Thursday, March 12, 2009

Living Seed: Should I spec into it?

Given the changes coming in patch 3.1 and the increase in the value of critical heals for restoration druids, I thought it might be time to talk about this little talent buried deep down in the restoration tree.

As you can see, it takes 35 talent points in the restoration tree to open up the possibility of putting any points into Living Seed. That's a fairly sizable investment of points and indicates a dedication of the character to healing virtually full time. So, like so many others on this blog, this is a post dedicated to restoration druids.

In the last few weeks, I have read a couple of druid bloggers that have mentioned it and debated its merits and flaws. One supported it and one decided it was not worth their time. Unfortunately, I don't remember where I found those opinions. If someone can point me back to them, please let me know as I would really like to link to them in this post.

What follows is a rough analysis of how I feel about Living Seed. During an average raid of Naxxramas, Living Seed generally accounts for between 0.7% and 1.4% of my total healing done.

The stats above came from our latest foray into the Dread Citadel and include all the boss fights for the plague, construct and death knight wings. As you can see, Living seed is responsible for almost exactly 1% of the healing I did on that fight. This much is obvious to the casual observer.

Another thing that is important to note is how low overhealing is for Living Seed. Only 6% of the total healing by it was lost to overhealing. This is important because the heal is actually triggered by damage. So, if it is ticking on a character and they take damage, some (or all) of that damage is immediately restored.

Digging down into the numbers, we can see that it came into play twenty-six times and healed for an average of 1,879 with a maximum of 2,839. The interesting thing comes when comparing that to the number of crits that I had over the same time span. Regrowth crit 58 times for an average of 7,402 while Swiftmend crit 3 times for an average of 11,268. Nourish never crit and I didn't use Healing Touch.

Wait a minute... I crit sixty-one times on heals that qualify for Living Seed and only saw twenty six instances of Living Seed actually healing someone? Yes. And it makes sense if we think about it for a moment. The buff gained by the target when one of our healing spells crits on them lasts only fifteen seconds. If they do not take any damage in those fifteen seconds, the buff fades and the potential healing is lost. Still, only 42% of potential healing happened. Is this good? Well, your mileage may vary. On the particular run we are discussing, I was mostly assigned to raid healing. A druid principally assigned to heal tanks would have a much higher percentage of their crits converted into efficacious Seeds.

Another thing to notice is that the size of the Living Seed heals does not seem to jive with the size of the crits. An average Swiftmend of 11,268 would account for a Living Seed of 3,380. But the data shows that the largest heal I got from a living seed is 2,839. Why is that? It's not overhealing. That would have been reported as such. Well, one of the hidden aspects of the talent is that Living Seed only gets 30% of the amount of the heal that lands and nothing to account for overhealing. Frankly, I think this is unfair, as many crit heals are going to be partially overhealing anyway.

And then I noticed a little note, hidden deep inside the 3.1 patch notes:

So, this problem will no longer rear its ugly head once patch 3.1 goes live. Good!

What does all this mean to us restoration druids? I can't answer that. It depends on individual playstyles and individual conceptions of druid healing. Here is what it tells me: Living Seed is currently a marginal choice for three talent points. When patch 3.1 goes live, it will become slightly stronger, slightly more useful, especially to tank healers, a little less so to raid healers. Crititcal strike rating is still not going to be something that a restoration druid will want to stack, just an incidental marginal benefit from the gear that we choose to get our mainstays: spirit, spell power and mana per 5. Averna had an exceptional post on her blog comparing haste to crit and their value to resto druids. You can find that here.

So what do you all think? Is Living Seed worth it? Why? Why not?

No comments: