On the healing forums, there is a lot of backlash against the combined healing changes. I hear that a lot of tree druids are really sad over the changes happening to resto healing in the next patch. Lets go over what happened to our tree healers recently.
- Improved regrowth changed to only have 25% (instead of 50%) crit. This makes regrowth less reliable as a bigger slow heal.
- Mana regeneration from spirit was decreased for out of combat regen, thus likely halving the amount of mana returned from innervate, as well as forcing healers to have to worry about their mana in combat.
- We got a new Nourish glyph, which increases nourish’s healing done by 7% for each HOT on the target. They also increased nourish’s crit by 25% (adding it to the imp regrowth talent).
- They changed lifebloom, so that it costs about 800 mana (depending on talents), but you get back half that mana if you let it bloom.
The combination of these changes means that two of the druid healing styles are being rather stomped on in 3.1: A) using regrowth as a direct healing spell, and B) People rolling lifeblooms on 2 or 3 targets. People who used to tank heal with regrowth or rolling lifeblooms are having to question both the effectiveness and mana efficiency of these healing styles. This will make regrowth more of a HOT than a direct heal in a lot of situations, and encourage people to let lifebloom “bloom.”
Nourish becomes our new direct tank heal. However, it’s pretty scrawny and useless if you cast it by it’s self. As a short cast flash-heal, it’s pretty weak if you don’t have the tier 7 bonus (increasing healing it does by 5% for each HOT), or the new glyph described above. Some people are worried about becoming nourish spamming druids. It won’t be possible to only spam nourish. What we have to do is put HOTs on the target (regrowth, rejuv, & lifebloom), and then start casting nourish. Once any of the HOTs fall off, you can re-cast them and then go back to nourish. If nourish heals for 4,000 with no hots, it can heal over 5,000 if there are an appropriate number of HOTs on the target. You also gain the benefit of what the HOTs normally heal for on that target.
Nourish makes a poor raid heal because it’s so weak on it’s own. We do have much better raid heal tools: Wild growth (an AOE hot), rejuvination (low mana cost), and sometimes swiftmending a rejuvination. If you need to top those people off with a direct heal, then you can choose between regrowth and nourish without too much of a problem unless mana becomes an issue. If you already have HOTs on your raid heal target, then nourish isn’t going to be that bad of a choice.
You should always have HOTs on your target before you “spam” nourish, and tank healing will become a case where you stop casting nourish to put HOTs back up as they’re falling off. Thus, ghostcrawler is somewhat right. We can’t only cast nourish. There will always be some portion of our healing done by our other healing spells. So, when you hit the point where you feel like you are a nourish bot, your combat log parse will never show that. It’s a really neat tick, but it has nothing to do with the fact that druids are losing two of their three healing styles for tank healing, and that we’re all being forced to tank heal the same way.
Maybe some people just won’t tank heal, as raid healing does encourage you to have some flexibility and choice in what spells you cast (and when). You can use just about all your spells for raid healing, so long as you don’t spam yourself OOM. Tank healing will be much more about managing the HOTs between casting nourish. Good thing most of our HOTs don’t need that much managing, as now we’re not punished for letting lifebloom actually bloom. You can just re-cast it whenever you feel like.
For lifebloom, you can “slow roll it,” where you re-cast the 2nd and 3rd lifebloom right before it expires, and then let it bloom when it has three stacks. Then, repeat the process for the next ~30 seconds. This will also give you a really big bloom at the end, which will probably end up as overheal.
If you really have the mana for it, you can still spend 800 mana every 9 to 10 seconds trying to do a standard rolling lifebloom (ie. don’t let it fall of the target), but if even rolling one lifebloom is making you OOM, then just go with the slow roll with letting it fall off your target for the full mana refund.
While I don’t spend a lot of time talking about PvP, there are a lot of tree druids worried about how these changes will hurt druid healing in arenas. My guess is that if druids are still hurting in PvP after 3.1 comes out, we may see additional changes down the line, but don’t get your hopes up.