Druid Class Preview

The druid class preview has been posted! Here are my thoughts on what’s in store for resto.

New Abilities

No new resto abilities for us.

Changes to Abilities and Mechanics

  • All heal-over-time spells (HoTs) will benefit from crit and haste innately in Cataclysm. Hasted HoTs do not reduce their duration, but instead add additional HoT ticks. 

Expected this one after seeing the other class previews. This is fantastic news. Crit will be worthwhile without a set bonus to make it so.

    • Unlike the other healers, Restoration druids will not be receiving any new spells. They have plenty to work with already, and our challenge instead is to make sure all of them have a well-defined niche. A druid should be able to tank-heal with stacks of Lifebloom, spot-heal a group with Nourish and Regrowth, and top off lightly wounded targets with Rejuvenation.

    I’m sure some people are disappointed in this, but I am not. I like druid healing as it is now. Vanilla had too much spamming of rank 4 HT, BC has too much spamming of Lifebloom. In Wrath, I think Blizzard got it right. As it is now, I find druids versatile and powerful healers. I use all my healing spells to some extent in raids (well, except Tranquility), and healing is fun. No changes to our healing arsenal are required and I’m happy that Blizzard recognized this.

    • Druids will lose Abolish Poison with the dispel mechanics change, but Restoration druids will gain Dispel Magic (on friendly targets) as a talent. All druids can still remove poisons with Cure Poison and remove curses with Remove Curse.

    I like the Abolish Poison spell, but I can live without it. What I’d really like to see is all our dispels in one ability. I have enough clique bindings as it is.

    New Talents and Talent Changes

    • Tree of Life is changing from a passive talent to a cooldown-based talent, similar to Metamorphosis. Mechanically, it feels unfair for a druid to have to give up so much offense and utility in order to be just as good at healing as the other classes who are not asked to make that trade. We are exploring the exact benefit the druid gets from Tree of Life. It could strictly be better healing, or it could be that each heal behaves slightly different. You also will not be able to be banished in Tree of Life form (this will probably be true of Metamorphosis as well). Additionally, we would like to update the Tree of Life model so that it feels more exciting when you do decide to go into that form. Our feeling is that druids rarely actually get to show off their armor, so it would be nice to have at least one spec that looked like a night elf or tauren (and soon troll or worgen) for most of the time.

    And there was much rejoicing.

    This makes an otherwise unremarkable class preview absolutely awesome. Oh, how I’ve hated tree form for years. It’s ugly. It’s useless. It hides my gear and character model.

    I am slightly worried though. Alot of people are kicking up all sorts of fuss on the druid forums about this. For some inexplicable reason, they want to keep tree form. Boo, I say! If complaining on the official forums ruins this in any way I will be very upset. People have a number of faulty arguments for why we should keep tree form, but what it basically comes down to is:

    The ability to shift into tree form is iconic and is the essence of being a healing druid.
    No, it’s not.  When I created my druid, there was no tree form. When I specced resto and started raid healing, still no tree form. Had I known that rolling a druid as my first character would result in me having to stare at an ugly, pointless tree model for the rest of my WoW life, I probably would have chosen another class. I would have missed out, because I love druid healing, but my hatred for tree form runs deep.

    Shapeshifting is a core aspect of being a druid, with this I agree. You know what, even without tree form, we’re still shape-shifters. Cat, bear, travel form, flight form, aquatic form – we still have all these things. I’m really not a lore nerd, but this is from Wowwiki on druid lore:

    A druid’s empathy with the creatures of the wild also allows him to shapeshift into the forms of other animals. For example, a wounded druid whose magical energies are running low might abruptly take on the form of a bear in order to better withstand further injury. Alternatively, the druid might shift into the form of some large cat, sneak up behind an enemy, then pounce and deliver a fierce flurry of melee attacks. Even the deepest oceans can be explored by a druid, who can simply shift into an aquatic creature, allowing him to stay underwater as long as needed.

    That’s right, a druid is supposed to be able to shapeshift into the forms of animals. Each of these animals has a special purpose based on the strengths on that animal. Nowhere does it say that druids should shift into trees. Hug trees, maybe. But really, let’s compare a cat to a tree. A cat is agile, has sharp claws, can sneak around, all qualities that would be helpful for a druid to take on. A tree? It’s a fucking plant, it doesn’t do anything! It  doesn’t fight, it doesn’t heal, it doesn’t think and it doesn’t move! Unless a situation comes along where being unable to take any action provides a benefit, or maybe our guild is hungry and would like some delicious fruit to eat, there is no reason for a druid to be a tree. Good riddance.

    • Restoration druids will have a new talent called Efflorescence, which causes a bed of healing flora to sprout beneath targets that are critically healed by Regrowth.

    This sounds both useful and pretty. Thumbs up.

    Mastery Passive Talent Tree Bonuses

    HoT Scale Healing

    HoT Scale Healing: HoTs will do increased healing on more wounded targets. The mechanic is similar to that of the Restoration shaman, but with HoTs instead of direct heals. In Cataclysm, we anticipate druids using a greater variety of their spells so there is a distinction between healing and HoT healing.

    Meh. This reminds me of the Glyph of Rejuvenation. When I’ve used that glyph, it really does next to nothing as far as overall healing is concerned. However, it could be useful depending on how well it’s implemented. Time will tell.

    Overall, I am quite happy with the druid class preview.

    Down with tree form! 

      11 responses to “Druid Class Preview

      1. What's wrong with having a choice?

        I don't understand why the anti-tree people are so set on forcing the pro-tree people to lose what they love.

        People are welcome to hate the form and obviously this change will make them very happy – but what's wrong with allowing the rest of us to choose to keep the ToL form if we want to?

        What's wrong with a solution that makes both sides happy?

        I think it's great that the people who hate the form won't have to use it anymore – I don't want to force you to be a tree if you don't want to. But at the same time, you shouldn't scoff at me wanting to keep my beloved form – just because you don't like it.

      2. I completely agree about tree form. I loved healing as a so-called "Dreamstate" druid for quite some time, largely because I didn't need to be stuck in tree form all the time, and could actually see that awesome-looking armor I've been collecting. I really wasn't very happy when I had to spec tree for raiding at 80 because Dreamstate simply wasn't effective at endgame. I think the form is ugly and I really missed being able to channel hurricanes in between HoTs like I could when I was leveling.

        That being said, I would totally support a compromise situation — possibly a glyph that changes tree of life to a passive shapeshift with no cooldown but reduces the bonuses to balance it?

        • I was dreamstate for quite a while, but swapped to tree as I realised that it wasn't as effective to stay DS.

          I often stay "caster" in 5 mans etc, and don't mind seeing cow-Keeva now and then. I don't really care much about seeing my gear, though.

          I don't love the idea of managing a cooldown (especially if it can be mistimed..) but if it's something nice that could be tank-saving or raid-saving, that would be great. I have my fingers crossed.

          Mostly, I just don't want to lose the ability to look like a tree when I want to look like a tree – even if it doesn't perform a specific function. I really don't think that's a huge ask.

          • Ooh, you know, vanity shapeshifts have a lot of potential. You can shift into a tree (or whatever else) whenever you want — it just doesn't do anything other than look like a treant. I like that idea =)

            • Yep, exactly.

              Unfortunately GC and the devs seem to think that forms must have function, else it's just useless art.

              I really hope they get past that silly idea. There's a lot of stuff in this game that is "just art". It's such a dumb argument.

              If he's saying "we don't want you to waste talent points on something that is just cosmetic", then fine. That's obvious. But don't take that cosmetic option away and make it a restrictive cooldown. Chuck it on a glyph or something (and have the uberhealing cooldown NOT attached to that form).

              • I could honestly see the "new" tree form having completely different graphics, and not feel at all like a shapeshift. I imagine something similar to the priests' Spirit of Redemption, all big and glowy and sparkly, but only up for a short time.

                They could leave the old tree form graphics in the game as a vanity shapeshift. It'd be a nice tradeoff, really. It's not like it would require a lot of work for them, the graphics are already in the game.

      3. @Keeva

        There's nothing wrong with having a choice. However, when I wrote this last night as 3am most of what I had seen from the tree-lovers was just saying let us keep tree form, there wasn't much discussion about having it both ways.

        If they can find something that makes everyone happy, that's fantastic. As Kiryn said, a Glyph would be a good idea. GC even mentioned in one of the Q&As that they *might* implement a minor glyph that let you look like a tree all the time. That sounds good to me.

        But, if given the choice between all tree-form, all the time and never having to see it again, I think it's obvious which I prefer.


        When they introduced tree form I did everything I could to try to rationalize not taking the ToL talent. I couldn't do it for long though as being effective was the most important thing to me. I still loved getting to fights like Supremus or Archimonde where it was more effective to not be in tree form (until they removed the slow).

        I'm hoping the cooldown-based tree graphics are cool. It does seem like they are getting an overhaul. When I turn into a tree (albeit briefly) in Cata, I want to look impressive. Not silly.

      4. I am sad about the change in some ways, as I do like being a tree, but if it means that they are going to balance us without it, give us a new cooldown, and free up space in our talent tree for something else that is potentially useful, that's great. I would love to see that minor glyph, though, allowing resto druids to be trees whenever they damn well please. =)

        • @sylly

          I am optimistic about the nature of the cooldown and the change this will create in our talent tree. Hopefully when we hear more about it the other druids will feel better about the change. The glyph will definitely help too.

      5. Sorry about the late comment, as I only found your blog today, but I must say how happy I am to see that not everybody is crying about the TOL cooldown. πŸ™‚

        I absolutely hate the ugly, outdated model and I'll probably even buy Cataclysm if this change goes live. We can only hope that Blizz won't cave in to the QQ (which they've been known to do before) and that they remember all the negative feedback they got regarding TOL when they asked for it:

        That said, I think the best option would probably be to implement a minor glyph or something similar that would let people still appear in the old tree form if they so wished – so that everyone could be happy. πŸ™‚

        • @Harri

          I think there's quite a few of us who want tree form to go, we're just less vocal than the people who want to keep tree form.

          Blizzard seems pretty set to get rid of it, I hope they stay that way. As you said though, I hope they can do something like a glyph to keep everyone else happy.