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Legion patch day resources for 7.0 druids

Happy patch day! The pre-patch for Legion brings with it major class changes as well as Druid_moonkinother important game changes to be aware of. Here are some resources and other tips to help get you started! There is also a Discord for druids, where you can ask questions and chat with hundreds of other druids.

General updates for all druids.

  • Cat form, moonkin form, bear form, sea lion swimming travel form all got skin updates to their base textures.
  • Glyph system was changed. All major glyphs are gone. Minor cosmetic glyphs still exist, in the form of either glyphs applied to spells OR tomes that let you learn new spells. The glyphs (Such as Glyph of Stars) can be made by vendors and applied to your existing spells.
  • The Tomes are available in MOONGLADE during the pre-patch month (find Lorelae Wintersong)! This includes: Nature’s Beacon  Tome of the Wilds: Treant Form   Tome of the Wilds: Stag Form    Tome of the Wilds: Track Beasts    Tome of the Wilds: Flap   Tome of the Wilds: Charm Woodland Creature
  • They got rid of dual-spec as a feature. Instead, you can freely change between all 4 specializations. Note that keeping up with 4 artifact weapons in Legion is likely to be difficult, maxcameraespecially early in the expansion.
  • They changed the max camera distance, and changed the Camera Interface option. Go into Interface -> Camera and set “Max Camera Distance” slider to “Far”.
  • The new transmog system is live. All your gear is learned to the transmog system so you can dump all your old gear instead of hoarding it. You also enable/disable your helm/cloak in the transmog system tab. Need to interact with a transmog NPC still to use the transmog system.
  • I also fully updated the 1 to 100 leveling guide here on Restokin & also on the official wow forums.

Due to the major class changes, here is a compilation of all the available guides to help you navigate the druid class changes!

Restoration Druid Guides

Balance Druid Guides

Feral Druid Guides

Guardian Druid Guides

 

Posted in Legion, Patch 7.0, Restoration Healing Trees, Written By Lissanna

Resto druid Legion survival guide for 7.0

Resto druid survival guide for level 100 Legion 7.0 pre-patch! NOTE: This is currently a preview subject to change!  With the pre-patch hitting July 19th, here is a short guide covering the major changes you will have to adjust to at level 100. The full guide will be updated some time in the next few weeks for level 110 end-game. Restoration druids are largely similar in toolset & playstyle in Legion compared to Draenor. Thus, you should mostly be able to keep playing the way you are used to for the next month in Draenor content. The goal is still to use mostly HOTs around the raid as your primary healing strategy.

This survival guide covers the following topics:

  • New Mastery
  • Spell & ability changes
  • Stats
  • Talents

New Mastery: Harmony

  • The Draenor mastery ability was removed & replaced with a new mastery for Legion.
  • This new mastery instead increases your healing done by ALL spells for each HOT on your target (e.g., rejuv, lifebloom, wild growth, regrowth’s HOT portion). So, having 2 HOTs on the target will heal more than 1 HOT on the target. Then, 3 HOTs heal for more than 2 HOTs, and so forth.
  • Additional HOTs from talents can also increase this mastery healing (e.g., cultivation, spring blossoms, germination). Note that effects like living seed, efflorescence, and tranquility don’t count towards the mastery, as they are not considered HOT effects. Cenarion ward only counts as a HOT after the person takes damage (e.g., the ward is consumed) and the HOT portion is ticking down for 8 seconds.
  • How much does this impact your healing?
    • Druids are balanced around ~1 to 2 HOTs on a target for the purpose of raid healing. So, in most cases, the main goal will be to avoid casting Healing Touch or Swiftmend on people who don’t have HOTs on them.
    • While the old mastery buffed you (the healer), the new mastery is based on number of HOTs on each individual target (e.g., if you have 3 HOTs on your tank and 1 HOT on a mage, then the mastery bonus is higher on your tank than the mage).
    • All HOTs benefit from the mastery (e.g., if you cast Rejuv on someone who has no other HOTs, Rejuv still gets a mastery bonus value of 1 HOT).
    • The mastery buffs both your direct heals and HOTs, and the bonus increases for each HOT you have on a target. For example, at 8% mastery on my undergeared level 100 resto on the PTR, my rejuv ticks for: 4479 with 1 HOT (rejuv buffing itself), 4803 (2 HOTs), 5129 (3 HOTs), 5453 (4HOTs), 5778 (5 HOTS).
    • In general, your goal should be keeping multiple HOTs on the tank and not worrying too much about the mastery for raid healing (as shown above, the increase in rejuv ticks at 100 don’t make a second HOT necessary for rejuv to be beneficial for your raid). Try not to spam yourself OOM by blanketing people needlessly just because you think you have to HOT stack.
    • Note that HOTs dynamically update every time they tick. It doesn’t matter what order you cast your HOT spells in when stacking multiple HOTs on a target. Your mastery will check number of HOTs on a target every time it ticks.

Spell and Ability Changes

Removed abilities:

  • Nature’s Swiftness, mark of the wild, soothe, and genesis are gone.
  • Dramatically reduced access to baseline off-role damage/utility abilities (NOTE: see the section on level 45 affinity talents for how you can get access to damage abilities for soloing via talents!).
  • Cyclone: Now only available as a PVP talent at 110.
  • Most “major” glyphs have been removed (instead, these effects have been baked into abilities, changed into talents, or removed).

New abilities:

  • Innervate has returned. Now allows all spells cast for 10 seconds to be mana-free (usable on yourself or others).
  • Revitalize: This is now a mass resurrection spell available to healers. Returns all raid or party members out of combat (revive is 1 person out of combat, rebirth is 1 person in combat). This basically replaces Mass Res, which was taken away from non-healers.

Modified abilities:

  • Swiftmend: longer cooldown & larger effect. Swiftmend also no longer requires a HOT for you to be able to cast the spell (though due to interactions with the new mastery, HOTs on the target will make it heal for more).
  • Teleport Moonglade: Will eventually be replaced with Dreamwalking as you level in Legion (gives you access to a larger set of portals to various places).
  • Efflorescence: Wild Mushroom has been renamed Efflorescence – place a mushroom on the ground to heal targets standing nearby.
  • Note that minor glyphs (largely impacting cosmetic appearances) are still available as either glyphs or tomes. You apply minor glyphs to the spells themselves, or learn shapeshift forms such as tree form, rather than using the old glyph system.

Stat Priority

Overview. In general, it doesn’t much matter what your gear is like is for the month before legion comes out.  There are two general strategies for stats (large group vs small group) since the value of mastery goes down as the number of people in your party goes up. Spirit and multistrike have been removed from all of your gear. For the pre-patch month, just wear whatever is highest ilevel, since you’ll replace everything soon anyway, but here’s a quick set of potential priority lists. Higher ilevel things with more intellect, of course, will always help your healing the most.

  • Stats for large raids: Haste = crit > versatility = mastery. Mastery doesn’t work very well with large numbers of targets to heal (e.g., groups of 15+ such as LFR or Mythic raids). So, haste & crit seems to come out higher.
  • Stats for 5-mans & small group contentMastery > haste = crit > versatility. For smaller groups, mastery clearly comes out ahead of all other stats, due to the ability to stack HOTs on multiple people (regardless of which talent build you take).

Potential Talent Builds

In general, for the Legion pre-patch month, the talent choices don’t matter a whole lot. Below are two potential strategies. The first is the highest output healing build for Legion end-game raiding, focused on maximizing Wild Growth use (turning swiftmend into a spell that primes Wild Growth to heal more). The second is more of a fun 5-man alternative build for beginners that frees up Swiftmend to be used as an emergency tank heal it was meant to be. I’ll do a full set of talent explanations in the full end-game guide I’ll post in the upcoming weeks.

Talent build for large group content such as Heroic/Mythic raids: Prosperity/Soul of the Forrest/Spring Blossoms/Flourish (choose whatever you want for remaining talents at level 30, 45, & 60 – but note the affinity discussion at the end of the post).

  • Maximizing Wild Growth for large group content: Soul of the Forest (SOTF) is a very strong talent. However, you always time it so you can follow Swiftmend with Wild Growth (thus, Swiftmend now gets used every time it comes off cooldown to buff Wild Growth. Pair SOTF with Prosperity to allow for more Swiftmend casts. Flourish extends the duration of your HOTs (use it after Wild Growth casts once per minute). These three together make your Wild Growth healing incredibly potent for raiding.
  • Level 90 talent discussion: Spring Blossoms is the most obvious choice for level 90 talents since it allows you to get a HOT component on Efflorescence and is essentially passive bonuses that interact with your mastery. In fights where a 2 minute tranquility works well with encounter design, Inner Peace can be very potent. Germination won’t work as well in raids, due to eating too many GCDs (you’ll get more mastery bonus from Spring Blossoms).
  • This SOTF build works great for some raid encounters but falls short of a Culvination build in others. So, you may find yourself wanting to change talent builds around in raids depending on the encounter, particularly for more advanced mythic raids.
  • This healing strategy works by: Casting swiftmend ALWAYS followed by wild growth. Extend the HOT from Wild Growth when flourish if off cooldown (1 x per minute). Keep rejuv/LB on tank(s). Keep Efflorescence under the melee group. Be careful managing your mana between Wild Growth Casts, so you can cast Wild Growth as often as possible. Tranquility on cooldown.

SOTF Build level 100

Alternative talents for 5-mans or some raid encounters: Abundance (or Cenarion Ward), cultivation, germination, stonebark (or flourish). Note that you can choose whatever level 30, 45, or 60 talent you want (but see discussion on Affinity level 45 talents at the end of this post).

  • This focuses on maximizing your rejuv use (with bonus rejuv stacking from Germination & Cultivation) and maximizing your mastery bonuses. Given that tank healing matters more for 5-mans, abundance (with a ton of rejuvs spread around) will make your direct heals super fast. Healing Touch can actually drop below 1 second cast times.
  • For the level 15 talents, some people prefer Cenarion Ward over Abundance, since the speedy direct heals from Abundance are causing people to run out of mana too quickly. The HOT from Cenarion Ward (after the person takes damage) also counts towards the mastery bonus.
  • Stonebark is useful for tank healing in 5-mans, particularly for people who may be struggling to keep the tank alive (this talent increases the healing done to the person you cast ironbark on, so cast ironbark frequently on a tank). However, flourish is a good alternative to boost overall party healing (but only if make sure you use Flourish after you cast wild growth).
  • Note that some people will likely still take SOTF over Cultivation, depending on the encounter. For beginners in particular, the more passive healing will be really helpful in cases where you fall behind and people drop low. I also think keeping Swiftmend freed up for emergency tank healing is preferable for small group content over using it to buff WG.
  • The rejuv-focused strategy works by: Keep HOTs on tank & Stonebark (plus Cenarion Ward if you have it) as often as possible. Keep casting rejuvs on any party member taking damage in that fight (you can stack 2 rejuvs per person). Keep Efflorescence under as many people as possible (probably the tank/melee area). Save tranquility for when you can stand still and everyone is taking heavy damage. Use your Healing Touches and regrowths for direct healing when needed (HT is speedy when you have abundance). Use Swiftmend as an emergency burst direct healing cooldown to save a tank or other party member from death.

Rejuv build level 100

Affinity Level 45 talents: Druids have always been known as the “jack of all trades, master of none” spec.  So, resto used to have a smattering of damage & tanking abilities that almost never got used. So, they stripped out all these off-role buttons from your baseline spec (except for enough spells that you could kill something if you got stuck). Your affinity talent lets you choose an off-role spec where you pick up more abilities that make you pretty decent at one off-role thing at a time, rather than crappy at all off-role things all the time.

  • If you choose balance affinity, all your spells (including healing spells) get an added 5 yard range. You get moonkin form. This increases your damage in form & allows you to cast several additonal balance spells when you shift into moonkin. The extra range is pretty nice for times when people are super spread out.
  • If you choose feral affinity, you get a 15% movement speed buff. In addition, you get feral abilities that allow you to have relatively mana-free damage while in cat form.
  • While guardian affinity gives you 10% reduced damage taken, a raid that is asking their resto druid to off-tank something in the middle of the fight has probably already all died. So, you get little to no good utility from a resto/guardian build – you need the damage from balance or feral way more than the guardian passive.

There is also a full restoration guide up on Wowhead that is complete with Legion-relevant information. I’ll be working on my full resto guide for 110 expecting to launch in a few weeks.

Let me know if there are any other pressing questions or suggestions!

Posted in Legion, Patch 7.0, Restoration Healing Trees, Written By Lissanna
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Update for Legion Class Prep

Hi everyone! I haven’t been as active blogging this summer as I’ve been testing legion. I have, however, been busy with writing guides & playtesting for the expansion. Here are some important things to know for my Legion plans:

  1. I am returning to my moonkin/resto druid for Legion raiding, after a 2 expansion (MOP & WOD) hiatus where I raided on my mage. While fire mages will be lots of fun, the druid class hall is just far more awesome than the mage class hall. Plus Eclipse is gone and they updated moonkin form, so I had nothing left to complain about.
  2. My druid leveling guide will be ready to go for 7.0 by the time the pre-patch hits. I have finished a lot of the leveling guide for newbie druids. They made changes to the 1 to 10 leveling process for druids and other relevant changes that I discuss in the guide.
  3. I will have short 7.0 survival guides for Resto and for Balance that will cover the basic changes for pre-patch. This will cover general spell changes (what’s new, what’s gone, and how to survive for a month until Legion launches).
  4. I will make an intro Legion end-game guide for Resto (targeting new level 110 players) that will be ready by the time Legion hits. This will likely be in transition during the pre-patch month.
  5. I won’t likely make a full balance 110 guide, but I will have plenty of resources and basics (such as what life is like after Eclipse is gone). I will also cover the basics of artifact weapons, class halls, and other things important to druids.
  6. My guild (Undying Resolution on Elune) made it to 10/13 Mythic. We currently have open recruitment for raiders in Legion (mostly DPS, but also a tank).  We’re running Wed/Thurs progression nights from 8 to 11 Eastern (heroic/mythic in legion), plus Sunday more relaxed content (achievements, normals, or alt stuff).

Beta updates:

  • For leveling 100 to 110, resto druids can pretty effectively use balance or feral affinity (which should actually do decent damage with a fair amount of survivability). So, the problem for resto druids of healer leveling viability is mostly solved.
  • They removed the gold cost for spec swapping, such that running multiple druid specs a lot easier.
  • While you can’t max out 4 artifact weapons very quickly, you can pick one “main” weapon that you keep slotting the highest, and one or two other “off-spec” weapons at about 80% of the power of the main weapon. My /played on my beta druid at 110 is 12 hours. My balance spec has 14 total ranks (across 7 traits) spent in my balance weapon. I have 10 total ranks (across 5 traits) spent in my resto weapon. At some point, my main weapon’s ranks cost somewhere around 10,000 points, and my resto weapon’s traits may still be under 1,000 – in which case, it makes sense to buy cheap traits on the other weapons if you swap a lot.
  • Also, the druid class hall has a moonkin teacher instructing baby moonkin how to cast spells. Except for that one bad student who won’t stop flying in circles (thanks Poneria and T.G.Q. for finding the baby moonkin for me!). The baby moonkin also make me sad because they remind me of Mourninglory and her 8 moonkinlings. She would have loved this feature if she were around to see it. While the moonkin’s name isn’t a reference to Mourninglory, I still would like to think of it as a small tribute to her helpfulness, as well as a tribute to all druids who work hard to teach others and be kind to the community. It’s nice to remember sometimes how great the druid and Warcraft community can be.

And on that sappy note, bring on Legion!

 

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Posted in Druid - General, Legion, Written By Lissanna

Legion Alpha: Resto Druid Mastery

The restoration druid’s mastery has a long history of changes. This is due in part to the fact that Resto druids are a really difficult concept to design, as we’re the only “HOT-based” healer, where our heals tick slowly over time.These HOTs are intended to be weaved together with a small number of direct heals we have access to (so that we can keep up with some amounts of burst damage). We are once again facing a change in the resto druid mastery bonus. The feedback on the Alpha forums from people doing mythic raiding has been overwhelmingly negative. This thread is going to try and contextualize this change, talk about where it falls short, and suggest what other design options might be available. Ultimately, we need to come up with possible solutions, given so many failed designs that have come before.

The short history of resto druid mastery bonuses

To understand why Resto druids have a new mastery (they don’t like) on Legion Alpha right now, we have to talk about all the failed Resto mastery designs. I inserted links to previous mastery discussions along with short summaries (but people are welcome to visit my old mastery threads to see the controversy & how our feelings about mastery changed over time).

  • Mastery #1: Our first mastery made HOTs heal more on low health targets. This mastery never hit the Live servers because it turned out to be numerically terrible, as I documented in early testing. This was similar to the shaman mastery (which shaman really dislike), but actually worse because each individual HOT tick heals for so little.
  • Mastery #2Our next mastery increased direct healing on people who had a HOT. I initially really loved the concept of this mastery, as the post I linked showed. However, it ended up being really problematic in raid healing, where it just didn’t work to constantly chase HOTs with direct heals. Due to the fact that each HOT was on a single person, the minute you had 20 people to heal, the mastery mostly fell apart because having to cast 2 heals on every person was too cumbersome to benefit in raids. This meant that 20-man raid healers didn’t enjoy healing very much during the short period of time where this mastery was live.
  • Mastery #3: Next comes the version of Harmony where casting a direct heal gives you a buff  that then increases your HOT healing done. I will quote directly what made this so appealing: “The best part of the new mastery is that it puts the buff on YOU, and not on your target.” This version of the mastery is one that people came to know & liked (after knowing what the alternatives were), and some version of this mastery stuck around the longest.

New Legion Resto Mastery Explained

The new resto druid mastery for Legion increases your healing done for each HOT you have on that particular target (which can stack up to the maximum number of HOTs the druid can stack). The current Legion mastery thus requires stacking multiple HOTs on the same target. Importantly different from Mastery #2, this increases all your healing done to that target, and allows for stacking the mastery buff multiple times. While the first HOT gets some benefit from the mastery, you need 2 or more HOTs on a target to get the full bonus. Note that this stacks on your target, and NOT on you, which is an important design consideration.

The good:

If you heal one target, it’s possible to stack lots of HOTs on them (lifebloom, 2x rejuvs, regrowth, wild growth). In 5-mans, you’ll have a decent number of HOTs spread around the group, so that most people will have 2 HOTs on them. Numerically, in small groups, the new mastery is the same or better in terms of total healing done today. This also has the potential to be a significant buff to our tank healing, something they want to be relevant in Legion.

The bad:

The new mastery in Legion is actually similar to the Mastery #2 described above. However, it does something slightly different, since the HOTs boost other HOTs in addition to boosting the direct heals on the target. For the same reason that HOT chasing with Mastery #2 was bad, the new mastery suffers the same fatal flaw. To do good healing, you have to cast a large number of spells on a small number of people, rather than healing the person who needs to be healed the most. This requires a lot of setup time, as the “buff” is specific to the person you are healing, and not to you as the healer. While someone else can jump right in, you have to anticipate who might be taking damage and then cast 2 to 3 heals on them to get the full mastery benefit. This is going to be somewhat tedious in raid dungeons, where you may end up devaluing Mastery to a great extent in 20-man raids (where only the tank will reliably get the full mastery bonus out of your heals).

Druids are designed as HOT healers, where we are slow and require ramp up time to reach our full healing strength. Rather than spamming true AOE heals, we weave multiple single-target HOTs on tons of people between AOE heals that have cooldowns. Stacking multiple HOTs on the same person is a slow process – especially if you are responsible for watching 20 people (at 20 people, HOT stacking becomes a potentially frustrating process).

Sigma suggests (on the alpha forums) that: I get the impression that people are significantly overestimating how many HoTs one has to have stacked to get reasonable value out of the mastery.” This is exactly the problem that makes the mastery feel psychologically bad, though. The answer is always going to be “more than 1 HOT”, and in that case, you are HOT-chasing like we did with mastery #2. People are always going to feel like the best strategy is to chase a HOT with another HOT so that you can maximize mastery healing. The mastery largely isn’t passive bonuses to your preferred healing style. It requires you to actively make decisions about whether or not you want the full benefit of your mastery or if you are okay only benefiting partially from it. Anyone interested in maximizing their mastery has to cast more heals than they might want on a particular target.

This is ultimately why Mastery #2 failed: It feels bad to have to chase your HOTs with more spells (either direct heals or HOTs). The mastery increases the feeling like you have to cast 2 heals for every person you heal (when everyone else around you casts 1 and moves on). This impact on our healing style in 20-man raids isn’t all that fun and makes it hard to keep up with other healers who don’t have to ‘waste GCDs’. So, for 5-mans, the new Legion mastery works fine, but in raids, it feels bad & taxing. Numerically on paper, the new mastery works out fine – but it feels psychologically wrong. The new mastery changes how we heal in ways that forces you to constantly think about the mastery, rather than constantly thinking about the best way to save someone’s life. In that way, you are investing a lot of time into a small number of people, which isn’t a viable 20-man strategy where your HOT investment in that smaller number of people is ultimately going to be stomped on by other people’s big AOE burst heals and result in overhealing.

Is there another option?

The most important point my trip down memory lane highlights is that the most popular druid mastery (the one we currently have today) works best because it places the buff on the healer. The most obvious solution would just be to go back to the old mastery if the new one won’t work. However, most of the time we were using Swiftmend to “prime” our mastery today, and the cooldown change for Swiftmend means we’d have to rely on a different strategy for getting our mastery buff (which would probably waste fewer GCDs than a HOT-chasing strategy). Overall, looking at the history of druids, it would be more rewarding and feel more natural if the mastery worked with our HOT spreading design, rather than requiring HOT stacking.

It might be possible to change the Legion mastery to put a stacking buff on the druid  that increases our healing done for each person who has a HOT on them. We’d obviously need a cap on any type of self-buff so that it didn’t spiral out of control (e.g., maybe 3?). That said, with the fact that druids always spread around our HOTs, that kind of mastery might feel too passive & boring. Then again, maybe a passive & “boring” mastery is better than returning to the days of mastery #2, where you chased your HOTs with other spells just for the purpose of gaining more mastery benefit.

Posted in Legion, Restoration Healing Trees, Written By Lissanna

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