Blue, Spells and Talents
- Nature’s Splendor now increases the duration of Lifebloom by 2 seconds. (Down from 3)
- Glyph of Regrowth – Increases the healing of your Regrowth spell by 20% if your Regrowth effect is still active on the target. (Old – Increases the amount of your initial Regrowth heal by 50% if your Regrowth effect is still active on the target.)
The nerf to the [Glyph of Regrowth] was predicted by many, but it still hurts to see one fewer thing we have to look forward to. I still believe that Regrowth will remain superior to Nourish due to its synergy with some great talents, but maybe we’ll see more nerfs to Regrowth to force us into using it. (I hope to have some time to revisit a comparison of direct heals in the next month or so.)
A couple of days ago Class Developer Ghostcrawler responded to the concerns about the current state of Restoration. I’m going to break down what was said to better address each point.
We nerfed Lifebloom because it was just too good. It just healed for incredible amounts at good mana efficiency that other healers would have had trouble matching. It’s much more fun to buff spells than to nerf them, so we try not to let any of them get out of control. But sometimes it happens.
As discussed in my post Ghostcrawler: Healers not to be Interchangeable, I think Blizzard is trying to reduce the tedium of maintaining Lifebloom stacks. Prior to build 9014, it was healing for approximately the same amount over time (HPM), but with weaker ticks due to the increased duration from Nature’s Splendor. This recent change to Nature’s Splendor so that it only adds two seconds to the duration of Lifebloom represents a further decrease in HPM with no change to its HPS. It may be worth noting that you can preserve the pre-9014 HPM value by slotting a [Glyph of Lifebloom].
On a similar note, MeanderingMind commented on the Healers not to be Interchangeable thread with the following:
Nerfing Lifebloom makes sense, it was far too powerful. The problem is that our other HoTs haven’t been buffed to make up the difference. The only increase we’ve seen for the Rejuvenation and Regrowth HoT effects is a talent in Balance. As a result, we’re forced to make up the difference with direct heals. This is the single largest contributor to the general feeling that we’re being shifted away from what we felt was our style and niche.
I still feel that the heavy-handed nerf to Lifebloom is unnecessarily punitive. There should be a nice benefit to maintaining a stack of Lifebloom for long periods of time when the consequences of allowing your stack to bloom are so high (and even higher with the 40% increase in mana cost).
Nourish and Wild Growth are both situational. We actually tried hard not to hand out new healing spells that needed to be put into a normal rotation. Nourish is good to use when healing a tank, either in a 5-man or a raid. It seemed less effective than Regrowth probably because the Regrowth glyph was too generous. Sometimes you can’t wait for that Regrowth tick.
Wild Growth isn’t intended to make you an awesome group healer. Shamans and Priests are awesome group healers, but can’t hot the way a druid can. What Wild Growth is intended to do is let you heal a group when you are the only healer, or heal a group in fights (usually boss fights) where you don’t have an opportunity to distribute HoTs to everyone. Without going into a lot of detail on new bosses in case you’d spoiler averse, there are bosses in Naxx and then the Malygos raid itself where you periodically can’t get a bunch of heals up and yet the raid is still taking damage. Wild Growth is really helpful in those situations.
I’m disheartened that Blizzard finds it acceptable for our 51-point talent and 80th level spell to be “situational.” I do not want something that’s situational at the pinnacle of my talent tree. I want something unique, fun, and useful. MeanderingMind explains it thus:
Druids don’t mind having situational heals. […] The problem with Nourish and Wild Growth is that “situational” doesn’t begin to describe them. Even without the Regrowth Glyph, Nourish is inferior to Regrowth. It heals for less on average, has a roughly equivalent cost after talents (even with HoTs already on the target), doesn’t confer any additional benefits (a Swiftmendable HoT, for example) and runs into GCD issues if you’ve [Nature’s Grace procs]. The only niche it has left to heal are those situations where the heal absolutely must be .5 seconds faster than Regrowth, which is what NS or Swiftmend are for.
Wild Growth’s niche is obvious, it just fails to fill that niche in any meaningful way. Even in a Heroic, its targeting is the cause of consternation and frustration while its cost and healing barely warrant its use. In raids it’s practically a null factor. Blizzard is assuming you have at least one of each healing class in your raids, which means that you can count on the Priests and Shaman to have AoE heals covered. Wild Growth’s niche is effectively non-existent. It is the single most worthless top-tier talent since Lacerate crowned the Hunter’s Survival Tree.
By and large, DPSers aren’t getting “situational” abilities, and I really feel like there’s a lot of anti-healer discrimination going on at Blizzard right now. As Beta Tester Linden of Murmur (US) puts it, “Everyone’s HP has increased. Boss damage has increased. Other players’ DPS has increased. And our heals have… decreased? Barely increased? […] People like to see big numbers, be they healing numbers or DPS numbers. It’s really disappointing to go 10 levels and two ranks of a spell and end up maybe where you were when you started.” Seriously, who wants to play in an expansion where they feel no more capable? (I have to admit, however, that Revive has greatly improved my 5-man instance experience.)
We think mana efficiency for Resto druids isn’t too bad at the moment. You’ll struggle in situations where you have to throw out a ton of heals quickly (as you should) but recharge when you can afford to take a break. Having someone with Replenishment greatly helps. Remember, we do want you to run out of mana. If we didn’t want mana management to be part of the game, we’d just cut the cost of all your healing spells and call it a day.
What we don’t want is A) your healing to be worse than other healing classes because you run out of mana too fast, or B) the fights to dish out more damage than you could ever have enough mana to heal. If either of those starts to feel like a problem, please speak up. But just running out of mana is going to happen. We aren’t trying to prevent that.
Blizzard fundamentally changed mana regeneration midstream in TBC (Patch 2.4). At the time, I assumed they were intentionally making encounters less dependent upon healer mana and instead more dependent on healer skill and DPS throughput. Just copying my character from live to the beta servers, I noticed a considerable drop in my mana regeneration (down from 754/259 in live to 606/217 in beta). Failing because your healers have run out of mana is a LOT less fun than failing because they aren’t capable healers or because your DPS wasn’t high enough (at least for healers). There are some classes for whom this is not an issue: obviously Ferals, Warriors, Death Knights, and Rogues have essentially limitless energy stores (assuming no Rage starvation). Warlocks can chew on their own arms for mana. That leaves about half the classes (Druids, Priests, Shamans, Mages, Paladins, and Hunters) taken out of the fight if they run out of mana. It’s a lot less obvious when a DPSer runs out of mana or has to switch to a higher DPM/lower DPS rotation, but if a healer can’t heal, things tend to go south quickly. Having encounters balanced around limited healer mana is going to greatly reduce the fun of raiding as a healer.
Ghostcrawler goes on to say that we shouldn’t expect to run into mana regeneration issues in 5-mans to the point that they aren’t doable without one or more Replenishment effects (one of the mana restores provided by Shadow Priests, Retribution Paladins, and Survival Hunters):
The design is you should not need Replenishment to heal a 5-player, even a heroic.
I’d like to hear from any other Resto druids who are going OOM when healing small groups. HoTs, single-target heals like Healing Touch and Nourish, and the occasional group heal should be all you need, even in green gear for normal instances or blues for heroics.
Nearly every mana management benefit given to Restoration Druids in Wrath has been nerfed in one way or another. Let’s review:
- Wild Growth: mana cost increased, amount healed decreased.
- Lifebloom: mana cost increased, amount healed decreased.
- Replenish: amount of mana restored cut in half
- Gift of the Earthmother: mana restore for Nourish and Healing Touch removed
- Improved Tree of Life: mana reduction replaced with Spirit-based bonus to spell power
- Nature’s Splendor: duration increase to Lifebloom reduced (requires recasting sooner)
- Spirit/Intellect-based mana regeneration formula nerfed
On the other hand, we’ve seen the modification of Omen of Clarity so that it procs on healing spells, the addition of [Glyph of Innervate], and increased accessibility of Moonglow. One would think they would be expecting complaints of mana problems instead of pretending they don’t know what we could possibly be talking about.
|Image credit to Eggo (thanks!)|
Ghostcrawler goes on to give some more Resto niche clarification:
HoTs are your niche. Nothing has changed. We just want to expand your portfolio a bit, because HoTs won’t work in every situation. You’re about HoTs – not just throwing them out, but using them to set up "combos" like Nourish, Replenish and Swiftmend.
If you are really struggling to heal 25-player raids, or really getting clobbered by other healing specs, let us know. That is not what we have been seeing and hearing.
As I’ve mentioned before, I love the HoTs-based style of healing, and I really enjoy things that set up “combos” where one or more spells and talents can work in synergy with one another. I’ve been having a torrid affair with Swiftmend since it replaced Innervate as our 31-point talent. Unfortunately, it seems like HoTs-based healing – which revolves around maintaining one or more Lifebloom rotations – is getting clobbered in the expansion. Giving us direct heals to make up for this reduction to our primary style of healing does nothing to make me feel like I’m purchasing an “expansion.” It makes me feel like I’m paying money for the privilege of rerolling (figuratively for me, although several blog authors have expressed that they’re considering doing so literally).