Healing Icecrown from a Druid’s Perspective – Part 2

Healing Icecrown from a Druid’s Perspective – Part 2

This is a guest post by Epiphanize, a Resto Druid, and co-host of Raid Warning.

Now that we got all that out of the way, it is time to get down to business. You didn’t really show up just to listen to me go on about glyphs, did you? No, you came to heal your branches off! One quick thing: Be sure to check out the comments in my previous article; there were some good suggestions for alternative point distribution.

Lord Marrowgar

So here we are, Lord Marrowgar, a very interesting challenge for healers. However, it does give Druids a chance to show off their ability to heal on the run. This can be a relatively hectic fight, so regardless of whether you are tank or raid healing, you will need to be tossing HoTs at some points during the fight.

Tank Healing

This is the easier of two roles against Marrowgar.  During his initial phase and all the ones where he is not spinning all over the place, it is essentially a one tank fight. Since the nerf, Marrowgar does quit a bit less melee damage. So the damage your meat shield will be taking will be fairly minimal. This is pretty manageable for Trees, as we can keep the tank pretty well topped off with our HoTs.

One ability you need to be prepared for though is Saber Lash.  Saber Lash is an ability similar to Koralon’s Meteor Fists, in which two tanks will need to stack in order to distribute the damage. Your healing priority will be the Main Tank followed by the Off-Tank after a Saber Lash. As a tree, you have the added benefit of hitting both with Wild Growth before topping off the Main Tank. Other than dodging the occasional slow-motion blue flames, there is not much to deal with during this phase.

Raid Healing

As stated above, this fight can be quite hectic for a raid healer. During the first phase you will have quite a bit to manage. In 10-player, one random player will be Bone Spiked. DPS will be turning to focus on getting the player down as quickly as possible. This presents two things for you as a raid healer. You obviously will need to be focusing on healing the spiked player. I’ve managed to safely keep them up with Rejuvenation and Swiftmend, though this can also be accomplished with a few Nourishes as well. The other thing is people taking Coldflame damage, as they will often be ignoring the flames to get the person off the spike. Again this is usually handled by tossing some Rejuvenations and Wild Growth, saving Swiftmend for anyone who stands in the fire just a bit too long.

The last thing you will be concerned with during the pre-Bone Storm phases is the aforementioned Coldflame. As the raid healer, you will be responsible for topping off anyone who doesn’t get out of the way of the flames quick enough. The damage it does is not too horrible as long as no one just stands there. Its actually more of a nuisance avoiding it yourself, as you will often need to decide between standing their long enough to finish casting a heal, or cutting it short to avoid taking too much damage yourself.

Bone Storm

This phase is pretty similar for Druids regardless of your role. Marrowgar will become untauntable and spin around the room doing relatively minor AOE damage. It is still good to avoid him if possible, as it makes life a bit easier on all the healers. The big thing you will be dealing with is blue flames (of ice?) again. Only this time he drops 4 at a time. This phase is all about survival. Since you will be on the move during this, Druids will be arguably the best healer for this phase. This is where glyphs like Rapid Rejuvenation and Wild Growth start to shine in ICC. Just keep HoTs on everyone and toss Wild Growth on cooldown and you should be fine. Make sure to keep Swiftmend and your NS-HT macro at the ready in case anyone gets into trouble.

One last thing that the Tank Healer needs to consider is the position of the tanks during all chaos. The tanks will be sticking close to Marrowgar during Bone Storm in order to pick him up at the end of the phase. Not only will the tanks be taking a bit extra damage, but you will want to be nearby to keep the Main Tank healed up while everyone gets back to some semblance of order.

Lady Deathwhisper

The next boss in The Citadel is quite a bit easier on the healers than Marrowgar. If your group is good about staying out of Death and Decay and interrupting Frost Bolts, you won’t have to mash the keyboard nearly as much. For Druids, this fight is all about situational awareness and keeping in range of the players taking damage.

Phase 1

The key to Lady Deathwhisper is getting through her first phase. During this phase she will be behind a mana shield that DPS will need to burn through in between dealing with adds that spawn from either side of the room. After that, the fight is pretty much tank and spank. In my experience, this is the fight where you are most likely to only use 2 healers.

The mechanics of the adds are pretty complicated at times, so it is good to familiarize yourself with them. There will be times the tank and raid will be taking increased damage based on these mechanics. There is a lot of movement involved, so there will often be times you will have to drag your stump across the room to toss a heal or two.

There are a few other considerations during this phase. First,  Adherents will place Curse of Torpor on random raid members that increases the cooldown of their abilities, so you will want to make sure you are decursing as often as possible. There will be a bit of randomness from the Death and Decay and Shadow Bolts, so be on the look out. Again, there is going to be some bouncing back and forth because of adds, so communicate with the other healer(s) to make sure you have all your bases covered.

Phase 2

Congratulations, you have made it through the hard part. After her shield is down she becomes tauntable, only has 3 million hit points, and the adds stop spawning. Since this is often 2-healed, you will more than likely be both on raid duty and tank duty. While this phase is pretty much tank and spank, there are some things going on that affect the healers.

The tanks will be swapping as Deathwhisper places a stacking debuff on the tank that reduces their threat. So you will want to keep an ear out for who is tanking her and focus your healing accordingly. She will still be dropping Death and Decay, as well as random frost bolts that should be interrupted. Finally, she will summon on non-targetable Vengeful Shade that will follow a player around and explode if it catches them. You will need to do your best to avoid them if they follow you, and be prepared to heal someone if they get caught (if they don’t get one-shotted).  It’s a pretty quick phase though, and you will be on your way up the elevator in no time.

Gunship Battle

This is a gimmick fight through and through and is a lot of fun. There aren’t really a lot of important mechanics here for healers. Your gunship has two guns that you use to attack the enemy’s gunship.  Occasionally, the opposing ship will summon a mage/sorcerer that will freeze your guns. You will then need to send some raid members over to kill it in order free up your cannons. Back on your own ship, mobs will appear through a portal that will need to be killed, while avoiding incoming rockets and axe-throwers.

Defenders

This is the easier of the two healing roles. Usually one tank and some ranged DPS will stay behind to deal with the enemy boarding party.  The portal will spawn a Sergeant and some Marines. The Sergeant is the only one that really poses any threat, as he has pretty nasty Bladestorm and Wounding Strike abilities. Most of your healing will be focused on the tank, especially if you only have ranged DPS defending. Just be prepared to work a bit extra to overcome the -25% healing debuff.

Two other items of note: First, stay out of shinnies! Rockets will be coming over to your side and the big shiny circle on the ground is an indicator your in the path of said rocket. Be prepared to heal anyone who has yet to learn this golden rule of Warcraft. Second, keep an eye on your boarding party tank. They will be taking damage as they fly back over to your ship, and not every healer is as equipped to heal in the air as us Trees. I have seen quite a few tanks bite it on their way back over as they still have the aggro from the ranged mobs on the enemy ship. A well timed heal from you can be the thing that saves them.

Boarding Party

As the boarding party healer you got the short end of the branch (no, the bad tree jokes will not stop). You will be heading over to the enemy ship with most of the DPS and a Tank to take down the mage/sorcerer while fending off the general and adds. On your way over it will be a good idea to HoT up the tank, as things will be a bit chaotic when you first get over there.

The tank will be keeping the enemy commander busy why DPS take down the mage/sorcerer. Keep an eye out because the longer you are over there the stronger the enemy gets. This will cause everyone to take quite a bit of damage. As mentioned earlier, you will need to keep some heals on the tank as he will take some damage on his way back over. Probably a good idea to leave a Rejuvenation in case you need to toss an emergency Swiftmend on the return flight. Again, a fairly straightforward fight for healers.

Deathbringer Saurfang

Phew, here we are, the final encounter of the entrance to the Citadel. This is probably the most interesting fight so far. A lot of what you need to do as a healer will be determined by your groups strategy, but Druids have a few things to keep in mind both as a tank or raid healer, regardless of how you handle Mark of the Fallen Champion.

Raid Healing

First, you do not have any way to stop the damage people will be taking like priests do. So your main role will be to heal up the damage that does get through. There are three mechanics that will be causing you trouble: Boiling Blood, Blood Nova and Mark of the Fallen Champion.

The first ability, Boiling Blood, will be case on a random raid target. If you have a Priest, they will mitigate a lot of the damage to avoid Saurfang building Blood Power. Its still a good idea, whether you have a Priest or not, to toss Rejuvenation on the Boiling Blood target to keep them topped off. The damage isn’t too bad, and one HoT should be enough to keep them safe.

Blood Nova can be more troublesome depending on how much melee you have. If this gets cast on one, a good amount of people will be taking damage. The player that get Blood Nova should run out of the raid to minimize damage and blood power gain. However, if they don’t get out in time, be prepared to throw out Wild Growth and a couple single target heals.

Finally, there is Mark of the Fallen Champion. How you handle this (if at all) is going to depend on your raid strategy. A lot of guilds, mine included, will just let that player die. This minimizes the buildup of blood power and puts a lot less stress on the healers. If you do decide to keep that person alive you will want to give them full HoTs. Yes, you may have to dust off Lifebloom for this one. I usually put up Rejuvenation and Regrowth, with a Swiftmend if needed.

Tank Healing

There is not nearly as much to deal with as a tank healer. The tanks will be switching when they gain the Rune of Blood debuff, so as per most two tank fights you will need to be paying attention. You will also need to be concerned if a player gets Blood Nova near the tank, which could cause a nasty damage spike. Your final obstacle is at 30%, where Saurfang will Frenzy. This means you need to get your stump in gear and heal faster! Other than that, he is business as usual for a tank healer.

—–

And that’s it! You’ve Stormed the Citadel. Just in time for the Plague Works to open. Thus is the life of a WoW player. In the next installment we will be covering healing Rotface, Festergut, and Putricide, all while avoiding getting any goo on your leaves.

Healing Icecrown From a Druid’s Perspective – Part 1

Healing Icecrown From a Druid’s Perspective – Part 1

 

This is a guest post by Epiphanize, a Resto Druid, and co-host of Raid Warning.

So you’ve just shaken the frost off of your branches and are staring down the entrance to Icecrown Citadel, the final raid of the Wrath of the Lich King expansion.  You and nine of your closest guildies (or 9 random pugs if your unlucky) are ready to face the challenges that await you in your quest to take down Arthas. The first of these will be the bosses of the entrance to the Citadel. Before we get into strategies, let’s discuss a few things you should think about before trotting into The Frozen Throne. There have been some major changes to how Druids approach healing that are worth taking a look at.

Most trees are in the process of making the swap from crit-laden gear to stacking haste (or at least you should be – Bad tree, bad). This, along with the introduction of Glyph of Rapid Rejuvenation, has given us some new and interesting options. The goal of this article is to help you understand the changes to Druid healing and how it affects you prepare to confront the Lich King.

In addition to these changes, 10-mans can leave a lot of uncertainty, and raid composition will often force Druids to fill rolls they may not be best suited for. Your choice of glyphs and spec will depend a lot on role, personal preference, and playstyle. However, there is some general advice you can follow when making these decisions. I’ve done my best to try to gives options for popular playstyles and specs.

I’m Still a Crit Machine

If you are still very early in the process of swapping gear from crit to haste, you are probably using either Nourish or Regrowth as your main spell. Nourish is a slightly better spell in most realistic situations where you aren’t sure you will keep Regrowth’s hot up on at all times (Thats a discussion for another article). However, at this level of raiding, either spell should serve you well regardless of role. So use whatever your little wooden heart desires, just make sure to bring the appropriate glyph.

Next, I would recommend Glyph of Swiftmend. This is especially helpful in situations where you are spot healing the raid or attempting to 2 heal. It allows you to quickly save a DPS that may be taking sudden burst damage, or catch up on a tank you may have neglected for a moment. It is also a nice way to save on some mana. Plus a global cooldown wasted refreshing a HoT can often be the difference between life and temporary, virtual death. If mana is not a concern and you are comfortable relying on some of your other emergency options, you can go with both of the choices for your third glyph.

Your third glyph is really up to personal choice and should be based on your role as well as the encounter. Glyph of Wild Growth is always a safe bet, especially if you are helping raid heal. There are lots of scenarios where the whole raid is taking damage in ICC, and that extra target is a welcome buff. Glyph of Rejuvenation is also good but slightly weaker option, as there won’t be large chunks of time where the tank is under 50%. Thought this can shine in some encounters, especially with the 4 piece tier 9 set bonus. One thing to keep in mind is that the small amount Glyph of Rejuvenation can play in helping catch up, can easily be replaced by a Swiftmend, Nature’s Swiftness/Healing Touch, or even a Regrowth.

When it comes to talent choices with a Crit build, not much has changed since 3.2. Living Seed is a must in my book if you are going to be tank healing, and is also handy when dealing with Saurfang’s Mark of the Fallen Champion. This especially holds true due to Nature’s Bounty increasing the amount of Living Seed procs.

Another option that is good for tank healers, but is especially strong for raid healing, is Revitalize. While not a complete replacement for Replenishment, it is better than the complete lack of a regeneration buff. You should end up with something similar to 11/0/60 (full build here) with either 3 points in Living Seed or Revitalize depending on what tickles your fancy.

Crit Is So Last Month

If you are at or approaching the soft haste cap (856 without Celestial Focus, 735 with) Rejuvenation is now your baby. Blizzard has really made this our new bread and butter spell. With two strong glyphs, 4 piece tier 9, and the last two idols granting you spell power based on rejuvenation ticks, it is clear you should be using Rejuvenation liberally. This being said, Glyph of Rapid Rejuvenation is a must in my opinion. This is obviously slanted towards raid healing, though I’ve seen instances where it has come in handy as a tank healer. It also comes in useful for mechanics like Mark of the Fallen Champion where a glyphed Rejuvenation with 4 piece Tier 9 can often alone keep up the marked target with minimal management. ICC encounters seems to have been tuned to encourage the use of Glyphed Rejuvenation, as there are lots of dots and healing on the move.

If you plan on focusing more on your HoTs, the original Glyph of Rejuvenation is a good companion for the new Rapid Rejuvenation. It will take time for you to get used to how quickly you can heal up someone with this combo. Once your haste gets up there and you get down the timing, this combo is a very powerful option.

Glyph of Nourish is your other option for your second glyph. Some would even argue that Nourish is the main reason to stack haste, not Rapid Rejuvenation, as you will have a 1s cast time on Nourish. This, combined with a reduced global cooldown, should allow you to direct heal your stump off. This is also a perfectly viable options, especially at the 10-man level. I think its safe to leave this decision up to personal preference. 

Of course you could always just use the above three glyphs and have the best of both worlds, which is what I have ultimately done. But if you are indecisive, Swiftmend will save some mana when you need a big direct heal. In the same vein, Wild Growth will give some HoT power to go along with those quick Nourishes. There really is a lot of flexibility here.

There is however, not so much when it comes to spec. For most people, you will be stuck going deep enough into the Balance tree to get Celestial Focus, that you will not have much of a choice but to go 18/0/53. Now as you progress through Icecrown you will be able to move those points out of Balance and back into the more useful Resto talents. Revitalize being a priority in my book due to the amount of Rejuvenation’s you will be tossing around. Where you go from there will depend on how often you decide to use you direct heals. Your build should look more like the crit 11/0/60 build..

 Phew…Who knew when you signed up to heal as a sapling, you’d be in for so much homework? However, as long as Blizzard keeps being bipolar in regards to Druid healing mechanics, you better get used to it. Who knows, maybe if we cut back on the QQ they will give us new Tree Form models before the end of Cataclysm. Well, we can dream can’t we? In the next part of this article we will cover specific strategies for healing the first 4 bosses of Icecrown as a Tree.

Tier 10 Healing Bonuses

The new Tier 10 bonuses are available for preview. Note that none of them are finalized yet but these are some serious bonuses. Check them out:

Druids

  • 2 piece: The healing granted by your Wild Growth spell reduces 0% less over time.
  • 4 piece: Each time your Rejuvenation spell heals a target, it has a 2% chance to jump to a new target at full duration.
  • Paladin

  • 2 piece: The cooldown on your Divine Favor talent is reduced by 60 sec.
  • 4 piece: Your Holy Shock spell causes the next Holy Light you cast within 10 sec to have 0.3 sec reduced cast time.
  • Priest

  • 2 piece: After your Pain Suppression and Guardian Spirit talents expire on your target, they grant your target 10% increased healing received for 10 sec.
  • 4 piece: Your Flash Heal spell has a 15% chance to reset the cooldown on your Circle of Healing and Penance Spells.
  • Shaman

  • 2 piece: Your Riptide spell grants 20% spell haste for your next spellcast.
  • 4 piece: Your Chain Heal critical strikes cause the target to heal for 25% of the healed amount over until cancelled.
  • If I were to rank these bonuses, I would have to say the 2 piece for Druids is a clear winner. Wild Growth without the reduction in healing strength as a constant bonus? That’s a strong bonus. The 4 piece translates to 1 in every 50 Rejuvenations will switch to a new target with a full duration a chance for Rejuv to jump per tick application.

    For Paladins, I’m really liking the 4 piece myself. Holy Light’s going to see some even heavier use. But that 2 piece basically means a 1 minute cooldown on Divine Favor. That’s pretty darn sick.

    The Priest 2 piece seems okay at first glance. It’s going to take Pain Suppression talents and the Guardian Spirit glyph to make it truly stand out. Remember how long their cooldowns are. I have to give the edge to Guardian Spirit especially if you have the glyph. The 4 piece one looks really good to me no matter what spec you are. I don’t think we’re going back to the days of the Circle of Healing spamming Holy Priest or anything.

    And as for Shamans, they seem to consistently rank high on the tier bonuses. Riptide giving haste? Chain Heal crits doing even more healing?

    How are you liking the upcoming tier 10 bonuses?

    Finally, a Worthy Idol!

    It’s no secret that I’ve been less than pleased with patch 3.2. However, last night I finally found something worth cheering over. I realized mid-raid that I had enough Emblems of Triumph to purchase my very own Idol of Flaring Growth. I bought it just before we engaged Faction Champions, and my my. How did I live without this thing?

    You see, I’ve always wanted to be able to equip wands like priests do. The druid idols have always been somewhat useful, but much less valuable overall than wands. In general, resto druid spellpower numbers lag a little bit behind priests, and that’s partly due to the wand slot. Gearwise, resto druids and holy priests have become identical in terms of stat allocation on our primary items, and in my mind that’s a good thing. It makes me much less likely to lust over a cloth item, except when no leather equivalent exists.

    And now, we get a shiny new idol that gives actual spellpower. The one thing my druid lacks, this idol delivers. How do I feel about more spellpower? Pleased would be an understatement.

    This thing pretty much blows my favorite past idols, Emerald Queen and Lush Moss, which gave spellpower bonuses to Lifebloom only, out of the water. I have to say, I enjoy this thing much more even than my days of idol swapping between Regrowth and Lifebloom idols (back when that didn’t incur an extra global cooldown). I’m keeping around my Rejuvenation-oriented idol just in case we ever do Vexaz hardmode, but I plan to make Flaring Growth a permanent part of my healing set.

    Let me explain how the idol works. The bonus spellpower effect procs from used or unused tics of Rejuvenation, and it appears to have both a very high proc rate and no internal cooldown. I would compare its uptime to Illustration of the Dragon Soul–which means the item is awesome. Consider it a near-permanent boost. Even if I’m tank healing, I am keeping up one or more Rejuvenations, so I find that the effect is active most of the time. Even in the Faction Champions fight, where I was relying mostly on Nourish, I was able to put out enough Rejuvenations to keep the effect up.

    And what, my friends, is the best thing about this idol? Anyone can get it–no raiding required. Just do your heroic daily, collect your modest 25 emblems of Triumph, and get thee to the vendor.

    How to be a Tree in 3.1

    How to be a Tree in 3.1

    tree_punch

    Even though the new patch has been out only a week, I thought it might be interesting to share what I’ve observed while raiding the first few bosses of Ulduar. So far, Conquest has brought down Flame Leviathan, Razorscale, and XT. The first night we spent a couple hours on a bugged Ignis. I’ve also tagged along on a short 10-man raid whose purpose was to reach Ignis and see if he’s still bugged. All I can say is that he seems a little easier than he did, but I’m not sure if the two pulls we were able to do on him before we ran out of time can be taken as evidence. At least he didn’t melee any of us in the Slag Pot–those of us who were chosen got to be happy little Hot Pockets.

    I also spent some time going over two combat log parses, WoW Meter Online and WWS, to check on my performance in these raids. There is a long-standing debate about meter reading among raiding healers, and I stand in the middle. I use reports mostly to see my ability rotation and how effective each thing I cast turned out to be. I do look at overall numbers, though, when I can compare myself to another druid who had the same assignment.

    General Impressions

    I’ll confess that in two nights of Ulduar this week, I had one bad performance and one very good one. Our first night in, I managed to patch just moments before we pulled, and I only had one spec. I also used that spec very, very badly. I’ll explain below, but first, here are some of my first impressions of the new instance.

    1. Flame Leviathan is really cool. The encounter doesn’t feel like the rest of WoW, but it’s quite fun. On the 10-man version, I begged to be one of the people launched onto the boss. I absolutely loved that part.

    2. I’m not really running out of mana. I pretty much did what I usually do, except that I let my Lifebloom bloom almost all the time. They really did reduce OOFSR regen, so all I can think is that druids must not have spent as much time out of the five second rule as we had previously thought. My observations match up to Lissanna’s, so I bet it’s a common experience.

    3. Dual spec is really convenient. At current, I have both a tank healing and a raid healing spec on my druid. On our XT attempts, I switched specs when I traded places with Mallet to heal the main tank through spiky damage. Being able to do that so seamlessly with just the talents I wanted was brilliant.

    4. The difficulty level of Ulduar is quite high. I was expecting Serpentshrine Cavern, and it seems that I got Black Temple. Think about the look and everything–it’s actually very similar to BT. Now, I didn’t raid on the PTR, and I’m at my worst when I’m surprised, but I swear that Ignis fellow is overtuned for his position in the instance. Even his trash is challenging! It seems at least as difficult as the Tempest Keep trash pulls leading up to Kael’s room, which is pretty much wrong for its position in the instance. Ignis’ trash should, at most, be at the level of Morogrim’s trash (remember all those pretty murlocs?). In our attempts on Ignis on 10 and 25, healers were able to learn the abilities and adjust to them, but the adds are still out of hand. I think that the melting, freezing, and cracking mechanism is a little much to handle at that speed. In contrast, I thought that both Razorscale and XT were pretty manageable.

    5. The gear in Ulduar seems odd. Granted, I’ve only seen a few pieces, but they don’t seem to be much better than the stuff from Kel’thuzad or Malygos. In contrast, the gear requirements for the dungeon feel very high. Briolante, our warrior tank, is full best-in-slot from Naxx, but Ignis was still ripping him up. He got a new weapon from Flame Leviathan, but it’s a marginal upgrade at best over his previous weapon–and the new weapon is an i-level 232. Weapons, in my opinion, should be significantly different between tiers. I can imagine that the ordinary 226 items might not be an upgrade at all over the scattered 226 items that a player is likely to have from the opening tier of raid content. I’m not sure why they decided to have Ulduar gear not be a progression from our current best-in-slots. I think the claim is that it’s better-itemized, but that’s certainly not true for druids. It’s the same old crit/haste itemization that we dealt with in Naxx.

    6. I seem to always want my fast heals. I was skeptical about glyphing Healing Touch for raid healing, but in the middle of our attempts on XT, our other resto druid went to respec and glyph for it as well. Healing in Ulduar is quite spammy. There are some breaks, like the exposed heart phase on XT, but when damage occurs it seems to be both deep and wide. Ulduar uses a combination of heavy hits on the MT with directed raid damage and also AoE splash damage. This is a change from previous content, which seemed to test only one skill at a time. The only thing I can think of to compare some of these fights to to is Gurtogg Bloodboil, who ripped up raids with a combination of hard hits, regular AoE damage, and targeted damage to a raid member.

    Trees on the Meters

    I won’t go over the exact details of my meter performance, but I’ve been lucky enough to be able to compare my numbers up to two other resto druids who were more or less doing the same tasks as I was. On our second night of raiding, I put in a competitive performance and I thought I did my job well. Here are my tips for putting in decent numbers.

    1. Remember that you are a HoT healer. The buffs to Nourish may have distracted you, but HoTs are stronger in Ulduar than they are in Naxx. Both HoTs and shields are at their strongest when damage and difficulty are high.

    2. Let your Lifebloom bloom. You could probably roll it on some bosses, and the bloom will be mostly overheal, but if you never let it bloom, you are wasting buckets of mana. On some fights, I got as much mana “back” from blooms as I got from Replenishment.

    3. The druid talent Revitalize is still bad. It’s a drop in the bucket compared to other sources of mana return, and I’m going to take it out of my build for a while and see if I feel the effects. If not, it’s staying out.

    4. Do not use Nourish without HoTs as a raid heal. It’s slow compared to other Flash Heals and it has low throughput. This mistake is what led to my being at the bottom of meters the first night in Ulduar.

    5. Glyphed Healing Touch (with talents) is very strong. This is the Flash Heal you want, not Nourish. I was skeptical about putting this in my raid build but both my own comfort level and my effectiveness on meters improved. I was actually fast enough to save Slag Pot victims, and I was well able to heal Light Bomb and Gravity Bomb with a glyphed HT.

    6. Lifebloom is an okay raid heal. It still ticks fast, which gives it an advantage over Rejuvenation. I’m actually using Rejuv less than I did in Naxx or Sarth 3D, because the chance of imminent death for my targets seems higher. I really, really want my 4pc T8 set bonus, however, which will effectively fix Rejuvenation.

    7. Innervate is still useful. I have mine glyphed, and I get not quite a full bar out of it.

    That’s about all I have. I’m still working out the kinks, so to speak, in Ulduar, and I’ll report back again if I have any startling new observations as we progress. The jury’s still out on whether I like this instance. It’s much better than Naxx, but I’m still comparing it in my head to my favorite BC instances, Serpentshrine Cavern and Black Temple. Ulduar has a lot to live up to. I really enjoyed the bosses we took down, but Ignis disappoints me. In addition to being overtuned and buggy, this guy reuses a model from a 5-man instance. That’s pretty disappointing to me–the art is one of the aspects that most affects my enjoyment of the game. In addition, I like Thorim’s new golden-boy model much less than his old, crusty, blue-skinned look. The old Thorim was much more melancholy, which really fit his quest line. Hopefully once I get into Ulduar proper I’ll be able to ooh and aah at the new art.
    sydsignature1

    Resto Druid Specs and Glyphs in 3.1

    Resto Druid Specs and Glyphs in 3.1

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    For the record, Moonkins are wonderful. I love them, and I love their dance. However, I am not going to be shaking a tailfeather–at least not for a little while. I might be the only crazy tree out there, but I’m going to use both of my specs for healing, at least for the time being. I expect to be in Ulduar tonight, and quite honestly, no one really knows how difficult it’s going to be. None of us have raided with our usual setups on the PTR, and many of us, me included, never made it there at all. We quite simply don’t know how we, as individual raid groups, will confront the challenges. Thus, it’s a great time to take two healing specs–one for raid healing, and one for tank healing. The changes to mana regen and to some individual spells (ahem, Lifebloom) may make your usual healing assignment no longer the order of the day. Are two healing builds overkill? Maybe. But are they fun? Oh yes, for me anyway.

    Build #1: Single tank focused

    I am working on the assumption that rolling Lifebloom on multiple tanks is good and dead, so that technique is not part of my calculations. My talent build for tank healing focuses on propping up Nourish, Rejuvenation, and Regrowth. The druid tank healer will do a version of what she’s always done: load HoTs on the tank and then cast a direct heal. The only change for me is that this heal will now be Nourish instead of Regrowth. My tank-healing spec is a version of the 14/0/57 build many of us have been using throughout Naxx, so there are very few surprises. Follow this link to see the build, but I’ll mention the key talents here.

    #1: Nature’s Splendor
    This talent makes direct healing much easier. The longer your HoTs tick, the more casts of Nourish you can sneak in the rotation.

    #2: Nature’s Grace
    This talent has been updated to benefit Nourish-heavy rotations. There’s no need to worry about Nourish clipping. An extra haste proc, of course, benefits direct healing much more than HoTs.

    #3: Tranquil Spirit
    Once an optional talent, Tranquil spirit looks better with the new mana constraints. Druid healers who rely on Nourish for tank filler healing should pick this one up.

    #4: Nature’s Bounty
    This talent replaces the old Improved Regrowth. It is the one change that cements Nourish’s place in the druid’s rotation. Do not leave the trainer without it.

    #5: Living Seed
    This talent used to account for less than 1% of my healing, which encouraged me to drop it altogether. Now it procs from overheal in addition to effective healing, making it a better safeguard for a tank target.

    Glyphs for Tank Healing

    I am going to glyph for Swiftmend, Nourish, and Innervate for my tank healing needs. Your mileage may vary. The glyphs of Lifebloom and Regrowth might still be interesting for certain playstyles, but I’m keeping Innervate until I’m sure I don’t need it.

    Build #2: Raid Healing with Healing Touch

    What I’m going to share with you is a bit unorthodox and is NOT to be used for tank healing. This build only becomes possible if you have another healing spec to switch to for tank healing or multitasking. In this particular raid healing build, I am going to take the opportunity to try out some new techniques. The basic idea is that Ulduar is an unknown quantity. This build de-emphasizes HoT combos, which is the druid’s strength in tank healing or in normal content. This build features a glyphed Healing Touch, which I know from experience can help when 1) the druid is undergeared for the throughput needed or 2) the druid is running around like a chicken with her head cut off. Don’t worry, there’s a second build coming up later that’s a more standard build for raid healing. The basic technique with this first build is to use Wild Growth and Rejuvenation very liberally and to save that quick HT for heavy damage targeted on a small number of raid members. Mana survival in this build depends on not spamming HT, but rather using it judiciously. The reason I’ve preferred it to the similar Nourish is that it has a decent throughput with no prior HoT setup. Regrowth might work in this role too, but it tends to be a little too slow when the healer is surprised by damage. Just as a note, with this build, Nature’s Swiftness gets used with Regrowth.

    Caveat: Yes, I know I’m advocating a flash heal as a raid heal. If your team has extra paladins who end up raid healing, it wouldn’t look as good. However, if you’d been reading my guild’s WWS reports for early Naxx or harder heroics back when we were undergeared, you would have seen glyphed Healing Touch kick the ass of Nourish, Regrowth, and Swiftmended Rejuvenation as a raid heal. I credit Sthirteen with putting a glyphed HT to great use (and outperforming me and my conventional build every time).

    Naturalist: Clipping be damned. Yes, your Healing Touch casts will be so fast they’ll clip. With this build, I don’t intend to use more than one at a time. It’s not set up for constant heal bombs on a tank. This is more of a run, run, heal, run, run kind of build.

    Tranquil Spirit: Necessary for survival with glyphed HT. The spell is a resource hog, and you’ll need every ounce of mana efficiency.

    Revitalize: With this build, the druid will be seeding the raid really heavily with Rejuvenation and Wild Growth. This little talent puts the damage buffer of those two HoTs to a secondary use. One of the things that remains to be seen is how effective Revitalize really is. I’m not counting on huge benefits, but if I’m using the affected spells anyway? Might as well.

    Glyphs for HT-oriented raid healing

    I’ll be using Healing Touch, Wild Growth, and Innervate for this build. I know, no Swiftmend. Believe me when I tell you that I’ll need the glyph of Innervate to sustain any amount of HT usage.

    Build #3: Raid Healing Standard Build

    I will likely switch to this build when I get more comfortable with Ulduar. It has more mana efficiency than the HT build, and thus it might let the raid healing druid sneak some HoTs onto the tank. My experience with the HT build is that it’s only really great when multiple healers are undergeared or don’t know WTF to do. I’d never take it as an all-purpose build, because it really reduces the druid’s rotation. With this second raid healing build, I will continue to cast Wild Growth and Rejuvenation liberally. Additionally, once I complete the 4pc T8 set bonus, raid healing with Rejuvenation will be positively delightful. I won’t need my direct heals nearly as much. However, I’ll be using Regrowth as a direct heal on targets with no existing HoT and Nourish as a direct heal on targets that already have one HoT. Swiftmend will also be extremely prominent with this build. For healing on the run, both Rejuv and Lifebloom might be cast on the target, particularly if the raid is spread out enough to make Wild Growth wasteful. The key talents are below.

    Swiftmend: I can’t emphasize this enough for this build, but well, any good tree has this anyway.

    Nature’s Bounty: I need to buff my two direct heals in order to deal with targeted boss effects.

    Revitalize: The very heavy reliance on Wild Growth and Rejuvenation ensures the inclusion of this talent.

    Glyphs for Raid Healing

    My “standard” raid healing build uses the glyphs of Swiftmend, Wild Growth, and Innervate until I get the 4pc T8 bonus. With the bonus, the glyphs become Swiftmend, Wild Growth, and Rejuvenation.

    As a final comment, why would I carry two healing specs when one would do? Because now I can! And also, I apparently didn’t get enough fun out of doing dailies with a Resto spec. At least that gives me a little time to look at elf-Syd instead of a tree or a bird.

    When a Bonus is More than a Bonus

    When a Bonus is More than a Bonus

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    Thanks to MMO Champion and it’s data-ming ways, we now have access to a preliminary version of the Tier 8 set bonuses. It’s anyone’s guess whether these bonuses will actually go live. The bonuses for Resto druid appear to be excellent, though there’s one catch: the 4-piece bonus for Tier 8 is much too good.
    t8-prospective-bonuses

    Here we have a classic example of a good set bonus and a “bad” set bonus. Lest you grow angry at me for complaining about buffs as well as nerfs, I’ll explain what I mean.

    What makes a set bonus good?

    The two-piece Tier 8 bonus, which gives a 10% boost to the throughput of Swiftmend, will be nice to have. Swiftmend is a spell almost every healing druid talents for, and it can be used by both raid healers and tank healers alike. The bonus doesn’t conflict with or double the Glyph of Swiftmend, which is a different and even stronger throughput increase which allows Swiftmend to be applied without consuming one of the druid’s HoTs (either Rejuvenation or Regrowth). Moreover, if I had one piece of advice for most Resto druids, it would be to use Swiftmend more. Many forget all about it because it’s a two-step spell–HoT setup plus instant top-off. I find that I perform much better if I use it whenever it’s up. Still, this bonus will never be overpowered, even in combination with the glyph, because Swiftmend continues to be on a cooldown. Druids will get this bonus and enjoy it, perhaps giggling to themselves over their WWS reports. However, it will be a set bonus that the druid can bear to leave behind for whatever Tier 9 gear has in store.

    What makes a set bonus bad?

    We’ve all seen set bonuses that are lackluster or unusable. The Tier 6 4-pc Resto druid bonus to Healing Touch comes to mind as a particularly useless one. I passed on Tier 6 pants in favor of badge pants because this bonus simply wasn’t one. However, a bonus that goes in the other direction, becoming so good that it overshadows all other gear upgrades, is actually more harmful to the class and the game. Take, for example, the much-lamented 4pc Tier 5 mage bonus, which entirely changed the functioning of Arcane Blast, greatly upping its damage output at an increasing mana cost. I still /spit on this bonus. It caused the four raiding mages in my former guild to hold onto 4-pc Tier 5 until they were able to equip 4 pieces of Tier 6 at once. The consternation this caused them probably cost my guild several extra hours of loot debate. The mages also faced accusations of DKP hoarding as they waited to buy the early Tier 6 pieces. They had much more DKP than they could spend because of their need to hang onto T5. Moreover, the mages themselves didn’t always pay the increased mana cost. Instead, the druid healers Innervated them. We didn’t mind, exactly, because mana was plentiful for healers at that point, but I couldn’t Innervate all four of them, and I always felt bad when I didn’t have any juice left for a player who asked. However, the most pernicious aspect of the bonus had to do with play style. It pigeon-holed mages into an arcane spec and a set rotation, turning three trees into one for a tier and a half of content. I know one determined fire mage who switched to her warlock in Tier 5 because she didn’t like the arcane playstyle. In the end, the T5 bonus was judged to be too strong, nerfed, and finally taken away.

    Ghostcrawler has actually said in the past that a tier bonus should be just that–a bonus. I wholeheartedly agree. However, the 4 pc T8 bonus isn’t going to just be a bonus–it’s going to radically change most druids’ rotations.

    Rejuvenation has always been a good spell, but its limiting factor is that it doesn’t tick for 3 seconds after it is applied. In essence, that turns it into a HoT with a long cast. Rejuvenation is probably the druid’s most over-written spell. Thankfully it’s also our most efficient. With the bonus, I would get a tiny burst of healing–1997 in Syd’s current gear–when I cast the spell. That’s less than a Holy Shock, but it has a huge impact. With even a small initial heal, Rejuvenation would be “fixed.” It would go from being something that some druids don’t cast, preferring the faster-ticking Lifebloom and Wild Growth, into the raid healing spell. I think this is a very innovative and necessary addition to the spell; however, it doesn’t belong in a set bonus. This “fix” would get druids away from using Lifebloom for every situation, and that’s great. However, if this change is truly imagined as a “fix” to the spell, it needs to be made permanent through talents. Hell, I think it’s worth 5 of my talent points–or even the entire space in the tree occupied by Revitalize and Living Seed. This one little set bonus would give druids what they’ve always wanted–a tool to keep others from sniping their heals.

    “Sniping,” for the uninitiated, is the practice of going outside one’s own healing assignment to heal someone else’s target, particularly a target that already has a ticking hot or a slower-casting incoming heal. Typically, players snipe with quick heals–Flash Heal, Flash of Light, Chain Heal, even Nourish or glyphed Healing Touch. As I’ve explained before, healers will never stop sniping–in any case, not until the default UI shows incoming heals and HoTs, mana is as scarce as roses in the Alaskan winter, and healing meters go extinct. Druids are incredibly vulnerable to heal-snipers as most of our healing takes a bit of setup before it starts to work. Ghostcrawler has said in the past that heal-sniping is a valid concern, but it’s not going to be fixed through nerfing mana. Other tools have to be used against it, and the new Rejuvenation is a perfect fit. Healers who play without any incoming heal data will be able to see that the target is covered and consequently will turn elsewhere, even (gasp!) back to their own assigned target.

    The change to Rejuvenation needs to be either a talent or a glyph–and I would prefer talent, because then it would correspond to priests’ new talented Renew, which just got a similar front-ended burst. Renew has never been as good as Rejuvenation in the past, but with a small initial burst, it might just be better than Rejuv post-3.1.

    In any case, if this tier bonus remains unaltered, druids will wear their Tier 8 until they have 4 pc of Tier 9–and maybe even beyond. This set bonus is more powerful than any one gear upgrade–and I would say, probably more powerful than four. It steps beyond what a bonus is supposed to do. At maximum, I’d say the set bonus for a previous tier should maybe give a player pause about equipping just two pieces of the new tier or item level, as it may be. Not all the best pieces are part of a set. However, when it gets to three upgrades over the stats on the old tier, players should be happy about making a change.

    I’m concerned, Blizzard–very concerned. Thinking as both a raiding druids and a guild officer, I’d rather not wrestle with this particular angel, as good as that set bonus may seem when we’re sitting at the beginning, not the end, of Tier 8.

    Further Thoughts on Lifebloom Changes

    Further Thoughts on Lifebloom Changes

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    Here I am, drowning my sorrows in a glass of Miracle-Gro at my favorite Dalaran tavern. Why all the tragic tree tears?

    For those of you who have been under a rock for the last week, the news from the developers is that Lifebloom is about to get a heavy nerf to its healing per mana (HPM). In 3.1, Lifebloom will cost twice what it does at current and return 50% of its cost when it blooms, adjusted for the number of stacks on the target.

    What does this mean, you might ask?

    Ghostcrawler tells us that the intent is to end the practice of rolling Lifebloom–efficiently–on two or more tanks. Unfortunately, the nerf hits a “good” practice just as hard–rolling Lifebloom on just one tank.

    I’ve been following Elitist Jerks and the official Healing Class Role forums, and amid the insane drivel and endless whining, I’ve been able to discern a few things.

    What Druids Want

    #1: Overwhelmingly, druids want a Lifebloom we can use.

    Lifebloom has come to be a spec-defining ability, and its rolling mechanism makes it unique. My own worry, and that of many raiding druids, is that the practice of using Lifebloom as a rolling buffer on one tank will be over. We want reassurance from the developers that Lifebloom will continue to work for us.

    #2: Druids want consistency in the way we time the spell.

    Most druids agree on one thing: the new bloom mechanism is awkward. A reward for blooming and a punishment for refreshing contradict the mechanics we’ve grown up with. In this topsy-turvy Lifebloom world, what’s good now will soon be bad–you’ll want your Lifebloom to fall off whenever you can afford it.

    #3: Druids want a raid role, and we want it to be consistent with what it has been in the past.

    Every player, of course, wants to be useful. After all, we want to play the game, and rerolling isn’t a realistic option for most of us. I’ve seen priest and shaman and paladin threads about their raid role as well, and now druids are feeling that anxiety. I’ve also seen the devs reply to these anxieties in dismissive and condescending ways. They always say that they conceive of raid roles differently than the community does. To that, I’ll reply that perceptions matter. Raid invites are based on them, after all.

    Druids overwhelmingly believe that their raid role is to add a buffer, a bit of insurance against disaster. Our HoTs are like the priest’s Power Word Shield or the Shaman’s Earth Shield: useless when the content is easy, but essential when the content is hard. If cushioning the MT goes the way of the dodo, many druids may start to feel like the poor man’s paladin. I think Blizzard needs to pay attention to the druid’s historical raid role and make sure it remains intact. In order for a buffer to work, it needs to stay up. Rolling LB will always be the best thing–for the tank. And that’s what we want to think about, right?

    #4: Druids want to be less dependent on timers

    Druid healing is already very rigid. Unlike other healers, we have a true rotation, and it’s every bit as ugly as an Affliction warlock’s. We have four different HoTs, each of which has a different duration, and one of which stacks. We’re already tied to 3rd-party mods to manage these spells, particularly Lifebloom. Right now, though, all we have to do is roll, and the penalty for refreshing early is slight. However, in a mana-constrained environment, with Lifebloom being our most expensive HoT, we absolutely will not be able to refresh early. The penalty will be huge. In addition, we’ll be having to make a decision about whether to let Lifebloom bloom every 9 seconds or so. That’s a lot of mental bandwidth dedicated to timing one spell. Many druids would rather drop Lifebloom altogether than micromanage the bloom. As it stands now, it looks like we will be more dependent on timers post 3.1 than we are now, and that’s a scary thought.

    Alternate Solutions

    Everyone has their pet fix for the Lifebloom problem or their favorite way to mitigate the impact of the nerf. I’m going to repeat here a couple of my favorites. I’ve seen each of these ideas posted several times by different posters in slightly different iterations, but here’s my take.

    #1. Buff Lifebloom’s HoT slightly and reduce the bloom. A gain in HPS on the part of the spell that’s most useful in PvE would cushion the impact of the nerf somewhat.

    #2. Limit the number of active Lifeblooms to 6 per druid. I personally love this solution, and I’d even like it if the limit were three. This would keep multiple stacks of Lifebloom from dominating the healing meters, and even though a raid could ostensibly stack druids, most probably wouldn’t. After all, Lifebloom works best as a sort of damage cushion on the main tank. This is the use of rolling Lifebloom that I’d like to protect.

    #3. Remove the stacking mechanism. I’m also in favor of this solution for simplicity’s sake. Lifebloom causes a ton of problems because of its stacks. Why not buff the value for a single Lifebloom and remove the stacking capability? It’s the stacking that causes such rigidity in a druid’s rotation. I doubt many druids will be brave enough to single stack it in 3.1, but that’s looking like a mana efficient way to go. Why not make the decision for us?

    I’m interested in knowing what readers think about this problem. As for me, I think I understand why Lifebloom is a target right now, and it’s not a pretty thought. I think that–correctly or no–the developers believe that the 40% nerf to OOFSR regen won’t hurt the druid enough. Right or wrong, it’s seen as a nerf that will hurt the priest more. As such, they’ve changed both the cost and the mechanics of druids’ signature spell in order to force us to run empty. My feeling from reading the comments of PTR testers is that the change is too dramatic. Combined with the new, underwhelming Innervate, the expensive rolled Lifebloom may just not be sustainable even on one target. I’m not looking forward to standing idly by mid-fight with an empty mana bar. Far better than that would be to do without Lifebloom, but I sure would miss it.

    Lifebloom nerf for 3.1: WTF?

    Lifebloom nerf for 3.1: WTF?

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    I thought I was having a nice Friday afternoon, and so I said to myself, “Self, why don’t we read a little Elitist Jerks forums before we leave work?” Good idea, right? Not so much. Here’s a little jewel, quoted from the European forums of all places, for your reading pleasure:

    • Lifebloom: Mana cost of all ranks doubled. When Lifebloom blooms or is dispelled, it now refunds half the base mana cost of the spell per application of Lifebloom, and the heal effect is multiplied by the number of applications.

    Fortunately, my leafy friends have already been at work, and GC has made some responses. Here is the discussion–it’s actually quite instructive and I feel like I learned a little bit after reading the whole thing. The surprise, actually, is how constructive the community is being–sucking up, I guess, versus Ghostcrawler’s uncharacteristically snarky attitude. GC seems to think we have all been triumphing over an OP Lifebloom and just waiting on a nerf. In my experience, that’s just not the case.

    Why Oh Why Did this Happen to Us?

    The stated reason for the efficiency nerf to Lifebloom is, quite simply, to de-incentivize stacking the spell on multiple tanks. Unfortunately, the nerf targets single tank stacking as well. From the math, it becomes horribly inefficient to refresh Lifebloom after the initial triple stack. In the future–especially in a mana-scarce environment–we will need to manage both the bloom and the roll, instead of now just worrying about the roll.

    Most posters believe that the bloom of Lifebloom will be mostly overheal. I concur. There are many situations where my Lifebloom blooms. Sometimes I refresh too early, but sometimes, well, I’m too late. The “too late” problem is exponentially more likely to occur in busy fights with lots of movement or sources of damage. Yes, I know, I’m a bad druid. I use Grid to display my current Hots, but I’m not running a big splashy HoT timer like I used to in BC. I can tell you that the bloom of my Lifeblooms tends to wash out at around 1% of my effective heal in any given fight.

    Who’s Facerolling Lifebloom Now?

    This nerf really puzzles me. Are any of you, dear readers, topping healing meters by rolling on multiple tanks? That used to be me–back in Hyjal. Most of the current fights are either one-tank only, see me raid healing, or require so much movement (Sarth 3D) that facerolling LB gets to be impossible. I used to love stacking LB on 4 tanks–it felt dynamic, and the contribution of the heals was large enough in proportion to the tanks’ health that I felt like I was doing something. Now, not so much. The proportion of the tank’s total health that a triple-stacked LB is able to heal has decreased, such that Lifebloom looks like it’s not doing anything. I’ve spent some time looking at my WWS v. my guildies, especially when another druid outperforms me on the same assignment. It looks like right now Lifebloom is doing a decent job raid healing, but it’s usually not triple-stacked or rolled. It’s doing a lot of healing on tanks, but Regrowth is doing even more.

    Maybe Ulduar is Hyjal 2.0 with four tanks in play. That’s the only setup I can imagine where this change would be absolutely necessary in order to keep resto druids from having a distinct advantage over other healers. That’s bad–a lot of guilds choose their number of tanks based on content, and right now you need a maximum of three. I wonder where everyone’s going to find their fourth?

    Goodbye, Lifebloom?

    The saddest thing about this change is that it adds yet another thing for druids to time perfectly. I’m in the fair category at perfect timing–I’m more into using my HoTs as a set-it-and-forget-it type heal. As such, Rejuvenation is my favorite spell, and if there’s a silver lining here, it’s that I’m about to actually be rewarded for casting it instead of kicking for using it. Right now, Rejuvenation is a poor bet–it’s going to get overhealed, and in the current environment, the numbers show a single Lifebloom to be more effective as a raid heal due to its faster tick. Presumably, the change to mana regen will be enough to tone down the endless sniping and spamming that goes on now. Right now, it’s very easy to pad the meters by ignoring your healing assignment in favor of whoever’s lowest or taking damage, but in the future I look for tighter assignments to be the norm.

    However, my head already hurts contemplating what I believe will be the new use of Lifebloom: stacking on the MT to three and letting it bloom, and then immediately stacking again. It could be all-Loatheb, all the time–we’ll have to refresh our 3-stack selectively in order to time the bloom of Lifebloom to a point where the burst will be needed, or at least we’ll feel compelled to try.

    Sure, the best restos will do that. Others will simply start to play sloppy. My healing, worst case scenario, could go something like this: I’ll cast whatever number of Lifeblooms from 1-3 that I feel like on the MT and then go do other stuff. Sometime later, I’ll get back to my target and say hey! Why don’t I stack on you again, using up a lot of GCDs in the process? Because I didn’t pay attention to timing, my blooms will be 100% overheal, and because the tank didn’t always have 3X Lifebloom as a buffer, he came close to dying a couple of times. And at the end of the fight, there I’ll be, hanging down at the bottom of the meters, standing alone, like the cheese in the Farmer in the Dell song. I’ll end fights wondering if I did anything worthwhile at all, besides, of course, the obligatory Wild Growth cast every time it’s up. Man, I wish I had started working on my shaman like I intended to six weeks ago!

    It might be easiest just to take Lifebloom off the bar. After all, there are druids who stopped using it after the last round of nerfs. It might take down my potential effective healing, but it might be worth it just to have a little more breathing room. After all, I decided not to play my Affliction warlock at all in the expansion because her expanded DoT rotation got to be too much to handle. They’ve just made her easier to play by eliminating Siphon Life–now why would they do something to a HoT class that has an opposite effect? However, if I, as a tank healer, take Lifebloom out of my rotation, I miss out on the full bonus to glyphed Nourish, which is shaping up to be 3.1’s prize pig. What’s a poor weepy willow to do?

    On Change

    I usually like change, but this time it’s a little different. I had to relearn my class for Wrath, and I have to say, I preferred the TBC Lifebloom-heavy healing model. I felt important, and what I did for the tanks seemed dynamic and useful. I learned to work with the limitations on my rotation and my movement–I was good at that. Now that I can do anything, I’m less likely to know what to do! I’m overburdened by choice already. Adding one more thing to manage–and at that, a burst heal that happens 8 to 10 seconds after the original cast and requires three more GCDs to be spent after it–in an already full rotation–just seems daunting.

    3.1 PTR Notes: New Druid Glyphs

    3.1 PTR Notes: New Druid Glyphs

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    I haven’t found time quite yet to log onto the PTR, but I have been anxiously following all the updates and changes on MMOchampion.com. If you’ve had your head in the sand somehow, go check out the new stuff here.

    This morning’s post will be a short one, but I wanted to bring to all of your attention the awesomeness of the new Druid glyphs, particularly for resto.

    Here’s what we’ve got:

    Druid (Skills List / Talent + Glyph Calc.)
    Glyph of Rebirth — Players resurrected by Rebirth are returned to life with 100% health. (Old: Increases the amount of health on a character brought back to life via Rebirth by 100%.)
    Glyph of Starfall — Reduces the cooldown of Starfall by 90 sec. (Old: Increases the duration of Starfall by 2 sec.)
    Glyph of Berserk *new* — Increases the duration of Berserk by 5 sec.
    Glyph of Wild Growth *new* — Wild Growth now affects up to 6 targets.
    Glyph of Nourish *new* — Your Nourish heals an additional 6% for each of your heal over time effects present on the target.
    Glyph of Savage Roar *new* — Your Savage Roar ability grants an additional 6% bonus damage done.
    Glyph of Typhoon *new* — Reduces the cooldown of your Typhoon spell by 3 sec.
    Glyph of Barkskin *new* — Reduces the chance you’ll be critically hit by melee attacks by 1 to 0% while Barkskin is active.

    Too Many Choices?

    Up until now, there have been accepted “right” and “wrong” ways to glyph the restoration druid. With the current glyphs, most top-of-the-line restos use one of two combinations.

    1. Swiftmend, Regrowth, Lifebloom
    2. Swiftmend, Regrowth, Innervate

    I am personally using Combo #2, though I would have replaced it by now if I hadn’t wanted to keep Innervate at least until my character copied to the PTR. Hopefully once there I can exploit the dual spec system with two Resto specs and test many of the Resto glyphs in raid situations.

    However, based purely on guesswork, I give you the hot combos of the future:

    1. Swiftmend, Wild Growth, Innervate.
    This one says “raid healer” to me. However, people’s individual use of Swiftmend varies. It’s a combo type spell and it gets used directly in proportion, I’d think, to people’s ability to identify their own Rejuvenations on their UI. I am a very heavy user now, mostly because of the glyph.

    2. Swiftmend, Regrowth, Lifebloom.
    This combo is for the classic tank healer, usually assigned to Main Tanks.

    3. Swiftmend, Regrowth, Innervate.
    For the tank healer who sometimes runs short on mana.

    4. Swiftmend, Nourish, Lifebloom.
    Also for the tank healer, but for those who like either combos or shorter heals. This lets the druid use all her spells and depending on spec, could be a fairly mana-efficient combo.

    5. Swiftmend, Nourish, Innervate.
    For the efficiency expert. This druid will have mana left when everyone else is doing the twist and wishing they had their old OOFSR mana return values.

    6. Swiftmend, Wild Growth, Lifebloom.
    This combo is for the generalist who never knows what she’ll be doing in a given fight. However, she’s mana-confident.

    7. Wild Growth, Lifebloom, Regrowth.
    The WWS-obsessed. This druid has looked at what spells get used the most and has glyphed entirely based on the percentages. Substitute Nourish for Regrowth based on personal preference.

    8. Wild Growth, Lifebloom, Innervate.
    This combination is for the raid-healing druid who doesn’t use Swiftmend. She gets a scolding from me, but well, she’s probably in the majority. Swiftmend is currently our hardest-to-use spell, though its one of our most rewarding.

    9. Regrowth, Lifebloom, Innervate
    For the tank healer who does not use Swiftmend. Regrowth could substitute for Nourish based on preference. However, I can’t imagine this druid. Swiftmend is easiest to use on tanks and is our best save. Nature’s Swiftness + Healing Touch is nice, but it’s infrequent.

    For me personally, #6 looks likely. As much as I love tank healing, the balance of healers in the guild has shifted and I’m usually needed on the raid. I am also going to try #5 and #1 if mana starts running low. I may also try out #7, but boy, would I miss Swiftmend.

    Wow, we have a lot of choices. The only thing you won’t be doing is glyphing for both Regrowth and Nourish–the conditions of the glyphs contradict each other. The Nourish glyph wants you to use all your hots, including Regrowth, and finish with Nourish, while the Regrowth one encourages you to rely heavily on…guess what…Regrowth.

    What are the rest of you going to glyph for in 3.1?