Tuesday, 4 May 2010

My philosophy on druid healing.

I have always believed that druid healing is among the most interesting healing in the game, as unlike nearly every other healer in the game, bar disc priests, we can heal the damage before it is even there. Fundamentally druids are massively versatile given we have very powerful hots combined with decent single target healing which makes us a very powerful tool in a healing team.

My fundamental belief as a druid healer is that any decent healer fits the heals to the damage, unfortunately in WOTLK we have been stuck with a gimped arsenal, where Rejuvenation dominates our healing repertoire to a massive extent. I’d like to just take a moment to explain what I mean by “fit the heals to the damage” as I think this is the key statement. As a restoration druid we have six main heals.

Regrowth – A direct heal with a hot portion.
Rejuvenation – A hot
Lifebloom – A hot with a direct heal when it finishes
Wildgrowth – A smart aoe heal hot that last for six seconds
Nourish – A single target heal scaling better with hots
Tranquility – A party wide channelled heal

Now as you can see we have a real variety of tools out there, though the standard healing rotation for a restoration druid is 5xrejuv 1xwg. That is very simply designed to deal with a heavy aoe fight. Now i think one of the key points is that we have to deviate from that occasionally with say a direct heal in order to save someone. Now as I stated above we’re in a AOE fight so we have 2 options, nourish or regrowth. Now nourish will get them up faster and more health but in the name of efficiency regrowth will outperform nourish as it provides a hot cover after, this should heal for more. This is one of the best examples of fitting your heal to the fight.

Let us look at say Sindragosa. The aoe ticks are not heavy so I tend to rejuv some and wg while dpsing, as a rejuv blanket would be overkill. There are people that will get unchained magic and will take damage from it. Unfortunately the duration of unchained magic is such that you can’t really time your lifebloom to go off at the same time as unchainged, but lifebloom works brilliantly on the ice tombs.
Lifebloom and raid healing. I have encountered many a druid who liked using lifebloom as a raid healing tool, I fundamentally do not like it. The 8 second duration means you can’t even cover 2 groups effectively. Lifebloom has a heal as it “blooms” or ends, while raid healing this I find is largely speaking useless as the bloom is uncontrolled and usually wasted, thus failing to justify the extra cost of lifebloom over rejuvenation.

The other aspect of druids is getting your healing ready. I think the perfect example of this is jarraxus. When doing this on heroic 25 man we had problems with the infernals killing melee dps. To avoid this our druids would prehot the melee so that each one had at least two rejuvs ticking on them. While this resulted in alot of over healing the fact was when the damage hit we already had extra heals helping our shamans keep the dps up.

Fundamentally druid healing in my books is not about spamming one skill it is about varying your healing fight by fight, and making sure that the hots are there before the dps even realise they could be standing in the fire. I loved the fact that in ulduar I had a different approach to healing every fight, even if it was small variations that could be the difference between a wipe and a kill. I belive that you should heal as to how you feel most effective and adjust your regen accordingly, therefore I recommend carry idol of awakening and spark of hope on you at all times in case the extra regen is useful.