I’m going to start with an assumption;

If you read my blog, you also read MMO Champion, WoW.com, or the main forums, and are plugged into the “WoW news” scene, such as it is.

If not, that’s okay. I’m sure you’ll get the gist of what’s going on with Druids soon enough.

The proposed Feral changes, such as they were, were pretty good.

Plenty of stuff made me smile in the announcement, not least of which was the announcement of a new AoE threat/damage boosting ability, Thrash.

That’s nice, I think it’ll be fun in execution. However, once again, I refer you to a previous post, wherein I pointed out we have no idea how any change will actually work. The assumption would be that adding a new ability, Thrash, would add to Threat generation. However, in execution, if they dial down Swipe’s Threat/Damage as they add Thrash, balance them out so we need to use both together to equal today’s Swipe… well, see what I mean about not making silly assumptions as to how things will work until we actually get the game changes in our furry little paws? 

What mostly brought a smile to my face was the way the tanking announcements, in general and across the board, all said that the intended goal was to balance damage dealing capabilities across all tank types. To have tools in place so that if any one tank class gets ahead of the pack, they can reign them in, or if one lags behind, they can pull that one up by the bootstraps.

The concern I have is that the term they use is damage, not Threat, when talking about balance. I know that many tanks worry about damage generation comparisons with other tanks, and that there has been a lot of complaining about the high damage output of some tank classes.

I don’t care nearly as much about damage output balance as I do about threat. I really hope that when they are talking about balancing damage amongst the tank classes, they also mean threat output.

The main point to take away from tank announcements is that they are trying to change the underpinnings of the abilities and mechanics so that they have easier tools at hand to balance the classes when they decide it’s needed.

I imagine that’s one of the reasons that the Paladin review is so delayed. Paladins have a very fine tuned, race car style performance when it comes to threat and damage generation. Messing with any of it is going to cause a lot of headaches for all concerned. 

As far as Bears go, with Vengeance, and damage reduction and Thrash and everything, it looks to me that Bears will do about as well as could be expected. Tools are being added to increase the complexity/diversity of the Bear playstyle, increase our group utility (Movement speed buff? Cool!), improve AoE threat generation (hopefully with Thrash) and keep our gear diversity intact.

The only fly in the ointment would be the lack of an announced ranged Silence pull, while in their infinite wisdom they gave Rogues (Rogues?) a Smoke Bomb to force ranged spellcasters to close to melee.

Did I actually expect to get a ranged Silence pull? No, I did not. Bears have so many other tools from Cat using the same gear and (mostly) same spec, PLUS self-Heals, that I figured, from a PvP standpoint, there was just no freaking way we’d get one.

If you don’t like it, play a Pally, right? We’re Bears. Toughen up, sunshine!

I will add that while I like the Smoke Bomb idea for our Ninja leather-wearing brothers and sisters, if you can do that, c’mon guys… hows about giving a Bear a fart cloud? Although, come to think of it, that would be more along the order of a Fear, wouldn’t it?

Hmmm. Actually, a fart cloud that stuns enemies in an AoE would be fun. I bet they can’t do it because you wouldn’t be able to put in diminishing returns for the effect…

Oh well, lesson here is, Bears, make sure your best friend is a Rogue, I guess. Good thing I married one. :)

As far as Cats go, they said that there would be no new earthshaking, wonderful new spells. They like the rotation so much, they don’t want to fiddle with it. However, they WILL extend debuff durations and things, so there is a slightly looser window to get each ability off that depends on a previous debuff being in effect on the target, making the rotation a little more forgiving to a slight blunder.

Restoration Druids aren’t expecting to get any new spells either; Blizzard thinks the ones we have fill all the required niches.

I can feel the desire for new shinies, but I honestly don’t need something new just to have a happy button added to my bar. I look at all the excess buttons on some of my classes, like all the buttons for abilities my Mage alt almost never uses, and figure that I’m good with having a tight group of abilities that all work well together.

I don’t play a Moonkin, personally, but I love the form. I would like to say one thing about their new spell.

Why, oh why, do Druids get to be the ones bringing the magic shrooms? Now there’s nothing for it but that I go grind Sporregar rep to Exalted so I can wear the Magic Mushroom purple tabard, proclaiming my hippy druggie status to the world. 

Okay, so I’m laughing on the inside. Trust a Moonkin to look at the enemy and think, “What you really need, what you really need right now, is to get high. Here, have one of these. Oh my, look at the pretty stars. And the lights! The beautiful, glowing, pretty lights. Oh, wait, those are my spell effects as I blow you the hell up…”

Lets move on to what is shaping up to be the big drama of the teasers; Treeform on cooldown.

If you follow Restoration Druid blogs to any extent, you might have noticed a stirring in the branches, as the winds of discontent blow through the community.

Down and dirty, they’re planning on changing Treeform from being a discrete form that Druids shift into, and make it similar to a long cooldown buff. 

This changes it from being the form you are in while being a Healer fully specced into Restoration, and makes it more a “For 30 seconds you are in the form of a Tree, and healing power/whatever is increased by X amount. 2 minute cooldown.”

Or 5 minute cooldown. Or something.

The point is, it goes from being what it is now, a shapeshifting form exclusive to the deep Restoration tree, and reduces it to just another spell in the rotation. 

Now, Druids are unlikely to get a lot of outside sympathy for being unhappy about this. From the outside looking in, it resembles a simple complaint about a cosmetic change, and Ghostcrawler has already replied, saying that if Druids are so adamant about having a Tree form, they could add a Minor Glyph that would leave the Treeform appearance up all the time, but would leave the new mechanic unchanged.

I’d like to try and present a Druid’s viewpoint that cuts to the core of the matter without silly drama.

World of Warcraft has, as a large part of it’s charm, both a romantic and a mathematic side of the game.

The mathematic is represented by all things analytical; stats and mechanics and DPS curves and damage reduction by armor with diminishing returns, and all of the other things that allow a dedicated theorycrafter an opportunity to min/max their performance.

The romantic is represented by the graphical style, the non-combat pets, the rare and exotic pets Hunters can tame, the varying landscapes and cultures to visit, the tabards to wear, the mounts to ride, the clothing and gear that changes your entire appearance, the view of the tumultous sky over the mana engines of Netherstorm and the peacefulness of fishing the pools while watching the Sun set across the sea in Wetlands.

The game is not just stats and power curves and progression. It is not just preparing for, and engaging in, battle. If it were, it would be Squad Leader with a bare bones graphics interface on a Hex map.

It has those elements, that depth of complexity. But it also has the whimsical, the romantic, the things that bring the game world alive and make it so much more to a player than a set of stats on a cardboard placard or a token on a map.

The way the game is designed, and part of the continued draw of the game for me is the extent to which I can develop an emotional attachment to the characters.

It is, at it’s heart, what differentiates an MMORPG from an RTS; that I have a single character whose story throughout the World of Warcraft has some measure of escapist value for me.

Where the problem here comes in, is that from what Ghostcrawler has said, the developers are approaching this issue with only one concern; stats and effects during raids and combat.

Where the players that have Restoration Druids are coming from, is mainly from the point of view of any player with an emotional investment in the character they play.

To us, our Treeform is an ability that shows our heart is in healing. Much like Moonkin form, it is far enough down the Restoration Talent Tree that you don’t just take it as part of a hybrid spec. You have to be intending to Heal as your main function, you have to really dedicate yourself to being a supporting healer to be a Tree.

I know I’m only speaking for myself on this, but to me, I don’t see the lack of offensive spellcasting abilities in Treeform as a detriment to playing my class; I see it as a mark of honor and distinction, and symbol of my dedication to keeping your ass alive.

I don’t ever find myself railing at the cruel fates that have prevented me from casting DPS spells from Treeform. In the rare occasions that I throw down a Hurricane, mostly during the Shifted phase of the wraith boss in Violet Hold to kill the adds, I accept dropping out of Treeform as the cost of dealing damage, and I return to Treeform as soon as my brief foray into causing pain is over.

I know that Ghostcrawler seems to feel that the Treeform mechanic doesn’t add anything to the game, it doesn’t bring anything special to the Restoration Druid’s table.

It does.

What it brings is Treeform itself. What he just doesn’t seem to grasp is that Treeform, for a Restoration Druid, is a goal in and of itself. Not something to be pity Glyphed, but an outwards symbol of a Druid Healer’s resolve.

I truly hope that the developers that are trying to balance this incredibly complex game for raiding and PvP in cataclysm are reminded that there is a lot more to the game then stats.

At the end of the day, what keeps us all playing this rather than Star Fleet Battles on a MUD is our personal involvement with our characters. Our emotional investment in the class that we play.

Character involvement can be a fragile thing, and I truly hope that, before making such a significant change, the devlopers take a big step back and ask themselves; is what we expect to gain by making this change worth all that we WILL lose in terms of player goodwill?

60 Responses to “So, Druids gonna see some change, huh?”
  1. Russ says:

    RE: the Tree of Life change

    As someone who plays feral but is leveling a 2nd druid for the SPECIFIC PURPOSE of having a tree form, I see myself as both someone looking in from the outside and someone who is there as well. I got my tree less than two weeks ago, and it was the most excited I have been about that toon so far. One of the really cool things about the game, in my opinion, whether in BGs or raid situations, is seeing the trees running around casting heals like gifts from the heavens. The animations are really good, and the form itself is iconic and lends to the fantasy aspect of the game. I wanted to be one of THOSE.

    “So, uh, we got this… tree-guy… to help us out. He’s gonna keep us alive.”

    “Really?” Looks up at the tree with great respect, and nods. “Awesome.”

    And as some have already pointed out, those resto druids who RP and have the tree as a major part of their back story are going to have some real adjustments to make, sadly.

    So yeah, while a sympathy “Glyph of Tree of Life” is not as cool as just leaving the form constant, it would be better than no option at all. Here’s hoping that it comes to pass.
    .-= Russ´s last blog ..Is WoW broken? =-.

  2. Naturalregis says:

    *waits for others to comment first*
    Okay, good.

    Me, I just don’t understand why they want to make the change the way they do. I just associate druids with forms – it’s what distinguishes them. And as such, they get some specific benefits for having those forms (and appropriate talents).

    So, this is predominantly a feral druid blog – I shall ask you this: How would you feel if BEAR form was on a 30second/2min CD rotation.

    From my perspective, the principle is kind of the same.
    .-= Naturalregis´s last blog ..Pugging as a tank =-.

  3. Kattrinsaa says:

    mmm shroooms… /evilgrin

    now that I have my tank gear over the 4k gearscore mark. it’s time to work on my boomer gear again to improve it past naxx25 items. I can’t waits to throw out some shrooms man.. and like bbb, will go get the sporeggar tabbard. pity you don’t see the bloody tabbards in moonkin form.

    The treeform thing is insulting.. I’d be mad as a hornet if they took my feathers and antlers from me.
    .-= Kattrinsaa´s last blog ..Paw N mouth disease =-.

  4. Sim says:

    @ Naturalregis

    As silly as this sounds, from the perspective of a feral/resto druid, I would be more comfortable with a bear cooldown than a tree cooldown, and I really don’t know why.

    Perhaps what it comes down to is that I am a bad healer. On both my different healing toons (druid and shaman) throughput cooldowns rarely get used. Sure I’ll toss out a Nature’s Swiftness insta heal, or cast tranquility every once and a while, but trinkets and such just get macro’d to some useful heal and then ignored. I guess I just don’t heal that many fights where I have a predictable time when extra power is needed. When I tank however, cooldowns are a part of survival. You learn when to pop them and when to save them much more dynamically.

  5. Aleanathem says:

    Naturalregis, I’d say that you could never put it on a cooldown like you possibly could tree of life (Not that I support the idea of a CD). If they make ToL on CD then they will have to make it akin to any trinket. A bit sickening of an idea. It is a doable idea however. Bear form on a CD is a ridiculous idea to even begin with. What would one expect? “opps my CD is over quick taunt!” They’d have to balance bosses around it because some guilds use bear tanks mainly. If they didn’t balance around bear form then bear tanking would become extinct.

    Again I don’t agree with the ToL change, but I don’t think that was a well thought out example. The ToL idea is plausible, but the same could not be said for a bear like one.
    .-= Aleanathem´s last blog ..No, that’s my next post! =-.

  6. Tesh says:

    “Where the problem here comes in, is that from what Ghostcrawler has said, the developers are approaching this issue with only one concern; stats and effects during raids and combat.”

    I’ve argued against this in one way or another since I started blogging. I lament the loss of the “world-based” design that really gives the game a sense of life far beyond the DPS meters. Ironically, I also argued that they needed something like Cataclysm to make the world itself more interesting.

    To me, part of being a Druid is the ability to take on new forms. If they are going to change anything, they should make bear and cat forms available before level 5. Making a shapeshifted form temporary runs against the core appeal of the class in my mind.
    .-= Tesh´s last blog ..Wading Into Live =-.

  7. Aerimus says:

    I have to say that I actually liked the idea of not having to be in tree form. I miss not having a spec that I acually see my gear in. I actually think using a minor glyph would be fine for showing/hiding the form. Same with boomkin for that matter. Cat and bear forms make sense because it’s easy to see why a cat would do more damage, or why a bear would absorb more. I’m not sure why a tree or boomkin form makes sense?…except maybe to dance better.

  8. Naturalregis says:

    Sim – I’m with you on that. I use more CD’s/trinkets on my bear than I do my tree. I can at least anticipate some mechanics or if the healer gets webbed/stunned, I can pop something some help mitigate things while the healer gets themselves sorted.

    Aleanathem – Sticking with your analogy, they can have the bear tools (ie: taunt) and stat scaling used out-of-form just as easily as they can with tree form. And like I just said to Sim, I get a lot more use of “click to use” trinkets on my bear than I do my tree. As he suggested, maybe we’re bad healers, not knowing when to use trinkets appropriately? I’m not sure, but really, having bear form as a CD is just as plausible as it is for tree form. They don’t have to change mechanics, just access to “spells” while out-of-form.
    That said, I agree: Bear form being on a cooldown is a ridiculous idea, but that’s kind of my point. Having Tree as a cooldown is equally ridiculous. (Then there’s that whole “HoTs needing throughput, not trinkets” argument, but that neither here nor there.)

    Sure, druids will still be viable healers, but the whole concept of removing their form is kind of a step back from being a druid in the first place.

    (On a side note, I read on WoW.com that the Blues claim that it’s a 50/50 mix of For/Against the changes. I wonder; How many of those “for” the changes are people who ACTUALLY play ToL druids? I really don’t see this being a popular – or even wanted by half – kind of change.)
    .-= Naturalregis´s last blog ..Pugging as a tank =-.

  9. Jasyla says:

    I really hope that they implement a glyph of something that will let people choose if they want to be a tree or not so that everyone is happy.

    I understand what you are saying about people having attachments to their characters, I am certainly attached to mine. However, I am attached to my night elf resto druid. I am in no way attached to the ugly tree I am forced to turn into when I heal. When I made my druid there was no tree form. When tree form was introduced I was very upset for the reason you say people are upset about this announcement. I was attached to my character and I did not want it to change. I’ve always seen the addition of Tree of Life as a mistake. You have to admit, when it first came out if was awful (not just ugly). It slowed you down, it limited the spells you could cast. They have made improvements with it, but I think taking it away is the best improvement they can make.
    .-= Jasyla´s last blog ..Hard Mode Marrowgar =-.

  10. Intravax says:

    I don’t play a druid healer but I think the negatives outweigh the positivees on this. Druids are iconic for changing shapes depending on their role. Resto druids are the only healer out of 4 healing classes that do that and it seems the only benefit is the increased healing which you get in Tree Form and can easily be retained with the reworking of the talents in Cataclysm. Additionally, there are a lot of things you can’t do while in Tree Form. If you look at the original Warcraft games, there were no Boomkins/Trees. The only form the druid could shift to was bear and bird. From a historic perspective the developers would be getting back to the roots of the lore. If you could do much more in a battle and not have to worry about swapping forms or hitting that macro wouldn’t it be better? If you’re only losing the ability to be a tree 100% of the time but gaining more utitlity in how your class is played I think it is a sacrifice for the greater good. That being said, Tree Form is for healing as Bear is for tanking. It is understandable that people don’t want to have something taken away. The points that can be argued tho seem to be more “feeling” based than what it could improve in the playstyle.

  11. Iceveiled says:

    Wow what a complete surprise. A geared asshole tank. In other news, the sky is blue and water is wet.

  12. Iceveiled says:

    That ^ comment was supposed to be for your PUG rant. Somehow I posted the comment in this thread. OOPS.

  13. bigbearbutt says:

    Jaslya, I certainly remember the time before Tree of Life, and I remember the same unhappiness you describe.

    I have, myself, healed in caster form several times, intentionally, since becoming a Tauren, since I enjoy seeing the Tauren running around and casting spells. When in a large group raid, I’m still doing Treeform, but in Heroics you’re as liable to see me in Tauren as not.

    And it doesn’t change my ability to keep groups alive in Heroics, not with the ridiculous gear levels we have nowadays for Heroics.

    Now, as to what it’s going to be like in Cataclysm… the idea that Resto Druids are going to be looking for more opportunities to spend Mana on non-healing activities in the face of a much harsher Mana regen landscape is curious. I’d think the opposite would be the intent, that Trees would be cutting back on tossing DPS spells downrange when in situations where, right now, Tree of Life is important.

    I dunno. I get your point, I like seeing my caster form too, but when it’s time to get serious, a Druid shifts. It seems like a consistent frame of reference.

    If they make the change to prevent people in PvP to have Trees as obvious healers to target in a crowd, then I can see that much easier than I can some of the other arguments they’re making.

    Still seems really silly to me, that in the midst of all these changes, they’re really so adamant about making such a change when I have yet to see a compelling argument where the gains outweigh the cost.

  14. Steevee says:

    …So, why not leave tree form as is, but add a minor glyph that removed the form? I can see that as an advantage for PvP’ers and in BG’s but will allow the vast numbers of PVE and Raiders to keep their beloved form.

    I’ll have to admit that my 21st century microwave want-it-now personality was a little bummed to not see a Bear specific lvl 85 upgrade. Stink… Guess we gotta wait… :-/

  15. Emry says:

    My biggest concern is that w/o tree form, I’m more CCable. No powershift out of … whatever = sad tree. Does this mean I’m going to have to blow my healing cooldown to be able to move out of the frost nova + void zone stuff?

  16. Dharmabhum says:

    In response to tree form and the mathematical v. whimsical argument, addressing the romantic attributes of tree form: there are certainly resto druids who love the class and play it for the graphical appeal of having forms, but there are also many who love the armor sets and are annoyed that we can’t display our armor sets when in combat without reducing our effectiveness. Consider that they’re making this change to separate the mathematical and the whimsical with respect to talents/attributes/etc, but are considering keeping tree form for those who are in lvoe with it… it’ll just come with the addition of a minor glyph. It makes sense too that the glyph adds the graphic rather than removes it; hard to say exactly why, but for me it just makes sense to go that direction rather than the other.

  17. anothertank@tank.com says:

    How do they plan on balancing encounters with tree form in mind?
    If you get tree form for 30s every 2m(similar to meta). Then 75% of the fight has to be survivable without tree form. Basically except for progression raiding you will be able to gear out of the need for tree form. And even progression raiders might not want a healer who is gimped 75% of the time.
    Nice

    Oh and since they are dialing back mana regeneration, how much DPS do they think a healer can throw out?

    Unless they throw in an innervate style component to tree form, I don’t see this leading to restro druids DPSing or even taking the tree form talent(s)(except maybe progression raiders).

  18. Peregwyn says:

    I am not a tree. I don’t know if trees have optional, fun minor glyphs currently or if they are all kind of mandatory. I think they should try the idea of making a minor glyph so that you can hide the tree form every couple of minute for 15-30 seconds, whatever seems reasonable. The reverse of what they are talking about with the glyph. See how many people use it.

    They can still do a cooldown that does the same sort of thing with the amount of healing, etc. for balancing.

  19. bigbearbutt says:

    What I’m finding funny, is that it wasn’t that long ago that the developers started talking about wanting to address the Feral Cat and Bear models… possibly with a Glyph that would change the model color.

    They even went far enough that WoWhead datamined the code for Glyphs to do just that in one patch build.

    And then, coming out of nowhere for the fans, came the announcement about Cat and bears changing color based on our caster hair color.

    They took our concerns, and instead of just meeting our minimum expectations, they blew past them in a huge way.

    We are now looking at the Tree of Life change with trepidation, but in the end, Blizzard does have a very good track record of going that extra mile.

  20. Gus says:

    I have 3 healers at 80 a paladín a shaman and my beloved tree/feral i would love having more options available when healing so im one of those in favor of this specific change

    And of the glyph of tree form

  21. Shad says:

    Bless you for understanding, my good man.

    I’ve been getting non-druids telling me that it’s not such a big deal, that ToL wasn’t always in the game, and didn’t we heal just fine before that? Well, no, I tell them, perhaps you don’t remember Vanilla, when druids who wanted to raid effectively had to be resto because no one wanted a bear (and just forget about DPS)–and then those resto druids were encouraged in no uncertain terms to reroll priests lol if they really wanted to heal.

    When ToL was announced, I rolled on the test server for the first time, just so I could spec it and run around like a maniac. Finally, a form, something that was distinctly druidic about healing…something that could help me hide that ridiculous armor, augh.

    Like other posters here, I don’t generally use my cooldowns. I save them for a rainy day that never comes (and when it does, my reflexes fail), or they’re in the hands of my healing lead who tells me when I have to use them. So yeah, hearing that they’re taking my druid’s special snowflakeness (and excellent raid buff) and making it an ability I’ll use maybe once a week bugs me.

    I’m not going to cry or quit the game in a huff; I know Blizz well enough to know that they’ll continue to improve the gaming experience overall, even if a few picky things bother me. But what I am going to do? /dance as much as I can before they take away my twist, gorramit!

    I’m considering macroing it to every ability. Or maybe just Swiftmend.

  22. Malphailuron says:

    Pfft, bears don’t need a ranged silence. We can always LOS, range, or get somebody to use CC. The less tank homogenization out there, the better.

    Bonus points for referencing Squad Leader.

    As far as Treeform goes, it’s hard to find good middle ground. Druid forms are SUPPOSED to be limiting and specialized; you temporarily give up flexibility in order to do one thing really well. As it stands, Treeform healers are no better than other healers, and their restrictions are only a factor in PVP … so I can see where GC says there’s not much point.

    You said yourself that we have both the mathy side and the artsy side—and right now, Treeform seems to be largely cosmetic; gameplay effects are minimal. While I sympathize with the arguments of people who love the idea of being a walking tree, I don’t think it’s out of line to give the talent some numerical impact.

    Honestly a “pity glyph” seems like a great solution.

    And as to making Bear a cooldown: that’d be kinda silly. You’d have to rework caster form entirely so it could tank outside the cooldown. Give them plate and a shield or something, plus a slew of melee abilities and new weapon profs. It’s not analogous at all.

  23. Satorri says:

    I think that is the most eloquent expression of the “Save the Trees” issue I’ve seen.

    I hope Blizzard is listening and taking all this in, because a lot of Resto Druids are up in arms about this. I hope half of them can express themselves this cleanly, we might have a chance for Blizzard to appreciate and find a way to make Tree form a smart contribution rather than removing it to an infrequent CD because of its current function.

  24. infomatic says:

    I do get the passion people may have for the tree form — I’m completely bummed that my marksman hunter won’t be able to spend money on ammunition any more (I always enjoyed eyeing the next, oh-so-expensive vendor tier of arrows, like somebody browsing Cabela’s.)

    But I’ll be glad if Tree moves to a cooldown spell as opposed to a full-time form. I wanted to level the druid my daughter and I are casually working on as a healer, but she nixed going resto because the walking trees creeped her out (nine-foot-tall owlbears and bloodthirsty kitties she has no problem with).

  25. Naturalregis says:

    @Malph – As I said, make the bear form benefits/stats (armour, dodge, etc.) scale without the change in form. Make it a “stance” as opposed to a form change, et voila, your mechanics for tanking don’t change. There, it’s analogous.
    .-= Naturalregis´s last blog ..Pugging as a tank =-.

  26. niceas says:

    @anothertank@tank.com – Just because they are talking about removing the ‘form’ doesn’t mean that they are talking about nerfing a druid’s ability to heal – I would be inclined to assume that the current ‘Treeform’ buffs that you receive will be built into either your basic spells or your mastery bonuses, essentially making it so that a druid OUT of treeform will heal as well as a druid IN treeform does today.

    @BBB – As I am not a druid, I can’t really say much about how people feel about their forms. That said, seeing people posting on here saying that they’ll be happy without it lends credence to Blizzard’s statement – as I expect that less people would post in favor of its removal given your stance…

  27. dorgol says:

    I’ve already noted in another blog that losing perma-Tree solidifies my stance on losing my Resto build. I had been considering switching to Feral full-time, but Blizzard made that decision much easier.

    And you mentioned Star Fleet Battles… a game I spent WAY too much time in back in high school. The nerds played DnD, but I was too nerdy even for THAT!

  28. bigbearbutt says:

    @Niceas – I’d certainly hope I wouldn’t have a bunch of dittoheads here just parroting away whatever they thought I wanted to hear. I’ve always been a fan of having people share what they think, regardless of what I may think, so long as they;

    1) Are freaking polite about it.
    2) Are clear that they realize they are expressing what THEY think, and are not correcting others by laying down the law.

    I love it when people share their own thoughts or opinions, or share their experiences, especially if they do it in a way that I can learn something from them.

    I do like it when people share that they’ve had similar experiences to what I post, because it does reassure me that it’s not just me! But I don’t, like, live for public affirmation or anything.

  29. Hana says:

    Trust a Moonkin to look at the enemy and think, “What you really need, what you really need right now, is to get high. Here, have one of these. Oh my, look at the pretty stars. And the lights! The beautiful, glowing, pretty lights. Oh, wait, those are my spell effects as I blow you the hell up…”

    This made me laugh, and I could actually hear one of my guildies saying something like that, except he’s a shadow priest… ^_^
    .-= Hana´s last blog ..[Druid] Resto Musings =-.

  30. scaresome says:

    It’s fun to ponder so early in the exploration of the new expansion.
    I think Blizz has said they want to make the game more “fun”. They’ve also said that all of our armor will be more balanced so plate isn’t so much stronger. Plus, they are dropping a lot of the passive talents — which I believe will free up talent points.

    I can imagine many fun hybrid builds, combining talents from two trees. Healing/DPS builds that are a lot of fun to run in. Then when we hit a boss, bam – tree of life form for some uber-heals. If we specced that deeply.

    Maybe there’d be a lot more utility so you didn’t need to map out every encounter, just get 25 people together and take on some content. “I’ll slip into bear form and pull this boss over here, once he’s dead I’ll slip into tree and heal the group; we’d better go fast!”

    I hope that there is no one true build for any class. I hope that we can pick fun talents, skills, effects and much more to bring to a raid that make each of us more unique with what we bring to an encounter. Maybe there are ten optimum hunter builds. Maybe there are five optimum druid builds which include bear, tree and boomkin talents — and three more that are “pure” in the sense of almost all tree or all bear or all moonkin.

    We need broader expectations for our characters. I shouldn’t have to show up as a MM hunter to be accepted, I should just be able to show up as a hunter. I shouldn’t have to show up in tree form or bear form, I should just be able to show up as a druid.

  31. Theparanoid says:

    Personal I am kind liking the idea. What would be nice is if the glyph extend the visual effect from spell as long as you casting healing spells. Then say X time after you last heal spell and the spell begin up the form would drop.

  32. Cynne says:

    The tree of life change isn’t out of nowhere — there was a very active thread about this very topic last year: Is Tree Form Fun? I think it’s important to bear in mind that if tree form becomes a cool down ability, the base coefficients will be adjusted so that you don’t NEED to be in tree form to compete with other healers, and it’ll instead become a strategic decision. That, plus an update to the form (which is part of the preview) sounds pretty exciting to me.
    .-= Cynne´s last blog ..Digital Dungeons and Dragons =-.

  33. Tesh says:

    “I shouldn’t have to show up in tree form or bear form, I should just be able to show up as a druid.” -scaresome

    I can’t agree with this enough. The whole point of playing a Druid for me is the flexibility. If I’m just going to be another healer/tank/DPSbot, I’ll play a “pure” class and do better with it. In WoW, Druids are marvelously flexible, and it’s always frustrating to me to be told to just shut up and play a single role. Is it any wonder why I solo more often than not?
    .-= Tesh´s last blog ..Wading Into Live =-.

  34. Thom says:

    From the perspective of a non-druid tank (I know, I know), I kinda like what they’re doing with ToL. You’re running through an instance, and the druid healer isn’t having trouble keeping you up. Next fight, next fight, next … wait where’d those two patrols come from? The druid, knowing he needs more than what he can normally do, draws so much power from the earth that he TURNS INTO A FRICKING TREE and heals the bejeezus out of the group. It’s like a Druid version of Pally wings.

    That being said, I totally understand people who are upset about the idea, especially given that there is no similar precedent with other druid forms. A bear doesn’t tank normally until he’s in danger then suddenly turn into a bear. Same with a cat. You’re raking the opponent with your claws and fangs, not swatting him with a stick. Even a Moonchicken, who could easily have a similar mechanic to ToL, isn’t going to be burdened with one.

    So I suppose I’m on the fence about the change – just wanted to give a different perspective than some of the ones I’ve read.

  35. Eva says:

    As someone who is leveling a second druid for the sole purpose of going resto, this change makes me a little sad. However, it does make sense, esp in pvp. Druids in forms are immune to hexes and polymorphs, and we also are invulnerable to slows through powershifting. Really the only thing you can do to a resto druid is stun or banish it. putting a cd on tree of life would help the pvp aspects a ton (blizz said ToL would be invulnerable to banish in cata, so using that form wouldn’t go to waste).

    to the poster who commented on not being able to move out of voidzones: cat form+dash has to be way quicker than tree powershifting. I know GC said awhile back they want us to use different forms more frequently, so maybe they’ll further reduce the amount of mana needed to shift so this is a possibility?

  36. Aleanathem says:

    @Naturalregis
    In your thought line you’d abandon much of what feral druids have always been. ToL hasn’t always been a part of restoration, but bear form has always been a part of the feral tree. Even in the worst of Vanilla we could rely on bear form as a decent tanking substitute. We are not warriors. We do not use stances. Our abilities have always been completely related to our forms. This is quite different from the restoration history. ToL was an end of Vanilla preview of TBC that has become over time an integral part of restoration.

    If you make the bear form additions just a stance then you would need to add a shield to druids. Would it be fair to leave druids with the ability just to stance dance into a huge health pool without losing their resto abilities to forms? The PvP implications would be huge. I think you’re not thinking this through and just tossing it out as a rough analogy.

    But I have to think BBB for all the insight. I always have to pop over here and check out his posts. =)
    .-= Aleanathem´s last blog ..No, that’s my next post! =-.

  37. Stonedrake says:

    RE: Tree Form.

    I reckon the best thing to do is keep tree form as it is, but make the cooldown buff cause the tree to grow, sprout new growth, and/or become an Ancient whilst it is in effect. :D

  38. TJGypsy2 says:

    I don’t want to see a change to the druid healing form, not at all. I don’t have a tree, but I know that as a tank, and in BG’s, I’m always happy to see a tree, and I have great respect for people that can properly play a tree.

    My hope in this regard would be similar to what they did when they changed the bear and cat forms. They made repeated references to keeping the horns on the Tauren druids (which I’d really been hoping would go away) so that they didn’t “disenfranchise” their hard core druid players. (Their words, not mine.) I would hope that the final decision on tree form comes down to the same thing. If I were a druid who HAD a tree form, I would be really upset to have that taken away.

    And if I were one of the developers who spent so much time and effort on making such an awesome form….I wouldn’t want to see it go away either. Here’s hoping they change their minds.

  39. seril says:

    Excellent article!

    I only heal in tree form in raids, otherwise I prefer NE form. That said, if I didn’t overgear heroics, etc I’d heal in tree form more often.

    In pvp I stay in NE form more often because I don’t want to get banished :(

  40. Skiannach says:

    I’m so horribly devastated about the loss of tree form that I’m for the first time seriously considering whether I’ll continue playing. I never thought I’d be one of those people that ragequit over class “rebalances” – I actually like change and learning how to play my class anew every now and then, and it doesn’t bug me much if the class I’m playing suddenly dips on the “most wanted healer” class hierarchy.

    So I’m really surprised to feel this strongly. But this is so completely, fundamentally a part of the character that I can’t imagine being without it. Although I thought most of the forms could be prettied up, there isn’t much I would ever want changed about the tree…just a tidying up of the rough edges. But I love the moves, the expressions, everything about it. Sure, it would be great if a bigger, better geared tree got an updated model with more leaves, or extra flowers, or something to show its leetness.

    I think the blizz explanations range from the spurious (if it’s all about being able to see the pretty armour, why aren’t bears, cats, boomkins and spriests getting the same treatment? And if cosmetics don’t matter, why even bother with all these different races. why not pick the ones with the best racials and reduce to one race per faction?) to the simply horrible. Dps utility? If I wanted (or was any good) at dps, then I’d have gone boomkin. So is the definition of making healing “fun” just mean that we’re now expected to be competitive with DPS too? If that’s the direction they’re going in, it’s more than my tree form at stake. I don’t see a raid niche for myself on any of my healers if DPS needs to be part of it. I can’t DPS myself out of a wet paper bag and never really wanted to.

    Of course I know that some will be happy to see their tree form go but seriously. Blizzard should at least try to make it so both sides can be happy. If all I get is a glyph, I’ll take it. Even if it attracts every would-be lumberjack rogue in the neighbourhood.

  41. Shiftastic says:

    From my personal standpoint, I see taking ToL back as Blizzards prerogative. They gave us a form that had zero basis in lore or function and balanced healing around it. Now they propose to take it away. There are no Druids of the Leaf. I enjoyed healing MC/BWL/AQ without tree form. Never did it cross my mind that I NEEDED that, visually, practically, or any other -ally you can think of. Honestly, I may become a Resto again if I can stand around in caster form, toss out a moonfire or wrath here and there, and look good in my armor.

    Shiftastic, Firetree

  42. Grendle says:

    My first character was a druid that, at lvl 60 I decided to go full resto and loving my silly tree enjoyed this very much all the way up to the BIG 80. Since my progression in the game I found myself tiring of druid healing more so tree form, missing the jump to Thaddius in naxx was…….fun >.>

    I dont believe the changes to be malicious or Blizz’s way of listening to countless people saying ‘omg nerf druid healers’, I believe the change is all about
    balance. In the prediction for Cata, everything will be balanced, so essentially a class providing a 6% healing increase will essentially provide a ‘biased’ buff to that raid.

    The the changes to the priest talent misery for example show that Blizzard are trying to balance raid composition: “Misery will no longer affect spell Hit chance. We want players to be able to gear themselves around a Hit cap that isn’t variable depending on group composition”.

    Although I am kinda in the middle with this decision, things are changing in the game and I believe Tree of life just so happens to be one of the modifiers that blizz cant effectively balance, plus people have complained for a long time that people ‘want’ to be seen in their cool gear.

    Thumbs up to all the other changes though, particularly my favorite giant plush toys ;D

  43. Insertname says:

    I really do like my tree form and BBB is right, it’s purely a psychological attachment. ToL does not add any meaningful capability. It’s just the visual form of a few passive buffs that are currently necessary to bring druids on par with the other healing classes. When those buffs are rolled into talents and spec coefficients, as it’s the design direction for Cataclysm for all classes, you then have to ask the question of why would you use it. Try the following thought experiment: Your tree form and caster form are now exactly equal in capability – tree form buffs are folded in the spec and you can cast all spells in Tree form. Would you then hit the ToL button? (ignore the pvp snare-breaking bit for a second). As much as I am attached to my tree, I suspect that over time I would stop using ToL. You don’t see a lot of people raiding as a pirate, skelly or any of the other disguises (and when you do it’s generally an alarm bell :P ) On the other hand, a significant healing cooldown is something we do not have today and could add more depth to the healing style. Depending on the how the new effects are applied, this could make the new ToL form very meaningful. So while I do love my tree, I understand the logic. I suspect that even if the old ToL form is kept most people will walk away from it once it stops having any meaningful effect.

  44. Rob says:

    I don’t really comment much, nor agree/disagree strongly with BBB, but this time BBB is spot on for me. I guess if they give us a minor glyph for tree form that’d be okay. I just don’t see why they really feel like treeform is so bad. Its so class-defining. I’m actually seriously considering not getting cat. if they remove tree form, since my mains are resto druids. We have alot of game options now, and I expect the KOTOR MMO to be coming out soon after cat. Its not like blizz is listening, but honestly if they gut my class that much; i might as well do something else.

  45. Elume says:

    Like many other resto druids I’m fairly upset about the prospect of losing ToL form. Not because I particularly like the model. Not because I don’t like NElf/Tauren models or casting animation, or the look of my druid’s armor. And not even because ToL is such an iconic aspect of druids as a class.

    It’s because ToL form is more than “flavor”, because it affects the way I play my druid. Have you ever noticed how many druids jump before switching to flight form? There is no good reason to do this, but it *feels* natural. Likewise, healing in caster form *feels* different from healing in tree form. I love scuttling about on my roots, throwing my leafy arms into the air, jumping and bouncing all the time, and bursting into dance mid-fight. All the things I wouldn’t do in Nelf form, because they wouldn’t be fun or wouldn’t feel natural.

    I guess that’s why get so upset when we are told to shut up and put up, that the ToL is only cosmetic anyway. For many of us, the model, its emotes, the way it moves, casts spells, jumps, its quaint sense of humor, are just as much a part of the resto druid experience as HoTs and Battle-Rezzes.

    An no, it’s not exclusively an RP thing. My tree doesn’t have a backstory and isn’t afraid of fire and axes.

  46. Astemus says:

    I have to say that I am very excited about losing permanent tree form. There is just something demoralizing about having to sit there looking the same way you did when you first dinged to 80. I can understand why some people like it, but there are so many times when you are healing in tree form and you’re just letting your HOTs do the work. I get jealous of the paladin who can actually still heal and do 1k dps on top of it on lower tiered content. Even priests can do some decent damage without any serious penalties. Shaman can throw out spells while their totems or earth shield holds back some damage. Druids have had to sink a decent amount of mana into shifting in and out to maintain the amount of healing other healers can do with no mana penalty.

    And while this comes at a time when blizzard is taking a hard look at mana efficiency, you have to realize that this is in progression content. People who are running ulduar in T9 or heroics with their T10 on are the target for this change. Of course most healers are not trying to weave in DPS when they’re doing in ICC. But they are in heroics. And it’s the quality of life that has been sorely neglected for resto druids.

    It’s really very simple. Druid healers are at a serious disadvantage right now in some aspects of the game, and that’s just not acceptable. And while the aesthetics of the change may be disheartening to some people, there are also some of us who are sick of looking like all the rest of the druids when we’re ready for action. While I might have liked to keep tree form if they could incorporate our existing armor, the chances of that happening are pretty slim. The amount of art required would be enormous, and it’d be tons of work for a single class in the game.

  47. Naturalregis says:

    @Aleanathem

    I am indeed aware of what Druids were in Vanilla. But just because Tree’s have only existed for 3.5 years instead of 5.5 years, it doesn’t mean ToL it outside of the “what druids are”. And sure, ToL is a relatively deep talent as opposed to questing/training early in a druid’s life. But druids, as you say yourselfI also realize it’s a rough analogy. But I think it fits (generally) if you were to try to describe the feeling of losing their Tree from a Resto point of view. As you, yourself have said, “[ToL]…has become over time an integral part of restoration”. Just like Bear or Cat or Moonkin. It’s “integral”. I don’t know, maybe suggesting that Moonkin form be on CD would have been a more apt analogy?

    That said, the “stance” reference was just in reply to people’s thoughts that the mechanics would need a huge overhaul. I’m not trying to make druids the same as warriors. I’m just saying that it may not be as non-sensical as it sounds. The overhaul may not be as huge as one may think. I could have referred to DK’s presences or Priests Shadow form, etc. Certain spells, abilites, and so on could only be available while using “stances/presences/states of mind”.

    All I was trying to get at was that bears would be pissed off if they lost their form, even if their mechanics, abilities, and viability didn’t change.
    .-= Naturalregis´s last blog ..Pugging as a tank =-.

  48. Naturalregis says:

    WTB Edit button. “…early in a driud’s life. I also realize…”
    .-= Naturalregis´s last blog ..Pugging as a tank =-.

  49. dorgol says:

    @Insertname –

    “Try the following thought experiment: Your tree form and caster form are now exactly equal in capability – tree form buffs are folded in the spec and you can cast all spells in Tree form. Would you then hit the ToL button?”

    Yes, I would. I regularly change my character model using Noggenfogger, Deviate, Orb of the Kel’dorai, and the Boot Flask. My Paladin and Mage BOTH use their Engineering transports every time they log in just hoping for a malfuntion (I have been a Male Tauren Frost Mage…!).

    But for the Druid, it is more than just “I look different”. He has gone through 3 continents and 2 planets as a Tree. He has earned notoriety and titles based on his ability to support a team as a tree.

    Also, even with all that, I just cringe at the thought of having to run around as a Male Night Elf. Ug. It’s bad enough that I have to shift to ride my mount (thank god for Flight Form). But having to go into combat with that character model just doesn’t appeal to me at all.

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