Another couple of weeks have passed and WoW news sites have been kept pretty busy. Patch 4.3 seems to loom closer, despite not being on the PTR yet, and bits and pieces and fat chunks about its content and the changes it will bring have started to surface on Blizzard’s very own website.
Just to get this out of the way: I know there were nerfs to tier12 content. Although they do irk me somehow, discussing them irks me even more as I actually rewrote this post a couple of time before deciding I had already wasted enough time on things that marginally affect me or my guild.
Same old song and dance?
The first bit of news about 4.3 is actually almost a month old, as fashionable WoW players have had the time to appreciate the new transmogrify feature and start looking at every possible set (and if you were still wondering, Blizz just made a list of official notes about how transmogrification works).
Your favourite slothful healer, ça va sans dire, is not fazed by this particular bit of news as looking for pretty gear would mean actually spending time outside of raids. Also, I am not really interested in gear for its looks unless there’s a set somewhere that makes you look like this.
However, I can agree that it does add a nice touch of customization to the game, and it’s something players been interested in for a while. After transmogrification was announced, more polishing features were revealed over the days – void storage, the ‘all new’ Darkmoon Faire, Worgen ponies, new tiers and Blizz admitting Blood tanking is gimped and will be fixed soon. I choose the word ‘polish’ intentionally as patch 4.3 seems to follow a pattern started roughly with dual speccing and walked by Cataclysm, as quality-of-life improvements take precedence over radical changes to the game.
Quality-of-life is a notion Blizzard themselves recently mentioned in the class feedback threads; as I see it, it’s the concept that the difficulty in WoW should be determined by the actual content and not by gameplay issues which might prevent you from enjoying the content in the first place – see warlock shards pre-cataclysm.
While some players complain that Cataclysm was a disappointment because of the lack of actual changes to the game, I agree with Blizz and others that there isn’t really a way to bring substantial upgrades to a seven-years-old game, and at this point it makes more sense to make sure that what we have is as smooth and enjoyable as possible; think of the revamp of 1-60 zones or the Void Storage feature if you want a couple of examples.
However, something Blizzard are expected to improve and innovate are raid encounters. As much as the Gunship Battle in ICC was basically tank and spank with some twists and free loot, I liked the fact that it managed to advance the story in a way few boss encounters did before (fighting the horde while trying to reach the upper Citadel). For that reason I am really looking forward to the Deathwing encounter, which seems to involve many different mechanics wrapped into an epic showdown. If the fight ends up half as fun as it sounds on paper, my guildies will see a very keen tree on the day we finally face the aspect of Death – as long as there is no swimming out of lava involved.
In other strictly related news, we killed Staghelm last week. We just did it again, and it looks like it could become farm content faster than Aly (which still isn’t for us), even without the nerf. I love this fight, not strictly because of the mechanics, although it’s reasonably well designed and fun; what I like is that I have to make the most out if every spell in my arsenal – bar Nourish, sadly – if I want my team to have a chance to succeed, and that’s especially true in 10 man because you are responsible for pretty much every health bar in your range. From healing the tank hard to managing your raid cooldowns to keeping an eye on damage taken by orbs ‘tanks’, it always keeps people on their toes and prevents me from being stuck on the ‘keep hots rolling on the raid’ mentality.
Speaking of which, I did not actually take the time to answer Blizz’s questions, but I enjoyed reading the feedback from other players and seeing so many diverse opinions. I will admit I really like resto healing at the moment. I don’t have any bias, having started my healing career in the midst of tier 11, and at the same time I don’t have the experience either, so that I can’t compare resto as it is now to what it was in, say, ICC.
It does feel great, though, for the reasons I listed earlier taking about the Staghelm fight. The fact that we lack the ability to quickly top off a health bar or the ability to reduce incoming damage makes healing more challenging and fun. As other bloggers have pointed out, we should not ask for abilities that do not belong in our spec or that are trademarks of other healing classes. The mark of a good healer is the ability to work with and make the most of other healers’ strong points and cover for their weaknesses. If you learn to do it for your fellow healers, they’ll do the same for you.
That is expecially true for us resto because our healing style complements others so well.
Anyway, I love resto so much that I will probably get a second resto spec – shouldn’t be an issue seeing how many dailies I do – so that I can try those few changes I have wanted to make for a while. Namely, I want to see how much Living Seed is valuable in 10man; I know it’s a weak talent on paper but I want to see if it can make a difference anyway in those fights where tanks have to move around a lot and might end up out of healing range.
I’d probably drop Nature’s Bounty, despite it being so good for me, and see if I can bring the Regrowth spam outside of tree form a bit down, as my gear certailnly doesn’t allow me to use it liberally yet (and hopefully never will). I have certainly toned it down with progress bosses becoming farm content, but I am still wary of what reckless regrowth usage can do to my mana bar.
…Same old song and daaance~~~
Another week and Rayze manages to do it again – another wall of text without actual substance into it. That means I’m probably giving up on the thought of a second Four_dot_two post and you can look forward to a nice guide to the TellMeWhen add-on for my next column.