I figured I was about as ready as anyone, coming up on 4.0.1. I’d read Lissana’s guide, Keeva’s guide, and about a thousand other sources. I knew what gear changes I’d need, what spells to re-map, and of course, what mastery was going to do for me.
What I didn’t know was how things were going to feel. Would I feel like the competent protector-of-health-bars that I did pre-patch? When I went into ICC, would I be contributing or a drag on the other healers?
After the patch I logged in, got my interface working (and was once again thankful for Vuhdo; the patch day update worked flawlessly) and assessed things. Three pieces of cloth gear that needed to go. The belt was easy, the bracers more of a challenge – I’ve had terrible bracer luck – and the hat? My precious ilvl 277 cloth hat that I’d gotten from a Heroic Gunship on 25? What was I supposed to do there? Well, I’d leave it for later.
The first time I tried to heal anything, I got Reversion to queue up with me. We got Oculus – and I crashed, restarted, crashed again, restarted, crashed – finally gave up and went away. (Interestingly, Reversion and Karius went on to three man Oculus with some random DPSer. Apparently the healer was not necessary after all. And more interesting, when I logged in the next day, I was awarded Justice points for completing that place. Hmm).
Finally Saturday I got into some heroics. They went fine. I could keep people alive. Then, a guildie was getting a Ruby Sanctum attempt together. Well, I’d never been, so…
Wow, that place hits hard. We wiped a lot, but finally downed the three small bosses, and then died to Halion over and over again. Finally we called it. Right about then I was getting whispers from our raid leader, asking what I was doing that night. Well, nothing, but…
So he was in a regularly-run cross-group 25 man ICC that needed a tree healer. And since our Sunday group had a lockout where we’d cleared to LK, I could go 11/12 with the other group and not worry… probably. Did I want to come?
Well, sure. Let’s give it a try.
So there I was, and there we were. Two trees, two shaman, and a priest. A third resto druid who didn’t read the patch notes was locked out until Rotface. “We’ll five heal this” the raid leader decided. Then “And we’ll take Marrowgar on heroic”.
Gulp. I whisper my guildie, who promises to send me strats for any heroics, and we’re off. For the first trash fights, I’m trying hard to use what I think my “new” rotation should be: LB one tank, WG off cooldown, Swiftmend someone in melee to proc Efflorescence, and spot heal with Regrowth. Problem is, nobody’s staying damaged long enough for Regrowth to actually hit! By the time I’m done casting, someone else has healed. So I start dropping Rejuvs. The instant small heal is usually enough to get them fully up.
I sneak a glance at the meters. Holy cow! The Other Druid is doing 30% of the healing, I’m doing 20. Yeah, so the priest is a disc priest and Recount is bad at seeing shields… and we’re topping the overhealing meters too… but seriously, I’m feeling overpowered. The Other Druid’s rotation is almost entirely Rejuv and WG. I think I’m using Swiftmend more. Recount isn’t giving me any feel for my Efflorescence – it’s just not showing up at all.
So on Marrowgar, I go to the old strategy, Rejuvs everywhere, WG, and this time I use Swiftmend on myself because I’m good at standing in the knot of people, and Efflorescence can do its best.
Well, first time, we wipe. I stupidly ran into a flame and didn’t get out in time, everyone was sloppy… yeah. We come back and try it again. I pop tree on the second bonestorm and run around, feeling immensely powerful and amazing. Marrowgar dies. Wow.
We proceed to steamroll the place. Well, there are some wipes on some of the heroic modes (We set Lootship, Rotface, BQL and I think Festergut to heroic. This group was not playing around). I’m going to ignore the specificc fights and focus on the details:
Your Old Rotation Still Works
With caveats: Lifebloom on only one person at a time, Regrowth is fast and Nourish is slow. Don’t bother using Nourish, or Healing Touch. Use Swiftmend, but try to use it on tanks/melee. Rejuv-spam is both possible and profitable. Note that this is in ICC, at level 80, with mana pools that don’t twitch. Once we have mana problems, it’s something else
Your New Shinies are New and Shiny
Efflorescence, I love you. You’re tied to my beloved Swiftmend, you are pretty and green and leafy. I just hope the DPS knows the difference between you and Deathwhisper’s DND.
Fast Regrowth, you sure pack a punch. I might miss my old buddy, Slow Keep The Tank Happy Regrowth, but your makeover was pretty nice and I welcome you to a more prominent mouse button.
Tranquility – I’ve always sort of loved you but previously we had to keep our friendship secret so my friends didn’t mock you. Sorry I specced away from the faster cooldown when I started raiding, but you just weren’t what I needed for cutting-edge content. Now that you’ll heal the people who actually need it? I think we’re going to spend a lot more time together.
Tree Form… I miss seeing you all the time. I think what we had was good. I hate this new long-distance relationship, but man, when you do visit, you make up for lost time! I’m sad and frantic and people are about to die and then suddenly it’s – “Oh, hi Tree! Missed you! Ok, while I’m running around like crazy, let’s Wild Growth like, the whole raid, and throw some instant cast Regrowths at the same time. K? K!” I promise to get the glyph as soon as it’s available – sure, some druids are excited about switching for your bigger and more colorful cousin but my heart belongs to Wilted Broccoli.
I Still Feel Like A Druid
It’s still about the HOTs. I still need Vuhdo to show me all my little hot timers, I still use the same triage system. “Druids take care of the ranged” is still an instruction I can handle. I love it. I was so worried about my beloved class – and at 85, who knows? But today at least, I still feel right.
This has gotten long enough, so I’ll save my “when will Tree Form save your butt” post for another time. Oh, and remember that epic cloth hat I was griping about having to replace at the start of this post? The 25 man I ran with did Rotface on heroic and I got the leather equivalent of that hat – ilvl 277 and just right for a resto druid. So then I grabbed the frost badge belt and a pair of nice pvp bracers, since I have lots of honor lying around, and by Sunday’s Lich King downing I was all leather all the time. 5% extra intellect is nothing to sneeze at.
And the spec I’m rocking is a little weird – I skip Nature’s Swiftness, actually, because I just wasn’t using that at all. When I start leveling I’ll probably go back and do something different again , but right now I wanted as many of the direct increases to healing talents as I could. Still, loving it!