Tuesday, March 10, 2009

PTR Lifebloom, Part 2: Playstyles

This is part two of a multi-part discussion of the suggested changes to Lifebloom on the PTR. Please note that as this change is not live, the information within the post is subject to change, and the series could end abruptly if the changes are rejected. This is not, and will never be, a rant upon the changes, but rather a frank look at the different facets and uses, as well as a preparation for their possible implementation.
Part One
Part Three
Part Four

PTR Lifebloom, Part 2: So, how should I play?

The changes upcoming in Lifebloom, according to the PTR, can be somewhat intimidating. However, there are several different ways to cope with the change and adapt your playstyle. The following examples are some adaptations, and the pros and cons of each.

Lifebloom Boycotters
This playstyle advocates a vast reduction in Lifebloom use. Lifebloom would be used sparingly, and when used most likely only in one stack (to give Nourish a bonus). This lack of Lifebloom will be compensated for with other heals. When it is cast, to conserve mana, it will most likely always be allowed to bloom. This playstyle would possibly be employed by Dreamstate druids, whose strength isn't mostly in HoT heals, players who do not like the change, those who, at 80, still use Glyph of Healing Touch, or people whose gear cannot support rolling/stacking Lifebloom for too long without going OOM. This could vastly reduce HPS, but greatly increase longevity.

This playstyle advocates a continuation of simply rolling Lifebloom, only allowing it to bloom when forced to (i.e. stunned, out of range, silenced, etc.). In order to not go OOM, however, the stacks of Lifebloom would be restricted to fewer targets than before (rather than three or four targets, two at most would be rolled on). This playstyle could cause mana problems for the druid; however, some have reported that, fully raid buffed and even with the mana changes on the PTR, they are still not having trouble with their mana. This may indicate that this style is only possible, however, for long periods of time with the "best" gear. They may extend the time of Lifebloom with all available talents and glyphs in order to create the greatest amount of time between applications as well.

This playstyle advocates stacking Lifebloom, mostly on one target, and allowing it to bloom. For the most efficiency and least mana issues, it's possible they would only stack Lifebloom to two applications instead of three. This would supply a large bloom without taking as much mana as rapidly as stacking and restacking three applications, would provide a larger HoT while Lifebloom is active than simply one Lifebloom stack, and still give Nourish a decent increase to its output. However, many of the blooms could still be overheal. Mana may be more manageable; each time Lifebloom blooms at two stacks, your next Lifebloom is basically "free." And monitoring OoC could increase efficiency.

Micro-Managing Multi-Taskers
This playstyle advocates exactly what the title implies: a player using this style will both roll and bloom. Their targets will be limited, again (where Lifebloom is concerned), in order to monitor health bars and Lifebloom timers. Lifebloom rolls will be continuous, refreshed at the very last second possible, or they will be allowed to bloom based upon the tank's current health or the druid's mana pool. Omen of Clarity procs will have to be micro-managed as well, using them to refresh Lifebloom where possible. A quick GCD will be necessary due to timing of last-second bloom refreshes, and a good grasp on the player's latency will help determine where that last second truly is. This style could be, at times, a combination of all of the above styles, depending upon gear, raid make-up, and encounter. This style will be especially difficult during highly-mobile fights, where many different boss mechanics may make it difficult to split attention, or even to do what the player 'plans.'

The above styles are only four of what could be many varied, unique styles. Tomorrow, I will take a tentative look at glyphs and talents in part three.


Stop said...

I just wanna go on record as saying thank you. I'm sort of a latecomer to this druid game, and make no mistake about it - I'm leveling a druid so I can make him into a tree. It's handy to know what I can expect, when and if this lifebloom nerf goes live.


Lorangriel said...

Thanks for your assesments, Wether. It's interesting to see how everyone plans to play if and when this change goes live. I have also spoken of it recently, albeit in a more ranting manner than you. hehe.

Running Elk

Brent said...

Just to clarify too, some of us will play such that Lifebloom is just another spell in our arsenal, not the centerpiece of all existence.

I lean on lifebloom these days as a major part of my healing, but its still only maintaining one or two stacks, while using everything else everywhere else.

Wild Growth
Glyphed Swiftmend
and even
Healing Touch.

Bell said...

@Brent - this post is actually directed at that; though it talks about Lifebloom mainly, my main goal is to show how it is possible to keep playing if the Lifebloom changes go through. It doesn't need to be the centerpiece, but with so much concern over its change, I'm highlighting it with these playstyles :)

Aertimus said...

I understand that not EVERY druid is a Lifebloom Roller... But do you think its safe to say, that right now, most raiding trees are? That being the outcome of BT and MH in TBC. I think we are going to see a large LARGE shift from Lifebloom Rolling to Micro-Managing as the way to play and raid.

Bell said...

@Aertimus - Technically, druids have always micro-managed timers. Now it'll just be for a different reason!

lxsli said...

Aertimus - LB is so good, any resto druid who isn't using it is a) playing wrong or b) making up for an unbalanced raid.

I usually only have 1-2 stacks up, I spam RG a lot (50% HD). That's about the min I could recommend though. I'd roll more if my raid's paladins were faster ;)

Bell - the mana return is calculated from base, the actual cost is discounted. Base cost will be 978, so 479 returned, compared to an actual cost of 732. IE we get about 2/3 what we paid back, or to put it another way, a LB which blooms will now cost 243 mana (down from 366!).

So building a 3-stack is actually CHEAPER, at a total cost of 729 after the bloom. What's expensive now is rolling a 3-stack because you don't get any refund, so it costs 732 mana.

I'm interested in how close those numbers are. Blooming then rebuilding costs about the same amount of mana as rolling, and you effectively buy the bloom with two GCDs.

Numbers from EJ: http://tinyurl.com/csw6r9

Pike said...

My babytree thanks you much for this little two-part series of yours... very helpful and a good headsup to know about what's next ^_^

Syll said...

Thanks for some great analysis of the possible playstyles open to the tree set. I tend to agree with Aertimus that raiding trees are going to have to grit our teeth and go down the micro-managing path to be most viable. Oy vey.

Aertimus said...

Bell - very true about us always having been micro managers! I guess I'm so used to it, I don't even think of it as micro-managing!

Ixsil - I didn't say druids who don't use it, I just said ROLL it. If a druid told me they didn't use LB EVER I would wonder what was up. But I understand that some people don't like the mindnumbingness of rolling HoTs on multiple tanks - some VERY good players too. I just think the rolling on at least the main tank is the most abundant style. (Based on anecdotal evidence only.)

Syll - I think we are going to have to do more micro-managing, but actually when I REALLY think about it, I don't think its going to all be teeth gritting... I think I might enjoy the 'more intelligence required' healing.

Anonymous said...

I'm definetly in the "micro-management" catagory at the moment as a raid healer. Indeed I often let LB bloom if the tank is on lower health than I like and use the blooms as a sort of buffer for direct healing.

Though: I've taken Blizz's Nourish direction completely to heart and very rarly so I actualy use Healing Touch anymore. With the 4peice T7 bonus, Nourish Glyph and it following a Regrowth (50% crit chance = faster cast on next spell) is the more efficient way I can heal a tank thats taking a beating. It is shocking sometimes to see the number of LB's that have bloomed per raid.

I remember a time when blooming a Lifebloom was a mortal sin! now it'll be a life saver with the tripple blooms.