Druid Healing Talents in Mists of Pandaria (Updated 9/8/2013 for patch 5.4):
In the current talent system, a set of talents is shared across all four druid specializations. Choosing your specialization now gives you a bunch of abilities as you level up. Then, you get to choose 6 additional abilities from the talent set. The purpose of these talents is to allow for choice, so I will spend more time explaining what they do than telling you which one to choose.
With the 5.4 patch, the druid has undergone a lot of changes to the healing style. Thus, the following section is still preliminary, pending results of how druid healing evolves on the live server. In general, it is recommended that you choose whatever talents best help you do your job (so, an optimal talent in one situation may be less optimal for another). There is still not a consensus in favor of one cookie-cutter talent build, which was Blizzard’s point in changing all the talents and making them better balanced.
Level 15: Take Feline swiftness.
- Feline Swiftness: Increases your movement speed by 15% at all times. This is the best talent for resto PvE.
- Displacer beast: Makes you jump 20 yards forward. This has some situational uses.
- Wild charge: Gives you a different movement teleport effect depending on your specialization. Most importantly, in caster form, you teleport to the location of your targeted ally. In addition, travel form leaps forward 20 yards (helpful when outside). Other forms have additional movement bonuses. This has situational uses, so this could be a viable option.
Level 30: Choose Ysera’s Gift or Cenarion Ward. I prefer Ysera’s Gift for reducing button bloat.
- Ysera’s Gift – NEW: Every 5 seconds, this will either heal you for 5% of your health, or heal another nearby raid member instead (if your health is full). This is a great talent since it is passive, and healers often forget to keep themselves topped off under times of high pressure.
- Renewal: Instant cast that heals yourself for 30% of your health. Not recommended for Resto since you can’t cast it on other people.
- Cenarion Ward: A buff you put on your target that will apply a HOT to tick down after they get hit. With Nature’s swiftness removed, this talent becomes a lot more viable of an option. However, if you find that you don’t use this consistently, then Ysera’s Gift is a much better choice. We have enough HOTs that this may end up being redundant in most situations, and may contribute to button-bloat.
Level 45: Overall, I prefer typhoon for general purpose uses. However, this is really situational depending on encounters.
- Faerie Swarm: Your faerie fire spell slows your target’s movement speed. Situationally useful.
- Mass Entanglement: Will root multiple targets in place for a short time. Situationally useful.
- Typhoon: Knocks back your target and dazes (slows) them for a short period of time. Situationally useful.
Level 60: Incarnation is the best choice with your Tier 16 4-piece tier bonus, and best for general purpose usage. Force of Nature is good for giving you mana-free healing under times of pressure, so it is pretty good for beginner healers. Soul of the Forest requires lining up your spells together. You may need to work out for yourself which choice is best for your raid.
- Soul of the forest: For resto, using swiftmend gives you a 100% haste bonus to your next cast. Any of your HOTs will tick faster with this (rejuv, wild growth, tranquilty’s HOT, lifebloom). Your AOE HOTs will benefit the most (wild growth and tranquility). For single-target tank healing, pairing this with a rejuv can be situationally useful. The efflorescence glyph de-emphasizes the importance of Swiftmend, though SOTF may have situational uses now that you can easily delay swiftmend casts to line up with the wild growth cooldown (or you can squeeze in a swiftmend/rejuv pair). Don’t delay wild growth casts, however – use wild growth on cooldown during heavy AOE healing periods (especially with Tier 16 bonus).
- Incarnation (instant) is the old tree form cooldown talent that shifts you into the large tree and augments your spells: Lifebloom can be put on more than one target which allows you to briefly use it to stack with other HOTs on raid members for increased healing output. Regrowth becomes instant cast so you can use this when OOC procs to conserve mana. Wild Growth will hit up to 2 more targets (most useful in a 25-man setting).
- Force of Nature: 20 second cooldown (up to 3 charges). Summons treants to fight for you. Resto treants cast Healing Touch and swiftmend. This talent doesn’t cost any mana, and is pretty easy to “set and forget”, so this can be really helpful for new resto druids or people who first hit level 90. Not recommended for high-end raiding where Incarnation or SOTF would give you better control and output.
Level 75: I recommend Ursol’s Vortex since it doesn’t require you to be close to the target.
- Disorienting roar: Disorients all enemies within 10 yards (your targets won’t attack for the duration of the effect, but any damage you do will break the disorient).
- Ursol’s Vortex: Will slow the movement speed of enemies in the vortex.
- Mighty bash: A 5 second stun that requires being in melee range.
Level 90: The changes to all three talents make this decision a lot more difficult. Either Heart of the Wild or Nature’s Vigil will likely be the most generally useful. Nature’s Vigil will likely beat Heart of the Wild if you remember to use it on cooldown. Dream of Cenarius is much more situational. The best talent may be much more personal, so put some effort into testing what works best for you.
- Heart of the wild: increases your Int by 6%. When you activate the 6 minute cooldown, it increases your healing done by 25% for 45 seconds. When you are soloing or get bored, you also get a temporary boost to your off-specs (so, you can cast balance spells, mangle things in cat form, or pretend to tank in bear form for a few seconds before meeting an untimely death).
- Dream of Cenarius: Your wrath damage is increased by 20%, and allows “atonement” style healing from casting wrath. Your wrath spell will heal another raid member for 100% of the damage done. Wrath costs 5,280 mana (whereas a rejuv costs 8,700 mana). So, this healing won’t really be all that mana-efficient. Thus, this situational talent is best when the fight doesn’t require a lot of healing and has steep DPS requirements (a priest with atonement can do this better anyway).
- Nature’s Vigil: Cooldown that increases your healing done by 12% for 30 seconds and your single-target healing does damage and healing for 25% of the heal to nearby targets (on a 1.5 min cooldown). The extra healing and damage also applies to rejuvenation and lifebloom. This talent is good if you are using a rejuv-heavy healing style, or are doing lots of tank healing in an encounter. However, you have to remember to cast this fairly frequently, while Heart of the Wild you only have to cast once or twice an encounter total.
While there is no true “cookie cutter” build, here’s a potential beginner talent build that you can go with while you play around with talents and see what works for you. With incarnation on a 3 minute cooldown and Nature’s Vigil on a 1.5 minute cooldown, this talent pairing plays well together.