To start off my blog, I thought it would be good to start with a Resto Druid Guide.
Resto Druids have many spells at their convenience and often the begginer will not understand the purpose of each spell and its usefullness. For this introduction guide I will trying to explain everything simply so that new druids can easily understand without seeing all of the messy mathematics.
I will often use a lot of jargon that I feel I need to introduce.
HOT: A Heal over Time spell. Any spell which does not immediately heal, but rather heals for a small portion over a long period of time.
MP5: Mana is regenerated every 5 seconds and this number indicates the amount of mana regenerated during that time.
GCD: Global Cooldown. Almost every spell cast incurs a cooldown time in between spells so that you can only cast a spell every 1.5 seconds (This number can be lowered through haste and talents).
AOE: Area of Effect. Any spell which affects multiple targets in an area.
Rejuvination (REJ): The most simple HOT availible. Heals for a large amount over a very long time. At level 80, it takes 18 seconds before it finishes.
Regrowth(RG): A direct healing spell which provides a hot when it lands. This hot is much weaker than Rejuvination.
Lifebloom(LB): Another hot which heals for a lot every second. When the hot is up, it will also "Bloom" to heal the target for a large amount. Can be stacked up to 3 times and is refreshed each time you cast it.
Healing Touch(HT): A direct healing spell which takes a long time to cast, but heals for insance amounts.
Nourish: Another direct healing spell, but is buffed if the target has a hot on them. Faster than HT and RG, but generally heals for less.
Wild Growth: An AOE spell which heals up to 5 targets each second, but has a 6 second cooldown.
Swiftmend: A instant spell which consumes a hot (either REJ or RG) from the target and heals for the full amount of the HOT. Has a cooldown
Natures Swiftness: A spell which allows the next direct healing spell to be instant. Often used in conjunction with HT.
There are some other spells in the restoration tree, but not as important as these.
How to Heal as a Tree
This may seem a little silly, but I have seen so many level 80 resto druids in dead last on the healing meters simply because they fail to use the correct spells.
Healing as a tree is very different than other healing classes, as resto druids focus on hots rather than direct heals. This isn't to say we don't use direct heals, but simply because we have the best hots availible and we should use them.
Healing a 5 man dungeon.
5 man dungeons can be one of the trickiest places to heal as a resto druid simply because you are responsible for everyone in the group. If a player dies, you will often get blamed (Unless they stood in a void zone or something). If the tank dies, you will definitely get blamed and sometimes rightly so.
The tank is the person in the 5man group taking the most damage so you should spend the marjoity of your time focusing on him (/her but I'm lazy so I will just be using him). This means rolling at least 1-2 hots, and using your direct heals when the tank is taking more damage than your hots are healing for. Generally I will start of with Rejuv, then cast regrowth. This is usually enough for most tanks. If the tank starts taking more damage start casting lifebloom and keep the 3 stacks rolling on the tank. If this still is not enough you need to start using your direct heals. You can either use nourish or regrowth. Depending on your glyphs, talents, and gear you can use either spell. I generally use regrowth because it adds a hot onto the target, but nourish is acceptable and can be very useful with the correct setup. Also, use swiftmend a lot. Its an amazing spell, requires no cast time and heals for a ton. If the tank is below 50% health, I will use swiftmend before anything else. Finally, if the tank is going to die, use a combination of Nature's swiftness and healing touch. This will generally bring the tank up most of his health. Be careful though as you can only use this combination once every 3 minutes. Setting up a macro for this is a good idea too.
Everyone else in the group is repsonsible for doing damage on the mobs. If a single dpser is taking damage, cast rejuv on them, if everyone is taking damage cast wild growth. If a dpser is at low health (under 50% or so) you can either cast nourish, or rejuvination and swiftmend to get them back up to full health. A lot of this requires lots of practice. If you are finding that a particular dpser is pulling aggro and taking a lot of damage I would reccomend warning them in party chat with something like "Please let the tank have aggro, its hard to heal more than one tank." or something like that. If it continues then I would reccomend NOT healing them. Let them die once or twice so they understand that they are not the tank. If the dps is pulling aggro because the tank isn't as well geared or is poorly skilled, mention to everyone that they need to wait til the tank has enough aggro before they start doing damage. Dying wastes a lot of time, and its better to do less dps than die.
Healing a 10 man raid
Healing in a raid setting like naxx or obsidium sanctum is quite a bit different than healing a 5 man group. One is that you alone aren't responsible for everyone's health, but rather the team of healers (usually 2-3) is responsible. This means good communication between healers. For example, if the tank dies because both healers were focusing on healing someone else, then it is both of their repsonsibility. It is often good to set up loose assignments for healers for each boss fight. On trash mobs, generally no assignments are needed. Let me give some examples of healing assignments and what it means for resto druids.
If you are assigned to heal the main tank (mt), then basically follow the steps for healing a 5 man dungeon...hot the tank, use direct heals as needed, heal dpsers if the tank is at full health and is not taking spike damage.
If you are assigned to heal everyone else, then do just that, but still I would reccomend providing some hots on the tank, usually rejuvination and regrowth is enough. Mostly however focus on using wild growth and rejuvination on the group unless a single target is taking spike damage, then switch to your direct heals.
If you are not assigned at all, like during trash, then there are a few strategies. One is to keep hots rolling on the tank(s) while casting rejuv on any dps that has damage. Rejuvination is great in that if needed, you can always use swiftmend to get the target up quickly. Also in groups use wild growth almost every cooldown if there is aoe damage going on. It is the equivilent of rolling 2 stacks of lifebloom on 5 targets for 6 seconds....awesome!
In General, hot the tanks, rejuv the dps, wild growth when there is aoe damage, and only use direct heals if someone is in dire need.
So this is where i see most resto druids fail in 10 man raids. They are only using their direct healing spells like regrowth and nourish. Why does this fail? Simply because paladins, shamans, and holy priests all have direct healing spells that are way better than ours. Paladins have a 1.5 second cast which usually will heal for twice the amount of nourish. If your heals per second are low, and your overhealing is really high, check to see how often you are using your direct heals compared to your hots.
Healing 25 mans.
Healing 25 man raids are much different than the previous two. At time, it can seem similar to healing a 10man raid, but because there are usually between 4-7 healers, to be effective, you have to use a different set of spells more often.
Always keep hots on all tanks. This means at least rejuv and regrowth on any tank. If a tank is going to be taking lots of damage, roll a lifebloom. If you have a lot of tanks, cast wild growth and hope that it hits the tanks.
Healing the dps is much different. Because you have so many other healers, often you hots will overheal. So rejuvination seems like it isn't useful. Rejuvination still has its place, especially if there is lots of aoe damage and wild growth is on cooldown, but generally one of the other heals will likely override your hot. All overhealing means wasted mana. So you want to keep this number as low as possible. Wild growth is great because it hits 5 targets at a time and heals quickly. I can see WG accounting for up to 40% of my heals on some trash fights. So what should you do about the dps? You have two options. One is let another healer heal them. Two is to let another healer heal them. Unless you brought 6 resto druids to your 25man (which i would not reccomend) other healers are simply much better than you at healing single target dpsers. So how do you heal the dps? By focusing your healing on the tanks, you allow for the other healers to heal dps. Hots are a tanks best friend, just ask them and hots are great for toons taking a lot of damage over a long peroid of time. If you really really really want to heal a dpser, cast rejuvination and hope that the other healers realize that you are already healing them, chances are though that they won't. So save your mana and heal the tanks.
There are two fights which are exceptions. On Kel'thuzud, it is vitally important to keep the person frozen alive. So cast your nourish. (Why nourish? Because its fast, I've noticed that if I cast regrowth that it won't hit til after the target is dead.) The other is malygos. During vortex, you have a chance to heal because you can cast hots. Cast wild growth and rejuvination. It isn't important to heal everyone to full health during this time, but rather just to keep them alive. Wild growth and rejuvination should do just that.
So this is part one of my guide.
Part two will focus on talents and glpyhs
Part three will focus on gear
Part four will focus on anything that I feel that I need to say that I left out.