Proving Grounds

1 08 2013

So here are some videos I recorded showing the proving grounds and discussing changes to the Resto Druid spec. Enjoy.

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Patch 5.4 Proving Grounds

27 06 2013

Currently, very little is known about one of the newest features, the Proving Grounds. What we do know is that the Proving Grounds will be based on role: Healer, DPS, Tank. Each will feature different difficulties: Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Endless, if I remember correctly. For now I will be talking about the healing mode; I do tank on my Paladin these days, but I am not skilled enough as a tank to discuss a tanking mode with any confidence.

So, what is the healing mode? Right now we are not entirely sure. I would assume that you will be placed in a group 10 or 25 NPCs that are fulfilling the tank, DPS, and other healer spots in the raid group. In my mind I envision having to heal the groups through raid-like fights, having to deal with mechanics specifically relevant to your role, and having to heal the NPCs through mechanics relevant to their roles.

What I do not imagine coming to Live servers is a Proving Grounds that is stricly about throughput, although it would be nice if there were a mode with Training Dummies who health are all at 1% and we can test different styles of maximizing throughput vs. mana efficiency. We will likely see encounters that require us to step out of our comfort zones, especially as we up the difficulty.

One of the biggest questions being tossed around right now is whether or not this can be used as a teaching/learning tool. I currently have mixed thoughts about the answer to this question. Will this feature allow new healers to learn their spells and which spells are best used under which situations? Certainly. Will this feature give new healers a feel for what real raids and groups are going to be like? Unlikely.

First off, NPCs are programmed to do certain things and, regardless of how random we may want them to act, there is only so much randomness that can be inserted into an NPC. In the end, we can expect them to follow the mechanics properly and to be where they are supposed to be when they are supposed to be there. In a real raid/group environment you may have someone experience lag or forget that they are suppose to stack and thus are late getting to the stack party. As a healer you are expected to heal that person through the mistake.

Second, I imagine that I will care less about losing an NPC DPS, or even the entire NPC group, than I do allowing one of my fellow raiders to die. When I am in raid and allow someone to die I feel a pang of guilt; when the entire raid dies because of something I messed up, I feel terrible. When I watch their health bars fall lower and lower and my cohealers and I are blowing every CD in the book trying to pull the group through I feel a sense of urgency, anxiety, I’m pumped with adrenaline. While I’m sure that I will try very hard to keep a raid of NPCs alive and will get nervous if I approach failing, the nerves will be more related to the fact that I want to succeed as opposed to I don’t want my raid to fail.

I dunno. What are your thoughts on the topic? Do you think it will help you learn your class better? Will you use the scoring mode to compete against your co-healers? As always, leave your thoughts and comments in the comments below.





Patch 5.4 June 20 Update

22 06 2013

The first update to the 5.4 PTR notes has been made. There are plenty of changes being made to other classes, but I am glad to see that the initial notes on Restoration Druids are holding. Here are the changes that apply to us directly:

*Innervate now causes the target to gain mana equal to 50% of the casting Druid’s Spirit every second for 10 seconds. The total mana gained from this ability can never be less than 8% of the casting Druid’s maximum mana, and the amount gained is unaffected by Mana Tide Totem.

So yea and nay for this change. The “never be less than 8%” part helps to alleviate the concerns that many had about lower-geared healers and those choosing to run low-Spirit builds not receiving a benefit from Innervate. In this case it is still a nerf to lower-geared healers, but not so much as to be unusable. For those having continued mana problems, I encourage the use of Hymn of Hope prior to Innervate to increase maximum mana (if your Spirit is below the point that it would return 8% of maximum mana, using Hymn of Hope to boost maximum mana will proof beneficial) and Mana Tide Totem. Carry lots of mana potions and switch to Flask of the Falling Leaves. Not sure how many Restoration Druids have changed to the Intellect flasks, but I still utilize Falling Leaves (Spirit). This may change as we head into the next gear tier.

I was very disappointed to see that Mana Tide Totem would not have an effect on Innervate. My hope was that the Spirit boost from MTT would be able to buff the Innervates. I have only been keeping up with the intermingling of different spells since the launch of MoP when I found myself really struggling. While I have been vastly unhappy that I have not been able to use Innervate and MTT at the same time as they overrode each other, I am not aware whether or not this has always been the case. Raiding in ICC I healed mostly with Restoration Druids, a Pally, or a Priest. Cata saw me healing mostly with Pallies and Priests. The launch of MoP was the first time that I regularly and progressively healed with a Shaman.

For those who like to PVP, please be aware that Faerie Fire has had its duration decreased to 20 seconds, down from 40.

*Glyph of the Master Shapeshifter now reduces the mana cost of all shapeshifts by 100% (up from 90%).

I can’t say that I have ever burned through mana due to shifting too much, we don’t tend to shift much when healing. This is likely more of use to other specs. However, fights such as Tortos do see me shifting to Stag and Cat form frequently as I’m designated kicker in addition to raid healing, so situations like that may see a benefit. Strangely enough, mana is never a concern for me on that fight.

*Living Seed effects can now stack up to 50% of the casting Druid’s maximum health.

You know, I’ve never been a fan of Living Seed. Back in Wrath we had to spend 3 talent points in it to unlock Efflorescence. When the Living Seed requirement of Efflorescence was removed, most Druids left Living Seed behind. It reared its head again when it became a passive ability. Even recently when I examined my World of Logs, I found that Living Seed was only doing 1% of my total healing. This is mostly due, in my opinion, to the fact that we don’t stack Critical Strike rating in Restoration as it is our weakest stat. With the new T16 bonuses trying to synergize with crit and Living Seed, we may see Living Seed become a larger portion of our heals. Time will tell.

And that’s it for this round of updates. Time will tell if any/all of these proposed changes will fly or die. I sincerely hope they survive. I don’t raid 25s, but I understand that we are still struggling in that area. I find 10s to be very doable for our class, but we lack a lot of the utility that other healers bring to the table, forcing us to rely more and more heavily on our sheer throughput to stay in the game. Me? Bring on the throughput buffs, baby.

As always, leave your thoughts in the comments below.





Dream of Cenarius Part 1 (5.4 PTR)

17 06 2013

((I am posting this while away from home.  I will have to check the cast time of Wrath when I get back))

Update:  Turns out I wasn’t far off on the cast time of Wrath.  My Druid has 23.09% spell haste (raid buffed), which puts Wrath at a 1.63 second cast.

So we are quite a ways away from seeing 5.4 live on servers, but it’s good to discuss changes and to prepare ourselves for them.  Lissana over at http://www.Restokin.com recently posted about the changes to mushrooms, Beru at http://FallingLeavesandWings.wordpress.com discussed her views on multiple changes, and http://r4healingtouch.wordpress.com discussed many of the changes in depth (as you’ll remember me referencing him for some of the math involved).

One change that I have not seen a lot of verbiage on yet is the Dream of Cenarius talent.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m uber-excited about the Mushroom changes, specifically Glyph of Swiftmend; I just feel the need to discuss DoC.  Before we delve in I first want to say that I am no WoW mathematician and I will type out the formulas that I use.  Chances are that I have made some mistakes in my figures and you are more than welcome to point out these errors.

Restoration: Causes Wrath to deal 20% more damage and heals a nearby friendly target for 100% of the damage done. (PTR 5.4)

First off, let me say how interesting it is that Blizzard has taken a move in this direction for Restoration Druids.  I can honestly say that of all the changes I had wished for, an Atonement style healing change was not on my mind.  But, then again, with Pallies have Battle Insight and I think monks can heal with one of their physical attacks, I guess I’m not overly surprised.  I just did a double take on the spell info for Wrath and had to smile to myself when I remembered that Wrath is a Nature spell.  It would have been hard trying to explain the link between the Arcane and Nature schools if it were Starfire being used (aside from the terrible cast time we’d have to endure).

So, now time for some math:

Wrath currently deals 2331 to 2996 plus Spellpower times 121.6%.  If you didn’t track that, we’re looking at 2331 + SP(121.6%) to 2996 + SP(121.6%).

I’m going to use my own gear as reference for Spellpower for two reasons:  1) I have no idea what our Spellpower will look like in 5.4, and 2) I figure most of us won’t be Heroic geared anytime soon, so I’ll use my numbers as a safe median.  My Spellpower is currently sitting at 31,203 (raid buffed).  Therefore, we will be looking at basic damage of:

 

2,331 + 31,203(121.6%) = 2,331 + 37,943 = 40,274

to

2,996 + 27,062(121.6%) = 2,996 + 37,943 = 40,939

 

Not too bad considering we’re a healing class.  If you assume a 1.6 second cast time (due to spell haste) and no need to move/cast anything else, you could be looking at 25k DPS.  Math:

 

1.6 second cast X 5 casts = 8 seconds

 

40,274 X 5 casts = 201,370 damage

201,370 damage / 8 seconds = 25,171.25 damage/second

 

40,939 X 5 casts = 204,695 damage

204,695 damage / 8 seconds = 25,586.86 damage/second

 

I am not including Soul of the Forest in these numbers because you would only get 1 buffed cast per 15 seconds (outside the scope of these numbers) and it truly would be a waste to spend the buff on a Wrath.

Now, by taking the Dream of Cenarius talent, our Wrath damage will be increased by 20% and a nearby ally will be healed for 100% of damage done.  Let’s work that 20% in.  I’m not sure where exactly in the math chain the 20% adds in but, as it is a talent increasing damage, I am going to assume it comes in to play after Spellpower has been figured in.  Locate the numbers 40,274 and 40,939 above for reference.

 

40,274 + 20% = 35,238 X 1.2 = 48,328.8

40,939 + 20% = 35,903 X 1.2 = 49,126.8

(Yes, I ran both numbers twice.  Funny how they both end in .8)

 

So, with that in mind, let’s plug those numbers back into our DPS formula.

 

48,328.8 X 5 casts = 241,644 damage

241,644 damage / 8 seconds = 30,205.5 damage/second

 

49,126.8 X 5 casts = 245,634 damage

245,634 damage / 8 seconds = 30,704.25 damage/second

 

S0 we’re looking at 30k DPS with the assumptions that we don’t have to move or cast other heals.  This will convert directly over into 30k HPS.  Depending on the phase of the fight, a lot of this will likely be overhealing.  I will go ahead and say now that this is not a style of healing to use during damage heavy phases.  Assuming moderate damage, this could be used to assist raid DPS while supplementing your healing (you should have a Rejuv or two out, Mushroom down with Efflorescence running, and buffed WG rolling; at least that’s what I’m planning).

For those of you who have hung on long enough to reach this point, I want to say congratulations and thank you.  Now, I am probably about to really screw up some math here, but I want to look what the healing could be like if we factor in crit chance.  Again, I will be listing the formulas I use for your review.  I am running under the assumption that crits deal 200% damage (looked that one up on WoWhead just to be sure).  Also, I will be using my own Crit% of 19.7% (14.19 + raid crit buff) for these calculations.  To avoid the concerns of lucky Crit streaks and such, I will simply calculate the average expected with said Crit%.  To average this, I’ll assume 100 Wrath casts where 19.7 will be critical hits and 80.3 will be noncritical hits.  These calculations will vary as both your own and my own Crit% change.  Also, I will not be taking into account any Intellect/Crit/Haste/etc procs.  Please locate the 48,328.8 and 49,126.8 numbers from above for this next set.

 

48,328.8 damage X 80.3 casts = 3,880,803 damage

96,657.6 crit damage X 19.7 casts = 1,904,155 crit damage

3,880,803 + 1,904,155 = 5,784,958 damage

5,784,958 damage / 160 seconds = 36,156 damage / second

 

49,126.8 damage X 80.3 casts = 3,944,882 damage

98,253.6 crit damage X 19.7 casts = 1,935,596 crit damage

3,944,882 + 1935596 = 5,880,478 damage

5,880,478 damage / 160 seconds = 36,753 damage / second

 

So we could be looking at 36k HPS coming from this talent when averaged out over long periods of time.  While this is certainly not massive amounts of damage and healing, it will allow us to more easily push some damage on a boss fight without completely shifting out of healing mode.  Again, please feel free to check out my math and tell me if I understand WoW formulas incorrectly.  Unfortunately at this time I do not know how/if our Mastery will interact with this.

In Part 2 I plan to visit the mana costs associated with this.  Remember that the mana cost of Wrath is being increased by 50%.

 

As always, leave your thoughts in the comments below.





Patch 5.4 Notes Are Out

14 06 2013

So some big news came out earlier this week. The patch notes for 5.4 have been released. http://us.battle.net/wow/en/blog/10158897/

Bear in mind that as of this moment the PTR is not available for this patch, but it should be coming shortly. With all of the changes for Restoration Druids, I think I may download the PTR and have a look around. As it stands, we’re in for a real treat. As with all things PTR all, some, or none of these changes may make it to live, but from the amount of changes I’m seeing in the notes it appears that the Devs want to pay some lovin’ attention to us so we should see at least a few things come through.

Rank 4 Healing Touch has a very nice write-up on these proposed changes. http://r4healingtouch.wordpress.com/2013/06/12/preliminary-patch-5-4-resto-druid-changes/

I’d like to go over a few of my own thoughts on these notes. I won’t be discussing every change listed, just the ones that I find most interesting. So, without further adue, let’s jump right in.

Innervate is being changed so that it grants 50% of the casting Druid’s Spirit as mana per second for 10 seconds. My Druid’s Spirit is currently 10089. For simplicity of math, let’s round that down to an even 10k Spirit. With that, I’ll be looking at 5k mana per second for 10 seconds, 50k mana total. Innervate currently returns 60k mana, so this could initially be a problem. However, keep in mind that I have the 522 mana trinket, the 502 Horridon trinket, and a Restoration Shaman co-healer that gives me Mana Tide Totem when I want it. Couple that with Flask of Spring Blossoms that I run, and mana usually isn’t a problem for me these days. This change is geared for heading into Tier 16 as our Spirit levels will rise and we will get better beneifit. Depending on how you work your stats, some Druids will get more return out of this than others. As gear levels rise, we should all see at least some increased mana from this.

The Dream of Cenarius talent is being reworked to give Restoration Druids an “Atonement” spec. This passive talent will increase Wrath’s damage by 20% and will heal a nearby ally for 100% of the damage dealt. Priests should not be concerned that we are moving in on their Atonement turf as Wrath does minimal damage and is not at all an efficient way of healing. This spell will be sueful for low damage periods when trying to use other healing spells will harm your mana reserves. Please note that Wrath’s mana cost has been increased by 50%.

Heart of the Wild will now also provide a 25% bonus to healing for Restoration Druids. There are several opinions out about the usefulness of this aspect of the talent, and I still have not completely made up my own mind. Chances are I will continue to take Heart of the Wild for fights were our DPS is tight. Although, I may find that I like the new Dream of Cenarius talent. Time will tell.

Alright, how many of you are still here by this point? Believe me, those are the lackluster points of tis post. These points certainly have potential, but they are certainly not what I’m bragging to my co-healers about. The bragging points are as follows:

Allow me to be the first to tell you (well, maybe not the first) that Wild Mushroom will be mobile. Note I said Wild Mushroom…without the s. Wild Mushroom will now plant a single mushroom on the ground that will accumulate 100% overhealing from Rejuvenation. This is down from 150%, which I assume has to do with the say the math worked with 3 mushrooms. You can expect that your single mushroom will take longer to charge. However, if you need to move the mushroom, you can recast the Wild Mushroom and it will retain its previous charge. This will allow you to move a charged mushroom any number of times as needed for stack positions. More usefulness on the mobility to come when I talk about Efflorescence in a few. Please note that Wild Mushroom can no longer crit.

Nature’s Swiftness will no longer be a talent and will be learned by all Restoration Druids at level 30. This is important as Nature’s Swiftness is both an emergency cooldown as well as a throughput CD (throughput in that it increases the heal used by 50%). I took this talent and have never changed it. I believe that Ysera’s Gift is the new talent that will be taking its place, and I will likely take Ysera’s Gift over the other options.

While we’re on the topic of emergency heals, a fascinating new Glyph is on the way: Glyph of Efflorescence. This Glyph will increase the healing done by Swiftmend by 20% and will cause Efflorescence to be triggered by the Wild Mushroom. The Efflorescence effect will be centered around the Mushroom and will exist as long as the mushroom is on the field. Ladies and Gentledruids, Efflorescence can now have an extremely high uptime, be placed where ever we want it, and will not be wasted when forced to use a Swiftmend to heal a range that is not standing near anyone. Someone kick on the “Happy Days” show theme song, please.

An interesting change that I never forsaw coming is the change to Soul of the Forest. For Restoration Druids the spell haste granted by using Swiftmend will be increased to 100%, up from 75%. For those of you using Soul of the Forest to buff your Wild Growth, this haste increase will further amaze you. Couple this with your Lifeblood ability (no reason for a Druid not to pick flowers IMHO >.>) and you can heal some serious damage.

This just keeps getting better and better, doesn’t it? I feel like a Infomercial salesman.

BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE! ….No, seriously, there’s more.

Genesis is a new ability for Restoration Druids that will be learned at level 88. For a lack of being able to explain this better than the Patch notes, I quote:

“Genesis is a new Restoration spell learned at level 88. Genesis targets all party or raid members within 60 yards and accelerates the casting Druid’s Rejuvenation effects, causing them to heal and expire at 400% of the normal rate. Costs the same amount of mana to cast as Rejuvenation.” (PTR 5.4)

Genesis will not cause Rejuvenation to heal more, only to do all of its healing in a very short period of time. To once again reference Rank 4 Healing Touch’s post on 5.4, casting multiple Rejuvenations around the raid and hitting Genesis will cause the last Rejuvenation to expire in about 2.5 seconds (assuming you hit Gensis immediately after casting the last Rejuvenation) and the Rejuvenations cast prior to the last to expire in a time determined by their remaining duration. I want to reinforce that Genesis will only effect the Rejuvenations that you have cast and will have no impact on Rejuvenations cast by other druids.

This could be a massive combo chain for Druids in 5.4. I myself already use Soul of the Forest to buff Wild Growth when large damage occurs. Imagine predictable raid-wide damage occurring in which you can throw out multiple Rejuvenations, cast Genesis, pop a Swiftmend before all of the Rejuvenations expire, and follow it up with a buffed Wild Growth. Oh, and remember that Wild Growth will be buffed to 100% spell haste. Sexy.

Needless to say I am very interested in how 5.4 will develop. Please keep in mind that all of this is PTR and some or all of these points may be changed, reworked, or removed all together.

As a final note, I want to point out to you, as a healer, that Shadow Priests and Balanced Druids will no longer take 15% reduced damamge and Warlocks’ Fel Armor will no longer reduce damage taken by 10%.

Assuming you have managed to stay with me to the end of this post, what are your thoughts on these changes? Are you excited? Confused? Or maybe you think that we need further tweaking. As always, leave your thoughts in the comments below.








Rank 4 Healing Touch

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Restokin

Lissanna's blog about druids

The BigBearButt

Warcraft through the eyes of a Restoration Druid.