Healing Dungeons at level 85

So, the forums are full of healer tears over having to re-learn how to heal in Cataclysm. To make things worse, we went from being superheroes (in our high-end raid gear from WotLK) to being total scrubs in blues & greens. So, lets take a look at what is going wrong for many of my resto druid friends:

This is “fail tree”. Fail tree is having a hard time healing instances, and went to the forums to complain about how his class sucks. Lets see what Fail Tree is doing wrong & how to fix it:

The biggest problems fail-tree is having are: Not enough Gear, inappropriate spell selection, and the rest of your group not doing the right things.

It takes time to fix gearing issues:

Not Enough Gear for Heroics! While the normal-mode dungeons can be done in greens and low-end blues, Heroic mode dungeons basically require you to be wearing  high-end level 85 (ilevel 333) blues (from dungeons & quest rewards). Even then, some heroic-mode bosses will be VERY HARD. If you are wearing any ICC epics and complaining about being OOM, then your problem is gear. If you are wearing greens, your problem is not enough gear. Get gear, get powerful. I didn’t believe this when Ghostcrawler posted this when we were complaining about mana in Beta, but then they released ilevel 333 premades in Beta, and the whole world shone down upon me and told me that Heroics were now possible to do (but still hard for unorganized groups!). So, run normal modes until you are comfortable with the new healing style and have enough gear to tackle heroics.  Right now, I’m running OOM at the end of a normal-mode dungeon because my gear is still bad. Usually, when you have some mana reserves left over at the end of a normal-mode boss is when you are ready for heroics (ie. don’t just think that because your ilevel average of the agility leather in your bags is high enough to run heroics that your actually equipped items make the cut). Your tanks & DPS need gearing up, too – as it’s hard to heal under-geared people.

Needs gems & enchants & reforging: Now, the second problem people are having (according to their armory data) is that they aren’t putting gems in their blues, and aren’t taking the time between dungeon runs to get things enchanted (and then whine on the forums about how bad life is). Now, you don’t need the best enchants in the world. I personally picked up the cheapest things I could get from the AH to slap on them, but every enchant helps. I put lower-end gems in my gear, but I at least put something in my gem slots. I also reforged as much crit & mastery into spirit as I possibly could to boost my regen. This is one of the reasons why I included enchants in my healing guide that weren’t “Best in slot” enchants, because I expected the lower-tiered enchants to be more available. You can also go with old WotLK enchants for your easily replaced gear. I will call you out on the Druid forums if you post about running OOM and you have  no enchants or gems on your gear. You have to at least show that you are trying to take things seriously.

STOP wearing cloth!!! I covered that in another post here. You lose a 5% int buff if you wear cloth. Just ignore that cloth pieces exist. Don’t be like fail tree wearing a cloth blanket and losing his leather specialization.

Use the right Healing Spell Selection:

Stop relying on Regrowth: The 4.0.1 patch taught us a bad habit of using Regrowth too much as our direct heal. In addition, I heard someone complain on the forums about how fast the HOT falls off, and that he spends most of his time trying to keep the Regrowth HOT on the tank. Let me say this: Regrowth is not a HOT the way that it used to be. It’s impossible/impractical to keep up the Regrowth HOT on a tank because the regrowth HOT now sucks a lot and doesn’t heal for much. Regrowth is a direct heal that happens to add an additional HOT when you use it as a direct heal. The only reason you care about the HOT is to prime your mastery and swiftmend.

Start relying on Nourish & Healing Touch: People want to avoid these because they are slow. However, did you see how big everyone’s health pools got? The increasing of Health Pool size means that these two spells are how you will keep your tank alive in 5-mans (and raids!).

You can still use HOTs some: I think that Wild Growth & Rejuv still made up a decent amount of my healing in the HoO runs yesterday, and I spend a lot of time trying to keep up lifebloom on my tank. Efflorescence’s proc is also a HOT. However, my direct heals (Nourish & HT) are my most important anti-death tools. My advice in my healing guide applies to 5-mans almost as much as it applies to actual raids (since I healed more 5-mans than raids in Beta).

Use tranquility strategically: As you learn fights, you will see that some have periodic huge burst AOE damage. Tranquility trivializes those AOE damage phases (such as when Rajh comes to the middle of the room and does his huge AOE fire damage). I won’t do Rajh at all when tranquility is on cooldown (especially on the heroic-mode).

Anticipate your Group Interactions:

Hard modes are hard: I actually find it amazing that people are complaining about HARD modes being HARD. I think Blizzard messed up with WotLK by equating Hard modes & Heroic Dungeons with EZ-mode-cake-walk. They are now undoing all their past mistakes by making Heroic dungeons actually challenge people in the gear level they are designed to be run (and still challenging for people wearing epics from the first tier of Cataclysm raiding). You have to actually use the right strategy in hard-modes (and even normal-modes). Failure to understand the strategies will result in death.

Sometimes people will die: In the HoO run I healed, we had a few deaths – mostly because I went OOM or I had to choose between the tank and the DPS (and chose to let the DPS die). Success is killing the boss – it doesn’t matter if everyone was alive or not. So, just accept that deaths will happen, and they will happen frequently. You will sometimes even wipe a few times learning a new boss (especially on Heroic-modes). They are not meant for you to 1-shot everything in God-mode on your first day as an 85. The heroics are supposed to still be challenging even when you are decked out in the gear that drops from the heroic bosses (ie. heroics still weren’t trivial in the raid geared out premades on beta). This shift to increased difficulty (forcing people to move out of fires or die) is to make up for WotLK being too easy.

Crowd Control isn’t Optional: I ran two HoO runs yesterday. In the first, we didn’t have very good Crowd Control, and our healer really struggled on trash pulls. In the second, we improved our Crowd Control, and it went amazingly smoother. We went back to Burning Crusade where not using CC meant failure, and your mana constraints are part of what enforces the need for CC.

You will run OOM: Accept that mana is a limited resource. Bring many stacks of water (there is “new” level 85 water twice as potent as level 80 water). However, this down-time can be useful, to explain to your tanks & DPS what their jobs are (ie. set up crowd control for the next pack). Explain boss strategies in the down-time that you are drinking, etc. If people run ahead and pull when you have no mana,  let them die and have to run back and teach them that not listening has consequences. It might suck for a while in random dungeons, but someone has to teach the tanks & DPS about the new dungeon design (where they have to wait for healer mana).

Adapt or die! Every expansion, people have been wrought with panic over having to re-learn how to heal again. The druid class isn’t broken. By the end of Beta, we were one of the strongest healers in Beta raids. However, life is hard for everyone right now, because we’re all so undergeared and inexperienced. Six months from now, you won’t even remember how it felt right now. So, just run instances that you can handle. Then, practice and gear up to get ready for heroic-mode dungeons & raids!

And a comic from Ctrl-Alt_Delete’s Fail Druid sillies:

Good luck with your Cataclysm dungeon running! Give it time and it all gets better, I promise! Just hang in there and take the time to really gear up and just know that things get better once you are geared, the rest of your group knows what they are doing, and you get used to healing in a mana-constrained environment.

UPDATE: Various people have posted really great advice in their comments on this post, so I would make sure to read the comments section if you are struggling with healing at level 85! Also, thanks for all the helpful advice guys!

51 Comments

  1. Berry
    Posted December 12, 2010 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    Roll 3 lifeblooms on tank, add rejuve. Watch carefully, throw strategic nourishes to bring them up a little higher when needed. Allow lifebloom to bloom, topping tank off. Roll if the bloom will be wasted. Rinse and repeat. In between, throw wild growth if more than one dps is at 3/4 or less. (Or a swiftmend for a fast rescue if the dps are grouped well.) Throw a strategic rejuve on dps at 1/3 health. Win.

    Not so simple as all that, of course, but I rarely have to sit and drink, and I find it much more efficient on my mana than throwing nourishes around.

    For me, the hardest part of cata healing is knowing when not to heal. The tank doesn’t need to be at full all the time. The dps really really don’t. Not every magic/curse/poison needs to be cleansed. Most of the constantly oom healers are healing too much. Its only partly about gear – a whole lot is in knowing that finishing the fight with most of the team damaged is actually preferable.

  2. Galashin
    Posted December 12, 2010 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    Having run all but H.ToT, and most multiple times, the cliff notes version of healing at this point seems to be:
    1) Lifebloom + rejuv on the tank.
    2) Mend on cooldown on the tank, if it’ll be effective. Expect DPS to stand in it. If they don’t, tell them to. It’s cheap, and will eventually tick the DPS back up.
    3) Regrowth on OoC procs. The tank if he’s low, a low DPS (or yourself) otherwise. Use it to set up mastery.
    4) Chain nourish on the tank. You should only occasionally use HT instead. The tank (probably) doesn’t need to be at 100% instantly.
    5) For group damage, the players probably should have gotten out of the fire faster. That said, WG is worth using basically on CD, if it’ll be effective healing across the group. Otherwise, a rejuv or wait for an OoC proc to regrowth. The DPS almost never need to be topped off quickly. I’ve found that if WG will be effective, and one target is low, WG–>Rejuv is great. Otherwise, Rejuv–>nourish.

    For two tanks (raiding):
    Lifebloom/rejuv on one, rejuv and OoC procs to get regrowth on the other (bringing mastery into play). Raid damage as group damage. The raids are refreshingly challenging, especially after WotLK. The new Vault is really easy. In general, ask enh shaman to use Healing Rain, and probably ret pallies to use their AoE (I haven’t run with one yet)–the difference it makes for healer mana is amazing.

    Regarding ToL, it’s actually extremely useful…but only because of the single target restriction on lifebloom. Use it if the group is getting low to stack lifeblooms around (won’t help if they’re already in danger of death, it takes time to catch up)–and more importantly, use it as a mana conservation cooldown. Lifebloom to heal the DPS (and yourself) is much, much more efficient than anything else. For that purpose, it’s basically 40 seconds of not having to spend mana.

    • Galashin
      Posted December 12, 2010 at 11:46 am | Permalink

      Also: having an afflic lock is 3% haste and 9% healing, plus mana regen from their felhunter. A pocket lock for a resto druid is amazing right now, and they’ll appreciate the instant queues.

    • thehampster
      Posted December 16, 2010 at 10:38 am | Permalink

      alashin, that is good advice. The only part I disagree with is telling dps to stand in Efflorescence. Even if a dps is already standing in the right place before the green circle appears, the most it will heal them for is 5% of their health. If they have to move to get in the green circle, they’ll be lucky to get 2%.

      Really, efflorescence has been nerfed so much that it’s a joke, and is hardly worth worrying about. The dps would do better to spend their time worrying about doing dps, avoiding raid damage, cc’ing correclty, etc.

  3. Wynn
    Posted December 12, 2010 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    I’ve lost faith in the human race after doing pugs and trying to teach people this isn’t Wrath

    • Lissanna
      Posted December 12, 2010 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

      It will just take some time. Hang in there, it should get better over time. Honestly, at this point, I mostly just run with my guild.

      • Aulisemia
        Posted December 13, 2010 at 4:53 am | Permalink

        I agree, guild runs are the most pleasant. I’ve been finding more and more that PuG’s are catching on however. Most are using CC and bandaging when things get tight…and you can always boot someone who is awful and refuses to learn. Or let them die. :-)

  4. Wynn
    Posted December 12, 2010 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    Yeah I’m going to be the first healer to hit 85, all I here on vent is level faster every hour someone hug me lol

  5. Huga
    Posted December 12, 2010 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    What about the role of your talent spec? While 3/3 Moonglow is a given if you have mana issues, lots of guides suggest only 2/3 Furor and 0/2 Malfurion’s gift in favour of increased throughput talents that improve rejuvenation and regrowth.

    But, for 5 mans especially, swift rejuvenation’s usefulness seems limited at best. At worst it’ll simply make you go oom more quickly. Nature’s cure and Nature’s swiftness are both situationally useful enough to make them worth it, but you could easily take points from Nature’s Bounty, Improved Rejuv or Gift of the Earthmother. In a new “healing paradigm” where rejuv use is heavily frowned upon, I don’t understand why we have so many talents which buff it. Of the 31 points we can spend in the resto tree, 9 improve rejuvenation!

    Slightly OT, does anyone else feel like the role of Druid healers as HoTers has been significantly reduced, and that this change makes the class much less fun to play? This is not an attempt to troll – you say yourself that “You can still use hots some” – which I think is very telling of the direction this class has been changed to. Of the hots we have:
    1) Regrowth which is so short and weak as to really only be useful for the mastery bonus while tank healing.
    2) Lifebloom is nice, and something unique to our class, but (outside of tol form) its use is so fixed – keep on the tank, roll either manually or (more frequently) refresh with nourish and HT – that you never have a choice in when to use it, and who to put it on.
    3) Rejuv is virtually identical to renew – except the later is cheaper and gets a 15% increase in the right chakra. The same with
    4) Effloresence – it’s identical to the other class’s new aoes.
    5) Wild Growth – I think somewhat ironically, the urge to use wild growth immediately after it’s off CD is much higher now than it was in wrath. I’ve always thought of wild growth as an awkward attempt to turn CoH into a hot. Certainly in wrath the last couple ticks were usually overhealed, which should be less of a problem now. I still think it’s a weird spell though – it would be more “druidy” to allow the ticks to jump around, (like it was growing!), with each tick still weaker than the one before.
    6) Tranq – well, this spell is awesome, but it’s 8min (!) CD means we don’t really get to use it that much

    Combined with the new healing model of “Spam nourish with the occasional HT” – both of which are 2.5s casts – we’ve gone from being the most mobile, versatile healer in the game to being priests with a smaller toolbox. Which, to me at least, is both not that much fun and contrary to the official description of druid healing.

    • Lissanna
      Posted December 12, 2010 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

      If you go 3 moonglow, you can only put 2 in Furor (’cause you can only spend 10 out of resto). malfurion’s gift is kindof not that good of a talent.

      • Huga
        Posted December 12, 2010 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

        Malfuion’s Gift seems pretty good to me. Lifebloom ticks once a second (or faster with haste). which should give around 2 procs per minute (or so). Used on regrowth/healing touch (at a cost of about 5000 mana) that’s 10000 mana per minute saved, or 833 mp5. Even better, the amount of mana saved with it should increase with haste (faster lifebloom ticks), and can be used to proc clearcasting a lot during tol.

        Seems much better than pointless minor buffs to rejuv.

        • Lissanna
          Posted December 12, 2010 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

          You can pick up whatever talents you want. Now that OOC only works on RG or HT, I don’t benefit from my OOC procs as much as I used to. For some people, it will help, and others it won’t. The talent personally just hasn’t worked well for me.

      • ricree
        Posted December 12, 2010 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

        I’ve been really liking how Malfuion’s Gift interacts with treeform. With lifebloom rolling on a lot of people, I seem to be getting pretty steady ooc procs, allowing me to throw out a ton of instant regrowths.

        Outside of that, it still seems decent. I’m mostly using my oocs on ht, which so far seems the most mana efficient way to get a solid throughput.

        That said, I’ve only healed a handful of heroics at this point, so perhaps I’ll feel differently with more experience.

    • Huga
      Posted December 12, 2010 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

      Oops – I forgot that we just don’t get enough points to have both 3/3 moonglow and 3/3 furor. Shame.
      I stand by my other points though

  6. Relissa
    Posted December 12, 2010 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    The blank slate healers are facing – as you worded it, going from superheroes to scrubs – is equal across all the classes. And therein lies the problem that healers are facing: Tanks aren’t fully geared for staying alive, and dps aren’t fully geared to kill stuff. That leaves healers to fill in the gaps by using what little resources we have at our disposal to try and heal fights a little bit longer while also having to deal with players learning fight mechanics.

    On my Discipline priest, I easily run out of mana during boss fights in normal-mode instances; my gear (including non-equipped, non-spirit gear) will allow me into heroics – I however have a few pieces green quality gear that still needs replacing. I’ve started consuming spirit elixirs and spirit food to get that extra boost and lamenting the insane mana pot prices on the AH, but I can’t yet see how I’m supposed to heal the heroic versions of these when I can barely heal the normal versions in gear that’s supposedly good enough for heroic.

    • Lissanna
      Posted December 12, 2010 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

      It’s not our job to compensate for other people not being geared. I’m running instances with some guild members, and we have a newly ding’d priest healing us. She couldn’t keep up with the damage in a heroic, so we went back to a normal-mode 85 dungeon to get her some more gear.

      In my guild’s prep for raiding, I actually said we’d need at least 3 days of normal-mode dungeons btwn 85 and doing heroics.

      • Relissa
        Posted December 13, 2010 at 10:05 am | Permalink

        Admittedly, I’m just healing random normals so far. It wasn’t until late last night that my guild had its 5th member ding 85 – some are taking a more casual approach and taking their time leveling, others are only questing when their SO is available to join them, etc, so we’re not moving on to guild-run heroics – or even 85 normals – in a while. Unfortunately for us, our tanks fall into the casual leveling category!

        So while I’ll heal a lower-level guild group when they’re forming to run, I’ve also been throwing myself to the wolves and healing randoms to familiarize myself with the instance mechanics and to get use to the changes in healing mechanics. And I suspect a lot of the complaints about healing come from those doing the same – guild groups are likely to be a little more cohesive, especially if using voice chat to coordinate the instance group.

        Though I’ll admit I haven’t hesitated dropping from a group and finding something else to do for the half hour CD if the group refuses to use CC.

  7. Posted December 12, 2010 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    This is a very welcome post, Lissanna and I think a lot of the things you stated were things that need to be said.

    I have said it before, but I think that our role in this expansion will not only be that of healers, but also that of educators. It will be up to us to keep our groups up and motivated, in more ways than one. We will have to teach them to stand in positive stuff for healing and seriously stay away from negative things, so they take less damage. We may have to mark targets or insist upon CC.

    I look forward to seeing us take on more of a strategic role, to be honest. :)

    • Lissanna
      Posted December 12, 2010 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

      you have to mark & CC for now.

  8. Posted December 12, 2010 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

    I’ve learned to heal heroics easily. Right now, trying to heal Blackwing Descent Raid is pretty much impossible. Oom within seconds due to all the AE damage on Magmaw. I’ll figure something out, I’m sure. But its amazing how a few heals and you’re done.

    • Lissanna
      Posted December 12, 2010 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

      90% of the time, it’s a gear issue. You really need to be decked out in all the heroic 5-man gear to not struggle with healing in raids. Some of the guilds have been raiding undergeared, but they’re mostly the people who were already farming the boss in beta with their premades.

      • Posted December 12, 2010 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

        We never touched beta and half of our people are still undergeared. Yes, gear helps but its always worth a try.

        We did kill Magmaw with a tweak to our healing system, using all our AE heals into a stack. This helped out ALOT. Kinda like using chain heal in a group instead of Chain healing some bolk off in a corner.

        • Lissanna
          Posted December 13, 2010 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

          A little bit of coordination & strategy goes a long way.

  9. Thursdaylast
    Posted December 13, 2010 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    I’m finding that rolling 3 Lifebloom’s on the tank constantly until they drop to about 50% health and then letting it bloom is saving me substantial dividends in mana. Even with some greens onboard, I can tap out rolling LBs with no cost to mana during OOC moments. It buys me time to pound out that nourish I need elsewhere. Another thing I’m finding helpful is smart use of Rejuvination. It costs big mana, and with the bigger health pools really doesn’t do much. But if I pop it when a deeps is at 25% or so, then follow with a nourish to get that +20% off it Nourish, I can almost heal and forget ‘em. I think Lissanna is dead on. Banish regrowth from your mind and move rejuv to the other end of your cast bar.

  10. Zy
    Posted December 13, 2010 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    The resto tree could still a bit of trimming if you ask me. Would it really be to much to ask to cut Effloresence down a point or two? Or maybe Nature’s Bounty. It would be nice to be able to completely fill out both Moonglow and Furor if so inclined.

  11. Zy
    Posted December 13, 2010 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    Forgot to add that the qq on the forums is pretty impressive. I showed it to my husband last night and we both shook our heads. People really need to get some perspective, educate themselves and put a little effort into things.

  12. thehampster
    Posted December 13, 2010 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    Great Post! A couple observations:

    WotLK did more than just get us healers used to infinite mana. It also made us healers down right neurotic because the twitchy high spikey damage encounters in raids. We had to always keep everyone topped off or you blink and boom, tank is dead, wipe (heal u fail /wrists /quit). In cata, I’m finally getting okay with not keeping the whole raid/party topped off. But it still really worries me to see some of those bars not at full health, it’s so tempting to just cast that rejuv . . . must resist, argh.

    Also, in regard to talent spec, you might consider the painful choice of putting points into malfurion’s gift (I finally had to dump and go 2/3 efflo). This is because it helps a lot with what is causing most trees to go OOM, and that is using mana-inefficient spells to raid heal. With enough mastery, you can usually keep the tank going with just nourish on top of the hots. But the OoC proc’s are great for raid healing. Also, as already mentioned, the OoC proc’s become insane with Tree of Life. You can proc NG and blanket the party in LB very fast, then the OoC proc’s just keep coming which makes the instant RG awesome.

  13. Charity
    Posted December 13, 2010 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

    I’m glad to read that your experience is what I was hoping for. I may be an old timer as MMOs go, but I missed having to manage my mana and maybe my aggro, and use CC. (Uphill both ways in the snow, yes.) I prefer fights to be challenging and require thought. Here’s hoping that it doesn’t become trivial again before I get a chance to experience the places.

  14. TreeGirl
    Posted December 13, 2010 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

    I have to say, I’m very discouraged right now. I knew things were going to be a lot harder and that I would have to change the way I healed. I was actually looking forward to a return to cc, etc. I’ve already implemented many of the suggestions in this article and will try to use some of the other good suggestions.

    However, what is bothering me the most right now is how I no longer feel much like a druid. My HoTs and instant casts feel too expensive to use, so I’m casting mostly direct heals. The efficient spells barely seem to touch the health pools – Nourish seems like such a small heal when I cast it now, and even Swiftmend doesn’t seem to do much. Mastery feels mostly useless since it will only really be affecting the tank. It feels like now I’m just like every other healing class and there’s nothing different about our playstyle. And worst of all, I’m not having fun. I hope once I get the hang of it and get better gear the fun will come back…

    • Lissanna
      Posted December 13, 2010 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

      You can still use HOTs. I still have half the healing I’m doing coming from HOTs. The new druid style is all about how you mix HOTs & direct heals together (which is what makes the mastery useful).

      The best advice I can give is to not get discouraged. Just keep in mind that things will get better over time.

  15. Posted December 14, 2010 at 6:33 am | Permalink

    OMG, this post couldn’t have come at a better time, Liss. I was really starting to rethink my life.

    LOL. Not really.

    So yeah, I’ve finished my first heroic this week, ToT, and let’s just say, I learned a thing a two. Dungeons on normal alone were a slight challenge, but only because of gearage.

    Once we chain-ran regulars, earned rep to get decent faction-related gear, and got some boss kills that dropped some decent gear…we tried out heroics. Throne of Tides seemed simple enough, and it was for the most part. But I noticed a LOT of things…

    Even with my decent, at best, gear…mana just plain sucks. I LONG prepared myself for the changes for which we had been forewarned. After a few wipes on the final boss, I finally had to tell my guildies on vent “look, guys, there is a LOT of avoidable damage. I’m going OOM trying to heal you when you’re standing in stuff that isn’t a bright green circle. And speaking of which…STAND IN THE DAMN BRIGHT GREEN CIRCLE!”

    Today we failed and gave up today’s attempt on Snarlfang in DM (although, that wasn’t a healing issue much as it was a lack of DPS issue).

    My thoughts are this…

    1. Health Pools. Yes, they are indeed bigger, but that doesn’t mean jack. The bosses still hit in proportion to the amount of health that is expected of a tank with a certain gear level. 125K health is about the average I see for decently geared tanks (some have nearer 130K actually) means that he can take the 60K punches, but that just means I have to work that much harder to give him that life back. Which brings me to my next point…

    2. Mana cost vs. healing throughput. They are NOT balanced. I don’t mind them being expensive to get me to apply the right heal to the right type of damage, or even teach me when not to heal, but the throughput has to be equal. Only in the beginning is this a gear issue, but I have found that even through gearing, various talent tree iterations, enchants, food buffs, etc … spells just aren’t healing enough for what they cost, and for the amount they need to heal in regards to the healthpools. Again, they are indeed larger, but that just means my spells have to hit harder. I’m literally watching Rejuv tick for 3-4K with a crit 8-12K. 12k?! The tank just took a 65K cleave! 12K!? For 5K mana cost (from my current pool of 84K), I want those minimal ticks to be 9-12K with a crit in the upper teens! I’m not even talking about keeping healthpools topped off either. I’m struggling with keeping people at the very least, 50%.

    /end rant-slash-qq I’m not all about the QQ, I like to see issues, and then try to solve them, at least for myself…challenging healing strategy, yes.

    My group is managing the CCs and avoidable damage okay, but at some point, it’s still not enough. The tank needs to be brought up, and it costs a lot of mana to do that because the spells just don’t hit hard enough (again, only partially is this a gear issue).

    Here’s the first thing I’m going to test. Haste vs. Crit. I managed to make it to that soft cap that was dicussed earlier without even trying, but that’s because I’ve selected haste-based gear over crit. Spirit-haste gear actually, and oddly enough, seems to be in abundance, as well as spirit-crit gear. I think what I might do, is test out gear that focuses more on crit than with haste to see if crit heals that proc more often will help than lower-faster hitting heals. The only reason why i say this is because I’m thinking that if HT and Nourish are going to be (and I’ve noticed this as well) our go-to heals once the HoTs are up, then more crits on those spells would be needed than an extra rejuv tick that often enough doesn’t heal for what we’ve invested in getting it.

    I know we’ve talked about this before…but I seem to be more comfortable with tank-healing now with my current spell-age than group healing. I know this was an engineered change, to make common group healers friendlier tank healers, and vice versa, but it seems to me that it went a little far in that regard. I might change my mind on this in six months…we’ll see.

    I don’t see any of these current issues being a problem for long, BUT keep in mind that new raids are going to come that will abide by the very strategy that we’re dealing with now. In six months, heroics may still yet be kicking our asses. Some enjoy this challenge…but only some. If anything is to be learned from Wratch (or unlearned, lol), it’s that eventually people will QQ so much and so often that the Blues will revert and about face (a la Heroic Oculus) and lighten up, thus negating the challenges we are faced with solving now.

    I mean, seriously, by the end of Wrath, did anyone even SPEAK to their puggers in randoms? Or even with guildies at that.

    Now…we’re actually having to TALK to each other. That has to be a good thing for a social game, right?

    • Lissanna
      Posted December 14, 2010 at 10:10 am | Permalink

      Organizing? yay!

  16. Posted December 14, 2010 at 7:01 am | Permalink

    OHHHH, And bandages!!!

    LOL.

    “I’ve NEVER trained First Aid.” A guildie said to me.

    I could only be snide with him “well, when I’m OOM because you stood in that black ooze, maybe you’ll rethink that.”

    Because believe it or not…I’ve resorted to using my heavy embercloth bandages in a pinch. 30K is a good amount of health so as long as I don’t get interrupted.

  17. THursdaylast
    Posted December 14, 2010 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    Hey Liss, could you offer any thoughts about the usefulness of maxing out 3/3 Nature’s Bounty?

    • Lissanna
      Posted December 14, 2010 at 10:10 am | Permalink

      The crit rate of regrowth helps compensate for the fact that it’s base amount of healing is lower than other class’ flash heals. So, it’s good when you can get it. I put at least 2 points in it for all the recommended talent builds. I’m having to drop the third point from specs that pick up moonglow (due to not having enough points in resto), but it’s the first point I put in recommended builds that don’t have moonglow.

  18. Treeboi
    Posted December 14, 2010 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    I found the “How to heal heroics” guide on the druid forums to be extremely helpful when it comes to dealing with mana problems.
    http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/1406255074

    The big takeaways I got from the guide were:
    1. Use omen of clarity procs on healing touch.
    2. Malfurion’s gift is a very good talent, as long as you follow point 1.
    3. Everyone can take a beating, which means no need for regrowth unless someone is really low on health (under 15%).

  19. Sionzen
    Posted December 14, 2010 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

    I can’t agree Lissanna that its all about gear/new strategy issues (aka CC). I predicted much of the QQ given the tank changes and that it would take a minimum of 3-6 months of re-learning for pugs to become “fun” and not an exercise in insanity. I’d not read much on beta healing but heard a few rumors of problems. Now I’m just surprised at how foolish blizzard and some people are regarding these changes. After 5+ years of this game, my tolerance for stupidity, difficulty, game created stress is at an all time low for anything other than a raid/heroic raid.

    This isn’t BC/Vanilla design, its just outright mindboggling crazyness. People talk about “LK goggles” but many have far to many rosey views of BC/1.0 healing and CC. I’m all for a challenge and a gear reset plus new fights means relearning, wiping and dps/pug QQ but healing throughput is horrid. They’ve upped the HP levels by 2-3x but still toss out enough aoe damage plus tank damage that healers are going OOM far too often.

    Blizzard would have IMHO been far better served if they created more challenging fight design than tweaking class/role design so much.

    • Lyna
      Posted December 14, 2010 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

      Don’t let dumb DPS soak up your mana. You don’t have to save everyone. Relish your new role as the chooser of the slain.

      Seriously. Some people just aren’t worth healing.

  20. Lyna
    Posted December 14, 2010 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

    Now that I’m actually healing instead of leveling, one change I really hate right now is having to put 31 points into a tree before going into other trees. I think I could trade some things like Tree of Life and Swift Rejuv for another point in Furor or maybe Genesis. ToL is too situational for situations that aren’t really happening right now, and Swift Rejuv is just a horrible talent for a horrible spell. Rejuv seems like it’s only useful to have something for Swiftmend to bounce from, and Regrowth is just a sick, sick, sick joke.

    The fun thing in PuGs right now is just letting bad DPS die. Had a DK DPS that would come out of a trash pull at half health from standing in things he ought not be standing in, and then not bandage, eat, or do anything while I was drinking and the tank was setting up the next pull. I didn’t heal him, he died on every boss fight and 3-4 trash pulls. I gleefully imagine his repair bill. I told him to eat or bandage or do something. At least look like he’s trying, and he ignored me. I can fix ignorance, but there’s no cure for stupid.

    The DPS all expects healers to come prepared with stacks of water if there’s no mage, but they don’t have to bring food? Really?

    The really bad thing, and I haven’t even tried this yet, is what’s PvP healing like? Regen was always…compromised…on PvP gear. One of my favorite things to do as a druid was fulfill the combat medic role in Wintergrasp, and that just doesn’t seem as much fun without the CC immunity from full-time tree form and a decent mana pool and regen. I think that’ll be a lot less fun. I’d like to try Tol Barad, but since we have a huge imbalance horde/alliance, we only get like 5 people in there every time it comes up. Seriously. 2 horde, 5 alliance in the entire zone. I think we only have like 3 horde characters and only 2 that PvP.

    Otherwise, yeah, did what our gracious and smart hostess said, lifebloom, nourish spam, HT when the tank gets low, swiftmend when I can, and life got much better. Thanks for the post.

    • Posted December 15, 2010 at 7:23 am | Permalink

      Lyna – Yeap…I HATE that 31-point mando system. For the very fact that I HATE swift rejuv, but really have nowhere else to put that point where it would be useful. One more point in furor, would be nice to max it out. But hey 10% more mana still isn’t a bad deal.

    • thehampster
      Posted December 16, 2010 at 10:19 am | Permalink

      Our resto tree is definitely bloated. If we did not need 31 points, i’d probably dump all of efflo and living seed, to put more points into balance talents (it’s painful to pass over genesis!) and furor.

      That said, you’re healing wrong if you’re not using ToL. You need to be using ToL b/c it conserves mana during phases w/ high raid damage. The trick to not going OOM in heroics is knowing how to deal with raid damage in a mana friendly way.

      So, you use ToL during the first time you need heavy raid heals, then tranquility on the 2nd. If a third episode occurs, you should have enough mana left to cast several rejuv’s which are powerful when stacked w/ WG (but you cannot do that more a handful of times). Obviously you’re also using WG the whole time.

      Don’t waste clearcasting proc’s on tank if he doesn’t need them. Try and save clearcasting proc’s for casting RG on the dps when necessary. If they dont’ need it, wait till it’s about to expire before casting RG on tank. Obviously if the tank’s health is low, you should use your clearcasting proc to HT/RG the tank. But you shouldn’t have to use many clearcasting proc’s on tank since the full hots and nourish are often adequate for many phases of boss fights.

      Nourish can also be used to top off dps if they have WG on them. Nourish isn’t bad if you’ve proc’d nature’s grace from a RG. So you can use RG after a clearcasting proc, which in turn proc’s NG. Then cast WG, and then nourish to top someone off in a mana efficient way.

      • Posted December 16, 2010 at 10:57 am | Permalink

        And how’s that working out for you in Heroic ToT on Neptulon P3?

        I’m just curious because I’m really struggling with that phase of that fight. Even after a mana-refill courtesy of the sea god himself, and some alleged “empowerment” that doesn’t empower a healer’s turd let alone a heal to keep people alive in that massive AOE damage, I pop all cooldowns, treeform, tranquility, LB as many targets as I can, WG…and then HT the ish out of my mana with Rj+SM on the side.

        I’m still wiping the group from lack of healage. And then I bow out, and our pally healer steps in, and even post-nerf, are they able to not only keep people alive during Phase 3, but still have a decent amount of mana at the end.

        Something’s fishy…and it ain’t Neptulon’s underpanties.

        • thehampster
          Posted December 23, 2010 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

          That last phase of that fight is actually cake for a resto druid, you just have to be ready for it and act quickly.

          The trick is get 3 stacks of LB on each member of your party. That coupled with WG will allow them to last for quite awhile. Last time I downed ozmat, the dps were still all at 75% of their health. If 3 stacks of LB plus WG is not enough to keep your party up long enough, then your party’s dps need to step it up.

  21. Posted December 17, 2010 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    I have been playing since BC and it is apparent to me that our healing issues are just another attempt at population/ class control! I think it is silly to assume that blizzard does anything by mistake! Instead of everyone crying about how more complicated our rotations have become we should just be grateful for blogs like this that keep hope alive! And for those that can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel please /reroll

  22. Lyna
    Posted December 17, 2010 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    It really pains me to write this.

    So now I’ve done more 5 mans and a few heroics and….

    I really don’t like healing now.

    I’ve got a pretty decent resume as a healer. Server first Lich King kill. Ulduar and LK drakes, 0-keeper Yogg, 0 wipe ToC heroic. Undying. Every major box checked. I like to think I’ve got a fairly decent healing resume and a good amount of experience.

    When I progress, I like to feel more powerful. Tanks got great new abilities from 80 to 85, acquired deep health pools, and are doing incredible threat. DPS got really cool looking new abilities, and they’re doing way more damage than ever before. Measurable, quantifiable improvement.

    What did healers get? We lost heal throughput, between 60 and 80% depending on situation just looking at raw numbers. If you look at heals as a percentage of the health pools we’re healing, we probably lost about 80% of our ability to heal. We lost mana regen. While the raw numbers may be bigger, our efficiency is so much lower that our heals from our MP5 are pitiful. So if we don’t cast from a very very very limited selection of all of our spells we end up unable to cast the last half of the fight because we’re out of mana. Our spells cost more mana and don’t heal nearly as well. Any druid that has more than, oh, probably 2-3% of healing from regrowth is failing. That’s obvious, but what’s weird about that is that we’ve basically been reduced to a 2- or 3- spell rotation. Lifebloom. Nourish. Healing touch if the tank’s under 30k. Don’t heal DPS unless you’re above 50% mana and wild growth is off cooldown.

    I have done all the 5-man normals, and a few heroics. My tank and DPS come out of the heroics going “nice job” and patting each other on the back. I’m just simply relieved that it’s over. I don’t feel epic, I don’t feel heroic, I just feel worn out. And not the good worn out I get after a 100 mile bike ride. More like the bad worn out after a horrible day at work. I don’t play this game to add to my stress level. I play it to feel heroic, because I can look at my accomplishments at the end of the day and say “Wow, that’s really cool, look what I did”. Right now I look back at the end of a heroic run and think “OK,well, I managed to limit utter failures enough that the group was able to succeed.”

    I don’t feel powerful. I don’t feel heroic. I feel drained.

    Mana management needs to be a *consideration* for class design. Right now it looks like it’s the only consideration for class design. The other things to consider is “are the classes fun to play” and “are we making a role that was fun-stressful into a nightmare stressbomb”. Right now, to me healing is not fun, and it is a nightmare stressbomb.

    Yeah, it’ll get better in later tiers. But there are ways it could have not sucked out of the gate. Just off the top of my head, put in a spec-level ability that added spellpower based on spirit, but have it curve off when you hit the amount of spirit on heal gear at the second tier so it’s not adding much. So at 1500 spirit you get an extra 1500 spell power, but at 2000 spirit you get 1750 spell power, and at 3k spirit you get maybe 1800 spellpower and so on. That way it’ll cover up the problem at the low end without unbalancing the high end at the cost of slower incremental improvement between tiers. That addresses the overpowered at top end problem and the stressfully underpowered at low end problem. It also adds the “big numbers mean I’m more powerful” effect so I don’t feel quite so horrible about losing all my regen.

    Anyway, yeah. Gonna go sort my gear for a bit and see how feral looks. My tank’s been wanting to DPS anyway, maybe I can go bear for a while. They at least got a new trainable ability while leveling.

    • Lissanna
      Posted December 17, 2010 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

      They actually reduced our power level on purpose. Leveling up to 85 was a reset to make everyone noobs again so that we’d have somewhere to go back up as we got more gear.

      • Lyna
        Posted December 17, 2010 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

        I understand that.

        I just think that they overdid it because they were worried about gear score inflation, and that they did it in a way that really makes the game less fun. I don’t mind challenge. I’ve got the achievements to show that I can embrace challenge and overcome it. The problem I’m having is that the margin for error is so tight right now for healers that the stress level is in a place that’s not fun for me.

        If the DPS jack part of their rotation, they pick it next go-round and the fight’s just 5 seconds longer. If a tank messes up their astronomically high threat becomes only extra-atmospheric.

        If I mess up my rotation, I either OOM and we wipe or the tank dies. A penalty I would accept in a 10 man heroic hard mode, but one that I just really don’t think is appropriate for the level of content we’re in.

        Gear for DPS gets them more DPS. Gear for tanks gets them more dps and more suvivability. Gear for healers buys margin for error. And we just don’t have that margin right now. Heal classes all changed in huge ways, and the learning curve is a brick wall and the top of it isn’t really even in sight. While that margin needed to be tightened up, I think that it’s currently too tight and it’s just not fun.

        And I’m pretty sure based on my heal throughput and the dps output from other classes that trying to play battlefield medic in PvP is a losing proposition, which is very sad because I really enjoyed that part of the game too. When I’m dropping 4k/sec of heals and any random dps can drop 8k-10k/sec of dps, there’s just not much room for heals. I haven’t tried any open PvP yet, mostly because Tol Barad on our server is limited to a 5v5 match most of the time.

        • Lissanna
          Posted December 17, 2010 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

          I do understand some of the frustration. I really didn’t like druids’ healing style for raiding in Burning Crusade, which is how I ended up taking a vacation to shaman-land for a good chunk of that expansion.

  23. Leafkin
    Posted December 17, 2010 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

    When my guild first started doing heroics we was a touch undergeared but stuck with it. And honestly gear is so much more important than people realise. 15int makes a difference, 20 spirit is awesome. I have gear that is almost all 346 or higher and just by healing smart and abusing nourish(oh how i love thee) I can run through most randoms without deaths and few drinks besides the times DPS does something stupid.

    I think Lissanna said it best when she said Nourish is your auto-attack. If the tank is not taking much dmg then use a nourish on dps. It make not move the health bar much now but its less you have to heal them later if they do take more dmg.

    The best quote i have heard sofar is that the healers mana is for tanks and tanks alone. If you are dps and want to get healed better pray for a room wide AoE or level first aid.

  24. Boinks
    Posted December 19, 2010 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

    I love this post. It’s pretty much what I’ve had to explain to every fail druid I’ve encountered who bitches about healing. This game is a tactics game in essence. I have healed every boss in every dungeon on normal and full cleared 6 heroics and at least half cleared the other 3. My biggest mana saver is using these larger health pools to my advantage. I treat healing in cata dungeons like I treated it during A’nub in TOGC keep all dps around 50% and just focus on the tank. When a dps steps in “bad stuff” (as my guild calls it, this being fire, aoe, icky stuff on the ground,etc) I throw the dps a hot and tell em to keep a lookout for efflorescence that’s it. I am not going to let the tank die because a dps isn’t smart enough to have raid awareness. At times I just let the baddies die enough they rage quit the pug in hopes a better dps comes along and usually it works. Remember we are the healers and as much as the tank thinks they’re in charge it is us alone who hold the squads together. They can either work with me when I direct and lead or they can gtfo. As far as mana is concerned I’ve found there is usually just one boss in every heroic that is truely hard the rest I can heal through and have 20k mana left easily. for those of you seeking mana in another form besides innervate get and

  25. Sharron Clemons
    Posted December 21, 2010 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    I have been playing since BC and it is apparent to me that our healing issues are just another attempt at population/ class control! I think it is silly to assume that blizzard does anything by mistake! Instead of everyone crying about how more complicated our rotations have become we should just be grateful for blogs like this that keep hope alive! And for those that can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel please /reroll