Symbiosis – How to Make it Better

As I mentioned in my last post, Symbiosis isn’t shaping up to be that great of a new ability, especially for a resto druid. The spells that we can receive from other classes are of questionable usefulness and the spells we can give to other classes are poorly balanced.

The biggest problem with Symbiosis is that it will be a nightmare to balance. We want to receive abilities that are useful, but they can’t be too useful. While I’d love to say “give me Power Word: Barrier from Priests and Mana Tide Totem from Shaman,” that just isn’t going to work. We also need each of the abilities given to us by other classes to be of relatively equal desirability – though it will change depending on the situation. If we always want to use Symbiosis on a Priest and never use it on a Rogue (for example), I think the ability has failed.

The balance problem gets exponentially worse when you consider the abilities we will be giving other classes. Then it becomes not just an issue of which ability is best for us for a particular situation, but also which of our abilities is of best use to someone else. How do you reconcile this if the answers are different? In its current form, it’s the Druid’s needs that are going to go by the wayside. We offer tanking classes abilities that will assist in their main role (by reducing their damage taken or increasing their health), while most of the abilities we get either improve our survivability or mobility. Survivability and mobility cooldowns for a healer are great (though neither are things we really have problems with), but compared to giving a tank an extra cooldown they seem less important.

So how do we make Symbiosis Better?

There are a few rules I think this ability needs to play by in order to be balanced and make sense.

  1. The abilities gained from other classes need to be baseline abilities – they cannot be associated with a particular spec. It would make no sense to use Symbiosis on a Shadow Priest and receive Lightwell.
  2. Any abilities we gain from other classes that affect our primary role (healing) should be less effective than the original ability. For example, if we got Molten Armor from a Mage, it would only increase our crit by 1% rather than 5%.
  3. Each Druid spec should not have to receive a unique ability. For example, Balance and Resto Druids could both receive Purge from a Shaman (rather than give us something ridiculous like Spiritwalker’s Grace).

    And most importantly…

  4. Symbiosis should only give abilities to the Druid. The person we use Symbiosis on shouldn’t get anything. Having the ability work both ways turns a balancing problem into a balancing nightmare. Based on the current list, Symbiosis will have to balance the trading of 60 different abilities between different classes and specs. Ugh. It also creates a big issue in determining who gains the most benefit from the ability. (This may require a name change for the ability, I can live with that).

My Symbiosis List for Resto Druids

As I mentioned above, I don’t want to get abilities that will make us overpowered (or cause us to be underpowered as a baseline in order to account for the abilities we can gain from Symbiosis), but I do want abilities that I will want to use at least once on every PVE encounter.

Here are the abilities I’d like to see us get:

Death KnightIcebound Fortitude

IBF is what we’re currently getting and I think it’s the best choice. It has a long cooldown but it will at least give us back a self-cast damage mitigation spell (that doesn’t share a cooldown with Ironbark).

HunterFeign Death

I’ve often bemoaned the tremendous aggro generation of resto heals and our lack of aggro drops. Something like Feign could really come in handy on fights with lots of adds.

MageMage Armor

I’d like an ability that could act as a default to gain on fights where extra utility and mobility spells really aren’t necessary. Of course we couldn’t gain the full effect from this, but even if the Mage Armor gave us 1 point of Mastery and reduced magic effects on us by 10% it would give us a little extra output (but wouldn’t make us OP).

MonkExpel Harm

It’s a little difficult to pick a Monk ability as I haven’t seen any of them in action yet (and their list of base abilities seems very short). Giving us Expel Harm on a 1 minute cooldown (as opposed to 15 seconds) would be something useful.

PaladinHand of Sacrifice

This was the initial ability we were supposed to get from Paladins and I want it back. I’d reduce the effectiveness to make it transfer 15% of damage over 6 seconds (rather than 30% over 12 seconds) for balance as well as to make sure we don’t kill ourselves.

PriestLeap of Faith

I’d leave this one as-is. It’s a fun ability and does have situational uses.

RogueCloak of Shadows

This would be much more useful that the current spell, Evasion. This would be very useful in certain situations (say on a fight like Ultraxion if you’re short on soakers).

ShamanWater Shield

The Shaman spells are tough. To me it seems like most of the abilities we could get would either be completely useless, or extremely OP. Water Shield could work and be useful but the effectiveness would need to be scaled way down. I’d remove the passive regen then put a 2-minute cooldown on the spell to limit the amount of mana we could gain from it. A more simple (though less useful in PVE) option would be Purge.

Warlock – ??

I’m having a tough time with Warlocks too. I’d say Unending Resolve but 50% reduction for 12 seconds is a lot of damage reduction, and we would always take that over IBF from a Death Knight, which I think creates a problem. Twilight Ward could be a possibility.

WarriorRallying Cry

I’d change this to give only 10% of maximum health for 10 seconds. It would give us a raid cooldown, but nothing that’s going to make a huge difference.

What do you think? What spells would you like to receive from Symbiosis?

14 responses to “Symbiosis – How to Make it Better

  1. I’d be hesitant in nixing the “give away” portion of this spell even if it does complicate balancing to another level of magnitude.

    In 10man raiding we’re frequently up against a class comp cooldown roulette strategy issue. Depending on what classes we have in raid we may have to seriously alter our strategy and sometimes just can’t do an encounter. Things like heroic ultraxion are a good example of having to field a certain amount of damage reduction cooldowns depending on your class makeup that can make or break an encounter.

    I’m looking to Symbiosis to be this flex/catch all for class utility issues in a similar manner that hunter pets are a catch all for buffs your raid may be missing.

    • The problem, I think, is that the cooldowns we’re offering aren’t going to be enough to make a huge difference anyway. For example, on something like Heroic Hagara’s Focused Assault, we alternate cooldowns (the tanks CDs, Pain Supression, HoSac, etc.) I don’t think the extra cooldowns a tank would get from Symbiosis (for example Barkskin giving a Paladin tank 10% damage reduction for 6 seconds) would be a strong enough cooldown to rely on to keep a tank alive.

      Using your example of Ultraxion, I think the Druid should be the one who gets an ability that allows them to step in and use a damage reduction on themselves so they can be an extra damage soaker (which is what we’re getting).

      • I think they’re pretty spot on with a lot of these abilities, Dash, Rebirth, Solar Beam, Stampede are all the type of thing I’d like to see to offer other classes utility for encounters. The healing I’m not a real big fan of, but I guess we can’t forget about the PvP angle, but it does feel quite useless that’s all that mages and warlocks (healing touch/rejuv) can get unless there’s some encounters that you’d want them to do tasks outside the range of healers?

        I think that wild mushrooms would also be a great one to give tanks as it can give them another tool to gather aggro from adds and also nature’s grasp is a great one to give to other squishies to deal with aggro.

        I think giving or getting just bigger numbers or another cooldown that you already have (like the additional survival ones we’re giving tanks) is just boring and doesn’t bring a new level of play to the game.

  2. Hand of Sacrifice is an awesome cooldown. Though I couldn’t help laughing every time a Druid killed themselves with it. I don’t see any reason it shouldn’t be full strength or maybe reduced just a little in duration. Less than 30% transfer and it’s not terribly powerful (nor terribly deadly).
    Joe Ego recently posted..Get the Maw. Love the Maw. Share the Maw.

  3. An interesting and well thought out proposal. I suspect it will go unanswered from the dev team.

    What I have been thinking on this to totally do away with the whole swapping of spells/abilities/whatever. I really don’t want to have to learn a new trick and consider how to fit it in to my playing, or get used to having one from running with the same person9s) for a while then lose that when I play with a different group.

    Why not make it more like dark intent. Instead of haste (or it could be haste, that would still be a big improvement over the mess we have now) or two different things that are complementary to both. Say: Resto Druid gains 2% Int while tank (pic a spec) gains 2% Stam. Pick any combinations that work. Then you don’t have to try to balance who get what until you find your raid group at arms with each other over who gets to Symbo with the Druid. You also don’t have to learn 27 skills you may or may not ever get to use.

    Maybe I’m just a simple guy….

    • Dark Intent had it’s own set of problems which is why it is being completely changed in Mists. A flat stat boost is still going to cause balancing problems, though it does sound more simple than balancing 40 new spells.

  4. Great list! I’d personally pick Wind Shear from shamans. Two things have always felt lacking as a resto druid – a decent threat dump ability, and an interrupt. Perhaps the symbiosis version could be on a longer cooldown for us or something. It would be really useful in 5-mans and can help take the pressure off DPS in certain raid encounters.
    Melyanna recently posted..MoP: Things I’m Stoked About

    • I considered Wind Shear as well, that would come in handy. We will have access to a few interrupts from our talents (like Bash), but they are on a long cooldown.

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  7. See what you just posted is part of the problem. We get a new spell that ends up being a water downed version of another classes spell? That’s how it’s working now anyways. IBF is the 20% version and not the 50% blood tank version. Mirror images is more of a threat drop than a dps CD. The only way to make it meaningful is to give another class 1 of our abilities. Then you have dark intent how did that work out? I am guessing alot of boomkins right now don’t think it did since their damage seems to be scaled to have it to do competitive single target damage. The only way to fix symbiosis is to get rid of it. I liked the idea when i heard it at blizzconn but having a chance to see what it is I down right hate it. But it is giving us what we asked for utility. Why do you think our 90 talents are what they are. At this point high end raiding guilds will not be bringing resto druids into progression raids because we don’t have anything that reduces damage besides iron bark. Dis priests have pain suppression, power word barrier, and now void shift(class spell no longer a talent) that can save a tank or a raid. We have iron bark………… that’s it. But we have tranq you say and I love tranq but it is a reactive spell it only works after damage is done. Now if it reduced the damage or put a shield on the raid that would be different even divine hymn increases healing done to the raid. We were brought to firelands simply because of the amount of healing we did but to be competitive we needed to be 1st on the meters. DS hits and many resto druids were benched at least on the high end of raiding because we no longer sat at the healing done top by a good margin. I am not worried about myself being sat in a raid because I play resto druid. I play on the lower end of raiding where its more about fun than progression. But I would love to see trees in paragon, blood legion, kin raiders, vodka, method, and other high end raiding guilds heroic kill shots. I am sure a spell called symbiosis can be made that works right now it’s down right awful.

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  9. you can use symbiosis with a mage and get ice block and give healing touch. it would be very nice for pvp but will have to wait till s12 to see wich will be the kill target. mages with a healing is great and druids with ice block is great survavility