Beta: First Impressions! Talents, Glyphs, Abilities, and Symbiosis

Having had a chance to play on the beta some and do a little testing I have some feedback that I’d like to report here. I plan to continue testing and researching and crunching numbers as things change along the way. The things I’m most concerned about are throughput, longevity, raid viability, ease of play, quality of life, and potential side-effects of certain buffs benefits or new abilities granted to us.

TALENTS

First let’s talk talents! Right now every time you swap specs in the beta your talents get reset. This is nice because it gives you an easy way to unlearn them while we are all still getting our feet wet. The only drawback is that if you place them onto your bars and keybind them they will disappear if you swap specs and swap back. Minor nuisance but enough of one that I try to minimize spec swapping for the moment.

Tier 1 – Wild Charge! The standard 15% move speed talent is very nice and may very well prove to be the “stock” option however Wild Charge is incredibly fun to use. There is a reason intervene is used by warriors in raids to move around and Wild Charge is no different. The fifteen second cooldown feels very short as well. I expect that you might find yourself swapping to this ability for some fights given that our mobility outside of tier 1 talents is still very good. One interesting find is that you can Wild Charge to a Mushroom. While this seems silly, and may be a bug, it does allow you to use it in unique scenarios as almost a warlock teleport. Right now the graphic is simply a pair of glowing wings on your back and may or may not be a placeholder.

Tier 2 – Nature’s Swiftness and Cenarion: Word Shield. I’ll be honest I’m not entirely enamored with the druid bubble given its reactive nature and fairly long cooldown. I still feel like the 1 minute Nature’s Swiftness will prove more useful in clutch situations. Depending on how offsensive dispels play out in PvP the HoT from the Cenarion shield may not be worthwhile enough. If this shield grants an absorb component as well then it may end up proving useful. More testing to be performed on this later.

Tier 3 – Faerie Swarm, Mass Entanglement, Typhoon. This tier is pretty much a wash as far as choices go though I tend to stick to typhoon by default. I will say this that the new graphics for Faerie Swarm and typhoon are pretty nice. Typhoon is no longer a phantom blue tsunami but instead it is a violent spew of air that blows out from you complete with leaves and debris. Note the damage component of typhoon is gone.

Tier 4 – Incarnation or Force of Nature. This one isn’t so cut and dry honestly and we won’t know the math behind it until we try it out in a raid environment and see just how smart the treant AI is when it comes to healing. The treants summoned look like the common brown variety with greenish leaves and cast healing touch and wild mushrooms. From what I have seen treant scaling is significantly improved in Mists so hopefully they continue to be worthwhile as our gear improves in order to compete with Incarnation. I don’t have a lot of numbers on these specifically but expect more shortly. Incarnation is as good/useful as you’d expect as it basically is our tree of life currently. Now that I’m getting perma-tree back I’m less attached to this form should there be encounters where Force of Nature provides better throughput. We’ll learn more about this once we have a shot at leveling up and trying new dungeons.

Tier 5 – Ursol’s Vortex. While the other two options are nifty I haven’t really had any opportunity to try them out nor do I think they seem all that useful in general. Mighty Bash, being a stun, may very likely be a spell used in some raid encounters and disorienting roar might come up during an add control phase. Ursol’s Vortex , being the new ability, looks pretty neat when cast. It creates a swirling vortex on the ground in a rather sizeable area (the graphic is a little rough right now and almost looks like a weird photoshop effect on the area it’s in). The ability does not pull anything outside of its area of effect in and only pulls mobs back into its center ONCE as they try to leave. I originally thought it worked differently so I’m a bit less in love with the spell than I was previously.

Tier 6 – While we cannot access tier 6 of the talents at this time I want to mention one change from the online talent calculator to live. Heart of the Wild reads differently for Restoration. It now says that it grants additional intellect on top of everything it gave us previously. This means that, provided the benefit was large enough, It could be a throughput cooldown of some kind which, given its long duration, may be interesting.

GLYPHS

As you might know there are a host of new talents that have been added, many of which are cosmetic updates and a good portion of them are risk//reward modifications to existing spells in our arsenal. Given that we only have 3 major glyph slots and 3 minor glyph slots it does mean that there are going to be some tough choices to make.

Major glyphs worth using:

Lifebloom – Whenever lifebloom is moved from one target to another (outside of Incarnation) it keeps the same number of stacks

Rejuvenation – (Nature’s Bounty) Whenever rejuvenation is on three or more targets you gain 30% casting speed boost on Nourish

Regrowth – Increases Regrowth’s crit chance by 40% (to 100%) and removes the HoT portion of the spell

Healing Touch – Healing Touch reduces the cooldown remaining on Swiftmend by 1 second

Wild Growth – Increases the number of targets by 1 and increases the cooldown by 2 seconds

Rebirth – targets are revived with 100% health

First thing you probably notice is that our Rebirth glyph directly competes with our healing ones which means it will probably fall by the wayside pending encounter limitations. It is difficult for me to say just what glyphs I think are going to be staple for the moment because it depends on the encounter. If there are tank swaps you’ll need the lifebloom glyph for sure. If you’re in a 25 man raid the wild growth glyph will be more important to you. If you tank heal often the Healing Touch glyph seems marginally useful. The only glyph that I think may, at least for lower levels of gear, be required is Regrowth as it allows the spell to pack a wallop and guarantee a Living Seed trigger (see math section below).

Minor glyphs of note:

Treant – perma tree. It’s about as awesome as it sounds though oddly ANY spec of druid can take this and waddle around as a tree

Stag – be a stag, get ridden. I think It is cute but serves no real function

Orca – be an orca. Again it is neat and people will enjoy it but I don’t think that it is for me

Feline Grace – reduced falling damage ability native to cat form in all forms

Mark of the wild – same as before

Master Shapeshifter – reduce shapeshifting costs by 90%

Astral – change Moonkin form into an astral form that can mount though I haven’t tried it

Unburdened Rebirth – same as before

I may be forgetting some other ones

More than likely I’ll be using Treant, Feline Grace, and Unburdened Rebirth/MotW

MATH

I had a chance to test a couple of things out so far on the server but I haven’t been as thorough as I would have liked but the results were fairly interesting. Right now I tested using mark of the wild, a flask of the draconic mind, and an item level of ~406. I believe there may be some healing number inflation, though I cannot identify whether something is a little haywire in the build or if there is a buff/ability I have not accounted for.

Lifebloom was ticking for roughly 3400/3500 non crit and rejuvenation was ticking for 7500 or so (going from memory) which seems a bit on the high side.

Regrowth was critting for 40,000 or so one hundred percent of the time with the glyph which is…impressive to say the least. This would consistently leave a 12K-12.3K living seed on the target. This number is simply too large and clearly is an indicator of some form of artificial inflation due to an outside source.

Healing Touch was hitting for 38,000 or so non-crit and roughly 75,000 or so crit.

I didn’t have time to play around with Effloressence and Swiftmend that much but expect that I will make an update here this weekend when I do.

Wild Mushroom: Bloom! We all know the issues with handling this spell when it comes to the three mini-GCD’s and its placement and there is a warranted concern over how we’re going to weave dropping these into the middle of a hectic boss encounter. I’m not entirely convinced the spell will be everything we want it to be in real encounter practical situations but I can report what I see numbers wise. Bear in mind these numbers may be subject to the same form of healing inflation my other numbers are.

Each Mushroom is healing for approximately 9,400 per person with harmony active upon detonation. There is no player target limit as far as we know or diminishing returns. If all three mushrooms make contact with a player then they will be healed for 28,200 not including critical hits from the mushrooms. If a whole 25 man raid is clustered on the mushroom then you will heal for 28,200 x 25 = 705,000. At level 85 we have ~20% critical strike chance in a raid which would increase the amount to 846,000 healing done. Numerically this looks extremely impressive but before getting too excited we need to consider – a.) there is something funky happening with my heal numbers to inflate the results at this time; b.) Unless everyone is taking damage there will be sizeable overheal; c.) positioning, unless the raid is guaranteed to be in a known location, is a limiting factor in maximizing throughput; and d.) we cannot always guarantee that all three mushrooms can be placed prior to detonation.

SYMBIOSIS

This one is a bit of a doozy. Currently this ability is only being data mined so we don’t know exactly who is getting what for sure, but it looks like we may have another Dark Intent problem on our hands. I want to break down what people are guessing, from the data mining, restoration druids will be getting and what we will be giving to other players.

Gain-

Death knights – speculation: Anti-Magic Shell

Hunter – speculation: Deterrance

Mage – Ice Block

Paladin – Hand of Sacrifice

Priest – Leap of Faith

Rogue – speculation: Cloak of Shadows

Shaman – Spiritwalker’s Grace

Warlock – speculation: Demonic Circle: Teleport

Warrior – speculation: Initimdating Roar

 As you can see some of these are clearly better than others.

Gives of note-

Paladin (Holy) – Rebirth*

Paladin (Ret) – Tiger’s Fury

Paladin (Prot) – Might of Ursoc (unconfirmed)

Priest (Disc) – Tranquility*

Priest (Holy) – Wild Growth*

Hunter – Dash

Warlock – Rejuvenation

Mage – Healing Touch (unconfirmed)

Shaman (DPS) – Solar Beam

Shaman (Resto) – Prowl

Warrior (DPS) – Enrage

Warrior (Tank) – Frenzied Regeneration

Rogue – Survival Instincts (unconfirmed)

The ones I take slight issue with are marked with * above. Rebirth I don’t mind as much because we’re hardly unique snowflakes when it comes to in combat resurrection anyways so the more the merrier. My real complaint is what the priests get. Tranquility and Wild Growth are fairly potent spells and one of them us our major raid cooldown. Handing these off to other classes stings a bit and I’m not too thrilled about it. It will have the exceptionally long cooldown on tranquility but that isn’t really the point. I refuse to let this ability shake out like Dark Intent and I plan on putting it whichever raid member offers me the greatest benefit for that particular encounter. As my ability I think I have the right to make sure it benefits me as much as possible for whatever situation I am in.

KNOWN BETA BUGS AND MISSING FEATURES

The only bug that I have experienced are the following:

Astral balance form, via the glyph does not deactivate by pressing the moonkin icon on the shifting action bar a second time and must be right clicked off

Currently the features that are missing that will be important shortly are: Insect Swarm (not available currently) and any damage boosting balance glyphs. This makes evaluating balance quite a bit harder at this time.

INITIAL THOUGHTS

Hard to say at this time. The healing numbers are astronomically high and might very well be up there for all healers currently. I’m not entirely sure why it is happening but stay tuned and I’ll keep checking throughput numbers. The talents look interesting but somewhat underwhelming. There’s little that is actually new that we will be using often in raids, only situational stuff. The quality of life improvements by way of AoE looting, interface changes, lifebloom glyph, and new minor glyphs are all nice and I’m glad they are working to change these things this late in the game’s lifetime. I look forward to getting more information online this weekend and continue to play my baby Pandaren Monk.

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10 responses to “Beta: First Impressions! Talents, Glyphs, Abilities, and Symbiosis

  1. Not sure why so many are concerned with what abilities we’re “giving” with Symbiosis. The bottom line is that those are our abilities, that tranquility is an extra tranquility that we have brought to the raid, that’s my tranquility that some one else spends their GCD/channeling time to cast.

    The extra DPS that that shadow priest does with dark intent is the warlock’s DPS, if it doesn’t appear on his damage done line in the logs, that’s the log’s issue.

    If it were just a pure power play, I’d want tranquility given to all classes, but then the ability wouldn’t be as interesting. The people who should be complaining are the shamans and the paladins that will say “If we have a druid in the raid, I’m going to get benched because they want to bring in the priest so we can have another tranq”.

    • I get what you are saying and at the end of the day that’s the noble answer. However here is the rub: I do not want to be forced to give my symbiosis to a discipline priest. I like the idea of having options and making a decision that is both good for me and good for the raid but I don’t like being forced one way or the other. The risk with having one of the spells given out being a raid wide healing cooldown means that might become the automatic use for the ability negating any choice we have in the matter.

      Symbiosis is a druid ability that we’re getting in at a level where most other classes are getting a new toy. I’ll admit it might be sellfish of me but I don’t really want to take a mediocre other class’ ability just to give them tranq. I’m going to feel cheated at the end of the day. While that tranquility’s healing might ultimately be mine, we all know that people judge output in WoW. If healers are balanced around output excluding Symbiosis and then we start handing them cookies and taking very little in return then it’s a bit of a letdown.

      We all want to be awesome and there are some pretty cool things we can get from other classes by way of Symbiosis. I just want to make sure we keep our right, when in a raid group, to choose what we want.

  2. The HotW Talent tooltip is bugged, the correct one is: http://www.wowdb.com/spells/108294-heart-of-the-wild

    The Difference to the talent calc version is, that we are now crit immune and our balance spells are boosted by 50%. Similarly for the other specs’ versions. Though that doesn’t fix the problem of the talent being highly situational, most likely “Improved Tranquility” for non-resto, with chimaeron phase two being the only use for resto I can think of.

    Similarly, DoC could be renamed Improved Tranquility/NS for ferals. For resto the talent is highly (even more than HotW) situational. 30% more damage every 30sec is unnoticeable, and to time the heal to not be overheal is nearly impossible, given that you do not stop healing when you actually need it. It’s basically a worse implementation of Monk’s Expel harm, with added opportunity cost of a shapeshift (non NS) or DPS/Heal stop.

    For the remaining talent tree I’d like them to replace Faerie Swarm by Ursol’s Vortex, which seems to go better with ME and Typhoon as Mass CC ability, and replace tier 75 with a different theme alltogether. We’ve enough CC/Mobility without those, even more so with Symbiosis as part of our toolkit. If a spec really is in need of either of those abilities, they ought to be spec based anyway. I’d say our old bash vor everyone doesn’t seem that far of – though Bears can hug you now 😀

    As for the glpyhs:
    The Rejuvenation one depends on our mana regeneration, nourish and reju cost. I’d say it useless, given that nourish is to similar to rejuvenation in terms of strength. The fact that 20% of nourish strength are hot based only makes it worse.

    Lifebloom will take a similar sport to Swiftmend. A necessity for multi-tank fights, high utility for single tank fights, if there are low damage phases on the tank. Will probably be a must have glyph.

    Healing Touch may be nice in conjunction with Soul of the Forrest.

    Regrowth seems nice for early gear lvls, though the downside is , that it removes crit scaling, which on later gear lvls could be a disadvantage compared to other classes. A nice thing would be a reverse Regrowth glyph, i.e. less/no crit -> stronger/longer HoT

    Wild Growth seems to be a thing of 25s and we’ve yet to see if the two seconds cd are to big of a downside in comparision to other glyphs.

    Right now my choice would be Regrowth/HT/LB.

  3. I think what also gets lost a lot though is that these glyphs and talents are supposed to be moved around and swapped on a per fight basis (at least affording you the opportunity to do so in a convenient way). HotW is perfect for when your raid is just missing a DPS check and the encounter lends itself to a period where a healer can just go to town. Regrowth Glyph is perfect for a fight like chimeron where having a guaranteed crit at your disposal could really change your strategy.

    Of course there’s going to be talents and glyphs that 80% of the time are the way you’ll want to go, but dismissing the other options is along the same lines to saying that you’ll forgo dual speccing because you’re going to be running resto 80% of the time.

    Not all talents and glyphs need to be equally viable to each other all the time, if they allow you to meet the gaps in your progression in certain situations they are still very important tools in your toolbox.

    • I do not want my talents to be useful in maybe 1-2 fights per expansion (HotW -> Chimaeron/Ultraxxion)

      If you’re missing a DPS check, you’re likely missing more than 45 seconds of subpar DPS. Not to mention that it’s highely unlikely, that you can actually stop healing for a bigger time interval. Those hybrids talents are quite simple: It’s Improved Tranquility/Ns for non-resto and gimmick/maybe-good-if-your-raid-fails for resto. If they aim for 80% of a “main role” on the other hand, the outcome will be that you’ll see raids of 5-20 druids, cause dynamically adapting your raid setup for extended periods of time is to big of an advantage.

      Also I’m quite confident that GC said their plan was for all talents/glyph to be useful in most/all situation. It may be that one talent proves superior to some other given a certain encounter, but none should be entirely useless.
      DoC/HotW on the other hand are highely limited abilities.

      Regrowth glyph on chimaeron may be nice, but the sole reason for that is, that our fast heal performed sub-par in comparision to other classes, which did just fine.

      • I don’t think you’re being very imaginative, where your own raid stands on different dps checks is such a wide continuum that discounting different ways of healers to assist is just giving up on ways to help your raid make the kill. More healing doesn’t always = success. Not to mention all the fights where you only need a little more healing during some times so then you switch to dps spec and take those healing talents.

        Chimeron might have it’s genesis in bad design, but this glyph actually makes it good design. You get your choice of traditional boring class heal, or a hot based version that is better for sustained damage. Or more predictable output and seeds for spine debuffs, better burst output for baleroc, or in pvp where ht is too easily interrupted.

        Isn’t that the original purpose of glyphs? To tailor your spells to your specific needs at the time. I find that more compelling gameplay than a bunch of 100% choices that you end up never changing. I am glad that talents are going that route.

      • The purpose of glyphs was: To enhance your spells, to provide playstyles you usually do not see (demon tanking), to change certain mechanics.
        They’re not supposed to fix a broken spell, i.e. make it capable to do a job it can’t do baseline (i.e. regrowth workong on chimaeron was purely based on your crit luck).

        As for the hybrid talents. Excluding Tranquility/NS they require enviromental conditions to become barely useful. That’s not in the players hand, widely considered not fun and quite confident against blizzards design goal of “you pick what you want”. Their plan was to make all talents useful for most of the encounters and with no clear winner viewed over all fights. It definitely wasn’t their goal to create highly situational (based on to many enviroment conditions) talents, but that’s what HotW/DoC are.

        HotW “can be fixed” by changing it to a 1Minute/10 second spell, while providing significantly stronger bonuses than it currently does, e.g. for tanking you are missing Savage Defense (60%damage reduction) or/and defense CD’s. if they want the talent to be used it has to account for this.
        Similarly for the other roles, they have to account for the missing toolkit.
        Though my personal standpoint is, that toolkit cannot be fixed by numbers without it being entirely broken in more than one case (PvP for sure)

        DoC on the other hand is fundamentally flawed. You potentially sacrifice a GCD, mess up your rotation, yet do give a significant contribution to the hybrid role. The opportunity costs are incredible high on this one. That’s the reason I’m calling this talent Improved Tranquility(non-resto)/Gimmick(resto). The fact that it’s also dependent on a loot enviromental conditions won’t make this any better.

      • Here is the current in-game tooltip in the beta. Note that it does say “increases intellect”. It may very well be bugged or incorrect but we won’t know until we physically gain access to it later in the beta.

        Heart of the Wild Tooltip

  4. Interesting that ferals also get a dps increase out of HotW according to that tooltip. Guardians and Moonkin are the only two specs that get no bonus internal to their spec from HotW.

    Also interesting from that tooltip is that if you’re a Feral DoC looks to be a far better way to get a boosted tranq/NS heal than HotW since HotW neither grants intellect nor boosts healing done, but only damage from spells. Although I guess the additional agility from HotW will be converted to intellect from nurturing instinct….thought it would have to be a pretty substantial boost to agility to outperform the 30% boost from DoC…if it were than much of an agi boost, it’d be a hell of a damage cooldown for Ferals.

    Looks like the feral version of HotW is meant more purely to make you into a temporary tank or give an additional damage boost than allow for any off-healing.

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