Fixing the Forest, Part III: Level 90 Druid Talents – A Resto Perspective   23 comments

Apparently while I was somewhere over the Rocky Mountains yesterday, Blizzard made a change to the level 90 druid talents. I think that it is safe to say the it was pretty unanimously agreed upon that a change was needed, as the old talents were very lackluster and didn’t really offer any dynamic decisions. Druids sat by the wayside turning green with envy as other classes were tended to, and growing ever greener as new things were announced and druids seemingly continued to be overlooked by the developers. Well, the crab himself emerged and gave us a bit of hope and a lot of needed developer presence. While my green isn’t entirely gone, I have gone down a few shades with yesterday’s announcement. While I’m still pretty sure that none of the devs are playing a druid, at least I know we are finally getting some much needed attention.

The question that we have to address with the announced changes is “are these the changes we were looking for?”.  Well, in an attempt to answer that from a resto perspective I think we need to take a look at what we were presented and talk a little bit about what the changes offer us. As such, let’s take a look.

The first change is something that was actually removed from the level 90 talents and made a baseline ability for all druids (i.e. reverted to pre-Cataclysm mechanics).

  • Disentanglement – no longer a talent. Shapeshifting for all druids just breaks roots.

Shapeshifting - all shapeshifting - will once again break roots. While this has never been a massive issue in a PvE setting outside of a few encounters, it is a pretty huge quality of life change for druids engaging in PvP. Personally, I am very happy to see this change and I’m glad that shifting will once again break roots for druids.

Now, onto the new talents and the changes to the original level 90 abilities.

  • Dream of Cenarius — increases damage spells by 70% (up from 30%).

Unfortunately, this changes very little on the resto front. We did not receive a boost to the healing portion of the ability, which remains at 30%. It is still an ability that requires you to stop healing, cast wrath, and have one ability every 30 seconds boosted by 30%. While I could see this potentially being powerful in how it interacts with something like Tranquilty - I see it having fairly little general panache outside of that. Really, outside of tranq, the only time I really see this boost being even remotely useful as a “burst healing”, oh shit, type ability is paired with Wild Growth. But even then, I’m not sure it would be worth it to take time out to cast wrath for that 30% boost.

Suggestions for Improvement - To make this ability somewhat interesting and functional for resto, and encourage us to utilize it, it needs to do more for us. Because of the way that we heal, having an ability get a small boost for one cast, for most things, is going to be really ineffective and likely not worth the GCDs you lose casting wrath to get that boost. I mean, I’m probably not going to think “OMG I MUST WRATH BOOST THIS SINGLE REJUV!!!!!”.  Which means that in most circumstances I’m probably going to cast one wrath every three minutes to line up with tranq and outside of that not bother with it. If Blizzard really wants us to get some different game play/hybrid experience out of the talent, why not change the healing boost on the ability to be for x amount of time after the ability triggers – say 10 seconds. So every heal we cast within 10 seconds will be boosted by 30%. At least that will really make me think about the talents worth – and makes me have to question the benefit of utilizing DoC every 30 seconds, or only in certain situations. Over all, I think that giving us a timed boost, rather than a single spell boost, will make the talent much more interesting and dynamic from a resto standpoint.

  • Heart of the Wild — now also grants 6% passive Agility and Intellect.

If you opt to take heart of the wild as your level 90 talent for PvE, you are basically taking it for the passive 6% intellect boost. The rest of the ability is still the same awkward shapeshifting to perform another function mess that it was in its original incarnation. In short, the talent is a 6% intellect boost – and the rest is just flavor text filler. Ultimately, I think it will fall down to the math on if the 6% intellect boost will be the superior option for healers in this tier.

Suggestions for Improvement - Honestly, I really wish Blizzard would can this talent and start from the ground up. It still very much feels like they are trying to shove shapeshifting down our throats, despite the fact that this is a very inelegant way to do so, and that every druid has offered feedback indicating that they did not feel this was a particularly functional talent. That being said, I don’t know that I have a great solution for how to fix the back half of this talent, and I’ve been thinking about it since the talent was released. As a resto druid, the last thing I want to do in any situation is shift to cat and start clawing away. If I need to DPS, I’d much rather nuke – and if my raid is in a situation where my DPS is mandatory, something has likely gone terribly wrong.

If Blizzard is insistent that we shift for this talent, I think it needs to have some additional benefit to our main role. Otherwise the talent is, quite literally, going to be a straight up stat increase in PvE, and that’s about it. If they want the ability to offer some raid utility, rather than have you shift to gain benefit, why not have HoTW do something like attune you with your inner feral spirit and your direct heals run free, boosting a random stat of all those around the party healed for x seconds. You can even add a nifty animation to the cast similar to Mighty Bash, where you see the inner feral released.

  • Nature’s Vigil – replaces Disentanglement. Increases all damage and healing done by 30% for 30 sec, with a 3 min cooldown. While active, all healing spells also damage a nearby target for 50% of healing done, and all damage spells and abilities also heal a nearby friendly target for 50% of the damage done.

This is an entirely new ability, and I’m not entirely sure how I feel about it from a healing perspective. The short of it is that it’s a 30% boost to healing, every 3 minutes. The way that the ability interacts with what role you are providing is somewhat interesting to me. In a way, it’s a little bit like atonement, but I question the viability of spamming wrath for 30 seconds being adequate healing from a resto standpoint. It seems to me that is more directed at moonkin - and the part of the ability really meant for us is the damage done to nearby targets. Um…okay? I mean, whatever, I guess. To me, when I look at this ability, I see “30 second healing cooldown every 3 minutes” – the damage part of it is sort of just there. As a healer, it doesn’t really get me all hot and bothered as a talent. It’s just another button to push x number of times during an encounter – just like tranquility. Sure, you will want to time it “just right” so that you can maximize the number of times you utilize it, and make sure that you use it at the “best” times. But when push comes to shove, it’s a relatively uninteresting talent for a healer, and a 30% healing boost every three doesn’t have me calling gabriel down from the heavens to trumpet its praise.

Suggestions for Improvement - While I am glad to see a change in our level 90 talents, none of the changes really seem very healing driven. When I read through them I see “moonkin got love” oh, and here’s something added on for the trees. Maybe I’m just in a funk, but I’m really not that excited about this talent. In fact, I think I like the 6% passive Intellect more than this. The problem with the ability, as I see it, is that while a 30 second boost on a long cooldown is fair DPS design – it’s not a novel idea for healers (or even particularly ideal). And the talent, in essence, it’s pretty much a boosted ToL without the tree graphic. We’ve already got that. I’m sure the talent will be mathed out somewhere, and we will see where it falls throughput wise into the big picture (and it will probably do well), but I just don’t find myself getting excited about ToL v. 2.

If blizzard wanted to make this a REALLY interesting choice for healers, they’d incorporate some of what they were trying to do with HotW into this talent, and make the nuke/heal portion of it a more interesting and viable option for healers – so that as a healer you had a meaningful choice to make regarding whether it was best to nuke to heal, or cast heals to heal. As it stands now, the nuke portion of it is almost wasted for resto because we won’t be hit capped and our wrath hits will be negligible (and probably cost us a large portion of our precious mana pool). We would get more from the straight healing with the boost. But if we could really put up some meaningful damage that was transferred to healing in those 30 seconds – and there was some heavy raid damage going out – now that is interesting. And potentially very powerful if timed properly, but only if the healing done by the resto druid was meaningful enough to outweigh the straight healing they could do with the healing portion of the talent. I could definitely see myself at least experimenting with it to see how it played out in a raid setting. I suspect it would be very situational, similar to atonement, but it would integrate some of that “hybrid” play Blizzard has been focusing on with MoP.

What do you think? Do you like where the level 90 talents are for Resto? Do you think they still need some work? What would you change?

Posted May 8, 2012 by Beruthiel in Druid Healing, MoP

23 responses to “Fixing the Forest, Part III: Level 90 Druid Talents – A Resto Perspective

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  1. I think that they are slightly better….but still need some work as well. I would be more likely to take the 6% int buff or the damage spell increase depending on the fight…I tend to be the one who bursts into dps more out our team of healers.

    • I think that a lot of people will probably go with the passive int buff, if they math out to be fairly comprable in throughput.

      • I agree, flat line, I’ll likely go with the int buff if it is better throughput for me, but for some of our current fights, I can see the other being more tantalizing….I typically wind up dps’ing some in resto already. I would likely carry the proper reagent to be able to swap if needed. That goes for other tiers in the tree as well.

  2. The tier has gone from terrible to mediocre, so I guess that’s something…

  3. With how monks are getting baked in hit/expertise I’d be surprised if all healers weren’t give spirit to hit or some other conversion. I still die inside whenever its my job to put up FF on targets.

    • Apparently we get 15% hit baked into Wrath and MF. Still doesn’t mean that they won’t hit like a wet noodle, and that any healing we are able to provide via DPS is negligible.

  4. I’m in agreement with Tony and I think it’s kind of sad that druids are so starved for development that going from terrible to mediocre makes me kind of happy. . .

  5. Resto Druids get Nature’s Focus at level 16. It increases spell hit to 15% (the new cap) on Wrath and Moonfire and reduces pushback on direct heals, tranq, roots, and cyclone.

    • Someone else did point that out to me, however it doesn’t change that our damage output still wouldn’t be meaningful enough for nuking to do a comprable amount of healing as just straight healing with the 30% boost would. Which still basically makes it ToL 2.0.

      • But that’s not the point is it? The idea is for the cooldown to provide you the ability to either DPS during a lighter heal time, or provide some DPS while you’re also healing. I don’t think the point of the cooldown is to be applicable in all PvE situations.

        I’m still not sold on this cooldown approach to hybrid play though, especially when I’m offered choices of atonement priest or mistweaver that allow me to control when I DPS and when I focus heal.

      • But then why would you ever use it to DPS as a healer? Ever?

        I know that I wouldn’t, I would want to utilize it where it best fit into my prime playstyle – which is healing. I wouldn’t “waste” the cooldown just to nuke when I could use it to boost my healing.

      • My raid has encountered issues with DPS check points that no amount of healing could overcome, that’s when I would use it. I can’t heal myself past burning tendons or cataclysm cast timers. I don’t subscribe to the environment that a lot of druids seem to where in raid they will only ever heal or only ever dps and never shall the twain meet. I’ve already seen the difference that keeping moonfire & insect swarm uptimes as well as the odd wrath has made for our DPS checkpoints, I’m all for more tools along those lines going forward.

    • Ultraxion in the beginning when the aoe effect is small and the holy priest has it under control besides me tossing some wild growth out on cd…On the tendons on spine, to make sure we get them down, the beginning of madness when all buffs are up so you have really nothing else to do at points. Several places that if I were healing, I would only be wasting mana, I typically dps.

      • @WeWhoEat and Elunamakta

        Your experiences are vastly different from mine as far as that goes – and I don’t know if that’s a difference between Heroics and Normals or 10 vs 25 (you will have to forgive me, I don’t know what your raid experiences are). When we learned Ultraxion, I was one of two healers healing 25 people when the encounter started. There was no wiggle room to DPS and I certainly had plenty to heal. When we learned Spine, there was an abundance of healing to be done to clear off Searing Plasma and keep the tanks alive during the later plates. If we needed more DPS on something that our DPS couldn’t push through, we generally just brought fewer healers if that was an option. If we couldn’t, or didn’t want to, bring fewer healers, we asked our DPS to step it up.

        But in the past three raid tiers in Cataclysm, I can’t really think of any point where there wasn’t something to be healed and my mana wasn’t better spent healing. This is even more true when they changed symbiosis to harmony. The only times I think I’ve ever actively done DPS is when we are falling apart and have 1-2% left of a bosses health.

        As far as being in a school of thought were I feel my role is healing, and I shouldn’t need to DPS, I will fully admit that I am pretty firmly of that mindset. I don’t want to have some clunky mechanic that requires me to do things outside of healing – I want to heal. If I didn’t want to be a healer, I would have rolled a different class or I wouldn’t be playing resto. I, personally, don’t find having to mix DPS and healing to be “fun”. I will also openly admit that I’m a competitive healer and if there is any amount of damage being done, no matter how much or how little, I’d much rather be healing the minimal damage going out to the raid than offering relatively weak DPS.

        If you enjoy DPS with your healing, that’s fine, and you are welcome to DPS until your heart is content. But it’s not a style of play that sits well with everyone, and it’s not “wrong” for a player to want to be a pure healer. Druids who don’t want to integrate DPS into their playstyle to be effective shouldn’t be forced to do so (and yes, I recognize we have several options that don’t require us to DPS, I’m just making a broad statement).

      • That is probably the genesis of most our disagreement concerning this style of play. In a 25man you can tune your healing comp to 8%,12%,16%,20%,etc. In a 10man, I am faced with 10%,20%,and 30% as my only options so I really desire the tools that would help my raid comp deal with too much or too little healing. You are able to accomidate this while keeping everyone a specialist.

        Now there is also wanting to play this way and wanting not to play this way, and that’s why there are options. But what I find troublesome from the specialist camp are the declarations that “druids don’t want this” and “the last thing a resto wants to do is shift to cat and be in melee range”. I want to do this, I really like cat Dps far more than caster Dps, and I love melee range. Am I not a druid?

        There is also the issue of are the numbers meaningful enough to matter, and that is a serious issue. But I think as the devs have stated we are still in the “is this fun?” Stage of beta, balancing the numbers comes later. And what scares me are all these calls of its not worthwhile now so scrap it. Now to be fair the purpose of your series is to find fixes to druid issues and that is awesome but lets please be careful that we don’t fall into the trap of it doesn’t work in my world therefore its not viable.

  6. From a PvP standpoint, I’m extremely happy for Disentanglement being passive again.
    As far as PvE goes, if anything we have a new CD for healing. It might not be an amazing mechanic, but I wont complain at a new cooldown either. We’ve always been lacking in that area and getting something is a step in the right direction. I’d personally still like to see a real raid cooldown that’s geared more toards damage mitigation and throughput, but at this point I doubt a change that big will get implemented.

  7. They enlarged the mushroom radius to 12 yards! that’s a push in the right direction if we are gonna be stuck with them!

  8. I can see Heart of the Wild being helpful in a couple places. For resto PvP, if you get caught out alone or need to burn an opponent quick, this might make switching to kitty or bear a bit more interesting. For feral druids, it makes throwing out a heal or a tranq a bit more powerful. There are certainly moments in many fights when the DPS have free GCDs — when new adds spawn or you have to run to a new position. Making those situational heals a bit more powerful could be helpful.

    Whether this talent turns out to be competitive will come out in the math but this is how the back half makes sense to me conceptually. Of course that doesn’t help healing raiders like you but that’s what makes streamlining druid talents difficult. They need to provide something competitive and interesting for all 4 roles in both pvp and pve. That’s a higher design bar than many other classes have.

  9. I feel that this is one of the cases where the talents are geared towards PvP and players who don’t PvP are upset that they aren’t getting anything out of it. I’m glad to see that Blizzard is doing something to cheer up the PvE players, but as someone who does enjoy PvP I see some situations where these talents could be very useful.
    If Blizzard can keep all the healers competitive and manages to build some more play style flavor for us, I’ll be happy being a druid in MoP.

  10. Beru, I love the way you say things sometimes….”While I’m still pretty sure that none of the devs are playing a druid, at least I know we are finally getting some much needed attention.” <3

    I hope there's more druid love to come from the devs.

    ~ Melyanna

  11. This is the single biggest issue with Heart of the wild:

    [GW's explanation of mistweaver design]
    “We’ve changed Eminence from working on auto-attacks, since this would encourage monk healers to auto-attack just for those heal procs. Regarding our “vision” for the spec (in terms of PvE), it is currently (and this could change, of course):

    Melee healing MistweaverYou position your statue near the ranged to heal them, and you are in melee. Your rotation is similar to a Windwalker’s, except you spread Renewing Mists out and Uplift during AOE phases. For AOE, you use Spinning Crane Kick and one of the last tier talents. You almost never cast Soothing Mist, Enveloping Mist or hard cast a Surging Mist unless you absolutely have to. If something doesn’t deal damage, you don’t want to cast it.
    Ranged healing MistweaverYou aren’t in melee, you’re at range. You may position your statue near the melee since they’re farthest away. You mostly cast Soothing Mist since your statue also casts it with you, and burn through your Chi with Enveloping Mist. While moving you put down Healing Spheres near people you think may become injured (or on top of those who are). If you want to add in some damage, cast Cracking Jade Lightning. Cast Renewing Mist whenever it’s up. Roll/Chi Torpedo into injured members and use Spinning Crane Kick to heal them up. Use the Chi you generate through Spinning Crane Kick on Uplift.

    Also, depending on the fight, you can switch between both of those modes (using Transcendence to teleport back and forth into melee). There will inevitably be encounters where one is better than the other, and we feel that’s okay. That is going to the life of a Mistweaver Monk.”

    The fact that the mistweaver design is for you to be able to do this any time you want, at your leisure without leaning on a cooldown.

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