The other night I was able to see the buffs that released with 5.3 in action. I had the opportunity to do some farm heroic content, some normal content and some progression heroic content. And as such, I have some opinions on them and thought I’d go ahead and share my early thoughts!
Before I say anything else, I’m going to start with confirming that mushrooms are still absolutely horrible in implementation, a complete pain to use and the bane of my tree existence. However, they are now capable of doing an incredible amount of healing when used well, and should absolutely be worked into your tool kit.
The to the right is from our Mageara kill this week. I had the misfortune of being targeted with a frost beam right before the final rampage and died at the start of the rampage as a result – but nonetheless, I did five million worth of healing and only utilized them once during each rampage (and missed the last one!). On top of that, I think I likely could have a) timed my blooms better; and b) perhaps redropped them and bloomed them a second time at the end of the rampage. By the end of the night, when we got to our new progression target (which also favors them a bit), I was much more aggressive with using them and blooming them prior to having full health stored in them and they did a completely ridiculous amount of healing (while I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this as a best practice, it was effective for this particular damage pattern). By the end of the night on that one encounter they were just under rejuv for my healing done. So while they are still a pain to set up, I think it is safe to say that the effort is finally worth it in prime situations.
That being said, all of the downsides to mushrooms are still present. The set up. The charging. The huge penalization for having misplaced them or your raid moving. Being the most effective when the raid is grouped up. There were definitely encounters where I felt they were extremely powerful (such as Megeara above), and others where I felt they were not nearly as strong (Heroic Council/Ji-Kun). But I do think that the output they provide fully makes them worthwhile.
In using them I would place them on a stack point for encounters that required stacking, but for encounters that didn’t I would often spread them around and bloom them during peak damage phases. A good example of this is Ji-Kun. I like to make a little triangle on the main platform where my nest group generally stands and dump one on myself and each of the two ranged in my group (and they have both gotten excellent and standing on/near them!). Then during quills or right after a caw I can pop them really quick and bring us all back to full life. If there isn’t an opportunity such as that in an encounter, I will either spread them around the ranged or dump one under a tank. While that won’t do quite as much healing as hitting all 25 people in your raid (or just your 8 or so melee), it is a nice way to maximize some down time in an encounter to prep for more damage intensive situations that will be imminent.
I definitely think that I will start trying to think a little more broadly about mushrooms and play around with using them in different/new situations. I am hopeful that after another week’s worth of raiding I’ll have a few more ideas on how to maximize them and will be able to report back with some suggestions on where I found the best use for them.
The long and short of it is now that mushrooms are very powerful and you want to make sure that you are utilizing them. Remember that it will be important to key bind the placement due to the targeting reticule so that you are efficient in placing them. Don’t stress too much if it takes you a little while to find the groove, I certainly feel that I underestimated them earlier in the evening and am already brainstorming for ways to get more use out of them next week!
My Dear Friend Tranquility, It is nice to see you again!
Maybe I’m just bitter about T12, and the subsequent backlash that druids received when Tranquility was given a 3 minute cooldown and just about every other healer cried foul, but I’m a little bit apprehensive to see it performing so strongly once again. Don’t get me wrong, I love that it’s been buffed for 25s. It really needed something to make it more competitive. But to see it sitting right up there amongst my top heals leaves me a little uneasy. Not because I think it’s healing too much, or I think that I’m healing too much. I’m just worried that because it’s a quantifiable mechanic, we are going to again find ourselves at risk of “druids heal too much”.
Bah. I’m probably just being a giant pessimist and seeing the tranquility glass as half empty.
The tranquility change is very nice as a whole and will make up a healthy portion of your healing overall if used well. As a reminder, you will want to try to both maximize when you utilize tranquility in a given encounter so that you are getting the most from it, as well as try to maximize how often you utilize it in a given encounter so that, as much as possible, you are using it the maximum number of times in an encounter. A lot of the encounters this tier have set damage patterns that will require raid cooldowns to be used at certain times, so be sure that you handle those in concert with your healing team – but if you find at the end of the encounter you are still sitting on an unused tranquility, I’d encourage you to try and find a time to work it in that fits around your other scheduled uses.
Force of Nature
Sorry! I haven’t played around with this at all yet! (I know, so helpful). But reports are generally that it will account for somewhere between 6-8% of your overall healing on encounters where there is significant damage (think about places where things like Healing Stream Totem excel). I will probably play around with it a little bit later, but until then I’d be happy to hear your thoughts on it!
Last night was the first time this expansion where I felt like I was a major contributor and could offer more. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always given 110% of what I could in any raid. I’ve always healed my branches off and then some. But last night was the first time in MoP that I felt confidence in what I had the potential to offer to my healing team. While I’m not necessarily thrilled with the changes that went in, and I’m not convinced that they are great long term fixes to our toolkit (hint: they are nowhere close), they certainly did put us on more equal footing.
However (yes, yes, there is always a “but”), they didn’t really help alleviate the main burden suffered by our toolkit. Which is basically that our outdated toolkit is anachronistic in today’s healing environment and really struggles to compete with mitigation. Did the fixes help us some in burst situations? You bet (at least given the right setting!) – but it didn’t really solve any of the problems that we’ve suffered through the better part of two expansions. In encounters where there is a fair amount of damage to heal we can be competitive. But in encounters where there is little damage, or only very small windows of damage, we are still living in a world of overheal while our mitigation partners are keeping our raid from taking any damage. The massive difference in the healing a druid is capable of providing is still largely dependent on how many absorbs their raid has available, and our toolkit is still ill equipped to be competitive.
That being said, and if I am being fair, I saw my orange bar at/near the top my fair share on Tuesday – sorry, I’m not counting the shadow priests who outhealed…everyone :P. And that is a significant improvement and a welcome boost to my confidence. I don’t feel that I need to “win” every fight (go on with your “healing is a team effort” blah, blah – I’m not going to be ashamed about being a competitive team player), but I do feel that I need to feel like a valuable contributor to my healing team. And I am happy that if I work hard and play smartly, I will at least get to see those effort realized some of the time. And as someone who has really struggled this expansion to identify that I am a good healer, playing a struggling class, it is a welcome change. And even if these aren’t necessarily the changes I’d have made or would like to see in the long term, they are changes that should help smart druids find their footing a little better as this tier continues.
What were your experiences with the changes? Did you like them? Hate them? OH GOD JUST GIVE UP ON MUSHROOMS ALREADY FOR THE LOVE OF CHRIST?!?!