I don't expect (or want) to be handed other classes' buffs, and I have no idea what our mana efficiency is going to look like at 85. I will be the happiest druid in the game if it turns out I've written this article for nothing. But everything that Blizzard's done so far has convinced me that it wants the druid to remain a healer whose sole contribution to raid survivability is high throughput, and if that's correct, I don't understand why most of our heals are so frustratingly expensive (and the cheap ones frustratingly ineffective). We are literally designed to do something for which we are subsequently punished when we inevitably land a group that's not note-perfect.
I'll discuss more specific examples concerning our mastery bonus, Efflorescence, and what I anticipate of player behavior next week. For now, a quick observation on mastery:
- Our current mastery is the subject of much debate: I've provided a list of all five healing specs' current mastery bonuses below for comparison and also tossed my character off some cliffs in the beta to see how they're working. To give you an idea of how this works now, a Rejuvenation that heals for 3,275 at 100 percent health was healing for 3,820 at 23 percent and 3,815 at 60 percent. I've heard differing accounts on whether mastery is supposed to "update" as the HoT ticks, but right now it's not. The instant Rejuvenation hit (from Gift of the Earthmother) is not affected by mastery, by the way. I tend to agree with other players that a severely wounded player is a high-priority target for direct heals, and I'm wary of the mastery stat's being troublesome for us as a result.
While all of this is subject to change, these are the spec-specific mastery bonuses for all five healing specs as of beta build 12803:
- Holy priest Your direct heals add a small heal-over-time component to the target.
- Discipline priest Improves the strength of shields such as Power Word: Shield, Divine Aegis and Power Word: Barrier.
- Holy paladin Your healing spells also place an absorb shield on your target for X% of the amount healed, lasting for six seconds. Absorb increased further by mastery rating.
- Restoration shaman Increases the potency of your direct healing spells by up to X%, based on the current health level of your target (lower health targets are healed for more). Health increased further by mastery rating.
- Restoration druid Increases the potency of your heal over time spells by up to X%, based on the current health level of your target (lower health targets are healed for more). Each point of mastery increases heal potency by up to an additional 2.5%.
Every week, Shifting Perspectives treks across Azeroth in pursuit of truth, beauty and insight concerning the druid class. Sometimes it finds the latter, or something good enough for government work. Whether you're a bear, cat, moonkin, tree or stuck in caster form, you'll find the skinny on druid changes in patch 3.3, a look at the disappearance of the bear tank, and thoughts on why you should be playing the class (or why not).