Wednesday, July 15, 2009

But I Like Me How I Am

There was a new "Under Development" article for Druids, where a bunch of questions hypothetically asked by the community were answered by Ghostcrawler. And one part of it just made me wince.

In addition to having to give up utility in order to heal as a Tree of Life, we have become less enamored with druids locking themselves into one form. In fact, you really never see the basic tauren or night elf druid form (you know, the one that actually shows off the awesome armor art) because all druids are in cat, bear, tree, or moonkin form nearly 100% of the time. I’m not saying we would just cut Tree of Life from the game. It’s been around awhile and for better or worse, it’s part of World of Warcraft now. However, we could see taking the druid in a direction where shifting was much more common and easy to do. Maybe you only go into tree form for certain spells but leave for other spells -- this didn’t work previously because of the high cost of shifting, but in the absence of power shifting, we’d love to get rid of the costs completely. Another way to go would be to make Tree of Life form a cooldown, more like Metamorphosis. You shift into tree when you need a healing boost, but you don’t stay in it all the time. Now, I am totally waving my arms here. This is not the kind of change you are going to see in the next patch. But it is something we’re thinking about long term, and the kind of thinking we’d love to have more feedback on from the community.

Before the panicing starts, GC did say this may be way in the future, and he's just speculating (pulling stuff out of his...ah...head...). But, still, the fact that this is being thought about...

Well, why? And, specifically, why Tree of Life?

I would love to see my tree form with a staff strapped to her back. I would love to see my tree come in all colors of the rainbow. I don't want my form to become a gimmick like it was in BC, whether it's situational because we're arbitrarily slow or because there's a cooldown.

I don't foresee Bear form becoming this sort of on-off switch. I don't foresee cat become some sort of periodic shift. Boomkin...maybe? But why would you do that to us trees only? That's certainly how it looks from what you're saying.

Forms are what make us Druids special. I was so excited when I found out that, finally, all talent trees had their own, special forms for doing their jobs. I didn't care I was some silly brown broccoli; I knew you could look at me and go "There's a healer. They're who's going to keep us alive."

I felt silly whenever I had to be out of my tree form because it was slow. I wanted to be in tree form, exuding an aura, buffing my healing and others'. And you know what that means? Fights in which healers are vulnerable to polymorph (though they appear less and less), I'll no longer be immune but will have to use GCDs to get out. No longer will I just be watching eight or nine HoT cooldowns (or more!), running out of fire and avoiding missiles, but also a cooldown for an uber form. As would they balance that out with other healers?

Also, it doesn't make sense with a primarily HoT-based healer. If the rolling still worked on Lifebloom like it did in the beginning of BC where buffed HoTs could continue past cooldown so long as you kept it rolling, then I could understand. A cooldown-based heal increase has never been the most effective for Druids (as seen by trinket choice), so why would you make our form that way?

Elsewhere in the article, GC says that Druids are in a nice spot right now. They have their niche. I wonder, why then do you want to change us to some sort of gimmicked cooldown healer whose HoTs' ticks fluctuate up and down with our cooldown from 15 second tree form?

I want to be a tree. I really, really do. I sincerely hope this is just idle musings of a demented crab.

But why do I get the feeling that won't always be the case?

For the official word, do we have plans to update more druid form models at some point in the future?

Ghostcrawler: I know for a fact that the current Travel Form and Aquatic Form are loathed by the artist who redid bear and cat. We do have plans to update additional forms at some point in the future.

Probably because they're considering redoing travel and aquatic forms before tree or moonkin.



Kirstimah said...

I agree! Keep us as trees. Redo the skins instead. It could be elaborate like the Nexus, or simple like a change of color, whatever.

They made a good move when they allowed the mana reduction active while not in tree form, but that's more of a PVP bonus than PVE.

BTW, love the little dancing tree animation :)

Pike said...

Yeah, Tree is basically the whole reason I like my druid. Minor art updates I'm cool with, but nothing drastic. x_x

Shawn said...

His mention of constantly switching in and out of forms made me want to stop playing my druid right then and there. I definitely do not want to be changing forms during fights as a regular part of my rotation. No matter what spec. That sounds horrible.

I hate it so much when they threaten (or actually make) large scale changes to a class. We invest absurd time into these characters over years and then one afternoon some bored designer decides we should start toggling forms like they're funny hats.

I had to laugh at the comment where apparently druids want to spend more time in humanoid form to show off their cool armor. I hate my armor art and that f**king tucked in tabard so much that my only solace is that I am always in form :)

Today's Q&A was pretty scary and I hope cooler heads prevail down the road when these ideas get closer to implementation.

Iceman gb said...

Im with you on this. I love my tree form, any thought of silly constant shifting on cooldown's sounds awful. I don't mind sacrificing my dps capabilities to heal and I couldn't care less if we never see our armour because of forms.

The whole reason I rolled a druid was to run around as a bear/kitty/chicken and tree. If they force us to shift all the time I might as well be playing a priest.

I do like the idea of enhancing the forms a little more like you suggested, showing weapons on tree form etc.

masterkevosavi said...

Wait....what? Did I just read that?


Seriously, I like my tree, don't make me heal in caster. Sure, updating the model wouldn't hurt, or let us change the colour of our leaves. Heck, having the weapon strapped to our back/side (a la boomkin style) would be awesome for those of us that de-equip our weapon before we die (to save a bit on the repair ^_^ ) and commonly forget to put it back on.

I like being able to see which one I am when 24 people are humping the tank. Hint: ITS THE TREE.

You know what they should do? Turn bear form into a gimmick also. Yeah. Shift into caster and tank that. WAIT NO BAD IDEA.

Blizzard if you ever read this, don't turn the defining features of our class into a gimmick.

Kayeri said...

The more changing is disturbing to me also, and his claim of us being HoTs healers, which we were but Blizz seems to be firmly steering us away from by the continual nerfs to the HoTs while pushing Nourish on us so strongly...

I love HoTs! I DO feel they are the druid's strength... but we cant be strong in them if they keep nerfing them into uselessness...

And while I do wish devoutly for an art upgrade, I am a very proud and happy tree, and I want to stay that way.

DJScythe said...

Very sad times indeed. I also hate to see my beloved tree form reduced to a cooldown. As for the bear/cat argument, I think they believe (in what the they admit is BC era thinking) bears and cats can easily switch between the two forms, while trees can't do much in any other form but tree.

Also, thank you for reveling the true identity of tree druids: we're Pokemon!

Anonymous said...

I think, to be completely honest, a lot of what Ghostcrawler is thinking in terms of a Resto Druid relying less on Tree form comes from the responces of people when he asked the question on the forums. A lot of people were openly saying they didn't like it, and didn't enjoy being locked down.

To be honest though, I think a lot of this was said in hopes that it would allow them to keep tree form AND be able to cast offensive abilities while in it.

Once a lot of druids realized that they could lose tree form because of these comments, many were quick to backtrack.

I love tree form. I'd HATE to see it go, but it's one of those "be careful what you wish for..." where Blizzard is concerned.

Kevin said...

I completely agree with you opinion on this topic. I was forced to reroll Horde with my guild which meant I had to be a Tauren in order to be a druid.

I thought hey I'll constantly be in ToL anyways so I'll never have to be in my caster form for long. Don't take that away from me Blizzard. :(

Bell said...

@DJScythe - oddly, Sudowoodo is a rock-type Pokemon...always was weird to me.

@Anonymous - a lot of people have been mentioning this thread to me now. Does anyone have a link?

DJScythe said...

@Bell - *enters Pokegeek mode* I believe Sudowoodo's form despite its type is a type of camouflage to prevent enemies from attacking at its true type weakness, such as Ghostcrawler's Nefhammer- I mean Kingler's Crabhammer.

Anonymous said...


Of course, here's your link.

"Is druid tree form fun?"

Some of the comments made are rather surprising, but at the same time one has to admit Ghostcrawler seems to be getting mixed messages.

Anonymous said...

Unlike all of you, I guess, I would love to see the class reworked so that shifting becomes more dynamic. Every druid's form looks the same as every other druid's, and druids stay in their forms almost all the time, so you hardly ever get to see armor or weapons, etc. I find it dull, and a few cosmetic changes like visiting the barber (in the patch, I believe) or showing, as you suggest, a staff in tree form or whatever won't make much of a difference.

Furthermore, I'd like to see each druid, regardless of spec, be able to make more use of his non-primary forms. Right now, a cat druid has little use for his bear form and hardly any for his caster form; a bear druid has little use for his cat form and hardly any for his caster form; and a resto or balance druid has almost no use for cat or bear forms. The promise of druids, to me, was always supposed to be versatility, but that hasn't really materialized. Yes, you can respec or dual-spec to every other group role; but, hell, I could do the same by switching to one of my alts. Druids would be more interesting if they could show their versatility during the same encounter, without a respec.

Bell said...

@Anonymous - even on my other characters, like my ret paladin, I don't care about what my armor looks like while I'm in combat. I'm paying attention to missiles being shot at my face and green bars going up and down. When I'm out of combat, the majority of the time I'm -not- in tree form. I can see my armor, I can run around on my pretty mounts, I have vanity sets. But in combat, I'm not oohing and aahing over my shoulders, so I see no need to see my armor in combat past maybe a weapon.

Trellan said...

I couldn't disagree with this comment more.

Shapeshifting IS druid. Druids are shapeshifters. It's the one unique aspect of the class.

Pushing the Tree of Life button at the beginning of the raid, and then having shapeshifting become nothing more than different art than every other healer; well, that's not fun and certainly isn't what shapeshifting should be.

Majirora said...

I can't say I'm completely enamored by the appearance of Tree of Life or the fact that we're locked out of offensive spells. However, I would rather keep the look and restrictions of the form if it means I don't have to continuously shift forms.

I haven't crunched any numbers, but if ToL puts our healing on par with the other casters who don't have to sacrifice their other skill sets, perhaps a small modification to resto would be appropriate. I'd just rather not see a modification involving consistent form shifting.

Molly said...

I like being a tree :(

Someone I talked to had the idea of turning into one of the big Ancient tree guys as a spell on cd, but keeping us as regular treants the rest of the time.

Author said...

I have to agree, I love just being a tree. When I'm playing him, I run around dalaran as a tree, I could care less about anything. Just my druthers I suppose.

Rosarra said...

I feel your fear of some sort of cooldown based tree of life, it just wont be fun or practical to have. On the other hand I still would like to do a bit of switching of forms to add more interest into druid healing, I like shapeshifting because its part of being a druid.

philippad said...

From my experience, long term restoration druids love being in Tree form - like I mean LOVE IT.

I don't think this attitude comes from the healing druid community at all.

That said, there are some players I've come across that chose not to roll a Druid healer because they disliked tree form.

Tasuki said...

This Blizzard poster seems to love the warlock way of doing things. As a proud tree resto druid healer, I do not want my Tree of Life *form* to become just another Metamorphosis type of spell to cast when I want a boost in healing! Forms in general and Tree of Life form is *specifically* the reason I ever made a druid in the first place. You would be basically eliminating or certainly totally undermining the whole concept of a form. A form allows you to gain utility at the heavy expense of something else. That's the whole point - you gain upfront versatility at the cost of dynamic versatility. Those posters on the original Q&A who were even hinting at any other alternative in this direction should have been reminded that this is a class-defining property and why did they even create a druid if they did not expect the upfront cost of forms. Tweaking around the concept is one thing, breaking it completely (and pretty much the class as far as I'm concerned) is another thing entirely! Otherwise, given my now extensive healing experience, there would be no point in keeping my druid, when I could be playing a priest with many more powerful healing tools in multiple specs as well as gaining an offspec where I do get to remain in the pseudo-form Shadow Form, as a Shadow Priest or if that doesn't work out for any reason, simply cease playing since I only like to heal as my main. This post doesn't even touch on the huge changes to play style that would be required if constantly shapeshifting (with GCD cost inevitably) - do those complaining about forms even realise what that would mean to their raid performance and their perceived attractiveness from raiding guilds or raid leaders? Please, please, please Blizzard et al. you are playing with fire!

Taz said...

I know I'm going against the flow here, but I think the concept of making shapeshifting more dynamic or on a cooldown (provided it's not a 5-sec as a tree form thing) is a really intriguing one. I'm not obsessed with the idea of fighting in my NE form or seeing all my pretty armor, but I do like the idea of the tree form being something of a savior element, rather than a constant. Obviously the idea is going to require a lot of tweaking, but I'm very curious to see where Blizzard wants to go with it.

masterkevosavi said...

@Trellan, I'm not sure about you, but I currently shapeshift a few times in different boss fights. Razorscale to dps her when she's grounded, dps XT-002 when the heart is exposed. I shift-out to root those sparks going back and forth from the trash pre-Auriaya (if the dps wasn't paying attention). I do it in Hodir to get out of those frost nova thingers. Or going back to Naxx, I shift out to cyclone MCed people on KT.

But when I'm healing damn it, I'm in tree form and proud of it!

Anonymous said...

I love tree form, but the dilemma is that we give up EVERYTHING to heal. It's often depressing when I heal a heroic and I'm not even on the damage meters, and then switch to feral to tank with the paladin healing and they're doing 300-600dps on top of healing. Sure I can shift to caster form when I get really bored, but I lose healing. Often times I will find myself in that area where there's just enough damage going around where I need the extra healing and if I am unshifted, I spend the time healing rather than having any time to DPS because of the loss.

But you never know whats around the corner, so most of the time unless I am doing lower tiered content, I will sit in tree form with 100% mana watching the paladin and shaman throw their extra mana at a quicker fight ending, and I just sway in the breeze feeling useless.

WolfUofS said...

The only time I am resentful of my tree is in PvP. Nothing paints a bigger bulls-eye on someone as being identified as a healer in a BG.

In PvE I have no big issues with being a tree and not being able to see my gear. I do think the model needs an update. I would also agree that tree form needs some more functionality then just an aura, especially since we give up access to other spells when in tree form.

Jeremy said...

......Yes, you can respec or dual-spec to every other group role; but, hell, I could do the same by switching to one of my alts. Druids would be more interesting if they could show their versatility during the same encounter, without a respec. (quoted from above)

WHAT? Um..I believe we already fill this role! For example: The other night I was in a 10-man Naxx as a feral dps when the MT went down, the adds tank shifted to MT and I switched from dps to the Adds tank. Then, when the heat cooled down, battle rezzed the MT, did a quick Tranquility to help the healers then went back to DPS....Versatility? FREAKEN-A we are versatile!

Druids are extremely versatile if played correctly, I don't believe we need "tweeking" in the ultimate sense for the roles we fill. In my opinion if blizzard starts making shifting necessary to fill your "primary" role in a group druids will seriously lose out in groups (in all aspects, dps, healing, tanking etc), as the "act" of shifting even if it doesn't cost anything (which was mentioned by GC)(though if you are in bear or cat - shifting costs rage and energy which = bad news if we have to shift as part of a necessary rotation!) it will still take "time" and put all your abilities on a CD before you can actually "do" what you shifted for - In my opinion this is very, very bad!!!


StridentLobster said...

Tree is why I play druid, period.

snuzzle said...

I hope they do incorporate more shifting into the class. Granted, I am a feral at heart, but shifting is what I love. I love fights where I'm bouncing around from cat to caster to bear back to cat. Throwing out heals and brez, stun tank mangle, super fun.

ToL is the form where it's easiest to incorporate this into. Bear and cat have a completely different set of spells available to them when they're in their form, tree and moonkin do not. They are restricted to the resto or balance tree respectively, but a night elf in caster form can cast Starfire, he cannot cast Maul.

As for them using Boomkin as a "cooldown buff" like he was discussing using ToL, I just can't see that working. I can see it working for ToL though, sort of like a druid's "pally wings".

I can understand that a lot of people might not be in favor of this change, but I for one would be in favor of shuffling back towards the "hybrid" druid whose role in fights is chaotic and varied, and not one who is only good for one role. I know I will never see that likely, as it was a lot easier when our talent trees were shallower, but one can hope...

Adeanna said...

Bell said: Forms are what make us Druids special. I was so excited when I found out that, finally, all talent trees had their own, special forms for doing their jobs. I didn't care I was some silly brown broccoli; I knew you could look at me and go "There's a healer. They're who's going to keep us alive."

I agree with your statement 100%, Bell. Forms are what makes us druids special. And each spec having their own form is what makes being a druid so great. I also was excited that resto druids got their own form. No longer did I look like the NE priests casting away. I had my own look to my druid heals. I love being a Tree. Blizz, leave it alone!

Anonymous said...

I was a druid back in the old days, before tree form. I left the game for a while soon after Moonkin form was introduced. At that time, a Druid healer in a raid COULD dps (and I would with trash mobs), but if you were supposed to be healing you didn't have the mana to 'waste' on frivolous things like that.

Outside of the raid arena though, being able to both heal and dps was nice. At the time though, there was no healer form. You can still be a combo healer/dps outside of a raid if you stay out of tree form. Once your regular group gets better geared from raid drops you might try healing in heroics out of tree from just to see how it goes. You might be surprised (then again, since I haven't gotten there yet with my druid I might be disappointed ;) )

I do think that "temporary" forms along the lines of Metamorphosis are not the way to go. I did the Meta lock thing for a while and didn't like it. Too much like work, reminds me of stance dancing (which is why I don't like playing a warrior).

Anonymous said...

I already shift in and out of tree form right now. The bonus it gives isn't that tremendous, we have more then one tree usually, and during times where there's little to no damage to heal (hodir during non ae dmg, mimi p3, yog p2, etc etc..) I can be found in normal form spamming wrath/MF, and sometimes IS as I'll actually use my PVP spec for those fights to increase my usefulness if I feel I don't need some of the PVE talents I roll with.

I think if it were worked in right it could be a nice buff to our class, however having it as some type of proc based ability could be bad and like many people pointed out already in multiple places could take away from our staying power.

I could care less about how my armor looks personally, I don't play the game to see my cool armor, this isn't EQ or DAoC where people go for style points (at least not that I've seen).