So, there is a lot of talk going around about Druid forms (As we all know, the Men in Blue have promised that new form artwork is coming and that the updates are going to be worth the wait). Specifically – and more importantly, of a special interest to me – is the current discussion around Tree of Life (ToL) form. In short, “Do Druid Healers like Tree of Life form?”
I haven’t seen a complicated question like that since I watched, “Who’s the Tank?” No matter how you look at it, there isn’t a simple answer to that question. Much like all the relationships in my life, “It’s complicated…” I love the concept – who would have thought, a Druid named Liferoot likes the concept of being an ent – but, I think the artistic execution is currently somewhat lacking – especially given all the attention Blizzard has given the other artistic details of the game recently.
So then, where do we go from here? It seems to shift or not to shift is the question… to me, the answer is simple, if you don’t like shape shifting or you don’t care for the concept of forms (their current appearances aside) then I am willing to go out on a “limb” and say that the Druid class isn’t the right choice for you. This is not to offend anyone; however, the Druid class is built upon the concept of varying class utility based off of each form set and the related abilities. With that in mind, the forms should follow their functions and from my Resto Druid perspective, ToL form suffices nicely.
With that being said, again, I do think that the healing form (and the Balance form, for that matter) needs some work from a cosmetic/artistic sense. Personally, I would love to see the form progress in phases, much like the Tree of Life / Tree of Ages / Tree of Eternity progression from Warcraft III (think Bear form vs. Dire Bear form if the skins were different). As I said to Matticus tonight on Twitter, who wouldn’t like a glowing aura of leaves/butterflies/etc?
In terms of the cosmetic side of the healing form, there have been a lot of suggestions and interesting points brought up, i.e., Tauren vs. Night Elf forms, Tree vs. Dryad/Elf/Other forms, Armor Set and/or Weapon Reflection vs. No Armor Set and/or Weapon Reflection, Glyph Based Appearance Changes vs. Non-Glyph Based Appearance Changes, and Show Forms / Don’t Show Forms Interface Option (Sydera of WoM).
I think that all of these are valid form alteration suggestions, with the exception of the “simple solution” of not showing forms. It is a quick fix and it would satisfy some players; however, I will say it once again, if you don’t like the concept of shape shifting or using forms then you probably rolled the wrong class – elf form is not why I play a Druid, nor should it be why anyone else plays a Druid (again, that is purely this author’s opinion).
On the Armor Set and/or Weapon being reflected through the form idea, I think that showing the armor would be much more “iffy” depending on how it is executed – seeing as how this would likely further complicate an already complicated and time consuming art design process – I don’t see it happening. What I do see potential for are ToL enhancements and cosmetic effects tied into tier set bonuses or the armor sets themselves.
In terms of Night Elf vs. Tauren distinctions in ToL form, I see these as a must. Every other form has some alteration that indicates the faction/race of the Druid in question.
I do not support the idea of Glyph based cosmetic changes – Glyph spots are a precious commodity and as far as I can tell, they will continue to be – I do not see the rationale behind losing character effectiveness/utility to alter a cosmetic effect.
In terms of the actual form itself, I enjoy ToL form; however, I am still fairly open to the idea of tweaks or changes to the shifted model. I think that with a little bit of creativity, the ToL form could be made to look outstanding. As it is now, the model looks bland, there is a lot of model tearing and a general lack of detail (the necklace is a nice touch though). Here’s a thought: what about form alterations done through the Barber Shop or maybe through reputation or standing with the Druids of Moonglade (Cenarion Circle / Cenarion Expedition)?
All in all, ToL form is fun and I greatly enjoy it. It adds a dimension to the gameplay as a Resto Druid that I wouldn’t do without. I think that if the model was updated with some of the changes mentioned here and elsewhere most every Resto Druid, including myself would be delighted.
What are your thoughts?