Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Tier Six Talent Revamp

There has not been much Druid news coming out of the beta recently, and I was starting to assume that meant druids were done. That wouldn’t be an entirely bad thing either. On paper I like the over all design of the moonkin play style. However, there are some areas that I thought could use improvement. The most notable example of area needing improvement was tier six talents (lack of moonkin glyphs is a very close second).

While I had given up on the possibility of changing the tier six talents, others had not and Blizzard listened. So the good news is we get kick ass new talents and Lissanna can awake from her depression and stop cutting her self with an icky mage. Here are my more detailed thoughts.

Disentanglement — no longer a talent. Shapeshifting for all druids just breaks roots.
I completely agree with Lissanna’s assessment here. Disentanglement was a boring talent in a boring tier. Breaking roots by Shapeshifting has been baseline for druids as long as I’ve played this game and that should never have changed. Losing the heal that Disentanglement provided sucks a tiny bit, but we druids have so many other self healing options that it isn’t a big deal at all.

Dream of Cenarius:
Dream of Cenarius — increases damage spells by 70% (up from 30%)..
From a PvE Moonkin perspective, Dream of Cenarius is probably the new blah talent of the tier, and when we look at the two other options below you will see that it really suffers by comparison. It has two issues.

First, no one is going to take a healing buff over a DPS buff. That is one of the primary reasons for redesigning the talent system again. So we can completely ignore that part of the talent for now. Second, any time I can cast Nourish or Healing Touch, I can cast a nuke. The only exception is when there isn’t a valid target, and that doesn’t happen that often during fights.

Finally, there has been some speculation on EJ that we could use a short heal like Regrowth to buff a long nuke like Starfire, or use a heal to buff a strong spell like FoN, Starsurge, or Starfall. As has already been pointed out on EJ, Regrowth is now a resto only spell so that idea won’t work, but it may be beneficial to use to buff our stronger spells. That said, I don’t have high hopes for that possibility. It would likely be a tiny improvement that required a heavy handed use of mechanics to achieve. The other options are easier and likely stronger. I expect most PvE players will ignore this one, but it could be huge in PvP.

Heart of the Wild:
Heart of the Wild — now also grants 6% passive Agility and Intellect.
While writing this post, I was tweeting about the changes with Lissanna, Hamlet, Murmurs, and others, and I was surprised that several of them were still quite negative on Heart of the Wild after this change, but I can see their point. Adding a 6% passive intellect bonus to HotW is a bit like redoing the kitchen in a house with a bad foundation. Sure, it’s nicer and more useful but none of the fundamental problems have been addressed.

As I and many other people have said before, expecting players to change roles temporarily is going to be problematic for quite a few reasons that I won’t get into again. However, this change is good because if for nothing else it give us a useful talent and it give Blizzard and opportunity to show that their base design of Heart of the Wild is useful.

Nature’s Vigil:
Nature’s Vigil — Increases all damage and healing done by 30% for 30 sec, with a 3 min cooldown. While active, all healing spells also damage a nearby target for 50% of healing done, and all damage spells and abilities also heal a nearby friendly target for 50% of the damage done.
To be honest, this sounds pretty amazing. I don’t have a whole lot of criticism for this new ability. A 30% DPS buff over 30 seconds is pretty strong and the healing it generates sounds great as well. I really have only two minor concerns.

The first concern is that the two aspects of this spell address competing goals. To maximize the DPS potential of this ability you will have to cast it on cooldown and use the healing component at times when it may not be useful. To maximize the utility of the healing component you may not be able to cast it on cooldown and limit its DPS potential. However, this is a reasonable choice and one that makes playing the game interesting.

The second set of concerns, are really just unanswered questions about the healing mechanic that will probably be answered once it gets on the beta server. For example, how does it choose who to heal? Is it a target of target type of situation or is it a smart heal that picks the lowest person in range. Also, what is the range of the heal? If I’m DPSing Goriona on the Blackhorn encounter does no one get healed because no one can get in melee range?

Over All Impression:

Over all these are big improvements to the tier. As several people have pointed out there are still several issues with the talents that we can criticize. However, no one can deny that these changes move the tier from being a boring after thought to providing a more interesting choice with a significant impact.

If all this went live my guess is that Nature’s Vigil would win out as the most common choice. In terms of pure DPS math it likely ties or wins when compared to the straight 6% Int boost provided by HotW. In terms of utility, it also likely wins since Heart of the Wild is a very situational and Nature’s Vigil doesn’t require a moonkin to stop DPSing.


stiubhart said...

Maybe this is more clear in the actual description, but is the 6% boost to intelligence and agility always on or just for the duration of hotw?

Doc is not going to be a good choice for PVP since it is only for cast time spells, iirc. With healing touch being the only single target one of those for non-restos, that is too much time to waste. Starfire is hard enough to cast.

Sabnock said...

"Heart of the Wild — now also grants 6% passive Agility and Intellect." is equal to "Please! Try to consider me!", because all the main problems of HotW are essentially unchanged.
Sure, it can be good, but tanking a talent like this for a boring passive, don't change the fact that it is still a meh talent.

Valartha said...

I know this is an old post, but I've no idea where else I can put this. I'm still wishing that Blizzard would consolidate the two CC tiers into one, with Bash going back to a feral/guardian ability, the 45 talents being Disorienting Roar, Mass Entanglement, and Typhoon, and the 75 tier being a survivability CD. Wishful thinking tier:

Blessing of Aessina - regenerates 2% health every 2 seconds (passive)

Shell of Tortolla - prevents all damage for 6 seconds, but you're unable to move, attack, or cast spells (3 min CD)

Fury of Goldrinn - returns X% of damage taken for 15 seconds; if at or below 35% health, has a chance to trigger a self-heal equal to the damage returned (3 min CD)

I know, I know, I stole Spirit Bond and a weaker version of Ice Block. But these are things that make sense, and are connected to appropriate ancients, thus have appropriate druidic context. It's also, in my opinion, an interesting choice for all specs and play styles.