Part Three: Healing spells and Healing Rotations
We have 3 different types of healing spells; HoTs, direct heals and then hybrids. I will discuss non-healing spells (including things like Tree of Life) and abilities separately.
HoTs - These are our most basic and used spells. Unlike other classes we excel at keeping up groups using Heal over Time (HoT) spells. These are all instant cast and so can be used while mobile (hehe I want my jumping bouncing tree back ) and they apply their healing over a matter of seconds rather than as a single large heal. All can crit and should be the bread and butter of your healing.
- Rejuvenation - A short duration but very nice HOT. This should be a standard heal used by all druids. With the talents changes it can have a 1sec GCD regardless of haste rating, making it a very good quick spam HoT for mass AoE. It will also reduce the cast time of nourish depending on how many you have ticking. Glyphed it will deal an additional 10% healing making it even better. Be warned though; atm it is quite a high mana cost to be spammed if you are short of mana, so be careful and ensure you will actually be using all of its healing and resist the urge to use it to just “top up” players.
- Lifebloom - Once you have all 3 ranks of this, it becomes a very useful spell to keep ‘rolling’ on the tank and is very low mana even when cast 3 times. As the stack refreshes each time it is cast, stack 3 times then cast once when it is about to end. If you feel the target needs extra healing, allow it to bloom, but try to avoid this if possible. As it may only be cast on 1 target (unless you are in ToL) keep it on the highest damage receiver (usually MT or OT). The ability to use have nourish or healing touch refresh LB is very good in high damage fights, as you save mana by constantly having LB renewed. Try to keep it up permanently as it can proc Omen of Clarity, Replenishment and Revitalise.
- Wild Growth – A nice little AoE heal that heals for a decent amount and has a relatively short CD meaning you can chain it with only a 1sec between it ending and being recast. Use whenever you are getting incoming damage to the whole group. Due to the range, I generally move to position myself between the tank/melee group and the ranged group then cast it on myself to maximise the potential coverage.
Direct Heals – These spells are more akin to those that other healer class use, a spell that is cast over a few seconds (except Swiftmend) and then delivers a single large amount of health to the target. Useful for healing large amounts of damage quickly but they should support your HoTs rather than be used instead of them, though I have met a Resto Druid who used exclusively Healing Touch and wondered why he had difficulty in healing a raid.
- Nourish - A nice intermediate heal for when you have a lot of incoming damage. Can be talented to reduce cast time andcan proc a seed when it crits. Probably most useful when tank is taking chunks of incoming damage as it is more efficient than HT and still refreshes LB.
- Swiftmend - A useful panic button for when the tank etc needs a flash heal. Remember it has a 15sec CD but dont be afraid to use it whenever you need. It becomes most efficient when the spell you are consuming only has a few secs left to tick (though you should have it glyphed and then that isn’t an issue… ). Now that this is our base ability (granted by going resto) it should see more use, especially as it procs the efflorescence effect which is uber cool and now actually does a rather nice amount of healing as well as being affected by haste in the same way as wild growth (so aim for 2004 haste for another tick)
- Healing Touch - I must admit this is seeing more and more use in my box of tricks. It has been changed to be more mana efficient, can heal for a large chunk of hp (and crit for a seed) and refreshes LB. Really it is a pretty standard heal for me now in fights where the tank is taking damage in large amounts and I don’t to to move as much, really needs to be talented for maximum usage but definitely a lot better than it used to be. When the target isn’t receiving too much incoming damge, nourish is still a more efficient heal.
Hybrid - These spells are neither really HoTs nor direct heals. They have their place in healing and really need to be used appropriately otherwise you risk wasting a lot and mana and/or a long cooldown.
- Regrowth - Not a bad spell but not as good as it used to be. A nice quick cast for a relatively big heal then 6 seconds of HoT, it can crit and can be talented to be improved as well as refreshing LB. A good one for the mix but no where near as effective as it used to be, especially now that we are using nourish and HT more on tanks due to LB. Unfortunately it has probably replaced HT as our most mana inefficient spell which is a shame, but it still has its uses. As with Rejuvenation be careful before spamming it as it will eat mana very fast. This is especially a problem when in Tree of Life form as regrowth is instant cast and you can empty your mana pool in seconds if not careful.
- Tranquility - Not really a HoT, though it does take time to heal everything. With the changes in 4.1 (no pushback and 3 minute cooldown) this is now a very cool spell for any AoE heavy fight, in dungeons you should have time to use it on every boss if needed and in raids the CS should allow you to use it 2-3 on a boss. Very sweet atm
At the moment I am healing 5 man instances and haven’t yet started raiding. Currently my healing rotations are as follows;
- Tank - Lifebloom to 3 stacks, then rejuvenation, nourish/HT to renew LB if the tank has taken enough damage otherwise just another LB to refresh it, use regrowth on OoC procs to refresh for free.
- Healer - Similar to dps, but try to top up a little more without wasting too much mana. Also remember as a druid you have Barkskin and it can be popped anytime.
- DPS - Let them take a little damage and only heal once they have lost more than 15% hp then stick on a rejuv, WG if needed and a HT/nourish if individuals start pulling aggro or similar
Due to the changes at 85 mana conservation is a big issue for all healers, but possibly will hit druids more so than others as we are so used to having no OOM issues. Basically the answer is to apply your heals very carefully and try to over heal as little as possible, e.g. if people are taking a bit of aoe damage, don’t worry about topping up 10% or so if you are low on mana. Save your mana for serious healing if needed and don’t waste it on topping up dps etc.
More so than before is the priority of Tank > Healer > DPS when it comes to allocating heals. If you lose 1-2 dps in a dungeon fight its not a really a problem, lose yourself or the tank and its probably a wipe.