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Druid Leveling: Restoration 1-30

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.

Turn the page to find out more…

 
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Posted by on November 27, 2012 in Caster, Druid, Guide, World of Warcraft

 

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Shaman Leveling: 1-29 Restoration

Today I give you the first of the Project High Heals leveling guides, focusing today on my Restoration Shaman, Bottledwatah. At the time of my writing this she is currently sitting in her low 40’s in level, with my Holy Priest at level 30 and likely to catch up with her fairly soon.

My Shaman’s focus for this project is generalization, she’s meant to participate in all aspects of leveling pretty evenly. So far she’s done a fairly good job with that, though I have slowed down somewhat on the BG queues and questing is definitely taking longer to do in the Resto spec. I’ll get into more detail on that later on in the article.

Playing a Restoration Shaman
The Resto Shaman has been a really interesting experience so far. While I was in my teens and 20’s I was both a fantastic healer as well as an exceptional damage dealer while in my Resto spec. It was rare to see me come out of BG without being at the top of the charts in several areas, including killing blows and damage done.

Healing dungeons with her is actually a lot of fun, and I like that the style of healing even comes off differently than all of the other healers. Earth Shield is a fantastic spell that’s similar to a Priest’s bubble (sort of) except that instead of preventing damage it heals the target after they receive damage. This is especially good because early on you only have access to one, long-cast healing spell so you really need those Earth Shield heals thrown in to keep your tank alive. With only a couple of heirlooms available (since I’m not on my main server), I’m not as fantastically OP as I would be otherwise, so I’m not bored when healing on my Shaman.

A question I see a lot when I mention that I’m leveling multiple healers right now is “how does Class X do on mana?” As far as the Shaman is concerned, there’s no such thing as mana issues. In an average dungeon where morons aren’t pulling extra mobs or doing stupid crap, it’s rare that I see my mana drop below 90% unless I decide to help kill things, which I often do. Even then, the only time I have ever run out of mana on her is when I fought a level 56 Rare Spawn at level 40, and I was almost 16 minutes into the fight when I ran out only because I was casting Flame Shock every cooldown and dropping fire totems to try to kill it. I’m sure I could have finished him off in another half hour or so even being OOM, but instead I had my wife come kill it for me since I was only passing through the zone anyway.

Resto-Specific Tips
Resto Shamans are great at staying high on mana (so far, at least) and their heals are really powerful. I find that I can pretty well constantly cast my Healing Wave while keeping Earth Shield up on my tank and never have mana issues. And, unless the tank is under-geared or has over pulled, he’s not going to die either. It’s not that Shaman heals are over powered though, it’s that things just flow really well and it’s easy to stay on top of it when you pay attention.

Playing a Resto Shaman isn’t boring though, because even though it’s easy to keep your tank alive, that does involve a lot of casting. I find that my Shaman is constantly casting but never running out of mana, while my Priest is only rarely casting but often goes OOM. Some of the talents I suggest further on in the article cause your heals to be more effective and/or cost less mana when combined with damaging spells like Shocks, and utilizing those talents help keep things more interesting without negatively impacting my performance.

As far as tips are concerned, always keep your shields up both on yourself and on your tank. I personally like to use the Power Auras [Curse link] addon to keep track of shields and charges, but use whatever works best for you to be sure you aren’t robbing your tank of heals or yourself of mana.

Also, don’t dismiss your melee potential simply because you’re a caster. I have a blast in PvP watching someone close into melee with me thinking that’s going to give them the advantage when all it really does is give me free heals from my Earth Shield and allow me to use Primal Strike to bash their faces and avoid getting spell locked. I still use Primal Strike for questing, PvP, and LFG as well.

Important Spells & Abilities
Note that all numeric values are taken from the level 29 version of the spell for the purposes of this post.

Level 1-10

  • Lightning Bolt (1): Casts a bolt of lightning at the target for 39 to 43 Nature damage.
  • Primal Strike (3): An instant weapon strike that causes 10 additional damage.
  • Strength of Earth Totem (4): This totem increases the Strength and Agility of all party and raid members within 40 yards.
  • Earth Shock (5): Instantly shocks the target with concussive force, causing 49 to 51 Nature damage and reducing melee and ranged attack speed by 20% for 8 seconds.
  • Healing Wave (7): Heals a friendly target for 150 to 170.
  • Lightning Shield (8): The caster is surrounded by 3 balls of lightning. When a spell, melee or ranged attack hits the caster, the attacker will be struck for Nature damage. This expends one lightning ball. Only one ball will fire every few seconds. Lasts 10 minutes. Only one Elemental Shield can be active on the Shaman at any one time.
  • Flametongue Weapon (10): Imbue the Shaman’s Weapon with fire, increasing total spell damage by 408(?).

Lightning Bolt is your bread and butter spam attack while you’re questing. Primal Strike is an instant melee attack that I really enjoy using as a caster. Even though Shamans have access to shields I like to use a staff instead because it has better melee damage while I’m questing while still having healing stats on it.

Strength of Earth Totem ends up being my most common Earth Totem so far, mostly because the other Earth totems don’t do jack for my spell casting and I’ve had a ton of non-casters in my LFG groups. Earth Shock is one of your bread and butter attacks, it’s an instant burst of damage which also provides a nice attack speed reduction to the target for a bit of additional survivability either for you or for your tank.

Healing Wave is your spammable heal, having a fairly long cast time but a reasonably low mana cost. I cast this one the most to keep my tanks topped off when Earth Shield charges aren’t enough to heal them on their own.

At level eight you receive Lightning Shield which you’ll use right up until you get Water Shield and then you can remove this from your bars for good. Flametongue Weapon is your weapon imbue of choice for the time being and will be until level 54. Wowhead tells me that 408 Spell Power is the value at level 29, but that sounds way too high to me so I think the numbers are wrong.

By choosing Restoration as your specialization at level 10 you receive all of the following:
Earth Shield: Protects the target with an earthen shield, reducing casting or channeling time lost when damaged by 30% and causing attacks to heal the shielded target. This effect can only occur once every few seconds. 9 charges. Lasts 10 minutes. Earth Shield can only be placed on one target at a time and only one Elemental Shield can be active on a target at a time.
Purification: Increases the effectiveness of your healing spells by 25%, and reduces the casting time of your Healing Wave and Greater Healing Wave spells.
Meditation: Allows 50% of your mana regeneration from Spirit to continue while in combat.
Mastery: Deep Healing: Increases the potency of your healing spells by 24%, based on the current health level of your target (lower health targets are healed for more). Each point of Mastery increases healing by up to an additional 3%.

Earth Shield is the biggest benefit, which of course is why they give it to you. It’s a fantastic spell and I love having it at such a low level. Purification is the standard buff for choosing any spec, increasing the effectiveness of what you do with the spec; however, it also reduces the cast time of Healing Wave which is pretty big. Meditation is just one of the mana factors that contributes to the Resto Shaman having such great mana management.

You won’t be able to benefit from Deep Healing any time soon, but it seems like a pretty decent buff to have once it does open up, making you more effective at healing targets that are low on health which is kind of the point.

Level 11-20

  • Ancestral Spirit (12): Returns the spirit to the body, restoring a dead target to life with 45% of maximum health and mana. Cannot be cast when in combat.
  • Flametongue Totem (12): This totem increases the spell power of all party and raid members within 40 yards by 6%. Lasts 5 minutes.
  • Flame Shock (14): Instantly sears the target with fire, causing 28 Fire damage immediately and 48 Fire damage over 18 seconds.
  • Ghost Wolf (16): Turns the Shaman into a Ghost Wolf, increaes speed by 30%. As a Ghost Wolf, the Shaman is less hindered by effects that would reduce movement speed.
  • Wind Shear (16): Disrupts the target’s concentration with a burst of wind, interrupting spellcasting and preventing any spell in that school form being cast for 2 seconds. Also lowers your threat, making the enemy less likely to attack you.
  • Cleanse Spirit (18): Removes one Curse effect from a friendly target.
  • Earthbind Totem (18): This totem slows the movement speed of enemies within 10 yards of the totem. Lasts for 45 seconds.
  • Healing Surge (20): Heals a friendly target for 299 to 341.
  • Healing Stream Totem (20): Summons a totem with 5 health at the feet of the caster for 5 minutes that heals party members every 2 seconds.
  • Water Shield (20): The caster is surrounded by 3 globes of water, graning 15 mana per 5 seconds. When a spell, melee or ranged attack hits the caster, mana is restored to the caster. This expends one water globe. Only one globe will activate every few seconds. Lasts 10 minutes. Only one Elemental Shield can be active on the Shaman at any one time.

Ancestral Spirit is how you resurrect those freaking punk DPS who feel like they can pull the entire instance with their face just because they’re a hunter/warlock with heirlooms on, when in fact they just fail at fulfilling their role. Not that I’m bitter or anything…

Flametongue Totem is great for spell casters, making it my primary Fire Totem. Flame Shock isn’t huge for us as Resto, but I do like to use it when I’m solo questing and on bosses in LFG. During large pulls I’ll also try to spread Flame Shock around to make use of Fire Nova, but only if I have a tank with good survivability. Since Resto does really well on mana at this level I don’t mind adding DPS into my rotation and my damage while solo is pretty low in a healing spec so I make use of Flame Shock quite a bit.

Ghost Wolf is a wonderful movement speed buff, allowing us to take on the form of a wolf to move faster. That second sentence in the description above means that you cannot go below 100% movement speed while in Ghost Wolf form. So you move at 130% normally with the buff, and you cannot be slowed below the 100%. Note that that applies to effects, not conditions, so you’ll still be slowed by things such as being in water. It can be used indoors which is fantastic, but it does have a cast time for Resto until you’re pushing 85.

Wind Shear is primarily used for its spell interrupting feature, though it does also reduce your threat in a group setting. I primarily use this on crowd control spells being cast on my party (like the Sleep spell cast by the Druids in Wailing Caverns) or to counter healing spells. In PvP you can use it on Player Pets that I haven’t generated threat against to cause them to stop attacking me. An experienced PvP player will quickly put them back on you, but you’d be surprised how many players don’t notice. Cleanse Spirit can remove Curse debuffs cast on you or your party, which is actually pretty common.

Earthbind Totem is somewhat situational. It’s a great totem for PvP, especially to slow Flag Carriers or pursuers of your Flag Carrier, or for allowing you to escape a deadly situation. In PvE it can slow mobs who run away when they’re low on health or it can be used to get some distance between you and your attackers to get a heal cast if you’re in danger of dying.

Healing Stream Totem is a decent AoE healing effect, but to be quite honest I almost never bother casting it at this level since only my tank should be taking damage anyway and if not then HST probably isn’t even to heal the damage they’re taking. Healing Surge on the other hand is a great, fast healing spell. It does have a high mana cost, though, so you don’t want to cast it any more than you have to and with your other healing abilities you should be fine casting it only during emergencies.

Water Shield is your primary shield for yourself, where Earth Shield is usually on your tank. For solo questing I switch back and forth between the two as needed.

Level 21-29

  • Frost Shock (22): Instantly shocks the target with frost, causing 46 to 48 Frost damage and slowing movement speed by 50%. Lasts 8 seconds. Causes a high amount of threat.
  • Water Walking (24): Allows the friendly target to walk across water for 10 minutes. Any damage will cancel the effect.
  • Chain Lightning (28): Hurls a lightning bolt at the enemy, dealing 55 to 61 Nature damage and then jumping to additional nearby enemies. Each jump reduces the damage by 30%. Affects 3 total targets.
  • Fire Nova (28): Causes the shaman’s active Flametongue, Magma, or Fire Elemental Totem to emit a wave of flames, inflicting Fire damage to enemies within 10 yards of the totem.

Frost Shock is another spell that I mention primarily for its usefulness in PvP. In PvE it’s really only useful if you need to stop runners or when mobs are coming after you and the tank hasn’t taunted.

Water Walking is a cool utility spell that allows you to move on water. It’s great for certain PvP Battlegrounds and has some small usefulness in certain dungeons as well. For PvE can save you a little travel time prior to having a flying mount by letting you cut across water without being slowed down.

Chain Lightning is our first AoE spell, and an interesting one in that it’s more multi-target than AoE. You’ll only really use this one in LFG or perhaps in PvP, unless you’re a AoE crazed leveler like myself in which case you’ll use it all the time. If you do use this one often then you’ll want to be sure to use Water Shield to keep your mana supply high.

Fire Nova is our first literal AoE spell, dealing damage in a ring around targets with our Flame Shock debuff. You can have up to three Flame Shocks up at a time (due to it’s cooldown and duration) which will cause Fire Nova to burst in a ring around all three of them. In theory it’s a great AoE tool because a single spell is like three AoE’s in one, but in practice it kind of sucks since you have to have Flame Shock active for it to do anything and using Fire Nova damages the targets that have the debuff as well, so by killing targets you’re also killing your potential.

Leveling a Resto Shaman

  • Questing Single Mob: Lightning Bolt, Lightning Bolt, Earth Shock, Primal Strike, Lightning Bolt, Earth Shock
  • Questing Multi-Mob: Chain Lightning, Flame Shock, Lightning Bolt, Primal Strike, Flame Shock, Chain Lightning

Questing Single Mob
As a healer, you’re obviously missing the burst damage of a DPS spec, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still unleash some serious hurt. Start off with either a dual Lightning Bolt or a Lightning Bolt followed by a Chain Lightning to take advantage of your cast times without suffering pushback from being attacked. From there I usually stick to shocks and Primal Strike since I hate dealing with pushback while I’m trying to cast. If your damage isn’t all that great and mobs take a while to kill use Flame Shock instead of the first Earth Shock and consider casting Searing Totem right before you pull.

Questing Multi-Mob
If you know that your’e going to face multiple mobs, or multiple groups of mobs, go ahead and cast your totems before you get started on the actual combat. Just remember not to drop aggressive totems (like Searing) until you’re within range for it to hit your target(s) and you’re ready for combat to start.

Facing multiple mobs as Resto is both good and bad. On the one hand, Resto has crazy good survivability and you can easily take on multiple mobs. On the other hand, your damage is pretty weak so killing all of those mobs can take a long time. If you don’t mind a little sustained combat then go ahead and slay the masses, otherwise stick to single targets when you can.

If you do want to face multiple mobs, then this is the rotation that I suggest. If there aren’t at least three mobs, lean more towards Lightning Bolt than Chain Lightning so that you don’t run yourself out of mana. Otherwise your primary objective is to get Flame Shock on three targets and then use Fire Nova to burn them all down.

You definitely want to use Earth Shield in these situations, switching to Water Shield only when you know you can take enough hits to get enough mana back to make it worth your time. I usually keep Earth Shield up until I’m down to a single mob and then switch to Water Shield to get some mana back while I finish them off.

How to Heal: 29 Restoration Shaman
When you’re actually filling your healing role rather than questing it’s probably a good idea for you to have a clue how to actually, you know, heal. The numbers in the next section are based on the level 29 version of the spell, unmodified by talents or gear.

Healing Spells
Earth Shield: 19% base mana, instant cast, heals when attacked
Healing Wave: 9% base mana, 2.5 sec. cast, heals 150-170
Healing Surge: 27% base mana, 1.5 sec. cast, heals 299-341
Healing Stream Totem: 3% base mana, instant cast, heals for ~28 every 2 seconds
Cleanse Spirit: 14% base mana, instant cast, removes one Curse effect
Ancestral Spirit: 72% base mana, 10 sec. cast, resurrect target with 35% of their health and mana

These are the six “healing” spells that you have you have available at level 29. You have two passive/reactive heals (Earth Shield, Healing Stream Totem), two direct heals (Healing Wave, Healing Surge), one decurse (Cleanse Spirit), and a non-combat resurrection (Ancestral Spirit).

The two you’ll use most often are Earth Shield and Healing Wave. Earth Shield will take care of most of your healing in this bracket and you should keep it up on your tank at all times. When solo questing you should switch back and forth between Earth Shield and Water Shield as needed. Healing Wave is cheap to cast and it heals for a decent amount given the power of Earth Shield.

Healing Surge costs three times as much as Healing Wave and heals for only twice the amount, but it is a full second faster to cast. Use this one when you need a big heal in a short amount of time, typically when your tank is taking a ton of damage and Earth Shield isn’t enough to keep him up.

I drop Healing Stream Totem when I’m fighting bosses, but I only really do it out of habit. There are only a few instances in low level play where there’s any amount of AoE damage in a dungeon where the totem would really be useful, and most of those the AoE damage is either so high that the totem doesn’t really help or so low that you don’t really need it in the first place. But, it is really cheap and the heals from it do add up over time so it’s not a bad spell it’s just not great either.

For the vast majority of dungeons I heal the whole thing with Earth Shield and Healing Wave. Once I get a feel for how much damage my tank is going to actually take I decide from there whether I’m going to need to spam Healing Waves, stay on my toes for emergency Healing Surge casts, or if I’m going to slip into DPS mode with nothing but Earth Shield and an occasional Healing Wave.

Make use of your talents. For example, we get mana returned via Water Shield when we crit with Healing Wave, so don’t be afraid to cast it for lack of mana. Also, make frequent use of your Shocks, particularly Earth Shock, when healing dungeons. Firstly because Earth Shock reduces the attack speed of the target you hit with it (thus protecting your tank), and secondly because casting Shocks reduces the mana cost and increases the effectiveness of the next healing spell we cast after the Shock. It’s a great way to get a cheaper Healing Surge off if you need a big heal but not necessarily right away.

Talent Spec: 29 Restoration Shaman

  • Spark of Life 3/3: Increases your healing done by 6% and your healing received by 15%.
  • Tidal Focus 2/3: Reduces the mana cost of your healing spells by 4%.
  • Improved Water Shield 2/2: You have a 100% chance to instantly gain mana as if you consumed a Water Shield Orb when you gain a critical effect from your Healing Wave, Greater healing Wave, or Riptide spells, a 60% chance when you gain a critical effect from your Healing Surge spell, and a 30% chance when you gain a critical effect from your Chain Heal spell.
  • Focused Insight 3/3: After casting any Shock spell, your next heal’s mana cost is reduced by 75% of the cost of the Shock spell, and its healing effectiveness is increased by 30%.
  • Nature’s Swiftness 1/1: When activated, your next Nature spell with a base cast time less than 10 seconds becomes an instant cast spell.

Spark of Life is pretty simple, it makes your heals 6% stronger. It also has that spiffy side effect of increasing the healing you yourself receive by 15% which is one of the reasons why you can survive things as Resto that others cannot. Tidal Focus gets only two of its three points right now simply because we’re moving down the tree. It reduces the mana cost of your heals which is great even if not entirely necessary at this level range.

Improved Water Shield is fantastic for LFG, allowing you to regain mana when you crit with your heals where normally you would need to get hit for Water Shield to take effect. As you can see from the percentage chance of getting that mana return on your crits, it really pays off to stick to your longer cast time spells for a higher chance of mana return and why I can spam Healing Wave for days.

Focused Insight is a really interesting talent, causing your Shocks to reduce the mana cost of your heals while also making them more powerful. I typically use Earth Shock to trigger these since ES applies an attack speed debuff which is good for my tanks, and then follow it up with either a Healing Wave because the tank doesn’t need much healing, or with a Healing Surge since the mana cost is significantly reduced.

Nature’s Swiftness is an interesting spell. The traditional use for it is to make one of your heals instant cast for when things turn ugly. However, in the leveling game where emergencies are pretty rare I actually end up using this most often to cast DPS spells, such as Chain Lightning, instantly instead.The only time I’ve used it in a dungeon so far was in Gnomer where an ignorant Hunter/Warlock/Mage (I forget which it was that time) didn’t dismiss their pet before jumping and brought half the instance down on us.

Glyphs

Prime Glyphs

Earth Shield is your top choice for sure. The healing from Earth Shield is already fantastic and this just makes it even more so. If you can’t make this, buy it. If you can’t buy it, steal it. If you can’t steal it, get Water Shield instead. Water Shield isn’t bad, but mana regen hasn’t been an issue for me at all so far. Definitely go Earth Shield if at all possible.

Major Glyphs

I really like Healing Wave because it’s really useful in PvP and it’s also a decent option for LFG which are my two favorite things to do. It’s basically worthless for solo play though. Ghost Wolf is another really good glyph even though it has nothing to do with healing. The extra run speed is simply useful for the leveling process and when gathering, so it’s a good back up. Healing Stream Totem provides a resistance buff when you use the totem. Those resistances aren’t by any means necessary when you’re leveling, but some benefit is better than none so you might decide to use this one.

Minor Glyphs

I’m a huge fan of getting rid of reagents, so Water Walking is the definite first choice here. Arctic Wolf is a simple vanity glyph that just changes the way you look in Ghost Wolf form. The only other Minor Glyph available at this level range is Thunderstorm which is a spell that only Elemental Shamans can use, so it’s completely worthless to you.

Gearing Up Your Shaman
For Resto you’re looking first and foremost at Intellect on your gear. Intellect provides Spell Power, Mana, and Spell Crit, all of which you’re interested in. I would say Haste is probably your second best, but it’s pretty hard to come by at lower levels. Even though I don’t have problems with mana, I still rank Spirit as the third stat. Just because I don’t have mana problems this level doesn’t mean the same will be true next level. From there, Crit isn’t a bad stat for us, it makes our heals bigger/better and it gives us more mana back from our talents in Improved Water Shield.

Macros

#showtooltip
/cast [harm, nodead] Earth Shock; [harm, nodead] [@targettarget] Earth Shock
/run UIErrorsFrame:Clear()

This macro lets me cast Earth Shock on my target, unless my target happens to be friendly (like the tank) in which case it casts it on their target instead. When I don’t have a tank that has a lot of survivability on their own I like to keep the tank as my target just so I can pay extra special attention to their health, and this macro lets me use Earth Shock on the tank’s target without having to change my actual target. I use a variation of this spell for all of my Shocks.

#showtooltip Purge
/cast [harm, nodead] Purge; [harm, nodead] [@targettarget] Purge
/run UIErrorsFrame:Clear()

This macro works just like the Shock macros up above, except that it’s all about destroying people’s buffs. This is mostly a PvP macro as few low level mobs have any buffs for you to purge.

#showtooltip
/cast [@focus] Earth Shield

This is my “heal with sammich” macro, it allows me to cast Earth Shield directly on my focus without having to bother with targeting and such. I set the tank as my focus as soon as the group is created and hit this button when the spell wears off instead of tying up a slot in my healing addon. I use a variation of this for both Healing Wave and Healing Surge as well so that I can easily heal an instance with one hand while eating a sammich with the other and watching YouTube on the second monitor.

#showtooltip Wind Shear
/stopcasting
/clearfocus [target=focus,dead]
/cast [target=focus,harm,exists] Wind Shear
/cast Wind Shear

This macro is used when I’m facing a caster mob or a caster player in PvP. Instead of focusing the tank or myself I’ll set my focus instead to the caster so that I can use Wind Shear to interrupt their important spells. If I’m in a situation where focusing to interrupt is important then I’m going to heal with my addons rather than auto-targeting macros, so having my heal target focused isn’t important.

Power Auras
And just in case anyone is interested, here are the Power Auras that I use for my Shaman. Some of them I have set up even though I don’t have the buffs associated with them just yet (like Bloodlust), but they’re set to not do anything until then anyway.

The most important ones here, to me, are the ones that monitor Earth Shield and Water Shield. The Water Shield aura simply monitors whether or not I have the buff active, so that I know when I need to recast it. There are four Earth Shield auras here, one that tells me if I have Earth Shield up on anyone at all in my party, and the other three are used to track how many charges I have left (1, 2, or 3+).

Other auras include monitoring my health/mana to let me know when I’m low for those occasions where I’m taking a lot of burst in PvP or when I’m just not paying attention to the fact that something’s eating my face in a dungeon.

Most of these aren’t mine originally, they’ve come from other blogs or from my buddy Krizhek.

Set=Resto@
Aura[1]=Version:4.20; b:0; anim1:2; g:0.0196; icon:Ability_Shaman_Heroism; buffname:Heroism/Bloodlust/Time Warp; r:0.9176; unitn:Only for raid/group.; texture:33; alpha:1; stacksOperator:=; size:1.5; y:0; anim2:4; finish:3; timer.h:1.5; timer.Texture:Digital; timer.enabled:true; timer.y:100; timer.Transparent:true@
Aura[2]=Version:4.20; b:0.6275; g:0; icon:Spell_Holy_SealOfMight; buffname:Stun; x:-100; bufftype:3; texture:38; alpha:1; size:0.25; anim2:4; timer.Texture:Digital; timer.enabled:true; timer.Relative:RIGHT@
Aura[3]=Version:4.20; b:0.0549; g:0; icon:Spell_Holy_Silence; buffname:Silence; x:-100; bufftype:3; texture:39; alpha:1; size:0.25; y:-10; anim2:4; timer.Texture:Digital; timer.enabled:true; timer.Relative:RIGHT@
Aura[4]=Version:4.20; b:0.8549; anim1:5; g:0.1922; icon:inv_alchemy_elixir_02; r:0.1098; unitn:Only for raid/group.; bufftype:9; texture:3; alpha:1; speed:0.5; stacksOperator:=; threshold:30; combat:true; size:1.5; torsion:1.25@
Aura[5]=Version:4.20; b:0.0078; anim1:5; g:0.0235; icon:inv_alchemy_elixir_05; r:0.7294; begin:1; unitn:Only for raid/group.; bufftype:8; texture:24; alpha:1; stacksOperator:=; threshold:40; size:1.54; torsion:1.25; anim2:1; finish:2@
Aura[6]=Version:4.20; b:0.251; g:0.4549; icon:Spell_Nature_SkinofEarth; buffname:Earth Shield; x:127; texture:21; alpha:1; mine:true; inVehicle:0; stacksOperator:>; groupOrSelf:true; size:0.29; y:22; ismounted:0; stacks.enabled:true; stacks.Relative:CENTER; stacks.UseOwnColor:true; stacks.Texture:AccidentalPresidency@@
Aura[7]=Version:4.20; icon:Spell_Shaman_TidalWaves; buffname:Tidal Waves; x:-176; texture:26; alpha:1; mine:true; size:0.43; y:3; texmode:2; stacks.enabled:true; stacks.LegacySizing:false; stacks.y:-65; stacks.x:-180@
Aura[8]=Version:4.20; b:0; anim1:7; icon:Spell_Frost_SummonWaterElemental; buffname:Mana Tide Totem; r:0.9765; x:-179; bufftype:15; texture:80; size:0.5; randomcolor:true; y:-144; anim2:1@
Aura[9]=Version:4.20; g:0; icon:Ability_Shaman_WaterShield; buffname:water shield; r:0.0078; x:85; texture:163; symetrie:1; size:0.94; torsion:0.79; y:-11; texmode:2; inverse:true@
Aura[10]=Version:4.20; b:0.251; g:0.4549; icon:Spell_Nature_SkinofEarth; buffname:Earth Shield; x:162; stacks:3; texture:22; alpha:1; mine:true; inVehicle:0; groupOrSelf:true; size:0.29; y:57; ismounted:0; stacks.enabled:true; stacks.Relative:CENTER; stacks.UseOwnColor:true; stacks.Texture:AccidentalPresidency@@
Aura[11]=Version:4.20; b:0.251; g:0.4549; icon:Spell_Nature_SkinofEarth; buffname:Earth Shield; x:173; stacks:2; texture:22; alpha:1; mine:true; inVehicle:0; groupOrSelf:true; size:0.29; y:18; ismounted:0; stacks.enabled:true; stacks.Relative:CENTER; stacks.UseOwnColor:true; stacks.Texture:AccidentalPresidency@@
Aura[12]=Version:4.20; b:0.251; g:0.4549; icon:Spell_Nature_SkinofEarth; buffname:Earth Shield; x:159; stacks:1; texture:22; alpha:1; mine:true; inVehicle:0; groupOrSelf:true; size:0.29; y:-19; ismounted:0; stacks.enabled:true; stacks.Relative:CENTER; stacks.UseOwnColor:true; stacks.Texture:AccidentalPresidency@@

 

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High Heals: Shaman

From the replies I received on the blog itself and on twitter from those who read it, the Shaman was voted as the top choice for being the first class to use in this project. I’m sure I probably influenced that vote a bit as I mentioned that I had already enjoyed a bit of Resto Shaman leveling in the recent past, but that’s fine.

For those of you who have not read the introductory post, Project: High Heals, I’ll give you a quick recap. Most guides that you find online in relation to healing are all aimed at end game content, making it hard to find quality information on leveling your healing character beyond a simple layout of when/where to spend your talent points. Since writing guides to help people level, and have fun while they do it, is what I do – that’s what I’m going to do with this project. I’m going to level each of the four healing classes from 1-85 without using a non-healing spec the entire time.

Today I’m going to do a bit of outlining for my plans to level the first of the Project: High Heals leveling guides, Bottledwatah the Restoration Shaman.

Healing Tools
Shamans have one of the most balanced healing sets of all the healers, which makes them a good choice for both single-target and multi-target healing. You don’t get active multi-target heals until level 40 where you get the Shaman signature, Chain Heal, but your spec-specific bonus heal of Earth Shield allows you to passively heal a target with it while you focus your healing spells on others when necessary. You do get a glimpse of some of your group healing at level 20 when you get Healing Stream Totem, but it’s a bit of a passive heal while the totem is in play, and while the healing from it certainly helps, it’s not something you can rely on if there’s any real amount of damage being applied to your group.

As far as defensive dispels go, Shamans by default can remove Curses and can spend talent points to also remove Magic effects. You can also spec so that using your dispel (Cleanse Spirit) heals the target when you remove a harmful effect so that you’re both cleansing and healing with the same spell.

While not exactly a healing ability, Shamans also have the unique ability to resurrect themselves when they die. Warlocks can use soul stones to mimic the effect, but theirs is a “use it or lose it” option so if you die at a time where resurrecting isn’t important the effect is kind of wasted where a Shaman can chose to resurrect or not any time they die so long as the 30 minute cooldown is up. It’s not really crucial by any means from a leveling standpoint, but it does have its uses and advantages now and then.

Leveling Tools
The Shaman’s other two talent trees are both DPS, one caster and one melee. This gives the Shaman an interesting advantage when it comes to leveling as Resto because you’re collecting gear that naturally makes you good at casting offensive spells while also having built-in melee attacks that they give you to help you level early on. To compare, the Paladin has melee attacks it can use but there is no Paladin caster spec to draw from, the Priest has two other caster specs that can deal damage but no melee benefit, and while the Druid shares the ability to use melee attacks it requires weaving in and out of forms to switch between casting and melee.

Shamans also have the wonderful use of Ghost Wolf. Granted, you get the spell four levels shy of getting a mount, and it does have a cast time for non-Enhancement Shamans until end game (if you spend the talent points on it), but it’s still a great mobility spell that can be used both in doors and during combat. They also have spells that allow them to breath underwater and to walk on top of it.

You can’t talk about the Shaman class as a whole without mentioning Reincarnation, the self resurrection spell that you can use after any death so long as it’s not on cooldown (30 minutes). The other, big signature feature of the class is the use of Totems. Totems allow you to provide a great number of different buffs to your party which can also be put to good use when leveling solo. Combining the passive/reactive healing of Earth Shield with the glyphed bubble from Stoneclaw Totem for example can give you some incredible survivability.

Leveling Strengths
One of the major advantages of leveling a Restoration Shaman is that you have a solid offensive tool belt that includes both melee and casting attacks, and when you combine that with healing from Earth Shield questing becomes incredibly easy (though not necessarily fast since you get none of the damage buffs that the two DPS specs receive).

As I’ve mentioned before, you also have the use of Ghost Wolf which can make a lot of your questing faster by increasing your movement speed in doors and such. While you don’t have access to them until you’re in Northrend levels, you also receive two totems which act as pets and can be a great help while leveling as well. The Fire and Earth Elemental totems are both really good for when you find yourself being attacked my multiple mobs, or when you want to contribute a bit of damage to a boss fight where your other totems aren’t necessary.

Leveling Weaknesses
One of the major drawbacks while leveling is that you have no form of crowd control (other than slows) until you reach level 80. Until that point if you happen to pull more mobs than you intended to your only options are to either run away until they reset, or say a prayer to the elements that you can heal yourself enough to survive the pull.

You also have a disadvantage when it comes to gear. While you’re leveling you’ll often find that Cloth pieces are the best items you can get your hands on when you should be wearing Leather (1-39) or Mail (40+) instead. Caster Leather/Mail pieces and caster shields aren’t impossible to find, but they aren’t as abundant thanks to the small number of classes and specs that use them.

Intended Leveling Focus
I haven’t decided 100% which path I’m going to focus on with Bottledwatah. As I said in the initial post, I’m going to do a bit of everything with these little healers, but each of them is also going to lean towards a certain aspect of the game more than others. The Druid will likely focus more on PvP, for example, where the Paladin may focus more on questing.

Right now I’m leaning towards keeping this one pretty evenly focused on all of the different aspects of the game. I have really been enjoying PvP with her, but I’ve had a some fun in LFG as well (though I got more queues to pop as DPS in my Resto spec than I have healing so far). Questing is sort of the in between to pass the time between whichever queue I’m in except for when I’m leveling my professions in which case questing is the norm while I gather materials.

Right now Bottledwatah has Herbalism and Alchemy, but with an 85 Tauren Druid with herbalism on the same server I’m considering dropping Bottle’s herbs for Tailoring instead. Doing this would remove the benefit of gathering experience (which can really help when you’re leveling a healer), but it would make her professions more useful in the long run. I’ll keep you updated on the progress of that in the actual leveling guides, though.

Planned Spec
This is the spec that I’m planning to use while I level. My healing experience on a Shaman is pretty limited, so hopefully I’ve chosen a good build there but I can’t say for sure since I’m only level 20. Time will tell, and I’ll be sure to pass on any information it happens to share with me.

And as always I’ll share the details of the spec along with the order in which I spend the talent points in the actual leveling guides.

 
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Posted by on May 11, 2011 in Caster, Class, Leveling, Play Styles, Shaman

 

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Project: High Heals

Finding information on how to level a particular class in a DPS spec isn’t hard to do. Most classes (except Rogues, apparently nobody likes being a Rogue) have at least a decent blogging community dedicated to them and/or you can find posts for it on forums all over the place. You can find most of the same for leveling as a tank as well. But when it comes to healing guides, almost all of them are aimed at healing in heroics or raids, or how to switch from a non-healing spec to the healing spec.

Personally, I don’t like just grabbing a random spec I’ve never tried before when my character is a high level. I don’t like learning when I have all the tools I’ll ever need thrown at me all at once. Rather than grabbing a spec I know nothing about I prefer to reroll the character, especially if the spec in question is tanking or healing because of their nature. If I pick up an unfamiliar DPS spec my team can usually carry me while I’m busying sucking and trying to figure out what I’m supposed to be doing, but I can’t do that as a tank or a healer because I’m the only one filling that role at the time and my failure would lead to the group’s failure.

I believe that the best way to become truly skilled and knowledgeable about a particular spec is to level in it. I’m not saying it’s the only way, you could certainly do it without ever experiencing the spec until you reach max level, but that knowledge is so much easier to pick up if you’ve had the time to learn about each and every ability as it becomes available to you rather than just having them all thrown at you at once.

So I’m going to do a little mini-project, which is to level a character form 1-85 in their healing spec the entire way. I know it can be done, my wife did it on her first Paladin. The results of this test, which are going to be based on how fun it was and how hard/easy it is will determine whether it becomes a larger project (leveling all of the healing classes in their healing spec), or if I just say, “that was fun, but uh…yeah, never again.”

But I’m not going to take the easy route, I’m not just sticking to LFG where four other people do my leveling for me; I’m going to experience the leveling content in every aspect of the game. So I’m going to take the healer(s) into dungeons, I’m going to take them into battlegrounds and I’m going to quest with them all with the healing spec. I’m not even going to purchase dual specs for them because I know if I do I’m going to be tempted to cheat and grab a DPS spec that I’m sure I’ll tell myself “oh, it’s just for a BG or two so I can throw someone off of the Lumber Mill in AB.” None of that, these suckers are going to live or die (/delete) by their own healing power.

Having done at least some leveling with all of the healing classes with varying degrees of healing experience, I already know a few things off the bat about each class:

  • Druid: Can be very boring as HoT’s are very powerful and quick/instant cast.
  • Paladin: Some healing spells or related spells can be used offensively to help leveling.
  • Priest: Similar to the Pally, they have some heals that can be used offensively.
  • Shaman: Passive healing from Earth Shield can make up for time spent DPSing.

Knowing that Druid healing is frequently boring, I’m less inclined to have them be the class I use for the first test. On the flip side, their powerful HoT’s could very well make up for their boring factor by allowing me to deal damage during the downtime. I’m still considering the druid, but right now they’re the lowest on the list.

Paladin healing I’ve only done in the low level battlegrounds and tiny bit in Northrend during Wrath. I don’t think I have any real “need” for another Paladin right now, so I might leave this one for one of the last slots as well as the character would likely end up deleted and rarely/never played.

The Priest is a class I’m really enjoying right now, but still in the Shadow spec that I’ve recently blogged about. I’m not a great Priest healer and that’s something that I want to work on, and I’d really love to learn it by leveling instead of just flailing into it on my 85. As such, this is a big contender for first or second. I would likely go Holy over Disc because Holy is labeled more as the “used for heals only” spec where Disc is more “use for heals or leveling”.

Lastly we have the Shaman, a class I’m also having a lot of fun leveling right now, but both of my existing Shaman are in DPS specs. My Resto Shaman experience extends to about level 25 as my current Enhancement Shaman was originally a level 19 Resto Twink (which is why he’s named Tiklemonster, btw). I know that Shaman healers are very powerful at low levels as even after Cataclysm I managed to solo a couple of the low level dungeons, one of which (SFK) my buddy Cynwise hasn’t managed to solo yet on his super-twinked 19 Prot Warrior…yet. This ranks the Shaman near the Priest in priority as I had a lot of fun with the Resto spec.

So for right now I’m left with the big question – Resto Shaman or Holy Priest.

 

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Glowbie’s Healing Basics

When it comes to WoW blogging there’s nothing I appreciate more than a very well written guide that takes the time to go into detail and explain things to people without making the blanket assumption that you already know what you’re doing and what they’re talking about.

Today Glowbie did just that with a fantastic guide on Druid healing that’s specifically aimed at those people who are brand new to Druid healing or who are considering getting into it and need a solid place to get started.

If you’d like to learn how to heal on your Druid, or would like to pick up some tips from another Druid healer, then go on over and take a look at

Healing Basics.

 
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Posted by on March 15, 2011 in Caster, Class, Druid

 

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Druid Leveling 30-60: Restoration and Balance



Last time we talked about Druid leveling 1-30: Resto and Balance, and today we’re going to take the next 30 levels in stride and get our little Boomchick’a’trees into Outlands. Level 30 is a big turning point for Druids, particularly Balance who have been waiting for another good spell to use for quite some time. Level 40 is similarly key for Balance Druids as Moonkin Form finally becomes available and at long last we get an AoE. Restoration doesn’t get to enjoy the butt-tentacly goodness of Tree of Life form until level 50, but they do get a few more tools added to their healing belt at levels 30 and 40.

Important Spells
The following are spells that we gain in the 30-60 level bracket that I feel have a strong impact on our playstyle either in this level bracket or throughout the Druid’s career. Numbers for healing and damage are taken from their highest spell rank within the level bracket in question (30-60), but do not reflect changes from talent points.

General (All Specs)

Track Humanoids: [Requires Cat Form] Shows the location of all nearby humanoids on the minimap. Only one type of thing can be tracked at a time.
Innervate: [Instant, 3 min cooldown] Causes the target to regenerate mana equal to 225% of the casting Druid’s base mana pool over 10 seconds.
Barkskin: The druid’s skin becomes as tough as bark. All damage taken is reduced by 20%. While protected, damaging attacks will not cause spellcasting delays. This spell is usable while stunned, frozen, incapacitated, feared or asleep. Usable in all forms. Lasts 12 seconds.
Gift of the Wild: Gives the Gift of the Wild to all party and raid members, increasing armor by 240, all attributes by 10 and all resistances by 15 for 1 hour.

You may be wondering why in the world I’m talking about a Feral ability to start with, so let me get that out for you right now. Track Humanoids is a very useful spell when you take advantage of it. It requires you to be in Cat form, but it puts icons on your mini-map of all humanoids in the area. While it’s especially great in PvP, it also has solid use while questing if you’re looking for specific humanoid mobs or a specific named mob. It’s important to note that the icon will be dull or grayed out a bit if the target is not on the same physical level as you. So if the icon isn’t bright then the mob (or player) in question may be inside a building or underground in a mine or similar structure.

Innervate is the answer to all (most) of your mana problems at long last. It restores 225% of your base mana pool (how much mana you have with no gear on), to the target over 10 seconds. When I first got this spell and was healing all the time I used this on the DPS people I ran with in LFG. As I switched to Boomkin and as I got higher in level I came to use it in both specs. As a boomkin you’ll be using this from the day you get it to the day you retire the character. As a tree, you’ll use it pretty often from your high-40s to your mid-70s, and then its usage will slacken again as you get in groups that are better geared and you get better gear yourself.

Barkskin is your panic button as a Tree, and your “die now, suckas!” button as a Boomkin. If you’re healing and you start taking hits then this is how you save yourself and your spellcasts so that you can keep people alive while you wait for someone to taunt him off of you (unlike the freaking paladin who let four casters send frostbolts and shadowbolts at my face repeatedly). As a Boomkin it still holds the same use, but it can also be put to an offensive use because it removes the pushback you suffer while casting. That includes pushback of your channeled spells, so your Hurricane AoE will get its full effect.

Druid Forms
Moonkin Form: Shapeshift into Moonkin Form. While in this form the armor contribution from items is increased by 370%, damage taken while stunned is reduced by 15%, and all party and raid members within 100 yards have their spell critical strike chance increased by 5%. Single target spell critical strikes in this form have a chance to instantly regenerate 2% of your total mana. Moonkins can not cast healing or resurrection spells while shapeshifted. The act of shapeshifting frees the caster of Polymorph and Movement Impairing effects.

Tree of Life Form: Reduces the mana cost of your healing over time spells by 20% and grants the ability to shapeshift into the Tree of Life. While in this form you increase healing received by 6% for all party and raid members within 100 yards, and you can only cast Restoration spells in addition to Innervate, Barkskin, Nature’s Grasp and Thorns spells. The act of shapeshifting frees the caster of Polymorph and Movement Impairing effects.

Flight Form: Shapeshift into flight form, increasing movement speed by 150% and allowing you to fly. Cannot be used in combat. Can only use this form in Outland and Northrend. The act of shapeshifting frees the caster of Polymorph and Movement Impairing effects.

The last of our combat forms (except Dire Bear Form which we get for free at level 40 and is an upgraded version of Bear Form), these are the two forms that you’ll spend most of your time in from here on out. That won’t be the case for Tree Druids once Cataclysm gets here, but for now that’s how it is.

Moonkin is your caster DPS form and what you’ll be in basically non-stop unless you’re traveling or find yourself in need of some emergency healing. The +5% Crit buff is great for being in groups or raids, and you have the added benefit of having some of your mana restored when you crit while in Moonkin Form as well, so it’s even better.

Tree of Life Form is your healing form and you definitely don’t want to break it if you don’t have to. WIth -20% mana cost on your primary heals and an extra 6% healing done you definitely don’t want to pass up those benefits if you don’t have to. The only time I find myself popping out of Tree Form is when I decide to add some DPS to the mix because everyone’s at full health and I’m at full mana and passing out from boredom, or when I’m doing PvP and need to use other spells that break the form such as Entangling Roots.

Flight Form is one of the best spells ever given to us. I always thought this spell was cool, but I didn’t realize just how amazing it really is until I got it for myself. Not only is it great for travel, it’s also unmatched for gathering professions and gathering quests as well. Of the three gathering professions, only Mining breaks you out of your flight forms, but the fact that it’s instant cast means you’re still a step ahead of any other class that’s out there farming mats with the possible exception of Paladins and Death Knights with their +20% movement spells and talents. And on top of that it’s just plain fun to use.

Restoration Spells
Resto doesn’t get any new spells by default of leveling in this range, but they do get some new spells through their talent tree. Because of that though, I’ll cover them in the talents section instead of general spells.

Balance Spells
Hurricane: [Instant, Channeled] Creates a violent storm in the target area causing 100 Nature damage to enemies every 1 second and reducing movement speed and increasing time between attacks of the enemies by 20%. Lasts 10 seconds and the Druid must channel to maintain the spell.

At long last, level 40 comes with our first AoE spell, and lucky for us it’s a good one. The good news is, it hits hard and fast and also slows everything it hits. The bad news is, you’ll be tearing through your mana pool like I will a plate full of bbq ribs, and in case you’ve never had the (dis)pleasure of seeing me eat ribs, let me tell you that’s fast. When you first get it, even with +Int enchants on your gear, you’ll be lucky to get three of these cast before you’re completely out of mana.

Leveling as Balance
Questing Rotation: Starfire, Wrath, Moonfire, Insect Swarm, (Wrath spam or Entangling Roots)
LFG Trash Rotation: Insect Swarm*, Hurricane**, Typhoon, Wrath for clean-up
LFG Boss Rotation: Faerie Fire, Wrath, Insect Swarm, Moonfire, Wrath/Starfire spam

The questing rotation is pretty much all you’ll need until Northrend. In vanilla content I preferred to just burn things, so I would spam Wrath to finish off the mobs and not really let my DoTs do their full damage. It’s not like I was a Warlock, right? I also ran out of mana like nobody’s business. I didn’t really catch on until Outlands when I sat down and really looked at what my spells did. It was then that I found out the trick to conserving my mana, and that was to let my DoTs do their job, or to not cast them in the first place. Look at the damage that your spells do and look at the health of the mobs you’re facing. If you can kill everything with Starfire (or Wrath) > Moonfire > Insect Swarm > Entangling Roots, then do it. Knock them down a few notches with your nukes, then DoT them up and let them die while you go pull another mob.

As we sit right now, pre-Cataclysm, LFG dungeons are all about AoE on trash mobs. If there’s a caster or a heavy damaging melee mob in the mix then throw an Insect Swarm* on them at the beginning, if there’s not then don’t bother casting it unless you really want to. Cast Hurricane** once and then judge the health of the mobs. If there aren’t at least three mobs alive and with more than 25% health or so then don’t cast it again, otherwise give it a second cast. If the mobs are near death, but there are multiples, then Hurricane is going to be a waste of your mana, so instead use your Typhoon (if you have it) to take them out or clean up any remaining mobs with Wrath or your questing rotation if they have a lot of health.

For boss fights you want to maximize your own DPS and that of the group. Faerie Fire reduces the target’s armor so that your melee deal more damage to them, and with the Improved Faerie Fire talent you also make them easier for you to hit with your spells and easier for you to crit with your spells as well. The Wrath right after that is to establish your Earth and Moon debuff which increases the spell damage they take by 13%. So establish your debuffs on the boss, cast your DoT spells, and then lay into him with nukes. Casting FF/Wr/IS/Mf at the beginning should give your tank time to build enough threat that your double-Starfire will not steal agro from him (unless they both crit), but just in case it does you’ll want to either back off on your DPS or cut out your second Starfire for Wraths instead.

[Update: I forgot cooldowns!
Once you get high enough that you have Eclipse 3/3 you'll chance up your nukes and instead cast Wrath until you get a Lunar Eclipse proc, then cast Starfire until Solar Eclipse procs, recast your DoT's, and then go back to Wrath/Starfire to use your Eclipse procs.

You also don't want to forget to use your cooldowns, so once you have Force of Nature you want to cast it right before you start in on the Wrath spam. Starfall should come after the Force of Nature, but I would save that for boss fights instead of trash packs to avoid over pulling and accidental wipes.]

Leveling as Resto
Questing Rotation: Starfire, Moonfire, Entangling Roots, Starfire, Entangling Roots, Wrath, Wrath
LFG Healing Priority: Regrowth, Rejuvenation, Swiftmend, Nature’s Swiftness + Healing Touch

Questing as Resto still sucks, and in fact it sucks even more as we gain more levels. You shouldn’t have much trouble until your 50’s, but it gets worse as you go. You’re basically a Root & Nuke machine with Wrath Spam. When things get a little rough you may want to use Bear/Cat form to save yourself a little mana. I did a little bit of questing as Resto in Outlands just to try it out and the best thing I found was to actually start off the fights in Cat form and use all of my energy before switching back to caster form for R&N.

With Innervate at our disposal now I tend to be a bit more nuke-heavy in my R&N rotations after level 40. I prefer to use Starfire to break the roots instead of Wrath and only use Wrath to finish them off. As you get more spell power on your gear you’re going to break the roots with either Starfire or Wrath, so you might as well get a little extra damage from roots ticks while going for the big Starfire cast than Wrath, but it’s up to you.

If you quest as Resto then use whichever style works best for you. Personally, I just picked up a dual spec and switched between DPS and Heals as needed. If you don’t have 1,000g laying around to do that though, you’ll need to either deal with questing as a healer or leveling strictly through LFG and PvP Battlegrounds.

Resto Spec and Glyphs




Changes: First off I’m going to let you know we’ve got some changes to the spec here. The spec I used leveling up to 30 worked great for me. As I got higher in level though, some of those points we spent early on became wasted and talents that we didn’t buy with those points became needed. If you’ve followed this spec beyond level 15 then you can either respec now or wait until level 40. The problem talent is Naturalist, which reduces the cast time of Healing Touch. Once we get Nature’s Swiftness at level 30 that talent becomes mostly useless because the only time we’ll cast Healing Touch from here on is when we use Nature’s Swiftness to remove its cast time all together. Instead you should invest those points into Natural Shapeshifter. This should be the new link: Level 30 Resto

Gift of Nature 5/5: Increases the effect of all healing spells by 10%.
Improved Rejuvenation 3/3: Increases the effect of your Rejuvenation spell by 15%.
Nature’s Bounty 1/5: Increases the critical effect chance of your Regrowth and Nourish spells by 5%.
Swiftmend 1/1: [Instant cast, 15 second cooldown] Consumes a Rejuvenation or Regrowth effect on a friendly target to instantly heal them an amount equal to 12 seconds of Rejuvenation or 18 seconds of Regrowth.
Living Spirit 3/3: Increases your total Spirit by 15%.
Nature’s Bounth +1 (2/5): Increases the critical effect chance of your Regrowth and Nourish spells by 10%.
Empowered Rejuvenation 5/5: The bonus healing effects of your healing over time spells is increased by 20%.
Tree of Life 1/1: Reduces the mana cost of your HoT spells by 20% and grants Tree form. While in Tree form you increase healing received by 8% for all party and raid members w/i 100 yards, and you can only cast Restoration spells in addition to Innervate, Barkskin, Nature’s Grasp and Thorns spells.
Improved Tree of Life 3/3: Increases your armor contribution from items while in Tree form by 200%, and increases your healing spell power by 15% of your spirit while in Tree form.
Revitalize 1/3: Your Rejuvenation and Wild Growth spells have a 5% chance to restore 8 Energy, 4 Rage, 1% Mana or 16 Runic Power per tick.
Gift of the Earthmother 5/5: Increases your total spell haste by 10% and reduces the base cooldown of your Lifebloom spell by 10%.
Wild Growth 1/1: [Instant cast, 6 second cooldown] Heals up to 5 friendly party or raid members within 15 yards of the target for 686 over 7 seconds. The amount healed is applied quickly at first, and slows down as the WG reaches its full duration.

Resto Glyphs

Major

  • Glyph of Regrowth: Increases the healing ofyour Regrowth spell by 20% if your regrowth effect is still active on the target.
  • Glyph of Swiftmend: Your Swiftmend ability no longer consumes a Rejuv. or Regrowth effect from the target.
  • Glyph of Innervate: Innervate now grants the caster 45% of their base mana pool over 10 seconds in addition to the normal effects of Innervate.

I made a slight change to the glyphs as well once I found out how Nature’s Grasp and Swiftmend work. I never cast Healing Touch without Nature’s Grasp to make it instant anymore, so the Glyph of Healing Touch has been removed. I also found that I rarely needed to Rebirth somebody in combat while leveling until I got to Northrend, and even then it’s no problem to bring them back with a regular battle res and then just heal them to full with a couple of casts, so that glyph is gone as well (though it will reappear in the level 80 build).

As such, go ahead and keep Regrowth for now as your level 15 glyph, use whatever you want as filler at level 30, and then at level 40 swap that one out for Swiftmend.

If you find yourself having mana problems, which I did once I started getting BRD for all of my randoms, you may want to drop Regrowth for Innervate instead for the extra mana. It’s not necessary, but it is useful if you find yourself in need of mana frequently and your group doesn’t like sitting still for you to drink.

Minor

I used to think Unburdened Rebirth just saved me bag space, but I had no idea that the reagent for Rebirth actually changes every time you get a new rank of the spell. I keep a full stack of reagents on hand when I don’t have a glyph to remove them, but having to constantly go to a vendor to buy the new type of reagent or downrank the spell to use an old one was ridiculous on so many levels it’s not even funny. Get this glyph of your Druids no matter which spec you’re running.

Though my love for Aquatic Form runs deep, I do need to point you to useful glyphs when I can so for the sake of being helpful I’m going to suggest the Wild over it for leveling purposes. You should be buffing people in dungeons and battlegrounds and you’re going to need to rebuff yourself every half hour as well, so it only makes sense that we cut the mana cost of that in half.

Balance Spec and Glyphs




Lunar Guidance 3/3: Increases your spell power by 12% of your total Intellect.
Improved Insect Swarm* 1/3: Increases your damage done by your Wrath spell to targets afflicted by your Insect Swarm by 1%, and increases the critical strike chance of your Starfire spell by 1% on targets afflicted by your Moonfire spell.
Moonfury 3/3: Increases the damage done by your Starfire, Moonfire and Wrath spells by 10%.
Dreamstate 2/3: Regenerate mana equal to 7% of your Intellect every 5 seconds, even while casting.
Moonkin Form: Shapeshift into Moonkin form, increasing armor from items by 370%, damage taken while stunned reduced by 15%, and party/raid members w/i 100 yards gain 5% critical strike chance. Your critical spell strikes have a chance to instantly regenerate 2% of your total mana.
Improved Moonkin Form: Your Moonkin Aura also causes targets to gain 3% haste and you gain 30% of your Spirit as additional spell damage.
Improved Faerie Fire 1/3: Your FF spell also increases the chanace the target will be hit by spell attacks by 1%, and increases the critical strike chance of your damage spells by 1% on targets afflicted by FF.
Owlkin Frenzy 3/3: Attacks done to you while in Moonkin form have a 15% chance to cause you to go into a Frenzy, increases your damage by 10%, causing you to be immune to pushback while casting Balance spells and restores 2% base mana every 2 seconds. Lasts 10 seconds.
Wrath of Cenarius 2/5: Your Starfire spell gains an additional 8% and your Wrath gains an additional 4% of your bonus damage effects.
Typhoon 1/1: [Instant cast] Summon a violent Typhoon that does 400 Nature damage to enemies, knocking them back and dazing them for 6 seconds.
Force of Nature 1/1: [Instant cast, 3 minute cooldown] Summons 3 treants to attack enemy targets for 30 seconds.
Eclipse 3/3: When you critically hit with Starfire, you have a 100% chance of increasing damage done by Wrath by 40%. When you crit with Wrath, you have a 60% chance of increasing your critical strike chance with Starfire by 40%. Effect lasts 15 seconds and each has a separate 30 seconds cooldown. Both effects cannot occur simultaneously.
Earth and Moon 3/3: Your Wrath and Starfire spells hav a 100% chance to apply the Earth and Moon effect, which increases spell damage taken by 13% for 12 seconds. Also increases your spell damage by 6%.
Gale Winds 2/2: Increases damage done by your Hurricane and Typhoon spells by 30%, and increases the range of your Cyclone spell by 4 yards.
Starfall 1/1: [Instant cast, 90 seconds cooldown] You summon a flurry of stars from the sky on all targets within 30 yards, each dealing 145 to 167 Arcane damage. Also causes 26 Arcane damage to all other enemies within 5 yards of the enemy target. Maximum 20 stars. Lasts 10 seconds. Shapeshifting into an animal form or mounting cancels the effect. Any effect which causes you to lose control of your character will suppress the starfall effect.

That’s a pretty big list of talents, so I’m not going to go into detail about what they do or why we’re taking them because it should be fairly obvious from the descriptions I list after them. Basically we’re taking talents that increase the damage of our primary spells (Wrath, Starfire, Moonfire, Insect Swarm), we’re trying to either conserve or regenerate mana wherever we can, we’re increasing spell power based on other stats (Intellect or Spirit), and we’re gaining other spells that help to increase our DPS as well (Typhoon, Force of Nature, Starfall).

If you read through the talents you’ll also get the sense of what really drives a Moonkin’s playstyle, and that’s Crit. The more you crit, the more benefits you get from various talents and spells. You get mana back, you get increased damage on Wrath or increased crit chance on Starfall, and so on. Moonkins go by a lot of names, but this is why “Critchicken” is one of them.

Balance Glyphs

Major

  • Glyph of Innervate: Innervate now grants the caster 45% of their base mana pool over 10 seconds in addition to the normal effects of Innervate.
  • Glyph of Focus: Increases the damage done by Starfall by 10%, but decreases its radius by 50%.
  • Glyph of Wrath: Reduces the pushback suffered from damaging attacks while casting your Wrath spell by 50%.

We’re taking a pretty big turn in the glyph world from where we were before, mainly because of the new spells that become available to us as we level. When you get to level 40 you want to replace one of your glyphs with Innervate. If you’re doing a lot of soloing then drop Insect Swarm for it. If you’re running dungeons or doing a lot of PvP, then drop Wrath for it instead. With this glyph using Innervate on yourself now restores 270% of your base mana pool to you and if you use it on someone else then you still get 45% of yours returned as well. While I have cast it on other people on occasion, most often I end up using it on myself, so the extra mana just keeps me going that much longer.

Once you hit level 60 and get the glorious Starfall spell it’s time to grab Focus which you’ll swap out for the Wrath/IS glyph that you’re still holding onto. Starfall is an amazing, face own spell of mass destruction. The problem is, it’s mass destruction is freaking massive, having a total reach of up to 35 yards (30 plus 5 yard splash). That’s a lot of damage to a lot of mobs, but the problem is the range on it. Using Starfall basically pulls every mob in your area to you. Using it in dungeons is like asking the mobs to come wipe your group. Focus cuts the radius in half which helps with the wiping, and it also increases its damage by 10%. You still have to watch out for those wipes, but at least now you’re as likely to get everyone killed when you use it.

Minor

While I’m still a big fan of the Aquatic Form glyph, I’m going to have to throw some other suggestions out there for those of you who aren’t. I still don’t cast Rebirth a lot as DPS, though I know I will do it more when I start raiding with him, but it’s still better to have this glyph on hand to remove the reagent. I didn’t realize until leveling the druid more that the reagent for Rebirth changes every time it gets a new rank. So not only do you have to have the reagent, you also have to keep buying new ones all the time when it levels. Save yourself the hassle and just get the glyph. Typhoon is a good glyph to pick up if you’re doing a lot of random dungeons. In PvP and solo questing I love the pushback effect so I don’t use the glyph myself, but it does get the tanks a little upset sometimes.

I personally level with Aquatic Form and Unburdened Rebirth, but Typhoon is a good choice over Aquatic Form if you don’t care for a little extra swim speed with how little it’s actually necessary to swim.

Gearing Your Druid

Resto: Spell Power > Haste > Spirit
Balance: Spell Power > Crit > Intellect > Spirit

Since we’re still leveling I’m going to keep Intellect pretty high on the list. Resto usually has no mana problems starting out, then can’t seem to get enough mana around level 40 and through most of Outlands, and then you get into Northrend and you’re flooded with mana again. If you have mana problems then stack more Int. If you don’t have mana problems then stack more Spell Power. Alternatively you can stack more Spell Power regardless of your mana issues and try to get your heals large enough that you don’t worry about mana because you need fewer heals anyway.

Balance always has mana problems, that’s just the way it is. Personally, I like to fix that by kicking the crap out of things fast enough that it doesn’t matter, or with so few spells that it’s not a problem. Rather than stacking Intellect so that we can cast 10 spells to finish off a mob, go ahead and stack Spell Power as much as you can so that your spells do enough damage that just a few casts can kill them. Your spells make themselves better when you Crit because of your talent points in things such as Eclipse, so crit has a solid place for us now as well. Haste is the key to having your Starfire not take forever to cast, and as one of your hardest hitting spells you’ll ever have that’s a big deal as well. When none of that is available, then it’s time to get some Intellect, and if you can’t find it then pick up Spirit which translates into mana regen as well as Spell Power when you’re in Moonkin form.

 
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Posted by on July 2, 2010 in Caster, Class, Druid, Guide, Leveling, Macro, Play Styles

 

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Druid Leveling: 1-30 (Resto and Balance)



When you ask people about leveling Druids the default response has almost always been “level Feral”, and for good reason. Feral is a very solid spec with very little downtime. The damage is high as the style of play is very Rogue like, and with your own healing spells as well as multiple methods of travel it’s one of the easiest and fastest leveling setups in the entire game.

As most people are aware, with the introduction of the random dungeons and being able to queue yourself up it has now become much more common, and perhaps the default, to level instead as Resto using the LFG/LFD tool exclusively for leveling from 15 all the way to 80. Druids are also one of the most mana efficient healers in the game while leveling and the way that their HoTs work it often seems as though nobody ever drops below 90% health which means most tanks love them (I know my DK and Paladin both did for sure). The key to leveling a Resto druid is knowing your abilities and knowing how to manage your mana. From there on the rest is cake.

But what about the red-feathered stepchild of druid leveling? Balance is a fairly “simple” spec to play, much like any other caster in the game. People don’t suggest leveling with it often though because it’s easy to feel that you have mana issues and that you’re constantly stopping to drink and replenish your mana. The key to leveling a Balance druid is to know when to hold back and when to push forward. There’s also another aspect of it that we’ll talk about in the Balance section.

My purpose with this post is to show you how to level as either a Balance or Restoration Druid up to level 30, discussing the specifics of both as well showing you how to embrace your hybrid nature when the time comes so that you make use of your entire skillset instead of a small part of it.

Character Creation and Preparation

Races
If you want to be a Druid then you’ve got only two options: Night Elf (Alliance) or Tauren (Horde). When the Cataclysm expansion arrives that will expand to Worgen (Alliance) and Troll (Horde) as well.

Of the two current choices Night Elves get “better” starting stats than Tauren do, but it really won’t matter in the long run. If you’ve had trouble leveling a Druid in the past, then I suggest you go with a NElf because you’ll have better caster stats for starting out.

Heirloom Items
If you have access to heirlooms then you have a few choices for which items you would like to give to them. Each item slot is listed in the order I would suggest them. For armor pieces the only difference (usually) between leather and cloth pieces is the amount of armor that is one them. You’ll get better armor for the leather piece, but you can use the cloth piece with more classes if you play multiple alts.

Chest: Preened Ironfeather Breastplate or Tattered Dreadmist Robe
Ring: Dread Pirate Ring
Shoulder: Preened Ironfeather Shoulders, Tattered Dreadmist Mantle, Exquisite Sunderseer Mantle, Lasting Feralheart Spaulders
Trinkets: Discerning Eye of the Beast, Swift Hand of Justice
Two-Handed Weapon: Dignified headmaster’s Charge, Grand Staff of Jordan
One-Handed Weapon: Devout Aurastone Hammer, The Blessed hammer of Grace

For the shoulders you can’t really go wrong with any of the four I have listed. The ESM is a bit more Balance oriented with a bonus to Crit chance where the LFS is more Resto with additional Spirit. The first two shoulders (PIS and TDM) are your top two regardless of spec.

Since mana is likely to be your main issue rather than hit points, I suggest a pair of Discerning Eyes over one of each trinket if you can afford them. The Haste from the Swift Hand can certainly help you, especially at higher levels, but since mana is key I suggest the Eyes.

As for weapons you should first decide whether you want to stick with a staff while you level or if you want to be open to using off-hand items that you find as you level. My personal preference is to go with a staff, but it’s your call. There are some good off-hand items in the game, I just prefer to go with a solid weapon I know I can make good use of at any time, regardless of what else may or may not drop for me.

Important Spells
Druids have a huge list of spells available to them because of how versatile they are. They’re the only “true” hybrid class in the game right now, meaning they’re the only ones who can fill every role that the game has to offer. Since you have so many skills available to you it’s important to know which ones matter the most.

Values are based on the highest rank up to level 30, completely unmodified by either talents or gear.

General (All Specs)
Mark of the Wild: Increases a friendly target’s armor by 150, all attributes by 6 and all resistances by 5 for 30 minutes.
Thorns: Thorns sprout from the friendly target causing 9 Nature damage to attackers when hit. Lasts 10 minutes.
Entangling Roots: Roots the target in place and causes 90 Nature damage over 18 seconds. Damage caused to the target can break the roots early.
Nature’s Grasp: While active, any time an enemy strikes the caster they have a 100% chance to become afflicted by Entangling Roots (rank 3). Three charges, lasts 45 seconds.
Teleport: Moonglade: Teleports the caster to the Moonglade.

Mark of the Wild (MotW) is your signature buff spell. Have it up at all times and spread it around any groups or battle grounds that you happen to get yourself into. Thorns is another buff you should probably have up on yourself when you’re soloing, and on your tank when you’re in a group (or everyone in a BG). Entangling Roots (ER) is the key to the “Root & Nuke” play style and is your primary source of Crowd Control; just remember that you can only have it cast on one target at a time. Nature’s Grasp is sort of like a Shaman’s Lightning Shield ability, except that instead of dealing damage for each charge it casts Entangling Roots on them. Nature’s Grasp can root 3 individual targets at the same time in addition to a target that you’ve actually cast ER on.

Teleport: Moonglade is how you teleport yourself back to Moonglade for training and most of your class quests. If you’re a Night Elf then lucky for you the flight path from Moonglade back to Darnassus is about a minute long. If you’re a Tauren, then I hope you have something to do during the 12 minutes it’s going to take you to fly from the top of the flipping continent all the way down to Thunder Bluff.

Druid Forms
Bear Form: Shapeshift into bear form, increasing melee attack power by 30, armor contribution from cloth and leather by 180%, and stamina by 25%. Also protects the caster from Polymorph effects. Shapeshifting frees the caster from polymorph and movement impairing effects.
Aquatic Form: Shapeshift into aquatic form, increasing swim speed by 50% and allowing the druid to breathe underwater. Also prevents Polymorph effects.
Travel Form: Shapeshift into travel form, increasing movement speed by 40%. Also protects the caster from Polymorph effects. Shapeshifting frees the caster from polymorph and movement impairing effects.
Cat Form: Shapeshift into cat form, increasing melee attack power by 40 plus Agility. Also protects the caster from Polymorph effects and allows the use of various cat abilities. Shapeshifting frees the caster from polymorph and movement impairing effects.

Bear Form is what you would tank in if you were the tank. But you’re not the tank, you’re a healer or a deeps. Use this if you’re out of mana, below level 20, and something’s kicking your butt. Use it, and then run away with it. Aquatic Form is how you get around in water and how you never worry about drowning again. Travel Form is your mini-mount, allowing you to move 40% faster on land without having to use a mount. Cat Form is your melee DPS form which you’ll use if you’re out of mana, at least level 20, and want to kill things while you’re out of mana.

Restoration Spells
Healing Touch: Heals a friendly target for 490 to 594.
Rejuvenation: [Instant Cast] Heals the target for 305 over 15 seconds.
Regrowth: Heals a friendly target for 318 to 360 and another 343 over 21 seconds.
Revive: Returns the spirit to the body, restoring a dead target to life with 150 health and 260 mana. Cannot be used when in combat.
Cure Poison: Cures 1 poison effect on the target.
Rebirth: Returns the spirit to the body, restoring a dead target to life with 750 health and 1200 mana. Can be used in combat.
Remove Curse: Dispels 1 Curse from a friendly target.
Abolish Poison: Attempts to cure 1 poison effect on the target, and 1 more poison effect ever 3 seconds for 12 seconds.
Tranquility: Heals all nearby group members for 351 every 2 seconds for 8 seconds. Druid must channel to maintain the spell.

Healing Touch is your “big” heal with a fairly big cast time to go with it. Rejuvenation is one of your two primary heals with Regrowth being the other. Both of these are heal-over-time (HoTs) spells and what you’ll be using most often. Revive is your typical resurrection spell similar to what all the other healing classes have, while Rebirth is the game’s only “combat rez”, allowing you to bring someone back while still in combat. Cure Poison is just that, but you’ll mostly likely end up using Abolish Poison for that purpose in the end anyway. Remove Curse is another no brainer. Finally you have one of the largest heals in the game, Tranquility which restores massive amounts of health over time to all nearby party members.

Balance Spells
Wrath: Causes 130 to 148 Nature damage to the target.
Moonfire: Burns the enemy for 61 to 73 Arcane damage and then an additional 124 Arcane damage over 12 seconds.
Starfire: Causes 189 to 231 Arcane damage to the target.

Outside of talent tree spells this is your toolbox as a Boomchicken. Wrath is your primary nuke, Moonfire is your primary DoT (until Insect Swarm), and Starfire is your super nuke used for pulling mobs when solo or for opening a boss fight in a group as your tank closes in.



Leveling as Balance
Root & Nuke Pre-20: Wrath, Entangling Roots, Moonfire, Wrath x2, Entangling Roots, Wrath spam
Root & Nuke Post-20: Starfire, Moonfire, Entangling Roots, Insect Swarm, Starfire, Wrath spam
Level 20+ Rotation: Starfire, Insect Swarm, MoonFire, Wrath spam

Root & Nuke is your safest method of leveling because you’re constantly using crowd control in addition to your DPS to make sure your target doesn’t get close to you. Sadly, you don’t have any AoE spells until you reach level 40 so you are pretty well stuck in a single target role until then unless you want to juggle DoTs and roots on multiple mobs which can get pretty hectic and very draining on your mana.

When using the R&N method you need to remember that damage will break the effect of your roots early. Because of that you want get as much uptime on your roots as you can, without wasting time, before going back to nukes. What I mean by that is that once your ER spell has been cast, or your NG charge has gone off to root the mob in place, cast one or both of your DoT spells on the target and then back away to put distance between you before you start spamming Wrath. The first thing this does is it gives time for the roots’ DoT effect to deal some damage, and second it gives you more safety by keeping you out of harm.

If you don’t want to R&N then your next best option is to just lay right into them. In cases like that start off with Starfire if you have it or Wrath if you don’t, then get at least one of your DoTs up (both if the target has a lot of health), and then spam Wrath after Wrath until the target is dead.

The key to conserving mana as a Balance Druid is letting your DoTs do their job. You’re only wasting mana if you cast Wrath on a mob with 30 hp left when you know your DoTs have over 100 damage left to deal. Be aware of how much damage your DoTs do and make use of them.



Leveling as Resto
Questing Rotation: Wrath, Entangling Roots, Moonfire, Wrath, Wrath, Entangling Roots, Wrath, Wrath
Healing “Rotation”: Regrowth, Rejuvenation, Healing Touch (if necessary)

If you’re leveling as a Resto Druid, meaning that your talent points are spent in the Restoration Tree more than any other, then you’re going to find questing to be a bit harder than if you took one of the other specs. You’re basically a Balance Druid without talent points to increase your efficiency.

Your best bet for leveling as Resto is to get to level 15 using the Balance play style of Root & Nuke that I just talked about to keep mobs away from you while you burn them down with Wrath spam and the occasional Moonfire. Once you get to level 15 forget the whole R&N business and queue yourself up for some dungeon runs (random or specific, doesn’t really matter). Be sure to select the Healer’s role in the LFD tool, and I wouldn’t bother signing up for extra slots unless you’re actually looking to fill them. Your best bet as an off-spec role is going to be DPS. Please don’t queue as a tank if you’re not used to tanking or do not plan on being a tank, or else I may be forced to shoot you.

As far as healing goes you want to keep an eye on the damage that people are taking. If their health is barely moving, but you know they’re getting hit (because it’s the tank, right?…Right?) then you can start off with a Rejuv since it’s instant cast and only heals over time. Regrowth has an initial heal effect in addition to its HoT, so it’s better when you see that there’s actually a gap in their current health versus their total health. If they’re taking a lot of damage then Regrowth, Rejuv, and then Healing Touch to get them back near full health. When incoming damage is low, stick to your HoTs and don’t bother wasting time with HT unless you really need to. If damage is moderate, then make sure both of your HoTs stay up on the target and feel free to pad it with an extra Regrowth if needed. If damage is high then get at least one HoT rolling and then Healing Touch for the big heal.

Your healing rotation isn’t so much a rotation as a priority list, but it also changes based on your glyphs. You can get glyphs that make Rejuv heal more when the target is lower on health, one that makes Regrowth heal more if Rejuv is already on the target, or one that cuts the cast time of HT by 1.5 seconds (huge) though it also cuts the heal in half as well. For now you only have the three heals to keep track of so learn them well and consider your glyphs based on your needs. More details on glyphs down below.



Embracing the Hybrid
Your true strength as a Druid is your versatility in being the only complete and true hybrid class in the game, capable of filling any of the four roles (tank, heals, ranged dps, melee dps) at any given time. If you’re out questing and some extra mobs were pulled so that you’re now out of mana and facing one more mob with full health you could either attack it with your melee weapon, you could run away, or you could drop into either Bear (level 10) or Cat (level 20) form and maul its face off.

The final example there is what embracing your hybrid nature is all about. The best way to do that is to keep a weapon on you that has DPS-related stats on it that you can switch to when you run out of mana and then shift into a melee form and fight with your paws/claws.

The best weapons for you in this case are ones that have +Agility and/or +Strength stats on them, or ones that have proc abilities such as “Chance on hit: Deals 40 Fire damage to the target.” so that you can deal additional damage with the weapon even though your stats and gear help your spell casting instead of your melee abilities. If you don’t have access to weapons like that it’s not really that big of a deal, just use whatever you have instead. Your damage in Bear and Cat form is not based on your weapon, so even a weapon that does 0-1 damage will hit just as hard in those forms as any other.

There are two weapon enchants that are especially useful for doing this, though they aren’t necessarily cheap. The first one is Enchant Weapon – Fiery Weapon which generally costs 25-40g on most servers. It has a chance to deal 40 Fire damage when you attack, procs very frequently, and the damage can crit for 60 or 80 Fire damage as well. When you’re in Bear or Cat form the weapon damage does nothing for you, only stats and proc abilities count for you, so you can put this on any weapon you can equip and get the benefit of the enchant.

The other enchant is Enchant Weapon – Crusader which will cost anywhere from 125-250g, but has a proc ability that gives you +100 Strength for 15 seconds and heals you for 75-125 health, and this proc is also capable of being a critical heal for up to 250 health. This option is more expensive than Fiery, but the heal proc gives you a method of healing that does not require mana, and 100 Strength = 100 Attack Power which means you’re going to hit like a truck for those 15 seconds.

If you don’t have easy access to either the enchants or the mats for the enchants, then I suggest you either get Fiery weapon or ignore enchants all together and just use whatever weapon you already have. The enchants are not in any way critical, they just help when/if the time comes. Since my main character is almost always an Enchanter I keep at least one of every non-polearm weapon in an alt’s bank that has the Fiery enchant on it and can be used low level characters, so I always have something on hand for low level toons.

Resto Spec and Glyphs



Improved Mark of the Wild 2/2: Increases the effects of your Mark/Gift of the Wild spells by 40%, and increases all of your total attributes by 2%.
Nature’s Focus 3/3: Reduces the pushback suffered from damaging attacks while casting Healing Touch, Wrath, Entangling Roots, Cyclone, Nourish, Regrowth and Tranquility by 70%.
Subtlety 3/3: Reduces the threat generated by your restoration spells by 30% and reduces the chance your helpful spells, Moonfire, and Insect Swarm will be dispelled by 30%.
Naturalist 2/5: Reduces the cast time of your Healing Touch spell by 0.2 seconds and increases the damage you deal with physical attacks in all forms by 4%.
Omen of Clarity 1/1: Each of the Druid’s damage, healing spells and auto attacks has a chance of causing the caster to enter a Clearcasting state. The Clearcasting state reduces the Mana, Rage or Energy cost of your next damage, healing spell or offensive ability by 100%.
Intensity 3/3: Allows 50% of your Mana regeneration to continue while casting and causes your Enrage ability to instantly generate 10 rage.
Naturalist +1 (3/5): Reduces the cast time of your Healing Touch spell by 0.3 seconds and increases the damage you deal with physical attacks in all forms by 6%.
Tranquil Spirit 5/5: Reduces the mana cost of your healing Touch, Nourish and Tranquility spells by 10%.
Nature’s Swiftness 1/1: [Instant cast, 3 minute cooldown] When activated, your next Nature spell with a base casting time less than 10 seconds becomes an instant cast spell.

Resto Glyphs

Major

  • Glyph of Regrowth: Increases the healing ofyour Regrowth spell by 20% if your regrowth effect is still active on the target.
  • Glyph of Rebirth: Players resurrected by Rebirth are returned to life with 100% health.
  • Glyph of Healing Touch: Decreases the cast time of your Healing Touch by 1.5 seconds, the mana cost by 25%, and the amount healed by 50%.
  • Glyph of Rejuvenation: While your Rejuvenation targets are below 50% health, you will heal them for an additional 50% health.

I list these in order that I prefer them while leveling. Regrowth is my go-to heal in most cases while leveling as Healing Touch is usually too big of a heal with too big of a cast time, and this glyph makes up for any difference there might be. Rebirth is useful, especially with so many tanks these days not actually using tanking specs. That usually leads to either the tank himself dying or a lack of threat generation which leads to other people dying instead.

Healing Touch is a decent spell, and this glyph significantly cuts down the cast time and cuts the mana cost by a fair amount as well. I’m not a huge fan of having the healing cut in half though. I don’t often find myself in enough of a bind that I need a super-fast heal for a somewhat mediocre amount. Rejuvenation is one I’ve messed with several times and just never grew to like.

Minor

I’m a big fan of not having to waste bag space with stupid reagents, and the Druid is the freaking king of stupid reagents as not only do they have several spells that need them, but they also need new reagents for each individual rank of the spells too. For that reason, I like to have Unburdened Rebirth as my first minor glyph for Resto. I’m also a huge fan of being able to move quickly, so Aquatic Form is always in my list of Druid glyphs somewhere.

Playing as Resto
Resto is not the most entertaining spec for me. It is the most enjoyable spec for me, but it’s also quite boring at times. If you’re running through a random dungeon and your tank is in heirloom gear and taking almost no damage at all than you’re literally going to slap a HoT or two on him and then do nothing for the rest of the fight from a healing perspective. Because of this I’ll often drop into a mediocre DPS role sometimes that happens by using Moonfire on fleeing mobs who are low on health, and sometimes it by dropping into Bear form and offering some horribly low AoE damage with Swipe spam, or after 20 it may be kitty claws just because. If you want to save mana then use your Feral forms, otherwise either use Balance spells or just stay out of combat like a good little healer.

At the same time, during low levels in particular, you’ll also find groups where everyone ignores their designated roles and just go crazy killing things. In terms of end game play this is absolutely stupid, but for low level it’s pretty well the norm these days. That doesn’t make it alright or acceptable, it’s just the way things often turn out (looking at you in particular, Hunters). In times like those you’ll often find that you’re healing everyone in your group, including yourself. Inevitably someone will pull something but nobody will bother tanking it so your heals make you the target. Remember your Roots when things like this happen.

Balance Spec and Glyphs



Starlight Wrath 5/5: Reduces the cast time of your Wrath and Starfire spells by 0.5 seconds.
Moonglow 3/3: Reduces the Mana cost of your Moonfire, Starfire, Starfall, Wrath, healing Touch, Nourish, Regrowth, and Rejuvenation spells by 9%.
Nature’s Majesty 2/2: Increases the critical strike chance of your Wrath, Starfire, Starfall, Nourish, and Healing Touch spells by 4%.
Nature’s Reach 2/2: Increases the range of your Balance spells and Faerie Fire (Feral) ability by 20%, and reduces the threat generated by your Balance spells by 30%.
Nature’s Grace 3/3: All non-periodic spell criticals have a 100% chance to grace you with a blessing of nature, increases your spell casting speed by 20% for 3 seconds.
Celestial Focus 3/3: Reduces the pushback suffered from damaging attacks while casting Starfire, Hibernate and Hurricane by 70% and increases your total spell haste by 3%.
Vengeance 2/5: Increases the critical strike damage bonus of your Starfire, Starfall, Moonfire, and Wrath spells by 40%.
Insect Swarm 1/1: [Instant cast] The enemy target is swarmed by insects, decreasing their chance to hit with melee and ranged attacks by 3% and causing Nature damage over 12 seconds.

Balance Glyphs

Major

  • Glyph of Wrath: Reduces the pushback suffered from damaging attacks while casting your Wrath spell by 50%.
  • Glyph of Insect Swarm: Increases the damage of your Insect Swarm ability by 30%, but it no longer affects your victim’s chance to hit.
  • Glyph of Moonfire: Increases the periodic damage of your Moonfire ability by 75%, but initial damage is decreased by 90%.
  • Glyph of Starfire: Your Starfire ability increases the duration of your Moonfire effect on the target by 3 seconds, up to a maximum of 9 additional seconds.
  • Glyph of Entangling Roots: Increases the damage your Entangling Roots victims can take before ER automatically breaks by 20%.

Nothing sucks for a caster more than pushback (except for Silence, of course) so I like to nip that straight away with Wrath since Wrath is our primary nuke. At level 30 we get Insect Swarm and as I mentioned up above one of the keys to our DPS as Balance is maximizing our DoT effects. We’re not worried so much about getting hit as we are killing things, and 30% is a pretty big boost to our damage.

If you’re a huge fan of using the Root & Nuke method then you might want to consider Entangling Roots for one of your glyphs. I’ve never been a fan of this type of glyph myself, even for a Frost Mage with my obsessive AoE grinding; it just doesn’t appeal to me. However, it will help if your a R&N fiend. Moonfire and Starfire work really well also, especially if you pair the two of them up. I don’t take these two myself because I like to take advantage of the burst damage from Moonfire as a finisher and as an instant cast mini-nuke. However, 75% is big boost to DoT damage and using Starfire to increase its uptime can add up a lot over time. The problem is, not a lot of mobs are going to last long enough through a Moonfire/Starfire barrage for the extra time to count for anything.

Minor

We have the same situation here as we did above in the Resto section. The only difference is that I don’t find myself casting Rebirth quite so often when I’m playing DPS as I usually focus instead on killing whatever’s around us. So I start off with Aquatic Form when playing balance and then add Unburdened Rebirth when the next slot opens up at 50.

Playing as Balance
Balance is an evolving spec. When you first start out you’re mostly a Wrath-spamming nuker. As you go along you add Moonfire into the mix for some DoT damage, then you bring in Starfire for heavy nuking, and then Insect Swarm for more DoT damage. The key to playing it successfully is knowing your spells’ potential, most important in that area are your DoT spells.

If a mob has 150 HP left and you know that your DoTs can do that much, then you don’t need bother with a Wrath. Similarly, if you know your DoTs aren’t going to be enough to bring them down then you know you need another spell; Wrath or maybe just another Moonfire. Also remember that Entangling Roots has a DoT effect to it as well. It’s not a big one, but it’s there. It’s not a bad idea to Moonfire > Roots > Swarm, and then just walk away and let the mob die while you start killing his buddy. Just don’t forget to loot them all when it’s over if you go with that route.



Gearing Your Druid
During this stretch of levels your gear selection is going to be a bit different than it will as you get higher in level. Since both of the specs we’re talking about here are caster specs then some general rules apply regardless of level, such as Spell Power being important. As you’re leveling though, you need to find a good balance between Spell Power and Intellect to reduce your downtime.

Intellect >= Spell Power > Spirit

As Resto you’ll want to put a slightly higher priority on Intellect while not ignoring Spell Power. You need your spells to restore a solid amount of health, but you also need to be able to heal through an entire fight. If you’re running out of mana a lot then you could probably use more Int to fuel more heals, but by the same token if your heals are stronger because of your SP then you wouldn’t have to cast as many of them so your mana would be fine. It’s a bit of a balancing act between the two, so just use your best judgement.

Resto wants more mana so that they can heal for longer periods of time. Boomkins want more SP so that they can kill faster. What you’ll find in actually playing though, is that Resto tends to stay high on their mana because their HoTs make them cast fewer heals overall, and Boomkins run out of mana all the time so even though they save time in combat they more than make up for it in drinking.

Personally I say you rank Intellect higher on the priority list, but pick up Spell Power whenever you can. If you have a choice between an item with +10 Int and one with +6 Int, +4 SP then grab the second one. However, if I had a choice between one with +10 Int and one with +10 SP, them I’m most likely going to go for the Int item if I’m Resto and the SP item if I’m Balance.

Enchants
The enchants that you want to look at for this level should be ones that can increase either your Intellect or your Spell Power. If you don’t have heirloom items then either skip enchanting while you level or go with cheap enchants.

Enchanting on the Cheap
Enchant 2H Weapon – Lesser Intellect: Permanently enchant a two-handed melee weapon to increase Intellect by 3.
Enchant Chest – Greater Mana: Permanently enchant a piece of chest armor to give +50 mana.
Enchant Bracer – Greater Intellect: Permanently enchant bracers to increase Intellect by 7.
Enchant 2H Weapon – Major Intellect: Permanently enchant a two-handed melee weapon to increase Intellect by 9.
Enchant Chest – Major Mana: Permanently enchant a piece of chest armor to increase mana by 100.

There aren’t any “cheap” options for permanent Spell Power enchants, but one option that you have open to you if you aren’t using an Heirloom weapon is Wizard Oil. Minor Wizard Oil requires you to be at least level 5 but gives +8 SP for 1 hour, and Lesser Wizard Oil requires level 30 but gives +16 SP for 1 hour.

Heirloom Enchants
Enchant Weapon – Spellpower: Permanently enchant a melee weapon to increase spell power by 30.
Enchant Weapon – Healing Power: Permanently enchant a melee weapon to increase spell power by 29.
Enchant Weapon – Mighty Intellect: Permanently enchant a melee weapon to increase Intellect by 22.
Enchant Chest – Major Mana: Permanently enchant a piece of chest armor to increase mana by 100.

While you could put a +4 Stats enchant on your chest, I’m going to suggest +100 mana instead, regardless of spec. If you would rather get the stats enchant, then by all means go right ahead and do it. As for the weapon enchant, you now have the option of Spell Power or Intellect. I’m currently running with the +22 Int enchant on my weapon which is an extra 330 Mana. I used to have the +30 SP enchant on it which worked just fine, but I find the extra mana to be especially useful in lower levels so I’m sticking with +Int for mine. Again, the choice is yours.

 
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Posted by on May 13, 2010 in Caster, Class, Druid, Guide, Leveling

 

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