Category Archives: Druid

Button Bloat – Resto Druids

Everybody’s talking about button bloat. Lissanna’s doing it. Vidyala’s doing it. Celestalon was the one who started it.

So I’m going to talk about it too. First, to answer the question – there’s no ability I love that I fear will be cut. I am fearless in that regard. Would I want something like Rejuvenation to go away? Obviously not, but I’m also quite positive it’s not on the chopping block.

Second, I think removing some abilities is an excellent idea. How many abilities is too many? More than I can comfortably bind. On my Druid I use VuhDo bindings and bind all my common heals to a combination of SHIFT, CTRL, ALT (or no modifier) plus one of 4 buttons on my mouse. That gives me 16 possible bindings. Actually, 15, since unmodified left click is used to target.

Currently, my breakdown of resto Druid spells in PVE looks like this:

  • Spells I want the fastest access to that need to be bound: Healing Touch, Lifebloom, Nature’s Cure, Nature’s Swiftness, Regrowth, Rejuvenation, Swiftmend, Wild Growth, Wild Mushroom, WM: Bloom, Innervate, Ironbark, Barkskin (13 spells)
  • Spells which I feel  should be bound, but in reality almost never get used: Nourish, Genesis (2 spells)
  • Spells which are used regularly but have a long enough cooldown that I don’t mind not having them bound: Rebirth, Tranquility, Incarnation, Nature’s Vigil/HotW, whatever I get from Symbiosis (5 spells)
  • Utility spells that I use frequently: Dash, Displacer Beast, Stampeding Roar (3 spells)
  • Situational utility spells: Typhoon, Soothe, Ursol’s Vortex, Cat form, Bear form, Might of Ursoc, Growl (7 spells, give or take)
  • DPS spells that I like to use when I’m bored or the boss is at 1% and is berserking: Moonfire, Wrath (2 spells)

Adding those up, I have a total of 32 abilities which I will want access to at some point or another in raids. If I take away the highly situational spells that I don’t use on most encounters, I’m still left with 23. 

I think 23 abilities is too many to use on a regular basis. So what can we cut? Looking at my breakdown of spells, two things stick out. Nourish and Genesis.

Nourish is a spell I haven’t had bound since about a week into Mists. With all the other healing spells available to us, it just doesn’t pack enough of a punch. It’s cheap mana-wise, but it’s also slow and barely puts a dent in health bars. It seems like an obvious choice for removal.

Genesis is a spell I was excited about when it was first announced, thinking that it would give Druid healing some much-needed extra burst. However, it didn’t really work out that way. Rejuvenation just has too short a duration to make Genesis really work. At most you’re going to have 5 up that you can speed up, and the first couple applied will barely benefit from the Genesis cast. Plus, using Genesis mean you lose all your applied Rejuvs very quickly when most of the time it’s more beneficial to leave them up, ticking slowly. The only real use people have gotten out of Genesis is quickly charging Wild Mushrooms, but I don’t think giving us a faster way to overheal was what the devs had in mind when they made this spell. Cut it.

These two were obvious ones, but now it gets a little murkier. Healing Touch or Regrowth could also be candidates for removal, depending on how/if the healing model changes in Warlords. If we continue down the road of AoE/smartheal/cooldown all the things, we really don’t need 2 cast-time direct heals in our kit. I think that Healing Touch could be removed without too much impact. For most of this expansion I only used it in combination with Nature’s Swiftness (or if there was not enough to heal and I could just chain cast it on a tank to refresh LB/Harmony/give me something to do). The 4T16 bonus means people are using it more now, but unless this effect gets baked in as a passive ability, this will change in Tier 17. I find that Regrowth and Healing Touch are in the same niche, but Regrowth fills it better. If the healing model gets changed so that single target heals are something we actually want to be casting, I think there is room for both of these spells. However, I think they would need to be changed a little to differentiate them. I’d like to see the HoT portion of Regrowth be more substantial, as it once was. Alternatively, Healing Touch could be cheaper and bigger to compensate for the slow cast time.

The last spell that I think could be removed is Innervate. Of course it’s nice to have a mana return, but I think it would be just as easy to balance healers around not having an ability like this instead. Druids’ mana return is a little more interesting than something like Divine Plea or Mana Tea in that we can choose to cast it on someone else but, really, how often does that happen? Generally Innervate just amounts to another 3-minute cooldown to watch and use as soon as it’s available. It’s not really adding anything.

I’m trying to find more candidates for removal, but everything else has a real purpose, even if it doesn’t get used on every fight. I really like having so many utility spells and I can’t think of one I’d want to remove to reduce button bloat.

What do you think? Are there any abilities you wouldn’t miss if they were removed?

Speaking of Resto Druids (since I don’t speak about them all that much any more), if you’re an avid tree lover, you should check out Team Waffle’s most recent Resto Roundtable and Final Boss’s podcast on Restos for some great discussion. I’m kind of sad that not maining a Druid means I don’t get invited to these things anymore :( But they’re both great things to listen to.

How to Evaluate Resto Druids with World of Logs – Updated!

Mists of Pandaria as been out for a year now, and Resto Druids have undergone a number of changes, especially in patch 5.4. I thought it would be a good idea to update my guide on how to evaluate Resto Druids with World of Logs. This has also been updated on my big WoL Guide page (where the pictures will be less squishy if you want to look at it over there).


Here are specific things to look for when analyzing resto druid logs. It’s best to look at specific kills or attempts in order to get meaningful numbers.

Druids are primarily Heal Over Time (HoT) healers with great mobility and a decent amount of utility. Though Druids have generally been considered raid healers, they can also be strong tank healers. In 5.4, a Druid’s healing output should be high.

Total healing done

Healing by Spell

WoL - Resto Druid Healing by spell
There are a number of things to look for on this screen, including:

Spell selection – Is the druid using all their available spells?

Druids have: Lifebloom, Rejuvenation, Wild Growth, Efflorescence, Regrowth, Swiftmend, Healing Touch, Nourish, Tranquility, Wild Mushrooms and passive healing from Living Seed. Depending on spec they should likely also have Ysera’s Gift and Nature’s Vigil.

Healing from Lifebloom, Rejuv, Wild Growth, Regrowth, Swiftmend, Efflorescence and Tranquility should be seen on every fight.

Healing Touch, Nourish and Wild Mushroom: Bloom may more sparingly. Whether Nourish is used a matter of personal choice, though it will not provide much healing (I haven’t even had this keybound since all expansion). Healing Touch should only be used in combination with Nature’s Swiftness. Wild Mushrooms will mostly provide some healing on fights where the raid is stacked up.

You should not see healing from Renewal; this is a poor talent choice for a healer.

Top Spells

A druid’s top spells will vary depending on the nature of a fight and how spread out the raid is. Wild Growth and Rejuv will generally be at or near the top on any fight. Efflorescence should also be up there, especially on fights where the raid is grouped up. Tranquility can also be one of the top spells for healing done when it is timed well and can be used multiple times throughout a fight. If the Druid is tank healing, expect to see Lifebloom and Regrowth higher on the list.

Overhealing

Druids will generally have high overheal because of the nature of their HoTs. This isn’t something to worry about. Lifebloom and Rejuv will have quite high overheal while you should see lower overheal on smart heals like Wild Growth or direct heals like Regrowth.

Notes on specific spells:

Lifebloom

Lifebloom World of Logs

Uptime is the key metric here. Lifebloom is our source of Omen of Clarity procs and provides a steady stream of heals to whoever it’s placed on (usually a tank). It should be pre-stacked before the pull, moved around to whomever needs it most and not allowed to fall off. Allowing a 3-stack to fall off, unless it’s timed perfectly to provide an emergency heal from the bloom, means you have to waste time and mana building the stack back up. Lifebloom uptime should be in the 90-100% range on most fights.

Tranquility

Tranquility WoL

The first thing to look for is whether Tranquility was used at all. It is our best spell in terms of HPS and HPM and should be used on every fight. With a 3 minute cooldown it can be used 2-3 times on most fights.

Next look at the number of direct heals – Each Tranquility should tick at least 20 times (more if the Druid has a lot of haste or uses Soul of the Forest and casts it after Swiftmend). See the 12 direct heals in the screenshot above? This means my Tranquility was interrupted (I cast it before a Shock Pulse like a bad Druid).

Overheal should be fairly low, but the HoT portion of the spell can increase this number.

Swiftmend

Swiftmend World of Logs

Check how many times Swiftmend was used by looking at the number of direct heals. Swiftmend has a 15 second cooldown, so it can be used 4 times per minute. It’s unrealistic to use SM every time it’s available but it should be used often (especially if the Druid is specced into Soul of the Forest).

Since Swiftmend is no longer mainly a vehicle for Effloresence, overhealing has become more important to look at. Since this spell is instant, overheal should not be too high.

Efflorescence

Efflorescence - World of Logs

Efflorescence should make up a good amount of a Druids healing, as it should be active pretty much all the time. It will do more healing on fights where the raid is stacked, but should do a fair amount even on fights where the raid is spread out or moving a lot, since it’s so easy to move now.

If healing from this looks low if could mean the Druid is not keeping the spell up via a Mushroom all the time, is not moving it appropriately, or is not using the Gylph of Efflorescence (which is terrible). If you’re in raid with the Druid, make sure the green Efflo circle is not often out in the middle of nowhere.

Wild Mushroom: Bloom

World of Logs - Wild Mushroom

How much healing WM does will depend on the fight. Personally, I don’t like to bloom Mushrooms much, unless the raid is stacked and taking significant damage. Blooming your Mushroom means 3 seconds before you can get Effloresence down again.

Nature’s Vigil

Nature's Vigil - World of Logs

NV is the strongest talent in the level 90 tier so you should see healing from it on most fights. If used close to on cooldown (as it should be, since the cooldown is short) it can provide a large amount of healing.

Cenarion Ward

If the Druid has this in their spec, the most important thing to look for is overheal. If the overhealing on the spell is very high, the Druid is not using it optimally.

Direct Heals

Direct heals should not make up the bulk of a druid’s healing, but Regrowth should be used fairly often. Low use of direct heals will likely mean that Clearcasting procs are being wasted.

Healing Touch should mostly be used in combination with Nature’s Swiftness, unless the Druid has the 2T16 set bonus, in which case you should see it used fairly often.

Spirit of Chi-Ji

This is the proc from the legendary cloak. The healing from this is not really controllable and how much healing it does will depend on the fight. Expect this to make up anywhere between around 4-10% of total healing.

Buffs Cast

This screen will tell you how often a druid is using their cooldowns, along with the uptime on key abilities.

World of Logs - Resto Druid Buffs cast

Lifebloom – As noted above, uptime should be as close to 100% as possible.

Harmony – This is Druids’ mastery which increases the effect of all HoTs while it’s active. Harmony should be up as much as possible, look for 90%+ uptime. If uptime is much lower, the druid needs to cast more direct heals to keep it active.

Barkskin – Barkskin can be used once every 45 seconds. It should be used often to mitigate damage taken (though not necessarily on cooldown). If a Druid is only using it once or twice a fight they should be using it more.

Tranquility – As noted above, Tranquility should be used on every fight. You should see at least 20 ticks per use.

Nature’s Vigil – Nature’s Vigil has a 1.5 minute cooldown. The talent should be taken on most fights and it should be used close to on cooldown.

Innervate – Innervate has a 3-minute cooldown. It should be used at 70-80% mana the first time, then whenever it’s off cooldown to get as much mana as possible.

Ironbark –  This is a damage reduction spell Druids can cast on someone else, it has a 1 minute cooldown. It should be used often on every fight.

Nature’s Swiftness – This spell makes your next spell with a cast time instant, larger and mana free. It has a 1 minute cooldown. This spell is often used for emergency heals, but you should see it used at least a few times on every fight.

Clearcasting – Compare the amount of Clearcasting procs to the number of Regrowths cast (this is found in the Healing by Spell tab). The Druid should have at least as many Regrowth casts as CC procs.

Trinkets – If the druid has an on-use trinket equipped, check the cooldown on it and the amount of times used. They should be used the maximum amount possible.

Movement abilities – On fights that require movement or kiting, look for things like Dash, Stampeding Roar or Displacer Beast too see that the Druid is making the most of their abilities.

The following are talents, so whether they appear in a Druid’s logs is spec-dependent:

Incarnation – Incarnation has a 3 minute cooldown. In your average 4-7 minute fight it should be used twice. A third use can be squeezed into fights that last longer.

Heart of the Wild – If the Druid has this in their spec, they should be using it on every fight for the 25% healing increase for 3o seconds. The cooldown is 6 minutes, so it likely won’t ever be used more than 2x per fight. 

You should also check to see if the Druid is using abilities given to them by Symbiosis. For the list of those, check here.

Druids also have a new spell, Genesis, which speeds up existing Rejuvs. Unfortunately, this spell will only show up if you search for it in the Log Broswers or Expression Editor.

The Seven Year Itch

I started playing World of Warcraft on June 18, 2006. That very first day of playing I created Jasyla, the Night Elf Druid. For over 7 years, she’s been my main – the character I most relate and am attached to. She’s healed in everything from Zul’Gurub to heroic Lei Shen and everything in between.  I always said I would quit the game before I ever changed this.

But I guess I was wrong.

In 5.4 I’m going to be switching to playing my Hunter in raids. I’ve raided on my hunter before, as an alt, in tiers 4-6, and 8-10. I’ve found myself less and less interested in healing on my Druid recently and decided it was time for a change to reinvigorate the game for me. Unfortunately, our healing roster isn’t quite set for me to change today, but I should be officially making the switch in time for next week’s raid. On the bright side, I finally got a bow upgrade last night (I had been using one from Terrace forever) so I my dps shouldn’t be that of a total scrub when I start raiding.

There are a few reasons I’ve lost interest in healing. My biggest issue with healing is smart heals. Healing used to be something I found challenging and engaging, but with 7000 smart heals flying around all the time, being a smart healer matters a whole lot less and I don’t like it.  So it’s time for a change. I’m going to leave the healing to my excellent team of Apotheosis medics and join the ranks of the dps. I do really miss competing for ranks and seeing big numbers. 

What does this mean for the blog?

I’ll probably play my Druid in my guild’s alt run, but since I won’t be putting a ton of effort into the class anymore, I won’t be writing a lot of Druid related posts or guides.  I’ll probably start writing about hunters again though, and I’m looking forward to that.

Good hunting.

What Resto Druids Need to Know for 5.4

Patch 5.4 drops on Tuesday September 10th, and resto Druids have a whole lot of changes to be prepare for and look forward to. I have also updated my Restoration Druid Healing Guide to reflect the 5.4 changes. If you’re looking for a 5.4 gear guide, you won’t find it here – go visit Juvenate for his 5.4 PVE Gear Guide.

Spell changes

  • Genesis is a new Restoration spell learned at level 88. Genesis targets all party or raid members within 60 yards and accelerates the casting Druid’s Rejuvenation effects, causing them to heal and expire at 400% of the normal rate. Costs the same amount of mana to cast as Rejuvenation.

A new spell! Finally! This should help fill the gap in our healing toolkit quite well by making Rejuv a little more bursty. Start playing with the timing on this spell immediately, as I think it’s one of the things that will differentiate the great Druid from the ones who are just okay.

  • Living Seed effects can now stack, up to 50% of the casting Druid’s maximum health, and will no longer be consumed if the target is already at full health.

It is an improvement, but the change that really need to happen to make LS a decent heal is that it needs to trigger from magic damage. Until that happens, LS is unlikely to do more than a couple percent of overall healing.

Not sure why they changed the name in the first place.

And there was much rejoicing. We’ll now actually have a choice to make with our T2 talent.

  • Wild Mushroom for Restoration Druids now summons a single mushroom at the friendly target’s location. If the mushroom is recast, the mushroom moves to the new location and retains its accumulated bonus healing.
    -A single mushroom now heals for as much as what 3 mushrooms combined healed for previously.
    -Wild Mushroom and Wild Mushroom: Bloom now have a shared 3-second cooldown.
    -The spell is no longer capable of critical strikes, and accumulates overhealing done by Rejuvenation by 100%, down from 150%. Overhealing bonus no longer benefits from Naturalist or Mastery: Harmony.

HUGE quality of life change here. One mushroom to place is superior to three. We can also choose between spawning the mushroom beneath our target, or placing it manually (see new glyphs below). The best part is that the Mushroom can be moved, so you don’t waste your charge if the raid moves.

  • Innervate now restores mana equal to 50% of the Druid’s spirit.

This means you need at least 12000 spirit to get the same effect from Innervate that you did in 5.3. With better gear, this is a buff.

Talents

  • Dream of Cenarius has been completely redesigned. It now causes Wrath to deal 20% more damage and heals a nearby friendly target for 100% of the damage done.

This will let us be kind of like Disc Atonement healers, but much less powerful. Another change was also made that will impact this talent – Wrath now deals 10% more damage, but has its mana cost increased by 50%, so healing by doing damage may be a little expensive. This talent should excel on fights where the boss/mobs take extra damage.

  • Heart of the Wild when activated, now also provides a 25% bonus to healing for Restoration Druids.

With a 6-minute cooldown, this doesn’t strike me as that big of a deal. I think the HotW on use is still best used for adding some damage.

  • New talent: Ysera’s Gift, which replaces Nature’s Swiftness, and heals the Druid for 5% of their maximum health every 5 seconds. If the Druid is at full health, it will heal the most injured friendly target nearby instead.

Passive healing. /yawn. If you don’t want to have to worry about another spell and take Cenarion Ward, this is a good option.

  • Nature’s Vigil when activated now increases all damage and healing done by 12% (up from 10%), and causes single-target healing spells to trigger an additional heal on a nearby ally for 25% of the amount healed. This is in addition to the existing effect where it damages a nearby enemy target for 25% of the healing done.

This has gotten much stronger with the additional heals. I’d say this will be the go-to level 90 talent for most fights.

  • Soul of the Forest now causes the Druid to gain 100% haste (up from 75%) on their next spell after casting Swiftmend.

Glyphs

  • Glyph of Lifebloom’s effect is now baseline.

Awesome, and opens up a glyph slot for:

  • Glyph of Efflorescence increases the healing done by Swiftmend by 20%, causes the Efflorescence healing effect to be triggered by Wild Mushroom instead of Swiftmend, and lasts as long as the Wild Mushroom is active.

This is an amazing glyph. The 20% increase the Swiftmend is good, and the ability to have Efflorescence up all the time is great.

  • Glyph of Innervate now causes Innervate to give both the Druid and the target 60% of the normal effect of the spell if it’s cast on a target other than the Druid.
  • Glyph of the Sprouting Mushroom (minor): Allows the Wild Mushroom spell to be placed on the ground instead of underneath a target.

And a few random, cool things:

  • Teleport: Moonglade now returns the Druid to a location near their original departure point when the spell is cast while in the Moonglade area.
  • Glyph of One With Nature: Grants the Druid the ability to teleport to a random natural location.

Patch 5.4 is giving Druid some great buffs and quality of life changes. We should be in a much better place now than we have been all expansion.

Happy healing!

Trees They Are a-Changin’

Just a couple days after I declared that I no longer like playing my Druid, the 5.4 patch notes have been released. And boy are there some game changers.

Talent Changes

Ysera’s Gift, a new talent healing the Druid for 5% of their maximum health every 5 seconds. If the Druid is at full health, it will heal the most injured friendly target nearby instead. 

Ysera’s Gift is a new Level 30 talent in our talent tree, replacing Nature’s Swifteness (which is now baseline for restos). This is a passive ability that will continuously tick, healing yourself, or another nearby target if you’re at full health. Completely passive healing is a bit boring in terms of gameplay, but could provide a nice buffer. Looks like this tier will now be a toss up between this talent and Cenarion Ward, though I think that passive smart healing will end up doing more overall.

Soul of the Forest has been partially redesigned to make it more attractive to Balance, Guardian, and Restoration Druids.
Restoration: Now causes the Druid to gain 100% haste on their next spell after casting Swiftmend.

In the level 60 Tier, SotF has been improved to increase haste for your next spell by 100%, up from 75%. Wild Growth will now gain even more extra ticks if cast after a Swiftmend, making this talent even more powerful.

Dream of Cenarius has been completely redesigned to reduce complexity and increase usability, but maintain the spirit of the effects. Benefits now varies by specialization. Restoration: Causes Wrath to deal 20% more damage and heals a nearby friendly target for 100% of the damage done.

DoC has been redesigned to actually be usable.  In essence, this will turn us into (much less powerful versions) of Atonement healers. This will be a viable option on some fights, especially those where the boss takes extra damage. It could also be good on fights where there are periods of downtime when healing requirements are light.

Heart of the Wild when activated, now also provides a 25% bonus to healing for Restoration Druids.

I do like that this ability will no longer be completely passive. However, unless you’re using it for burst damage, I still find HotW incredibly boring. The healing bonus is nice, but it’s still got a 6 minute cooldown.

Nature’s Vigil when activated, causes single target healing spells to trigger an additional heal on a nearby ally for 25% of the amount healed. This is in addition to the existing effect where it damages a nearby enemy target for 25% of the healing done.

Another improvement to healing output. The bonus healing should come from any single target heal (RJ, RG, SM, HT, Nourish). This adds even more smart healing to our toolkit. This isn’t as big an an increase to healing as HotW but it can be used four times as often.

Spell Changes

Genesis is a new Restoration spell learned at level 88. Genesis targets all party or raid members within 60 yards and accelerates the casting Druid’s Rejuvenation effects, causing them to heal and expire at 400% of the normal rate. Costs the same amount of mana to cast as Rejuvenation.

This new spell gives us a little more burst and is something a number of Druids have been asking for for a long time. I really love the sound of this spell. I still don’t think this will be quite as powerful as something like Uplift, since Rejuv is mana-prohibitive and doesn’t jump around on it’s own, but I do think it’s a good addition to our toolkit. Realistically you’re not going to have Rejuv on more than about 8 people at a time tops, and the first applications will only have 1-2 ticks left if you wait until it’s active on 8 targets before using Genesis. So I think this spell will be most useful for healing specific, smaller groups of people. Luckily it looks like this spell doesn’t have a cooldown, so there will be a lot of room to play with it and figure out how best to use it in each fight.

Wild Mushroom Restoration version of the ability now summons a single mushroom at the friendly target’s location. If the mushroom is recast, the mushroom moves to the new location and retains its accumulated bonus healing. A single mushroom now heals for as much as what 3 mushrooms combined healed for previously.
Wild Mushroom: Bloom is no longer capable of critical strikes, and accumulates overhealing done by Rejuvenation by 100%, down from 150%. Overhealing bonus no longer benefits from Naturalist or Mastery: Harmony.

This is huge. Only having to place one mushroom is great and being able to move the mushroom without losing the stored up healing is even better. The overall healing that mushrooms can do will be reduced (which is fine, they heal for too much now), but they’ll be so much more usable.

Innervate now causes the target to gain mana equal to 50% of the casting Druid’s Spirit every second for 10 seconds.

Whether this turn out to be a buff or nerf for you depends on how much Spirit you like to run with. With my ~8k spirit, this is a nerf. Which sucks. We’ll also likely benefit even less from Innervates from Guardians or Ferals.

Glyphs

Glyph of Efflorescence increases the healing done by Swiftmend by 20%, causes the Efflorescence healing effect to be triggered by Wild Mushroom instead of Swiftmend, and lasts as long as the Wild Mushroom is active.

This is going to be a must-have glyph. With this now you can Swiftmend the person standing out in the middle of nowhere who’s about to die without having to waste all that ground healing. Being able to place your Efflorescene where you want it (around your Mushrooom, which you can move around as you like) and have it active all the time is a huge buff.

Glyph of Innervate now causes Innervate to give both the Druid and the target 60% of the normal effect of the spell if it’s cast on a target other than the Druid.

Innervate trading will now be a thing again. But what if I have 8k Spirit and my co-Druid has 10k? Will she feel cheated? Will she not want my puny Innervate?

Tier 16 Set Bonuses

May as well look at the new tier set bonuses too:

  • 2P Bonus – Ironbark increases your critical chance by 20% for 12 sec.
  • 4P Bonus – Rejuvenation, Lifebloom, and Wild Growth critical heals have a chance to cause all cast time heals for the next 12 sec to cause a Living Seed on the target for 80% of the amount healed.

I really like the 2-set bonus. No, Crit’s not our best stat, but I like that this will (hopefully) give people a reason to use Ironbark all the time.

The 4-set bonus is just odd. I like the idea of Living Seed, but it doesn’t work like it should. It’s so fussy about what damaging effects will trigger it that a lot of the time it ends up wasted, so having LS be 80% of the amount healed rather than 30% and trigger from non crits might not make too much of a difference. With any HoT tick having a chance to trigger the effect it could technically be active all the time, but with the small amount of cast time heals we cast, this bonus seems underwhelming.


Overall, the 5.4 changes look to bring a huge improvement to the resto healing toolkit.  So many of these changes have been asked for by a lot of Druids, it’s nice to know the developers are listening.

What Resto Druids Need to Know for 5.3

5.3 is today! Generally, I don’t care about patches that don’t include new raid content, but Druids are getting a fair number of buffs. Here are the changes that resto Druids need to know about.

buffs

A number of Resto Druid abilities have been buffed, or improved in some way.

Tranquility now targets 12 raid members (up from 5) each time it heals when used in a 25-player instance. This change also applies to players using the Symbiosis version of Tranquility.

This is a nice change for 25s. During times of really heavy raid damage, sometimes Tranq doesn’t seem to make much of a dent in healthbars, so this should improve. Holy Priests are receiving the same buff for their Divine Hymn (so they’ll still be better than us).

Force of Nature is no longer on global cooldown and summons a single Treant. The Treant immediately casts Swiftmend (which does not require or consume a HoT) on the Druid’s current target when summoned, and accumulates 1 charge every 20 seconds up to a maximum of 3 charges.

This talent will now be completely under the player’s control, and no longer subject to dumb pet AI. Still, it doesn’t compete with Soul of the Forest or Incarnation.

Ironbark now has a cooldown of 60 seconds, down from 2 minutes.

This is great. You are now able to keep IB up on someone (like the active tank) for 20% of any encounter. The shorter cooldown should also make you feel more free to use IB on non-tanks when needed.

Swiftmend area-of-effect component now heals injured allies within 10 yards, up from 8 yards.

Swiftmend will now heal within a much larger area. Hopefully more people will stay in it for heals if the green circle is bigger.

Wild Mushroom: Bloom: Healing from this spell has been increased by 100%, which includes all bonus healing from Rejuvenation overhealing. In addition, the radius has been increased to 10 yards (up from 8).

For the fights that mushrooms excel on, they will now be even better. For the fights where people are spread out or moving frequently they’ll still be clunky and of limited use.

Mark of the Wild had its mana cost reduced to 5%, down from 10%.

Not a huge deal, but will make rebuffing someone after they’re rezzed less easier on your mana bar.

My Resto Druid Guide has been updated to reflect these changes.

Some of these, like the reduction on the Ironbark cooldown, are nice quality of life changes. The buffs to Tranquility in 25s, and the range on Mushrooms and Swiftmend are really just band-aid solutions for our outdated, outclassed toolkit though. More numbers are nice, but don’t solve the problem that the other classes can put out healing faster and more efficiently than we can.

Smart heal, dumb heal, boring heal, cheat heal?

I have to apologize for this post in advance because I’m feeling whiny and spiteful. This post is terribly biased.

Last night I participated one of the least enjoyable raids I can remember. It had nothing to do with my raid group – we were having fun on Mumble and though things were occasionally a little sloppy, we did okay at killing bosses. It was all about healer balance and my performance in particular. First of all, I was dead a lot. I may as well have been trying to catch the Lightning Diffusions on Heroic Jin’Rokh, I couldn’t have done any worse at that. But what really made the raid unenjoyable was trying to get any healing done with 2 Holy Pallies an 2 Disc Priests healing in the raid. Ugh. 

I’m going to admit something here – I love topping meters. I know, I know, that’s not what healing is about a lot of the time, but I don’t care. I want my orange bar on top. Seeing myself 4th or 5th on a list feels shitty. Hell, I don’t even like to be 2nd. For the first time, taking into consideration my toolkit and the toolkit the other classes have, I don’t think it’s likely I’m going to see my name on top of any meter no matter how hard I try. Unless I sit half my healers to give my HoTs a chance to actually do something - but that’s not very nice.

Last night’s raid put two thoughts into my head.

First, raiding has a huge fundamental flaw. As you progress, you get more gear, you get better at handling mechanics. DPS players are rewarded for this progress by being able to put out more and more damage and watching their number soar. Healers, on the other hand, are rewarded by watching their overheal numbers inflate, having less to do and maybe even losing their raid slots as raid leaders sit them to bring in more dps. No idea how to fix this, but it sucks.

Second, (and this is where I become irrational and  take out my frustration on everyone else) I think some classes just have it easier. I’ve written about how I think too much healing is “smart” before. Spells which require very little effort, thought or skill do the bulk of most class’s healing. Druids are not excluded from this, but we do have the distinction of having our heals be very much dependent on what the rest of the people in our raid are doing.

Let’s take a look at how much thought or effort Druid spells require.

Rejuvenation – Usually does 20-30% of healing. Doesn’t require a whole lot of thought, but if you are careless with it all you’re going to get is a whole lot of overheal and run yourself oom. Takes 12 seconds to complete the heal. (As a side note, we’re the only healer who has the bulk of their healing done by a targeted, single-target heal).

Wild Growth – Usually does 20-30% of healing. Requires next to no thought. Don’t cast on someone standing in a corner by themselves, don’t cast when everyone is at full health and you’ve done your job with WG. Takes 7 seconds to complete the heal.

Tranquility - Usually does 10-20% of healing. No thought required.

Swiftmend (both components) – Usually does 10-20% of healing. Swiftmend often involves making a choice. Do I SM the tank who’s dipping low and end up with the ground effect only healing 1 person? Or do I SM someone who doesn’t really need it, but is standing in a group of people? Placement of the ground heal important, but so is the ability to use it reactively for an instant, large heal.

Lifebloom – Healing really depends on fight and assignment. Can do 5% of total healing, can do 20%. Can be proactively and reactively swapped around to whoever needs to most. Needs to be refreshed often.

Wild Mushrooms – Again, healing depends on fight. Isn’t used at all on some, can make up 20% of healing on others (really only on one other fight though). Need to be positioned properly, need to be charged fully, need to be used at the right time, and you can’t get out of range of them. One of the trickier spells to use.

Regrowth/Healing Touch – Usually makes up about 5-8% of healing. Requires decent reaction/timing.

Now lets look at the heals other classes get that piss me off the most and make my silly little HoTs seem like a waste of time and effort.

Illuminated Healing – This can make up 50% of a Paladin’s healing done. And it’s completely passive. And it procs from overhealing. Seriously.

All of the Priest T6 talents – Instant, only one of them requires a target (and the target really doesn’t matter because it likes to bounce to people really far away). Hit a button and watch your raid take half a million healing in 2 seconds.

Circle of Healing / Light of Dawn – Sort of the equivalent of Wild Growth except they heal instantly so are less prone to overheal. They also trigger Illuminated Healing or Echo of Light for extra free healing.

Prayer of Mending – Instant, super cheap, bounces around on its own! Subject to overpowered set bonuses.

Renewing Mist/Uplift - RM is just like Rejuv. Except it’s cheaper. And it generates a Monk’s secondary resource. And it spreads to extra targets by itself. Is the HoT not doing enough on it’s own? Uplift for burst healing!

Atonement – I’m a Disc Priest. I could literally just Penance/Smite/Solace the boss for the whole fight and still outheal other healers with Atonement and Divine Aegis (especially on bosses/adds who take more damage).

Druids have their share of mindless healing (plus we only have 7 healing spells to use! Give us more!!!). But we also have to actually pick a target for our heals a lot of the time, which is an affliction most classes don’t suffer from :P

I’m ready for my cheat heals now.