Cloudy, With A Chance of Storms   27 comments

This is my outlook for Cataclysm.

After calming down from my initial reaction to the proposed Tree of Life changes on Friday, and cooling my heels a bit, I have decided that I am decidedly unhappy regarding the changes, but the sky has not come crashing down just yet. (Yes, I said “yet”!). I understand that there are a few people that are very pleased to see Tree From go the way of the Dodo, and I can respect that, but I do not have to agree with it and I do not have to like it. In thinking about it some, I have decided that there are three (well, maybe more like three and a half) major reasons that I dislike the idea of ToL being a cool down going forward:

Cosmetics and Identity

A lot of people who I have seen pro-change play druids on the alliance (although there have been a handful of hordies, the majority of those that I have seen have been NEs). They enjoy viewing their characters, they enjoy their caster form, their gear looks good on them and perhaps they’d like to spend more time in it. To those I’d say “please go play a tauren for a week”. I know that this is probably a ridiculously silly argument for some people, but I truly hate the tauren casting model, and I honestly do not think that I’ve heard a single person ever say “the tauren casting model is awesome”! It is big, it is clunky, and it is anything but attractive or enjoyable to look at for hours on end.

I hate the model so much that back in vanilla WoW I literally carried around hundreds of Savory Deviate Delight in my inventory just so that I didn’t have to cast as a tauren. Yes, I killed C’thun as a human ninja. People complained about the heavy consumables on raid wipe nights? Yea, whatever, let’s talk about the amount of fishing progression raiding cost me! It was pretty much a standing guild joke when people saw me in the barrens…they knew exactly what kind of trouble I was stirring up! However, I didn’t care. I would rather spend hours fishing than watching my hooves separate and come together, like some terrible aerobics workout, during raids; and throwing my arms in the air thinking about bad 80s music (you know the songs I’m talking about!). It’s just…bad. (I will actually be race changing to Troll if these changes go live, I hate the tauren casting model enough to cough up the thirty bucks to not have to look at it).

When the previews, and pre TBC patch released with ToL, it was…interesting. I wasn’t quite sure what to think about it, and to be honest before you got life bloom in TBC, it was worthless. Those parts of Vanilla where it was available, it just wasn’t viable do to the style of healing required for the encounters at endgame. However, with TBC, ToL in all of its glory was unleashed, and the forest grew. Ultimately I was ecstatic. No more ugly cow casting, and something new, unique and indentifying for me!

Ever since then being a “tree” has been part of who I was as a player. I’m not Beru the cow, I’m Beru the tree. I went through two expansions with being a tree as part of my identity, and I’ve not regretted it in the least. Sure, I was happy to see the snare removed. Yes, I was happy we could cast rebirth in ToL. And when they finally let us decurse in ToL, it was fantastic. But through all of that I have enjoyed my leaves and branches, and they have become part of who I am as a character. I don’t want to lose that, even if it is “just a costume”. I mean, couldn’t the exact same argument be made for all of the druid forms? Can’t their abilities just be talented in, and they can all DPS in their caster forms as well? Why is this only a change for resto druids? Shouldn’t all four forms of druids be given the same treatment? The same arguments that was made for trees can be made for the other three specs as well. So why just trees?

Growing concerns with where Blizzard sees the Resto Druid in Cataclysm.

One of the things that GC pointed to in his explanation for the changes to ToL is that we lost a lot of utility for not a lot of gain with ToL. Really, the only “utilities” that we lost, that I can see, is not being able to cast DPS spells, or CC while in ToL.

Do I regret not being able to cast offensive spells in ToL? Um…cast what? *snort* Let’s see…for the two expansions of end game raiding since ToL was introduced, let me count the number of times that I’ve needed to stop healing to DPS. (Hang on, I’m thinking really hard about this). Four: My inner demon on Leotharas; The last part of Archimonde after the whisps come save the day; the heart on XT hard mode; and the last 10% gimme on LK (which in all honesty, my lawl wrath spam wouldn’t likely be missed). So over four years of content, there have been four fights where I was expected to contribute DPS…and that has never bothered me. Why? Because I am a healer. I don’t want to DPS, I want to heal. And if GC’s statements are to be believed, I’m not going to have the mana to spare to cast any offensive spells anyhow.

What about offensive spells such as CC, you say? The number of times I’ve needed to utilize those is even less. Let’s count…One. Yes, once. I CC for our HM 10 man Lady Death Whisper encounter, because generally our raid doesn’t have much CC in it. So I cyclone the mind controlled people. So out for four years worth of content, I have CC’d one encounter. But I am OK with that. I don’t want to CC, I want to heal. Sure, I have these other tools, but I want to heal.

So why does this concern me? Because if one of Blizzard’s reasons for removing ToL is to give us access to our offensive abilities without requiring to shift, there has got to be a reason, no? Are we now supposed to be some sort of DPS/Healing hybrid? God, I hope not. I am a healer, if I wanted to DPS, I wouldn’t spec into the resto tree. Am I reading too much into this? Likely. But it does bear some thinking, does it not? Why put a focus on giving us easier access to our offensive abilities to utilize while healing if they didn’t expect us to utilize them?

Unless of course they really are looking at PvP…even though GC himself has denied that is the reason for the change.

Ultimately, it’s interesting. I’m going to file it under the “let’s see how it plays out” category. But if all of the sudden my responsibilities now include regularly cycloning, rooting and moonfiring mobs rather than healing, I am going to be quite upset. That isn’t why I play the game, and quite honestly, it’s not what I want out of my game play.

ToL As A Cooldown

If done well, I suppose this could be interesting. If done poorly, it’s going to be terrible. Druids don’t want a “click” ability to increase our spell power. It doesn’t really fit well with how we heal, or how our heals work. Part of the great thing about HoTs is that it’s a static safety net. Random, short lived, increases to spell power just aren’t that stellar for us. Not to mention that healers are supposed to have more focus on “triage” type healing in Cataclysm. I’m just not sure how it is all supposed to fit together.

Ghostcrawler himself said that trees already have “enough buttons to push” and that’s why we aren’t getting any new spells. So it makes me wonder, why make this an additional button to push? Unless it’s a tank saving cooldown, it’s likely that it’s just going to be macro’d into our most commonly cast spell to be used every time it’s available. How does that make game play any more interesting? Unless of course we are supposed to be doing more than just healing…

So, we are supposed to maintain our healing utility and ToL is supposed to be some sort of super awesome, every two minute type of thing? What exactly is it going to do? Perhaps this is why there is such an uproar in the community right now about this. You have taken away something that a lot of people, not everyone, but a lot of people, really loved about the class; and in return you’ve given us…nothing.

You haven’t given us anything to be excited about this change. All you’ve said is that it’s going to be a cool down, that will temporarily shift you, but you haven’t told us what it’s going to do. How are we supposed to be excited about that? Perhaps a little more insight into how it’s going to work or what it’s going to do would help us understand it better. It would probably go a long way to sway those who are very much against it to at least think about the change with a more open mind. I certainly know that if I had been told on Friday that ToL as a form was going away, but instead we were getting OMG AWESOMENESS, the chances that my knee jerk reaction of WTF THIS IS TERRIBLE might have been a little more muted.

Honestly, I’m still kind of completely baffled by the change. The question of “why” still lingers, and to be perfectly honest, you haven’t given me a good answer. Answer my question to my satisfaction (I’m sorry, “so you can see your gear” is a terrible response), and perhaps the change will sit better with me. But to date, I do not feel that the question of “why” has been answered with any kind of sufficiency, and until it has, to the point that as a player I am comfortable with it, I don’t think that this change is going to sit very well with me.

I’m definitely not thrilled, but I won’t decide the sky is falling just yet…

Cataclysm Forecast: Cloudy with a chance of storms.

Posted April 12, 2010 by Beruthiel in Changes, Druid Healing

27 responses to “Cloudy, With A Chance of Storms

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  1. Pretty much how I feel on the issue.

    Ideally, they should be finding a way to make shapeshifting a vital part of druid play — much like totems are a vital part of shaman play, pets are a vital part of hunter play, et cetera. Nay…not ideally…finding a way to work shapeshift forms into the druid class is their -job- as designers. Removing one of the forms because they’re not good enough or too lazy to make armors show in form or even update the model is not good enough. They’re paid well, and this is not difficult stuff.

    To expand on your first point. I don’t know how many people who play WoW have taken a lot of psychology and learned much about identity, image, and the awareness of self. But those that have may be able to see that a lot of people who play MMOs project this onto their avatars, both consciously and unconsciously, and also project from their avatars upon themselves. They ought to see the dire need to not remove the form altogether, because of the psychological repercussions of what is essentially disfigurement. That’s why I wonder if this idea will go down in the annals of wow history as one of the worst blunders they have made: they’re essentially stripping a nontrivial size of their playerbase of their self identity through disfigurement.

    • I’ve not taken anything but your basic liberal arts psych requiremets…but I know how *I* feel. I do agree, though, taking away something that has identified us for almost four years now just feels, well, wrong :(

      I would have to agree that they are likely pushing a number of players away from the class they identify with.

  2. I sympathize with your issues about cosmetics because it’s exactly how I feel. Except rather than hate my caster form, I hate tree form and everything about it. I don’t even get the benefit of being able to use savory deviates, because tree form prevents use of costumes. It’s not just the casting animation either, I hate everything about it (except /cower, if I could spend a whole raid cowering I might be amused enough to tolerate tree form). So obviously people feel strongly both ways. I really hope they implement a glyph or something to allow people to chose their form.

    As for the rest of the class preview, here’s the best post I’ve read about being optimistic: http://www.rollinghots.com/2010/04/11/forming-an-opinion-on-tree-form-in-cataclysm/

    • What I don’t get about GC worrying over the CC/DPS is that the game automatically deshifts us (with no mana cost or penalty) if we go to cast a DPS or CC spell, like cyclone (which I actually use on ICC trash in Blood Wing). And if we’re DPSing/CCing where a non-healer normally would be filling that role, then there’s not much need for us to have uber heals at the moment, ne?

      /scratches head

      • Yes Kae, it has me a bit nervous on exactly what they have in mind for us with regards to our perceived role in PvE.

        Of course as SO many of the other changes to many of the classes seem to be around balancing PvP, I could also easily see that is what this is. However, for that to ever be admitted, I think, would only cause even more angst.

        So I hope and suspect the later is the reasoning, because if it’s the former…

    • I certainly understand your position, Jaysla, and also give you kudos for being so outspokenly in favor of the change, ecspecially as you are in the unenviable position of what seems to be a minority on this issue in the resto druid section of the blogosphere.

      However, even if you are in favor of the change, can you honestly deny that Blizzard has botched up entirely their presentation of the changes? I think the uproar could have been mitigated some had Blizzard done a better job with the announcement.

      And while I understand that you prefer to identify yourself as a NE, a lot of people don’t feel that way. Which is why a lot of people are upset about the change. Of all the Resto Druid blogs I read, I think I’ve only see two proponents of the change, with you being one of them. I think that speaks fairly loudly on how “the community” feels with regard to the change.

      I read Sylly’s post when it came up, and while it was an excellent post, as always from Sylly, it did very little to sway my opinions and feelings on the matter.

      • Of course, they could have done the presentation better. For instance, if they had been able to give a better indication of what the tree form cooldown would be and how it would be used, I think people would not have reacted so negatively (assuming that it was something good, of course).

        I think people are starting to calm down a little though. While we didn’t get any Healing Rain style additions (still jealous), I think the class preview was decent. If you can ignore the aesthetic implications, removal of tree form is a buff. Giving us a cooldown to use is another buff. I think resto druids will come out of this okay.

  3. Yes, cosmetics and the attachment to tree form is one thing. But this whole, “we are missing utility/aka dps? cc?” concerns me.

    I am honestly boggled how the folks who hate tree form so vehemently have continued to play a resto druid for over two years now.

  4. No, there isn’t a penalty to shifting, but it is a pain in the ass. As much as I hate to admit it, there is more to the game than raiding. People often need cc in heroics (when they aren’t terrible overgeared for them) and PVP (ugh), and constantly switching is an annoyance.

    I love healing as a resto druid. It’s the most fun I’ve ever had with a class. I hate how it looks, but it’s better than being a non-druid. I’ve been hoping for them to ditch tree form for 2 years, and now I am ecstatic that they are doing it.

    • I always just considered it an extra cost: 317 mana and a GCD *if* I want to re-enable the ToL aura / spellpower boost (a whopping 120, ie not a big deal) after casting an offensive spell. Doesn’t stop me from switching out to CC or go offensive ever.

      I have a feeling more people would be fans of the tree form if they actually put effort into designing it & updating it. It’s criminal that it took them 5 years to update cat/bear.

  5. First off, GC denying that this change to ToL is strictly for PvP is ridiculous. There really is no other way to see it. I have yet to see a healer of any class do anything other than passive dps on a regular basis in a raid environment.

    Second, I don’t care what tree form, caster form, or druid armor looks like. I chose a druid to be a shapeshifter, plain and simple. If I wanted a “Rar, it’s time to get serious so I’ll change into my uber special form for 30 seconds and hope it doesn’t get serious again for the next 2 minutes” type of cooldown, I would roll a lock.

    Third, having something to “become” is the essence of being a druid. So, unless Blizzard comes up with a way to give raid healing druids a reason to shift into and stay in cat or bear form during an encounter, they might as well just take the entire resto tree away from the class… because nothing about it will be druid.

    • I can’t help but agree that this change seems very PvP oriented, because as you’ve said, uh…we don’t dps generally speaking!

      I agree that taking away our shift takes away a bit about who we are, and it stinks.

  6. I will pay more attention to casting girlcows, the awfulness of it never really struck me. I quite like boycow casting, to be honest, they look like they’re *really concentrating*

    *Moo……wrath ….. moo …. wrath….”

    And boycow using a hearthstone, awwww! It’s like somebody has handed him a rubik’s cube, and he can’t get the red and the green to align properly.

    So I would actually like to spend more as a cow, truthfully. On the other hand, I do see your points regarding tree-as-identity. I will be sad not to see trees bobbing around in raids. It makes it so easy to identify the other healer :)

    • It is truly awful Tam. Awful.

      I actually think I hate it more than the female Orc model…which is saying a lot. And all that gear that looks supercool on those slimy, lovely NEs? Think bull in a china shop, and that is what happens to it on a Tauren.

  7. awww Beru! /comfort /pat! I’m so sorry that you’re so distraught. Because I’m a Nelf drood, I rather like my caster form. I really feel for you. But I’m choosing to hope that the cooldown will, in fact, be awesome. It helps. /hug!

  8. Whilst I’m in the camp who really never bonded with treeform, I do think Blizzard (as usual) haven’t handled this well at all. Saying we are taking something away without providing clear details of what they are replacing it with, was always going to cause a lot of upset.

    • It really was handled very poorly. And for them to acknowledge that there were aware it would be met with resistance and still handle it so poorly only makes it worse.

  9. It seems to me like everything would be resolved by giving *any* druid a minor glyph option that hides their shape shifted forms. On top of that, I think it’s high time for them to update all the player models anyway. Of the millions of things you stare at in the game, that couple thousand pixels is what you stare at the most. I don’t really need 10 types of buffalo running around, even if they’re super cute.

    The most frustrating things is the inconsistency of all the blue posts, which have certainly been covered in the post and comments. It’s like they’ve totally lost sight of the class. Sure, you lose some abilities in tree form, but you also have the option, regardless of spec, to do crazy stuff like shift into bear form and tank something for a few seconds if needed. What clothy is gonna do that?

    Druids probably have the most abilities in the game, it just takes a extra GCD to get to them. QQ?

  10. as a NE druid, i can say that i prefer healing in my tree form over my NE form. why? because as a tree i don’t look like a NE priest. i chose a druid because i could change into forms and differentiate myself from the other classes. and when resto druids got their tree form, it felt complete in that all the roles a druid could fill finally had forms.

    and i agree that blizzard’s reasons for changing tree form could be applied to all druid forms. forms enhance whatever strengths we need to fulfill a certain role. so why take it away, especially only one form while leaving the other 3? why not make the same changes to the other 3 types of druids?

    and yes, i don’t see why we need to have more utility. and if we do “need” more utility, why does our tree form have to be removed? why not just open more spells available to us?

    also cooldowns suck. i dislike trinkets with “use” as i forget to use them all the time.

    lastly, in my experience, it is always a group of druids in forms dancing around that attracts attention. why take away a form of in-game entertainment? :P

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  13. I know there are a lot of passionate feelings regarding this topic. I have sort of been abandoning my tree for my shaman lately, but this still makes me super sad. I am among those who complained about tree form. But why not spruce it up and make it look cooler? That is what I rather see than taking it away from us. As far as pvp goes this isn’t a good thing, I rather use my brain in pvp a little more. I do arena on my druid, and I have to choose whether or not I need to be tree. I knock myself out all the time to help CC or to avoid that warlock, but tree form gives me armor and more healing so it is good to be in if I’m not dpsing or hiding from lock banishes. I feel as though if I never have to switch forms, and I can do all of these things in one form, pvp becomes less challenging. I can already move around forever and cast heals that don’t require a cast time. I saw tree form as an extra challenge that I enjoyed balancing. So for pvp and pve I am very sad at the loss of tree.

    One thing I see all druids agreeing with, that I don’t understand is the fact that we aren’t getting any new spells! Please explain this to me. I was fine with it too at first, but the higher my priest gets the more this pisses me off. I’m sorry but priests have a huge amount of spells, yet they are getting new healing abilities!?

    Priest- Heal, lesser heal, greater heal, flash heal, power word:shield, renew, holy nova, prayer of healing, binding heal, prayer of mending, divine hymn!! That doesn’t include the special extra heals from talents.
    Holy- lightwell, circle of healing, desperate prayer
    Discipline- penance
    and these spells don’t include their cool downs or passive heals. These are all heals (or shields) they actually cast something to use.

    Druids- rejuv, regrowth, lifebloom, healing touch, tranquility, wild growth, nourish

    Ok so totals? Priests (without talents) have 11 healing spells druids have 7( with all possible talents) Fine if you want to count swiftmend as a heal (which I think it is a cooldown then 8) Am I missing something here?

    How is this fair that we get no new heal spells? I mean I realize our spells are diverse and that priest’s don’t use all their spells but neither do we. They are re-working our spells why not re-work theirs and give us something cool damn it!

    Why have no druids addressed this that I have seen? To me it is priest favoritism and they are getting some pretty awesome abilities in the new xpac. Life grip!? Druids have nothing exciting coming to them and I was utterly disappointed when I saw the druid changes.

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