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.
- 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.
- 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%.
- 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…
- 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 Knight – Icebound 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).
Hunter – Feign 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.
Mage – Mage 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).
Monk – Expel 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.
Paladin – Hand 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.
Priest – Leap of Faith
I’d leave this one as-is. It’s a fun ability and does have situational uses.
Rogue – Cloak 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).
Shaman – Water 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.
Warrior – Rallying 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?