So we were recently treated to some new updates that will be tried out shortly on the PTR. There are some rather startling changes that require a little bit of math to fully understand. So without further ado let us look at what the developers are proposing!
The balance/restoration changes:
- Barkskin is no longer dispellable.
- Healing Touch is now trained at level 78, up from level 3.
- Nourish is now trained at level 8, down from level 78.
- Omen of Clarity can no longer trigger from helpful spells (aka heals), unless the Restoration talent Malfurion’s Gift is chosen.
- Rejuvenation is now trained at level 3, down from level 8. In addition, its mana cost has been reduced from 26% to 16%.
- Empowered Touch now also affects Regrowth.
- Nature’s Bounty no longer affects Swiftmend, but now has a new effect. When the druid has Rejuvenation on 3 or more targets, the cast time of Nourish is reduced by 10/20/30%.
The changes we can avoid focusing on are quality of life and PvP ones: Barkskin, Healing touch and Nourish level requirements. I think it is important that druids become familiar with their efficient heal earlier on and how it synergizes with the talents available. Having barkskin avoid dispels is clearly a nice PvP boost and one that I can’t argue with. It’s getting closer to the point where I might level up a new druid just so I can get a feel for what the experience is like now, and possibly write a guide accordingly.
Now for the heavy hitters!
Empowered Touch affects Regrowth – We knew that this was coming from a recent developer note. For some time Nature’s Bounty has been the talent that is on the chopping block for many druids. Regrowth, even talented, still felt somewhat lacking at times when used with Clearcasting however some higher end raiding druids still eschewed Nature’s Swiftness, Nature’s Cure, and 1 point of Gift of the Earthmother for 3 points in Nature’s Bounty to boost Regrowth as an emergency heal. With no heroic raid experience myself I don’t know the kind of pinch one would be in to make Regrowth necessary. The 10% boost though might push more druids closer to taking Nature’s Bounty and use the spell more often. The only caveat is the Omen of Clarity change, discussed below.
Nature’s Bounty – This is clearly an attempt at giving us a direct heal to spam while trying to manage AoE healing situations beyond simply Regrowth. There are certainly other areas where this aspect of the talent will shine of course but AoE healing is the one that comes to mind for me. When this talent is activated it will push the cast time of Nourish down to 1.75 seconds pre haste (though my math could be off). Raid buffed and usually with dark intent I’m sitting at 21% haste which should put Nourish at somewhere around 1.38 seconds. This is nothing to sneeze it for sure. It now feels like you have a more defined priority for raid healing spells: Rejuv on assigned targets when necessary, faster nourish for light damage, and Swiftmend/Regrowth in emergencies with Healing Touch as backup.
Update: After some additional thought and discussions on the interwebs with other druids it became clear that the strongest emergency burst healing scenario (that doesn’t gut your mana pool) is using a handful of Rejuvs on your primary charges, and using Regrowth to trigger Nature’s Grace before powering out 30% faster + Nature’s Grace Nourishes. Seems strong to me. Regrowth and the Rejuvenations could be reversed if desired, if Nature’s Grace kicks you up to 6 ticks then that might also be a deciding factor.
Omen of Clarity no longer procs from healing spells – So in my last post when I suggested one fix was to reduce the chance healing spells had to proc Omen of Clarity I wasn’t exactly expecting them to completely remove the interaction entirely. The question is what does this mean for you?
MATH TIME – Omen has roughly a 3.5 procs per minute rate which, if used for only expensive spells, translates to roughly 1,600 mp/5. Now we know full well that these procs may sometimes be eaten by swiftmend if your finger slips and there is little you can do about it but for the moment it is a safe assumption. With this change you are losing the 1,600 mp/5 from Omen’s base interaction however you are still retaining the 2.9 ppm from Malfurion’s Gift which yields approximately 1,300 mp/5. This is a 60% reduction in your activations of Omen of Clarity.
Over the course of a 6 minute fight, the core Omen interaction would have given you 21 Clearcasting activations. If every single one of them was used on a 5K+ cost heal then you’d be looking at ~115,000 mana saved for the fight. This amount is reduced by 4,000 for each Swiftmend you consume accidentally. If the clearcasts cannot be used the mana saved is wasted as well.
If this proves to be too harsh of a change they could always bump Malfurions Gift up to 5% or possibly 6% – upping it to 3.6 or 4.4 procs per minute, which would still be less than the 6.4 we’re seeing now.
Rejuvenation’s mana cost reduced from 26% base mana to 16% (38% reduction) – Given the synergy with Nourish and Nature’s Bounty this reduction is one you will be seeing a lot of benefit from. Looking at some parses, if you cast 65 rejuvenations over the course of a 6 minute fight let us take a look at how much you’ll save:
MATH TIME – I don’t have the exact number offhand but let’s use 4,400 is its mana cost. With the reduction the new mana cost will be 2,707 for a savings of 1,693. 65 Rejuvenations multiplied by the savings of 1,693 yields a net savings of 110,045 mana over the course of 6 minutes. The benefit of this reduction is that it can never be wasted, but it does scale up or down based on how many spells we cast (a plus in my book).
What this tells us that they have transferred the mana savings from Omen of Clarity over to that of Rejuvenation to better allow us to work within the HoT based paradigm they have developed for us. It also means that none of these savings can be wasted (unless you HoT someone who doesn’t need it) and none of these savings are tied to a ticking clearcasting timer when there may not be anything you need to actually heal (e.g. clearcasting procs while Magmaw is impaled on his spike).
Overall I think these are entirely positive changes as It allows us to settle back into the HoT based healing role with a little more cushion. Being encouraged to have more Rejuvenations out in the raid to speed up our efficient heal coupled with having them 40% cheaper will also serve to increase the stat weight of mastery somewhat and that is certainly welcome!