The more I play and read about the beta, I find myself struggling with an unexpected dilemma. Do I keep playing my Priest even though I’m not 100 percent happy with some of the changes or do I switch to my Druid?

Whilst I do want to get back into raiding at some point during the next expansion, given the fact that I’m about to start a new job in a new city a month before MoP is released, plus we’re going to be moving house in the next couple of months, raiding other than LFR is out of the question probably for the first tier. So it’s not the PvE side of things which bothers me, after all I was healing heroics at the start of Cataclysm despite the “Oh, it’s a priest…. this is going to suck” comments from my party members. In the words of the song, “I can get by“, grumpily sure but I’d manage.

My problem is PvP which brings with it a whole new set of issues and problems. The thought of losing to certain people, the ones that my current Disc Priest can happily beat in one v ones at the moment despite the fact that they’re similarly geared and dps specced is enough is to make Sprout curl up into a ball and cry (I know I probably have that effect on them but that’s totally different okay!). We’re losing so many of the tools I use on a day to day basis and getting little in return.

  • No more shadow cast time spells. Ignoring the kick/interrupt aspect especially when fighting melee because you can get around that, smite just doesn’t have same oomph as “mind blast” or “mind spike” in terms of the imagery it conjures up.
  • Mind control being a talent with a 30 second cooldown. This is perhaps my biggest issue because  I use it a lot in PvP. It’s won me arena games, it’s allowed me to hold nodes solo in maps like AB and of course throwing people off cliffs is priceless.
  • Losing our damage reduction talents. Resilience will probably fix it but you never can tell.
  • No more holy nova unless you glyph for it but you can’t afford the glyph slot because you need a whole bunch of other glyphs to get back the stuff which has become optional but isn’t really for PvP. Now I know mind sear works just as well for killing snakes and stopping people from tagging flags but when you’re solo, it doesn’t help you find the rogue that you know is sneaking up waiting for his moment.
  • Mana being a bit of an issue. Although not sure this is a real issue, at least in random battlegrounds because drinking is always an option if you’re careful.
  • The cooldown on dispels helping create an issue with mobility, something Priests have always had a bit of an issue with.

Which brings me to my Druid. A class that like the Priest I’ve played since vanilla and just like the Priest I have multiple Druids scattered across servers. I lost interest in the class when Tree of Life was introduced because it went against everything I loved about mine. I didn’t want to be stuck in one form, which all things considered was a bit odd since I’d spend hours chatting away to people sprawled in catform next to a brazier in Ironforge, purring at passer bys. I kept trying but I couldn’t bond with mine any more. The final straw was feral charge being moved out reach of Resto and my Druids, disillusioned and angry became feral and balance. I went back to Resto last season because playing the underdog is always interesting if not always fun. Tree form as a cool down, not a permanent form definitely helped too. I like being able to blend in, not being the healer instantly recognisable by anyone because they look like a slightly past its sell by day stick of broccoli.

In terms of off-spec, I’d much rather be Balance or kitty cat than Shadow which is a plus for the Druid. Also who doesn’t love pouncing people. But then am I looking back with rose tinted spectacles. The days of being able to tank 5 mans as Resto merely by changing your gear are long gone. As are the days of perhaps my Druid’s greatest triumph, holding the Blacksmith solo versus five or six well geared Horde through feral charge, cheetah and lots of healing whilst reinforcements rode in.

Perhaps it’s time to play something else entirely. After all, having healed for over seven years maybe it’s time to just dps and let someone else take care of the healing. Both the Druids and Priests have some fundamental flaws at their core, healing mushrooms and chakras for example. I’m not also hugely in tune with Blizzard’s movement towards pushing healers into dpsing because to me it’s for the wrong reasons. You should be dpsing to dps, not to gain mana or boost your healing. I suppose that’s partly why I’ve grown to prefer PvP healing than raid healing even though I still miss the buzz of downing bosses with people I generally like. In raids it becomes routine, you learn what the boss does and figure out the optimal strategy to counter that but in PvP that’s not possible because there are too many variables to consider.  Of course there is a rough order to your spell choice/the abilities you choose to counter the enemies choices but it pushes you to find uses for all your spell book. Whilst both are dances, in pvp especially encounters outside rated/arenas it’s like comparing “Strip the Willow” (PvE – formulaic unless someone screws up) done properly to a wedding disco where everyone is dancing to a totally different beat (random battlegrounds). Arena should be more like ballet but often ends up resembling the disco too. I suspect the over all theme here is that most people can’t dance. I actually got knocked unconscious once doing Strip the Willow because my partner had two left feet and far too much muscle. The fact that we were both drunk at the time was purely accidental.

Of course, the eventual end-game will be to level them all my characters but which one will come first, right now I’m really not sure and that is a source of great frustration.

Mog Madness – Round Two (Wild at Heart)

I got a pleasant surprise on Sunday, when I discovered I’d made it through into round two of Mog Madness. The small print however gave me cause for concern. An outfit for either a Hunter or a Druid incorporating the Glaive of the Pit or Marrowstrike (same skin). My worst fears were confirmed once I checked out the Glaive on Wowhead. After much bouncing around trying first my Hunter and then my Druid,  I finally settled on this.

I decided to use the Glaive because of it’s added orange glow (the only difference between the two weapons). That allowed me a slight flexibility in my colour choices, being able to play around with orange as well as bronze and blue.

As you can see from my screenshots, I decided to use bronze as my main focal point, with just the odd hint of blue (in the shoulders, bracers and chest) and of course the orange skirt as a bit of a statement.

The curious case of the missing tick

I was playing around with WoWhead’s Cataclysmic data and I noticed something horrible. Renew on the beta only lasts 12 seconds down from the 15 it is on live.

A quick check of rejuvenation indicated the same thing, the level 85 rank has a 12 second duration.

If this goes live, it seems as if Blizzard are intent on stamping out pre-hotting one way or another.


Healthstones are good and good players use them. If bad players continue to ignore Lightwell, we can live with that. If it becomes as useful as a Healthstone, perfect.

Also note that ignoring a Healthstone (or Lightwell) will be essentially like casting a mana drain on your healer, which is not the case today.

If Lightwell worked the same way as a Healthstone I would use them all the time. If the Lightwell went down before the fight began and people could collect a little beam of light to use whenever they needed, every Holy Priest would take Lightwell. However since that is not the case, two are not comparable.

I’m also a little worried about the implications of that statement. Holy Priests are the only healing spec burdened with a Lightwell so are we going to be the only ones suffering from these “mana drains” because our regen model is designed around people using it (even though it’s an optional talent which the majority of people hate)? Or are raids expected to bring a Lightwell and Healthstones as well as Health pots and bandages? Either way I have mixed feelings about Cataclysm and healing already.

Cataclysm – New Druid Talent Trees

So Blizzard released another draft of their proposed talent trees. I’m not going to go into details, the information can be found here if you are interested. I just want to jump around with joy. I realise it may not go live like this but you can’t blame a girl for being excited and hoping. What’s the reason for my excitement?

Feral charge is back down on the third tier of feral. 11 points into the tree so my resto builds can once again include it for PvP. Yay. All through Vanilla this was a staple of my druid build and I’m so happy at the thought of having it back again.

The added icing on the cake is the fact that you could technically pick up both feral charge and solar beam (the balance silence which is also 11 points in) whilst having a decent resto build.

In which I disagree with Ghostcrawler

Raising the cooldown on spells like Wild Growth and Circle of Healing are good things for healers. It’s one of the few* things that will buy you GCDs to actually cast other spells. With a 6 sec cooldown, you really only get to cast maybe 3-5 other spells before you need to hit that magic button again.

Just No.

Am I alone in finding this insulting and patronising? I’ve healed on both druids and priests prior to the wild growth/coh cooldown addition and I used other spells. In fact I use whatever spell I believe to be the correct one in any situation. Healing, to me at least is about understanding the mechanics of any given fight and then reacting appropriately, whether that’s pre-hotting when you know damage is coming or getting a serendipity stack ready for a fast Prayer of Healing. It is not about using abilities when they come off cooldown because you will probably need them again in 10 seconds time.

What about other healers? Will it still be acceptable for Shamans to get the bulk of their healing from chain heal and possibly healing rain, or can we expect to see a cooldown appear on chain heal because they aren’t using their new shiny Healing Wave enough? Is the plan really to force us to cast heals which might be second best in any given situation just because they don’t want bad players just using one heal. I suppose I find this even more unacceptable given the fact we are meant to be struggling for mana come Cataclysm. So our AoE heals get an increased cooldown and we’re meant to use less efficient clunkier spells in an environment where mana might be an issue? That sounds slightly counter productive to me.

When you take away healing choices, you make the game less interesting and less interactive. I’ve played all five healing specs at one point or another and I’ve raided cutting edge content on all of them. For me, playing a Paladin and a Shaman with their smaller toolboxes was boring.  The vast range of spells available to the Priest and Druid is what drew me to the classes in the first place and I really don’t want to be in the position of having 10 spells but you can only cast in them in a certain sequence because they all have cooldowns.

I realise there will always be people who want to spam one spell over and over again all the way to epics and that those people shouldn’t be encouraged but there are other ways to make spells less attractive. Perhaps an arcane blast type debuff, where if you cast wildgrowth/circle of healing twice in a 8 second window, the mana cost increases exponentially. Maybe each time you cast it without using another spell inbetween your spirit decreases, 10 percent the first time, 20 the second and so on. So if you need to use those spells, you can but they come with a down side. Anything but an arbitrary cooldown please.

Yes, Cataclysm isn’t even in beta yet but pre-emptive whining is always better than saying nothing (and far more fun). It might turn out just fine, after all we have no idea about how those spells will scale nor what raid encounters will look like. However I really dislike in principle the idea that healers should have rotations and/or cooldowns. On our first hardmode 25 man Anub’arak kill we lost half our healers at around 8 percent. The three remaining healers, myself included struggled on juggling global cooldowns in an attempt to keep our 2 tanks, ourselves and enough dpsers alive to kill him. Somehow we managed and to me, that’s what makes healing epic. The fact that we could given the freedom to pick and choose our spells, manage to keep enough people alive to win. We had choices and we made the right ones. Taking away that choice diminishes healing and makes the game less appealing.

Having read this though, I’m really interested in how chakras will work out for Holy Priests. I’m sure I read somewhere a Blue saying that they were considering a cooldown for Prayer of Healing and it sounds like Circle of Healing is getting a bigger one, so exactly how are Holy meant to ramp up their AoE chakras? Obviously if they manage to get it working, there are some really potentially cool things they could do, for example once you are fully chakra-ed up for AoE healing, perhaps the cooldown and cost of those spells could come down a bit. Wonder if Holy Nova will be getting a cooldown by the time we make it out of beta. Anyone care to bet?

The Ghostcrawler quote comes from this thread here.

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.


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.


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.


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.

Sunday morning blues

Random thoughts are random
  • Happy Easter to those who celebrate it.
  • Unless my eyesight has deteriorated, there are no eggs in Terokkar this year. Sad druid is sad.
  • My favourite Alliance egg hunting zone at the moment is Dolannar. Check the bushes, especially around the graveyard which seems a little worrying. Zombie eggs?
  • My first attempt at making Simmel Cake for Easter turned out far better than I had hoped. Lovely and moist with a melted marzipan centre. Now I’m worried that I’m turning into my Mother.
  • You get too much experience from the Call to Arms: Warsong. At lv 77, you can get 150k for winning your first game of the day. Given that you can win in 10 minutes or so, there is no way questing can compete with that. Subsequent winning games net around 75k for winning. Bear in mind that this doesn’t include the experience you get for each flag. It’s just what is handed out at the end.
  • Given the Warsong thing, I’m so glad I’m levelling a druid. Ticking off Warsong Achievements really quickly at the moment.
  • Starfall is amazing for midfield ganking, especially if people are too busy trying to focus the warrior with 20k health who is being healed.