Thursday, February 23, 2012

Cataclysm Final Grades

Tzufit has posted a poll on what different players think about their classes. Here's my take for restoration druids.

Do you feel that your class is better (in that it is more fun to play, more effective, etc.) now than it was at the end of Wrath? Do you feel that your class is better now than it was at the beginning of Cataclysm?

Overall, yes to both. At the beginning of Cataclysm, I enjoyed the new emphasis on direct heals and the return of mana as a meaningful limiter. At the end of Cataclysm, I much preferred the way mastery works. I also quite like tree of life being a cooldown rather than a constant shape shift.

On the negative side, I preferred the emphasis on hots in Wrath. It is still there in Cataclysm, but Blizzard seems to be constantly trying to avoid the old rejuvenate blanketing in Wrath. I feel they should consider the new mastery and the new efflorescence enough that they don't need to keep fighting that fight. Instead, concentrate more on making the hots themselves interesting. In particular, I would find it more fun for rejuvenate to be twice the mana cost but to cause twice the healing.

How much have you enjoyed or found uses for your class’ level 81, 83, and 85 abilities? Given the chance, what would you have changed about them?

Efflorescence is the bomb. I don't remember if that was new for Cataclysm or not.

Did you switch mains during Cataclysm? If so, why did you make that choice?

No. I love nature-loving shape shifters, and I love healing. I'm in for the ride no matter what they do.

What were your class’/spec’s strengths throughout Cataclysm? What were its weaknesses?

Resto druids are amazing at any fight with slow, sustained damage, for example Ultraxion. We also have quite the save-the-day spell in tranquility. However, we're weak if there is burst damage more frequently. Tranquility for one of them, and then what?

Did you enjoy the addition of the mastery stat? What did you like about it, or, what would you change?

The final version of the mastery is quite good. It forces us to cast a direct heal once in a while, which in many cases I otherwise would not. I really hated the earlier version that made us cast hots on top of hots. We should be hotting players that are at low health, and then we should leave them alone and let the hot tick.

How, if at all, did Cataclysm’s revamp of the talent trees affect your class? Did you feel that these were changes for the better or for worse?

I remember liking the changes on the whole. Really, though, I still feel like the talent choices aren't very meaningful. I haven't revisited my talent choices in well over a month. There are only a handful of optional talents, and they don't make much difference.

Did your class experience any significant changes or additions to its lore during this expansion? If so, how did you feel about those changes?

Firelands expanded the lore of druids., and I quite liked it I did the druid half of the Firelands dailies every day for over a month, and I enjoyed doing the druid-related quests that you unlock when partially through Firelands. I hope they do more with Firelands.

Is your class easier or harder for a fresh 85 to learn now than it was at the end of Wrath? Is this a good or a bad thing?

It's much harder. It used to be that you could just blanket rejuvenate everywhere. Now you have to keep harmony up and manage your mana to some extent.

What aspects of your class’ gameplay do you think the designers really got right in this expansion? What aspects were clear misses?

I really wish they'd add partial hot ticks. Haste thresholds are a big pain, especially in 10-man raids where the buffs change around from week to week.

The final version of efflorescence is quite good. It is just powerful enough, and it is just smart enough.

On the negative side, the game designers have had a terrible time with wild growth and with rejuvenation. They keep buffing and then crashing them with no clear direction to it. Personally, I wish they make us back into hot specialists. To prevent mindless blanketing of these spells, they could double both the cost and the healing of them.

The new tree of life is a mixed bag. I love the overall organization of having the new cooldown. However, I always feel awkward using it. I'd find this easier if they dropped the tree-of-life version of lifebloom. Have casters keep casting approximately the same way in tree of life as outside it, so we'll know what to do. It's still quite interesting to try and decide when to cast the thing.

Overall, do you enjoy the playstyle of your class more now, at the end of Cataclysm, than you did prior to patch 4.0 at the end of Wrath? Why or why not?

Same answer as the first question.