Legion Beta is in full swing now, with a large group of people being invited to help test the content. While there are a few major bugs being worked out (such as disappearing NPCs), I wanted to briefly reflect upon development thus far.
- The druid class hall is really, really pretty. Also, the class hall concept overall works pretty well, where you are likely to see other people frequently when you visit the class hall, but have a strong reason to leave & go out into the world.
- New druid form updates are really, really pretty. The new moonkin feels much better – it’s difficult for me to log back onto my old druid with how much better the new druids look. The cat and bear forms are looking great, especially for the artifact forms.
- Balance druids have a good starting point, with a newly redesigned mastery, a fairly complex toolkit, and decent utility (especially picking up extra healing spells with the affinity). While there are small tweaks to balance that I expect to see before things go live, we’re at a good starting point.
- Resto druid’s toolest is starting to come together. Resto druids have gained back innervate (utility to cast on other people), dash (you can run away again!), and cyclone (as a PVP talent). So, some of the concerns and weaknesses we were concerned about were addressed.
To be decided:
- Resto mastery: The biggest question mark for resto druids right now is whether or not the new mastery is good. In most situations it should overall work fine. In places where the mastery falls short, we’ll likely just see changes to how resto druids heal. In general, the new healing strategy suggests that people won’t sit at 100% all the time, so HOTs may turn out to be pretty valuable if that healing strategy actually goes live. In general, the new resto mastery seems to be growing on most people on the beta forums right now, after some tweaks to the spec seems to have made it more desirable. So, resto mastery could work out fine. If it doesn’t work out fine, I’m sure we’ll see small tweaks along the way that keeps mastery desirable for druids.
- Healer soloing & leveling: The new specialization system and artifacts have made it somewhat more difficult for healers to level. This is likely to be more true for undergeared healers than people with lots of gear. In addition, some healer specs are better off than others (I hear that holy priest is particularly difficult).You do get some DPS abilities (druids via the affinity system could potentially be in a good place if feral or balance affinity does enough damage). However, as they balance how difficult or fast it is to kill stuff in the world, healer leveling runs the risk of being slower and more boring than DPS leveling.
It will cost you up to 61 gold every time you want to change a spec to DPS.In addition, you need an artifact weapon for a spec for it to really be viable – making swapping between specs challenging for healers. So, if you pick the resto artifact first, you won’t have a DPS weapon until after you’ve unlocked the ability to get a second weapon. In my guides, I’ll put in a level 100 to 110 section for advice on leveling healers (and how to manage spec swaps), but I’m still keeping an eye on healers’ ability to solo level & solo end-game world quests. Someone suggested that healers should get a boost to their world soloing damage (that wouldn’t work against players, in dungeons, or other group content). At this point, I think that might ultimately be the best solution if testing finds that healers struggle too much at keeping up with their DPS leveling counterparts. UPDATE: Gold cost on swapping specs is being removed, which helps some with being able to swap specs for leveling & whatnot.
Conclusion: In general, the transition to beta signals that we’re getting closer to release. The class changes need to be done by the end of July, since we traditionally see a pre-patch a month before the expansion launch. At this point, I’m still pretty committed to swapping to my druid for raiding on my moonkin in Legion.