Cata druid build 12759 & druid AOE healing discussion

So, Ghostcrawler replied to my post about druid raid healing in Cataclysm. While I responded some directly in the thread, I wanted to take some time to post directly here for everyone who hasn’t read all 20+ pages of the thread…

Resto discussion about AOE/raid healing in the forum threads by GC (click here):

As far as the AE healing goes, it’s definitely something to keep an eye on, but we’re not worried about it yet. We are trying to cut back (yet again) on the dominance of the smart AE heals. The cooldowns of CoH and WG need to stay high. We do have some room to lower the mana cost on WG, and probably will.

I personally think Wild Growth would work better at around a 35% to 40% mana cost, depending on what level 85 mana pools look like (ie. it would still take a big chunk of mana, but we would still be able to use it when we need it).

The fact that they want us to use less Wild Growth, however, is exactly why I wanted another AOE (non-smart) heal added to druids’ spell bar. The neat thing about Healing Mushrooms would be that we’d have to target it at a spot on the ground, rather than targeting people.  That would give druids the type of AOE healing tool they are giving to other classes (things that makes us have to watch something other than health bars), but it would have it’s own unique feel by using the same Detonate mechanic as the moonkin version.

It could also be possible to redesign tranquility to something we could use once every 1 to 3 minutes, rather than being limited to once every 8 minutes (ie. in a 15 minute heroic 5-man, we get to use tranquility like twice at such a high cooldown, making it something that we’ll even forget to use because the cooldown is so long).

On Rejuvenation:

We don’t like prehotting (or pre-shielding) as a general strategy. On certain fights where you know that the damage is going to come fast and furious then maybe it’s appropriate, but we don’t want the current LK style to continue. I’ve healed a lot as both Resto and Disc, so I know the power of prehealing, though it’s not as if you need first-hand experience to understand how useful and powerful it is.

On the other hand, if a lot of people take damage at once, we have no problem with getting a Rejuv out on several of them at once, and a lower GCD will help there. It’s still possible to screw that up (by which I mean we want healing to have some player decision-making as part of the gameplay) by using too much mana on Rejuvs or casting too many Rejuvs when the situation called for something else.

The problem is that our alternative to rejuv is regrowth, and regrowth costs more mana than a rejuv. So, if we are raid/AOE healing, and rejuv is actually the lowest mana cost of our tools that we can actually use, then putting rejuv on someone is always going to be the lowest mana cost choice. So, I still haven’t figured out what that “something else” we’re supposed to do would actually be.

At the point where rejuv is costing too much mana, we’re probably not going to be assigned to raid healing because we just don’t have the right tools for the AOE healing job if we’re not supposed to pre-HOT the raid anymore. We need a reactive AOE healing spell that heals more than one person at a time. The instant heal through talents on rejuv is so pathetic that it won’t really make more than a drop in the large health pools that people have. Regrowth with Effloresence is not going to flesh out our toolset enough, due to Regrowth costing a ton of mana (ie. we can’t spam it 4 or 5 times just to get efflorsenece to proc). We can’t force a regrowth crit because we don’t have a cooldown that increases our crit chance.

I still can’t figure out how druids are supposed to fill an AOE/raid healing role in 25-mans or 10-mans, since Blizzard is trying to discourage the only AOE/raid healing strategy we have. In a raid healing role, druids have no alternative to stacking rejuv & regrowth on multiple people. Just being able to rejuv-spam faster still leaves us with rejuv-spam. I don’t see how they can make rejuv, regrowth, & Wild Growth healing on the raid any better than what it feels like on Live right now.

We won’t really be able to use Nourish or Healing Touch very much as an AOE/raid heal, because it only heals one person at a time (and it will almost always make a heck of a lot more sense for chain heal or some other AOE heal to be used instead of single-target heals). Nourish & HT & lifebloom are part of our tank healing toolset that will never really be that great for raid healing (so they’re always going to make up a tiny % of our healing done when we’re assigned to raid healing).

The only real solution is to introduce a new AOE healing tool to our healing strategy, because giving us more AOE healing tools is really the only way to get us to use a wider selection of tools for AOE healing (which is exactly why shaman & paladin are getting new AOE healing tools in Cata).

On not having enough buttons to push:

Usually the feedback we get from druids is “I have these heals that I never use,” not “I don’t have enough heals.”

This is actually driven by the fact that druids have a lot of tank healing tools, but don’t have enough Raid/AOE healing tools. So, when tank healing, we have been using a lot of spells in WotLK, but since Paladins are more dominant in tank healing, druids tend to just be support tank healers, where we put HOTs on the tank and then spam rejuv & wild growth around the rest of the raid. So, if we’re tank healing in Cata, we will be using a lot of spells. However, for raid healing, we only have a few buttons to push in Cata (regrowth, rejuv, wild growth, swiftmend, & tranquility). While 5 spells seems like a lot, I still predict seeing regrowth & rejuv make up at least 80% of our healing done, with wild growth’s % of healing done dropping and being replaced by regrowth’s healing.

People don’t generally sit around coming up with what new spells we would need – because in WotLK, the pre-HOT strategy is great, and we’re viable in WotLK for raid healing. In addition, some healers are perfectly happy spamming one button all day long, so people never ask for more tools because they’re happy being one-button spammers. Druids tend to not use their tank heals while raid healing, and since we don’t have a big enough AOE/raid healing toolset, we tend to not push many buttons while we’re AOE/raid healing (and before WotLK, we would have NEVER been assigned to AOE/raid healing in the first place).

Again, if the good healers were rewarded for their diversity, then everything would be peachy. The problem is that healing badly works really, really well. You may have a slight advantage over the “bad healers” with your strategy, but only a slight one. The ability to run yourself out of mana by casting inefficient spells when they aren’t called for will help the situation all by itself. Someone who casually Rejuvs the entire raid when people aren’t taking damage will just be OOM.

The problem is that resto druids don’t have a reward for using a diverse spell toolset if we are AOE/raid healing. We’ll either have people dieing because we can’t heal more than one person at a time, OR we’ll have to do enough pre-HOTs and we’ll run OOM. I don’t see an AOE/raid healing role for druids that allows for smart choices to be made – because druid HOTs only work well if we start healing people at a higher % of health than people with direct heals would start healing them. Since druids don’t have a direct multi-target heal, we have to HOT people early & often in order to fill their massive health pools back up.

It’s because we don’t see a niche for it, while meanwhile buttons like Healing Touch get removed from bars or used only with NS.

Healing Touch is getting added back to our tank healing toolset in Cataclysm. However, using single-target direct heals as part of our AOE/raid healing toolset sounds generally rediculous. Due to raids needing healing assignments to reduce the amount of overhealing, the niche that is needed to fill is an AOE heal that we can choose instead of single-target HOTs or wild growth. We need one more multi-target heal that we can choose to use if we don’t want to run OOM trying to keep people topped off at 100%. If multiple people drop below 25%, druids have no way to get both people out of the danger zone in one GCD, and they are going to either die or need to be healed by someone else. So, to be able to be a reactive healer, druids need a reactive multi-target heal that we do not yet have, which would allow us to sometimes avoid pre-HOTs. Without a NEW direct AOE spell, there will be zero difference between a good & a bad druid AOE/raid healer, because we’ll just be assigned to tank healing when pre-HOT raid healing isn’t a good healing strategy.

Posted in Cataclysm, Restoration Healing Trees
25 comments on “Cata druid build 12759 & druid AOE healing discussion
  1. Wharep says:

    Seems like we’re getting to a point, where we have to test it to actually see how we fare. GC seems to be pretty certain we’ll do quite alright, as we are.
    The problem with our current status in the beta is, that given an encounter like Twin Valkyrs, Sindragosa, BQL og any other fight with steady dmg on the raid, we’d be doomed.
    But a part of their new design philosophy is that dmg should be smooth and it should be more normal (and possibly accepted) to not be topped off for a while. That seems to suggest, that people, even when not at full health, will be in less danger than they are today, even at full health. So maybe raidhealing are just getting toned down across the board, so a place where that sudden AE healing burst is less needed. (I’m not saying that discussing the druid healing philosophy and our toolset is pointless in any way.)

    I will still not dispute, that wit TranQ having such a long cd, we have an open slot in our arsenal, for an on-demand burst ae healing.
    We can handle multiple people dropping a bit, and who may only take little or no dmg for a while (WG), same with a few (RJ) and a few dropping pretty low (RG). But when several people drop pretty low, we lack the tool, unless it happens really, really rarely.
    That ofc doesn’t require a new spell, as either TranQ or ToL could be tuned to fit there, though it would mean a solid cd reduction on either. Whatever the solution may be, I completely agree with GC, that smartheals are boring. Having to actually make some kind of decision when healing the raid, is a lot more fun.

    • Lissanna says:

      The problem is that HOTs do not work well with a “let people get low, then bring them back” situation. HOTs, instead, should be cast at a much higher health % than direct heals. Direct heals are what you can cast on people at low health – which is why druids need direct AOE healing options. If more than one person is at low health, the druid has already lost. HOTs do not (alone) make good triage-style healing spells. Druids need a direct AOE healing spell added to make AOE healing possible for druids in Cataclysm, because right now, all of our AOE healing is pretty much tied to single-target HOTs (or unreliable mechanics, or spells they don’t want us to spam), and that is going to fail in Cataclysm.

      The healing mushroom idea I’ve been pushing is great because it would solve the druid AOE healing problem without being a “smart heal”, and without directly stealing a mechanic from another healer (since we’re instead stealing it from the moonkin). I’ve handed Blizzard the answer to all the druid problems on a silver platter (it fits in well with the new direction of healing, allows druids to do more than just 2-button spam heal, and allows druids to perfectly fit either a tank or raid healing role while still using a lot of buttons).

      • Wharep says:

        I think you misunderstood me Liss:)
        As I point out, both RJ and WG are most suitable for a situation where people have only dropped a bit (or you expect them to shortly). And RG can be used when a few people have dropped pretty low (best of they are below 25% ofc).
        What we don’t have, is exactly what you are saying and I don’t disagree with that.
        I mentioned in the beginning, that if they change the pace and dmg output in raids, it might be less of an issue, but that depends on their encounter philosophy.
        But again, I don’t disagree that there is a hole in our arsenal and I like the concept of healing muchroom or something else that requires thinking.

  2. Zy says:

    I think this is the devs beating their head on a wall that has existed for a long time. Quite simply, druids don’t have a bursty way to heal up a lot of people. Anyone who’s tried to dual heal Stinky with two resto druids knows what I mean. Efflorescence isn’t going to fix this, especially in its current incarnation.

    I agree we probably need another heal. And I hate to say druids need another spell because we’ve already got such a diverse toolbox but that’s going to be the only way to fill the gap in our abilities.

    • Tralia says:

      well we have a diverse tank healing toolbox, if you look at your raid healing toolbox its actually not that large. You have WG which we can’t afford to spam, you have Rejuv which apparently we can’t afford to spam, and you have Regrowth which we can’t afford to spam, oh and Tranq on a long CD.

      Added to the issues listed above GC has said that Rejuv should be something used to ” top people off”. Well not all raid healing is topping people off so what are you going to use to fil that gap? Currently single target spells, which means your already way behind the game compared to priests and Shaman. Which means without some form of Direct AOE Heal we get stuck tank healing.

      I’ve gone round and round in that thread and I’ve decided if nothing changes and your expected to raid heal I would just try stacking the heck out of regen and crit to get as much Efflorescence procs as possible, use WG whenever OOC procs, and if someone is lightly wounded toss out a Rejuv here and there. GC thinks it would leave us underpowered on the SP part of it, as usual I think he’s full of shit.

  3. Verdus says:

    One of the things that bothers me most about all of this is the effective loss of Lifebloom from our toolkit. Lifebloom is a great spell with incredible potential, especially when compared to “standard” HoTs like Rejuv. I wasn’t happy when Lifebloom was nerfed into oblivion during Wrath, and seeing it officially abandoned by its creators makes me very sad. With just a little tweaking, Lifebloom would be a vastly superior raid-healing tool compared to Rejuv, which could then take its place as a strict, boring tank buffer.

    • Tralia says:

      Like you said the sad thing is LB has had and could still have lots of potential. Even with it gutted it still has its uses but this effectively turned what could of been one of the most unique and interesting heals into the game into, well about as boring as it gets.

      The thing is the whole issue started because they didn’t want it rolling on 3 tanks. Well fine, change the timer so it can only be kept up on two tanks, dont gut the freaking spell to near uselessness. They seem to love destroying there own creations.

      • Kontiki says:

        They could rework LB to be only stackable past the first stack on one target at a time. If they increased the amount healed by the first stack and left it relatively cheap it could be used as a raid healing tool and still stackable on one tank.

        Either way I will miss LB, despite it’s mana cost it was useful in a lot of fights in ICC, I think gutting it like this was one of the worse things they could have done, they complain we don’t use our spells enough then put ridiculous restrictions like this on them.

        • Wharep says:

          I don’t know tbh. If they were to restrict the number of target we could stack i up on (which seems totally fair, because it was way too OP in BC), would it be that fun to use? It doesn’t heal for that much pr tick, so you’d have to wait 10 secs for the bloom, which is probably what you’re after.
          On the positive side, it’s rather cheap to throw out there, so it might be useable when people haven’t lost enough hp to justify a RJ.

          Another option would be to keep the current restriction, but let it bloom if you cast LB on another target. That would both give is some control if you need the burst on the MT and let you throw it on the raid. It would only give you the bloom, so it would be less hpm than letting it run full duration, but the burst heal would come sooner. The tank would also be more compromised doing that time, but that’s a tradeoff. This would also fit well with the current LB enhancing when in ToL.

  4. aramis says:

    My thoughts as we conclude WotLK:

    1. Lifebloom. I still use it. Single stacked of course, but it’s a quick heal that gives me enough breathing room to sprinkle ONE BY ONE a rejuv on everyone in my 5-man or raid group (Specifcally in spikey damage fights like Heroic HoR or ANY of the ICC fights). I like LB because it fills in the gaps between rejuv ticks, again, giving me breathing room. Limiting this to just one person is going to be felt…at least on my end. This basically means they’ve officially placed this in the “tank” heal category. Whether or not it’s useful that way is yet to be seen.

    2. Pre-HoTs. I don’t actively load up a raider or group member with HoTs before a pull. I’m traditional in that the only thing I do is pop a rejuv on him and anyone else expected to take immediate damage at the start of the fight. We’ve discussed this strategy as PROACTIVE HEALING. There’s NOTHING wrong with it, and the mere fact that GC says it’s a bad strategy makes me question whether or not he’s truly succeeded in healing as druid in a raid healing assignment. Healing, in my opinion should never be JUST reactive. Otherwise you would have NO REASON TO HAVE A HEAL OVER TIME spell, which is what druid healing is all about. HoT is meant to be applied at the start to keep people higher up in the health pool because a TRUE HoT isn’t simply a heal, like our Disc Priest counterparts, it’s meant to MITIGATE damage. Leave it to the Holy Pallys and Priests to do the actual healing of damage. If you take away our strategy, you take away the core of what HoT healing is really about. People fail to realize this at times.

    3. AOE/Raid heals. I was completely ready for them to increase the cooldown on WG. It just seemed to make sense. Spells would be more powerful, people would have more health, and six seconds isn’t enough to accommodate that…but the mana increase is a bit ridiculous. It’s almost a DETERRENT to using it, which completely defeats the purpose of having it. If that’s the case, then I completely agree with the need for a NEW direct, medium cast, non-smart heal to “add to our toolset”. That way as a raid healer, we’re using “more than just two buttons”.

    I had a few more thoughts, but I’m at work, and I’ll add more later.

    • Wharep says:

      I think you’re misinterpreting what GC is saying. He is not saying we should never use hots pro-actively. He is saying they want to tone it down.
      Today I can throw a RJ on someone who _may_ take dmg, but if they don’t and it’s just pure overhealing, I’m not really punished. My manapool and regen is so high, that there’s no consequences with me trying to heal pro-actively.
      But what if mana mattered? Then I’d be punished for throwing out that hot who may just be pure overhealing. However, if I know for sure, that the player will take dmg within a short amount of time, then it’s still totally worth it. I think that’s what he means:)

      • Lissanna says:

        At this point, I just run OOM on every trash pull at level 83 in an instance, making me not ever want to try healing again in beta. Instance running in WotLK & BC betas weren’t nearly as rough. Having to get the tanks to learn how to wait for mana, get the DPS to CC things, and learn how to stop trying to AOE/zerg things is going to make things really uncomfortable for a long time. At this point, it still feels like everyone is taking constant damage, and my low crit rate at 83 isn’t going to proc effloresence enough to cheat my way through the instance.

        • Wharep says:

          If everyone still takes constant dmg, that just sucks. But I’m pretty sure most numbers haven’t been tweaked enough to give an impression of the final product. I don’t think they want you to drink after every pull, just like they don’t want you to take a break after every mob when solo’ing.

          Anyways, making people re-learn the tacs from BC instance running is gonna be a tough nut to crack. Tanks need to be very aware and maybe pull back etc, to not break CC – which dps’ers have to learn to use again. And they need to realize that their AE spells aren’t as good, on just a few mobs, so they should rather just single target. And single target the tanks primary target.
          And ofc, when they fail and we run oom, we’ll probably be the first to blame. Gonna be a couple of rough months I predict…

          But I’ll still admit that I’m looking forward to all that stuff again, us being yelled at not included.

      • aramis says:

        So how exactly would your tank NOT take damage? Unless you’re running with a disc priest who just bubbled the tank or superman, he’s going to take damage on a multi-mob pull, period. A simple rejuv prior to a pull will help mitigate damage. It’s a positive pro-active healing step. And even if you did run in a larger group with bubblehappy DPriest, chances are the bubble pops long before the final ticks of a Rejuv, so even then, it’s not wasted. I’m failing to see how you’d be punished by throwing a rejuv out when 9 out of 10 times, the tank is going to need it, if nothing else and even if you strategically hold back.

  5. paperclip says:

    I think I misunderstood how the new lifebloom works. I had assumed if you cast it on a second target, it would immediately bloom on the first (as if it had been dispelled). Could you (or someone else in Beta) clarify exactly what happens when you cast lifebloom on a second target?

    • Lissanna says:

      last time I tested it, the HOT just ended (and did not bloom) if you cast Lifebloom on another person.

  6. Chiraa says:

    Well the one thing I see about using rejuv reactively instead of as a pre-HoT is that with larger health pools, a rejuv should still have time to tick to get people out of danger. Vs now, when, if you don’t already have a rejuv on them they can die before the first rejuv tick after you apply it. Anyway, that is how I understood the devs wanting it to work. Are health pools large enough that this is actually the case yet?

    • Lissanna says:

      Well, right now, all the random dungeons I try to run end up with people zerging groups that should be AOE’d, and not actually trying to make things easier for the healer, and the pally pulled aggro off the tank and expected me to keep him alive… so, unless the people you are running with run smart, there’s still a ton of burst damage & a ton of AOE damage that is happening to the group. I had to struggle to keep people at or near full health all the time because if they dropped low, they probably died (but that’s what I hate about PUGs anyway).

      Now, this could be a problem with instance balancing (and the people I’m running with), but larger health pools just means that my HOTs aren’t strong enough to bring them back unless I cast them when the HP’s are high enough that my mastery doesn’t help. I’m not convinced that the druid mastery will work out at all in Cata, because a HOT is not something you should be casting on a target at low health, and it doesn’t look like the direct heal from regrowth will benefit at all. The instant tick on rejuv isn’t even benefiting from our mastery at this point, either. So, it’s still taking a couple seconds between when you hit the heal and when the mastery is actually doing any extra healing at all, due to the up-front healing on the abilities not actually benefiting from the mastery.

  7. Chiraa says:

    Haha… you mean “people zerging groups that SHOULDN’T be AOE’d”? (emphasis mine)

    I expect that the whole … “must CC and single target dps” thing is going to be a bitter pill for many players. And that it is going to take a LONG time for DPS to believe that’s how they will need to play. WotLK has spoiled them. Actually, I think until AOE’s cost so much and actually affect how much of a player’s resources are left to continue to dps… they will continue to be the attack of choice. It is just easier to AoE than to assist on the tank’s target or to dps one marked target after another. Also until DPS accept that it’s their responsibility to manage their aggro again, I say let them die. How many fights really REQUIRE AoE to down mobs? Not many… maybe DPS AoE’s need to be on a longish CD, so they really need to pick a good time to use it. Or maybe they are on a shorter CD, but within a certain time interval, cost twice as much to use again. Like getting an “increased resource cost debuff” for AoE attacks only… so DPS better REALLY be certain its a good time to AoE, or they will be left blowing resource CDs early or, god forbid, drinking between pulls. :S

    BTW, are the intance groups with people who seem to be interested in actually testing things… or are they just in beta to get an earlier look at content than everyone else? Are there any discussions about this during instance runs?

    • Lissanna says:

      Well, the first boss in stonecore doesn’t help with the “L2 single target” because there are like 50 little small bugs that come out and have to be AOE’d (and then all the DPS is OOM after the first add phase). They already nerfed AOE & made it really mana expensive, and they still don’t have an alternative sometimes. If Blizzard designed things with smaller packs where CC would make a difference, that would help too. Instead, the packs are just putting more stress on the healer.

      I can’t discuss things with people in instance runs because they’re mixing together different regions and I can’t see /say and I have no idea what the people from other regions want to say. Given that people just seem to want to zerg & not even wait for mana, I’ve been avoiding instancing as much as possible on Beta right now, and I’m disappointed every time I try.

      That said, I re-copied over my druid for the gear upgrades I’ve gotten over the last couple months, and so that I can go back again and run the instances on my 80 where mana is much less of a problem (and my crit chance is higher) compared to my 83 druid that is getting more frustrating every level.

  8. Chiraa says:

    Wow, is the not seeing what others say a bug they are addressing? Or do they not want people talking to each other right now?

    I can imagine being frustrated with it, but look on the bright side, probably most of them are just saying L2P if you can’t keep them up or need to drink, so maybe its a good thing.

    Anyway, thanks for your reply.

    • Lissanna says:

      Well, not being able to talk cross-realm is an issue with their software. Not being able to see /say is a bug that doesn’t effect everyone.

  9. aramis says:

    So my mind is EVERYWHERE on this…I feel like an ADHD kid sent into a candy store and told to only pick ONE thing to buy…

    -Now, to be clear, in no way do I mean apply every single HoT you have prior to a pull, a single HoT, like rejuv, should be sufficient enough and that’s a practice I can see being beneficial even as we go through these growing pains in Cata.

    -By my comments one could guess that I’m just angry about recent healing strats in the beta, and I’m really not. Fer’serial! I like the idea that the blues are trying to get us to THINK about the heals we use and ON WHOM we use them. We’re just not there yet.

    Anyone remember back in the good ol’ days wherein to train beyond Expert First Aid you had to do a quest in Theramore or Stonard (?) that taught you the fine medical art of TRIAGE? Knowing who to heal and when and who NOT to heal and when. The blues have already said this was a concept they wanted us to return to, and I think it’s brilliant. Healing won’t be so mindless. Again, they still aren’t there yet. Either healers are just going OOM too quick, or people are just dying too fast. It’s beta, it happens. What also needs to be put into account is what Lissanna has been saying repeatedly…the MINDSET of our WothLK strategies and habits needs to change. Healers will need to triage, tanks will need to REST, DPSers will need to drink, CC is mandatory…these are not NEW concepts they are just simply forgotten because of how things went in endgame Lich King. Gone will be the days you can run into a room like current Heroic Nexus’ iceblock room AND PULL EVERY MOB INCLUDING THE BOSS and live to tell the tale.

    BUT!!! … and this is a big BUT!… Remember, that wasn’t the case at the beginning of Lich King with new 80s running heroics. People seem to forget that even then, cautious LOS pulls, and CC was required to survive a full mob pull in early heroics (remember Heroic Oculus PRE-nerfrape???). Of course with new tiers of gear that all went by the way side (with the exception of Halls of Reflection, lol)…so I’m not going to hold my breath for Cata. AT FIRST we may take a lot of damage and have to CC and blah blah blah, but by endgame with higher and higher levels of gear, that may not be the case. At this point it’s too early to tell.

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