Druid Healer: Power Moves

“Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.”
Dr. Seuss


Druid Healer: Power Moves

While raiding in Warlords of Dreanor, we had some combinations (or synergy of Talents) that could heal the entire hurting raid up to max. Heart of the Wild (if I remember that name right) plus Incarnation and then Tranquility was monstrous powerful. It would be called a Signature Move for us Resto-Druids.

When not combined, our trusty Tranquility could heal up the raid some and often not over-come the bad stuff that the tank was dealing with; on it’s own it felt pretty weak.

I was working with some dancers in the 1990’s, lovely ballerinas and modern dancers who had begun doing some single-handed handstands and odd flips, contorted and painful to my eyes, but flashy. I asked what they were doing. I was told that a dancer needs to have a Signature Move on the dance floor to be noticed at the hip-hop clubs.

We Resto-Druid need to have our own signature moves to distinguish ourselves among the other healers. Bad ass stuff. Here in Legion, we won’t have that same power move that we had in WoD but we can do some good stuff; when we run combinations.

Swiftmend with the Prosperity Talent, followed by Wild Growth with the Soul of the Forest Talent, followed by the Flourish Talent and then our Healing Staff spell: Essence of G’Hanir, should be a chart-topping combination.

I have not “artifacted up” to getting Tranquility down to two minutes but I can see that Incarnation does not boost Tranquility. My best guess (and I could be wrong) that our Healing Staff spell could double the ticks on Tranquility making it luster and shine on a predictable two minute cycle.

Where are the theory-crafters? We need to peel back the tool-tips to see what is really cooking on the stove. Some things are counter-intuitive, I seem to remember (somewhere, probably in Alpha) reading that our mushroom is not a HoT! Seems that it should be, right? Yet, the Spring Blossoms talent which sits on our mushroom (when it procs) IS a HoT!

Some things make me nervous. The tool-tip for Stonebark, for example. “Reduces the cooldown of Ironbark by 30 sec, and it increases the healing from your heal over time effects by 20%.” ALL heal over times on everybody or just the guy who got Ironbark cast on him? It can be read two ways if you are used to frail tool-tips.

In the big picture, I suppose it doesn’t matter on the path to success. We’ll heal in our style and try to make sense of exploiting our Mastery as best we can.

Still, we want to look good on the meters too! We need our power moves.

Druid Healing: Legion Dungeons

“Life is too complicated not to be orderly.”
Martha Stewart


Druid Healing: Legion Dungeons

Today is: September 9, 2016.

Raids have not opened yet and we are running a ton of dungeons. They are fun and challenging now with a nice dash of player randomness. Eventually, we’ll be over-geared and play differently.

My style, as it were, is to support the tank. I put the star raid marker on the tank’s head and follow, follow, follow. I rarely say much except a “hi all” in the beginning.

In support of “my” tank, I use Ursol’s Vortex on trash pulls and often the level 60 talent Mass Entanglement. Aggressive DPS can make a mess of some of these pulls and my wish is to give the tank a chance to get a good tag on all of the mobs.

With the zoominess of the Demon Hunter tank, extremely popular right now in dungeons, I use the Level 30 talent Displacer Beast. It is right next to my Dash spell. If the tank is ready, I am ready.

My talent build is a raiding hybrid as I choose to pair Prosperity (level one talent) with Soul of the Forest (level 75 talent). Prosperity extra charge of Swiftmend jacks up the healing of Regrowth, Rejuv and Wild Growth. I almost always pair it with Wild Growth for the party heals. Add some Artifact Essence of G’Hanir and life is pretty good as a healer.

In the Level 90 tier, I use Germination. I love Spring Blossoms but those lazy DPS won’t take the two extra steps to stand in my mushroom circle. Dungeons can move pretty fast, so I’m obliged to use Germination.

Currently at our lower gear levels (just ending the second week of the expansion), I am using Stonebark for the tank and the extra heals it gives to the tank. When tanks die, they blossom into assholes. As my gear level goes up, I’ll change over to Flourish.

I choose the Balance Affinity for the extra five yards in casting range. The poor DPS can get lost over in a corner and panic and then spam their spells while dying rather than hoofing it over to the healer.

I only switch to Balance to spam a few spells when I feel that the DPS is lacking and that they should feel shame that the healer has to help them. It’s fun but not terribly powerful.

I imagine that, once into Mythic Dungeons that the above will be my set up.

Right now, we see a range of raw personalities in dungeons. The players want to be studs but they have little peckers. They curse and bitch and want to kick the lowest DPS when things hardly matter. They simply don’t know that they are not studs.

When gear levels go up, dungeons will become routine runs. I imagine that, over time, that I will learn the interrupts and switch to Mighty Bash. It has a ten yard range, fifteen with the Balance Affinity.

Almost all of my choices are based on Lissanna’s wonderful page, it can be found at Restokin. I return to that page plenty to understand the spells and talents and to reinforce my choices so that I’m playing strong and confident.

Tree Healers make darn good dungeon runners, enjoy the play style!

/dance

Resto-Druid Healing: Guides

Amazing the things you find when you bother to search for them.
Sacagawea


Resto-Druid Healing: Guides

It’s going to be fun, this expansion. We have more choices and options in our spell book and talent tree than ever before. Good choices. Strong choices. We will “get good” at our spec and be valued in any group.

We will have to learn the boss fights and pay attention so that we can solve the problems with temerity, alacrity and style. We will notice, for example, if incoming damage is on a two minute timer and choose Inner Peace as a talent. Or, if we are “on the run”, we will choose Germination.

We have to learn our spells and talents and how those talents have a healing synergy. To do this, we will follow guides. We will follow bloggers. We will read the Adventure Journal and (Elune forbid) even watch boss fight videos. And here is the deal: we will return to those guides again and again. We will return to Ask Mr Robot again and again. We will track the changes in patches. We will use logs to see how we stack up against other healers and how we can improve.

I know that it sounds like a lot when you read this. Really though, it’s merely a game. We’ll do it out of curiosity, interest, fandom and gamer pride. It will be fun, like reading the box score the next day of your favorite sports team.

I’m delighted to see Healing Wow is beginning to update their Resto Druid pages. As of this moment, the first two pages are updated (you can see the date in the upper right hand corner). This site is wonderful and I’ve relied on it fully during the last expansion.

What really works for me is that I can compare several guides and learn more by what they don’t agree on or how they present their material. I can go back because after playing in the game, I might wonder, “wait, what does this spell really mean?”

The number of excellent bloggers that I read every day is too long to list. None really specialize in Resto-Druid healing. Some will chronicle their experiences as they play and I find that valuable, very valuable. It makes my own experiences richer.

These are the Guides that I know of:

Some guides are more generous than others, for certain sure. The rationale behind the thinking is just as strong as a Sim number run. Understanding why something works is important. No one is saying that there is only one road to Chicago.

The best guides have dates on them so you know how current the information is that you are reading. The best guides have links or mouse-over tooltips so you can read what the stated information is as presented by Blizzard.

I can’t rank the guides. Each has it’s own flavor and merit. However … Restokin is awesome. There is a build for raiding and for dungeoning. Not only does it give direction to start but it also confirms your own intention.

We healers and players will have to learn the fights. If we pay attention, we will see that the fights are designed for our spells, talents and cooldowns; everything can line up to make it work.

It is going to be a fun expansion.

Healing HFC Normal: Pre-Patch

And she’ll have fun, fun, fun
Till her daddy takes the t-bird away.

The Beach Boys


Healing HFC Normal: Pre-Patch

Our raid group met up for a pre-expansion patch HFC Normal run. Some players were the same, others changed from mage to rogue, for example. Our main tank was a healer now.

The nerf was pretty nerfed to the HFC bosses. It is bugged too. I got the fire buff from Iskar that would not go away! My GTFO was honking the whole fight. Finally after the encounter, I had to let myself die.

Some of the players had not logged in since we stopped raiding. So, there was some fun exclamations and worries over talents and “where is my button”? The Rainbow Generator was a big hit.

The realm phasing is a nightmare. I could stand next to my raiders by the summon stone and not seem them. I could be summoned and still not see them. We had to go into the raid to see each other.

We blew through the raid even with some puggers in the group. We even carried a hunter in 640 gear, no problem.

I was on my Resto-Druid, we had a Shaman healer and a Holy Pally. On Archimonde, our healing stats were 22%, 22%, 22%. Even as can be. Our raid leader said that our group’s DPS was getting better with each fight which is why we were there besides some good social time.

My Notes:

  • I’m still torn between Germination and Spring Blossoms. I think it will depend on the encounter.
  • Cenarion Ward — I felt it could be cast on cooldown. It never felt significant.
  • Flourish — I felt it should be cast on cooldown, which isn’t super fun; just maintenance.
  • My fingers are still used to keeping up the old Harmony mastery!
  • There was not enough damage to really push heals or pad the meters; I hope we run Heroic on Sunday.
  • I went Balance Affinity on the Iron Reaver pull but my dps was not competitive at all.
  • As I understand it, our new mastery will give a player more and more and more heals with the extra HoTs. It never felt that way, even with the mushroom, germination and lifebloom. Maybe they just got topped off — I forgot to look at overhealing on Recount.
  • I really look forward to tougher fights when mana is an issue, slower heals are okay (heal over time spells) and tanks are in need of my attention.
  • Resto-Druid is fun!

Resto-Druid: Pre-Expansion

Mathematics is a game played according to certain simple rules with meaningless marks on paper.
David Hilbert


Resto-Druid: Pre-Expansion Patch Testing

Today is: July 21, 2016. This is the third day of the pre-expansion patch.

I did some light testing today in the LFR.

My Talent Tree is: 2, 2, 1, 2, 2, 1, 3. I love how the guide on Icy Veins is exactly that: a guide. There are choices and synergy between talents.

I chose two LFR’s, the second wing in HFC for the reap damage and the heartseeker damage which would add some fun to the healing and I wanted the tome of weapon illusion off Killrogg (which I got!). The other LFR was the first wing of High Maul to test my Balance Affinity for DPS.

Even with no Spirit, I couldn’t dump my mana bar. I tried to blow through mana and spam healing spells. Sure, LFR is friendly but I tried! No, I didn’t spam Regrowth but I gave it a good shove. So that felt good.

My top healing spells were Efflorescence and Spring Flowers, followed by Rejuvenation. Spring Flowers is the passive Talent that boosts the healing of Efflorescence (the mushroom) and second place on heals. This means that our mushroom is powerful and that players had better learn to stack!

I was by far the highest healer in the LFR which means nothing, really.

I am Talented for Cenarion Ward and used it on the tank off cooldown. It wasn’t high on my healing charts but maybe the tank was always topped off. It’s hard to know.

On Kargath, the first boss in High Maul. I shifted to Balance Affinity and did my best DPS. I clocked in at 20k DPS, a bit disappointing. I was in 10th place for DPS but, again, that is meaningless. If I were to go again, I’d go as Balance with the Resto Affinity but I’d not be “one of the healers”.

Verdict: Resto-Druid could be very satisfying to heal in raids. The Affinity Shift to Moonkin is satisfying but didn’t feel super strong in a raid; which is the right tuning, eh?

Our mushroom could give us high numbers and having that “buffer” on the raid stack will allow us to cast spells on raiders with directed skill.

Resto-Druid: Utility

“Don’t you know,” she said pityingly, “that everybody’s got a Fairyland of their own?”
P.L. Travers, Mary Poppins


Resto-Druid: Utility

Utility is talked about, roughly, as the things that classes can do outside of their role as DPS, Healer or Tank. An Interrupt is a utility and the cooldown is different for different classes. Crowd Control in the form of traps, polymorph, roots are all utility spells. There are other examples, like the Lock TV.

Druid are unique and, frankly, are loaded with utility. Legion has given us Affinity “stances” (so to speak), strengthening our utility by a Talent but also has removed common spells in our books by moving them to the Affinity.

Ignoring the Affinity Talent for the moment, if you are a Resto-Druid the ranged moonkin-type spells are always available. You can dot with Moonfire and cast Wrath. You don’t see the moonkin choice unless you have chosen the Affinity. The other shapeshift choices are there on your bar: guardian, feral, travel.

The utility of “going bear” while in Resto spec is that your armor is increased by 200%. You can use the Bark Skin spell for temporary toughness. The default is sneaky in that it only pre-loads Bark Skin but you can put Growl on your bar. And you have your three “works in all shape-shift forms” Talents: Mighty Bash (a stun), Mass Entanglement (group root) and Typhoon (group knock back and daze) — all instant cast with fairly long cooldowns. However: gone are our offensive spells: we can not mangle or thrash without the Affinity Talent.

“Going Bear” is all about opportunity. Being able to survive jumping on a bomb can be a big help to the team. By casting Growl on an add, running away and casting Entangling Roots, you can “kite” mobs and leave them stuck in the back of the dungeon. You might be able to save the day if the tank goes down but you are sacrificing your healing job: really, a flip of the coin when things are going bad.

“Going Kitty” is great because you have Dash and Prowl. Prowl is fantastic for weaving through mobs that you don’t want to engage (typically when soloing in the world). Dash is always useful and a signature spell for the Druid. In dungeon content, you might cast Entangling Roots and Dash your way out of the dungeon door!

Travel Form is simply that; we get to look different and move different than anyone else. We can fly, swim or even be a stag that offers a ride to your weary buddy.

Take the time when the pre-expansion patch drops to set up all of your action bars. Be ready to “go bear” on the fly with your spells where they need to be: same with the Affinity Talents: preset them and know what to expect when it is on demand.

The Affinity Talents are strong, very strong. Now we cross the line from core utility and really consider it part of our spec. Resto/Balance is a healer who can do some additional DPS from range. Resto/Feral is a healer who can do some additional DPS from melee. Resto/Guardian is a healer who can off-tank (wow!).

Anticipating your ambition and knowing the encounters will make your Resto-Druid shine. Savvy Druids will be learning the dungeons in Legion to see when our utility spells like Ursol’s Vortex are in demand and make a difference. Also, we anticipate our Affinity Talents and should use them at any and every opportunity. The same with Talents; having Renewal when in Guardian makes a lot of sense.

The key is being aware and looking for the chance and choice to use all of the weapons in your toolkit. Watching for when groups tend to struggle; rooting that add on Kilrogg in WoD or kiting an Infernal, can be the reason why everyone should want a druid in their dungeon or raid.

One more thing: our shapeshifting is instant. We Druids are always ready.

Finally, let us give a nod to the passing of Stampeding Roar. No longer available to the Resto-Druid, it was once a great utility spell!

Legion Resto-Druid: Getting Started

“A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds. A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love.”
Saint Basil


Legion Resto-Druid: Getting Started

If you are a long-time healing Druid, when the pre-expansion arrives you will be faced with a new Talent Tree. Along with that hefty chunk, we’ll get spells like Innervate and the Affinities. The lesser healers will be facing the same situation, but we Druids will face it with panache and aplomb.

There is so much change that it will hard to know which is doing what to who. To start off, pick the Talents that you are familiar with; like Germination, Incarnation or Soul of the Forest. These are all on the same tier; picking the familiar will ensure your success while you are learning in a fragile environment.

I’ve seen videos on Resto in Legion sum up with “the left side is single target on the talent tree, the right side is for raid healing”. I am not comfortable with that broad generalization at all!

To start: choose Balance Affinity. While the DPS part might be fun, the “plus five yards” to the range of ALL your abilities is pretty darn sweet. Then, as you get to know it; practice the other two Affinities for situational use or let them become your new “go to” Talent.

To start: pick either Displacer Beast (I would) or Wild Charge. These two are familiar, while Renewal is an emergency heal that you might forget to use while going down with the ship. It is a matter of pride as well, you are a healer; why pick Renewal?

To start: Cultivation. All three Talents on that tier are bail-out, we’re in trouble, Talents. Cultivation is “passive” and will work for you while you are frantically trying to cast enough “heal over time” spells to get everyone back to a good place. Again, once you are settled in; try (one at a time) changing Talents to see their impact and if you prefer their play-style.

To start: Moment of Clarity. This row is a tough call as a first run at the Talent tree. I think that I’ll love all three! Moment of Clarity does two things: your mana bar capacity is increased by 30 and when it procs, you get three Regrowths, free, in a row. I gotta say, all three look really good; we’ll have fun testing them out.

Plan ahead for the situation. Settling into one a single Talent Tree choice (3,2,1,3,3,3,1) is boring when you have such a great tool-kit. Things are different in dungeons and progression raiding, do both well.

A tree flourishes in the sun, it is our time to branch out and be powerful, confident and strong.

Legion Beta: Healer, Mana Regeneration

“If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story.”
Orson Welles


Legion Beta: Healer, Mana Regeneration

With Spirit gone, our mana regen will be flat. This it to make it exciting for healers. Managing our resources is part of the mini-game of healing.

I’m fine with whatever the game design will be. If it is horrible, I expect it to get fixed. I’m also not worried about raiding because everyone is in the same boat (so to speak).

What I worry about is Dungeon Running. Trash, Boss, Trash, Boss, Trash, Boss; will we really have to stop after every fight and eat and drink?


I got on the Beta (Day Three). Without the Artifact which will give some mana regen, I emptied my mana bar to see how long it took to refill.

Stats:
Mana Regen: 6400 — amount of mana regenerated every 5 seconds
Haste: +5%

Refilling the Bar:
One minute; 58 seconds — lets call it two full minutes!

Using the Beta provided test food:
Aszuna Test Food: stacks to 200, 20 second full regen


What does it mean?
For one, I hope that everyone brings their own food. Topping off my own resources only to heal up the other players will mean me topping off my resources again. If we don’t have food then the wait between pulls is way (way) too long.

For two, the Aszuna Test Food stacks to 200; I hope the same in true for all foods in Legion.

For three, I hope the Ever-Blooming Frond or some other item gives me out-of-combat restoration. I used this item all through WoD in dungeons and it was excellent.

For four, our first instinct is to say that we will get more and more powerful and that our haste will increase a lot — however: Dungeons will scale. It will always be hard, the damage will always be relatively the same for the duration of the expansion.

Our playstyle in Legion is changing and we will adapt. I hope it is not all about everyone waiting on the healer to be ready for the next pull!

Resto Druid Legion Affinity

“The only emperor is the emperor of ice cream.”
Wallace Stevens


Resto Druid Legion Affinity

It is still early; we are still in the Alpha. The designers are tuning right now so there is no real measure of power. Resto Druid’s will get three choices on one tier (#45) of Talents: Feral, Guardian, Balance. They are our Affinities.

We have no idea how powerful this built-in off-spec will be to play.

Gone will be Heart of the Wild; a six minute cooldown with a 45 second use — excellent for boosting big heals or spamming some wrath or “going bear”. Candidly, I’ll miss it but six minutes was a long time between spells in a raid.

When we choose our Talent; we’ll get a passive associated with that choice: Feral gives us speed, Guardian gives us damage reduction, Balance gives you increased range on your spells (a paltry five yards).

Along with the passive buff with the Talent, a Resto Druid can also use a limited number of spells in the chosen specialization. One can “go bear” and tank for a while, one can “go kitty” and swipe and maul or one can “go boomy” and spam moonfire, wrath and other balance spells.

Restokin says:
Note that the cooldown on moonkin form will make the feral affinity higher sustained damage and balance likely better for short bursts, depending on overall balancing.

Best Over All Guess is that the choices for Affinity will be most appreciated in Dungeons; which we will get to know very well. My instinct is to go Balance for the quick burst of dps on the pull; granted we don’t know the fights yet but pushing a dungeon boss (third boss in Auchindoun) to avoid a phase shift is common and desired.

Best Raiding Guess will be swapping between Balance for the “on the pull” spamming dps or Feral for the over-all speed passive (depending on the boss fight, of course).

The Guardian Affinity will have it’s day in the sun. There will be an Achievement where a third tank holding some mob to the side will be helpful. Holding the Guardian Affinity to “save the day” is a risky way of thinking! Keeping your tanks healed is much more important.

I loved to “go bear” on phase three of Archimonde, taunting the Infernal then racing away only to root him in place as I dashed back to heal the group. We can kite as bears pretty well. There might be times when the utility of the Affinity Talents really play off — depending on the class tuning which is happening now. I remember “going bear” to jump on the bombs for Iron Juggernaut in MoP — there will be times and likely many that our bear utility will be handy!

I wonder if we’ll get another action bar to reflect our choices. We haven’t had a chance to experience it yet or see it in action. Much to Misdirections dismay, we are learning new spells, rotations and utility all over again: I’d guess, like Symbiosis in MoP, that Affinity will be a one-expansion thing.

It is easy to imagine our Affinity Talent choices in HFC: Feral for Hellfire Assault, Balance for Iron Reaver and Bear for Kormok. However, our tanks in Legion will be “squishier” and less independent — they will need our constant heals.

Druids are loaded for utility. In Legion, we’ll lose some (Stampeding Roar); still, with our Affinity Talents, we will bring a lot of use and fun to our group experiences!




Party Buffs in Legion

“My own experience is that a certain kind of genius among students is best brought out in bed.”
Allen Ginsberg


Party Buffs in Legion

As far as we can tell from the data-mined notes: Party Buffs are going away.

I can understand it. If we always have 9/9 buffs, then it isn’t making a difference. Even in my five man runs, we can muster up 7/7; and, if it is important, we can use things like Drums of the Forgotten Kings.

It looks like my Druid’s iconic Mark of the Wild will solely exist on my Resto-Druid and till give Stamina to one party member, I assume the tank. I’d guess that other healers will have the same and that they won’t stack.

If the above paragraph is true, this will be a very good start in assigning healers to tanks in the new paradigm of healer dependent tanks in raids. Who has who is too often glossed over in our current raids.

But, we are losing flavor (and that is bad).

When I first started playing WoW during Burning Crusade, I spent a lot of time running from the starting zone to Dolanaar in Teldrassil. New tries on new classes, I did a lot of flipping to new experiences.

I remember running (always running) down the road and another player, waving his hand, would toss Might or MotW right at me. It was like a blessing! I wanted to do that for others; it was a wonderful opening for a MMO.

At some point, they moved the party buffs to start at much higher levels, which I lamented. Then they made it fairly generic so one class would not be favored over another. And now, it doesn’t matter — but it does. In flavor.

I have tossed a Mark of the Wild at a player out in the field. I’ve seen players stop; turn around and run back to put their buff on me. It is a cool thing and I’ll be sad to see it go away. … if it does go away. One can hope!