Jun 152010
 

I thought this post from EJ by Rijndael on the Resto design for Cata was excellent, enough that I’m quoting it in its entirety here.

Blizzard is moving towards healer homogenization. As Ghostcrawler said, they are trying to walk a fine between keeping class identity distinct, and having raids be called because wrong healer classes are online. Right now healers are not homogenized enough — paladins are too good on tanks and not good enough on raid, disc are too good on LK, druids are not good enough on LK, etc.

It seems pretty clear to me that Nature’s Bounty + Efflorescence is broken and will change in some way. What’s interesting though, is what the designer intent is.

I think the designers are intending to nerf Rejuv and boost Regrowth so Rejuv will only be worth casting when you move, and Regrowth will be cast when you stand still. This accomplishes a few things:

(a) Diversifies the spells druids actually will use

(b) Forces druids to stand still more. This may seem bad, but Blizzard has been pretty consistent in making the movement/burst/cooldown tradeoff. In other words, a healing spell always has one of three disadvantages: it either forces you to stand still, or it heals over time, or has a cooldown. In encouraging druids to use a cast time spell, Blizzard is freeing themselves to buff druid burst, which is what we need to be a more well rounded healer. I suspect druids in Cata will be more like priests — good when forced to move but optimal when standing still.

(c) Make druids think about where they cast, rather than spam. This is the intent behind Nature’s Bounty interaction with Regrowth, and I think this idea is sound as long as they “smooth” it, and just give a bonus that scales with lower target hp.

I think this is absolutely true. Right now, Rejuv is our most used spell because its cheap, instant, heals fast (first tick in ~2s with GoRR) and heals hard (3kish per tick for a well-geared tree, pre-ICC buff, which is 10-15% of a DPS’ers health pool), and heals over time. It’s too powerful. I think they’ll make it significantly weaker and buff Regrowth, forcing a choice between the two.

Oct 142009
 

Well, guess the devs were serious about nerfing Rejuv.

Resto talent: Gift of the Earthmother: Redesigned. This talent now increases spell haste by 2/4/6/8/10% instead of its previous effect. (Previously: Reduces the base global cooldown of your Rejuvenation, Lifebloom and Wild Growth spells by 4/8/12/16/20%.)

Basically, HOT’s lose 10-15ish% haste, direct spells gain 10% haste. My short thoughts:

  • Haste is useful again and is no longer a serious cap for 25-man trees.
  • Rejuv blanketing is dead. Rejuv (combined with new Rejuv glyph) will now be a reactive cast, not proactive. More on this once the new glyph can be tested.
  • Long live Regrowth blanketing! (Seriously…it’s not going to be that much slower now than Rejuv was, and has the long-lasting HOT for Swiftmending. Just think of it as the T8 bonus on steroids).
  • Nourish is fast enough already, it didn’t need a haste buff.  Ah well. Hey, Non-NS+HT might play a small role again! We’re back to classic WoW!
  • Everyone’s going to go back to picking up Celestial Focus, probably.
  • Also, nobody’s talking about it, but Lifebloom got NERFED AGAIN! Let’s check the history (copied from WoWWiki):
    • Patch 3.2.0 (2009-08-04): The final heal that occurs when this spell blooms has been reduced by 20% on the base and on the spell power coefficient.
    • Patch 3.1.0 (2009-04-14): Mana cost of all ranks doubled. When Lifebloom blooms or is dispelled, it now refunds half the base mana cost of the spell per application of Lifebloom, and the heal effect is multiplied by the number of applications.

Lissanna’s done the heavy lifting on analysis as usual, so check her post out. She’s also looked at the new idols (meh…T9+10%, done.). Also see Kae and Keeva for their thoughts.

Hey, at least we got this: Rebirth: The cooldown on this spell has been lowered from 20 minutes down to 10 minutes. Cannot be used in Arenas.

So now that our HPS is down and people die because of it, we can rez them faster! :) (Kidding. I think.) It’d be nice if there was a way to implement this like Bloodlust/Heroism, to where it’s a short CD for wipes but long CD for re-use.

Oct 082009
 

As I briefly mentioned in my previous post, I feel that Blizzard is quietly nudging trees into a “support healer” niche, and I’d like to explain what I mean by that. (Note: My tree set is off-spec, and I’m by no means in a progression guild; these are just my impressions. Let me know if I’m wildly off base.)

As it stands right now, a good raid healing tree is using every GCD to roll Rejuv on as much of the raid as possible. A 10m raid (or a 25m raid with 2 trees) can have a Rejuv on 90% of its members 90% of the time, and generally should. Why?

  • Rejuv is swiftmendable. This is by far the biggest reason…what kills most non-tanks in raids is burst damage which beats a healer’s reaction time, not sustained, grinding damage. (Non-exiting-fire raiders excepted.) Of all the spells in all the various healers’ toolboxes, SM “gets there the fastest with the mostest.” Landing an instant swiftmend on someone usually means they’re not going to die. Sure, each class has long CD’s for that instant save, but you’re only using those once per fight, maybe twice. SM’s cooldown is short enough that you’ll generally always have it available.
  • Rejuv buffs Nourish for SM followup as needed.
  • Rejuv is proactive. It ticks every 3s…so if someone takes burst damage, they’re going to get a +1500hp bump within 1.5s (on average) even without any action on the healer’s part. Will that save someone? Not by itself, no, but I’ve seen many raiders get saved by a combination of Rejuv/JoL/ILOTP/glyphed HL/POM bounce/etc.
  • Rejuv is totally cheap on mana.

With the 3 sec nerf to Rejuv’s duration (Yes, Blizzard can call it a “bug fix” all it wants, but a bug fix doesn’t sit this long), this strategy is diminshed. Sure, it’s still workable, but the chances are better that you WON”T have a rejuv up on that target taking burst damage…better hope your NS+HT is off cooldown.  (It might be time to relook the HT glyph.) Now, this doesn’t even address the issue of raid multi-target burst damage, which is definitely not a tree’s strong point. (Remember KT when Frost Blast chained to 4 melee while the priest was MC’d? You’re only saving 2, assuming average reaction time. Sometimes playing God sucks.) Now, from a design perspective, I think I prefer this, as the RJx5, WG, repeat rotaion was pretty boring. It’s just going to take some adjustment.

Now, if we get the huge HP buff to all classes that the devs have been talking about, then reaction time becomes much less of a consideration, and concepts like mana efficiency become much more important. From there, I see Druids happily settling into the low HPS/high HPM AOE niche; HOT’s become much more of a consideration when you’re dealing with a larger HP pool that can handle some variance. Pallies become the high ST HPS class; HPriests take the high AOE HPS spot; DPriests share the low HPS/high HPM space with Druids; and Shammies fall awkwardly in the middle, which results in an avalanche of complaining on the WoW boards that nobody reads. (Sorry, couldn’t resist. :))

Anyway, that’s the way I see it happening; feel free to disagree, flame, or meander off-topic in the comments. :)