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07-20-2007, 04:49 AM
A really great Treeform guide: forums.worldofwarcraft.com (http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.html?topicId=110537225&sid=1&pageNo=1)
I am so free as to quote it here. It is quite long ^^.
Kudos to Oxylos <Relentless> from Shattered Hand US for writing this great analysis.
07-20-2007, 04:49 AM
To be a Tree: The Evolution of Healing
The following is an in-depth look at the increase in effectiveness of Druid healing brought about in patch 2.1 and is intended to inform both the Druid community and raid/guild leaders as to the potential Druids now possess. I apologize for its length but I feel a thorough explanation will benefit those interested. Thank you for your time.
II. Styles of Healing, Old and New
III. Lifebloom goes on the Patch
IV. Multi-Target Healing
V. Spell Rotations
VI. Helpful Tools
There is a common misconception about restoration druids today. The problem isn’t that other classes misunderstand us, as every class forum would be happy to point out how unfairly they’ve been treated, but that resto druids are misunderstanding themselves. Druids post regularly that they shouldn’t deserve spots in raids, they don’t bring anything another class doesn’t, that restoration is a hopeless offspec and they should all just go feral. Marilyn, the Nihilum Druid Class Leader made a post about how resto druids don’t get a slot in Nihilum raids anymore because other classes bring more raid utility and heal just as well as Druids. Many Druids jumped on board and shouted out to the world just how woefully ineffective they compared to other healers.
And it’s just not true.
First things first, who am I? I’m Oxylos of <Relentless> on Shattered Hand US. I’m a Tree of Life healing druid, currently specced 5/0/56, and before switching to Tree I was a Dreamstate 33/0/28 spec. I have killed both Lady Vashj and Kael’Thas, and will be entering Mount Hyjal and Black Temple soon. I want to address the fact that in Marilyn’s post, he was referring to the game in Hyjal and BT. If it is true that Hyjal and BT are so completely different than SSC and TK that somehow nothing I will say below applies anymore, then so be it. SSC and TK are what I know best, and for the overwhelming majority of forum goers they are the raids they are either progressing on now, or wish to be shortly. Even if Hyjal and BT do drastically change gameplay, this information will still be very relevant for those working through SSC and TK and can at least help such a Druid be a more effective healer until the time comes to take their turn in Hunterville during the tier 6 instances.
II. Styles of Healing, Old and New.
Prior to Patch 2.1 there were several different styles of healing play used by Druids:
1.) Reactive Raid Healing with HOTs - Thought by many to be the primary job of a Tree of Life Druid. The largest concern raised with this style of Healing is that it requires other healers to trust in the Druid’s HOTs and not Flash Heal a target that just received a Rejuvenation. Often this would not be the case and most of the Druid’s HOT ticks would end up as wasted overhealing.
2.) Reactive Raid Healing with Healing Touch - Arguably the worst style of Druid healing possible. While mana efficient due to Balance talents, this was simply too slow to heal several raid members at 3 seconds per cast. Mana efficient due to balance talents but simply too slow to heal several raid members at three seconds per cast.
3.) Preemptive MT Healing with HOTs - Generally what a Tree of Life Druid would do when there is no raid healing to be done. Keeping HOTs up on a single target to help ease spike damage. While helpful to the raid, the majority of HOT ticks end up as overhealing because all other healers are spamming heals on the same target. Unfortunately mana inefficient due to the regular use of Regrowth.
4.) Preemptive MT Healing with Healing Touch - The benefits of this style are tremendous mana efficiency through downranking, especially with the Dreamstate talent, along with landing large heals and taking some of the sting of overhealing out by consistently having a heal ready to land on the target. The largest downfall of this is that by being locked to a three second cast bar throughout a whole fight the Druid loses not only mobility, but also some ability to adapt to changing situations.
With the release of Patch 2.1 a significant change was made to the Lifebloom spell that opened up a completely new and incredibly powerful style of play:
5.) Preemptive HOT Healing on multiple targets while Reactive Raid Healing with direct heals - The idea of this style of healing is to maintain three stacks of Lifebloom on two or more tanks while also throwing out Rejuvenation+Swiftmend or Regrowth on raid targets in need of small healing. This method of play dramatically increases the raw healing output of a Restoration Druid allowing them to heal for nearly twice as much that of an equally geared Paladin over the same amount of time using close to the same amount of mana (math at bottom of post).
III. Lifebloom Goes on the Patch.
Lifebloom is a Druid HOT that ticks for a small amount every second and, after the seventh tick, wears off and heals the target for a larger amount at the same time. Of particular note is Lifebloom's ability to be stacked three times. Stacking it refreshes the seven second duration, while also increasing the amount it heals each tick. Unfortunately when Lifebloom was first introduced, only the first stack got +healing benefits, and adding the second and third stacks only increased the amount healed per tick by the base value of a Lifebloom heal, 39. This is what changed in patch 2.1.
In WoW 2.1, each application of Lifebloom adds the full amount per tick, essentially doubling or tripling the amount healed each second. Now this is strong, no doubt, but there are several factors associated with Lifebloom that are what really make it shine.
1.) Once there are three stacks on a target it will stay at three stacks as long as it is refreshed before the Lifebloom expires and explodes, e.g. within seven seconds. By maintaining a Lifebloom triple stack the target will receive up to six ticks of triple healing for the cost of one spell each time it is reapplied.
2.) The amount each stack heals for is set by the +Healing at the time the stack was first applied. As long as it is not allowed to explode, the Druid could even remove all their Healing gear and still keep the Lifebloom ticking for the same amount.
3.) In a stacked Lifebloom, since the amount healed for is triple the normal amount for the spell, the effect of +Healing added to the spell is in effect also tripled. Because of this the +Healing stat gains more impact than it normally does in other situations or for other healers.
Due to this last factor the Empowered Rejuvention talent gives a much larger return than it previously had and is incredibly useful for increasing the amount of healing done. Additionaly, it is strongly recommended that a Druid equip themselves with trinkets that have abilities that grant a large +Healing bonus on use for a limited time such as Oshu’gun Relic, Essence of the Martyr, Zandalarian Hero Charm, or Eye of the Dead. By popping two of these trinkets for the initial three applications the Lifebloom ticks will heal with the additional power of 500 or more +Healing for their entire duration.
IV. Multi-Target Healing
The key to success with Lifebloom is that not only can it do a large amount of healing when stacked, but maintaining this only takes 1.5 seconds of cooldown out of every six to seven second casting sequence. This leaves the Druid free to use approximately five seconds of casting or cooldown time to cast other spells in-between refreshing the Lifebloom, and also allows them freedom of movement due to the nature of instant cast spells.
The most effective use of this extra time is to keep Lifebloom stacked on one or more other targets as well, effectively doubling or more the raw amount of healing done every second. Unfortunately not all encounters lend themselves to the optimal scenario for this, multiple tanks taking consistent damage. However, in both Serpentshrine Cavern and The Eye, enough battles do fit this mold to make this strategy successful. The following is a list of the encounters found in these instances and how a multi-target Lifebloom style can fit with them:
Serpentshrine Trash: All of it except for Colossi utilizes more than one tank.
Hydross the Unstable: Three tanks at most times (the phase MT + two OTs)
The Lurker Below: One tank in phase 1, several in phase 2.
Morogrim Tidewalker: One tank through the majority of the fight.
Fathom Lord Karathress: Four tanks early on, as the number of tanks used decreases the number of healers taking consistent damage increases.
Leotheras the Blind: Two tanks used, but the nature of this fight makes the Lifebloom strategy ineffective.
Lady Vashj: Several targets taking damage in phase 2.
TK Trash: Most of the trash except for the Phoenixes uses more than one tank.
Al’ar: One tank at a time in phase 1, multiple OTs to choose from in phase 2.
Void Reaver: Another fight out of tree, but still effective to keep a stack on the MT.
Solarian: If the Wrath of the Astromancer debuff is being tanked by two AR tanks Lifebloom is ideal for healing them.
Kael’Thas: One tank throughout phase 1, several tanks during phases 2, 3, and 4.
In the event that there is only one target in need of healing, the mana strain on the Druid will be light enough to maintain three Lifebloom stacks, Rejuvenation, and Regrowth at all times, along with throwing in a large instant Swiftmend whenever the damage spikes the slightest amount.
07-20-2007, 04:50 AM
V. Spell Rotations
Due to the time sensitive nature of squeezing out as much as possible on a seven second timetable, effective use of spell rotations must be made. A spell rotation is a series of spells cast in a specific order over and over. The reason this is done is to set a casting schedule that allows Lifebloom stacks to always be maintained, while giving the player the most flexibility with the time left over.
In a typical two tank situation the first two spells in a rotation will be Lifebloom Tank 1 and Lifebloom Tank 2. These actions leave the Druid with three seconds of time spent with the Global Cooldown on, and four seconds remaining until the first Lifebloom expires. Due to latency it is important to allow for about a half second of leeway during the rotation, so realistically this leaves three and a half seconds of casting time. More often than not the third spell in a rotation will be a Rejuvenation on one of the tanks. Since Rejuvenation lasts for twelve seconds (and should be allowed to expire before refreshed so the last tick heals) a Druid can Rejuv Tank 1 on the first rotation, and then Tank 2 on the second rotation, and keep switching back and forth.
The final two seconds then of a rotation are usually saved for burst healing in the form of Swiftmend or Regrowth. If one of the targets receives spike damage they can be Swiftmended for a large amount, or if a raid member takes some unexpected damage that a raid healer cannot handle they can be Regrowthed. Also if one of the tanks receives more damage during the encounter a Regrowth can occasionally be placed on them for the additional HOT. Generally speaking, Regrowth should be used sparingly due to its heavy mana requirement.
When using Swiftmend it is important to note that if one of the tanks is spiked while the Druid is reapplying Lifeblooms, the Druid should then Swiftmend as the third spell, and reapply Rejuvenation with the fourth spell. Likewise if a raid member falls near death during Lifebloom reapplication, the third and fourth spell can be used to place a Rejuvenation on them followed immediately by a Swiftmend. This use of Swiftmend will deliver a burst heal to the target in 1.5 seconds, the same speed as the fastest heal of any other class while healing for a larger amount than not only their heals would, but a critical Regrowth would as well, and for less mana combined than one Regrowth.
Another important note is that it is fine to not use the fourth or sometimes even third spell in the rotation. The only completely critical aspect of each cycle is maintaining the three stacks of Lifebloom on all the targets it is required on. When the healing requirements are light, keeping up only the Lifeblooms still provides significant healing while not straining mana much at all. In the event that the Druid will likely be unable to refresh Tank 1’s Lifebloom in time (they had to move a bit to Rebirth, for example) they should not attempt to race the clock and cast Lifebloom on Tank 1 again, and instead should refresh Tank 2’s Lifebloom and spend the next spell rotation stacking Tank 1’s back to three stacks. The reason for this is that since the Lifeblooms are cast in immediate succession, if the first one is cast late, the second will also not make it in time due to the Global Cooldown.
Any time a target loses its Lifebloom stacks (including the beginning of the fight before they have any) the first priority is getting up to three stacks on all necessary targets. This takes precedence over almost any other casting except in the case of emergencies. Generally the only times a Lifebloom should be intentionally let to bloom are when the target will not be taking damage for more than ten or so seconds, or if the current stacks were applied midfight without trinkets activated. In this case once the trinkets become available again the Lifeblooms should be left to explode and then reapplied at their full capacity.
VI. Helpful Tools
In order to facilitate the timing progress, there are many tools at the Druid’s disposal that can make life easier. The first and most important is a timer addon that shows the remaining duration of the HOT spells in use. This allows the user to become more comfortable with the specific timings involved with Lifebloom and maximize the time they have within each cycle while also providing an easy reference of targets available to Swiftmend. There are many addons that can fill this role and I personally recommend DoTimer authored by a fellow Horde on Shattered Hand US, and for which updates can be found at http://wow-en.curse-gaming.com/downloads/details/3260/ .
An important aspect in using timer addons is becoming comfortable with restarting the cycle at the last possible moment which is something that truly only becomes refined through experience. The reason for this is that while no raw healing will be lost by starting a cycle over too soon, (with the exception of refreshing a Rejuvenation before it finishes) beginning the rotation a half second early is a half second that could have passed without more mana being spent. This may seem small at first but losing a half second every six seconds over a ten minute fight can add up to hundreds if not thousands of mana needlessly spent.
Another tool which greatly enhances the time efficiency of Lifebloom stacking is setting up macros which cast Lifebloom on specific targets and keybinding them. For example in a given fight I may have these four separate macros:
/cast [target=Calisc] Lifebloom
/cast [target=Dranlo] Lifebloom
/cast [target=Ruler] Lifebloom
/cast [target=Oxylos] Lifebloom
Each bound to a different key. What this allows me to do is refresh Lifeblooms when necessary without having to bother retargeting first. In doing this I can have another raid member targeted during Lifebloom casts ready to be Rejuvenated when I am done. For users who prefer to click or just use modifier keys in general one larger macro can be created to handle all four jobs:
/cast [modifier:alt, target=Calisc] Lifebloom; [modifier:ctrl, target=Dranlo] Lifebloom; [modifier:shift, target=Ruler] Lifebloom; [target=Oxylos] Lifebloom
Whichever way macros are utilized, they are essential to being as efficient as possible in the spell rotation process.
Possibly the largest tool available to the Druid in terms of adding the most healing to the raid is information. Not only knowing exactly what they are capable of themselves by testing in certain situations, but also informing their group, raid, class leaders, and officers what they are capable of. If a Druid is confident that they can keep up two different targets in an encounter (or largely contribute to the healing of multiple tanks) they need to let that be known. When a Druid can keep up an offtank with Lifeblooms and Rejuvenations, it doesn’t help anyone to also have a Paladin assigned to Flash Heal away on that target as well, wasting both effective healing and mana for both healers.
07-20-2007, 04:50 AM
The following math is using the stats of myself and the top geared Paladin in my guild. These numbers are unbuffed with two exceptions. My Lifeblooms will be using my +Healing bonus with trinkets activated, my Rejuvenations will not. The Paladin will be assuming Blessing of Light on the target.
Druid +Healing: 2002.
Druid +Healing with Trinkets Activated: 2512.
Paladin +Healing: 1963.
Paladin Flash of Light Crit Chance: 21.1%. For the sake of easy math this will be rounded up to 25%.
A three stacked trinketed Lifebloom ticks for 888. Over a 6 second cycle it ticks six times for a total of 5328 healed. In addition during that cycle Rejuvenation will tick two times, adding 932 healed each tick, for a six second total of 7192 raw healing. To maintain this costs the Druid 176 mana for the Lifebloom, and 332 mana every 12 seconds for Rejuvenation, coming out to an average of 342 mana every six seconds.
In a 6 second cycle a Paladin can cast four Flash of Lights. On average this Flash of Light will heal for around 1725. One of these casts will crit and heal for 2588 instead. Over the six second cycle this will total 7763 raw healing. Each cast of Flash of Light is 180 mana, and the critical refunds 60% of its cost for a total of 612 mana spent every six seconds.
In addition to being able to move freely while the Paladin is stuck in place spamming and being in danger of losing casting time or being interrupted, the Druid can do the exact same healing to another target fully doubling his output to 14384 healing (85% more than the Paladin) over 6 seconds for 684 mana. It is also worth noting that this difference of mana spent between the two, 72 mana over 6 seconds, when converted to a five second cycle is 60mp5, a difference of base while casting mana regen often made up by Druids through spirit itemization and the 15% mana regeneration talent.
In the most extreme of cases a Druid can maintain trinketed three stacked Lifeblooms on three different targets while also keeping Rejuvenation on two of them for a total of 19712 raw healing over six seconds for 860 mana. That is over two and a half times as much healing output as an equally geared Paladin.
The final case doesn’t present itself too often, and 860 mana can only be maintained for so long, but I think it does serve to illustrate just how powerful Druid healing can be in comparison to other classes. The two tank case happens quite often and when taken advantage of a Druid can serve to be a tremendous asset to the amount of total raid healing for a given encounter, even going as far as to allow less healers to be taken to a fight in place of more dps.
A last few notes on mana in raids. Firstly, a healer should use a mana potion whenever their mana reaches 3000 below their max mana. In the recent patch the reagents for mana pots where changed to be easier to farm and therefore cheaper to buy, in addition to the introduction of Coilfang and Tempest Keep specific mana pots which are incredibly plentiful and free. Mana pots average 2400 mana gain over 2 minutes which is equivalent to 100mp5. Secondly, while it is unfortunate that this style of play dooms a Druid to be within the “five second rule” for mana regeneration at all times, all that spirit can and should still be put to use via Innervates. If a Paladin asks for an innervate, not giving it to them isn’t being a jerk and trying to deny them raw healing, it’s simply acknowledging that someone with 400 spirit is a significantly better target for Innervate than someone with 100. Lastly, most discussion about Tree of Life centers around its limitations in movement and spell selection compared to the seemingly small bonus of Tree of Life Aura. The true benefit of Tree of Life form, which seems to go almost unnoticed, is the 20% reduction in mana costs, most notably to Lifebloom which the 9% reduction offered by the Moonglow talent does not cover. Over thirty seconds of a Lifebloom, Lifebloom, Rejuvenation cycle Tree of Life form ends up saving the Druid 885 mana, the equivalent of 142mp5!
In the end it still comes down to competing for a raid spot. I’m not going to claim that we bring more to the table than the Divine Spirit Priest, the first Windfury and Bloodlust, or the first three Paladin Blessings. It is an unfortunate core issue with the Druid class that our perceived raid utility is limited to the meager Mark of the Wild and a Rebirth every thirty minutes. But twenty five man raids bring more than five healers and when looking past buffs at the role of a healer, a well played Druid that can communicate their abilities and perform them can bring significantly more raw healing than any other class in nearly all circumstances. So much, in fact, that a Druid can cover solo what it would take multiple players of another class to heal.
Appendix A. An Example of the Extreme Case
The following is an example of a casting sequence that I use, and that an aspiring Druid could also use to put this style of play to the test. The encounter is Hydross the Unstable. The way my guild handles the adds is two offtanks collect two adds each, stack them, and AE them down. Hydross is also an aggro sensitive fight as HOTs ticking when he crosses over can lead to disaster.
The fight starts:
Stack Lifebloom on the Frost MT to 3. Add Regrowth and Rejuvenation to the MT. Refresh the Lifebloom three or four times and reapply Rejuvenation as needed. Shortly before the transition allow Lifebloom to explode. During the transition, before the switch, Swiftmend off Rejuvenation.
Open with Rejuvenation on the Nature MT as it won’t tick for three seconds and all tanks need a small window to establish aggro. Apply Lifebloom to one OT, then the next OT, then the Nature MT. Repeat immediately until they all have three stacks. On the third cycle add Rejuvenation on the Nature MT as the fourth spell. On the fourth cycle add Innervate as the fourth spell (it will be up again before the fight ends). On the fifth cycle Rejuvenation the MT again, and after the sixth cycle allow the OT Lifeblooms to explode as the adds should be down. Maintain Lifebloom and Rejuvenation on the MT until the same transition timing as before, letting Lifebloom explode and Swiftmending the Rejuvenation during the move.
Repeat this every phase, mana pot whenever available, trinket at the beginning of a phase whenever available. Innervate when it comes up again. Successful application of this strategy will be very visible on healing meters assuming the Druid isn’t comparatively undergeared.
07-20-2007, 04:51 AM
07-20-2007, 11:36 AM
Very nice post. Makes me want to get my druid leveled up for healing!
In Everquest I play a druid and I'd say roughly 60% of the time I am healing in raids. I really like the versatility of the EQ druid. I can't play any other class.
In WoW, I have played every class now. Up to level 20 anyways. My priest is currently my highest, at 50. I like the druid so far. But level 1-20 was kind of painful. I am hoping that now with cat form, dps will pick up. The kick in the ass is having to get 3 sets of gear. Getting one set for my Priest was enough work LOL.
07-20-2007, 04:06 PM
You don't have a Shadow set as well???
Seriously though, this is an amazing guide and pretty much explains my healing strategy to a tee.
Except I don't use macro's cause as most of my raiding experience since TBC was 5 mans and the occasional KZ.
Great guide, thanks for posting it. :) I respecced resto for kara the other day for the first ever (yes, ever, lol), was an interesting experience... I totally forgot about keeping up a triple stack of lifebloom though, I guess I just haven't healed much since the patch, was used to using a single stack and rejuv, plus regrowthing when necessary, but yeah my mana ran out quicker than I had hoped it would (though man, innervate + that trinket that drops in botanica is a godsend I tell ya), I think I used way too many regrowths in my cycles. I'll definitely keep this guide in mind next time I'm called on to heal. :D
08-06-2007, 01:21 PM
Nice guide. Good job !
12-11-2007, 04:47 PM
2.) The amount each stack heals for is set by the +Healing at the time the stack was first applied. As long as it is not allowed to explode, the Druid could even remove all their Healing gear and still keep the Lifebloom ticking for the same amount.This may be changing for the worse in 2.3.2. See this thread (http://thedruidsgrove.org/wow/forums/showthread.php?t=12252).
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