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The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Resto Druids in 4.2

May 12, 2011

Thanks to a recent influx of official information from Blizzard (and unofficial datamined information from MMO Champion), we’ve suddenly got a lot to talk about when it comes to the Firelands raid and patch 4.2.

The Good!

In 4.2, Resto Druids will have a completely new Mastery:

Symbiosis (Mastery) has been removed and replaced with Harmony. Harmony increases direct healing by an additional 10%, and casting direct healing spells grants an additional 10% bonus to periodic healing for 10 seconds. Each point of mastery increases each bonus by an additional 1.25%. Healing Touch, Nourish, Swiftmend, and the initial heal from Regrowth are considered direct healing spells for the purposes of this Mastery. All other healing from druid spells is considered periodic.

Though it’s difficult to say exactly what this will mean for our healing until we see some results from PTR experiments, the majority of the reactions I’ve read to this so far seem positive.  Beruthiel over at Falling Leaves and Wings summed up my feelings on this exactly:

“I think Harmony is a good change.  While some people may say that it’s ‘boring,’ as it’s pretty much a static buff provided that you remember to keep it active via a direct heal, it is undoubtedly an improvement over Symbiosis.  In my opinion our current mastery encourages poor healing by forcing you to ‘chase’ already active heals on a target who may not need the extra healing over a target who does.  The whole boost a heal for someone who has a heal never really made a lot of sense to me, especially in the ‘triage’ environment that Blizzard was trying to promote – where smart healing was encouraged.”              –original post

Symbiosis has always been confusing to me in terms of the intent behind it.  Just as Beru writes, it really seems like Symbiosis encourages us to waste mana and GCDs on healing targets who probably don’t actually need it.  Putting Wild Growth or Rejuv on anyone aside from a tank and then casting a direct heal on them is going to result in overhealing in most situations.  While our current Mastery makes some sense for tank healing, it really doesn’t for raid healing – and, let’s face it, that’s still the healing role that druids fill in many raids (particularly 25 mans).

I’m pretty excited to see how this plays out if and when it goes live on the PTR, but I’m guessing that this will end up being a significant buff to our group healing.

The Bad!

Tier 12 bonuses were datamined last week, with some classes having really unique and Firelands-themed abilities for their 4 pieces.  Examples include:

  • Druid (balance), 2-piece.  You have a chance to summon a Burning Treant to assist you in battle for 15 sec when you cast Wrath or Starfire.
  • Priest (healing), 4-piece.  You have a chance when you cast a helpful spell to summon a Cauterizing Flame. Friendly raid and party members can use the Cauterizing Flame to be instantly healed for 4625 to 5375. Lasts for 45 sec sec or 10 charges. After using the Cauterizing Flame, players cannot benefit from it again for 10 sec.

I am so jealous.  I wish I could tell you that we were getting flaming trees of doom who would form a protective circle around our Lifebloom target (i.e. the main tank), and shield him from some percentage of incoming damage for some number of seconds.  Ok, if I’m being honest … really I just wish I could tell you we got anything involving “Burning Treants.”  Thank goodness my offspec is Balance.

Instead we get:

  • Druid (restoration), 2 piece.  Your periodic healing from Lifebloom has a 40% chance to restore 1% of your base mana each time it heals a target.

Fine, that’s on par with the other mana restoring bonuses that the other healing classes get for their 2 pieces.  Boring?  Sure, but more mana is always a good thing.

  • Druid (restoration), 4 piece.  When your Lifebloom blooms, it instantly heals up to 2 nearby injured targets for the same amount.

… huh?  Seeing as how our goal is never to let Lifebloom expire, this is rarely going to be useful.  I can’t imagine ever using this in a 10 man raid (when I’m usually assigned to tank healing), because the risk and mana cost of allowing Lifebloom to expire would make it such a bad idea.  If Lifebloom blooms on the tank I’m healing, I almost always have to spend some time playing catch-up with his health.  The only use for it I can think of for this bonus is if you’re blanketing the raid with Lifeblooms during a Tree of Life cooldown.  Even then it seems like an odd choice; ToL already provides such a powerful burst of group healing, why give us something to buff that?

The Ugly!

Picture from MMO Champion

Last week also saw the preview of the models for the tier 12 sets for all classes but shaman.  While the reactions I’ve seen so far have been varied, I’m personally a little disappointed.  Something about the color scheme seems a little off, or maybe even a little muted, to me.  Perhaps I’ll feel differently once we see a 3D model in action, but for now I just can’t get excited about them.  The hunter set is especially awful – apparently having a murloc’s head for a hat wasn’t enough in t11, so now hunters have moved on to wearing raid bosses’ heads for helms.

I like the druid set more than most of the others, though I’m eager to see exactly what our shoulders will look like.  The helm’s antlers are an interesting hint at Malorne’s reappearance in WoW lore during this patch, though I have to admit I’m baffled at how that helm is supposed to match any of the other pieces.  Here’s hoping the shoulders really tie the ensemble together.  So long as they’re not giant mouths come to nom on helpless children, I promise not to complain.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Boomie permalink
    May 31, 2011 6:00 am

    I’ve been running tests on the PTR and it’s looking like Mastery will become a very controversial stat.

    My original post is here:

    On a tank and spank fight and someone who wants to max out the meters rather than keep people alive (a LOT of healers fall in here) then mastery stacking will be the way to go.

    On fights with lots of movement where we need our mastery most (many raids and some heroic bosses) it’s possible it may be be down enough (and or reduce gcd time for placing hots) that the stat will be weaker then even Critical Strike.

    Below is a piece of my original post:
    If Bliz does not expect us to keep our mastery up at least 4/5 of the time let alone 2/3 of the time (by giving up your rescue cd) then mastery becomes our weakest stat as Critical Strike will give a higher healing return especially when our healing is weakest (during movement phases) and that is when we need mastery the most. But that aside burning your rescue CD early in order just to get any benefit from your mastery buff is not going to make us better healers.

    Our harmony buff is 1.25/point vs 1.0 for Critical Strike (the 10% mastery you get regardless of mastery investment so comparing how to invest is 1.25 to 1.0 and why mastery proc down 4/5 or more is a throughput loss to Critical Strike).

    Furthermore Bliz has been pushing for healer efficiency which is a good thing. We should not be casting a direct heal unless we NEED a direct heal. It wastes mana and time you could be spending healing someone who really needs something different.

    As a primary raid healer though fine with Symbiosis I am not opposed to this change. However the proc is so far in testing too short and in being too short forces bad decisions Bliz has been trying to move healers away from.

    On Symbiosis you should never of been chasing hots in the first place. You conserve mana not blow up meters. If players have light damage let Wild Growth or Rejuv handle it. If a player takes a medium chunk of damage (or more incoming) you must place double hot any ways and you get the mastery buff where you need it the most. You don’t chase hots on light damaged targets. But the Symbiosis train has long left.

    I’m tracking Harmony up time with power auras in combat. Is there any other experienced raid resto druid healers who can give an account for their harmony up time on movement heavy bosses (Jindo for example) in PTR?

  2. Krokvy permalink
    July 2, 2011 9:11 pm

    I see potential in our 4-piece bonus, while I do agree flaming treants protecting our lb target would be awsome. Imagine you going into tol and spamming lb just think of the aoe healing you would do when they all bloom!


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