4.0, In the Flesh

Today is the first day I’ve gotten to play with resto spec since the patch, since I spent the first day learning balance. Though I consider myself a tree healer first and foremost, in my progression raid, composition issues have forced me to go DPS, and the raid comes outweighs my own interests. But I’m quickly coming to terms with the new world of moonkin – it’s different, but nothing I can’t pick up. I’m not emotionally invested in balance, so I don’t regret any of the changes, I just adapt.

Resto is different for me, and I have to admit, when I first started exploring all the differences in earnest I seriously started to consider respeccing as a bear and never looking back. Regrowth’s HoT only lasts six seconds! Nourish takes three seconds to cast! WHAT IS THIS I DON’T EVEN

With encouragement from my friends, I stuck it out, invested my talent points in Resto, downloaded Vuhdo (since my previous raid frame, Grid, still doesn’t work), and gave it a whirl. Now at the end of the day, having had a chance to wrap my head around it a little, it seems a little more rational, but I still haven’t had a chance to heal in a raid environment so I can’t say too much at this point. I’m looking forward to giving it a try, though.

For those too lazy to investigate it themselves and just to review it myself, here’s the blow-by-blow:

Tree of Life: If you didn’t know this was a cooldown by now, you’ve been living under a rock. It affects a handful of spells and increases your healing done by 15% for 30 seconds.

Rejuvenation: Now only lasts twelve seconds, but assuming you’ve taken the new Gift of the Earthmother then it will apply a burst of healing when you place it. With Swift Rejuvenation it will also trigger a very short GCD.

Regrowth: Now has a 1.5 second cast time and the HoT lasts for only six seconds. With Nature’s Bounty it still has a very high crit chance, and it’s still expensive. This looks like it’s intended to be our primary emergency heal now.

Lifebloom: Now significantly cheaper, feels a bit weaker, and – here’s the kicker – can only be used on one target at a time. I never went into Lifebloom’s raid healing uses very much in my guide because they were more advanced concepts and because they didn’t serve an especially critical function (with the important exception of damage control in cases of slag-pot-style sustained damage to a raid member). Regardless, those uses are now gone unless you activate ToL form (in which case you can put it on more than one person). If someone gets shoved in the slag pot, you cannot put Lifebloom on them without leaving the tank vulnerable. The good news is that you don’t suffer a mana penalty for juggling it anymore.

Nourish: Now a three-second cast with a very low mana cost and about the same power as before. It still does bonus healing if used on someone with a HoT on them, but in most respects this is a very different animal. I feel like when tank healing we’re intended to spam this constantly on the tank whenever she’s not taking all that much damage. With Empowered Touch it refreshes Lifebloom on the target! Note that it doesn’t benefit from Nature’s Bounty anymore and so has your normal crit rate.

Healing Touch: Pretty similar to how it was before, actually, though with the changes to Nourish, it may well be useful again. It has the same cast time as Nourish, but is more powerful and much more expensive. We’re clearly intended to hit the tank with this when she starts taking more damage and Nourish isn’t enough – it’s there for mana-intensive burst healing.

Wild Growth: Now has a 10-second cooldown.

It’s obvious to me why some of this was done; I think increasing Wild Growth’s cooldown makes a lot of sense and the Nourish/Healing Touch dynamic looks interesting. It’ll be nice to push that rusty HT button again, I think. I’m more wary of the changes to Lifebloom and Regrowth – the former has been partly removed and the latter essentially completely removed from our box of proactive healing tools. That pretty much just leaves Rejuvenation. And it’s the changes to that spell which really puzzle me: if they were trying to reduce our reliance on it, why go out of their way to make it a better reactive heal and reduce its GCD as well?

Once I’ve had a chance to actually heal a raid or two I’ll come back with my thoughts.

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