@kappa.2036 I had originally read your thread here: https://en-forum.guildwars2.com/discussion/102537/anet-pls-bring-back-druid-and-make-it-a-good-support-this-time and went to make a quick response, but it turned into this, and I felt it needed to be its own thread. Been awhile since I've written one anyway. Here we go.
Few things everyone needs to understand before making Druid suggestions:
- The problem with CA Kit not being viable as a competitive team support goes much deeper than just the attribute tied numbers & effects that the skills pump out. The CA Kit is not and never was viable as a support role, because unlike FB or Tempest, when a Druid goes into CA Kit it has to drop all offensive pressure. And offensive pressure is worth a lot more defense than most people recognize.
- The heal output on the CA Kit is April Fools joke low. As a new player you'd log into this game and try to heal team mates in CA Kit while wearing Mender/Monk in a competitive mode, and have to ask yourself "Is this a joke or a bug or something?" It's not even worth spamming those heals on team mates or yourself, because the heal output from CA Kit over the course of like 10 to 20 seconds, is seriously like 1/20th of the standard DPS being pumped out by your opponents in a 1v1 or a team fight. The healing is actually not only useless, but it actually hurts you to use any of those skills outside of CA #3 blast finish. 1) When you drop offensive pressure to use those heals, people go deep on you with DPS bursts because they know you can't offense back, making that time spent healing a waste of time not DPSing back. 2) When you try to drop numbers on your team's head like "+600 heal per CA Kit #1 spam or #4 pulse" you could have been out of CA Kit dealing 3x the damage output to your enemy with an Axe #5 or something.
- The CA Kit skills completely lack the aspects they need to function in a competitive environment. A FB as example, is spitting out an amalgam of different effects that when combined, allow it to stay in combat while supporting. Such as Aegis upon Aegis with Stability and constantly reapplied regens & prots mixed with some CC mixed with short & much more convenient to use direct heal bursts. A Druid on the other hand, due to the nature of how CA Kit turns you into a complete support kit with bad skills, requires you to disengage to even be able to use those skills at all. A Druid who stays in CA Kit any longer than 2s while attempting to heal team mates, is essentially putting a big red target above its head in a team fight and saying "Hey I'm in CA Kit. Come burst me down." Tempests and FBs don't have this problem. They can still counter play with various utility while still supporting. The Druid if it is focused while in CA Kit, has to leave CA Kit immediately and then go on that CD before he can team support at all again. It just isn't mechanically functional for a competitive mode. So due to these mechanical problems with how CA Kit works, the only thing it's ever been good for is selfish survival. <- It is mainly this problem I am pointing out here, that has prevented Druid from being a viable Team Support. If the CA Kit had instead opened up and temporarily replace pet skills rather than the weapon skills as example, Druid would have been a viable team support that could have kept up in team fight brawling, in the same way that FB or Tempest does. But we are almost 9 years deep into settled design so I wouldn't expect any big changes to the foundational mechanics of how CA Kit functions. It is what it is. To make it viable again, we need to focus on the next point here ->
- The ridiculous amount of unnecessary nerfing that Druid has accrued over the past 8 seasons or so. Even though over a year ago Druid was already considered E Tier in the meta, Arenanet wouldn't leave it alone. They just kept tossing nerf after nerf after nerf. I won't even go into the arguable nerfs, I'm going to stick to focus on the really unnecessary nerfs that they gave Druid for absolutely no reason at all, other than to bury the class competitively: 1) -20% attributes to pets. 2) Removing the evade frame from Ancestral Grace Staff #3. 3) Removing the stun break from Druidic Clarity. 4) During the recent big nerf patch, Druid received disproportionate heal nerfing to the CA Kit. It was hit harder AGAIN than the -33% that everyone else received. All of this nerfing is just too much. The only thing CA Kit does now, is it is a full condi clear stealth disengage, and a quick #3 light heal with a blast finisher on it. The other skills are actually 100% complete useless garbage.
- Now the biggest thing that people need to understand, is that the Druid needs Druidic Clarity/Celestial Shadow to stay the way that it is now, and to not have those lose anymore of their effects. The Druid, due to all of the above aforementioned points, NEEDS that full condi clear/stealth super speed disengage. Without these effects still in play, it will literally be impossible for the Druid to even be able to utilize its CA Kit, no matter how much buffing is granted to the skills inside of it. So before any of you start throwing around class overhaul suggestions, including changes to DC/CA, you better know the class inside and out. And you have better seriously consider the idea of "Be careful what you ask for because you just might get it" otherwise we may end up with a buffed CA Kit that looks awesome that still sucks that's unusable.
So in my opinion, as a person who still avidly plays Druid, here is what I think Druid enthusiasts should be focusing on:
- Accept that CA Kit works the way that it does, mechanically. I don't know, it's possible that Arenanet may actually want to do some huge mechanical overhaul but I doubt it at this point. I think that tossing reasonable requests for small alterations such as: "Lower the CD" or "Lower CA degeneration rate" or "increase CA gain" is more reasonable right now, rather than massive overhaul suggestions, and believe me I have plenty of those myself.
- Stop focusing on the dream of making Glyphs awesome and usable because it isn't going to happen. The mechanical design behind Glyph usage is fundamentally flawed right down to the foundations of their idea to implement them into GW2, for the very reasons I've already mentioned. They rely on the idea of swapping in and out of an offensive mode and a defensive mode, and it doesn't work next to how other classes work in GW2. They could be made to be viable in PvE but they will never be viable in PvP without being buffed to an unbelievably disproportionate level of power to make up for the bad mechanics, and in that case everyone would complain about it, and it would put Druid right back on the chopping block again for nerfs, which is where it doesn't need to be.
- Accept that Druid is never going to be as good of a competitive support as a FB or Tempest. It's time to get real here guys. Druid is mechanically not designed well for this, no matter how much you buff the CA Kit. It's never going to be a rolly polly team fight sustain god in the same way that some of these other classes are. You would need to break down not only every core fundamental of how Druid works and what it offers and completely overhaul it, but also how Core Ranger works & what it provides, and overhaul it. Ranger/Druid and everything about it, was designed to be a great 1v1 artist or 1v2 kite or during some metas a 1v2 bunker. And it achieves this through all of the selfish sustain that it has, through Core Ranger and Druid both. So if we want Druid to be a viable team support, stop setting your standards upwards towards the pipe dream of FB like mechanics, because it isn't going to happen. At the best, we're looking at requesting & receiving some CA buffs so that the kit is actually worth using as some kind of a half-support assist. At the best we're looking at receiving some buffs that would front load enough importance for a Druid to actually consider burning his CA Kit CD for a partner or a team fight to save him, rather than saving those skills for himself. And those buffs need to matter for this to be a reasonable choice to take during combat.
- Understand that Arenanet has been trying to avoid the resurrection of Druid Bunkers or even Bunkers in general. So while giving suggestions for CA Kit buffs, consider the above point 3) and consider this point here in 4) that if we want some of these suggestions to be heard, these suggestions need to be aimed at buffs that grant significant bolstering to team support but not so much bolstering to self sustain. If everyone just keeps shouting: "Double the heal output!" that stuff is going to get thrown out the window.
So with all of this in mind, let me lay down what I feel is a reasonable Druid buff request:
- CA Kit charge gain needs to be increased. Right now it is so slow, that it pigeonholes the Druid into being absolutely required to take build aspects such as the command trait that grants regens, or wilderness for rugged growth, or dolyak rune for small ticks towards CA charge, otherwise CA Kit gains too slowly to be realistic to use. This subsequently pigeonholes the Druid into being forced to NOT TAKE trait lines that offer damage output. This is the reason why Druid has no damage output. Increase the CA Kit charge gain by even 15% between heals received and damage dealt, and Druid builds that run Marks or Skirm or Nature could be viable again.
- CA Kit #1 Cosmic Ray should spam a 1s Protection to team mates on every cast, in addition to 1s of one other boon that is randomly selected from a list of all the boons, similar to chaos effects on Mesmer. This would not be overpowered 1v1 on side nodes, because the buffing is unreliable and the heal output is still low. However in team fights, this would grant significant bolstering and be worth the time to stop and use. It would even be good in WvW. CA Kit #2 Seed Of Life needs to remove 4 condis from five targets. Turn it's CD up higher to like 6s. CA Kit #3 Lunar Impact can stay exactly the way that it is now. CA Kit #4 Rejuvenating Tides straight up needs its heal coefficient doubled. This skill is so useless right now that it may as well have a big red X across it so that it is disabled. Furthermore, Rejuvenating Tides is an enormous waste of time to use and is in no way practical competitively due to the overly large animation locked channel time for such a negligent heal factor and nearly unusable water field that is wasted due to its placement in skill cycling. Rejuvenating Tides once cast, should be a pulsing field that follows the Druid that doesn't require a channel for its duration, similar to a Gyro. This way the Druid could actually combo other skills and the water field while using it. CA Kit #5 Natural Convergence - the final pulse should be a blast finisher and deal a 1s knockdown to 5 targets within radius, in addition to its preexisting effects.
^ If buffs like this were to happen, it would justify the -20% pet attributes, removal of Staff #3 evade, and the removal of stun break from Druid Clarity.
But how is this in line with what I originally said about buffing team support while not buffing Druid personal sustain? Well:
- The buff to CA Kit gain will actually encourage Druids to run more DPS and less sustain. This suggested buff will enable more DPS less sustain setups, but it will not enable more and more and more sustain. What would happen here, is due to the long CA cool down, the Druid is limited in CA use regardless of the build ran. If Druids ran more DPS, they are sacrificing either Wilderness or Beastmastery to do this. So even though the 15% gain may allow them to more realistically access CA Kit more reliably, they are dropping the powerful sustain lines to be able to run a bit of DPS.
- CA Kit #1 Cosmic Ray suggestion would be a viable support spam for team fights but would still be a terrible option to spam in a 1v1. The heal is still very low and it would never under any circumstance be a good idea to burn your CA charge on some prot spam + a random 1s boon spams while you're getting lobbed around by a Holosmith or something, that has triple or more the damage output as your #1 heal spam. And burning all that CA charge is a bad idea 1v1 because you need to preserve it as much as possible for more frequent of DC/CS. In other words, this skill would be encouraged to spam on team fights, not in 1v1s on side nodes.
- CA Kit #2 Seeds Of Life suggestion would be great in team fights but again, this is not a great option to stand and wait to spam in a 1v1 for the same reason I keep explaining, you don't sit in CA Kit in a 1v1 because you become a punching a bag and it's a waste of CA preservation for more quickly utilizing the DC full 13 condi clear and CS stealth disengage. This suggestion bolsters team fight support presence, does very little for the Druid's personal sustain I a 1v1 on a side node. Anyone who actually plays Druid will understand what I mean by this. For these CA skills to be useful to stand and spam in a 1v1, they'd need nearly quadruple the base heal outputs.
- CA Kit #4 Rejuvenating Tides suggestion is something that should have been designed that way to begin with. Now this skill change would actually add a bit of viable side node sustain if it could be cast and passively maintained like a Gyro, even when the CA Kit shut off. I won't try to avoid that fact, but it wouldn't be much due to the ridiculously low healing that this skill pumps out. What's important here is that in a team fight, that small amount of healing and water field combo'd with other small heals, starts to become a viable amount of healing when we're talking 2 or 3 or 4 or 5 team mates on a node together. But the important change that it needs to be able to do that, is that the channel needs to be removed and this skill needs to function like a Gyro well effect. This change in general would also just be quality of life as Anet likes to call it, as it opens up multiple doors to skill combo play.
- CA Kit #5 Natural Convergence suggestion is long overdue. This skill sucks bad in its current state and is nothing but a liability to even try to use. If this skill had another blast finisher for that Rejuvenating Tides water field, and a knockdown to boot, it would be worth staying in CA Kit long enough to try and land during a team fight. But in a 1v1 on a side node, this would be an easy telegraph to avoid or interrupt and once again, Druid player are not going to sit in CA Kit and try to utilize something like this in focused 1v1 when opponents dodge or interrupt the combo 95 out of a 100 times attempted.
- And even considering all these buffs, the Druid would still be a far far easier target to be killed with focus than FB or Tempest in their current states, because when a Druid opts to burn that CA cool down for team support rather than saving it for the selfish sustain with full condi clear stealth disengage, it puts itself at great risk of becoming prone to enemy focus.
So ultimately, these changes proposed would greatly effect the team support capability of Druid, while granting very little additional personal sustain. They would open up DPS options for Druid and actually encourage straying away from full bunker play. What these buffs are really adding to Druid is more flexible play dynamic, not so much raw power. And Druid deserve that much. Changes like this would even be good for global changes in pve and wvw because the buffs don't even overlap on the roles of other classes. There is no quickness here, no alacrity as example, and very little additional boon splash to stack on what other classes are outputting.
This is the best request that I can think of while keeping it reasonable, without asking for a class overhaul of such a magnitude that we may as well be discussing an entirely new specialization design in a new expansion.
~ There you have it. Now I don't need to say anything about Druid again for like the next 6 months or something. I'm sure it will come up again, as always.