(NOTE: Before reading this, I apologize if I have seemed fairly critical and negative about the restoration druid state of affairs in Catacylsm. I am a skeptical person by nature and I worry about it because I care so much about our healing style and I want it to feel fun and useful. If any of what I have posted here is too negative for your tastes I apologize sincerely)
After reading Alison Robert’s article on WoW.com it did spark an internal debate inside my head that did have me asking some very deep questions about being a restoration druid in a raid. I love healing and I have no reservations doing it that much I know. I also love playing the druid and I have been doing so since it wasn’t so great to be one up until we were fairly overpowered in WotLK. Her article was long and it did have a little bit of the “sky is falling” vibe going on but it was not all without valid arguments. There is a growing frustration with druids on the beta that our spells are brutally expensive for what has long been a proactive healing style, and that our mastery is woefully inadequate for situations where people are in dire need of healing. I’m not going to let that get me down however, I am cautiously optimistic that Blizzard will make more sweeping changes to the numbers for our spells as well as our mastery. In the meantime I would love for people to think long and hard about the following questions and post some responses should you feel moved to do so. I will include mine as well.
1.) Why did you choose to heal with your druid? What expansion did you start healing in and what appealed to you at the time?
I chose the druid at the launch of the game because I loved them in Warcraft 3 and thought the idea of shapeshifting was exciting. I ended up leveling most of the way as resto and found out healing was my thing. The original healing scheme for druids was very basic as lower rank healing touches ended up being the bread and butter of our healing scheme. Once the patch hit that let us stack more than one rejuv on a person, and the pre BC patch hit I swapped over to the more cerebral preventative maintenance game plan that Druid’s started adopting. I do feel like there was more of an intuitive decision in BC as mana definitely did matter in the endgame. The pendulum seems to have swung fairly far in the other direction come Catacylsm.
2.) Are you happy with how druid healing has evolved from BC to WotLK? Do you enjoy the preemptive healing that we have been tasked to do?
Not really. I think that a lot of druids have resigned themselves to this spammy high throughput Rejuv bot mentality and I think it has taken away a lot of the perceived skill of the class. We are broken in a way, but clearly very much functional. I love the concept of preemptive healing when mana matters and choices are important, what I dislike is the notion that poor choices will have such a significant repercussion in the new healing model. As I’ve said before, a temporarily broken DPS rotation is not great, but temporarily overspending your mana is a lot harder to recover from.
3.) With Cataclysm punishing preemptive healing so strongly, do you feel our play style meshes well with the new paradigm shift?
Not at all…in its current state that is. They continue to push the heal using heal over time spells as our bailiwick but continue to increase the cost of them. That being said I do like much of what they have changed about us. I think they have brought us back to our roots of using more direct heals like in Vanilla so we are more split down the line direct heals and heal over times. My issue goes into the next question…
4.) Do you feel we bring anything unique to the raid? (something another druid, feral or balance cannot also bring)
Not really to be honest. We have no raid buff, no aura, no bonus of any kind that provides anything of worth to the raid. Our spells are pretty basic and are analogs for most of the spells the other healers have already.
5.) [Follow up] Does it bother you that we don’t have any fight altering cooldowns like Heroism, Guardian Spirit, Pain Suppression etc. that are unique to Resto Druids? What would you like to see changed or given to us?
A little I’ll admit. Having Rebirth has given us a sense of worth to a degree, but with the cooldown being increased to 30 minutes and Innervate being locked into self-use only due to mana constraints, we don’t really have anything unique. What I would LOVE is if they let resto druids cast Barkskin on other players. Now THAT would be amazing.
6.) Given the cost of our heal over time spells in Catacylsm, what percent of your total healing done do you think your HoT’s will make up? (if you are in the beta I would love an actual breakdown)
I’m predicting, without having the opportunity to heal on the beta, we’ll be fairly split down the middle. I’d think we’d average out to be roughly 50/50 in general, and skewing more towards direct heals for tanking healing, and HoT’s for raid healing (unless regrowth ends up being the spam spell dujour due to its crit bonus).
7.) Do you think our mastery holds up to the other healing class masteries? As suggested by a poster on the healing forums: Holy Paladin, Holy Priest, and Resto Shaman healing masteries will buff most of their spells most of the time, Disc Priests mastery will buff some of their spells all of the time, and Resto Druid’s mastery will buff some of our spells some of the time.
Undecided at the moment. It does feel like we’re low man on the totem pole given how selective our mastery is but I am optimistic that it will be improved. If it isn’t then you just won’t see Resto Druids bothering to take any mastery what so ever. Here are some numbers from Alison’s post:
“To give you an idea of how this works now, a Rejuvenation that heals for 3,275 at 100 percent health was healing for 3,820 at 23 percent and 3,815 at 60 percent. I’ve heard differing accounts on whether mastery is supposed to “update” as the HoT ticks, but right now it’s not.”