I (Shakk) have been doing a lot of studying of logs, analyzing data, compiling fight specific information, and testing in-game, what 4.3 means to resto druids. My conclusion, we are in a very good place in both 10 and 25 man raids for healing output. Some folks would question my logic on this, some folks would follow me into a black hole blindly, and some folks will test the numbers for themselves. However, no matter if you fit into one of those categories, or you’re simply looking for information on our changes, I encourage you to read through my information, and tips before you make a final decision on the state of resto druids.
4.2 Wild Growth vs 4.3 Wild Growth
Like myself, when most people heard about the 20% reduction to WG, they were completely blindsided. I actively started crunching numbers, and throwing out what if type statements, and even considered brushing off the dust on the old paladin and gearing him up to play in Dragon Soul. However, I’m still actively raiding on my resto druid. At first glance the hit to our WG looks like a kidney shot, shadow dance, and ambush to our healing numbers. (I’ve had my rogue on my mind all day, love my fear and vengeance) But, after entering into heroics this weeks, I think most of the community way overlooked the positive side of these changes.
Lets take for example in 4.2, the power of WG vs Rejuv. Rejuv, is hands down our best heal. It is efficient, it does a small direct heal, and we can swiftmend off of it for a super efficient direct heal, with an added AoE effect. On average, I found that a fight that utilizes both stacking and movement phases (much like the bosses in Dragon Soul) our WG healed for 31% of our effective healing, assuming 100% up time. Thus it allowed for an average of 16% effective healing from rejuv. Which, was fine if you are into a basically fixed rate of healing between your GCDs and the next WG you have to cast.
Now, 4.3 drops you have WG glyphed (which I highly recommend doing), and you heal a fight. You pull up that good old recount to see how much you crushed the other healers by, and notice that on average your WG is only doing 22% of your effective healing. You scratch you head for a second, but overlook an important part of your effective healing. Rejuv is now sitting at a 25% effective healing, you cheer to yourself for a second, and then fear strikes you for the sake of your mana. (Editor’s Note: Lissanna would like to note that the benefit/cost of the WG glyph changes somewhat depending on whether you are raiding 10-man or 25-man. You should try raiding with & without the WG glyph and choose what works the best for you and your raiding situation.).
Hi, I’m Your Mana, Please Manage Me
I think part of the change came, when blizzard realized that we could drop our spirit to super low levels and boost our throughput significantly. It felt like a wrath style of healing, and I for one did not like the direction this model was taking us. So by helping us choose to use rejuv more, we now have a new problem. Our mana isn’t endless anymore. Have no fear though, you still have that little button on your bar called innervate, and it still works.
If innervating yourself, using a potion, and utilizing other raid members mana cool downs isn’t enough anymore, try looking at other areas that you can change to fix your healing issues. Consider swapping out a throughput trinket for a regen trinket, altering your spec for less throughput and more conservation, or reforging off some of that 22 mastery you have for a little bit more spirit. If that still doesn’t correct the problem of you going oom 3 minutes into the fight, consider adjusting your healing style, to conserve your mana.
Compensating Without Running Oom
So you just jumped into Dragon Soul after reading the first section of this guide, you got some more spirit, adjusted your spec, and dusted off innervate and bound it your action bar just like I said. You pulled Yor’sahj the Unsleeping, slapped a rejuv on each person taking damage, swiftmended on cool down, and even spammed Healing Touch on the tank when he took high amounts of damage, but during the second round of adds you had 3.2k mana left, and were fresh out of cooldowns.
In all seriousness, a lot of druids will run out towards the end of the fight if they aren’t careful. Let your heals run the full course, don’t overlap and stomp on them. If there is a period of high raid damage cast WG and then start your rejuv and mastery cycle. You want to start with the players that weren’t hit by the initial WG, but only to a point where you feel you can recover and regen more before the next big burst. Utilize Efflorescence on clumped up players, and don’t take nourish for granted. If you can’t use rejuv anymore, because your mana is pretty tight, toss out nourish. The other healers in your group will appreciate the small heal, more than you standing there looking pretty.
If there are multiple phases of high AoE damage, plan them out accordingly in your head, while you are learning the boss. If I spam rejuv during one of the phases, typically I will enter into a regen phase during the next one with ToL and rolling LB out to raid members taking damage, then for the next one I might tranq if the damage is high enough.
Part of compensating is also managing mastery. I can’t stress this enough to players that ask me for advice on boosting their output. Especially now that WG had its healing reduced, you need to keep harmony up. It can and will save your mana. One heal, is always going to be cheaper than two, when you are topping someone off. Its free additional healing, utilize it.
As with any change to a class, it brings in new ways of doing things. The nerf to WG, is not by any means a game changer for us. We simply must learn how to compensate without over compensating, and manage our mana like the rest of the healers. One can not simply look at how another class is performing, and rate their class based on it. Druids are still the best mobile AoE healers, we still bring a strong throughput cool down with us, and we are still a very competitive class, that I don’t see being tossed aside. Learning how to appropriately balance spell usage is part of being a good healer and is not restrictive to one class. Having a properly set-up druid, and using our entire toolkit, go a long way.
Source: World of Logs
*In an effort to protect the information I gathered from particular fights, and players I will not be disclosing which guilds/players I selected for the data*