In my last post, I posed a question about which log was from ICC and which was from my Cataclysm raiding. The correct answer is that the first log (with actually a little less spell selection variety) was my Cataclysm healing done in my first 25-man. The point I was trying to make is that rejuv/WG spam is really the primary AOE healing strategy for druids in Cataclysm, even though Blizzard seemingly made all these changes to reduce our reliance on Rejuv/WG spam.
For the 4.0.6 patch, Blizzard seems to be throwing in the towel with their design for Cataclysm by reducing the mana cost of rejuv (making it easier to spam) and reducing the cooldown on wild growth (along with buffing the healing it does). They seem to have backed themselves into a corner, where the only “fix” for keeping resto druids viable right now is to buff rejuv/WG spam, since they never provided an alternative healing strategy (despite my cries for a new AOE healing spell such as a Healing Shroom ability to supplement Rejuv & WG for AOE healing). I think that they really should have buffed Living Seed and/or Efflorescence to make that talent selection more worthwhile for AOE/Raid healing, with Efflorescence just not holding up in terms of the amount of healing it does. Maybe they should move efflorescence to the newly redesigned Wild Mushrooms (and then put in a Prime glyph to drop 3 shrooms at once), so that we can leave Swiftmend as the emergency tank heal cooldown, and have the ability to mix up our 25-man healing rotation into something that requires a little more skill to do well.
Now, my spell variety in 5-mans and 10-mans is much higher, where most things don’t account for more than 30% of my overall healing done. However, one of the reasons why my spell selection is better is because I end up spending a lot of time tank healing in 5’s and 10’s (which is actually something I enjoy doing, because I feel like I’m using my brain). A really fun healing style is blending tank & raid healing, to be able to make real judgments about spell selection and triage.
After 4.0.6, I think that a more dynamic healing style for 25-mans would be to put up rejuvs on 3 people (to get hasted Nourishes), and then otherwise focus on tank healing (with occasional WG’s on the raid to help out). That’s probably the best alternative for resto druids who are sick of being rejuv-bots on 25-man raids (so, let your druids tank heal if they don’t like the rejuv-spam AOE healing style). The 4.0.6 changes have the possibility of making resto druid healing more fun/dynamic. However, unless we’re primarily tank healing, I’m not sure the AOE/raid healing strategies will be much more fun than what we were doing all of WotLK. The good news is that if you enjoy rejuv/WG raid healing spam, you should keep having fun in Cata as a 25-man healer.
Nerfing rejuv & WG spam before Cata went live just had the consequence of making us not very viable for healing at the higher-end of raiding content. So, to keep us viable, the 4.0.6 patch is basically putting us back to where we started in WotLK (before 4.0 even hit), where we either have to rejuv/WG-spam our way to victory, or just not be assigned to raid healing. I suppose that being deemed as viable should make us happy, and mostly this post is just nit-picking.
In the end, it’s going to be a constant battle of buffs and nerfs to rejuv & WG every patch between now and when they give us another AOE healing spell (even if that isn’t until 5.0). At least in 4.0.6, we’re on the up-swing of having viable raid heals with the number of buffs we’re getting, so we should be viable for either tank or raid healing at any level of content in 4.0.6. My recommendation at this point would be to buckle-up and enjoy the roller-coaster, since Cataclysm is going to feel like history repeating.