Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Changes I'd like to see for PvE Resto Talents

Patch: 3.1

This is a run-down of "faults" I see in the resto talent tree: those talents that I am "forced" to take but find little to no use for as a PvE healer, and the talents that I feel are relatively useless to most any type of druid, and some ideas on ways they could be changed.

3/3 Nature's Focus
What's wrong?
This talent is PvP, or solo/leveling PvE. With the advent of dual-spec, few raiding PvE resto druids are seriously soloing in their healing spec! I have little to no use for the talent, never mind that both of my "oh shit" heals are instant-cast (NS+HT, Swiftmend), along with lifebloom, WG, and rejuvenation. I can pop barkskin on a 1-min cooldown if I really need some interrupt resist.

Alternative Talents:
The alternative available is to put 3/5 points in Furor, which has no benefits for a tree druid at all.

How could it be changed?
Perhaps Furor could be given some treeform utility useful specifically to a raid setting, such as increasing treeform spirit or mp5 (would be interesting to balance in the light of all of the recent 3.2 mp5/replenish changes); Nature's Focus would then still be a talent of choice for PvP and solo/leveling builds. Alternatively, Nature's Focus could also include a buff where your helpful spells have a chance to proc that same level of interrupt reduction to your target, or provide a +healing received buff to your direct-healing target (regrowth, nourish, HT) akin to the balance talent Earth and Moon (albeit much smaller to account for its teir 1 position, and perhaps limited to only buffing your own heals/HoTs rather than everyone's).

3/3 or 2/3 Subtlety

What's wrong?
This is a pvp and leveling talent, or one for those druids whose tanks are reaaaally weak on picking up adds and keeping threat on them. Serious raiding guilds, and even most casual raiding guilds and pugs, do not have this problem. In TBC, "world threat" was a huge issue for healers, but WotLK brought with it insane amounts of increased tank AoE threat and AoE tanking. Now, if a tank has at least touched a mob, it shouldn't be running off towards the healers. If a tank hasn't touched a mob, then of all the healers, a druid's going to end up with the aggro regardless of this talent, unless they just aren't healing.

Alternative Talents:
The alternatives available would be to put those points instead into Naturalist (when I don't cast HT without NS), Furor (see comments on Nature's Focus Options above), or putting 1 of 3 of the points into Tranquil Spirit and giving up on the last two talent points as some sacrificial offering to the Spec Gods.

How could it be changed?
Well, if Furor were to be changed to have some PvE raiding tree usefulness, I could easily see moving 2 points into Furor from this tier (thus capping out Furor at 5/5 with the points from Nature's Focus). Alternatively, and I feel crazy for suggesting this, Blizzard could add more mobs/bosses that have a chance to dispel buffs, as Epoch Hunter did in Old Hillsbrad Foothills, so that our anti-dispel portion of the talent would actually feel useful.

2/2 Improved Tranquility
What's wrong?
This is, pretty much, a sub-60 (pre WG) leveling resto druid talent, or filler for those that are *purely* raid healers and choose to not cast much in the way of nourish/regrowth. As a party-only heal with a relatively long channeling time, Tranquility does not see the use it had back in the vanilla raiding scene. These two key aspects: party-only and channeled, are not addressed by the talent, only the threat (see my comments on WotLK threat in the Subtlety section above) and the cooldown (which assumes druids are using it at all). Tranquility is more often used, imho, by moonkin or feral druids, or resto druids not yet high enough level to take Wild Growth; the ferals/balance druids aren't going to invest their talent points this deep in the resto tree unless they're taking NS instead, so they won't be taking this talent. Wild Growth's introduction and 6-second cooldown more or less removed Tranquility from most raiding restos' action bars and minds.

Alternative Talents:
There are alternatives for where to put the 2 talent points, certainly; the reason I mention it is because I pity the talent. I honestly don't see many druids taking this talent, and those that do don't seem to be making regular, strong use of this talent to the degree that makes up for them not putting those points in a different talent, such as revitalize, living seed, empowered touch (particularly with the 3.2 change of adding nourish to the talent), and/or nature's grace. If it's taken, it's viewed as filler, or with some spark of hope that it may actually be useful, if they ever find a situation where they need to cast Tranquility, while remembering fondly the days of ZG and MC where pretty lights were cast frequently and with fervor. As such, I feel like it is now a dead spot in the druid talent tree, in need of some tweaks to bring it back in line with the other options available.

How could it be changed?
The talent could, perhaps instead of threat reduction, address the limitations on what players it can heal or the fact that it is channeled (cutting the channel-time in half and providing the rest of the healing by a HoT buff, for example, thus allowing the druid to continue casting other heals while the spell finishes itself). Depending on how extremely different it makes Tranquility, they may remove the cooldown-reduction from the talent to help balance the changes.

~~ What are your thoughts? ~~


Lissanna said...

yes, but as soon as they change nature's focus and subtlety, we'll probably just end up needing the original talents back again. :(

Pushback can still be problematic for raiders, and the devs could decide to make us go back to regrowth-spam any day they feel like it.

What they should do is to give resto druids a way to skip those and still have worthwhile things to invest in as we go up the talent tree.

Kae said...

That's what I was suggesting... we're stuck taking those two talents right now, so may as well make them either useful (by adding some functionality on top of what is already there) or skippable (in favor of other talents that are, in their current forms, even less attractive).

Kirstimah said...

There are fights where I want to use Tranquility, but the channel time is a pain. If I have to move for whatever reason (which WOTLK has me moving lots) most of the spell is wasted along with my mana. If I could spec into it to remove the channeling in some way that would really up the utility of it.

Most of the other healers have been able to skip their threat reduction talents (Shaman and Priests especially) whereas I feel somewhat forced to take the 2 points into just to move on to the next tier.

I don't mind the pushback talent so much. I don't feel nearly as forced to go into it as Subtlety.

However, I do agree with adding something to Furor. The other talent specs kinda have to take it so might as well make it into something resto.

Anonymous said...

Great Post Kae! You always have such interesting insights on things! =)

I still take 3/3 Subtlety by choice. I don't know if I'd consider it primarily a "pvp" talent, because I think it still has some usefulness in PvE raiding, at least for me.

I tried a spec a while back without it, and my tanks hated me and I was the but of many jokes (and rez macros!), so I picked it back up again.

I don't know if it's just me, but the threat reduction was noticible enough for me to opt for making it part of my raiding spec. On fights like Yogg or Gothik where there are mobs spawning into the event that can latch onto your heal threat while the tank is working to pick them up, I often find myself as the preferred target for vigilance from our prot warriors. Apparently I have agro issues =(

As for the other talents, I think you are correct that we could use some overhaulage! There are certainly talents that I almost never take because of their lack of usefulness, and it would be nice to have a few more options =)

I think Kirstimah is on to something with the Tranquility! If the talents could remove the channeling aspect of the spell, the talent points would become far more attractive.

Kae said...

My problem with subtlety is that even with 3/3, I still have top heal threat and pull first aggro on everything that hasn't been picked up yet. I am currently 3/3, but only because I've been too lazy to respec to put the 1 point into Tranquil Spirit's mana reductions instead >.>

Holy pallies have like zero heal threat, priests fade... druids and shaman (far as I remember, haven't run with an equally geared one in too long) get top heal aggro. The only times I don't have top heal aggro are when there's a better-geared druid or shaman, or when I'm not actually healing.

The tanks and CC save us. I position myself to put the tank between me and my aggro, and thank them for the rescue when appropriate. Whether I have subtlety or not doesn't make a lick of difference... and yes, I have raided without it before, to test :) The points just weren't worth it in Naturalist/Furor, so I dumped them back in for my *very* rare PvP stints for the dispel resist, heh.

Anonymous said...

Yes...I certainly see your point. I didn't really look at it that way, in comparison to our other healing compatriats! I sorta looked like it more "I die less with these 3 points" =)

WTB Fade!

Oh, and wtf is up with resto shaman?!?! We have trouble holding onto them, always have. The do great for a bit...and then poof! They are gone =( Maybe resto shamaness isn't that fun?

Kirstimah said...

Our shaman are the first to die on trash. At least we have barkskin.

I do end up cursing when I get agro (Hello, Thorim?).

Maybe it's time to pull out that trinket from the Keepers of Time QM that acts like a fade?

Kae said...

Ohhh Thorim arena, how I loathe it!

Step 1) Apply Hurricane to giant jormungar + trash. Or /dance.

Step 2) apply rejuv to whole arena party while the tunnel party exits.

Step 3) keep rejuvs and WG going

Step 4) AHHH AGGRO SAVE MEH... warstomp/shadowmeld

Step 5) Swiftmend the near-dead aggro puller

Step 6) AHHH AGGRO SAVE MEH... barkskin

Step 7) Innervate the OoM prot pally

Step 8) AHHH AGGRO SAVE MEH... healthstone

Step 9) reapply HoTs


Step 11) Swiftmend the near-dead aggro puller

Step 10) AHHH AGGRO SAVE MEH... run in circles, flailing arms

... you get the idea :D

Battlecattle said...

Tranquility should be changed to a 5-target-raid-wide-smart-heal/tick. Then it would be worth casting in a raiding scenario. As it stands this spell doesn't deserve a spot on your bars in raids.

And Kae, you can mostly ignore the adds on Thorim, just pop BS when the big ones come gunning for you because they will hurt! ;)

Kae said...

@BattleCow, the little adds are usually picked up by consecrate anyway, I don't worry about them :) It is the big adds that I do worry about, and pop the aforementioned cooldowns for :) Granted, as my guild has progressed in gear levels, it's become less and less an issue in the past months. Now Thorim arena is mostly an annoyance of "Are we done yet? Can we get to the real fight?"

As for not putting Tranq on your bars, there have been cases--albeit extremely rare--where I have been pushed to use it to rescue my clustered party. Actually, I even had a panicked moment on Anubarak10 where I used it, first time seeing him. My tranquility is hidden away in a 4-caster-abilities-in-one macro, however, accessed by a modifier key, and sees more use when I'm feral and running with pugs :) Definitely not something a deep-tier resto talent is going to be taken for.