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What Trees Need to Know About 4.0.6

February 6, 2011
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All signs point to Patch 4.0.6 being released this Tuesday, so it seems it’s time to review the final patch notes and see what’s in store for Resto Druids.

Racial changes:

  • The night elf racial trait Shadowmeld can now be used while shapeshifted.
  • The tauren racial trait War Stomp can now be used while shapeshifted.
  • The worgen racial trait Darkflight now has a 2-minute cooldown, down from 3, and is no longer on the global cooldown. In addition, the movement speed bonus now stacks with existing bonuses, but cannot be activated while Sprint or Dash is active (and they cannot be activated while Darkflight is active).

Nice quality-of-life changes, though mostly of concern to Balance and Feral druids, since we spend the majority of our time in caster form now.

PvP changes:

  • Barkskin is no longer dispellable.
  • Entangling Roots now has a PvP duration of 8 seconds.
  • Hibernate now has a PvP duration of 8 seconds.
  • Nature’s Grasp now has a PvP duration of 8 seconds.
  • Shapeshifts: Entering or leaving a shapeshift no longer cancels root effects. It continues to cancel movement slowing effects. -BUT- Disentanglement (new specialization): Causes shapeshifting to remove roots in addition to snares.

The changes to the PvP durations of Crowd Control spells are consistent across all classes.  With the addition of the Disentanglement specialization, the nerf to shapeshifting will actually have no effect on us – so please do your feral cousins a favor and dispell them when they’re snared or slowed.  Poor kitties.

Spell changes:

  • Healing Touch is now trained at level 78, up from level 3.
  • Nourish is now trained at level 8, down from level 78.
  • Rejuvenation is now trained at level 3, down from level 8. In addition, its mana cost is now 20% of base mana.
  • Soothe is now instant cast, down from 1.5 seconds.
  • Wild Growth healing has been increased by 30%, and the cooldown has been reduced to 8 seconds, down from 10.

Swapping Healing Touch and Nourish brings druid healing more into line with other healing classes’ leveling experience, giving us our smaller efficient heal first and our powerful expensive heal later.  I’m personally excited over the change to Soothe, both because it will make our de-enrage must easier to slip into a healing rotation, and because I might actually stand a chance at beating Squelchy to it.

More importantly for end-game healing, Rejuv’s mana cost is up to 20% from the 16% it costs now.  We’ll probably need to be slightly more conservative with its use than we have been for the last few weeks, since the initial hotfix that dropped Rejuv’s cost from 26% of base mana to 16%.  As I discussed a few weeks ago, Rejuv is feeling pretty spammy in 25-man raids right now, and I can understand why Blizzard’s making this change.  Though, as we’ll see in one of the talent changes below, we’re still being given plenty of incentive to make liberal use of this spell when raid healing.

The buff to Wild Growth should be a huge help for our somewhat underpowered group healing spells.  30% additional power is great, and the reduced CD means that we’re going to see a ton of uptime from this spell – Wild Growth has a 7 second duration and will be on an 8 second CD.  I’m torn between not wanting to complain, since Resto was playing out to be weaker for raid healing than most of the other healing specs, and worrying that the way Blizzard has gone about buffing us is very likely to encourage us to go back to the Wild Growth / Rejuv spam of the Wrath days.

Talent tree changes:

  • Omen of Clarity can no longer trigger from helpful spells (aka heals), unless the Restoration talent Malfurion’s Gift is chosen.
  • Empowered Touch now also affects Regrowth. In addition, after Tree of Life is no longer active, this talent will only refresh the most recently cast or refreshed Lifebloom, and will not refresh other copies of Lifebloom.
  • Natural Shapeshifter has been reduced to a 3/6-second increase to Tree of Life’s duration, down from 5/10.
  • Nature’s Bounty no longer affects Swiftmend, but now has a new effect. When the druid has Rejuvenation on 3 or more targets, the cast time of Nourish is reduced by 10/20/30%.
  • Symbiosis (Mastery) benefit from mastery increased by approximately 16%.
  • Tree of Life duration has been reduced to 25 seconds, down from 30.

So, no more Clearcasting procs at all for us unless we take Malfurion’s Gift, which (obviously) now makes this a mandatory talent.  Sadly, we are also losing our double Lifebloom trick in 4.0.6, though I’m still not surprised that this wasn’t how Blizzard intended us to use that talent.

Adding Regrowth to the spells that can refresh LB via Empowered Touch seems like a smart move to me.  I tend to use Clearcasting procs on either Healing Touch or Regrowth most of the time anyway, and this will give me additional incentive to cast that free Regrowth on my tank – and, in the process, put a spell that can be Swiftmended on him as well.

The reworking of the Nature’s Bounty talent is perhaps the most interesting change in the patch.  The talent will now encourage us to have Rejuv up on 3 or more targets (when raid healing is high), so that we get a haste buff to Nourish.  Beru has calculated that this should bring Nourish down to about a 1.5 second cast time with 3/3 points, allowing us to use it for additional spot healing as needed.  It would be nice to finally find a good reason to work Nourish into my normal healing rotation, but I’m just not convinced this is it.  I’m actually wondering whether I won’t drop these talent points completely in my normal spec, though I intend to experiment with it a bit before making that decision.

Tree of Life’s duration will go from a talented 40 seconds down to a talented 31 seconds.  A 9-second nerf, but not something that will change much about how we heal.  The buff to our mastery, Symbiosis, will certainly be appreciated by those of us who spend a good deal of time tank healing.  With the buff to Wild Growth and the change to Nature’s Bounty, it’s quite likely that this will make our mastery a much more desirable stat for raid healing trees as well.  Lissanna predicts that Mastery may actually clearly edge out Crit and even be equal to or better than Haste depending upon your healing assignment.

Other changes of interest:

  • Enchant Off-Handed – Superior Intellect now increases Intellect by 40, down from 100.
  • Worgen and troll druids now have new art for Swift Flight Form.

Who doesn’t want to be creeped out by enormous bats flying all over the place?  Thank goodness we’re not based in Shattrath anymore, so I don’t have to see them everyday.  As for the nerf to the off-hand enchant, well, this is clear proof that Ghostcrawler reads my blog.

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