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.
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.
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.
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.