Want to learn how to heal on your restoration druid? You’ve come to the right place!
First of all, let’s adjust that mindset of you. Out with the old WoWLK style of simply blanketing the raid with HoT’s, and in with careful planned heals in Catalysm! Spells are far more expensive now, so mana management is emphasized upon in this expansion. It’s important that you understand this to be able to become an efficient healer on your druid.
Spellpower Spellpower will now only exist on caster weapons and some enchants; all other sources of spellpower have been converted to Intellect. Intellect Intellect gives 1 spellpower per point and 0.006% crit per point. With Mark of the Wild, Heart of the Wild and Leather Specialization, Intellect provides 1.169 spellpower and 0.007% crit per point. (source) Haste 128.057 haste = 1% spell haste. Haste reduces the cast time of our spells and makes our HoTs tick faster (and can squeeze extra ticks into the duration). Even though in Cataclysm there is less emphasis on being GCD-locked, haste will still be valuable. We have also lost a chunk of haste through changes to GotEM, changes to other buffs, and the loss of Celestial Focus as a haste option. Spirit Spirit increases your mana regen. One point of Spirit is equivalent to 0.00836*SQRT(Int) MP5. (source) Mastery 143.42 mastery rating adds 1% to our Harmony bonus (increases potency of our direct healing spells by 10 plus casting a direct heal gives a 10% to periodic healing for the next 10 seconds). This means that it is essential that you cast at least one direct heal every 10 seconds in order to maximise your healing. Note that this is a self buff (not a buff on others) and only applies to new HoTs cast after the buff goes up, not existing HoTs (that is, a HoT already ticking on someone does not suddenly get larger ticks when Harmony is activated). Critical strike rating 1% crit = 179.28 crit rating. Crit heals do 2 times the healing of standard non-crit heals. HoT ticks can now crit, so crit is more valuable to us than it has been in the past. Regrowth (our quick heal) has high crit stitched in through talents; but our other HoTs also benefit from taking crit on our gear now. Crit direct heals mean bigger Living Seeds and Efflorescence healing. Basically, Crit is no longer the red-headed step child of our stats.
Source: restodruid.info – stats
When you are gearing up, spirit will need to be your priority as it increases your mana regeneration and it will help you get through the 5 man dungeon grinding. Once you are comfortably ending fights with some mana left, you can start looking at stacking haste. Haste will improve your healing by injecting more ticks in your hots, thus you would need to do less direct healing, along with less mana used up.
Intellect will always be your number one stat, as this provides you the spell power and mana regeneration. When you start considering haste, you need to aim for the first extra tick breakpoint.
Your basic stat priority will be this:
Raiding: Intellect >> Spellpower > Spirit > Haste (to ~920) > Mastery > Haste (to ~2010+) > Mastery > Crit
Dungeons: Intellect >> Spellpower > Spirit > Haste > Mastery > Crit
Once you start getting into raiding, you should be at the 916 haste breakpoint, and aim to reach 2005. In the event you cannot reach a haste breakpoint, you should reforge all of the haste off for Mastery/Crit. Your HoT’s will not gain any benefit when you are sitting in between haste breakpoints, and all that extra haste you have are essentially wasted!
Haste has the potential to reduce our GCD to 1.0s, but it also makes our HoTs tick faster. At specific milestones, it will squeeze an extra tick into the HoT duration. For example, instead of 5 ticks of Rejuvenation, you can have 6 ticks squeezed into the duration. The breakpoints for haste are:
Rejuvenation 12.5%, 37.5%, 62.5%, 87.5% Regrowth (HoT) 16.666%, 50%, 83.333% Lifebloom 5%, 15%, 25%, 35%, 45%, 55%, 65%, 75%, 85%, 95% Wild Growth 7.15%, 21.43%, 35.715%, 50%, 64.285%, 78.57%, 92.855%
So at 12.5%, Rejuvenation will have 5 ticks; at 37.5% it will squeeze in a 6th tick. Assuming you have at least one of the classes to provide a 5% haste buff in your raid (Moonkin Form, Shadowform, Wrath of Air), the number to aim for, to receive the 5th tick, is 916 haste.
Got a warlock? Ask them for Dark Intent! This is a fantastic buff for resto druids to have (due to the HoT nature of our healing), and gives us 3% extra haste. It is best not to depend on having this 3% when calculating your haste breakpoints, because you may not always be given the buff. There is a good chance you’ll have either a Moonkin, a Shadow Priest or a Shaman, so you can count 5% haste in your calcuations.
An easy way to work out what you need is to see where your current haste sits inside these break points, and see what the next break point will get you; if it’s worth reaching for, then you can reforge/gem appropriately.
At the very least you should aim for ~920/~1610 haste, which will grant you an extra tick of Rejuv (our most-often used spell), plus an extra tick of Tranquility, which is even more attractive now that in 4.1 our Tranquility cooldown has been reduced to 3 minutes. If you are smack on 916/1062 and can’t get 917/1063, that’s ok – but if you can get to 917/1063, you’ll get some extra bonus healing out of Tranquility. At the absolute least though, you need 916 (1603 unbuffed), which you usually should be able to get easily with decent gear.
In your early days, you will want to reforge for spirit, and as you get better gear, you will want to start reaching haste milestones through reforging. You may also opt for items with more haste to reach your breakpoints, for example, using Relic of Norgannon instead of Relic of Eonar. You can drop Crit or Mastery in favor for Haste, depending on how good you are for mana.
Many people ask whether it’s a good idea to gem for haste, including dropping some Intellect gems to be able to do this. The basic answer is: Yes. If you are close to reaching the WG and Efflorescence breakpoint, getting there will greatly increase your output, and it is absolutely worth it to exchange some Intellect. I personally have worn a few ofQuick Amberjewels, and saw a significant increase in my healing output, so it is justified dropping some intellect just to meet some haste breakpoints.
But always, always reforge first, before you gem! This way, you can fill in the numbers you need with gems after you are finished reforging.
What to do in between haste breakpoints?
If you know that you have 1000 haste, but you need 2005 for your next extra HoT tick benefit, then should you reforge back down to 916, and stack something else until you can easily reach 2005?
Yes and no. First of all, now that we use our direct heals (with longer cast times) more often now, haste is therefore very valuable. When you first reach 85 and start to gear your character, your haste will be very low. Your direct heals will feel slow and sluggish, and this can really impact on your performance in groups, because you can’t get Nourishes out quickly to fill in HP gaps, or HT out quickly to top someone up, and that means less time to toss other heals.. and so on.
So getting at least some haste should be a priority.
916/1602 is the magic number that everyone should strive for, to get that first bonus tick of Rejuvenation. 916 if you are usually grouped with a Moonkin, Shaman, or Shadow Priest; 1602 if you can’t rely on that.
If you cannot reach those points yet, don’t reforge your haste off for Mastery or Crit, reasoning that you’ll get bigger heals and more throughput. At this low amount of haste, you really want to keep the haste on there, even if you’re not reaching the breakpoint, because you really *need* your direct heals to be as fast as possible. When you’re starting out, it’s best to have a Nourish or HT land faster and get onto casting something else, than to have it slow but heal for a little more.
The exceptions are :
If you are a fresh 85 and you’re having problems with mana early on, then you can prioritise reforging for Spirit over Haste (and Crit, and Mastery as needed), but it shouldn’t take you very long to be able to swap back to prioritising Haste. You want to reach 916, but if you’re OOMing in dungeons and people are dying, then I would recommend sticking to Spirit for a while.
If you are raiding, then you can choose to reforge to Mastery while you wait to reach the next breakpoint. However, though this gives better theoretical output, your result will depend on your raid’s healer combo, assignments, size, and your play style. Some people prefer to stick with haste (or at the very least, not reforge off *all* haste to 916) to keep direct heals a bit faster. This is a matter of preference but be aware of the fact that Haste is weak in between breakpoints.
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