Improved Barkskin? Really?   4 comments

As I was parusing through the PvE Healing discussionover on EJ, I came across an interesting comment that I wanted to explore.  You know that “extra” resto point that you have floating around in your 14/0/57 spec?  Yea…you do, the one that everyone tosses into talents like Imp. Tranquility or Natural Perfection (where mine was residing).  Well, Vykromond had something very interesting to suggest about where to stick that point.  Improved Barkskin.


Yea…that is pretty much what I thought at first.  I had generally written the talent off as a PvP talent that really would not provide me much benefit in a raid scenario.  However Vykromond provides some fairly solid math that shows how useful the talent can be (his math, not mine!):

Here’s one example. XT normal and hardmode does Tympanic Tantrum once every minute. Tympanic Tantrum deals 10% of your health in damage every second for 8 seconds, which multiplied by the Heartbreak bonus means he deals .1 * 1.4 * 8 * (health pool) *10 damage total over the fight with tantrum. Since we know it’s coming, we can use barkskin every tantrum, and with an assumption of 22,500 health, that means that Improved Barkskin’s effect over the fight is .1 * 1.4 * 8 *22,500 * 10 *.1 = 25,200 damage prevented…and at 0 mana cost

Wow!  I never really looked at Improved Barkskin in this light before.  Even with just one talent point that is STILL 12,600 damage prevented in that one example (note, Vykromond’s math in the example above assumes two points in Improved Barkskin).  That is some pretty convincing math.  As I think about it, there are LOTS of times that I could get some serious damage mitigation from this talent.  I am already always using it on General Vezax so that I can take 7 ticks of Saronite Vapors.  But I probably shouldbe using it during frozen blows on Hodir and Phase 2 & 4 Mimiron, in addition to the XT example provided above.  There are probably a miriad of other places that I could be maximizing Barkskin that I’m currently not.  (Bad Beru!  No cookie!)

So, is it really worth taking a point or two in this talent?  Let’s review some of our other options (please note that I am going from my preferred talent build, which includes both Living Seed and Revitalize):

  • Improved Tranquility – (Two Points) Will reduce the cooldown time of tranquility as well as reduce the threat caused.  I personally do not ever put points into this talent.  While it would be nice to have a lower cooldown on Tranquility, I rarely use the spell enough to warrant using it more.
  • Natural Perfection – (Three Points) Will increase your crit up to 3% and may reduce incoming damage you take.  This is were I generally put that extra point.  A little extra crit isn’t bad, but it is also not really game breaking for a class who relies mostly on HoTs, and our direct heals already have other talents to compliment them and up their crit.
  • Tranquil Spirit – (Five Points) Reduces the Mana Cost of your Healing Touch, Nourish and Tranquility Spells.  I almost never use healing touch when I raid, and even then only when it is tied to Nature’s Swiftness.  I use Nourish only marginally more.  One or two points in here, for spells that I almost never use seems a waste of talent points to me.
  • Naturalist –  (Five Points) Reduces the cast time of your Healing Touch Spell.  Again, the only time I ever use Healing Touch is if I’m using Nature’s Swiftness.  Reducing the cast time for me would be pointless, as I never cast the spell.
  • Empowered Touch (Two Points) Your healing touch will gain an additional healing from your spell power.  While this talent is marginally more useful than the two above it, the small amount of time I use healing touch doesn’t really warrant tossing points into here, if I have somewhere better to put them.

While I don’t know that I am 100% sold on Improved Barkskin, I certainly am going to experiment with it.  I mean, why not?  Of my options above it is certainly as useful as any of the others, I would think.  The numbers definitely support its use.  I repecc’d this morning and moved the one point that I had in Natural Perfection over into Improved Barkskin.  I will play with it for a bit and see if I ultimately think that it is worth keeping.

What are your thoughts on incorporating Improved Barkskin into your PvE build?  Is it something that you were ever consider?

Posted June 18, 2009 by Beruthiel in Druid Healing, eh?, Healing, Raiding

4 responses to “Improved Barkskin? Really?

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  1. Ive been using Imp Barkskin in my build since it was released. As you already mentioned 3% crit from Natural Perfection is not anything special and I would definitely consider that talent a much more pvp oriented talent simply because it only procs on critcal strikes against you.

    The reason I use Imp Barkskin is because the less time I have to spend looking at my own health bar the better. Fights where raid healing is intense and damage is predictable make having imp barkskin really worthwhile. Hodir, XT etc.

  2. I use NS+HT more often than I use barkskin, even counting hodir/xt hardmodes 🙂 Go go clutch heals in 10-man!

  3. @Buddhist – /wave

    @Kae – I often forget to utilize barkskin…but that doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t be using it more, it just means that I’m fogetting something that I could be using to improve my play. I mean, it’s free damage mitigation every minute! (Even tonight when I was trying to make a concerted effort to remember to use it during our work on hard mode hodir, I often forgot :P)

    Do you use NS+HT more than barkskin because you are like me and forget to use barkskin, or do you use it more because you just don’t need the damage mitigation barkskin provides?

    • I don’t need the damage mitigation as often 🙂 There are times were it’s certainly useful (the previously mentioned hodir and xt hardmodes), but as a resto druid, I spend more time snapping heals than getting hit. Since I don’t have a bubble or shield to throw at a tank, NS+HT is my cooldown lifesaver, and I use the imp. healing to HT talent to buff it.

      Consider how often you are close to death, vs how often a tank or aggro-pulling DPS is close to death. In a situation like a 10-man with only two healers, where I’m healing both the raid and the tanks, I use NS+HT a lot… a whole lot more than I am having to pop barkskin! I play a feral druid as well, so barkskin use is ingrained into me.

      If there is any resto ability I find I do not use often or forget about, it is Tranquility 😀

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