Let’s face it, the restoration tree for druids is pretty tasty, and it might be tempting to fill it up to the rafters and neglect the dipping that can be done in the balance and feral trees. However, since every player’s raid team and healing situation is a bit different, I’m also not going to just provide an explanation as to why you should take some random suggested build off the interwebs (although I’m providing plenty of base builds throughout the text).
Instead, we’re going to build down the tree, and discuss ways in which your build may differ based on your healing situation. Talents I consider vital will be marked as required per tier level, and trade-offs between tiers as you build down will be discussed. Since you must have 5 talents per tier, and 31 points in the build, I’m hoping this will provide a good framework for players creating their builds.
Tier 1 – 3
Required Talents: Natural Shapeshifter, Naturalist, Heart of the Wild, Master Shapeshifter, Improved Rejuvenation, Revitalize
You can easily reach tier 3 simply by taking required talents. However, this is the tier on which a build can founder, because you must now make some decisions based on your healing style and role in groups.
For most builds, taking Living Seed will prove the best choice, since it leads to Efflorescence, a planted AoE activated by Swiftmend. However, in some cases, Efflorescence might not be the right choice for your group. If this is the case, taking Living Seed doesn’t provide sufficient healing to invest three points into, since you do have other options:
- Blessing of the Grove: A definite incentive to balance druids, BotG also increases healing on Rejuvenation and is an ok choice for last ditch point investments.
- Perseverance: Damage reduction is always a good place to invest some talent points. On some encounters, and when mana-saving talents are no longer required, Perseverance can become a leading “optional” talent.
- Nature’s Swiftness: The power of this talent rests entirely on the druid, their healing patterns, and the ability to use the ability. If you seldom proc on demand abilities, or are rarely in a situation where a immediate directed heal is required, skip this talent. However, from a utility standpoint, this can be a firm investment.
- Fury of Stormrage: I would not suggest this talent to any PvE tree at end-game.
At this point, if not taking Living Seed, you only need 2 points in the tree to continue further; however, in order to finish this build, you will need at least 4 points (and up to 6) in these talents.
Tier 4 – 7
Required Talents: Nature’s Bounty, Empowered Touch, Wild Growth, Gift of the Earthmother, Swift Rejuvenation, Tree of Life | If Living Seed, then Efflorescence
Living Seed Build | Non-Living Seed Build
Whether you chose a Living Seed built or not becomes rather irrelevant at this point in the tree. Virtually every talent is useful, and the choice depends heavily on your mana needs, play-style, and group composition. Optional talents for these tiers includes:
- Malfurion’s Gift: The mana-saving benefits of Malfurion’s Gift are not huge, nor are they simple. By having additional Omen of Clarity procs, the druid can increase direct healing to a specific target by casting Healing Touch at no cost; however, depending on playstyle or role, if the procs are not utilized, then the talent is a waste.
- Nature’s Cure: Unless your raid team ok’s this lack of utility, it’s a required talent. For 5-man group play, consider it mandatory.
- Nature’s Ward: I personally would not suggest this talent. Self-healing on a ranged player, however vital, is just not the priority that improved healing talents, or mana-saving talents can provide.
Balance and Feral Talent Choices
Required Talents: Nature’s Majesty
Investment into the Balance and Feral trees is going to depend rather heavily on the player. Due to increased healing demands and reduced regeneration, maximizing mana pools and decreasing mana cost is a big factor for many restoration players right now.
The Moonglow/Genesis Build
Living Seed Build | Non-Living Seed Build
There are two talent choices that restoration druids may want to pick up in the balance tree: Genesis or Moonglow. In order to reach the second tier, you must invest 3 points in Nature’s Grace. While not a total waste, the benefits of Nature’s Grace for restoration druids is slim since it only procs on Regrowth cast, and is only available once a minute.
The same build can be used substituting Moonglow for Genesis to increase the effectiveness of HoTs and Swiftmend by 6%.
Since most players taking this build are concerned about mana, taking Furor in the feral tree is a good choice, even at 2/3.
The Non-Balance Build
Living Seed Base Build
If you don’t want to invest that heavily into the Balance tree, then you can surely re-invest yourself in the restoration tree. Any of the optional talents discussed earlier in the restoration tree are viable, as well as Furor in the feral tree (3/3 can be taken in this build). The need for a non-Living Seed build also becomes moot if you choose not to invest heavily into the Balance tree — you either have to take the Living Seed points OR invest in Nature’s Majesty without Genesis or Moonglow — and is not suggested.
Despite the smaller trees, there is still quite a bit of flex when determining how best to build your own spec. Although I’d love to say, this is all you’re ever need to know about restoration druid talenting, I also understand that a number of choices I’ve labeled as required have built-in prejudices based on my own healing style. Since that’s the case, do some more reading by visiting some more experienced folks: