How I Heal

May 30, 2009 at 2:42 pm | Posted in Healing | 1 Comment
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Marked Readers –

Have those feral/resto spec’d druids out there ever notice how the role you fill most switches back and forth every few weeks?  You’re going along and healing Naxx and OS and EOE and Heroics because, well, that’s what the group needs.  Then all of a sudden, you’re asked to tank and that’s your thing for the next week or so because, well, that’s what the group needs.  There is no rhyme or reason to it (at least in my case), no healers or tanks have gone on vacation, it’s just the way it goes. 

I’m in healing mode right now, and have been for longer than usual.  I think the reason this time is because I’ve built a reputation as a healer among some of the raiding guilds on my server and they ask me when they’re short.  Raiding guilds are never short on tanks, and they’re (rightfully, I suppose) reluctant to take a PUG tank if they are.  But healing is a different story.  Healers don’t need to know the fight backwards and forwards as much, just give them an assignment and  brief explanation on what to not stand in or when to run around etc. and you’re set.  Plus, folks love Trees. 

So today I thought I’d write about my healing style – my build, my glyphs, and my rotation. 

First I’ll explain my build.  I don’t think there’s anything extraordinary about it, but it’s not the full cookie-cutter.  Hmm, well, wowarmory seems to be down for maintenance at the moment, so I’ll come back to my build.  (Is it wrong that I don’t have it memorized?  I hope not).

I do know what glyphs I have though.  Until 3.1 and the new glyphs, I had the Glyphs of Regrowth, Rejuvination, and of course, Swiftmend.  3.1 brought new choices and I decided to take the Glyph of Nourish over Wild Growth and Rebirth.  My rationale was pretty straightforward – I didn’t want to ‘waste’ a glyph slot on a talent that I would use once every 20 minutes at best (worst?) and often less than that.  True, it would be nice to have and I expect that if I were in a set raiding group with multiple Trees, one of us would have it.  But whenever I b-rez someone, it’s well known in the raid that it’s happening and we ensure they get back to full health ASAP (I even throw a MOTW for good measure).  So I just haven’t seen too many cases where you’d need 100% health right away.  So the new Rebirth was out.  What about Wild Growth? 

I love Wild Growth.  It’s an awesome spell and gives us Trees a very powerful and unique AOE heal.  In it’s generic form, it heals up to 5 party/raid members and the glyph boosts that to 6.  Not bad, a 20% overall boost in healing.  You’d think.  But that’s not quite accurate.  When this glyph was first announced, I started paying attention to my WG’s and how often they popped up on 5 folks.  And the answer?  Often, but not an overwhelming amount (I didn’t pay close enough attention for actual statistics).  I’m not sure why, maybe it’s because folks spread out naturally to get a better view of the fight, or because on most fights, spreading out is needed to avoid AOE, but finding clusters of 5  isn’t easy.  And if that’s the case, that sixth WG would be going to waste much of the time, wouldn’t it?  Now, if I raided 25-mans more, things would be different, I’m sure.  In big raids, you can’t swing a 1-handed mace and not hit someone, but for me and my 10 mans?  WG is fine as is. 

I should say the other druid healer in my guild has the WG glyph and really likes it.  So there is a definate audience out there.  But for me, the choice comes down to Nourish.  6% healing boost for each HoT?  Even if stacks of Lifeblooms don’t count (and they don’t :(), we can still get a 24% boost for each Nourish if we time it right and 18% in most circumstances.  Regrowth, Rejuvination and LB are always on my guys and if I need an extra boost, I’ll toss a WG as well.  Plus, the included 20% boost of the base heal if one of the HoTs is on as well  I can’t describe how satisfying it is to top a tank off with just a 1.5 second cast (less with haste!).  So Nourish it is.  Though I balked at paying the 2-300g for it when it first came out, when it dropped to 40g, I took the leap. 

But what to replace?  Swiftmend stays.  It is by far my favorite glyph.  Glyphs that enable a spell to not consume what it normally consumes tend to be very popular because it frees the caster from having to re-apply something and saves a GCD.  So it came down to Regrowth and Rejuv.  Rsejuvination is nice.  50% more healing when you need it most (when your target is <50% health).  Plus it’s an insta cast, so I can throw it back on quickly and it doesn’t take as much monitoring.  But still, I didn’t notice too many times that I was healing targets under 50% health.  Either my HoTs were keeping them up, or other healers were throwing big heals out, or a quick SM or NS/NT got them back in the green.  What about Regrowth?  It’s a great glyph, 20% extra heals is nothing to sneeze at, but I can’t say I keep it up all the time.  Sometimes in th heat of th battle, I lose track of the ones I’ve casted and they expire.  So it’s definately not as easy to monitor as Rejuv.  Plus, it takes some extra timing since it takes around 2 seconds to cast.  I don’t want to cast it too soon and lose HoT ticks, but I don’t want it to expire. 

Decisions, decisions. 

Ultimately, I went with Regrowth mainly because how well/often it works depends on me.  I’m the one who’s responsible for keep in up to get the bonus.  If I went with Rejuv, I’d almost be hoping my target would drop below 50%.  Well, not hoping, but you get the idea.  I want my glyphs to have an impact, not wait on circumstances to align just right. 

So my major glyphs are Swiftment, Nourish, and Regrowth.  My minors are Thorns, Unburdened Rebirth, and MOTW.  The last two are no-brainers, but why Thorns?  I dunno, I don’t swim much, I don’t have Typhoon, I guess I could use Dash, but never got around to changing them.  When you paid for each respec, including glyphs, I kept my minors the same, with Thorns, Rebirth and Challenging Roar.

So now that my glyphs are set, what rotation to do I use?  Well, it kinda-sorta depends on who I’m healing/what role I’m filling.  If I’m on raid heals, I don’t have a spcific rotation per se but rather I prioritize my spells.  I typically start with my instants – Rejuv and LB and I spread them around depending on how many folks are taking damage and how much damage they’re taking.  The purty boys usually take damage all at once and it’s typically a one hit amount and that’s it.  By tossing a few HoTs on them, I can let them heal up over time.  If someone accidentally (stupidly) steals aggro or stands in an ashtray too long and takes a bigger hit, I’ll use a regrowth or even an SM or NS/NT.  In fact, I tend to use my SM and NS cooldowns more on the purty boys than the tank, even when I’m healing the tank.  I’d guess it’s mostly because tanks have dedicated healers and therefore don’t need ‘oh craps’ as much.  But in any event, raid heals tend to be more intuitive than a straight rotation. 

On tanks (and off tanks) it’s a bit different, though.  There is a rotation I try to stick with as much as possible.  The rotation revolves around a couple major features – keeping as many HoTs active as possible to boost Nourish; making LB last as long as possible but ensuring it expires after 3 stacks so I get that mana back; keeping Regrowth up and ticking; and oh yeah – keeping the tank alive. 

Basically, the rotation is this: LB RJ RG LB RJ LB (let it expire) refresh as needed and Nourish and SM as needed. 

I add additional LBs only when the stack is about to expire.  This way, I get over 20 seconds of HoT goodness per stack.  Once I have 3 stacks up, I have to let it expire so I get the mana refund.  Keeping LBs rolling sparks fond memories, but sucks your mana dry in no time.  I also keep my Regrowth refreshed and try to cast it with 3-4 seconds left on the timer (more if I’m lagging).  I dont’ want to lose more ticks than necessary, but I also need to keep it up. If in doubt, refresh early.  Rejuvination is something I throw in as needed.  I try to keep it rolling, but if it drops off for a few seconds, it’s not a big issue.  

I’m usually able to keep this rotation up on both the MT and OT consistently.  Or I can keep it up on one and throw hots around the raid if needed.  That takes a bit more concentration, though.


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  1. […] my post on how I heal (entitled, creatively enough, How I Heal), I wanted to talk about my resto build, but wowarmory […]

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