With 5.4 patching today I thought I would bring up a subject on Druids that has bugged me for a long time. Now I don’t play Warcraft anymore, the game is no long designed in such a way that I find the content appealing in the first several patch cycles of an expansion and if you don’t like the start of an expansion why would you bother to play it later. but that is a side tangent to the Druid mechanic I want to discuss.
Every version of Eclipse since it was implemented has felt clunky and ungraceful to me. Because of this clunky feeling while enjoying balance when leveling I would never do anything other than solo and random battleground pvp with said spec.
So what is it that I don’t like about the mechanic, well to put simple I don’t like the ratchet like bar progression where you only get a pay off at the max and then you need to rush to the opposite end of the spectrum before the buff wares off to get a new buff: wash, rinse, repeat.
The changes I am about to suggest I actually thought would be a cool idea when Eclipse was first introduced but now that I have played something similar, I KNOW it would be an improvement to the class mechanic.
Where did I get this play to “know” that it would be an improvement? Well I was playing FFXIV:ARR (Final Fantasy 14 – A Realm Reborn).
The class that I was playing was Thaumaturge, and yes it is the analog to WoW’s Mage essentially but so what. The mechanical interaction between Fire and Ice in FFXIV can easily be substituted for Arcane and Nature in the case of the Balance Druid. There is even an ability that switches Fire or Ice affinity to the opposite on a short cool down. While playing the Thaum., and it hit me about Balance Druids, the first thing I did was turn to Lissanna and say I think I know how to improve Moonkin play.
Now I realize this is just IMO, but if we only look in our own little pond for solutions we may completely miss something spectacular in a nearby one.
So how would this work?
- Change the Eclipse Bar into a Balance Affinity Bar, keep 1 end Arcane(Lunar) and one Nature(Solar)
- Change Astral Communion to be an ability with a 20-30 sec cool-down that converts all Lunar energy into Solar or vise versa.
- Make the Balance Affinity Bar grow over time such that it take 40 energy at early levels to fill up one side to 100 or 120 at top level, this is also a perfect place to place glyphs for end game.
- Rather than make the Solar/Lunar buff all or nothing make it based upon a percentage of the energy bar that is filled. So 40/100 energy = 40% of total buff.
- Allow +/- of energy on each cast, and leave some filler spells off of this cycle so you can keep up 100% buff while doing a few other things.
- Expand the Buffs to truly explore the hybrid nature of the Druid, and if possible potentially bring the Restokin back into existence.
- So for Nature Affinity, Increase Mana Regen and Decrease cost of Arcane spells, and for Arcane Increase Arcane Spell cost and damage. Yes like Arcane mages, see below. Additionally add a Glyph that also increases the Healing effect and Cost of healing spells while building up Nature Affinity.
Now #6 is a little self-serving considering who I run websites for but it was due to the flexible class nature in FFXIV that I thought of this.
Even at low-level you can start to have 1 or 2 abilities from other classes that you know in FFXIV and FFXI. While playing my one character as a Thaum. I would cross class in a heal spell to heal myself after nuking a mob and getting attacked. The neat thing about Thaum was Fire affinity like a WoW Arcane Mage’s Arcane Blast would build up power and increase spell cost for fire spells and decrease the cost of Ice spells with no damage increase. While the Ice affinity would cut mana cost of Fire spells and greatly increase mana regeneration. Then due to a limited mana bar you were cycling between Fire and Ice affinity depending upon whether you needed to Nuke or Regen. However when it came to large random group world events I would just attack with Ice to build up mana regen and then spam my Off-Class heal on the tanks and other melee or who ever pissed off the mobs the most, sometimes me with healing aggro. It then dawned on me this is how Lissanna use to play the Restokin way back when, and the Fire/Ice duality and affinity implementation is much more elegant than the damn Eclipse Bar.
Well that is a lot to digest and contemplate I am interested to see if any discussion begins from this.