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End-game Druid Healing

Tree Druid in Karazhan

Much has been written about this already, but I thought I’d share my own techniques on how to be a good druid healer, having healed in dungeons for all 70 levels of my career as a druid. Yes, the above shot is of my druid, Polanna, in Karazhan, on the way to Shades of Aran. You can check out her armoury profile here (sometimes I’ll be wearing my feral gear, or some pvp items, so don’t worry about that).

Talents:

Going for serious end-game healing means you have to spend every last talent on the restoration tree. It is not like the feral build, where it is advisable to take some points in the resto tree as well. The only thing you might want to get outside the restoration tree is Nature’s Grasp, like this. But I am not a big fan of this, because most instances are indoors, hence you can’t root the enemies anyway. This build means you might effectively be useless in PVP and arena, unless you are able to find good gear to give you a feral edge.

Of course, it is imperative that every druid maintain at least two sets of acceptable gear, feral and resto/balance. You’ll need the feral gear for questing purposes, unless you prefer to quest by casting [I’ve no idea why you would – it is so much slower]. With good feral gear, you can easily quest as a resto druid.

Basic healing requirements:

1. You need mana-per-5-second stats on your gear, in addition to spirit. 100 mp/5 while casting, is the very minimum, in my opinion.

2. You need bonus healing. To last through most normal level 70 dungeons, 1k bonus healing should be fine. To get through heroics, you need at least 1.2k – and that is the bare minimum. For Kara, minimum of 1.3-1.4k, with additional buffs and elixirs.

Gear and stats

Wowwiki has an extensive guide to the kind of gear you are going to need for end-game healing. You might have to compromise on armour and get cloth healing gear for some slots at the beginning, but do try towards working towards leather gear upgrades.

There are several choices facing the serious healer – from the beginning, Aldor or Scryer? Scryers have a nice healing staff as a reward, but their inscriptions have less bonus healing, and more towards mp5. Aldors have better bonus healing inscriptions for shoulders, but no mp5.

The second choice is – staff or one-handed mace? Both have their disadvantages and advantages, and it depends on the rest of your gear. Staves typically have the same bonus healing as one-handed maces of their level, and a lot of stam, intellect and spirit. However, they deprive you of the option of equipping an off-hand, like the one-handed mace does, which can significantly add to your bonus healing and other stats. When gearing up, you’ll find that you’re going to have to make many trade-offs – very often, you have to sacrifice stamina to get bonus healing.

I would also advise all druid healers to stack on spirit, because the usefulness is twofold. One, it increases your mana regeneration during combat, and secondly, it increases all healing on your party members by 25% of your spirit. For example, if you have about 400 spirit, that’s pretty much an additional 100 bonus healing.

For sockets, go for bonus healing/mp5 gems, and stamina. Intellect is important, but not as important as these two. It is usually not necessary to get spirit gems, because your healing gear should give you enough.

Get every enchant possible, but save the expensive enchants for the good blue and purple gear.

Foods, Buffs and Potions

It goes without saying that you will need Health Potions and Mana potions for emergencies, and make sure you place in them in an action bar.

Elixir of Healing Power, Elixir of Draenic Wisdom, and Elixir of Mageblood are three potions you will need to bring in to every raid [but you can’t use all of them at the same time]. Superior Mana Oil is also useful, but not necessary. Potions can be rather expensive, however, so a technique I use to avoid high potion bills, is to buy large quantities of Elixir of the Sages, which are less powerful [but still quite good] but can be used through the raid and through multiple wipes, and save the Elixir of Draenic Wisdom for bossfights.

People tend to overlook this relatively inexpensive way of buffing up, but make sure you bring cooked food, especially the ones that give spirit, stam or plus healing, to be used in addition to Elixirs.

I shouldn’t even be saying this, but make sure you cast Thorns on the tank – it wears off fast, so keep checking throughout the raid, and especially before boss-fights. Never cast Thorns on yourself, or any other raid/party members except the tanks, as it increases agro. Stack up on Wild Quillvine to give your party Gift of the Wild buffs at regular intervals, and on Flintweed seeds for Rebirth. No one wants to hear that you are out of seeds during an emergency situation when the tank goes down.

If a paladin casts Blessing of Might on you, make sure you remove it and request Blessing of Salvation, or Blessing of Wisdom instead. These two blessings take priority – if there is a second paladin, request Blessing of Kings.

Healing techniques

Lifebloom is the lightest heal, in terms of mana, so use it liberally. The best thing to do is stack three lifebloom, but do it this way: cast the next one right before the first one runs out. That way, you maximise your healing-mana output, because it heals for x amount the first six seconds, then for 2x for the next seconds, BUT it still uses the same amount of mana, not two times, and then 3x for the next 6 seconds after that. Note that the direct heal at the end of the heal confers threat ON the receiver, not on the healer – so it is an absolutely excellent heal to use on the tanks.

When fights begin, stack Lifebloom on the tank, plus maybe a Rejuvenate, then move on and Rejuvenate or if absolutely necessary, Regrowth the other members. You give them the bigger heals, so that you won’t have to keep coming back to top them off – you want to reserve that time and mana for the tank. And that also means less healing agro on you, since they are not tanking.

With good bonus healing and mana-regen, and the fact that we have Innervate, druid healers can outlast pally and shaman healers in dungeons. I am not just saying this, because I’ve seen it happen quite a few times. I rarely ever run of mana unless in long boss-fights in Kara, at which point I either use a mana pot or innervate. Innervate first, then pot, because the two-min CD might affect any health-pots you might have to use, and because it is cheaper to do that.

The discretion to use Swiftmend and Nature’s Swiftness lies with you, but save Nature’s Swiftness for absolute emergencies when someone is going down fast, followed by Regrowth, and Swiftmend if the damage is fast.

Tranquility is the best, most powerful heal in the game – even holy priests can’t match the sheer power of the heal, which can save a dying raid group. But this is a panic button which should be used with discretion, because of the 10-min CD. Cast Barkskin before casting Tranquility, to avoid interruption of spell-casting.

And yes, you do need bandages. In a fight, if you are silenced or out of mana, bandages can save lives.

Reducing Agro

Like I said before, Blessing of Salvation is what you should be getting from a Paladin to reduce agro – Blessing of Might increases agro.

A tactic I like to use is Shadowmeld, to avoid agro. You can shadowmeld in Tree form, so before the fight begins, meld until the tank has grabbed agro, and all the crowd-control (CC) has been done. This avoids any stray mobs coming for you at the very beginning, especially in case of bad pull or a mis-timed CC. Healers tend to go down in two hits from elites, so this can be critical.

HoTs draw less agro than direct healing, so you should be somewhere near the end of the agro-table. If not, use HoTs sparingly, but, as always, never put agro-management before survival of the raid. The tank can’t grab agro off you, if he is dead. Make sure you take the two points in Restoration tree, Improved Tranquility, which will reduce threat generated by your Tranquility by 100%.

Macro

Everyone has their own macros, but I like this one that I created, in case you are being attacked.

/cast Barkskin
/party Help Me!

You can change the /party to /raid, depending on situation. When you are being attacked, you won’t have the time to type out and ask for help, so make sure you hotkey this macro. It is not possible to create a macro such that you cast more than one heal, because of the Global Cooldown. You can play around with the combination, though, and maybe replace the Barkskin with Cyclone.

Interface

You are not going to be able to fit in all the spells in the single action bar, if you haven’t realised that by now. You can call up additional action bars – but if it is not on your main action bar, you can’t assign number-keys to it. Give precedence to healing spells – you can actually leave out Healing Touch from the action bar when in Tree form. Panic buttons should be assigned easily reachable keys, such as “1”, or “=”.

Assign reachable keys to your group members so that you don’t have to waste precious seconds targeting with the mouse – this will not be that useful in raids, but it will be, in 5-man instances.

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January 22, 2008 - Posted by | Geek | , , , , , ,

13 Comments »

  1. […] wowgoldmonter wrote a great post today on “End-game Druid Healing.” Here’s a quick excerpt: […]

    Pingback by End-game Druid Healing - World of Warcraft | January 22, 2008 | Reply

  2. hey… been reading your blog since your article on thio li ann speech… didn’t know you play WoW too and druid too! i play a resto druid too on gorgonnash…Takizawa

    Comment by KTX | January 25, 2008 | Reply

  3. Yes, the surprising things about me. 😉 How far have you gotten on end-game?

    Comment by pleinelune | January 25, 2008 | Reply

  4. my guild just cleared black temple not long ago… though i only down the 7th boss before

    Comment by KTX | January 29, 2008 | Reply

  5. I hope you dont take this the wrong way, just giving my input to help you improve ^_^

    First of all, please move a few points to tranquil spirit, in fact make it 5/5, taking some points from furor. You may not feel the need to yet since you are in the lower half of Karazhan, but later in the game you might have to switch out of tree form and heal in druid form. You cannot totally rely on the other healers for direct healing spells, especially if you have to solo heal a target. Its difficult for HoTs to keep a tank up when the bosses begin hiting alot harder. The reduced mana cost will really help your mana when the fights are more heal intensive.

    There is also not much reason to get so much stamina, or armor for that matter. I know how your life may seem abit low compared to the rest of your group, but you shouldnt be getting hit by anything anyway. Armor is useless, since the small amount of damage reduction it gives you wont stop the elite mob from 2-shotting you. You could have saved the money used for the +120 armor to your back and maybe got better gems on your pants. If you really have a problem with aggro or want an enchant on your back I suggest the 2% threat reduction enchant.

    With regards to healers, it doesnt matter if you use cloth or leather, an upgrade is an upgrade. You may think that the cloth pants you have are going to be easily upgraded to leather, so you put cheap gems in it, but my suggestion is to not spare expense on purples (especially your Gloves of Malorne, get major healing or at least magisters armor kit on that)

    Im also slightly confused on your helm meta gem. Unless you are a PvP healer, which I doubt seeing that you dont have the gear for it yet, +18 stam is not very good. I would suggest the 12 intel and restore mana on spell cast or the typical 26 healing meta.

    Good luck on clearing Karazhan.

    Comment by Sayu | March 17, 2008 | Reply

  6. Yeah I know the criticisms – but I also have to use this for heroics, and by RIGHT, I shouldn’t be getting hit. But I do. And I do need to survive long enough for the tank to get to me. As it is, I am very…. squishy. 😦

    I’ve done the later bosses, actually, I’ve healed through prince without much of a problem.

    And I didn’t know about the 2% threat reduction, I was told the only enchant to the back that would be useful was the armour one. Thanks. 🙂

    Comment by pleinelune | March 17, 2008 | Reply

  7. this is realyl useful i jsut got my rep pvp gear and i hope to start first time on healing this healps a lot 🙂

    Comment by William | May 14, 2008 | Reply

  8. Hey, great guide.
    Just something to try though rather than 3 lifeblooms at first is to start off with a rejuvination on the tank as its 1 cast to instantly begin its healing then regrowth / lifebloom depending on how hard the bosses are hitting. I swap throughout Healer and Feral druid.. first half of KZ endgame.. icweiners on korialstrasz ;D

    Comment by Clay | June 25, 2008 | Reply

  9. Actually, you will find yourself needing stam in later game content when bosses do damage to the entire raid group (not unlike Shade’s pyroblast after he drinks). I’m thinking Naj’entis in BT–everyone in the raid needs 8k health as a bare minimum.

    Comment by shavasara | July 1, 2008 | Reply

  10. I think Sayu’s point wasn’t that a resto drood doesn’t need stam, it was that you shouldn’t be taking damage and bonus healing will benefit the party/raid much more than stam chant/kits/gems on/in your gear. And as for The Shade’s Pyroblast, you can either carry a resist pot, or get in a decent raid that will interrupt his spells so he doesn’t need to drink. As for Naj’entis I would hope that if you’re in a raid to kill him, you would at least have S2/T5 gear, which means that unbuffed your health should be 8k+, raid buffed 10k+, also with Naj’entis, you control when his shield pops, so take a resist pot. Its a heal heavy fight but it doesn’t mean that you should be sacrificing healing gems/chants for stam ones if anything the mere fact that it is such a heal heavy fight suggests that you would want your mana to go further aka more int/bh/Mp5. As a healer your there to heal, not to have the most health or armor, and if I’m getting beat on as a healer, I give the tank a few chances to keep aggro and then i simply leave the group and instance and find a real tank that knows what he/she is doing. You’re going to be able to know before you down the first boss whether or not you have a tank that can keep aggro, and if I’m not mistaken that is when you are saved to a heroic.

    Comment by Thinus | July 6, 2008 | Reply

  11. And all this discussion is moot point now already, because I am no longer using the items under discussion. 🙂

    I think I’ll write a revamped guide to healing… This is a very beginners guide to end-game healing, maybe something more advanced about gear, enchants and all. Plus there have been patches in btwn that can change things.

    Comment by pleinelune | July 6, 2008 | Reply

  12. I’d like to point out that BoMight does NOT increase threat on a resto druid unless they’re melee’ing.
    Also you should Prioritise Spirit over MP5 and BoKings over BoWisdom (spirit increases the other healers healing, not only your own) HoT’s dont cause a In-Combat regen, so you get your Out-of-Combat regen anyway.
    BoKings just encreases your spirit and intellect so innervates and your heals are more powerful. BoWisdom should be second priority.
    Also, in terms of a stamina meta gem, if you have over 10k hp party buffed, you shouldnt need more stamina, just use lower ranked heals if your struggling to stay under the threat… your likely over aggroing because your gear is superior to the tanks.
    Although i like the idea about the Macro. May have to make my own. i usually just type it.

    Comment by Duckkie | July 18, 2008 | Reply

  13. As another commenter mentioned, armor is pretty useless. At the levels a resto druid will have, a few extra points is fairly meaningless. Stamina is definitely handy though, and I would recommend anyone running kara or heroics have a bare minimum of 7k health self-buffed.

    As far as MP5, I don’t stack any. Your spirit increases your MP5 while casting anyway with talents, and it scales with buffs like BoK and MotW.

    Also, I’d be cautious about starting a fight by stacking lifebloom. If I know my tank will generate good early aggro (check out his rage bar as he pulls), I’ll usually lead with regrowth, in case he takes an early burst (CC not going off quick enough), and watch to swiftmend it if needed.

    Otherwise, I lead with rejuv. It can be swiftmended if you’re worried about the tank while you stack lifebloom up.

    Good write-up, and enjoy working out the new talents. I have a writeup on them at http://onehotnelf.wordpress.com/ if you want any tips.

    Comment by althura | October 15, 2008 | Reply


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