Tuesday, April 13, 2010

On Deforestation

Back in The Burning Crusade, while my main was busy cracking skulls with both fists, my main alt was teaching me how to heal.

Ciribrus, a Druid, was initially a Dreamstate healer, spending all his time in Night Elf form. For a while this was a semi-viable way to heal (especially for leveling up as a healer), but as his gear improved it quickly became obvious that I needed to take the plunge and go Tree in order to flourish. Remember that back then, there was a significant trade-off to being stuck in wooden form: I hated the speed decrease, limited selection of spells, etc. But the efficiency and HoT-tastic power of Tree Form was awesome, and I learned to love it.

The recent announcement to relegate Tree of Life to a cooldown ability in Cataclysm was rather surprising (and dismaying) to me. Even though I no longer play my Druid actively, I still think of Tree form as the iconic healing form for Druids. The internets and forums seem to be up-in-arms about it, and I'd like to propose some options beyond just breaking out the chain saw:

Empowered Tree
Allow our leafy friends to stay in normal mobile Tree of Life form, but give them an additional Empowered Tree of Life form to invoke during cooldown phases. This new temporary form would buff healing, in exchange for reduced mobility (maybe even rooted) and perhaps limit/change their spell selection for the duration. This form could visually resemble the large Ent-type creatures you see hanging around with the Cenarion folk. (Bonus ability: serves as a very slow mount for two Hobbits Gnomes...)

Two Healing Styles
The Feral talent tree offers two roles: Bear tank or Kitty DPS. I realize this is something Blizzard is trying to get away from (removing tanking from Frost and Unholy Death Knights, for example), but why not offer healing Druids the option to spec into a permanent Tree of Life form? Caster Druids could be tooled more towards single-target healing (using Tree Form as a healing buff cooldown), while Perma-Trees could be more focused on raid healing and lose some of their single-target oomph. Almost like Discipline vs. Holy Priests.

Now obviously Cataclysm is still in development and there are Betas and play-testing to get through before we settle into normalcy, but I for one am certainly not in favor of deforestation.

Save the trees!