Working With The 4.3 Resto Tool Kit   20 comments

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Last week I talked about my post 4.3 frustrations while healing. I spent the majority of that week feeling like I was championing a “this is why we are frustrated” cause to everyone who isn’t a druid (and feeling like I was talking to a brick wall 9 out of 10 times), while being a beacon for other frustrated druids who thought that perhaps they were alone in their frustrations and that they must be doing something wrong (and found out that they weren’t). I’m tired of trying to explain the frustrations of our class to people who don’t regularly raid as a druid, subsequently think “druids are fine, I don’t see what you are so frustrated about”, and have spent the past eight months living with what I’ve termed “tranq envy” (thanks for that, by the way, Blizzard).

Since I’m fairly weary (and emotionally worn out) from these conversations (and dealing with the frustrations), I thought perhaps today I’d flip that and write something a little more positive in an effort help the forest that came forth and said “I’m so relieved that it’s not just me”. In short, let’s talk a little bit about how to maximize what we can do with the tool kit we’ve been left with.

Working with the 4.3 Tool Kit

Since our last chat, I’ve had the opportunity to clear out normal Dragon Soul (where I continued to be frustrated), do a full guild LFR of the first four bosses with Beru, clear 7/7 Heroic Firelands and do a 8/8 Dragon Soul LFR on Elentari. One of the biggest things I’ve noticed is that the less there is to heal, the more frustrating it is to be a druid.  I think that this was the most apparent in the LFR I did with Beru (and full guild healers) and in several encounters in Heroic Firelands.  This is the direct result of our HoTs not having sufficient time to work before being overwritten by a direct heal and our lack of any form of Burst AE healing since the WG nerf.

However, there are still things that you can do to improve your performance so that you feel a little more comfortable with your healing, and feel a little more like a valued contributor to your healing team. It will not completely alleviate your frustrations, but it will help you feel a little more competitive.  Let’s break it down and take a look!

  • Do Not Be Afraid To Be Smartly Aggressive With Rejuv.  What do I mean by “smartly aggressive”?  Let me explain!  First off, do not try to just blindly blanket rejuv over your raid, you will run out of mana before you can say “innervate”.  Do, however, have an understanding of the damage patterns of an encounter and prep your raid for incoming damage with rejuv (this is key to being effective!).  Note: if you try to solely reactively heal with rejuv, you are putting yourself at a disadvantage as most damage will be healed up, or in the process of being healed up, before your rejuv even gets its first tick off.   Keep an eye on your boss timers and prep your raid so that you can have the maximum number of rejuvs out for incoming damage without having any completely wasted – as a rejuv that does zero effective healing is completely wasted mana.  Since a lot of our Rejuv will be overheal, as long as a few ticks can “work” it’s a successful rejuv.  (note: the graphic above is from our madness kill, which does have some consistent damage, which is why my OH was low on Rejuv - but almost every other encounter I was ~70+% overheal on Rejuv). You will have to experiment with how much rejuv you are comfortable using – but do not be afraid of having to pot and being completely OOM at the end of the fight.
  • Don’t WG just because you can.  This is even more important for those raiding 25s and utilizing the WG glyph.  Similarly to Rejuv - time your WGs for when there is damage for it to heal.  Once you understand the damage patterns of an encounter, time it to make sure that your WG is off of cooldown when there are going to be a sufficient number of people who will benefit from the healing.  That being said – don’t wait an inordinately long amount of time to use it while you are waiting for that “perfect” moment – but do make sure you think through the points in an encounter you want to have it available for maximum use.  Even though it hits like a wet noodle now, it’s not a completely worthless heal, it’s simply not packing the burst ability that it was previously
  • Don’t Swiftmend just because you can.  This is very similar to Wild Growth.  While you want to maximize the use of swiftmend, you also want to make sure that it’s available when Efflorescence will really have an impact on the raid.  So make sure you time your swiftmends so that they are off cooldown during high damage periods where there will be a strong benefit to the AE healing offered by Efflorescence.  Don’t sit on it forever – just play with it smartly so that you can make the best use of the heal.
  • Maximize Tranq and Tree of Life.  I can’t stress this enough.  If you have a 6 minute fight, be sure that you are getting two of each of these cooldowns in.  Find the best times to utilize these cooldowns to the maximum potential of both the cooldown and the raid. For example: On Ultraxion, I like to tranq following the first time I return from hour of twilight after I receive Alexstraza’s buff.  I will immediately go into ToL after I tranq.  This assists with keeping the raid stable during the early parts of the encounter, and ensures that I will have both tranq and ToL off cooldown at the end of the encounter when damage is the heaviest and fast, burst healing is needed the most.  Additionally, don’t be afraid to lifebloom ALL THE THINGS in ToL, it’s a great way to help conserve mana while continuing to contribute to raid healing. 
  • Innervate and Pot.  One of the biggest downsides to relying to heavily on rejuv to deal with the lion’s share of our “raid healing” is that it’s going to have a significant impact on your mana.  It will be more important than ever to make sure that you innervate early and often.  Time your innervates with Power Torrent and other Intellect boots to give them more juice.  If at all possible in the encounter, try to find a time to utilize a potion of concentration over mana potion.  Every last ounce of mana will help, and there are several opportune times in Dragon Soul to make use of a concentration potion.  Even with these efforts, you are likely to end encounters staring at a completely empty blue bar.  It will take some time to adjust to how much rejuv is “too much” for your mana bar, but don’t be afraid to push yourself to find where that limit stands. I will admit that there were several encounters during the week where by the end of the fight I was waiting for regen ticks just to be able to cast again – which was an indicator that I may need to back up on rejuv just a touch, but until I push to that point I won’t know where it is.
  • Keep Good Lifebloom Uptime. This is more important than ever.  Lifebloom is key to our regen, and you will be feeling a huge mana pinch as you try to keep up with the other healers on your team utilizing a sub-optimal toolkit.  Try to keep your uptime as close to 100% as possible, and don’t be afraid to refresh it by refreshing lifbloom as opposed to nourish if needed. Additionally, do not let OoC procs go to waste!  They are free heals, and very quick ways to refresh both LB and Harmony if you pair them with a speedy regrowth.
  • Keep Good Harmony Uptime.  Harmony makes our heals more powerful.  I know that a lot of our HoTs are ticking for overheal, but making sure that the ones that aren’t healed over are as powerful as they can be is important.  Try to keep Harmony uptimes between 80 and 100%.  Don’t further hinder yourself by neglecting it!

While these pointers will not negate the underlying frustrations surrounding druid healing right now, they should help make you feel a little more on par with the other members of your healing team.  They won’t completely (or efficiently) circumvent the huge gap we are missing in our toolkit (again) right now with regards to raid healing – but they should at least make you feel a little stronger as a healer. It will be hard work, and it will still be extremely frustrating, but we can at least try to make some lemonade, even if it does taste a little bitter.

I am happy to answer any questions that you may have, so please do not hesitate to let me know if you have them either the comments or via email (although I’m notoriously slow about getting back to email, so expect ~1 week turn around!).  Good Luck out there, and remember – the reason we are covered with bark is to protect us as we weather the storm! (I do believe I did say there was a chance of storms in my last post, did I not? ;)  )

Posted December 7, 2011 by Beruthiel in Druid Healing, Raiding

20 responses to “Working With The 4.3 Resto Tool Kit

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  1. Nice post Beru, after pretty much doing only tank healing in T12 (when I myself wasn’t tanking) it looks like I’ll be back to raid healing in T13. Thanks for the tips.

    Speaking of tips, you know one thing I’ve always wanted was a discussion forum for healing tips for specific encounters. On our guild forums we have a post for each raid boss and we like to discuss class tips in there too, but alas I’m the only druid in my guild (well the other one is an owl :)) I’d love to see cross talk in the druid community about how to be the best druid as it relates to each boss fight but alas I’ve not found a good forum for that yet.

  2. Just wanted to share my experance,
    I feel that 10man resto druid healing is fine. Though I find WG is a little bugged at times and only hitting 2 people in the middle of the raid is annoying. I still find myself on top of the meters. Also am on top in LFR’s but again its LFR’s and the other healers are from the guild. Don’t know if that will have much leway just wanted to express my experance. Also very good tips Beru, also depending on the AOE in the middle or beggining of a fight you can also pop Volcanic potions before the pull to pre-hot the raid and if you get a good Power Torrent Proc pop Volcanic Potion again with Innervate does wonders for myself…. again 10 man raid healing. So I think my experance is that druid healers did get nerfed but still can easy fight for top healer, but again thats just imo.

    http://us.battle.net/wow/en/character/kilrogg/Abbster/simple

    • Unfortunately, with my healing team, I am not having the same experiences. I’m healing strongly, at least as far as 25s druids are concerned, which I think is evidenced by the number of rankings I’ve received over the past week and a half between my two druids (not trying to have a big head here, just using it to show that I’m “doin’ it right”). And even when I’m performing in the top 100 druids that are recording logs, I’m still running second or third on our logs. So while I respect that your experience has been quite different, based on the number of people that have also expressed frustration, I don’t think I’m in the minority in my views :)

  3. We are 10M raiding, 6/7 in Fl and 1/8 in DS so far – so very social raiding. I heal mostly with one pally healer and one holy priest.
    I am ofc very happy to see that our priest now realy shines on top of the healing meters! She has been realy downhearted ever since Cata (almost on he edge of quitting) … but I can’t help but feel hat it is unfair that resto druids was not balanced good enough in this patch. Like Beruthiel say; I heal my ass off – before 4.3 that would leave me at 40-50% of the healing done.. now I am at 20-30 while my fellow healers seem to excel over me in every kind of fight. I still do tank healing and keep my tank up but I see that the other healers have to help out when heavy burst dmg hit the tank…. it is very annoying…
    The frustrating part is that you know that you do a good job and my activity uptime is at top in every fight.. it just doesnt seem to matter…

    • I don’t mind being equal with my other healers, but I do feel that we should have an equal chance of performing at the same level if I’m on top of my game – and right now I do not feel that to be the case. However, what I think I find to be the most frustrating is just the complete lack of ability in my toolkit to deal with raid damage that comes out fast and needs to be dealt with quickly. Even if they just shortened the amount of ticks WG had, and boosted the amount each tick healed for, I think we’d be in a better position than we are currently.

  4. I completely empathize with these last couple of posts. I’ve been happy to see our other healers (like the holy priests) get some much needed fixes but it’s always a bummer to be the kid at christmas without any shiny new toys. I’m still contributing strong healing to my group but the frustration is still there that it feels like it should be more even after I’ve done everything I’m supposed to do and maximized every drop of mana at my disposal. So thankyou for the reassurance and guidance, it’ll keep my moping to a minimum.

    • It is incredibly frustrating to be knowing that you’re giving it every last ounce you’ve got, and in the end it feels like you are still a day late and a dollar short on everything. I struggled quite a bit our heroic work tonight and am still trying to figure out the best way to time things – but I did hit a point tonight where I had to say “I think I’m going to need help in my area” because no matter how hard I tried I just couldn’t keep up with the damage by myself.

      Hang in there :)

  5. I understand these frustrations a lot more since I started trying LFR. It feels like non-druids are shooting ahead on healing and then on top of that, some other druids are managing regardless. I’m doing plenty enough to be viable rather than a hindrance but it’s a strange feeling when I’m used to 10-man raiding and sitting roughly even with the other two healers.
    Those tips are really great – I’ve been thinking along those lines but hadn’t really solidified the ideas in the way you have. Hopefully I can feel a little less helpless now! :)

  6. “Time your innervates with Power Torrent and other Intellect boots to give them more juice.”

    I want some Intellect boots! ;)

  7. Great summary and tips, Beru! I’ll be keeping this list handy as I get ready to head into DS on my Tree. One of the things I actually noticed a few high-end druids doing in prep for this tier is going back into talents like Furor and Moonglow (pulling the points they had swapped into Genesis and BotG, which they had used to max throughput at the end of T12). What I was wondering is if you were one of the ones who had also forgone Furor and Moonglow during T12, and if so, how does your mana feel now in comparison?

    • I’ve always been a pretty aggressive healer, so I never opted to drop points out of moonglow, but I did drop points out of Furor. When I opted to drop my spirit below 2k in Firelands in favor of more mastery, I added a point back into Furor. After my first night of Dragon Soul, I put both points back in furor and dropped some mastery to add back a little of the spirit I lost to try and help my bleeding mana bar some. That being said, I was also down my Shard of Woe, which was a significant mana tool all through Firelands, so I do believe that I felt the mana pinch a little more in 4.3 than someone who had stopped using it (or never had one) during Firelands.

      I’ve been armory stalking a few people every day for the past week to see what others may be playing with, and it seems the current trend right now is back to maxing out Moonglow and 2/3 Furor. I’m finding very few progression druids not running with the 8/2/31 spec. And what I’ve found more interesting is the fairly wide variance in those who have stayed mastery heavy for progression and those that have, like me, reforged back over 2k spirit.

      All in all, my mana feels much more constrained in early DS than I remember it feeling in early FL. I would run out of mana by the end of most FL encounters while we were learning then, but if I played smartly I could maintain fairly high throughput without feeling like I was completely screwed if I mistimed an innervate or missed hitting it with a power torrent proc. Right now, I’m finding that I push through mana much quicker just trying to keep up, and there were a few times where I’d be at half mana and the bosses health would be sitting at 80% of his life. If I time an innervate poorly so it doesn’t line up with a PT proc, it’s noticeable and if I’m late with my first innervate it’s difficult to recover from.

      I did well mana wise with H Morchok last night once I got into a groove, at least until we got to the very end and the damage ramped up significantly and it was all I could do to help keep our group alive, but there is a good bit of down time in the fight. I did significantly less well with H Zon’ozz tonight – and in all honesty, I’m not sure if I’m capable of solo healing my “group” during the black phase without some help (which is hard for me to admit and very humbling – as I’m not one to say “I can’t do this”, but the truth is that I gave it everything I had each time we got there tonight and I still fell short). I burned through my tranq, ToL and almost an entire mana bar and still lost two of my charges (with three of the four damage tentacles down) and was close to losing more and found myself spamming some regrowths just to avoid having them die – but there’s only so much to be done if Rejuv is already ticking and WG/SM are on CD. While some of this is surely learning woes – I don’t believe that all of it was and I’m anticipating needing to ask for a second healer to assist me, at least during the early portion of the phase. I’m hoping once we get more of the mechanics worked out, I’ll have a better feel for my mana in the fight, but what I can say after tonight is that I was out of before we finished the first black phase.

      I could just be looking at it all through rose colored glasses, but I just don’t remember feeling this frustrated about mana during FL progression.

  8. Just wondering, but with all the crippling Blizz is doing to wild growth and our ability to raid healing, would it be reasonable to call ourselves tank healers? Maybe move some talent points and reforge to fit the role of a tank healer-just brainstorming?

    • The problem with us tank healing is that…everyone else offers something more than we do in that role. While we certainly can do well at it, we are not the best suited for it. Paladins offer beacon, sac, LoH and quick/efficient/powerful single target heals. Priests offer inspiration, GS/PS, extra mitigation via DA/PW:B and I’m sure I’m missing something about their disc toolkit. Shaman offer Ancestral healing/vigor (is that what the new thing is called?), which boosts tank life and adds a little extra mitigation (or did they take that part out?). We offer….slow, cumbersome expensive heals and HoTs.

      So while we are capable of performing in the tank healing role (and can perform strongly in that role) we offer very little outside of just pure throughput, which puts us at a disadvantage when there are others in the raid better suited for the task. It’s a bit of a lose/lose situation for us right now. Our “niche” has pretty much been removed and others can perform either role with more aptitude than we can.

  9. Hey Ber, I just started healing this patch, currently 8/8 moving on to HM’s and I have been debating with my heal team, (H pally, Holy Priest, Me rdruid) that having our priest go disc would be of far greater benefit for our setup because we wouldn’t have to fight over raid heals.

    I also noticed that I am out healing them on almost every fight, which seems to me like it should be the other way round from reading your recent posts about the current state of druid healing. Should they be picking up their game (not to mention they are 5+ ilvls above me)?

    • Just like any other time, your results will vary based on the relative strength of you other healers. If you are a standout healer, and the other healers on your team are just at a different level of play than you are, you may still outheal them just becasue you are a stronger healer. I don’t know that I’d have your priest run Disc if you are also running a Holy Paladin. There is an awful lot of raid damage to cover in hard modes, and we distinctly lack the burst AE healing needed to deal effectively with much of it. I’ve spent the past two raid nights working on HM Zon’ozz – and I feel that the black phase of that fight puts a giant spotlight on the issues with our toolkit, and I’ve struggled to a) feel effective and b) consistently keep my assignment healed during that phase. The damage just ticks too hard and too fast for WG/Rejuv/SM to be overly effective and I spend most of the time in that phase flailing and hoping that I can keep people stabilized long enough to get out of the phase.

  10. Hi Beru,

    I am relieved that I’m not the only Druid who is so frustrated with the healing.
    I raid in a 25er raid and have similar problems as you, even if I did not raid in hm. Just about everyone in my raid tells me that druids are still quite competitive. But I see it completely differently.
    Most of your tips I use for some time already.
    But as you have already written there still remains frustration. I still hope that someday Blizzard has one view and gives us an ability to group heal faster.

    Greetings from the old German oak Cerenia

  11. Pingback: A heartfelt thank you note

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