There’s a new buzz in the resto community, and of course it’s the upcoming nerf of both Wild Growth and its associated glyph. While there’s nothing set in stone yet as it’s still only PTR, patch notes coupled with GC’s attitude were enough to make trees worried about the viability of resto healing in 4.3.
“But Rayze, we already know that!”
Alright, alright, I’m fashionably late to the party. Admittedly, I noticed the announcement right away, but I was busy staring at the amazing Tier 13 Priest set. The little warlock in me just loves headpieces that look like a mask, and the designers actually managed to give the set a unique flavour – although there’s a kind of resemblance to the Gemini armour from Saint Seiya(*). I went to share my enthusiasm with my guildies on our forum, and my post was met with replies such as “Why do I have to look like a statue?” “All hail your new pharaoh!” “…sicked up chocolate box crossed with a chess piece…” “Dude, it looks terribad on [insert non-human race here]!” “Thanks Blizz for transmogrification” etc.
[2. Trade] [Rayze]: Resto druid LF guild with some sort of fashion sense, please /w me.
…Very well. Let’s discuss the nerf then.
By itself, it is totally fine. Not only Wild Growth is ranked #1 by far for healing done in most of my logs, it’s also one of those kind of “cast and forget” abilites as it’s an instant smart heal – it will heal the most injured targets in range without the need for me to actually select targets or position myself according to range (see Holy Radiance). As many have said, some sort of nerf was expected for patch 4.3. Why am I even commenting on it then? Well, the explanation from mr. Nerfbat himself seems to suggest that we should be grateful as we apparently will be gifted with the chance to choose between glyphed WG and non-glyphed WG, which I guess implies that we have many major glyphs left to gather dust simply because they were over-shadowed by the almighty WG glyph.
Look. I understand that a major glyph which gives a flat percentage of bonus healing with no drawbacks of sort needs to be revised. But what is mind-boggling here is how GC seems to blissfully ignore the fact that there are no good major glyphs beyond those three we currently see employed – not to mention that Glyph of Healing Touch does nothing if you aren’t specced into Nature’s Swiftness. Glyph of Innervate is almost useless since 4.2, and Glyph of Thorns is “meh” at best.
Aside from this blunder (?), the nerf to WG sparks a question. We know that resto druids don’t have access to shield effects nor have the ability to quickly refill health bars. Our strength lies in mobility and the tremendous, constant healing that our HoTs provide. I have read comments suggesting that at the moment resto druids are the kings of farm content. I’d like to disagree; even when first faced with abilities such as Nefarian’s Electrocute, we managed to find a way to work around the lack of burst healing (pre-hotting people before Electrocute went off to save the GCDs for the aftermath).
However, if WG’s strength is going to be reduced, how are we going to make up for the drop in healing output, if a growth in raid-wide damage with the advent of the Dragon Soul raid is to be expected? I went looking through our arsenal of healing spells. We have four single target non-hot heals, only one of which is instant and doubles as an aoe heal but has a CD; barring WG, one aoe heal on a 3 mins cooldown; and two HoTs, of which only one is spammable and the other can be cast on unlimited targets only under certain circumstances.
The most obvious answer is then Rejuvenation, at least when not in Tree form. When we have to quickly bring the raid back to an acceptable health level, that seems to be the faster, dependable answer. Of course I might be overlooking things, but Ghostcrawler has already said that “this (the WG nerf) may or may not be sufficient to nerf Resto druid throughput overall”, so don’t expect any of our other healing spells to receive a buff anytime soon. I know that we were far from being able to spam Rejuve at will only a few months ago, but with the increase in Intellect and Spirit on gear and the tier 13 2-pieces bonus, we are getting closer and closer to a situation where mana is not a relevant issue anymore unless you’re casting nothing but Regrowth.
This is where both Blizzard and many comments I’ve seen around the web seem to miss the mark. If Rejuvenation spam will be resto’s answer, what will the nerf actually accomplish? The actual problem is not only that WG is currently too strong, but also that it’s too easy to use it effectively because its use requires very little thought. I don’t like how Crabby plainly states the problem (“Resto AOE healing is too strong”) yet makes no effort to look at the root of the issue besides “WG is broken”. Resto healing numbers are very high now not only because we have at our disposal impressive abilities like Tree form and Tranquillity, but also because we can use our strongest non-CD tools (WG and RJ) more liberally compared to when resto druids were struggling and Wild Growth received a buff (i.e. pre-4.1).
I am not complaining that resto healing is too easy, far from it; however, why not give us major glyphs which enhance our lackluster single target heals? How often have you cast Nourish and Healing Touch in raids lately, especially as raid healers? If GC is really that worried about the glyph of WG, why not introduce a glyph which makes Nourish work like Binding Heal, for instance, at the cost of more mana; or a glyph which gives Regrowth back a useful heal-over-time effect. If Blizzard really see resto’s healing output as too strong, please feel free to nerf WG even more, but at least give us the tools to make up for it with the individual players’ skill. I know that we’re close to the end of Cata and it’s a bad time to make major changes to how a class works (oh wait, Holy Paladins say hi); however, a plain nerf to Wild Growth actually accomplishes close to nothing, and with the ignorant comment about glyphs, feels like a slap to our collective face.
(*) No, I am not suggesting that they look alike. Or maybe I am. That’s just the first thing that sprung to my mind after seeing it.