May 082012

While I’m going to save further comment on the reworked level 90 talents for my weekend WoW Insider column, there is one recurring argument against Heart of the Wild that I think is somewhat lacking in merit, and I’d like to discuss here. I think Cantor’s comment from my last post summarizes the argument well:

“The issue I still have with DoC and HotW is that they’re based on role-shifting, which breaks encounters. You really can’t argue that they don’t – a 10-man raid with multiple Druids essentially has additional healers or tanks on-demand in the middle of a fight, which WILL lead to stacking for world-first DPS races or healing checks and so on.”

In response to that, here’s my observations:

  • No additional numbers WoW raiding is based around numbers. No way around it. Looking at 10H Ultraxion for a second, we see the median kill attempt did 250k DPS and 85k HPS,  while the median wipe did 210k DPS and 60k HPS. (Of course, these numbers are adjusting over time to the percentage nerfs; a 210k DPS/60k HPS attempt today would probably net a kill.) HotW will let you temporarily flip some damage->healing or healing-> damage, but that doesn’t help you much if the fight has consistent damage and healing requirements; you’re better off asking healers or DPS to use their alternate spec as appropriate.
  • Long cooldown Even if HotW does prove useful, it’s a long way from “useful” to “trivializing.” The 6 minute cooldown means you’re only going to get to use it once, as the majority of encounters end up taking less time than that. A single druid using HOTW won’t trivialize anything. Now, if the soft enrage ala Beth’tilac comes back into fashion, than there’s a theoretical potential to stack resto druids, have them use HotW early when healing requirements are low, then heal normally when incoming damage gets high, for example. You lose buff coverage by doing that, however, which makes it an unlikely scenario for most guilds who don’t have extra alts of each class ready to go, and the overall impact is pretty blunted. Sure, if we have more Spine-type fights (ugh), that’s one thing, but I think we’re done with those for a while.
  • Healing requirements higher for MoP The majority of the DPS classes have talents  that add some passive healing. Think that’s not going to be balanced around? Think again. Top that off with healer mana pools no longer scaling with Intellect, and my guess is you’re not going to see nearly as many fights where you can run healer-short and succeed.

Long story short? Yeah, it wouldn’t surprise me to see one fight where HotW is a large help, and a few more where it’s a smaller help. There may be some guilds who stack druids, but just like all the things that get blown out of proportion on the forums, it won’t be that big of a deal overall. Player skill will still be the defining characteristic of raid progression, not raid composition.

 Posted by at 9:03 pm

  8 Responses to “Why HotW will not trivialize raid encounters”

  1. “no additional numbers”

    This is absolutely true! But that’s a straw man. No one claims you get MORE out of HotW. It’s that you can perfectly customize your raid composition on the fly so that you get more when you need more.

    The high cooldown just means that you need to match the number of druids in your raid with the number of discrete phases of an encounter that have elevated healing or damage numbers. I don’t think Ultraxion is the best example, but even so, imagine that you had two extra full time dps (in 10man context) for the first 45 seconds. That’s quite a bit more damage and probably enough to make it such that you never have to face the difficult healing portion of the fight. The real strength of HotW will be fights with discrete high damage/healing requirements like: h-rag, h-madness, h-spine, h-zonozz, h-yorsahj (as an insurance against bad slime luck), h-hagara.

    The long cooldown just means you need to bring more druids, so it puts *more* pressure on druid stacking.

    Finally, I think it’s absolutely current to point out as you have that it will NOT trivialize WHOLE encounters. Rather, it will only trivialize the parts of encounters that are based on high damage or healing output. Fights, such as Spine, have a lot more going on than just high output requirements. This will make those output requirements go away, however.

    • On the other hand, fights such as rag, where a big challenge early on was pushing big DPS in phase 3 to get 1 meteor would’ve been neutered by HotW.

  2. We don’t know yet the numbers, but it more likely that the final version of HotW would be something more close to useless then the big opness that someone could see on the paper for certain encounters, because if one thing is certain it is that when there is the druid class involved, they fix very quick possible op thing like this. And we already know that the talent has the potential to be mandatory for certain fights, meanwhile is totally worthless in the majority of cases.
    Even if I know that it is too much to ask, my only hope is that they don’t waste an entire expansion trying to fixing a broken idea in its very foundation.

  3. Disclosure: I have never raided in a HC guild (which I define as a guild doing all/majority of current HC first-kills content in overwhelmingly previous tier gear), so this is strictly from my middle-of-the-road perspective: I have a problem with a high-level talent that becomes less and less useful the more you progress. While that could be said for everything in the game (for example, high personal dps becomes less “useful” as others catch up to you or well timed tanking cooldowns become less useful as healers manage better and have better gear), regarding this talent we are talking 100% usage to 0% usage, on any number of fights.

    Compared to, for example, proper Berserk usage – not using it optimally is always an error, and will always reflect on your performance, while the fact that the raid killed the boss in 4mins instead of 5 mins does not really matter.

    On the one hand I get the feeling that devs do not want us to take HotW as a big cooldown talent, but on the other, they are putting it on lvl 90, where we (rightfully or wrongfully?) expect it to influence our gameplay in a very literal manner – incorporated into everything we do.

    It feels this is where the talent fails, that to use it, you either have to imagine people making mistakes, or you need to “design” encounters (by using previous ones) to paint usable situations. Most other classes talents simply do not make you jump through those hoops.

  4. I see HotW as a useful talent for anytime in a raid encounter where I needed to push Tranq.
    The situations that required that while farming content were few, but the situations that required that while learning bleeding edge content were frequent. Why? Because people die when you’re learning fights. Healers, dps, or tanks die, mechanics aren’t handled correctly, a big ‘oh no’ just happened. So many things go wrong while you’re learning a fight. A good druid knows when and how to give a helping hand. I see this talent as the capability to be even better at giving a helping hand. That helping hand is vital too. Killing the bosses is the end goal, but it isn’t everything. The longer you can keep a fight going can be helpful for giving as many people as possible the ability to adapt to the fight and perform their role decently within the constraints of the encounter.
    So ya, HotW may not be useful on farm nights (which sadly are becoming a higher portion of a raid’s life than in the past), but it most certainly will be amazing for a smart druid on learning fight nights.

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