Druid healing – Kat’s Way

Tree of Life chilling in Twilight Highlands

I am not a hugely experienced healer but I have been healing on my druid for a year now, starting with ZF at level 48 and then levelling through instances as a healer until reaching 80 where I become one of the main guild healers culminating in clearing ICC10 and downing Mr Menethil.  So I have got quite a lot of play time under my belt ranging from 5 man healing through to tank/raid healing 10 and 25 man end game raids. Since Cata arrived, I have also healed all the new instances (except BRC) and am now starting on HCs to get ready for raids. Why am I writing this brief resume of my resto history? To give a little background to what I say next.

So many guides, forums, blogs……
When I first started healing endgame content at level 80  I read all the guides and threads I could on the various forums and other blogs that are around. As a starting off point I found them to be very useful, explaining what I needed to aim for beyond the basics (no, no, no more agility does NOT make you cast faster), but then I got to a certain point and found that they lessened in use as I developed my own play style.  They were still very good guides but couldn’t answer certain queries I had as they were written with my play style in mind.

This is not to my mind a “bad thing”, if we didn’t have our own styles of play then it would be a very bland and quite dull game, certainly there are particular things that are just plain silly to do if you are trying to max out your character (no arcane mage will max their dps if they spec to buff fire spells and then spam fireballs and blast waves) but there is a lot more margin for alteration than a lot of people will accept.

Haste is made of win
Personally I don’t really rate crit as a good healer stat for me, I work mostlyon HoTs and prefer to have a guaranteed heal rather than take a chance on a crit happening, sure its nice when it does and obviously it conserves mana when you heal more than you expect. Mastery is similar for me, it helps, and anything that increases healing (and by association therefore decreases mana use) is a good thing and I don’t deny that both mastery and crit are useful. However, in my build I much prefer haste. A nice high figure for haste will increases you ticks on rejuv, it allows you to cast much faster when the shit hits the fan and you are popping the Tree to spam LB or similar on everyone. Some of the guides I saw agreed with this to a greater or lesser extent and also rated haste > crit > mastery, but other did not and claimed haste was only good for going OOM.

So at the moment I am reforging as much crit and mastery away as I can. If possible it goes to haste, if I can’t add more haste then it goes to spirit.

So is rejuvenation
Something we have to be careful with is that unlike dps and tanking, healing is much more fluid and situational. A warrior tank for example, can spam devastate, revenge and the odd heroic strike on a boss and acceptable hold aggro, pretty much regardless of the boss, the dps can get into their rotation and maintain as best as possible depending on movement etc. Healers are no where near that lucky. Sometimes we have burst damage that reduces the tanks hp very quickly, sometimes its AoE damage to the whole group, another time it may be poison or similar DoTs either individually or affecting the whole group. So unlike tanks and dps, we can’t really have a rotation, as it has to change in just about every fight. Sure there are certain standard practises – LB is for your MT, don’t use WG on a single target and so on, but outside those quite obvious parameters healers have to constantly think for themselves and assess the immediate situation and allocate healing as appropriate.

Again, with healing my play style may be different to other people, and it may not always follow a particular guide, but it seems to work for me and atm of all the players in the world it is I who best  knows my gear, mana capabilities and so on. So, I stack LB on my tank, pop a rejuv if he is losing a bit more (expensive but I still like), the group as a whole tends to get WG and possibly a rejuv if I can spare the mana at the time. With the advent of Cataclysm I have ended up using Regrowth an awful lot less (no more 24 sec HoT :( QQQQQQQQQQQQQQQ) and the likes of Nourish and Healing Touch and awful lot more (the chances for proccing OOC and the benefits of refresh LB are too great to miss out on). One spell effect I did love but now have sadly had to give up on is Efflorescence, it had the potential to be a great little AoE heal, especially on melee and anyone else near the tank if I used SW to top him up quick, but sadly it has been tweaked and fiddled with so much now that frankly the 3 talents are a waste and much better spent elsewhere. Which is a shame as I liked shouting on vent – “NO!!! get OUT of the fire and INTO the green leafy stuff!!!) :D

I may not be unique but I am not the same as everyone else
So above if my playstyle and attitude to healing in a nutshell, I know that it would not work that way for everyone, and some may even consider it a “bad thing” to play the way I do. I certainly know I had plenty of /w when I was in pug raids from people complaining that had done it all wrong, because I wasn’t following some supposedly golden rules from the likes of EJ etc. However, no one actually says what these golden rules are. This is because all these guides are precisely that – guides NOT absolutely written in stone “if you don’t do it this way you will fail”. So maybe my stat priority and weighting is different to other druids, perhaps my gems are not the same as a lot of people but at the end of the day I consider myself a good and flexible healer and afaik, so does my guild.

So what makes a good healer?
In my opinion a good healer is one that allows as few deaths as possible to occur but can correctly select when to cut their loss’s and allow certain people to fall if it means they conserve mana and can avoid a full wipe (not nice to say but we all have to do it sometimes to keep up the tank, or ourselves or even a dps that is rather needed to carry the fight when it goes pear shaped), but equally a good healer learns from their own mistakes and changes their healing style to suit the encounter, their own gear and mana, the group they are with a host of other things that are not covered in guides because they are too variable.

So as far as I am concerned ignore the whiney dps that have hit the deck, or the people that insist XXXX guide is THE one to follow, if you successfully complete dungeons and raids without too many deaths and wipes (obviously learning the instances aside, very few groups can immediately take down raid bosses with no trouble) then you are a good healer. It doesn’t matter what recount lists as your %healing or what your hps is or anything else. If your groups makes it through alive then you are a good healer in my book. End of.

As a continuation of this I will be posting my own guide to being a resto druid, starting with Stat prorities and Reforging.

Hmm, that was quite long even for me, will try to be more concise in future :D

Kat

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Posted on January 14, 2011, in Healing. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Good post; for the most part I agree with it except for a couple of things.

    First, a niggle, you say that not all our HoTs can crit. Which one can’t? I’m possibly having a blonde moment, but all the ones I can think of presently most certainly can crit.

    RJ: Yes
    RG: Yes (Although agreed on the too-short QQ)
    WG: Yes
    LB: Yes

    Effloresence I want to say yes, but I’m not really sure on that one. It’s been out of my spec for a while too. Basically, once I realised that an enh shammies healing rain could heal for considerably more than my Efflo, and I saw the talents I could reach (Moonglow primarily) by dropping it…

    Yeah. :P

    The other thing is that while I certainly agree that healers do need to be able to think for themselves and determine what to do, writing off the advice of the likes of the EJ collective so dismissively isn’t the right answer, either.

    As much as we all might like to ‘have our own way’ there are right and wrong answers if the question is, ‘What is the best thing to do here?’

    Fortunately, in many cases, suboptimal spell choices don’t instantly mean a wipe — unless you’re really on cutting edge heroic content — and this becomes more and more true as content ages and people gear over it.

    • Cheers for the feedback :)

      I don’t try and collectively dismiss the likes of EJ and such, they are awesome sites with vast amounts of information and the sheer volume of theorycrafting stuff I could never hope to do myself. What I do try to dismiss is the attitude of some players that sites like EJ are the only thing to consider. They are powerful tools, but ultimately you need to take their information and apply to how you play as an individual.

      As for crits and HoTs, I seem to have made a mistake there :) All of our HoTs CAN crit now, so my bad there :D Edited post to remove the offending bit.

  1. Pingback: New Year WoW Roundup | MMO Melting Pot

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