How to be a Tree in 3.1

How to be a Tree in 3.1


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.

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  1. I like this idea of having a tank-healing and a raid-healing spec. Could you post your builds? I’m glad we’re getting points refunded today as I took Revitalize on my druid and I’m likewise sorta “meh” about it.

    khaelis last blog post..GTFO My Spec KKTHXBAI

  2. From watching healers mana so far, I think blizz did a pretty excellent job of balancing it. Near the end of fights, healers are short on mana, but they’re far from oom. If they make some bad decisions, get battle rezzed or the raid just isn’t doing the encounter right… mana does become an issue, but that’s the way it should be.

    I find it really hard to compare the content now to the content before. I remember back in SSC and TK and how it took weeks to kill a new boss. I remember thinking, “wow Lurker died in 2 weeks, that guy was easy”… whereas in Ulduar I’m sitting here killing bosses in the first week and thinking… “wow if we raided 3 days like we did before, we’d have 3 bosses down in the first week and even getting 2 is pretty ridiculous”. So, I’m seeing this content as still pretty SSC comparable, but then SSC/TK was also the learning days of our guild so it’s really hard to say. Personally, I like where the content is at currently. I finally feel like I’m raiding again. I’m really looking forward to hard-modes too… wow those are going to be tough, but I like that. Right now, I have a handful of raiders that really don’t know what they’re doing. Ya sure they do reasonable DPS and they listen, but they aren’t getting pushed into researching their class. Hard modes are going to do this to them.

    As to the gear, you can’t really compare it to KT25 or Malygos25 loot as those items are very close to what’s dropping. When you start upgrading the pieces you got from the other bosses in Naxx, you’ll see some big gains. (and the bigger picture being… when you start doing hard-modes, you’ll see really, really big gains)

    Veneretios last blog post..Shattering Throw: The Best Ability you’re Not Using

  3. Brokentree says:

    I haven’t raided other than Vault since patch (exam time for some of our raiders) so I’ve really only been experimenting with heals in 5-person instances and I’ve been looking for a post along these lines.

    I may use today’s free respec to try some different builds and I had a question about glyphed Healing Touch.

    Are you using it in conjunction with the Naturalist talent (bringing cast time to 1 second)?

    If so, is it fair to say that Nourish is still the heal to use if you need to spam a heal on one target as you won’t be bumping against the GCD?

    Thanks for the article.


  4. Though I’m not really sold on the Healing Touch Glyph, it’s nice to see some people finding it effective. I have never found “being on the bottom of the healing meters” a true cause for too much adjusting; healing meters are too fickle, too situational, and don’t tell enough of the story to base my judgments on. I actually have used Nourish without HoTs on plenty of encounters as a quick flash heal, and it’s very rare I drop below first or second heals.

  5. Where I can control a small number of people for healing, like XT, I’ve been dropping Rejuv or Regrowth on everyone in my assignment so that when I do have to spam nourish around, its good to go with HoTs. I’ve got the Nourish glyph too, and I’m considering giving up the Innervate glyph for the Wild Growth one. I am kind of annoyed with the way we are forced to either use an weaker setup heal, or drive us back towards our Vanilla/BC as a pre-eminent MT healer only.

    With only one 80, I can’t justify having 2 healer specs and I’ve got a role within the raid as someone with a raid-level Boomer gear set so I regularly swap in and out as healer or DPS.

  6. I disagree with 4 & 6.

    I’m finding Nourish to be a great raid heal, and Lifebloom to be poor – a single stack is far too weak and quickly gets stomped on. Rejuv is still king (and will be even better when I get some more T8!). WG, Rejuv and Swiftmend come first, but throwing a few Nourishes around when there’s heavy damage on trash or when someone is taking fast damage – it’s working really well. Most of the time though, WG, Rejuv and Swiftmend are enough to cover you on raid healing.

    I used the Innervate glyph for the first few fights and then ditched it when I got my grubby little mitts on the WG glyph. I haven’t missed it yet – I haven’t even had to use unglyphed Innervate much yet, which pleases me a lot. I’m currently Swiftmend, WG, Nourish. I hadn’t planned to get the WG glyph because I prefer to primarily be a tank healer – but now I won’t give it up. It’s just too good.

    Revitalize IS weak but I’ve had it as a “might as well” talent. When you get deep into the tree it feels like the last few options are all pretty bad, so it’s a case of taking whatever you think sucks the least. I don’t like that. I’ve had some raid members tell me they’re loving Revitalize (despite it being weak), so I kept it with a shrug. If they like it, and there’s nothing much else very good to take, I don’t mind taking it.

    But now that we’ve had another free respec, I’m going to have a fiddle and see if I should rearrange things a little. I’ve been very happy to far, though.

    Keevas last blog post..Arbor Day – not much time left!

  7. Stifmeister says:

    I am thinking if Glyph of Rejuvenation and keeping Rejuvenation up on as many as possible could be an option. The +50% healing while below 50% health would help when they take big hits. One could always patch up with Swiftmend or Nourish if they have a Rejuvenation, or Regrowth if they don’t have it (with the possibility of planting a Living Seed in case they take damage soon again). With the full T8 bonus this could be even better with bonuses to both Rejuvenation and Swiftmend.

  8. Effectiveness of spells has to be decided not only by the math, but also by your personal usage and the makeup of your raid group.

    Keeva, for example, plays in a server-first type guild. That’s a very competitive environment. I can see how Nourish might work better for her than it does for me, based on some guesses.

    For healing something like Slag Pot, which needs both quick and high throughput heals, HT is better if you’re doing it alone. It’s simply stronger. However, if 1)you and your computer are fast or 2) your other healers are on the spot, Nourish is fine. It’s those situations, where conditions are too fast and too random to let the druid get even one HoT on the target, HT glyphed shines. Maybe Keeva can get in a HoT where I can’t. In my case, my computer and my 30-year old reaction time both work against me…though the computer is in for repairs, I’ll still have to compete against players with many more years of gaming experience and faster reflexes.

    I will note, though, that I don’t glyph HT in my tank-healing build. For raid healing on the side of tank healing, Wild Growth and Rejuv are best. The Ulduar content has seen me doing more raid-only healing than tank healing, however. Nourish just isn’t as strong if you can’t predict who will take damage.

    At some point, I’ll make a post on reading healing meters. It seems that many people have thrown them completely out the window, but I believe they have something to teach.

  9. If I had a tri-spec option and could pick 2 healing specs along with my moonkin spec, I might pick up the HT glyph & talents, but with only one healing build, I really can’t justify it. Wild Growth actually works as a HOT to buff nourish, so in raid healing on 25-mans, I’ve been trying to use wild growth and nourish together, which is a good way to get easy HOTs on the target. In some cases, nourish without HOTs works okay just to top people off fast, but it’s a poor long-term healing strategy for raid healing purposes. You can also pre-HOT in some cases, or throw a Regrowth on someone as a direct heal, and then you’ve got over 20 seconds that you can use the HOT to buff nourish. I haven’t tried a glyphed HT build because it’s too situational for me to waste the points/glyph slots for it with my resto-moonkin dualspec. It is, however, incredibly interesting to see someone actually using a glyphed HT strategy, since I counted on mana regen problems as the reason I didn’t think it would work (and we’re having less mana problems than I anticipated). I’ll need to keep an eye on how this strategy progresses, and maybe I’ll stop judging it so critically…

  10. Smartteaus says:

    What I have noticed as maybe the strongest heal for the fights with large amounts of raid damage, such as Deconstructor, Ignis, Hologarm, etc., is rejuv. I know its not the best heal to pick up individuals, but basically, I just “roll” a rejuv on as many raid members as I can. I won’t roll on the thanks, and I won’t roll on the groups that have holy priests. But everyone else, the rejuv provides a great buffer. Right after the big aoe hit, I’ll also throw a wild growth into the mix, but then go back to rejuvs. This strat is also great on mana conservation because with the rejuv idol, its practically free (when regen is built in).

    Granted recently, on Ignis, I’ve been stuck on OT duty….Probably one of the hardest healing tasks I have ever faced.

    P.S. Did I mention that the DPS love me for the revitalize from rejuv and wild growth?

  11. @Lissanna: I might not have made this clear enough. I only take glyphed HT in my secondary healing spec, and I only use that spec when I’m assigned to raid healing (no tank duties, neither MT or OT). I need different tools to heal tanks. However, in a guild that’s very competitive and very attentive to healing meters, I’m always looking to see if what I cast repays me in effective heals. For that, glyphed HT is best for situations like Slag Pot, Light Bomb, and Gravity Bomb. If I had a lot invested in a Moonkin set or a Moonkin playstyle, I might scrap the minor gains of an HT spec in favor of a dps spec, but I don’t. Healing is really the only thing I like to do in raids, so it suits me really well to have an only slightly different second spec. I’m certainly not advocating that everyone glyph HT. I’m just saying that if you do, it pays off in certain ways (live players and good meter performance). In comparison, I find that with my particular group, if I use Nourish to heal targeted damage on random raid members it leads to my making an overall lesser contribution to the raid. However, Nourish is very nice on a tank stacked with HoTs–hence my primary build.

    @Smarteaus: I always wonder when people say that the dps love Revitalize. The gains from mine are so small, even when I’m using a Rejuv-heavy strategy, that no one’s noticed.

  12. Allindra says:

    I usually play a dual specced holy/disc priest (Allindra of Smolderthorn) and as such my druid (Rivellana of Smolderthorn) has fallen by the wayside…she is an alt and her gear reflects it although I’ve tried to get the best that I can get for her from the content I’m able to bring her in for.

    However when we had the second talent point refund, I decided to go with Sydera’s HT raid healing spec to try it out. My druid’s SP is not all that high and her mana regen is not all that great, however I’ve used her a few times this week with this spec and I have to say I love the results.

    A few nights ago we ran a Naxx 10 with a bunch of alts, and my healing came very close to that of a cookie-cutter spec resto druid that had much better gear than myself. Last night we ran an OS 25 (no drakes) with three resto druids, a holy priest, and two holy paladins. The other two are guildie resto druids and very good and their gear is MUCH MUCH better than mine and I have to say I was surprised with the results on the healing meters at the end. My undergeared resto druid was at the top of the meters for both overall healing and for the boss fight, and at the very very bottom of the overhealing meters.

    Now I’m finding that where before 3.1 I stacked and rolled lifeblooms and tried nourish where I could, after 3.1 I am barely touching lifebloom or nourish. Most all of my healing has been done with rejuv, HT, regrowth, and swiftmend. I just find it very interesting but I think for someone whose gear might not be up to par this raid healing build is excellent.

  13. Well Rejuv is a very strong spell indeed – quite surprised at that because its not a fast-acting spell.

    A Keeva.
    Lifebloom is still a great spell too and very often it is LB followed by Rejuv that tops my healing meters (which I can afford to do as I have found balance at last between required spellpower and mp5 – just need more haste atm but im happy). The reason tho is specific to how my guild ‘play’. For instance we have great priest and pally healers that are fast, so I have made it my roll to act as support healer with such hots buffering damage – as Sydera says we specialize in HOTs, not direct heals. That said Nourish is a great spell but in many cases we just do not have the time to cast it AFTER having cast a few hots on that target first – by which time the priest has healed them with flash heal. Why fight against them when you should be supporting each other in different ways?

    Ofc it depends on the fight, but at last night’s raid my LB stack of 3 crit for well over 19k on bloom. If you can preempt when raiders will take damage LB can be extremely useful together in conjunction with the other HOTs.

    Mainframe (Kul Tiras EU)

  14. after healing different styles for a few weeks in ulduar, i found the best method for druid healing almost completely ignores Nourish for Regrowth.

    I still use it in some situations , like in case my NS+HT is on cooldown because nourish does have a .5 sec less cast time if i need to ge a heal off fast, but i am more of a proactive healer and throw most of my heals down before they take the damage, and pound for pound Regrowth will bump your HPS up by around 400-500, 1000hp a tick every 3 sec for a long duration is a LOT if healing and helps a ton on fights where health loss is a consistant rate.

    I actually replaced my swiftmend glyph with regrowth recently and it seems to be a huge boost considering regrowth is cast much more often than swiftmend.

    For other spells i always make sure rejuv is up on tanks or ppl taking constant damage, and now lifebloom is nice but only effective anymore rolling 3 stacks and leting them drop, i put less importance on lifebloom anymore but if i have both rejuv and regrowth ticking i will try to throw lifebloom up on them for sure.

    My biggest HPS spell that grants me the most healing is wild growth, but to get the most out of that one, u would suggest using the glyph and knowing who to cast in on, on MOST boss encounters you will come across, mellee will be grouped together and ranged likes to spread out a bit, therefore casting your wildgrowth on the mellee seems to be the most viable option for it. ( the tank is usually near mellee so casting on tank lets you not have to switch targets and give him an extra HoT).
    If mellee doesnt take any dmg but the ranged does, i suggest moving around to a grp of ranged and casting on yourself, that way you get some heals and spread it to 5 others (glyphed).

    Macro for NS+HT — the only time i will use healing touch is when i pop natures swiftness, i have this macroed

    /cast Nature’s Swiftness
    /cast Healing Touch

    this works great for “oh shit” heals.

    Seboynas last blog post..Acheivements!!!

  15. Yes totally agree Seboyna, totally. There is very little scope for Nourish and Regrowth within current Ulduar content – unless you are ofc primarily a tank healer.
    I would also like to correct my earlier statements in regard to the importance of Lifebloom. This is still an important spell (i’ve yet to fully test its use in Vezax 25 casting it while on places where Shadow Crash has hit but if the mana cost of LB is reduced upon its initial cast while on it, I’m hoping that when I step off the bloom will heal for its full amount and if so is an amazing spell for that fight as you get mana back as well – Can anyone here clarify the use of Shadow Crash?).
    Having said that however, yes the main spells that usually feature heavily on healing meters are WG and Rejuv – depends on the fight but these feature very heavily. Rejuv is my most powerful hot. LB can be great in certain situations like Kologarn and Ignis where you know when the whole raid will take damage at certain points throughout the fight and so you can cast it bloom accordingly when those hits come.
    But anyway keep us informed Seboyna and would like feedback from the Sydera on Lifebloom and the new skins 😀

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