About a week and a half ago my wife decided to finally start playing around with her Mist of Pandaria expansion, which naturally got my attention and made me want to give it a shot as well. One play session led to another, and here I am writing leveling guides again.
So hello once again, my wonderful readers. I hope you’re ready for some light reading.
As always, I post guides based on the characters that I am playing at the time, so that I can give advice based on actual experience within the level ranges that I’m describing. I don’t write guides for a class that I already have at max level and just assume that how it works at end game is the same early on because I know that is not always the case. So, you’ll see in this first MoP leveling guide that I’m writing about Resto Druid leveling because that’s what I’ve done with my own since level 10. I will write about the other Druid specs when and if I decide to level one.
Playing a Resto Druid
For most of the leveling experience, leveling as Resto will play very much like leveling as Balance. You won’t have the same spell selection or the Eclipse mechanic, but you’ll be flinging Wrath and Moonfire spells like a mad (wo)man. If you choose to level in PvP or by running dungeons, then of course you’ll be spending most of your time healing people rather than casting your offensive spells, but we’ll get into that aspect further on down the line.
As a Resto Druid you’re going to find that you are about as close to immortal as anyone can get. You don’t have the killing power that some of the other healers have because of your limited spell selection, but you do have some of the most efficient and effective heals that money can buy. Add to that increased survival from having Bear Form and increased mobility from Cat Form, Travel Form, and even Aquatic Form, and you’ve got one incredibly durable healer.
Important Spells & Abilities
In this section you will see a spell name which links you to Wowhead, followed by a number in parenthesis which represents the level at which you learn the spell, followed by a description of the spell’s effect. Any numbers listed in those descriptions will be based on the maximum level of the guide, in this case 30, and based purely on the numbers in Wowhead’s database (which are occasionally wrong).
Druids tend to have more spells than everyone else on the face of the planet, mostly thanks to their different shapeshifted forms that have their own spells associated with them. I’m going to go ahead and include those in this list mostly because they do offer some decent DPS options at the lower levels when you don’t feel like spamming Wrath until your fingers go numb.
- Wrath (1): Causes 98-124 Nature damage to the target.
- Moonfire (4): Burns the enemy for 28-34 Arcane damage and then 91 additional Arcane damage over 14 seconds.
I’m going to go over damaging spells first, despite this being a healer’s guide, because if you’re questing solo then you need to know how to go about earning that experience and you’re not going to kill things with Rejuvenation. (Un)Fortunately, it’s a very short list. As far as damaging spells goes, you’re going to be spamming Wrath and weaving in an occasional Moonfire when you’re trying to kill things solo. Another option you have is to use your Cat or Bear forms, preferably Cat, to deal physical damage as well. You can pretty safely quest in Agility gear and still effectively heal yourself to get by in the solo questing game, but somewhere in your 30’s or 40’s you’ll get an ability that converts your Intellect into Agility while using Cat form which will make that much more effective.
Personally, I just stick with casting my spells and using the animal forms purely for movement. I’ll go over rotations in a section further down the post.
- Rejuvenation (3): Heals the target instantly for 210 and every 3 seconds for 12 seconds.
- Nourish (8): Heals a friendly target for 305-353. Heals an additional 20% if you have a Rejuvenation, Regrowth, Lifebloom, or Wild Growth effect active on the target.
- Swiftmend (10): Instantly heals a friendly target that has an active Rejuvenation or Regrowth effect for 691. In addition, restores 691 health to the three most injured allies within 8 yards of the initial target every 1 second for 7 seconds.
- Revive (12): Restores a dead target to life with 35% of their maximum health and mana. Cannot be cast during combat.
- Regrowth (18): Heals a friendly target for 486-542 and another 2,361 over 6 seconds. Regrowth has a 60% increased chance for a critical effect.
- Nature’s Cure (22): Removes Magic, Curse, and Poison effects from a friendly target.
- Healing Touch (26): Heals a friendly target for 914-1,078.
- Nature’s Swiftness (30 Talent): When activated, your next Cyclone, Entangling Roots, Healing Touch, Hibernate, Nourish, Rebirth, or Regrowth becomes instant, free, and castable in all forms. The healing and duration of the spell is increased by 50%.
Rejuvenation is your bread and butter heal, apply liberally. Nourish is a nice filler heal that has a low mana cost. Swiftmend is a spell you only get if you pick the Restoration spec, and it’s a fantastic heal. Revive is how you bring people back to life after they do something stupid. Regrowth is another great heal, this one provides both direct healing and healing over time and it also packs a very large crit chance.
Nature’s Cure is your cleanse, something you certainly want to familiarize yourself with; just don’t forget it has an 8 second cooldown so it shouldn’t be wasted on things that aren’t going to matter. Healing Touch is a very powerful heal, but it has a long cast time and a huge mana cost so you should only use it when you really need it or when you have a spell or a proc that makes it cost no mana.
Nature’s Swiftness is a talent spell that you get only if you take the talent, but I wanted to include it here since it’s the talent I suggest for level 30, great for making things instant, free, and more effective.
- Entangling Roots (7): Roots the target in place for 30 seconds. Damage caused may interrupt the effect.
- Teleport: Moonglade (15): Teleports the caster to the Moonglade.
- Travel Form (16): Shift into travel form, increasing movement speed by 40%. Only usable outdoors.
- Aquatic Form (16): Shift into aquatic form, increasing swim speed by 50% and allowing you to breath underwater. Only usable in water.
- Faerie Fire (24): Prevents the target from stealthing or turning invisible, and causes 3 applications of Weakened Armor (-12% armor total).
Entangling Roots is a pretty important spell for you to know about if you’re going to do a lot of solo play. On the one hand, you’re a healer and you can probably sit through several mobs stabbing you in the face for a good long while, but since one of your two damaging spells is a damage over time spell (DoT), it helps sometimes to nuke the mob, DoT them, and then Root them in place to let your DoT deal it’s damage while you either start attacking another mob or you heal yourself if you’ve taken a lot of damage.
Teleport: Moonglade is for class quests, herbalism training, a vendor item or two that can sell well on the AH, and easy access to the northern portion of the Kalimdor map. Travel Form and Aquatic Form are both for faster traveling from one point to another, with Travel Form typically being much more valuable than Aquatic.
Faerie Fire has little use for you in solo play, unless you’re fighting mobs in your Cat/Bear forms frequently. In dungeons you should cast this on all of the bosses you come across to help your team kill them faster. In PvP this should be cast on ALL THE THINGS, especially Rogues, Druids, and Mages so that they cannot enter stealth or use Invisibility on you.
- Cat Form (6): Shift into Cat Form (DPS), increasing auto-attack damage by 100% and movement speed by 25%.
- Mangle (6): Deals Physical damage to the target, generates 1 combo point.
- Ferocious Bite (8): Finishing move that causes damage per combo point and consumes up to 25 additional Energy to increase damage by up to 100%.
- Prowl (6): Enter Stealth mode, reducing movement speed by 30%.
- Rake (8): Rake the taret for Bleed damage and additional Bleed damage over 15 seconds.
- Swipe (22): Swipe nearby enemies, inflicting physical damage. Deal 20% additional damage to bleeding targets.
- Dash (26): Removes all roots and snares, increases movement speed by 70% while in Cat Form for 15 seconds.
- Bear Form (8): Shift into Bera Form (Tank), increasing armor contribution for cloth and leather by 120%, Haste and Crit from items by 50%, and Stamina by 20%.
- Growl (8): Taunts the target to attack you.
- Mangle (8): Deals Physical damage to the target, generates Rage.
- Maul (8): Maul the target for 110% weapon damage, +20% additional damage against bleeding targets.
- Swipe (22): Swipe nearby enemies, inflicting physical damage. Deal 20% additional damage to bleeding targets.
Cat Form deserves some special attention here, not because of the damage you can do in it, but because it gives a 25% speed increase while it’s active. Moving around quickly means you’re leveling more quickly, and you get this speed increase available to you at level 6 which is a good 9 levels faster than anyone else is able to increase their speed assuming they even get a speed increase in the first place. If you do decide to deal some damage in Cat form, I’ve got rotations listed in a section below for you to see how to use it.
Bear Form won’t be used by you much at all. It does have better survivability, so it isn’t bad, but its damage is low and it’s otherwise not very thrilling for a Resto Druid. In PvP you might use Bear Form more often if you happen to be carrying a flag, but that’s probably the most you’ll ever use Bear form. If you have a decent amount of Haste on your gear, then you can abuse Bear form a bit by shifting into Bear, casting Nature’s Swiftness (level 30 talent) and then Regrowth can give you a very powerful heal with an even more powerful HoT. When will you need that super heal? Uh, probably never while you’re leveling. Doesn’t hurt to be aware of it though, right?
Leveling a Resto Druid
- Questing Single Target (Caster): Wrath, Wrath, Moonfire, Wrath spam
- Questing Single Target (Cat): Wrath, Moonfire, Cat Form, Rake, Mangle, Mangle, Ferocious Bite
- Questing Multi-Target (Caster): Wrath & Moonfire the first target, Moonfire two more, Rejuvenation, Moonfire the rest, repeat
- Questing Multi-Target (Cat): Wrath first target, Moonfire everything, Rejuvenation, Cat Form, Swipe, Swipe, Swipe, repeat
Questing Single Target
When you’re going after a single target, just burn them down with your spells. You might not be specced for damage, but that doesn’t mean your Intellect and Spellpower can’t be put to good use nuking the crap out of things. If you’re far away from your target when you pull then go ahead and double-cast Wrath so that you can take advantage of the time the first spell takes to travel to the target to cast the second one. If you’re already close to them though, just do one Wrath to start it off, then Moonfire, then go back to Wrath spam.
If you want to add some Cat damage to your rotation, go ahead and start with your spells anyway unless you’re already within melee range. From there you want to get Rake’s DoT effect active and then use Mangle for burst damage. You can use another Mangle in place of Ferocious Bite if you’d like, I just hate to see combo points go to waste so I tend to use it when I can.
You won’t have access to an AoE spell as a Druid until you get Hurricane at level 44, so if you want to take on multiple mobs then you need to do it with your Moonfire DoT instead. Open on the first mob with Wrath for direct damage and Moonfire for DoT, Moonfire to pull a couple more mobs, Rejuvenation yourself to get some heals rolling, apply the DoT to everything else you want to pull and then start over. Now, Rejuv by itself may or may not be strong enough to keep you up during that fight, so if you need to throw some more heals on there then do so. Regrowth plus Rejuv works really well for me in most cases, but you might also need to throw Swiftmend in there for good measure (just make sure you stand inside it’s area effect on the ground so you get continued healing from it as well). Use one encounter to judge how many mobs you can handle in the next. If you needed to heal a lot then don’t pull as many next time, but if you didn’t need much healing at all then try adding another mob or four into your next pull.
If you want to throw in some kitty power, then you’re going to pretty much do the same thing as you would in caster version except that you’ll switch to Cat Form for Swipe spam after you light everyone up with Moonfire. You can cast Swipe twice with a full Energy bar, and then just auto-attack for a couple of seconds until the energy builds up enough for the third Swipe. At that point, you want to go back to caster form because your Energy is going to refill too slowly to be much use where your spells will be much more helpful; and you’ll likely need more healing at that point as well.
When you start fighting groups of mobs instead of singles, always start with just 2-3 and work your way up. You want to get a feel for how much damage they deal, how quickly you can kill them, and what kind of special abilities they might have that could end up killing you if you’re not prepared for it. You’ll find mobs all across the leveling spectrum now that have various forms of crowd control spells, and you need to be aware of which mobs can stun, knockback, or silence before you go and agro ten of them and find yourself unable to heal.
Druids are unique healers because they focus on healing over time (HoT) spells instead of direct heals. This means that Druid healers can sometimes seem more boring to play early on because a HoT will keep someone topped off for several seconds where a direct heal would simply heal for it’s amount and then be done. If you’re running dungeons with a well geared tank and DPS who don’t make you want to slam your face through a table whilst flipping said table, then you often cast a HoT or two before the tank pulls and then cast DPS spells for the rest of the encounter and your tank will still be a full health at the end of the fight.
Healing versus Mana
For the most part, you aren’t going to have to worry about mana at all while you’re leveling unless you’re weaving heals and damage spells constantly for a lengthy amount of time. But, if you’re going to be effective at healing when you’re max level, then you should still be aware of what these spells cost you in relation to how much healing you’re getting out of them in return. Healing amounts listed are averaged in the case of spells which have a healing range.
|SPELL NAME||MANA COST||CAST TIME||DIRECT HEAL||HoT HEAL||COOLDOWN|
|Rejuvenation||16%||0 sec||210||840||0 sec|
|Nourish||10.2%||2.5 sec||329 (395)||0||0 sec|
|Swiftmend||8.5%||0 sec||691||4,837 x3||15 sec|
|Regrowth||29.7%||1.5 sec||514||2,361||0 sec|
|Nature’s Cure||15.8%||0 sec||0||0||8 sec|
|Healing Touch||28.9%||2.5 sec||996||0||0 sec|
|Nature’s Swiftness||0%||0 sec||0||0||60 sec|
I’m not going to get into hardcore math here, and I’m going to leave out all of the modifiers such as spellpower and crit chance. In fact, I’m going to skip almost all of the math here and just let you look at the table. I know not everyone is going to take the time to actually look at that table, so here’s the summary for you.
If you want cheap heals, throw Rejuvenation on everyone who’s taking damage. If you want a big heal, cast Swiftmend if you can, Regrowth if you need it fast, or Health Touch if you’ve got time to spare.
How To Heal
For solo leveling you should be able to get by just fine with little more than Rejuvenation and an occasional Swiftmend to keep you alive even in dire situations. If you need to root something in place and then move away to get out of melee range then you can heal yourself back to full with Healing Touch or Regrowth followed by a Rejuvenation.
If you’re running dungeons, then again Rejuvenation is your primary healing spell that you want to cast on everyone taking damage. Swiftmend will offer nice burst healing in your tank gets in a bind or your DPS are getting hit hard. Regrowth combined with Rejuvenation will keep your tank alive and well during any moderate-to-high damage boss fights. Nourish is good if you want to provide little bursts of direct healing to keep people topped off, and it’s one of the more mana efficient spells we have, just try to make sure the target has a HoT on them so you get that extra 20% healing from Nourish. Healing Touch takes the same amount of time to cast as Nourish, but it heals for about three times as much and also costs almost three times as much mana. So use Healing Touch if people are really taking some serious damage, but don’t plan on spamming this sucker with that mana cost. Stick to your HoT’s as much as possible and get a feel for how much damage someone can take and still survive thanks to your HoT’s. If someone isn’t below about 50% of their max health, then you probably don’t need to bother with casting a direct heal on them, just let your HoT’s do their job and refresh the HoT’s as needed.
For PvP you’re going to focus primarily on fast cast times. Rejuvenation is your primary heal again, and Swiftmend maintains it’s priority for high healing situations. Regrowth becomes much more important because time is almost always an issue and in PvP it’s better to heal someone and keep them alive than it is to worry about your mana. Healing Touch brings some powerful healing, but be careful with it’s large cast time or you might find yourself mid-cast when everyone’s dying around you. Nature’s Cure will see much more use here than anywhere else in the leveling process, but with an 8 second cooldown make sure you’re cleansing effects that matter and not something you can easily heal through or ignore.
Nature’s Swiftness: This spell doesn’t heal on it’s own and it can be used for more than just healing, but it deserves to be mentioned here regardless. This spell makes your next spell instant, cost zero mana, and increases the healing and duration of the spell by 50%. It also allows you to cast those spells regardless of which form you happen to be in, so you can cast a heal while you’re on the run in Cat/Travel/Aquatic form. If you want a massive heal, use it with Healing Touch. If you want a powerful HoT, then use it with Regrowth. I prefer to utilize Nature’s Swiftness through the use of macros which I’ll share with you here:
/castsequence Nature’s Swiftness, Healing Touch
/castsequence Nature’s Swiftness, Regrowth
You use /castsequence instead of just /cast here because there’s a little glitch of sorts if you use /cast that will make you pop out of different forms when using it, and then not actually cast the spell that you want unless you activate the macro again.
- Feline Swiftness: Increases your movement speed by 15%.
- Nature’s Swiftness: When activated, your next Cyclone, Entangling Roots, Healing Touch, Hibernate, Nourish, Rebirth, or Regrowth becomes instant, free, and castable in all forms. The healing and duration of the spell is increased by 50%.
For your level 15 talent, you really can’t go wrong with any of the three choices. I prefer Feline Swiftness because it increases all of your movement by 15% no matter where you are or what kind of movement you’re dealing with, and constantly moving faster means leveling faster. Displacer Beast is also a really great talent (especially for PvP), allowing you to teleport 20 yards forward every 30 seconds. Wild Charge offers different kinds of movement based on which form you’re currently in and I don’t care as much for it just because I want more control over my movement and I don’t feel that all Wild Charges were created equal.
For the level 30 talent, I find Nature’s Swiftness to be overall more useful during the leveling process, regardless of what type of leveling you do. Renewal is good if you’re going to do more PvP or if you’re pushing more challenging content since it can instantly heal you for 30%, but for typical leveling it’s not necessary. Cenarion Ward is like a reactive healing bubble that kicks in after a target takes damage. With how strong HoT’s are in the leveling game, I felt that this spell was incredibly unnecessary, so I haven’t even bothered trying it out yet.
- Glyph of Rejuvenation: When you have Rejuvenation active on three or more targets, the cast time of your Nourish spell is reduced by 30%.
- Glyph of Healing Touch: When you cast Healing Touch, the cooldown on your Swiftmend is reduced by 1 second.
- Glyph of Regrowth: Increases the critical chance of your Regrowth by 40%, but removes the periodic component of the spell.
Most of the major glyphs really don’t matter much to you while you’re leveling, at least not at low levels. My preference is Rejuvenation because I like to level via dungeons and PvP so it’s pretty common for me to have multiple Rejuvenations running at the same time and Nourish spam can add up pretty quick when someone is being focused. Healing Touch isn’t too bad, but it should be pretty rare that you’re going to need multiple big heals in a short period of time at this stage of the game. Regrowth gives you a 100% chance to crit at the expense of no longer having a HoT effect from the spell. It’s fantastic for PvP, but for running dungeons and probably solo questing as well I’d rather have the HoT, personally, but it’s your call.
- Glyph of Aquatic Form: Increases your swim speed by 50% while in aquatic form.
- Glyph of the Stag: Your Travel Form can now be used as a mount by a party member.
- Glyph of the Treant: Teaches you the ability Treant Form.
None of these really matters, so just pick the one that you want. The first one I always go for is Aquatic Form, and I do so strictly because it has an actual, measurable effect in the game by allowing you to swim faster. Stag is cool if you’re grouping, allowing a party member to ride you (/gasp). Treant changes your physical appearance to be the old tree that used to be associated with healing druids, but as far as I’m aware it doesn’t have any impact at all on your spells like it did previously, it’s purely cosmetic.
Gearing Up Your Resto Druid
Gearing up your Resto Druid in this level range is pretty simple and straight forward.
Spellpower >= Intellect > Haste > Crit > Spirit
At this early stage, you shouldn’t have to worry about regen at all, so just focus on stacking Spellpower and Intellect for stronger heals, Haste to try to get more healing ticks in on your HoT’s, Crit because every time a HoT ticks it can be a crit, and Spirit because regen never hurts even if it doesn’t necessarily help (yet) either.
Stat priority will change as you get higher in level, but for 1-30 all you really care about is Intellect and Spellpower, the rest is just gravy.