Heart of Thorns Beta Weekend Event 3 Thoughts: The Druid
Last one to cover folks! Let’s talk about Druid from the 3rd beta weekend event for Heart of Thorns. As you probably know, this elite specialization features a lot of healing. Like, a lot of healing.
I thought the staff was quite good. You’re able to stay at 1200 range doing constant poke while providing some heals, some crowd control and a reflect. What’s really good about the staff is that it also provides a skill so that a druid can reposition to a better location.
Solar Beam – Fire a beam of light to a target that heals allies in it’s path. This auto attack skill is pretty nice and simple. The heals that allies are hit with aren’t ground breaking, around 100 hp. But it’s cumulative heals makes it decent enough to mitigate some (low stack) condition damage.
Astral Wisp – Send a wisp to circle an enemy. The wisp heals allies it comes into contact with. Again, like solar beam, this skill mitigates damage but more so for your melee allies.
Ancestral Grace – Become a wisp and travel to a target location, healing any allies in the area. This skill is pretty god like. To reposition to a different spot 1200 range from where you are is so good. This skill also acts as a blast which could be useful if you plan to engage shortly afterwards on an ally’s fire field. I had quite a bit of fun with this but I noticed when traveling less than 1200 range to a target location to stay as a wisp at the target location for a notable second before transforming back which is probably a bug and could be a problem if not fixed due to giving enemies time to react.
Vine Surge – Send vines forth that cripples and immobilizes allies while cleansing movement impairing conditions from allies. Solid utility that can be used from 1200 range. It is a bit of a telegraphed move since vines travel up to 1200 range from the Druid’s location. However to help cleanse movement conditions is pretty helpful.
Sublime Conversion – Summon a wall of energy that heals nearby allies when hit by projectiles. With 1200 range it does make sense that the staff has a way to deal with projectiles. And the projectiles provides healing to nearby allies which is great.
Overall, staff is a decent support weapon from a heal and utility point of view. Not super strong but has noticeable assets.
The Druid glyphs and their celestial functionality are an interesting thing to learn. Quite honestly it took me a while to get use to the mechanic.
Glyph of Rejuvenation (Heal) – Heal yourself and give a minor heal to nearby allies. Celestial: Use the minor heal on yourself and your base heal to nearby allies. This is a fairly strong heal that supports nearby allies even if you’re not in celestial form.
Glyph of Alignment – Damage and apply conditions to foes. Celestial: Heal and cleanse conditions from nearby allies. This glyph is probably best used in melee where you can jump in a fight and damage foes. Of course it’s great with Celestial Form since you’re cleansing conditions.
Glyph of Equality – Daze nearby foes. Celestial: Break stun nearby allies. A good way to temporarily stop incoming damage from multiple sources or to stop AoE stuns (which Scrapper is exceptionally good at).
Glyph of the Tides – Push nearby enemies away from you. Celestial: pull nearby allies towards you. Good from controlling an area. Especially good in PvP for stopping stomps no matter which form you’re in.
Glyph of Empowerment – Increase outgoing damage of nearby allies. Celestial: Increase outgoing healing of nearby allies. Pretty simple: use it when you want to do a lot a damage and when you want to do a lot of healing. This feels more of a raid type of skill since you’ll be more coordinated but the damage one can be very useful in PvP.
Glyph of Unity (Elite) – Tether to nearby foes. When you take damage, deal damage to tethered foes. Celestial: Tether to allies, when you are healed, heal tethered allies. Pretty fantastic in order to share the pain you’re feeling or to easily heal up allies by burst healing yourself after tethering. There is a visual bug where you can’t see the tether at times. Also I think the tether should be more visible for big fight scenarios.
This form does only healing and crowd control.
Cosmic Ray – Call down a beam that heals allies in a target area. This skill is very spammable. Plus you’re doing 800-900 health with each beam. I really like it.
Seed of Life – Summon a seed that heals and removes conditions from allies when it blooms. Pretty simple but it may be hard to tell who needs it in big fights for the condition cleanse. I would place the seeds mostly in a centralized area of damage.
Lunar Impact – Call down a large beam that heals allies and dazes foes. This is an amazing skill locking up enemies, forcing stun breakers out, or stopping stomps.
Rejuvenating Tides – Gather tidal force to rapidly heal nearby allies. Using this skill with Cosmic Ray makes for great nearby healing.
Natural Convergence – Channel pulsing cripple and slow around you. After the channel, immobilize nearby foes. This is a strong crowd control that really pays off when completed in order to lock foes down in an area. The cripple and slow does help when chasing enemies as well.
Using this form is fun for providing people diving enemies heals. What I did is that I threw out the first 3 skills as much as possible in a focused area, the first skill on allies I thought needed it the most. I used the last 2 skills when enemies got close, chasing someone or providing AoE support around me.
I’ve talked a lot about the Druid skills but not a lot about the healing power scaling of the druid’s healing skills where Celestial Form makes more visible to note. I used Cleric armor, which is heal based, and it didn’t make much of a notable difference over going say, Berserker. I heard that the devs are working on making healing power matter for the Druid’s healing skills which is good and, quite honestly, makes sense.
Now let’s talk traits. The traits are great to augment healing, your celestial form and some damage mitigation. Druidic Clarity is really strong for an adept; it pretty much removes all conditions on you when entering Celestial Avatar form. You can get condi-bombed and just shrug it off. Cultivated Synergy is really good to support your pet more; all heals you use heal allies around you an your pet. Natural Stride is glorious; it boosts your movement speed by 33% as long as you’re not under movement impairing conditions. That’s big, especially in PvP; mobility between capture points is always an asset. Verdant Etching is a trait you can use to have a ton of condition clearing with glyph activations. Grace of the Land is a solid trait to mitigate condition damage as it reduces said damage when in Celestial Avatar form.
To conclude. Druid is a master of healing. It’s a pretty straightforward elite specialization but good Druids will utilize their glyphs and condition cleanse in a highly effective manor. Depending on how much healing power scales with the healing skills, I maybe able to run a damage oriented Druid or even a tank oriented Druid that can focus on keeping people alive and locking down foes. We’ll see how much group healing will be a factor for raids and other content at launch.