Tomorrow’s release of Patch 5.3 brings a few changes that are important to know for Resto Druids. As such, I thought it might be worthwhile to go over a few things that you want to be aware of and ready to handle upon arriving home and logging in!
What to Expect!
Healing abilities and spells which automatically pick targets now follow consistent rules for tageting logic. Targets with lower % health will be preferred, and players are weighted more heavily than pets”
What, exactly, does this mean? It means that if you cast WG while everyone is at full life it will favor players instead of pets! This is a pretty great change all around, and one that will be favorable for resto druids.
Tranquility now targets 12 raid members (up from 5) each time it heals when used in a 25-play instance.
This is pretty great change for druids raiding 25s. While I’m not entirely sure it’s going to really even the mitigation playing field, it is certainly a step in the right direction and will give tranquility a bit of a much needed boost in 25s. As always, I encourage you to find the best time to utilize tranquility in each encounter and maximize its use throughout the fight. There are lots of prime opportunities for Tranquility in ToT!
Ironbark now has a cooldown of 60 seconds, down from 2 minutes.
This is another pretty great change for Resto, and helps add a little more diversity to the resto toolkit. At 60 seconds, ironbark can (and should!) be tossed around freely on your raid anytime someone is in danger and could use the extra survival.
Swiftmend’s area-of-effect component now heals injured allies within 10 yards, up from 8 yards
While not a bad change for swiftmend, I’m not entirely confident that it’s going to have much of an overall impact on the ability. As it is, you either dump it on melee (or another clumped up group) or opt to use it on a single target (such as the tank, or someone in need of quick healing). The extended range won’t hurt, but I don’t really think it’s anything that is going to have a significant impact on our overall output either.
Wild Mushroom: Bloom: Healing from this spell has been increased by 100%, which includes all bonus healing from Rejuvenation overhealing. In addition, the radius has been increased to 10 yards (up from 8).
Oh Mushrooms. You have the potential to be something great, and yet we are still brought down by your cumbersome placement mechanic and overall lack of cohesion with the resto toolkit.
This change is a good one for Mushrooms – bigger heal, larger heal radius – but still suffers all of the main issues of the base spell itself. When I was talking about this with Brade the other day we decided that 2/5 of the time mushrooms will be largely overheal; 2/5 of the time mushrooms will be in the wrong spot at the time they need to be used; and 1/5 of the time mushrooms will work as intended and be moderately awesome. It’s just really hard to get excited about a buff to a spell that is horrendous in practice.
In places mushrooms were good previously, they will be even better now. In places where mushrooms make you want to kill small kittens, well…just remember that neighborhood cats will be missed.
All of that being said, the buff to mushrooms will make a single mushroom more potent, so it may be worthwhile during downtime to spread some out amongst the ranged in encounters that are very mobile and it is unlikely there will be given stack points or the melee will be all over the place (for example, I find they are pretty great during Ji-Kun’s Quills, or to quickly top up damage from Caw). Let them charge and use them during raid damage to help top folks up. It will also likely be worthwhile to try to plan in advance to drop them for significant damage phases. While it would be nice if they retained at least some of their charge if you have to replant them, it will be smart to try to keep them planted in key locations when applicable.
Force of Nature is no longer on global cooldown and summons a single Treant. The Treant no longer has a control bar, immediately uses it special abilities on the Druid’s current target and accumulates 1 charge every 20 seconds up to a maximum of 3 charges. Restoration version of the Treant now casts Swiftmend on the Druid’s target when summoned. This version of Swiftmend does not require or consume a heal-over-time effect on the target.
While this is a significant upgrade to this talent – it will be very hard pressed to be competitive with ToL or SotF. There may be times where it might be useful, but its usefulness is not likely to be outweighed when compared against SotF or ToL. My advice would be to play around with it in LFR, see if you like it, but to continue to stick with your preferred staples in this tier as I still don’t foresee FoN outperforming either of the other abilities available.
Important Changes that aren’t Resto Specific, but you should still know about!
Players can now choose to receive loot for specializations other than the one that’s currently active. This feature can be accessed by right-clicking on the character portrait and selecting the option from the drop-down list. Loot specialization is available for bonus rolls, Raid Finder, and Pandarian quest rewards
This is a fantastic change, and one that I hope will prevent people from queuing into raid finder as a healer/dps and then changing specs to their preferred roll. It should also significantly help with the acquisition of off spec gear via raid finder.
Protection for bad luck streaks have been added to bonus rolls. Each bonus roll that does not provide loot has a progressively better chance to award loot to the player
Say it with me! “AMEN!” I don’t know about you, but using coin after coin and never having loot show up can be so discouraging. I’m happy to see that this is something that was noted and an action taken to fix. It should also make the ease of gearing an alt a little better.
Completing the Challenge Mode daily quest now awards a Heroic Cache of Treasures with a chance to contain an epic item
One more reasons to look into challenge modes! (Which I think everyone should be doing anyhow!)
Voidbinders are back in capital cities and shrines. Items upgradable by Valor now require 250 Valor to upgrade per 4 items levels, for a total of 500 Valor for 8 item levels per item. This is retroactive to all items that use Valor
I’m really torn. While I think these item upgrades are a relatively elegant way to “nerf” current content, having to continually VP cap is tedious and time consuming. The plus side is that the cost to upgrade an item is significantly decreased – which is good. But the time commitment to VP cap outside of raids each week continues to be cumbersome. Either way – if you are capped come Tuesday, you can do a total of 12 upgrades (or 6 total items fully upgraded).
Players can now use items that are in the bank or Void Storage for transmogrification
Always look good…without having to pay to take items in and out of void storage! Of course, if your Void Storage looks like mine, it’s chock full anyhow and you are already transmogging from your bank because that is where your gear lives anyhow.
Enjoy 5.3, and may you fell many new foes upon its release!
As always, I am happy to entertain discussion or answer questions. I’d also love to hear about your favorite 5.3 additions.