I’ve had some ideas swimming in my brain for a while now, and thought “what the heck, why not share them?” since now seems to be a good time for changes before the xpac, so here goes…
Disclaimer: I have a disorder which causes me to not be able to communicate as well as others so I’ll just try to keep it to a bulleted list of my thoughts to avoid rambling.
- I am passionate about restoration druid. I also like Brewmaster, Assassination rogue (RIP since 9.1 ) and affliction warlock, so it would more accurately seem I am passionate about over-time damage and healing profiles in general
- I really like restoration druid mastery. I understand it is situational and divisive and even though I agree with arguments against it, I still end up firmly in the “love it” camp
- I feel an immense desire to take Nourish as a talent. For reasons others have already pointed out and I’m not going to re-hash, this is not a good choice and I recognize that. I do NOT take it when I’m trying to perform at my best, but I DO take it from time to time when I’m dorking around in M+ that aren’t pushing my envelop because the truth is, there are a handful of times it is a button that feels really satisfying to push (even if regrowth would have effectively accomplished the same thing).
- I generally prefer standard rotation buttons over cooldowns, a few cooldowns is fine but I generally feel the tradeoff for powerful abilities should be resource expense/efficiency rather than “we don’t want you spamming it so we’re going to put a cooldown on it”. For example, swiftmend/nature’s_swiftness, I feel, should be spammable but expensive. As it stands, it’s just powerful/efficient and keeping it on cooldown is generally a good idea (if possible without wasting it on overhealing), rather than keeping it for emergencies (which I think is the intent).
- There are lots of [valid] ways to play resto druid. I, personally, like to use Spring Blossoms, Cultivation, Germination, Verdent Infusion, and Adaptive Swarm with lots of mastery. My general thoughts on this is to use swiftmend primarily to keep as many hots up on the tank for as long as possible with minimal maintenance. This allows me to kitty-weave dps during down times and give the DPS players “special attention they deserve” when they stand in bad without worrying about falling behind on the tank. Verdent infusion creates an interesting interaction with it which is fun (and I use) but compounds the swiftmend design issue, now instead of having it available for emergencies I use it on cooldown on the tank (even if it will overheal) to reduce HoT maintenance and increase mana efficiency – the opposite of what I think swiftmend is intended to be used for, and the legendary effectively “consumes” my swiftmend ability, as it’s almost never used for maximum healing.
My thoughts on dragonflight talent tree:
-Firstly, I think there is a lot to like about the dragonflight talent tree.
-Ultimately, I’d be fine if it went live in its current form; you didn’t break my spec and gave me a few options to play around with to boot. Generally looking forward to the talent tree.
-That said, I feel very strongly that it is a missed opportunity to ignore “the nourish problem”
-If nourish was already a debatably “not worth it” talent then the new talent “flash of clarity” is the nail in the coffin for nourish (and ironically a requirement to get nourish, along with omen of clarity – holy crap dudes… seriously)
-I don’t think it would take much to correct the issue though, just a couple ideas that are minimal changes:
- The talents that buff regrowth also buff nourish and simply adjust the numbers as necessary (at the very least omen of clarity and flash of clarity affects nourish since they are prerequisites). Regrowth would shift and be treated as a hot. It would still be cast and maintained but the initial heal would just be a bonus and Nourish would fill the “this target is fully hotted and now I’m blasting it with direct heals” role. This would make nourish the clear winner on a hotted target at the cost of an extra button to push, increased cast time, and only being viable after hots have been applied – I think this was the original intent; “apply regrowth if the hot doesn’t exist, or to refresh the hot, if the target still requires additional big heals use nourish” or it was meant to be a tank heal, but that fell short due to long cast time and overhealing – more on this later
- …or… allow us to take nourish and NOT invest talents into buffing regrowth; the benefit for taking nourish (and an extra button to push just to maintain comparable output/efficiency/power vs regrowth spam) could be that talent points are freed up to spend elsewhere. As it stands, we cannot get to nourish without taking omen of clarity and flash of clarity, two direct buffs to regrowth – it just doesn’t make sense to buff the main competing spell as a perquisite to nourish. To re-iterate: the tradeoff for taking nourish [an extra button to push] doesn’t have to be increased power over regrowth, it could just be that we get to save a few talent points (which would otherwise be spent on regrowth buffs), even omen of clarity and flash of clarity prerequisite issues aside, we have to either take abundance or improved regrowth to get to tranquility (yes, big hard pass on cenarion ward for me… short but powerful hot, 30 second cooldown, situational, more maintenance/CD headaches, no thanks, but just in general saying “if you take nourish and don’t want to buff regrowth you are also stuck with cenarion ward sucks – but I digress). And it is difficult, in general, to get to the 5th talent tier without taking some buffs to regrowth as fillers or content specific talents like Waking Dream (mostly raid?). IE, if I don’t want natures swiftness or cenarion ward or waking dream, it’s actually impossible to take nourish and still get to tier 5 talents while avoid all other regrowth buffing talents. There is also the opportunity cost to consider. Forcing partial investment into regrowth via omen of clarity and flash of clarity to get nourish sticks us in the mentality “I’ve already spent a couple points buffing regrowth, might as well invest the rest”
- …or… baking the talent into regrowth, say, giving regrowth 50% more benefit from mastery (1.5x effectiveness), abandoning nourish as an extra button to push since we are still struggling to give it contrasting identity from regrowth. If gone this route I think one should actually have to choose between this talent and abundance – I’m actually NOT a fan of this, prefer nourish to be an additional button in our toolkit rather than just doubling down on regrowth. That said, it does maintain synergy between the talent and mastery, and can make gearing/talents more intertwined/complex/interesting. IE you wouldn’t necessarily take this if you don’t have/want mastery as a secondary stat, but it suddenly becomes very appealing and worth a talent point if you happen to have a lot of mastery. Maybe even making it a two talent point investment for 50%/100% mastery benefit (more cost/benefit, while entirely optional)
- …or… Making nourish a flat buff to mastery – say, 5% or x rating, abandoning nourish as an extra button to push but still emphasizing mastery and hot stacking as a playstyle.
- …or… If everything else was the same as it is now, simply shortening the cast of nourish would go a long way to making it more viable. Make no mistake, the longer cast time is a big deal. It means more wasted overhealing (one of nourish’s biggest issues) and more time spent hard casting heals in general that could be spent applying other hots or dps weaving. Part of making nourish shine is spending globals on applying and maintaining hots ahead of time, but nourish taking 2s to cast (and not having some other benefit to make up for it, like extending hots on the target by x seconds) feels counter productive; the more you cast nourish, the harder it is to maintain the hots. Honestly, I’d like to see other changes instead of making nourish have the same cast time as regrowth, but this could be a good fallback/compromise.
- …or… Nourish extends the hots on your target by 1s, OR now refreshes regrowth to its full duration. Same as now but removes some of the guilt associated with casting it over regrowth. Regrowth, in addition to just being a competitive heal on its own has the added benefit of renewing it’s own hot on the target. Adding a hot duration extending effect to nourish could give it an edge on hotted targets and minimize the cost of wasting extra time hard-casting - I feel if none of the above suggestions are implemented, this is like a “bare minimum”
Now lets discuss ways to fix nourish with more interesting changes/ideas/reworks (and consequently less likely to be implemented?). To pull off a world where nourish and regrowth can co-exist one or the other of them would need to have an identity change so they don’t trample each-others use-cases. And considering regrowth is baseline and nourish is a talent/optional, I think we have no choice but to leave regrowth as the go-to direct heal and be somewhat spammable. This leaves changing the identity of nourish. Here’s some ideas I think are only “small” reworks but could carve out a spot for nourish to live happily along-side regrowth without being mandatory:
- Nourish benefits from mastery for all active hots (NOT triple for hots existing on target)
Identity: Emergency role, make it inefficient/big/fast/expensive heal, still has good mastery synergy and requires hots to be rolling but doesn’t require the target specifically to be hotted, leave regrowth for spamming/efficiency/goto/tank
Comments: Can be cast on anyone as long as hots exist on the group, still interacts well with mastery, fills a bit of a hole on how to help people who don’t currently have hots on them. Still should shorten the cast time on this to 1.5s base, 2 sec is too long to fill this hole since it would shine as an emergency heal
- Nourish can consume up to X healing over time buffs from other players to boost the heal
Identity: Big/Fast/Expensive spender heal, emergency role, inefficient due to consuming hots you’ve already spent mana on, IE you wouldn’t want to spam it, creates contrast between regrowth/nourish use cases
Comments: Converts gameplay to more of a builder/spender play-style, build up hots and choose where to spend them. Hots could be treated as “healing batteries” adding some complexity/fun factors to managing your hots. Devs would be free to make it a quick/powerful emergency heal 1.5s or even instant cast; the trade off would be spending mana to consume hots you’ve already spent mana on being inefficient and eventually running out of hots to power it up all-together. IE you wouldn’t want to spam it, especially if insufficient hots are available to consume or the group is taking heavy AOE dmg, reducing overlap between regrowth/nourish use cases
- Nourish – instant cast - Consume up to X healing over time buffs from other players to heal the target
Identity: Same as above but instant cast at the expense of relying solely on having hots already rolling (no base heal component) and potentially consuming more hots than the previous suggestion, depleting your “healing batteries” quicker and getting you into trouble quicker if spammed.
Comments: I think there is opportunity for a cool graphic with these two suggestions, think a vacuum sucking in the hots to the target, similar to DH or brewmaster sucking in their healing orbs.
- Nourish is now a channeled spell – While channeled, heal the target for X every 0.5 sec and all active hots heal the target instead of the player they are applied to
Identity: Emergency heal that could also be efficient in certain situations but not spammable due to its nature. Built-in mastery synergy as it requires hots being stacked on the party to be good, not being spammable keeps identity contrast with regrowth, regrowth will still be the goto direct heal. Not great solution to AOE dmg but could effectively serve as a “mini/selective spirit link totem” borrowing heals from other players to bring the target player health (presumably the lowest) up.
Comments: First, the big trade off is channeling, channeling sucks. It means you aren’t doing anything else, can’t do it while moving even if it’s an efficient heal (and an argument could be made that re-directing hots that would otherwise overheal other players could make this VERY efficient – and interesting gameplay). Still has the tradeoff of “while using this ability, you aren’t building up hots”, and if used irresponsibly you could find hots dropping off folks and falling behind over-all.
- Nourish overheal is converted into a shield and a healing absorb is created for the shielded amount
Identity: Strong/efficient tank heal, basically it’s what it could be now if overhealing wasn’t an issue, regrowth still left to quick/emergency/spamming heals on folks not fully hotted up, but you could switch to nourish once hotted up without regrets when it inevitably over-heals because someone beat you to it or you get that elusive crit with fantastically large but ultimately moot numbers.
Comments: This could be interesting. It would allow for nourish and regrowth to co-exist but nourish could be a solid tank heal even with the longer cast time. Ideally, you’d only cast it on someone who is fully hotted up and still needs significant healing (now or soon), it would shine as a tank heal when lots of incoming damage is inevitable, and less great on dps who have taken a big hit but won’t take any more. It could also be really effective at healing dps who have large dots or incoming damage on them (inferno bolt second boss Lower Kara, giant lazer last boss Workshop, “time to feed” third boss Iron Docks, etc). See, when nourish doesn’t overheal, it feels good. I mean really, really, great. But it overheals a lot, and when it does, it feels not just bad but terrible. Not only was your heal wasted from nourish itself but now your hots are overhealing too (and since you are not incentivized to use nourish on non-hotted targets, ick). In contrast to how stagger (as a tank mechanic) lets you “deal with immediate damage later”, this would allow you to “deal with later damage immediately”, an interesting concept I’d like added to the game even if it doesn’t end up in the resto druid toolkit specifically; nourish overhealing and identity crisis (and resto druid emphasis on heal-over-time healing profile in general) just seems like a good opportunity to slip it in. It has the potential to be fun and balanced if properly implemented, converting overhealing to a shield would, by itself, be overpowered, but adding the healing absorb effectively negates that or even creates a liability if the shield is not absorbed by additional incoming damage. That said, on a fully hotted target, the hots that would otherwise overheal would chew threw that heal absorb quite nicely, negating that liability and ensuring you are getting value from your nourish that would have otherwise been wasted – the numbers on this would definitely need to be watched/balanced closely to make sure it isn’t overpowered but I’d still love to see it in some way. The fact that it applies a shield AND a healing absorb on its own means it shouldn’t be spammed (the healing of the second cast on a target would be absorbed by the first healing absorb if it hadn’t been dealt with). Basically, you get one free overheal, but “don’t do it again!”
- Nourish – instant cast – Swap hots on the target with a target with lifebloom applied (preferring targets with the most hots in the event two targets have lifebloom).
Identity: No longer a direct heal or tank heal but allows you control of your existing hots. Could be used in variety of scenarios (emergency borrowing healing from the tank, and hard target swaps like “Time to feed” [third boss in Iron Docks]) and even serve to compliment regrowth rather than compete with it (juicy regrowths could follow).
Comments: Would like to see this off the global cooldown, or even castable while casting, so you could immediately follow up with a swiftmend or natures swiftness-regrowth. If you’ve already put a rejuv on the target you wouldn’t lose it since it would swap to the tank (who will need attention soon enough). The cost is spending mana to “fix” where you put your hots (mana already spent). An interesting “minimalist” resto druid gameplay could emerge where you don’t hot everything, but heavily hot one person and simply move them around as necessary. Overall, a cool, but not necessary idea, as a talent should be.
Now lets move on from slight reworks into territory that is more “bigger reworks and much less likely to be implemented” – hey I can dream. Again, I’m a bit obsessed with Monk stagger (borrowed time), damage-over-time and healing-over-time damage/healing profiles so I can’t help myself on these ideas and I apologize in advance if I sound like a broken record. I really think we should start seeing healers have some control over damage profiles outside of external cooldowns that simply reduce damage intake. Stagger (borrowed time) inspired abilities, or even blood DK (reset damage) inspired abilities to compliment the tanks toolkits we group with, could be really fun. I don’t think that every tank should have access to every tank damage profile, because I like tank identities, but giving healers ways to implement these concepts in limited fashions could be interesting. For example, making Ironbark cause the target to stagger 20% dmg rather than increase hot effectiveness could be fun! Anyway, on to the ideas:
- Nourish – Replaces swiftmend, swiftmend no longer requires or consumes a hot, and swiftmend applies a healing absorb (or dot) for the amount healed. (Verdent Infusion – swiftmend only extends hots on targets with lifebloom OR Verdent Infusion - swiftmend extends the hots on your lifebloom target(s) by x (reduced amount) seconds whenever swiftmend is cast [on anyone])
Comments: Swiftmend solidifies itself as the emergency heal, no longer have to balance using it on cooldown as an efficient heal vs keeping it available for emergencies. Removing the CD means it needs some kind of “cost” so it’s not spammable – hence the healing absorb – it effectively heals for [net] 0 but provides a lot of potential utility in the process. Can save someone in the event they stand in bad twice, but not thrice, (first was the dmg, second was the dmg after you used swiftmend) and allows you to deal with the dmg over time (YAY HOTS!) or gives you time to ramp up heals for big predictable follow-up damage but doesn’t straight up save someone over and over if they keep standing in bad. Other players who are helping you heal would gobble up that healing absorb rather than over-heal, which would be cool group synergy. BUT, and this is why it needs to be instant cast, if they land their heal first, you would still overheal and it would still be wasted (but no healing absorb to deal with). A good way to add different playstyle but not without it’s drawbacks
- Nourish – instant cast – heals the target immediately for X and “borrows time against the target’s wounds”, placing a healing absorb on the target for that amount
Comments: Basically the same as above but doesn’t replace swiftmend – swiftmend lovers can rejoice as the two abilities co-exist at the low-low cost of having an extra button to push. Adjust healing numbers appropriately since it’s extra power to have both
- Nourish – No longer a direct heal or additional button but each of your heal over time effects on the target allow them to stagger damage according to your mastery rating
Comments: Multiplicative and diminishing so that values above 100% stagger are not possible. IE 10% mastery means 10%/19%/27.1%/34.39%/40.05%/46.85%/52.17%/etc based on hot count. Leaves regrowth alone but doubles down on mastery as a “cool stat” (and could even help deal with group spike damage if pre-hotting as a good druid “should” :P) without actually reducing intake damage or increasing healing output (if we ignore the fact your tank staggering damage reduces overhealing from your hots – but hey, if an entire tank class can do it at much higher values and they aren’t banned from grouping with resto druids, it can’t be that overpowered, can it?). Would need to stack (again, multiplicatively, and diminishishing not additively, with brewmaster stagger) and allow values greater than 80% stagger to not be a wasted talent on brewmasters – or have the nourish talent be a choice node, where hots could apply stagger based on mastery OR a shield based on mastery (with some kind of hard cap or other buff-terminating mechanic, like not possible to sheild over 100% max health)