Community, Spells and Talents
A topic on the official druid forums entitled “Cant decurse or buff in tree form…..!” was started today by Galladriel of Illidan. While the spell limitations of Tree of Life may be a dead horse to some, this topic included some interesting and — aside from the usual gear/spec/reputation posturing — constructive discussion about this form and the necessity (or lack thereof) of its inherent limitations. The posting of this topic comes in the wake of PTR 2.1.0 notes stating that while changes have been made to both the spells available in Tree of Life and that the ability tooltip has been updated for accuracy, community concerns about the form’s stringent limitations seem to have fallen on deaf ears.
Of primary concern to many druids (including the original poster) is the form’s inability to cast Abolish Poison, Remove Curse, Mark of the Wild, Thorns, or Barkskin. (Healing Touch is also mentioned but mostly perfunctorily; I don’t think many druids still argue for the ability to cast this spell in Treeform.) Not being able to cast Mark/Gift or Thorns can be frustrating, especially given the ten-minute duration on Thorns. Not that you would expect to stay a Tree for stretches of ten minutes at a time, but it’s frustrating to see Thorns drop on your main tank just as you’ve shifted into Treeform. Even just allowing Thorns to be cast without also giving access to Mark/Gift would be tremendously helpful. And really, what could make more sense than a Tree bestowing you with a thorny damage shield (which, outside the realm of Azeroth, makes very little sense)? You generally don’t buff during combat, so this limitation seems annoying and unnecessary.
The real frustration for a Tree is not being able to cast Abolish Poison or Remove Curse, both of which are classified as Restoration spells. These aren’t the only Restoration spells to which we lose access, of course, and — unlike priest Shadowform — Tree of Life isn’t billed as a school-limited or school-exclusionary form. However, the two decursing spells’ Restoration classification firmly places them within the realm of healing.
Notouch of Bonechewer argues that:
“…the limitations to it were built in for a reason. It’s up to you to figure out what those reasons are and learn to incorporate them into your play style.”
She believes that it’s partly laziness that makes druids want to decurse in Treeform and that “artistic” shifting is a demonstration of druid skill. While I agree that it does take some skill to be able to manage the use of Treeform in instances where decursing is required (all of them at one point or another), I prefer to let my skill show by capitalizing on my class’s strengths, not by overcoming my class’s inherent and unnecessary deficiencies. If there isn’t a good reason for the limitation, simply having it for the sake of separating men from mice — or elf from tree — is silly.
Calenbraga from Feathermoon points out that feral-specced druids have to deal with similar limitations while in form:
If a feral druid dies in cat form when a battle rez, innervate or emergency heal could have improved the situation they make it clear they’re a crappy druid. Same deal for a moonkin.
Same deal for a tree druid.
Sounds logical. Each of our forms do have limitations. Except that Tree of Life is the only one of our forms to have limitations which are directly counter to the role it is intended to perform. When a druid turns into a cat, she doesn’t suddenly go from being able to stealth to not. And when a druid turns into a bear, she doesn’t suddenly lose the ability to bash. You don’t lose abilities which are core to performing the role of your new form but instead only gain abilities which lend toward performing that role. The downside is the loss of spell access (healing, damage, buffing, debuffing), but all of these spells are outside the the bounds of melee dps and tanking. When a druid turns into a tree, however, she finds her retinue of healing abilities greatly diminished, one of the most important and necessary among them being decursing.
The last spell under discussion was Barkskin which I view as icing on the cake. While I agree that — if only for Lore reasons — a Tree should have access to something called Barkskin even if they don’t have an inherent armor bonus for being made out of wood, if we were given the ability to decurse, I would ask for nothing else.
A 41-point Healing form should not be something that you can’t use to heal a group in Heroic instances. As it is, Treeform makes easy instances even easier and the hardest instances all but impossible. This seems to me a fundamental flaw in its design and one I’m surprised that the development team persists in ignoring.
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