Druid Changes

Page Topic
1 Design & Gameplay Changes
2 New Spells & Abilities
3 Talents Overview (Lvl 15-45)
4 Talents Overview (Lvl 60-90)
5 Glyphs Overview
6 Extra for Experts

The Druid class has been subjected to a significant redesign in Mists of Pandaria in an attempt to emphasise our hybrid nature. Ironically, this happened to remove the only spec with real hybrid functionality: the bear-cat. Druids are now the first class in World of Warcraft to have four specialisations: Feral (Cat) and Feral (Bear) have been separated into Feral and Guardian, respectively.

A lot of other utility and cross-role abilities are now missing from each Druid spec, as our spell books have been streamlined. For example, non-Restoration Druids have lost access to Lifebloom, Regrowth, and Nourish, while non-Feral/Guardian Druids have lost access to Skull Bash and many of the DPS or tanking tools necessary to perform those roles. In return, we have been granted passive buffs that allow us to do as best we can with what we have left, and the hybrid functionality that remains has been made a lot less punitive to use.

For Restoration Druids specifically, not a great deal has changed beyond a few quality-of-life issues. Lifebloom and Harmony should now work together more nicely, leaving us with more GCDs to play with our new toys – a burst healing tool and … wait for it … a tank cooldown! Besides these new abilities, however, our healing will remain largely the same; we are still the kings of throughput, and we will still blanket the raid in HoTs.

This article will focus on the changes to the Druid class that most affect Restoration, but there will be a lot of discussion of our hybrid capabilities since it is the focus of our redesign, and an interest of mine, personally. As this is all based on experience from the MoP Beta, please keep in mind that most of this information will be changing frequently; as such, I have tried to stay away from making any clear recommendations or advice until the class becomes more stable.

Design and Gameplay Changes

Core Healing Spell Changes

Harmony and Lifebloom duration increase

Don’t I look so very happy?

The biggest change for Restoration Druids in MoP compared to Cataclysm is the quality-of-life change to our Harmony and Lifebloom mechanics that has granted us a reprieve from the severe GCD limitations of our playstyle.

Lifebloom’s duration has been increased to 15 seconds, and Harmony (our active Mastery buff) has had its duration extended to 20 seconds. We can now keep our Mastery active by using Swiftmend on cooldown, and we have a lot of breathing room to be able to refresh our Lifebloom on the tank. This simplifies our Mastery a lot, making it effectively no different from a passive buff, since we should be using Swiftmend more frequently than once every 20 seconds.

The Lifebloom change is definitely a boon for raiding Restoration Druids, allowing us more flexibility with our GCDs. However, the change is less welcome for PvPers, which is why there is now a Glyph that will reduce the Lifebloom duration to 10 seconds and prevent your direct heals from refreshing its duration.

Furthermore, Lifebloom stacks can be transferred from one player to another with a single spellcast. So long as your Lifebloom has more than 3 seconds remaining on its duration, and so long as you are not in Incarnation: Tree of Life form, casting Lifebloom on a new target will transfer all of the stacks from the old target to the new. This used to be achievable only through a Glyph, but patch 5.4 has made this behaviour baseline.

Innervate has been reworked in patch 5.4 to provide Restoration Druids with an incentive to use Spirit. The new Innervate mechanic restores 50% of your Spirit as mana every second for 10 seconds, so in other words, you will receive 500% of your Spirit as mana return. To avoid punishing fresh Level 90 Druids, this has a “floor” of 8% of your mana, meaning that no matter how low your Spirit, it will always regenerate at least 24,000 mana. In order to come out “even” with how Innervate operated in prior patches, players would need to reach 12,000 Spirit (12,000 x 5 = 60,000).

In Patch 5.3, Druids who raid 25-player content received a huge buff to their Tranquility cooldown. Rather than healing only 5 targets each time it “pulses”, in 25-player content Tranquility will heal 12 targets each time. This is a 2.4-times increase in the healing it does, and it has made Tranquility incredibly powerful in this setting.

Nature’s Swiftness, which was a Talent in the level 30 tier in previous patches, has become baseline for Restoration Druids (and Balance Druids) in patch 5.4. This Talent is still best used with Regrowth, as it increases the healing dealt by both the direct heal and the HoT portions and lengthens the HoT.

Tree of Life still exists in the Incarnation Talent, accessible at level 60. The model remains the “skeevy broccoli” of Cataclysm, and can no longer be glyphed to resemble the Treant. Unfortunately, Tree of Life no longer empowers Wrath casts, perhaps to give the talent less synergy with Nature’s Vigil in the level 90 tier.

Finally, all Restoration Druids receive Living Seed, Malfurion’s Gift, and Swift Rejuvenation upon choosing their spec. These used to be “optional” talents in the Restoration tree in Cataclysm, although the only truly optional talent amongst them was Living Seed. Living Seed can now stack to a value equal to up to 50% of the casting Druid’s health, and is more responsive to incoming damage, making it more useful on non-tank members of the raid. It will also not proc when the target is on full health (e.g. if they are struck by an ability but its damage was fully absorbed by shields). Druids should see an increase in their Living Seed throughput thanks to these changes.

Utility Spell Changes

Rebirth will now return targets to life with 60% health and 20% mana, up from 20% health and 20% mana. This is a significant improvement in that the Glyph of Rebirth is no longer mandatory, and since Restoration Druids actually have a wealth of excellent Glyphs to choose from, this will allow us much greater flexibility in glyphing our characters. While there still may be some encounters where a full-health resurrection is required, in most situations a 60% health resurrection will suffice if the resurrected player is careful about popping back up at a safe time.

Many of our remaining utility spells with shapeshifting requirements have been redesigned to be usable from any form, but to shift you into the appropriate form when used. You may now Growl, Dash, Prowl, and Stampeding Roar all from your caster form, without having to fumble for your shapeshifting keybind and then find the ability you want to cast on your replacement action bar. This will make it a lot less painful to use our utility tools during combat.

PvP and soloing Resto Druids will be saddened to learn that Nature’s Grasp has been reduced to a single charge. The charge remains for 45 seconds or until used, and the ability retains its 1-minute cooldown. This is a pretty significant nerf to the ability compared to Live, which may have been intended to compensate for the fact that Disentanglement is now baseline for all Druid specs. Unfortunately, since Restoration already had Disentanglement, this represents a net loss for our spec.

Faerie Fire’s Weakened Armor component now lasts only 30 sec, while the Faerie Fire anti-stealth debuff lasts 5 minutes. It is now much less appealing to have your raid’s Resto Druid stack Faerie Fire on the boss in lieu of sunders, since they would have to refresh the buff so frequently.

What We’re Missing

Specific to our role, Restoration Druids are losing two abilities. We no longer have the passive Gift of Nature that improved all our healing spells by 25%; presumably, all of our healing spells have this 25% bonus baked in, which is made possible by the removal of all but Rejuvenation and Healing Touch from the non-Restoration specs. Additionally, we have lost Revitalize (and by association, Replenishment), as the developers are trying to remove external, potentially unbalanced sources of mana regeneration from the game, to allow us greater flexibility in raid composition.

In the survivability department, we have lost access to two talented abilities from Cataclysm: Perseverence (reduced spell damage) and Nature’s Ward (free self-Rejuvenation when taking damage below 50% health). We are similarly missing Fury of Stormrage, which gave us free Wrath casts with a chance to proc instant Starfires; this makes some sense as we can no longer cast Starfire (see below).

We have also been stripped of a lot of utility or off-role abilities from our various shapeshift forms. The table below lists the abilities that we had access to in Cataclysm, but are missing from our spell books now.

Abilities No Longer Accessible to Resto:
Bear Form Caster Form Cat Form
Demoralizing Roar
Feral Faerie Fire
Savage Defense
Skull Bash
Gift of Nature
Insect Swarm
Wild Mushroom: Detonate
Feral Faerie Fire
Savage Roar
Skull Bash
Tiger’s Fury

14 Responses to Druid Changes

  1. Ursa @ Twisting Nether says:

    This is a very solid guide. Thanks for the work. Consider your blog followed.

  2. Ushîo says:

    How up to date is this guide?

    • Dedralie says:

      Hey Ushio, this guide is up to date for build 15929, the current Beta build. With less than 2 months to the release date I’m hoping that I won’t have to completely re-do all of it :D

      • steve says:

        hey love the guids first off. I got a disc priest but cant stand the play style changes they made so have decided to reroll paladin or druid, which do you think is a better choice come mop since the recent blue post about paladin nerfs

      • Dedralie says:

        Hi steve, I think even with Paladin bug fixes and the changes GC just announced coming up, Paladins will always be strong healers. Druids are in a wonderful spot right now too, although not much has changed for them, play-style-wise, from Cataclysm. I think you should play whichever class appeals to you the most, or if you play with a group and don’t really have a preference, whichever class synergises the best with your other players.

  3. JoeBravo says:

    while reading the symbiosis section: you state you can’t heal during deterrence. Have you tried this, as the tooltip says you only can’t attack. e.g. the hunter version also lets you use non-offensive actions like mend pet, tame pet etc

    • Dedralie says:

      Yep, I tested it and was unable to cast spells. I didn’t try everything, because I was relying on the generosity of a random /trade hunter to let me test, but I was unable to cast Rejuvenation or Wild Growth. :-(

  4. Regeneration says:

    Excellent guide :) rolled a Druid not to long ago and was looking for a comprehensive outlook as to the changes made due to the patch… I have have found all I need here, thank you so much :)


  5. Kitten says:

    “The model remains the “skeevy broccoli” of Cataclysm” all resto druids should stand a while and contemplate their resto form and the luna universe for the duration of Incarnation without the old glyph and no casting.

  6. ryklin says:

    Hey, I was just curious since I came back late in 5.3 and am now back in raiding for 5.4,
    once we reach somewhere over 25% mastery buffed, should I start gearing some crit before taking up the heavy task of the 6th rejuv tick?

    or am I math’ing wrong or not noticing something?

    it seems like all our spells now get 100% bonus or better now other than bloom? (I’m still not sure whether or not blooms base healing can crit too)

    I tried looking up some leading guilds druids and most either seemed to be pushing mastery or spirit to the extreme, but that didn’t seem right to me.

    • Dedralie says:

      Hi Ryklin,

      I’m surprised you found a lot of top druids running heavy Spirit/Mastery, because I was under the impression that the prevailing wisdom was 13613 Haste for that 6th tick of Rejuv plus a LOT of additional throughput from perma-Efflorescence.

      Since 1% Haste correlates to a 1% increase in Efflo healing now that Efflorescence is essentially infinite duration, and it only takes 425 Haste Rating to reach 1% Haste as opposed to 480 Mastery Rating to reach 1% Mastery, you’ll get more bang for your buck out of Haste when it comes to Efflorescence itself. Especially right now if you can convince your guild to do some quick and easy Heroic ToT runs so you can get 2p t15 Heroic gear – which gives you an additional target on Efflorescence healing – Efflo can be more of your throughput than Rejuv.

      Hasting up to the 6th tick of Rejuv is a 16.6% increase in its throughput over the 3043 Haste mark, so if you can reach that 13613 Haste breakpoint without giving up more than 16% Mastery, you ought to come out ahead.

      While there’s nothing inherently wrong with gearing Crit, I don’t see a benefit in doing it over Mastery. Resto Druids get pretty much 1% throughput out of 1% Crit (a little more now due to Living Seed, but that’s only from your direct heals, which you really aren’t going to be using that often), but it takes 600 Crit Rating to reach 1% Crit. You’ll get more mileage out of Mastery than Crit. If you really can’t reach the 13613 Haste breakpoint – either utterly unable to due to item level, or because you can’t bear to drop the Mastery it’d take to get there – you may as well just keep stacking that Mastery :)

      As to whether Wild Mushroom: Bloom’s base healing can Crit … I sat on the PTR and cast WMs and bloomed them 3 seconds later, again and again, for 2 1/2 hours. (No charging-them-up, so it was ONLY the base heal.) I did not get a single Critical heal. Every heal was within my calculated expectations for how large the base heal should be. Now, it is technically possible that I just got suuuuuper unlucky … but I doubt it. I drew the conclusion that the base heal cannot Crit.

      I hope this helped! Feel free of course to ask more or to correct me, I only play my Druid as an alt and I’m nowhere near the gear and skill level required to advise Druids looking at high-level heroic progression, for example :)

      • ryklin says:

        woah you surprised me with the fast response, so I just checked when I got up for class today

        you did help with some of it (especially the part about bloom, that helps me a ton) but what my issue was is that I wanted to make sure that I’m right about the following
        mastery is 1% of your healing before mastery is applied for 480
        then crit rating is 600 for a 1% total other than bloom (so maybe a total increase of about 80-90% depending on the fight
        (so at about 25% mastery and beyond crit starts to improve depending on the situation)
        at such a point mastery becomes 600 points for a 1.25% increase to your healing before mastery (or about a 1% increase to your total healing and should continue to slowly de-value if I am correct)

        however since mastery doesn’t apply multiplicative with itself and crit does scale multiplicative with mastery, and that it scales better with the new 2 piece which since I wasn’t geared, I’m not going to bother too much with the old heroic tot bonuses as I think the guild I joined (who aren’t too great, but are a fun bunch, we barely got normal garrosh down now) would take some time to grab them

        so since I am rolling the new set, I figured I’d want to check in on the value of crit and make sure that what I stated above is correct, if so I plan to sit in the 27-30% mastery range buffed as crit and haste will begin to become more efficient sources of throughput at that point

        I also need to find out whether or not whether the new 4-piece can have critical effects and is affected by mastery, but I can figure that out later on my own easily once I get it

        anyways, thanks a ton Dedralie

      • Dedralie says:

        I tested the t16 4-pc and it is not affected by Mastery, nor can it Crit.

        I am going to have to think about your Crit/Mastery question a bit more. (I am taking a brief break from getting my ass kicked at squash right now, and as such do not have any spreadsheets handy! :-P) I will try to get back to you soonish; still have lots of guides to write though! :-)

  7. ryklin says:

    just a reminder, but I’m sure you already know that regrowth (gyphed) and bloom do not scale w/ crit so it changes situationally, but since bloom is such a large part of my healing on fights where theres actually healing that matters, I think it’s probably best to just take mastery until you get to something extreme like 40% then some crit or just take the new haste breakpoint once I get that kind of gear, anyways good luck on making a descriptive klaaxi guide

    anyways thanks as always

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