So the patch notes for 4.1 were recently announced and like just about everyone else I’m writing a brief synopsis and analysis of them from a resto/moonkin point of view.
Lifebloom‘s bloom effect has been reduced by 20%. In addition, it now costs 11% of base mana, up from 7%.
I’ll be honest I’m not entirely sure why they are making this change. My gut reaction is that this is a PvP based fix, or perhaps it is them seeing the 10% crit to the periodic portion of lifebloom through glyph and set bonus and coming to the conclusion that it is too efficient for its throughput. The question is what does this mean for you exactly? Using base mana of 18,600 and Moonglow the casting cost will go from roughly 1184 to 1861. Over the course of a 7 minute fight if you are maintaining 100% uptime on one tank and using tree of life two times, and refreshing lifebloom 10% of the time via clearcast procs you should cast the spell between 73 and 83 times costing you 49,000 to 56,000 more mana over the course of the fight. This is nothing to shrug off that’s for certain. A ~57% cost increase to our primary tank healing tool that also generates replenishment and revitalize will certainly add up.
Edit: The 10% was probably a low-ball number. For me when raid healing renewing Lifebloom on the tank is often easier to do with another LB but I think 10% might not be giving it enough credit. That being said the mana cost change has been reverted so disregard this.
x Gift of Nature (passive) also reduces Tranquility’s cooldown by 2.5/5 minutes.
So our passive traits don’t currently have ranks so this one is a tad nebulous. I am going under the assumption that it will be tied into a talent later in the tier if this is the case. The question I have is whether this solves our current balancing issue and I’m leaning towards no. Power Word: Barrier and Tranquility are now both on the same 3 minute cooldown however one is a raid wide damage prevention ability and the other is a periodic smart heal that takes time (and may often require barkskin just to function). I think Hamlet was spot on when he said that damage prevention and AoE raid healing tools serve completely separate purposes and often smart play and tactics favor the preventative ability versus a reactive one. I sincerely hope that this isn’t their change to give us a more viable major cooldown per the recent blue posts because it doesn’t really fit the bill.
If we are not destined to get a solid raid wide damage prevention ability, and given PW:B and Tranq are on the same cooldown I highly doubt we will, we are certainly in need of a single target damage prevention ability. This would usually be placed upon a tank but the ability to protect anyone slated for a particularly nasty ability would certainly be beneficial. With Rebirth no longer unique (see below) we now more than ever need to have some form of balance/homogenization with the other healers. I understand once upon a time we all cried out how we didn’t want all classes to become the same…but in a world where clutch abilities are key not having them does seem like a liability.
Effloressence gets a new graphic
I haven’t gotten on the PTR yet to take a screenshot but please check over on Keeva’s site to see a photo she pulled from the boards. Effloressence is no longer a solid green puddle and now it is a runed circle. This would ideally mean that it can no longer obscure ground based effects on the floor below it. I remember the first week of raiding how fun it was for ranged DPS to spot the fire pillar during the Magmaw encounter with two effloressences and a sanctuary right on top of it. Effloressence is currently oddly bugged on the PTR and as such it isn’t functioning as intended. While it is a topic for another day I still maintain that it is exceptionally weak at 6 talent points (I will gladly debate with anyone who claims that it isn’t because we get a benefit from living seed).
x Raise Ally has been redesigned to be a battle resurrection, analogous to Rebirth. It is instant cast, but costs 50 Runic Power to use, and has a 10-minute cooldown. It shares the same global battle resurrection cap with Rebirth and Soulstone.
So this isn’t really a druid change per say, but it certainly does affect us. One of the few abilities we have had to date that made us a unique snowflake was in fact Rebirth. I’m not saying this makes me unhappy because having more in-combat reactive resurrections is a great thing especially for 10 man groups….heck having a tank be able to resurrect a player while tanking a boss seems interesting to say the least. My only argument is that this means we need to be balanced up in the healing/preventative cooldown department more than ever.
Update: Unless Death Knights gain access to a glyph that allows Raise Ally to bring people back from the dead at 100% HP then that is actually a significant difference. In a world where players have 120K raid buffed and tanks are pushing 200K raid buffed the difference between 20% hp and 100% hp is fairly significant. One must also take into account the inherent danger of coming back to life at low HP during a fight with high raid damage. This could possibly maintain a level of balance between the two abilities though I would love to see Rebirth be instant cast myself.
Starsurge damage has been reduced by 20%.
This has me scratching my head big time. Now I know that I am not the world’s best balance druid however I am asked to fill that role from time to time when my guild is raiding. I have a couple of items that I swap in for that item set but for the most part my restoration set works fairly well in that capacity. During single target fights I do not believe that I have ever felt overpowered in any significant way. Where I have always felt myself pulling ahead are scenarios where I can multidot and use wild mushrooms (even more so when sitting in solar eclipse) or situations where a lot of mobility is required (also benefiting tremendously from eclipse). Shooting stars and starfall to used in both examples as well. Single target DPS never felt like an area that needed a tremendous amount of work especially with the recent 5% reduction to our passive damage boost. Starsurge is an odd place to start hurting our damage output as it is currently our “inconic” ability. You want starsurge to feel powerful especially for druids of all levels. I’m going to hedge my bets on this one and hold off my observations until more testing and number crunching has been completed…but I’d guess this will be roughly a 2.5% to 3% overall damage loss if the coefficient is adjusted, less if it is purely a base damage tweak (possibly 1 to 2%).