Resto druids, raid design and efficiency:

90 Troll Druid
A copy from my post on the GC thread about class changes:

  • 1- Why druids still need a review:

  • Those buffs we received, manly the 10% overall buff to healing was nice, the idea behind mushrooms was interesting, but in the end, when tested on PTR i still felt lacking in the same way i was lacking before.

    I talked to some other great druids, and discussed on Healing forums, and even joined some talks in Skype about it, and the conclusion that i reached was this:

    Right now, Resto Druid is not bad by itself, it has a solid toolkit, but one that is not catering anymore to the current Design of the game. Things evolved but Druids stayed in the past, our strength was drained because spamming Rejuvenation was not really fun or challenging, thus developers nerfed it, and tried to give us other tools.

    Those tools were also used as a mindless rotation, the case of WG, so enticing another justified nerf, to make the class more dynamic.
    All of this was made in name of making the class more fun to play, wile also making it more fun to other healers, i understand that clearly.

    The problem is, do we want druids to change their playstyle enough to cater with the new design of the game? Do we want to move out of blanket healing, and Raid stabilization, to something more efficient now days?

    New druids would say yes, older ones would say no. But there is a right answer in the middle, we need to adapt the old playstyle to the new game design, without bringing druids overpowered numbers to deal with the toolkit problems.
    Edited by Sàtàn on 2/17/2013 1:00 AM PST
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    90 Troll Druid
  • 2- Raid Stabilization and Blanket Healing:

  • We know that the old design of the druids was based on filling the raid with HoT's, and the challenge was about keeping those HoT's on the entire raid. At that time, 25-man was the only viable raids, and doing so to 25-player's seemed an equal challenge to what other healers were doing, every one of them used a small toolkit of more spammable spells at that time, and cast-cancel was the king of player skill.

    The game evolved, and healers became more complex to play, and raid mechanics shifted from constant damage on raid, and spiked tank damage, to what now is a more constant tank damage, with a lot of spiked aoe raid damage.

    This happened, raid wide adsorptions appeared, paladins were revamped, shamans received their changes, but Resto Druids seemed to change a little less on their play style over the yrs.
    This lack of changes was because resto druids did not wanted to change the way their class worked, they wanted to be the HoT healer, the Raid Stabilizers, they wanted to keep playing their character, and have a different kind of healer then others.

    In the end, the problem is that there is no more stabilization.
    Right now raid wide damage is too bursty, you want people at max health more often, raid damage is happening the entire time, and no one will wait for that druid hot to keep ticking and heal that guy at half-hp, because the next raid damage mechanic is right there in the next seconds, and that player might die at this HP value.

    This is exactly why Disc was so overpowered outside of pure HPS they were producing. It was not that they overshadowed other healers because they took all the HPS meter glory, but high-end guilds wanted then because they prevented wipes better then any other healers, wile Resto Druids were the worst at this job, since their healing take time, and so risk causing someone to die, probably wasting a good try.

    We want to keep playing druids, to be raid stabilizers, to use manly HoTs to heal, but we need to be able to do so on a game designed around bursts of damage that happen in succession.
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    90 Troll Druid
  • 3- How to really measure a healers efficiency:

  • Everyone knows that HPS is a flawed mechanic to look at how healers are doing, there is much controversy and many problems about who really contributed more to a kill, but there is a metric that is way more efficient to use, the efficiency of a toolkit to avoid a raid wipe.

    We know that if every player on a raid perform perfectly all encounters, including heroics, are doable even on very under geared scenario.

    We also know that even the best guilds in the world take a big number of tries to perfect an encounter, and that World of Warcraft PvE is a race, of course some are racing to be the world first, others server first, and some are just running to finish what content they can before next patch, but its a race nerveless.

    So what matters to healers balance?
    The amount of wipes that this healer can avoid.
    It is a simple concept, based on the fact that this is a race, efficiency is about time spent, so a good healer is not one that produces huge amount of HPS, or the one with better utility, or anything, because we know that all healers can do the encounter if the raid performs correctly, but the fact is that, not even the top guilds can perform great from the start of a new boss.

    So a good healer class is the one that will be able to reduce the amount of wasted tries caused by someone making a mistake.

    That is why discs are so powerful right now to high-end guilds, if you make a mistake, they can try to hold a little, pre-shield the raid, and not wipe to something that would be a complete raid death if any other healer was there in its place, and that is because absorption effects increase the max HP pool by huge margins.

    All other healers can save the raid more or less, but right now druids are the one more faulty at this, on previous expansions the amount of hots ticking on the entire raid did exactly that, by keeping everyone HP up, thing that was the druid specialty, the raid stabilizers, it avoided deaths from raid members.

    Right now this is not true anymore, every other healer received an efficient way to AOE Heal, and everyone have a somewhat descent single target fast heal, including druids. So people are not in danger of dying because they are at low HP, its easy to bring the entire raid to safe hp levels if you know the encounter a little.

    Because keeping everyone HP up right now is so easy because every healer can deal with it because of toolkit improvements, the design of the fights were changed and we see burst damage happening.

    Why? Simple, if they stick to the old model were making a mistake more often did alot of damage, but not outright killed you, it would not challenge the healers right now, because it would be healed before that player had the chance to make another mistake and die.
    So they added constant waves of spiked damage, to kill players that made a mistake, and also increased the danger of said mistakes, and they were right at doing so, without this changes healing would be boring right now with so good toolkits that healers have.
    Edited by Sàtàn on 2/18/2013 2:00 AM PST
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    90 Troll Druid
  • 4- Healers are too good? What about druids?:

  • Yes, healers are too good, their toolkits right now are very complete, and that is a GOOD thing, it added some difficulty from the old TBC model.
    I remember at TBC, most healers used 2-4 skills to heal, and it was very simple, and the true challenge was cast cancelling to avoid wasting mana, manly when tank healing, tanks at that time was very spiky, opposed to now.

    It was much more simple to play a healer at that time if you think about the number of skills, it was not simple to raid with so lacking toolkits, because we needed to improvise with the little we had to do the job, but it was less complex anyway.

    So right now healers have way more complete tool kits, and i'm grateful for that, it was a great change to the game, and healers evolved alongside with DPS's very well. At tbc most dps rotations was bland and easy, you watched maybe 1 proc, 1 or 2 CD's and rotated 3-4 skills for most of the classes, and it was mindless, wile right now everything is dynamic, there is many more skills to use, more CD's , many procs, from weapon, from trinket, from passive, etc... so this is obviously the right way for the game as a whole.

    But it created a problem... Druids want to play druids, but they want to be as effective as other healers, and as i demonstrated, this translate to having enough tools to make the raid take the lesser amount of tries as possible.
    Edited by Sàtàn on 2/18/2013 2:02 AM PST
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    90 Troll Druid
  • 5- So what to do?

  • You may be asking this now, what to do? Based on what i said, if druids wants to keep their play style, but it does not cater well with the design intent of the evolved game, what can we do to make druids as efficient as other healers?

    Simple increasing the HPS is not the right solution, it would be a gimmick way to please the majority of the druids, without really dealing with the problem, and the problem would appear in the future in every expansion to come, to haunt the developers and the druid community.

    So, if pure HPS is not the answer, what is the answer?

    You might say, change game design, but i also showed how this would not work, and how it would create a dull play field for every healer, without any challenge.

    Different healers deals differently with being efficient at avoiding wipes, some avoid individual deaths better, others completely negates raid wide damage, others just reduce it enough to be make it possible to heal it back, but right now the druid is the one with the worst of this ability.

    We have tranquility, that is not enough to heal against a burst from heroic bosses, its well noted by many druids the amount of times that someone just died wile the druid was channeling this, even with the dead guy doing nothing wrong.

    We have Iron Bark, long duration, but low %, it can save someone, but its alot less likely then other healers.
    And we have Lifeseed, something that is almost like a shield, but a little worse, and that by not stacking is too little, and comes from just specific skills that we cannot use as often as paladins to do our job.
    We have tree of life, but nowdays its used more as a mana CD, then to save someone, its much more about being able to cast regrowth walking then really saving the raid from a wipe.

    And that is it. We are not great spot heals to save individuals dying wile doing our job at the same time, we lack raid damage reducing CD's, and we was supposed to stabilize the raid HP, making it less likely that people would die, but this is just not happening anymore.
    ( Empress last phase is an exception, there everyone HP is kept low because of her skill, so druid healing style is efficient there, but we cant make this kind of mechanic something core, it would get old really fast. )

    So what to do?

    The final conclusion i found, is that we need to keep doing our job in the same way, but this job needs to be turned on something that reduced the chances that the raid will die.

    For this i propose this change:

    Remove the 10% extra healing gave in this PTR, simply increasing numbers is cool but we have a descent toolkit, we just need to make it efficient to the current design. If you think we still need a boost to HPS on this patch, that is ok, but do not keep this buff just to try to deal with a problem that is much more serious then simple HPS.

    Change our Mastery, keep the increased healing to the single target spells, but change the Hot part to something like this:
    When your heal over time spells heals a player, x% of the heal is increased as Maximum life to that player to a maximum of +y% of that player HP, for z seconds duration, a new application of a HoT will renew the effect.

    This would give our mastery a very Druidy feel, we would now need to manage a buff on members of the raid, to keep doing our job.
    The HPS of the druid can be kept the same by making the extra HP gained to enter full on current HP, and when the buff ends, just remove the Max amount without changing the current if it is not less then the max already.

    I did not give any numbers because something like this would need testing and fine tunning to avoid being OP or UP.
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    90 Troll Druid
  • 6- Other options:

  • Some people might think this idea is horrible, and developers might also find another problem with this design that i could not, so i will throw here different ideas, and maybe some of then might see some discussion here.

    Since i will just brainstorm in this part, i will resume the explanations, and just go to the core idea, i will not give numbers, since again those needs testing, and our problem here is not values but design.

    A- Add life seed to all our Hots, but working on a different way.
    Make it so that each HoT tick stacks a special Life seed effect that only matter to HoTs, not needing crit, and not interacting with the single target heals life seed.
    This would create a HoT Shield, maybe a nerf to HPS is needed to compensate, but im not entering into a numbers dispute here, the idea is that you hot the raid, they gain a stacking value of life seed, making then avoid taking two hits and dying, it would still be less powerful then a pure absorption, but would be efficient at keeping people alive if someone goes wrong.
    It would not avoid IK damages, but at last would give us something against things that hit more then once.

    B- Change mushrooms to 1 Big Mushroom, that works exactly like the 3 we have today, maybe increase the mana cost a little to compensate, but make each new planted mushroom keep the stacks or part of the stacks of the old mushroom.
    This would give us a strong emergency aoe heal, but it would need some increased radius to work well.
    The problem with this approach is that it will only work on certain situations were the raid is stacked enough, and we would still be bad at spread fights, but this change would give us a niche and a debility, maybe devs wants that kind of design.

    C- Increase cooldowns and give a raid wide damage reduction CD.
    This could be done increasing the Iron Bark to a 30% effect, and lowering the duration, adding a damage reduction to our Tranquility, x% less magic damage wile channeling, and reducing is CD to 2 mins.
    This approach would live us with one of the best single raid cd's of all healers, a descent healing CD, coupled with some damage resistence, and a low CD to make it not once maybe twice per fight, but something you might use on specific phases.
    This idea is the most direct and forced buff to the class, it would make people want druids just because of tranquility, but well, it would work, we would keep healing the same way we healed in the past, and would be wanted because of one OP ability that can save the raid as other healers can. ( I'd like to point that even rogues have a 20% damage reduction area effect right now... )

    D- Make having a resto specced druid on the raid increase the number of possible battle rez by 1. This would be a great design challenge to avoid exploit on certain fights, but this was a druid tool in the past, one more of the tools that gave druid some wipe prevention and that was removed from us, or in this case limited and extended many other classes.
    I think the implications of this could be problematic, but it is very druidy, and have a lot of story behind, it would make old druids feels nostalgic, and would give us something to avoid wipes on a very specific and druidy way.
    All that times were someone died and a bress was already used, you would feel a lot of pride about saving this try by adding a new bress to the max amount, but i don't really believe developers want to mess up with the number of bress right now, i can see the headaches that it could cause to the raid designs.

    That is what my brainstorm could formulate.
    Maybe some of those may be seem as really bad, maybe others can see some cool concept in those, and maybe someone can reformulate then better, or something, and they might give us a chance to keep playing our druids, without making a New vs Old druids battle, about how the class should be, if it should change to a new playstyle because of the current evolved raid design, or if we need to keep this old style and just be buffed in numbers to deal with the encounters even keeping the QoLs.
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    90 Troll Druid
  • 7- Ending words:

  • First i'm sorry about my english, its far from good, its mostly self taught so i apologize.
    Maybe some of my ideas was not as good explained as it could be, and maybe some of my critics may sound harsh or offensive, or something because i could not express myself better.

    I'd like to thank Ghostcrawler for not banning me on twitter with my continuous high number of comments, sometimes in sequence, and of course for offering us this great game that is MoP, him and his team deserves much more then the community gives then, but i'm sure that they know that being bashed by the community is part of their job.

    Also like to thank to Sensations and Fleurs for the great conversation we had, it gave me a lot of ideas, and changed some of my view points, shedding light to some of my thought, even if we could not fully agree on everything. ( I sincerely expect you all to be a little less harsh on me this time, please? xD )

    And to finish this long... long... post, i'd like to thank any reader to reach this part without giving up, i'm very thankful that a post that took me so long to think about and write could cater to the attention of someone. I'm sorry for this to be a so HUGE text, but i could not compress it more without losing vital information.

    Edited by Sàtàn on 2/17/2013 1:21 AM PST
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    1 Draenei Mage
    You make some good, well thought out points, but I fear with so much to read it will be glossed over, which would a shame since Im sure alot of druids share your opinion. Maybe add a bullet style TLDR version?

    Im no resto druid expert, and mostly heal lfrs and heroics, but my observations are similar to yours.

    - Resto has excellent mobility and has the least stressful mechanics of any of the other healer classes ive played. They do seem too weak though atm, especially in handling spike damage. The problem isnt so much about how much druids heal for, its how fast they do it. It seems to me it would be difficult right now to have a druid as your primary healer for serious raiding.

    - The mushrooms mechanic is clunky and generally takes too many globals to use in the heat of battle. Again, if your say the third healer on the depth chart, you may have time to use it. I try to use it all the time and I think the amount it heals for is decent, but this this is only lfr. I agree with you about the single mushroom solution. Wouldnt mind if it was a set and forget like the mistweaver statute or shaman totem.

    In regards to general healing, Im not sure the solution is necessarily the power of druid spells, but more the speed with which they work. Folks are longed healed up by other healers before druid hots do their work. Spells like rejuv tick too slowly to be truly useful when it matters. Maybe they could really speed up how fast the HoTs tick, or greatly increase how haste affects resto druids. That said, I do understand that if the Hot has more powerful ticks, speed may be less of an issue.
    Another approach may be to greatly reduce the cost of big direct healing spells like healing touch and regrowth so become a more sustainable part of the rotation.
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    90 Night Elf Druid
    Would be great for a GM to say they read this!

    Thanks for putting in the time.
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    Well for one:

    First i'm sorry about my english, its far from good, its mostly self taught so i apologize.
    Maybe some of my ideas was not as good explained as it could be, and maybe some of my critics may sound harsh or offensive, or something because i could not express myself better.

    Your English is excellent, exceptionally so for self taught. I had zero clue it wasn't your first language till I read that.

    Secondly, thank you for this. I don't play Druid's myself (the highest I have is 56 and that's the highest I've gotten the class in all my time playing, it's just not for me I think) but my healing partner is a Druid. I've been really struggling healing with her and while there are other problems (like her dependence on regrowth) this also sheds light on to other issues as a whole.
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    90 Troll Priest

    I would firstly like to say thank you for the conversation you had with Sensations, Fleurs and I the other night, it was most intriguing and though provocative.

    02/17/2013 12:59 AMPosted by Sàtàn
    Right now raid wide damage is too bursty, you want people at max health more often, raid damage is happening the entire time, and no one will wait for that druid hot to keep ticking and heal that guy at half-hp, because the next raid damage mechanic is right there in the next seconds, and that player might die at this HP value.

    I agree with this, though I will say; they have buffed regrowth a 'little' bit to make it more of a heal like that if you have the mana. Even though you should really only cast with clearcasting, it's something to think about.

    02/17/2013 01:04 AMPosted by Sàtàn
    B- Change mushrooms to 1 Big Mushroom, that works exactly like the 3 we have today, maybe increase the mana cost a little to compensate, but make each new planted mushroom keep the stacks or part of the stacks of the old mushroom.

    I think they are trying to fix mushrooms, it will be interesting to see how powerful they will be in AOE and oh sh*t situations.

    Everything else looks great.
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    90 Troll Druid
    I don't think we're the victim of any throughput deficiencies as much as we're the victim of homogenization. The entire buffs system needs to be re-evaluated to a certain extent. Blizzard seems content on making HoT classes unable or weak in the field of preventing damage, such is the case with the removal of ToL aura and Inspiration for resto shamans. And that's a fine direction to go in.

    Our throughput is fine. And by all means, we are fine. But it's just depressing to see our class lacking so much synergy, in comparison to the other 3 HoT classes who have great raid-wide CD's. Tranq is a really great raid wide CD though, but it's not on the level of Revival or MTT/HTT, and even Hymn of Hope. I entirely exclude Innervate as a raid CD simply because our mana constraints make it exclusive to the Resto Druid only.

    Without ToL aura, and without replenishment, what are we?
    Edited by Rejuvenate on 2/17/2013 2:10 PM PST
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    90 Troll Druid
    The new wild mushrooms aren't meant to be an emergency cooldown. They are meant to mitigate the issues of stacking encounters, hot overhealing, and lack of burst healing. Nature's grasp is still going to be the primary resto druid emergency single target heal and tranquility will still be our big raid cooldown.

    I'm cautiously optimistic right now that healing class balance will at least be better in 5.2. I will say however that if these druid buffs don't get us out of the swamp we've been in since 4.3 it may be time to consider just giving druids a real direct multi target spell like chain heal or to transform cenarion ward into something like PWS on a cooldown.

    Nature's swiftness is a single target emergency heal, we need AOE emergency heal, that is what mushroom was supposed to fill, not the single target.

    I suggest you to read my thread fully, like i said, this changes will not be enough to reduce the QoL problems, and the design problems of the class.
    We don't need more HPS buffs, those would just be gimmick fixes, we need some review of our class, druid toolkit is good, it just doesn't cater to current design intent.

    We don't need buffed numbers, but changes to adapt our healing style to the current design, without loosing the unique feeling of the druid class, but also without making us the worst wipe prevention class.
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    90 Troll Druid

    Without ToL aura, and without replenishment, what are we?

    This is part of the problem... we lost many features that was core to druids.
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    90 Worgen Druid
    I am a lot more hopeful. I think that mushrooms will be really powerfull, albeit clunky, but a nice addition to the tool-kit that rewards skillful use. It is far more flexible than people realize, you only need one severely damaged target in range to get almost the full effect...

    I think we will be much more competitive in 5.2, but still something is lacking, I agree. An earlier post someone mentioned a direct cast aoe heal. I am thinking that something along these lines is needed.

    I would like something reminiscent of our 4.0 mastery. I personally enjoyed the mechanic of healing being boosted on players with hots, and the skill that it required. So instead of boosted, how about a nourish like spell that heals players that already have hots on them? This spell would be weak, but it would be another spell (along with the new mushrooms) that rewards the pre-hotting play-style while adding some additional burst to our toolkit. If it is tuned correctly, it can counteract that "they will just snipe my hots" feeling/problem druids have, without being OP.
    Edited by Fangthorn on 2/17/2013 3:50 PM PST
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    90 Night Elf Druid
    02/17/2013 12:27 PMPosted by Rejuvenate
    Without ToL aura, and without replenishment, what are we?

    I don't think either of those things are really 'druidy'. We haven't had ToL aura since Wrath and Replenishment was only a Cata thing.

    I agree we suffered from homogenization though. The three heal model fails miserably for us with most druids taking Nourish and Healing Touch off their bars. I don't think those two spells should be shoved back at us with some major changes (I can just imagine all the FUN ways Devs could make us WANT to use them. . .)

    The mushroom changes aren't going to fix either the mushrooms or us. When I think of my druids I think mobility and hots. I think of the flow of casting and moving and trusting my heals to do their work.
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    90 Troll Druid

    Without ToL aura, and without replenishment, what are we?

    This is part of the problem... we lost many features that was core to druids.

    I wouldn't go as far as to say they were core abilities, but there was just so much more value of having a resto druid in the raid than there is currently. Obviously both of these factors are negated by having a Pally in Wrath, and a Destro Warlock/Ret Pally in Cata.
    Edited by Rejuvenate on 2/17/2013 4:38 PM PST
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    90 Draenei Priest
    Fantastic post OP.

    To me the easiest way to fix druid healing would be to change Mushrooms from a clunky POS to something like the new Lightspring.

    Something like:
    Places a Mushroom that will absorb overhealing done up to the druid's maximum hp. The mushroom will use this healing on any raid member within 40 yards.

    Obviously tweak the numbers if needed - but turning it into a smart-healing turret that redistributes our overhealing to the rest of the raid would help a lot of druid issues.
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    90 Night Elf Druid
    A short version-

    Other healers have absorbs, this aborbs damage counting as HPS for them, leaving us nothing to heal.

    When we do heal, we're HoTs that have to tick, other healers have faster smart heals that are instant, or busting, therefore they snipe our heals by healing people up way faster then we ever could making our HoTs overheal / pointless.

    I never though found Druid healing boring. Even when I could rejuv spam, or do my swiftmend+WG rotation.

    I think other classes just got changed/buffed/too powerful for druids to compete anymore. That they need to change us to give US some similar effects, such as an absorb or shield mechanic. Or some instant heals vs. waiting for HoTs.

    But then if they did that, why would I play a druid? I wouldn't. When I want that playstyle I play a Priest.

    Or perhaps the game could recognize HoTs and not let other healers heal x amount of healing remaining on the HoT - so if they snipe THEY are actually overhealing, maybe make other heals pay attention to when we have HoTs on a target.
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