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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.