Resto druid survival guide for level 100 Legion 7.0 pre-patch! NOTE: This is currently a preview subject to change! With the pre-patch hitting July 19th, here is a short guide covering the major changes you will have to adjust to at level 100. The full guide will be updated some time in the next few weeks for level 110 end-game. Restoration druids are largely similar in toolset & playstyle in Legion compared to Draenor. Thus, you should mostly be able to keep playing the way you are used to for the next month in Draenor content. The goal is still to use mostly HOTs around the raid as your primary healing strategy.
This survival guide covers the following topics:
- New Mastery
- Spell & ability changes
New Mastery: Harmony
- The Draenor mastery ability was removed & replaced with a new mastery for Legion.
- This new mastery instead increases your healing done by ALL spells for each HOT on your target (e.g., rejuv, lifebloom, wild growth, regrowth’s HOT portion). So, having 2 HOTs on the target will heal more than 1 HOT on the target. Then, 3 HOTs heal for more than 2 HOTs, and so forth.
- Additional HOTs from talents can also increase this mastery healing (e.g., cultivation, spring blossoms, germination). Note that effects like living seed, efflorescence, and tranquility don’t count towards the mastery, as they are not considered HOT effects. Cenarion ward only counts as a HOT after the person takes damage (e.g., the ward is consumed) and the HOT portion is ticking down for 8 seconds.
- How much does this impact your healing?
- Druids are balanced around ~1 to 2 HOTs on a target for the purpose of raid healing. So, in most cases, the main goal will be to avoid casting Healing Touch or Swiftmend on people who don’t have HOTs on them.
- While the old mastery buffed you (the healer), the new mastery is based on number of HOTs on each individual target (e.g., if you have 3 HOTs on your tank and 1 HOT on a mage, then the mastery bonus is higher on your tank than the mage).
- All HOTs benefit from the mastery (e.g., if you cast Rejuv on someone who has no other HOTs, Rejuv still gets a mastery bonus value of 1 HOT).
- The mastery buffs both your direct heals and HOTs, and the bonus increases for each HOT you have on a target. For example, at 8% mastery on my undergeared level 100 resto on the PTR, my rejuv ticks for: 4479 with 1 HOT (rejuv buffing itself), 4803 (2 HOTs), 5129 (3 HOTs), 5453 (4HOTs), 5778 (5 HOTS).
- In general, your goal should be keeping multiple HOTs on the tank and not worrying too much about the mastery for raid healing (as shown above, the increase in rejuv ticks at 100 don’t make a second HOT necessary for rejuv to be beneficial for your raid). Try not to spam yourself OOM by blanketing people needlessly just because you think you have to HOT stack.
- Note that HOTs dynamically update every time they tick. It doesn’t matter what order you cast your HOT spells in when stacking multiple HOTs on a target. Your mastery will check number of HOTs on a target every time it ticks.
Spell and Ability Changes
- Nature’s Swiftness, mark of the wild, soothe, and genesis are gone.
- Dramatically reduced access to baseline off-role damage/utility abilities (NOTE: see the section on level 45 affinity talents for how you can get access to damage abilities for soloing via talents!).
- Cyclone: Now only available as a PVP talent at 110.
- Most “major” glyphs have been removed (instead, these effects have been baked into abilities, changed into talents, or removed).
- Innervate has returned. Now allows all spells cast for 10 seconds to be mana-free (usable on yourself or others).
- Revitalize: This is now a mass resurrection spell available to healers. Returns all raid or party members out of combat (revive is 1 person out of combat, rebirth is 1 person in combat). This basically replaces Mass Res, which was taken away from non-healers.
- Swiftmend: longer cooldown & larger effect. Swiftmend also no longer requires a HOT for you to be able to cast the spell (though due to interactions with the new mastery, HOTs on the target will make it heal for more).
- Teleport Moonglade: Will eventually be replaced with Dreamwalking as you level in Legion (gives you access to a larger set of portals to various places).
- Efflorescence: Wild Mushroom has been renamed Efflorescence – place a mushroom on the ground to heal targets standing nearby.
- Note that minor glyphs (largely impacting cosmetic appearances) are still available as either glyphs or tomes. You apply minor glyphs to the spells themselves, or learn shapeshift forms such as tree form, rather than using the old glyph system.
Overview. In general, it doesn’t much matter what your gear is like is for the month before legion comes out. There are two general strategies for stats (large group vs small group) since the value of mastery goes down as the number of people in your party goes up. Spirit and multistrike have been removed from all of your gear. For the pre-patch month, just wear whatever is highest ilevel, since you’ll replace everything soon anyway, but here’s a quick set of potential priority lists. Higher ilevel things with more intellect, of course, will always help your healing the most.
- Stats for large raids: Haste = crit > versatility = mastery. Mastery doesn’t work very well with large numbers of targets to heal (e.g., groups of 15+ such as LFR or Mythic raids). So, haste & crit seems to come out higher.
- Stats for 5-mans & small group content: Mastery > haste = crit > versatility. For smaller groups, mastery clearly comes out ahead of all other stats, due to the ability to stack HOTs on multiple people (regardless of which talent build you take).
Potential Talent Builds
In general, for the Legion pre-patch month, the talent choices don’t matter a whole lot. Below are two potential strategies. The first is the highest output healing build for Legion end-game raiding, focused on maximizing Wild Growth use (turning swiftmend into a spell that primes Wild Growth to heal more). The second is more of a fun 5-man alternative build for beginners that frees up Swiftmend to be used as an emergency tank heal it was meant to be. I’ll do a full set of talent explanations in the full end-game guide I’ll post in the upcoming weeks.
Talent build for large group content such as Heroic/Mythic raids: Prosperity/Soul of the Forrest/Spring Blossoms/Flourish (choose whatever you want for remaining talents at level 30, 45, & 60 – but note the affinity discussion at the end of the post).
- Maximizing Wild Growth for large group content: Soul of the Forest (SOTF) is a very strong talent. However, you always time it so you can follow Swiftmend with Wild Growth (thus, Swiftmend now gets used every time it comes off cooldown to buff Wild Growth. Pair SOTF with Prosperity to allow for more Swiftmend casts. Flourish extends the duration of your HOTs (use it after Wild Growth casts once per minute). These three together make your Wild Growth healing incredibly potent for raiding.
- Level 90 talent discussion: Spring Blossoms is the most obvious choice for level 90 talents since it allows you to get a HOT component on Efflorescence and is essentially passive bonuses that interact with your mastery. In fights where a 2 minute tranquility works well with encounter design, Inner Peace can be very potent. Germination won’t work as well in raids, due to eating too many GCDs (you’ll get more mastery bonus from Spring Blossoms).
- This SOTF build works great for some raid encounters but falls short of a Culvination build in others. So, you may find yourself wanting to change talent builds around in raids depending on the encounter, particularly for more advanced mythic raids.
- This healing strategy works by: Casting swiftmend ALWAYS followed by wild growth. Extend the HOT from Wild Growth when flourish if off cooldown (1 x per minute). Keep rejuv/LB on tank(s). Keep Efflorescence under the melee group. Be careful managing your mana between Wild Growth Casts, so you can cast Wild Growth as often as possible. Tranquility on cooldown.
Alternative talents for 5-mans or some raid encounters: Abundance (or Cenarion Ward), cultivation, germination, stonebark (or flourish). Note that you can choose whatever level 30, 45, or 60 talent you want (but see discussion on Affinity level 45 talents at the end of this post).
- This focuses on maximizing your rejuv use (with bonus rejuv stacking from Germination & Cultivation) and maximizing your mastery bonuses. Given that tank healing matters more for 5-mans, abundance (with a ton of rejuvs spread around) will make your direct heals super fast. Healing Touch can actually drop below 1 second cast times.
- For the level 15 talents, some people prefer Cenarion Ward over Abundance, since the speedy direct heals from Abundance are causing people to run out of mana too quickly. The HOT from Cenarion Ward (after the person takes damage) also counts towards the mastery bonus.
- Stonebark is useful for tank healing in 5-mans, particularly for people who may be struggling to keep the tank alive (this talent increases the healing done to the person you cast ironbark on, so cast ironbark frequently on a tank). However, flourish is a good alternative to boost overall party healing (but only if make sure you use Flourish after you cast wild growth).
- Note that some people will likely still take SOTF over Cultivation, depending on the encounter. For beginners in particular, the more passive healing will be really helpful in cases where you fall behind and people drop low. I also think keeping Swiftmend freed up for emergency tank healing is preferable for small group content over using it to buff WG.
- The rejuv-focused strategy works by: Keep HOTs on tank & Stonebark (plus Cenarion Ward if you have it) as often as possible. Keep casting rejuvs on any party member taking damage in that fight (you can stack 2 rejuvs per person). Keep Efflorescence under as many people as possible (probably the tank/melee area). Save tranquility for when you can stand still and everyone is taking heavy damage. Use your Healing Touches and regrowths for direct healing when needed (HT is speedy when you have abundance). Use Swiftmend as an emergency burst direct healing cooldown to save a tank or other party member from death.
Affinity Level 45 talents: Druids have always been known as the “jack of all trades, master of none” spec. So, resto used to have a smattering of damage & tanking abilities that almost never got used. So, they stripped out all these off-role buttons from your baseline spec (except for enough spells that you could kill something if you got stuck). Your affinity talent lets you choose an off-role spec where you pick up more abilities that make you pretty decent at one off-role thing at a time, rather than crappy at all off-role things all the time.
- If you choose balance affinity, all your spells (including healing spells) get an added 5 yard range. You get moonkin form. This increases your damage in form & allows you to cast several additonal balance spells when you shift into moonkin. The extra range is pretty nice for times when people are super spread out.
- If you choose feral affinity, you get a 15% movement speed buff. In addition, you get feral abilities that allow you to have relatively mana-free damage while in cat form.
- While guardian affinity gives you 10% reduced damage taken, a raid that is asking their resto druid to off-tank something in the middle of the fight has probably already all died. So, you get little to no good utility from a resto/guardian build – you need the damage from balance or feral way more than the guardian passive.
There is also a full restoration guide up on Wowhead that is complete with Legion-relevant information. I’ll be working on my full resto guide for 110 expecting to launch in a few weeks.
Let me know if there are any other pressing questions or suggestions!