Trees They Are a-Changin’

Just a couple days after I declared that I no longer like playing my Druid, the 5.4 patch notes have been released. And boy are there some game changers.

Talent Changes

Ysera’s Gift, a new talent healing the Druid for 5% of their maximum health every 5 seconds. If the Druid is at full health, it will heal the most injured friendly target nearby instead. 

Ysera’s Gift is a new Level 30 talent in our talent tree, replacing Nature’s Swifteness (which is now baseline for restos). This is a passive ability that will continuously tick, healing yourself, or another nearby target if you’re at full health. Completely passive healing is a bit boring in terms of gameplay, but could provide a nice buffer. Looks like this tier will now be a toss up between this talent and Cenarion Ward, though I think that passive smart healing will end up doing more overall.

Soul of the Forest has been partially redesigned to make it more attractive to Balance, Guardian, and Restoration Druids.
Restoration: Now causes the Druid to gain 100% haste on their next spell after casting Swiftmend.

In the level 60 Tier, SotF has been improved to increase haste for your next spell by 100%, up from 75%. Wild Growth will now gain even more extra ticks if cast after a Swiftmend, making this talent even more powerful.

Dream of Cenarius has been completely redesigned to reduce complexity and increase usability, but maintain the spirit of the effects. Benefits now varies by specialization. Restoration: Causes Wrath to deal 20% more damage and heals a nearby friendly target for 100% of the damage done.

DoC has been redesigned to actually be usable.  In essence, this will turn us into (much less powerful versions) of Atonement healers. This will be a viable option on some fights, especially those where the boss takes extra damage. It could also be good on fights where there are periods of downtime when healing requirements are light.

Heart of the Wild when activated, now also provides a 25% bonus to healing for Restoration Druids.

I do like that this ability will no longer be completely passive. However, unless you’re using it for burst damage, I still find HotW incredibly boring. The healing bonus is nice, but it’s still got a 6 minute cooldown.

Nature’s Vigil when activated, causes single target healing spells to trigger an additional heal on a nearby ally for 25% of the amount healed. This is in addition to the existing effect where it damages a nearby enemy target for 25% of the healing done.

Another improvement to healing output. The bonus healing should come from any single target heal (RJ, RG, SM, HT, Nourish). This adds even more smart healing to our toolkit. This isn’t as big an an increase to healing as HotW but it can be used four times as often.

Spell Changes

Genesis is a new Restoration spell learned at level 88. Genesis targets all party or raid members within 60 yards and accelerates the casting Druid’s Rejuvenation effects, causing them to heal and expire at 400% of the normal rate. Costs the same amount of mana to cast as Rejuvenation.

This new spell gives us a little more burst and is something a number of Druids have been asking for for a long time. I really love the sound of this spell. I still don’t think this will be quite as powerful as something like Uplift, since Rejuv is mana-prohibitive and doesn’t jump around on it’s own, but I do think it’s a good addition to our toolkit. Realistically you’re not going to have Rejuv on more than about 8 people at a time tops, and the first applications will only have 1-2 ticks left if you wait until it’s active on 8 targets before using Genesis. So I think this spell will be most useful for healing specific, smaller groups of people. Luckily it looks like this spell doesn’t have a cooldown, so there will be a lot of room to play with it and figure out how best to use it in each fight.

Wild Mushroom Restoration version of the ability now summons a single mushroom at the friendly target’s location. If the mushroom is recast, the mushroom moves to the new location and retains its accumulated bonus healing. A single mushroom now heals for as much as what 3 mushrooms combined healed for previously.
Wild Mushroom: Bloom is no longer capable of critical strikes, and accumulates overhealing done by Rejuvenation by 100%, down from 150%. Overhealing bonus no longer benefits from Naturalist or Mastery: Harmony.

This is huge. Only having to place one mushroom is great and being able to move the mushroom without losing the stored up healing is even better. The overall healing that mushrooms can do will be reduced (which is fine, they heal for too much now), but they’ll be so much more usable.

Innervate now causes the target to gain mana equal to 50% of the casting Druid’s Spirit every second for 10 seconds.

Whether this turn out to be a buff or nerf for you depends on how much Spirit you like to run with. With my ~8k spirit, this is a nerf. Which sucks. We’ll also likely benefit even less from Innervates from Guardians or Ferals.

Glyphs

Glyph of Efflorescence increases the healing done by Swiftmend by 20%, causes the Efflorescence healing effect to be triggered by Wild Mushroom instead of Swiftmend, and lasts as long as the Wild Mushroom is active.

This is going to be a must-have glyph. With this now you can Swiftmend the person standing out in the middle of nowhere who’s about to die without having to waste all that ground healing. Being able to place your Efflorescene where you want it (around your Mushrooom, which you can move around as you like) and have it active all the time is a huge buff.

Glyph of Innervate now causes Innervate to give both the Druid and the target 60% of the normal effect of the spell if it’s cast on a target other than the Druid.

Innervate trading will now be a thing again. But what if I have 8k Spirit and my co-Druid has 10k? Will she feel cheated? Will she not want my puny Innervate?

Tier 16 Set Bonuses

May as well look at the new tier set bonuses too:

  • 2P Bonus – Ironbark increases your critical chance by 20% for 12 sec.
  • 4P Bonus – Rejuvenation, Lifebloom, and Wild Growth critical heals have a chance to cause all cast time heals for the next 12 sec to cause a Living Seed on the target for 80% of the amount healed.

I really like the 2-set bonus. No, Crit’s not our best stat, but I like that this will (hopefully) give people a reason to use Ironbark all the time.

The 4-set bonus is just odd. I like the idea of Living Seed, but it doesn’t work like it should. It’s so fussy about what damaging effects will trigger it that a lot of the time it ends up wasted, so having LS be 80% of the amount healed rather than 30% and trigger from non crits might not make too much of a difference. With any HoT tick having a chance to trigger the effect it could technically be active all the time, but with the small amount of cast time heals we cast, this bonus seems underwhelming.


Overall, the 5.4 changes look to bring a huge improvement to the resto healing toolkit.  So many of these changes have been asked for by a lot of Druids, it’s nice to know the developers are listening.

4 Responses to Trees They Are a-Changin’

  1. The Saga of the Wild Mushrooms continues.

    Beginning of Cata:

    Blizzard: “Hey, here’s this new spell! Isn’t it awesome!”
    Druids: “No, actually, it sucks. It’s unwieldy and not worth the GCDs.”
    Blizzard: “Oh, FINE. Here, we made it easier to plant.”
    Druids: “Nope. Try again.”
    Blizzard: “Well, we’ll let you charge it up with your Rejuv overheals!”
    Druids: “Mmmkay…maybe? If I have the time and the free GCDs and my raid is perfectly clumped around the mushrooms…maaaaybe?”
    Blizzard: “FINE. YOU WILL USE THESE MUSHROOMS AND YOU WILL LIKE THEM, DAMMIT!”

    In other news, if Ysera’s Gift stays with its current incarnation and really is -just a souped-up version of the trolls’ Regeneration, well, that’s totally sick and overpowered and I totally want to finish leveling my druids now.
    Stormy recently posted..What’s the Haps?

    • I think Ysera’s gift only really works out to about 5k hps, but still, I like that we get NS baseline, plus something new. It does sound comforting to have your health constantly ticking back up without having to do anything.

  2. The glyph changes are interesting; nice for resto to actually have glyph choices now rahter than just taking Lifebloom, Regrowth, and Wild Growth. I’m not sure Innervate will see much use, since the other 4 are all going to be +throughput. Tough call on which of the other 4 not to take, though I do agree Efflorescence is going to be near must have. I think its going to be between Regrowth and Wild Growth as the one to drop.

    Plus what’s with yet another buf to Soul of the Forest? It already arguably the best talent of that tier, at leasr in 10 man raids. I’ll take the buf, but I don’t think it needs it.

    • I agree, I doubt I’ll use the Innervate Glyph still. Trading Innervates will be slightly better than using your own, but it’s also kind of a pain in the butt. I think RG will be on the one I drop, unless I’m doing a single tank fight where LB isn’t really needed.