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In Defense of Tree Form October 6, 2011

Posted by Stormy in Classes.

I know I said last week that I was planning on publishing the class feedback questionnaires for all of the classes I actively play. Yeah…I say a lot of things that turn out not to be true. The moment has passed, and frankly when I find myself in front of a computer in the frame of mind to think about WoW I’d prefer to actually play WoW. So I’m sorry about that…but I do have one thing I need to get off my chest. This is perhaps the biggest quality of life issue for druids, as far as I’m concerned.

Consider, if you will, the following table…

Tanking Bear
Melee DPS Cat
Ranged DPS Boomkin
Flying Stormcrow
Swimming Aquatic Form
Running Travel Form
Healing …what?

There is a giant hole there, if you ask me. A hole that used to be filled with the green, leafy goodness of Tree Form. I know I’m biased, but I love my tree form and I miss it terribly. I know tree form has its detractors–and frankly I think the new and improved bearded tree colossus form is an abomination–but it’s time for old school tree form to make a return.

Detractors will say that druids were never meant explicitly to be a shapeshifting class, that becoming a tree isn’t essential to the experience of being a druid. I call shenanigans. The whole point of shapeshifting is for druids to key into their natural surroundings and call on the powers of their allies in nature to fight their enemies. When you’re tanking you take on the powers of the bear: a thick, leathery hide and a badass personality. When you’re doing ranged DPS you call on the powers of the moon and turn into a giant laserchicken. Why should this mechanic work for every single thing a druid does…except healing?

A dancing cow? Meh. A dancing tree? AWESOME.

Beyond that, treeform is FUN. In between WoW sessions I’ve been poking around RIFT and Lord of the Rings Online, and through these travels through the super-serious worlds of Telara and Middle Earth I’ve found the one thing that keeps me coming back to Azeroth: World of Warcraft is funky, madcap and zany, and nothing embodies this zaniness more than tree form. It’s got personality, in a way that your basic Tauren (or night elf…if you must) caster form will never have. One of my favorite things in the game is to pop into tree form and wave my branchy arms around like a madman healing my allies. I used to love jumping down the giant, cavernous hole in Azjol-Nerub( you know the one I’m talking about) and watch as my branches waved back and forth as I dropped down the shaft and plopped in the water.

If a tree falls in a dungeon...

Anyone can be a Tauren or a Night Elf or a Worgen. Only a druid can harness the powers of their natural allies to become a bird, a bear, a giant cat…or a tree. I feel like my druid lost a giant chunk of his identity when tree form went away, and I want it back.



1. Geoffrey Chisnall (@GeoffChisnall) - October 6, 2011

totally agree with you!
i used to heal on my druid and ever since they changed it i stopped healing because somehow it just didn’t feel the same anymore.


2. Hugh Hancock - October 6, 2011

Yes, yes, YES.

I really don’t understand the logic behind removing tree form and only tree form. My druid healers just don’t feel the same without it.

I’ve featured this as part of our “devs doing it wrong” roundup – it’ll go live about 10pm.

3. When The Developers R Doin It Rong — MMO Melting Pot - October 6, 2011

[…] wishing for the one thing that Blizzard’s class reviews won’t give him – a return of permanent tree form – The whole point of shapeshifting is for druids to key into their natural surroundings and […]

4. Rush - October 6, 2011

My thoughts on this: I get the impression that in the talent revamp of Cataclysm, Blizzard wanted to make Shapeshifting more meaningful. In Bear and Cat forms, you open up abilities that are otherwise not available. But what could you do in Moonkin or Tree of Life form that you couldn’t in Anthropomorphic Cow form? The form itself was a buff with a cosmetic change.
Thus they tried the Tree of Life change that allows you to be a slightly better healer, but for a short period of time on a cooldown. Was this the perfect solution? No, but I get their intention.
The question becomes, how could they make the shapeshift meaningful?

5. Askevar - October 6, 2011

This was why I was boggled on them taking it away… every other druid spec and role uses a “permanent” form.

6. red cow - October 7, 2011

I hear you, tree friend. Although I definitely understand the reason that Rush gave as the one most frequently trotted out by the devs, the fact that they didn’t attempt to do anything similar to the other specs makes it a poorly supported one. One solution I’ve heard kicked around is have old tree be perma tree and new tree be powerup button tree. I could live with that…

7. Jasyla - October 7, 2011

Oh Stormy ❤

I like the shapeshifting aspect of being a Druid, but I like it to be active. I like being in caster form for the most part but reacting to situations by shifting to flight form to fly, shifting to cat or travel form to run faster or shifting to tree form when I need to put out some extra healing.

Being a tree 100% of the time made the whole shapeshifting ability rather boring and meaningless for me (besides the aesthetic complaints that I had). I'd be all for the other forms being cooldowns as well – especially moonkin.

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