Patch 5.4 looks like it’s primed to hit the PTR any day now, and the data miners have been busy pulling out all of the changes that are potentially going to be seen on the PTR. Included in them are a massive amount of resto druid changes – that is almost an entire reworking of the class mid-expansion. While these are very preliminary changes, and I would be shocked if these will hit the live server as they stand now, I thought that it would be worthwhile to take a look at them given the fact that they will have a huge impact on resto druids when they do go live.
While I am excited for many of the changes that look to be around the corner, I am also a little trepidatious about essentially relearning to play my class (again) halfway through the expansion. That being said, we were definitely in need of some big changes and much of what it looks like is in store for us looks good. As such, I’m a little conflicted but definitely leaning towards the “roll with the punches” and “don’t look a gift horse in the mouth” side of things.
So without further ado, let’s take a look at what is potentially being proposed!
(Please note that these changes are a mix of things pulled out by dataminers and listed on the official forums as PTR patch notes).
Innervate – Causes the target to regenerate mana equal to 50% of the caster’s Spirit every 1 sec for 10 sec.
So they have moved innervate away from being a set amount of our fixed mana pools to once again scaling with Spirit. From a raiding perspective, I think this is a good change. Our spirit levels as we move forward have increased and will only continue to do so – and this allows our primary source of mana regen (innervate) to scale in a somewhat similar fashion to the other healers (as opposed to always being a fixed amount with a fixed mana pool that doesn’t scale with our gear). If you are raiding current content, and you are sitting at a healthy amount of spirit (12k+), that is commonly seen once you are in full T15 gear, this will be a welcome buff to innervate.
Wild Mushroom – Grow a magical mushroom…the mushroom grows larger as it accumulates healing power from 100% of overhealing done by your Rejuvenation, but to a maximum of 200% of your health in bonus healing. Recasting Wild Mushroom will move the Mushroom without losing this accumulated healing. Wild Mushroom: Bloom can consume your Mushroom to heal nearby allies. Only 1 mushroom can be placed at a time.
This is two quality of life changes that were sorely needed!
First, you only need one – yes ONE – mushroom! Secondly, your charges will travel with your mushroom. No more clunky three clicks to place. No more charging the darn things up and then having your raid run to Timbuktu, making you start the process again. This should make mushrooms much more pleasant to utilize and much less punishing if your raid relocates after you’ve set them up. Nothing here but good things!
Wild Mushroom: Bloom – Causes your wild mushroom to bloom, healing all allies within 10 yards for 13,400 +124.2% of spell power. Bonus healing on the Wild Mushroom will be divided across all targets healed.
This change is basically just an adjustment made with the change of only being able to drop a single mushroom (as opposed to three).
Wild Mushroom: Bloom is no longer capable of critical strikes, and accumulates overhealing done by Rejuvenation by 100%, down from 150%. Overhealing bonus no longer benefits from Naturalist or Mastery: Harmony
A slight adjustment to the output of mushrooms, as well as the speed in which they (it?!) will charge. Not completely unexpected and probably well in line with the other changes that we are going to see this tier.
Nature’s Swiftness is no longer a talent, and is now an ability learned by Restoration Druids at level 30.
This is a nice change, and something that probably needed to happen given that NS was basically the only talent option to take in that tier.
Ysera’s Gift, a new talent healing the Druid for 5% of their maximum health every 5 seconds. If the Druid is at full health, it will heal the most injured friendly target nearby instead. This talent fills the spot vacated by Nature’s Swiftness
This is an interesting new talent, and certainly will add some diversity to this tier. I’m not entirely sure how it will play out versus the other two talents yet, but it at least adds some options/variety to the tier and I think has some potential to be fairly decent in a PvE setting.
Genesis is a new Restoration spell learned at level 88. Genesis targets all party or raid members within 60 yards and accelerates the casting Druid’s Rejuvenation effects, causing them to heal and expire at 500% of the normal rate. Costs the same amount of mana to cast as Rejuvenation.
I think that this spell has a lot of potential and I am thrilled to see it added to our toolkit (even if they didn’t name if Flourish!). While it doesn’t solve the great absorb problem, it does do a whole lot to give us some ability for burst healing. I like that it synergizes with one of our key spells, Rejuvenation; and I like that it adds a way for our HoTs to work in a new and unique way, while still keeping some of the flavor of being a HoT. I think that this has the potential to be a very powerful asset in our toolkit and I very much like that it will add a bit of timing to our healing that gives us the opportunity to think ahead and plan in advance for periods of burst damage.
I am really looking forward to seeing how this spell plays out on the PTR and I am hopeful that it will help bridge the gaps we’ve seen in our toolkit for over two expansions. I’m sure there will be some tweaks to it before it goes live, but I’m optimistic that the nature of the ability will remain intact.
Dream of Cenarius has been completely redesigned to reduce complexity and increase usability, but maintain the spirit of the effects. Benefits now varies by specialization: Restoration: Causes Wrath to deal 20% more damage and heals a nearby friendly target for 100% of the damage done.
Ever wish that you got atonement? Welp! Now you do! The big difference is that ours doesn’t have a chance to proc an absorb. That being said, it may well make DoC useful given the right set of circumstances, damage patterns and encounter design. It should also be noted that the cost of wrath was increased by 50%.
Heart of the Wild when activated, now also provides a 25% bonus to healing for Restoration Druids
Ok, I’ll take it. Right now the only real benefit HotW provides in a raid setting is the 6% increase to intellect, and maybe a little damage during down time. This will at least offer it a little more boost, and I imagine could be relatively powerful when paired with Tranq or our new Genesis ability.
Nature’s Vigil when activated, causes healing spells now trigger an additional heal on a nearby ally for 25% of the amount healed. This is in addition to the existing effect where it damages a nearby enemy target for 25% of the healing done.
This change to NV potentially will make it the “go to” talent in this tier. With the short CD on activation and the increased healing done, it looks to be very promising – even if it is more smart healing (sorry folks, this looks to be the way of the future!). Granted, it is still more throughput which won’t necessarily counter mitigation, but I think it has the potential to be pretty powerful.
Soul of the Forest – Restoration you gain 100% haste for your next spell when you cast Swiftmend.
Nothing really outstanding here. It’s a boost from the 75% that it is currently, but it doesn’t really do anything to change the clunkiness of SotF. To me, that means that the ability continues to be somewhat lackluster.
Glyph of Efflorescence increases the healing done by Swiftmend by 20%, causes the Efflorescence healing effect to be trigged by Wild Mushroom instead of Swiftmend, and lasts as long as the Wild Mushroom is active.
Well, this is interesting! I can’t decide what I think about this glyph yet. So…if a mushroom is down efflorescence is always present? Am I reading that right?
I do like that it bifurcates efflorescence and swiftmend. But I have mixed feelings on it if I’m reading it as I posted above. I think I want to wait and give my thoughts on this particular new (and potentially exciting) glyph after we see how it plays out on the PTR, but I will say that I don’t know if I’m thrilled about it being active…basically all of the time, with very little thought. I’m sure I’ll have more to say on this later – but my initial thought is “yay! More healing!” followed by “Yay! More healing I don’t have to think about!”. I personally think passive healing/mitigation is a problem and I don’t know that I really want the devs to keep contributing to this model.
Druid T16 Restoration 2P Bonus – Ironbark increases your critical chance by 20% for 12 sec.
Um…okay? I guess? I’m sure that this is meant to synergize with the four piece bonus a little bit, and I have some theories about that bonus that I will share, but this just seems a little odd to me.
Druid T16 Restoration 4P Bonus – Rejuvenation, Lifebloom, and Wild Growth critical heals have a chance to cause all cast time heals for the next 12 sec to cause a Living Seed on the target for 80% of the amount healed.
At first look, this bonus looks like garbage. And if Living Seed stays the way that it is right now, it is a pretty terrible bonus. I mean 1) you have to get a proc and then…spam RG? Seriously? And 2) Living Seed is still terrible. It requires a physical hit to proc and is a reactive ability that will frequently be high over heal.
But I have a theory, or a wish – whatever you want to call it! It is purely speculative. However, I can’t help but think that they will be adjusting living seed to become an absorb. If you look at the shaman and monk bonuses, they are both gaining an absorb mechanic. And priests and paladins already have this ability. So to me, it would make sense that they rework living seed. This takes away the need for the physical hit. It tosses druids an absorb bone. And it has the potential to really synergize with things like OoC and this four piece set bonus.
I could be way off. I could be dreaming. But I, personally, wouldn’t be surprised if we don’t see some tweaks coming out to living seed in the relative near future. Granted, the bonus still seems somewhat awkward, but less so if LS was an absorb that we could strategically toss around.
Overall I’m pretty excited about the changes. However, my one concern is that all of these changes lie in our throughput, which does little to counter the great mitigation problem that has plagued throughput healers for the entirety of this expansion. I will admit that the mushroom and tranq changes that we saw in 5.3 did more to balance this than I had anticipated – but I am hesitant to buy into a slew of throughput changes really fixing the current mitigation imbalance.
I am excited for the choices that some of these new abilities will give us. And I am excited to have some tools that synergize well with our current toolkit while simultaneously looking to fix the gaps in our toolkit. In looking at these changes (save our bizarre set bonuses), I can’t help but feel that we are finally getting some much needed attention and that (aside from the mitigation issues, which really are a separate problem) the devs finally understand the shortcomings of our toolkit.
Maybe I’m being optimistic, but I am excited to see how this overhaul plays out for us on the PTR and if it helps smooth out the druid play style a little bit.
What do you guys think?