I have two Trees: Tamaryn, the level 80 Tree, and Songlark, the level 62 Tree. Both were leveled as Resto back when leveling as Resto was seen as being at best a little unusual and at worst downright masochistic and insane. Either way: these days, with LFG and the ability to level pretty much without leaving a city, it’s much more feasible.
So, in the vein of my instancing tips for new hunters, here’s my advice for new leveling sproutlings:
1.) Rejuvenation and Regrowth are your friends. They are your bread n’ butter spells until you get higher up on the tree ladder. Use Rejuv as sort of a blanket heal, and use Regrowth to fill in the gaps.
2.) But what about Healing Touch? Acceptable as a pre-Nourish flash heal if you glyph and talent for it, but doing so is not mandatory by any means. Just be aware that unless you’re flash-heal-ifying it, you probably shouldn’t be using it (until you get Nature’s Swiftness). The cast time is too slow. Regrowth is almost as good, is a quicker cast, and has a HoT at the end.
3.) Who Should I Be Healing? In an ideal situation, the tank should be taking the most damage and you should be concentrating on that person. Obviously, there are things like AoE damage and the like. At low levels, the best you can do for minor AoE damage is to toss a Rejuv on everyone… it will usually take care of it. When crap hits the fan, you will need to prioritize your heals, in which case keeping the tank and yourself alive is probably the most important. Speaking of which…
4.) Watch your own health bar. I know this sounds silly, but I have this in here because this is a common mistake among new healers and heaven knows I had this problem for the longest time. I would be watching my party’s health bars like a hawk and suddenly die because I forgot to check my own. Don’t feel too bad– a lot of new healers fall victim to this. It’s just something to practice!
5.) When should I be healing? Back when I was leveling Tamaryn, I had to be veeeerrry careful about not healing too early, or I’d pull aggro. These days, thanks to greater tank threat generation, that problem is pretty much non-existent, although it’s still worth knowing about. Don’t unload all of your heals onto the tank right at the beginning of a pull. Toss on a Rejuv just as he’s running in and then go from there.
After that, thanks to the magic of TreePower, you will find in many lower-level dungeons that you don’t have a lot to do other than let your HoTs tick. Don’t worry, if you like casting, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to Heal Like a Maniac in raids once you’re all grown up. (*cough Valkyr Twins cough*)
6.) Tranquility? Awesome for when AoE damage gets out of your control. Causes a ton of threat, but again– that’s not as big of an issue now as it used to be.
A note here, for when you get into raids: It only effects the members of your party. That is, the five of you that you see in your party and not the entire raid. Still, don’t immediately dismiss this spell just because you are in a raiding environment. I think I was once laughed at for using it in a raid (I say “think” because what happened was that somebody made a non-specific snide comment right after I used it.) Assuming that was directed to me, what that person didn’t realize was that everyone in my party, myself included, was taking tons of AoE damage. Tranquility was perfectly justified and I got the last laugh. So there.
7. Barkskin is Awesome. You get Barkskin at level 44. Put it somewhere prominent on your action bars and learn to love it. Mobs on you? Barkskin. You’re taking lots of damage? Barkskin. You get one of those random huge DoT debuffs that various mobs like to fling at you? Barkskin. A lot of new trees forget about this spell, but it’s amazing, so get in the habit of using it!
8. What Do I Do With this Newfangled Lifebloom Spell? Use it when you need an extra HoT. Use it when you anticipate someone taking a lot of damage in the next five or six seconds. Use it when Clearcasting procs so you get free mana back. Bellweather has some awesome Lifebloom tips (as well as hot pictures of Gambit) over at her blog.
9. Only YOU Can Prevent Forest Fires: I know we’ve all heard “Don’t stand in the fire” a million kazillion times before, but it bears repeating if you are new to healing because sometimes, we just get so zeroed in on staring at those health bars that we forget to watch our surroundings. Don’t let that happen to you! Remember– you’re a druid and as such you have a bunch of heals that you can cast while moving. Not to mention that a quick shapeshift will get you out of most snares, and you’ve got Cat Form + Dash at your disposal if absolutely necessary. Don’t stay rooted (groan) to the spot when bad things happen.
10. Dance Often. Because you’re a tree, and not dancing is a crime.