Cataclysm Beta – Build 12984 Sleepy Edition

So I just rolled out of bed, groggily sat down at the computer and pulled up MMO-Champion only to be greeted by this new patch. I’m not entirely awake but my thought process did instruct me to scroll down at take a look at the restoration changes. My morning ritual on sleepy weekend days is to catch up on some threads in the beta class discussion page and the current news.

I can’t say my initial impressions are all great though I have not had the time to process the moonkin ones as of yet.

Nourish – All of the middle heals had their mana costs increased by ~50% as they were clearly a little too efficient for what people are using them for. Some reports are showing players using Nourish for far too high a % of their total healing. I am torn on this issue for a couple of reasons. If you have a heal X that heals for 8K, and heal Y that heals for 16K for over FIVE times the mana then heal Y is going to be highly situation due to the massive difference in cost. Their incentive scheme just doesn’t feel quite right at the moment and I think it could do with a lot more work. The second issue is that with our mastery so weak, and Rejuvenation and Wild Growth healing for so very little, Nourish is going to look like the better option in a lot of cases where I believe they don’t necessarily want us using it (hence why our mastery is the way it is to begin with).

Raid Utility – I was excited at the thought of us gaining raid utility, but of all the dang things to give us they give Replenishment? Really? While current tooltips imply that our Revitalize talent grants this as a free secondary ability so its hard to really complain, this doesn’t quite seem right.

Let us assume, for the sake of argument, that Blizzard considers Replenishment an important enough buff that it counts as us providing a significant raid benefit. Why give that to just one healing class if all healing classes are going to need/want it? Mana is a sensitive issue at the moment so I’d be shocked if a regen talent was restricted to only one of the four.

Perhaps the safer assumption is that they do not consider Replenishment to be a major buff. Given that it is only 1% mana over 10 seconds (300 to 350 mp/5) it might be relegated to the minor buff category and as such it matters less that only one healing class has it. That being said I would *not* count this as us being given some form of significant raid buff. Honestly they need to just give us targetable barkskin.

Mana Regen as RNG: Using RNG to boost DPS is generally acceptable because there is no timing involved and it is almost always able to be taken advantage of. Good players learn to cast the most relevant spells within said RNG period to maximize damage but it should only make a small difference. Omen of Clarity has always been extremely nice and I don’t think anyone is arguing with its ability to save us mana in the long run. In TBC and WotLK we can, to some degree, maximize our savings with omen of clarity however given the speed at which we spam spells currently it is next to impossible to switch gears and pump out our highest mana cost heal after it procs. The new talent that creates a 6% OoC proc chance when lifebloom ticks irks me in much the same way. The only way for us to get our money’s worth with this talent is to always cast Regrowth/Healing Touch/Wild Growth when it is active. I’ve never really loved OoC watching and I don’t think it promotes synergy with the flow of healing. It may end up being just fine I’m not going to crucify it just yet, I am merely voicing my general displeasure with the mechanic.  I hope this new talent doesn’t complicate the bloat in our tree that much more but I am thinking it probably will.

Nature’s Grace – I have no words for the atrocity that is this talent now for anyone other than balance druids. Is the intention for it to be this 15% haste buff that we can proc every 1 minute? If that is the case then there needs to be a supplied in game way to monitor its internal cooldown as resto as we must cast a spell outside of our normal rotation just to gain its effect. I’ll probably calm down about this change soon enough but right now I’m left scratching my head.

Class Discussion Feedback – Lissanna and other druids have been kind enough to post some numbers from their runs on the beta to give us an idea of what people are using as heals. It seems everyone has a unique “go to” rotation for healing right now as there is no set path to victory. Some healers seem bent of relying heavily on Nourish while others have leaned towards Regrowth/Rejuv. From what I’m reading Rejuv still feels weak for its high mana cost and doesn’t stick around long enough for swiftmend to prove useful as an emergency tool. If they intend for it to be our signature ability they need to make it work with lifebloom and wild growth. I also need some confirmation from beta testers as to the output of Nourish without a HoT propping it up compared to other healing class’ efficient heals. Is our Nourish sans HoT weaker than the counterparts? If that is the case I am not convinced there is adequate parity. I don’t mind shifting my healing playstyle, in fact I relish the opportunity. I just don’t want it to be this overly complicated jiggsaw puzzle with the penalty for a misstep in a raid situation or missing an OoC proc or two leading to a crippling mana shortage. I just want to make sure healing stays fun and hopefully they can accomplish that.

Tree of Life/Mastery – This is less of an announcement and more of a lack of one. Right now these aspects of the class are not really filling as impressive a role as they should be and hopefully we will see some announcements soon. The joke right now is that Tree of Life is also called “Tree of OoM” which is a scary thought to be honest. If the only usable benefit of the ability is to let us spam one of our most expensive and inefficient heals at instant speed I can see this being a valid descriptor. I know some posts on the forums have suggested making nourish act like the other efficient heals and turning our mastery into the Nourish effect for all of our direct heals. While I appreciate that sentiment, forcing us to prop up our direct heals with very mana intensive short lasting HoT’s just to be on the same level as say Shaman isn’t a step in the right direction. This is part of the reason why Nourish is flawed in and of itself.

This patch isn’t all doom and gloom for resto druids and there are some nice balance changes which I would like to write about a little later today if I can. I’m still pretty excited about healing in this expansion but I will continue to write about the aspects of our class in the expansion that I do not find exciting in the hopes that perhaps they will make changes. If they don’t…then…well I will just have to live with it and adapt. It will all work out in the end i’m sure.

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