An unabashed rip-off of my original Cheat-Sheat for Restoration Shamans, herein, I attempt to give a basic, beginner’s guide to healing as a restoration druid in different situations.
Mark of the Wild
Cast it, love it, always. Mark of the Wild is considered a baseline buff, providing a nice 5% stat boost to the entire group. The only time Mark of the Wild should not be cast is if you have another druid in the group casting it OR happen to have two paladins in the group, because Blessing of Kings can overwrite the effect. If you’ve only got one paladin in your group casting Kings, feel free to overwrite his buff and ask for Blessing of Might–your party will thank you! Don’t be shy about glyphing this one either–it’s always nice to rebuff if you have someone rezzed during an encounter–and mana makes a difference in combat!
The biggest single heal in our arsenal, Healing Touch is making a comeback in Cataclysm. If you have time (and you’ll need it at a base casting time of 3 seconds), Healing Touch can be your most efficient heal. Should be coupled with Omen of Clarity procs when possible.
While blanketing your raid in Rejuvenation is no longer a key to success, knowing when to drop ’em and when to hold ’em surely is in today’s raiding environment. Rejuvenation begins in your arsenal as a 5228 heal over 12 seconds, but some extra haste can increase the healing by 1300 every breakpoint. You can also choose to talent Gift of the Earthmother which gives Rejuvenation some extra oomph on initial cast, and can be a lifesaver for providing a stop-gag in especially heavy damage scenarios.
One of two HoTs able to activate Swiftmend.
A quick tidy heal with a hefty mana cost, Regrowth is a great band-aid, but is painful to spam. The benefit of Regrowth is that you get a tidy sized heal on the target, plus a HoT that keeps on ticking, freeing you up to move on to the next target. When Tree of Life is active, it becomes an instant cast ability, which can be great for pulling the raid’s gumpy out of the fire…. if you have the mana pool for it!
One of two HoTs able to activate Swiftmend.
Our quintessential tank HoT, Lifebloom takes 3 global cooldowns to reach it’s full potential. Lifebloom also creates a nice blooming heal when it expires, which can be as effective as Healing Touch, when stacked fully. However, having the bloom occur successfully at the right moment takes some practice since the HoT effect will last 10 seconds without intervention. The HoT timer can be reset by casting an additional Lifebloom, or, if talented for Empowered Touch, when you cast Nourish or Healing Touch.
Unlike Rejuvenation, Lifebloom can only be cast on a single-target at a time. If you cast on an alternate target, the initial Lifebloom will expire without blooming. Of course, there’s an exception, and that would be when entering Tree of Life form. Tree of Life allows Lifebloom to be cast on multiple targets. So long as the ToL Lifebloom’s are refreshed using Healing Touch/Nourish, the stacks will remain even when Tree of Life expires. To read more about multi-blooming, see this article.
A tiny spell with a tiny mana cost, Nourish can be cast at any time without any appreciable strain on our mana pool, but also, with limited effect against high damage. When talented for Empowered Touch, it’s a great way to keep Lifebloom rolling, and is a great filler spell for any occasion.
Our best AoE healing ability, Tranquility is severely limited due to its 8-minute cooldown. Great for stabilizing any group suffering from massive damage.
No matter how you choose to build your talent tree, you should include the first four. Nature’s Swiftness is optional.
A multi-target HoT, Wild Growth provides healing to 5 party members (6 if glyphed) within 15 yards of the target. Unlike any other healing spell, the target can be a player OR an enemy, so feel free to cast that Wild Growth on your favorite boss! Also be aware that the strength of the HoT decreases over the duration.
Tree of Life
Becoming a treant, excuse me, Tree of Life, greatly increases a druid’s throughput. Lifebloom can be cast on multiple targets, Regrowth becomes instant cast
and Wild Growth hits 2 more targets. Great for stabilizing a group during heavy AoE damage.
Probably the most difficult spell to master, Swiftmend is a heal which requires the presence of a Regrowth or Rejuvenation HoT to use. Swiftmend removes the HoT effect and replaces it with a direct heal, however, glyphing is highly recommended as it allows the HoT to remain active.
In addition, when talented with Efflorescence, Swiftmend becomes a direct heal with an AoE healing effect. Some players still have some confusion over the benefit of this green bed of healing goodness, so be sure to direct them to Kae’s instructional guide on Green Goo.
Free healing spell! Well, it’s not really free, but Nature’s Swiftness does allow you to make any Nature spell with a cast time of less than 10 seconds instant cast, which can be a real life saver!
One of our best situational abilities, Barkskin reduces incoming damage by 20%. Even better, it doesn’t eat a global cooldown, allowing it to easily be cast on the fly without interrupting your healing efforts.
Better than a mana potion, Innervate allows for the regeneration of 20% of your mana. If you have multiple caster druids in the raid, and you’ve all been nice enough to glyph it, be sure to cast on each other! That way you gain half of the mana regenerating effects — pretty snazzy.
Although it loses its appeal in a raiding environment, in 5-man groups, Thorns can help your tank do more damage and generate more threat in one tidy package. If you PvP or solo much as restoration, you might even consider investing in the glyph!
- In general, make sure that you can track spell cooldowns. Many of our spells have internal cooldowns, and wasting time attempting to cast spells on cooldown can adversely affect your performance.
- Cast Innervate at 80% mana whether you’re running a heroic or a raid.
- Don’t wait for an emergency for Barkskin. If you are taking damage, or have been targeted by an ability to take damage, use Barkskin. It can be utilized several times in any fight, and is your best self-healing tool.
- In Heroics, Thorns is a great trash damaging tool. In raids, it’s a mana hog.
- If you have Nature’s Swiftness, do not be afraid to use it. Although it has a long cool-down, if you never use it, you’re just wasting a talent point.
Many heroics depend on the type of damage being distributed: tank or group. For most trash, a Lifebloom on the tank, refreshed by Nourish and Healing Touch, and Wild Growth as needed on the group is sufficient.
For encounters where the tank is taking more damage, add a Rejuvenation. If still insufficient, add Swiftmend/Efflorescence.
Tree of Life/Tranquility should be utilized on most heroic boss fights, due to game mechanics, and is generally activated once the party in general reaches 50-60% health. (You can use earlier, but if you wait much later, a random damage burst could destroy your DPS–as always, depends on specific encounter).
For encounters where the group is taking primary damage, you can often Lifebloom and Rejuvenation the tank, and allow Lifebloom to expire to keep the tank topped off. This allows you to use Healing Touch procs on raid members. Lifebloom can also be shifted to specific group members if a known mechanic will be doing high damage to a non-tank target. Wild Growth as available and Rejuvenation / Swiftmend on the party instead of the tank depending on damage situation.
Regrowth, because of its high cost, should be used primarily in quick damage/healing scenarios where immediate healing is required.
HoTs are still the bread and butter of a druid’s raid healing toolbox, with Wild Growth, Rejuvenation, and Lifebloom leading the charge. Healing Touch should be utilized when Omen of Clarity procs make it available. Regrowth should be used for one-on-one band-aiding, with Tranquility as a once-per-encounter emergency raid heal. Tree of Life should be used as often as available, and should be one of the few times massive raid pre-hotting should occur.
Although Lifebloom is generally used solely on the tanks, in situations where raid damage is more sporadic, and tank damage is very evenly distributed (and easily handled by the primary tank healer) feel free to make Lifebloom more mobile, or as a buffer for known debuffs that will heavily damage a single player.
Swiftmend should be used as needed and available; however, when possible, it should be prioritized on a group over an individual player. You can always toss a Rejuv on yourself and drop the Efflorescence effect where needed personally if players are being too mobile, or not converging on the needed area quickly enough.
Tank healing in a raid will be quite similar to tank healing in a heroic dungeon — just keep adding HoTs until the tank isn’t dying! Lifebloom cannot be moved when you have primary tank healing duty, and if you are responsible for two tanks, a multi-blooming strategy is necessary. Nourish and Healing Touch will be the primary spells, in order to keep Lifebloom refreshed, although allowing Lifebloom to, well, bloom, when high-spike damage is incoming may prove necessary (although the timing can be difficult). Nourish will be your primary Lifebloom “refresh” spell due to its low mana cost. When possible, cast Healing Touch during Omen of Clarity procs. Do not be afraid to Regrowth as needed on “spiky” damage. Rejuvenation should be cast in prep of known damage to allow for Swiftmend.