New Beta Build August 21st

I’ll try to do a fairly quick recap of the recent changes as, being a few days after the fact, it has been covered almost to death on many of the other sites out there. If you haven’t had a chance to catch all of the changes yet, I’ll go through some of the more important ones, offer some quick feedback as well as some rather amusing new developments.

The list of minor changes:

1. A host of balance spells have had their range increased as well as Rebirth and Revive I think it is about time the range increase from talents was baked into these spells. Having a longer range on our rez’s is also a welcome change.

2. Heart of the Wild and Furor swapped places This makes sense though the two talents don’t feel “that” different and may both be required for raiding in the end.

3. Naturalist and Master Shapeshifter reduced to two talent points

4. Empowered Touch bonus halved, but now applies to Nourish as well If we plan on using nourish as much as they claim then this will be a valuable tool in our arsenal. This assumes that Healing Touch won’t be as valuable to us in big tank healing as Holy Light is to Paladins in WotLK though…and quite frankly I’m hoping that it isn’t.

The more important changes:

1. Nature’s Cure (Tier 5) – Empowers your Remove Corruption spell to also remove a magic effect from a friendly target. Finally implemented, thank you!

2. Empowered Rejuvenation is now Swift Rejuvenation. Reduces the GCD of your Rejuvenation by 0.25/0.5seconds. I have spoken a lot on this issue before and the removal of a “haste cap” hanging over our heads is a major deal when it comes to choosing your gear. Haste still scales well for every single one of our healing spells, and so does critical strike rating, this makes for more intelligent choices. The problem that is arising however is the following change:

3. Nature’s Bounty now increases critical strike chance on Regrowth by 20/40/60% (up from 10/20/30%) and now has a 33/66/100% chance to proc (up from 20/40/60%). We lose a haste cap for a crit cap? This must be a bug or a glitch or something to be honest as I can’t see them giving us a static 60% crit chance on our flash heal. I believe this has to do with Efflorescence and them tweaking how much of a role they want it to play in our healing scheme but I do not think this is the final iteration of the talent.

4. Wild Growth mana cost reduced to 27% of base mana, down from 55%. I think every single active blogging druid breathed a sigh of relief when this was announced. This is still not cheap mind you, but it gives us more flexibility when contemplating its use in raid healing as opposed to “hit all 6 targets for full effect or cry”.

5. Gift of the Earthmother: Rejuvenation spell instant portion increased from 3/6% to 5/10%. I am a little perplexed about this one as I am not on the beta. In the WowTal.com calculator it still has this is a 3 point talent going up to 15% up front heal. I need some confirmation from beta testers if this is in fact a 2 point talent with a 10% up front heal or not.

6. Fury of Stormrage now reduces the mana cost of your wrath spell by 50/100% This I had to read a couple of time before I believed it. In addition to its standard effect, this talent makes our wrath spell the druid equivalent of “wanding”. I don’t know the damage of wands in the expansion compared to completely untalented wrath spells though so that might take some analysis. The only hazard to using these free wraths is that you are subject to school interruption/lockout by players and boss mechanics. That coupled with the lack of talent points to spend on this talent make it an interesting item indeed.

Moonkin Form

Aside from the balance spell range being increased, a base damage bonus was baked into the Moonkin Form. While it is not creative or fantastically unique, it is significant enough to warrant druids purchasing the talent and staying in that form and I’m pretty sure that is all that we were asking for. I think I’d rate it as “meh” but a worthwhile change nonetheless.

Efflorescence!?!

Here is the one big change that I will admit I don’t truly know the logistics behind. The previous version of this talent had an effect that ticked 7 times over 7 seconds each for 30% of the amount the Regrowth crit for. Now it is ticking 7 times over 7 seconds totaling 30% of the amount the Regrowth crit for. The radius has been reduced from 15 yards to 4 yards.

This is a 86% reduction in the amount the talent healed for. The size is an issue, clearly, however an 8 yard diameter circle is not super tiny, it is as big as a standard void zone which can comfortably fit a couple of people not standing directly on top of each other.

I understand that it stacks, but a HoT that ticks for 500 per second when we have much larger life totals seems insignificant. This drastic reduction would be something I’d expect to see if the area was kept at the initial 15 yard radius. The reduction of the area of effect would actually imply they want the amount it heals for to stay larger to maintain the parity of the talent to other 3 point talents in impact. If Efflorescence healed for a lot in a small area you might even see DPS moving to that spot to pick up whatever free healing they can while it is there. I don’t believe this is the final iteration of this talent so I am not going to get too mired in the specifics but my general view right now is that Blizzard needs to pick one or the other: Small and mighty, or Large and weak…and either way make it worth the three points we are spending on it.

Don’t Stand in the “Bad”…But Do Stand in the “Good”?

I was reading the “class discussion” forums this morning before work and came across a post that actually made me chuckle a bit, but after it sank in I was concerned like many of the druid responding. http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.html?topicId=26560538210&sid=2000

Efflorescence is leaving a glowing green circle with leaf effects coming off of it on the ground wherever it lands and a lot of players were treating it as a “bad” void zone/slime puddle/etc. and stepping out of it, tanks especially. While I applaud the players for sticking with the trained reflex of “most things that appear under me are unhealthy” mentality, it does make for a very interesting question. The precedent has been set that any graphic that appears under your feet will either hurt you, or kill you in a matter of moments so the human reaction does not really offer a window to stop and think “hey, is this a friendly green circle on the ground, or a puddle of armor dissolving ooze”. I am so mixed on this issue, wanting to laugh and sigh in frustration at the same time. I honestly don’t really have a good solution to the problem that doesn’t involve removing the ground graphic. There needs to be some kind of indicator if blizzard intends DPS to want to move into the circle for healing but how they plan to handle it is beyond me. I guarantee you that should it stay the same, even if people get familiar with it, you’ll have players jump out of it for a second or two when it appears only to move back in after they realize what it was.

Image courtesy of Lissanna at Restokin.com as I do not have access to the beta myself

Let’s keep and eye on Efflorescence shall we?

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