Sunday, 15 August 2010

Beta class updates (and good news for Trees!)

There's been an update on MMO Champ with info on the latest Beta build Class changes and with it, plenty of interesting changes for druids!

First up, some Feral and Resto changes:
  • Frenzied Regeneration now Increases maximum health by 30%, increases health to 30% (if below that value), and converts up to 10 rage per second into health for 20 sec. Each point of rage is converted into 3% of max health.
  • Bash no longer interrupts spellcasting for 3 sec.
  • Enrage now increases physical damage taken by 10% instead of reducing base armor.
  • Survival Instincts now Reduces all damage taken by 60% for 12 sec. Only useable while in Bear Form or Cat Form. Instant, 5 min cooldown
  • Heart of the Wild now increases your maximum mana by 5/10/15% instead of increasing your Intellect by 2/4/6%.

  • Master Shapeshifter bonus increased from 2% to 4% for all forms.
  • Furor now gives you a 33/66/100% (up from 20/40/60%) chance to gain 10 rage when you shapeshift into Bear form and you keep up to 33/66/100 (up from 20/40/60) of your Energy when you shapeshift into Cat Form. Now increases your total Intellect by 2/4/6%. (Old - Only increased in Moonkin form)
  • Naturalist is back as a Tier 2 Talent. Reduces the cast time of your Healing Touch and Nourish spells by 0.15/0.35/0.5 sec.
Some interesting changes here.

Frenzied Regeneration is now looking like the current Survival Instincts, plus a lot more. With the change, it will increase maximum health by 30% and increase current health to 30% (if below that value) as well as it's current effect of converting 10 rage per second into health. Survival Instincts now instead reduces all damage taken by 60%, basically giving bears a shield wall. Barkskin was a nice damage reduction cooldown to use, and admittedly nice with only a 1 minute cooldown, but definitely not equivalent to shield wall (and its equivalent DK and Pally abilities), so this is a nice new cooldown for bears.

Heart of the Wild is getting a change where it only increases your maximum mana instead of intellect. I imagine this will mostly be to give ferals a larger mana pool that's perhaps more proportional, as no ferals will be picking up gear with intellect on, so it likely wouldn't scale too well. I don't see this as likely being useful for Resto or Balance druids - I don't think we'll have the points to spare, to be honest, and the intellect boost would be more useful rather than simply mana increase - so this will likely only affect ferals.

The increased bonus to Master Shapeshifter is good; it seems to just be bringing the talent back into line with its current form but still only costing one talent point. Useful for all specs.

The change to Furor is interesting for Restoration druids. MMO doesn't seem to have the latest Talent Trees updated on their calculator, so I haven't been able to play with the new tree yet and see just where points will be able to go. Glancing at the previous tree they had up, I could see some spare points going into Furor as opposed to Perseverance (Reduces spell damage taken by x%) to get you to the next tier. I really need to wait to see the next tree setup though (particularly with the reintroduction of Naturalist as a tier 2 talent). Furor could have a lot more relevance for Restoration druids now with the increase to intellect in caster form though.

Blue posts!
Restoration druids got a lot of Blues feedback. Let's go over some of the highlights.
As far as the history goes here, we thought at the time (and still think!) that the Resto druid wasn't going to be well served as a "I only care about hots and nothing else" healer. It's just too extreme a design. Any time when hots are good (by which I mean both individual encounters and periods in the game as a whole) the druid is going to dominate. Any time when hots are terrible, so will be druids. We probably, in retrospect, didn't push Nourish enough, because we still ended up in a raid healing situation where druids used Rejuv and Wild Growth and were loathe to use any other button.

We are going to push even harder in Cataclysm. Druids will still have exceptional hots, but will need to cast direct heals as well. I usually get a lot of responses after such a post from druids saying "But I only want to cast hots!" I'm not sure how to respond to that, because we just don't think it works. 

As far as the AE healing goes, it's definitely something to keep an eye on, but we're not worried about it yet. We are trying to cut back (yet again) on the dominance of the smart AE heals. The cooldowns of CoH and WG need to stay high. We do have some room to lower the mana cost on WG, and probably will.

It's also worth mentioning that Efflorescence does some great AE healing, and is probably overpowered at the moment.
All good news there as I see it. While I use my HoTs a ton of course, I've never been one to only spam Rejuv and WG, so it's not a huge change for me. Druids have some fantastic spells that many never use! I'm always surprised too when I see some druids who spam Rejuvs and WG around don't even use their Swiftmend.

They're suggesting that the mana cost of Wild Growth may come down some, which would probably be good, particularly as it was quite a drastic jump, but I still see no problem with it being on a longer cooldown / at a bit higher mana cost. Again, all of these changes really seem to be aimed at encouraging druids to use their other spells and think more while healing, as opposed to only mindlessly spamming Rejuvs and Wild Growths around the raid. Not only is that less fun and requires less thought, personally I think it can hurt druid rep for other roles. Druids can be effective tank healers (and look like they'll have an improved tank-healing toolset in Cataclysm) and can be extremely excellent in all sorts of different fights - NOT ONLY in ones with AE damage (like Blood Queen). I'm always pushing that druids can be excellent in any situation and any fight, because we can be! We just need more druids to embrace it.
This seems really at odds with the increase in Rejuv's mana cost. We're not supposed to pre-HoT the raid, but you're adding in a talent designed to let us do exactly that? I'm very confused by this. 
We don't like prehotting (or pre-shielding) as a general strategy. On certain fights where you know that the damage is going to come fast and furious then maybe it's appropriate, but we don't want the current LK style to continue. I've healed a lot as both Resto and Disc, so I know the power of prehealing, though it's not as if you need first-hand experience to understand how useful and powerful it is.

On the other hand, if a lot of people take damage at once, we have no problem with getting a Rejuv out on several of them at once, and a lower GCD will help there. It's still possible to screw that up (by which I mean we want healing to have some player decision-making as part of the gameplay) by using too much mana on Rejuvs or casting too many Rejuvs when the situation called for something else.

I'm going to assume that the lowered GCD is to allow for situations where Players A, B, and C got him by a small AOE and were taken down to 70% health. Nourish is too slow to heal all three, Regrowth is too expensive for that little damage, and Wild Growth costs too much for just three targets. So instead you just toss a Rejuv on each of them and move on. This is much different than the current model where you would just keep as many players Rejuv'd as possible with WG on cooldown. 
I think these last posts sum it up pretty well! Particularly that last submitted one - now people are thinking about what they're doing rather than just spamming random HoTs out.

Really, for those who are healing with all their different spells and doing this sort of thing already, I don't think you'll see too much change in your actual healing style when you get to Cata (you will, of course, still feel the actual spell changes). The biggest jump I think will be for those who are only Rejuv/WGing at the moment, as the increased mana costs and cooldown durations will be felt very hard. Though, all the more reason now to start trying out the other spells in your arsenal and getting ready for Cata!

One last excerpt from our Blue posts;
I suspect we won't end up keeping the snare on Tree of Life. We knew that we could try snare and then remove it. We would have a hard time trying no snare and then adding one. Our intent was to make you think about when was the best time to push ToL rather that just hitting it the second it's off cooldown. In practice though we just think it feels crappy so even if it accomplishes our goal, it's probably not worth it.
Yay, no snare! I definitely was seeing their goal of making us think about when to use the ToL cooldown, but it was still not sounding like a great plan, so I'm happy if they are removing the snare completely. The main issue I foresaw with it is that often, a time that you'd need the empowered abilities the ToL cooldown provides, would likely be a time when you would need to move. Blizz had also suggested that they wanted more fights where movement was important, so snaring us at such crucial times really felt like a big potential impairment.

I'm still going to miss my old tree form, and no word still on whether we might get that cosmetic glyph (but glyphs are still a bit of a ways off in the beta as my understanding).

All in all, some good information and a positive outlook for Trees!

1 comment:

Moonra said...

ye RestoDruids are finally getting somewhere, I believe some talents are still in queue for some tune ups etc... but we're getting somewhere :) HotW might be worth a point or two we'll see, intellect will give less mana but in high end gear the 5-15% extra should be decent enough to think about spending a few points in it... who knows :)