Monday, February 22, 2010

So close!

By chance I got picked up by a guild group going in to Gundrak over the weekend to try to get Less-rabi.  It only took us 2 tries, and since I have such a wonderful guild they also helped me pick up Share the Love, and that leaves me just 2 achievements away from Glory of the Hero.  It also gave me the opportunity to honor the Elder in Gun'drak, and I took a few minutes to pick up the last few Elders around Northrend, leaving me just 4 dungeon Elders from the meta.

A quick note on Less-rabi!...

Most of the strategies I read for it were designed before everybody overgeared the instances so completely.  It is now doable with just 3 interrupts (maybe less) if you have a suitably geared party.  We did it with one Bash, one interrupt from a DK, and one Kick from our rogue, and he was dead before he could try to cast again.  It's still a rough achievement, because that last interrupt needs to be ON THE BALL, the cast time is so short that if you are mid-GCD when it comes you will not successfully stop it.

Hopefully, within a couple of weeks, I will have the opportunity to go get Respect Your Elders and My Girl Loves to Skadi All the Time, for my ugly new mount.  And once I pick up those four Elders, I will have completed 3 of the meta achievements needed for the uber-meta and the 310% speed mount.  Hopefully they won't do something silly and remove that.

Nothing really interesting to report otherwise, I'm still mulling over my options with respect to specs.

Blarg.  I am ded.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Cat Druids and DPS

Since I'm considering changing my secondary spec from healing to DPS, I figured I should do some research into Cat DPS and try to formulate a plan to be at least decent at it from the get-go.  What results below is some of my stream of consciousness formed into intelligible words, thoughts, sentences, and yes, even paragraphs.  Please keep in mind that this is from research, not from first-hand experience.

You hear from a lot of people that DPS as a feral Druid is one of the hardest ways to do DPS in the game, at least if you want to put out good numbers for it.  What is it about Cat DPS that makes it so hard?

The key issue is the number of, for lack of a better term, things that you have to juggle.  You have two ability resources to keep track of (Combo Points and Energy), 3 buffs for which you have to keep track of the buff or a cooldown for it (Savage Roar, Tiger's Fury, Berserk), and 3 debuffs that you, again, have to keep track of, or track of the cooldown (Mangle, Rake, and Rip).  Plus you need to find time for your other big hitters (Shred, Ferocious Bite).  FB, SR, and Rip all require both CP's and Energy, Berserk has multiple uses and you don't want to have just used Tiger's Fury, everything needs Energy, and your priority list includes things like "Use X if Y and Z have more than 8 seconds left."

I've heard of addons that give you helpful hints of what order to use your abilities in.  I'll have to look in to that.

To go into a little more detail, here is the "priority list" as gleaned from EJ's Cat DPS Guide.

1. Keep up Savage Roar
2. Keep up Mangle
3. Keep up Rake
4. Use shred for CP regeneration (remember, that points 2 and 3 are more important)
5. When at 5 CP and Rip is not up, use Rip
6. When below 30 Energy, use TF
7. Use Clearcast Proccs for Shred
8. When at 5 CP and Rip and SR are running with 8 seconds (might be longer, depending on your gear) or longer each, use FB
9. When Rip and SR will drop at nearly the same time (with less than 3 seconds difference), try to recognize it early. Then use SR with a small amount of CP to desynchronize both timers.
10. Use Berserk only at high energy, (but not higher than 85) not directly after TF and as often as possible. If you will get Hysteria or some boss mechanics will enhance your damage, save it for these situations.
That's scary, to say the least.  It's hard enough to keep a priority list 5-6 items long (Maul, Swipe, Mangle, Lacerate, FFF, Demo Roar) with all the possibilities in WoW.  Ten, I think, will be nearly impossible.

Should this eventuality come to pass, however, I will make a valiant effort!!  And, of course, report my results to the ravenous masses of my readers!

What's that?  I was getting a little evil-dictator-ish?  You mean I'm not?  And I only have 3 readers?  *sigh* Fine.

I may even do a Cat primer... although if I do it before I switch, it will be purely from research, not from personal experience.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Rambling the First, on Hybrids

My apologies to the author whose post inspired me, I cannot recall which blogger it was to give credit.  I can, however, use a post from my own blog's history as a starting point.

In examining the fact that Druids simply don't follow the rules, I mentioned the fact that we can, to a certain extent, shift roles mid-fight by shifting forms.  While this remains true and does showcase our hybrid capabilities, we aren't and can't be good enough at a backup role to be truly hybrid, with half an exception for bears and cats.

Blizzard has made a point of making characters with multiple roles specialize and remove their hybrid capabilities in order to be competitive with other classes.  While this is a good thing in general - hybrids shouldn't be able to be the best simultaneously at 2 things - it has the (I hope) unintended consequence of removing some of what I consider the key benefits of playing a hybrid class.  While being able to switch between tank, healer, and 2 different forms of DPS is nice, we can't effectively switch in the middle of a fight, which would seem to me to be one of the key benefits of being a shapeshifter.

The shifting of stats for bears means that bears and cats can fake it - the gear they want shares stats, with the exception of cloaks, amulets, rings, and trinkets - but you're not going to have "enough" survivability as a bear or be solid enough at DPS as a cat to make this worthwhile, and if you've taken the talents to be really great at one you're going to be missing key talents for the other, not to mention the glyph clashing.  The other two forms that share key stats - boomkin and tree - cannot really share because the forms that make each great are not attainable at the same time, and even if they were, you need spirit as a tree and hit as a crit chicken, and each is not needed by the other.  This means that unlike cats and bears, where the gear (if not the gems and enchants) can be shared, trees and boomkin are unable to really move between each other.

They are doing away with a number of secondary stats in Cataclysm.  Perhaps some of the Druid's hybrid-ness will return, but I doubt it.

In this blogger's humble opinion, the era of the true hybrid is over, and has been for quite some time.  Being one of the things that drew me to this class, I hope it can come back, but I mourn its loss and expect that it is gone for good.

Rambling the Second, on Dual-spec

On a side note, Blizzard can we please have 7 specs?  I would so have one of each Druid spec and a PvP spec or three.  I would even pay 1000g apiece, at least for 2 more than I have now, so I could have a cat and boomkin spec.  What's that you said?  No other class in the game could use more than 3, and most couldn't even really do that?  So what, *I* could use it! ;)

Rambling the Third, on My Specs, My Guild, and Raids

Speaking of specs, I'm toying with a couple of ideas.  While I enjoy making like a tree and leaving (ooooh, bad pun!), I have an issue that I've been pigeonholed into that role in my guild's raids (long story, if you've read my earlier posts you should have a taste) and it causes me to have an issue with gear.  Specifically, I don't get the opportunity to roll on gear for my main spec.

I've attempted to discuss the issue with my guild and raid leader, and while a resolution may still be forthcoming, I'm not hopeful.

This leads me to some decision making regarding my options.  The last resort, always, is to leave and try to find another guild.  I'd like to avoid that if I can, because frankly I love my guild, I'm friends in real life with a number of the members, and I don't really relish the thought of trying to find a new one that I would fit in to.  Since I don't want to do that, I'm left with trying to find options that simultaneously allow me to stay in the guild, continue running raids, and actually have a chance to roll on gear for my main spec sometime.

The second-most extreme (beyond /gquit) option I have thought of is removing the ability to do anything but tank by respeccing by secondary spec into another bear spec.  I think I've just about ruled that out though, because I believe that would lead to no guild raids for me.

I could also forsake the 25-man raids to run my own 10-mans.  However, with Wednesday and Thursday claimed for 25-man runs and Tuesday a hit-or-miss night to have the folks in my guild on to play, that seems like an iffy proposition at best.  I tried running Mondays in the past, and by then most of our players have their mains locked.  My Friday and weekend availability is not steady enough to run then.  Plus, given that I have committed to my significant other that I will only raid on a regular basis on one night a week, that would preclude me from running in the guild 25-mans, which I also would like to continue doing.

The option that seems to present me with the best situation is to change my offspec from tree to kitty DPS.  This would allow me to roll on leather gear and weapons that I would actually use for my main spec even if I'm in my offspec, because the two forms share stats now.  The major downside to this plan is that I lose the flexibility of having a healing spec.  If I'm not tanking I become just the meat in the room.  (For all you DPS out there, I'm kidding.  I love you guys.)  Also, I still couldn't roll on tanking accessories for things such as the cloaks, rings, amulets, and trinkets, but I can get by with Emblem items for most of those.

Of course, this plan also requires me to do the research and take the time to learn how to be good with the class with the hardest DPS rotation in the game... or so I've been told it is.  Stay tuned, my blog name may become somewhat of a misnomer.

Rambling the Fourth, on Blog Changes

Check out some changes on the site, I added some perma-links to the bear and tree primers on the right, and a real blogroll and limited the blogroll updates to the latest 5.  Also, I actually touched my profile.  No pics yet, but I'm working on it!

Rambling the Fifth.... ok I'm done.

As always, thanks for reading, and have a wonderful week!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Monday's Double-you Tee Eff Moment

After braving the ice and snow to make the short trip in to work this morning, one of the folks who work down in the datacenter with me came over to talk about his new tattoo, the sight of which caused several of us to need surgery to rebuild our heads after they exploded.

When asked why, the response was, "I realized that I've loved Terry Tate longer than I've loved any woman."

I regret that I don't have a picture to show you, but this masterpiece, which apparently took 4 hours to complete, depicts the Office Linebacker about to sack one of his charges, and is located on the left side of this man's chest.

I have no idea what he's smoking, but I want to, because I need to stay as far away from it as possible.

I'm sorry if your head exploded too.  I have the name of a good surgeon...

Friday, February 12, 2010

Offspec Progression

My guild's first foray into ICC 25 a little over a week ago brought down only the whirly bone dude, although most of the first night folks went back in the next night and were eventually able to bring down Ms. MANY-ADDS-DEAL-WITH-IT.

Due to a number of reasons the 10-man I was running gets trumped by 25-man runs, on which I have been relegated to my off spec.

We went back in this week, and in the first night we were able to clear Marrowgar, Deathwhisper, and Orgrim's Hammer.  I suspect that by the time this post goes up, folks will have given Saurfang a shot, at least once or twice.

I've learned a couple of things on these runs, and I'd like to share a bit.

The Relative Difficulty of Trash

As a tank, I was in the thick of every single fight from the front door in.  Every fight, every enemy, required me to do something, turn this away from the raid, taunt that, swipe, maul, mangle - and more as a raid leader, because it was up to me (and my co-leaders) to decide which enemy needed to die first, get the raid where it needs to be, and lay out strategy to proceed.  While there is trash that is harder or easier, it's not exceptionally noticeable because there's always something to do.  I suppose that's part of why I like tanking.

In my tree form of a 25-man raid, with 6 other solid healers, the trash fights, especially those leading up to Marrowgar, are boring.  Not just any boring, either, but sleep inducing, I-want-to-go-on-follow-and-go-afk boring.  I cast approximately 20 spells before we got to Lord Spin-a-lot's chamber, most of which were Wild Growth when skeletons blew up.  It's a striking change when you actually get to the boss and you have to kick it into gear and really heal.  A comparison for thought: on the trash, every single one of our healers was over 70% overhealing.  For our successful attempt at Mr. Whirly-bones, only 1 of us, and that one a Paladin, was over 60%.

The one time any player died, it wouldn't have mattered how much on the ball I was.  A rogue got Saber Lashed by one of the Deathbound Wards and died in 2 hits.

I really didn't understand how different the trash was until I saw it from the healer's perspective.

Healing Assignments are Important

I'll just say this.  In the last two weeks we've had 6 attempts at Lord Marrowgar.  In attempts in which there no healing assignments given beyond "heal the tanks and your group," we were 0-4.  In attempts in which the healers were given specific tanks to heal, we went 2-0.

Lady Deathwhisper Requires a Bit of Luck

Despite Blizzard's recent trend for trying to remove the RNG from having such a huge impact on success or failure, there are some situations in which it still is.

It's a bit rough on healers, sometimes, when she decides to MC one of us.  The difficulty increases when she does this right as adds are spawning, because this is when the tanks take the most damage.  It's just dumb when she does this, a couple of random attacks from pets or players hit the MC'd one before a hunter or DK CC's them, and then a DnD appears under their feet right before the MC breaks.  Admittedly, this is a relatively rare event, but there are some combinations of abilities during her fight that are very hard to keep everyone alive through.

It gets just about as bad in phase 2.  I watched, during our success this Wednesday, as four ghosts spawned literally one each side of one of our other trees, and before he could realize it and move, they had collapsed on him and he popped like all his sap had frozen and made him explode.

The Gunship Battle is Easier Than I Thought

I already thought it was fairly easy, but we were probably making it harder than it had to be anyway.

Although I was told by several guild members that I could, healers standing on the edge of the Skybreaker cannot heal raid members doing melee damage to the battle mage on Origrim's Hammer.  They are too far away.  However, just as one member mentioned to me, it doesn't matter.  The only raiding party member that should take any damage AT ALL is the tank on Saurfang.  Those that can't be healed while they're over there don't need it.  What this means is that the strategy I was using when leading 10-man raids, which included sending a healer with the boarding party, is a little off and could be improved.

Now if I could just convince my raid leader that he should let me tank every once in awhile...

Thursday, February 11, 2010

On "Exploits"

I haven't posted much this week, but I think my drought is finally over.

Keeva, BBB, Meka, Tam, and others have posted their thoughts on the recent in-game fixes for "exploits" regarding vehicle combat and Lovely Charms.  I figured I might as well toss my 2 pennies into the ring.

Just in case you're like, the new guy, or have your head under a rock, or have no friends, or some other issue which has prevented you from hearing about what happened, I'll give a short synopsis.  Skip it if you already know what I'm talking about.

The Issue at Hand

So the Love is in the Air event has been going on all this week in Azeroth, and it will continue through the end of next week, and players who want a Violet Proto-Drake (gogo 310% mount!) are trying desperately to get all the achievements needed for the "Fool for Love" meta-achievement.  With the redesign of the event, players need to collect Lovely Charms, 10 of which will form a Lovely Bracelet, which you then turn in for a quest in one of your capital cities for 5 Love Tokens and a Lovely Card.  The Tokens are used to purchase items needed to complete the achievements.

The issue was in collecting the Lovely Charms.  It originally triggered solely off of killing blows, which had a couple of (I assume) unintended consequences.  First, as Keeva pointed out, was that healers were screwed, because they very rarely score killing blows in dungeons and sometimes struggle with killing mobs for dailies.  Second was that any player could go to the starting area of Ulduar or pick up the Battle Before the Citadel daily, mount up, and promptly massacre legions of badguys at a time, trivializing the collection of these Charms.

In the maintenance this week, Blizzard altered the code that allows collection of the charms to prevent this from being used and simultaneously allowing healers to gather Charms by being in dungeon groups, triggering both this post and the ones linked above.

Kaethir is an Exploiter

Being a tank and healer, I was in the part of the player base that was facing a somewhat tough road to collect all the Charms I would need, and being someone with relatively limited playtime, I wanted to get the Charms as quickly and painlessly as I could.  I used the Battle Before the Citadel quest to gather about 160 Charms, enough for 4 days worth of the daily bracelet turn in quests, in roughly 30 minutes.

I can only imagine what those who went into Ulduar did - there are more enemies that die faster there.  It's entirely possible that the same amount of time would have provided hundreds more Charms.

Despite the outrage some others have expressed, and the fact that this probably technically qualifies as an exploit, I have no problem with people farming up Charms quickly in such a manner.  For those that have limited playtime, it may have been your only realistic method in which you can collect these in the time allotted and still have time to visit all 4 capital cities plus complete a couple of other minor dailies while still completing your daily random dungeon for your frost badges.  If you are a healer... especially before the patch, this might have been your only way period.

Secondary to the concern that this trivializes some of the achievements (which, by definition, mean you should have expended some effort to achieve something), is that some players were farming thousands of Charms, creating hundreds of Bracelets, and then hawking them in Dalaran or on the auction house for 20g+ apiece.  Personally, I think it's in poor taste but not unacceptable.  If I had farmed enough to have extras I didn't want, I would certainly have sold them - although I would have put them up for much, much less, given how easily they were obtained.

Does it Matter?

Honestly, I don't think it really does.  Blizzard put something out there without fully realizing the consequences, took a few days to change it, and now everybody's in an uproar over it.  It's not the first time this has happened, and won't be the last.

I didn't hear word one about it being an exploit, or being wrong, or being anything but an easy way to get Charms before Blizz took it away.

Shame on us for not realizing it?  Maybe.  Shame on Blizzard for letting it sit for a couple of days before fixing it?  Definitely, since they obviously didn't intend for it to work that way.

In the end, though, this is no Martin's Fury, nobody got banned (as far as I know) and it's not worth expending any more brain power or breath worrying about.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

It's 5 o'clock somewhere...

... and that somewhere is here, incidentally.  Actually it's 20 after.... And here I am, still waiting on Blizzard to get their shit together and let us play again.

I understand they have a job, and being the real world shit happens, but damn if it isn't frustrating.


My head, it is empty of ideas at the moment and I feel a zombie-like need to devour someone else's.

That's ok, it's usually about this empty, and I'm sure something will will shake loose from the cobwebs up there soon.

Meanwhile, in the real world (*gasp*! rl? inorite?), the Colts lost to the Saints in the Super Bowl, and those of us that follow both our own religion and that of football have about 6 months of wailing and gnashing of teeth before the new season starts again.  Congrats to the Saints and the City of New Orleans - now if you could just stop building things below sea level I'd feel a lot better about your mental status.

I kid, I kid.  It was a good game and I really thought it was going into overtime before Peyton Manning threw that ill-fated pass.  Such is life!

Also of note in the real world, within the next 13 days I have the following events for which I must do something that resembles being socially acceptable, in no particular order:  Valentine's Day, my birthday, my sister-in-law's birthday, and my 1-year wedding anniversary.  And my first baby is due in just under 6 weeks.  I suppose that's what I get for going and finding a great woman to marry, but if I randomly disappear here in awhile, you can probably guess what happened.

Back here in the fabricated reality of the blogging world (I refuse to call it the blogosphere), things churn along as they always do.  My reading list has grown so large so fast, that I felt it would be overly burdensone to continue expanding the widget (or gadget, depending on your terminology) over there to the right.  It already consumes more space than I'd like it to.  Sometime in the (not exceptionally distant) future, I hope to have a working gadget which will display, for example, the 5 most recently updated blogs from my whole list, and a link to the entire blogroll.  Maybe I'm just throwing a pipe dream out there, and maybe I'll get a picture up there in my profile someday too.  If nothing else I should be able to provide a page with the blogroll.  I just have to be the little engine blogger that could. "I think I can I think I can..."

Kaethir out.

Friday, February 5, 2010


If you haven't seen it already...

What has Bell over at 4Haelz done?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Chumpavon the Ice Failure

Am I the only one disappointed with the Toravon fight... and, well, most of what Blizzard has done lately?

Wintergrasp belonged to the Horde when I logged in Tuesday, with an hour to spare before the Alliance's next chance to take control, so I went ahead with a random dungeon, pulled Nexus and finally got the Chaos Theory achievement on Anomalus... and I was disappointed with it, because it wasn't hard in the slightest. Not since he only opened one rift to shield himself. Blizzard's round of nerfs have saddened me, and that's the first one I've dealt with. Respect Your Elders is probably going to be a cakewalk as well when I get to it. GRRR. At least the two Gun'Drak achievements I have left still pose a challenge... or at least one of them might.  The fact that they are trying to lessen some of the annoyance of certain encounters is laudable, but when it cheapens the Heroic achievements, it's more annoying to me than the rest of it was to begin with.

When Wintergrasp finally rolled around I queued up and ported in to some horrendous lag - 2-3 seconds - because the new boss being released meant EVERYBODY wanted to capture - or defend - the keep.  As per my usual trend when attacking, I went to the southern towers to try to defend the siege workshops and the towers themselves.  Unfortunately, I was just about the only player to do so until it was too late to really matter.

Fortunately, that meant we were having success at the Keep.  By the time the third tower fell, we had broken through the outer wall in two places and were working on the inner wall in two places.  The timer drop for the towers falling meant that when we finally massed enough of an army to break through, there was only about 1:40 left on the clock.  Then, when we broke down the door, there was about :40 left on the clock.  I (among others) frantically clicked at the orb in the center of the keep, while lag kept me from doing anything significant, but with about :15 seconds left, the server declared that the Alliance had captured Wintergrasp.

I signed up for a 10-man run, not knowing if our guild 25-man run the next day was going to hit VoA or not.  Both myself and a paladin had 2 possible roles - tank and heals for me, tank and dps for him - and both of us got asked to do the role for which we were less well-geared (healing for me, and tanking for him) due to the group makeup.  We proceeded in, skipped everything up to Toravon, and pretty much the following strategy was laid out:

"Ranged, kill the frozen orbs and everybody else kill the boss."

... and that's really all it took.  Admittedly, the average gear of the group was a bit high, but when that's all the strategy that is needed to kill a boss in a pug without wiping (or even having a single death) ON THE FIRST DAY THE BOSS IS RELEASED, Blizzard hasn't made it hard enough.

VoA has been a loot pinata from the beginning, and now it's even more of one.  IT'S A JOKE!  I like easy loot but for crying out loud at least pretend that you designed a challenging encounter!

Ok, I'll get down off my soapbox now.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Trees Make Good Tank Heals, Too!

I was skimming over some blogs the other day when I stumbled across a post by Vixsin of Life in Group 5, a post in which he discusses shamans and the desire to be a capable tank healer instead of the always-assigned raid healing.  Lo, and verily hath he filled the role of muse, and cometh to deliver unto me the gift of a blog post.

I hope you know what I just said, because I'm not sure I do.

At any rate I was struck by the similarity of some of his thoughts to ones I posted waaaaay back at the beginning of ABITT's life.

I didn't really go into detail, and seeing Vixsin's incredibly well-organized, well-laid-out, and detailed explanations led me to want to do something similar to my original post.  A decent chunk of this will overlap with the mechanics discussion in my first Primer on Tree Healing post, but I think this will be a more understandable method of going about it.

For reference, here are the healing spells available to Resto Druids, in no particular order, with the abbreviations I'll be using for them in parenthesis:

Rejuvenation(R), Regrowth(RG), Lifebloom(LB), Nourish(N), Swiftmend(SM), Healing Touch(HT), Wild Growth(WG), and Tranquility(T).

Here's some more reference material for you, in the form of talents which affect these spells (leaving off talents that affect them all relatively equally):

Empowered Rejuvenation(ER), Empowered Touch(ET), Gift of the Earthmother(GotE), Improved Rejuvenation(IR), Improved Tranquility(IT), Living Seed(LS), Naturalist(Na), Nature's Bounty(NB), Revitalize(Re), Tranquil Spirit(TS), Genesis(G), Moonglow(M), Nature's Splendor(NS), Nature's Majesty(NM).

Whew.  That's a lot of linkage!  You probably didn't bother reading all the popups from that (much less actually clicked the links), but that's ok, I don't think you actually need to know what all of them are.  In a minute or ten I'll try to make it all make sense.

Now, instead of just leaving them all shotgunned at you, I'll try to associate each of these talents with the spells that they improve. To whit, in all my noobish-html-table-skill (if it looks bad, I'm blaming the post editor for removing supposedly unnecessary nbsp's or something):


I hope that makes half as much sense to you and/or looks half as good as I had originally intended. If so, I count it a win.

Without going into even more excruciating detail, the point I'm trying to get across is that while you can't really take enough talents to be the best at everything as a Tree (there's too much to spread it all around,) the talents that assist individual spells help enough of a variety that you won't be limiting your abilities in one area to work in another.  If you've focused on one role or the other, you're going to be better at it - but not much!

Note that a lot of the talents that benefit Nourish also benefit Healing Touch.  You take these if you want to pretend that you're a paladin healer - you get to focus on having a fast cast smaller heal and a longer cast big heal.  These Trees tend to be a little better at being tank healers than raid healers.  A lot of times you'll also pick up talents for Lifebloom as a tank healer - that's really where it shines.

If you've gone the other route, Wild Growth, Rejuvenation, and Regrowth, you'll tend to be a better raid healer.

You don't have to skip more than 1 or 2 of these talents, but you DO have to make cuts somewhere.  There's even another talent (Nature's Grace) that I didn't mention, which would benefit Regrowth, Nourish, and Healing Touch (and maybe even Lifebloom too!), and I have all of these talents except for Nature's Grace, Tranquil Spirit, and Naturalist.  So, I've currently got a small advantage for raid healing over tank healing.

Note that I said small - I could honestly find 3 points (probably from IT and/or Re) to take Nature's Grace, or maybe all 5 from those two spots to take Tranquil Spirit, and even without those you're talking about a difference of 10% mana cost of HT and N, or 20% casting speed increase for 3 seconds on crits.  Those are nice bonuses but the majority of my heals would remain the same.  Lifebloom, pretty much the quintessential tank-healing HoT, wouldn't change at all.

Gear and glyphs, of course, also figure in, but much like the last few talent points, you're talking about small shifts rather than big ones - if you focus all the way one way or another it can make a somewhat significant difference, but if you don't want to pigeonhole yourself, it won't hurt you either!

These last three points mean that, barring strange itemization or off-the-wall talent specs, Trees don't have to change specs to focus on tank or raid healing!  They're not going to be bad at either no matter what spec they have!

How so, you ask?  Well let me tell you.

They change the spells that they are using.  That's why we have so many!

Assigned as a tank healer, my spells of choice are going to be Lifebloom, Rejuvenation, Regrowth, Nourish, Wild Growth, Swiftmend, and Healing Touch, in... roughly... that order.

Assigned as a raid healer, my spells of choice are going to be Rejuvenation, Wild Growth, Swiftmend, Nourish, and Regrowth, and again, in more or less that order.

Notice the major differences - as a tank healer, spells that have a casting time are added (as in HT), or moved closer to the top of the priority list (a la Nourish and Regrowth), where as in my raid healing I focus more on spells that are instant cast (to allow me to heal more players in shorter time).

Just as with all aspects of being a druid, we are VERSATILE - perhaps moreso than a lot of folks realize - and our only true limitations as a healer are that we don't have a way to shield another player, and we can only remove curses and poisons.

Don't be afraid, as a Tree, to tell your raid leader that yes, you CAN tank heal, or that you're more comfortable with it than raid healing, because you're perfectly capable of that role!

... and I'm still unhappy with this post, but I'm gonna put it up anyway, 'cuz that's how I roll... for today, at least.