Epiphanize is the co-host of the Raid Warning Podcast and is currently leveling a Druid in the Cataclysm beta as well as playing one as his main.
With two new races to choose from as well as a new, improved leveling experience, there are going to be a lot of new Druids come Cataclysm. From revised abilities, to the new specialization system, starting a new Resto Druid is going to be far different than it is currently in Wrath. In this series, I am going to cover how things have changed leveling a Resto Druid, starting with level 10.
The biggest change for low level players is the specialization system. At level 10, you will be asked to choose one of your 3 talent trees. This is where you will place at least 31 of your talent points, as you can not unlock any other trees until you’ve spent 31 points in your specialization tree. Upon choosing this specialization, you will be granted an ability geared towards your spec, as well as two passive bonuses. As a Resto Druid your granted ability will be Swiftmend. Previously available at level 40, Swiftmend will drastically change how you heal at lower levels. At level 10, it heals for 204 hit points, costs 14 mana, and has a 15 second cooldown.
Along with Swiftmend, you are also granted 2 passive abilities as a Resto Druid. The first is Meditation, which similar to its predecessor Intensity, allows you to regen mana at 50% of your normal rate while casting. Your second passive ability is simply called Restoration Druid, and reduces the pushback suffered while casting Healing Touch, Regrowth, Tranquility, Rebirth, and Nourish. This is similar to the old Tier 1 talent Nature’s Focus, but adds Rebirth to the mix. Even at level 10, I believe Blizzard has succeeded in making you feel more like a Resto Druid than before Cataclysm. These two passive abilities cost 3 talent points each, with Meditation unable to be maxed out until level 22.
The Rest Of Your Toolbox
Along with these bonuses is your normal toolbox that includes Rejuvenation, Healing Touch, and Swiftmend. This gives you a well-rounded toolbox for a low level healer. 1 HoT, 1 big heal, and 1 emergency heal. I am pretty excited that Blizzard decided to teach low level druids the Swiftmend mechanic, as it is not available to the other healing classes. Overall, it looks like Blizzard is succeeding in simultaneously improving the leveling experience, while teaching Resto Druids how to use some of the more advanced abilities they will need when raiding. Even at this low level, you should start being able to get a good feel for tank healing in 5 mans, as well as have the added benefit of not running out of mana every pull while leveling thanks to Meditation.
In the next part of this series I will be taking a look at the next major leveling milestone, The Looking For Dungeon Tool, and how these changes affect Resto Druids healing low level dungeons.