On Wild Growth and Nerfs

The first patch notes from the 4.3 PTR are here! And boy are there a lot of changes. Buffs to Paladin and Priest group healing, Shaman get buffs to Riptide and an interesting change to Ancestral Healing.

Resto Druids get one, lone change in their class list:

Wild Growth: Heals up to 5 friendly party or raid members within 30 yards of the target for 2975 3717 over 7 sec. Prioritizes healing most injured party members. The amount healed is applied quickly at first, and slows down as the Wild Growth reaches its full duration. (source)

Yes, ladies and gentleman, this represents a 20% nerf to the healing output of our best group healing spell. Ouch.

And to add insult to injury, the Glyph of Wild Growth is potentially changing as well:

Glyph of Wild Growth now also increases the cooldown on Wild Growth by 2 seconds. (source)

So, we get less base output from our number 1 healing spell and will receive extra reduction in output because we’ll have to choose between WG hitting 6 targets but having a 10 second cooldown, or WG hitting only 5 targets but having an 8 second cooldown.

This seems like a fairly sizable overall nerf to druid raid healing. Ghostcrawler, likely having learned the lesson that people fear change and will freak out whenever said changes are revealed, put up a blog post about it right away. Let’s see what he has to say about druids.

We’re okay with Resto druids using Wild Growth frequently, but we think we allowed it to become too powerful given its ease of use. As I suggested above, this may or may not be sufficient to nerf Resto druid throughput overall. The change to the Glyph of Wild Growth has positive and negative elements. We heard from druids that they felt like they didn’t have as many major glyph choices as intended, since the Glyph of Wild Growth was such a no-brainer for raiding druids — it increased the number of Wild Growth targets with no downside. We want major glyphs to be a decision, which usually involves them having some kind of downside. With the AE heals, we thought the downside might be that the healers may not be using their AE heals necessarily, but having seen two raid tiers of content now, we’re confident that the glyphs did not have as much of a downside. (We changed the Glyphs of Circle of Healing and Light of Dawn for similar reasons). (source)

I don’t disagree that Wild Growth is a bit too powerful given its ease of use. I’ve even written about this topic before. I think that 30% of my healing coming from a single, extremely easy to use spell is too much. However, just nerfing it isn’t the answer. We need something in return. Want us to use Wild Growth less or for it to make up less of our healing? Give us a reason to use other spells instead. As long as we’ve got fights with periods of huge damage to the whole raid, the smart, group heals will always be favored. If boss mechanics aren’t going to change, then we need a new spell or an improvement to an old one that can give Wild Growth a run for its money.

The glyph change is just an extra kick in the teeth. It’s true, druids don’t have much choice when it comes to glyphs, but it’s not because none of them have a downside, it’s because there aren’t enough of them and only 3 are decent. If you want us to have to make a decision about glyphs, you need to give us more options.

The thing that really bothers me about GC’s justification though is this: …”this may or may not be sufficient to nerf Resto druid throughput overall.” Who said we needed a nerf?

I have words for you, crab

Dear Ghostcrawler,

I thought we had an understanding. In return for not having any damage mitigation cooldowns, no talents like Inspiration or Ancestral Fortitude, no buffs to give other players besides MotW (which is also done by pallies) and a really weak Innervate if we ever use it on others, we would be a little higher on raw HPS than everyone else. I thought it was a fair deal. Why are you trying to change it?

When we were given a 3-minute Tranquility as our “new” raid cooldown, I had a bad feeling. I really thought that using Tranquility 2-3 times a fight would increase our healing output by a large margin, other healers would complain, and the output would be reduced. Well, I was wrong about the spell that’s getting nerfed, but that is what is happening.

Now, it’s early in the PTR, it just opened today. These changes are not set in stone. I will not proclaim the sky is falling, I will not stomp my feet on the ground, start rending my garments, or threatening to quit the game or re-roll. That doesn’t seem very productive. I will simply offer a plea for reconsideration and some thoughts:

  • If you want to give one of our best (and really only glyph options) a drawback, you need to provide new glyphs so we actually have others to choose from.
  • If you want to reduce the healing of Wild Growth do it in a more elegant way. Give us a new spell, improve an old one – make us want to cast other spells more often.
  • Reconsider the opinion that our throughput needs to be nerfed at all. You solved our lack of cooldowns problem by giving us one that was 100% throughput. Are you surprised that our throughput is now very high? Was this not an expected or intended result?
  • Consider buffing other classes instead of weakening us. I see you’re already doing this, which is great. Why not just give that a shot and see how things balance out before you start swinging the old nerfbat at us?
  • And lastly, look to the past before making any hasty decisions about the future. Remember 4.0.6? When you increased the amount of healing of Wild Growth by 30% and shortened the cooldown by 2 seconds? There was a reason for that. We had no effective way of healing up multiple people quickly before that. No burst. Don’t take that away. Do you want us to go back to spamming Rejuv on as many targets as we can in order to put out enough healing?

Thanks for listening,

Jasyla

18 Responses to On Wild Growth and Nerfs

  1. Pingback: Wild Growth Nerfed in 4.3 PTR « Tree Heals Go Woosh

  2. I haven’t done the math yet but I suspect I’ll unglyph it. I need the shorter CD. I’ll just have to fill in with other heals or something I guess.
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    • If it’s used on cooldown it will put out more overall healing when unglyphed. So I think it will really depend on the damage patterns of the fight.

      The glyph change is like another 20% nerf on top of the change to the base healing. That seems like a lot to me.

  3. Unless the math turns out that glyphed WG is vastly better than unglyphed, I suspect I’ll unglyph it. I only run 10-men and it happens often enough that I don’t hit 6 targets. I’d rather lose one target and keep the shorter cool down.

    What I’m wondering though: doesn’t that change put us druids pretty much back to the beginning of Cataclysm? The 3-min-cool down of Tranquility is nice but at bosses with regular heavy aoe damage it’s going to be annoying. I still remember how painful some bosses were when we had only druids and shamans for healers.

    • I suspect for 10s the glyph change won’t be quite as bad, but I’m really going to feel it in 25s. Based purely on numbers, unglyphed WG will put out more healing (if used on cooldown), leaving us with an empy (or useless) 3rd major glyph slot.

      The change brings us almost exactly back to where we were at the beginning of Cataclysm. The 20% nerf plus the glyph change will be a ~35% overall nerf to Wild Growth. It was buffed 30% in 4.0.6 to make us more capable of dealing with raid damage, and now it seems to be headed back to where it was. Of course we have had some other improvements (Efflorescence change, Harmony as our mastery) that will still be around but I’m afraid our raid healing capability with be significantly reduced.

      • Yes, I can see why the change is troublesome for 25s, especially for a raid healing druid. Guess we’ll have to wait for combat logs to see what works better in practice in 25s.

        Personally I’m not a fan of Harmony, I feel it restricts me far more than it helps me for raid healing. It’s fine for tank healing, which I do most of the time (or I would be one unhappy druid), but raid healing with it is endless frustration.

        T11 and T12 is quite nerfed, so I suppose druids will do alright but it will be interesting to see if they up our healing once T13 is up and about.

        (And I’m still waiting for a Tranquility nerf to be honest.)

        • I like Harmony. I felt like a lot of raid healing druids got a little spammy with the HoTs before Harmony.

          I’m thikning (or hoping at least) that after some PR testing, they’ll revert at least one of the nerfs – either the 20% nerf or the glyph change.

  4. At least your entire methodology of healing isn’t being changed mid-expansion, after being radically changed for this expansion already. Sadpally. :(

    • Are the paladin changes that severe? There are a lot of them. It looks like you’ll be judging less (which seems like a plus to me since judging on cooldown sounds like a pain in the ass), the Holy Radiance change will take some getting used to, but it seems like a nice change. And you’ll be getting a lot more holy power. I’ll trade you your buffs for my nerf :P

      • The Holy Radiance change is huge. Before we had a less effective area-based heal that we could supplement with big single target heals while it was happening so that our tanks didn’t die, and a bit of sorely needed mobility. Now we are trading that for becoming less-effective holy priests, and who keeps our tanks up while we are AoE healing? It takes away a lot of our utility – it will be fine for 25s where people have clear roles, but it iis going to make us less effective in 10 mans where utility is really important.

        There aren’t really any changes to holy power if you are doing what is generally considered a holy pally role. The only change is that if you get stuck in an AoE healing role, you still generate holy power that you can then use with our almost-useless-in-10-mans Light of Dawn spell so that we are pressing 2 buttons to AoE heal instead of 1.

        I feel like they are picking on druids and pallies because the top tier teams were using those two classes exclusively. It isn’t our fault that that is what they decided to stack. :(

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  6. Well said letter to GC! Love it :)
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  7. Well said, and I agree, GC’s logic doesn’t make much sense here… “We heard from druids that they felt like they didn’t have as many major glyph choices as intended…” so we’re making one of the only useful ones undesirable? I, too, will probably unglyph it… but the question is what to replace it with? Ever since the Innervate nerf I replaced that one with Thorns (semi-situationally useful on Alysrazor while the tanks are beating their hatchlings) but… now what?

    I would consider keeping WG glyphed if it did something like additionally decreasing the CD on Swiftmend by the same amount to attempt to make up for this, but… I don’t know, we’ll have to see, and there’s still time.

    Great posts, as usual! Your recent Barkskin post just verified that I’ve been learning to use that at the proper times, hooray!

    • I think they really have to add in a new glyph or two if they’re going to go through with this change. I have a feeling I’ll be switching WG in and out a lot based on the fights.

      • what glyph would they add? we already got glyph for most of our skills I say either change some glyph or add new skills :D

        • You’re right, there aren’t a lot of spells that aren’t affected by glyphs already. Just Tranquility and Nourish, I think. However, a number of them could be changed to be more useful. Regrowth could do something like increase the direct heal at the expense of the HoT (or increase the HoT in exchange for a smaller direct heal), Healing Touch could do something that wasn’t tied to Nature’s Swiftness. The Lifebloom and Rejuv glyphs could be a little less boring.

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