Is 14/0/57 Dying?   9 comments

I was popping about, doing some reading over at EJ, and comparing gear choices/specs on some other endgame druids that I often review to see what they are doing and why they make those decisions.  In doing so, I noticed a trend:  fewer and fewer of them were opting for the 14/0/57 spec that has been popular amongst trees everywhere.  It seems like the pendulum has swung back to 11/0/60 for raiding, dropping Nature’s Grace in the balance tree and picking up Empowered Touch in the resto tree.

Interesting.  Well, at lest I thought so!  It certainly begged me to ask the question:  Is Nature’s Grace worth those three points anymore?  Let’s break it down.

What does Nature’s Grace Give You

  • Nature’s Grace provides you with a 100% chance (assuming 3 points) upon a critical spell to increase your spell casting speed by 20% for 3 seconds.
    • This spell does not work with the 4 piece T9 set bonus.

Thinking Through Nature’s Grace’s Usefulness

  • If you are casting a lot of direct heals with frequency (i.e. Nourish or Regrowth), having your cast time reduced has potential to be quite useful.  I could see this potentially being the case for healers in 10 man raid settings, or in a guild where they are primarily tank healing.  That being said, the proc only permits you a small window of time in which to get the benefit of the added haste from the spell.  As such, you will likely not be getting 100% of the bang for your buck, as you may not always be able to take advantage of the proc in your rotation.
  • On the flip side, if you are primarily raid healing, the usefulness of this spell goes down quite a bit.  While you may use regrowth and nourish while raid healing, or tossing some spot heals up on the tank, you likely will not be casting them in such a succession that 1) you will get a lot of benefit from the 3 second proc, or 2) you will not have as much crit uptime, because of the lower use of Nourish and Regrowth.
    • Note that there may be certain encounters where you will cast more Nourish and/or Regrowth while raid healing, but this is not necessarily true for the majority of the encounters in the game right now.

Are the Other Options Any More Useful?

That is the million dollar question then, isn’t it.  Regardless of if Nature’s Grace is useful or not, are the other alternatives more useful?  You get 3 extra talent points if you do not talent Nature’s Grace…add that to the one “filler” point that is left in the resto tree and you have 4 talent points to work with.  What are the options?

  • Natural Perfection (3 points) – While largely conceded to be a PvP talent, gaining 3% crit with the 4 piece T9 bonus might make it more worthwhile.  Since Blizzard seems hell bent on making crit a worthwhile stat for resto druids, I do think that this talent garners some consideration.  Is 3% crit worth 3 talent points?  I’m undecided on that right now.  Are these 3 talent points arguably better spent here than nature’s grace?  Possibly.  I think there is a fair argument that 3% crit is better than the 20% haste you get for that 3 second window.
  • Empowered Touch (2 points) – While this talent was largely considered a throw away talent for a class that almost never cast healing touch, the talent was just recently buffed to include a healing bonus to your Nourish spell, which makes it more attractive.  Take this in hand with the healing needed for ToC and TotGC, and I think it becomes more attractive.  I know, I hear you asking “but you just said that if you are spamming nourish, Nature’s Grace still has some value”.  While this is true, even if you are intermittently using Nourish, the buff to it for these two talent points is worth more than the haste granted from Nature’s Grace.  Are these two talent points better spent here than in Nature’s Grace?  I think so, yes.
  • Improved Barkskin (2 points)– Again, another talent that was largely thought to have a PvP focus has some good use in PvE.  Anything that will add to damage mitigation in a fight were healing is tight is worth consideration.  Will it be game breaking?  Not likely.  Is it useful?  Yes.  Is it worth dropping Nature’s Grace for these two points, no.  Is it worth picking them up in conjunction with something else that leaves you with some extra talent points, yes.

What Did I Do?

Last week on Wednesday, I opted to respec out of Nature’s Grace into an 11/0/60 build.  I picked up Empowered Touch and put a second point into Improved Barkskin, although I did consider putting two points into Natural Perfection rather than Imp. Barkskin.  I made this decision for a few reasons:

  • Being primarily a raid healer in a 25 man guild, I really didn’t feel I was getting a lot from the hasted cast time that Nature’s Grace was providing me.  Often it would proc and my 3 seconds would pass without me ever using a casted spell to take advantage of the proc.
  • In doing 10 man TotGC through Anub, and working 25 man TotGC Beasts, I found that there was more opportunity for me to use Nourish and have it be a more useful tool in my healing arsenal.  Specifically, I found the extra healing invaluable on HM Anub, for both the tanks and the piercing cold targets.  I also found the extra healing helpful on impales on Gormok.  I could WG the melee after a stomp, and use a well timed nourish as the impale was hitting the tank.  I am sure it will show it’s usefulness again with Incinerate Flesh as we work HM Jaraxxus tonight.  To me, this justified spending the two talent points for larger Nourish heals.
  • I became a fan of Improved Barkskin awhile back, while starting Ulduar Hard Modes.  I have remained a fan.  To me, damage mitigation is just as good as healing.  The more I can up my survivability, the better I become as a player.  The less I have to worry about my own health, the more I can worry about someone else’s health.  Will I move these two points out of here at some point?  Maybe.  But right now I like having the extra mitigation.

In the three raid nights that I’ve had since my respec, I can honestly say that I’ve not missed Nature’s Grace.  My opinion on this may change as I continue to experiment, but right now, I think that my talents points are better placed where they are.  Will this be the case for everyone?  Probably not.  However, the only way to know if you change things up a bit, and give it a whirl.

So, what do you think?  Is Nature’s Grace on the way out?

Posted October 5, 2009 by Beruthiel in Druid Healing, eh?

9 responses to “Is 14/0/57 Dying?

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  1. Interesting thoughts… I am still 14/0/57, but the changes I’m contemplating are delving a little more into balance for Celestial Focus. I was thinking of trying to offset some of the haste loss in T9 level gear, since as you noted, Blizz is hell-bent on shoving crit down our collective throat. I dont want to lose too much haste, so I’m being very careful on my gear choices. I havent considered a spec change enough to start to peruse about what I would give up, tough.

    My raid role can flex depending on who is in attendance, I can be put on tank or raid heals, so I try to keep that in mind and be flexible enough to cover both jobs.

    • I was certainly not pleased with the drop in haste on our gear. I think some of the peices that I haven’t picked up yet have some haste on them, which should help offset some of what I lost on my teir pieces.

      That being said, I’m still only 5 points under the soft cap, so, for me, I’m not sure going down into Celestial Focus would be beneficial. I think I would end up having to give up more in the resto tree than I’d like. However, the other resto druid in our guild has a celestial focus build, and heals quite well also, so I would think it’s quite a viable build.

  2. It’s not on the way out for me 🙂 but… as you said… it’s still got a lot of use in 10-mans, where I’m not “just” a raid healer.

    I still scratch my head at the “either NG or Emp Touch” debate, though. I’ve had both for over half a year now >.> I just don’t have imp barkskin, and have a point dropped out of GotEM.

    • Unfortunately, I don’t have the haste to consider giving up a point from GotEM, even with a moonking and WoA. And being a raid healer, the lowered GCD is important for me.

      Perhaps I didn’t phrase my thoughts as clearly as I should have. I don’t know if it should be a “this or that” debate, as much as a “Is it worth using 3 talent points in this talent anymore” debate.

      I honestly think that the answer will be individualized and more about each person’s playstyle and raid responsibilities than anything else. For me, a largely 25 man raider assigned to raid heals, I’m not sure that it is anymore.

  3. I have both Empowered touch AND Nature’s Grace in PVE healing builds. I find Nature’s Grace to be important to getting Nourish closer to the 1 second GCD cap, without having to gear as much for haste (since HOTs hit the GCD cap way before nourish does). I’m not sure why people would choose between them when it’s easily possible to have both Empowered Touch and Nature’s Grace…

    For PvE builds, I drop natural perfection. I end up with plenty of critical strike rating, and getting the bonus haste from Nature’s Grace is worth more than the 3% crit rating.

    With the rejuvenation nerf in 3.2, and the fact that Blizzard is moving towards more burst-damage and less support for rejuv-spam, people should be thinking about talents that work well with nourish and how to improve them, to move back towards a nourish-centric build for handling the burst damage that rejuv alone isn’t meant to deal with.

    • While you certainly *can* spec to have both talents, the question posed wasn’t “should I take one over the other”, it was “Is Nature’s Grace worth keeping” and if not, what are the other alternatives.

      In reviewing my healing assignment (the raid), my healing style, and how much use I got from Nature’s Grace, the answer for me was “no”. Even with the burstier damage found in ToC and TotGC, both 10 and 25, I still have found limited use for Nourish. Do I use it more now than I did in Ulduar, yes. Do I use it enough to warrant 3 talent points to situationally reduce it’s cast time for a spell that I use situationally? No.

      Nourish still accounts for less than 10% of my overall healing (I think regrowth is somewhere around there too, I’d have to double check my parses), 20% on certain encounters…maybe. It just seems like a lot of talent points for a “proc” type boost, that won’t benefit me everytime I use the spell.

      Again, everyone will have a different healing style and different healing assignments. For some, Nature’s Grace will certainly retain it’s benefit. However, I do think it’s important to explore the possibility that for other’s it isn’t worth the talent points given to it.

      The only thing that was nerfed regarding rejuv in 3.2 was the T8 4 piece set bonus. I switched out of the set bonus this week, and Rejuv was still my number one heal by a landslide on all encounters we saw during the week.

      Will the 3.3 nerf to rejuv affect this? Maybe. It means that we will be able to roll rejuv on 3 fewer targets. It means that our rejuvs might be a bit less juicy. I think the number crunchers are preliminarily thinking that it will be ~8% nerf to our overall healing. An 8% nerf to a spell that accounts for more than 60% of my healing on most fights will certainly be felt, but not enough to push a spell that is often less than 10% of my overall healing in 25 man raids.

  4. I actually specced out of Nature’s Grace last week and decided to glyph healing touch.

    Not gonna lie, it is amazing.

    I did it a long while back but then decided that 14/0/57 is such a robust build that I switched back within the week even though I liked the fast HT.

    Then I read about how Cows uses glyphed Healing Touch for heroic Anub and thought I might try it again to see if it is viable in light of some of the differences in damage between ToC and Ulduar. Additionally with the current nerfs to our hots (T8 4P got cut in half) and the upcoming nerfs (3 seconds less on Rejuv) I decided I needed a heal that packed some heat instead of just taking the nerfs lying down, and glyphed HT certainly is that.

    I basically love it. It will eat your mana like crazy but I think it is great and accounts for about 20% of my healing on alot of fights now with Rejuv and WG over it.

    The acceleration of Nourish was just too slow and unless you are spamming a tank I think constanct speed and power is better than extra crit, eventual 1.1 second cast and scaling with hots.

    In case you want to look up my druid my name is Thomasor from Nerz’hul

    • I have read a few people who find glyphed healing touch great for hitting penetrating cold targets on Heroic Anub. When we get there on our 25’s I may give it a whirl 🙂

      For now, we are just doing Heroic Anub in the 10s. With my 4 piece T9 bonus and glyphed rejuv, rejuv and nourish do a fair job at keeping the raid and the tanks alive during phase 3 (if I remember to take care of my own health *cough* :P) I’ll be honest, the 4piece T9 + rejuv glyph for that fight add up to some pretty beastly heals for the raid/tanks. The value of that T9 bonus really shines here, even though it’s value is arguable in a lot of other places.

      That being said, I may grab up a few HT glyphs to add to my bags and give it a whirl one night and see how I like it. Right now I’m swapping my third glyph between rejuv and innervate, depending on what we are working on.

  5. Thank you for this thought provoking post. I used to be spec’d 14/0/57 thinking i needed Nature’s Grace when I was tank healing and spamming Nourish to keep them alive. But thanks to your post, I decided to experiment and go with a 11/0/60 build to see what it was like. And in my guild’s 25-man raid last night, I didn’t miss having Nature’s Grace, I felt like I did fine without it.

    Now I have to rethink my glyph choice, thanks to your post on Glyphs. 😀

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