Current Resto Druid changes on PTR (WG changes)
There is very little up on the PTR that has been “officially” reported, however there are currently two changes that have been made for resto druids and both involve Wild Growth.
- Wild Growth healing value has been reduced by 20%
- Glyph of Wild Growth now also increases the cooldown on Wild Growth by 2 seconds.
Both of these obviously have some impact on our AOE healing capability as WG is a standard heal for raid wide damage. It has been especially important in Cata content due to the attachment Blizzard seem to have with bosses casting massive AoEs.
If they nerf both the healing and the CD of WG then that could be quite a hit to a raid healing druid’s throughput, unless they either reduce the amount of AoE damage bosses are outputting, or give druids some sort of mitigation/buff other AoE heals (like effloresence). I think the latter is unlikely, and it will be more likely that we will see (relatively speaking) slightly reduced AoE from bosses. Additionally it will lead to much more thought on whether or not is better to heal 5 people with 87.5% max uptime or 6 people with 70% max uptime, I suspect that unless there are periods of extended raid wide damage, the glyphed version will still be superior.
Looking around at the the various other posts on the matter, there are some particular thoughts that repeatedly crop up:
Glyphs: In his blog, GC states that “We want major glyphs to be a decision, which usually involves them having some kind of downside.” This idea is all well and good except for one small detail – there reallt are only 3 decent major glyphs; Rebirth, Wild Growth and Healing Touch. This is partially due to the previous nerf of Innervate that now makes it unattractive to cast on other people, thereby rendering the glyph of innervate pretty useless. If they want us to have more choice for glyphs rather than pick a standard set, they are actually going to have to give us a good range of glyphs to choose from that will allow players to tailor their glyphs to their role better.
No Mitigation! – As I said above as well, we don’t have shields, absorbs, mitigation etc and the developers seem completely reluctant to give us any. That’s fine and I don’t mind that, however to compensate for it we have high throughput. They massively improved Tranquility in order to give us a good 3 min raid CD, ToL buffs healing throughput as does our mastery. This means that while we may be higher than other healers on pure HPS at times, this is balanced by the fact that pure HPS is all we can do. Additionally, we make better raid healers than tank healers, so we will naturally be pumping out more healing and over a wider area than say a holy paladin on tank duty. WG is a primary spell and the major party/raid healing spell we use. By nerfing it while not giving us mitigation, they are directly reducing the capability of a druid to fulfill its primary role as a raid healer.
High throughput – This is similar to the above point. GC’s post also makes it very clear that they are wanting to nerf and limit the high throughput of resto druids. Another way to look at it though, is to buff other healers here and there so that their heals remain competitive (while allowing for the bonus of having shields etc) without relegating druids to the back seat or nerfing druids too much. Not so long ago WG was actually buffed (along with Tranq and Eff), so all our AoE healing was buffed as we were lacking in quick bursty AoE, a raid CD and so on. Those changes placed us firmly back as excellent, high throughput raid healers. It now seems they are backtracking and thinking it was too much. However, if we are high throughput, it is only because of the way we are designed. We cannot work any other way and to nerf that too much is to systematically lower to overall effectiveness of druid healers.
This is not an angry rant or such (PTR has barely been active for 36 hours or so) and everything may change before next week, it is however an impassioned plea for Blizzard to be careful in their tweaking of our class and to please not make any major mistakes. They should have plenty of class feedback by now, and I bet the majority will say “we have good solid healing, but are lacking mitigation.” I am willing to bet that few say WG is OP and needs a nerf.