Category Archives: Mists of Pandaria

MoP – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

I know we’ve likely still got 6 months to go before Warlords of Draenor is released and Mists of Pandaria is officially over, but honestly, the end feels overdue already. I thought this would be a good time to look back at the expansion and think about what aspects were great and which ones were not so good.

The Good

1. Pandaria is beautiful. The zones are varied and interesting. From the wildlife to the landscapes, everything looked good. The final cut scene in Jade Forest took my breath away the first time I saw it, and opening up the gates to the gorgeous Vale of Eternal Blossoms for the first time was one of my favourite moments from any expansion.

2. Challenge modes. I loved doing challenge modes the first time around. Small group content that was actually challenging? Amazing. These were a whole lot of fun. I will say though, I found they lost their luster a bit after I got  my first set of golds. Maybe it was because healing them on my Druid was more challenging than dpsing on my Hunter. Maybe because by the time I got around to them on my Hunter the people I was running with had already done them so many times, and there were countless CM guides and videos out so the problem-solving aspect was gone. Either way, when these became less challenging, I found them less rewarding. But they were amazing the first time around.

3. Different types of solo content. MoP added a lot of things that people
could do to occupy themselves. Proving grounds were a nice challenge, the individual parts of the legendary quest line were unique, pet battles (more the collection aspect really) gave me a lot to do, even farms provided me with something to do for a little while. There was also Brawler’s Guild, rare hunting, and many treasures to find.

4. Raid content, for the most part, was good. There were a lot of different,  interesting bosses. The devs played with some new mechanics and gimmicks (some successful, some not). I found tier to be 14 the strongest raid tier (even though it didn’t last long enough), buts tiers 15 and 16 had their shining spots as well.

The Bad

1. The grind. MoP had a lot of grindy components – dailies, rep, valor, coins, lesser charms. That kind of thing is never really enjoyable. However, I’m putting this in the ‘bad’ category instead of ‘ugly’ because it wasn’t that huge a deal. I know many raiders claim they were forced to do everything all the time, but I’m not one of them. I didn’t want to do Golden Lotus dailies when MoP launched, so I didn’t. I lived. My raid killed bosses. Besides, by the time you farmed the rep and the valor to get that revered for that chest or ring you wanted, one would drop for you in raid the very next day – that’s how it works.

2. Legendary Cloaks. How do you make a legendary item feel anything but legendary? Give it to everyone. Then give it to all of their alts. Besides feeling completely unspecial, making the legendary so ubiquitous also meant that if you wanted to raid occasionally on an alt (especially as a dps) you basically needed the legendary to be at all viable. If you didn’t want to grind through item collection, rep and valor, you pretty much had to resign yourself to the fact that your output would suck. I did find that 90% of the legendary questline was enjoyable – but only once.

3. All the things that made guild/raid administration so much harder than it needed to be.

  • Some raid encounters (heroic Ji-Kun, Dark Animus, Spoils of Pandaria) required spreadsheets in order to organize everyone. It went so far beyond “assign x healer to use a cooldown, y dps to interrupt this mob, and group z to stand here” it was ridiculous. The 9 different mobs in the Paragons of the Klaxxi encounter have a total of roughly 40 different abilities. I killed those guys a dozen times on normal and never actually understood what was going on.
  • Things like Thunderforged/Warforged gear and the ability for raiders to coin loot made loot systems more difficult to deal with.
  • Six different ilvls of loot in a tier and four different raid difficulties.
  • Raid comp requirements varied wildly from fight to fight. Some fights heavily favoured comps with lots of rogues and hunters, some were better with many warlocks (most of them, really). Heroic Thok required 8 healers. Garrosh – 3 or 4. What are those other 5 healers supposed to do? 
  • All of the raid meta achievements that had multiple requirements (like Megaera, Lei Shen, Dark Animus trash) made getting people their metas in raid complicated and repetitive. I didn’t even get mine in ToT, and I’m the GM who rarely missed a raid :(

The Ugly

1. Spending a year in the last tier of content. I know, I’m a broken record on this, but it’s awful piled on top of more awful because it’s the 3rd time it’s happened. People are bored and it’s a problem.

2. Healing became a game of cooldowns and button mashing. During the first tier of the expansion, healing was interesting. Mana mattered, I used most of the spells in my spellbook. As time went on this changed and healing turned into spam all the AoE/smart heals all the time. Very dull. Healing was also made less interesting my the amount of non-healer raid cooldowns available. With 3 offpsec HTTs, a few DAs, a boomkin to Tranq and a Warrior or two to do all the things they do, the way to defeat harder encounters usually involved dropping healers. I thought I’d be a healer forever, but the progression of healing in MoP managed to drive me into a dps role.

3. Lag and disconnects. There were a few things in the game that caused some awful lag, especially in 25s. Things like smart heals and Stampede were blamed, though they apparently got fixed. Lag stuck my raid most fiercely on Lei Shen and Siegecrafter, and we lost more than a few raid nights to it, as the game was basically unplayable for some people. It’s one thing to not kill a boss because people couldn’t perform adequately, it’s another to not kill it because half your raid has so much lag they can’t move out of spell effects fast enough.


 

Those are the highs and lows that stand out for me in MoP. What parts of the expansion did you love or hate?

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!

What Resto Druids Need to Know for 5.2

Unless something unexpected happens, 5.2 is going to drop on March 5th. Just a few days away. There is a fantastic round-up of 5.2-related posts on the official site that you should definitely check out. 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.

Naturalist: This new passive learned at level 10 by Restoration Druids increases all healing done by the Druid by 10%.

This is a nice buff to all our healing. Hopefully in 5.2, this chart will look a little different and Druids will be on more even footing with the other healing classes.

Wild Mushrooms will now gain 25% of the overhealing performed by the Druid’s Rejuvenation effects, up to a maximum of 33% of the Druid’s health in bonus healing, and growing larger as they do so. When Wild Mushroom: Bloom is cast, this bonus healing will be divided evenly amongst targets in the area of effect.

Mushrooms definitely needed some love, hopefully this change is enough to make them useful. The 33% bonus healing is applied to each Mushroom, so a 3-stack will now heal for an extra ~450k (or whatever your current health value is), split between all targets. This will make for a potent heal if it hits a single or a limited number of targets, and a reasonable group heal if it hits many targets. However, because the Mushrooms need to charge up, it makes placement of them even more important. We’ll need to learn not to place them where the raid is now, but where the raid will be in the future. Start teaching your raid that hugging Mushrooms is the cool thing to do.

The healing granted by Cenarion Ward when a target takes damage has been increased by 100%.

The current healing of Cenarion Ward is not very good. In my current gear, self-buffed, CW does a total of about 67000 healing. Doubling the amount will make it a very decent sized heal, on a 30-second cooldown. In terms of raw HPS, this puts CW ahead of Nature’s Swiftness. However, the problems with CW remain – it is very susceptible to overheal. In most cases, I still prefer Nature’s Swiftness free, emergency heal over another HoT.

Soul of the Forest: Now grants 75% Haste on the next spell cast after the Druid casts Swiftmend.

Soul of the Forest is a great boost to raid healing, granting 75% haste instead of 50% makes it even better. This means than at ideal haste levels, casting Wild Growth with the SotF buff will give you 14 ticks (up from 12). However, once we drop our 4T14 bonus we’re going to run back into the problem of the cooldowns on Swiftmend and Wild Growth aligning poorly, which means Incarnation will likely be more useful. For more on how the change to SotF will affect your HoTs, go visit Binkenstein.

The Treants summoned by Force of Nature now deal more damage and healing, and the Force of Nature tooltip will report the capabilities of these summoned pets.

I’m not sure exactly how much more healing FoN will do now. I’ve heard that they’re a fair bit better, both in HPS and not being completely stupid. I still don’t see many situations where I’d take this over Incarnation or SotF though.

Rejuvenation now costs approximately 9% less mana.

This is really just a way to let us break our 2T14 set bonuses without it hurting.

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

Other Spell Changes

There are also a few minor spell changes coming. First, one of our talents is changing;

Nature’s Vigil now has a 90-second cooldown (was 3 minutes), and now increases damage and healing done by 10% (was 20%).

Numerically, there’s no change here. NV can just be used twice as often but provides half the bonus. This makes NV as an output cooldown less attractive to me. While I currently switch between NV and HotW on some fights, I foresee sticking with HotW most of the time now.

Revive and Mark of the Wild now cost 55% less mana.
Faerie Swarm can now snare more than one target at a time.
Mass Entanglement now has a 30-second cooldown (was 2 minutes).
Typhoon now has a 30-second cooldown (was 20 seconds).

These four changes will have minor impact on the average raiding resto Druid. The cost reduction of MotW will be nice for rebuffing those who get battle rezzed. The cooldown reduction on Mass Entanglement will make us better at CC if T15 brings us more fights with lots of adds – I would have loved this while working on Heroic Will.

Gear

I’ve posted the list of new gear available in 5.2. Valor is not being reset, so hopefully you’re sitting on a lot of it as we go into the patch. The new Shadow-Pan Assault rep has a lot of good options for quick upgrades. You’ll be able to purchase a new neck immediately for 1250 VP. If you’re anything like me, bracers tend to be the bane of the gearing process (still wearing 489s from normal Spirit Kings). SPA offers some nice bracers at Friendly for 1250 VP which you should be able to obtain quickly as well. There is also a trinket available at Friendly for 1750 VP.

None of the changes have caused our stat priority to change. You’ll still be looking to maintain your 3043 Haste level, then focusing on other secondary stats.

Throne of Thunder

If you want to get a head start on learning how to heal encounters in Throne of Thunder, go check out Dayani’s awesome, comprehensive preview of the new raid bosses.
Part 1
Part 2

Restoration Druid Guide updated

My Resto Druid Guide has finally been updated! You can find it here:

Restoration Druid Guide for Mists of Pandaria

Topics covered include:

  • Stats
  • Talents
  • Spells
  • Glyphs
  • How to Heal
  • Gear
  • Gems and Enchants
  • Consumables

Raid Buffs and Debuffs – Updated for Mists

Here are all of the buffs and debuffs that are available in Mists of Pandaria.

A few things to keep in mind:

  • Buffs and debuffs in each category do not stack.
  • These have been normalized so that each buff or debuff in a category provides the same benefit.

Buffs

Attack Power

Increases ranged and melee attack power by 10%

Burst Haste

Increases casting and attack speed by 30% for 40 seconds.

Critical Strike

Increases critical strike chance by 5%

Haste

Increases ranged and melee attack speed by 10%

Mastery

Increases Mastery by 3000

Spell Haste

Increases spell haste by 5%

Spell Power

Increases spell power by 10%

Stamina

Increases stamina by 10%

Stats

Increases intellect, agility and strength by 5%

Debuffs

Magic Vulnerability

Increases magic damage taken by 8%

Mortal Wounds

Reduces healing received by 50%

physical Vulnerability

Increases physical damage taken by 4%

Slow Casting

Reduces casting speed by 30%

Weakened Armor

Reduces armor by 12%

Weakened Blows

Reduces physical damage dealt by 10%

Gaming Marathons: The Healthy Way


This week, my guildmate and future raid leader, Serrath, was nice enough to write a guest post for me. You can follow Serrath on Twitter @Serrath_.


Well howdy, Cannot Be Tamed readers! I’m Serrath and I’m the incoming raid leader for Apotheosis! While Jasyla is out on a fantastic vacation (color me jealous) I’m going to talk a bit about the upcoming release of Mists of Pandaria on September 25th, and how you can prepare yourself for the gaming marathon that is sure to follow.

To give you a little information about me: I’ve been playing World of Warcraft since Vanilla. My very first character hit level 60 killing a banshee in the Eastern Plaguelands just as the Ahn’Qiraj event was coming into full swing. During my tenure with the game I’ve enjoyed multiple release date grinds and gaming marathons. The most successful of which was the Wrath release, where I managed to snag the Server First Level 80 achievement on the Detheroc server!

In order to complete what was a 48 hour gaming marathon that led to this success I had to prepare myself for nearly a week prior to the release. I considered methods to affect my sleep pattern, how to eat and stay healthy, exercises to perform while playing, and ways to keep myself socially engaged. Please allow me to share a few of the tips and tricks I’ve picked up during my time in the game in hopes that you find a few of them helpful for your release grinding.

In order to tackle the issue of sleep patterns we need to understand what they are and how they work. Your sleep pattern is directed by an internal clock known as your circadian rhythm. This clock is affected by external stimuli and internal hormones. We want to adjust both to best suit our needs for our upcoming gaming marathon!

The portion of your brain that “houses” your internal clock is located just above your optic nerves which allows for a quick relay of incoming light. When there is less light (sunset, dark interior) your brain will produce more melatonin, which will make you sleepy. In order to combat this you will want to be playing in a well-lit environment. I recommend having multiple lamps positioned around the room. If you have a window nearby, leave your curtains drawn so the darkness isn’t noticeable. If you will be traveling through your house leave these areas well-lit (hallway, kitchen, etc) since we will be traveling during our marathon.

After addressing the external stimuli you will want to consider how to affect your internal “settings.” Starting a few days before your proposed event (let’s say Friday!) you will want to start staying up a single hour later than your standard bed time. Allow yourself to sleep in one hour later the following morning. Repeat this process for a few days. If you start on Friday and you traditionally go to bed around midnight you’ll be at 4am for your standard bedtime on Tuesday morning. On Monday evening, to help adjust further, take a nap – keeping in mind that a nap’s effectiveness is not in how long you sleep, but how many complete sleep cycles you finish. Since I take a little extra time to fall asleep I usually allow myself two hours for a complete and effective nap.

With our sleep cycle taken care of let’s address what is, in my opinion, the most important factor for our gaming marathon: nutrition. In order to gain the most mileage out of your marathon you will want to eat very healthy – focusing on fruits, vegetables, and foods high in protein. Steer clear of caffeine and sugar! While these items will allow you to feel a quick surge of energy and focus, you will crash and be much worse for wear after the effects wear off. I recommend you make a few pre-planned meals that are easily warmed up in the microwave or eaten right from the fridge.

When I completed my 70 to 80 grind in Wrath I had prepared six separate meals the Monday before the release. I had made three peanut butter sandwiches, three lunch meat sandwiches (ham or turkey, tuna would be great as well), six bags of a variety of vegetables (celery, carrots, peppers, broccoli, squash, zucchini, whatever you like), and six bags of a variety of fruit (grapes, blueberries, strawberries, bananas, etc.). For each “meal” I grabbed a sandwich, a bag of veggies, a bag of fruit, and a bottle of cold water. Having a diet like this prepared will allow you to save time by being able to grab a quick meal, it will allow you to continue a healthy intake of the vitamins and minerals your body needs to function, and it will allow you to have a peak alert time.

To give you a few other options of recipes I’m considering for this year: consider making dinners that you can microwave and eat! I’ll be preparing a couple servings of stir fry, a bowl or two of soup that I can store in the freezer, or maybe a pre-made salad (cucumber + tomato + chicken tossed with a balsamic vinaigrette is easy and *amazing*).

The third great factor for ensuring a successful and healthy gaming marathon is to remember to exercise! A very real danger that many people dismiss is the threat of blood clots caused by extended periods of sitting. When you read the stories of people passing due to long gaming sessions it is usually caused by a mix of bad diet, lack of sleep, and lack of movement. In addition to combating things such as clots, exercise will assist with your blood circulation which will allow you to maintain a more alert status while playing.

Now, you don’t need a home gym or anything fancy to keep yourself “in shape” while playing. There are a few simple exercises you can do at or next to your desk and will take you no time at all! This website details 33 different exercises to perform at or near your desk. My favorites are 6, 8, 13, 20, and 31. (Number 7 is just gross – I still have bad memories of grade school gym class “phantom chair” contests … oi.) Find a few exercises that will work for you and remember to perform them a few times and hour to keep your blood flowing.

With all of our physical health concerns addressed we have one last thing to consider: mental health! World of Warcraft is a social game by design. Unfortunately, the leveling grind tends to become a solo activity with players pushing through quests at their quickest pace. During this grind many people seclude themselves in an effort to stay focused. I say just the opposite. Engaging in conversation with friends and guild mates will help keep your mentally involved in your activities. I believe it works best in a voice chat settings (Mumble, Ventrilo, Skype, etc.) where you’re able to actively discuss what you are each doing. When you start to nod off at around the 18 hour mark your friends will be the ones able to keep you awake, alert, and focused on the task at hand: getting to 90 before them!

I hope some of the information provided here helps you in your early Mists of Pandaria goals. I know I’m very excited to check out the new content and get to beating down some Mogu in the new raids. What are some of your personal tips and tricks? Best of luck to you on September 25th!

What Resto Druids Need to Know for 5.0.4

Patch 5.0.4 will be dropping on August 28th and it will bring all of Mist of Pandaria’s new talents, abilities and spells.

Mana

Say goodbye to the 160k mana pool that you’ve gotten used to. With 5.0.4, our mana pools will be knocked down to a fixed 100,000. Spell mana costs will come down a little as well, but not by that much. For example, on Beta Rejuv costs 3200 mana and Wild Growth costs 4580 mana. On live a Rejuv costs 3727 and a Wild Growth costs 5031. So we’re looking at about a 10-15% reduction in mana costs and a 30-40% reduction in our mana pools. This could make things tough.

The way we regen mana is also being completely changed. Talents like Revitalize, that regen a portion of our total mana are gone. This means that all of our regen will now come from Spirit. I’m going to guess that the 2007 Spirit I’m currently rolling with isn’t going to cut it. Be prepared to take a trip to the reforger once the patch hits. Say goodbye to all that yummy Mastery that you had reforged out of Spirit, and get your Spirit back. Spells are healing for quite a bit more at level 85 on the Beta, so the loss of Mastery shouldn’t affect your output negatively. You may also want to replace your throughput trinkets with regen trinkets.

Spells

Our spell books will look quite a bit different, and we will no longer have access to a number of Balance and Feral spells. This shouldn’t affect raiders too much, but be aware that if you’re used to throwing out some DPS on fights to try to help out, you won’t have as many damaging spells as you used to. Spells and abilities we no longer have include:

  • Insect Swarm
  • Wild Mushroom: Detonate (we will only have healing shrooms)
  • Starfire
  • Thorns

We are also losing access to a number of Cat and Bear abilities, but those shouldn’t have too much of an effect on a healer. The only one I’m really going to miss is Skull Bash.

We have two new base abilities:

  • Ironbark This is the damage mitigation cooldown we’ve been asking for for so long, so don’t forget to use it! We also still have access to Barkskin.
  • Wild Mushroom: Bloom Instead of hurting, these mushrooms heal. You can set up 3 at a time and they will heal everyone in an 8 yard radius for… not a whole lot, really.

A number of abilities have changed:

  • Lifebloom now lasts 15 seconds.
  • Harmony now lasts 20 seconds.
  • Nature’s Cure now has an 8 second cooldown.
  • Rebirth now brings people to life with 60% of their health, up from 20%.
  • Mark of the Wild no longer gives Stamina or spell resistance, only Strength, Agility and Intellect.
  • Dash and Stampeding Roar can be used while in caster form, but will activate Cat/Bear form.
  • Faerie Fire now causes 3 applications of Weakened Armor, instead of 1.

In addition to these things, any Resto talents that were removed with the new talent tree overhaul have been baked into our spells. Living Seed, Malfurion’s Gift, Gift of the Earthmother, Swift Rejuvenation, Nature’s Cure, Efflorescence… they’re all baseline now for Restos. However, the talents that were in the Balance tree, like Nature’s Grace, are now gone. One change that I just noticed today is that Nature’s Focus now also increases our chance to hit with Moonfire and Wrath by 15%. That’s nifty.

Talents

When the patch hits, we will have 5 talent tiers to choose, the 6th doesn’t open up until level 90.

Level 15 Druid talents (MoP)

For Tier 1 Feline Swiftness is the clear winner. Displacer Beast is awful and the uses for Wild Charge are quite limited for a healer in current raid encounters.

Druid level 30 talents (MoP)

For tier 2 I’d go with Nature’s Swiftness. Note that the cooldown is now only 1 minute, down from 3 minutes, which is an excellent improvement. Renewal isn’t something I consider a viable option for healers. Cenarion Ward may be worth playing with, but I think having NS as an extra ‘oh shit’ button is much more valuable than another HoT that’s on a 30 second cooldown.

Level 45 druid talents (MoP)

Tier 3 probably won’t see a whole lot of use in Dragon Soul. You can pretty much pick what you want here. Go with Typhoon if you want to drive your tanks and melee crazy. Typhoon also has the potential to help out with Bloods on heroic Spine, but please check with your kiter/RL as it could also screw things up if it’s not expected.

Level 60 druid talents (MoP)

I think Incarnation is the best talent in tier 4. As an output cooldown, ToL is still great, and with the mana constraints we’ll be facing, I think the ability to spam Lifeblooms (our cheapest spell) and maximize Omen of Clarity procs will be important. Soul of the Forest also looks quite strong in terms of increasing our healing output if you use Wild Growth after every Swiftmend, but it will also cause problems lining up those spells as there is a 5 second difference in their cooldowns. Force of Nature is kind of fun, but pets like these have a tendency to be quite dumb, so I’d skip them.

Level 75 Druid talents (MoP)

Tier 5 is another utility tier that won’t get used a whole lot in Dragon Soul. I can think of a few times that Ursol’s Vortex could be useful if it works properly. That is a big if. In my experience on the beta, it’s seemed a little buggy to me. Ursol’s Vortex could potentially help with add control on a few fights – Forgotten Ones on Yor’sahj, Bloods on Spine and Congealing Bloods on Madness. If UV doesn’t work as expected, Mighty Bash is good, safe bet.

Glyphs

Prime Glyphs will be gone in 5.0.4, so we will now have only 6 glyph slots. We have a lot of options to choose from.

Major Glyphs

My top 3:
Glyph of Lifebloom
– This will allow us to transfer all 3 stacks of Lifebloom when we need to switch our Lifebloom target. This is a must have for any fight with tank-swapping.
Glyph of Wild Growth
– This hasn’t changed. I would take it for 25-man raiding, but possibly not for 10s.
Glyph of Regrowth – Regrowth now innately has a 60% chance to crit, so use of this glyph will make the spell a guaranteed crit, at the cost of the HoT at the end. I personally like the knowing that Regrowth will crit and will likely use this glyph.

On fights where I don’t swap Lifebloom around at all, I would replace Glyph of Lifebloom with one of these:
Glyph of Rejuvenation
– This replaces the second half of the Nature’s Bounty target. With the change to the mana regen model, you may find yourself using Nourish more often than you’re used to, so this glyph is a good choice.
Glyph of Healing Touch
– How useful this is depends on how often you use Healing Touch. I would likely use this on Heroic Spine, since I use HT often to handle the debuffs, but would find it less useful on other fights.

Glyphs to skip:
Glyph of Blooming – This is a PVP glyph, skip it for raid content.
Glyph of Rebirth – With the change to Rebirth now bringing people back with 60% health rather than 20%, this glyph is no longer a requirement.

Minor Glyphs

The minor glyphs are mainly fun, vanity things, so I’m not going to go over them here. You can find the full list of glyphs on Wowhead.

Playstyle

The spells we use and how we use them really isn’t going to change much. Lifebloom and Harmony uptimes will be easier to maintain due to their increased durations, but don’t take that as a sign that you should cast less direct spells. With mana constraints you may find the need to cast a few more Nourishes and a few less Rejuvs and Regrowths.

Don’t foget to make a binding for your new Ironbark spell and make the most out of it. You may also want to create a Power Aura to let you know when it’s off cooldown.

Healing Mushrooms will take some getting used to. The healing they do, especially in relation to their setup time is not very good. I would suggest only using them when you can set them up before the pull and during downtimes when little healing is needed. Here are some good times to use Mushrooms on Dragon Soul fights:

Morchok – Place 3 around the place the dps will stand before the pull. On heroic, make sure to put them down on the post-split positions as there really isn’t any damage beforehand. When you run out for Black Blood, you should be able to put more down from range.
Yor’sahj – Place mushrooms before the pull as well as anytime the boss is summoning oozes and the raid isn’t taking any damage. I’m going to assume (haven’t tested yet) that detonating the mushrooms will cause stacks of Deep Corruption, so don’t use them on Purple phases.
Zon’ozz – You should be able to place mushrooms on the spot where the dps/healers stand before the pull, as well as after every dark phase before the Void Ball starts bouncing.
Hagara – Place mushrooms before the pull. If you use the strat where the ranged/healers stack up in the bubble during frost phase, that’s a good time to detonate them.
Ultraxion – In my raid, I find 98% of the Ultraxion fight consists of downtime. I’d probably just ignore mushrooms on this fight, unless you’re still seeing the Timeloop happen. If that’s the case, set them up pre-pull and detonate near the end of the fight when things get tough.
Blackhorn – Between dodging (or chasing) barrages and trying to stay out of deck fire and shockwaves, there’s not a whole lot of times during this fight where mushroom use will be able to be maximized. You could try to get Mushrooms down when an Onslaught it cast and pop them just after it hits.
Spine – Most of the downtime on Spine happens while the Plate is lifted and people are killing the tendons. You should be able to set up some mushrooms around the raid during any plate lift and detonate them as required (preferably when there are lots of healing debuffs out).
Madness – The best place to use mushrooms on most of the platforms will be when the raid is grouped up and killing the Arm/Wing Tentacle and everyone is taking damage from Blistering Heat. It shouldn’t be too difficult to find some downtime to set these up. When you are on the platform where an Elementium Bolt will hit, Mushrooms can also be used just after it hits. In the final phase, I’d get mushrooms set up near the boss before any of the adds spawn and use them when the Corrupting Blood damage starts getting heavy, sub-10%.