Are resto druids OP? Discuss.
I have been meaning to write something like this for a while to clarify certain things about druid healing, and the recent 4.3 changes have finally given me the extra little push I needed to finish it. Before I start, I have discussed this at times with various people over twitter, email and in-game, this is not intended as a dig at them or anything – the intention of this post is to explain to those who are not aware of why druids have such a high HPS at times relative to other healers. So this will not be a discussion of anyone’s nerfs, buffs or anything like that.
Rather than keep listing the different types of mitigation and such, I will use the term “mitigation” to refer to anything that reduces (or potentially reduces) the amount of a healing a target requires; be it through an absorb, damage reduction or whatever.
So then, onto the post proper.
Ever since we druids got some attention and had a buffed tranquilty and WG, got a shiny new mastery and so so on there have been cries from other healers and even some tanks/dps that druids are OP. This perceived OP’ness comes from the fact that we are often topping the meters on pure HPS when compared to similar geared healers fulfilling a similar role. I have had all kinds of comments in game from various players suggesting that druids are obviously broken, they need nerfed and so on.
However, I do not think this is the case. The various abilities (either activated or passive), talented bonus etc that healers have fall into 2 categories – Raw Healing (heals for XXXXX, +XX% healing etc) or Mitigation (target takes XX% less damage, shield absorbs XX damage and son on). Abilities and bonus’s from both these groups range from the relatively weak to the rather powerful. Some of them are constantly active and are considered a “buff”, others are procs and others are activated for XXX with a CD of XX minutes/seconds.
Below is a list of all the abilities, talents, masteries and such for each that could be considered “mitigation” of once kind or another. The description for each is the standard in-game tooltip for the spell. The list includes only those mitigation abilities that can can be used on or affect players other than the caster.
- Aura Mastery: Causes your Concentration Aura to make all affected targets immune to Silence and Interrupt effects and improve the effect of Devotion Aura, Resistance Aura, and Retribution Aura by 100%. Lasts 6 sec.
- Illuminated Healing: Your direct healing spells also place an absorb shield on your target for 12% of the amount healed lasting 15 sec. Each point of Mastery increases the absorb amount by an additional 1.50%.
- Ancestral Healing: Reduces your target’s physical damage taken by 10% for 15 sec after receiving a critical effect from one of your healing spells.
- Spirit Link Totem: Summons a Spirit Link Totem with 5 health at the feet of the caster. The totem reduces damage taken by all party and raid members within 10 yards by 10%. Every 1 sec, the health of all affected players is redistributed, such that each player ends up with the same percentage of their maximum health. Lasts 6 sec.
Holy and Disc Priests
- Power Word – Shield: Draws on the soul of the friendly target to shield them, absorbing XXX damage. Lasts 15 sec. While the shield holds, spellcasting will not be interrupted by damage. Once shielded, the target cannot be shielded again for 15 sec.
- Power Word – Barrier: (Disc only). Summons a holy barrier on the target location that reduces all damage done to friendly targets by 25%. While within the barrier, spellcasting will not be interrupted by damage. The barrier lasts for 10 sec.
- Pain Suppression: (Disc only). Instantly reduces a friendly target’s threat by 5%, and reduces all damage they take by 40% for 8 sec.
- Divine Aegis: (Disc only). Critical heals and all heals from Prayer of Healing create a protective shield on the target, absorbing 30% of the amount healed. Lasts 15 sec.
- Inspiration: Reduces your target’s physical damage taken by 10% for 15 sec after getting a critical effect from your Flash Heal, Heal, Greater Heal, Binding Heal, Penance, Prayer of Mending, Prayer of Healing, or Circle of Healing spell.
- Guardian Spirit: (Holy only). Calls upon a guardian spirit to watch over the friendly target. The spirit increases the healing received by the target by 40%, and also prevents the target from dying by sacrificing itself. This sacrifice terminates the effect but heals the target of 50% of their maximum health. Lasts 10 sec.
As you can see, the entry for resto druid is blank. This is because we do not get a single ability, talent, bonus or whatnot that could be considered a mitigation spell. Every single one of our CDs, talents etc either is a buff solely for us (Tree of Life, Barkskin etc) or is simply based on direct throughput with no mitigation (Efflorescence, Tranquility, Swiftmend and so on).
This means that unfortunately a druid can bring nothing else to healing except a high throughput and raw HPS. Even our mastery is a direct HPS increase. Unlike priests, paladins and shaman, who between them can increase movement speed of targets, reduce incoming damage, absorb incoming damage and level out health pools, we cannot.
As we do not have any of these various forms of mitigation, we have to rely on our high HPS. We use an assortment of ST and AoE HoTs to keep the group alive, with a sprinkling of direct heals in there as well. Sometimes if the going gets tough we pop our various CDs to ensure that our output rises and sees us through the problem.
What all this means is that while a holy priest or resto shaman can effectively reduce their targets incoming damage, a holy paladin or disc priest can shield against some of it, a druid just has to accept the damage will happen and compensate accordingly with pre-hotting and then reactive healing to heal the full amount.
Now, I don’t want anyone to get the wrong end of the stick here, I do not have a problem with this style of healing as a druid. I love healing on Kat. However, as we cannot negate ANY of the incoming damage, or even help people avoid it (like with Leap of Faith or a Holy PW:S) it does mean we have to compensate with more powerful heals which it turn means our HPS may well be higher than a comparably geared/skilled priest, paladin or shaman.
All the various healing classes have to be balanced over different gear levels, encounters, raid healing, tank healing and a number of other factors. This makes balancing healers quite difficult and sometimes more difficult than balancing tanks or dps classes.
This isn’t to say that druids are certainly NOT overpowered – some aspects of druid have been a bit on the ridiculous side; take Wild Growth for one, as I have said before, that did need a bit of a reduction as it was just too good. However, on the whole druid’s are not especially over the top as we need the additional raw healing to compensate for lack of other things.
I am not crying out for other healers abilities and such – I am more than happy for the healers to remain as they are and for druids to stay without mitigation. Though if this does remain, then the players themselves need to be aware of why druids seem to be more powerful healers than the other classes.
I do not complain at other healers for being OP with their damage reduction, mitigation etc and I would simply ask that they extend me the same courtesy – please do not shout OP at me because I beat you healing done/hps despite your higher iLevel, just remember that raw output is all I have 🙂