There is some great news floating around the druid community regarding some tweaks that are being made to Efflorescence. Decent enough tweaks that it feels slightly less painful having to shovel 6 of our precious talent points to acquire the talent. Both Jarre and Keeva have talked a bit about the change, and what it means for resto druids, so I’m not going to spend a lot of time on it outside of pointing you in their direction if you’d like to read up on the change. Ok, I suppose that I will also state that it’s a good change for us. There. That’s all I’m going to say on it!
But only because I’d like to talk about something else. Tranquility.
A while back druids and shamans were given the hope that they would be getting a healing cooldown to match those seen with both paladins and priests.
We agree with the sentiment among some players that Restoration druids and Restoration shaman are lacking in the healing cooldown department. The shaman buff and Power Word: Shield adjustment above should bring all healers reasonably close in terms of throughput. The decision on who to bring then might end up being dictated by the strong cooldowns offered by paladins or priests. This isn’t the kind of thing we can address via a hotfix, but it is something we are looking at for the next major content patch.
There was much joy, elation and, of course, speculation about what this cooldown would be and what it would do for everyone. Druids across Azeroth have waited with bated breath and anticipation for Blizzard to announce our new cooldown. Well, I’m starting to wonder if the wait is over for us. You see Shaman had their cooldown announced yesterday.
Spirit Link Totem (new talent) reduces damage taken by all party and raid members within 10 yards by 10%. This lasts 6 seconds, and every second it is active the health of all affected players is redistributed among them, such that each player ends up with the same percentage of their maximum health. This counts as an Air totem and has a 3-minute cooldown.
Vixsin did a great write-up on it, and how she expects to see it play out. If you are interested in our shaman brethren I highly recommend checking it out.
Of course, the announcement of Shaman’s cooldown started making me very, very nervous. Partly because we haven’t really seen a new talent/ability come our way in the form of a raid saving cooldown yes, but partly because of this:
Malfurion’s Gift now also reduces the cooldown of your Tranquility by 2.5/5 minutes.
Now, this change will bring our tranquility down to a 3 minute cooldown. I know you are probably thinking “great! Tranquility is a very powerful healing tool”. But what has me extremely nervous is the fact that this puts it on par with cooldown timing for Paladin, Priests and now Shaman’s coodlowns. I’m afraid to say that I think tranquility is our new “cooldown”.
Now, I really REALLY hope that I’m wrong. And I’d love to have to eat my words if I am. Except I don’t think I am.
I’m sure that Zinn will disagree with me and say that not only did we not need a mitigation cooldown to begin with, but having Tranquility on a 3 minute cooldown is more than enough to count as our raid saving “cooldown”. Only it’s not. And if this is truly Blizzard’s “gift” to resto druids, it completely misses the mark.
You see, the issue with druids has long been that the play style bases the strength of druid healing on pure throughput. The only option that we have ever had to deal with incoming damage is simply to heal more. We have zero, zilch, nada cooldowns or abilities to mitigate damage. We don’t have an inspiration or ancestral healing effect to boost armor on the tank. We don’t have a Guardian Spirit, Pain Suppression or Hand of Sanc to give to the tank in a pinch. All we can do to solve problems is…heal more.
And that’s well and good. Except that no matter any way you slice the pie, mitigating damage taken will always be a better solution to healing damage taken. And druids currently have no way to mitigate damage. I don’t think that I’m off base when I say that when Blizzard made their announcement that Druids and Shaman would be receiving cooldowns to put them on par with Priest and Paladins (because yes, it was an extremely noticable omission) that the entire community believed that we would be receiving a mitigation cooldown of some sort. In fact, I would almost even go as far to say that Blizzard all but lead us to believe that we would be getting a mitigation cooldown.
And yet, what we’ve got is a reduced cooldown on Tranquility. What we’ve got is yet more “heal more”, which I’m sorry to say isn’t going to solve the problem and is nowhere near comparable to the tools that (now) all three of the other healing classes have to mitigate either raid or tank damage. And that doesn’t even to begin to address the other issues that come with Tranquility.
To try and highlight why Tranquility is going to be a sub-par “raid saving cooldown”, let’s make a list, shall we?
- Tranquility offers no mitigation to either raid or tank damage. While pure boost to healing output is nice, it’s fairly insufficient to counter the raid and tank damage we’ve seen this expansion – at least compared to what we’ve seen done with things like PW:B. Mitigating damage is always, ALWAYS superior to healing through it.
- Tranquility is a channeled spell. This is problematic because it means that to get the full benefit of the spell you must root yourself in place while casting. Which in turn means that you will not always get the full benefit of cast because you may be forced to move before it’s finished. Just last night we had a druid get off less than half a second of her tranq cast before she had to move to dodge a frost orb on H Maloriak. I myself mistimed when the sound discs were going to spawn on H Atramedes last night and was forced to move less than half a second into my cast – virtually wasting the spell. I could go on and on here, but I think you get the point.
- Because Tranquility is channeled, it’s susceptible to being interrupted and suffer pushback. Any druid that has done any amount of healing knows that if you don’t want to risk losing ticks of tranquility, you have to barkskin before you cast. However, this also means that we are now forced to use another (personal) cooldown in order to maximize our “raid saving” cooldown. No other healing class is forced to do this.
- Tranquility offers no mitigation to either raid or tank damage. What? You don’t think I know I said this already? I think it bears repeating. Because Tranquility does not solve the issue of druids lacking zero mitigation abilities – and will not make us “equal” to the other healers in that regard.
I can’t help but feeling that if I am right, and this reduced cooldown Tranquility is our new “cooldown” that Blizzard completely missed the point – and that we aren’t being given what we’ve been promised: a cooldown to make us as viable as priests and paladins. Please, please, please Blizzard, I’m begging you. BEGGING. Do not let this be our promised “cooldown”. Please let us know that you understand that healing output is not the same thing as damage mitigation. Please tell me that the reason that you’ve not announced our spiffy new mitigation ability is because it’s still being developed. Just whatever you do, don’t tell me that this revamped Tranquility is all you’ve got for us.
edit: As I thought on it a little more I thought of another pretty big problem – if these change goes through there is no way Tranquility is going to keep the potency that it has as a healing spell. The intentions to do so may be well and good – but mark my words here is what will happen:
- Tranquility is implemented as a “cooldown” for Resto Druids on a 3 minute timer.
- Druids start pounding the shit out of everyone in terms of throughput, because instead of receiving the mitigation cooldown that they wanted, and that everyone else has, Blizzard decided to stick with the “just heal through it” model – giving druids an insane amount of throughput.
- Everyone who isn’t a druid starts crying that druids are far too overpowered, and that Tranquility needs to be nerfed.
- Blizzard looks at the numbers, forgets their reasoning behind putting tranquility on such a short cooldown, and decides that druids aren’t equally “balanced” with the other healers because their output is too high.
- I mean, c’mon! We know that they want all healers to be equal on terms of throughput, they’ve even said as much(in the post announcing cooldowns for druids and shaman’s no less!).
- Blizzard nerfs the hell out of Tranquility to put druid throughput in line with the other 3 healing classes.
- Druids suffer – as not only did they not gain the cooldown that they wanted, but one of their raid healing tools got nerfed to hell in the process, ultimately placing druids in a worse place than they were before the tranquility change went into effect. Double Whammy.
Mark my words this is what will happen. I will be sure to give you a nice “I told you so” and link back to this post on the day the nerf is announced, just so you don’t forget that I predicted it!