Restoration Druids in PvP

[Matticus' Note: Quiz Thursday, presentation Monday, exam Tuesday. Expect a decline in material as I finish my cushion of columns. Besides, Pwyff's always an interesting read. Just don't come screaming to me if you start reading things that you object to. I've always loved to have discussion. Please welcome the Ooglar himself!]

For those who were interested in startling tidbits about my current arena teams (“The Art of trash talking when you lose”, or perhaps “Why does my Warrior have an outdated weapon while that Warrior chunks off 50% of my health at a time” or even finally “Is my Rogue going to be on, or will he (once more) be playing Pokemon”), I will have to defer your probing eyes for one week more. Todays and ‘morrow day’s articles will be concerning the Restoration Druid in Arena. The few, the proud, and sometimes the very, very bad.

What is a Restoration Druid? Aside from being ye olde Celtic Holy Man who presumably has garnered the reputation of being uplifting; the Resto Druid is potentially one of the most powerful healers in arena play. Today’s articles will focus on our strengths; next time I’ll address our biggest flaws.

So what makes us powerful? Essentially, the Druid is the only healer that can constantly CC (crowd control) an opposing team with any semblance of reliability. We possess an interrupt that is almost (or just as in some cases) as good as a Shaman’s, we are an extremely difficult class to consistently DPS, and we boast some of the silliest looking tier sets this side of the moon. I’m fairly certain that they giggle about us every now and then on the other side of the moon as well.

Our CC, Cyclone, has so much potentiality that it’s rather staggering. It is, ultimately, one of the most powerful CCs in the game by its very nature (outside of Fear; because Fear is really in some kind of quasi-Godlike tier of CC that would even force Jesus to trinket out of). Taking someone out of the game, quite literally, for 6 seconds / 3 seconds / 1 second is an astonishingly sharp double edged sword. If, however, you don’t wield it stupidly, it bypasses all that other stuff and goes straight for the goods. As an offensive CC, it obviously renders healers completely unable to heal. Obviously. Furthermore, if you should offensively (I don’t mean like screaming fuck every time you cast) cast Cyclone on an opponent that is low on health; you effectively render all things cast on this opponent as immune.

Can you see the strategic effectiveness of this? Common Druid CC-trains do not fully consist of CCing the healer alone. Our effectiveness lies in the fact that we can really screw with healers by the chain of:

Cyclone the healer – Feral Charge interrupt – Bash – Cyclone to interrupt – Cyclone to interrupt – Now Cyclone the player they were trying to heal – Feral Charge interrupt the healer after the heal recipient is out of Cyclone – Go Cat, Build a combo point and maim – Cyclone the heal recipient – Cyclone the heal recipient – Cyclone the healer for full duration.

Obviously this has only worked ‘perfectly’ like… once for me; but the fact that I know I’m capable of such ‘leet shit’ is pretty cool. I may have done a jig after my CC-fest was over and done with.

The reason why such a CC can be a double edged sword is generally the immunity portion of it, combined with its (in comparison to other ‘grown up’ CCs) short duration. All Druids, skilled or not, can testify to their ‘lolcyclone’ moments where a Rogue has rushed to blind a silly Priest, only to see, horror in their eyes, an immunity sign appear, grey devil-matter swirling about the Priest’s body. Or perhaps a Mage finds that he has a few seconds to spare to poly the Paladin before beginning his assault on the Warrior afresh; and to his horror, an immune sign appears. The Warrior is soon ‘all up’ on the Mage once more. We can imagine in all these scenarios the players staring squinty eyed at their screens, the words “fucking cyclone” meandering past their lips.

Obviously such demonstrations of pure angst can be avoided by careful communication; but even the best of teams find that their opportunities to sheep or blind may fall directly within the time frames of your fucking cyclone. C’est le vie.

The other thing that makes us so powerful lies in our mobility. Everything about us is concerned directly with our ability to do it on the move. The longest cast time for a good arena Druid is Regrowth, which is 2 seconds. We use this cast only occasionally. Outside of that, a Druid can keep constant heals over time, averaging about 800-1000 +HP per second (without MS applied) on a given target (fullstack Lifebloom + Rejuv), and he can do this on the move, or sometimes even when he’s not there. While those other poor shmucks, the Shaman, Paladin and the Priest are walking to their intended heal-ee, and then standing there while trying to re-invigorate a teammate, the Druid can simply run past like naked man who is halfway done jogging his route and has realized what cold air does to his goods. Those other healers must stand there, tiny bits all exposed; the Druid can simply sprint by, intent on getting to a safer location, yet still doing his job.

Furthermore, outside of facing insurmountable odds, like lolstunfests from Warriors (Rogues? Pshaw), the Druid is always capable of using his incredible mobility and pre-emptive heals to line of sight even the scariest of pain trains. The mage, one of the biggest potential threats of damage to most players, is rendered a lot less ‘freakish’ when faced with the fact that a Druid who wants to avoid damage will never sit there to eat an Ice Lance combo, or anything that takes a while to cast for that matter.

Ultimately, it is this combination of extreme mobility and excellent CCs that turn the Druid into an extremely strong contender as a powerful healer. Nobody else has our enormous repertoire of pre-emptive heals; it is these heals and our ability to consistently stay out of the line of sight of casters and DPS alike that make us what I like to call neato.

As a class in itself, Druids excel in outlasting teams, by our nature of mobility and control; we are excellent in offensive teams that can provide enough DPS, yet cannot afford to babysit their healer; we are the most independent healer in game, and so any matrix that makes such demands are ultimately the roles that we are fit for.

In the end, my tip for aspiring Druids out there is ultimately to learn your class, and learn it well. Mobility is the key factor with any Druid; and in the end, the motto “no damage is the best damage,” ought to become something of a life mantra. This is to be repeated every time you needlessly stand beside your Warrior; thinking that healing right beside him will benefit you somehow. It doesn’t.

Druid weaknesses to come, and further tips on how to prevent these weakness from being exposed like a raw wound to a rabid gopher.

About Matticus

Matticus is the founder of World of Matticus and Plus Heal. Read more of his columns at WoW Insider. League of Legends player. Caffeine enthusiast.