The druid class preview has been posted! Here are my thoughts on what’s in store for resto.
No new resto abilities for us.
Changes to Abilities and Mechanics
- All heal-over-time spells (HoTs) will benefit from crit and haste innately in Cataclysm. Hasted HoTs do not reduce their duration, but instead add additional HoT ticks.
Expected this one after seeing the other class previews. This is fantastic news. Crit will be worthwhile without a set bonus to make it so.
- Unlike the other healers, Restoration druids will not be receiving any new spells. They have plenty to work with already, and our challenge instead is to make sure all of them have a well-defined niche. A druid should be able to tank-heal with stacks of Lifebloom, spot-heal a group with Nourish and Regrowth, and top off lightly wounded targets with Rejuvenation.
I’m sure some people are disappointed in this, but I am not. I like druid healing as it is now. Vanilla had too much spamming of rank 4 HT, BC has too much spamming of Lifebloom. In Wrath, I think Blizzard got it right. As it is now, I find druids versatile and powerful healers. I use all my healing spells to some extent in raids (well, except Tranquility), and healing is fun. No changes to our healing arsenal are required and I’m happy that Blizzard recognized this.
- Druids will lose Abolish Poison with the dispel mechanics change, but Restoration druids will gain Dispel Magic (on friendly targets) as a talent. All druids can still remove poisons with Cure Poison and remove curses with Remove Curse.
I like the Abolish Poison spell, but I can live without it. What I’d really like to see is all our dispels in one ability. I have enough clique bindings as it is.
New Talents and Talent Changes
- Tree of Life is changing from a passive talent to a cooldown-based talent, similar to Metamorphosis. Mechanically, it feels unfair for a druid to have to give up so much offense and utility in order to be just as good at healing as the other classes who are not asked to make that trade. We are exploring the exact benefit the druid gets from Tree of Life. It could strictly be better healing, or it could be that each heal behaves slightly different. You also will not be able to be banished in Tree of Life form (this will probably be true of Metamorphosis as well). Additionally, we would like to update the Tree of Life model so that it feels more exciting when you do decide to go into that form. Our feeling is that druids rarely actually get to show off their armor, so it would be nice to have at least one spec that looked like a night elf or tauren (and soon troll or worgen) for most of the time.
And there was much rejoicing.
This makes an otherwise unremarkable class preview absolutely awesome. Oh, how I’ve hated tree form for years. It’s ugly. It’s useless. It hides my gear and character model.
I am slightly worried though. Alot of people are kicking up all sorts of fuss on the druid forums about this. For some inexplicable reason, they want to keep tree form. Boo, I say! If complaining on the official forums ruins this in any way I will be very upset. People have a number of faulty arguments for why we should keep tree form, but what it basically comes down to is:
The ability to shift into tree form is iconic and is the essence of being a healing druid.
No, it’s not. When I created my druid, there was no tree form. When I specced resto and started raid healing, still no tree form. Had I known that rolling a druid as my first character would result in me having to stare at an ugly, pointless tree model for the rest of my WoW life, I probably would have chosen another class. I would have missed out, because I love druid healing, but my hatred for tree form runs deep.
Shapeshifting is a core aspect of being a druid, with this I agree. You know what, even without tree form, we’re still shape-shifters. Cat, bear, travel form, flight form, aquatic form – we still have all these things. I’m really not a lore nerd, but this is from Wowwiki on druid lore:
A druid’s empathy with the creatures of the wild also allows him to shapeshift into the forms of other animals. For example, a wounded druid whose magical energies are running low might abruptly take on the form of a bear in order to better withstand further injury. Alternatively, the druid might shift into the form of some large cat, sneak up behind an enemy, then pounce and deliver a fierce flurry of melee attacks. Even the deepest oceans can be explored by a druid, who can simply shift into an aquatic creature, allowing him to stay underwater as long as needed.
That’s right, a druid is supposed to be able to shapeshift into the forms of animals. Each of these animals has a special purpose based on the strengths on that animal. Nowhere does it say that druids should shift into trees. Hug trees, maybe. But really, let’s compare a cat to a tree. A cat is agile, has sharp claws, can sneak around, all qualities that would be helpful for a druid to take on. A tree? It’s a fucking plant, it doesn’t do anything! It doesn’t fight, it doesn’t heal, it doesn’t think and it doesn’t move! Unless a situation comes along where being unable to take any action provides a benefit, or maybe our guild is hungry and would like some delicious fruit to eat, there is no reason for a druid to be a tree. Good riddance.
- Restoration druids will have a new talent called Efflorescence, which causes a bed of healing flora to sprout beneath targets that are critically healed by Regrowth.
This sounds both useful and pretty. Thumbs up.
Mastery Passive Talent Tree Bonuses
HoT Scale Healing
HoT Scale Healing: HoTs will do increased healing on more wounded targets. The mechanic is similar to that of the Restoration shaman, but with HoTs instead of direct heals. In Cataclysm, we anticipate druids using a greater variety of their spells so there is a distinction between healing and HoT healing.
Meh. This reminds me of the Glyph of Rejuvenation. When I’ve used that glyph, it really does next to nothing as far as overall healing is concerned. However, it could be useful depending on how well it’s implemented. Time will tell.
Overall, I am quite happy with the druid class preview.
Down with tree form!