This talent is good; this one is useless - don't even think of picking that up. Good talents, garbage talents. Take these talents. If you pick that one up, you're terrible. This one is mandatory; that one is a waste of points. Straight down the line. Simple.
If you take this talent, you're a bad druid.
Many people will categorically state a number of our talents to be "useless" or "terrible" for raiding. I'd like to talk about why I think it is a mistake to take these kind of statements as gospel. Most often they will be quite correct; but it's important that you make your own judgments and not just follow blindly the statements of others.
It is all too easy to rubber stamp an ability as "useless" because everyone says so - without considering and exploring the possibilities of how it might actually be an asset to your healing..
..or to another player, whose playstyle and content level do not match your own.
Now, obviously, many WoW blogs that set out to teach their respective classes are aiming at the raiding level of players, so most statements will be made with that in mind. If they state that a particular ability is bad, you can usually tack "..for PvE raiding" onto the end of the statement. And if you're getting your info from a knowledgeable and trusted site, then they're likely to know what they're talking about.
But I will always try to frame my statements and advice as "here's how I do it" rather than "here is the best way to do it, period." I prefer to give people options, rather than dictate what is right and what is wrong. Give them the pros and cons, and let them apply that to their own situation, and make up their own minds.
Be open to new ideas
As players, I think it's important to avoid developing long-term biases towards our talents and spells. Not only can this cause a lot of heartache and frustration if those talents and spells are changed, but it also makes you blind to the possibilities that some talents may give you for different encounters. I'm not here to force anyone to change their ideas; but I myself have changed the way I look at certain things, and it really opens your eyes to new strategies, styles, rotations, and gives you more ideas for how to adapt in particular situations. Abilities once labelled "garbage" might actually be incredibly useful if you open your mind to the possibility that they might not actually be ignored by default.
Remember when Regrowth was "bad" (expensive/ineffective/etc) and only bad healers used it (much)... and then with talent and encounter changes, suddenly it was THE go-to spell?
Remember when Rank 4 Healing Touch was almost our sole heal (until HoTs could stack)? Healing Touch all day? For many people it is now just an occasional clutch heal - and a running joke in my old guild. Doesn't get much airtime anymore, the old Healing Touch.
Remember when Lifebloom was so amazing, then it was nerfed, and changed in such a way that people had to change how it was used, and many even stopped using it altogether?
The point is that things are always changing; a talent that might have been considered useless 6 months ago might suddenly become super amazing after a patch, or extremely helpful for hard modes. Don't become too set in your opinion on what's terrible and what's good.. because changes to talents (or to gameplay and fights themselves, or the introduction of new content) may find it very hard to accept that you need to dust those spells and abilities off.
But as raiders - especially hard mode raiders - you should also be careful not to dismiss something as terrible; it might actually be awful for most fights, but incredibly powerful on one particular hard mode. You may think, as a min-max hardcore raider, that the widely-accepted cookie cutter builds are the best you can get - but you never know when something once labelled a waste of points will turn out to be valuable.
Keep an open mind, basically.
The pie is a lie (sometimes)
In particular I believe that it is far too easy for us to get caught up in meters, spell breakdowns and Recount pie graphs when deciding whether an ability is good or bad. It just doesn't work like that. We're not DPS classes; we can't just look at a spell, see that we cast it X times and got 7000hps out of it, and decide it's our best spell. A spell cast only a few times per fight may be just as crucial in downing that boss, but look terrible on paper because we only got 10k total healing out of it for the entire night.
It's important to look at all of the facts, and yes, meters and reports ARE important. But numbers aren't everything - and you should never simply look at a pie graph and decide that the smallest sliver represents a terrible ability. It just doesn't work that way. It's important to examine things from all angles.
Trash or treasure?
So let's talk about the black sheep talents that people are always beating on. I'm not talking about weighing up whether to drop a point in GotEM now that you have XYZ haste and a boomkin in every raid, or whether or not Nature's Grace will make you clip your Nourishes. I'm talking about talents that, at some point in their life, have been labelled "garbage".
Are they really terrible?
Should you give them a wide berth? Are they useless for everyone? Or do they have some merit?
When I first hit 80, Keeva had 2/2 Imp Tranquility, despite the fact that most people said it was rubbish. Why? Because I was doing heroics, lots of heroics, and having a 4 minute CD Tranquility at my beck and call was sooooooo good.
But as I moved into raiding, it became less valuable, and rarely used.
The thing to remember about Tranquility is that it is usually most valuable for smaller groups, and least valuable in large raids. In a 5 man group, it heals every person (in range). The whole group, all at once. In a 10 man, it heals half the raid - still pretty great, and I would consider having Imp Tranquility if I was mostly doing 10 mans. In a 25 man though, it only heals 20% of the raid (at best), and since 25man raids often have people spread all over the place, its effectiveness is reduced even further. There are just fewer times that Tranquility (even if you DID have it on a 4 minute cooldown) is useful, in a 25 man raid setting.
But it's definitely NOT a garbage talent - if you spend more of your time in 5 and 10 man dungeons it can be really great. Definitely do not write this talent off if you are a more casual player and you mostly run in smaller groups.
Tranquil spirit reduces the mana cost of your Healing Touch, Nourish and Tranquility spells. Previously it only affected HT and Tranquility, so it was seen as a pretty bad talent (because HT and Tranquility are used rarely, therefore there was no real need to pour 5 points in to save mana). Now though, it also affects Nourish, and as more people are now using Nourish, it is better value.
Obviously, the more you use Nourish (and HT/Tranquility), the better the investment. But before you decide to invest 5 points in it because you're a tank healer and it makes sense - stop and ask yourself if you are having mana troubles first. It's kinda like "stacking" regen on your gear - you want enough regen to get you through the fight reliably - and not much more than that, or it's a waste. If you're not having mana problems, why would you need to invest 5 points in a mana-saving ability?
Also consider the encounters and your usual assignments. Your mileage may vary - particularly as you move into hard modes. Do the fights require lots of Nourishes? How does your usual assignment affect this? In the end, the question is - How much economy will I get out of these 5 points? Do I need a mana discount, or can I get by without it?
Now, I'm not saying this is a rubbish talent, not at all. If you are using these spells a lot, then it can be great. Just don't blindly say, "I use Nourish a lot so I should take this talent." This talent is basically only useful if you find that you need to save mana - otherwise it is poor to useless. Examine whether you need the mana savings first, or whether those 5 points (or some of them) may be more valuable placed elsewhere.
NP is generally seen as a PvP talent, and I think it's a pretty fair call. It is one of the talents that I would put at the bottom of my list of priorities.
Some people will argue that crit is more valuable to us now that we use more direct spells, which is true; and that it goes on to benefit us through other talent synergy, for example Living Seed and Nature's Grace, but unfortunately it is still of limited value - we are still first and foremost HoT healers, meaning that the majority of our healing does not benefit from our crit rating. Obviously, the more direct healing you do, the more you'll get out of your crit rating, but it is still towards the bottom of the list of our stat priorities, and 3 points is quite expensive for 3% crit.
BUT - Blizzard wants crit to be more useful for us as resto druids. There may be changes on the horizon that may make this talent more useful for PvE raiding. Sometime. Something. We're not sure. All we know is that they've said they want crit to be better for us.
For now, I treat this one as more of a "I have a point left over, 1% crit is better than an empty talent slot" kind of talent. I don't think it's BAD.. but I think there are better places to put your leftover points.
Future patches may dictate whether this talent becomes more attractive for us for PvE raiding.
The Revitalize rollercoaster. It's great. It's awful. It's broken. It's sex on a stick. It's garbage.
It's hard to keep up!
Certainly it's a better talent now that A) it's not bugged, and B) it also procs off your WG ticks. Team it up with the Wild Growth glyph to hit up to 6 people, and it really increases those procs, particularly if you are a dedicated raid healer. Remember, too, that it will return power to your target even if they are at full health and the HoT tick is counted as overheal.
The problem though is that far too many people simply compare it directly with other mana replenishment abilities. They size it up next to Replenishment and decide that it's terrible. The strength of Replenishment will dwarf Revitalize, true, but I think it's a mistake to just put them side by side.
Things to remember:
- It isn't overwritten by Replenishment - you can benefit from both, you know!
- Revitalize isn't just for mana users; it helps your melee boost their DPS through extra rage, energy, and runic power
- Smaller raids and guilds may not have the luxury of a Ret pally (etc)
Now, if you're usually on the tank, and you tend not to throw many raid heals around, Revitalize will probably be a waste of points for you. On the other hand, if you are more of a raid healer, you (and your raid) will benefit much more. It's not a constant pulse of power return, because it still relies on you to cast the spells, and then for the procs to happen - but if you're a raid healer you will likely have Rejuv and Wildgrowth on most of the raid a lot of the time, and there will be a fairly good return from it. Add the WG glyph, toss on the melee, and they will love you.
If you really can't spare the points, then you'll get by without Revitalize. The raid probably doesn't need it to succeed. But I enjoy being a utility/support class, and bringing abilities and talents that can benefit others in the raid (outside of me just keeping them healed).
As usual, I don't have numbers for you, but Dreambound has a great writeup from last week showing returns for different classes over the course of a raid night. Have a look, and hopefully it will give you a more practical view of how well it works. Usual disclaimer: your mileage may vary according to content and raid makeup.
I wanted to give this one a quick mention. It is clearly directed at PvP, but it's a good example of unconventional talents that you just might find very useful for particular encounters.
In this case, I know that some high-end raiding druids are starting to use this for some hard modes, because they are finding the extra mitigation to be invaluable on high-damage fights. The less you have to worry about damage on yourself, the more you can concentrate on keeping the raid up.
This is a perfect example of why you shouldn't be too quick to label a talent as bad for PvE. It definitely has limited value most of the time - but shines in a few fights. Worth keeping in mind!
Many people don't really understand the value of this talent, to be honest. I see so many people spitting on it and saying it's useless.
It really drives me nuts when I see people whip out a chart or report and say something like, "Living Seed only made up 3% of my total healing for the night! It's terrible!"
You can't just look at it like that.
Druids don't have any "buffer" abilities. We don't have shields or anything we can put onto a tank to help reduce damage taken (as much as I have campaigned for a barkskin we can cast on others). Aside from HoTs ticking, this is our only buffer ability, such as it is.
Now, it's still probably not going to make up much of your healing "pie". It's never going to look very good when you size it up next to the numbers from Rejuv, Regrowth, Nourish, etc. But then, neither is Swiftmend, for example - but the majority of druids know how great Swiftmend can be in a clutch situation. It doesn't matter that it doesn't look very big on paper - but if you are in a tank healing situation, particularly where the tank is taking big, fast hits, then it can save them. Most people (I say most because I am aware of some druids who don't take Swiftmend) wouldn't toss Swiftmend out of their spec because it only made up a small proportion of their healing on the night. I believe it is the same with Living Seed.
Living Seed: A talent that only worked a measly 3% of the time,
or a spell that may have saved my tank a number of times tonight?
I compare it to Glyph of Rejuv. Pretty crappy on a whole lot of fights, but then simply amazing when the job calls for a bunch of Rejuvs on a whole lot of people who have low health for extended periods. Living Seed is mediocre-to-useless if you're a raid healer; but if you're a tank healer on a fight where he's taking chunky, sustained damage.. that's when it shines, because it has the potential to save that tank over and again. It may not do much in the way of total healed, but how many times is it going to help save your tank?
You have to weigh up how much tank healing you're going to be doing, and whether or not those buffer heals are going to make a difference *at the time*. I remember back learning Sarth3D and it I would watch 5K Living Seeds land on the main tank when he was very low on health, and it was a huge relief to have 5K "free" heals backing me up (and that was in Naxx gear - the seeds are going to be even bigger as we progress through content).
It's not how much healing it does on paper at the end of the day, it's whether that healing is enough to smooth the damage and get your tank through whatever hardmode it is that you're learning (or whatever). Are you going to be assigned in a way that will have you chain-casting direct heals on someone who is taking lots of damage? Or will you be healing raid members who won't usually be hit twice in the space of 15 seconds?
Like everything else, you need to weigh up whether those 3 points are worth investing, based on how much direct healing you'll tend to be doing, and whether or not that could potentially make or break the fight/s for you.
Throw out the pie (well, mostly) and consider the encounters themselves. Deep in resto we do have a number of talents that are situational - and each person will get different mileage out of those talents according to the raid content, their guild, the number and type of healers in your team, assignments, the tanks' gear levels, etc. If you look at all of these variables and still don't see much benefit in that talent, for YOU, then toss it and grab something else, absolutely. Just remember that numbers aren't always everything and you can't simply look at a graph and say "this spell is useless".
Remember that many blogs and resource sites are going to be dictating the best choices for min/max hardcore raiders. You need to consider whether this actually fits you, your guild, your raid size, and the level of content you are tackling.
Don't write things off permanently as garbage - they may turn out to be extremely useful down the track. A talent may be less useful for your current content and style, and you may get better economy and results out of investing your points into something else. But sometimes the bad PvE talents can be very useful (for example, the druids using Imp Barkskin for hardmodes)
A small disclaimer to round things out
I'm not here to tell you how to play.
I'm not trying to sell you on talents that are generally considered bad, or uneconomical. I'm not telling you to go invent some crazy unconventional spec and try to force it to work for you.
I do hope people understand the intent!
MOST of the time, cookie cutter builds and most talent advice will be sound. They will be the best route to take (especially if you min/max). I'd just like to urge people to keep an open mind, consider your personal circumstances, and don't write the "bad" talents off permanently.. because they can be useful.
Perhaps not most of the time, and not for min/maxers.. but they're not all entirely useless. Not always, not for everyone.