The Case For (and Against) Efflorescence
As we all reevaluated our talent specs after 4.0.6, many druids were faced with a choice about whether to keep Efflorescence, assuming they’d taken it in their post-Cataclysm specs at all. On paper, it seems like a great expense of talent points: an AoE healing spell that’s triggered from our Swiftmend and supplements Wild Growth for multi-target raid healing. In practice, however, it hasn’t quite worked out that way.
Efflorescence, like its distant cousin Wild Growth, is great for “set it and forget it” healing. We cast the spells and they take care of a substantial amount of group healing, leaving us free to either concentrate on the tanks or spot heal other raid members who are lower than we like.
When your raid needs to stay stacked up (in fights like Magmaw and Valiona/Theralion) is when this spell can really be at its best. Though it has a diminished effect if there are more than 6 targets within its range, it still provides simple, passive healing to anyone standing within the leafy green circle.
Efflorescence heals for 30% of what your Swiftmend healed for, spread out over 7 seconds. So if you really want to get the most out of this spell, 3 points in Improved Rejuvenation and 3 points in Genesis will give you a 21% increase in your Swiftmend healing, and this will be reflected in the maximum amount your Efflorescence can heal as well.
My most important reason for keeping Efflorescence, and thus the reason why I can’t talk myself into specing out of it, actually doesn’t have much to do with the spell’s effectiveness. The “green druid thing” has worked its way into my guild’s raiding psychology now. People know that I’m going to drop a green circle in what should be a safe place to stand. Our raid leader occasionally uses Efflorescence in his explanations of strategy, reminding people that I’ll probably drop a “green circle” and that we need to group up there.
Now don’t get me wrong – the guild would survive and still down plenty of bosses if I didn’t have Efflorescence in my talent spec. But now that we’ve spent the time retraining our raid teams to actually stand in the good stuff that healers can put down, yanking that away from them and losing the psychological impact of a highly visible safe zone feels … well … a little wrong.
At my gear level, Swiftmend hits for between 23k-25k. That means that the maximum amount my Efflorescence can heal is around 7500 total, and that’s just not a lot of healing. Looking at a pre-patch World of Logs entry for Valiona and Theralion, I see that my Efflorescence non-critical healing averaged out to 575 per tick. On an Omnitron Defense System kill, during which the raid is much more spread out and Efflorescence is a lot less effective, its average non-critical healing was 350 per tick. Ouch.
Additionally, Efflorescence is only helpful at all if people can actually stand in it for the full 7 seconds it lasts. In movement-heavy fights, this is unlikely to be the case. As mentioned above, its decreased effectiveness when there are more than 6 targets within the circle makes it less worthwhile in 25 man raids than in 10; and in 5 man heroics I can find almost no use for it since all 5 members of the group are rarely stacked together.
But the worst part about Efflorescence? It’s that we’re not making a choice of whether to spend 3 talent points on a questionable ability … we’re deciding if we’re willing to spend 6 points on it. There’s been plenty of dissatisfaction voiced over this both on the forms and around the blogosphere, and unfortunately we didn’t see any change with 4.0.6. To gain access to Efflorescence, you first have to fill out the prerequisite talent in the tier before it, which means putting 3 points into Living Seed. With Crit being our least desirable stat, and our seeds doing something like 0.5% of our effective healing, there’s just not much good to be said about this talent. Perhaps Blizzard insists on keeping it linked to Efflorescence because they know that no one would take it otherwise. I’m happy to join Keeva in saying: PLEASE UNLINK LIVING SEED AND EFFLORESCENCE.
I’m keeping Efflorescence in my current healing spec, but I’m not sure I’m thrilled about that choice. I’ve been able to work Genesis into my new spec and already had Improved Rejuvenation, and I’ve noticed a slight increase in my Efflorescence healing since then. I also heal 10 man raids often enough to make that a decent reason to keep it, and the visual cues I discussed above are helpful enough that I’d think twice before dropping the talent completely.
If you don’t find yourself healing 10 mans very often, if you’re spending more time in heroics than in raids, or if you feel that your talent points can be better spent elsewhere – drop Efflorescence (AND Living Seed!). I doubt you’ll see much difference in how well you heal because of it.