Regional FlagFeedback on recent Druid Resto talents.Source
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#0 - 2010/06/10 07:12:56 PM
Note: I am basing these thoughts off the information found at

There are four key points I would like to touch on within the recently released Druid Restoration talent tree: main vs off spec talents, talent pre-requisites, critical effects and long cooldown based abilities.

First of all, I get that the Restoration tree is the one that both Feral and Balance are designed to subspec into and that this necessitates a little bit of catering to that end in the lower branches of our tree. However, it really feels like any points spent in the first two tiers are more for Moonkins or Bears than for Restoration. The only two talents dedicated specifically to heals barely register since Nature’s Focus only applies when you’re being hit (which healers, generally, aren’t) and Subtlety (healers have never really had threat issues and you made a point not too long ago that you wanted threat issues to be further reduced). I would love to see Blessing of the Grove improved to provide additional benefit to healers (4% to one spell is nice, but just feels lacklustre) and the only way I can see to salvage tier 2 is to add an entirely new 5-point talent designed specifically for healers (possibly something that improves Lifebloom since nothing really seems to so far or maybe something designed for mana regeneration). It’s also worth mentioning here that I am working under the assumption that Master Shapeshifter will be updated to reflect that Tree of Life form has been removed and will remain as useful to healers as it is today thus Natural Shapeshifter will be worth spending points in.

There are three talent pre-requisites within this recently released tree which just feel awkward. The first is Naturalist for Nature’s Swiftness. Now, I’m probably going to get dinged credibility points for this, but I like Healing Touch the way it is (instant cast with a 3 minute cooldown). I never cast Nature’s Swiftness without Healing Touch nor vice versa and even taking the less hectic healing proposed in Cataclysm to the absolute extreme in my mind (I’m picturing health pools instantly ballooning to four or five times their current level while neither my healing nor incoming damage increase at all) I don’t see this fact changing. Now, Naturalist is great for Bears and Cats, but all it does for a healer is lower the cast time of Nourish, which already starts at the global cooldown, and lower the cast time of Healing Touch, which is instant cast whenever I use it. Thus this dependency effectively turns Nature’s Swiftness (and thus Healing Touch for me) into an ability which costs 6 talent points to acquire (plus, it takes away my ability to see how often my Rejuv is actually ticking by looking at the Healing Touch tooltip). Similarly, (and I’ll touch on why in a moment), the Nature’s Bounty for Swiftmend dependency causes a six-fold increase in the talent cost for the latter while Tree of Life for Wild Growth dependency doubles the cost of my AoE heal.

Critical strikes while healing is something I’ve written about before, so I’ll only touch on it briefly here. Effectively critical strikes are useless to me while healing for two reasons: I can’t rely on them (a target who needs a crit but doesn’t get one dies) and they may not even do any good when they happen (a target who doesn’t need a crit but gets one sees nothing but useless overhealing). Now, the first issue is one that I can work around by obtaining a 100% crit rate (which would be ludicrous for so many reasons) or by not letting anyone get to a point where they need a crit (which, if anything, makes them even less useful) but the second is something that I can do nothing about except offer the following suggestion: allow a target of a healing critical strike who is not already above their maximum health to be healed for the full amount of the critical heal even if it would raise their current hit points above their maximum (no, I don’t really expect this, but it would handily make me value crit). Now, assuming one can understand this origin point (if you can’t, that’s okay - everyone feels differently about things and I’d never consider telling you you’re wrong, just that I disagree with you) it becomes easy to see that none of the 14 points designed to amplify or augment critical strikes are worth the pixels they’re made up of (beyond Mastery bonuses of course). This is most noticeable when five points in Nature’s Bounty are required for Swiftmend thus effectively increasing the cost of the latter by five talent points. I would be a very happy camper if at least that many talent points were added in at various places which did not work with critical strikes.

When I think of a cooldown based ability, I consider one that can be used about once per battle. Naturally as the faceroll aspect increases when overgearing happens this will change, but my need for cooldowns goes down as that happens, so it all works out in the end. There are two abilities I currently use in this category: Tranquility and Nature’s Swiftness + Healing Touch. I like these abilities since they are very effective when the poop hits the fan as they have an immediate and very noticeable effect. I have also been known to equip and enjoy a trinket with an on use effect which regenerates mana - it's nice to get that extra boost from time to time. However, those trinkets with an on use which improves spell power (or similar) only get equipped if their passive bonus is an extreme improvement. Those kinds of effects just aren’t useful to me while healing for reasons very similar to crit. I believe it’s fairly obvious by now that I’m referring to the new Tree of Life form. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not a fan of this change but it’s not one that I feel is important enough to put any effort into (although I think I will take this opportunity to say with a slight twinkle in my eye that the best parts of Bear form are that it’s trainable, there exists a talent deep in the Feral tree to give the Druid an aura while in Bear form and it “allows access to various Bear abilities”). However, I was always comforted by the fact that I wouldn’t have to spend a talent point in it if it didn’t measure up. Instead I just have to spend two talent points to access Wild Growth.

I am not looking forward to finding a reasonable talent build with these new trees. It seems to me like almost every point spent is a struggle to find the place to put it that will be the least useless while the few gems are buried underneath the larger piles of dung. I’ll make it work - I enjoy healing, I’ve grown very attached to my Druid and I look forward to growing with it after Deathwing strikes. I won’t be having nearly as much fun with the talent trees as I do today, though.

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#3 - 2010/06/11 05:14:39 AM
Couple of points...

I'm seeing a lot of Resto druids say something like "I won't take talents that buff Nourish and Healing Touch because I won't use those spells." You will probably use those spells more in Cataclysm. That doesn't mean you won't also be using Rejuv, Regrowth and Lifebloom.

Critical heals aren't useful now because they often just result in overhealing. In a game in which your heals aren't always topping someone off, then a critical heal represents a lot of "free" healing which saves you both GCDs and mana. It's in players' nature to want to minimize the impact of random elements, but you should be careful not to marginalize anything that gives you extra healing just because it isn't 100% predictable.