Who took the boom out of Boomkin?

Last night, just for variety, I decided to resume leveling my poor mistreated Balance Druid. She has been sitting at level 91 in the bare camping-out version of a garrison since sometime around February. I got her to Draenor then just left her alone, poor thing.

I have a sad history of similar behavior with this alt. She was actually my very first alt, rolled about the time my main hunter got to maybe level 60. I was fascinated by the possibilities of a hybrid class, imagining rapid switching among all the various specs. I thought it would be great fun to be able to do either ranged or melee damage, to heal, or to tank whenever I felt like it.

HAHAHAHAHA!

I was very shortly disabused of this fantasy. First, I realized I could only have two specs at a time, so already the possibilities were cut in half. Then the practical challenge of lugging around two sets of gear became clear to me. Not to mention the cumbersome re-equipping I had to do to switch specs — this was before I discovered Outfitter and other helpful addons. Not being a fan of melee play style, I settled on Balance and Resto as my two specs. My final realization of the challenges inherent in hybrids came when I blithely decided — some time around level 50 — to run a few dungeons as Resto.

Disastrous. With a capital D. I was unceremoniously kicked from three dungeons in a row. Within like the first three minutes in each. I can’t blame them, I would have kicked me too. I would have had to improve a huge amount to reach the level of “stink.” I had no idea how to heal a group, much less any clue about Resto healing. I was so traumatized by the experience that I have not attempted Resto healing since.

In fact, I had such a bad taste in my mouth over the whole idea of a Druid, that I made her my bank alt and left her parked in the Trade District in Stormwind for over a year. (To this day I don’t know why I did not just delete her as an alt, I guess because back then a level 50 character still represented a lot of time and effort, and I was cautious about throwing away several months of work.)

Finally, in Cata, I brought her out of exile, leveled her to max, got her some decent gear, and spent many happy hours flying herb routes in Uldum. I made decent gold with her combo of herbalism and alchemy, and I was able to do respectable DPS as Balance in LFR and a few guild raids. I did pretty much the same thing with her in Mists.

Once I got the hang of the slightly weird sun/moon thing, I kind of liked the rotation, and I really loved the self heals, the various traveling forms for Druids, and the awesome cat prowl mode for those times when you just don’t want to be noticed. It all made leveling and soloing pretty fun, although it was never as powerful as hunter leveling and soloing.

So last night I was expecting a bit of rustiness but also some leveling fun. I updated a few keybinds, checked my talents and glyphs, did a quick review of rotation recommendations on IcyVeins, and set off. Boy, was I in for a shock.

First, even though Blizz’s intent in changing the power schema for Boomkins had been to simplify it, I found it monumentally confusing, far more complex than the old style. In no way did it seem ” easy to learn, hard to master” which Blizz claims is their guiding philosophy for classes and specs. I am sure I will figure it out with study, new Weakauras, and a lot of practice, but it really does seem unnecessarily complex as a power mechanism.

But even more of a surprise than the power method was the long — as in geologic time scale — casting times for your basic rotation. As best as I could figure out, after setting your DoTs, you essentially alternate between 2-second and 3-second casts, with a chance of an instant proccing sometimes.

Do you have any idea how excruciatingly long a 3-second cast is? It feels like you can cast it, get up and go to the bathroom, duck down to the kitchen and make yourself a sandwich, and get back just in time to cast it again. Back to back long casts as a basic rotation just feels wrong to me. Especially when virtually every mob you ever encounter seems to have unlimited instant casts and no cooldown times for anything. (Why is that, by the way? Why is there one set of WoW physics rules for the mages you play, for example, and an entirely different set for the mages you have to kill?)

So last night I was out fighting mobs, and I would basically just stand there casting for forever while several of them would be unleashing continuous attacks on me.

Me:

(First cast)

One one thousand,

Two one thousand

Zap

(New cast)

One one thousand

Two one thousand

Three one thousand

Zap

Mobs:

Zap zap zap zap zap zap zap zap zap zap zap zap zap zap zap zap zap zap zap zap zap zap zap zap zap zap zap zap zap zap zap zap

I am sure most of my unease with my Druid is due to being spoiled by the awesomeness of playing a hunter as my main, along with my obvious lack of facility with the Boomkin spec. I actually appreciate complexity in a class — it takes time to get good at it, but once you do, there is nothing more fun than hitting your cooldowns and rotational interactions perfectly, time after time, especially in a rapidly changing environment. It’s a satisfying and mesmerizing rhythm when you get it right.

Or maybe I should give Resto healing another try.

About Fiannor
I have a day job but escape by playing WoW. I love playing a hunter, and my Lake Wobegonian goal is to become "above average" at it.

2 Responses to Who took the boom out of Boomkin?

  1. Long (long) time resto-druid healer here.
    I boomkined for my dps spec so that I could level in WoD.
    Get the glyph that lets starfall hit all mobs and unleash the madness! Fast and great fun.

    You can do it!