Preliminary 3.1 info is out, and boy is it interesting. A bunch of new pets, mounts.. dual specs, new patterns (I knew it was wise to stockpile my Moonshroud..) Ulduar of course, and a legendary mace, oh my. But as much as I'd like to ramble about all the cool new stuff, I want to focus on the changes to Regrowth and Nourish.
Glyph of Nourish *new* -- Your Nourish heals an additional 6% for each of your heal over time effects present on the target.
Improved Regrowth (Tier 6) renamed Nature's Bounty. Increases the critical effect chance of your Regrowth and Nourish spells by 5/10/15/20/25%. (Previously increased just regrowth crit by 10/20/30/40/50%)
At first glance, it's "boo - massive Regrowth nerf", but I'm intrigued by this change and I'm excited that it will likely mean that I get my wish for Nourish to become part of my standard tank rotation. Back when Nourish was announced I thought it would be a great filler spell inside our standard HoT rotation due to its speed, mana efficiency and the fact that it was boosted by HoTs that would inevitably on the tank anyway, plus by using it rather than "spamming" Regrowth you aren't "wasting" the HoT component. I was so excited about Nourish's potential - but in the end, it just wasn't what I had hoped; Regrowth outshone it in so many ways.
Although it's sad to see Regrowth nerfed, I'm excited that Nourish is getting a badly needed buff (and a badly needed glyph!) so that it will actually be a good/better choice for direct healing, rather than being mediocre at worst, adequate at best.
As it stands, the only thing Nourish has going for it is a slightly faster cast time (but RG's ~70% buffed crit rate means it is often just as fast as base Nourish). Yeah, it's also a little more efficient, but at the moment mana is not a concern, so you can "spam" Regrowth all day, there's just no need to substitute Nourish.
Nourish is much weaker, has no glyph, no HoT component, horribly low crit (meaning seeds only happen 15%-20% of the time and are usually smaller), and basically relies on you to have all your HoTs up to make it competitive. Even then it's not great - in my current gear (but assuming 4pc) I think it's an average of about 500hp (non-crit) extra compared to glyphed Regrowth's direct heal - but to do that you must have the 4pc bonus and all three HoTs up (and don't forget the 70% vs 20% crit on the two spells).
I've often referred to Nourish healing as feeling as though you're trying to fill up a swimming pool with a bucket.. you can toss bucketfuls of water in fast, but it feels like you're going nowhere with such a low crit rate, poor talents and no glyph, compared to Regrowth with a huge crit rate (more Living Seeds and faster casts), a bunch of talents to increase its effectiveness, a glyph to boost it by 20%, a HoT component (plus Swiftmend)....
Nourish can be good if you need a top-up in a hurry, but otherwise Regrowth just has so much more going for it, particularly for tank healing, which is what I prefer to do.
I want to embrace Nourish!
I want to be clear. I'm NOT anti-Nourish. I actually don't like using Regrowth as my direct heal; it feels wrong to overwrite the HoT. Weaving Nourishes in would be more elegant than simply "spamming" Regrowth. I WANT to use Nourish; I want to use it so badly. But, sadly, aside from some very situational fights, Regrowth beats it in so many ways. Other than being a bit more zippy in tight squeezes, it's pretty bad. I use it regularly on a single fight at the moment, and ONLY because it's a little faster, otherwise I would ditch it altogether.
But - things are changing!
In 3.1, Nature's Bounty adds 25% (max) crit to both Regrowth (down from 50%) and Nourish, which will even the playing field a little. Nourish will actually have a slightly higher crit rate because Nature's Majesty adds 4% crit to various spells, including Nourish but excluding Regrowth. This isn't much, but it means 4% more crits and that means 4% more seeds too, and since Living Seed is now going to be based off your full heal (not just effective healing), this is worth noting, I think - another small reason to use Nourish as a direct heal if RG is already up and not ready to be refreshed yet.
The Nourish glyph will add 6% for each of your own HoTs on your target. For tank healing you would generally have three HoTs up, so Nourish would be boosted by 18% with the glyph. If you happened to have WG up (not expected, but possible, especially if melee are taking damage), it's 24% extra. Tasty.
I did some number crunching (haha, no, I really did) to work out how Nourish would look if I actually picked up 4 pieces of T7 and the new Nourish glyph. Being highly scientific and just using my current stats, MotW and ToL only (no raid buffs), average heals look like this:
Regrowth: 4488, 6733 crit (plus a 2020 living seed and 800/tick HoT)
Regrowth+Glyph: 5386, 8080 crit (plus a 2424 living seed and 960/tick HoT)
Right now (no T7, no Nourish glyph)
Nourish: 4226, 6339 crit (plus a 1902 living seed)
Nourish+HoT/s: 5071, 7607 crit (plus a 2282 living seed)
Post 3.1 (with T7, glyph, and 3 HoTs up)
Nourish: 6881, 10322 crit (plus a 3097 living seed)
It doesn't take a rocket surgeon to realise I'll need to grab myself a couple more pieces of Tier 7 in preparation for patch 3.1. If my (terrible) math is correct, as a direct heal on someone, Nourish will be healing for roughly the same amount non-crit as an unglyphed Regrowth crit.
The only problem will be deciding which glyph is going to make way for the Nourish one.
At least Dreamwalker looks great.
The only thing that I DON'T like about this is being cemented into 4 pieces of Tier 7 for who knows how long. The glyph and the 4pc bonus makes Nourish VERY nice, meaning I may feel obliged to stick to 4pc Tier 7 for a long time (I didn't even want to be wearing it in the first place). Breaking a set bonus and subsequently losing 15% (if 3 HoTs are up - usually) on what may now be our staple direct heal is not something I'd want to do.
I want to wear the new shoulders!!!!!
BUT, honestly.. if this "fixes" Nourish and lets it into my rotation where I want it, I don't mind too much about being "stuck" in 4pc T7.
As usual, the bulk of the responses to this change are negative; mostly complaints about the nerf to Regrowth, making me wonder if I'm mental or missing something. I know I suck at math so I can't spit out any figures on HPS or HPM to report on the pros and cons in that respect, but at first glance I can see this change making my healing more enjoyable simply through producing more elegant and varied tank rotations (rather than stack HoTs, Regrowth Regrowth Regrowth). I don't know if I'm missing something important, but it looks good to me.
I'm hoping this will mean that my rotation will be to stack HoTs, get RG up, and then fill in with Nourish, refreshing HoTs and throwing emergency spot heals as necessary. This is what I have wanted ever since they announced Nourish, so I am hoping this is how things pan out.