Monday, November 9, 2009

Lifebloom Needs Love

And, no, I don't mean from the developers. I mean from you, fellow Tree Druid. You need to love Lifebloom again. I am also, of course, talking in the strictly PvE sense, as those who've done any sort of PvP on a tree know that Lifebloom is the noms. But, to continue (and continue I shall, in quite an extended form)...

Lifebloom has changed, it's true. It grew up. It evolved. And, unfortunately, many have rejected it for what it has become. You know who were also rejected for becoming different? The X-Men.

Yes, I am comparing Lifebloom to the X-Men. Deal with it.

Like the X-Men, Lifebloom is powerful, yet misunderstood. The majority of the population shun or actively speak out against Lifebloom, and though no one's built Sentinel robots yet I'm pretty sure we're close to it.

Lifebloom is powerful, the problem is you have to think about how you use it. It's not the Burning Crusade spell, AKA the "brain dead heal." Yes, you had to keep an eye on time to keep it going, but, let's be honest; how many of you, like me, made three /target [tank name] /cast Lifebloom macros and just hit those in succession for fights like Mother or Bloodboil? I know I did, because, hey, it was my healing assignment, it was what I was supposed to do, and it worked. And it was completely and utterly brain dead.

Now, though, if I tried to do that I'd drain my mana pool dry in under a minute (and also waste heals because of increased duration blah, blah, you get the point). It "lost" its "purpose" even with the mana return, because if you rolled the stack you'd never see the return, just the drain. Though, really, it didn't, it just couldn't fulfill said purpose in the same way.

And therein lies the problem. People are notoriously resistant to change, and this was a big change. Most Druids will say they cut it out of their spell rotation completely, others will say they use it for a fight or two and that's it. I'll be honest, it makes me a little sad to know that many Druids look to Lifebloom with the same scorn they do Healing Touch (Healing Touch and I have gotten reacquainted in the last couple of weeks and we're starting to see eye to eye, but that's a story for another day).

So, all right, perhaps I've managed to convince you with that huge, rambling introduction to give Lifebloom another shot. Great! But how, you ask? I suppose since I am in the habit of explaining things on this blog, I should say a bit about that, huh?

Your usage of Lifebloom will depend on a few things, the majority of them falling under the wide categories of gear, situation, and assignment. All three of those working together will determine your average Lifebloom usage.

For example, your gear denotes your mana pool size and regen capabilities. The smaller your mana pool and the weaker your regen, the less helpful it is to throw out Lifebloom casts without having an Omen of Clarity proc. That being said, it should be obvious that when you do have an Omen of Clarity proc, that, if at all possible, you use it for Lifebloom!

Why?

Well, if your mana pool is small and your regen needs to work out at the gym more, every cast of Lifebloom applied during an OOC proc that is allowed to bloom is a return of 489 mana to you, and you're still healing someone. It's awesome! You should be doing it! Why aren't you? Yes, you. You know who you are.

So, what if you don't need to worry about a small mana pool? Well, in that case, casting Lifebloom shouldn't bother you, right? At the very least, always start a pull with Lifebloom on your tank. You know when they just charges headlong into the boss, outranging your heals in the flash of a Feral Charge or, in some odd cases, rocket boots of doom (you know who you are, because you use both)? Yeah, that's a good time to have a fast-ticking HoT working on their hide. You know when you don't have anything to do, because no one in the raid is taking damage? Get Lifebloom (and your other HoTs) on the tank. A big boss cooldown is coming up and you've got Rejuv and Regrowth already ticking on them? Get Lifebloom on the tank.

Noticing a theme here?

Well, you said it had something to do with assignment and situation, right? Well, yes. You need to be able to judge when Lifebloom is appropriate. Obviously, when the raid is taking heavy damage is not when you should be Lifeblooming them or the tank, but using your harder hitting heals. Someone gets tossed in the crotch pot of Ignis? Give 'em a Lifebloom. Quick ticks will buffer the damage they're taking, a bloom will add to that, and it'll tick twice before Rejuv ticks once.

Is it about time to run in for Vezax? Have your tank give you a ten second countdown. Pop your Innervate, HoT him up, and don't forget the Lifeblooms. Even though OoC procs on Vezax are a thing of the past, those Lifeblooms you precast will still return mana to you on their bloom, taking care of whatever your innervate didn't cover to refill your mana bar and give your tank, essentially, free heals.

Is your assignment tank healing? It's a rarity, but it happens, especially in guilds full of Druids or in 10 man guilds (and hey, in 5 mans, too). If you're tank healing and you're ignoring Lifebloom, you're doing it wrong. Sorry, you just are. The problem here becomes one of Lifebloom management. To illustrate, you must understand this important information about Lifebloom, the spell:

The application of Lifebloom is preventative, while the "bloom" is a reactive decision.

The preventative aspect is easy to understand, as all HoTs function this way. You apply the HoT not necessarily because the target is taking damage now, but because you anticipate future damage. HoTs are buffer and slow-recovery heals. The initial application of Lifebloom works exactly like this; its goal is to provide a buffer for incoming damage or slowly recover from damage taken.

What Lifebloom has that is different from any other HoT that exists in the game is a "bloom." This bloom removes the HoT but heals for an amount that increases with each stack of Lifebloom applied. This is an instant chunk of health, most often associated with straight-heal classes like a Paladin, who use reactive heals that heal a chunk of past damage taken.

The bloom of Lifebloom is a reactive decision because you have a choice to make: do you allow it to bloom or do you apply it again, extending the buffer period. This is a simple choice hinging upon several questions that must be answered quickly: Will the bloom go to waste due to the tank not missing a chunk of health? Will he need that fast-ticking buffer soon? Can your mana sustain continuous rolling or do you need the return from the bloom?

The decision has to be made the split second before the bloom goes off. Which many people find difficult, so they go one way or another: simply ignore Lifebloom use all together, or allow it to bloom every time. Which is lazy, really.

But many of you might say "But I do fine without it, why should I care?"

I dunno. Why do you care if you get a B instead of an A? Most of you, I assume, read blogs because you want to get better at being a Druid. You want to excel, you want to do your absolute best. If you don't understand the possibilities of every spell in your arsenal, from the gimmicky or situational to the established or untapped, you're not really playing your Druid.

Just think of it this way: when you watched X-Men, and thought those guys were uber awesome, and you got so frustrated with the people picketing against them and reacting to them with fear and loathing and Professor Xavier was like "They fear what they do not understand," you were all like "That'll never be me!"

It's so totally you, Lifebloom haters.

The X-Men are completely copyright by Marvel Comics, I'm just borrowing them for the lulz.

21 comments:

lissanna said...

The real problem is that somehow druids got pigeon-holled as raid healers, and lifebloom isn't that good of a raid heal. The haters usually aren't tank healing.

Bell said...

I use Lifebloom even while raid healing. In controlled circumstances, there's nothing wrong with using Lifebloom on OoC procs or when the raid isn't in danger.

Bell said...

Or even on the raid to provide a small buffer; heck, I've used Lifebloom in 10 man Heroic Anub on the raid!

Wooglie said...

I always roll and bloom 3 lifeblooms on the main tank, just now it's the last thing I put up after the 'OMG the raids gonna die' section of the fight.

EtMo said...

It's not my #1 used spell (I rate this by their positions on my action bar, because I'm a "Click Grid bar and 1,2,3,4...healer).

1 - Rejuv
2 - Regrowth
3 - Nourish
4 - Lifebloom

I use it in a way you notated - tank's running in, I hot him up w/ Rejuv, RG and 1 stack LB, that way if it's immediate dmg, I let it bloom, if not I'll roll it and try to judge whether to let it bloom or not based on the amount of dmg.
In raids, if I'm focusing on the tanks, It's up @ 3 stacks at all times, in case I'm casting an "oh shit" Rejuv+SM on a raid target and the tank takes dmg.

I find it really useful to keep 1 on clothies during fights like Paletress (5man ToC) along w/ Rejuv. It's really helpful if she Smites someone and fears me out of range.

I never thought about casting it on an anticipated target when OoC procs - that's a really good idea.

Great post- Gambit has seriously always been my fav Xmen. He never got enough love.

(EtMo on Twitter btw)

Pike said...

All you gotta say is that Gambit approves of [blank] and I start doing [blank]. Tru fax. /swoon

Good thing I already use Lifebloom! I love how unique it is. It's like a reverse Regrowth. (And I love my Regrowth too.)

The Omen of Clarity idea is an awesome one, *will keep that in mind for the future*

Fun Fact: I have Lifebloom set to my "6" key. Although completely unintentional, the joke now is "666! The number of the Tree!"

Conrad said...

tl;dr but i love the xmen.

Keredria said...

I also never came around the "omg lifebloom sucks, don't use it" party. I continue to use lifebloom on the tank and on the raid in our 10 man raids. I like having to make the decision of whether to let it bloom or not depending on the situation.

I loves me my rejuv, but I still have love for lifebloom.

moarhps said...

My major issue with LB is that it's back-loaded. In TBC, you rolled it like mad, so the bloom wasn't even something to think about. But now the only real healing LB does -is- the bloom. Trying to time it so the bloom is at a good time is a giant pain with how all current raids run. Most raid damage is either burst or a DoT that will kill your target before LB gets the chance to even consider blooming.

There really is nothing that LB does that Rejuv can't do better, sadly. Yes, I pop a LB on the tank when OoC procs for free mana, but it's only on a few fights that LB would be possible to really use on the raid. (Anub, Mimiron, Twins) And sadly, those fights tend to run more smoothly with the "RJx5, WG, repeat" situation.

Fuzzbubble/Droodyboy/Dethbringerr said...

Bear in mind i am normally running HC's and rarely raid.
My gear is a mix of emblem and HC gear.

Taking all that in to account this is how i roll.

I don;t pre-HoT.
Tank 1xLB, 1xRJ then if damage 1xRG add 2nd stack of LB if tanks health is near full. I slowly stack the LB and only let it drop if i need a big heal when it's time to refresh it.

For raid heals it's RJ WG and LB.
If there is more raid damage than that can handle it's spam cast of RG to all.

This may not be the best way of healing HC's but it works for me.

Droodyboy (EU Dragonblight)

Anonymous said...

Lifebloom is great, for those fights when you know damage is going to be coming in at a certain time.

Anonymous said...

Tank healing I'll use LB for the extra HOT. And once it blooms I'll get another stack up, but there are very few fights where I strategically use the bloom. It's like Living Seed - nice to have but not reliable enough to count on.

Otherwise LB's just something to cast if I have an extra GC.

If your raid healing and have to anticipate damage rej is still a better spell.

Anonymous said...

I am actually pretty sure that ooc procs cause you to not regain mana from lifeblooms. Read the bottom of the description - you get half the cost not half the base cost.

Heals the target for 224 over 7 sec. When Lifebloom completes its duration or is dispelled, the target instantly heals themself for 480 and the Druid regains half the cost of the spell. This effect can stack up to 3 times on the same target.

Example:

no ooc, cast 1 bloom = .5 back
yes ooc, cast 1 bloom = 0 back

This stacks in a way with previous rolling blooms...

with 1 stack already, cast another bloom with...
no ooc, get 1.0 back
yes ooc, get 0.5 back

with 3 stacks already, refresh the rolling stack with...
no ooc, get 1.5 back
yes ooc, get 1.0 back

If I have a rolling stack of 3, cast an ooc bloom, then 2 more bloom(no ooc), still get 1.0 back because of the 3 most recent casts, 1 was free.

Disclaimer - After healing ulduar, I have shifted to a tank spec and do not heal much. It is possible this was a bug and was fixed in 3.2 or sooner.

Bell said...

You will always get a mana return from Lifebloom and it will always be the same, no matter if it's a free cast, a discounted cast or a full mana cast.

rosamyna said...

I'm glad you wrote this and glad so many people replied, I've never stopped using lifebloom, and i never have mana problems because of it.

Brent said...

The thing is, if there's a better spell for the purpose you want us to use Lifebloom for, why use the worse spell. And if Gambit uses Lifebloom for anything but MT healing, then Gambit isn't on top of his game.

Its not that I hate Lifebloom, but there's no niche where its the best choice, except for after you've got Regrowth and Rejuv up on an MT and you want moar.

Anonymous said...

It's good to know all the tools in your box and when to use them. Lifebloom definitely has its uses. Any time I know there's a chance for an interruption in my heals on my assignment, they get the Bloom and I hope I'm back in time to save their bacon. If I want more oomph on a nourish, one lifebloom to go please.

I remember the days of lifebloom being 90% of the healing done. I have gone through adjustment pains and a love-hate thing with Nourish and Healing Touch. Key is I've evolved and my healing remains effective. What I see as a problem, especially in my guild, is the trees that haven't left BC behind and gotten down with the Lich King.

Great blog as always!

Anonymous said...

moarhps said: "There really is nothing that LB does that Rejuv can't do better"

and I say: There really is nothing that LB does that NOURISH can't do better. I mean, in 3 gcd's I could instead get off 1 or 2 nourish casts that crit for almost 10k per

Bell said...

@moarhps and Anonymous - actually, there is something Lifebloom can do better than Rejuv: Be applied to a target who already has Rejuv.

There's something it can do better than Nourish: Be applied to a target immediately, and then to another target after your 1 second GCD in the time it takes to cast, land and then start casting another Nourish; in that time, you're already behind.

azora said...

I am glad to see Lifebloom getting some love. :) I was told by a druid who read up on lifebloom that it was "outdated", but I use it quite frequently and it works out very well.

Darthregis said...

I do use Lifebloom with my PvP, but never thought about the "free" mana from the OoC proc and casting lifebloom. (I don't think much at all, to be honest. :P)

Definitely a good analysis on Lifebloom and it's post BC uses. I think I might even try to gear up a bit to try get in on some proper PvE healing action.