Posted by: Makakai | April 13, 2010

Sound of Silence

I know I’ve been silent for a while and anyone that was following me has probably stopped, but life takes over sometimes until suddenly you realize that you left something fun behind. So after reading several blogs discussing the class change previews about druids I had to chime in with my thoughts on the topic. More after the cut.

Tree of Life Form

Tree of Life is changing from a passive talent to a cooldown-based talent, similar to Metamorphosis. Mechanically, it feels unfair for a druid to have to give up so much offense and utility in order to be just as good at healing as the other classes who are not asked to make that trade. We are exploring the exact benefit the druid gets from Tree of Life. It could strictly be better healing, or it could be that each heal behaves slightly different. You also will not be able to be banished in Tree of Life form (this will probably be true of Metamorphosis as well). Additionally, we would like to update the Tree of Life model so that it feels more exciting when you do decide to go into that form. Our feeling is that druids rarely actually get to show off their armor, so it would be nice to have at least one spec that looked like a night elf or tauren (and soon troll or worgen) for most of the time. Source: “Cataclysm Class Preview: Druid” 04/09/2010 17:59:15 PDT

Ok, uhm, what are they thinking?! Now that I have that out of my system… After reading the source(s) and further comments by Ghostcrawler I can only hope that they are thinking about what Tree of Life (ToL) form is to a restoration druid. It appears on first review that the development team is taking the desire of healers to be able to do dps to the extreme.  However, after reviewing some of the further comments by Ghostcrawler it appears that there are a lot more game balance objectives behind this change.

The first of the points Ghostcrawler made in later comments was that when they adjust the talent tree for all of the passive buffs (which they are restructuring for all of the classes) that it leaves ToL form with no clear purpose. This suggests that ToL form needs a purpose other than the passive buffs and it appears that blizzard’s answer to this is to make it a situational “cooldown” ability that enhances our healing in another way.  It feels to me like they are just band-aiding a fix for a balance objective that while a clear problem exists could probably be solved in ways that still retain the flavor of the “tree druid” player image. My suggestion would be to make ToL further the line of having casted heals be buffed by hots or make it such that players can only cast certain heals while in ToL which are then stronger and then shift out to cast other heals.

The second point of Ghostcrawler’s was that a seemingly large population of Resto druids are Not happy with ToL that appears nearly equal to those that are happy with ToL. I suspect that the the “negative views” of ToL are associated with 1) the need to update the graphics of the ToL form and 2) the fact that you can’t do dps while in ToL. To speak on the latter first, there has been a LOT of chatter about healers being able to do dps which blizzard has generally indicated that they will never support or design towards, which I personally agree with as do many who understand the theorycrafting side of this issue. I hope that the developers have weeded out the “negative-views” pertaining to this concept in determining that there is a 50/50 split on the view of ToL. This leaves a huge portion of the tree druids with the “negative-views” pertaining to the need for an updated graphics of the form. If the developers make the form a situational “cooldown” ability, this will prevent the player from seeing these outdated form graphics. However, they also state that they will be updating the form graphics.

So in summary, my worry with this change is that while there is clearly a balance purpose behind the change it certainly could be solved in a method that doesn’t reduce ToL to a situational “cooldown” ability. Furthermore, any detractors (i.e., “negative-viewers”) of the ToL form are likely due to the need for updated graphics which they plan on implementing anyways! So, I still want to say what are they thinking?!

New Spell(s)

Restoration druids will have a new talent called Efflorescence, which causes a bed of healing flora to sprout beneath targets that are critically healed by Regrowth. Source: “Cataclysm Class Preview: Druid” 04/09/2010 17:59:15 PDT

This is an interesting play on the seemingly driving mechanic of increasing the effectiveness of a casted heal when a hot or hots are on the target. It will be interesting to see if the numbers actually play out sufficiently to make this an effective combination over say rejuvination + nourish.

I now return you to the blogs and forums that actually know what they are talking about…

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