Shapeshifting and What it Means to be a Druid
What originally attracted me to the druid class was the description on the character creation screen. It promised that druids could take on the forms of animals. It struck a cord with the animal lover in me, which is also a valid explanation as to why my first character was a hunter and why, until level 70, my druid was a kitty.
Shape-shifting is the foundation of the druid class. The basic elven or tauren (or soon to be troll and worgen) form is really just a go-between. It’s the “stand around Dalaran” form. But when you mean business, you take on the shape of something more meaningful and powerful.
Back in classic WoW days druids were pigeonholed into healing. In those days, healing didn’t have a form. There were no tree druids. There were bears and kitties and moonkin druids. Some might have been more rare than others, but my point is that the forms actually existed. It wasn’t until well after the Burning Crusade expansion launched that restoration spec’d druids got their very own form. Admittedly the Tree of Life form has been the butt of jokes left and right. It’s been called rotten broccoli form and touted as ungraceful and generally unimaginative. Those nitpicks aside, it’s a form. It’s our very own healing form. And regardless of how ugly it may or may not be, it’s part of being a druid.
Now, on the eve of Cataclysm, we come to find that Tree of Life is no longer a form. It’s a cooldown. A sort of “oh shit” button that lets us boost our healing for a few seconds. We are being pushed back to classic WoW standards. In effect, we have been devolved. They gave us tree form, now they are taking it away. Why?
I see no reason why having a healing form is detrimental. Maybe feeling like a piece of week-old legume isn’t exactly heartening, but I can see absolutely no reason why “restricting” a druid to a healing form is bad. All of the other specs are restricted. Kitties cannot cast heals. But you won’t see cat form on cooldown. It would be ridiculous to ask a feral druid to only DPS during a few seconds while a cooldown is active. What essentially is being done here is forcing restoration druids to be like every other healer. We’ve gone back to classic WoW, a time when healing druids really weren’t druids at all.
Because the fundamental element of the druid is the ability to shape-shift into forms to do their job. Sure, having the tree on cooldown doesn’t prevent the druid from healing. It does, however, pervert a druid’s class mechanics into something only vaguely resembling what druidism is supposed to be.
I think I have made my stance fairly clear. In case I failed, here’s this: