This is my outlook for Cataclysm.
After calming down from my initial reaction to the proposed Tree of Life changes on Friday, and cooling my heels a bit, I have decided that I am decidedly unhappy regarding the changes, but the sky has not come crashing down just yet. (Yes, I said “yet”!). I understand that there are a few people that are very pleased to see Tree From go the way of the Dodo, and I can respect that, but I do not have to agree with it and I do not have to like it. In thinking about it some, I have decided that there are three (well, maybe more like three and a half) major reasons that I dislike the idea of ToL being a cool down going forward:
Cosmetics and Identity
A lot of people who I have seen pro-change play druids on the alliance (although there have been a handful of hordies, the majority of those that I have seen have been NEs). They enjoy viewing their characters, they enjoy their caster form, their gear looks good on them and perhaps they’d like to spend more time in it. To those I’d say “please go play a tauren for a week”. I know that this is probably a ridiculously silly argument for some people, but I truly hate the tauren casting model, and I honestly do not think that I’ve heard a single person ever say “the tauren casting model is awesome”! It is big, it is clunky, and it is anything but attractive or enjoyable to look at for hours on end.
I hate the model so much that back in vanilla WoW I literally carried around hundreds of Savory Deviate Delight in my inventory just so that I didn’t have to cast as a tauren. Yes, I killed C’thun as a human ninja. People complained about the heavy consumables on raid wipe nights? Yea, whatever, let’s talk about the amount of fishing progression raiding cost me! It was pretty much a standing guild joke when people saw me in the barrens…they knew exactly what kind of trouble I was stirring up! However, I didn’t care. I would rather spend hours fishing than watching my hooves separate and come together, like some terrible aerobics workout, during raids; and throwing my arms in the air thinking about bad 80s music (you know the songs I’m talking about!). It’s just…bad. (I will actually be race changing to Troll if these changes go live, I hate the tauren casting model enough to cough up the thirty bucks to not have to look at it).
When the previews, and pre TBC patch released with ToL, it was…interesting. I wasn’t quite sure what to think about it, and to be honest before you got life bloom in TBC, it was worthless. Those parts of Vanilla where it was available, it just wasn’t viable do to the style of healing required for the encounters at endgame. However, with TBC, ToL in all of its glory was unleashed, and the forest grew. Ultimately I was ecstatic. No more ugly cow casting, and something new, unique and indentifying for me!
Ever since then being a “tree” has been part of who I was as a player. I’m not Beru the cow, I’m Beru the tree. I went through two expansions with being a tree as part of my identity, and I’ve not regretted it in the least. Sure, I was happy to see the snare removed. Yes, I was happy we could cast rebirth in ToL. And when they finally let us decurse in ToL, it was fantastic. But through all of that I have enjoyed my leaves and branches, and they have become part of who I am as a character. I don’t want to lose that, even if it is “just a costume”. I mean, couldn’t the exact same argument be made for all of the druid forms? Can’t their abilities just be talented in, and they can all DPS in their caster forms as well? Why is this only a change for resto druids? Shouldn’t all four forms of druids be given the same treatment? The same arguments that was made for trees can be made for the other three specs as well. So why just trees?
Growing concerns with where Blizzard sees the Resto Druid in Cataclysm.
One of the things that GC pointed to in his explanation for the changes to ToL is that we lost a lot of utility for not a lot of gain with ToL. Really, the only “utilities” that we lost, that I can see, is not being able to cast DPS spells, or CC while in ToL.
Do I regret not being able to cast offensive spells in ToL? Um…cast what? *snort* Let’s see…for the two expansions of end game raiding since ToL was introduced, let me count the number of times that I’ve needed to stop healing to DPS. (Hang on, I’m thinking really hard about this). Four: My inner demon on Leotharas; The last part of Archimonde after the whisps come save the day; the heart on XT hard mode; and the last 10% gimme on LK (which in all honesty, my lawl wrath spam wouldn’t likely be missed). So over four years of content, there have been four fights where I was expected to contribute DPS…and that has never bothered me. Why? Because I am a healer. I don’t want to DPS, I want to heal. And if GC’s statements are to be believed, I’m not going to have the mana to spare to cast any offensive spells anyhow.
What about offensive spells such as CC, you say? The number of times I’ve needed to utilize those is even less. Let’s count…One. Yes, once. I CC for our HM 10 man Lady Death Whisper encounter, because generally our raid doesn’t have much CC in it. So I cyclone the mind controlled people. So out for four years worth of content, I have CC’d one encounter. But I am OK with that. I don’t want to CC, I want to heal. Sure, I have these other tools, but I want to heal.
So why does this concern me? Because if one of Blizzard’s reasons for removing ToL is to give us access to our offensive abilities without requiring to shift, there has got to be a reason, no? Are we now supposed to be some sort of DPS/Healing hybrid? God, I hope not. I am a healer, if I wanted to DPS, I wouldn’t spec into the resto tree. Am I reading too much into this? Likely. But it does bear some thinking, does it not? Why put a focus on giving us easier access to our offensive abilities to utilize while healing if they didn’t expect us to utilize them?
Unless of course they really are looking at PvP…even though GC himself has denied that is the reason for the change.
Ultimately, it’s interesting. I’m going to file it under the “let’s see how it plays out” category. But if all of the sudden my responsibilities now include regularly cycloning, rooting and moonfiring mobs rather than healing, I am going to be quite upset. That isn’t why I play the game, and quite honestly, it’s not what I want out of my game play.
ToL As A Cooldown
If done well, I suppose this could be interesting. If done poorly, it’s going to be terrible. Druids don’t want a “click” ability to increase our spell power. It doesn’t really fit well with how we heal, or how our heals work. Part of the great thing about HoTs is that it’s a static safety net. Random, short lived, increases to spell power just aren’t that stellar for us. Not to mention that healers are supposed to have more focus on “triage” type healing in Cataclysm. I’m just not sure how it is all supposed to fit together.
Ghostcrawler himself said that trees already have “enough buttons to push” and that’s why we aren’t getting any new spells. So it makes me wonder, why make this an additional button to push? Unless it’s a tank saving cooldown, it’s likely that it’s just going to be macro’d into our most commonly cast spell to be used every time it’s available. How does that make game play any more interesting? Unless of course we are supposed to be doing more than just healing…
So, we are supposed to maintain our healing utility and ToL is supposed to be some sort of super awesome, every two minute type of thing? What exactly is it going to do? Perhaps this is why there is such an uproar in the community right now about this. You have taken away something that a lot of people, not everyone, but a lot of people, really loved about the class; and in return you’ve given us…nothing.
You haven’t given us anything to be excited about this change. All you’ve said is that it’s going to be a cool down, that will temporarily shift you, but you haven’t told us what it’s going to do. How are we supposed to be excited about that? Perhaps a little more insight into how it’s going to work or what it’s going to do would help us understand it better. It would probably go a long way to sway those who are very much against it to at least think about the change with a more open mind. I certainly know that if I had been told on Friday that ToL as a form was going away, but instead we were getting OMG AWESOMENESS, the chances that my knee jerk reaction of WTF THIS IS TERRIBLE might have been a little more muted.
Honestly, I’m still kind of completely baffled by the change. The question of “why” still lingers, and to be perfectly honest, you haven’t given me a good answer. Answer my question to my satisfaction (I’m sorry, “so you can see your gear” is a terrible response), and perhaps the change will sit better with me. But to date, I do not feel that the question of “why” has been answered with any kind of sufficiency, and until it has, to the point that as a player I am comfortable with it, I don’t think that this change is going to sit very well with me.
I’m definitely not thrilled, but I won’t decide the sky is falling just yet…
Cataclysm Forecast: Cloudy with a chance of storms.