- 2009/07/15 08:20:28 PM
In addition to having to give up utility in order to heal as a Tree of Life, we have become less enamored with druids locking themselves into one form. In fact, you really never see the basic tauren or night elf druid form (you know, the one that actually shows off the awesome armor art) because all druids are in cat, bear, tree, or moonkin form nearly 100% of the time. I’m not saying we would just cut Tree of Life from the game. It’s been around awhile and for better or worse, it’s part of World of Warcraft now.
However, we could see taking the druid in a direction where shifting was much more common and easy to do. Maybe you only go into tree form for certain spells but leave for other spells -- this didn’t work previously because of the high cost of shifting, but in the absence of power shifting, we’d love to get rid of the costs completely. Another way to go would be to make Tree of Life form a cooldown, more like Metamorphosis. You shift into tree when you need a healing boost, but you don’t stay in it all the time. Now, I am totally waving my arms here. This is not the kind of change you are going to see in the next patch. But it is something we’re thinking about long term, and the kind of thinking we’d love to have more feedback on from the community.
Note to other healers: this is why you are unlikely to see any kind of “Holy form” ever. Giving up healing to do damage works okay. Giving up everything to heal is lame.
Community Team: Both Tranquility and Healing Touch are meant to be strong healing spells but are generally viewed as very ineffective due to their lack of flexibility.
Q: Do we have plans to improve Healing Touch or Tranquility?
Ghostcrawler: Tranquility is a fine spell. You can use it in situations where high amounts of damage are coming in on one group. Ultimately, we’d like to get away from the concept of groups within raids, but that’s not super high priority. Having a talent that promotes a situational spell on a long cooldown though is a problem (for any spell, not just Tranquility).
Likewise, we think Healing Touch is fine. You use it at low levels and you use it with Nature’s Swiftness. Maybe you use it when healing a 5-player dungeon. Druids have a lot of heals and if we made Healing Touch more usable it would come at the expense of another heal like Nourish or Regrowth. The problem again is the talents. It doesn’t make sense to have so many talents support a situational spell.
But GC, you ask, if you know the talents are lackluster why haven’t you improved them? The answer is that Resto druids are in a really good spot now. If we changed the HT and Tranquility talents to boost other kinds of healing, then Resto druids might become too powerful. If we reduce Resto healing to compensate for these talents, then druids might have less flexibility in their talent builds. We would also suffer a lot of player backlash if we weakened spells just to make talents (which you may not be able to afford anyway) any better. We’ll suffer player backlash when we think the change is important. I’m not sure this one is. We’ll definitely rejuggle the talent tree long-term though.
Community Team: The next set of questions are related to the itemization for druids which was the source for a wide variety of questions. For one, Restoration druids feels that critical strike rating is not very helpful for them yet it is often present on the leather casting gear.
Q: Do we have plans to improve the usefulness of critical strike rating for restoration druids?
Ghostcrawler: Yes. We’re fine if some stats are slightly more attractive than others. The problem comes when some stats are considered junk because they are valued so much less than other stats. We don’t have a ton of stats to work with when you consider that things like Int and Spell Power basically improve at a linear rate with item level. That means we need for say Haste and Crit to be attractive to all casters. This is a problem with several classes, not just druids, and was largely caused by having too many scaling talents that over-inflate the value of some stats relative to others.
Community Team: Tanking druids have regularly expressed complaints on how their tanking gear was homogenized but statistics like Block and Parry do not help them and defense provides a very marginal benefit.
Q: Do we have plans to make these statistics more helpful for them since they are on a wide variety of tanking gear?
Ghostcrawler: We think it’s interesting that a bear and a warrior tank might look at the same piece of gear and place different values on it. That’s one of the elements that makes looting interesting and rewards players who understand their class. You shouldn’t take a ring because it says “TANK” on it. You should take it because it benefits you. And really, when players say “wide variety of tanking gear” they really mean rings, neck, cloak, and possibly trinkets. Currently we’re in a world where tanks emphasise Stamina and Armor as much as they possibly can, which makes other stats feel lame by comparison. But that will likely not always be the case, and we kind of doubt it will be as much of an extreme in the Coliseum.
Q: Have we considered providing more tanking leather and to prevent extra loot clutter possibly finding ways for Balance and Restoration druids to use solely cloth item since they often use them already?
Ghostcrawler: No. Druids are a leather-using class. We are just going to have to make three types of leather (melee, ranged and healing). You have to understand that even though we have pushed bears and cats farther apart, we still consider them to be part of the same spec. We can’t get into the business of itemizing for niches within a particular spec or we’re just going to have too many items per tier. I can see the argument for having tanking and dps leather and making the casters use cloth. That’s just a different design and we currently like for certain classes to be associated with certain types of armor. We like that druids look different from say priests or mages (even ignoring the forms thing). We like that we can kit druid tier piece armor to look a certain way.
Also note that if we buffed bear mitigation through more tanking-oriented leather that we’d just have to weaken them in other ways. In my experience, most bears end up with “tanking leather” anyway because they want to gem and enchant their bear gear differently. Having one set of gear that you wear as cat or bear isn’t really feasible in Ulduar.
Community Team: Many players have been discussing relics and how they feel they add a lot of clutter to loot tables since they can have a wide margin of effectiveness and always have a small number of players able to pick them up.
Q: Do we have any plans to improve how players obtain relic items such as a relic token?
Ghostcrawler: The alternative to “clutter to loot tables” is that they go on vendors. We view vendors as an absolute last resort. They are there as a hedge against being very unlucky with drops and to give players motivation to do bosses even when that boss no longer drops any upgrades for them. When the best relics are available on vendors, then every druid will have those relics quickly. They essentially just become part of the core identity of the class rather than an upgrade that you get at some point along your progression. The best solution is probably something where a boss has a 10% (or whatever) chance to drop a relic in addition to its normal loot table.
Community Team: To wrap up this Q&A, here are a couple quick questions from the far corners of druid minds.
Q: Are there any plans for a 310% speed flight form?
Ghostcrawler: At this time we want to keep the 310% flying speed very rare – maybe 5% or less of all players. If we made a flight form that less than 1% of players had access to (since probably less than a tenth of those 5% would be druids) it’s hard to argue that’s a good use of art time.
Q: What do we think about making spells like Warstomp and Innervate usable while in forms?
Ghostcrawler: We like the fact that Innervate requires shifting. We want druids to shift more. Warstomp I could see an argument to allow in forms since it’s nice (but not mandatory) that racial benefits are useful to a variety of classes.
Q: Do we plans to alter how the GCD works for form changing so that shifting into a form is as easy as shifting out of one?
Ghostcrawler: As I mentioned, long-term we’d love to get druids shifting more often, which means shifting has to be less painful. I don’t know for sure that changing the GCD needs to be a part of that, but it could be.
Q: For the official word, do we have plans to update more druid form models at some point in the future?
Ghostcrawler: I know for a fact that the current Travel Form and Aquatic Form are loathed by the artist who redid bear and cat. We do have plans to update additional forms at some point in the future.