The new 5.3 patch is going live today. This has fairly big changes for resto druids, especially those in 25-man raiding.
Druid 5.3 changes
I have a post up describing the major 5.3 changes for resto & balance druids. These changes should be implemented today.
This means that I have also updated my resto druid healing guide:
I also made some minor edits to the blog’s leveling guide, but nothing substantial.
Mage 5.3 changes
- Mages had a buff to Living Bomb that now theoretically makes it better for single target boss fights than Nether Tempest. Nether Tempest is still better for multi-target cleaving boss fights (e.g., Horridon).
- Mages also had buffs to our AOE spells, though I’m not sure how these changes impact our overall AOE rotations yet, especially if you are going to be running around with Living Bomb for most of the raid and not consistently switching back to nether tempest for trash packs. I may need to spend some time in LFR tonight to figure out what buttons I should be mashing.
- You can upgrade gear again with valor points, so don’t forget to hit the upgrade vendor and cash in any saved VP.
- Grab some friends and hit up Heroic Scenarios to help with your VP farming fun.
- And of course, make sure you read one of the patch day summaries at MMO-champion, or WOWhead, or WOWinsider.
With 5.3 likely to come out in the next few weeks, I thought it might be helpful to write a recap of the 5.3 changes for resto & moonkin druids. Since this is still on the PTR, it is, of course, subject to change. The full PTR notes are available here.
We still don’t have an official release date, but I thought it would help to cover some of the changes in more detail.
- Both resto & moonkin benefit from general druid changes. First, Force of Nature is undergoing some changes in 5.3. It is now going to be one big tree (without a pet bar) that is a little bit smarter, and should chain-cast spells (instead of pausing so much). For moonkin, the casting of roots in PvE is still likely problematic. However, the resto druid version (that now casts swiftmend in addition to healing touch) is likely a more viable option than it was previously. As a “fire and forget” spell, now off the global cooldown, it may be worth trying out, especially for new players .
Balance 5.3 changes
- The main balance changes for 5.3 are really about PvP, with some solar beam changes.
- In addition, the glyph of Omens seems like it could be used to fish for eclipse procs in PvP situations. However, most of the utility spells that generate Eclipse energy with this glyph aren’t often used in PvE.
Restoration 5.3 changes
- Ironbark cooldown will be 1 minute instead of 2 minutes (the PvP set bonus change means that this won’t really impact PvP). This gives you the ability to sometimes cast this on non-tanks to save raid members from harm, rather than feeling forced to always save it for tanks. You can, alternatively, cast it more on the tank if that works best for the fight. The important part is that this should just generally be used more often to reduce the damage members of your raid are taking.
- For 25-man raids, Tranquility will hit 12 people. In 10-man, it will continue to hit 5 people. Several other AOE heals of other classes (such as the priest divine hymn) were changed to also have a different target number for 10 & 25-mans. This will help druids scale better for 25-man raiding, where a weakness of druids was that our tools were really limited in the number of people we could heal at a time in 25’s.
- Our “smart” heals will be smarter. One of the problems with smart heals was that they frequently targeted pets over players, leading to what looked like a lot of healing done, but was really wasted healing. So, now, these “smart” heals will now more consistently choose wounded raid members over their wounded pets. In addition, since pets should take a little less damage in raids, they won’t really be at risk of dieing. Note that if players are at full health, it will still do healing on the pets.
- The radius of Swiftmend‘s Efflorescence AOE effect has been increased to 10 yards. With how spread out people tend to be, this still will be used more often in melee on 10-mans. However, you now have a higher probability of hitting both your tank and melee for bosses with smaller hit-boxes. In addition, for ranged spread-out times, there is now an increased chance of having more people hit by Efflo (and given the 3 person limit, anyway, that’s not so bad).
- Wild Mushroom: Bloom was given two buffs. First, it has the same increase in radius to 10 yards that Swiftmend’s AOE got. Second, the baseline healing (and scaling with rejuv overhealing) was also increased. However, this doesn’t change the fundamental flaws that makes the ability feel more situational. That said, it will be worth using more often in times where you are likely to stack on one spot for AOE healing.
- It is also important to note that some of the problems druids are having is with how HOTs don’t play well with discipline and paladin absorbs. The paladin absorb mastery is targeted for a minor nerf for 5.3, which may indirectly help out druids to look better on meters. 😉