Sunday, August 16, 2009

Making the Most of Healing Per Mana

EDIT: Tank Healing Spec
Raid Healing Spec

As a Druid it's obvious that the best option available to me for getting the most out of every point of mana lies in HoTs. No matter how hard I try, click my glass slippers, wish, and strain, my direct heal output at its absolute best won't match a Holy Paladin or Discipline Priest at their absolute best. This is a fact of life and I can live with it. Yes, Druids are viable tank healers and yes it works very well, it's just a matter of theory.

I actually wind up tank healing quite often, and I enjoy it, but that's not what this is about. This is about making the most of the role assigned to us! Sometimes we Wild Growth and it doesn't maximize efficiency due to not hitting all five (or six) targets possible, or maybe we overlapped heals on one individual and let another slip too close to death. These are just a few tricks and stratagems that I've picked up in my icy Northrend escapades.

1.) Don't forget about Swiftmend- I am honestly surprised at the number of people who equate cooldowns with "rainy day" spells. The kind of thing you only cast once in a blue moon (and I am guilty of it at times) or store away for that emergency. When I first started healing I would always forget about my lonely number 2 bound spell that, when glyphed, has amazing capabilities. 15 seconds sure can seem like a long time, but if a DPS is low, or if your tank needs a boost, remember good old Swiftmend. A lot of rotations make sure to point it out "as necessary," which we tend to think of as an "Oh S*%&" button. It has a nice heal, glyphed it doesn't eat a HoT, quick cooldown, and potential target base (when on raid healing at least) make for excellent utility spell. It's also a wonderful way to help a healer who might have been staggered under a massive spike or an unintended stun effect. Co-operation is what wins raids, after all.

2.) Keep in mind the usefulness of dual resto specs- If you have an alt who can knock out dailies to cover repair bills, are all caught up with Rep for certain factions (*cough*SonsofHodir*cough*) and, like me, have minimal interest in DPSing on a character you could be healing on, Dual Restoration is a definite thing to consider. Picture this: Mid Ulduar, a healer gets Facerolled by IRL issues and has to go, you sub in a new healer and it's a Paladin, where you were once Tanktouching your best utility is to go into raid healing to make a smooth experience. You can switch specs and suddenly have 3% extra haste (I'll link my two resto specs when I get home from work, though I'm guilty of neglecting Sons of Hodir and I still have a thunder chicken spec to grind with... for now,) greater raid Utility in Revitalize versus Living Seed, and a more suited Raidwide spec.

3.) Try to keep from over-reaction- When there's AoE damage going raid wide (Tantrum, or Steelbreaker in Assembly of Iron) it's almost guaranteed that assigned raid healers are all going to be gunning for the man with the most hurt on him. It's natural reaction! There are other members, too and if you feel confident in the abilities of your co-healers to get on top of Johnny Brokenface, try healing the less hurt, but still low, members of the raid. It will help reduce overhealing, and the crying panic that the poor DPS feel when they get that "Low Health" notification that lasts more than *two seconds.

4.) Weigh the benefits of Blooming Lifebloom- Does the tank need the 8-14k? Do you have the mana to spare rolling three more stacks on him? Could you use the mana back to further healing purposes (50% of cast cost?) It may seem like a lot to consider but it becomes automatic. If you KNOW spike damage is coming (via DBM or another boss mod) and the bloom fits, let it bloom! It will help, but remember you have to roll three more stacks on the tank to get the full HoT effect, and we all know how we like to get people HoT.

5.) Consider Positioning when Casting Wild Growth- Everyone benefits from Wild Growth... as long as they're in range of one another. The ranged DPS tend to spread a bit, you don't necessarily have to be cautious in its casting, but to maximize effeciency sometimes Rejuving the ranged works out better. Melee will almost ALWAYS be clumped enough to receive all five (or 6) portions of WG.

6.) Decide the route you'll follow gear-wise- If you know what you need (Spell Power>Spirit>Haste>Crit for raid heals, Spell Power>Spirit>Crit>Haste for tank heals is a general rule of thumb) you can do some research and predetermine what gear you may need. After all if you and another Resto Druid are after gear and one of you is building for Raid, one for tank, there's a chance that you will be able to divvy drops by need then want basis.

7.) Nourish is your new friend- Nourish, in a raid healing aspect, is an amazing utility to cover quick spike damage that you don't feel your Rejuv/Wild Growth coverage will be able to fix before it's critical. Nourish, in a tank healing aspect, is an amazing utility. Period.

8.) The Rotation makes a difference- In a tank healing situation I feel best usage goes by hitting the tank with a Regrowth, then Rejuvenate, Lifebloom x3, and follow it all with a nice Nourish or a reapplication of buffs as needed. As the HoTs tick, you can decide to let LB bloom or not, whether you have time to apply a nourish, or if you can spare a Global CoolDown to throw a Wild Growth into the raid.

9.) Watch your HoTs- No sense in wasting precious healing second reapplying a long gone buff, download DoTimers or Lifebloomer to help with keeping track. Remember, no matter how good your internal timer, a mechanical one can only serve to help you effeciency.

10.) Remember Your Buffed Buff- Most feral druids won't spec into Improved Mark of the Wild. You give more stats and whatnot with yours! If at all possible in a multiple druid situation, discern who has the best MotW or GotW and let it rip!

11.) Enjoy Yourself- In my experience, healers who WANT to heal but are learning tend to perform better than the grizzled veteran healer who is burnt out and just wants to tank/dps/quit. If you EVER stop enjoying yourself, reconsider what you're doing. Yes, progression is work, but it should still feel like a hobby, you're progressing because you want to, not because you have to. This is a game, you are paying it, not a job who is paying you.

*Not all DPS get panicky, and no I'm not making fun of them... okay, well I am, but not maliciously.

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