Is Tree Form Fun?

On Thursday Ghostcrawler put up a provocative new topic in the healing forms asking druids an open question–is tree form fun? Ever since I’ve been following the topic, and I must admit that I’m glued to my seat. I’ll post below my answer to GC’s query:

In all honesty, I love the druid healing style but hate tree form.

Tree form is a sacrifice I make so that I can play in the style I like.

Why?

1. The form is not aesthetically pleasing. The tree is unfeminine, un-treelike, and brown all over. In the blogosphere, we’re jokingly referred to as rotten broccoli. I love the grace and beauty of my elf. I originally healed on my character because resto druids could stay in elf form. I do have healers of other classes, but it is the playstyle, not the look, of my druid that makes her my main.

2. The limitations of tree form restrict certain types of behaviors in a seemingly arbitrary fashion. It makes me less likely to contribute dps in a raid when other healers would do so (XT’s heart).

3. The limitations are no longer verisimilar (realistic). I actually used to like the tree snare of 20%. I healed some fights in Tier 6 in form, some out. I shifted to move. I liked this mechanic, as it showed the “true” elf underneath the “false” tree skin. Now that the limitations are purely arbitrary, I don’t see their purpose.

I’d rather keep the elf form for healing–would it be possible just to glow green or something?

Otherwise, can the tree form be updated to something
1. customizable
2. anthropomorphic (dryad/nymph and centaur please)
3. gender-specific
4. horde-alliance specific
5. gear-progression revealing. This isn’t a big deal to me, but many players would like to display a weapon as moonkin do.

Thank you for including this topic. It raises my hopes–please don’t disappoint!

And now, for the blog, maybe I’ll explain a bit more what’s most important to me. In my opinion, which I recognize may differ from others, the art is the number 1 attraction of any game. I simply won’t play if the visuals don’t appeal to me. As far as druids are concerned, I like the concept of shape-shifting in its original form (cat and bear only when Syd was created), but I don’t like to be locked into shape-shifting. I also love being an elf.

Here are my suggestions to Blizzard for managing the overwhelming outcry for new, better-looking forms in this topic.

1. I would make the greatest number of people happy with the least work. Along with “display cloak” and “display helm,” let people click a box for “display form.” This is a solution that costs little, allows for customization, and doesn’t require an artist.
2. If Blizzard is determined that all druids must display a form, start actually working on them. I know that art is costly and time-consuming. I also know that artistic projects can actually be finished–if they are being worked on. Even though Blue posters say that druid forms are “in the works,” they have been at that state for years. Pardon me if I don’t believe them. I think it’s a shame, because any budget spent on player character art will be directly appreciated by the player-base. It is a better investment than designing a great T8 shoulder. When it’s the character itself, something that we look at all the time, the artwork really shows itself to best (or worst) advantage.

I’m not saying that I’ll reroll a priest right now just to get to see my elf form while I raid, but it’s definitely something I might work on for the next expansion, especially if we get some raiding down-time. I do love the druid playstyle though–it’s just that it requires me to be uglier than anyone else in raid.

Also, did I ever tell you guys about the time I failed the Thaddius ledge boss? Yep, I thought the tree druid in front of me was me. There can, in fact, be PvE advantages to customization.

What’s my ideal “tree” form? Well, I think I’d just use the priest’s shadowform and turn it green and sparkly. Either that, or let’s scrap the tree, I want to be one of the gorgeous new girl centaurs they introduced with Wrath–naturally, with a customizable hair style and color.

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