Answering Blizzard’s Questionnaire: State of the Resto Druid

Today is a bit of a double whammy. I wanted to put in some feedback to Blizzard’s impending Firelands nerf though I don’t know how eloquent I’m going to be. What I did want to also touch base on was the questionnaire that was proposed in the druid forums and answer that to the best of my abilities. I think it would share a little bit more of myself to you folks out there as well as voice my opinions on my role in general.

First off the Blizzard Survey:

Q. What type of content do you focus on? [PvE/PvP/Both]

A. I focus primarily on PvE content though I have a healthy respect for PvP just not the time to devote to it currently.

Q. If PvE, what type of PvE? [Heroics/Raids/Other]

A. I focus heavily on raids and have been since WoW began. It really is my only true interest in the game as I do not really partake in holiday events or any form of roleplaying.

Q. If PvP, what type of PvP? [Arenas, BGs, Rated BGs]

A. During Vanilla I was heavily involved in battlegrounds assisting guild mates pushing for grand marshall. I only attained the rank of commander at that time. In BC I played quite a bit of arena but my interest in that waned during Wrath.

Q. What are your biggest quality-of-life issues? For instance, no longer requiring ammo could be considered a quality-of-life improvement for hunters.

A: Not having a signature form for my spec as a druid is something I still take some issue with and it is hard for me to swallow even now. I understand that since the form has spell limitations, and healers are sometimes expected to do non healer things, you needed to balance us around not having it. I do not accept the ‘look at gear’ line because moonkin and ferals also conceal their gear when partaking in their role.

Outside of PvP environments and combat I am unsure why mana has to regenerate so slowly. I know I’m being extremely picky here but I think there should be less down time moving from encounter to encounter or mob to mob in general. This affects lower levels more and would greatly speed up the leveling process.

Again I’m being picky but I think reagents for Rebirth really have gone the way of the dodo. Creating a mandatory minor glyph slot to take care of something we now consider standard fair seems like a waste to me. I would much prefer glyph of Snow Leopard travel form or something more enjoyable for the player base as a whole.

Q. What makes playing your class more fun?

A. As someone who has a three level 85 healers, druid paladin and shaman, I find the druid to be my favorite style overall. I know part of this is familiarity and experience having done it for seven years now but in general I enjoy the nuances of the class. Managing resources and rolling precisely the right number/type of hots on players to maximize my throughput while still staying on mana budget is quite fun. Because we have multiple modes of play and rates of mana expenditure we need to generate a planned approach to each encounter and adjust spell usage accordingly. A portion of this is the new “mana tight” paradigm, but a larger portion of this is understanding when to use all cooldowns, manage all spells available, and choose the right size/amount of HoT’s for the job. I also like that our signature ability, Tree of Life, can be used in a multitude of ways ranging from mana saving, to general throughput, to a Tranquility buff for emergencies.

Q. What makes playing your class less fun?

A. Learning Chimaeron. I’m not really joking here. Ever since heroic Lich King it has become readily apparent that there are limitations to our class. Any spec, in any MMO, that does a large quantity of their healing periodically is going to suffer under the oppression of spiky or bursty damage (or small windows to heal people). This compounded with the fact that unbuffed by any means, our direct heals generally have a lower HPS than other classes. I understand our direct heals are generally cheaper but as stats improve significantly through this expansion I expect “time” will become a more important factor than “mana cost”. Before the buff to healing critical strikes, when first learning Chimaeron, I was frustrated to find that Regrowth (provided it was not set up with Symbiosis) couldn’t reliably break the 10K mark that placed a player in the safe range where other classes did not have that difficulty. This was something that had a workaround through aggressive and smart playing but it was still a frustrating mental obstacle for someone learning the fight. I think these limitations have also permeated throughout the general population. If I were someone with a druid alt I may be frustrated when Firelands PuG’s are asking for specific healers to get groups going.

Q. How do you feel about your “rotation”? (Rotation is the accepted order in which abilities are used to maximum efficiency.)

A. One thing that I enjoy about druid healing is there are multiple levels to our “rotation” though I use that word cautiously. As encounters progress there is an ebb and flow to the level of healing intensity and as that changes so too must our spell usage change. This isn’t unique to druids of course, but I enjoy how we in particular do this. We have a host of abilities with short cooldowns (8, 15, and 60 seconds respectively) and how we balance our filler material makes for a cerebral play style. It is very easy for inexperienced druids to misread a fight and spend their mana so poorly that they will struggle later in the fight even though the approach used seemed good in theory. The easiest mistake is generally throwing out too many rejuvenations, even though the spell is the backbone of our healing in many situations.

Q. What’s on your wish list for your class?

A. I know that all healing classes have less than optimal talent choices in their tree but I would like to see our tree spruced up a bit (bad druid, no biscuit). When they first announced that healers were going to be encouraged to do some DPS during fights and that damage would synergize with their healing in some way I was skeptical but excited. While not all of them are utilized by everyone, the priest models are really interesting and functional. Telluric currents is a great talent and Paladin’s regenerating mana through judgement also feels ‘right’. Fury of the Stormrage seems like a complete letdown to me. Regardless of the fact that it only makes dps spells free, it is a chance on cast which would be extremely frustrating for a healer who will only have limited opportunities to try and proc it as well as a limited window in which to use the free spell. Other talents I wish were more beneficial are Living Seed and Blessing of the Grove. The sad part is that I say all of this and should any changes be made to improve them the bloat in our tree would be astronomical.

Q. What spells do you use the least?

A. There are quite a few to be honest and they all apply in different settings.

Utility: As someone who does not PvP there are extremely rare occasions where I will use Nature’s Grasp. Teleport Moonglade I used occasionally when doing Archeology. Travel form has become entirely situational outside of PvP situations.

Healing:  I think Healing Touch has been for the most part relegated to second string. While it does get used in a pinch as well as *some* omen procs and with Nature’s Swiftness, it isn’t remotely on par usage wise with other heals. Nourish has its place and Regrowth works well when time is important and benefits greatly from Nature’s Bounty in a pinch.

TOO SOON EXECUTUS!

So the big hullabaloo (sp?) going on right now is the proposed nerf to Firelands raiding with no real sign of T13 content in sight. My head honestly exploded when I read that. Despite certain setbacks I really thought blizzard was going to stick to their guns about keeping difficulty high for this expansion and only nerf content once it has become obsolete so less experienced guilds can still make their way through the normal content to gear themselves up. Doing this mid tier only seems to exacerbate the problem as there doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to it at all.

What got my goat even more once I re-read the announcement was that it included heroic content! This is a fairly slippery slope they are starting down making the heroics easier as it does actually affect guilds pushing progression currently. The pre-firelands nerf was only normal modes so people really didn’t make too much of a stink about it for the most part and honestly I was all for it.

I don’t have a TON to say on the matter because honestly…my mind is still blown. It is currently in little pieces all strewn about my home at this time. There just doesn’t seem to be any really solid justification for hitting both modes with a nerf bat (of approximately 20% most people are guessing) when there isn’t even a sign of the T13 content on the PTR nor will it be any time soon as far as we know. As much as I hate to say it, it really sounds like this to me:

“We’re really sorry for making Cataclysm content really hard and we are really sorry that we are losing lots of subscribers because they think this is now World of Elitecraft”. To make up for this we are going to nerf both normal and heroic content mid-tier so we can push those that are struggling along and get them better gear.”

I know this is probably not where the idea came from but man, in my somewhat angered state it sure feels like it. I understand a very small percentage of the population is doing higher end heroic encounters but I still don’t see a need to nerf heroic as well. Nerfing only normal modes, though I don’t agree with it, does give folk sick of troll runs another viable option to gain loot and valor points. This unfortunately leads to significant gear inflation and will further trivialize running T11.

My only hope for those guilds who are 5/7 or 6/7, that the hardest heroic bosses (one of whom was already nerfed) don’t get hit with the full nerf on September 19th. I’m sure those folks would really like a shot at killing the boss when it still means something to do so.

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10 responses to “Answering Blizzard’s Questionnaire: State of the Resto Druid

  1. The restokin survey was pretty close to yours, so you guys may want to tag-team this! I definitely agree about the “glyph just to fill up a glyph spot” issue – I ran around healing with a glyph of maul for several months just because there are so few good glyphs…

    Also, I think that natures swiftness should be changed, as I am usually clicking heals so fast that the NS proc winds up on a spell I didn’t mean to use it with, leaving me with canceling the healing touch cast half way through so I don’t waste that as well! We should either have a way to set the spell that it works on, allowing us to cast it as a single spell (like a macro but without having to use one, as they are why I have the problems with timing that I do) or make it cast an instant heal (like a bigger, longer cool down swift mend).

    Lastly, while I like the healing boost that tree form has right now, and I think it is balanced pretty well, I do miss having a visible form to stand around in. How shadow priests are done would be my choice, with our form being a glowey green mist instead of shadows – extending to our mounts would be even better (which would give me a reason to actually use all of these stupids mounts on my worgen for once!!!!).

    Thanks for the article!

    • I’m glad that you liked it! It would be easy to get mired I a lot of technical fixes but I tried to keep it light. I would agree with you that nature’s swiftness could use a change and I believe I wrote a lengthy post on it somewhere. My favorite solution was for NS to buff each spell cast with it in a unique and powerful way keeping with the theme of variability granted by tree of life.

      • That would be cool, but I don’t know if I would like the added confusion, since it still wouldn’t fix the problem I have with it, i.e. having to click twice to cast a spell. It would be cool if maybe it sped up the next three spells, and that could keep in the current flavor of the class by speeding the first one up by 80%, the next by 40%, and the third by 20%, similar to the diminishing returns of WG.

  2. Apologies if you’ve talked about this before, but do you raid 25s or 10s? I raid 10s and I can’t imagine being able to do it without using healing touch a LOT, especially in hard modes where there’s so much damage being dished out. I’m trying to get my head around how it can be your least used spell. It may just be a difference in play style and I’m hoping it’s to do with you being focused entirely on raid healing as part of a team of raid healers, and are able to focus almost entirely on HOTs, where as I can’t do that as there is a lot more immediacy as sole raid healer and/or helping out on tanks – but I’m always keen to improve if this is a thing I can change for the better.
    Also, where you say that nourish has it’s place, where? Even for refreshing lifebloom and keeping harmony up, it hits for so little that it just feels like a waste of time to me, I’d rather be using healing touch to do some actual healing rather than just keeping other effects ticking. Or are you using it for something else?

    • I predominantly raid 25 mans though I have done 10’s from time to time. Be careful with my wording though “used less” can be misleading. Nourish is tricky in that it is a spell you could spend a lot of time casting and not actually have it make up a large portion of your healing done.

      In general usage will depend on the role in the raid. I will usually have some healing touch uses through Nature’s Swiftness and occasional heals on tanks/critically wounded players. I will also only use nourish when there is little else to do or through the benefit of Nature’s Bounty.

      When tank healing in 10 man raids I did use Healing Touch a lot more I will admit because our other direct heals aren’t always suited for the mana expenditure/amount to be healed requirements. If you’re in a dedicated healing role I can understand why Nourish isn’t feeling particularly effective as it doesn’t quite give you the bang for your buck time wise that you need. In a larger raid there are periods of AoE damage that isn’t entirely even or requiring a large amount of rejuv’s going out. Heroic Beth’tilac once the spinners are basically taken care of after smoldering gets fairly quiet though there is still some damage going out. Throwing a rejuv on a few people to prop up bounty and covering the minor damage on raid members/drone tank with Nourish can be viable from time to time.

      I guess the short answer to the question is that it is entirely dependent on your raid size, role, and preference. I happen to really like working NB Nourishes into my rotation when it is safe and economical to do so but that doesn’t apply to all fights or scenarios.

      • Thanks for the answer. I don’t have NB in my spec, ostensibly becasue I don’t use nourish enough, but I’m starting to wonder if it’s a bit chicken-and-egg. I’m not sure that I can guarantee in 10s having enough rejuvs up at the same time in a “quiet period” that it would make it worth while, but maybe if I had the spec I would use it. Worth thinking about in any case.

      • I don’t use nourish a whole lot, but it is a great tool when only the tank needs topped off, or on gimmick direct-heal-only fights like Baleroc. I use healing touch ONLY with NS, and with the lengthy cast time, I don’t see how it can be used more than that effectively. I am currently running 25s, but this same held true with 10 mans, both all the way through Rag. I use a lot of rejuv, with WG and swiftmend used on cooldown, and regrowth when clearcasting procs.

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