There is not a single correct way to heal. Spell usage really comes down to fight mechanics, group composition, healing assignment and personal preference. However, there are some important things that every druid should know about healing efficiently in raids.
Single Target Healing
Druids have a very good tool set for single target healing. If you’re assigned to tank heal, in general you will want to:
- Keep up 3 stacks of Lifebloom
- Keep up a Rejuvenation
- Direct heal (and refresh Lifebloom stacks) with either Nourish or Healing Touch, depending on how big a health deficit the tank has.
- Use Regrowth or Swiftmend when fast heals are needed.
Whether Nourish or Healing Touch is used primarily is really up to you. Many druids who raid 10-mans prefer Healing Touch. I prefer Nourish (in both 10s and 25s). It all depends how much health your target needs and how much healing they’re receiving from the other healers.
- Keep 3 stacks of Lifebloom on a tank
- Use Wild Growth whenever 3 or more people need heals – this will generally be used on cooldown
- Use Rejuvenation to stabilize people – you should be able to keep up 3-5 rejuvs at a time (~3 is a good number for 10s, while in 25s you can keep up more)
- If someone gets dangerously low on health, hit them with a quick Regrowth or Rejuv then a Swiftmend. Nourish or Healing Touch can then be used to heal them to a safe level.
- For those who are low on health but not in immediate danger of dying, get a Wild Growth or Rejuv up then top up with Nourish or Healing Touch.
- Use Swiftmend to proc Efflorescence when people are grouped up.
- If damage starts getting out of hand, use Tree of Life and Tranquility.
Tricks and Tactics for Specific Spells
Barkskin reduces your damage taken by 20%. It costs no mana. It triggers no global cooldown.
- Use it often.
- Use it before channelling Tranquility.
- Use it anytime a boss if about to do a large, raid damaging ability.
- Use it if you get targeted for a damaging attack.
Innervate returns 20% of your mana, so it makes sense to use it for the first time once you hit 80% and every time it’s off cooldown from then on. There are ways to increase the effect of Innervate:
- Innervating while your mana pool is increased (such as when under the effect of Hymn of Hope or a trinket proc that increases your Intellect) will increase your mana gain, so try to plan the use of these things with your raid.
- If you play with another druid, you should both use the Glyph of Innervate and Innervate each other to increase your mana return by 50%.
Always keep this stacked on someone (usually a tank). If your lifebloom target gets very low on health and your stacks are about to expire, let it bloom for a large heal, then stack it back up immediately. Your uptime on Lifebloom should be as close to 100% as possible.
Omen of Clarity / Clearcasting
Clearcasting makes your next Swiftmend, Regrowth or Healing Touch a mana-free cast. Use your clearcasting procs every time. Be sure you are aware of when you get a clearcasting proc (the in-game power aura is quite good) so you don’t miss any.
- Use Healing Touch if you have the time and someone needs a large heal.
- Use Regrowth if speed is more important, or to help set up a good Swiftmend target for Efflorescence.
- Using procs for Swiftmend should generally be avoided as it is the cheapest of the 3 heals should be used strategically to place Efflorescence.
Regrowth is our fastest direct heal without a cooldown. Though its mana cost is slightly prohibitive it does have a number of things going for it:
- With points in Nature’s Grace Regrowth increases our haste rating by 15% for 15 seconds (1 minute cooldown). Regrowth should be used to keep the uptime on this haste buff as high as possible (25%). The extra haste could push you over to a new haste break point and will also benefit your spells with a cast time.
- With points in Nature’s Bounty Regrowth is the healing spell that is most likely to crit (both the direct heal and the HoT), this will apply Living Seed and increase its healing output.
- It’s fast. In situations where multiple people get very low on health you can pump out almost double the amount of Regrowths in a few seconds as you could Nourish or HT.
- It’s instant while in ToL.
- It gives you something to Swiftmend.
Regrowth should certainly not be spammed, but the reasons listed above make it an excellent choice when you get a Clearcasting proc or if someone needs a heal fast.
In general Tranquility will only be usable once per fight. Do not forget to use it. It provides a huge amount of healing for a relatively low mana cost. When you use Tranquility remember:
- Use it when you will not have to move for the next 8 seconds. You don’t want to have to interrupt the channel.
- Use Barkskin before Tranquility. You don’t want to lose ticks if you take damage.
- Use Wild Growth as a primer to increase the healing through Symbiosis.
Tree of Life
Tree of Life has a 3 minute cooldown so you should be able to use it at least twice on most fights. It is best used in times of heavy raid damage. General tactics while in ToL:
- Use Lifebloom on multiple people. Single applications can be used on many raid members to give them a small HoT then a direct heal from the bloom at the end. If specific people are taking heavy damage, you have multiple 3-stacks up. All the extra Lifeblooms ticking will give you many Clearcasting procs.
- Use Clearcasting procs for instant Regrowths.
- Use Wild Growth on cooldown whenever multiple people have a health deficit.
- If there are many people getting low on health, use Tranquility. It is best to prime it with a Wild Growth to make the most of our mastery.
Most raid fights have constant raid damage, so using WG on cooldown is almost always a good idea. Wild Growth can be cast on hostile targets. If you are fighting a large raid boss (like a dragon) and people are spread out, target the boss for your Wild Growth cast and it will hit people all around it.
A Note on Cooldowns
Druids have a limited amount of cooldown abilities to increase healing. We have Tree of Life, Tranquility, Nature’s Swiftness, plus any on-use trinkets you may have. Many people like to wait for emergencies to use these spells and they end up not being used at all. This is a bad idea. Tree of Life increases our healing by 15% in addition to the spell buffs it provides. If you are not using it, or using it less than you could be, you are gimping your healing. Tranquility provides a huge amount of health to your raid (for example, on my first Chimaeron kill it did 380,000 healing. In 8 seconds. That’s pretty awesome.) If you’re not using it every fight, you’re gimping your healing.
When learning a new fight it can be difficult to know the best time to use these abilities. However, once you’ve learned the damage pattern plan your cooldown use ahead of time so you can make the most of them.
My full resto druid guide can be found here.