My random musing on Cataclysm changes for healing Druids and Shamans

Otherwise known as “Ghostcrawler never promised you a rose garden”.

I beg your pardon, speculation is fun. So partly because it’s fun and partly so in a year’s time I can see just how wrong I called it, I’m going to go through the new healer spells and tricks we’ve seen revealed or hinted at so far to see how many (wrong) conclusions I can draw.

Shaman.

Healing Wave (level 4): While the shaman already has an ability called Healing Wave, we’re adding another spell to the class’s direct-healing arsenal and giving it a familiar name. The current Healing Wave will be renamed Greater Healing Wave, and the intent is for the ‘new” Healing Wave to be the shaman’s go-to heal. Lesser Healing Wave and Greater Healing Wave will be used on a more situational basis.

This isn’t particularly exciting. Although you can’t help wondering whether in a few more expansions, just like A & W Canada with their family burger line: we’ll have a Grandpa heal, a Daddy heal, a Mummy heal and so on all the away down to Baby heal.

My favourite new Shaman ability has to be the wonderfully named Healing Rain. As the song goes “There’s gotta be a little rain sometimes” and now its coming straight to raid near you.

Healing Rain (level 83): An area-effect heal-over-time (HoT) spell that calls down rain in a selected area, healing all players within it. There is no limit to the number of players who can potentially be affected; however, there are diminishing returns when healing a large number of targets, much like the diminishing returns associated with AoE damage spells. This should give Restoration shaman another healing tool that improves their group-healing and heal-over-time capabilities. 2-second cast time. 30-yard range. 10-second duration. 10-second cooldown.

Now that Blizzard have stated so many times I’ve lost count that they want us to be concerned about mana, I can only foresee the return of the set in stone healing assignment. No more will we have the heady days of Ulduar and ToC when you healed whoever you felt like (unless you were a holy paladin) and whoever had the fastest reactions topped the epeen metre. So Healing Rain coupled with Chain Heal could again see Resto Shamans as kings of melee.

It will be interesting to see what kind of radius the selected area has, if its too small the spell could be situational to the point of being useless. If that’s true though I’m sure the graphic and the spell icon will be awesome to compensate.

Spiritwalker’s Grace (level 85): When this self-targeted buff is active, your spells are no longer interrupted by movement and possibly even by your own attacks. This will give shaman of all three specs another way to heal or do damage when it’s necessary to move in both PvE and PvP. Instant cast. 10-second duration. 2-minute cooldown.

Not being able to move and heal well has always annoyed me when I’m playing my shaman, so I’m rather fond of this. Although it’s duration/cooldown don’t give you anything close to the freedom of movement say a druid does. As for PvP, I love  anything that allows healing myself whilst running away.

Deep Healing: Your direct heals will do more healing when the target’s health is lower. This will scale to damage (e.g. someone at 29% health would receive more healing than someone at 30%) rather than have arbitrary break points.

I rather like the idea behind this and the resto druid mastery, which in theory would be to allow people’s health to drop as far as possible before healing them to maximise your returns. I’m just not sure in practise it will work, I think people are too used to WotLK’s react, react, react style of healing. Although if mana needs watching as closely as Blizzard claims it will, then perhaps we will have no choice in the matter.

Druids

Tree of Life is getting a whole new model (think Ancients of War) and will also “morph” some of your spells to do crazy things while in the form, such as cause Regrowth to be instant, or Lifebloom to apply two applications at once.

I have my doubts about the whole Ancients of War thing, mainly because I don’t see the existing models scaling down well and I really don’t want to be a huge tree in PvP. Unless we get some kind of AoE warstomp thing which stuns all enemies in a 100 yard radius which might be classed as a tad overpowered by everyone who isn’t a druid. Althought, “I would give you the world right now on a silver platter“, if I thought that would secure it. Also the Ancients have really bad teeth like male Nightelves… which is off-putting. Depending on how long this mutant treeform lasts though I like the ideas mentioned so far, especially instant regrowth because I’ve been overly fond of  that spell since Vanilla.

I’ve never been attached to that hunk of dead wood which is currently known as Treeform. The cower and sleep animations had me briefly and I admit that levitated trees with wriggling roots are cute but I never bonded. It just never fit my playstyle in PvP as I hated being locked out of certain abilities like cyclone, roots,hibernate and moonfire. I loved my resto druid in Vanilla when all PvP required a full toolbox, from feral charge to hots and having that flexibility taken away always bothered me because I rolled a druid for that dynamic playstyle. I’m secretly hoping they make feral charge either lower down the tree or baseline this expansion.

The picture is of my first druid, now languishing at lv 72 because Tansy overtook her and stole her place. Taken fairly early on in Vanilla, I think she’s sporting 5 pieces of the Cenarion set (got them all in one Molten Core run) and the weapon from winning Alterac Valley.

Restoration druids will have a new talent called Efflorescence, which causes a bed of healing flora to sprout beneath targets that are critically healed by Regrowth.

I never promised you a rose garden“, but you’re getting Efflorescence instead. According to Wikipedia, Efflorescence means “to flower out” in French as well as being something bad which can happen to brick work. Would be cool if we could knock down walls with our flower beds, make the walls of Wintergrasp crumble before our floral might… unlikely though. So by the sound of it, we are getting another hot on top of an hot. Pretty please be an aoe hot that heals everyone standing inside the flowers, it would be even better if triffid-like tendrils sprouted out and pulled fire hugging dpsers into the flower bed.

Tranquility will always be raid wide, just because the concept of a “group” within the raid is kind of a strange one.

Yay. Hope they keep the same graphic though.

HoT Scale Healing: HoTs will do increased healing on more wounded targets. The mechanic is similar to that of the Restoration shaman, but with HoTs instead of direct heals. In Cataclysm, we anticipate druids using a greater variety of their spells so there is a distinction between healing and HoT healing.

Given what they have said about Mana concerns, I like this or at least I think I do. More people are likely to be at low health longer because they can’t be spam healed up which makes hots more powerful than they currently are in today’s zergfest healing. Of course, it’s usefulness all relies on Blizzard keeping their word about mana being an issue. The second people can spam away happily, our mastery loses a great deal of it’s potency.

Also I know it’s not a resto ability, but I’m excited about the Magic Mushrooms.

But you don’t find roses growin’ on stalks of clover.” You don’t find heals growing on invisible mushrooms either, but I’m sure there will be lots of fun applictions for them.

Finally,

You better look before you leap, still waters run deep,
And there won’t always be someone there to pull you out
,”

Hello Life Grip.

With my most heartfelt apologises to Joe South for borrowing his song.

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