Resto Druid Goodness

What, here? No, not here!

No Resto Druid goodness to be found here, go ‘way!

BUT… some folks know that I play a Resto spec on my Druid sometimes, and have asked me whether I do my own research, where I find out things, etcetera, since Phaelia took her guru-ness to another plane of existence.

You want to know who I go to as my first and most revered resource when I wonder what the various Haste caps are depending on what buffs are available at the time, or which Trinkets might have more usefulness in what situations, and things like that?

I go to Tree Bark Jacket, of course. Just wonderful guides to be found there. WONDERFUL.

Keeva’s blog is also one of those that, when you visit, immediately impresses you with the wonderful graphics and site design. Just gorgeous.

As you know if you’ve visited MY actual website instead of the feed, I gave up on modifying my site design years ago. At this point, I can only gaze upon the wonder of Tree Bark Jacket in awe and admiration.

Okay, honestly, I fell in such love with Andrige’s art for my header, that I could never change it. Nevah! It looks just like me when I grin. Uncanny.

But this ain’t about me, it’s about Tree Bark Jacket!

Such pretty lights. Such beautiful posts.

All that, and amazingly awesome information, too!

Hmm, if I gush anymore, people will wonder if I got paid to write this. HAH! As far as I now, Keeva doesn’t even know I exist. This is just a random act of gushing. So there!

Tree of Life spell suggestion

This came from a discussion with Brokentree last night. So blame him!

Let’s assume for a moment that, for whatever reason you care to name, the developers are set on removing Tree of Life as a distinct, always on form in Cataclysm.

So, your new Restoration Druid default would be to heal in the caster form of your chosen race. Which, in Cataclysm, will include more than just Night Elves and Tauren.

Would Worgen Trees pee on themselves? Just a thought.

Okay, so there you are, healing as a Resto Druid in caster form.

To make the playerbase happy, they add a Glyph of the Tree, which allows you to appear in Tree of Life form all the time, perhaps based on points in the Restoration Talent Tree, if you choose.

So you could heal as a caster, or as a Tree.

But then you’ve got your spell, the spell Ghostcrawler spoke of adding, the spell that is on cooldown, and when activated does nice things for your healing.

What about calling that spell something like “Spirit of the Ancients”, and when you activate it, instead of going into the current Tree of Life form, you temporarily grow into a much larger Ancient form, such as you see patrolling in Darnassus and environs?

That way, both casters and Trees get to have their favorite healing form all the time, but no matter who they are, when they activate the “Spirit of the Ancients”, they both get a shiny new buff.

And the models are already in the system! Bonus!

I, being the Bear that I am, have already done the work of planning the most obvious jokes in advance, macroing in the following statements when activating Spirit of the Ancients;

“Doing all this healing is giving me massive wood!”
“I’m sporting tremendous wood!”
Don’t be afraid, I’m just happy to see you.”

Props go to Stonedrake for commenting in the previous thread about adding an Ancient form… clearly, great minds think alike.

So, Druids gonna see some change, huh?

I’m going to start with an assumption;

If you read my blog, you also read MMO Champion,, or the main forums, and are plugged into the “WoW news” scene, such as it is.

If not, that’s okay. I’m sure you’ll get the gist of what’s going on with Druids soon enough.

The proposed Feral changes, such as they were, were pretty good.

Plenty of stuff made me smile in the announcement, not least of which was the announcement of a new AoE threat/damage boosting ability, Thrash.

That’s nice, I think it’ll be fun in execution. However, once again, I refer you to a previous post, wherein I pointed out we have no idea how any change will actually work. The assumption would be that adding a new ability, Thrash, would add to Threat generation. However, in execution, if they dial down Swipe’s Threat/Damage as they add Thrash, balance them out so we need to use both together to equal today’s Swipe… well, see what I mean about not making silly assumptions as to how things will work until we actually get the game changes in our furry little paws? 

What mostly brought a smile to my face was the way the tanking announcements, in general and across the board, all said that the intended goal was to balance damage dealing capabilities across all tank types. To have tools in place so that if any one tank class gets ahead of the pack, they can reign them in, or if one lags behind, they can pull that one up by the bootstraps.

The concern I have is that the term they use is damage, not Threat, when talking about balance. I know that many tanks worry about damage generation comparisons with other tanks, and that there has been a lot of complaining about the high damage output of some tank classes.

I don’t care nearly as much about damage output balance as I do about threat. I really hope that when they are talking about balancing damage amongst the tank classes, they also mean threat output.

The main point to take away from tank announcements is that they are trying to change the underpinnings of the abilities and mechanics so that they have easier tools at hand to balance the classes when they decide it’s needed.

I imagine that’s one of the reasons that the Paladin review is so delayed. Paladins have a very fine tuned, race car style performance when it comes to threat and damage generation. Messing with any of it is going to cause a lot of headaches for all concerned. 

As far as Bears go, with Vengeance, and damage reduction and Thrash and everything, it looks to me that Bears will do about as well as could be expected. Tools are being added to increase the complexity/diversity of the Bear playstyle, increase our group utility (Movement speed buff? Cool!), improve AoE threat generation (hopefully with Thrash) and keep our gear diversity intact.

The only fly in the ointment would be the lack of an announced ranged Silence pull, while in their infinite wisdom they gave Rogues (Rogues?) a Smoke Bomb to force ranged spellcasters to close to melee.

Did I actually expect to get a ranged Silence pull? No, I did not. Bears have so many other tools from Cat using the same gear and (mostly) same spec, PLUS self-Heals, that I figured, from a PvP standpoint, there was just no freaking way we’d get one.

If you don’t like it, play a Pally, right? We’re Bears. Toughen up, sunshine!

I will add that while I like the Smoke Bomb idea for our Ninja leather-wearing brothers and sisters, if you can do that, c’mon guys… hows about giving a Bear a fart cloud? Although, come to think of it, that would be more along the order of a Fear, wouldn’t it?

Hmmm. Actually, a fart cloud that stuns enemies in an AoE would be fun. I bet they can’t do it because you wouldn’t be able to put in diminishing returns for the effect…

Oh well, lesson here is, Bears, make sure your best friend is a Rogue, I guess. Good thing I married one. 🙂

As far as Cats go, they said that there would be no new earthshaking, wonderful new spells. They like the rotation so much, they don’t want to fiddle with it. However, they WILL extend debuff durations and things, so there is a slightly looser window to get each ability off that depends on a previous debuff being in effect on the target, making the rotation a little more forgiving to a slight blunder.

Restoration Druids aren’t expecting to get any new spells either; Blizzard thinks the ones we have fill all the required niches.

I can feel the desire for new shinies, but I honestly don’t need something new just to have a happy button added to my bar. I look at all the excess buttons on some of my classes, like all the buttons for abilities my Mage alt almost never uses, and figure that I’m good with having a tight group of abilities that all work well together.

I don’t play a Moonkin, personally, but I love the form. I would like to say one thing about their new spell.

Why, oh why, do Druids get to be the ones bringing the magic shrooms? Now there’s nothing for it but that I go grind Sporregar rep to Exalted so I can wear the Magic Mushroom purple tabard, proclaiming my hippy druggie status to the world. 

Okay, so I’m laughing on the inside. Trust a Moonkin to look at the enemy and think, “What you really need, what you really need right now, is to get high. Here, have one of these. Oh my, look at the pretty stars. And the lights! The beautiful, glowing, pretty lights. Oh, wait, those are my spell effects as I blow you the hell up…”

Lets move on to what is shaping up to be the big drama of the teasers; Treeform on cooldown.

If you follow Restoration Druid blogs to any extent, you might have noticed a stirring in the branches, as the winds of discontent blow through the community.

Down and dirty, they’re planning on changing Treeform from being a discrete form that Druids shift into, and make it similar to a long cooldown buff. 

This changes it from being the form you are in while being a Healer fully specced into Restoration, and makes it more a “For 30 seconds you are in the form of a Tree, and healing power/whatever is increased by X amount. 2 minute cooldown.”

Or 5 minute cooldown. Or something.

The point is, it goes from being what it is now, a shapeshifting form exclusive to the deep Restoration tree, and reduces it to just another spell in the rotation. 

Now, Druids are unlikely to get a lot of outside sympathy for being unhappy about this. From the outside looking in, it resembles a simple complaint about a cosmetic change, and Ghostcrawler has already replied, saying that if Druids are so adamant about having a Tree form, they could add a Minor Glyph that would leave the Treeform appearance up all the time, but would leave the new mechanic unchanged.

I’d like to try and present a Druid’s viewpoint that cuts to the core of the matter without silly drama.

World of Warcraft has, as a large part of it’s charm, both a romantic and a mathematic side of the game.

The mathematic is represented by all things analytical; stats and mechanics and DPS curves and damage reduction by armor with diminishing returns, and all of the other things that allow a dedicated theorycrafter an opportunity to min/max their performance.

The romantic is represented by the graphical style, the non-combat pets, the rare and exotic pets Hunters can tame, the varying landscapes and cultures to visit, the tabards to wear, the mounts to ride, the clothing and gear that changes your entire appearance, the view of the tumultous sky over the mana engines of Netherstorm and the peacefulness of fishing the pools while watching the Sun set across the sea in Wetlands.

The game is not just stats and power curves and progression. It is not just preparing for, and engaging in, battle. If it were, it would be Squad Leader with a bare bones graphics interface on a Hex map.

It has those elements, that depth of complexity. But it also has the whimsical, the romantic, the things that bring the game world alive and make it so much more to a player than a set of stats on a cardboard placard or a token on a map.

The way the game is designed, and part of the continued draw of the game for me is the extent to which I can develop an emotional attachment to the characters.

It is, at it’s heart, what differentiates an MMORPG from an RTS; that I have a single character whose story throughout the World of Warcraft has some measure of escapist value for me.

Where the problem here comes in, is that from what Ghostcrawler has said, the developers are approaching this issue with only one concern; stats and effects during raids and combat.

Where the players that have Restoration Druids are coming from, is mainly from the point of view of any player with an emotional investment in the character they play.

To us, our Treeform is an ability that shows our heart is in healing. Much like Moonkin form, it is far enough down the Restoration Talent Tree that you don’t just take it as part of a hybrid spec. You have to be intending to Heal as your main function, you have to really dedicate yourself to being a supporting healer to be a Tree.

I know I’m only speaking for myself on this, but to me, I don’t see the lack of offensive spellcasting abilities in Treeform as a detriment to playing my class; I see it as a mark of honor and distinction, and symbol of my dedication to keeping your ass alive.

I don’t ever find myself railing at the cruel fates that have prevented me from casting DPS spells from Treeform. In the rare occasions that I throw down a Hurricane, mostly during the Shifted phase of the wraith boss in Violet Hold to kill the adds, I accept dropping out of Treeform as the cost of dealing damage, and I return to Treeform as soon as my brief foray into causing pain is over.

I know that Ghostcrawler seems to feel that the Treeform mechanic doesn’t add anything to the game, it doesn’t bring anything special to the Restoration Druid’s table.

It does.

What it brings is Treeform itself. What he just doesn’t seem to grasp is that Treeform, for a Restoration Druid, is a goal in and of itself. Not something to be pity Glyphed, but an outwards symbol of a Druid Healer’s resolve.

I truly hope that the developers that are trying to balance this incredibly complex game for raiding and PvP in cataclysm are reminded that there is a lot more to the game then stats.

At the end of the day, what keeps us all playing this rather than Star Fleet Battles on a MUD is our personal involvement with our characters. Our emotional investment in the class that we play.

Character involvement can be a fragile thing, and I truly hope that, before making such a significant change, the devlopers take a big step back and ask themselves; is what we expect to gain by making this change worth all that we WILL lose in terms of player goodwill?

VuhDo is da bomb for healing

Changes? Patch? I don’t know what the heck you’re talking about.

Feral? Ha! This is the all-tree, all the time channel. Didn’t you get the memo?

Since everyone in the world has told me how good healing addons are, such as Grid and Healbot, I thought I’d try one on.

I had to go outside the norm, of course.

I decided to try one that Ruune mentioned in our guild forums called VuhDo. The reason being, she said it is actively supported or influenced by hands-on feedback from the Plus Heal fora.

Well heck, Matt has his hands in offering advice for this? Let’s give it a shot!

I installed it, messed around with it a little, then forced some suckers… I mean, guildies… to go into Drak’theron Keep heroic with me to test it out.

What it does up front, of course, is arrange your party/raid nameplates into a nice grid. These names are treated as mouseover targets… and built into the addon is the ability to assign which spells you would like associated with your mouseover clicks, including regular clicks, Alt-clicks, and Ctrl-clicks.

And it is a nice, small footprint.


Now, the key here is that with the built-in ability to set up what spell gets cast when the mouse cursor is hovering over a nameplate in the VuhDo panel, I can quickly move from player to player dropping HoTs, monitoring health, topping off or refreshing HoTs, etc. Plus, since my nameplate is mixed in there too…. I don’t forget to heal myself. 🙂

Oh, did I mention that when you cast one of your class spells that has a HoT component on the target, it displays a tiny customizable colored marker on the nameplate, and a countdown timer so you can see at a glance how long everyone’s HoTs will last?

I set my click settings based on my cast priorities I’m currently using while fumbling around learning.

My normal cast priority is to put Rejuve up first, pop 3 stacks of Lifebloom (and only recast when the entire stack drops off), Swiftmend as an instant heal for topping off when health drops fast, Nourish as top off healing when I’ve got more time (or no HoTs on target), and Wild Growth for the party as a whole.

Regrowth and Healing Touch really are kinda back burner so far. Emergency situations, pretty much.

So here is my setup in the VuhDo panel for clicking without using ctrl or alt. Just mouseover a nameplate and left click, right click or center mouseclick. (My mouse is a Logitech MX510 with two thumb buttons, but they are set to Innervate right now, and I haven’t bothered fancying it up yet by changing it).


Simple yet effective. Since Rejuve is my most cast initial spell, it goes as my most comfortable/practised mouse button, the straightforward left-click. Since Lifebloom is number two on my frequently cast list, it gets a right-click. Since Swiftmend is for fast action with HoTs up, it goes on my center-click.

The Ctrl-click is the second tier of stuff.


I love Nourish as a true top off, since I can use it on anyone in the party regardless of HoT presence, and have it go pretty fast for immediate benefit. About the same mana cost as Swiftmend, more effective if the target has HoTs up, but works even if there aren’t any HoTs, unlike Swiftmend. So I put that as Ctrl-left click.

My third most frequently cast spell is Wild Growth. I like hitting the tank with that to spread some HoT love on the melee. So, since I am going to be casting frequent right-click Lifeblooms, three casts to make a stack, being able to simply add a Ctrl to the right-click to add a party HoT seems synergistic to me. Right-click, right-click, right-click, ctrl-right-click. nice and smooth.

Regrowth is on the ctrl-middle button… but I ain’t actually needed to use that yet. 🙂

Sooo…. how did it go?

I mean, the theory of how I intended to do it sounded fine, but once we were in a heroic actually using this setup for the first time, how did we fare?

Well, we decided to pull King Dred with 6 extra adds up to try for the Achievement, none of us had ever done it before… and one shot it with no deaths.


Yeah, it worked for me JUST fine.

If you look at that 5-man VuhDo panel (what you can see around the Achievement splash window), you’ll see that there is a small purple square displayed on Graimerin’s nameplate, with the number 2 inside. That is the icon showing Rejuve is on and has 2 seconds left before expiring.

You can also see the arrows around Graimerin’s name, which indicate he has aggro. This works on all nameplates, and shows you who has aggro from something at all times. If the Rogue suddenly has aggro arrows, even thought the main tank still does as well? Then you know the Rogue pulled aggro on a mob, so drop some HoTs on his butt and verbally warn the tank the Rogue went Rambo.

Finally, you see the bars showing Gift of the Wild, Thorns and Rejuve? That’s the addon Quartz. One of the things Quartz does is show you any buffs or spells that you cast, and their durations, that are on the target you’ve got selected. Since all healing with VuhDo is a mouseover without selecting or changing targets, I can select the main tank as my target, and not leave him no matter who I’m healing.

So I can have Quartz showing my Thorns buff duration on the main tank, among other uses.

The one thing you don’t see in that picture, is that when someone runs out of your cast range, their nameplate dims out. When you’re on King Dred and he fears, or you’ve got a main tank and an offtank running around grabbing adds, it is AWESOME to be able to see that someone ran out of your range, and respond instantly.

I did have one glitch in that fight, I was down to 3k mana towards the end, decided to do a proactive Innervate on myself… and used the #5 mouse button to cast it.

While my mouse pointer was hovering over Graimerin, the Paladin tank.

So Grai got a nice full mana bar, while I was sucking fumes right at the end.

“Healing on empty… healing on… healing wild… I’ve been healing on empty, now his health is behind…. gotta heal what you can, just to keep your tank alive” (My apologies to Jackson Browne).

After Drak’theron Keep was cleared, Grai had to go and beat his chillin’s into submission, so I went and joined a quick 25 man Obsidian Sanctum pug as a healer.

No further customization to VuhDo… and it hurt.

See, I use X-Perl, and in 25 man mode, my VuhDo bar uses a ton of landscape right along with all those raid frames.

Once I disabled all X-Perl unitframes on the fly, we were back in business, and I was the third healer in healing done.

I won’t describe the smoothness, or lack thereof, of that run. God, sometimes I think I do these train wrecks just so I appreciate my guildies even more.

I will say that I could by gosh stay on top of keeping Rejuve and Lifebloom up on the main tank, off tank, a lot of the party, and keep Nourish and Switftmend and Wild Growth going a lot too.

Yes, I was healing MT, OT and party all at once. The group was that much fun. 

Mah point be, I think that, from my own personal experiences, if you are a fresh new tree, you’re looking to start healing, and are fearful of figuring out how to configure Grid or something… I can strongly recommend VuhDo as an extremely noob-friendly solution, ESPECIALLY for 5 man heroics.

The key is to set your keybindings to something that feels natural to you, and have fun!