More delectable Blue tidbits yesterday and today! Also, happy Halloween to everyone. I hope you Ferals enjoy being able to eat candy in forms for the first time this year! You can check out Phaelia’s costume at right.
- Addressing Feral Mana Concerns
- Restoration –> Balance Switch
- Living Seed Fix
- Lifebloom Complaints
- Wizard Oil to Pull Disappearing Act
Zakirroth of Frostwolf (US) asked for further clarity regarding Feral mana limitations. To summarize his concerns:
- Feral Druids are currently not sought for Arena teams because of their low damage and utility. With Wrath, utility has been improved but accessing many of those utilities requires shapeshifting.
- In PvP, Feral Druids DPS in Cat Form but have to switch into Dire Bear Form for survivability when focused.
- Shapeshifts will cost more mana at level 80. There is less Intellect on gear at level 80 than there is presently, which means Feral mana pools will be smaller.
- Shouldn’t the spec that relies on shapeshifting be as good or better at it than the specs that do not require shapeshifting to function?
- Berserk is a lackluster PvP ability because of it’s long cooldown and the fact that it no longer grants an immunity to crowd control.
Ghostcrawler took a moment to respond to his post with the following:
We’re not trying to punish Feral with a lack of mana or anything. We’re just evaluating how they perform and what they do, especially in PvP with regards to this issue. The bottom line is we’re not sure yet if it’s really a problem or if the Feral players are just having trouble adjusting to the change. (I understand many of them *say* it’s a problem.)
We also aren’t trying to make Balance and Resto the shifting specs. However, as mana-using classes they are going to be able to do more with that mana, such as healing. We want druids to be able to shift — that is a major part of the class. The only thing in contention is how often is too often and how much can they do in Night Elf or Tauren form.
I discussed this issue yesterday in Druids Have the Blues, so to avoid repeating myself, I’d like to take a look at the idea that Ferals should be “better” than Restoration or Balance Druids at shapeshifting. This concept stems from the idea that a Feral in caster form cannot use any Feral abilities, while a Balance Druid can still DPS and a Restoration Druid can still heal. However, a Balance Druid loses a tremendous amount of survivability and utility when they shift out of Moonkin Form:
- Moonkin Form: 370% armor bonus, 5% critical strike bonus, and spell criticals regenerating 2% total mana
- Improved Moonkin Form: 3% haste and 15% of Spirit as Spell Power
- Owlkin Frenzy: Pushback immunity procs
In exchange, they gain access to heals (Lifebloom, Regrowth, Rejuvenation, Healing Touch, Tranquility, and Wild Growth), and Abolish Poison.
On the other hand, a Restoration Druid outside of Tree of Life loses access to:
- Tree of Life: 6% additional healing, 20% mana reduction on HoTs (Lifebloom, Rejuvenation, and Regrowth)
- Improved Tree of Life: 100% armor bonus and 15% of Spirit as Spell Power
In exchange, they gain access to Cyclone, Entangling Roots, Moonfire, and Wrath (Starfire and Hurricane, too, but those aren’t especially useful in Arenas). Essentially, all specs of Druid have to shapeshift in PvP. Even if a Restoration Druid avoids Tree of Life because she loses access to crowd control, she’s still going to spend mana shifting into Dire Bear Form for Bash and additional survivability (formerly Feral Charge, too). I’m therefore reticent to say that Ferals are somehow more deserving of cheaper/easier shapeshifting than the other two specs, but I would support a Feral talent that decreases the cost of Cat Form and Dire Bear Form, maybe their own specialized (and improved) version of Natural Shapeshifter. This would help compensate for considerably smaller mana pools, increase access to Cat- and Bear-specific utilities, but not give a Feral the mana pool to pop out and start healing like a stalk of rotten broccoli.
Vento of Trollbane (US) wrote a post pleading with Restoration Druids to stop switching over to Balance after a long-time raidmate made the switch himself because, “Resto druids are useless after the patch. CoH and Chain Heal covers ‘em all.” Surprisingly, Ghostcrawler chimed in to respond to the recent spec changes:
I think part of it is that Resto was a good spec and Boomkin generally was not. We got Boomkin up to being a "real" DPS class now, so it might look all bright and shiny to long-time Druids now. We have seem similar phenomena with Paladins going Ret and warriors going Prot. Basically specs that were changed a lot feel exciting.
My prediction is that once things settle down, the community will have a better feeling for how Balance is really shaping up based more on experience and less on theorycrafting (not that there’s anything wrong with theorycrafting). Your friend might come back if he or she sees Restos doing competitive healing. Or Balance just might prove fun.
I have to agree with Ghostcrawler here. Many long-time Restoration Druids are going to be attracted toward Balance because it’s more viable than ever, similar to the number of Restos that switched to Feral as soon as Bears became truly competitive tanks. I do think that the excess of mana post-3.0 is certainly contributing to Vento’s guildmate’s low feeling of self worth, and that he might change his mind when they’re doing more challenging content again. Of course, the most likely outcome of all of this is that Vento’s guildmate chooses Balance of Resto as his “main” spec and uses his second talent spec for the other. I suspect we’ll see a lot of Resto/Balance and Balance/Resto dual-speccers because of the tremendous gear overlap.
Using one spell and just cycling through 4 people (or 5 if you were fast enough) and doing nothing else isn’t what we have in mind for a healer and we’d like to change that if possible.
You can imagine the responses that the above prompted, one of which pointed out the Chain Heal spam Shamans are so well known for. Bornakk seized upon that observation to share his opinion of the use of AoE heals:
I personally would say that an AoE heal is a different category from a single target heal. Even if there were 3-4 different kinds of AoE spells, I’m pretty sure one would be the best and be the only one used in a situation where you need AoE heals.
I guess targeting a spell that requires you to count off X seconds or risk losing your stack and a large mana investment is a less appropriate method of healing than standing near a group of people and pressing a button to automatically heal them every 2.5 seconds.
On another thread, Ghostcrawler responded to similar complaints from Netsio of Demon Soul (US):
There are plenty of good threads on Lifebloom post-nerf. It is less powerful than it was before, but it is still a very good spell and we fully expect druids to still use it in PvE and PvP.
Which I have to interpret as “HAI GUYZ YOU STILL GIT TO CAST UR SPELL EVEN THO WE MADE IT BAD.” (Translated to LOLCrab.) Honestly, I’ve reconciled myself with the nerf, but telling me that “yes, it’s crappy; we still expect you’ll use it” does not give me the warm fuzzies.
I’ve received several reports from readers that Living Seed isn’t functioning as its tooltip would seem to indicate, essentially that the seed is “popping” immediately, even before the actual critical heal hits the target. (On the bright side, Living Seed is currently behaving like a healer-version of Vengeance, making critical heals heal for 75% extra instead of the standard 50%.) Beta tester Cheroba of Lich King (US) describes the issues thus:
Right now, it only takes a percentage of my effective heal from a crit. So, if I crit for 3k but do 10 effective healing… my Living Seed only will go off for 3. Really? Why isn’t this one of the most useless talents in the Resto tree? It’s not only ineffective, but it’s kind of counter-intuitive.
Further, if my target is brought up to full health before the next hit after Living Seed is placed on a target… they get zero healing, waste the seed, and then take damage. How is that effective? Earth Shield was awesome in that it provided an extra buffer… I thought that was the point of Living Seed.
Ghostcrawler’s response is (somewhat) promising:
This part should be fixed in the 3.0.3 build — it should be consistent with Earth Shield. I believe we even hotfixed it. Can anyone confirm?
The part about it being effective healing is by design.
This means that the seed should remain on your target until the tank takes (or would have taken) damage that the seed then absorbs. This is great news. However, the fact that the effective healing is what is intended seems pretty silly to me. With the elimination of downranking, it’s going to be really hard to limit overhealing with direct heals (read: any spell that can crit and therefore proc Living Seed), greatly reducing the worth of this talent. Boo, I say, and not just because it’s Halloween.
Verimonde posted on the Item Discussion forums (the what???) in response to a player’s concern about Sharpening Stones:
Sharpening Stones and also Wizard Oils have been discontinued. While they were something nice to use once in a while for most people for many raid guilds they were simply another burden to the cost of raiding. They also caused some issues in that they only helped certain classes and took away some of the uniqueness of other classes who were able to imbue their weapons with temporary enchants such as Rogues and Warlocks.
I’m sure that a lot of players will decry this change as “dumbing down the game” or “encouraging players to be slackers,” but really, anything that makes the slackers who don’t bring consumables to raids less a hindrance to progress is a good thing in my book. And, just like the Potion Sickness debuff, anything that limits the amount of monetary investment required for raiding is a good thing.
Keeva of Tree Bark Jacket shares her opinion of this change here.