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On Druid Healing: HoTs and HTs

 
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Thawr
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2007 1:09 pm    Post subject: On Druid Healing: HoTs and HTs Reply with quote

(Realms are down, and I'm in the mood to discuss healing, so I'm gonna write up a brief overview on the way different druids heal. Most of this stuff is from wowwiki, I've just gathered it here as a reference thread).

Unlike other healing classes, druid healing comes in different flavours and can be customized to fit your healing style. This is what I mean: Priests use the same spells, and it's often hard to tell the difference between a holy priest and a discipline priest. MAYBE the disc priest will use more Renews (thereby pulling aggro and causing a raid wipe) and more PW:Shields, but the choice of healing spells is almost the same. Paladin and shaman healing lacks diversity as well, since they depend on their one healing talent tree and must invest in the essential healing talents to be effective healers. As for druids, they have 2 classes of healing spells: Direct heal, and healing over time (HoT) heals. Depending on your healing style, you can choose to optimize your direct healing, or your HoTs (or both, of course); the two healing styles are noticeably different. Debates are ongoing as to which healing style is better for druids, but it always comes down to the druid's preference and how well they execute it.

So here goes the brief overview:

Full Restoration (Tree of Life healing)

You guessed it - this is a talent build that fully invests in the restoration talent tree, going all the way for good old Tree of Life.

The ups:
- The most powerful HoTs in the game
- Mana efficient, making it very desireable in PVE raiding
- Tree of Life is a powerful raiding talent, immensly contributing to the entire raid's healing (Tree of Life aura gives party members bonus from healing spells recieved, equal to 25% of the druid's spirit).

The downs:
- Tree of Life build is exclusively for PVE healing. Try it in PVP and you'll find yourself and your party dead sooner than you can throw a HoT.
- You have to enjoy HoTs - that is, topping off health bars gradually rather than in chunks. Your raid should also understand not to panic when their healer is not topping off their health bar in big chunks. The HoTs do heal for a lot, so just wait for them to tick.
- Quite weak in Heroic instances


Mana Mend Spec (Maximum mana efficiency with HoTs)

This talent build goes for cheap and powerful HoTs. This is achieved by investing in the HoT talents in the restoration tree, and the mana efficiency talents in the balance tree. The big spell here is the 31-point restoration talent tree, Swiftmend. In practice, it feels very similar to the Tree of Life talent spec, except that you are not in Tree form, meaning that you're not restricted to using HoTs.
Here's a sample talent build: http://www.wowhead.com/?talent=MxcrzicsZZxxcxcqRco

The ups:
- All-round cheap healing spells, making it useful in PVE.
- Good for solo grinding, thanks to the talents from the balance tree.
- Might be better suited for Heroic instances than Tree of Life healing.

The downs:
- As far as druid healing goes, this build does not have any downs really. You'll be missing out on the bonuses from Tree of Life in raids, but you make up for it by being more effective in Heroics.


Dreamstate Build (Healing Touch healing)

Ah, the talent spec that sparks debates among druid healers. On the spectrum of Direct Healing to Healing over Time, this talent spec invests heavily in the Direct Healing end of the spectrum. The talent spec is named after the balance tree talent, Dreamstate, that gives you mana/5 equal to 10% of your intellect, which improves mana efficiency to make up for the expense of Healing Touch (the druid's only direct heal spell, which is powerful but expensive). With this build, you'll want to go for the talents that make Healing Touch cheaper and more powerful. This is achieved by investing almost equally in the balance and restoration talent trees, but you'll have to put more talents in balance to get Dreamstate.
Here's the talent build: http://www.wowhead.com/?talent=0tcrzicsRhZZxgc0faM

The ups:
- Invests in the biggest direct healing spell in the game, Healing Touch. It now heals for more, and costs less.
- Probably the best druid healing spec if you want to solo heal Heroic instances, though it is still quite challenging (currently, druids have the most trouble solo healing Heroics).
- Does not sacrifice survivability. With the DPS bonuses gained from the balance tree talents, you can solo quite effectively, and contribute to DPS in groups should you choose.

The downs:
- You have to like direct heals (Healing Touch) to go for this build. It's almost like a priest-wannabe sort of talent spec.
- Expect to go into debates with Tree of Life druids. Razz




So that's my short intro on druid healing. I haven't gone into the statistics and numbers for each talent spec because druid healing is not my area of expertise. I'm a balance druid, specced mainly for PVE damage output. However, since many of my talents also contribute to my healing, I'm almost a half-Dreamstate druid healer, making me a decent enough PVE healer (this is why balance druids are better healers than shadow priests and elemental shamans, the other off-spec healers). I just need to get used to using the 3-second cast Healing Touch to be effective at what I'm specced for, and that is still work in progress Very Happy .
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2007 5:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Having healed on a druid before I think the biggest personal perceived difference I've felt is in the area of healing style.

I did a ToL druid and a feral Hybrid spec (0/30/31). In very controlled instance groups I found the ToL druid handled the non-heroic instances just fine, but in the more chaotic, fly by the seat of your pants groups, I discovered that the ToL druid just couldn't heal fast enough. I think a lot of this is attributed to the fact that I was used to reactive healing, a la shammy healing, and just hadn't learned the fullness of druid healing.

THIS is the major difference, as I see it (Dreamstate builds notwithstanding). Most healers are reactive, but with a druid, you need to be proactive. Because, if you're reactive, your team is dead. I'm not entirely certain what a highly skilled, proactive, druid healer would look like, because I didn't have the time to learn to be one or use one as an example.

I'd say the easiest role to fill as a non-dreamstate healer would be, as Thawr said, raid/group healing.

Something to remember when you're healing alongside druid healers is to know when and when not top off the group. HoT's take time to work, so in order for the druid to be mana efficient some sort of agreement can generally be made with the other healers not to top off the druid's heal targets.

My two cents and collection of random thoughts.
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Thawr
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2007 1:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tiuh wrote:
Something to remember when you're healing alongside druid healers is to know when and when not top off the group. HoT's take time to work, so in order for the druid to be mana efficient some sort of agreement can generally be made with the other healers not to top off the druid's heal targets.


Yep... it's why in raid healing, I always specify what part of the raid I'm healing, but those damned paladins always steal my heal targets with their flash of lights! Razz
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2007 3:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not entirely sure how to contribute to this thread, other than to just throw out some ideas that have come up in my personal experience, the bulk of which will be some theorycrafting around HoTs:

Quick aside: I honestly believe Tree of Life takes an unnecessary beating in terms of criticism of what most believe to be its "weakness." I believe this parallels criticism of Moonkin and (once upon a time) Shadowform in that it assumes that just because you have a specialty Form, you'll always be in it. I'm sure there are Trees out there smart enough to shift out for some pulls... don't you?


Lifebloom has to be one of the most ridiculous spells ever. Seriously. This is actually what piqued my interest enough to start playing my druid again, but here's a quick number crunch (with my druid's numbers... L66, ~300 +heal, 30/0/31-style spec... if it doesn't seem like much healing now, wait until I'm 70 and have dedicated healing gear):

Healing Touch (770 mana) currently weighs in at ~3400 healing for about 4.4:1 mana efficiency. Talented cast time is 3 seconds, for ~1100 healing per second, exclusive.

Rejuvenation (358 mana) ticks 4 times over 12 seconds for ~380 per tick. That's about 4.3:1 efficiency as well, about ~120 healing per second. It can be Swiftmended (currently at the expense of efficiency, and usually at least one tick) for 1500 health / 289 mana.

Regrowth (794 mana) will front-load a ~1400 heal, then apply a HoT of 7 ticks of 240, at a cast time of 2 seconds. That's 3.9:1, at about 134 healing per second, averaged. It can be swiftmended (retaining its efficiency) for 1440 health / 289 mana.

Lifebloom (220 mana) itself ticks 7 times over 7 seconds for about 72 a tick, "blooming" on the seventh tick for 800-ish. That's about 5.9:1 mana efficiency, and 186 health per second, average.
Arrow Stacked twice (440 mana), it will tick 1-6 times for 72, then 7 times for 144, blooming for 800. The range of mana efficiency is 4.3:1 to 5.1:1; speed ranges from 221 to 172 health per second, average.
Arrow Arrow Stacked three times (660 mana), it will tick 1-6 times at 72, 1-6 times at 144, 7 times at 216, then bloom for 800. Mana efficiency: 3.8 to 5.5. Speed: 252 to 190 health per second, average.
The thing to remember about Lifebloom, however, is that the HoT part of it benefits from 51.8% of your +heal, per application... meaning a 3x stack gains 155% of your +heal over its 7 ticks. Of course, that's also ignoring the 43% of +heal that your bloom gets. *wince*

The idea, of course, is that you can stack 3x Lifebloom, renewing the stack every 6 seconds, with each renewal bringing mana efficiency closer and closer to, in this case, 5.9. With Rejuv tacked on, the target will heal about 330 health per second, with the possibility of a 1500 pt Swiftmend at any time, and a Lifebloom bloom at 800 if you let it go. While this may not match the raw healing speed of Healing Touch spam, it has this great flexibility to be reactive if the need arises which may even be more appropriate for most fights. Naturally, this is all also possible in Tree Form, with the rather scary and startling possibility of instantly (literally) dropping form -> NS -> Healing Touch with one keystroke (er, one macro Very Happy).

Truly, though, the scariest part about this is that, barring mana problems, you can actually maintain 3x Lifebloom, Rejuv and Regrowth (a measly 410 healing per second, plus Regrowth's front-load) on 2 people at once. No, seriously... look at the timeline:

0.0s: Lifebloom A (1) - will bloom at 7s
1.5s: Lifebloom B (1) - will bloom at 8.5s
3.0: Rejuv A - will expire at 15s
4.5 to 6.5: Regrowth A - will expire at 27.5s
6.5 & 8.0: Lifebloom (2) on A & B - will bloom at 13.5s & 15s
9.5: Rejuv B - will expire at 21.5s
11.0 to 13.0: Regrowth B - will expire at 24s
13.0 & 14.5: Lifebloom (3) on A & B - will bloom at 21.5s & 23s
17.5: Rejuv A - 0.5s after the first expires, allowing all 4 ticks
19.0 to 21.0: Free time. Either Swiftmend, or an instant or Renew on a 3rd target.
21.0: Renew Lifeblooms
etc.

Of course, I'm not mentally organized enough to do this, but it's certainly scary to think it's possible. If you have the brainpower to organize your time (on the level of seconds) and make snap decisions well (do I let Lifebloom go?... should I Swiftmend that Rejuv?), this can be a very, very powerful way of healing.

===---

Oh, last thing: I believe paladins should be assigned to heal individuals, and are best backed-up by HoTs, since they generally work with the baseline of Flash of Light spam. HoTs help them maintain that baseline when they step up to cast Holy Light (when they start slipping "behind the curve").

Flash of Light spam, while a mainstay in our Kara raids, is a really crappy way to raid heal. One solid druid could probably keep the rest of the raid standing without sweating.
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Thawr
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2007 10:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the number crunching, Vutak.

Yes, Tree of Life is indeed a powerful healer, and the skilled druid will know when to shift out to throw Healing Touch. The main criticism, which I didn't mention in this thread, is that you are limited to HoTs and Swiftmend in ToL. This means no curing poisons or decursing while in Tree form.

As for Lifebloom.. it is my main healing spell, even though my spec favours Healing Touch. This is because, like you pointed out, it is extremely mana efficient and it acts relatively fast (it ticks every second!). In fact, with my mp5, I can keep up Lifebloom stacked 3 times on two targets indefinitely.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2007 5:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

After seeing the Priest healing thread getting bumped a couple of times in the past little while, I decided it was time to try and revive this thread. For one, it was an opportunity to re-crunch my numbers (at L70 and in slightly better gear), and for two, I've learned a thing or two since then.

Okie so here we go. In Tree of Life and self-buffed only, I have 1219 +healing with another 127 from the Tree of Life aura. For the sake of simplicity, I will crunch once with the aura, then provide Healing Touch's numbers without the aura.

With Tree of Life aura
Rejuvenation (332 mana) ticks 4 times over 12 seconds @ 735 per tick. 2940 health total; 8.86 health per mana. Swiftmend will give 2940 health for 303 mana with surprisingly little loss in mana efficiency (8.1 if one tick is lost, 6.9 if two are lost, 5.0 if three are lost)
Regrowth (676 mana) frontloads ~1950 health and ticks 7 times @ 378 health. 4596 health total; 6.80 health per mana. Swiftmend will give 2268 health for 303 mana, but with even less loss of mana efficiency (6.63 for 1 tick lost, 6.24 for 2 ticks lost, 5.85 for 3 ticks lost, down to 4.31 if all 7 ticks are lost)
Lifebloom (176 mana) ticks 7 times over 7 seconds @ 182 per tick, then blooms for 1295. 2569 health total; 14.60 (!!!) mana per health. As illustrated above, the HoT component can be stacked up to three times; A full 3xLifebloom will heal 546 health per second.
Without Tree of Life aura
Healing Touch (841 mana) heals a very reasonable ~4900 per cast, for only 5.83 health per mana.

So what we can pull out of this is that Lifebloom is, of course, the most mana-efficient heal that druids have by miles and miles and miles, and scales far better than any of the others as you pile on the +heal. That doesn't quite tell the whole story, though, which I'll expand on in the next post.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2007 5:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Okay... for all those of you who are allergic to theorycrafting, here's the straight talking part of the discussion.

Lifebloom is, of course, an awesome spell. There's absolutely no doubt about that. It heals quickly (twice as fast as Rejuv with just a single cast), is ridiculously efficient, and the Lifebloom stack is a phenomenal healing engine. Imagine that if you maintain 3x Lifebloom, Rejuv and the Renew HoT on your tank, Lifebloom by itself is doing over half of the total healing. The catch is that it has to be maintained, and recast every 6-ish seconds. The cost itself isn't really all that worrisome, since you'll probably regenerate half of it through mp5 during that 6 seconds. The problem is that it keeps you busy.

Recently, I've become a much bigger fan of using Rejuv+Renew as my baseline, largely because I have a lot of spirit and I'd like to exploit it. Rolling Lifebloom means I'd never get to take advantage of my ridiculous spirit-based mana regen (which is over 300 mana every 5 seconds). The other side benefit of having a ton of spirit is that one Innervate will now regenerate me about 9000 mana. Yum. Smile

Next, a quick word about Nature's Swiftness. One of the quickest "oh crap" things you can do as a druid is cast NS, shift out of tree, and Healing Touch. At 4.5k health more or less instantly, it's hard to argue with it. The real problem, though, is that you have to pop back into Tree Form. One alternative is to NS-Renew-Swiftmend. The result is 2k instantly and 2k 1.5 seconds after, but it's slightly more efficient.
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2007 5:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ditto to all of what Vutak said. I have the pretty much the same strategy. And from my experience as well, doing NS-Rejuv (or Regrowth depending on urgency)-Swiftmend, is extremely mana efficient. Even popping on a rejuv or regrowth on immediately after to keep tank topped off. Rarely, even out of treeform do I use healing touch. Cast time is too long. I use Swiftmend-Healing Touch only in dire emergencies, uses a lot of mana and usually because of the dire circumstances that I ended up using it, seems like I crit in that big heal and suddenly mobs are looking at me. Sad Murphy's Law I guess.

I have 300+ mp5s (buffed) too and I also really, REALLY like lifebloom and my treeform HoTs with NS and Swiftmend. This is the bottom-line of my healing strategy. I still need a lot of upgrades gear-wise but I can manage my mana use pretty well with timing when I use a pot with innervate timers etc. In regular instancing, I occassionally need to use the pot/innervate combo; in raiding I regularly do but even then, timing is everything and I am rarely OOM. Plus timing my trinket usage (2 min cooldowns on both) to get healing bonuses using the same amount of mana when I need it most; definitely increases efficiency. I have my task bar set up with multiple ranks of Rejuv and regrowth so that if I am low on mana, I just use a lower ranks and stack them.
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2007 6:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, one last thing. I've been discussing this in BMRhealers, but there's currently a... er... "oddity" (so as to avoid the word "glitch") with Lifebloom. Your Lifebloom stack will always roll based on the +heal values you had when you cast the first Lifebloom. What that means is that you can pop all your +heal trinkets, then start your stack and retain the incredibly high HoT. As long as you refresh the stack before it blooms, it will always keep that value.

So in more practical terms, when I was with healing on Prince Malchezaar with Saphiel in Kara this week, this was my "strategy": Since phase 1 is relatively low damage, I contented myself to keep Renew on the tank so as to have plenty of time for mana regen. If my mana was full (or near full), I would pop on Rejuv in order to take some of the load off. On damage spikes in Phase 1, Swiftmend, then Lifebloom, then refresh whatever HoT I just swiftmended. Since Phase 2 would happen just after the 2-minute mark, Saphiel would be using his Fecundity tricket (Ribbon of Sacrifice), as the cooldown would be up right about then. He'd stack up to 5 pretty quickly on Flash of Light spam, so as soon as the stack was up, I popped my healing trinket and started rolling Lifebloom, about 10 seconds before Phase 2 started. The result was that I could hold this 700 (!!) health-per-second Lifebloom throughout the phase, complementing with Renew and Rejuv, and create a nice baseline for the other healers to work around. It's a little mana intensive, of course, but careful planning during phase 1 meant I was nearly full when phase 2 started. I went OOM probably a minute or so into phase 3, but one Innervate and I was pretty much full again. Not too shabby.
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2007 8:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yea...I..um...noticed that 'oddity' too. Smile
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2008 12:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So as I promised in another thread, here's a quick bump 'n' update for this thread.

Specs
I still believe Tree of Life to be the strongest healing build a druid can have. This can range from 41 to 61 points in resto, so there's a fair bit of flexibility, there. With 6o-ish points, though, you have pretty much every healing talent in the tree, along with Natural Shapeshifter (for when you may need to pop in and out of tree). I'm finding, more than anything else, that it's the -20% mana cost to spells that makes it so good, since it can mean the difference between having to Innervate myself and having one to spare for another healer (or even a dps!).

Healing Touch
As we've mentioned several times in this thread, Tree of Life doesn't mean you can't/shouldn't use Healing Touch. In fact, it's the fastest throughput of healing you can do, so if all your HoTs isn't enough to keep the tank up, know that you can spam Healing Touch and manage even more. (it's about 50% more healing-per-second than all your HoTs combined)

What's more, Blizzard has implemented a feature recently that, when you try and cast an ability from a different form, you will automatically shift to an appropriate form and instantly cast it. So for instance, if you're in Tree Form and attempt to cast Healing Touch, you will immediately drop Tree Form and start casting without interruption. That means it's actually a very good idea to put it on your bar... just try not to hit it by accident. Wink It also means that if you cast Nature's Swiftness then mash your HT button, you'll cast it lickety-split, no waiting.

I have come to think of Healing Touch as one of the druid's "oh crap" buttons. While I mentioned that NS-Regrowth-Swiftmend is almost as good, dropping Tree Form to spam Healing Touch can recover from some pretty enormous spikes (I've taken to doing this when Jan'alai enrages and I'm still healing alone, for instance).

Lifebloom
So now that I've flipped opinions on this, I've flopped again: Lifebloom is pretty darn awesome and now that I have a lot more mana regen, I actually like Lifebloom very, very much again. In raids and heroics, I begin most fights by immediately building up a 3x Lifebloom stack on all the tanks and trying to hold it throughout the fight. With three tanks, it's just about all I can do (latency being the real limiting factor, here), but with two tanks, there's just enough time to slip in a spell between stack renewals - usually a Rejuv, if one tank is falling behind, or Regrowth, should we be in more of a hurry.

Lifebloom has now been "fixed", and no longer retains any +healing bonuses you had when the original stack was cast. It now (properly) heals at the level of +healing you had when you last renewed the stack.
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2008 12:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yea I noticed they 'fixed' lifebloom. Sad But it still stacks nicely with multiple druids.

I don't use HT much, but yea it is my emergency method of healing with this standard equation. Wink

x = NS + HT, where x= Oh Crap and NT=now! and HT=warm fuzzies
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 17, 2009 1:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hee, I remember this thread! Time for a WotLK update!

There were several significant changes for or around the time of the expansion:
- Lifebloom is no longer the powerhouse it was. It can still account for about half of the HoT-throughput you can generate, but no longer seems to run away into ridiculousness as your +heal scales.
- A new (core) healing spell, Nourish, which is quick (1.5s) and probably works best on top of a full load of HoTs (more on that in a sec). It does not benefit from Tree Form's mana discount.
- A new (talented) healing spell, Wild Growth, a "smart" multi-target heal. It will apply its HoT to the target (which can be up to 40 yards away) and up tp 5 raid/party members within 15 yards of the target, prioritizing by lowest % of health. As of 3.0.8, it has a 6-second cooldown. The HoT actually heals less, not slower, as it goes on, ticking every second over 6s, eg. 576 - 542 - 508 - 474 - 440 - 407.
- Healing Touch can now be glyphed to change its nature completely from a big, slow heal to a flash heal. It is, in fact, always quicker than Nourish and on part healing-wise.
- Of course, there are a pile of other new talents and glyphs, but these are more interesting to discuss collectively, as they are largely significant when taken together, rather than individually.

The "Dreamstate" healer hasn't been discussed much since the expansion, but a point of interest 71 points opens up some interesting options, like Dreamstate + Tree of Life (although the rest of your talents may be a little clumsy).


The WotLK druid is faced with a major decision off the bat that will decide many of their talents and glyphs.
What will be your quick spammable heal: Nourish, (glyphed) Healing Touch or Regrowth?

Arrow Nourish requires the least effort, probably with just 5/5 Tranquil Spirit added onto the "basic" resto spec. It benefits from the Tier 7 4/4 set bonus and though Nourish currently doesn't consider Wild Growth as a HoT effect for its +20% effect bonus, it likely will do so very soon. Under this specialization, you'll get to keep your "panic button" Nature's Swiftness-Healing Touch, but Nourish is pretty darn crappy without that +20% effect. If you only needed when all your HoTs were up and with 4/4 T7, though, this would probably be the winner.

Arrow Glyphed Healing Touch requires a hefty investment: One major glyph slot, 5/5 Naturalist, 5/5 Tranquil Spirit and 2/2 Empowered Touch. It is blisteringly fast, starting (talented) at 1-sec cast time, down to 0.5-sec with Nature's Grace, but this is faster than the GCD so only some of that speed is really helpful. It doesn't require that you keep 4/4 T7, nor that you "prime" your target with a HoT, making for better "Flash of Light"-style raid healing.

Arrow Regrowth requires a very heavy investment: (major) Glyph of Regrowth, 5/5 Improved Regrowth, 3/3 Nature's Grace and possibly 3/3 Living Seed. The consistent advantages include a decent HoT ticking in the background and the possibility for Swiftmend at any time. Much of the advantage, though, is tied into the 60%+ crit rate you will have on Regrowth. While you crit, the casting time will be 1.5s for the next one, and your throughput will be a fair bit higher than Nourish or HT; If you do not crit, you will cast noticeably slower and heal for less. On the long average, though, your average healing (both per second and per mana) is competitive with the other two approaches.

This decision will often decide your third major glyph as well, since the other two will almost unquestionably be Glyph of Swiftmend and Glyph of Lifebloom. Only the Nourish build will leave the third slot open to either improve Rebirth, Rejuv or Innervate.
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