I used to play my druid a lot. Heck back in Wrath of the Lich King I raided on my druid a lot. She was a proud Tree and had been that way her entire druidic career. I loved the whole shapeshifting aspect of druids. Not everyone felt that way – a lot of people wanted to see their character or their armor or whatever. Not me; I already had one night elf, I didn’t need to stare at another all the time. Seeing her in various forms was fun and the highlight of the class to me.
Then Blizzard put Tree Form on a cooldown, and since then I haven’t played my druid. I’m not even kidding. It’s been, what, five years? Six years? She’s sitting in Stormwind in WotLK raid epics.
Is it silly to be attached to something so trivial as a pixelated form on your screen? Yeah, probably. But I was attached. I loved my druid because I loved my tree. I missed my tree.
Since then Blizzard has added a glyph that means you can be in the old treant form all the time, but somehow it’s not the same. Between “real” tree form now being optional and the fact that 90% of balance druids I see are glyphed into astral star form rather than Moonkin, it feels to me like the game is downplaying what was always my favorite part of druids – being able to turn into weird crazy stuff. Yes, all of this is of course a choice. Yes, this is what other people want, and I accept that. I wouldn’t want to take these options away from anybody.
Cataclysm is really shaping up to be exceeding my expectations. Just playing alts is keeping me more than occupied. I haven’t felt this way since I started playing in ’07. It’s really great.
Both of my high-level hunters are now 81. One is in Hyjal and one is in Vash’jir. I’m keeping them fairly even level-wise and having a lot of fun with it. I did… Blackrock Caverns, I think it’s called? Man. I’m still not sure if I hated or loved that dungeon. It’s sort of a weird mix of both. I hated it because it took about two hours in my PuG group and we wiped more than I have wiped in months. I loved it because the boss mechanics and strats were actually interesting. One of them had beams that you’re supposed to stand in. “Oh, like Netherspite in Kara?” I asked. “Yep,” was the reply. It made me happy. Someone else who had done Kara. Because everyone should do Kara. <3
Speaking of Kara, did you know that Attumen is solo'able by a level 80 resto druid, if you have twenty minutes and a lot of patience?
Now you know!
You can boomkin through the trash with ease, but when you’re tanking both Attumen and Midnight separately at the beginning of the encounter you just end up taking too much damage. Never fear, Tree Tank is here! Waiting around for Innervates was the most time-consuming part.
As always, he failed to drop my necklace, which I will never ever see.
Afterward I switched back to boomkin, charged into that room full of trash and popped Barkskin, Starfall, and Hurricane, and died in a beautiful blaze of glory.
…and speaking of boomkins…
A few months back when I mentioned that I didn’t think I would have money for Cataclysm, you guys really responded. So much, in fact, that not only could I afford Cataclysm, but I could also afford to buy WoW cards for my younger sisters (their accounts were long since canceled due to lack of funds) and also get them Wrath of the Lich King (they were still back in BC-land) and Moonkin Hatchlings. They’re really excited to be back, and the first thing we did was organize a Moonkin Family Reunion, complete with pet biscuits.
The second thing we did was get onto the boat to go to Borean Tundra. Or, we would have, if the boat didn’t glitch and strand a poor level 70, without Cataclysm, in Vashj’ir. Yeah I can’t put my finger on that one either…
Fortunately I went and rescued her. She promptly set her hearthstone to that boat as a joke, which made me panic until she pointed out that she can teleport to Moonglade. Ohhh yeah, I forgot druids could do that.
tl;dr: Alts are fun, dungeons are fun-strating (my new portmanteau of fun and frustrating), Karazhan is still the best raid and boats are glitchy.
This is something that happened to me a while back so the details are pretty foggy, but for some reason I never blogged this and it deserves to be blogged, so:
I was playing my delightful Tauren Tree, the second resto druid in my arsenal (because I luff them), and I was… 62, 63?… at the time so I was in Slave Pens. Pretty standard run, things were going just fine and we were at that point between the second and final boss… you know what I’m talking about, right? All those billions of packs of Naga adds right as you get to that tunnel-ramp-thing that gets you to the druid who gives you the buff and all of that.
So anyway we get there and this segment was always a little tough, especially back in the day on heroic. Who remembers that?
Anywho, our pally tank picks up one too many packs and I get feared or something or other and the tank dies. We still manage to survive, but apparently said pally tank was too impatient to wait the ten seconds to get a rez in what had otherwise been a flawless run and wordlessly leaves the group.
This is followed by one of the DPS leaving the group as well.
So there we are, Me the Tree, an arms warrior DPS, and some other DPS whose class I can’t remember. He was a blood elf and I wanna say some sort of caster, but it’s not really all that important.
We re-queue and we wait.
…it’s been thirty minutes. No joke, cause I moused over the little icon and it said we’d been waiting for thirty minutes.
I was expecting the group to dissolve in a pile of “Well thanks anyway”s any minute now when the arms warrior, a lovely female orc, strapped on a shield and a one-handed sword. “Let’s clear trash while we wait,” she said.
So we did. Cleared trash. It was slow going and pretty healing intensive but we survived.
We got up to that final room with the druid and the last boss. We successfully freed the druid from his cage, killed the mobs that spawn when you do that, and got his buff.
We waited around for a few more minutes. Still no bites from the queue. The last boss in Slave Pens, who throws poisons and crap around and has always been a toughie, was looming in front of us.
I’m not sure how we came to the decision that we would give it a shot anyway, but we did. Arms warrior in Defensive Stance rushes in…
The first minute or so of the fight, I spent Tree-Tanking. Seriously. The boss was on me. I was Barkskin’d and spamming heals every cooldown.
Finally the warrior snags aggro. I couldn’t let down my guard; the warrior was squishy and this boss hits HARD and he hits EVERYONE with his AoE. I was out of mana so I popped Innervate. At this point the boss was maybe down to, oh, about 66% of his health or so. Yeah, this was gonna be a long fight.
Still we continue. I’m still healing on every single cooldown. It’s not long before I’m out of mana again (Tree druid mana efficiency sucks at this level) so I use a potion. I know, though, that Innervate isn’t gonna be ready next time I run out of mana, and the fight is still just as tough…
The boss is down to about 33%. I’m almost out of mana again. In fact, I’m down to my last two or three spells before I go OOM. I quickly plotted out in my head who best to use my final heals on and executed them… one last Regrowth on our pseudo-tank…
…I wince cause I know we’re gonna wipe now…
And suddenly something weird happens with the party frames and I blink, not really comprehending what happened, and suddenly the boss is down.
A few seconds later I realize that the party frames had jumped from three to five. The queue had finally popped and thrown our new party members right into the fray of the boss fight.
…easy Goodie Bag for those two, eh?
Arms warrior sends me a whisper. “Sorry about you having aggro, I didn’t realize that my one-handed sword skill was still 1.”
I can’t decide which is more fun, my warlock or my rogue.
My warlock is currently level 47 and I’m leveling her with my boyfriend’s warrior tank. His goal with the character is to Tank Everything In The Fracking Game at the Correct Level. That means if he has to XP-pause at 60 to tank the raids, he’ll do it. And if he has to XP-pause at 70 to do the same, he’ll do that too. And he has roped me into his nefarious plans.
For the record– The Boy is an amazing tank. And he is decked out in blues that are enchanted with stuff like Mongoose. And the other day in ZF I pulled aggro off of him on the final boss.
THAT IS HOW AWESOME MY WARLOCK IS.
Also fun. Did I mention fun yet?
Oh by the way, I never die. Like the other day, after the ZF run was finished, it was just me and The Boy left in group and we were kind of running around for fun and we ran smack into a respawned pack of mobs.
The Boy charges into the fray and is promptly Hex’d and turned into a frog.
Mobs all beeline for me.
/Howl of Terror
Yeah that was fun.
But then there is my rogue. Oh my gosh. I have the goggles + the heirlooms and my rogue never dies either. …okay, that was an exaggeration. I’ve died a couple times on my rogue. Sucks to not have heals. Still, I’ve also taken on unexpected packs of like four mobs, and lived to tell the tale. I usually have like 5 hit points left, but still. I LIVE. Also solo’d Hogger at the appropriate level. Did I mention that Evasion + BoA items + dynamite is OP? I love it so much.
It’s probably too early to say anything definitively about the class this early on, though, but it is SO FUN, I am so excited to do more leveling with this one. How did I never get into rogues before? Silly Pike!
So, I’m seriously considering changing mains for Cataclysm (assuming I am still playing– I still have so much stuff going on IRL that I’m really just playing it by ear at this point). No real major reason, just kinda want to try something different. The question, though, is change to what? Healy Druid was my original inclination but I still haven’t recovered from the impending Loss of Perma-Tree, since Tree Form was the entire reason I rolled healy druid to begin with (I know, I’m lame), so now both warlock and rogue (and maybe Goggles Bear) are at the top of the contenders list. We’ll see how things go!
(Also toward the top of the list: Gnome Priest, and Goblin EVERYTHING.)
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.
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.
Need More Info?: I talk about Leveling Resto Specs here and about general Tree’ings here. Happy Healing!
So while my main account is out-of-commission, I’ve been dinking around on my second account, which is home to only a few little alties. The highest-level of them is a 61 tauren tree druid because just as I have an 80 Alliance Hunter and an 80 Horde Hunter, I also want an 80 Alliance Tree and an 80 Horde Tree, because that’s Just How I Am.
Anyways, the LFG tool has been great: as heals I can get a group within about ten seconds (in the rare event that “YOUR DUNGEON IS READY” doesn’t pop up immediately upon queuing). I’ve been doing the Random Instance thing near-daily, and all in all it’s been fun times.
Sooo today I queued up and got into a Ramparts group with three Death Knights and a warrior. The pulls start.
The first thing I notice is that pretty much everyone in the group is consistently taking damage. The second thing I notice is that nobody is holding aggro so half of the mobs keep ending up on me. Constantly.
“So, who’s tanking?” I asked after a couple pulls of this.
Three responses of “IDK” and one response of “everyone kind of is.”
“Umm, it’d be nice if we had a tank so I don’t have to keep spreading my heals out and running out of mana and pulling aggro as I do so,” I ventured.
“Don’t worry, I don’t pull aggro, I’m fury,” said the warrior as his health mysteriously plummeted like a rock.
At this point I was sort of tempted to tell the group “gotta go, house is on fire” or something, but I decided to continue on. How bad can it be, right?
Four wipes later we were at the first boss.
Lemme say that again. Four wipes later we were at the first boss.
It was here that somebody decided to randomly designate one of the DKs as a tank, and said DK said “ok” and then charged in with Blood Presence up. Halfway through the boss I realized I was Treetanking and since my barkskin + spam heals only go so far at level 61 I ended up kicking the bucket. Somehow most of the rest of the group survived, though, so it wasn’t entirely a loss!
We doggedly made our way up the ramp and into that big room that branches off to the two final bosses. I think we wiped another two or three more times in here but I’d lost count long before. It was here that I decided to pull up Recount out of curiosity: not only had all five people in the group taken roughly the same amount of damage, but I was sitting at a solid third at 20%. Tree Tank is 4 fite.
We took out that dragon boss first; miraculously nobody died, although yes, I was effectively tanking for a good portion of the fight.
After the boss went down and Hellreaver was distributed, one of the DKs said “ok see ya” and dropped group. A second DK– one who had spent the entire instance talking about how all of his gear was red, and subsequently not doing anything about it– followed suit. Three of us were left with one boss to go.
At this point I was kind of desperate; we’d somehow managed to get this far and I wasn’t about to quit now. “We can three-man it!” I said, exasperated. So we attempted to three-man Omar the Unscarred and failed miserably.
There I sat at the Spirit Healer, feeling a bit dejected. “Well, thanks for the group anyway,” I typed out in party chat.
And then suddenly, out of nowhere, the warrior decided that we could do it and started doling out helpful tips for the DK. I was kind of shocked, wondering if this was the same guy who moments earlier had told me that he never pulls aggro, but hey, I wasn’t going to question it, and we all agreed to give it one more try. The three of us got ourselves up there, standing in front of the boss, and then pulled.
…so, I don’t care that it was a boss in normal Hellfire Ramparts, this was the most intense WoW fight I’ve been in since Hodir or medium-mode Iron Council or one of those crazy fights. Because we were taking so much longer than usual to down the guy, Omar was pulling trick after trick out of his little magic bag; tossing people into the air, flinging curses around, summoning felhunter adds– you name it, he was doing it. I was spamming heals like my life depended on it, which it quite literally did, and more than once my screen was flashing red and I was sure I would meet my doom when somehow a Swiftmend would pull me through. I frantically Tranquility’d at one part and popped Innervate not long after. That was right about when, as expected, I pulled aggro and tree-tanked the boss for at least ten seconds. The DK eventually regained aggro, fortunately.
I was still spamming buttons and using at least one heal at every global cooldown, and it was here that I realized that not only was I almost out of mana again and had no Innervate to use this time, but the boss was sitting at about 15% health.
So I did what I had to do.
Popped a mana potion, ran up to the boss, and started tree-punching him between heals. The boss was still going nuts; cursing people, throwing people in the air, and doing crazy AoEs and I was tree-punching him.
And then somehow he went down. My mana was shot. The warrior was still taking damage from something; I had enough mana left for one Rejuvenation on him which managed to save him from certain death as we all sat around afterward with less than 10% health each. The WoW gods were apparently pleased with me because Crystalfire Staff dropped. I rolled Need and won it.
Then I took my staff and hearthstoned and went as far, far away as I possibly could.
The moral of the story is: Don’t knock Tree Punch, it could save your life someday.
Oh, and for the love of all that is good and holy, if you are putting yourself in LFG as a tank (or healer), PLEASE BE PREPARED TO FILL THAT ROLE.
The winner of the “400,000 Site Views” contest was Bloedhoorn, a tauren resto/kitty druid. This sort of presented a unique challenge to me because it meant I could write a story where druids were the focus, which I hadn’t done before. Anyways, as the character was being described to me, I was informed that Bloedhoorn spent a lot of time in tree form jumping around, dancing, and waving, which “comes naturally to being a Tree.” I really liked that last comment so much that I tried to see if I could base a whole story off of it. I also tried to incorporate Bloedhoorn’s love of companion pets. Hopefully I pulled it all off:
Bloedhoorn was in the form of a chocoloate-colored dire raven, flying high, high above Hellfire Peninsula. He rarely went to the Outland these days, so it was an unusual excursion, but he had recently been informed that a young druid from his home village who was following in his hoofsteps was in the area, and as he knew her family he wanted to drop by and see if she needed any assistance.
He circled Thrallmar a few times and then saw what he was looking for: A tree. A treant, to be more specific. Practicing her spells; wooden hands glowing with energy. Bloedhoorn smiled to himself and flew down and alighted next to her. He nodded his avian head and squawked out “Songlark, I presume?”
The treant looked at him curiously. It was notoriously difficult for a druid to speak much while in the form of a tree, especially if said druid was newer to the art and unused to having, quite literally, a wooden mouth. So instead, Songlark made a sort of grunting noise and nodded.
Bloedhoorn chuckled and effortlessly shifted into his tauren form. “I am Bloedhoorn,” he said, and bowed. “You may not know me, but I know your family well. I heard you were here and came to see if you needed any advice from a more experienced druid.”
Songlark digested this information and and forced her stiff mouth to work, although she was sure the words came out sounding a little funny: “It is nice to meet you.” She bowed back, leaves atop her head quivering.
“I see you were practicing before I arrived,” said Bloedhoorn. “How is that going for you?”
Songlark shifted back into her tauren form, where she would have more freedom to speak naturally. “I’m not sure,” she then admitted. “I don’t feel like I am doing all I could be. I know my basic spells– the ones all druids know. But very few tricks beyond that. I worry I may be… a hindrance…”
Bloedhoorn nodded. “I remember feeling that way, when I was where you are at in your studies,” he said. “We have some things to practice, then. But first, we must get out of this wasteland and go somewhere more fitting. Come!” he shifted into his stormcrow form, but Songlark remained stationary, looking a bit sheepish. “I… have not learned to fly, yet.”
Without a word Bloedhoorn then turned into a sleek cheetah. “No worries,” he said, as the younger druid followed his lead. “Now, come!”
The two dashed out of Thrallmar, and not much later they were among the somewhat ethereal woods of Terokkar Forest, both in tree form. “It is easier for a druid healer to practice when among real trees, where we can pull on the inspiration of nature,” Bloedhoorn explained. “Now, Songlark, I will show you a trick. We specialize in healing someone’s wounds slowly, over time, however, in an emergency, we can draw these energies together to heal all at once.” He was about to demonstrate when suddenly he paused. He thought he’d seen something move, out of the corner of his eye…
But then it was gone again. Chalking it up to a bird flitting about, Bloedhoorn prepared to cast a spell. But then, wait! There it was again! Something was moving in the forest.
“What is it?” Songlark asked, but Bloedhoorn held up a branch to silence her. Slowly he scanned the area with his eyes. Nothing but trees.
One of them was moving.
A treant! Or more accurately…
“Another druid?” said Bloedhoorn quietly to himself.
It was! Another druid in tree form, watching them quietly. Songlark saw it as well, and the two tauren stared at it. It was downright unusual to see a druid in tree form out in the field, especially alone. And Bloedhoorn, being fairly well-traveled, immediately recognized it as not just any druid, but a Night Elf druid. He relayed this information to Songlark, who gasped. “Does she want to fight?”
“I would have a hard time believing that,” said Bloedhoorn. “One does not do much damage in the form of a treant, as I am sure you have learned already. No, let us take this slowly.”
He took a few steps toward the other tree, and waved. She waved back.
Bloedhoorn pointed to himself and Songlark, and then bowed. He was trying to get across the message that they were friendly, since he knew they would not be able to speak the same language. The other tree watched them intently, and seemed to understand what was being said because she nodded.
Bloedhoorn then pointed to the other tree and shrugged. It was his way of asking what she was doing there.
The other tree pointed to herself and said, “Tamaryn.” It must have been her name. Then, she began a series of wild gesticulations that absolutely baffled the two tauren. She scratched at her face with her leafy hands, then made a paddling motion, then pointed at the surrounding forest, and finally slumped over in a look of despair. When these gestures were met with a confused look on the faces of the other trees, she repeated them.
“What’s she trying to say?” asked Songlark.
“I don’t know, but I think maybe it has to do with it raining orange frogs?” Bloedhoorn guessed. “These night elf types are very unusual.”
“I can see that,” said Songlark.
Tamaryn appeared exasperated at this point, but then suddenly her face lit up, as though she had an idea. Suddenly she shifted into a sleek, dark bluegreen panther.
The two tauren jumped. Such an action was potentially threatening, afterall, since the form of a cat was frequently used to fight. But before they could react, the other druid turned back into a tree and pressed her hands very close together, as though trying to point out that something was being squeezed together… or perhaps…
“I KNOW!” Songlark said. “She is trying to say something is very small.”
“Hrmm…” said Bloedhoorn thoughtfully, his tree-face scrunched up in thought.
Tamaryn repeated this series of actions a few times: turning into a panther, then making the “small” gesture, and then pointing at the forest. And all of a sudden, it dawned on him.
“Small cat. She’s lost a small cat!” said Bloedhoorn. “And it is hiding in the forest somewhere. Perhaps she wants us to help look.”
Bloedhoorn held up a finger to the other druid, signaling her to wait. Then he turned to Songlark. “You use the swiftness of the cheetah to scout around this area. I’ll look from the sky.”
Songlark nodded and shifted into cheetah form. As she did so, Bloedhoorn became a stormcrow and flew high into the sky. As he hovered there and scanned the area with sharp eyes, he found several questions entering his head, the main one being why the other druid did not look through flight herself. He could sense that she was just as powerful and trained as he was. There must have been some reason why she was staying in treant form.
He flew a bit east; he saw Songlark searching every nook and cranny below him and Tamaryn also looking– still as a tree. Realizing this might take a while, Bloedhoorn took a deep breath and closed his eyes, trying to imagine that he was a pet cat that belonged to a treant. Where might he hide…
…in the branches of another tree, perhaps?
Swooping lower a bit, he flew between the trees of the Terokkar woods. He kept his eyes wide and his ears open, and it wasn’t long before he heard it. A quiet, barely perceptible “Mew…”
Immediately he stopped, wheeled around, and spotted a small white kitten perched atop a very tall tree. Its eyes were wide and it was staring rather nervously at the ground that was far below as it mewed helplessly. Smiling to himself, Bloedhoorn alighted on a branch next to it, gently took it by the scruff of its neck in his beak, and then fluttered down to the ground, where the night elf druid was waiting.
Tamaryn’s face lit up and she cheered as Bloedhoorn set the kitten down, which immediately ran up and hid in the branches atop Tamaryn’s head. A series of words tumbled out of her mouth, which Bloedhoorn didn’t understand, but which he assumed by her expression were words of gratitude, so he bowed at her.
Tamaryn bowed back, and then with a last wave, she walked away into the misty woods– still as a treant.
Bloedhoorn returned to tauren form and watched her go, rather mystified. At that moment, Songlark dashed up as a cheetah. “You found the cat?”
“Yes, it has been returned to its owner. I know why she was in tree form now; the cat appears to live on her head.” He scratched his scalp.
“Huh…” Songlark shifted into tauren form herself. “Well, that was an, uh… unexpected little diversion.”
Bloedhoorn chuckled. “What did I tell you, the Night Elves are a bit odd. You can’t blame them really; they’re purple, afterall. Now, where were we…”
Ahem. Sorry. That wasn’t the point of the post. >.> Although it is quite true.
Any-whotsit, I get a frequent amount of e-mail or comments asking about how one should go about leveling a hunter, and with my latest TreePost I’m also getting some questions on how one levels a Tree. So I figured I’d give it a quick rundown!
Hunter is something I’ve leveled a bajillion times by now and I can toss up a leveling talent spec in my sleep. It typically goes something like this: dump 5 points in Lethal Shots (because I’m a Crit Monster), and then head down a “modified” version of “Beast Master Raid”. By modified, I mean 5/5 Endurance Training (instead of 5/5 Improved Aspect of the Hawk), and 3/3 Thick Hide. I used to also do 2/2 Spirit Bond but at this point I think Animal Handler is the stronger talent, even when leveling, and with Endurance Training and Thick Hide, most things would be hard-pressed to kill your pet anyway, especially if you choose to go all out and nab a Glyph of Mending.
Now remember, you really can’t go too wrong with a leveling spec. It’s not like Elitist Jerks is sitting around theorycrafting the most efficient ways to kill ten kobolds. Although that would amuse me.
Beast Mastery is obviously not your only option here. Tawyn leveled to 58ish as Marksmanship. Leveling Survival seems to be super in vogue now from inspecting the lowbies I see running around; I worry about potential pet-threat issues once you get Explosive, but hey, it’d make a great challenge I’m sure!
“I’m a level one hunter and have no idea where to start! Help me Pikey-wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope!” is another similar question/plea I’ve been on the receiving end of a lot. My answer here would be to direct you to my 12-part “So You Want to Play a Hunter” series, which will walk you step by step through playing a hunter from levels 1 – 70.
Caveats About Said Guide: This was written pre-WotLK, so a.) it only takes you up to 70, and b.) Some of the stuff regarding things like Auto/Steady shot weaving, certain levels at which you learn things, and a few abilities are not present or are significantly different. Still, most of the lowbie stuff is relatively accurate, and it’s the best I can offer until someone ties me to my desk and kicks me into rewriting the thing for WotLK.
Most people will tell you to either level Feral and tote around a healing set for instances, or level Balance. Pike will tell you that there is nothing that will teach you to heal the way leveling full blown Resto and living in LFG and healing instances will. This is why if I plan on being a healer at end game, I level as a healer. The experience is invaluable.
I do make a few tweaks here, although it depends rather on your style of how-you-will-(slowly)-kill-things-between-healing-dungeons.
If your style is to nuke things to death as a mini-moonkin, then you may want to stick to your standard resto spec, albeit maybe getting your Balance points out of the way first, or tweaking Balance a bit so you have the shortened cast time on Wrath/Starfire. Completely acceptable.
If you tend to do as I do and play as a RestoKitty, I’ll fill out 5/5 Naturalist and sometimes Furor as well. Neither of these talents are ones you will have at as a level 80 tree, however, they make leveling go considerably smoother. Some RestoKitties have even gone one or two tiers into Feral as well, though I’ve yet to try this myself.
As a RestoKitty, it may be to your benefit to keep some of the Rogue-ish gear you will no doubt acquire in your questing and travels and toss it on when you have to do a quest. When you combine that with a RestoKitty-ish spec, your solo’ing and questing– while it won’t be blazing fast– also won’t be as gimpy as people tend to assume it is, at least in my experience.
A word of warning, however: RestoKitty does become more difficult to pull off as you get higher in levels, so it may be worth your while to switch to the spellcasting method of solo’ing once you hit 60 or 70, or look into dual-specs.
Other options: RestoKin/Dreamstate typically involves going deep enough into Balance for Moonkin Form and then dumping the rest of your talent points into Restoration; something akin to this. This makes you a versatile, Red Mage-styled, jack of all trades who can heal pretty dang well and still kill things relatively quickly. I couldn’t do this myself, partially because I’m too in love with Tree Form and partially because I’m also in love with Wild Growth, however, I’ve heard that it’s very effective and might be something you want to look into.
RestoFeral is considerably rarer, and from what I can tell involves things like Nurturing Instinct and going about half deep in each tree. The lack of overlap between gear and talents would, I think, make this more unwieldy than RestoKin, but some people have done it, and it might be worth a shot if you really like RestoKitty.
Hokays! I hope that helped a bit and/or was able to clear some things up. Lemme know if I made some dire mistake (like saying Naxx boots dropped from Karazhan, not like I’ve uh, ever done that before of course >_>;;), in the meantime, I’m off to go read more Jules Verne <3
Let me begin by saying that this is a post that’s been rolling around in my head for some time now, but I am just now summoning up the courage to actually write it up. There were two reasons why this was. The first was that, as I’ve mentioned before, I try not to post too much non-hunter stuff on this blog, just out of the name of organization. Then it occurred to me that even though I personally care about that sort of thing, most of you probably don’t, so I stopped trying to let it bother me.
The second and larger reason was that I felt terribly unqualified to write about resto druids. When you grow up in a blogosphere that includes Phaelia, Bell, Leafshine, Sylly, and dozens of other druids who have been doing the Tree thing FOREVER, you sort of feel like you could never do a resto druid post justice since they’ve already covered everything and they probably know more than you do– not to mention you worry you’d be impinging on their territory.
But then as I was contemplating all of this on Twitter the other day, I made an offhanded comment about how I’d just finished two-healing ToC10 and found the last fight pretty intense, at which point someone replied with a comment like “Wait, you’re healing ToC10 but you don’t feel qualified to make a post on resto druid basics?”
At which point I realized he’s probably right, and I am just being overly humble as I am prone to do x_x
So here ya go, Pike Talks Trees:
What is tree healing? Probably the best I can do to describe it is to say that it’s an extremely versatile healing style that focuses largely on HoTs, or Heal-over-Time spells. Note the “extremely versatile” bit though: there are many different personal takes and styles regarding Tree Healing, and it’s one of the more interesting things about it I think that differentiates it from hunters or probably most DPS classes in general, which is much more “Here’s your spec, here’s your glyphs, here’s your rotation”-based.
Tree Healing is very mobile: a good percentage of the spells you will be using are instant cast so you can use them while jumping up and down or running around. No excuses here for standing in the fire!
Tree Healing is– with my personal style anyway– focused on damage prevention and “pre-healing”. When raid healing, you’ll work nicely with a healer who compliments that by filling in the gaps, so to speak. One of the more neat healing experiences I’ve had was healing Patchwerk; it was just me and a holy paladin and I was keeping the tanks stuffed up with HoTs while the paladin filled in the gaps. It worked quite awesomely.
Sort of like the vast number of healing styles available to you, there is definitely room for flexibility in your basic healing druid spec. A very rough framework would probably look something like this. You’ll also notice you have nine points leftover to play with, which you can use to tailor your spec to your own healing style. For example, if you find yourself using Nourish a lot, Empowered Touch and Nature’s Grace might be to your liking. If in addition to using Nourish a lot, you find yourself having mana issues, you’ll probably want to fill out Tranquil Spirit as well. Living Seed has its fans and detractors, personally I’m a fan myself, probably because I lean toward being a Regrowth fiend at times.
But yeah, the point is: you’ve got options!
Going along with the trend, we’ve got options as well when it comes to glyphs. Rejuvenation and Healing Touch (if you find yourself wanting a pre-Nourish flash heal) are great options for leveling, I’ve found. Once you hit 80, the Nourish glyph is extremely powerful, and the Swiftmend one is pretty nice as well. If you find yourself doing a lot of raid healing, Wild Growth is a great glyph. Innervate has its uses and fans, and if you use Regrowth a lot, the Regrowth glyph is delicious. Again, this all comes down to your personal style!
Ah yes, the meat (or bark?) of being a restoration druid. Let’s take a look at the spells you’ll have, and when to use them:
Healing Touch: This is the first healing spell you’ll learn and it’s… hmm. Let’s just say you’re probably never going to use it again except in conjunction with Nature’s Swiftness as an emergency heal, or more accurately, one of your “OH CRAP” buttons. I have Nature’s Swiftness + Healing Touch tied to a macro, and it’s basically an instant cast flash heal on 3 minute cooldown. I use it when someone’s health is dropping surprisingly quickly and I need to give them a buffer before I can start stuffing them full of proper HoTs.
Rejuvenation: This is a spell that most resto druids hold near and dear to their leafy heart, and rightly so. It’s very powerful and versatile. A DPS took some damage? Rejuv. You took some damage? Rejuv. Tank needs more HoTs? Rejuv.
You will probably notice yourself using this spell the most when you’re raid healing. Fights like Razorscale or Twin Valks are essentially just using Rejuvenation at every. Global. Cooldown. and Wild Growth every six seconds.
Learn to love it.
Regrowth: Assuming you’re crazy like me and leveling resto, once you’ve got your holy duo of Rejuvenation and Regrowth, that will become your healing style up until you hit the Outlands levels. Stick a Rejuvenation on the tank and use Regrowth to fill in the gaps. It’s very whack-a-mole-ish, but there ya go.
Your use of this spell at higher levels is going to be situational and depend largely on your own personal taste. I tend to use it as a flash heal more often than I use Nourish, simply because it also tacks on a HoT at the end that lasts for a whopping 27 seconds if talented correctly. So if you’re in a fight where there’s lots of AoE damage going around, you may as well use it and give yourself that extra HoT buffer, ya know?
A typical strategy that I would do for someone that needs a lot of flash healing, though, would be An “OHCRAP button” if needed, then Regrowth once, followed by as many Nourishes as you need to prop that person back up to near full.
That’s just me, though– as I said, Regrowth is kind of one of those “You’ve gotta come up with your own style for it” spells.
Nature’s Swiftness: Useful in conjunction with Regrowth at lower levels; once you hit the higher ones it exists primarily to be used in a macro with Healing Touch as an OHCRAP Button (see Healing Touch above).
Tranquility: A Massive AoE heal that is helpful for when AoE damage somehow goes haywire and gets out of your control, or useful as a one final attempt to salvage a potential wipe. I don’t use it very often though it can be handy on stuff like Gluth’s decimate. Also drives your opponents insane when you do it in the middle of a bridge turtle in Alterac Valley. >_>
Swiftmend: One of your OHCRAP Buttons, Swiftmend is essentially a flash heal on a reasonable cooldown. It’s unusual in that it heals for the amount that your HoT would heal for, but all at one time. Last I checked it picks Rejuvenation first if you have multiple HoTs on your target. Do remember that it won’t work unless you do have a HoT on your target first!
Wild Growth: Awesome AoE heal that you will quickly become addicted to. Very useful to use on the melee DPS/tank area since they tend to soak up the most damage; also handy for when a poison cloud or ring of fire pops up underneath an unsuspecting group of ranged.
I like to use it on pets if they need it, because I’m nice and because it gives a boost to the melee anyway.
I also like to jump into the middle of the action while using it on myself, because it makes me feel heroic. But then, I’m odd.
Lifebloom: Oh gosh. If I had to pick one resto druid ability with a long and windy history, I’d pick Lifebloom. Anyways, this sort of falls into the Regrowth category of “You’ve got to play around with it and find your own style” at this point.
It’s an unusual heal in that it stacks up to three times on a single target, and you can either “refresh” your stack by using another Lifebloom before it “falls off”, OR you can let it “bloom” for a decent little flash heal and get some of your mana back. Way back in the day all druids ever did was refresh Lifebloom, but these days that’s rather mana inefficient so you see more people letting it bloom.
I tend to use Lifebloom for the following situations: Heavy tank damage where an extra HoT is needed (Patchwerk, various enrages, etc.), an extra AoE heal if needed (in conjunction with Rejuvenation and Wild Growth), and situations where you can time when someone will need a heal (Loken in Halls of Lightning, Loatheb, etc.) I.E., if you time it just right, you can get the bloom to bloom right when someone will need it.
Once you get a decent set of gear it’s also pretty much the only spell you’ll ever need to use in heroics. Stick three on your tank, let ‘er bloom, rinse, repeat. Wild Growth and Rejuv for your occasional AoE damage and you’re good to go.
Some very good druids I’ve talked to never use this spell, others use it quite frequently. Experiment and figure out what’s best for you!
Nourish: Your token flash heal and the subject of Nourish vs. Regrowth debates everywhere! This is another one of those spells where some druids use it a lot, others not so much.
As for me, I tend to treat it sort of like a minor OHCRAP Button. That is to say, once my Nature’s Swiftness + Healing Touch macro and Swiftmend are gone, and I know HoTs aren’t gonna cut it, it often turns into a Nourish spam race. This works very nicely in conjunction with Nature’s Grace, which is the specific reason why I roll with that talent.
Druids who use this spell a lot tend to use it to “fill in” their HoTs, similar to what you’d do with Regrowth while leveling. Me, I often find this to be too whack-a-moley, so I tend to stick with HoTs. Your HoTs will do just fine in most heroics or five-mans and in raids you’ve probably got another healer (or two, or three, or…) taking the “place” of your Nourish for you.
Again though, mess around and see what you like!
WHAT’S IT LOOK LIKE?:
Now if you are newer to Tree’ing, you might be feeling like your head is reeling a bit at this point. All these heals? All these “situational uses”? But what about in practice?
Take a look at my tree’s healing output for a recent fight; in this case, Anub’arak at the end of ToC10:
You will notice that Rejuvenation was a good bulk of my heals, followed by Lifebloom. I’m assuming this is because what with the little bugs running around and that sort of thing, this was a fight where a lot of people were taking random bits of damage, so it was turning into a “Let’s toss a HoT on everyone” fest– which, you will discover, is prone to happen in raids a lot.
Here’s my overall data, for that entire ToC10 run:
Remember earlier when I said that I tend towards using Regrowth more than Nourish? Yeah. That thing heals like a truck. …erm. Maybe not the best analogy. But you know. (“heals like an emergency room”… “heals like Dr. House”…?)
Anyways, though, you’ll notice in this example that most of what you see here falls in line with what I was saying in my post. The addictive nature of Wild Growth (I used it 1319 times, apparently), the frequent use of Rejuvenation, with Regrowth and Lifebloom to back them up, and then Swiftmend, Healing Touch, and (to an extent) Nourish as the “OHCRAPS”.
Now, is this necessarily what your healing output would look like? Maybe, maybe not. The main thing about resto druids is that there are so many ways to heal and the best advice I can give to you is to practice. Healing is all about instinct and gut feelings and having to react and make decisions on the fly. There is no “rotation” because you don’t know what’s going to happen next. It’s very, very different from DPSing, and if you haven’t tried it, I’d suggest doing so! It’s like a whole different game.
Well, there you have it. How I do it when Pike iz 4 healz. I hope that this perhaps answered any questions or gave basic advice to any newer or up’n’coming trees, and hey, if this goes over well there might be more tree stuff in the future– at this point my druid has seen almost as much content as my hunter has, and you know what, I like it that way. Variety is awesome.