Apr 282012

In case you’re not aware, I’ve been squabbling with the majority of the druid blogosphere over the usefulness of Heart of the Wild. While that topic certainly deserves careful consideration, I was struck by one of the arguments I read: that Druids were the only class with a single role-affecting talent choice.

I said, “Well, I can check that.” I flipped through every tier of every class’s talents and attempted to assign each tier to a category. The choices were:

  • On-Role, for a tier that directly boosted a class’s performance of a raid role. (Such as DPS, healing, or tanking.)
  • Off-Role, for a tier that indirectly boosts a raid role or does two raid roles simultaneously.
  • Movement, for a tier that primarily boosts movement abilities.
  • CC, for a tier that primarily adds crowd control abilities.
  • Survival, for a tier that primarily adds abilities designed to keep the class (or group) alive.
Obviously, several of these choices are arguable, especially for the hybrids, and some tiers didn’t cleanly fit into a category. (Shaman Tier 3, Warlock Tier 4, etc.)  That said, here’s the total numbers for what I think (tables inc):
DK Druid Hunter Mage Monk Paladin
On-Role 2 1 3 3 1 2
Off-Role  0 1 0 0 2 1
Movement 1 1  1  1 1 1
CC 1 2 1 1 1 1
Survival 2 1 1 1 1 1
Priest Rogue Shaman Warlock Warrior
On-Role 2 1 2 2 2
Off-Role 1  0 1  0  0
Movement 1 1  0 1 1
CC 1 1 1 1 1
Survival 1 3 2 2 2

So, while the argument wasn’t quite correct, the spirit of it was true; Rogues and Druids aren’t getting a lot of choices that affect their role. We’re the only class that gets 2 CC tiers, while they get an extra…something (depends on how you categorize their Tier 1). I’m convinced on this: I’ll join the chorus that says we should trim down our CC”s, to make room for another tier of role-affecting talents.

My recommendation, as of right now? Cut Mass Entanglement entirely (too similar to Frost Nova or Ursol’s, + we get FN from Symbiosis), make Faerie Swarm a glyph, and return Mighty Bash to being a baseline ability. Boom. Whole new tier to play with.

Finally, I know the level 90 tier still has its problems, and I’ve seen several good proposed fixes. I’m not ready to concede on HotW yet, however. I still think it makes a good talent, or at least a good talent “choice” (though laying out my reasoning would take another column) and I’d like to save it for now. Let’s aim our criticism at the right place. Thoughts?

 Posted by at 10:35 pm

  18 Responses to “Do Druids need an additional role-boosting talent tier?”

  1. Honestly? I just don’t like the idea of this talent, and what it’s going to do to our class in raids.

    I mean, in pvp I won’t be able to take disentanglement, so it doesn’t matter how good this talent is, it won’t be used there.

    In raids, if the talent does what it’s suppose to (lets us assume another role for 45 seconds) it means every single raiding druid in a high end guild will have to play as another spec in order to be effective. I know what some druids will argue “well you don’t have to take it if you just want to be a dps” – but any high end raider will tell you that you use every advantage available to you.

    If this talent lives up to its intent, I can see dozens of situations where you abuse druids in dps roles to heal and healing roles to dps during different types of fights. For instance, extra healing during a high dps phase, maybe you have your druids rotate to have one of them each cover a different high dps phase so you effectively can run with one less healer.

    It’s the nature of the ability and the fact that it can be exploited to huge gains in maximizing dps/healing/tanking for specific parts of fights. I don’t think the ability will be useless, I think the exact opposite, it’s game changing and I don’t think blizzard understands what they’re doing to this tier and druid play.

    • I meant, in pvp I will have to take disentanglement – board doesn’t like it when I use brackets for emphasis.

    • What you are getting at is what most of us have been saying. The talent isn’t useful for most fights. On the fights with some dps, healing or add checks druids can be stacked to get around the mechanic. The sad thing though is that its only worth abusing at the start of progression. After nerfs and gear it well become unneeded. It will be abused and the talent will be nerfed out of usefullness. The problem we have is that once the talent makes it live, its almost impossible to get it fixed. It will be nerfed, band-aided and put off until next expantion.
      It would also not be so bad if the other 2 options were compelling at all. One option is clunky and may only be useful to healers, or Guardians if the take another talent. The second is a heal every 30 seconds. This is also only useful during progression.

  2. The problem with monks is that the two tiers that do both damage and healing are on-role for Mistweaver monks. So, labeling those abilities as off-role is misleading for monks. It’s not the same thing at all as druids having HOTW that makes them stop doing their job to do something else. The combo damage/healing abilities are almost more survivability than hybrid (if that’s where all the pure healing talents are going).

  3. My main thought with HotW is, provided Blizzard is determined to keep it in the game, to have the ability as baseline.
    While I’m not sure if I’ll enjoy using it too often, having the ability to help out in other roles once per fight is going to be useful every now and then. But having, as a talent, a button that I may press once per fight is… lacklustre. It means that the entirety of that tier has to be something highly situational and not a direct ‘power’ increase (healing, dps, surviving) otherwise HotW is going to feel like a chore to select if your guild needs a bit of extra help during certain phases. And in PvP, while it is by no means a strong area of mine, using it basically means “I’m going to be easy to lockout or shall do slightly above normal damage for a while – feel free to laugh then ignore me”.

    Putting HotW as an ability that everyone gets doesn’t fully solve all of its problems but means that they automatically become less of a problem. All druids having it means that it won’t cause unintended combinations with specific other talents, it won’t mean that a druid forced to take it for an encounter is less powerful. It then means we can get a better selection of abilities for level 90 talents, resulting in a lot more happy druids.

  4. I’ve gone over and over my thoughts on HotW – indeed on all of our T6 and the need for a ‘hybrid’ tier. I don’t think it’s a bad idea, but in it’s current form it’s terrible, and placed awfully in the tree (our final talent tier should offer interesting choices that are compelling to our main role). I do agree that removing one of the CC tiers, putting a hybrid tier at T5 and changing up our T6 is required however.
    HotW itself isn’t well-designed; the talent is either too good (which means raids stack Druids) or entirely unnecessary, with no middle-ground – I’m not going to stop DPS and throw out heals if I don’t have to, because it’s not a role that I want or have specced to perform.

    This argument is getting me down because we’ve heard absolutely nothing from Blizzard on this either, despite the majority of Druid bloggers and high-end players absolutely hating the idea.

  5. Personally I would prefer Tier 6 to go baseline and something else given. HotW and DoC I think are the most important abilities the druid could get as a class. They make it a class, rather than four separate classes, not to mention they have the potential to be both fun, exciting and a new challenge..simply playing outside your role in another role for 45 secs – in a competittive environemnt – means learning another role iwhich can be quite exciting. and encourages you to explore more of your class outside your fixed role, which is also good. Not to mention it embodies the spirit of the class. whether it would be good enough to perform that function remains to be seen.

    i’m of the perosnal opinon that hotW while active needs the key abiltiies from each role.. but i can understand the reluctance of the devs to give it that so as to avoid it being too complicated. I think the best solution is that it’s power should be balanced agaisnt the vaialble baseline spells so someone who doesn’t explore the added key abiltiies can still perofrm the role switch while HotW is active..but it should also activate the key abiltiies for those who desire the extra mastery and challenge. These are off course from Feral: Rip, Savage Roar, shred and ravage: Balance: Moonkin form, Eclipse, Starfire, Starsurge Restoration: Lifebloom, Nourish, Wild Growth and Swiftmend Guardian: Savage Defense, Thrash, Skull Bash and Enrage – the druids who use other specs would appreciate the addition easily, and those failry new could live withotu them altho by level 90 you should be pretty much a master of your role and should apprecaite the occasionl call to swtich roles.

    So , i’m definitley excited about HotW.. nonetheless it would be nice to have something that affected our roles a bit more, more than 1 tier anyway. Especailly when if you look at a spec like the balance druid, no new progression in the playstyle has occured. The eclipse mechanic has been tidied up and balanced better, but operates largely the same except simpler and more predictable, which is nacutally not as much fun once the novelty of the smooether mechanic wears up, it would get dull.

    Symbiosis also has an issue. IT gives every class an additional ability except the druid. They get a level 87 ability + symbiosis. the druid only gets the symbiosis ability. and if no class is around? the druid actually loses its level 87 ability … this calls for Symbiosis to etiher give 2 abilities fromt he class, or 1 passive but exciting ability suited to each role + whatever ability it gets from the class it’s linked to. I was thinking for balance druids, the passive could be Equinox: has a chance to invert your position on the eclipse bar to it’s mirror on the other side reversing its direction. Everytime equinox occurs your next 2 spells have a 100% and 50% bonus added to their crit chance. What this ability simply does is make your rotation less predictable without imbalnacing eclipse. e.g. you’re at 45 lunar energy going towards Lunar eclipse. Equinox occurs, you are placed at 45 solar energy moving towards solar eclipse and your next 2 spells get a crit bonus. this simply means your wrath spam gets an unexpected change to starfire, breaking up the share predictability of your raotation and giving you a small perk.

    similar intersting passives could be arranged for each spec as part of symbiosis, so at least the druid always has something.

    And if DoC and HotW go trainable, i have no idea what should take their place, but i would hope it would be another 4 tiered sequence of abilities or 3 unique spells that offer damage, healing and defense in equally strong measure.. possibly based on the from you’re in or based on an an active spell from you. If moonfire/rake are present it does damage, if savage defense is active it does something defense boosting and if rejuvenataion is active, it will heal – it could check your sepc to know which one to prioritise if you have more than one of htose effects present.

  6. Guys, the whole point of this post was NOT to argue HotW. :) (It needs discussion, agreed, but I was hoping to discuss the 2 CC tier idea.) I’ll write up another post in a day or two with my thoughts on HotW, since it’s all we want to talk about right now.

    • I think the “Thoughts?” end to your post after just mentioning HotW is what has dragged the conversation around the wrong way. Also, we all failed and missed the part where you said to save it for now…all too eager to get to the main issue.

      Still, having two CC tiers when they both contain similar abilities (or ones that we’ve previously owned) is overkill. Faerie Swarm as a glyph wouldn’t quite work as we already have a glyph to give FF(Bear) a silence. Two glyphs for the same spell – one to deal with melee and one for tanks to deal with casters just wouldn’t work. Either include it on the Glyph of Infected Wounds (May need a slight name rework) or kill it totally.
      Mighty Bash either needs a range component or another hook – I feel we do need a single target control ability in our CC tier. Moving things around (or stopping them from moving) only works for so long against melee and is even worse for casters.
      Mass Roots. Not great but can’t think of a way to solve it.
      Ursol’s Vortex could benefit well from adding a smoke bomb component to it – with the current graphic it seems realistic to not be able to see out of it (I struggle seeing mobs inside it come to that) and it could make it a bit more useful against casters.

      As for Symbiosis not granting anything to solo players…(sorry Alaron but I can’t help it) HotW baseline gives that missing spell?

  7. The problem with a role-boosting tier is that druids can perform any role. It’s very difficult to come up with something that wouldn’t appeal to one spec above all others. That said, I might have some ideas for additional talents…

    Indomidable: reduces all damage taken by 90% during its duration, but reduces movement speed by X%. Duration is short and it has a long cooldown.
    Blessing of the Emerald Flight: Each time the druid is healed, all allies within X yards are healed for Y% of the healing done to the druid.
    Nature’s Wrath: A magical aura surrounds the druid, healing allies and damaging foes. Channeled and can be used in any form.

    Those are just a few ideas. Any others?

    • Honestly, since most of the monk’s “off-role” talents are on-role for two specs, I would think that similar damage/healing abilities would end up being good for druids. Tanks are fine with things that generate threat and heal them. Healers are fine with anything that heals, and DPS are fine with anything that deals damage.

      It’s not really fair to let Blizzard “off the hook” just because it is hard to design druid talents. they could also add damage components to the crowd control tiers or some other form of utility to make some of them less stale and boring. I mean, they ran out of ideas, so they stuck bash (the baseline CC ability we’ve had since the game first came out) and stuck it in the talent tree.

      • It’s not just monks that share damage and healing in one ability. Priests and Paladins both have multi-purpose spells that depend on the spell target. The issue that Druids face is being both melee and ranged – similar to Shaman. But where shaman have the “elements” as a common theme between Elemental and Enhance…Druids have very few common elements to link us, leaving the feeling that adding a talented “spell” to Ferals is out of place because we use claws and teeth. Equally, giving Balance a talent that acts as a melee (perhaps using the beak?) ability brings us back to the realm of “meleekin”, something nobody wants to experience again.

        On a slight deviation to Mighty Bash/Bear Hug I’m surprised they didn’t leave Bash as baseline (bear only) and have Bear Hug as a talent. “Evoke the spirit of Ursol to crush your foe in a bear hug for 3 seconds, dealing damage = to hp”. It leaves out the Bear requirement, gives a single target CC ability for all forms, is different enough to plain Bash and allows them to keep Bear Hug in the game. Success all round.

  8. I’d been getting the feeling (regarding role-boosting talents) that druids were getting hard done by in MoP but this class summary highlights things clearly. My main spec is restoration so my reading tends to be focused around what my healing counterparts are getting compared to what resto druids get.
    Now the thing about the single on-role tier here is that the probable talent that resto druids will pick up is one we had as core in Cata (tree of life). The other healers get to keep their major cooldowns as core and do not have to choose them as optional talents (pw: barrier, guardian spirit, spirit link totem, guardian of ancient kings, lay on hands). So effectively, resto druids gain zero on-role talents compared to 2 talents for each of priests, paladins and shaman.
    Even symbiosis our new level 87 core talent does not increase our role of healing (I am so jealous of shaman’s ascendance!).
    This on the back of being the only class-spec to be nerfed in the final release of the cata expansion (I know, I know we scale well). In Cata the only new resto toys I can recall we got were tree of life and efflorescence (which was largely meh until a testing bug got turned into a buff).
    I know the numbers will always be tuned so that classes will be competitive, and I’m obviously looking from a biased perspective, but I’m still looking for hope that resto druids might get a little something extra before MoP launch.
    P.S. And sorry liss, but mushrooms doesn’t much excite me. :(

  9. not a fan of compressing tier 3 & 5 into one and giving something new, i’td much rather HotW and DoC become trainable and Tier 6 gain something new.

    then make each talent in 3 & 5 decent. Every talent will have greater uses for some specs more than others. That’s fine by me, also they’d have situational uses and you can at least switch when need be.. I’m fine with mighty bash not being that great for Resto/balance but kinda awesome for feral and useful nenough for bears, altho maybe a better option than that should be given.

    I hear a lot of huge tier changes suggested, but not many peopleare saying okay.. lets replace mighty bash with somethign a bit more useful to all 4 specs… what if we made Mighty Bash a ranged stun also, restos and moonkins can throw their weapons to stun the target instead, that will make it a bit more useful or an entire alternative rather than scrapping the whole tier.

    But Lissana i first saw propose the talent tier collapse, but i don’t think the talents are redundant enough to warrant that especially with no guarantee that what will come in their place would be even half as good. it takes time to think of something good then more time to implement it. We might be well out of time, and bear in mind any changes down the road could leave us a lot worse off than current.

    • http://www.restokin.com/2012/04/mop-feedback-crowd-control-tiers/

      I complained about the CC tiers here.

      I think that having two CC tiers and the off-role tier makes it so that half of our talent tiers are too situational such that they likely won’t be used more than a couple times an expansion in PvE. Fixing one of the problems (too many CC tiers OR the fact that the “hybrid” tier is stupid) would go a long way to making the talents for druids actually worthwhile.

  10. 45 & 75 simultaneously provide too much CC/snare capacity for a class that was already strong on it & clutter up two tiers with the same stuff. they should be merged. I’d suggest keeping Ursol’s (it’s cool), Typhoon (it’s classic & knockbacks aren’t that common) and either Mass Entanglement or Skull Bash (probably bash, despite the fact it’s unexciting… but entanglement kinda duplicates Ursol’s). An easy ranged snare has no place on a class with an easy snare drop (there goes FS) and Disorienting Roar is simultaneously overpowered, underpowered & dull.

    90 is the wrong place to put hybridisation. The talents are fine, but when you hit endgame the last thing you do is suddenly start playing your off-talents in mainspec. If you really want to teach people about the full toolbox of a druid, it needs to be introduced to them early but not so early they haven’t already started to understand their primary spec.

    Hence IMO:

    Keep 15.
    Swap the 90 talents -> 30.
    Swap the 30 talents -> 45.
    Keep 60.
    Merge the 45 & 75 talents into 75.
    Provide a new mainspec boosting tier at 90.

    Just one (non-druid main) player’s opinion.

  11. […] around in whatever form it takes. I agree that the druid talents need another look (we have far too many CC talents, for one), and there are many other fixes the class needs — but please don’t take my […]

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