Thursday, June 10, 2010

SPOILERS: Cata Talent Trees for Resto Druids

I don't like posting about things that might not be true, so I avoid blogging about any of the leaked data. I'm also a staunch supporter of the NDA: if someone has agreed to keep a secret, then they shouldn't betray that trust. In addition, if the developers haven't said it themselves, it's not worth believing... especially in as early a stage as an Alpha test.

Since Blizzard has now released some "official" talent tree previews (the ones at MMO-Champ have designer comments), we can now "safely" look into what they're considering for druids in regards to Cataclysm. Important note: the wowtal (mmo-champ) calculator appears to differ slightly on numbers than the wowhead calculator. I don't know at this point which is more accurate, but I'm going to guess and hope it is the wowhead calc, as the wowtal one says swiftmend heals for 1, wg got a nasty nerf, and imp bark only does 20% bonus armor.

Some other good write-ups I've seen on the resto-talent preview include Beruthiel's, Keeva's, Jasyla's, and Icedragon's.

First up, since it's my current mainspec, is Resto. I'll be looking at the feral stuff in a later post, and I'll leave balance to those who know it better :)


First Tier:
  • GONE: Imp MotW.
  • NEW: Blessing of the Grove is replacing Imp MotW and provides direct buffs to specific abilities instead. All druids will probably take it. For restos, it increases healing of rejuv by 4%; it also increases moonfire's direct damage by 4%, as with claw and shred.
  • Furor is still for non-healer specs, and appears unchanged.

Second Tier:
  • NEW: Perseverance, a pvp/survival -spelldamage taken talent.
  • Subtlety is still being looked at/considered, so is probably due for some future changes.
  • Natural Shapeshifter appears unchanged.

Third Tier:
  • GONE: Intensity.
  • Naturalist is now located here from the 2nd tier, and also reduces the cast time of Nourish. This is interesting, because that puts nourish (with 5 points) at a 1-second cast WITHOUT any haste, assuming nourish stays at a 1.5 second base cast-time. This means that it will always be clipping our GCD, based on current game mechanics. Something to keep an eye on. EDIT: it is theorized that Nourish will have a much longer cast time in Cataclysm; I cannot confirm if it is rumor/leak, or something from Blizzard itself. Regardless, this talent raises some questions about Nourish in Cataclysm.
  • OoC and Master Shapeshifter appear unchanged.

Fourth Tier:
  • Imp Rejuv now applies to swiftmend as well.
  • Tranquil Spirit appears unchanged.

Fifth Tier:
  • GONE: Gift of Nature. The raw spellpower boost will presumably be rolled up into the talent tree's masteries.
  • Nature's Swiftness and Imp Tranquility appear unchanged.
Note: Unfortunately, this does seem to be a point where I have to look at talents I'd prefer to skip in order to open the deeper tiers, with 3 talent points "free." They have discussed reworking Tranquility, so that may be where 2 points go (in addition to 3/3 subtlety, depending on what they do with it), or else into Tranquil Spirit.

Sixth Tier:
  • Nature's Bounty has been reworked significantly: it is now the pre-req for Swiftmend, it increases regowth crit by 50% WHEN the target is below 25% health, and allows your nourish and HT crits to reduce the cooldown of Swiftmend by 0.5 seconds. Since you'll be using those casted heals when swiftmend is on cooldown, I like this, though the lack of straight crit rating that this talent original gave to RG and Nourish will be missed and must be made up for with gear stats.
  • NEW: Fury of the Stormrage, appears to grant insta-cast wraths on a proc off of casting nourish/HT: something to play with and decide the usefulness of. Possibly a PvP talent.
  • Living Seed moved here from 8th tier; appears unchanged, except that it is now needed to open up a new talent in a deeper tier.

Seventh Tier:
  • Swiftmend is now opened by Nature's Bounty; otherwise appears unchanged.
  • Empowered Touch has been moved here, and reworked: it now causes Nourish to refresh lifebloom stacks on the target, while keeping HT's 20% healing boost. I have mixed feelings about this: for one, it's a "free" refresh of lifebloom. On the other hand, what if I could really use that lifebloom stack to drop while I'm spamming nourish, for the huge healing the bloom would do? Are they looking at us to use healing touch if we want the stack to drop? Is this related to a possible increase to the nourish cast-time?

Eighth Tier:
  • NEW: Efflorescence is opened here by the pre-req 3/3 Living Seed; what it does is provide a stationary AoE HoT in the location of a person you crit a regrowth on. At 7 seconds, it's got the same duration as wild growth, but it will probably have less power: 30% of the amount your regrowth healed for (I am assuming on the initial hit of the regrowth, rather than including the HoT component).
  • Empowered Rejuv now looks to include its healing bonus to Swiftmend.
  • Natural Perfection has been moved down to this rank from the 7th; it's also been nerfed, where it no longer increases your spell crit.

Ninth Tier:
  • Some big changes here.
  • Tree of Life's changes: 15% healing boost, 50% movement speed penalty, and an un-detailed "alteration" of WG, LB, RG, wrath, thorns, and entangling roots. I would guess that the Fury of Stormrage talent may play into this new ToL somehow. 45-sec duration with a 5-minute cooldown. The fact that it's a "click-use" spellpower buff is demoralizing, nevermind that it is paired with a "snare" effect; no word yet on how it will impact those specific spells.
  • The related Imp-ToL talent will reduce this cooldown further to 3.5 minutes, and apply the 15% bonus to your damage as well, rather than its old effects of increased ToL healing by spirit and increased armor.
  • Revitalize has been overhauled: we can no longer use it to grant energy to our raiding buddies, which I find unfortunate. I really enjoyed having that special ability to grant energy to the cats/rogues, runic power to the DKs, rage to the warriors/bears, and I will miss it. Disc Priests had something similar, but I still felt special with it. What it will do now is replenish 3% of our mana back to us whenever the Hot-portion of our LB and RG crits on anyone. This may be an attempt to make up for the removal of Intensity, providing an optional mana-regen talent that we can spec out of depending on our mana useage/gear.

Tenth Tier:
  • Imp Barkskin no longer reduces the dispel chance. Edit: the wowhead and mmo-champ calculators seem to disagree about how much the armor contribution will be: wowhead says unchanged (160%), mmo-champ says 20%.
  • Gift of the Earth Mother has been reworked completely: it no longer impacts spell haste, but instead increases LB's bloom healing by 20% and gives Rejuv an insta-HoT-tick for 15% of the total periodic healing (reminiscent of the set bonus). The bloom-bonus is an interesting counter-point to the earlier Empowered-Touch change, where Nourish refreshes the lifebloom duration.

Eleventh Tier:
  • Wild Growth got nerfed to a 10-second cooldown. Possibly also in spellpower: 686 base healed rather than the old 1442. 686 is according to the wowtal calculators at MMO-champ; the wowhead cata talents have it listed as 2905, instead, as does the actual post on MMO-champ's front page. I wonder which to trust? Perhaps it is confusion over spell ranks?


First Tier:
  • Genesis now boosts swiftmend as well.
  • Starlight Wrath appears unchanged.

Second Tier:
  • Moonglow now applies to Starsurge as well, a new deeper-tier balance talent.
  • Imp Moonfire nerfed; only increases damage done of moonfire (no more crit boost)
  • Nature's Majesty appears unchanged, except that it is no longer required for any Tier-3 talents.

Third Tier:
  • Nature's Splendor has been moved to a deeper tier, so we'll have to spend more points in Balance to reach it now.
  • Nature's Grace is still being looked at, so it is unknown if that will be a useful talent to resto-druids again (I'm going to bet yes given the changes to GotEM).
  • NEW: Solar Beam, looks like fun: an interrupt on your target, with a 10-sec, 10-yard cone of silence effect on that area afterwards.
  • Celestial Focus has been moved here from the 4th tier, but no longer effects spell haste. It does apply its pushback reduction to the new balance talent Starsurge, though.
  • Nature's Reach appears unchanged.
NOTE: I am unsure of where a resto druid would put the 1 extra talent point they need to open up the fourth tier. I suspect it will be in Nature's Reach, given the damage abilities granted by ToL and Fury of Stormrage in deep-resto. Celestial focus is an alternative for hibernate/hurricane pushback avoidance, though I wish it applied to cyclone as well.

Fourth Tier:
  • NEW: Lunar Justice, will drop a small, single-use mana restore (up to 6%) to whoever (friendly target) picks it up first, whenever you kill an appropriate-level target. I am curious if it requires a killing blow, or if healing (say prot paladin) while the raid kills the target will still drop the mana-cookie, granting at 1 talent point a 2% mana restore to that pally tank who happens to be standing there. The mana-drop lasts 15 seconds or until it is picked up by you or a friendly target.
  • Nature's Splendor appears unchanged, aside from being moved down here from the third tier and no longer requiring Nature's Majesty.
It is unlikely a resto druid would go much deeper into the balance tree.

So, what do you think? I'm excited about the changes, though I am still hoping that the new treeform art isn't as ugly as the old tree, and curious about what the new Treeform will actually do to our spells. There are a lot of spell-altering talents in there, even without treeform's changes, and a big flag has been raised in regards to how Nourish and Healing Touch will be used in Cataclysm.


Lolofora said...

Nourish is now 3sec cast, 2.5 sec with talent

Regrowth: 1.5 sec cast
HT: 2 sec cast with talent
Nourish: 2.5 sec cast with talent

Beruthiel said...

I have to say...I'm not really thrilled with the ToL changes.

I was expecting something more from them. Right now they are a bit blah. There was the spell power boost (which sucks as a healer...hey look! and on use trinket, just as a talent!), and then the unspecified boost.

I see a macro in my future: /cast ToL /cast my most frequently used spell

I also found it interesting that you had to take Naturalist to get to Nature's Grace. I have a bad feeling that healing in Cataclysm is going to be a lot more like Vanilla healing (yes, yes we ARE all paladins!), and a lot less like the very evovled healing we are doing today. Maybe I'm just being a negative nancy, but this focus on more "direct" healing seems a bit contradictory to having to make more "interesting" healing choices.

None of the talents really have me drooling over much. I suppose I will have to wait until it plays out some in beta/on live!

Kae said...

@Lolofora: ACK Nourish nerf!!! Is that a leak, or an official announcement, though?

...and what makes it so different from Healing Touch, then? ><

Kae said...

Beru, it is possible they are over-compensating for all the rejuv/wild-growth bots by focusing so much on the direct heals, but I think it's rather even. The nourish changes have me somewhat concerned, though. I personally enjoy a 1-second nourish, and use it regularly in ten-man raiding. Longer casts just aren't reasonable when you need so many GCDs for HoTs/Swiftmend, and the times you need to use Regrowth.

Naturalist to Nature's Swiftness does, in a way, make sense to me, especially if they're getting rid of intensity (and putting mana regen in deeper, in a new way). I am assuming you meant Swiftness rather than Grace :) Since it is applying to Nourish as well, I'm less worried about it being required for Swiftness... and would rather focus my concern on Nourish itself!

Heywood Djiblomi said...

If Nourish is now a long cast like Healing Touch, it is almost redundant. It appears that there is a bit of homogenization in healing with everyone having small, medium and large spells.

Are we healing or serving fast food? It's becoming hard to tell.

Kae said...

I'm going to hope that any sort of cast-increase like that is just a rumor made up by someone, or a leaked alpha note from something they were just testing (or was even bugged). Wait and see for the official announcement.

Jasyla said...

I'm also excited about the changes. There are a few things I love: instant rejuv ticks from GotEM and Nourish crits renewing Lifebloom stacks especially.

I think the long-cast Nourish is completely made-up or a mistake. Looking at Empowered Touch - Your Healing Touch spell gains an additional 32%, and your Nourish spell gains an additional 16% of your bonus healing effects - Nourish having a longer cast-time would be completely backwards.

I think these new changes will nicely balance out how often we use each of our different healing spells.

Heywood Djiblomi said...

"I think these new changes will nicely balance out how often we use each of our different healing spells."

That's nearly exactly what I thought in regard to Effloresence - Regrowth is actually very attractive now beyond simply being a "load the tank with HoTs as we pull" spell.

Still waiting for the incentive to break out Healing Touch outside of NS/HT macros. =)

Simon said...

I hope the Regrowth spell does get put at 1.5sec cast, I prefere Regrowth over Nourish anyway (raidhealer pov)

The instant Rejuv heal is something I'd pay money for :D (gotta love T8)

I've played every healing class in the game, and Druid is by far the most powerful in my mind (you might disagree but I feel like I can do more on my Druid than with any other class) I hope blizz will let me keep this feeling!

wtb PTR!

Anonymous said...

i think that druid healers will be complete #@?# if they make those changes to ToL, and nourish. bye bye pvp

Tsuds said...

Curious that the moonkin form in balance has not headed the same way as tree form has for us resto druids.

Kae said...

Ehh I'm not all that surprised :) Otherwise cats and bears would be cooldowns, too... we're a shapeshifter class! I'm more surprised that they backtracked on the resto druids at all, though at least they chose our (imo) ugliest form.

I am, however, disappointed with the lack of updated treeform artwork.