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- Cast your spells in "bursts". Your mana will not regenerate at a high rate for 5 seconds after you cast a spell, regardless of whether or not you are in combat. It is more mana-efficient to cast several spells at the same time and then wait for your mana to regenerate than to cast single spells at various times during a fight. With 3.1.0 the 5 second rule bonus is less high however all classes had the spirit and in combat mana regen adjusted in order to keep the in combat mana regen approximately the same.
Notable Spells and Abilities
Restoration spells are primarily oriented toward healing the druid and their allies.
Regrowth does a reasonable initial heal, plus a small amount over 8 seconds. It has a fast cast time so is useful as an emergency heal. It is however expensive so should be used sparingly.
Rejuvenation is a slow-acting heal-over-time spell. It is efficient and powerful but takes 12 seconds to run its full effect. This makes it excellent at countering damage-over-time effects. It is also useful as a "seed" for Swiftmend.
Swiftmend is an instant, powerful heal, but with limitations. Swiftmend has a cooldown, and it requires a Rejuvenation or Regrowth heal-over-time on the target to work. Swiftmend consumes the rejuvenation or regrowth unless glyphed (which is recommended).
Healing Touch is a large, expensive heal with a long cast time. It should be used when a target is low on health but is not in danger of dying immediately, or to deliver massive healing to tanks (preferably only for short periods).
Nourish is a more modest version of Healing Touch, with the same cast time but with less healing and much lower mana cost. Nourish is obtained relatively late in the game. This spell should be used for "maintenance" healing, where the target has taken a moderate amount of damage and is not in danger. Nourish's effectiveness is increased dramatically if there is an existing heal-over-time effect on the target, such as Rejuvenation, so casting one of these before using Nourish is usually a good idea.
Lifebloom heals for an amount over 10 seconds, followed by a 'bloom' at the end that also returns half of the spell's mana cost. Lifebloom can only be cast on one target at a time. Lifebloom has the following advantages:
- It ticks every second, in contrast to almost all other HoTs that tick every 3 seconds.
- It stacks up to 3 times on a single target.
- The bloom part of the spell still triggers if dispelled. This makes it the only HoT that will still heal despite the efforts of dispelling classes.
There are several ways to use lifebloom when healing a target:
- Stack 1 lifebloom and let it bloom, then repeat.
- This is a low maintenance way to use lifebloom, but does not provide as much healing as other ways.
- Stack 3 lifeblooms on the target and keep refreshing them just before the bloom (aka 'rolling').
- This has the advantage that the maximum hot effect is provided at all times, which given lifebloom ticks every second can help to 'smooth' damage taken by the target.
- Cast 1 lifebloom, then before it blooms cast another, then another, then let it bloom, then repeat (aka 'slow stacking').
- This provides higher overall healing than rolling. The disadvantages are that the hot effect is not as consistent and much of the healing is provided by a big bloom, that may or may not all be needed and may overheal.
Tree of Life Form
A druid specced heavily into the Restoration tree will have the Tree of Life Form available to them. Prior to 4.0 Tree of Life was a form like moonkin that the druid would use all the time. After 4.0 Tree of Life is a cooldown that provides large temporary bonuses. In Tree of Life Form you get
- Increased healing power.
- Increased armor.
- Regrowth becomes instant cast.
- Wild Growth affects an additional 2 targets.
- Lifebloom can be cast on multiple targets.
- Entangling Roots becomes instant cast.
- The cast time of Wrath is halved.
- Each point of Intellect gives 15 mana and increases your chance for a spell critical strike. It contributes to mana regeneration as of patch 2.4.
- Each point of Spirit increases your health and mana regeneration. Spirit also provides mana regeneration in combat for restoration druids.
- Spellpower increases the healing done by all of your spells.
- Haste rating lowers the cast time of spells, lowers the global cooldown when casting instant spells and increases the frequency of HoT ticks.
- Critical strike rating increases the chance of a critical strike for all spells.
Unfortunately you cannot heal enemies to death, at least not directly, so you will have to either cast balance spells or use feral forms to deal damage when alone. The restoration trees has some synergy with both, but the spellpower, intellect and spirit on your healing gear will likely favor balance spells over feral forms unless you collect a separate gear set.
See Druid tactics/Balance#Soloing for more information.
In PvE resto druids have a variety of tools for efficiently and sustainably healing a large number of targets over time and buffering tanks against spike damage. Druids as healers are most able to remain mobile while healing. They also have unmatched panic buttons with the powerful nature's swiftness + healing touch combo, swiftmend and tranquility.
Early or non-Resto Healing
You will want to use Rejuvenation and Healing Touch as much as possible due to their better mana efficiency than Regrowth. Healing Touch has a long cast time, so try to predict when your target will need it and cast it beforehand. Healing Touch is quite large, so for healing smaller amounts of damage Regrowth is a better choice because it requires less mana, even though it's less efficient. Remember to Cure Poison and Remove Curse when possible as it's almost certainly cheaper than healing the damage caused by them.
Late and Endgame Healing
Using lifeblooms, rejuvenation and nourish on the tank(s) is the core of a druid's healing. Tank healing can be supplemented by casting Healing Touch. Provided you are rolling rejuvenation on the tank Swiftmend is also available to quickly heal a tank that has taken a damage spike.
Non-tanks can be healed with regrowth, nourish or rejuvenate, depending on how urgently the healing is needed.
- Regrowth is the fastest to land, but is mana intensive.
- Nourish is slower than regrowth, but mana efficient. With multiple healers you may well find that your target is healed by another healer before your heal lands.
- Rejuvenate is the slowest method of healing (it does nothing until its first tick in 3 seconds), but is the most efficient way of healing if you know that the target will take continuing damage over time.
- Wild Growth is usually the heal of choice if multiple raid members need healing.
A druid has 2 panic buttons:
- Nature's Swiftness is on a 3 minute cooldown and can be combined with Healing Touch for one of the biggest instant cast heals in the game.
- Swiftmend is a more modest heal on a much shorter cooldown and will consume a rejuvenation or regrowth HoT to heal the target instantly (if glyphed with the Glyph of Swiftmend, Swiftmend does not consume the HoT). The main limitation of Swiftmend is that it requires a rejuvenation or regrowth on the target to be usable, which will always be true for tanks but not always for other raid members.
Extra PvP Tactics
See Druid tactics for general PvP strategies regardless of talent spec.
In PvP resto hybrids were considered one of the most dominant classes in arena due to a combination of HOTS, good CC, mobility and good mana regen.
- Druids are very mobile healers due to having many instant cast HoTs. If attacked a druid can run away from their attacker AND still heal themselves and others. A truly annoying feat (for your opponent).
- If you want to win in a Battleground, you will probably need healers. A group of pure DPSers can be defeated by a smaller party of mixed healing and DPS classes in many situations. Healers are especially important in Alterac Valley, as you will be fighting many mobs that follow PvE rules, and as such, effective healing is required for a smooth match.
- Don't wait until the last moment to heal. Most players will be waiting for the right opportunity to use a big finishing move while you are low on health. Heal at every opportunity you get. You should not be defeated until you run completely out of mana, and even then you might be able to pull off a win.
- Regrowth and Rejuvenation at the same time will only cost you two seconds to cast and will continue to heal you well through the fight, but can be dispelled in some PvP situations. Heal over times (and your other buffs) can be dispelled by a Priest, Shaman, or Felhunter.
- Regrowth is faster than Healing Touch. Use Regrowth in tight situations when you need a heal right away. Use Healing Touch when you actually have a few seconds to spare. Healing Touch's effect is more immediate and the spell is more mana efficient.
- Healing Spells are generally more mana efficient than damage spells.
- Nature's Swiftness: Your next nature spell is instant cast. Use this spell in a macro which casts your biggest heal upon yourself, and then reselects the last person you had targeted. With this, you get an instant-cast major heal, once every three minutes, and it will likely save your life many times. Keep in mind that several other notable spells are also nature-based. Using Nature's Swiftness to instant-root or hibernate a flag runner can give the rest of your team time to catch up. Nature's Swiftness is regarded by many to be THE essential PvP talent for Druids.
- Nature's Grasp: Gives a buff that when you are hit, the attacker will be affected by Entangling Roots. A very nice ability to have in your arsenal. It can mean the difference between life and death in combat. When playing against a melee class, cast Nature's Grasp. When it goes off, take a few paces back and heal yourself or run to your maximum range and start nuking.