Tuesday, August 17, 2010

[Druid] Forum Comments about Druid Healing Come Cataclysm

I was reading my morning dose of blue posts, when I came across a long discussion between Ghostcrawler and forum posters regarding druid healing. I am not an expert on druid healing by any means, but I was struck by a particular poster that Ghsotcrawler had quoted.

The hot topic of the discussion was what buttons a druid presses to heal in current content, which largely consists of Rejuvenation and Wild Growth, and how Blizzard wants to change this for Cataclysm. Apparently there was the notion that only baddie druids would stick to those two spells.

The difference between good and bad healers is really obvious right now. A resto druid who does nothing but casually Rejuv the entire raid is a bad healer on the vast majority of fights (i.e. non-damage aura fights).

Ghostcrawler begs to differ, saying that druids pushing the toughest hard mode content are still rolling majority Rejuvs + Wild Growth and performing adequately, which sounds appropriate for me given what I've read on the matter.

But then the comment that really got me was this:

Nah c'mon. You can at best be a mediocre druid if all you use is rejuv and WG, and it is unlikely that any such druid would find success doing 10 man hards.

As I said, I don't consider myself an expert on druid healing, but I have healed 10-man hard modes, and the vast majority of my healing comes from Rejuv, followed by Wild Growth, with a sprinkling of Lifebloom, Swiftmend, and the occasional Nourish thrown in depending on the situation.

Personally I feel like a baddie no matter the content I heal, just because I don't feel very comfortable as a tree. It's probably the HoT thing. Back in vanilla and TBC I was very happy being able to choose the right heal for the job and managing my mana pool. But when I can't be sure of whether my HoTs will fully tick out I feel like I'm just blowing heals for no reason. If I had to ration my mana pool in WotLK I'd probably be a nervous wreck of a tree.

But if the content I heal is any measure, I'm pulling my weight and doing just fine, relying primarily on Rejuv and Wild Growth. I can find uses for my other spells, but they're limited. For instance:

Regrowth - If I want to pre-HoT a tank before we start I'll toss this on because it lasts a long time while the tanks get into position. I'll also Regrowth Valithria before taking a portal.

Lifebloom - I throw this on the tanks for extra healing depending on the fight or phase of the fight as extra padding. Whether or not I roll it or even stack it depends on circumstances. Usually it just goes up when I have a free GCD and there's little need to HoT someone else, but if that tank's going to take a lot of damage in the near future I try to keep it stacked and rolled.

Swiftmend - While I like this while running 5-mans, I've found it surprisingly underused in a raid environment. I still use it, but many times I find I can count on my fellow healers to get to the severely wounded first. Unless I'm positive I saved a dps with this, its healing feels superfluous.

Healing Touch - Only in emergency in combination with Nature's Swiftness. Does anyone even use it otherwise? A shame since it used to be the old standby for a leveling druid.

So, yeah, I use my other spells. Would my healing be horribly crippled if I didn't? Not really. Not in a raid. And not unless something happened to our holy paladin and he wasn't there for the night and the disc priest or resto shaman got ice-blocked, prematurely faceplanted, or some other horrible thing.

When that happens I toss on the HoTs and Nourish spam the tank, but 90% of the time a resto druid is fine with just Rejuv and Wild Growth.

Honestly, I think it'll be fun to use more spells again. I feel silly casting HoTs all the time whether the raid really needs it or not. I'm sure I overheal like a maniac and it's considered a good practice, because if I don't, someone might die. They might not, but I can't take the chance.

Paladins often get shafted as the two button healer, but I actually feel much more dynamic in my decision-making and actually press far more buttons healing ICC on my paladin than I do on my druid. On a typical raid fight as a tree I will Rejuv, WG, and possibly two other spells (maybe Innervate or a couple other heal abilities). On a typical raid fight as a paladin I will Beacon of Light, Sacred Shield, Holy Light, Flash of Light, Divine Plea, Avenging Wrath, and Judgement of Wisdom, guaranteed. And then maybe Holy Shock and Divine Illumination if needed.

Maybe my paladin won't be constantly juggling all those spells, but they are cast at some point in the fight. Whereas the druid does almost the same thing the entire time.

I'll try to get some Cata moonkin comments in sometime. Seems harder for me to get a coherent post going on that one instead of just dropping one off the cuff.


Jasyla said...

If you want to use more spells as a resto druid, just do it. I use most of my spells (not HT, excpet with NS) on almost every fight. In 25s you can get away with only casting rejuv and wild growth, it's a good strat on fights like Sindragosa or Blood Queen, but reactive spells like Swiftmend and Nourish and always keeping Regrowths on the tanks is extremely useful.

If I only used rejuv and WG in 10 mans I might be able to get away with it, but I'd sincerely feel like I was being carried.

Kae said...

Personally, I use a lot more than just rejuv/WG... I do use those two spells heavily, but they don't make up 99% of my healing. A 25-man raid is more likely to promote heavy-handed rejuv-wg use, but the lower number of healers and the higher ratio of tanks-to-raid in a 10 means that any resto in progression (ie not overgearing content) 10's will typically need to use more nourish/swiftmend/regrowth/lifebloom than their 25-man counterpart.

The class of your co-healer can alter this... holy pallies are very efficient at keeping up two tanks. Running just a disc priest and a resto druid usually means you're both blanketing the raid and tank-healing together. Holy priest + resto druid or shaman + druid is similar, depending on your comfort zones. The mix of classes for a 3-healer or even 4-healer setup (fun times on Princes!) can result in all sorts of interesting combos, and it just takes those healers working together to figure out how best to cover the raid with their combined spells and strengths... whether it be a druid who's rolling raid-wide rejuv, or a druid who's stacking LB on two tanks.

The use of other spells beyond Rej/WG at this point in the game is based heavily on your raid makeup, and just knowing when to use them, if they become necessary for your raid.

My two cents :)

Kae said...

(...or the druid who's spamming tranquility...)

Hana said...

Yes, I read about your Tranquility-loving guildie. :) I think that's fantastic, though I could never fathom doing something like that myself.

I have never two-healed in our 10-man hard modes. Since my main spec is moonkin, if we only need two healers I will dps. And with three healers there's really less for me to do.

Our usual healing setup is holy pally, disc priest, and resto shaman. Usually if I end up healing I replace one of the latter two (our holy pally just never takes a vacation, I think he's missed one raid since he joined us) and I'm directed to raid heal, occasionally with extra focus on HoTing the tanks.

I think I just don't quite "get it" as a resto druid. I haven't had that epiphany where I'm like "Oooooh! That's what I do to feel good about my healing." And I feel really weird when I look good on the meters while simultaneously feeling like an ignoramus. -_-

puggingpally said...

I think frequent use of Swiftmend alone (as an addition to Rejuv/WG) is a mark of skill in a resto druid. I have my Vuhdo set up to make a big red dot on any target it can be used on, and I pretty much use it on CD (although my primary role is moonkin, much like yours). It's very easy to do and just makes everything quite a bit easier. I'll admit to really liking Nourish and Regrowth on the tanks, too, but not if it means neglecting raid healing where I'm needed.

I guess it comes down to practice - I know I'll never be as good a resto druid as our primaries because I just don't do it enough! But my moonfare is out of this world.

Hana said...

I can see the Swiftmend eligible targets on Grid. I have Regrowth and Rejuv ticking in different corners of the bealth boxes, so I know who has what on them. I just don't have a good grasp on when to use it. Half the time I use it, I get the impression that someone else beat me to the heal by a split second, which means I blew a cooldown for nothing. :\ And it bothers me when I want it later and it's still not up yet!

It's probably something that could be fixed with practice, but I haven't had to heal lately.