement, Vortex, and Typhoon as the three talents. Then, they could leave Bash as a baseline bear ability, and come up with a new exciting talent tier instead of stale CC talents. I know I would be giving up the Vortex + Typhoon combo, but I’m pretty sure that just about any new exciting talents they could give us in place of having two crowd control tiers could be better. None of the other classes are stuck with two ultra boring talent tiers dedicated to crowd control abilities with no healing or damage attached to them at all. If we end up with two CC tiers, I’ll just take Typhoon and Ursol’s vortex and forget that the other talents exist at all. That’s really spending 1/3rd of our talents on things that have a very clear winner and no real interesting variety. It would be better to have one CC tier and allow druids to pick up other class’ CC abilities through Symbiosis if we really ended up needing more control.

Posted in Beta Feedback, Mists of Pandaria, Written By Lissanna

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