Patch 7.2: Deeply Rooted Disappointment

Daphne (of Greek Mythology) — the original victim of Deep Rooted — by Valkyrie Ghost

Patch 7.2 will present players the opportunity to unlock a new gold-framed ability within the Artifact tree. Restoration Druids will be able to unlock Deep Rooted:

When one of your Restoration heal over time effects heals a target below 35% health, its duration is refreshed.

Unfortunately, this trait isn’t likely to be very helpful outside of 5-mans. There is simply too much competition for a limited amount of damage to be healed in a raid environment for players to stay at 35% and not get almost immediately topped off by another player (and, really, that player is just as likely to be you with a Swiftmend). One of the stated goals of this patch is to give players something impactful to work toward:

Posted by Lore on Feb 9, 2017

We’re planning to have relatively minimal changes to core class design in 7.2. This is for two primary reasons:

  • The 7.2 changes and additions to Artifact Traits will have a lot of impact on classes, and so we’d like to keep core functionality relatively stable.
  • We just made a very significant amount of changes to most specs in 7.1.5, and don’t want to pile another heap of changes on the community just yet.

I feel like the Development team may have missed their mark with this ability. In response to complaints that DPS specs seem to be getting the most attention so far, Blizzard actually mentioned specifically that they are looking at feedback on Deep Rooted at Chubie’s thread, Restoration Druid – New Gold Trait. Some of the suggestions from players so far include:

  • Raising the percent cutoff of the proposed ability from 35% to 50%.
  • Allowing double Lifebloom.
  • Making each cast of Rejuvenation progressively cost less mana (to a point).
  • Increased duration of Innervate.

I encourage you to share your thoughts on that thread (and also here because that would be awesome) in the hopes of an improvement (or replacement).

Patch 7.2: New Artifact Traits

MMO Champion has published an extensive list of new Artifact Traits to be released in Patch 7.2. There appear to be four brand-new abilities for Restoration, including:

  • Deep Rooted (Rank 1): Your Heal over Time effects automatically refresh when their target goes below 35% maximum health.
    This seems pretty similar to Cultivation. I suppose this would be useful in cases where you need to ignore your tank in favor of raid healing?
  • Joy of Spring (Rank 1): Efflorescence’s healing increases by 0% every 2 sec.
    Presumably, this won’t be 0% in actuality.
  • Eternal Restoration (Rank 1): Increases the duration of Essence of G’hanir by 1 sec (up to 8 additional seconds at Rank 8).
    Depending upon the eventual strength of Joy of Spring, this is probably going to be my favorite of the three new abilities.
  • Infinite (Rank 1): Placeholder ability.

The full list of additional ranks — and speculation about what these changes may mean in terms of artifact progression — after the break.

continue reading…

Patch 7.2: Updated Travel Form

In addition to giving players the ability to unlock flight in the Broken Isles, Blizzard has announced that they will be adding class-specific mounts in Patch 7.2. Because the utility of our Travel Form is unmatched, the Druid “mount” will be an update to our epic flight form. Thanks to the ever-diligent MMO Champion, you can preview each our new owlish form in each of the four Druidic races: Night Elf (purple), Tauren (brown), Troll (red), or Worgen (black).

Jan 23 Edit: Data-mining by MMO Champion seems to indicate that Druids will acquire an item called a Moon-Kissed Feather with the on-use effect of “Teaches you how to transform into the Archdruid’s Lunarwing Form.” The flight form is called Archdruid’s Lunarwing Form and is described as “Shapeshift into Lunarwing Form, increasing movement speed by 280% and allowing you to fly. Cannot use in combat. The act of shapeshifting frees the caster of movement impairing effects. Can’t be cast in Tree of Life Form, Moonkin Form. Account wide. Instant.”

I understand why Blizzard decided to create an updated model for our Travel Form, but I have to admit that I’m a smidge jealous of the gorgeous mounts that the Monk and Paladin classes will be getting! Personally, I would love a quest for Druids to befriend a Wild Dreamrunner. I’ve seen Hunters asking to tame these creatures, but I prefer to think that unicorns would only agree to accompany someone equally attuned with nature.

I admit to occasional daydreams about the adventures of
Phoebe Phaelia and her Unicorn.

On a related note, can I just say how disappointed I am with the Glyph of the Doe? Players have been complaining for years that our forms were non-gendered, and many who play female characters were especially frustrated when our cheetah Travel Form became an obviously male stag. The model for the unglyphed Travel Form has a jeweled harness, decorative barding on his legs, and jewels dangling from his antlers. Applying the (not inexpensive) Glyph of the Doe transforms the blinged-out stag into a female doe with no ornamentation at all. You can see the difference below:

I’m so fancy.
I buy bottle service with my rent money.

I’m grateful that Blizzard made the effort to be more inclusive, but some enterprising model designer really ought to grab a bedazzler and fix this!

Vocola: Part 4 — Raid Healing and Communication

In Part 2: Healing, Abilities, and Multiple Characters, I gave three examples of how you can heal a group without the use of your hands:

  1. Referencing group members by name or alias (difficult when players names’ include non-standard characters)
  2. Mouseover healing, cascading to target-healing, cascading to self-healing
  3. Referencing group members by numerical index (1-4)

Within a raid environment, approaches 1 and 2 serve reasonably well. The numerical index system used in a group can get a little tricky, though. Because, while it’s possible for you to heal the thirty-second member of your raid by saying, Mend 32 to issue the /use [raid32] Swiftmend command, it’s difficult and kludgy to identify raid members visually (it would also likely conflict with your group-healing macro, depending on where your group falls within the raid). But by leveraging any one of the many grid-style raid addons, it’s possible to solve both of these issues.

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Patch 7.1.5 PTR Changes

A few changes were released as Patch 7.1.5 on the PTR on Tuesday. Among those affecting Restoration Druids:

Posted by MMO Champion on Nov 17, 2016
  • Displacer Beast Teleports you up to 20 yards forward, activating Cat Form and increasing your movement speed by 50% for 4 2 sec.
  • Guardian Affinity You gain: Thick Hide Reduces all damage taken by 10% 6%.
  • Mass Entanglement Roots the target in place for 20 30 sec and spreads to additional nearby enemies. Damage may interrupt the effect. Usable in all shapeshift forms.
  • Moment of Clarity Omen of Clarity now affects the next 3 Regrowths and increases their healing by 15%

This will be an annoying change to Displacer Beast whose trailing speed increase has never struck me as particularly overpowered and is likely intended as a reduction to PvP performance. The decreased damage reduction associated with Guardian Affinity will be painful for Restoration Druids who choose that affinity for raiding (and is also likely PvP-driven). The change to Moment of Clarity is very nice and may prompt me to forgo Flourish and Stonebark to finally give this talent a try.

And in a surprising change to one of the non-spec-specific Druid-only artifacts, our Legendary chestpiece Ekowraith, Creator of Worlds is getting a buff to the percent bonus of its effect from 50% to 75%. This will affect wearers’ primary ability and the secondary ability derived from their chosen off-spec affinity:

Patch 7.1.5+
5 to 7.5 yards
5 to 8.75 yards
15% to 22.5%
15% to 26.25%
6% to 9%
6% to 10.5%
3% to 4.5%
3% to 5.25%

May the Legendary Gods smile upon you and grant you good fortune (or may you benefit from what seems like a server glitch and pick up a couple of Legendaries within the same 24-hour period like I did)!

There are many other changes affecting Guardian, Feral, and Balance specs as well as a long list of PvP-specific changes, so be sure to check out the full patch notes over at MMO Champion.