Tag Archives: nature’s swiftness

Druid Talents – Mists of Pandaria Preview

I never wrote down my thoughts on the Druid talent tree preview when it was first announced at BlizzCon last year. It was clear then that it was very preliminary and needed a lot of work. Yesterday the talent trees were updated so I thought it was a good time to analyse the new talents and see how resto Druids are shaping for the next expansion.

The Talent Tree

Mists of Pandaria Druid talent tree

Tier 1 (level 15)

Level 15 Druid talents (MoP)

Feline Swiftness – Increases your movement speed by 15%.

This one is very self-explanatory. Faster movement speed is always a good thing.

Displacer Beast – Teleports the Druid up to 20 yards forward and activates Cat Form and Prowl. 3 minute cooldown.

The 20 yard ‘blink’ sounds like it could have its uses, but I’m not sold on it activating Cat form. It seems like in a PVE scenario that would be counterproductive. The Prowl part raises some questions – will it still be activated if you are in combat? Will Displacer Beast remove you from combat? What if you have DoTs or bleeds on you? This could be a pretty sweet PVP talent if it removes you from combat and Prowl isn’t broken by existing DoTs, or it could be fairly useless. A better description is needed.

Wild Charge – Grants a movement ability that varies by shapeshift form. 15 second cooldown.

Non shapeshifted – Fly to an ally’s position.
Bear form – Charge to an enemy, immobilizing them for 4 seconds.
Cat form – Leap behind an enemy, dazing them for 3 seconds.
Travel form – Leap forward 20 yards.
Aquatic form – Increases swim speed by 200% for 5 seconds.

There’s a lot to consider here. I’m a little puzzled about this talent, especially when comparing it to Displacer Beast. Displacer Beast teleports you 20 yards, activates cat form and has a 3 minute cooldown. If you’re looking to be able to get around quickly, that seems extremely inferior to Wild Charge, where you can fly to an ally’s position or can shift to travel form and leap forward 20 yards every 15 seconds. For PVP this talent is great in that it allows restos to have Feral Charge, something we haven’t been able to include in our specs since Burning Crusade (though it doesn’t seem like it will include an interrupt). That, plus the ability to jump around either in caster or travel form would give us some great mobility.

What would I take?

PVE
Feline Swiftness
is the safe, kinda boring option. It will come in handy on pretty much any fight that involves movement. Wild Charge is a bit of a wild card (haha), but the caster form and travel form leaps could be great on fights where you need to get to a certain place quickly (think getting away from Molten Seeds on Rag or stacking on a crystal on Morchok). I see myself bouncing between these two talents based on the fight.

PVP
I think Wild Charge is the winner here. It will give us more utility and make us harder to catch.

Tier 2 (Level 30)

Druid level 30 talents (MoP)

Nature’s Swiftness – When activated your next Cyclone, Entangling Roots, Healing Touch, Hibernate, Nourish, Rebirth or Regrowth becomes instant, free, and castable in all forms. The healing and duration of the spell is increased by 50%. 1 minute cooldown.

This is a huge improvement over the current Nature’s Swiftness. I love that they’ve added ‘free’ in addition to instant, and a 1-minute cooldown is much more reasonable than 3 minutes. I have to say that the idea of an instant, 9-second duration Cyclone in arena (assuring the target has burned their trinket already) fills me with girlish delight. Having NS-HT be castable in all forms could also be very useful. This talent does leave me with a couple of questions. Will using it with Regrowth double the amount of the heal and the duration of the HoT? Will Rebirth be improved at all? (don’t really see how it could be).

Renewal – Instantly heals the Druid for 30% of maximum health. Usable in all shapeshift forms. 2 minute cooldown.

This could definitely come in handy in both PVE and PVP, though it’s not the most exciting talent in the world. I personally see this as a better option for non-restos.

Cenarion Ward – Protects a friendly target, causing any damage taken to heal for 4,015 every 2 seconds for 6 seconds. Gaining the healing effect consumes the Cenarion Ward. Lasts 30 seconds. 30 second cooldown.

I think this could be a great option for tank healing druids. It adds another spell to our arsenal and you’d be sure that it would always be activated. I don’t put too much stock in the 4015 number, as long as this healed for a significant amount it could be a good talent.

What would I take?

PVE
I really like that Nature’s Swiftness is now only a 1-minute cooldown and that would probably make me more likely to use it. However, I also like Cenarion Ward. It’s hard to turn down a brand new healing spell. I would likely switch between the two depending on fight and assignment.

PVP
A 9-second cyclone? Being able to pop a Healing Touch on yourself while you’re dashing away in Cat form after some jerk priest has mana-burned the hell out of you? Nature’s Swiftness seems like the clear winner for PVP.

Tier 3 (Level 45)

Level 45 druid talents (MoP)

Faerie Swarm – Grants an improved version of Faerie Fire that also reduces the target’s movement speed by 50% for 15 seconds.

I see very little use for this talent for a PVE resto Druid. Maybe on something like Sons of Ragnaros, but from experience, there aren’t a whole lot of fights where healers need to be slowing a single target. In PVP it could be much more useful.

Mass Entaglement – Roots your target in place for 20 seconds and spreads to additional nearby enemies. Affects 5 total targets. Damage caused may interrupt the effect. Usable in all shapeshift forms. 2 minute cooldown.

Again, I don’t see much use for this in PVE. It could have some rare situational uses, but the fact that it can break on damage makes it less useful. In PVP, especially BGs it could be useful, but the cooldown is rather long.

Typhoon – Summons a violent Typhoon that strikes targets in front of the caster within 30 yards, knocking them back and dazing them for 6 seconds. Usable in all shapeshift forms. 20 second cooldown.

Stealing the Moonkin talent, this one is fairly straightforward.

What would I take?

PVE
Each talent would have its own situational uses, but from experience a mass knock back (which will also interrupt) and daze is more useful than a single-target slow or a mass root with a really long cooldown. I think Typhoon would be the talent to take in 90% of PVE situations.

PVP
Again, I think Typhoon is the best of this bunch. It gives us a knock back, an interrupt and a daze on a short cooldown.

Tier 4 (Level 60)

Level 60 druid talents (MoP)

Soul of the Forest – You gain 50% haste for your next spell when you cast Swiftmend.

An important thing to note about this spell is that it is 50% haste, not casting speed, so it should apply to HoTs, giving them extra ticks. One hasted spell every 15 seconds (assuming you use SM every time it’s off cooldown) doesn’t strike me as that good. Decent, yes, an output boost, sure, but for some reason I can’t get too excited about this talent.

Incarnation – Tree of Life form that increases healing done by 15%, increases armor by 120% and enhances Lifebloom, Wild Growth, Regrowth, Entangling Roots and Wrath spells. Lasts 30 seconds. 3 minute cooldown.

This is just our current Tree of Life talent with a new name. At a 30 second duration, we’re losing 1 second from what it is  currently (when talented).

Force of Nature – Summons three Treants to assist in the Druid’s current combat role. 3 minute cooldown.

It doesn’t specify what the treants will do for each spec, but it’s a pretty safe bet that resto treants will heal things. Of course, pets like treants have a tendency to be… um… hmm… how do I put this delicately? They have a tendency to be fucking stupid, so I’m not sold on the usefulness of this talent.

What would I take?

PVE
I really can’t see giving up a great healing output cooldown, so I’d go with Incarnation.

PVP
Again, ToL’s increased armor, healing and instant Regrowths would be sorely missed, so I’d go with Incarnation here too.

Tier 5 (Level 75)

Level 75 Druid talents (MoP)

Disorienting Roar – Invokes the spirit of Ursol to roar, disorienting all enemies within 10 yards for 4 seconds. Usable in all shapeshift forms. 30 second cooldown.

I can’t see too many uses for this in PVE, though it could be useful for fights with adds when you find all your HoT aggro is making the adds make a beeline for you. It could be great for PVP.

Ursol’s Vortex – Conjures a vortex of wind at the destination location that pulls all enemies within 15 yards toward it. Usable in all shapeshift forms. Lasts 15 seconds. 30 second cooldown.

I’m not convinced about the usability of this spell. First, ‘destination location’ means targeting circle. I hate those. Second, 15 yards isn’t that far. If you’re using the spell to get things away from you (or a flag), you’ll need to be a really good judge of distance to make this effective. The best use I can see for this spell is to aid your tanks and DPS by bringing a pack of mobs/players together to be AoE’d.

Mighty Bash – Invokes the spirit of Ursoc to stun the target for 5 seconds. Usable in all shapeshift forms. 50 second cooldown.

Situational, but on some fights it will be really nice to be able to stun things without switching to bear form. For PVP this will give a much-needed extra crowd control/interrupt ability.

What would I take?

PVE
Ehh… I don’t think any of these talents will be useful all the time. They’re all situational at best and really only useful on fights with adds. I think I’d be switching the talent I chose in this tier (or ignoring it altogether) based on the fight.

PVP
I think the best option for PVP depends on what you’re doing. 2s arenas? Mighty Bash. BGs or arenas with 3 or more people? Probably Disorienting Roar. If I was doing a flag/node capture battleground and feeling really pro, I’d try out Ursol’s Vortex.

Tier 6 (Level 90)

Level 90 Druid talents (MoP)

Heart of the Wild – Grants 50% of Intellect as Agility and 100% of Spirit as hit rating and expertise rating and increases armor by 95% while in Bear Form. In addition, damage spells cost no mana. Lasts 45 seconds. 6 minute cooldown.

I really think they’ve missed the mark here. As many, many other druids have emphatically stated, we don’t want to serve combat roles outside our specialization. We’re healers. We heal things. I’m trying to think of situational uses for this skill. What if the tank has died and the boss needs to be picked up at 5% health? Well, I don’t think 95% more armor in Bear form would let us do that (tree form gives us 120% more armor), and I think so many other classes would be better suited for that. Maybe when there’s a phase of a fight where no damage is going out and all there is to do is dps? Then I guess it could be useful, but really, how often does that happen? Also, I’d probably take advantage of the free damage spells before I switched to kitty and started scratching things.

Dream of Cenarius – Wrath, Starfire, Starsurge and melee abilities increase healing done by your next healing spell by 30%. Non-instant casts of Nourish, Healing Touch and Regrowth increase the damage done by your next damaging spell or ability by 30%. Lasts 30 seconds, 30 second ICD.

First, I’m going to assume that when it says ‘melee abilities’ it means actual abilities (Swipe, Rake, Maul) and not just running up and hitting something with your staff. Again, I think this is situational. If you need a bigger heal, you could cast a quick Wrath first…but you could also just cast 2 healing spells instead of 1 in that time. I do think this will be more useful for PVP, but in PVE I can’t see myself casting a damage spell in order to do more healing. And really, how much is a 30% bigger heal/damage spell every 30 seconds worth? Especially when you need to spend 1.5-2.5 seconds casting the opposite first? I’m not impressed.

Disentanglement – Shapeshifting now removes roots. In addition, shifting into a form heals the Druid for 20% of maximum health. Cannot heal more than once every 30 seconds.

The usefulness of this in PVE is questionable. Removing roots isn’t something you usually have to worry about and shapeshifting isn’t something we do too often. If we need a heal, we can heal ourselves, we don’t need to shift to get the benefit from this. For PVP this is really good. I wouldn’t want to lose the ability to break roots by shifting and the addition of the heal is a nice bonus.

What would I take?

PVE
Honestly? Bleh. I’m not a fan of any of our top tier talents. I can’t really say which one I’d be most likely to want to use in their current form. They still need work.

PVP
Disentaglement, hands down.

In conclusion

I think progress has been made on the Druid talents. I’m quite excited to play around with talents like Wild Charge, Cenarion Ward and Ursol’s Vortex. I like that some tiers give us a real choice and allow us to tailor our spec to what a particular fight needs. I also really like the idea of extra utility from talents like Typhoon and Mighty Bash. However, I still feel like this talent tree is being spread too thin trying to cater to 4 completely different specializations. I would like more choices that are new and exciting for restos. Tier 5 and 6 have very limited use in raids and still need a lot of work. In their current state, nothing jumps out at me as something I really want for PVE. Our last talent point should be something exciting.

Resto Druid Changes and Specs for 4.1

Patch 4.1 brings a few changes for resto druids:

  • Efflorescence has been redesigned. It creates a healing zone at the feet of a Swiftmend target, but this healing zone now restores health equal to 4/8/12% of the amount healed by Swiftmend to the three most injured targets within 8 yards, every 1 second for 7 seconds. This periodic effect now also benefits from spell haste, but the individual ticks cannot be critical effects.
  • Efflorescence has a new spell effect.

This redesign changes the Efflorescence from healing a small amount for everyone in it, to a smart heal that will heal the most injured for more. If there’s anyone out there who still believes the change is a nerf, here’s some napkin math. Assuming that Swiftmend heals for 15,000:

Old Efflorescence:
Six people stand in the Efflorescence and receive 30% of the Swiftmend’s healing over 7 seconds. That’s 4500 healing for each person giving a total of 27000 healing done. Not a bad amount, but the ticks will only be healing for 642 per tick. If more than 6 people are standing in the Effloresence, the healing per tick will be even less.

New Efflorescence:
Any number of people stand in the Efflorescence. The three people with the lowest health will receive 12% of the Swiftmend’s healing every second for 7 seconds. Each tick will heal for 1800. That’s 12600 healing for each person giving a total of 37800 healing done. And that’s not all – since Efflorescence is now effected by haste, it will likely be ticking 8 or 9 times rather than 7. Each extra tick adds 5400 healing to the total amount of healing done.

This is a very nice buff.

  • Living Seed is no longer a prerequisite talent for Efflorescence.

Resto druids have been asking for this change for a while, and Blizzard has listened. At first I was very excited about this change, but after weighing the options it opens up – I don’t think it’s going to make an ounce of difference in my spec or healing. I’ll talk more about this when I give spec options below.

I’ve already voiced my concerns about this change. It’s disappointing that we aren’t getting a new, damage-reducing cooldown but forgetting that for a second, this is a nice change. Being able to use Tranquility 2 or even 3 times a fight will increase our healing output considerably and give us more options during times of heavy raid damage.

While this is a buff, it’s not very impressive. It’s not enough of a boost to convince me to pick up NS in my spec, but it is a nice little bonus for those who already spec into NS and use it regularly.

  • Druids now innately have 100% pushback protection from damage while channeling Tranquility.

A small buff, but a useful one. Now we no longer have to save Barkskin for our Tranquility channel and can use it during more damage-heavy times instead.

  • Lifebloom‘s bloom effect has been reduced by 20%.

With all the buffs we’re getting, we had to take a hit somewhere. This isn’t a terrible change. The biggest impact from this will be casting LBs on multiple people during ToL.

Specs

I have two basic spec suggestions – one for output and one for mana conservation and longevity.

Output spec:

4.1 Resto Druid output spec

Link

This spec has zero points in Moonglow or Furor, so you really need to have the appropriate gear, raid buffs and consumables to use this spec. This spec will put out the most HPS but will be hard to sustain. Why have I put 3 points into Living Seed even though it’s been unlinked from Efflorescence? Why not put those points in Blessing of the Grove instead? Based on my Regrowth usage (I use it for almost all OoC procs) and crit chance, LS will provide ~50% more HPS per point than Blessing of the Grove. BotG is a really underwhelming talent.

Mana spec:

4.1 Resto Druid mana specLink

This is a much safer spec. You get all three points in Moonglow and 2 in Furor – you’ll be able to sustain casting for much longer. In addition, there are two points in Perseverance, which will help keep you alive. If you like the look of the improved Nature’s Swiftness you can take a point away from Perseverance or Nature’s Bounty to get it.

If you want something in-between, play around with the optional talent points. For example, you could take the two points out of Furor and put them in Genesis.

As always, these changes are reflected in my Restoration Druid Guide.

Resto Druid Guide: Spec and Talents

Once you hit level 85 and are looking to start heroics or raiding you’ll probably want to make a few tweaks to your spec. The general spec for PVE healing is 8/2/31.

Here is the basic spec that includes everything I consider to be mandatory talents.

Basic resto druid spec

With this spec you get a reduction in spell cost from Moonglow in the balance tree and 10% extra mana from Furor in the Feral tree, which are very important right now. The mandatory resto talents are:
Natural Shapeshifter
Naturalist
Heart of the Wild
Master Shapeshifter
Improved Rejuvenation
Living Seed
Revitalize
Empowered Touch
Malfurion’s Gift
Wild Growth
Nature’s Cure
Gift of the Earthmother
Tree of Life

This  leaves you with 5 extra points to spend in the Resto tree.

My spec of choice places the extra points in Efflorescence (3 points) and Nature’s Bounty (2 points). My spec looks like this:

My restoration druid specLink

Here’s a closer look at all the possible talent choices for druid healers and how important they are:

Restoration

Tier 1

NoBlessing of the Grove (2 points) – Two points increases the healing of your Rejuvenation by 4%. With the reduced reliance on Rejuvenation this is a fairly weak talent. There are better places to spend your points.

YesNatural Shapeshifter (2 points) – Reduces the cost of shapeshifting by 20% and increases the duration of Tree of Life by 10 seconds. This is a prerequisite for Master Shapeshifter in tier 2.

YesNaturalist (2 points) – Reduces the cast time of Nourish and Healing Touch by 0.5 seconds. Nourish is your most mana efficient spell and you will be using it often. These points are a must.

YesHeart of the Wild (3 points) – Increases your Intellect by 6%. Intellect gives you a bigger mana pool, more spell power and increases mana regeneration effects. Another must have.

Tier 2

NoPerseverance (3 points) – Decreases your magic damage taken by 6%. Damage reduction is always nice, but unfortunately there are too many other important talents to take, making it hard to squeeze any points in here.

YesMaster Shapeshifter (1 point) – Increases your healing by 4%. This applies to all healing spells. Take this.

YesImproved Rejuvenation (3 points) – Increases the healing of your Rejuvenation and Swiftmend by 15%. This is a much stronger talent than the 4% rejuv bonus from Blessing of the Grove. This will also increase the healing of Efflorescence (if you take it).

Tier 3

YesLiving Seed (3 points) – When you critically heal with Swiftmend, Healing Touch, Nourish or Regrowth you plant a Living Seed on the target that will heal for 30% of the amount healed the next time they are hit. With our increased dependence on direct heals, Living Seed now provides a much more healing than it did in Wrath. This is a prerequisite for Efflorescence.

YesRevitalize (2 points) – Rejuvenation and Lifebloom ticks have a 20% chance to regenerate 2% of your mana. Also Replenishment to your group when you cast or refresh Lifebloom. This is a necessity in order to regenerate mana, both for ourselves and our groups. Lifebloom should be stacked on the tank (generally) at all times, so this will proc all the time.

OptionalNature’s Swiftness (1 point) – Makes your next nature spell an instant cast. While this is a handy talent to combine with Healing Touch for a big emergency heal, talent points are rather tight. If this is something you use often, take it. If it’s something you find stays unused in a lot of dungeons and raids, skip it.

NoFury of Stormrage (2 points) – Makes your wrath spell free and gives you a chance to proc instant Starfires. Sounds like fun, but there is no room for this in a PVE healing spec.

Tier 4

OptionalNature’s Bounty (3 points) – Increases the critical strike chance of Regrowth and gives you a chance to reduce the cooldown on Swiftmend by 0.5 seconds when you critically heal with Nourish or Healing Touch. How useful this talent is really depends on your healing style. With the immense cost of Regrowth, it probably won’t see too much use. I’d suggest taking other important talents first and dropping any extra points needed to reach the last tier into this.

YesEmpowered Touch (2 points) – Increases the healing done by Healing Touch and Nourish by 10% and these spells now refresh Lifebloom. You will definitely want these spells to refresh your Lifebloom stacks in order to maintain a steady amount of healing on tanks. This is a must have.

YesMalfurion’s Gift (2 points) – Whenever you heal with Lifebloom you have a 4% chance to proc Omen of Clarity. Mana is in short supply so this is an excellent talent. Maintaining stacks of Lifebloom at all times means this procs often.

Tier 5

OptionalEfflorescence (3 points) – When you heal with Swiftmend, you sprout a bed of healing fauna beneath the target, healing everyone within 4 yards for 30% of the amount healed over 7 seconds. This is another talent that depends on how you play. In raids where people are grouped up a lot, it can provide a lot of healing. However, if you stick mostly to 5-man dungeons or don’t place the Efflorescence properly, it becomes much less useful.

YesWild Growth (1 point) – Heals 5 people within 15 yards of the target over 7 seconds. This is our most useful AoE heal. Must have.

YesNature’s Cure (1 point) – Allows your Remove Corruption spell to also remove 1 magic effect. To me, this is a must have. There are an endless number of nasty magic debuffs. Being able to get rid of them is a good thing.

NoNature’s Ward (2 points) – When you take an attack at or below 50% health you will automatically cast a free Rejuvenation on yourself. This is a PVP talent. There’s no room for this in a PVE spec.

Tier 6

YesGift of the Earthmother (3 points) – Increases the healing done when your Lifebloom expires by 15% and causes your Rejuvenation to instantly heal for 15% of the total effect. With this, the ‘bloom’ from your Lifebloom is very large and can restore a big chunk of health. The Rejuvenation bonus is very nice too.

OptionalSwift Rejuvenation (1 point) – Reduces the global cooldown of your Rejuvenation by 0.5 seconds. Since Rejuvenation is no longer blanketed on everyone, I find this spell is of limited use.

Tier 7

YesTree of Life (1 point) – Shapeshift into the tree of life, increasing healing done by 15% and increasing your armor by 120%. In addition, some of your spells are temporarily enhanced while shapeshifted. This is our one major cooldown spell that increases our healing output, reduces our physical damage taken (through armor) and allows us to multi-stack Lifebloom, Wild Growth more people and gives us an extra instant (though highly expensive) spell. It’s a bargain for 1 point. Plus, who doesn’t like Grampa tree? 😛

Balance

Tier 1

YesNature’s Grace (3 points) – Increases your haste by 15% for 15 seconds after casting Regrowth, Moonfire or Insect Swarm. Has a 1 minute cooldown. If you’re smart about how you use this,  it can be very useful. 15% haste will give you extra ticks on almost all of your HoTs. This can increase your output considerably during the proc.

YesNature’s Majesty (2 points) – Increases your critical strike chance for all spells by 4%. Fairly straightforward.

Tier 2

YesMoonglow (3 points) – Reduces the cost of your healing and damage spells by 9%. This talent is the reason we spend any points in Balance tree. The current mana situation makes this a very valuable talent.

NoGenesis (3 points) – Increases the healing done by your HoTs and Swiftmend. When we get to a point where mana is no longer such a big concern this will be a fantastic talent, but until then we need to take Moonglow instead.

Feral

Tier 1

YesFuror (3 points) – Increases your maximum mana. Unfortunately, putting 31 points in resto and 8 points in balance only leaves 2 points to put here, increasing your mana by 10%.

My full resto druid guide can be found here.