Hello fellow restoration druids. In this article I will be covering all of the druid abilities that I deem important, starting from abilities that you will use multiple times per game, and even the less used but game breaking ones as well. It is one thing to read the tool tip and know what an ability does but it is more important to fully understand the ability and know the ideal situations to use them in. After reading this guide I hope that you will have a better grasp on the wide variety of abilities in the druid spell book. These abilities will be divided by healing, crowd control, damage dealing, and miscellaneous categories. I will also give a generalization and example in video format when applicable as well.
[Lifebloom] is the core ability of the restoration druid. The most efficient and primary healing ability the druid has. It is a periodic healing effect that ticks every second, stacks up to 3, and also “blooms” when the duration is over which heals the target for a substantial amount. In arenas or battlegrounds you will always want to have this up on your primary healing target as a three stack, which should be the target being focused, and keep it up by refreshing it when it is about to fade. The only time you let it bloom is if you need the extra healing in which case you will quickly stack it back to 3 after it blooms. Knowing when to let the ability “bloom” is the hard part. Normally you will let it bloom when your target’s health starts dipping to 50% and you do not have [Swiftmend] up or you want to save it. Another important thing to note is this ability has a limit of one target but when you are in tree form it does not have a limit and can be applied to as many targets as you want.
[Rejuvenation] is the other primary hot (heal over time) that druids possess; it should also be on your main healing target. The beauty of this spell is, after a recent patch around the creation of this article, it is very efficient now only costing 16% of your base mana. This makes this spell incredible for dealing with spread damage as your lifeblooms are only limited to one target. This ability lets you Swiftmend.
A direct heal with a high critical chance rate and a hot that is applied afterwards. [Regrowth] has a relatively quick cast, 1.5 second base cast time, and does a decent amount of healing because of the high critical chance. You use this as a response to burst damage and it is instant cast in Tree of Life form so it makes for a really great ability when used in conjunction with this while you are getting trained. This ability also lets you [Swiftmend].
[Swiftmend] is another one of your three on-demand ways to deal with burst. It is castable on your target when you have a [Rejuvenation] or [Regrowth] on them and does a reasonable amount of direct healing and is instant cast. Only use this ability when your target is around 50% health or is about to take a lot of damage. You want to hold on to this ability as long as you can so you can fall back on it later. It is very important to keep this in mind and try to gauge whether or not your hots alone will be sufficient healing.
Basically I consider this spell as an instant cast “2 stack lifebloom without the bloom effect”. [Wild Growth] is applied to multiple targets that are close to your main target and is a great way to spread healing as well. You want to use this in conjunction with rejuvenation when your party is taking heavy spread damage. It is also worth using just for single target healing if your target is taking a lot of damage, as is every hot that you have.
Cataclysm definitely gave [Tranquility] some love. It does a reasonable amount of direct healing as well as applying a 3 stack hot every time a direct heal ticks. This ability is amazing if you use it behind a line of sight object while in range of your partners as it can heal through line of sight. It is good for dealing with spread damage but the main purpose I’ve found for it is to deal with [Smoke Bomb]. When rogues use smoke bomb on your partner it makes it so that you cannot heal them as long as you are not in the smoke bomb as well. Instead of over-extending and going into the smoke bomb you can just use tranquility to heal them until they can come out as it does not require a target to heal.
Healing touch and Nourish
I group these two together as they are pretty much worthless. [Healing Touch] is only really used with Nature’s Swiftness to make it instant cast but even then I hardly use that and prefer to use [Nature’s Swiftness] to make [Cyclone] instant cast if I need to use them right away. [Nourish] has a long cast-time, especially long with a pvp spec, and does very little healing. It can be used if you want to save [Swiftmend] cool down and you are not going to be interrupted while conserving your mana at the same time.
The ability that makes druids what they are. The ability that everyone loves to hate. The ability that you will learn to love. Druid heals are not as potent as other healers which makes the perfection of this ability a necessity at high level play. The main purpose of [Cyclone] is to obviously peel from your teammates and help mitigate damage for your hots to catch people up. It can also be used offensively to stop CC or even on your kill target to stop healing. If you want to improve at arena you want to make sure you almost always have at least someone cycloned. Getting used to this ability can easily bring your team rating up by 400-600 points.
[Entangling Roots] has a wide variety of uses. It’s main use is to keep melee players under control as you can root them and then simply walk away from them. When glyphed this spell is instant cast but they are changing that in a future patch and it still will be very good. Another use for it is to keep someone in a unappealing spot out in the open, most commonly when they are at the end of a fear, so that you can switch to them or even to keep them out of range of combat. The last use I use it for is to try and get a cyclone on a healer that is constantly line of sighting me by casting instant roots and cyclone immediately while he dispels it. This will only be useful in tree form though as they are nerfing the instant cast out of tree form after the next patch. Another cool use for this spell is to root felhunters out of line of sight of you and free cast as they won’t be able to spell lock.
[Hibernate] is a spell that I like to use to punish druids who are going travel form or trying to [Bash] in bear form. It is also very good if you catch shamans who ghost wolf and are caught off guard if you have their tremor totem down as it cleanses sleep. It is also amazing against feral druids as they will either have to keep shifting out or have their healer dispel them. I like to use Nature’s Swiftness with this spell a lot as the cast is hard to get off without them realizing unless they are concentrating on something else and it can be very good for clutch moments.
The last of the restoration druid CC, other than maim which can’t really be implemented into play. It is amazing for trying to get a clone off or even just using it as a plain CC when everything else is on diminishing returns. It is also very good spell for healer switches when they start getting low and you can just simply bash them. Make sure you have this ability on a bar outside of bear form so you can monitor its cool down and implement it into your play as much as possible.
Sadly enough, damage dealing is not as effective as it once was in wrath. Restoration druid damage is quite laughable, especially now that every healer can dispel your insect swarm and moon fire. It is not completely worthless, however, as every bit of damage helps and in this section I’m just going to go over my simple priorities on casting rather than talking about each individual spell. The most important spell when assisting in damage would be none other than Insect Swarm. It is the most efficient way to assist damage as a druid as the dot damage is actually quite good. Other than that, moonfire can be used for kill moments when every bit counts and if you want to assist damage while not getting spell locked or interrupts on your important nature tree use Starfire. Otherwise you will cast wrath if there is no worry of getting interrupted. When spec’d into the talent [Fury of Stormrage] your wrath can also proc an instant starfire which is nice added burst and wrath also costs no mana with this talent. In 2v2 arena this is where you are going to find yourself using this talent and, honestly, assisting damage that much at all. The reason for this is because CC is so powerful that it is more effective to spend your globals on that instead.
Use this before you are about to take a lot of damage. Normally it is used for stuns or disables such as kidney shot, throw down, deep freeze, etc. Be careful not to waste it though as it is a very important survivability cool down and if the other team realizes you have wasted it they could simply just swap to you before it comes back up and kill you with a lot of cool downs.
It has its obvious use of preventing restealth or vanishes on rogues or feral druids but what I like to use it more for is covering crowd control. For example, it is really good when used on a target that is sheeped, feared, entangling rooted, you name it. Every healer but a priest only dispels one magic effect at a time so there’s a good chance when someone tries to dispel the CC they will actually get your faerie fire wasting them a global.
An extremely under-used ability that removes enrage effects off of your target. The most notable ones are Unholy Frenzy, Berserker Rage, and Death Wish. I have also recently considered using Nature’s Swiftness with Soothe to remove Recklessness as well as it is one of warriors few moments of high burst. Other spells that soothe removes are Wrecking Crew, Enrage, Owlking Frenzy, Savage Roar, and Death Wish (which will be more notable when warriors start speccing Fury).
A bear form ability. It increases your maximum health by 30% and with the glyph that is quite good it makes healing effects 30% more powerful on you. A great use for this is when you know you cannot get away and have a good amount of hots on yourself as you can shift into bear take more healing while gaining extra HP at the same time. A great survivability ability.
Always use this when you are starting arena. It is not like WOTLK where you can just open treeform and avoid saps as well. You normally want to either pounce someone and clone or just cyclone out of cat form stealth. This is really powerful because they will have no way to stop you cycloning.
Use this amazing form as much as you can, Not enough druids use it to get from point A to point B. I also use it to avoid sheeps from mages now that you cannot shift out of them anymore. Instead of trying to tank damage while being trained make sure you spam this ability to get to safety once you have some hots on yourself.