Shift This   52 comments

Today started like any other.  I woke up, came to work, sat down to read some WoW news, sort through my feedreader – you know, all that good “must do before I can actually work” stuff.  And during that process, I came across something that made me make the following comment on Twitter:

I’ve been a druid for almost seven years, and nothing makes me consider a “reroll” more than statements like this: “where the Druid would need to switch between healing and DPS”.  I don’t understand what is so wrong with just wanting to heal? Why this constant feel that this “hybrid” theory be pushed on us?

Ok, that was actually more like three tweets, but I’ll just let you imagine that there were breakpoints every 140 letters.  Anyhow, this comment started conversation between Derwent, Jarre and myself.  Honestly, we probably would have been better served to have hooked up in gchat or vent and just pow-wowed, because let’s be honest – trying to have a meaningful conversation in 140 characters is borderline painful.  Anyhow, the three of us spent some time discussing (read: bitching, moaning and doomsdaying) about the (very early and nowhere near finalized) direction Blizzard seems to be pushing druids with Mists of Pandaria.

Before I go any further I feel it is important to stop here, remind everyone that both Derwent and Jarre are very intelligent individuals – and I think I tend to use the bit of mush between my ears from time to time.  We are all well aware that nothing is final.  We are all well aware that everything can change.  No one is screaming that the world is ending, the sky is falling or that we are running out and cancelling our WoW subscriptions.  However, from time to time, intelligent people with similar interests get together to have intelligent conversations about things.  And in most circles, this is considered healthy.  I don’t think that there is anything wrong with three intelligent people analyzing the direction of our class, even if it is with a healthy dose of speculation.

Ok, now that I’ve got that out-of-the-way, let’s continue with where I was going shall we?

The Beru’s Notes Version of the Problem

Let me see if I can succinctly (har har) break down the basic concerns that are arising in the Resto Druid community right now – based solely from what we’ve seen of the druid talent tree changes.

  • As a druid, shifting tends to prohibit your ability to perform your primary spec’s function (i.e. you can’t heal as a cat, you can’t tank as a caster, you can’t moonfire spam as a bear).
  • Many of the talents that have been shared with us revolve around gaining some “utility” function when the druid is shifted – often into cat or bear form (enhanced run speed, bear hug, etc).
  • Because of problem A above, many of the new “fun” things being introduced prohibit a PvE oriented druid from being able to continue to perform their prime task (healing, spamming moonfire) while taking advantage of the new talents and abilities.  This is somewhat unique to the druid class.
  • As such, Resto druids and Moonkin are left with some pretty shitty feral influenced talent options that, unless there is a huge change in the raiding paradigm in MoP, means that roughly half of our already limited talents are seemingly of little, or no, benefit.  And which it’s hard not to see as a very heavy-handed effort by Blizzard to make caster druids shift…without solving the base problem of sacrificing specialization and performance in the process.

Now, that’s a pretty condensed picture of the argument – but I think it captures the crux of where druids are growing increasingly frustrated.  I feel at this point, I should state something very clearly: I do not have a problem with shifting, I have a problem with losing all of my functionality as a result.

There is, of course, the other beef that I have with being forced into DPSing as a healer when all I really want to do is make the green bars go right, dammit!  But that’s really a tertiary topic, and I’ve ranted on that before, so for now I’ll leave it be and move on.  I do, however, reserve the right to come back and bitch about this at a later date.  Just so we are clear.

Non-Druids Entering Into The Fray.

So, moving along, after our somewhat lengthy (druids are for spamming twitter feeds?) conversation on twitter, the three of us had kind of riled ourselves out, and were sitting back pruning our branches when Alex Ziebart jumps in and starts questioning why druids always seem to get their knickers in a twist over this whole shifting thing.  This, of course, brought others out of the woodwork, and all of a sudden we have all kinds of people with little or no serious PvE druid experience opining that druids should just grow a pair and be thankful for the diversity (I may have taken some liberty with that paraphrasing).

However, it was the following commentary made by Alex that, to me, really illustrates that a lot of people who aren’t intimately familiar with druids really don’t “get it” when it comes to the shifting frustrations:

I wish Blizzard had *more* hybrid gameplay, across all of the classes. Not less. Druids should be the hybrid ideal but none of them want it.  As a paladin, it bugs me that paladins are *less* hybridy every expansion. We can’t clutch heal, but we used to be able to do that.

Let me start out with a statement: Hybrid gameplay should not frustrate the basic fundamentals of a spec’s gameplay, but should rather supplement it in interesting ways.

In Alex’s statement above, he laments that, as a tank, he no longer really has any healing worth a damn to offer his raid team.  And I get that, to an extent.  I mean, he certainly retains SOME small part of his hybrid role – he has LoH, a life saving ability, but I get that he’d like to be able to toss out a few clutch heals in tough times, that while less effective would have the ability to make a difference.  And all of that can be done while continuing to tank, or in the case of more active healing, could be done while tanking.

But let’s take a more in-depth look at it…and put Alex in a druid’s shoes.

If Alex were a druid, and a tank, there would never have been the option to toss out clutch heal while actively tanking.  Because for a druid to maintain their fundamental ability to tank, they must be in feral form.  To shift out of feral form while actively tanking a raid boss has a 98% chance of leaving your raid with one dead tank.  There was no “hybrid” option there.  Sure, the druid has the option to heal, but they lose all of their functionality as a tank to exercise that option to shift.  They can no longer perform their prime role.

When push comes to shove, I find myself asking is that really “hybrid”?  I mean, really, when did “hybrid” and “shifting” become synonymous terms?  Why can’t I be a hybrid while still retaining the core abilities that permit me to perform my role? 

I mean, if we put Alex into my shoes as a druid, the minute he want to help pinch heal the raid he’d be flattened as a tank.  Let’s stay with paladins.  What if every time a Holy Paladin wanted to use a more base ability – say hammer of justice – they became locked out of their healing spells for 10 seconds.  Because a resto druid who wants to stun a mob can’t heal for roughly that amount of time when they shift to bear, generate rage, and then bash.  Why do I get penalized from performing as a healer to have the same functionality?  Is it all because I have the ability to shift?  Somehow that just seems faulty.

Shifting is something that I should feel encouraged to do as a druid to enhance my gameplay.  It shouldn’t be something I feel penalized for doing.  And right now, and from everything we’ve seen in MoP, druids are still penalized for shifting by losing the primary function of their chosen spec.  That doesn’t make “shifting” fun to me, it doesn’t make it viable in a PvE setting where you are the only healer asked to lock yourself out of healing for purported “utility” and it sure as hell doesn’t make me feel like any kind of viable “hybrid”.  It makes me feel like I’m being forced to be some vestige of feral, when my preference is the peaceful way of the grove.

And that, my friends, is why druids and so upset.  It’s not because we are “hybrids” and don’t want to be.  It’s not because we don’t want to shift.  But it’s because we are the only class inherently penalized for embracing what we are and what Blizzard wants us to be: Shapeshifters.

Posted November 10, 2011 by Beruthiel in /rant, Deep Thoughts, Druid Healing, MoP

52 responses to “Shift This

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  1. Interesting post… I like the points made.

    Of course to play devils advocate, it is important to point out that other classes often get called to use aspects of their toolkit that are outside of their not in their rolls. Using a shadow priest as an example: Shadow Priests often use Hymn of Hope (to assist healers) and Divine Hymn (Both breaks Shadowform and lulls DPS)

    This also isnt something new for DPS druids, Feral Druids, though more commonly Boomkin, often Tranq assist (Spreading out non resto Tranqs was part of our first HM Nef kill)

    While slightly different in practice, its similar in theory.

    That said, I really like your point: ” Hybrid gameplay should not frustrate the basic fundamentals of a spec’s gameplay, but should rather supplement it in interesting ways.” Provided Blizzard in MOP, can have ‘off spec’ shifting *positively supplement gameplay* (and subsequently truly benefit the raid), it could work. I think we’ll need to see what MOP/Beta and the application of these new trees can show.

    Well written and constructive post, Beru! <3

    • Thanks!

      I certainly recognize that priests with hymn and druids with tranq break with what they are doing to heal/restore mana. But I suppose the question to ask is should they be so harshly penalized for doing so? Perhaps the answer in those situations is “yes” – it’s an ability that is used once an encounter at most, and is fairly potent. I guess to an extent it’s a little like comparing apples to oranges – but it’s a fair point to bring up.

      I don’t think I’d have a problem if I could get a weaker version of x ability, if it meant I got to retain my ability to heal. But if I want to run faster I have to shift, hit dash and run – and if I need to heal, I lose any benefit I get from dash. If you want to run faster, you switch your inner fire thingie. Sure it’s a much weaker run speed, but you retain the ability to heal. I’d much rather have a weaker run boost and still get to heal while utilizing the ability :)

      • Moonkin use healing spells (tranquility) all the time in raids.

        Holy paladins, however, don’t normally take over tanking the boss part way through the fight or start hitting the boss with their melee weapon.

        Healing is surivivability which is always needed.

        Not a single caster or healer needs to DPS the boss using MELEE attacks ever in a raid encounter. The problem is that the role-shifting has gone far beyond giving heals to everyone (YAY) to giving moonkin & resto attack power bonuses (WTF).

      • I’d be remiss not to poke a slight hole in the inner will/dash argument. If anything only b/c inner will is only 2% faster than Lavawalker; while dash is substantially more (170%?, I think); so its not really the same paralell. But its an interesting point, nonetheless, I do give up the added spellpower from inner fire.

        I think a better mirror, to the point you are trying to make, is to have it be not to dissimilar to Chakra (and the inherent issues with that). Priest AOE heals are balanced around Chakra: Sanctuary being active; and single target Chakra: Serenity. Activating one or the other, locks you out of the other state until the Chakra CD is active. (or god forbid you activated Chakra: Chastise( Smite) to help burn a DPS check. (P1 Sinestra, 1 Meteor Pushes on HM Rag, etc) While in a given State you can cast other state heals (with exception to Sanctuary, Serenity, Chastise, as those are state specific) albeit a weaker version. Its clunky, but perhaps it might illustrate your point with an existing game mechanic as it sounds fundamentally similar to the preference you’d rather have. (or am i missing it? :-/)

        The thing I personally see as attractive regarding shifting, is the added utility shifting provides a druid. Especially in the light that a lot of druids feel they lack utility. Need to stun or interrupt? shift and do so. Does your raid need a sprint? Shift and roar. Yes, you cant heal when in catform, but you added a good deal of utility to 24 other players- a la seed kiting HMRag; while me turning on inner will affects only myself. Need to taunt down a spinner for Bethtilac so more people can make it up top? Shift and you’ve got it. Sure, all these added utilities, do affect your personal output; but dismissing the value add is arguably myopic.

        That said, I can also appreciate the immersion aspect. Wanting to be a Restoration Druid of the Grove and harnessing nature to heal your raid members might not feel right to Shift into Cat form, and get a few scratches off— out of character if you will… I just think that dismissing a core ability (shifting) is potentially dangerous (and does ignore some of the ‘lore’ to an extent as the feral spirit is within you and all that stuff) ; it will be interesting to see how Blizzard lines it up with MOP talents. Personally, I think some of the doomsaying some of the druid community has been doing is a bit premature. Blizzard has stated they want the added utility that shifting provides to work well… It’ll be interesting to see how its implemented in Beta. There will be lots of time to provide feedback once we can experience it.

        Of course these are the words of some filthy priest! /cast lifegrip /hug :)

        Keep up the good dialogue B!

  2. Some sort of “hybrid” tools are going to be the thing that keeps classes from becoming too homogenized, something a LOT of players complain about. I anticipate all healers have x number of single target spells, x number of ground AoE heals and a spammable AoE, etc, but what will separate the classes will be utility. As long as they keep it fun, I think its worth a try.

    But I do agree, the shifting penalty is somewhat laborious and is something that will ultimately need addressed. Keep making a stink about it. It took until the last Cataclysm patch to get paladins an on-demand AoE heal, but I guess we got it. After forever.

    • The penality is really the root of the problem I think. I don’t have any issues being asked to do things like Stamp. Roar or Bash – except for the fact that for those 5-10 seconds I lose all ability to perform in my role as a healer. And that is not fun, it’s frustrating. Especially in an environment where you want to be competitive. And I think it’s a large part of why you don’t see many restos or moonkin shifting more.

  3. Excellent post. I particularly enjoy this statement:

    Hybrid gameplay should not frustrate the basic fundamentals of a spec’s gameplay, but should rather supplement it in interesting ways.

    As a holy paladin, I never want to be unable to heal. If I have the option, I do want to be able to meaningfully help my group from time to time by doing something other than healing, but I always WANT to be able to heal. It’s part of why I’m lousy at ret and only slightly less lousy at prot — I want to heal. I find myself casting cooldowns and those LoHs when I’m not holy.

    I think that being able to use a major glyph to make Holy Wrath stun not just undead/demons, but adding dragonkin and elementals (!) has allowed holy paladins to really help out a lot in Firelands. I can regularly stun the Liquid Obsidiums and I can stun my Son of Flame with Hammer of Justice and then, in a pinch, Holy Wrath as well. That’s a great kind of utility and use of a spell that holy basically never otherwise uses. I can do so essentially at my leisure on Heroic Rhyolith and there’s not a TON of healing going in in phase transitions on Ragnaros, so I’m able to do something “less healy” and more useful in those particular circumstances.

    I’m not saying I always want there to be something like this, but I think if they want to make hybrids more “hybridy”, then this is the direction that kind of choice and utility should take — optional (though very helpful at times) and never preventing the ability to heal/tank/DPS/etc.

    Of course, holy/ret paladins and all shaman have it much easier since we don’t need to shift and we’re not tanking, but this is definitely the sort of direction I’d want to see if they feel hybrids should be “more hybridy”.

  4. It should be noted that this penalty only really applies when going from Heal / Moonkin -> Melee/Tank. There are a lot of situations where you want to be able to do the reverse such as:

    - Maloriak
    - Atramedes
    - Nef P2
    - Halfus
    - Council
    - Cho’Gall
    - Shannox
    - Rhyolith
    - Alysrazor (you could make the case for Heals -> DPS in P3)
    - Beth
    - Baleroc (if you have tons of melee, rearranging for crystals is a HUGE pain)
    - Domo
    - Rag

    Which is why I think each of the talents should have “2 levels” much like Feline Swiftness. If you’re in the appropriate form you get a better version. If not, you still get benefit from it but you aren’t forced into something that may kill you or your raid.

    • I’m not entirely sure I understand what you are saying in your first comment – and as such must admit that I’m completely confused by your list.

      I would, however, disagree that melee/tank isn’t penalized for utilzing some of their healing abilities. They have to shift out to heal – which means they have to complete stop whatever function (dps/tanking) that they are doing to toss out a “spot heal”. If we go back to look at paladins, they can continue to perform their primary role while offering (very minimal) support healing. I do agree, however, that it is a far more prominent issue for druid casters.

      The idea of having two levels of talents isn’t bad, and is something I’ve pondered before. Why not let us access things without losing our ability to perform our primary role. Let me heal in bear form, and maybe penalize the healing slightly while in that form, but it opens up the option of letting me take advantage of things like “bear hug” or “bash” without completely forsaking my ability as a healer. I do think that there has to be a more elegant solution to the issue than what we have right now, and if it’s Blizzard’s intent for us to become more focused on the shifting aspect of our class, I think it’s neccessary to explore.

      • First of all, this is a great post and highlights very well how druids differ from other hybrid classes.
        However, at least to me, all “hybrid” means that the class can perform more than one role. Not at ONE time, mind you. You can’t expect to perform at the same level as any other class in the chosen role while still being able to fill the other roles simultaneously. And I’m sure you’re not suggesting it (I just tried to assess my understanding of “hybrid”).
        Of the few talents (as they exist now) that really require a specific form the only one that requires a “significant” amount of time is Bear Hug. Remember that the talents will activate the form (meaning you don’t have to switch to the form first and then use the ability).
        So, every other talent of this nature will only cost you up to 2 global cooldowns (if canceling a form even triggers one). Which is time well spent if you use it wisely.

        Don’t think I don’t understand your beef here, though. As a senior druid I’m well aware of the problems that come with shape shifting. However, seeing as the form-specific talents are either crowd control mechanisms or abilities to save your own hide (/skin/bark/feathers), I don’t really see the problem or frustration in switching a form every now and then for one to two GCDs.

        Maybe (and that’s just a quick brainstorming idea) the answer would be to let you perform your primary role in another form for a limited duration. Say, you’re a healing druid. Once you switch into bear form you can still heal for something like 5 seconds. Which would be enough time to use one or two utility abilities/talents, but not enough to unbalance things like PvP too much. Similarly, a bear shifting out of bear form may still retain their armor bonus (and might get a shield for any ability they use to make up for the lack of Savage Defense and dodge?) and so on.
        The only thing you might lose are some benefits for a short period (e.g. Leader of the Pack aura).

        The problem about this would then only be how you manage your bars (for that short period, you’d have every ability of the two forms [or form and caster form] available to you, which means many abilities with little space on your action bars).

        Just a quick idea, and certainly refinable.

      • Beru, what I mean is in all of those fights, as a tank, there are times (be it 5 seconds on the low end, or 15+ on the high) where I have no reason to be in Bear form other than I simply have nothing better to do. As such something like MSS is actually really cool. Being in Bear form allows me to build up +Spellpower stacks which I can then expend during brief periods in fights. That in-turn makes me more effective once I become a Bear again.

        For example:

        As the 2nd tank on Maloriak there are large periods of time during which you are standing around doing nothing and waiting for adds to spawn. Instead of just standing there I can throw some DPS on the boss from range now that NI is baseline, and build up +AP stacks from MSS.

        During the Air phase on Atramedes I literally have nothing to do if I’m not being chased by fire. So I can run around spamming instant casts on people. Granted that would mean MSS should also affect instant cast spells (and it probably should, given how small a Feral’s mana pool is).

        However the same cannot be said for a Resto or Moonkin. They would almost never under any situation want to run up and melee the boss. So they don’t get any benefit from the talent at all.

        Regardless there are a number of them (Tireless Pursuit, Bear Hug, Demoralizing Roar) that should be usuable in whatever form you’re in. I guess my statement was only in regards to HotW and MSS specifically :(

        Sorry for the confusion.

      • Abilities that allow healing abilities to be used in our respective shapeshift forms are awesome things and should appear on the talent tree.

        Things that force Moonkin & Resto druids to hang out in cat form & bear form are terrible ideas.

      • One small clarification. Prot Paladins can cast a heal while tanking. However, while casting a spell you cannot dodge, parry or block. Now, Bear tanks also lose their armor along with that. And a small step further, they lose their armor if they are only casting an instant spell. While a prot paladin can LoH/WoG someone without breaking stride.

        So certainly, bear druids are still worse off than a protadin, but it isn’t like a protadin can chain cast Divine Light and not lose tons of avoidance penalty while tanking (even if they had the mana for it, etc).

        Still, far better off than we were in TBC, where if you wanted to *pot* you had to give up bear form. I certainly remember the cancel aura, pot, bear form macros, and trying to time it for right after an attack.

      • @ lissanna. It is much worse than that. Bear tanks dropping form can BE CRIT! Yeah not dodging id bad, but getting crit means any time you drop for you have a strong chance of being one shot. And the amount of healing you can do can not come close to matching the incoming damage. A Prot Pally has some heals that are instant. Those do not require any lose of tanking ability to use. For a bear even an instant cast brings with it a strong chance of instant death.

        All that said, I regularly drop form as a bear tank but I only use it two times: If the boss is not on me and I need to tranq, or if I need to Brez someone who is critical (it is a wipe if I don’t) and I have a cooldown to give me protection durring that cast.

  5. I entirely believe from what I’ve read in the class balance Q&A and especially pointing out that they are going to remove the warrior stance requirements from skills that hybrid tasks in 5.0 will be made accomplishable without shifting. To be honest its really only a bear issue (not sure about moonkin phases as I’ve never really dealt with that part of the druid game). From a healer / cal dps side of things, shifting really is of minimal consequence other than the mana cost implied with shifting. In fact not enough restro druids are making use of dash, safe fall, stampeding roar, and bash in present day wow.

    • I’m afraid I’m going to have to respectfully disagree. As a healer the main reason that I don’t make use of things such as dash, stampeding roar and bash is because I loose all of my utility as a healer to employ them. It’s far more than just the mana – it’s the fact that if I want to make use of these abilities I am required to forsake my ability to heal, and that is a pretty huge issues in my eyes.

      • There’s a bunch of times where you don’t need to heal but get somewhere fast, or even get somewhere fast to that you can make a life saving heal, or for Rag as an example providing an extra stun is of great use, especially when in 10 man you’re down a tank for sons during the 2nd transition (I have no idea how it is in 25 man). During none of these instances are you forsaking you ability to heal really because you can at will go straight back to healing if needed. Its only the bear that can’t risk being out of bear form at all except for scripted parts of encounters that is truly hamstrung from providing other form utility.

        Now lets look at what they’re proposing for 5.0:

        * Move most/many of the druid utility skills into talents that can be performed regardless of forms, with some of them gaining extra potency in their intended form (yet still usable in all forms).

        * Add agi/int conversions to druids so that resto does respectable DPS and Feral/guardian does respectable healing

        How are these changes being hamstrung by shifting? As a healer you’re giving me access to all boomkin utility via talent choices while healing, and while I’m currently able to shift and shift back to healing whenever I want I can now do it and do something respectable with it? And at any moment when I need to heal I can instantly go back to doing that? Why are we complaining about this? Was this not the essence of what a druid was supposed to be?

        * As a cat I much rather be providing some non laughable healing support during smoldering devastation.
        * As a resto I much rather be able to provide some burn DPS to get those last spiderlings down that spawn right before beth descends.
        * As a bear I much rather help healing while waiting for the next add spawn in ryhloith.
        * As resto I much rather do some real DPS to alysrazor during the burn phase after I’ve topped off my mana
        * As a cat/bear I rather be able to provide some decent healing during the run phases like alys tornados or sonic dragon flight phase
        * As a cat I would rather be healing during the orb cat phase which for many raids is more about getting past it than DPS output
        * As a resto I would love to fill in for a tank on the 2nd transition of rag or even pick up an already dead DPS’s sons assignment.
        * As bear I’d like to be able to do anything other than just tank while a boss is beating on me (see MoP talents)
        * etc…

        All these are things that we can’t do now, but can do if we decide to in 5.0 If we want to just stick to healing, or DPS or tanking we can. But if we choose to expand ourselves to efficiencies that encounters present to our capabilities then we can be that much more useful and fun to play (for people who find that fun :))

        I couldn’t agree more with your initial point about the myth of druid “hybrid-ness” because its very true that in the current state of the game that we’re either not allowed to shift (bear) or we suck at pretty much everything when we do (feral -> heal or heal -> dps). But 5.0 changes add a lot of flexibility to the first (doing more without having to shift) and get rid of the 2nd (agi/int conversion; not equivalent, but respectable).

      • They said we are keeping Cat form Dash as baseline. So, why do we need a second cat form dash through talents?

        Moonkin & resto druids won’t ever take advantage of an INT to AP conversion. Ever. I’ll say this right now and I’ll be right a year from now. There is no utility in moonkin & resto druids doing melee DPS. Melee DPS doesn’t heal. Melee DPS requires us to be in melee range (often crowded and dangerous in PvE – especially with Monk healers now in melee range doing melee DPS to heal).

        The real problem is that half of the talents really aren’t accessible to resto or moonkin because they will negatively impact our primary role enough that the cost isn’t worth the benefit. All specs benefit from being able to heal. Not all specs benefit from doing melee to the boss (that’s why Hunters won’t even have melee weapons in 5.0).

      • I’ll agree with you lissanna if they fail at implementing what they’re setting out to design. Blizz specifically said they’re looking to make occasional use of other forms to be meaningful and during all instances I mentioned above I have no reason to be healing or I can leave what little healing there is to be done during that time to classes that don’t have the benefit of our versatility. So, if either the devs fail in their task, or the druid community is too stubborn put themselves to use when there’s a lull in their main role then yes, I’ll agree that this won’t take place.

        Not sure what’s meant by your second cat form comment.

      • I’m also not seeing any of these talents that I can’t take because restro needs me to take others. All of the restro talents are currently either in a restro tier where everyone has to take a resto talent or have their resto bonus tied to caster form while giving other abilities in other forms that restos can make use of as well.

        It doesn’t matter that melee DPS doesn’t heal, there’s plenty of time where you don’t need to heal and you’re always free to start casting a healing spell the instant healing is needed again. If I can provide extra stuns, disorients, roots, knockbacks and meaningful DPS to my raid, why wouldn’t I take advantage of that?

  6. Thank you for writing this. These are exactly the problems that I have with the upcoming changes (which I know are not final) but I feel like I’m unable to get anyone (*cough* my paladin husband *cough*) to hear me. They might listen, but they’re not hearing me. If Blizz makes it so that I can be in cat form, dashing around, throwing rejuvs at the same time, I’ll be fine. But as it is, part of our ‘niche’ as healers is that we can heal on the move. Taking that away from us and forcing us into bear/cat/bird/spider/whatever form where we can’t use those tools is not giving us the chance to be the healers that we have learned to be. (I won’t say supposed to, because I don’t know what Blizz’s full plans are.)

    I will admit, I get really panicky when I think of how things are going to be changing. I’m upset about a number of the druid changes I see coming down the pipe. And when I get panicky, I lose the ability to write, talk or even think about the upcoming changes rationally. (I’m still mourning the loss of tree form and it’s been over a year!)

    I also think that comparing the loss of utility on a healers part to the loss of utility on a dps’s part is not really fair. Very rarely does ‘gimping’ the dps to toss a hymn of hope/divine hymn (shadowpriest) or a tranquility (cat/moonkin druids) cause the tank to die or the dps to die (unless the casting dps channels the spell while standing in The Bad. I personally don’t know 1 single dps who would not take a bullet for their healers. And I know that myself and my fellow healers on my healing team will often chase a low health dps all over the boss’s platform/room/web/etc so that that dps won’t die even though they are out ranging us.

    And on the pally’s complaining about losing their ability to clutch heal (I did listen to this a lot when it happened, my husband QQ-ed to me for hours), I really like your comparing them to druids in the same situation. A druid tank who tried to heal in a pinch to ‘help out’ would be a blood smear on the ground after that. Leather is not equal to plate!! :)

    Anyway. Thank you again for saying this. I’ve posted a link to this in my guild’s forum. Hopefully someone will read it and try and understand a bit more why Karegina is always freaking out about druid news!! :)

    • Sorry if I get hung up by minute detail like phrasing, and please don’t get upset. I agree with almost everything you say.

      The only things I don’t agree with is tossing out healing while being in cat form. If we didn’t lose Sprint the moment we switch out of cat form, I’d be content. The other thing is that I think it really is fair to compare the loss of anyone’s utility to anyone else’s utility. As a healer, it is my job to keep people from dying. As a DPS, it is my job to kill things. Losing my utility in either role causes me to not be able to do my job. Of course, dead DPS can’t DPS, so the healer’s job is by default an important one while the DPS’ job is only in certain situations. However, neither are the tanks’ nor the healers’ jobs universally more important than the DPS’ job.

      Don’t get me wrong, I will hit any DPS who tells me they can’t Hymn/Tranq/Whatever just because their DPS will go down. But you should acknowledge that it’s loss of utility to do so.

      TL;DR: DPS have just as much of a valid role to play as healers and tanks. This is coming from someone who visits current raids on a healer and a tank.

    • There are enough talents in the tree that require casters to be in cat or bear form long enough that (if you invested in them & used them regularly) would have moonkin spending 1 out of every 3 minutes NOT DOING DPS. That really ends up limiting what talent choices we take by deciding how much time we want to spend being a support utility class that isn’t DPS’ing versus specializing and not bringing any utility.

      • I don’t know that you’ll use them all that much. I don’t push a button just because it’s off cooldown (I know you don’t either, this is just provocatively making a point). I don’t need to teleport myself every 3 minutes necessarily. I don’t need to bearhug every chance I get (hug a bear, on the other hand…). I don’t need to disorient all the things every 30 seconds. Most of the talents that “force” you into the form are things you rarely use on boss fights anyway. And on trash or in PvP they are probably way fun.

        I concur that things like Tireless Pursuit are flat-out dumb for anyone else than cats if sprint doesn’t stay in effect after you leave cat form (which it should. Period.). And I get that talents like Master Shapeshifter seem weird. But I can see myself in melee range as a moonkin. Why not? I know it’s only one fight, but in Ragnaros phase 2, when you’re moving from seeds, or if kiting a meteor, if you want to sprint or roar, you might go into cat form. If you can, for a short period of time, do quite some DPS in cat while doing so AND charge up stacks that will help you perform your other role better for a short time, why not? It is simply a matter of how Blizzard goes about balancing these things. And I don’t know which druid spells will be baseline. Do you? (If so, please share.)

        Shifting forms prevents you from doing your job temporarily. I know that. Still, I can’t see any (not insane) druid change their form every 20 seconds or stay in a form that’s not for their primary role for more than 2-3 seconds. And if that 2-3 sec. mean the tank died because you CC’d an important add or ran from a otherwise deadly mechanic, I don’t see how this is the druid’s fault. Similarly, I don’t think you’ll get seated for dealing less damage on a fight than others because your bearhugging skills were needed to stun at critical moments.

        Maybe I’m seeing this completely wrong, but I see the new talents more like perks and situational utility things, not mandatory you-HAVE-to-do-these-every-X-seconds-to-stay-competitive things. That’s the beauty of them.

      • If everyone else is using their utility talents and you weren’t, no one will bring you over someone who brings better utility. We need to be using our talents as often as other classes use theirs. There is a class balance issue with having 10 classes able to use their utility talents in their primary form (and the push for warriors to have more cross-stance abilities that don’t require them to switch stances, and taking bows away from hunters), and then have 1 class where the developers forget about all the quality of life changes they are making for warriors & hunters and do the exact opposite with us (force more melee abilties on casters, force more stance-specific talents).

        We need to be balanced versus other classes and we need to not be constrained all of 5.0 by the same type of quality of life issues that have plagued us since Vanilla. Shapeshifting more sounds fun & cool. It works great in PvP where you have that flexibility. It works out terrible in PvE because everyone wants specialists who bring some utility. Not ranged DPS who can also be half of a rogue.

  7. Great post! I’m absolutely willing to admit there are some serious flaws in the shifting dynamic, and there always has been. But I’m the sort of guy that would rather see Blizzard try to fix a historical problem rather than dodge it for the rest of time. So I’d prefer to give Blizzard the benefit of the doubt for now — or at least provide them with constructive input on what they’d need to do to fix the problems with the shifting dynamic, rather than ask them to never touch it.

    And to clarify my stance a little: I actually don’t tank that much on my paladin. My paladin is Holy/Ret. I have conceded and will concede again that yeah, the shifting dynamic simply wouldn’t work for bears. You could go DPS -> Bear or Heal -> Bear but not Bear -> Anything. Tanking just doesn’t allow for that sort of versatility, not for anybody. A druid can’t shift out of bear. A paladin has Word of Glory, but if they tried to use anything with a cast time, they’d splat right away.

    I think the shifting dynamic works very well for DPS, though. Maybe not the iteration Blizzard is using, but there is a way to make it work. I feel that, in raiding, there are situations where a moonkin might want to go cat or a cat might want to cast effective spells. Bosses always have particular mechanics or phases that favor melee over casters and vice versa, and having the option to go do the other job for a minute is a neat thing, as long as it isn’t a mandatory part of your gameplay.

    For example: You play a balance druid. You’re fighting a boss who has a phase wherein he’s extremely mobile and requires you to move alot, and that’s hurting your DPS because you can’t sit around and cast. If you have the option to go cat form, just stay behind the boss and melee effectively, even if it’s for a small cooldown-based window, I think that would be something that would work well to encourage the shapeshifting aspect of the class.

    The example isn’t perfect, but I think it gives you an idea of the kind of thing I’m talking about. That is not necessarily the direction Blizzard is taking or the one the developers will take, but there are ways Blizzard could play up the hybrid, shapeshifting nature of the druid. I’d like them to pursue options rather than throw out the shapeshifting gameplay entirely.

    But yes, it wouldn’t work for bears unless they got extremely creative and let you keep your defenses while you dropped a couple heals, or whatever. Maybe a cooldown in which you get to cast a few healing spells in humanoid form with your defenses up, then when you’ve spent your casts, you shift back?

    TL;DR: I understand the issues a lot better now, but I’d still rather see discussion on how Blizzard can achieve their goals effectively vs. telling Blizzard to shove shifting up their butts and do something else. :D

    • I have to agree with Alex. If Blizzard intends for Druids gain extra utility through shapeshifting then the will have to make it practical (and fun) or they’ll have failed. Maybe they make some utility available in more forms. Maybe they make shapeshifting less cumbersome. Probably they fix issues with rage/energy requirements which ruin the usefulness (10 seconds out of your primary form for 1 ability is ridiculously unacceptable).

      Playing a Paladin, my utility is readily available. It is generally accepted that a Holy Paladin who doesn’t use their interrupt, stun, or other off-spec abilities is bad (or at least not good). From my perspective, the only things keeping a Druid from using an expanded toolbox is clunky shapeshifting mechanics. If Blizzard releases a similar Talent system for Druids then I expect them to fix those problems.

      The changes to the entire Specialization system in MoP should actually make it easier for the designers to fix these problems while avoiding the issue of Druids having every ability in every form.

      Whatever the designers do, I expect them to make it fun. They certainly talk it up as a goal.

    • The Shifting doesn’t work for moonkin because no ranged DPS ever wants to be in Melee range. for some of the utility, the “shifts you into bear/cat” is actually really unnecessary flavor (it’s not interesting for demo roar to turn you into a bear because every good druid will either not take it or will macro the ability to the command that shifts you back out of bear, and cat/moonkin will have to spend an extra Global Cool Down getting back into their real forms).

      Blizzard is just so excited about an idea that has failed every single other time they have ever tried it (melee moonkin in TBC, etc). I already tried being a moonkin that also did melee things. It didn’t work. There’s absolutely no way that their implementation of moonkin gaining attack power to melee is going to work this time. They’ve gone beyond shifting once or twice for some extra Crowd Control utility and hit the realm of “I’m not a cat-man-bear-kin WTF Blizzard”. The Class Q&A outlined some mechanics that are going to totally fail. I know because I’ve always been right about druid talent design and general design direction. I’ve been wrong maybe twice out of all the years I’ve been championing druid mechanics.

      Being able to cross-role switch in the middle of a fight is bad for everyone except for instances where tanks that can do something else during tank-swap fights. Cross-role switching is bad for PvE because then it’s either necessary for the fight mechanics for you to bring a role-switcher, OR all you are doing is stepping on other people’s toes and hurting your main role’s effectiveness.

      • Maybe the shapeshifting mechanic is insurmountable. Maybe Blizzard can’t make it work. Then? They’ve failed, and no amount of forcing will make druids happy. Unhappy players are a bigger problem than seamless shapeshifting for utility.

        I don’t know how much effort has been put into making this work before. I’ve never paid much attention to druid development, just to what they can practically do in a fight. I do think the 5.0 spec/talent system will make it easier for Blizzard to implement better shapeshifting, but it will be pretty obvious if they can’t get it done.

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  10. There is one case where Bear -> something works today, which is Bear -> Cat when you are rotated to OT. Many fights the OT sits around not doing much while waiting for their turn as MT. Or fights like Festergut where you can get a 90% damage boost, go kitty, pop berzerk and spend the rest of the fight on the floor because no way the tank can out-aggro you (maybe now with the 5x bonus aggro :).
    Anyway, Blizzard decided it was overpowered to have a tank that can spend non-tanking time doing respectable dps. Similarly, you probably won’t be able to cat-spec with crit reduction, and probably will lose Survival Instincts as well. So you can’t dps as cat, then pop bear + SI to allow 10s to get the MT back up.

    I’ll certainly miss bearcat spec in 5.0. Especially since I mostly tanked 5-mans, it meant I could keep a bearcat/resto spec, do great at tanking 5-mans, still have good dps for doing dailies, and resto/tank/dps well in raids.

    Though also the other reason bearcat works so well is because of gear. The only real difference between a dedicated bear and dedicated cat gear is that you would reforge bear gear to add dodge, but you wouldn’t have pieces of gear with dodge on them already. You still always wanted to stack Agility for both specs. And honestly, reforging gear to add mastery still works pretty well as bear, and did *really* well as kitty. Crit still helps bears get Savage Defense, and hit/exp aren’t bad, especially for trash-pack threat (I always went for the lvl 82 caps, so I wouldn’t miss on trash mobs and could keep snap threat, but didn’t have to do the big jump to raid boss capped, since threat rarely matters there.)

    This contrasts a lot with Plate classes, where you want lots of dodge+parry on the prot, but none for dps, and tanks tend not to stack STR, because the conversion to parry is pretty lackluster (vs AGI to dodge for bears). I think the numbers are roughly 25% of your str becomes parry rating, but effectively 75% of your agility becomes dodge rating for bears.

    Since they still don’t seem to be planning on bringing back specific tanking leather (though maybe that will change now that monks could use it, too). So you’ll still have cat gear lining up quite well with bear gear. I may end up Feral/Guardian, though I’ll miss having a resto offspec.

  11. I wholeheartedly agree with your post Beru and I appreciate you putting it out there in better words than I could ever do. Having read everyone’s comments it seems like there is support for the concept that hybrid play mechanics should be fun and not interrupt (in any significant way) our ability to continue to do our job. Using the paladin as an example is useful because prot paladins using LoH and WoG and Holy Paladins using HoJ and HW are fairly close to a few of the tasks we may be asked to do in raid. None of us have any issue with hybrid friendly talents and abilities as long as they don’t significantly restrict our main reason for being in the raid.

    I think though there is a difference between a niche utility ability and the talents proposed (I know they’re not final, but it shows their intent/direction) at level 90. Not every class/spec got a super awesome spec related shiny for their level 90 talents but many definitely did so ours bears (groan) some review. Giving us an ability that is useful to the raid on a 2 to 3 minute cool down that is significant enough bonus that we can forgo healing for a very brief period of time in the mid talent tiers is one thing and you could make arguments for it. While I really do not like having to “turn off” my ability to heal for an extended period of time, I might be willing to overlook that if the utility was there (Stampeding Roar on heroic Ragnaros is useful enough that the pros outweigh the cons). The issue I take with the level 90 talents is that they go even farther off the reservation:

    HotW: Gaining a massive attack power buff for 45 seconds every 6 minutes seems incredibly poor at least for healers and the other specs as well. The duration is too long for it to be something we may want in a “pinch” from moment to moment in a difficult fight. For healers being forced to run into melee range is generally a liability and should be avoided if it can be helped. More than likely a good chunk of the 45 second duration of this buff would go unused regardless.

    MSS: From a healer perspective this talent is just incredibly clunky. In order to gain a caster benefit we need to be shifted into a feral form and be using melee abilities with some regularity. If we simply rely on the casting to feral benefit from the talent we would constantly need to be shifting in and out of feral form and stay in close range completely gimping our healing. As the bonus from this is much lower being a passive ability it would need to be used fairly frequently to be worth its weight.

    The last level 90 talent is a self-heal and root breaker which is currently what we’d probably end up taking but even that isn’t entirely great.

    In the end we get what blizzard is trying to do and there clearly is a noble intent behind it. I just think that they are going about it a tad wrong and in the end will be shoving a hybrid tax onto us not by way of a healing or dps penalty, but a requirement to be performing non-main roles or take off-spec style talents to stay useful. If other classes can be brought to the raid offering utility, emergency cooldowns, damage boosting effects, and useful offspec abilities that can be used while performing their main role then there is a disparity. Hopefully it doesn’t come to that but I think there’s a reason to be slightly concerned at this stage of the game based of the disseminated information.

  12. Great post Beru. I am not liking the proposed changes either. And like one of the other posters said…my pally hubby isn’t getting where I’m coming from either. Yes I’ve got my branches all in a twist over these changes.
    My deal is this, if I wanted to melee/tank/range dps I would play that role. I chose however to be a healer. If they want us to toss out meaningful dps then we shouldn’t have to be forced to switch forms to do so (meaning healer to boomkin) and for every moment I’m out of my normal role there’s going to be some dumbass that will require a heal that I won’t be able to provide now because either A) I’m not in my healer role or B) I’m now affected by a GCD for shifting.
    Each role has a job to do…tanks tank, dps kills shit, and us healer keep everyone alive. We shouldn’t be forced into having to perform another role that takes us away from our job. And most of these so called utility talents are either geared toward cat/bear or pvp of which I play neither because I honestly suck at it.
    Just give us our damn tree form back, give us some utility healing talents, and let us do our job.

    I’m probably not making a whole lot of sense. I know what I want to say, but I get so pissed at these changes I can’t put my thoughts into words.

    • I keep getting confused by this response, you’re not being forced into anything. You are being given a choice to be able to do this is you want, you can stay in caster form all the time if you wish and just ignore that part of the game. No one’s forcing you to do anything different if you don’t want, and pretty much all of these utility talents have functionality without ever changing forms.

      Don’t get your branches in a twist when you’re given more options.

      • Actually, the vast majority of talent options on most tiers require you to change forms. The level 90 tier has 3 talents that all require you to change forms. The level 15 and level 75 talent tiers only have ONE talent each that doesn’t shift you into a form.

        I would be okay if maybe 1 option on each tier came with a shapeshift requirement because then I could ignore it and still have choice. However, three of the six talent tiers require you to shapeshift OR to take a mediocre talent that won’t give you much of a benefit. That’s not interesting choices at all. You are getting forced into having to shapeshift, OR you are getting the option of no choice at all and we’ll all end up with feline swiftness (boring), Ursol’s Vortex (why would you pull adds to you) and Displacer Beast (you can heal without needing to spend time shapeshifting in & out of a form).

      • Erm that last one was disentanglement.

      • Lets look at the talent that require shifting from a caster POV:

        Tier 1 – 1*
        Tier 2 – 0
        Tier 3 – 0
        Tier 4 – 0
        Tier 5 – 1 – 1*
        Tier 6 – 2 – 1*

        * = Technically requires shifting but its major effect is instant and can be macro-ed to be back in caster form within that same GCD.

        So that’s 66% of talents that don’t require any shifting at all, and 83% that don’t require any time in another form. I’m not seeing “vast majority” here Lissanna, I’m seeing plenty of choice for a non shifter. Maybe I’m looking at a very different talent picture than you, I’m using the on on wowhead. Looks to me that what blizzard is doing is allowing someone that want to do the multi form game, the choice to accomplish that at a viable level.

  13. Personally, I like having the option of being able to shift, if the situation warrants.

    In my raids, there are often times when the OT taunts a boss off me, I’ll go kitty to drop in a little extra DPS for the seconds I’m not the primary tank.

    With the possibility of being able to play multiple roles within a single encounter, I can see a lot of cool possibilities.

    For instance, in our 10man Domo kills, we’re using 3 healers. Until the first swipe, only the tank is taking any damage, and our healers are sitting around just waiting to lay down some AoE heals. In this instance our druid could go cat form or boomkin and put in some damage until the swipe comes, then drop some heals.

    During the transition phases on Rag, our healer could also switch to a cat form and help DPS down the Sons.

    While I’m the OT on Beth’tilac, I could toss out some heals until it’s my turn to taunt again.

    I think the idea behind what they’re working toward isn’t to /force/ us to be hybrids, but rather to give us the tools whereby we /can/ be powerful hybrids if we’re so-inclined. I think that opens a lot of doors towards what you want in your raid… an intelligent utility druid could be a welcome addition to any raid, because they’re able to shift out of their primary responsibility to aid where they might be needed. Working on a progression boss and lose a healer to a new mechanic? Have the kitty go heals until you can bring that player back up.

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  15. I take a couple exceptions to some logic being used. The first is this one:

    “I keep getting confused by this response, you’re not being forced into anything. You are being given a choice to be able to do this is you want, you can stay in caster form all the time if you wish and just ignore that part of the game. No one’s forcing you to do anything different if you don’t want, and pretty much all of these utility talents have functionality without ever changing forms.
    Don’t get your branches in a twist when you’re given more options.”

    and the second is the post above.

    If this were a game about small content or easier raids I can see the usefulness in a super utility character that can, for a period of time, sustain a role outside of their own. The problem is that a rather large chunk of the player base raids and in those raids you are slotted to serve a specific purpose. While there may be down time in a fight there are better ways to serve utility rather than requiring us to shapeshift and charge into melee combat. That is both somewhat dangerous and counter intuitive to how we have been encouraged to do DPS as a healer (balance spells as spellpower is shared). While versatility is good, at the end of the day (raid) it will still boil down to how good you are at doing your job. If you look at a Discipline priest who offers healing and cooldowns, the ability to dps and heal simultaneously, AoE fear, and a DPS buff (PI) compared to everything a druid can bring plus some occasional kitty dps it just isn’t apples to apples. We are measured on what we can do in our role and bring to the raid and while niche utility stuff is great, forcing a prolonged (or just very often) shift to do so isn’t ideal. The suggestions by Jonathan above are not entirely outlandish but don’t fall in line with what we as healers would like to do. If we have an opportunity to DPS we’re going to sling spells. Running over to a mob just isn’t the best use of our time especially given the casting lockout. At most we may swap to bear for stampeding roar, bash, maim (ew) or skull bash. A tank swapping to kitty isn’t really new, and a feral/balance druid tossing a heal is useful but beyond tranquility if its happening often you’re perceived to be doing it wrong.

    If you look at level 90 talents (in their raw suggested state by blizzard) for healers specifically the options available are:

    Paladin (the least hybrid-y hybrid with the WoG cooldown)
    All three level 90 abilities are end game useful and improve the paladin’s output. Granted some of them are tweaks to existing concepts but that’s another animal entirely

    Quality of life benefits to totem dropping each with its own benefit. We don’t entirely know all of the totems available to the shaman but given that quite a few may be cooldown oriented abilities they seem worth it

    All three of the abilities are either significant throughput gains or unique twists on damage prevention cooldowns. Expect to see people using them in raids.

    Two of the three abilities ask a healing druid to shift into cat form for a rather extensive period of time to do some DPS (quality has yet to be determined) and one talent gives us a self heal. If they added additional bonuses to the talent that added a wider diversity of gameplay it’d be a different story: e.g. master shapeshifter granted a benefit based on your second spec (defaulting to one if you have two resto specs) and might give spell hit and crit if your offspec was moonkin. Heart of the Wild might allow you to still cast instant heal spells while in cat form.

    If you asked progression raiding druids what route they’d prefer the talents go they would probably not mind some offspec utility in the lower tiers as long as the game changing talent tiers offered them a way to excel at their desired (key word there) role in the raid. The jack of all trades master of none line may sound cliche at this point but it certainly is a sore spot for some druids. Things like Displacer Beast, Bear Hug, Ursol’s Vortex, and Demoralizing Roar are examples of really cool talents that slot in without being obtrusive. Master Shapeshifter in its current incarnation is the complete antithesis of those.

    • “The problem is that a rather large chunk of the player base raids and in those raids you are slotted to serve a specific purpose.”

      And a rather large chunk of the player base raids in 10 mans where its a constant lack or resources game. I can totally see mr 25 man druid who is one of many raid healers and doesn’t want to ever touch an ability that isn’t a heal, but in my world not only are we constantly trying to maximize roles at every give point of an encounter that stretches our body count but as someone that plays feral and resto equally I look forward to being able to bring a lot more of that gameplay rather than the pre pull decision that its currently limited to. Also, don’t go to presume that resto’s rather sling wrath than make someone bleed. There’s plenty of druids that aren’t scared of melee range and find cat DPS far more interesting than caster DPS.

      “If you asked progression raiding druids what route they’d prefer the talents go they would probably not mind some offspec utility in the lower tiers as long as the game changing talent tiers offered them a way to excel at their desired (key word there) role in the raid.”

      These tiers are not setup like our current talent system where the more impactful ones are at higher levels. “game changing talents” can occur at any tier, and currently some of our most powerful talents are at lower tiers. The only difference tier placement makes in the new talent system is their access at low levels, once you’re max level its a wash.

      I’ll say it again, no one is forcing / making / etc. the former druid from just casting spells, no one is telling you that you need to be shifting. You can go along and play this game without engaging in those activities and be just as successful as you’ve been before. You just pick disentanglement for your level 90 tier and treat it like an instant 20% heal on a 30sec cooldown, not too shaby.

      The “I just want to heal” druid spec:

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  21. After analyzing the talents (I use the term analyzing loosely as all I did was look at the tooltips of the talents, but using the word makes me feel smarter), it turns out that 2 talents shift you into Cat Form, Displacer Beast and Tireless Pursuit, 2 talents shift you into Bear Form (Demoralizing Roar and Bear Hug), and 1 talent can’t be used in Cat Form or Bear Form, Mass Entanglement. Thus, the disparity is pretty clear. The “caster form” talent doesn’t even shift you into the caster form and there’s only one of it, compared to 2 for the other two forms.

  22. We all have different ideas of how druids should perform when they shift.

    Cataclysm certainly put emphasis on using more crowd control and utility cds. I rarely saw people use anything in wrath, and nowadays, if you don’t use an utility cd or help with crowd control, you get labeled a bad player in any role you are in. This swung the limelight back to the very heart of the Druid community: shape shifting, and essentially, just about how well Druids should be able to use cds in their off spec form in any game play setting.

    When you add in the issue of *how* druids should do it. Some restoration druids want to be able to still heal in the restoration capacity while going cat in a pinch, as Beru has said. Or, accept that the utility druids can bring to raids and appreciate that as part of being a druid, as Whoweeat has pointed out so far, at the expense of simply being able to use something in their off spec.

    The issue is, just how well can you use your off spec talents? I can see how that would be very difficult to balance for both pve and pvp. A restoration druid is hard enough to kill as it is, and if they are able to heal on the move in cat form, the pvp community will be crying out for a nerf. A moonkin shouldn’t be able to heal as well as restoration druids can or tank as well as a bear can. Off specs need to be limited to a point where we can gain at least some usefulness and not be over powered in raids or pvp.

    Yes, some classes like holy paladins can cast cds on a whim without wasting a GCD to switch forms but it isn’t without sacrifice too. If a prot paladin tried to chain heal divine light, he’d end up right beside the smear on the ground that used to be the bear tank that tried to heal. You have the class/role trinity, and when you factor in off specs, some of them really clash. It’s unfortunate but it is what it is and I honestly don’t see how Blizzard can ever fully balance that out, especially for Druids. I believe that they are trying to help this out by allowing access to things like Nature’s Swiftness to all druid specs, so we also get an instant spell added to our toolbox and that is at least an option if that’s what we really want to have. This brings us a little closer to what paladins are able to do on a whim with spells like LoH. Shape shifting is something you get to do as a Druid, even if it’s at the expense of not having access to your main role in your shifted form.

    I honestly never saw this as a bad thing. While performance in shifted forms does still need some work, I still get excited every time I shift. I don’t think, “I can’t heal when I’m cat,” when I shift, I go, “Ok, now Dash over there and shift to bear/enrage/bash to stun that add!” It requires certain finesse to pull that off, and I enjoy it as an fanatical shapeshifter, haha. I’m going to give Blizzard the benefit of the doubt for now, and see what they come up with to address this.

    In the mean time… Beru… I hope you’ve been basking in that glower of your ragnaros kill :)

    Be well!

  23. If Druids are ever going to be a true Hybrid, they need to be able to do everything well all the time, not just on a limited cooldown. Being a Hybrid should create more options not less (as is the present design). Let’s throw out some crazy design goals:

    1: A moonkin should be able to act as a second tank for the duration of the fight, especially on “swap tanks at XX stacks” while in moonkin spec and gear (INT), at least when using the raid/dungeon finder tool
    2: A moonkin should be able to use the Melee utility such as an interrupt on a 10 second cooldown.
    3: When a moonkin in moonkin spec and gear (INT) fights as a cat for the entire encounter, he should be within 10% of the damage he would have done as a Moonkin.
    4: A moonkin should be able to heal for the duration of a fight and have HPS within 10% of a same ilvl healer

    You may argue that is not balanced, etc, but let me remind you that you can do this now anyways using dual-spec and a second gear set. This would naturally be balanced anyways if I kitty form in caster gear simply by virtue of not having any spec rotation buttons/glyphs/enchants/gems. So, lets just make life easier for all druids and let them be hybrids full time.

    Where things get messy is letting Druids perform an off spec well in the middle of a fight. Think phase 1 of Alysrazor let a moonkin go kitty so he can interrupt the adds, but then switch to moonkin for the other phases. We cannot do that now, but I think it would be awesome to do so.

    Blizzard already said if you want to sit in your spec and not shift, then nothing really changes. They also said that if you choose to switch specs you get a temporary 30% buff to your primary spec when you go back so you can “catch up.” What if you can shift out as a bear and heal for up to 10 seconds before your armor/dodge fall off? Of shift into cat and DPS (and do good DPS) while still tanking. What if this hybrid design allowed Blizzard to do 3 tank bosses and 4 healer raid encounters?

    I think the possibilities can be fun, but at a minimum we must:
    1: Not be penalized in our main spec if we choose not to shift
    2: Be almost as good as the original when we shift (at least 90%)
    3: Be able to be a hybrid 100% of the time, not just on a cooldown
    4: Make gear matter less. Just make ilvl=dps,hps,time to live regardless of what form you are in. I’m fine if you just throw away +INT leather gear entirely and I know Monks would thank you.

    This system would never had been possible with the existance of the talent system. But with that out the window, depending on how deep they make specialization, Druids could finally be a viable hybrid.

  24. Pingback: Repost: What’s wrong with melee moonkin (part 1) | Restokin

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