Saturday, February 28, 2009

Lifebloom cost doubled in 3.1; now refunds mana and heals more on bloom

The official PTR patch notes have been updated. Here's the biggie for us.

Lifebloom: Mana cost of all ranks doubled. When Lifebloom blooms or is dispelled, it now refunds half the base mana cost of the spell per application of Lifebloom, and the heal effect is multiplied by the number of applications.

What this means:

In ToL/with talents and 2pc T7, Lifebloom (hereafter referred to as LB) costs 366 mana. In 3.1, it will cost 732 per application. That means that it will cost 2196 mana to establish a triple stack, and then 732 mana to refresh (either 9 or 10 seconds, depending on your glyphs).

If you then allowed that triple stack of LB to bloom, it would refund half the cost of the 3 stacks, and give you a triple-sized bloom at the end.

In my gear (with just MotW, no raid buffs etc), my LB is 392 healing per tick, 1176/sec rolling triple stack. It blooms for 3217. In 3.1, it would bloom for 9651 (obviously quite a lot more if I had raid buffs and consumables), or 14477 crit (wow). The stack would cost you 2196 to establish, and would refund 1467 mana.
So basically you can allow your LB to "bloom" for ~10,000-15,000hp (more with raid buffs) and a 1467 mana refund. Remember though, that you will need to re-establish your triple stack or you are losing 1176/sec ticks, plus Nourish heals will be smaller if LB isn't on your target.

Despite the fact that this 10k heal would be hard to control, it might be good in an emergency to opt to let it go.
Also consider that if you choose to heal this way, you might opt not to use the Glyph of Lifebloom because you might prefer to have a shorter LB. You could also remove 1/1 point in Nature's Splendor to shorten it even further - but consider that this will affect your other HoTs, so I wouldn't recommend it.

The basic changes

In raid healing, if you happen to toss a LB to someone to smooth out their health, it will bloom for the same amount as before (single stack = no multiplier on the bloom), and refund you half the cost. So, if you're using LB on the raid, it will be the same cost and healing as it is now - there is no nett change.

If your style is to roll LBs on the tank/s, it will cost you double to establish and to maintain your stacks. This will obviously have a marked effect on your mana, particularly if you roll on more than one person. You may need to lean more heavily in favour of regen gear/consumables, save your innervate for yourself (and possibly consider the Innervate glyph - although I'm not sure what I could swap out for it). It may also make staying in 2pc T7 more attractive for the 5% LB cost reduction.

To put it very simply:
If you allow your LB to bloom all of the time, your mana efficiency will say the same, but your nett healing output will likely go down. You will lose healing through the loss of ticks and having to re-establish them, plus the fact that your blooms may end up as overheal because you can't easily time them (on fights where your target is taking heavy damage, the bloom is more likely to end up as effective healing).

If you roll your LBs most of the time, you will have the same healing throughput as you do now, but lose mana efficiency, which will be magnified if you roll on more than one target. It will cost you double to refresh your LBs, and will only ever get a little of that back if you accidentally drop your stacks. You will need to carefully consider how many people to roll LB stacks on (most likely only people taking constant, heavy damage, to warrant the high cost).

Blizzard's reasoning

GC has responded to questions about the change here. To paraphrase his major points:
Rolling Lifeblooms on 2-3 tanks is just hands down one of the most -- probably the most -- efficient heals in the game. We didn't want to nerf the amount Lifebloom heals, but we were concerned druids would jump to the top of the healer stack pretty quickly with the recent mana changes.

We think rolling is a fun part of the spell. It's just too efficient and makes Lifebloom the best heal per second and heal per mana.

We don't want (rolling on multiple people) to be very efficient.

Now it does potentially give you a new healing style, where perhaps you roll the 3 stacks on the MT but do 3 stacks and let it bloom on the OT. You can imagine a Patchwerk scenario where the MT is taking damage consistently and the OT takes it in bursts. The traditional roll is more expensive, but keeps the healing per second high and consistent. Allowing for a bloom is more mana efficient at the expense of having the hot up 100% of the time.

We have done a lot of calculations on this, but we also need to see how it plays out in Ulduar on the PTR in a real raid scenario, as well as seeing if any theorycrafters can poke holes in the model.

So, basically, they STILL consider rolling on multiple tanks to be too good (too efficient) and while they want us to still have that power, we need to consider more carefully when and how to use it (and on how many targets).

My initial thoughts

I'm disappointed that we're being nerfed again. I don't think we need another hit to efficiency, and I don't think we need something to discourage us from rolling LB. While I agree that LB was a little overpowered in the Hyjal days of rolling on 4 or 5 people and ONLY doing that, I enjoy rolling on a couple of people and I think it makes our healing interesting and challenging. Unfortunately it would appear again that Blizzard's definition of challenging is "more of a pain to do". I think I will still be rolling LB on the tank, but this will definitely discourage us from rolling on a couple of tanks, because the cost will be prohibitive.

This is my healing style and it concerns me that I might find myself struggling for mana and unable to roll on two or more people. For now though I am going to adopt a "wait and see how it feels" approach.

Despite the inefficiency of doing so, it does give a nice little option that if your triple stack is about to expire and you see that the target could use a 10k heal in a hurry, let it go.

Personally I think I would rather refresh the stack and toss a Nourish or Regrowth, saving the trouble of having to re-stack LB to 3; but it's an option. On fights like Loatheb there always seem to be people falling lower than others (eg, ret pallies), so you could double or triple LB them and time it to fall off when the aura lifts, meaning they will get an automatic 6-10k heal while you're busy throwing WG or healing the tank. I can see this being quite handy, albeit extremely situational.

Normally though, you can't really ask, "Will my target need a heal in 10 seconds' time?" and it would be hard to use this proactively. It would be almost impossible to know whether your 10k bloom will be helpful, or merely end up as overheal. I think instead it will more be a case of waiting until almost the end of the LB cycle to see if a 10k immediate heal would be helpful, and letting it bloom (again keeping in mind the loss of your 1100ish/sec ticks, the time to reapply, and the loss of +healing to your Nourish until you get LB back on).

As an aside, it's also a nice consolation for the times that your LB accidentally drops off because you had to switch to healing someone else in an emergency, or you were out of range, lagging, etc. A 10-15k cushion of healing and a small mana refund while you get back on track. Where normally losing a stack would be too bad, this is a little bonus.

Now we wait for release

GC has said that they will consider tweaking the numbers if testing reveals that the change was a little heavy-handed. The best we can do is get as many druids onto the PTR to test how this change will affect us. Other than that, we'll have to wait and see if this change goes live as-is.


Treemonster said...

Seems very situational and hard to control. It's not gonna be very many situations where you can plan ahead 12-13 seconds and go like "oh the tank is going to get a huge spike in dmg in 13sec so lets start stacking lifeblooms now and let them bloom at that exact moment"

The only way to make use of letting LB expire is if it happens to be 2 seconds left on the lifebloom and the OT takes a spike and you let it bloom. It's not gonna be a heal that you can control, cus when the OT takes that spike it might aswell be 6 seconds left on LB and your're gonna have to do something else to keep the tank alive.

Feels like LB is going to be alot more overhealing.

Raaff said...

I don't like this change at all, it changes the way we are healing in a big way. We are pushed towards regrowth and nourish, so in the end we won't be spamming lifebloom but another spell. It was going to be a pain to roll enough HoTs to make Nourish viable, yet another thing that makes druid healing overcomplicated. Why? Because its too mana effecient... Sigh!

Raaff said...

BTW did you notice that 1 lifebloom application costs more then 1 regrowth or nourish application?

Keeva said...

I've read a lot of the math floating around and it would seem that the best case scenario would see your healing go UP because of all the blooms going off everywhere. I think it was something like 65% of the healing done by your LB ticks would be added as bloom healing (that's pretty huge).

The problem, of course, is the unpredictable nature of when the blooms will land, so there's a really good chance a lot of them will go to overheal.

Honestly though, my main gripe is not the mana. It's the fact that they are turning something really elegant and streamlined and.. fluid, I guess, into this stop-start process where you stack to 3, wait for it to expire, then start over. I don't like that. Refreshing is so much more elegant.

But maybe it will end up being how things are done - I think it will mostly depend on some testing of how often those blooms end up as overheal. Or, maybe as GC suggested, you might opt to roll on one target, but stack/bloom/stack/bloom on your OT or other target.

I used to LOVE timing my LB to bloom right as Brutallus' burn victims were about to get their final huge tick of the debuff - it made me so proud to see them spike up to full health without having to cast something - the bloom did the work for me. Certainly I would enjoy doing that kind of thing on particular fights, but I don't want it to be the norm.

Then again, I suppose each fight will have its own strategy; I can see that on Sarth10+3, there are times when I can't keep a second tank's LB rolling because I have to save someone else; if I got a 10k health and 1k mana "consolation prize" for that, that's a good thing.

At this point I am going with my usual strategy of "wait and see". I'm predicting many more pots, the use of regen trinkets, gems, and consumables (at least for a while, while I adjust), and a certain settling-in period where I get used to not being able to freely roll LBs on 2-3 people.

I don't think it will be the end of the world, it's mostly that I feel that we are losing an elegant style of healing and taking up a clumsy stop-start method. I like the fluid feeling of refreshing on a couple of people while I squeeze other heals into my rotation, refreshing LB at the last fraction of a second. I feel that takes skill. It takes very little skill to let a LB drop off.

That's my beef right now.

Kiryn said...

I think I'm too optimistic for the blogosphere. Where others are angry about a nerf, I'm excited about a new challenge, a new opportunity to find a way around this, and I also see the reasoning behind it and why it's good for the game overall.

I saw this coming, but it's a much more elegant fix than I expected. The devs were in a bind because they wanted to make lifebloom more efficient for PvP, but how can we make it more efficient in PvP when it's already far TOO efficient in PvE? This change greatly reduces its efficiency in PvE rolling scenarios, while keeping its efficiency the same (and even buffing it, due to the larger bloom effect) in PvP.

They still want us to roll lifeblooms. It's an incredible amount of healing. They just don't want it to be such a mindless choice. You need to weigh the cost against the benefit and know how many people you can reliably stack it on before you'll run oom.

I'm excited about needing to innervate myself. I'm excited about maybe even needing mana potions in raids again! Needing to drink between pulls! And most of all, having a brand-new mechanic of actually WANTING my lifebloom to bloom sometimes. It adds a layer of complexity to that spell that can really test my abilities.

I know, I'm weird.

Sound of Silver Hand said...

In Phae's absence, you have been so very helpful. Thank you so much for picking up the reigns where she's leaving off-- you're doing an excellent job. :)

Averna said...

Totally off topic - but I love the set up of your blogroll! So pretty <3

But also: "Refreshing is so much more elegant."

Absolutely, 100% agreed. I'm going to truly miss that.

Keeva said...

@Kiryn: I'm usually optimistic too, often to the point where I think "I must have missed something, everyone else HATES this, and I don't think it's so bad... am I mental?" But honestly this is the first change that has really been a big deal - because it will probably change my style. Other people who prefer to raid heal won't be hurt so much by this, but as a tank healer who actually ENJOYS the precision timing of refreshing a couple of people while spot-healing in between, this removes something from my healing that I get a lot of joy out of.

I can definitely see times when it will be great, but for the most part, it will be taking away something from me that I love.

@Sound: Thanks, I appreciate that :) She left big shoes to fill.

@Averna: Thank you, I set it up last night. Took me AGES to do everyone's little banners.. and I still have more I would like to add. I need to go on a druidblog hunting spree sometime to gather up some new resources :)

Anonymous said...

If people would just take out a calculator and do the numbers of just how much healing refreshing a 3 stacked lifebloom for 366 mana, giving the reasonable healing of 9k, before refreshing again for 366 mana -> 9k healing, it's fairly easy to see why it's too efficient, it's even more efficient than wild growth hitting all targets for full healing.. A doubling in costs should even be considered a light nerf given this calculation.

I see far too many fellow druids thinking it's the end of their world, it's ok to be passionate, but can you please also open your eyes and see why you're so good at healing stuff and realise it should require a little more..

Keeva said...

The reason it is so cheap and efficient is because it is a HoT, and the tradeoff is that often your HoT ticks are overheal.

You can't directly compare the cost of refreshing an established stack of Lifebloom (which may or may not be sniped to uselessness) which has the [b]potential[/b] to do ~9k healing over time with the cost of a ~9k direct heal that lands in one hit.

I agree that it may have been too efficient, but think that doubling the cost is extreme. I suspect they will adjust this down.

Keeva said...

Pssh, [] tags.. I need to stop doing html stuff and forum stuff concurrently.

Ayshwyrk said...

Is it just me or are they doing nothing but smashing druids in the face with the nerfstick?
All I see in patch notes is nerf nerf nerf nerf nerf. And oh, they are making a terrible spell maybe slightly less terrible at the cost of an awesome spell.

Color me very unimpressed.

Southpaw said...

Change is part of the game. I understand that.

All classes get roughed up sometimes when these changes happen to them.
I also understand that.

It just seems that our big three this go around:
The mana regen change
The regrowth crit talent change
The life bloom change

Comes with little to no plus side.

Oh wait, we can now cast thorns without shifting.

Trees are being pruned for doing their job too well.

There has to be a balance. Take something away, give something in return.

They are taking away a playstyle that we have been honing for years and we are given;
A reworked nourish that is interesting and fun?
A changing of known weak talents?
Skins for our characters (that we have been promised for years) that looks half as good as the mobs we face?

We get to cast thorns in tree form.

Benoit said...

I've been a resto drood since level 30.. Healing is my thing...

Personally I always stacked life bloom on main tank. This being said, I always assumed that the "bloom" effect was lost (over healing). I've never been a spammer and prefer using my entire arsenal. Life bloom was a key spell that will now be used with caution.

With all me experience, I found out that the "bloom" effect only benefit PvP players. I prefer stability to peak healing when it comes to RAID. Let’s pretend that life bloom didn’t "bloom”. If there was a glyph that would generate this "bloom" effect witch kind of healer would like that? (PvP for sure)

Now that the mana cost is being double, I'm not even sure that I will stack him up on main tank. I'll let it bloom just to get back some mana they stole from us.

I would accept this nerf gladly if they would actually think of adding life bloom to the list of spells for living seed. It would then make sense for the PvE healers.

Remember that living seed will change to the total amount heal and not just the healing part ?

For I, wich uses all my spells, this is simply a nerf... but hey I'll still be on top of the healing chart..