[Druid][Resto] Jiyambi's Guide to Tree Healing

[Druid][Resto] Jiyambi's Guide to Tree Healing


Restoration druids, commonly known as trees, have the potential to be excellent healers. With a wide array of spells, an in-combat res, an excellent group heal, the ability to stack HoTs to keep tanks up through damage spikes or silences, and added mobility from instant casts, trees have a lot going for them. This guide aims to teach you how to get the most healing out of your tree. For now, this guide is focused on PvE healing - in the future, PvP advice may be added.

Author's Note:



Table of Contents


  1. Common Tree-Related Terms
  2. Color Code
  3. Spells
  4. Talents, Glyphs, and Builds
  5. Gear
  6. Consumables
  7. PvE Healing Strategies
  8. Tips and Tricks
  9. Useful Macros
  10. Useful Addons
  11. Druid Healing Without Tree Form
  12. Leveling as a Tree
  13. Keeping Up to Date
  14. Special Thanks
  15. Comments



Common Tree-Related Terms


HoT - Heal over Time

MP5 - Mana Regen per 5 seconds, usually referring to regen during combat

GCD - Global Cooldown (1.5 seconds normally, can be shortened through talents and haste rating)

Res or Rez - Resurrection Spell

Spec - Specialization (talent, gear, and glyph choices)

Crit - Critical heal (x1.5 healing)

Resto - Restoration, a healing druid

Roll - To "roll" a buff means keeping it up constantly, usually without ever letting it's time run out before refreshing it.

Fall off - A buff "falls off" when it's time runs out.

HpM - A spell's total healing divided by it's mana cost

HpS - A spell's total healing divided by it's cast time or it's HoT duration.

WotLK - The current expansion for WoW, Wrath of the Lich King.

Buff - Can refer either: (1) an in-game, helpful effect applied to a character, or (2) an improvement to a class' performance intended to improve game balance.

Nerf - A reduction in a class' overall performance, meant to improve game balance.



Color Code




Spells


In this section I will discuss each of the key restoration spells in a druid's arsenal. We will, for the sake of simplicity, assume level 80 and the top rank of each spell. However, most of the discussion should hold true for lower levels as well.

We will discuss the following characteristics of each spell:

We won't be using specific numbers, since they will change depending on your level, gear, and talents. I will talk about each spell in general terms, and how it might be improved based on itemization and spec. Note that talents which improve all healing spells, such as Gift of Nature, will not be mentioned as affecting each spell.

Mouse over the spell's picture to see a pop-up description of the spell, courtesy of WoWhead.


Tree of Life


Abolish Poison


Gift of the Wild


Healing Touch


Innervate


Lifebloom


Nourish


Nature’s Swiftness


Rebirth


Regrowth


Rejuvenation


Remove Curse


Revive


Swiftmend


Tranquility


Wild Growth

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Talents, Glyphs and Builds


Trees can use talents and glyphs to significantly specialize their style of healing. For example, while normally Healing Touch is not a spell commonly used by trees, a druid might choose talents and glyphs which make this spell fast and extremely powerful. Talents and glyphs will be discussed together here since they serve a virtually identical purpose: to augment and specialize a druid's healing powers. First I will discuss the talents and glyphs which may be of use to a tree, and summarize how useful each is. Then I will provide a few sample builds, for both PvE and PvP.



Talents


I will discuss all talents in the restoration tree and their relative usefulness, in addition to a few key talents from the balance tree. Feral will not be covered, as these talents are useless to healers.

Mouse over the talent's picture to see a pop-up description of the talent, courtesy of Wowhead.


Restoration - Tier 1


Improved Mark of the Wild

Nature’s Focus

Furor


Restoration - Tier 2


Naturalist

Subtlety

Natural Shapeshifter


Restoration - Tier 3


Intensity

Omen of Clarity

Master Shapeshifter


Restoration - Tier 4


Tranquil Spirit

Improved Rejuvenation


Restoration - Tier 5


Nature’s Swiftness

Gift of Nature

Improved Tranquility


Restoration - Tier 6


Empowered Touch

Nature's Bounty


Restoration - Tier 7


Living Spirit

Swiftmend

Natural Perfection


Restoration - Tier 8


Empowered Rejuvenation

Living Seed


Restoration - Tier 9


Revitalize

Tree of Life

Improved Tree of Life


Restoration - Tier 10


Gift of the Earthmother


Restoration - Tier 11


Wild Growth


Balance - Tier 1


Genesis


Balance - Tier 2


Moonglow

Nature’s Majesty


Balance - Tier 3


Nature’s Grace

Nature’s Splendor


Balance - Tier 4


Celestial Focus

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Glyphs


I will cover glyphs pertinent to tree healers. Feral and balance glyphs will not be covered.



Major Glyphs


Mouse over the glyph's picture to see a pop-up description of the glyph, courtesy of Wowhead. For a list of non-resto glyphs, see this page.


Glyph of Healing Touch


Glyph of Innervate


Glyph of Lifebloom


Glyph of Rebirth


Glyph of Regrowth


Glyph of Rejuvenation


Glyph of Swiftmend


Glyph of Nourish


Glyph of Wild Growth


Glyph of Rapid Rejuvenation

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Minor Glyphs


Minor glyphs are much less important for gameplay and are more a matter of personal preference. However, I highly recommend Glyph of Unburdened Rebirth for both PvP and PvE druids - forgetting this reagent will definitely get you yelled at by your team members, and having one less thing to worry about (and one more bag space) is always nice.

For a list of other minor glyphs, see this page, courtesy of WoWhead.

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PvE Builds


These example builds are intended for raid or instance settings. Some may be more suitable to one or the other, or specialized for certain types of encounters such as heavy AoE.


Main Tank Healing - Nourish Spam


Group Healing - Revitalize


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PvP Builds



These example builds are intended for battleground or arena settings.


Healing Touch Build


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Gear



In this section I will discuss the stats best for druids, and provide recommendations on enchants and gems. Druid gearing requires a balance between two things: healing effectiveness and healing efficiency. Throw into the mix the benefits druids receive from spirit, and the complication of haste and crit, and you have some complicated decisions to make. Because of this, I'm not going to make specific recommendations for gear. Instead, I will point you to several useful tools to help you choose the gear that's best for your tree.

When gearing, keep a few things in mind:


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Stats


Druid healing generally calls for gear with "enough" stamina, mana, and mana regen to get the job done, and as much spell power as possible. Spell haste and spell crit have limited uses. Keep in mind that the amount of mana regen needed has increased in WotLK, since fights are more mana intensive.

Generally:

However, this can be greatly dependent upon your specialization and current gear. For example, a druid specializing in Healing Touch would certainly value crit rating more highly than one casting primarily HoTs.

Let's look at each of these stats in depth:


Spell Power


Spirit


MP5


Haste Rating


Crit Rating


Intellect


Stamina


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Gems


In general, red gems are the best choice for a druid when not geming for socket bonuses or metas. However, as usual this depends on your current gear and playstyle. If you need more mana regen, gem for mana regen. Likewise if you don't, gem for as much spellpower as possible. Always take Spirit over MP5 in gems - in general it will give you nearly as much regen but also add to your spell power, and also scales with stat-increasing spells and talents.


Meta

  1. [Insightful Earthsiege Diamond]
  2. [Ember Skyflare Diamond]


Red

  1. [Runed Cardinal Ruby]
  2. [Purified Dreadstone]
  3. [Runed Scarlet Ruby]
  4. [Purified Twilight Opal]
  5. [Royal Twilight Opal]
  6. [Luminous Monarch Topaz]


Blue

  1. [Purified Dreadstone]
  2. [Sparkling Majestic Zircon]
  3. [Purified Twilight Opal]
  4. [Royal Twilight Opal]
  5. [Sparkling Sky Sapphire]


Yellow

  1. [Luminous Flawless Ametrine]
  2. [Seer's Eye of Zul]
  3. [Luminous Monarch Topaz]
  4. [Seer's Forest Emerald]


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Enchants



Head

Shoulder Chest Legs Feet Bracers Gloves Back Weapon Ring


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Gearing Your Tree


In this section, I'm going to discuss three tools that you can use to help you find the best gear for your tree: WoWhead, MaxDPS, and RAWR. These three tools essentially do the same thing, but at different levels.


WoWhead


MaxDPS


Rawr

One other useful tool is the in-game equipment comparison addon, Ratingsbuster. This is not a database, but instead a very quick way to tell if an item that dropped is an upgrade for you.


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Consumables


Primarily you want to use spellpower consumables, since regen consumables don't give much bang for your buck. However, if you really need a little boost to regen, then go for it.

Please note that oils for weapons have been discontinued in WotLK, so no need to worry about them.


Food

  1. Fish Feast / Firecracker Salmon / Tender Shoveltusk Steak
  2. Cuttlesteak
  3. Mighty Rhino Dogs / Spicy Fried Herring
  4. Great Feast


Elixirs/Flasks
Generally it is best to use the flasks listed if you are able to. If you can't get your hands on the flasks or they are to expensive, you can use a combination of a spellpower elixir and a spirit elixir, since one is a battle and one a guardian.

  1. Flask of the Frost Wyrm (Spellpower)
  2. Flask of Pure Mojo (Mana regen)
  3. Spellpower Elixir (Battle Elixir)
  4. Elixir of Spirit (Guardian Elixir)
  5. Elixir of Mighty Mageblood (Guardian Elixir)


Scrolls

  1. Scroll of Spirit VIII (unless you have a priest in the group casting the spirit buff)


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PvE Healing Strategies


In this section I'll talk about healing strategies for PvE situations. Unless otherwise stated, I will be assuming you are using the Regrowth Spam Build discussed above - however most of this will apply to any PvE build.



Main Tank Healing


In a typical group in which you are healing a tank, you'll want to:

  1. Throw out a Rejuvenation on the tank (use this before Lifebloom since it has a higher initial healing throughput). Note: For multiple mob pulls, you may not want to pre-HoT the tank.
  2. Get a stack of three Lifeblooms going on the tank.
  3. Use Regrowth to get that HoT going.
  4. Continue to roll Lifebloom, Rejuvenation, and Regrowth on the tank, spamming Nourish if more healing is needed.
  5. If group members take damage and you are also responsible for healing them (such as in a 5 or 10 person group), use Rejuvenation for one or two targets and Wild Growth for three or more.
  6. For heavy AoE fights, you can roll Wild Growth as well. Alternatively, you can simply roll Wild Growth on the main tank as an extra HoT, which helps keep the melee topped off as well. While this isn't mana efficient, for heavy damage fights this can be very helpful in keeping the tank up and also helps heal the melee, who tend to take more damage than other raid memebers.

For trash pulls, I suggest you wait until the tank has given the mobs a smack before starting. For bosses, I highly recommend getting all your HoTs rolling before the fight starts (called pre-HoTing). Your HoTs don't actually heal until after the tank is hurt, and by then he'll have enough aggro to keep the boss from coming after you.

Unless you have stacked extra haste gear (which you should!), with this build you should generally be able to easily use around five to six global cooldowns between lifebloom refreshes (this depends on your latency). A single Regrowth takes up about two global cooldown's worth of time. Keep in mind that Swiftmend is not affected by Gift of the Earthmother and it's GCD will take a little longer than your other spells - you should still have enough breathing room to manage.

With all the extensions to Lifebloom's duration now available, you hardly need a tight rotation anymore - this is especially true if you have a good timer addon to watch your lifeblooms. See the addon section below for a suggested timer. In tough fights, you'll want to keep Lifebloom, Rejuvenation, Wild Growth, and Regrowth up at all times, spamming Nourish as necessary.


Healing Multiple Tanks

In a raid situation, you may be called on to roll Lifebloom on multiple tanks. With the extended duration of lifebloom and GCD reduction available from talents and glyphs, this is easier than ever. In the past, it was possible to roll Lifebloom on at most four tanks. Now, theoretically you could roll them on as many as seven or eight (or even more with haste gear)! However, it is unlikely you will have more than four tanks at once - this means you can roll Rejuvenation or Wild Growth, use other spells, or conserve mana between refreshes.


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Raid/Group Healing


Most instance group healing in WotLK will be done with Wild Growth. It's exceptionally powerful and mana efficient for healing many people at once, and it's also very easy to use since it smart targets those with the lowest hit points. For single target heals, use Rejuvenation and, if needed, Swiftmend or Nourish. In emergency situations, you always have Tranquility to fall back on - just be sure to hit Bark Skin before using it!

For raid healing, trees are called on more and more to simply roll Rejuvenation on everyone in the raid. In 10 person raids, one tree can easily keep Rejuvenation up on all raid members while also using Wild Growth on cooldown and the occasional Swiftmend or Nourish. For heavy raid damage fights, this is the most effective way to raid heal, though it does get a bit boring.


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Tips and Tricks



Aside from specific healing strategies for PvE, PvP, and leveling, there are a few simple tricks that will help improve your performance as a tree. If you have a good tip or trick, please leave a comment!


Set a Focus

This is especially useful if you typically heal one main tank, such as in a 5 or 10 man dungeon group. This allows you to easily see the main tank's health, even when you are targeting another player. It can help you easily retarget him or her, or you can even have macros set up to heal your focus so you don't have to manually target them! In addition, there are many addons that allow special configuration for a focus, such as ClassTimers or Quartz.

To set your focus, type /focus CHARACTER in your chat window, replacing CHARACTER with the person's name you want to have as your focus. Their portrait should appear on your screen (it's position will vary depending on your UI modifications). Typing /target focus will cause you to target your focus - you can make use of this in macros. I'm not going to go in depth here, but you can write macros or use addons to cast spells on your focus without ever breaking target.


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Useful Macros


These are macros that I or other WoW-Pro trees use to make our healing lives easier. Some of these are duplicated by functionality in the addon section below. If you have other awesome macros that you use, please leave a comment!


Trinket-Trigger-Macro
Provided by murphyslaw

A macro to trigger the trinket every time you use lifebloom, so it will be up all the time. The 13 stands for the upper trinket-slot. 14 would be the lower trinket-slot. You can also exchange Lifebloom with anything else you might find better.

#showtooltip Lifebloom
/use 13
/cast Lifebloom


Innervate-Whisper-Macro
Provided by murphyslaw

Whispers the player that you give Innervate to.

#showtooltip Innervate
/script SendChatMessage("You got INNERVATED.", "WHISPER", 
   GetDefaultLanguage("player"), Unitname("target"))
/cast Innervate


Rebirth-Macro
Provided by murphyslaw

Yells who you are going to rebirth. You could do the same thing for Revive. This can be duplicated by Healbot.

#showtooltip Rebirth
/y Rebirth: %T
/cast Rebirth


Barkskin-Macro
Provided by honj93

Uses barkskin and then Tranquility or Hurricane (make a separate macro for each).

#showtooltip Tranquility/Hurricane
/cast Barkskin
/cast Tranquility/Hurricane


Nature's Swiftness-Macro
Provided by honj93

Gives you an instant cast Healing Touch with one button! Note that you need to be in range for this to work, otherwise it will only cast Nature's Swiftness. If this happens, just get in range and hit the button again.

#showtooltip Nature's Swiftness
/cast Nature's Swiftness
/cast Healing Touch


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Useful Addons


In this section, I provide a list of addons useful to tree healers specifically. We won't cover general addons, though WoW Insider has an excellent list of great addons, descriptions, and links to their download pages here.


Healbot


Clique


Class Timer


Grid


Recount


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Druid Healing Without Tree Form


While this guide is specifically about tree healing, it's worth mentioning that in the past (and probably still somewhat today), there have been druids which elected to take Dreamstate instead of going all the way down the resto tree to Tree of Life. These druids would rely on big heals such as Healing Touch , since they didn't have the mana cost reduction from tree form. However, with the additions of deeper talents to the restoration tree and the ability to cast Healing Touch in tree form, it's very seldom you see a druid doing serious healing outside of tree form. It is, however, quite possible for Moonkin druids to heal most normal instances up until the level cap, if no healing-specialized player is available. Moonkin gear has lots of spell power and spell crit, so try to use direct heals when possible to take advantage of this.


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Leveling as a Tree


First off, let me say that solo questing as a tree is NOT efficient. If you plan to do most of your leveling from solo quests, you would be much better off speccing Moonkin for the duration of your leveling - most of the gear is the same. However, if you plan to do a lot of instances or group questing as you leveling, speccing as a tree can still be rewarding. Luckily with the dual spec feature (and enough money), you don't usually have to choose anymore.

If you do end up soloing as a tree: There are essentially two schools of thought on killing things when resto specced. One is to root and nuke single pulls. This tends to be very slow but is quite safe and mana efficient. The other option is to HoT yourself and pull many mobs at once (3-5), Barkskin, and Hurricane. This can drain your mana quickly and is a bit more risky, but in all is probably faster. What you choose is up to your playstyle.


Moonkin Leveling Build


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Keeping Up to Date


This guide will be updated with each major patch. However, to get the news on exactly what is changing for resto druids, you can subscribe to my blog, Diary of a Fian. I provide a running commentary on the world of resto druids, in addition to observations about running guilds, raiding, and my work here at WoW-Pro.com.


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Special Thanks


I felt the need to add a section to acknowledge and thank all the people who contributed knowledge to this guide.

First, the wonderful folks at Wowhead. I could NEVER have made this guide without you. The database, comparison, comments, and tooltips are simply the absolute best available on the internet.

A big thanks to the Elitist Jerks forums. These folks really know their theorycrafting. A lot of the questions I had about specific numbers and how spells were calculated were answered here.

In particular, I want to thank some WoW-Pro users who have been a huge help. murphyslaw, thank you for being so understanding and helpful when our guides collided! You rock. honj93, your many comments were so useful, I really appreciate your help in making this guide the best it can be. Also a big thanks to Tag for the excellent correction to the listed MT healing strategy. Thanks Logos for some great recommendations for addons and external gear sites. And thanks to all the others who have commented here that I forgot to mention!


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