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How to Play a Resto Druid

So you want to learn how to play a Resto Druid. Well, you’ve come to the right place. On this page we’ll take you through the spell use, rotations and best advice for a Resto Druid Healer right up to maximum level. This page informs you how to play a Resto Druid Healer in general at maximum level. We’re going through a lot of spells in this section, so if you haven’t already, have a look at the Resto Druid Spells page for descriptions. For this page, we’ll assume that you have or will follow our advice on gems, enchants, glyphs, talents and specs.

Buffing

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The first and really the only castable buff that you gain as a Resto Druid is Mark of the Wild, which you gain as a spell at level 30. This is something that you’ll want to cast on yourself/your party/your raid after entering a dungeon or raid. It improves some of your base stats and is beneficial to all in the group. All party/raid members should have a version of this buff before entering combat. You can cast it during combat, but this takes up a spell cast(global cooldown) and uses mana. After dying, entering a new party/raid or after 1 hour, the buff will expire, at which point you will need to re-cast this buff on all party/raid members. Mark of the Wild also shares the same benefits as the Paladin’s Blessing of Kings and the Monk’s Legacy of the Emperor buffs. If you have a Paladin in your group, they should buff with Blessing of Might first and then you can buff with Mark of the Wild or the Monk can buff with Legacy of the Emperor.

Another important buff is provided by the Resto Druid’s Mastery: Harmony. This is a passive buff that is applied to yourself only when you cast a direct heal spell such as Regrowth, Healing Touch or Nourish. What’s so important about this buff is that it increases the amount healed of your Heal over Time spells by the percentage of mastery you have while this Harmony buff is active. To get the most out of your healing this buff must be active as close to 100% of the time as possible. Therefore, we encourage you to cast direct heals before starting and throughout encounters. If you have a Clearcasting proc available, use Regrowth or Healing Touch, if not, use Nourish because it’s less mana-expensive. There’s no excuse really to not have this buff up.

Before Combat

Short version:

  • Make sure you’re full(or very close to) health and mana.
  • Consume your Consumables.
  • Ensure you have the Harmony buff by casting Healing Touch or Regrowth on any target.

Long version:
After buffing your party/raid members, be sure to drink a consumable such as Conjured Mana Pudding to regain your mana, so that you have maximum mana. As you gain gameplay experience you will gain an understanding of the mana required for each fight, along with your gear improvements, you won’t have to drink to regain mana before every encounter. But when starting out it’s best to drink when you can. You can’t drink while you’re in combat. You should also obtain and consume a consumable to gain extra buffs from food or drinks. To view what consumables are beneficial to you head to the Resto Druid Consumables page. Now that you’re buffed, have full hp/mana bars and the rest of your party/raid members are ready, it’s time to prepare to engage with the enemy NPCs or “mobs”.

As a Healer, you’re not going to be the first to run in, this will usually be the Tank(Guardian Druid, Protection Warrior, Blood Death Knight, Protection Paladin or Brewmaster Monk). As a Resto Druid, the play style calls for a more proactive role, meaning you will need to prepare for situations rather than respond to situations. Slightly before the tank is going into combat, we’ll want to prepare them for the damage they’re going to receive, otherwise you will be on the back foot as soon as the tank takes damage. You’ll want to first gain your Harmony buff and then place some Heal over Time spells(HoTs) on your Tank and any others who will receive damage.

Tank Healing

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Remember to gain the Harmony buff, which we describe above in the ‘Buffing’ section.

Rejuvenation and Lifebloom give you a bit of a buffer while healing, in that they “roll” on the target, healing for a certain amount over 10-12 seconds. While these HoTs are rolling, it gives you an opportunity to move, to use other cast-time heals on the tank or devote some time to healing the party/raid. After a time, Rejuvenation will just expire, while Lifebloom will expire with a large heal to finish it off. If you cast Lifebloom again or heal your bloomed target with Healing TouchRegrowth or Swiftmend, your Lifebloom is refreshed to the full amount (15 seconds). You will want to keep Lifebloom rolling on your tank at all times, or you will fall behind. Summary: Get Rejuvenation or Lifebloom (or both) rolling on the tank.

During light damage to the tank you can continue to use Rejuvenation to top them up. During heavy damage to the tank you can use Healing Touch for a large heal and to refresh Lifebloom. If Lifebloom is soon to expire, the tank is high on hp and you have little time, refresh Lifebloom on the tank by Lifebloom again. If Lifebloom is soon to expire, the tank is missing low-mid hp and you have little time, you can let it expire to trigger the large heal, but you should recast Lifebloom onto the tank again immediately. If the tank is taking a lot of damage, place Rejuvenation and Regrowth (if unglyphed) on the tank to increase the rolling heals. If there is a spike in damage, and you have Rejuvenation or Regrowth HoTs on the tank, use Swiftmend for a large instant heal (also refreshing your Lifebloom).

If the tank needs a large heal to top up their hp and may take damage soon, you can use Nature’s Swiftness to make your next Healing Touch instant. If your timing is right you can chain a lot of big heals in a row on the tank should they suffer from a large amount of damage. For example: Lifebloom > Rejuvenation – 12-14 seconds pass – Damage about to occur – Begin to cast Healing TouchLifebloom expires (Big Heal) – Use Swiftmend – Use Nature’s Swiftness – Cast an instant Healing Touch.

You also have a strong defensive cooldown: Ironbark, which can be placed on a target to reduce the damage taken by the target. This can be handy to help mitigate damage especially to the tank. Or it can be used on any other fellow party/raid member or even yourself.

Party/Raid Healing

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One of your main heals for party/raid healing or multiple-target healing is Wild Growth. This places a HoT on multiple players, healing them quite well. It has a 1.5 second cast time and places the HoT on 5 injured members (or 6 if glyphed). 

Another AoE healing spell is your Wild Mushroom, which is instant and has a 30 second cool down. It places a Mushroom on the ground that forms a green circle around it that will heal those injured who stand inside it. Place this under a melee group that is likely to take damage, including the tank, or under any group of players that are likely to take damage. It lasts 30 seconds and you will basically use this off cool down (mana permitting).

Use Rejuvenation on multiple targets to help top up those that are low. A good idea for healing a particular member with low hp is to use Rejuvenation and then Swiftmend, instantly healing them for a reasonable amount. 

If you gain a Clearcasting proc through Omen of Clarity, you can get a free Regrowth to top up a player or on the Tank to top them up and also refresh Lifebloom.

Heavy Damage Phase Healing

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At times during an encounter there is likely to be some heavy damage phases, meaning you and your party/raid members are going to suffer more damage faster, at which point more healing from you is required. We have covered what to do should your tank suffer from large damage spikes, so this will be more about using your cool down abilities for party/raid wide damage (which can include your tank). When these heavy damage phases occur, they usually last for a short amount of time and occur several times throughout an encounter.

During these heavy phases, it’s a good idea to roll HoTs on those who need it most, use Rejuvenation or Regrowth (faster instant heal and a following HoT) and then use Swiftmend for an instant heal. Place your Wild Mushroom on the ground under those taking significant damage and use Wild Growth every time it comes off cool down.

It is at this time you may want to use your strong talents if you have cool down talents such as Incarnation: Tree of Life or Nature’s Vigil.

During these phases you’ll want to continue using Wild Growth every time it’s off cool down and use Regrowth on those players with the least hp and need healing fast, but be careful because Regrowth is very expensive and it’s easy to spam and run out of mana.

Tranquility is a very powerful, raid-wide smart heal(heals lowest hp players first) that heals the raid for an amount every 2 seconds while channeled and not moving. To get the most out of this spell, don’t try to cast other spells, use it at a time when you can stand still for 8 seconds so as to not cancel it early and don’t use it when you’re in Tree of Life form.

If you’re looking for additional burst healing, load up a few of your party/raid members with Rejuvenation and use your Genesis spell. This spell speeds up the ticks that Rejuvenation heals with and therefore provides a burst of healing.

Dispelling

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Occasionally encounters present themselves as to place “debuffs” or negative spells whether from mobs or bosses. These debuffs can range from bleeds, poisons, diseases, curses and magic. All healing specializations can remove magic debuffs, but each class has a different removal tool unique to themselves. A Resto Druid can remove magic debuffs, poisons and curses using Nature’s Cure. Remove these debuffs as soon as you can, though be sure that they need removal, as sometimes debuffs, though bad, may need to remain on a player.

Talents

Like all class specializations, there are more spells that are available to a Resto Druid through talent selection. To learn more about choosing your talents and the benefits, head to the Resto Druid Talents & Specs page. If you’ve chosen your talents already, it’s time to learn about a Resto Druid’s stat priority on the Resto Druid Stat Priority page.

Originally published on December 4th, 2012 by on HealingWoW.com, Last modified: .

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  • Mark

    You guys could give some advices about using Symbioses on what class, etc :D

  • Bignugz

    I’m level 78 druid restro, and my leather gear with int, stam, spirit on them are just outdated and cloth items are dropping more reg with better stats, so naturally I’m wearing a few cloth items.. Is there any advice you could give on how I can get decent leather armour?

  • Verttex

    Great guide, but there is nothing about efflorescence in here. It is one of the best abilities for raid healing especially with bloom.