Restoration Druid Changes in Patch 5.0


You want to play, not read, so here’s a quick guide to what’s changed for restoration druids in Patch 5.0! (First two sections are for all druids; scroll down for restoration specifics.)

Changes for All Druids
  • Feral is no longer a tank/DPS spec. Feral is now solely melee DPS, and a new spec has been added for bear tanks, Guardian. Yes, that makes us the only class with 4 specs in the game, which means we are still the best class in the game. (I may be biased.)
  • Many abilities are now available only to certain specs. This is a good thing, as most of the off-spec abilities were pretty useless.
  • The old talent trees are gone! Rejoice. Instead, you now have six “tiers” of talent choices, with one choice (out of three options) every 15 levels. I’ll cover the major choices briefly below; see my Druid Talents page for more.
  • All the old Prime glyphs are gone. Now, there are just two tiers: Major and Minor. Glyphs are now much less important and are all mostly situational. Hit my Druid Glyphs page for a full list.
  • Relics and head enchants are gone.
  • You can AoE loot now. Have fun storming the (Molten Core/Black Temple/old raid of choice)!
  • Druids get a new spell called Symbiosis at level 87 that lets you link with a group/raidmate, giving both you and them a new ability. You won’t get this until you can start leveling in Mists, but you might want to read up on it now; there’s a LOT of possible combos.
  • Rebirth now returns a player to 60% life instead of 20%, making the glyph much less mandatory.

New Talents
  • Level 15: Movement talents, one of Feline SwiftnessDisplacer Beast, or Wild Charge. Feline Swiftness grants you all-around movement speed, while Wild Charge gives you a quick movement ability (actual ability varies by form, check the comments on wowhead). Both are good choices. Displacer Beast is terrible.
  • Level 30: Self-healing talents, one of Nature’s SwiftnessRenewal, or Cenarion Ward. NS is great; lets you use free instant heals or rezzes without leaving form with NS + Healing Touch or NS + Rebirth. Renewal’s a simple option; 30% self-heal every 2 min. CW is a bit too fiddly for most specs but is good for leveling. None of these choices are bad, really.
  • Level 45: Crowd control talents, one of Faerie SwarmMass Entanglement, or Typhoon. None really stand out; feral/guardian will gravitate away from Faerie Swarm, since they have Infected Wounds still.
  • Level 60: DPS-increasing talents, one of Soul of the ForestIncarnation, and Force of Nature. Force of Nature is the old balance treants on a 1m CD that also stun (feral), taunt (guardian), heal (resto) or root (balance) their target; great for PvP, and reasonable damage. SOTF is a passive DPS increase for Feral/Balance, a passive rage increase for Guardian, and an odd haste buff for Resto. Pretty good for all but Resto, IMO. Finally, Incarnation is a burst cooldown that gives you a sweet armored form and some extra damage or healing. It’s likely the best option for max dps but takes some management.
  • Level 75: Crowd control talents again, one of Disorienting RoarUrsol’s Vortex, or Mighty Bash. UV sounds cool, but isn’t that effective in practice; just pick Bash. (Yes, it’s the old bear bash, but now usable in any form, which makes it 100% more awesome.)
  • Level 90: Hybrid healing/damage talents, one of Heart of the WildDream of Cenarius, and Nature’s Vigil. HOTW is a passive buff that can also be activated to buff your non-spec forms; that bit’s not very effective. Take it for the passive buffs. DoC changes your rotation considerably for the damage classes; you’re now weaving Healing Touches in, so you generate some healing and hit a bit harder. Likely to end up as the best DPS option, but requires significant skill to maximise properly. Not very useful for the non-DPS specs.  Nature’s Vigil gives you yet another burst cooldown that also does some healing (or damage). Basically, it’s a choice between HOTW for passive buffs or NV for a burst ability, with balance/feral getting to mix things up with DoC to potentially squeeze out a bit higher DPS.

Restoration-Specific Changes
New Mechanics
  • Mana pools are now fixed and no longer scale in size based on Intellect. That means you have a choice of Intellect for stronger heals or Spirit for more regen. Expect to need a lot of Spirit to start, similar to early Cataclysm (though not quite THAT bad).
  • The restoration druid mastery Harmony was increased to 20 seconds, making it much easier to keep up. Simply using Swiftmend on cooldown will keep it up.
  • Lifebloom’s duration was increased to 15 seconds. It can also be glyphed to allow you to swap the current Lifebloom stack between targets as necessary.
  • Best change: You can now be a perma-tree again with the right glyph.
New/Removed Abilities
  • Wild Mushroom: Bloom is a new AoE burst heal. Just like a balance druid, you’ll place mushrooms using Wild Mushroom, then bloom them for heals. The amount of healing these do is still being tweaked; don’t expect to use them rotationally, but rather as a “plant when damage is low and bloom when damage is high” type strategy.
  • Ironbark is a Barkskin castable on other players! (Finally!) Has a 2 minute cooldown; Barkskin is still usable for self-protection.
Rotation Basics
Very little about the restoration druid “rotation” has changed, other than a few new cooldowns.
  • For tank healing, keep a 3-stack of Lifebloom and Rejuvenation rolling, and top up with Nourish or Healing Touch.
  • For tank burst damage, use Nature’s Swiftness + Healing Touch, Ironbark, or Nature’s Vigil.
  • For individual raid healing, use Nourish, Swiftmend, Regrowth, or Rejuvenation.
  • For AoE raid healing, use Wild Growth, Swiftmend (Efflorescence is baked in now), or Wild Mushroom: Bloom.
  • For burst AoE raid healing, use Tranquility, Incarnation, or Nature’s Vigil.

That should get you started; if you have any questions, let me know. I plan to have a full MoP guide for restoration up sometime in the next month, so subscribe to my RSS feed or follow me on Twitter and I’ll let you know when it drops!

 Posted by at 10:49 pm