Tuesday, March 4, 2008
Lifebloom 101: A Guide for the Saplings, the Unseasoned, and the Stupids
It's come to my attention that not everyone knows how Lifebloom works! /gasp
This is of course me being in my own little druidy world assuming everyone's got the lowdown on the HoTtest heal ever. However! I think I can write well enough about it that I can lay it out, give it a good going over, and hopefully my faithful readers (I'm assured I have more than one!) can point out any errors I make, as I can be prone to them.
Let's begin, shall we?
To start off, it's called Lifebloom! Aw, how cute. It's your life, and it's blooming up, up and up! Just the way we all like it. I'm not sure many people like when their bar starts dropping, unless they're a mana starved tankadin. Even then, they want it to go back up. Mmm, delicious heals.
Right, moving on.
Next, let's look at the mana cost. There's only one rank of Lifebloom (at the moment...WotLK may change that) and it has a fixed mana cost of 220 mana. If you factor in Tree Form's 20% reduced mana cost, it becomes 176. That's really inexpensive, which is really helpful, but we'll go into that more later when we start talking about how it's used.
40 yard range, that's pretty standard. Instant cast, too, is fitting in with the druid's unique playstyle. And now we're on to the meat of the skill.
"Heals the target for 273 over 7 sec. When Lifebloom completes its duration or is dispelled, the target instantly heals themself for 600. This effect can stack up to 3 times on the same target."
What does it all mean, Bellwether?!
I'm glad you asked! See, Lifebloom is a HoT. What's a HoT?
Still with me? Okay. So, Lifebloom is a HoT which is applied to a target for the sole purpose of healing them. It can stack up to three times, and heals for more each second with each stack. Like this:
Now, that's not the most optimal casting order when you have one target. That would look more like this:
And so on with many variations and Swiftmends thrown in at opportune moments.
But it all really depends on what your tank needs at the time! We won't get too picky about that now. Especially since it's dragging in other skills and I'm focusing on just Lifebloom.
Now, Lifebloom lasts 7 seconds. And if you let it expire within those seven seconds, it "blooms." The HoT buff disappears and the target heals themself for a set amount. This bloom amount does not change with varying stacks. A stack of one will bloom as much as a stack of two as a stack of three.
Now, let's take apart what I just said.
First part: the disappearing of the buff after seven seconds. You want to keep the Lifebloom rolling at 3 stacks constantly. This is the most efficient (PvE) use of Lifebloom. With multiple tanks, this is up to 4 tanks with three rolling lifebloom stacks (depending on your latency) due to global cooldown and ignoring any need to use another skill within that rotation (Innervate, emergency Nature's Swiftness plus Healing Touch, Rebirth, etc.) This makes the mana efficiency of Lifebloom all-important due to a Resto druid never being outside of the 5-second rule. Never.
Next part: The bloom. The bloom counts as the healing of the target it blooms on. Basically, this heal will not show up on your healing meters, and will give the person it blooms on threat. This sounds good in theory, but in PvE cases Lifebloom should not be allowed to bloom as much as it is in your power to keep it rolling. It is highly mana inefficient to allow the spell to bloom, but that part will also be explained a bit later in the post.
Final part: Since one Lifebloom will bloom as much as a stack of two or three, it is important to realize you should not stack it if your plan is to allow it to bloom (such as giving the tank one lifebloom before he pulls, giving him bloom threat).
That's all well and good Bellwether, but why do we care?
I'll tell you why!
Once you get into 25-mans, Lifebloom will become 80-100% of your healing. Multiple Lifebloom stacks rolling on multiple tanks. Druid healers fill their own special little niche called "damage mitigation." Our job is to give the tank a steady supply of regenerating health while the other healers (priests, paladins and shamans) take care of burst/spike damage. Basically, we're a living Major Troll's Blood Potion on crack and caffeine with ADHD.
Now, let's address the bloom. That little bugger has its place, sure enough as I type this now. This place is snuggled securely in the (un)welcoming arms of PvP. You see, when Lifebloom is purged or spell-stolen, it blooms automatically on its target, granting them that last spurt of life as a sort of consolation prize. However, this will only work on the last Lifebloom in the stack. You can have two out of three purged from you and get nothing in return, so don't get too cocky. They're also handy when you're being forced to turtle in bear form and can't get to your buddy to give him or her a good heal boost.
So, let's summarize!
Lifebloom is mana efficient and low cost as long as you keep your stacks rolling. You don't want it bloom unless you have no other choice or are giving your tank initial aggro on a pull, and then it's best if it blooms on a stack of one. If you do it at any other time, congratulations! You just casted the longest delayed-time heal in the game for minimal results.
EDIT: It turns out there were questions! What follows is a conversation I had with my fellow bloggers to clear up some of the misconceptions about Lifebloom!
Matticus: since it expires afte 7 seconds
Matticus: dont subsequent lifeblooms like trigger the bloom when it overrides previous blooms?
Matticus: like, bloom, bloom, bloom, bloom OH SHIT HE BLOOMED and start over?
Bellwether: you just keep refreshing the three stack
Bellwether: the timer starts over when you add a new lifebloom
Matticus: one timer for ALL three stacks?
Matticus: not one time for EACH stack?
Bellwether: you can stack lifebloom three times on one person. so it's one stack of three individuals.
Matticus: and adding a 4th does ntohing
Bellwether: just refreshes the timer to keep it from blooming.
Matticus: *scratches head*
Twalkins: Are you familiar with sunder armor, Matticus? Maybe lacerate?
Matticus: healed my whole career
Twalkins: Ah...guess not.
Twalkins: Lifebloom stacks on a single target up to three times.
Matticus: that part i get
Twalkins: So if you hit someone three times with LB, they will have three stacks for seven seconds.
Twalkins: If you hit them again with LB, it won't add a fourth stack. It will simply refresh the duration of the third stack, bringing it back to 7 seconds.
Matticus: like a judgement..
Leafshine: So each cast of Lifebloom resets the timer.
Twalkins: Like a judgement.
Matticus: otherwise i have to recast the seal and judge it again..
Twalkins: Instead of having to rejudge, a druid has to re-LB three times to get the three stacks.
Twalkins: Once LB blooms, all three stacks go away. You'd have to start over.
Twalkins: And no matter how many stacks you have, it will always bloom for the same amount.
Matticus: and when it booms, the amount healed makes no differennce be it one boom or three booms
Matticus: and i dont understand this 5sr stuff and how it relates to druids. depending on the encounter, i stay inactive for a while to try and spirit regen my mana
Twalkins: it'd be pretty cool if you could choose when to bloom lifebloom.
Bellwether: We can't be inactive.
Bellwether: It's not how we work
Twalkins: 5 second rule means that you won't regain any spirit-based mana until after five seconds pass of no casting.
Bellwether: We're keeping the tank with a steady regen going.
Matticus: right, that part i get
Bellwether: If we "take a break" the tank loses that steady regen
Siha: Priests are the only ones who _can_ be inactive, really.
Twalkins: So you don't have time to stay out of teh 5sr when LB is only 7 seconds.
Phaelia: druids are pretty much always in 5SR but we have tools that make up for it
Bellwether: especially with multiple stacks
Phaelia: such as lower mana cost spells, Innervate
Phaelia: and general awesomeness
Matticus: you cant just like... sit there for 10 seconds and rely on other healers to do stuff?
Leafshine: And we stat heavily for Spirit if we're seep enough Resto to be trees.
Bellwether: That's not what we're there for
Phaelia: we are healing stream totems
Bellwether: We're there to keep the tank steadily regenning life while other healers care for the spikes.
Leafshine: We are the steady buffers.
Leafshine: We keep Prot Pallies happy with constant mana regen…
Phaelia: when I heal on tough encounters with multiple stacks rolling, my face is about two inches from my monitor and i rock back and forth to keep my rhythm ... you would think me autistic to see me heal ^_^
Matticus: okay, so hypothetical scenario.
Leafshine: My attention rarely wavers from the top left hand few inches of the screen...
Bellwether: and if it ever blooms you're like "Dammit! My whole rhythm is out of whack!!!"
Matticus: 3 tanks on a boss. all three tanks are steadily taking damage.
Matticus: do you go from tank 1, to tank 2, to tank 3? or do you stack up 1, then move onto the next?
Matticus: or just not care about 2 of them?
Bellwether: you stack on all of them
Twalkins: You can easily keep three stacks up.
Phaelia: i do 1, 2, 3 ... i rarely worry with spamming 3x
Twalkins: four depending on latency.
Bellwether: and you stack 1,2,3
Phaelia: especially at the beginning where other healers are likely to be on top of things
Matticus: lets assuming you're on lan
Matticus: and latency means nothing
Twalkins: You'll have no problem 1,2,3,1,2,3,1,2,3 lifebloom stacking.
Phaelia: besides doing 3x on 1 then 2 then 3 would be so expensive ^_^
Bellwether: And you would interrupt stacking three on one of them to refresh on the others and it would be a mess.
Phaelia: i have trouble with 3 tanks + rejuv cycles
Matticus: i see
And then another conversation, only a bit later, with a former guildy:
Harl: so spellsteal counts as a "dispell" effect in terms of whether lifebloom blooms or not?
Bellwether: had Alt help me test it out
Harl: interesting... does that mean the mage doesn't actually steal anything?
Bellwether: i don't know
Harl: or does the target and the mage benifit?
Harl: er, benefit even
Harl: does it still the whole stack?
Harl: er, steal
Bellwether: just one
Harl: the target gets credit for the heal when it blooms, right?
Harl: so you could drop a single cast on the tank and let it bloom at the start of a fight as a minor agro gain?
Harl: or is that even significant?
Bellwether: as long as you drop it before the tank actually pulls
Bellwether: otherwise it just negates your aggro
Harl: I'm fuzzy on how much threat healing generates
Bellwether: one sec, I'll find you the article
Harl: oh, you even mentioned that part in here. I just hadn't read that far, yet
The mage part is an interesting question. I'm going to assume when a mage spell-steals a lifebloom, they get it and the person losing it gets the bloom. Anyone know otherwise?
EDIT2: Helpful commenter celimos replied:
"when a mage steals it it blooms on the original owner, the mage get the buff, and it will bloom again on the mage afterwards."