Saturday, June 6, 2009

Twig Heals: 101 - Its getting HoTs in here...

Note: For my fellow druids looking for a leveling guide, you won't find it here. The resto tree is quite simply not a good way to progress to level 80 quickly. This is just a quick overview of heal over time spells (HoTs) for those who are new to the restoration tree.

Lesson 1: HoTs

Regardless of how you reached level 80, you should have some understanding of your heal over time spells and how to use them. What I'm certain you'll notice when you start putting points into the restoration tree is that your HoTs are getting huge buffs. This is no coincidence. Use them early and use them often. Let's break them down to the twigs...


Cast time - Instant
Cooldown - Global cooldown only
Mana cost - 18% of base mana {Reduced by the moonglow and tree of life talents}
Duration - 15 seconds {18 seconds with the Nature's Splendor talent}
Effect - Heals once every 3 seconds for its duration

Breakdown: Rejuvenation is your main pre-hotting spell. It lasts long enough and is mana efficent enough to roll on multiple targets constantly. It also 'arms' your swiftmend ability allowing you to instantly respond to damage spikes on anyone you've pre-hotted. With talents and gear, this spell can tic for 2k-3k hp (or 10k-15k over its duration).


Cast time - 2 seconds
Cooldown - Global cooldown only
Mana cost - 29% of base mana {Reduced by the moonglow and tree of life talents}
Duration - 18 seconds {24 seconds with the nature's splendor talent}
Effect - Begins with a direct heal then heals once every 3 seconds for it's duration.

Breakdown: Used mainly as a direct heal, Regrowth can be used as a pre-hot when single target healing. However, the 2 second cast time and mana cost make it unwise to try to spam this heal across the raid. You will find that the direct heal/HoT combination make it an excellent first cast when trying to recover from huge damage (you can crit heal for roughly 8k and begin casting other spells while it tics for 1k every 3 seconds), but mana efficiency is the name of the game in raid healing, and this spell leaves much to be desired. This spell is being replaced by Nourish on many UIs.


Cast time - Instant
Cooldown - Global cooldown only
Mana cost - 14% base mana {Reduced by the tree of life talent}
Duration - 7 seconds {9 seconds with the nature's splendor talent}
Effect - Heals once every second for it's duration ending in a direct heal {stacks up to 3 times}

Breakdown: Lifebloom is another good pre-hotting spell. It's effectivness increases the more it stacks, however the increased mana cost make it difficult to stack constantly or on multiple targets. Your level of experience will impact the affectiveness of this spell. Knowing when and when not to stack or how to time the 'bloom' come with knowing when and where damage spikes occur in each boss fight. Lifebloom will tick for 500hp, 1k, or 1.5k and bloom for 5k, 10k, or 15k depending on how many times you stack it. A +20k crit is possible with this spell, but will be slightly less with the 3.2 patch (20% reduction).

Wild Growth:

Cast time - Instant
Cooldown - 6 seconds
Mana cost - 23% base mana {Reduced by the tree of life talent}
Duration - 7 seconds
Effect - Heals up to 5 raid members within 15 yards of the target ticking once every second for it's duration (with diminishing returns on each tick)

Breakdown: This is a must have spell for all raid healing druids. With the wild growth glyph you can heal 6 targets at the same time for around 4k hp when all is said and done. Its a great way to respond to AoE and raid wide damage. It's downfall is that you can't control which targets receive the heal. If you cast it on a toon and no one around them needs a heal, only the toon you cast it on will get the heal. It will land on pets, it will land on targets with full hp, it will drive you crazy, but it's worth it.

Overview: HoT healing is all about anticipation not reaction. These spells take time to work their magic (hence the name) so you will have to learn where and when damage comes in boss fights if you want to be able to heal them sucessfully. You'll also discover that the better you are at keeping these spells rolling the better your overall healing will be.

Every druid developes their own healing style. Some lead with Rejuv, some with LB, others with Regrowth. Some keep their HoTs ticking on as many targets as possible, others use their HoTs to bridge the cast time between direct heals. Either way, you'll learn what works best for you by getting out there and doing it. Good luck!

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