While I sit here, waiting for my lunch, tell me… What ability do you have that you’re afraid we’ll cut due to button bloat, but love?
— Celestalon (@Celestalon) January 26, 2014
So I’m going to talk about it too. First, to answer the question – there’s no ability I love that I fear will be cut. I am fearless in that regard. Would I want something like Rejuvenation to go away? Obviously not, but I’m also quite positive it’s not on the chopping block.
Second, I think removing some abilities is an excellent idea. How many abilities is too many? More than I can comfortably bind. On my Druid I use VuhDo bindings and bind all my common heals to a combination of SHIFT, CTRL, ALT (or no modifier) plus one of 4 buttons on my mouse. That gives me 16 possible bindings. Actually, 15, since unmodified left click is used to target.
Currently, my breakdown of resto Druid spells in PVE looks like this:
- Spells I want the fastest access to that need to be bound: Healing Touch, Lifebloom, Nature’s Cure, Nature’s Swiftness, Regrowth, Rejuvenation, Swiftmend, Wild Growth, Wild Mushroom, WM: Bloom, Innervate, Ironbark, Barkskin (13 spells)
- Spells which I feel should be bound, but in reality almost never get used: Nourish, Genesis (2 spells)
- Spells which are used regularly but have a long enough cooldown that I don’t mind not having them bound: Rebirth, Tranquility, Incarnation, Nature’s Vigil/HotW, whatever I get from Symbiosis (5 spells)
- Utility spells that I use frequently: Dash, Displacer Beast, Stampeding Roar (3 spells)
- Situational utility spells: Typhoon, Soothe, Ursol’s Vortex, Cat form, Bear form, Might of Ursoc, Growl (7 spells, give or take)
- DPS spells that I like to use when I’m bored or the boss is at 1% and is berserking: Moonfire, Wrath (2 spells)
Adding those up, I have a total of 32 abilities which I will want access to at some point or another in raids. If I take away the highly situational spells that I don’t use on most encounters, I’m still left with 23.
I think 23 abilities is too many to use on a regular basis. So what can we cut? Looking at my breakdown of spells, two things stick out. Nourish and Genesis.
Nourish is a spell I haven’t had bound since about a week into Mists. With all the other healing spells available to us, it just doesn’t pack enough of a punch. It’s cheap mana-wise, but it’s also slow and barely puts a dent in health bars. It seems like an obvious choice for removal.
Genesis is a spell I was excited about when it was first announced, thinking that it would give Druid healing some much-needed extra burst. However, it didn’t really work out that way. Rejuvenation just has too short a duration to make Genesis really work. At most you’re going to have 5 up that you can speed up, and the first couple applied will barely benefit from the Genesis cast. Plus, using Genesis mean you lose all your applied Rejuvs very quickly when most of the time it’s more beneficial to leave them up, ticking slowly. The only real use people have gotten out of Genesis is quickly charging Wild Mushrooms, but I don’t think giving us a faster way to overheal was what the devs had in mind when they made this spell. Cut it.
These two were obvious ones, but now it gets a little murkier. Healing Touch or Regrowth could also be candidates for removal, depending on how/if the healing model changes in Warlords. If we continue down the road of AoE/smartheal/cooldown all the things, we really don’t need 2 cast-time direct heals in our kit. I think that Healing Touch could be removed without too much impact. For most of this expansion I only used it in combination with Nature’s Swiftness (or if there was not enough to heal and I could just chain cast it on a tank to refresh LB/Harmony/give me something to do). The 4T16 bonus means people are using it more now, but unless this effect gets baked in as a passive ability, this will change in Tier 17. I find that Regrowth and Healing Touch are in the same niche, but Regrowth fills it better. If the healing model gets changed so that single target heals are something we actually want to be casting, I think there is room for both of these spells. However, I think they would need to be changed a little to differentiate them. I’d like to see the HoT portion of Regrowth be more substantial, as it once was. Alternatively, Healing Touch could be cheaper and bigger to compensate for the slow cast time.
The last spell that I think could be removed is Innervate. Of course it’s nice to have a mana return, but I think it would be just as easy to balance healers around not having an ability like this instead. Druids’ mana return is a little more interesting than something like Divine Plea or Mana Tea in that we can choose to cast it on someone else but, really, how often does that happen? Generally Innervate just amounts to another 3-minute cooldown to watch and use as soon as it’s available. It’s not really adding anything.
I’m trying to find more candidates for removal, but everything else has a real purpose, even if it doesn’t get used on every fight. I really like having so many utility spells and I can’t think of one I’d want to remove to reduce button bloat.
What do you think? Are there any abilities you wouldn’t miss if they were removed?
Speaking of Resto Druids (since I don’t speak about them all that much any more), if you’re an avid tree lover, you should check out Team Waffle’s most recent Resto Roundtable and Final Boss’s podcast on Restos for some great discussion. I’m kind of sad that not maining a Druid means I don’t get invited to these things anymore But they’re both great things to listen to.