Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I am NOT a Potted Plant

I’m calling shenanigans. Tree Form has to be a colossal joke upon the entire druid class. I’m not kidding.

Don’t get me wrong. I love Tree of Life Form. It’s spectacular with its aura and the reduction in mana-cost to healing. The tree dance is great (let’s do the twist, kids), and the animations we have are hilarious. I love to “sleep” by sticking my little root feets into the ground and hang my head.

But the fun stops there. And, oddly enough, it is stopped by what is perhaps the weirdest and most arbitrary mechanic built into the Tree of Life form:

The 20% speed reduction.

Now, I know there are issues with how Remove Curse isn’t available in Tree Form, but even that doesn’t get my goat as much as this ridiculous mechanic. It actually forces druids to not use the form best suited for their job in upper raid boss encounters. When mobility is an issue, you leave your wooden hide behind and muck it up in caster form.

Well, you say, this is easy enough to do and not that detrimental. Why do we care?

I’ll tell you why.

Look at your Shadow Priest. See that nice, pretty Shadowform? Would you ask the priest to leave Shadowform to DPS? No? What about a Moonkin? Bear tanks? No? So they never, even when mobility is involved, have to leave the forms which maximize their abilities? But, say, if we resto druids have to move a lot on, perhaps, Archimonde, it’s best the Tree is, well, not a tree.

Well, we ask them to switch out if we need an emergency off-healer, you say. And I would reply, of course you do. Because that was not the role that form was designed for. If I’m in a fight where I cannot heal, I am out of tree form and putting up Insect Swarm and Moonfire. But if I’m in a fight where I expect to heal, I expect to be in the form best suited for my intended role.

Being able to “get away” is highly important in many later raid fights. Being in tree form, rather than being an asset to your raid through auras and mana longevity, makes you a detriment to your raid. If you can’t run out of Doomfires, if you take a second longer in the Volcanoes, you are a problem. Most likely, you are also dead.

I am often placed in the main tank group so that my aura can affect as many tanks as possible, increasing the healing output of all healers assigned to them. On half of the fights TK and up, however, I’m a fixture without utility in that group, waiting for trash so my aura can go back up. I cannot keep up with the pain train through gauntlets like the one in ZA or the one before Reliquary of Souls in my Tree Form, and those are perhaps where mana efficiency and a steady stream of good healing on the tanks is needed the most. Half of the Kael encounter I am out of form, I am out of form for Archimonde, Supremus, Void Reaver, even Netherspite, for crying out loud, all because of some silly, weird, completely arbitrary 20% speed decrease.

Perhaps someone can enlighten me as to how this ridiculous mechanic is necessary. I cannot think of a single reason to keep this mechanic in the tree. Perhaps it is to keep Restoration druids from increasing their healing output in arenas. However, Tree of Life aura is increased by a quarter of your Spirit. Arena gear has no spirit, so healing will be increased only marginally. There is also still the danger of being banished while in form and being out of a fight for much too long. Add in the base mana cost of tree form and it is highly ineffective in arenas.

So, I’ll ask again:

How is the speed reduction anything other than arbitrary?

34 comments:

Leafshine said...

Well, the reasoning is clearly that trees don't move very fast...

...or at all. Or heal. Or wear medallions. Or do the twist.

I may have found a flaw in their logic...

sonvar said...

My guess would be related to other RPGs where treants or variants of them move slowly. Though in WoW I don't think I've seen the "treant" type mobs move slowly in fact unless I'm mounted they can outrun me.

My other guess then is to make the ToL form more situational and not always the best way to make use of a druid's healing.

Bell said...

@sonvar - that's, imo, stupid. Moonkins, bears, cats and spriests don't have to deal with that. It's less effective to be out of tree form. I don't see anything but drawbacks.

ASH said...

I find it strange how the summoned trees from the Balance talents move at increased speeds.. and the Resto ToL moves like their roots are under the effect of some psycho anesthetic.

Armond said...

Wow. The only thing I can think of is that tree form is designed to make up for lack of skill, and skilled players aren't supposed to need it... But unless the heals are super leet enough without tree form, how *are* you supposed to keep up? Imo, there should only be a newb indicator if there's also a pro indicator. :/

Also, is the snare debuff new? I never noticed it before, and I think I'd notice something as huge as a 20% speed decrease...

Cynra said...

From my understanding, the Tree of Life form has always had impaired movement. And, as Bell mentioned, there are numerous fights where Restoration druids are asked to drop that form for greater mobility. For beginning raiders, I cite things like Gruul and Magtheridon, Solarian, Void Reaver, and so on and so forth.

I know that I informed a tree druid this past weekend to heal in his normal kal'dorei form during Void Reaver for that express reason; the Arcane Orbs kept pummeling him and he cited the fact that he was moving too slow to avoid them.

My belief is that the impairment exists because of how powerful the druids are. Having never played a Restoration druid before but raided as a Holy paladin, Restoration shaman, and numerous healing priests, I'm floored by the benefits of the form. Increase healing done to a target by 25% of my Spirit? Reduce the mana cost of a number of my spells? That's awesome, just awesome. The Spirit alone makes me as giddy as a school girl; as a human priest with Spirit of Redemption I'm touting almost 700 Spirit unbuffed.

I'm still waiting for the time when the Holy priests acquire the Holy Form that the Sunblade Dawn Priests are sporting in Sunwell. I'm crossing my fingers for it being the pinnacle of the Holy tree come level 80. Not only does it increase healing effects by 25% and reduce melee damage taken by 20% -- it MIGHT even make Holy priests viable for PvP!

Also, it should be noted that certain core abilities couldn't be used by Shadow priests for a while, most notably Fear Ward. This was changed in a later patch. The nice thing about World of Warcraft is that it changes and adapts over the years as necessary.

sonvar said...

@bell
How else do explain that for a while you couldn't abolish poison, or remove curse in ToL form? And still at this point Healing Touch isn't an option. I know from friends who play druid and reading druid forums there is still a big debate over whether to spec ToL or not.

I'm not saying it's right but with all the benefits from it there has to be a downside.

Bell said...

If Tree of Life is "too powerful" then perhaps, instead of making it only situationally viable, decrease the benefit it gains from spirit to the aura, or decrease the mana reduction by X%. It is still odd to me that Tree of Life is the only "form" that is restricted based upon mobile encounters, especially as the druid is touted as a mobile healer. When people bring a resto druid to a raid, it is generally for a few -spec specific- things:

rolling, strong HoTs
ToL aura

When you remove one of those because of the mechanics of an encounter, you cut down on the raid viability of the spec. I am not saying "oh no, trees will be replaced!" but rather it's a shame we can't fulfill all our roles because we have some random speed debuff tacked onto our form.

Khol Drake said...

"I thought men like you were usually called a fruit?"

Sorry, had to be said...

My only thinking is that Blizzard is going from the lore angle in that trees generally don't move very quickly...that's the only reason that makes any kind of sense. Otherwise, I'm guessing the expectation is that you will be popping in and out of tree form as needed, as the reduced cost of spells cast in form make up for the high mana cost of shifting in the first place.

You're not alone, though, my former roommate plays a tree and laments the movement debuff as well, especially on mobility-heavy encounters...

Bell said...

"My only thinking is that Blizzard is going from the lore angle in that trees generally don't move very quickly..."

Explain the moonkin's treants, then. D:

Elune's Guidance said...

-agree-

It's always been there, and it's always been a pain in the bum. Need to avoid something? Sure as heck can't move fast enough to avoid -anything- in tree-form.

My most recent memory of when tree-form was a detriment was in TK. We were fighting A'lar, and I was healing one of the add-tanks... running back and forth keeping them in range, and avoiding the flames... which brought me out of range again... plodding...

I can only said I made a valiant effort... to the point where I decided to hop out of tree form for finding my tank again, and (sometimes) back into it to heal him.

Blizzard really, really isn't nice to us.

sonvar said...

Unfortunately without being the developers who decided to put that onto ToL all we can do is speculate as to why. Do I think it's fair? No I don't. I'm sure they have a reason but it certainly doesn't make sense to me. At the least you'd think the Treants in the game would be slow too to give some help towards that logic.

The only other talent 41 talent point I can think of that's situational is Avenger's Shield from the Pally prot tree. Simply because of CC used you can't use it alot of times nor would you want to if you need a mob you're pulling to come to you quickly so you don't have adds.

Lady Jess said...

Totally agree with you Bell!

havesomehots said...

Just small suggestion but havent u ever thought of have swiftness potions on u? (they cost next 2 nothing on AH) works for me XD

Bell said...

@havesomehots - that could work, except I tend to horde my potion cooldowns for scary moments, and chain-chugging swiftness pots isn't viable with the cooldown.

Mama Druid said...

I'm sure it made sense when they initially thought of it, but didn't have the insight to forecast how it would affect resto druids in critical raid encounters.

Actually, I'm surprised it made it past beta. Certainly resto druids would have complained about this. Or was it a surprise?

Regardless, it's silly, particularly when considering the fact a Moonkin's summoned trees move faster. Oh wait, they don't help keep a raid (or instance group) up with heals so they don't need to be gimped.

Arbitrary indeed!

Cynra said...

havesomehots mentioned Speed Pots and I agree with your response: you probably don't want to blow a potion cooldown for that. There are a couple of alternatives. A number of meta gems exist that have a small run speed increase, but I don't believe any are healing related (at least I've never come across one!).

One of the enchants I've wanted for my healing priest recently -- and just cannot find -- is Boar's Speed. 9 Stamina is 90 health and then there's the 8% increase to speed. It doesn't stack with any other speed increases since it's the cap, but, really, what are your alternatives? Fortitude? Vitality? Consider it as an alternative; you'd still be moving 12% slower than anyone else, but that 8% might be a huge difference!

Armond said...

After reading Cynra's post, I did a bit of research - there's three different gems that grant minor run speed increases (I seem to recall reading somewhere that it's a +8% increase, but I don't know if it's multiplicative or additive), but none of them are healing-focused. Now I'm not sure how you do those fancy item link things, but they're the the swift skyfire, swift windfire, and swift starfire diamonds. The former two give attack power bonuses, and the latter gives +12 spell damage. It sort of makes sense, as it's melee that would be needing the speed boosts otherwise, but that starfire diamond kinda throws the whole thing out of whack...

Bell said...

Unfortunately, I can't see any real way to make up the speed decrease. Boar's Speed is an option, but 8% speed increase is still not enough to outrun Thaladred or Supremus. =/

Khol Drake said...

@Bell
Fortunately, I'm a rogue and don't have to concern myself with this vagaries such as the movement speed of things that shouldn't move. :D

Eranthe said...

When Supremus is chasing me, Bell, I just go to cheetah form and zoooom away!

I've found that most of the time when something is chasing me, I don't need to be healing like I normally do... Dropping form and throwing some lifeblooms while running is pretty doable, to me?

I bound my tree shift to my T key for a reason! I pop in and out a ton!

Anura said...

Every healing class has some downside. I agree with alot of people that if you are a tree you are probably going to move slowly.

I honeslty think thats what sucks about being a druid, there are drawbacks in EVERY form, whether its being a bear tank, in higher end raids where gear is scares, being a moonkin where spell dmg leather isn't abundant, or being a slow tree. There has to be a balance so the druid class isn't OP, and balances with other classes. If you wanted to be an ideal healer, be a priest, but get use to being 1 shotted. If you want to be a pally, its Flash of Light spam ftw, and Shamans whore their totems out, many times not using ones that are advantageous to them.

Resto druids are sought after in raiding, PvP, and more or less any group composition because they are not as squishy as priests and more versital than Pallys (barring instances/raid encounters where specific healers are required). But dont worry if enough people complain about it, it might change. But I agree, cheetah form and run away or respec w/o ToL if it's such a bother

Bell said...

@anura - I wouldn't mind if it wasn't so completely arbitrary and go against what a resto druid is designed to do: mobile, HoT-based healing. It's like telling a shadowpriest "Hey, for this fight, we want you to do exactly what you do normally, but you have to be out of shadow form. This will hold true for half of the rest of the raid boss fights."

Druids are not much less squishy than priests at all. In fact, if you factor in shields v. Barkskin (one of which completely absorbs damage and is on a shorter cooldown), as well as controlled use of Fade and Fear, we are more squishy than Priests. Especially if we itemize in a mix of cloth and leather, we'll get one-shot just as fast.

If you'd like, we could argue that a druid's lack of threat reduction is a detriment, as well as its inability to out of combat rez, and its difficulty with spike damage. These are all things keeping druids from being the be-all-end-all healer. We have difficulties with raid healing and our HoTs being overwritten.

At this point, many raids only bring one resto druid for its aura in the tank group and for rolling lifeblooms. Removing one of those for something so ridiculous is rather idiotic, no matter how you slice it. This is not a QQ, this is a "WTF." I don't like dealing with the "OP" chants, I want to know a reason that druids have to lose the form designed for their chosen role because we have to be able to walk from point A to point B at the same speed as everyone else.

Arguing it's because bears and moonkins have gear issues is irrelevant. It's a completely different animal. The point is, there are no bosses where you say "hey, maybe the bear should tank this in caster form, and the moonkin shouldn't hand out its aura" nor is there one where you say "hey, spriest, DPS but keep out of shadowform. It will get you killed."

anura said...

I was merely pointing out the every class complains about something, and thoose are common complaints for other specs in your class I hear.

In anycase, I don't feel the need to continue reading your journal considering your lack of grace when talking to people whos opinions differ from your own

kthnxbye

Alyse said...

but you look so pretty in your vase :p

p.s. download Untouched by the Veronicas

p.s.s. do it

Bell said...

@Alyse - I don't have the money to download, and I don't have the programs to do it for free. I'll look it up on youtube when my headache goes away :P

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry but this IS a QQ. Your constant comparison to SP doesn't hold water. Shadowform gives 15% more damage. You're saying ToL gives 25% more healing. Well shoot that's 10% more! There are a couple fights I pop out of shadowform for just so I can spam PoM and renews if things are looking a bit iffy. And I don't complain about it.

There's nothing arbitary about a tree being slow. There's also nothing arbitrary about a 41 point talent having a ton of pros and a couple cons.

Bell said...

@anonymous - You misunderstand. I compare to Shadowform because it is a form designed for a specific job. AKA, doing dps. Also, when you take on shadowform, don't you also reduce your damage taken? Now, that won't help you against a one-shot boss, but it will help you with AoE damage, thus it's another benefit of the form. Comparing percentages is getting nitpicky, especially when other auras do different percentages, and the tree's aura is designed not to help just them, but all healers healing the people in the affected area.

When we're doing the actual RoS fight, I'm expected to keep Insect Swarm up on the first phase, and I cannot do healing due to the aura, so I must DPS...therefore, I have no problem being out of tree form. Just like, when you are healing, which is something Shadowform cannot do, you have no problem being out of Shadowform. However, when I am healing, something that ToL is designed to do and that the form can only do, I expect to be in tree form. Just as you expect to be in Shadowform while you DPS.

Call it a QQ if you like, your opinions are allowed. If I didn't want them and enjoy debating these topics with you guys, I'd disable comments :P

Boris said...

just a thought, have you considered going restokin? my druid is and i love it

u can always drop that 34th point out of moonkin form and put it into the resto tree

im currently 34/0/27 and its awesome :)

Bell said...

@boris - I've considered it, but that's not what my healing style is about, nor is it what my guild expects of me. They want a tree druid, I want to play a tree druid. Dreamstate/restokin druids are more about HT healing, generally, and my place in the raid is with HoTs. Thank you very much for the suggestion, though :)

Boris said...

You're exactly right. I specced dreamstate/ht after hitting 70 to heal instances and did not like it at all. Standing there spamming downranked HT goes completely against the mobility of the druid. After speccing pvp resto I got frustrated at not being able to kill anything, but loved HoT healing. I respecced restokin, this time with emphasis on HoTs, and its working out great for me. didnt lose too much in heals(about -10-15 per tick of LB), regen is pretty awesome for my gear, can kill things pretty quickly. I've only raided kara and still played the role of rolling lb and throwing lbs /rejuve/regrowth around, only I don't have to be in the tanks group, and get to run around with no speed penalty, freely rebirth and decurse. I think winning a 12minute long game with a mage against a warr/druid speaks for the strength of this spec. lol I think you can tell how much i love this spec, sorry for the wall of text. I understand that in a raid you're expected to maximise your healing for the benefit of the raid, and ToL form does that.

Boris.
P.S. Love blog, bell, keep up the awesome work. Forgot to add that in my earlier post :D

Boris said...

P.P.S. 'scuse the typos. Also forgot to mention some of my heals actually increased (like the bloom of my LB went up by about 100 or so and my rejuve ticks too, I think).

Anonymous said...

Boar's Speed doesn't get you all the way, but you'd be surprised at how much it helps all around. Much more noticable than vitality in terms of helpfulness.

Anonymous said...

I'm kind of sad they're taking away the speed debuff to ToL form. I think you can't really compare druid healing with any other class/spec combination because it is unique in the mere trade of utilization between Healing Touch and HoTs. Catform is designed for DPS...moonkin for ranged dps/buffs/survival...bearform for tanking/survival, all of which is enhanced completely by the character of the form.
But ToL inherently limits the druid's breadth of healing ability; in this way you could say that it is at heart situational healing form, even if raiding druids like yourself don't want to believe it.
The speed debuff emphasized this situationality of the form, and now it's going away, making ToL that much more boring and un-druid-like. Sad day.
Anyway, thesis is: doesn't seem arbitrary to me.