Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Druid Healing 101


Hi there! Are you not a druid? (*cough*reroll*cough*) Or maybe you're a low level druid or have a druid alt! Do you read through my blog and wonder what GotEM is but are too lazy to look it up on wowhead? Do you lay in bed at night, wide awake, wondering how lolblooms work? Perhaps during the day you stop, puzzled, gaze off into the distance with a look of curiousty, and ponder: Why do trees need so much spirit?

If so: Welcome, treenubs! This is the blog post for you!

Too often, I browse the blogs of other classes and have no idea what's going on. People throw out acronyms like there's no tomorrow. "Use FoF followed by a quick QsE and you'll be good to go!" ....Uh, what huh? Granted, people of that class KNOW what they're talking about, and the blog is written for those particular people, so the blogger isn't really responsible for telling me what FoF stands for, what it's used for, when it's used, and why. If I want to know, I can look it up, right? (Right!) A real life example from the DK forum on Elitist Jerks:

"Currently the best rotation for 44/27 (I actually use 45/26) is a priority rotation and PS is not a part of it. Start with IT, then prioritize HB>FS>IT and blood strike when needed. You'll be pumping out HB every 5 seconds and FS every time it's up so RPM is not needed."

As someone who doesn't play a DK, I have no. idea. what this means. Not that the poster is obligated to explain to a nub like me - it's just that I don't understand it.

And so, I think it might be nice to have a little information about the basics of druid healing, a little FAQ, if you will, for those that are interested.

And without further ado!

What's in a tree's spell arsenal?

We have a variety of heals (seven, to be exact), most of them are heal-over-time heals (aka, hots!). I'll list them here.

Lifebloom (alias Lolbloom; LB), instant cast
The bread and butter of trees everywhere! You spam cast three on the tank, wait til they tick down and are close to expiring, and then cast one more to keep the stack at 3 and refresh it. It costs a LOT of mana to keep these "rolling" (rolling LBs = refreshing a 3 stack before it runs out). You get back some mana if you let it bloom, plus your bloom is bigger if you have more stacks (bloom can crit up to 22k).

LBs tick each second. With good gear (Best in slot Naxx), a three stack on someone will tick for about 1500+ per second.

Rejuvenation (alias Rejuv), instant cast
A basic heal over time. Lasts for ~18 seconds. Ticks for about 2k every 3 seconds. When you put it on someone, it won't start to tick until the third second.

Wild Growth (alias WG, not to be confused with Wintergrasp), instant cast, 6 sec. cool down
Our AoE heal. Target someone, hit WG, and WG will start ticking on people who are near that target who need it the most. A 'smart heal'. It lasts for 7 seconds, and ticks once per second. It'll start off at around 800 per tick, and wind down to around 550 per tick towards the end.

Regrowth, 2.0 sec cast to start, typically a 1.7-1.8 sec cast with average haste
This heal packs a direct punch at the beginning, and then puts a slow hot that continues for ~27 seconds. It ticks every three seconds for about 1.2k. The direct heal portion of Regrowth crits for around 7-8k with good gear.

Nourish, 1.5 sec cast to start, typically 1.2-1.3 sec cast with average haste
A quick direct heal, no hot involved. But, if you have hots on the target, it will heal for more. A nourish that's not buffed by hots crit for about 6k. A nourish that's buffed with a lot of hots will crit for about 10k.

Healing Touch (alias HT), 3 sec cast to start, can be brought down by haste and talents.
Our one big heal. Druids rarely, rarely use this. It can crit for up to 16k in good gear.

Tranquility, a channeled spell. More on this in the "oh sh*t" section!

Too many spells, bah!

Lemme break it down =D

We have 3 spells that are strictly hots. All of these are instant casts:
1. Lifebloom
2. Rejuv
3. Wild Growth

We have 2 spells that are strictly direct heals, with cast times:
1. Nourish
2. Healing Touch

And one spell that's a hybrid of both: Regrowth.

(Tranquility is kind of in a class of it's own, being a channeled spell).

See how that breaks down?

Ok, so which of these healing spells do you actually use?

LB on the tanks - a three stack will do just fine. Keep those three stacks rolling (although it DOES cost a lot of mana to roll them, so we have to keep an eye on our mana).

If our mana gets low, OR, we want to get a big heal on a tank, we can let the 3 stack bloom. This will 1. give us mana back, and 2. give a huge heal to the tank.

Rejuv on the tanks as well.

Regrowth on the tanks as well.

(See a pattern here?)

Essentially, we want as many of our hots as possible on the tanks. That way, when they take damage, we have LB ticking, rejuv ticking, regrowth ticking, etc. The goal is to inch them back up to full health as quickly as possible. This also provides a "buffer" to other healing classes who might have lots of healing spells with cast times. While they're casting, we're helping out by inching the tank's health up.

There's also the raid to worry about, however. If a lot of people take damage, I look for someone who's in the middle of a lot of damaged people and pop a WG on them. This way, I know that all those people will get healed (well, five of them, at least). I also will sometime put one LB, or one rejuv, one some dpsers for "insurance". Rarely will druids use healing touch, because the cast time is just too long.

Nourish is used on raid healing (when you want a speedy heal on random dpsers) and on tank healing (when you have a bunch of hots on the tanks, you know Nourish will help heal them AND be buffed by all those hots).

Ok, but, but, TL,DR! I want to know what heal you use the MOST!

Good question. Unfortunately, there's not a clear cut answer to that.

Some data: In the past two weeks of raiding Ulduar (four raids total), my top three heals have consistantly been 1. Lifebloom, 2. Wild Growth, 3. Nourish. But other healers rely on regrowth more. Some use LBs a lot less than I do. Hell, SOME druid healers put all their talent points into buffing healing touch, and use healing touch a ton (I would say a very, very small percentage of druid healers do this, and only then to fulfill a specific role, like to fill a paladin's shoes. So don't think that's the norm).

What happens when sh*t hits the fan?

We have two "oh shi-!" buttons that we use regularly, and one that we use less regularly.

1. Swiftmend. If you have a rejuv or regrowth on a person, you can swiftmend them and it'll instant-heal them for around 7-8k health (crits for about 13k). Because the cooldown is fairly short (15 seconds), this isn't JUST reserved for tanks. You can swiftmend dps or healers, too, and know that in 15 seconds, it'll be ready to go again.

2. Nature's Swiftness (alias NS). A 3 min. cooldown - I definitely reserve this for tanks if at all possible. The most common way to use Nature's Swiftness is to macro it with Healing Touch - it will make your HT (your biggest heal!) an *instant* heal. (common macro alias: NS + HT).

Both of these are learned about halfway down the healing tree. You have to spec into them.

3. Tranquility. We channel this spell for 8 seconds, and it heals everyone in your party for about 4.5k every 2 seconds. It's got a 10 minute cooldown that can be reduced to 4 minutes with talent points. Keep in mind that it's only a party heal, and it's only for the druid's own party. This is usually a last ditch effort to keep dps alive during huge AoE damage.

Another minor "oh shi-" button that we can use is Barkskin, but this only works on ourselves. We can't cast it on other people, unfortunately. Barkskin is forever touted as a PvP ability (which it is), but it can also be used in PvE. It's got a 1 minute cooldown.

What's tree form do, anyhow? Why do you wanna heal in tree?

Tree form does a few things.

1. It increases our armor!

2. All of the hots we do in tree form that are received by people get straight up increased by 6%. Plus, it increases the overall spell power of your healing ("bonus healing", if you will) by 15% of your spirit. (See why druids want spirit now? ^^)

3. Having the talent point for tree form reduces the cost of mana for ALL healing spells.

So tree form = more healing power + less mana spent. Woot!

What buffs do you bring to raids?

Look for the purple 'splatter' icon for Gift of the Wild. (I know, it's three paws. To me, it's a splatter.) It increases your armor and your stats. You can't lose!

For tanks, we give out Thorns, which is a brown icon of a thorny branch.

What are a few talents that you just can't live without? What's your 51 point talent?

Wild Growth is our 51er! A definite must-have!

And in terms of other talents...

Gift of the Earthmother (alias GotEM) is a talent that's right before the Wild Growth talent. It's a 5 point talent, and I Got 'EM all! (BAHAHA! See wut I did thurr? I am *awesome* /selfhighfive). Remember those three insta-hots I listed above? Well, GotEM reduces the global cooldown that we incur right after we cast them by 0.3 seconds. The GCD is typically 1.5 seconds, but with GotEM, it's 1.2. Sweet! Then you add some haste on top of THAT (because haste reduces cast times, AND global cooldowns), and you can get it down to a sleek one second.

Living Spirit increases our spirit, and in turn, our spell power.

Intensity is also a must-have, and helps with our mana regen. (Intensity and Living Spirit are in the middle of the resto tree).

Omen of Clarity is towards the beginning of resto tree. Heals costing zero mana FTW! It seems to proc fairly often with no internal cooldown, which is nice. I don't believe it procs off of hot ticks.

And finally, the 11 point talent in the Balance tree, Nature's Splendor. This extends some select hot durations. It's where the very typical 11/0/60 spec comes from. =)

So now, gentle reader, you can impress your friends by using GotEM and WG in a sentence together, by throwing the phrase "eleven-zero-sixty" around, or by discussing nature's swiftness macros - all with confidence!!!

Any other basic questions you're dying to have answered? Let me know!

And for an even more in depth guide, read this massive 5 parter from Ice at Druid Main: Part 1: Spells, Part 2: Glyphs, Part 3: Learning Curve, Part 4: Talents, and Part 5: Stats. She also recently updated all of these for 3.1, so make sure you check them out!

Soon to come: Paladin Healing 101, Shaman Healing 101, and Priest Healing 101!


18 remarks:

Kiryn said...

No love for glyphed healing touch =( Once I specced into it, I never went back.

Also, unless something has changed since last time I healed, tree form only reduces the mana cost of HoTs, not ALL heals.

Roman said...

You are awesome indeed =) Great post!

I personally let LB's bloom and my second HoT is rejuv, which I throw on each and every injured member of the raid, covering all that with WG :) But that's raid-oriented healing. Tank or two only get their 3 stacks (blooming) and rejuvs. And there's also our AoE heal - Tranquility, which is also an oh sh*t button, but used in cases the whole raid takes heavy damage. Which is quite common in Ulduar :) So I'd also recommend the "Improved Tranquility" talent for raid-healing. And Nourish comes in very handy sometimes.

Averna said...

@Kiryn: Right you are! It's only hots. Post edited.

@Roman: Teehee. Thanks =D

Thanks for reminding me about Tranquility (can't believe I forgot it in the first place >.<) - I'll definitely put that in the "oh sh*t" category.

Matt said...

When the patch first came out I thought nourish was going to be a major factor in my healing, but as I've healed through Ulduar (we're on YS now) I've found that using regrowth, rejuvenation, and wild growth as my primary spells nets me the most effective heals. When raid damage is occurring I'll Wild Growth and Swiftmend on cooldown and rejuv the lowest raid members, then spot heal with regrowth. One advantage of using these is that they go nicely with the t8 set bonuses (2) +10% heals on Swiftmend (4) Rejuvenation gets an instant tick when you cast it.

I found that the build-up to making nourish half-way decent (stacking lots of hots, the glyph, 4pc-t7 bonus) wasn't worth it.

As it is using the Glyph of WG (WG goes on 1 extra target), Glyph of Regrowth (RG heals more if RG Hot is on target), and Glyph of Swiftmend (Swiftmend doesn't consume a hot) work pretty well together. (since you didn't discuss glyphs much in the article)

Author said...

Haha, Wut pic is great.

Thank you for the great post, now I have a good site to send my fellow guildies who need help with their healing when I'm too lazy er... tired to help... (>.>)

Let's see that awesome Icanhealzinplate 101 post you have planned :-D

Icedragon said...

Oddly reminiscent of my "Ways of the Grove" series, Averna XD

Which I actually did update for 3.1...finally.

Averna said...

@Matt: Yeah, I didn't discuss glyphs. The article was getting pretty long, and I wanted to keep it to the basics. Your glyphs sound pretty standard - I've got the Swiftmend glyph, the Wild Growth glyph, and the nourish glyph. My haste is pretty abysmal right now (I had under 200 when Ulduar started), so I didn't use regrowth much except on the tanks - hence the Nourish glyph. Once I get my haste up and my regrowth cast time goes down, I'll think about swapping over the regrowth glyph. Or, maybe keep Nourish. Who knows. I'll have to reassess.

@Author: I'm glad you likey. TBH, I can't scroll down the post without giggling when I see it. You know it's good when you're OWN POST cracks you up. EVERY TIME. And by " it's good", I mean, "maybe something is wrong with me" =P

And yeah - I've got three guildies (a pally, a shammy, and a priesty, all who heal in raids with me) who are writing up "*insert class here* healing 101" guides. Keep your eye out for them =D

Averna said...

@Ice: Yeah, I figure that this "tree 101" guides have been written everywhere already >.< but I wanted to write up something about all the healing classes, and didn't to leave out druids!

What's the link to your "ways of the grove"? I looked briefly through your site but couldn't find it. Link me it and I'll probably link you in my post =D

Wait - nm, I found them with the search function, lol. I R SMRT. Your guides are great - definitely more in depth than mine! I'll linky them at the bottom. =D

Averna said...

Seventh comment, by me:

"You know it's good when you're OWN POST cracks you up."


Need more coffee.

Hungar said...

Wow, I never knew the GotW icon was 3 paws, I only saw a splatter before. Thanks for enlightening me. :)

Daemia said...

I'm with Hungar--I had NO IDEA it was three paws until just now!

Icedragon said...

Methinks I need to make that search box a little bigger? :P

It's a 4 part series...or 5, I can't remember. I just do druids, so I'm curious about how other classes work - maybe I'll start on a new alt!

<3 link love

Averna said...

@Hungar and Dae: You're not alone. It wasn't until recently that I scrutinized the icon and determined it was three paws ^^

@Ice: I actually used the blogger search function at the top. For some reason I completely missed the "search blog" you have on the right side bar. But judging from my grammar typos and missing words here and there in my comments, I think it's just that I'm out of it >.<, not that the search box needs to be more visible =P Also, it's a 5 parter ^^

secretagentcat said...

Ohgod, please make a perma-link to this on your sidebar or something? I know where I'll run to in the unlikely even that I ever need to heal!

Averna said...

@Secret: Bahahaha. Oh, I totally will, don't worry! I'm going to make a section about the blogroll called "Healing 101" with all the different healing classes represented.

Weedy said...

So Haste vs Crit?
Atm I am not even trying to stack Haste, I havent replaced alot of gems since 3.1 a few more SP ones but keeping Spi and Crit heavily. Could I be going at this wrong I wonder since crit was nerfed on regrowth in 3.1?

Averna said...

@Weedy: Haste still trumps crit, in my opinion, but I actually think crit got buffed, not nerfed in 3.1. Regrowths crits were nerfed, you're right, but at the same time, Nourish crits were buffed by the same amount. Personally, I find myself using Nourish a lot more than Regrowth because I need a speedy heal in most situations in Ulduar, so based on my own healing style (and many others, although not everyone's), crit was actually buffed.

Don't stress out too much about stacking either stack, though. Personally, I'm trying to get my haste rating up so that my Nourish is around 1.2-1.3 sec cast time (right now it's at 1.4), but as always, spell power and stats trump haste and crit.

Doomkin said...

Thanks for the handy guide, I decided to offspec resto, this post helped me get going quickly!