The topic has been hot for the past week, especially among the Twitter community. There are quite a few opinions and a lot of good ideas that have been thrown around. I just want to briefly touch base on why the Druid community is concerned with these changes and what my opinion is on the matter.
The nerf was needed
Wild Growth was overpowered for what I call a “fire-and-forget spell.” It did a ton of healing, in fact over twice the amount of healing that it’s cousin Circle of Healing could ever hope to put out. It usually accounted for 30% or more of a Druid’s overall healing during an encounter which is too much for a spell that is just used on cooldown every 8 seconds. I think Beruthial put it best in her blog post, “Anyone who wasn’t expecting some sort of nerf was probably sticking their head in the sand.”
The nerf to throughput
Is a nerf to Druid overall throughput needed? I’m not so sure. Druids do shine on the meters because they are pure throughput healers. Mitigation abilities like Power Word: Barrier, Aura Mastery+Resist Aura, Pain Suppression, and Hand of Sacrifice don’t show up on World of Logs to contribute to numbers. In fact, I’m pretty sure Disc Priests are probably the top healers when mitigation abilities are taken into account.
Druid throughput is measured against Holy Priests and Shaman in the WoW community
Is this right or wrong?It’s a mixed bag. Many would argue that Holy Priests and Shaman are (for the most part) pure throughput healers as well. They have a couple of decent tank physical damage mitigation talents (Inspiration), but nothing that would severely skew their overall numbers through non-accountable mitigation, certainly nothing along the lines of what Disc Priests and Holy Paladins can provide. Which brings us to our next question.
Are Holy Priests and Shaman just too low?
When non-accountable mitigation is taken into consideration Disc Priests and Paladins either currently equal Druids or might be even higher, so nerfing the overall output of Druids down to Holy Priests and Shaman is probably the wrong way to do things. All 3 healing specs would then be inferior in output to the mitigation healing specs.
Druids- It’s ok to nerf WG, but many Druids fear that healing will go back to Wrath-Rejuv spam. Lets be honest here, it already kind of is. I think many Druids want to see more options, another spell to cast. Lissanna actually had a really good idea that I would love to see implemented. It involves turning Wild Mushroom into a healing spell through a talent or glyph. It’s seems unique and isn’t just a direct copy of Prayer of Healing or Chain Heal. It gives Druids another button to hit while Wild Growth is on cooldown and where Rejuv spam is mindless and unnecessary.
Shaman- The main reason why Shaman have ended up on the meters in such a poor manner is because of their class design vs raid encounters. Most of their high output spells require raids to be grouped up. Shaman are balanced around a near 100% uptime on Healing Rain, but the spell is only viable when raids are clumped together. This skews their output when boss mechanics require players to be spread out. I think another buff to the range of Chain Heal might be a good solution. I’d like to see Chain Heal receive a buff in output, but in return a nerf to Healing Rain might be necessary and I think it would be a fair tradeoff. Chain Heal could be used in more situations and being spread out wouldn’t have nearly as negative of an effect on Shaman throughput as it currently does. Again, I’m no Shaman expert, but this is just bits and pieces I’ve taken from actual Shaman raiders.
Holy Priests- Holy is already getting a viable raid cooldown in 4.3. This will buff their numbers a bit, much like Tranquility has already done with Druids. Holy Priests have a ton of buttons to push, but as I’ve said before, some of the spells just don’t pack the punch needed for the job. Spells like Renew are weak and even the Holy mastery, Echo of Light, is far from perfect. I think tweaking Holy’s mastery to provide more immediate output rather than a lingering, stacking HoT might help overall output and reduce the ridiculous over-healing it currently does.
Overall, there is certainly work to be done. We still have quite a few weeks on the PTR before 4.3 hits live server, so don’t fret yet!