The first major patch of the expansion is upon us and it brings with it much needed hotfixes, tweaks and balance to healing. I for one am excited about this – they appear to have hit all the right spots with the resto changes. We seem to be moving more towards the HoT flavoured healing style. Interested? Let’s take a look at these changes and see what the road ahead is like!
Omen of Clarity can no longer trigger from helpful spells (aka heals), unless the Restoration talent Malfurion’s Gift is chosen. This isn’t as bad as it sounds, as I’m inclined to think that Omen of Clarity procs most of the time from lifebloom to begin with – hence the huge proc rate in Tree of Life form. Rather than hinting at staff-whacking routines for the proc, this one simply ties together Lifebloom with our mana management proc.
Rejuvenation is now trained at level 3, down from level 8. In addition, its mana cost is now 20% of base mana. The mana cost is slightly above what we’re currently at but still below the 26% at release. Might pinch the first few days, but overall seems to be a good spot for mana cost.
Empowered Touch now also affects Regrowth. In addition, after Tree of Life is no longer active, this talent will only refresh the most recently cast or refreshed Lifebloom, and will not refresh other copies of Lifebloom. Initially, I found this one to be undesirable but since raiding I’ve changed my mind. This is mostly due to the fact that it is a bit clunky to keep all stacks of Lifebloom up on a tank when you’re primarily healing the raid. And while my use of Regrowth will mostly be limited to Omen procs and Tree of Life, it is much faster than Nourish or Healing Touch and I foresee it being quite useful in keeping up Lifebloom stacks – an aspect highlighted by the Tier 11 4-piece bonus. As for the Tree of Life exploit, glad to see the fix.
Natural Shapeshifter has been reduced to a 3/6-second increase to Tree of Life’s duration, down from 5/10. A small reduction that I’m not terribly worried about. It makes sense to balance buffs with reductions such as these. Buffs…I did say buffs….read on!
Nature’s Bounty no longer affects Swiftmend, but now has a new effect. When the druid has Rejuvenation on 3 or more targets, the cast time of Nourish is reduced by 10/20/30%. I find this one really interesting. Reduction of Nourish’s cast time is always welcome, but the fun part here is that this one now gives us an incentive to keep Rejuvenation up on multiple targets. There will always be some balancing to be done between keeping it up and its corresponding mana cost but for now a faster Nourish on Rejuvenated targets is great.
Symbiosis (Mastery) benefit from mastery increased by approximately 16%. Symbiosis always struck me as being more beneficial to tank healing than raid healing simply because of the prohibitive mana cost of HoTting the raid up. This buff I like, and as a healer be more aware of taking advantage of it as much as possible – including using Nature’s Bounty above.
Tree of Life duration has been reduced to 25 seconds, down from 30. A small reduction, but nothing earth shattering here.
Glyph of Regrowth now causes the heal-over-time effect to refresh itself on targets at or below 50% health, up from 25%. The increase in health makes this one an interesting glyph. While the HoT at the tail end of Regrowth is weak, it still adds up and provides a free mastery bonus for the incoming heal. Its definitely more competitive as a glyph than its earlier version.
In summary, these changes seem headed for the distinctive HoT based healing style us trees are known for. We’re being encouraged to be a little more liberal with our use of Rejuvenation and Wild Growth. Regrowth still remains a situational spell to me due to its high mana cost, but with the added bonuses of refreshing lifebloom and the revamped glyph, its made a little more rewarding than it used to be earlier.All in all, I’m looking forward to this patch!