Mists of Pandaria: Talent and abilities preview
Following on from the little preview we had at Blizzcon a few weeks ago, Blizzard have now released an official Talent Calculator for the new talents in Mists of Pandaria. Accompanying this calculator is also a cute little series of boxes detailing the new abilities available for each specialisation, and a few new abilities for the 85-90 range. So then, a quick rundown of the various areas
Talent Tree Calculator
Unfortunately there are no real changes here. A few tweaks (for example; Cenarion ward heals for more and is now XX% of base mana instead of fixed mana cost) but nothing really has changed from the talents we saw at Blizzcon – meaning that on the whole they are still pretty crap (IMO) and I consider some of them to be lazy and not very well thought out.
New Ability – Symbiosis
This is a little more interesting. Initially I read it and got very excited, then thought I had better re-read it to ensure I hadn’t made a mistake – I had :(
At first I had imagined that you could pick the spell. This would be amazing versatile “hmm, tank heavy fight, hey shammy pal I give you LB and you give me Earth Shield :D”. Alas that is not to be. The wording states that you will gain one ability based on your spec. This could mean anything at this stage and therefore could either be good or bad. Example: if I am a resto druid casting symbiosis on a priest, do we swap nourish/heal? Power Word: Shield/Ironbark?
Currently there is just no indication of what the shared abilities will be. If they are not “special” abilities e.g. Lifebloom, Healing Rain, Power Word: Shield, then symbiosis is pretty bad “oh look, I now have two fast expensive heals not one ^^”. On the other hand, if it does trade “special” spells then it will have to be judged carefully to avoid being very OP. After all, there are 4 different druids specs and there will be 10 other classes to choose from.
Note as well; it states target CLASS ability based on the caster’s SPEC. I take this mean that spec specific spells will certainly NOT be included in a list of possible exchanges, so no Power Word: Barrier, Earth Shield etc. This is a good thing, as it immediately should curb some of the QQ about this being OP.
So currently my verdict is unsure about this until I have a better idea of what spells will be granted from it. At the moment it could go either way – very good or mediocre, so I am waiting for more info before getting too excited or saying it is useless.
Personally, this is the part I am most excited about. We have been told that a lot of the old talented abilities and upgrade (e.g. Nourish/RG/HT refreshes LB) will be rolled into either baseline powers for choosing a spec or actually become part of the spell as standard. A brief glance shows that they have indeed done this with some abilities, so I will do a comparison between the current version of each ability, and it’s new “improved” version in Mists.
In each image, the top ability is the current one, the lower is the new version. If there is only one picture then it is the new version of the ability.
Swiftmend stays pretty much the same in terms of costs, range etc. The primary difference here is that the efflorescence effect has been rolled into it. So immediately at level 10 you gain not only swiftmend, but your first AoE heal as well.
As current spell, but with the naturalist talents included, bringing the cast time down to 2.5 seconds.
Again, Regrowth is basically the same as it currently is, but with the effects of the crit part of the Nature’s Bounty talent and the regrowth glyph added in as standard. The +x% to crit would imply that it will rise in value as you level and the spell levels as well – ensuring that is good at higher levels without being OP at lower levels.
This flat increase to crit and the built in renew of the HoT could see it becoming more useful than it has been so far in Cata. The only sticking point is that it will depend on how many fights we are not worried about sub 50% hp on people, if we are getting lots of raid wide damage we will be healing up asap and therefore the renewal of the HoT will be irrelevant.
This is simply the current remove corruption spell with the nature’s cure talent to include magic effects added in. nothing really to say, a free addition to a dispel ability and range + cost stay the same – no bad really :)
What was previously a talent is now a passive ability. It is exactly the same as the current 3 point talent (a crit will place a seed on worth 30% of the direct heal that just critted, last 15 seconds)
As with Healing Touch, Nourish remains the same except for the inclusion of the naturalist talent, giving it a 2.5 sec cast time.
This is a completely revamp of barkskin and bound to cause a few complaints. Ironbark retains the duration and damage reduction of BS, but doubles the CD, removes the targetting restriction and looks like it will not be always castable. This means we have a defensive CD that we can bring to the raid, but that it is not as versatile for use on ourselves anymore.
It also brings up an issue over use. After all, who will just use it on themselves to reduce damage when they think they should save it for the tank? This is especially true when it is on a longer cooldown as well and the pressure to not “waste” it will be greater. A lot of druids didn’t want this to happen and very categorically stated that we needed a real defensive raid cooldown and not simply making barkskin castable on other people. Oh well.
Now we gain the SR talent as a baseline passive ability at level 46. cool :)
As has been the case with many spells so far, Lifebloom is the same as it currently is, except that its talented effect from empowered Touch has been included as a standard effect.
Wild Growth will obviously be the “nerfed” 4.2 version. Other than that, there appears to be no real change to it. As no talents ever affected it, there is nothing to add in with it when the talent trees are removed.
As with SR, this is just a case of getting a current talent as a passive ability at a particular level. However, the current description on the calculator had better be a typo – reduces tranquility cooldown TO 13 minutes! I hope that is is simply a mistake for “3 minutes” and that they are not planning on putting the CD up to something daft like 20 mins.
The other notable point is that there is no mention of clearcast procs at all. Omen of Clarity is now a passive ability gained by all druids, but the current description states that it is only activated by damage spells and attacks. Again this could be a typo, or it could be the start of pushing us more towards trying to fill in healing with dps. If so then that is a rather stupid thing to do – forcing healers to waste mana on dps spells so they get to cast healing spells for free :/ Please let it be a typo.
Again this seems pretty much the same as the current version with the exception of some increased healing. The CD still being 8 mins would indicate that the possibly typo mentioned for Malfurion’s Gift IS a typo, but still, even it is a typo for 3 mins that would still bring the CD down to only 5 mins. The Priest equivalent (Divine Hymn) still stays at 8 min CD currently, but is also more powerful and adds the bonus of increasing healing done to the targets. Will have to wait and see how this develops.
This is a totally new spell, and as such has no “original” from Cataclysm. We don’t yet know what the amount healed or anything will be – see how they cunningly just write “x” for the amount. An important point to note though is that it says ALL allies within 6 yards. Not 3, or 5 or 10 but ALL. Depending on the healing model for the ‘shrooms, this is potentially very powerful for stack up fights in a 25 man guild (or even 10’s).
There are no doubt going to be a few pros and cons for them though:
Pros: Can be placed prior to actually needing them, looks like they will heal a lot of people.
Cons: 3 GCDs to place all and then 1 to pop them means a lot of prep time if you cannot place them in advance (this also lowers their effectiveness in constant AoE encounters – 4 GCDs is a lot of other healing)
We also don’t know how the mechanic will work. it could be X healing per mushroom and therefore viable with only 1 but best with 3. It may be a fixed value for X regardless of number of mushrooms and having more simply means you cover a larger area. X could end up being pitifully low and make the 4 GCDs to max it out a waste (this would be silly for a new ability but remember the MK1 Efflorescence at the start of Cata^^)
Overall, healy mushrooms have the potential to be another very handy tool in our range of AoE heals, though as with Symbiosis I will hold my judgment of them until we have more info.
So how has the talent tree faired overall?
Below is the full range of current restoration talents and the most common talents used by resto druids from the other trees along with a quick recap of if they have been removed, incorporated into abilities, not sure or partially incorporated.
Nature’s Grace – seems to be no comparable talent or ability with this effect.
Nature’s Majesty – no mention of increased crit chance across all spells so assuming it’s gone.
Genesis – Not sure about this, it’s hard to tell whether or not the difference in healing values is due to incorporated talents or just because of higher level cap.
Moonglow – With so many spells basically costing the same, safe to assume there is no Moonglow effect.
Furor – No evidence that it exists at all.
Blessing of the Grove – See genesis
Natural Shapeshifter - Unless it’s a built in thing, appears to have gone Naturalist – This is directly rolled into Nourish and Healing Touch
Heart of the Wild – The name has been kept for a level 90 talent, but the effect is totally different.
Perseverance – Unless it’s a built in thing, appears to have gone.
Master Shapeshifter – Unless it’s a built in thing, appears to have gone
Improved Rejuvenation – See genesis
Living Seed – Now learnt as a passive ability
Revitalize – Unless it’s a built in thing, appears to have gone
Nature’s Swiftness – Available as a talent
Fury of Stormrage – Seems to have been removed.
Nature’s Bounty – Regrowth now has an innately higher crit chance, though the lowering of Nourish cast time seems to be gone.
Empowered Touch – The refreshing element is built into Lifebloom now, for added healing see Genesis
Malfurion’s Gift – OoC is a passive ability now, still reduces CD on tranquility.
Efflorescence – Built into Swiftmend.
Nature’s Cure – Bundled with Remove Corruption as standard as a new spell – Nature’s Cure
Nature’s Ward – Seems to have been removed.
Gift of the Earthmother – See genesis
Swift Rejuvenation – Now learnt as a passive ability.
Tree of Life – Included as a talent with Incarnation, not sure if “new” ToL will retain all the effects of the current one.
A note regarding flat increases to healing spells
As mentioned in the paragraph about Lifebloom, the Empowered Touch effect of refreshing Lifebloom has become a built in part of the spell, however the 10% bonus healing to HT, RG and Nourish is harder to gauge as it is not stated whether the spells shown with the talent calculator are at current level (i.e. 85) in which it looks like they are buffed by around 10%, or if they are shown at MoP level (90), in which you would expect them to be higher anyway. This also applies to GotEM and Lifebloom’s end bloom and spells affected by BotG and Genesis. So, basically we don’t know if they are folded into the spells as standard or just totally removed.
Personally I quite like the way the spells are leaning. It is nice to seem some talents are rolled into abilities, making them more than simply heals, and also it’s good to see that we are gaining some talents as learnt passive abilities.
Generally the talents that have been removed are not too bad, and usually are relatively boring or just flat increases/decreases.
However, it is clear from the apparent removal of moonglow, revitalise and furor, that we are definitely being pushed away from having mana regen and conservation based abilities. If they also go fully ahead with the proposed changes to Intellect and mana pool size, then we will essentially have a fixed mana pool size and fixed spell cost so we always know we can cast XX number of spells before going OOM. The balancing act will be stacking enough spirit to regen fast enough to keep up with intense damage phases while being smart enough to know when to throttle back on heals and conserve mana with efficient heals or just not heal at all for a small period of time.
If this is the healing model Blizzard are pushing towards, then hopefully it will making healing a bit more intensive and requiring more thought, rather than getting to the point of being able to mindlessly spam without having to think.