Symbiosis feedback part 2

So, now that I’ve covered how symbiosis works, lets take a look at how I would assign my 5 druids to their Symbiosis targets in my 25-man raids. Assume for now that Symbiosis looked exactly like it does in Beta right now (see list on MMO-champion).

In this case, lets take a log from DS where we had 5 of our druids all show up for a raid. We have two moonkin, one resto tree, one feral cat, and one guardian bear. We have to decide who those five druids are going to cast Symbiosis on. We have 20 other raid members, including: 1 DK tank, 4 hunters, 1 warlock, 1 mage, 3 rogues, 2 shadow priests, 2 elemental shaman, 1 DK DPS, 1 resto shaman, 2 healing priests, 2 holy paladins.

I’ll highlight the actual decisions in brown so they are easier to see.

Okay, so who gets Symbiosis?

  • We know that DKs get a nice damage reduction cooldown, so someone has to cast it on Ranico (our DK tank). In this case, we’ll assign Ariano (our feral tank) to put Symbiosis on Ranico, since Bone Shield for our bear is probably her best option. This is an obvious trade, so lets lock that one down.

What can the other classes in my raid get from us?

  • Well, my raid’s holy paladins don’t need rebirth since we already have more breses than we know what to do with.
  • Maybe we could give our warlock rejuv, but Ponerya has already expressed some disinterest in having that.
  • We could give tranquility to the shadow priests, but we already have 3 DPS with tranquility in the raid at this point, and having more DPS casting healing cooldowns will just hurt our ability to beat enrage timers we’re already struggling with on some of the heroic bosses we are learning.
  • As much as our rogues like pretending they are tanks, giving them a taunt is more likely going to cause raid wipes, though it could help them soak on H Morchok if it didn’t taunt the boss causing them to instantly die and instead just gave them increased armor. However, the taunt pretty much guarantees instant death as they get crit in the face.
  • Giving dash to hunters wouldn’t hurt, I suppose, but they already have a lot of movement tools.
  • Since I haven’t used solar beam like at all in dragon soul, I’m pretty sure the elemental shaman don’t need an ability that is worse than the interrupts they already have.
  •  I’m not sure what my resto shaman could do with the ability to prowl. I’m pretty sure she’d just laugh at me and use it for screwing around on our 10 minute break.
  • I think I’d have to pay Beefbus actual RL money to cast healing touch in dragonsoul, though I could be wrong. Maybe just gold would suffice.
  • Since I haven’t rooted anything in dragonsoul, I’m pretty sure roots isn’t helpful for the healing priests.
  • I’m not sure if my DPS DK benefits from their version of shrooms, since I’m not sure if it is a better spell than the ones they already have in MoP to apply their blood plague and frost feaver.

Okay, so since none of the other people in our raid benefit very much from receiving our potential Symbiosis buffs, what do we get from them for casting it? Maybe that will help us decide.

  • With two moonkin, I’ll assign myself to put it on our mage (beefbus), so I can have mirror images. This will help me unload DPS easier at the beginning of a pull and gives me a minor DPS increase. Go go tree buddies! Oh wait, since mirror image was the only damage increase ability (as incredibly minor as it is), and we only had one mage, that’s going to cause drama issues for Talious who is going to be jealous that I was selfish and stole the mage. Well crap, that means I have to give the mage to Talious instead to prevent hours of  potential drama. Maybe we could take turns and just hope that we never have a raid where all three of our moonkin can make it (since Opalbreeze, our third moonkin, was absent from raid that day). So, the consensus here is that Talious the moonkin gives symbiosis to Beefbus our mage.
  •  Okay, so what do I get if I can’t put it on the mage? Well, I could have antimagic shell or improved barkskin (ie.  unending resolve). Either of those would be helpful on our heroic Ultraxion attempts so I can soak the damage part of that fight. I have no use for misdirect because we already have four hunters. There isn’t any fights where Hammer of Justice seems useful in Dragonsoul. We already have tons of priests with mass dispel for the one fight where people actually dispel things. We don’t really need a fourth purge, since we have three shaman already. I don’t have a warrior for intervene, not that it would be useful anyway. So, I’ll put it on Castela, so I get antimagic shell (which I’ll use maybe two or three times in the raid, while I work on recruiting more mages on our 10 minute break), and Castela will get Wild Mushroom: Plague. Not sure  how helpful that is for our DK, but it’s the best I can come up with.
  • Okay, three down, two to go! Lets do our cat DPS druid next. He likes having things that increase his damage output and would prefer soulswap, feral spirit, or redirect. Well, I can’t let him cast it on a rogue, because the rogues would think it was funny to try and use Symbiosis even if it caused raid wipes. Since soulswap probably doesn’t leave your bleeds on the original target, and there aren’t a lot of fights where you’d need to swap your bleeds, lets go with a shaman so that it’s an ability useful on any fight, even if it’s a tiny DPS increase. So, lets say he gets to put it on Kanedias, the elemental shaman, so that he gets feral spirits, and Kanedias gets a solar beam he won’t ever actually use.
  • Last but not least, we have to figure out what Juvenate gets. He wants the original paladin spell (hand of sacrifice), but since that was deemed too powerful, it got taken away by Blizzard already. The choice then should probably be for Juv to get a personal survivability cooldown. So, he gets to put it on Zweibel the hunter (our raid leader), so that Zweibel can have dash, and Juvenate gets Deterrence.

Yes, that’s right, with 5 druids in my raid, it could take a couple hours to work out symbiosis targets, with no one (other than the tanks) actually getting anything that was worth having to spend an hour before raid every night deciding this, since we don’t always have the same people. It actually gets worse if you need to swap symbiosis targets for different fights. If my moonkin needed mass dispel from a priest for Zon’ozz and then antimagic shell from a DK for Ultraxion, we could start adding on additional layers of complexity to the puzzle, where we may have to stop and switch symbiosis targets, glyphs, and talents between fights – further slowing down our raid progress.

So, what’s the fix for this? I’m not really sure. I hope this at least highlights the fact symbiosis is incredibly complicated any time you have more than one druid in the raid, and that it’s possible that Symbiosis just isn’t going to work for our class. At the very least, we need to be scrutinizing the spell lists to make sure that the druid is getting worthwhile PvE options, and that we’re giving things to other classes that are likely to be useful in many different types of situations.

36 Comments

  1. Stupidhero
    Posted April 14, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    Honestly speaking, I’d rather have symbiosis provide everyone with a spell which may be used at most once in a lifetime, rather than having it replaced by a third improved tranquility.

    Though I won’t worry much here. Blizzard tends to keep on horrendous ideas for druids, and rather have them entirely useless than replacing them with an actual good one. Hence: there goes our new 87 ability :(

  2. Posted April 14, 2012 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    We actually have 2 mages now, so only 1 Moonkin will be without Mirror Image. I’ll let you guys fight that one out. :P

    With Hand of Sacrifice out of the picture it becomes less cut and dry for Resto, but I’m pretty sure I’d still give Symbiosis to one of our Shadow Priests just so they can have Tranquility even tho I’m stuck with a useless ability like Leap of Faith. A raid cooldown like Tranquility far outweighs my own personal survival, especially since we got Barkskin back.

    Druids have been screaming about wanting utility for 2 expansions now, but THIS isn’t the type of utility we wanted. I think Blizzard intended for this ability to be light and fun. It was supposed to let Druids be able to choose from different spells that made gameplay more fun and interesting, but it’s not turning out like that at all. It’s turning into what benefits the raid the most, even if the Druid gets screwed over in the process. Symbiosis is becoming a utility ability that lets us GIVE BETTER utility to a completely different class. It’s nothing but Innervate-bots 2.0 where we were brought in just to Innervate other healers when our healing was bad only this time it affects the entire raid.

    Overall, Symbiosis sounds really fun and interesting for PvP, but for PvE it sounds like a nightmare.

    • Lissanna
      Posted April 14, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

      We added one moonkin & one mage to the guild’s raiding roster since the log I posted, so that’s still going to overall be a wash (and what happens when all 3 moonkin show up and one of our mages takes the night off?). However, we haven’t had all 6 of our druids show up in a log, and I wanted to use a totally practical example of how I’d assign druids on that one night of raiding based on what guild members were actually there. I wanted a totally practical example and nothing at all theoretical about the assignments, so I posted the actual log with an actual raid breakdown in terms of who was there that night.

  3. Jen
    Posted April 14, 2012 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    I hope it won’t come to this, honestly. It sounds like a fun ability… but having an assignment would suck all the fun from it. I want life grip to troll our priests! Payback! (Or I want to be strategic and decide what ability would work best for what fight…)

    • Lissanna
      Posted April 14, 2012 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

      If you are the only druid in the raid, you can decide to be strategic and swap targets between fights to some extent. However, having multiple druids starts to exponentially complicate the issue if you change targets at all during the night’s raid.

      • Jen
        Posted April 15, 2012 at 4:54 am | Permalink

        We’re very druid heavy… :( Things might change, but at the moment we have 2 trees, 2 boomkins and 2 cats. And 4 of those have already said they’re staying druids for Pandaria… (Time to change to a 10-man guild!)

        • Lissanna
          Posted April 15, 2012 at 10:00 am | Permalink

          Jen, there will probably be websites or addons that calculate who should put symbiosis on who. Lets get our addon developers working on this! Maybe I’ll start asking around. lol

  4. Mayea
    Posted April 14, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    I have a feeling that Symbiosis will perform best with groups and raids much further from the world best than yours, Lissanna. I looked through the list on MMO Champion and immediately saw a bunch of applications for runs my alts have been on this very week. It seems like an ability that may be at its best in the middle part of the curve of gear, experience, and player quality. (I have no ego problem admitting I’m nowhere near the world’s best player.)

    • Lissanna
      Posted April 14, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

      My 25-man group actually sits at the middle of the pack. I think we’re at like the top 40 or 50% of guilds (not the top 4 or 5%). We’ve only killed two hard mode bosses so far, and only killed like 1 or 2 heroic bosses in Firelands.

      I speak for the average raid because my raid is actually average. I had to retire from hardcore raiding several years ago because my PhD program consumes too much of my time.

      • stiubhart
        Posted April 15, 2012 at 10:33 am | Permalink

        I think the fact that you are running 25 mans and have any heroic attempts let alone kills places you in the “well above average” group of raiders overall , even if you are “only” in the top half of 25 mans.

        • Lissanna
          Posted April 15, 2012 at 11:55 am | Permalink

          That makes no sense at all, since 10-mans overall have more guilds further progressed than us, so our rankings actually drop when you collapse across raid size.

          That said, the number of druids in your raid is going to matter more than how far progressed you are. The organizational difficulty for PUGs is actually higher than for organized guilds because you won’t know the other people in the raid group and whether or not they actually even know what Symbiosis does for them.

          Symbiosis requires the other player to find a skill in their skill book and drag it down to a bar or keybind it for use. Dark Intent just put a buff on the other player and they didn’t even need to know it was there. So, the organizational problems would be worse for the least progressed groups because they’d have less infrastructure in place for managing the difficulty.

          Guilds more progressed than mine will just have addons, spreadsheets, or some sort of system in place after the first night or two of raids in 5.0 that manages the Symbiosis organizational problem for them.

  5. Posted April 14, 2012 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    I think Symbiosis is a bad idea in the same way that Dark Intent – which is getting removed – was a bad idea. Although probably not quite as terrible, since there’s no one that will be as dependent upon it as shadowpriests were on DI.

    I did see one person ask an interesting question on twitter: can you still cast heals while symbiosis-deterrence is active on you? I’m really curious about the answer to this question, since I think giving the resto druid in my raid my deterrence could quite possibly be amazing, but only if she can still cast heals while it’s active.

  6. Asrah
    Posted April 14, 2012 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

    I think they should remove the part where we give abilities to others. I know it wouldn’t be a ‘symbiosis’ like that, but it would reduce the complexity. Its an ability for us, not for others, so it should be about the choice we make about what would be good for us. Also remove the cannot be placed on the same target by multiple druids, so if you have 1 mage, all the druids can use the ability the mage provides for them if they want to. To put it simply, I would like it as an abilty where I choose 1 spell from a list of 11. Yes 11, I want to be able to choose to put it on druid too, because I often play with my other boomie friend together. I feel bad we will be unable to use it if we are alone. Well, its just a minor problem, I don’t care so much, but I would like to see it. Since we get abilities from other specializations too, we could get something as a druid! I.e. feral gains something from guardian spec, resto from balance and vice versa.

    I’m ok with the abilities we get. All the specializations have at least a few defensice cooldowns to choose from. Those are good in every fight. Except if you take no damage, but that’s quite rare :) They are not meant to be a dmg up cd to begin with. Do not try to find something that will put you higher in the dps ranking. If we get something like that, we will be balanced around having that anyway. Its better without them. We already get those from our talents and baseline. lvl 60 row, balance druids also get Celestial Alignment. Its just natural they don’t put one in Symbiosis too. At least I think so.

  7. Zuuz
    Posted April 14, 2012 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

    I think that you are missing the point of the spell, it is a fun spell, it is not designed to be a DPS increase for any toon, nor is it designed to be a ridiculously OP Tank spell or healing spell. I think think there _is_ a right assignment and I think that’s your problem with it.

    • Zuuz
      Posted April 14, 2012 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

      Note: Your best choice for a non tank is Mirror Image, which is a threat reduction at the start of the fight, and a tiny tiny tiny DPS cooldown (150 DPS) which is probably a DPS loss considering it costs a GCD which can be used on your own personal rotation.

      The threat reduction is also unnecessary with all the tanking threat changes as long as you are playing with a competent tank.

    • Lissanna
      Posted April 14, 2012 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

      I understand the point of the spell. I just have to be antagonistic with some things to make sure they actually implement mechanics for druids that work.

  8. Posted April 14, 2012 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

    I’m sure pretty quickly someone will have a nifty addon for managing Symbiosis assignments effectively

    • Lissanna
      Posted April 15, 2012 at 12:58 am | Permalink

      Yeah, I’ll be first in line for picking up that addon. LOL

    • Jen
      Posted April 15, 2012 at 4:57 am | Permalink

      Not another PallyPower! I really, really like the idea of this talent, but PP was a major pain in the ass and I want that away from my druid.

      • Lissanna
        Posted April 15, 2012 at 10:08 am | Permalink

        I know. That’s why I made this post. Because as cool as it sounds in theory, and as much as I could talk about each spell in isolation, it’s still actually worse than dark intent to manage.

  9. Posted April 14, 2012 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

    It’s a good point, Lissanna. “With 5 druids in my raid, it could take a couple hours to work out symbiosis targets, with no one (other than the tanks) actually getting anything that was worth having to spend an hour before raid every night deciding this.”

    I like the idea of the ability. When you’re in a raid, you can trade buffs with people and you both get stronger. However, it seems like it needs to be made a whole lot simpler somehow, or it’s just going to be a pain. For example, maybe the ability you get from the other class should not be a class-specific ability, but something that just has to do with whether they are a tank, a healer, a melee, or a caster dps. For example, cast it on the tanks to get a damage cooldown, or on the melee to get a movement buff.

  10. Steko
    Posted April 15, 2012 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    Going to comment from oomkin perspective:

    (1) Many of these pairings are with pvp in mind. Defensive C/D’s, instant CC, these are good things the spec needed.

    (2) Intervene provides a similar (minor) DPS boost to Mirror Image in almost every fight in addition to a lot of utility.

    (3) AMS, Cloak and Unending Resolve are useful in most if not every fight.

    It might be nice if this spell gave us X% more damage for Y seconds but at the end of the day you just have to assume that the designers will give us enough dmg to be worth a raid slot and kill the boss. If Symbiosis Arcane Power increased our damage by 15% overall they’d just have to nerf the scaling or base damage or some other aspect so that total damage is balanced.

    So this ability might look lackluster but survivability leads to more high quality longer lasting attempts where the raid learns the mechanics flow. I expect on many fights to start with Symbiosis on a DK, Rogue or Spst while learning and then change to a Warrior or Mage later to optimize. On many other fights the extra tank mini-c/d means they’ll probably get it regardless. On some fights the added utility of having a Cloak type c/d will drastically change what I’m capable of so I might stick with that.

    • Lissanna
      Posted April 15, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

      The ability is amazing for PvP. All the situational utility stuff for PVE turns into great utility tools you actually use turn into great PvP tools (except for things like bres and misdirect that serve no PvP purpose). I think that Blizzard just forgot that no one really cares that much about utility in PvE if you are a damage dealer brought to the raid to do damage.

    • Treeboi
      Posted April 16, 2012 at 9:55 am | Permalink

      You have got to be kidding, right? Most of the PvP pairing are completely one sided. Good for the druid, but bad for the other class.

      The very few good pairings are rogue/moonkin, warlock/non-guardian druid. A few other pairings will be extremely common in PvP (shaman/priest), but only because the druid gets a game changing spell (Purge/Mass Dispel), and not because the other class gets something in return.

      Lots of pairing seem okay at first glance, but then you notice stuff like 10 minute cooldowns (Stampeding Shout), or that the other class has to use a tank spec (which nobody brings to PvP), or that the spell is never used in PvP (Healing Touch for mages will almost never be used in PvP, because druids don’t even cast that spell in PvP, due to the long cast time).

      • Lissanna
        Posted April 16, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

        There are always some good & some bad abilities for PvP or PvE. There are overall more abilities that are good for PvP than for PvE across the 3 druid specs likely to PvP (cats, resto, & moonkin).

  11. Steko
    Posted April 15, 2012 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    A possible change to this ability that might simplify it for raids might be to allow the same target to be chosen by several druids. She gains the ability of the last druids to cast it on her while every druid gains the appropriate ability from that target.

    I dunno, breaks the flavor of the name a bit and might lead to selfishness.

    • Lissanna
      Posted April 15, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

      Your target gains the same ability regardless of who casts it on them. However, my bet is that mechanically, there isn’t a way for multiple druids to be linked to the same person. It would either just not allow you to cast it on that person again, or it would un-link the first druid.

  12. Kalrell
    Posted April 15, 2012 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

    Hey there
    I’m a former druid who now plays a deathknight, so i thought i’d add my 2c on the Symbiosis topic.

    I’m not sure if my DPS DK benefits from their version of shrooms, since I’m not sure if it is a better spell than the ones they already have in MoP to apply their blood plague and frost fever.

    I think Wild Mushroom: Plague will most likely be quite meh for deathknights.

    We will simply have too many ways to instantly apply both dots.

    Outbreak remains at 1 minute cooldown.
    and
    New Unholy Blight Talent has a 1.5 minute cooldown.
    or
    New Vile Spew Talent has the kinda heavy 60 runic power cost, on demand.
    and
    Wild Mushroom: Plague has a 3 minute cooldown.

    All just to keep 30 sec duration debuffs up.
    I doubt there will be much use for Wild Mushroom: Plague since the other two abilities are available so much more often. The only place i see it maybe being useful is with streaming adds(Yor’sahj this tier), and even then Unholy Blight now does the job.

  13. Felade
    Posted April 15, 2012 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

    Having Symbiosis give marginal abilities is better than having it give DPS abilities. DI was painful, I don’t want another expansion depending on someone else’s single target buff for my DPS.

    It will be better in 10 mans than 25s, because it can help plug holes, especially in heroic modes. I’m thinking heroic Ultraxion here, where if you happen to have a terrible comp (read: not enough soakers) symbiosis can help with that.

  14. nelf
    Posted April 15, 2012 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

    just some random ideas that i’d like to see in mop:

    =>glyph of unbalance: your starfall and wrath can now be cast while moving IF they do not generate solar or lunar power respectively.
    this way, the druid would always have on-movement options but not benefit from eclipse (or generate power) while moving.

    =>symbiosis (Hunter)/ Snake Trap (passive): infest your wild mushrooms with snakes that attack nearby targets upon detonation.
    hunter snakes in our traps. i don’t really know if its a good idea, but i don’t see many options in the hunter toolkit that fit balance thematics

  15. Zie
    Posted April 16, 2012 at 5:46 am | Permalink

    As a resto druid i’m completely underwelmed about it. As a fun spell it really doesn’t seem that fun. Its noted it may change, but i kinda wish we had some sort of choice of which spell we benefit from rather than blizzard chosing which spell we get depending on what spec we are. This could be added in the talent tree or something so it’s not something that can be changed frequently of course, but i think it would be a little more fun than its current implentation.

    • Lissanna
      Posted April 16, 2012 at 8:15 am | Permalink

      well, you get choice in what ability you get based on who you put it on. If they gave us two options per class, the matrix would get unwieldy and it would be impossible to actually use the skill.

      • Zie
        Posted April 17, 2012 at 12:20 am | Permalink

        i was thinking more along the lines a dropdown list kinda thing, but ya, its probably a little too complicated of a thought.

  16. Berdache
    Posted April 16, 2012 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    As a moonkin I see most of the abilities gained as defensive CDs which might be useful and a couple of low dps (mirror image and intervene) but really wish we have got Heroic Leap from warrior it being one of my favourite skills.

    All in I suppose balancing issues make this spell difficult and I still hate the idea that in a 10 man guild I might have to end up using it on the tank that being best for the raid.

  17. Daniel
    Posted April 24, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    I think you’re exaggerating and spinning it as negative as possible. Do you always micromanage your raid members so much? Why not just let the druids work out for themselves who they are going to cast it? Unless two druids are immature and are fighting over one target or unless there is some specific reason a certain ability would be needed for a fight strategy then I see little reason for the raid leader to be assigning symbiosis targets at every boss.

    Symbiosis is all about adapting to the situation and filling gaps. Obviously there are less gaps to fill in a 25 man raids as they have a wider variety of classes, and I hardly think it is the spell design’s fault if your rogues cannot be trusted to not taunt if they aren’t supposed to. I do concede that the spell is probably more useful in pvp or in 10 man raids where there are more gaps to fill.

    As a tank I am looking forward to trying out several of these spells. Actually the one you listed for your tank is one of the ones I am least excited about. I guess I don’t particularly get the appeal of Bone Shield. It’s only a 10% reduction and only lasts for 3 hits, so it’s half the damage reduction of barkskin and will only last about a quarter of the duration. It will be nice for fights where you know a giant hit is coming though. I am most excited about trying consecration, life tap and spell reflect and can see situational uses for several of the other spells.

    I can also see many situational uses for the other classes to receive symbioses. Warriors and Hunters will be able to break roots and snares with it which could be very useful on certain fights. All the tanking classes get very good abilities – DKs get a Last Stand, Monks get a Shield Wall, Paladins get Barkskin, Warrs get Frenzied Regen, all of which are obviously beneficial. I can think of many fights where an extra tranquility at a key point could save the raid from a wipe(in 10 man at least).

    I’m not saying the design of Symbiosis is perfect or even great, but I think your post has serious negative spin and is not giving a balanced look at this spell.

    • Lissanna
      Posted April 24, 2012 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

      When the patch hits, I have to write guides on how to get the best use out of an ability.

      In beta, I have to be negative and point out any possible problem that could ever happen. I’m negative during beta because we have to be critical of abilities without the raid contexts in which they will be used.

      Can you find uses in 10-mans and PvP for some of this stuff? Sure, but in a 25-man raiding situation, a lot of the utility becomes buttons you wouldn’t use. Instead of just berating the ability, I picked a really specific context and talked about possible uses within that context because I wanted to be more practical than just thinking about the 1 fight since vanilla WOW where having X may have been useful.

      In the case of high-end tanking, any cooldown that increases your survivability is impacting your main role in MoP (surviving) and is better than any non-survival cooldown. I actually think that if DPS and healers can’t have things that effect our main roles, none of the tanks should have survival cooldowns at all.

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