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!
Back when hunters were my only endgame characters, I would get super jealous of those healers and tanks who could seemingly daintily dip a toe into LFG and be in a group seconds later, while I still sat waiting… waiting… waiting…
I saw being a healer or tank as being like the Beatles or Elvis as people flung themselves onto their car. Everyone wants you. Everyone loves you. You are needed.
And ya know what? Having an 80 healer has largely proven to nail that point home. On my druid I get invites for PuG heroics in a matter of seconds, most days.
But there is another side to that too. A whole ‘nother side that I didn’t realize until last night.
See, I finished up our weekly ToC25 on my hunter. I was getting sleepy cause I’d been up for a really long time. But there was somebody in our Vent (though not in our guild) begging for a healer for a quick Ulduar10 he was setting up. He’d been searching for a while, apparently, with no luck.
So, I hopped on my druid and went. With the strict conditions laid out from the top that I was getting tired and could only stay for a few bosses until they found another healer.
Aaaand a couple hours later I was still there. Eyelids drooping, reaction time all over the place. Why? Cause I felt bad leaving. I was a healer. They needed me. The Raid Leader would whisper me every so often, “I’m sorry, but I can’t find another healer :(” So I stayed. Even though I really just wanted to go to bed. It was a bizarre phenomenon.
Finally somewhere around Thorim or Mimiron or one of those bosses (I was too tired to really have any sort of situational awareness anymore, and any remaining healing skills I was hanging onto had been flushed down a proverbial toilet sometime around Hodir anyway), a DPS had to leave. “No problem, we can replace a DPS really easily,” said the Raid Leader.
And suddenly I saw the horrible other side of the coin of being “needed”. Suddenly I really, really missed being an expendable, “DisPoSable” DPS.
But then the Raid Leader added that now would be a good time for me to leave, and they would tough it out and try to find another healer, so I mumbled something incoherent and hearthed away and was asleep within about five minutes.
Man. You healers and tanks didn’t tell me you had it so hard with the Guilt complex. I’m sorry. /pets you all
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.
I’ve actually been playing my healer a lot lately. Mostly because she’s been sitting around in this patchwork mixture of blues, Naxx10 my-first-epics, and super OP new-badge-stuff, and I’d like to even that out a little and that way potentially be a help to my guild in the future if an extra healer is needed. (I know you’re about to warn me “Don’t do it Pike, once they start taking your healer you’ll never get to DPS again!” but my guild is actually unusual and informs me that “TAWYN IS 4 FITE”, so I don’t have too many worries about having to scrap DPS forever.)
Not to mention, ever since Tawyn got that trinket, DPS’ing heroics has turned into “Hey check it out, I can pound on random buttons and get 4k DPS”, so I’d might as well play something that can use the badges a little more, eh?
I’ve also started to enjoy my Tree more ever since I started using Lifebloom again. I stopped using it at the advice of a Very Good Tree who told me you could do just fine with Regrowth/Rejuv/Nourish, and I tried that style for a while, and it was effective and you got less overheal, but I didn’t like the style. Druid Healing, to me, has always been like Disc Priest: it’s about damage prevention and anticipating when people are going to take damage, and pre-healing. But with a Regrowth/Nourish heavy style, I was back to Whack-a-Mole, and it just wasn’t as fun. So I’ve gone back to my tactic of triple-stacking Lifebloom on the tank, and letting it bloom (for your instant heal + mana back), and using my other heals as needed for AoE damage or an extra buffer or preventative stuff. It is just a lot more fun to me and I don’t have any mana problems with it.
Anyways, I’ll stick my Tree in LFG for heroics that I know are Super Easy to Heal. Heroics that are Super Easy to Heal = Nexus, UK, Drak’theron Keep, and VH. Maybe CoS if I’m feeling adventurous. Some of the others are pretty easy too but they’ll have some aspect to them that I don’t like or something– for example, the Chain Lightning crap in Halls of Stone, or the stupid fish in the water in Gundrak. I have actually now successfully healed HToC as well, and it was a very smooth run, but I’ve convinced myself that it was a fluke and am still scared to go in there, for the most part, so it is also off of the list.
For some reason I keep getting invited to Nexus, and for some reason I keep going, despite the fact that Heroic Nexus is shaping up to be where all the bad PuGs happen.
First Special Group:
Consisted of a Fury Warrior who was doing a spectacular and amazing 417 DPS, and a Paladin tank who was running out of mana about 10 seconds into every pull, and blaming it on me not healing him enough. And for those of you who are about to say that he was overgeared: he was in Blues and getting upgrades from this Heroic.
After defeating Anomalus the whole group (sans-me) bravely leapt off the edge into that hole– you know the one I’m talking about– the Hole of Death From Which There Is No Rez’ing.
One guy had to abruptly leave because apparently his wife was yelling at him or something, and our brave, mana-thirsty Paladin Tank decided we could four-man it! Of course, he wasn’t aware of the fact that I was outDPSing the Fury Warrior with Moonfires and Starfires between heals, but hey. We actually somehow finished the Heroic. I was shocked.
Second Special Group:
This group actually wasn’t as bad, and the tank was way overgeared. When you’ve got a way overgeared tank and a healer who has at least a small idea of what is going on, you can brute force your way through most heroics even if none of the DPS is doing over 1.2k (as was in this group). As such, this heroic went overall smoothly, it just took three times as long as it should’ve.
I’ll admit to making a mistake here, namely, all the DPS jumped down, sans-tank, after fighting the Ormorok the Tree Shaper Guy. Now for those who do not know, there are baddies roaming around down there. In a moment of hubris I figured I could keep the DPS up and save the day, since two of them were plate wearers, so I hopped down as well, but it turns out that Arms Warriors and Ret Paladins are about as squishy as a mage. Byebye Tree. Hey, I tried, right?
As I was flying away from that run, I got a whisper asking me to heal H. Nexus. I was very relieved to inform them that I’d just finished it and was saved.
I don’t think I’m going to put myself in LFG for Nexus again for a while…
The fact that we got this far, as a PuG, and on my first trip in there on my druid– and as one of just two healers for a good bulk of it, still hasn’t quite sunk in yet. Furthermore, that last Kel’Thuzad fight was one of the smoothest things I’ve ever seen, me half-asleep and yet somehow still feeling “in the zone” and Rejuv+Swiftmending those iceblocks… it felt amazing. I’m so glad I FRAPS’d it. I can’t wait to make a movie; “The Day Pike Played a Druid And Was Actually Good At It”.
…did I mention I got the [Safety Dance] achievement today too? Irony. Both my level 80s have it now o_o
Lemme tell you though, healing Naxx is nuts. It’s all improvisation. I am completely tuckered out.
Right after that was over, I hopped over to Tawyn, and was soon chucked a guild invite from the guild I was accepted to. Check it out, it lines up with my title + name and everything:
The second I joined I was met with several very friendly “hellos” and “welcomes” and lots of jovial banter. I felt almost bowled over with the niceness.
Also, I got a whisper from the guy who invited me. “Wanna come to our alt-run of 10-man Ulduar?”
I told him I had to go to bed because it was super late.