Beta tester Peppercorn is reporting a reduction to the +Healing coefficient of Lifebloom from Live to the Beta realms. Despite having Improved Tree of Life aura and Master Shapeshifter, his triple-stacked Lifebloom (Rank 1) is ticking for 80 fewer HPS than in Live. At the same time, he’s seeing noticeable improvements to Regrowth and Rejuvenation (due to the new talents). Beta tester Delphine goes on to comment that she’s observed a reduction from 0.52 to 0.44 or a 20% nerf to its coefficient. Developer Koraa responded to his inquiry with the following:
Yes, we have done some toning down of Lifebloom. Lifebloom was unintentionally buffed too much during Burning Crusade when we made the coefficient scaling work on the stack applications. This has caused a lot of problems with balance in the game. Druids are intended — as healers — to be able to dish out good throughput heals with very low efficiency, likewise Lifebloom is intended to be rather cheap and efficient, but not to the degree that it is today.
Compare how you healed in dungeons and raids pre-Burning Crusade to today. Before you used nearly every healing spell you had, today you just use Lifebloom and maybe your other HoTs just because they stack with Lifebloom. Not only is this boring to the player, but it pigeon holes the Druid to spamming Lifebloom on the tanks.
We hope to tone down Lifebloom and bring the Druids other healing spells up to speed in this expansion. Part of this is through changes to the Druid class, changes to other healing classes and through encounter design.
Just as a note — we did intend to change Lifebloom in the Burning Crusade (lower the coefficent), but we ended up delaying that so that we wouldn’t hurt the Druids viability in raiding. With Wrath, we’re introducing a new heal, a revamped Tree Form, and other mechanics to correctly balance things out.
The notion of dishing out “good throughput heals with very low efficiency” (high HPS, low HPM) seems completely counter to the paradigm of a HoT-based class. The current incarnation of Tree of Life actually denies us access to our highest HPS heal, Healing Touch. Druids have never had a high throughput, low efficiency spell; not even Healing Touch qualifies due to its long casting time. Simply stated, HoTs are never going to be high throughput, low efficiency. Clearly there is a Resto Druid identity crisis among the developers right now.
It is clear that Blizzard is trying to push Restoration in a new direction in the expansion. With the addition of such spells as Nourish, Flourish, and talents like Gift of the Earthmother and Living Seed, we cannot expect to play the same way that we did before (nor should we want to). It’s also possible that they’ve realized that with the Gift of the Earthmother talent and Glyph of Lifebloom, we could possibly roll Lifebloom on 7 targets simultaneously (and no doubt wish to avoid the negative PR associated with the mass suicide of Resto Druids that would likely result).
But while they’re trying to push us in this new direction, I’m alarmed that Koraa — and vicariously the rest of the Development team — seems to think this was the direction intended all along. I’m worried what will happen if they decide that these new abilities are too strong and scale them back — without reversing the nerf to Lifebloom. And while it’s expected to change playstyle with the addition of new abilities, Druids already endured through a complete overhaul in TBC; remember spamming downranked Healing Touch and not using HoTs?
Before the change that allowed multiple stacks of Lifebloom to benefit from the +Healing coefficient, Druids were clearly underpowered. They simply couldn’t generate enough HPS in Tree of Life to keep up with the throughput of other similarly geared healers. Similarly, a nerf to Nourish because Developers realize Druids are intended to be a HoT-based class would put us back to where we are right now but with a 20% nerf to what is generally regarded as our best heal and the primary reason to bring a Druid to raids.
Koraa asserts that the +Healing coefficient on Lifebloom is currently too high, making the use of our other spells less desirable. However, Druids have to cast Lifebloom three times before establishing a full stack, then have to refresh it once every 7 seconds for a 187% +Healing coefficient. On the other hand, Shamans can spam Chain Heal with no ramp up time, have less to worry about in terms of targets or “losing” their stack, and get 150% coefficient (approximate). I am curious whether Blizzard is pushing Shamans in some new esoteric direction in an attempt to wean them away from Chain Heal in the same way they want to reduce our reliance upon Lifebloom.
I can understand that rolling Lifebloom on multiple targets is tedious and mind-numbing. I can also understand that allowing the +Healing coefficient to apply to multiple stacks of Lifebloom may have made it more powerful than was originally foreseen or intended. That being said, it isn’t as though we will no longer have to maintain Lifebloom stacks on tanks; we will simply do so with less efficiency.
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