5.4 PTR up and rocking

I won’t apologize for the long gap between posts, since the reason is a really good one (my wife is due for our second child shortly, so life is nuts) and not just sheer laziness.  I still plan on a reflection of 5.3 post, but with the notes on 5.4 being pretty huge for us, I wanted to hit that first.

So let’s talk about the major lazer changes in 5.4

1. Nature’s Swiftness is going baseline for Resto.  Yikes!  Awesome for our leafy brethren, and AWFUL for us.  This, combined with the next change on the list (#2) are making it look like we will be returning to the old dreaded style of ‘train the Moonkin all day erryday’ strategy for melee cleaves.  Definitely going to miss the instant healing touch after coming out of a stun/silence or the instant clone to peel a warrior with cds popped.  Big change.

2.  15% damage reduction on Moonkin form gone!!  Blizz has stated the reason for doing this is trying to make melee more enticing in a raid setting, since ranged have become so much more likely to be chosen.  Unfortunately, this will make us EXTREMELY trainable, unless it’s coupled with another broad change, such as a buff to resil (especially since Locks and Spriests are receiving the same nerf). Again, hoping they are buffing baseline resil or something of the like to compensate (and a blue post did confirm they have something planned, just not announced yet).

3. Heart of the Wild healing cut in half – well, we had to see this coming, didn’t we? Moonkin and Ferals turn into godmode healers (not offhealers, it’s literally as powerful as some healers with fewer spell options) for 45 seconds and it was too powerful.  The good news is that it may make the other talents more interesting with their changes (more on that in a sec).  The bad is obviously it makes 2s a little less viable again, since our offheals were one of the main things that made 2s possible.  

4. Talent tiers are getting changed again!  This is typically a good thing, to make the non-viable talents more interesting choices, though taking NS away from us is really a huge deal.  The changes look like this:

  • In Tier II, NS is being replaced by Ysera’s Gift, a passive heal for you or your teammates.  Could be useful vs. dot cleaves, but it’s hard to say if it will compete with Cenarion Ward.  Renewal is still garbage, but is the only large instant heal available, and the NS change feels like Blizz wants to force us into taking it if we prefer a large instant heal.  TBD on the best talent, though Cenarion Ward looks like the best at first glance.
  • Tier III only saw the # restriction on mass entanglement removed, so that is a big buff for RBGs and a slight buff for arena vs. mass pet teams (hunter/demo teams, for example) where you can root the entire team if they are grouped up.  Not a huge deal, outside of RBG’s where you can potentially root beam the ENTIRE TEAM in side a solar beam after a dk mass grip.  
  • Tier IV is where things get interesting again.  Incarn hasn’t changed and we already have the awesome new Treants, but they made a really bizarre change to Soul of the Forest that I’m really unimpressed with at first glance.  First off, this was a great talent for beginners to use, as it gave them one less button to push or think about while they learned the spec.  The new talent is quite complex by adding a new spell into your normal spell priority (astral communion) that was primarily used in the passed to get into eclipse outside of combat.  For advanced players it could be interesting, but I can’t see taking it over the other two, especially with the incredible utility of Treants.  And it’s now not a good choice for beginners either because of how complex it is.  Will have to see how it plays out.
  • Tier VI also saw some big changes, including the reduction by half of the healing bonus from HOTW that I mentioned earlier.  Dream of Cenarius had a complete redesign like SOTF, and now boosts your HT casts all the time, as well as giving you a damage bonus for your eclipse after using HT.  So this looks great for feral, since they can use their procs on instant HT’s, but can we really see many Moonkin getting a ton of use out of casting an HT before unleashing damage in each eclipse?  I think it will be near impossible to have good uptime of the buff, unless you aren’t the train target (and with the other changes, I’d be surprised if we weren’t the target), so this may end up being a dead talent for us again – time will tell.  Nature’s Vigil changed largely for Resto, but it has a small change for us – if you cast a heal while it’s up, it will now heal another target for part of that healing.  Could be a good choice vs. dot cleaves, since your rejuvs across your team will heal 1.5 times the usual, and NV has great uptime with a 1.5 min cd.  Still tough to beat HOTW, especially because of the static 6% int.

The only other druid change that might be an issue (not sure yet about the math) is the large mana cost increase on our spells and the larger tie in to eclipse changes to gain mana.  This could start to widdle down our mana to ensure that we keep moving our eclipse bar so that we can afford to offheal, but I haven’t seen math yet to show if the increase is large enough.

Well that’s enough for now – what are your thoughts on the changes?  Hit me on twitter (@lazerchickenwow) and let me know.  Until then – tab dot like a boss!

Lazerchicken out.

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