My Druid Changes page and the Restoration Druid spreadsheet therein are now fully updated for patch 5.3. Swing by if you have any questions!
Patch 5.3 has brought some significant changes to the overall healing landscape. With some healers’ raid cooldowns becoming more potent in 25-player content, and some rebalancing done to other classes (notably Discipline Priest), you may find your healing meters looking a little more volatile than you’re used to. Lucky for you, Restoration Druids were not on the business end of the “nerf hammer”! So here’s a summary of what has changed for you in 5.3.
Perhaps the largest change that will affect the average Druid, Restoration or otherwise, is the recent increase in the number of targets each “pulse” of Tranquility will heal when used in 25-player content (e.g. LFR and 25-player raids). Instead of healing only 5 targets per pulse, it now heals 12 targets – a 2.4-times increase in its throughput! This has turned Tranquility into a bit of an “I WIN” button for Restoration Druids in these raid difficulties. Many Druids are seeing Tranquility in their top-3 healing spells with this change.
This change also applies to the Shadow Priest version of Tranquility gained via Symboisis. While this does beef up that ability significantly, it still doesn’t make it worth using, especially since their Vampiric Embrace just got a similar treatment! I still recommend avoiding Shadow Symbiosis, unless of course Leap of Faith trolling is crucial to your raid’s success 😉
Next up in the change log (… wink wink) is the insane buff that Wild Mushroom: Bloom has received in this patch. Basically, its healing has been doubled. And in my mind, this changes the way the spell should be used rather significantly.
In Patch 5.2, I came to love Wild Mushroom: Bloom. I used it as a tank heal on fights like Ji-Kun, Durumu, and Horridon, where player movement was erratic/unpredictable and tank healing was the most stressful part. I used it as a raid heal on fights like Jin’Rokh, Megaera, and Tortos, where I could ensure all three Mushrooms would hit targets. I would place them well in advance of the mechanic I intended to react to, and let them charge to full just by passive Rejuvenation overhealing – rarely casting additional Rejuvenations just to charge them – and I would ensure that they were capped before Blooming.
Now, all this will change. Why? Because each Mushroom now stores 50% of the overheal that is done by Rejuvenation, so when there are three Mushrooms out, this is 150% of the overhealing of Rejuvenation. Yes, that’s right – Mushrooms now store more healing than you could have done with those Rejuvenation casts even if they were 100% effective. In order to get more out of Mushrooms than you did with Rejuvenation, the Mushroom healing only needs to be 66% effective (less than 33% overheal). And because they accumulate healing so quickly now, the heal they deliver can be quite large even if you do not allow them to fully charge up! Also, the radius of its healing effect has been increased to 10 yards, making the Mushrooms a little more forgiving.
It’s time to get creative with your Wild Mushrooms! Yes, the most ideal use will be to have the entire raid stacked on your Mushrooms, to charge them up to full right as the damaging mechanic occurs, and then to Bloom them immediately to steal all the other healers’ healing muwahahahahahahahaha …
… But there are still a lot of encounters where that’s just plain not feasible. The damage may come more quickly than you can charge the Mushrooms, e.g. Heroic Iron Qon’s Fist Smash phase, or players may be spread out, or the fight may involve high movement, e.g. Heroic Primordius. In these situations, bloom the Mushrooms before they cap. Bloom them whenever they’ll be at least 66% effective. Or if your raid moves away from them, but there’s still a few stragglers left behind who surely don’t need all that healing, Bloom them anyway.
For spread fights, spread your Mushrooms around; they’re potent enough now that blowing up 1 Mushroom on a cluster of just a few players will still provide significant healing. Keep one near the tank(s) so you can react quickly to heavy tank damage. Drop raid markers on your Mushrooms for Tortos so players can stack near them just before Quake Stomp, and mash that Bloom button while you’re stunned. Look for ways to use them, because they are amazing.
Basically, now that Wild Mushroom: Bloom actually increases the potential throughput from Rejuvenation, it’s worth using them almost rotationally. Obviously, you want to tailor it to the damage pattern of the fight, and you don’t want to run yourself OOM trying to charge them up every 10 seconds so you can get maximum Bloomage on CD. But you should always have Mushrooms down, you should be casting Rejuvenation on at least one target that is not likely to take damage in order to charge the Mushrooms up, and you should be Blooming them way, way more frequently than you previously were.
Next up, Force of Nature got a revamp in 5.3 to vastly improve the Treant AI and casting fluidity. Instead of summoning 3 Treants all at once with a minute CD, the new Talent now has 3 charges that restore over 20 seconds, and it is off the GCD. You can choose to summon all 3 at once with 3 presses of the keybind, or you can summon them one at a time for a more sustained coverage of the raid. The Treant will cast Swiftmend on your target when summoned, and then spam Healing Touch on injured players in the raid. For mana-free healing, it’s not bad – about 40% behind Soul of the Forest/Wild Growth in terms of sustained HPS increase and about 25% behind Tree of Life. I don’t have any specific boss fight ideas for this Talent yet, but it’s worth at least a second or third thought now!
Finally, Ironbark got a cooldown reduction. It is now usable once per minute, providing 20% damage reduction for 12 out of every 60 seconds. This is pretty potent, and gives the ability a bit more flexibility, in that you don’t have to hang on to it for your tanks and can use it a little more freely to mitigate other damage like Primordius’ Volatile Pathogen or Frost King Malakk’s Frostbite mechanic.
Some tiny little Druid-specific things that don’t need further discussion:
- Mark of the Wild is cheaper now, making it easier to re-buff targets you’ve battle-ressed during an encounter.
- Symbiosis: Intimidating Roar’s cooldown has been increased to 90 seconds.
- Swiftmend’s AoE effect radius has also been increased to 10 yards.