Wild Growth and Tranquility: The Problems
Everyone rushed into a frenzy yesterday at the news of a WG nerf. And to be fair I did a bit of ranting on twitter myself, but I decided that I wanted to sleep on it and gather my thoughts a little bit before putting them together to share. While my initial gut reaction was to fly off the handle, I needed to take a step and remind myself that it is day one of the PTR and many things will likely change. So let’s take a look at the nerf, shall we?
- Wild Growth healing value has been reduced by 20%.
In conjunction with this change, we also need to review the change to the Glyph of Wild Growth as well.
- Glyph of Wild Growth now also increases the cooldown on Wild Growth by 2 seconds.
So what do those two combined changes achieve? Well, they pretty much put Wild Growth back to exactly where it was when Cataclysm launched before it was buffed in 4.0.6 to where it is today. I’m struggling with this a little bit. Frist, WG is pretty powerful. That cannot be denied. And honestly, anyone who wasn’t expecting some sort of nerf was probably sticking their head in the sand.
However, there were reasons that WG was buffed. Druids fell seriously behind on having the ability to deal with the burst raid damage that we’ve seen in every raid instance since launch. Rejuv was too expensive to utilize freely, and WG didn’t heal for enough to effectively handle the damage. These two factors combined left druids in a very bad spot when compared to the other healers. As a result the devs made the change to WG to try and fix this discrepancy. It wasn’t the most elegant solution, but it was a simple one that got the job done.
So my question now is simply to ask “what has changed?”. If we needed those boosts to be competitive previously, what has changed that would mean that we no longer need those boosts to remain competitive? I understand that as our gear increases, we scale very well with Intellect. I understand that we can now make more liberal use of Rejuv. But are those things enough to offset such a large nerf to Wild Growth? When push comes to shove, I think that is the question that needs to be answered.
The next set of concerns that I have revolves around the thought that druidsr are putting out too much healing. Excuse me, we are throughput healers, you all but said so yourself. We were told that we were given a 3 minutes tranquility and that it would be powerful, but that our throughput is where we shine. Supposedly this is why we didn’t see any shiny new “cooldowns” when Shaman got theirs. It was my understanding that druids were meant to heal all of the things. And it was to be understood that this would give us somewhat disproportionately higher numbers when compared to the other healers. We accepted this.
But while we were assured these things were understood, when it came into practice, that was not the case. As druid numbers skyrocketed, we started hearing the complaints that every druid knew would come. And here we are, being told that our numbers aren’t in line with the other healers, after being handed yet more throughput that was supposed to “keep us in line with other healers” in terms of cooldowns.
So now, to try to adjust druids to be “equal”, we are getting a nerf to something that was offered as a solution to a different set of problems. My concern with this is that by effectively reverting the “solution” we are going to find we still have the same problems that required the buff to begin with.
It is my hope that these concerns are ferreted out on the PTR and we see a little more balancing in the changes that make it live. While I agree that WG is a little too powerful, I’m not sure that reverting it all the way back to launch numbers is the solution. Perhaps a more subtle change to the spell will be a good middle ground to keeping our output in line with where the devs would like to see it without completely gutting the reason they had to buff it in the first place.
In the end I’m optimistic that we will come out of the PTR in a good place and will remain competitive and viable when compared to other healers. I only hope that optimism isn’t misplaced.
Oh! Before I forget! I think I would probably be remiss not to mention (complain) that if priests are getting tranquility it’s only fair to give druids that mitigation cooldown that they’ve wanted (begged) for so long. It seems only fair, since you are giving away our unique snowflake.
Tier 13 Set Bonuses
Let’s change gears a little now, and look at our upcoming proposed T13 set bonuses.
- Restoration, 2P– After using Innervate, the mana cost of your healing spells is reduced by 25% for 15 sec.
- Restoration, 4P– Your Rejuvenation and Regrowth spells have a 10% chance to Timeslip and have double the normal duration.
The two piece bonus is…interesting. I’m not really sure how I feel about it as yet. On the one hand part of me is screaming THANK GOD IT’S NOT A LB BONUS! But part of me also thinks that it’s somewhat situational. If you have the luxury of innervating during a heavy damage phase of an encounter, you are going to get decent mileage from this bonus. However, if your innervate comes off of cooldown during a low damage phase you really aren’t going to get much benefit from the bonus.
I can’t decide if they are trying to get us to not using innervate on cooldown with this bonus, and trying to encourage us to make more “interesting” choices about when to innervate. While that might seem nifty in theory, to me it just isn’t going to work well in practice. I just can’t see any amount of lower cost healing spells, even during burst damage periods, outweighing needing to keep innervate on CD.
The four piece bonus is lackluster. While it may be nice, I’m not sure that I see much benefit to a 24 second rejuv outside of just increasing our overheal numbers. Additionally, if it’s like our T10 set bonus, it’s likely to be plagued with problems in how it plays with our other spells and abilities (not affected by rejuv boosting talents, not swiftmendable). At first glance, I just feel sort of “meh”. It could prove to be more powerful than I’m giving it credit for, but I’d be surprised if that was the case.
The WG nerf has some fundamental problems that need to be addressed on the PTR. I suspect that there will be some changes to the nerf before 4.3 goes live. At first glance both the two and four piece set bonuses seem somewhat lackluster, and their benefits will be situational at best. The sky isn’t falling (yet), and there is still a lot of time to see changes come out of the PTR.