Patch 4.1 is on the horizon and the druid changes have slowed down some leaving me to believe we’re about where they intend us to be at least for the time being. If you’re a regular raider (or not as well) there are a host of changes looming ahead that will affect you. While I’ll probably go through the most relevant ones in detail, I would like to focus more on how they will directly affect your general game play.
The more drastic changes are coming to the talent Effloressence in an attempt to make the healing done by the ability more useful as well as make it more attractive to healers of all raid sizes and roles. Let’s talk about what kind of a throughput boost this is for you as well as how the changes will affect where/how you use it and how you may choose to spec your toon.
If you haven’t read anything at all about the throughput changes please take a quick look here: http://r4healingtouch.wordpress.com/2011/03/04/efflo-confirmed-as-a-smart-heal-with-a-buff/.
Right now, based off of a 17K swiftmend you’re looking at roughly a 5000-5100 hps output from Efflo, for 6 people, that can jump up to ~6,000+ with some lucky crits on a large number of players. With enough haste to hit the nine tick mark the new Efflo will heal 3 players for 2,100 hp every .778 seconds for a total of 8,100 hps. Using the full 6,000 hps for the old version, this is still a 35% throughput increase. You will realize a significantly higher increase if you are a 10 man raider or use your swiftmend on a tank frequently while tank healing. If you trigger Effloressence under Berserking or Nature’s Grace you should (with the right haste) hit 10 ticks of Efflo bumping the hps up to (and maybe over!) 9000. Here is an shot of me hitting 10 ticks from Berserking alone:
While 10 ticks is something that is not going to happen all of the time, you do want to make sure you hit the 2005 haste break point in order to guarantee that you have 9 ticks at all times (with the 5% haste buff).
What makes this change so important is that, as mentioned, it provides a really nice bonus to 10 man raiders and druids who do a lot of tank healing. The ideal condition for the current Effloressence is hitting 6+ people in order to both maximize the healing done as well as increase the likelihood of critical ticks. Being able to gain 100% of the ability’s throughput when connecting with only three targets makes it a lot easier to use on small clusters of players. When tank healing, even if the tank is the only one the Effloressence is hitting, it still produces a 19K heal over 7 seconds (2,700 hps) which is very nice.
As good as this news is, the Effloressence talent is also unlinked from Living Seed which is an attempt to remove some of the bloat from our talent tree. Before anyone goes and runs through the digital streets cheering the alternatives are not significantly better as any other talent available provides a niche benefit or a marginal throughput benefit. That being said it is all up to play style and I will most likely not be taking Living Seed once I get the opportunity to drop it. I have seen some arguments for players supporting Nature’s Bounty, Blessing of the Grove, Perseverance, and Nature’s Swiftness or Nature’s Cure.
Below are some possible talent spec options. Before you look at them please note they are strictly my own personal musings and none include Genesis. You are perfectly free to juggle around a few points here and there in order to mix-and-match as you see fit. Genesis is still certainly an option for those who are well equipped (few or more 372 level items)
My planned spec:
This is the general throughput spec I am probably going to be running. I know this won’t be for everyone as I have forgone Nature’s Swiftness and Cure in favor of Nature’s Bounty. Once I have more experience with the more difficult Hard Mode encounters I may shuffle points into Perseverance and Swiftness.
General Utility Build
This build is focused more on general utility. I added in Nature’s Swiftness and Cure along with Perseverance. This build sacrifices the minor benefit of Blessing of the Grove (~1.2-1.4% throughput benefit) and Nature’s Bounty to do so. The nice thing about the level of customization now is that we are choosing between a multitude of somewhat useful talents to our liking. The downside is that we are choosing between a multitude of somewhat useful talents.
Because I was slightly bored I came up with this build on a whim. If you prefer the static bonus from BotG and need Nature’s Swiftness for some reason (tank healing perhaps) you could run something like this. As stated before everything is customizable at this point so do whatever works best for you.
There are two major changes to tranquility in the upcoming patch. The first is that tranquility will no longer require barkskin to guarantee a full channel, as we will now have full pushback protection. The second is that with Malfurion’s Gift, which we take already, we gain a 5 minute reduction to its cooldown.
These changes mean a few things for you while raiding:
1.) You can now use barkskin liberally and never worry about whether or not it’ll be up when the need for Tranquility arises
2.) Having the ability to cast Tranquility twice a fight will mean we can be counted on in a cooldown rotation more than once if need be
3.) Our healing done is going to jump up by a rather sizeable chunk on some fights leading some healers to QQ uneccesarily
While the last one is clearly a joke, do not put it past the general population to complain about this large boost to throughput over the course of a fight. Invisible healing is always less obtrusive than visible healing. It is hard to put a number to the benefit of Power Word: Barrier but during Feud and Electrocute i’m sure it is rather impressive. This is still not a raid wide damage prevention utility but having the option to use it in a pinch and still have it available later on for a critical part of the encounter (Cho’gall is an example) is going to be a most welcome change.
As evident by the specs listed above I’m still not entirely down with the new 50% healing boost Nature’s Swiftness provides. I just don’t think its enough to make the talent integral to our healing paradigm. Looking back on my older post about NS located here:
I still think I like most of those options more than this new one. I hopped onto the PTR to see just how life saving this version will be!
So it’s an instant 30K heal. I think Blizzard wants me to be more excited about this than I really am. I get that druids who do a lot more tank healing will find this a welcome change and I am happy that it will be a quality of life improvement for them. In the grand scheme of things it does not significantly increase our output in any way as the healing touch itself still triggers the GCD, and it does not fill the role of a single target crisis cooldown. If you are a regular tank healer with a generally high healing touch usage rate, and don’t find yourself trading or giving away your innervate, you may want to consider the Glyph of Healing Touch. While I am generally not a fan, I can concede the fact that it may be better suited for other players out there.
Our main weakness continues to be our ability to pull someone’s, usually the tank, butt out of the fire. This isn’t usually due to them doing anything wrong, but more a matter of the fight’s mechanics interacting in a rather unfortunate way. A simple example would be a tank taking a rather unpleasant spike in damage literally moments before an Nefarian Electrocute hits the board. With shaman gaining access to the spirit link totem that provides a huge buffer to tank (or raid) provided enough people are nearby, we are kind of left out of the super duper cooldown party. All I can do is continue to hope for some additional changes down the line and see if Blizzard holds true to their word. Until then please feel free to take Nature’s Swiftness if it fits your playstyle. As someone who does not tank heal as often I don’t particularly miss it, though experience with harder content may change my mind.
I just thought I’d throw in a little update about myself seeing as you’re all dying to know. Wishful thinking I suppose!
After the PAX east euphoria wore off I found myself playing a lot more Dragon Age 2. While it isn’t the most amazing game ever it has certainly turned itself around in the later stages of the storyline. Work has kept me really late these days and between that, non-WoW games, and maintaining a social life I have had limited time for WoW. To be honest as of late I only log in to do transmutes and raid. Hearing news of other bloggers out there quitting the game I can certainly sympathize. I am not at that point nor do I see myself getting there any time soon but minimizing the amount of playing I do outside of raiding (which i love) helps to keep the burnout demons at bay.
Currently my gaming plans are the following: play DA:2 through again as a mage on nightmare, Portal 2, The Witcher 2, Borderlands: Claptrap Robot Revolution, Orcs Must Die, and eventually Batman Arkham City and Mass Effect 3. There will be others sprinkled in there as I make the time for them for sure.
Non-gaming related: I want warm weather dammit. Living in Boston (as it is for all of you New England and Great Lake folks) is frustrating as the cold weather lingers for far too long. I am looking forward to a host of spring and summer time trips that we have planned. Strangely one of the ones I am most looking forward to is a trip to New York by way of Hoboken, NJ to see Carlo’s Bakery. I know the cast of that show has sold out to the extreme these days but that doesn’t mean I don’t love their antics.