Disclaimer: Though I have a level 80 druid who is specced as both bear and tree, this is my most recent level 80. I have done exceedingly little raid content with the tree. I do heal a lot of heroics with it and I do tank a lot of heroics on the druid, but this is all in the last few months. Having said that, I remember when Tree of Life was introduced and I remember druids in caster form healing in their Cenarion gear (T1) in MC. (My brother’s shoulders always looked like they could use a good trimming.)
Now that the disclaimer is out of the way… Honestly, people, make up your minds. Druids hated tree form when it first came out. My brother reluctantly specced into it at level 60 (he was one of our guild’s best healers) and we promptly called him a Tree of Lawl.
He hated it. Not only could he not see his actual character any longer, nor could he see his armor, he had this stupid slow mechanic attached to being in tree form. But the Tree of Life buff was just THAT GOOD back then. Plus there were things like reduced healing cost on your HoTs when you were in tree form. Something like that. Right?
My good RL friend the resto druid (with whom I am currently guilded) has told me, on several occasions, that she HATES Tree form. Loathes it. In fact, now that all ToL does is add the 6% healing buff, she will rarely be in tree form if we run heroics. Hell, when she was decked out in Sunwell gear, she never switched to tree form for heroics in BC, even though the mana cost was so much greater in caster form. I haven’t actually asked her opinion of the potential upcoming change, but I can only presume she will be thrilled.
For me, I’m not a huge fan of it. ToL is fine as it is, though — now that druids can decurse in tree form and don’t have that stupid slow on them. Did you know that once upon a time in Apotheosis, a resto druid was locked out of Netherspite’s room because he hadn’t managed to run all the way into the room yet before someone aggroed? Yeah. /facepalm.
It’s not that I mind being in a form and I do think that forms are a key part of the druid class. It’s that tree form visually sucks. Until recently, I think all the forms sucked. Every single freaking druid looked identical in all their forms until they updated the bear and cat models. You ever notice that, at a quick glance, a resto druid in tree is almost identical to a balance druid’s treants? The treants are smaller and there are more of them, of course, but still!
If I took the time and energy to pick a face/skin colour/etc for my druid, I should not look like another spec’s cooldown.
Okay, my bad. The treants have green leaves.
That is still not cool with me.
When I was levelling Kurn, my brother was levelling his druid. It was the COOLEST THING EVER that he could be a bear or a cat! It was awesome! I was in awe of moonkins, who had to SPEC into their form. I was even amazed by aquatic form! When druids got flight forms, I was in awe. I even thought that tree of life at least had cool benefits.
But in WotLK, they’ve changed ToL. The talent itself, not the form, has all that mana saving stuff baked into it. Hell, with a paladin with improved devotion aura around, you don’t actually HAVE to shift into tree form.
This is why I think they feel that Tree of Life form is expendable. There ARE a lot of people out there who hate that they can’t see their toons or their armor that they’ve worked hard for and I’m sure that they look at the WotLK version of ToL and go “well, really, what good is this?”. And it’s not that good, unless you’re in an arena and have improved ToL to help out your armor.
Bear and cat forms are already very nichey. You HAVE to be in bear to get all the modifiers and abilities to tank properly. You HAVE to be in cat to get all the modifiers and abilities to melee DPS properly.
Moonkin… it’s like they don’t want to screw with the moonkins because they have such a cult following. People love moonkins for the dance alone. And possibly because moonkins are SO ludicrous looking. My resto druid friend? LOVES moonkin form and because of that, balance is her offspec.
Besides, all those forms have been in the game since the beginning (or close to it).
Tree form has not.
I think that resto druids should be able to shift into something — it’s what druids do, after all — but it has to be meaningful. Tree of Life, as it is, is not meaningful. It’s fancy artwork. And not even that fancy. It’s just artwork.
What really irks me about all of this discussion, though, is the idea that resto druids are “giving up utility” by being in Tree form.
Sorry, they’re DOING THEIR JOBS. Sure, as a holy paladin, in holy gear, in about 50% Ulduar gear and 50% Naxx gear, I could pull 2k DPS on the burn phase to launch us into XT hard mode.
But I am under no delusion that, in normal circumstances, I am supposed to DPS. What other utility could the druids bring? Moonfire or Wrath spam? Really? What else are they going to do if not cast balance spells, being all decked out in spellpower (sorry, intellect) gear?
So it seems to me that there are three issues at hand:
1) Tree of Life form, as it stands, is useless. The devs also believe that druids should not be locked out of utility the way they are by being restricted to that form.
2) Some people hate Tree of Life form, dating back to its introduction.
3) Some people feel that the shapeshifting act is a core part of being a druid and for restoration to NOT have one is a giant step backwards in the life of a resto druid.
I’ll wait to see what beta brings on this “cooldown” form. For all we know, mana cost could be reduced by 75% on all spells for one minute. For all we know, it could contain a group innervate. For all we know, it could boost the strength of tranquility by 500%. We DON’T know what the plans are.
But I do know that I hate looking like a treant and that ToL is basically useless in PVE at this point in time. So I’ll wait to see what the deal is before I start freaking out.