I will be updating this periodically, check back for more videos and written guides.
Hey ArenaJunkies! Welcome to my Resto Druid complete instructional guide. In this series, I will be discussing everything Resto, starting from the basics and moving on to advanced tips and tricks. This guide will have both videos and a written section and will be developed periodically. The first few videos might seem a bit too simple for some of you, as they are designed for players who are completely new to the class. More complicated material will be in the last of my videos, in which I cover things like positioning and Cyclone theory.
Part 1: The Basics
Resto Druids primarily rely on healing over time spells, meaning instead of healing reactively (as in healing AFTER someone takes damage) they heal preemptively (meaning they start applying heals BEFORE anyone takes damage). This type of healing allows them to be very aggressive healers because they can go offensive once their teammates have enough HoTs to sustain them for a given period of time. The way in which a Resto Druid is able to go offensive is by using his crowd control abilities, namely Cyclone and Entangling Roots, and his primary damaging cooldown, Heart of the Wild. We should contrast this with a class like a Resto Shaman, who will be primarily healing conservatively in a defensive position.
As a Resto Druid you are primarily concerned with the following stats:
Intellect - Increases the power of your heals and slightly improves your spell critical chance.
Spirit - Increases the rate of your Mana regeneration.
Haste - Reduces cast time, lowers the GCD, and gives extra ticks on HoTs.
Mastery - increases the power of your direct heals and casting direct heals boosts the power of your HoTs.
Crit - Increases the chance to land a critical heal that does additional healing and procs Living Seed.
The stat priority for Resto Druids in PvP is as follows:
Intellect > 12.5% Haste > Mastery > Spirit > Crit
I put spirit last because Resto Druids are very mana efficient. Their heals cost very little mana and with full PvP gear and good usage of innervate, it is really difficult to go oom as a Resto Druid.
Some may be wondering why I have 12.5% haste as a stat priority. The reason is because Resto Druids have haste breakpoints. These breakpoints are percentage values at which the Druid gains another tick from his HoTs in a given duration. At 12.5% haste Rejuvenation gains another tick in its base duration. Haste also increases the power of the Soul of the Forest talent and the Genesis ability.
Itemization and Gemming
I should include first as a disclaimer that itemization and gemming is based upon how much gear you have and what type of PvP you want to participate in. Your stat priorities with low gear may be different from what they are with full gear. In addition, you may want different stats for 2v2 Arena than you do with RBGs. Overall, you should be adhering to the stat priority list we presented earlier.
If you are undergeared, you might want to Reforge and Gem for spirit, especially if you find you are having mana problems in longer games. If you are fully geared, you might wanna opt out on buying Meditation pieces and instead buy Alacrity pieces.
Check out these armory links for ideas on how to gear and gem with full PvP gear:
As a rule of thumb, gem red sockets with Brilliant gems, yellow sockets with Reckless/Artful gems, and blue sockets with Mysterious/Purified gems.
Important Healing Spells
Lifebloom is probably your most important heal. It heals very quickly and is nice to dampen incoming damage on a target. Lifebloom stacks up to three times. If it expires, it will bloom for a burst heal. In addition it grants you clear casting procs, which allows you to use casted heals at no mana cost. You will want to keep lifebloom on whatever target is the focus of damage. Be wary though, outside of Tree Form, you can only keep Lifebloom on one target. You can swap Lifebloom to a new target and it will retain its stacks.
Rejuvenation is probably the most iconic Resto Druid healing spell. It is a raw heal over time effect that is quite bursty, but heals slower than Lifebloom. You can use Rejuvenation in combination with Genesis, which will make it heal much quicker. Be warned though, overuse of Genesis will drastically hurt your mana. The secondary function of Rejuvenation is that it allows you to use Swiftmend on the target.
Regrowth is a casted burst heal with a high crit chance and a short HoT effect. Regrowth costs a lot of mana but luckily this cost is completely reduced by clearcasting procs (which you get quite often). In tree form, Regrowth is instant cast. It is sometimes worthwhile to cast Regrowth on a target with full health if you have a clearcasting proc. The reason for this is because Regrowth will give the target Living Seed. Living Seed absorbs 30% of the healing done by Regrowth, and heal the target for that amount the next time they take damage.
Swiftmend is an instant cast burst heal on a relatively short cooldown. In order to Swiftmend a target, they must first have Rejuvenation or a Regrowth HoT on them.
Wild Mushroom is a heal that you place on the ground using Glyph of Sprouting Mushroom. It creates a 5HP mushroom that will heal in a circle around it. Its healing is comparable to a 3 stack Lifebloom and will heal all party members within its range. In addition, Wild Mushroom will absorb overhealing done by Rejuvenation and will store it as a charge. You can use this charge to detonate Wild Mushroom, which will distribute the overhealing to all party members within range.
Tranquility is a channeled heal that heals all party members in range for a large amount. Tranquility has a very long cooldown, so it will probably will be used only once a game. It is meant for situations in which multiple party members are at low health. Because the channeling time is long, you need to use this spell when you are certain you won't be interrupted. Tranquility's channel time is reduced by Soul of the Forest.
For Alliance, the choice is pretty one sided: go nightelf. The reason being is that Worgen sprint provides only a slight boost in mobility, which you won't ever need as a Resto Druid. Shadowmeld can be used in many different ways, such as avoiding CC and dropping enemy focus. A on older guide on Shadowmeld can be found here:
1. - Shadowmeld: Activate to slip into the shadows, reducing the chance for enemies to detect your presence. Lasts until cancelled or upon moving. Any threat is restored versus enemies still in combat upon cancellation of this effect.
2. - Darkflight: Activates your true form, increasing current movement speed by an additional 40% for 10 sec.
For Horde, the choice isn't as clear. The traditional paradigm of Horde Druid races says that you should always be Tauren. I feel otherwise. While Warstomp does provide nice utility for a Resto Druid, it is overall an antiquated ability and is not particularly suited for the current meta game. The reason being is that Resto Druids will usually play with Rogues, Warriors, and Mages. An untimely Warstomp can ruin stun DRs and mess up kill opportunities. The Troll racial can be used both offensively and defensively, both to get quick Cyclones and to lower the GCD and provide very strong hasted heals. Both races are good in their own respects and it is a matter of preference as to which you should play.
1. - Berserking: Increases your melee, ranged, and spell haste by 20% for 10 sec.
- War Stomp: Stuns up to 5 enemies within 8 yds for 2 sec.
Part 2: Keybindings
I often get asked what my keybindings are. I think this is the wrong question to ask. It is the same thing as asking an Olympic sprinter what kinds of shoes he wears. Though his shoes certainly must have some impact on his performance, they aren't the sole reason (pun intended) he is an Olympic sprinter. His form, physical fitness, and mechanics contribute mostly to his performance, not specifically his shoes.
What we should take away from this is that keybinds are meant to be player specific. Copying another person's binds won't instantly make you a better player, and in some cases they might make you a worse player. What matters is that you develop a muscle memory that you are comfortable using. You can gradually adjust you binds, but dramatic changes to your keybinding setup might alter your performance.
Though there are no specific rules on how to keybind (ie. Rejuvenation ALWAYS being bound to F) there are some general rules you can follow to make your keybinds efficient. To have efficient keybinds is to be able to use abilities quickly, with as little hand movement as possible.
Diziet's Elitist Jerks Guide from 2008 actually provides us with relevant information to keybinding.
WoW Keybindings : How you can become a Gladiator: Keybinding Part I
Posted 08/25/08 at 3:38 PM by Yes
Updated 12/29/10 at 8:38 AM by Yes
If you follow all the steps in my guide and your rating does not go up I will personally log on your account and get you 2500 rating.
Every spell you ever use in arena should be keybound. Do not click anything!
Using keybindings in PvP is like knowing how to ride a bicycle in Tour de France. It’s something that everyone does and if you don’t you look like an idiot. As Iain Banks put it, "One hundred idiots make idiotic plans and carry them out. All but one justly fail. The hundredth idiot, whose plan succeeded through pure luck, is immediately convinced he's a genius." What happens in World of Warcraft is that we can not fail; everyone succeeds in some way (welfare PvP epics come because we pay the monthly fee). So everyone is convinced that what they do is right and there is something else holding them back. This is why key bindings are the most difficult thing to convince people to use, because people are unwilling to change the way they’ve been playing for the last few years.
What is a keybinding?
A keybind is a shortcut exclusively pressed by your left hand on the keyboard to make your character do something, fast. People that are left handed might need to figure things out themselves.
The point of a good keybinding is that you reflexively and very quickly are able to accomplish an action. No one is a special flower that does not need to use keybindings.
In this guide I will assume everyone uses the WASD setup to move their character.
This is how you should position your fingers.
The keybinds you should keep are: Tab, 1 2 3 4 5 W S and [Space]. Everything else will be changed. This guide is focused on people who haven’t used keybindings before.
Keybind focus target.
First, one must rebind strafing. Strafing makes your character move in one direction (left or right).
To change WoW keybindings, you press the Esc key, click on Key Bindings in the menu that appears in the middle of the screen, and scroll down through the various different abilities. The function of the ability is described on the left side, and the two boxes in line with the description are the two possible keybindings. To assign a new keybinding you click on the left box and press the keybinding you wish to assign. Click Okay after you’re done changing things.
Keybindings do not stop you from being able to type in chat.
Locate strafe right and left. The default keybinds should be Q and E. Rebind those to A and D. The point of this is to make sure you never keyboard turn and free up valuable space.
The next task the most daunting task you will ever have to do if you do not use keybinds. You will have to assign a keybinding to every one of your abilities that you will ever use in combat (And many that you should have been using). And you will stop clicking on things and learn to control your character only with one hand.
The purpose of good keybindings is that they are instantaneously accessible.
There are two ways to go about getting keybindings, and this depends on whether you use the default action bar interface or not. I recommend everyone gets a mod like Bartender3, which is a custom action bar mod.
The first thing you want to do is take every spell off your action bar. The next thing you want to do is to think about which abilities you will need to use the most. Literally, every ability you’ve ever used in the middle of combat (And some that you should have been using but you never have) should be keybound.
Keybinding your PvP trinket.
I would suggest to keybind all abilities you have. The only things you don’t have to keybind are things like mage portals. You will have around 20-30 abilities keybound. You might think you do not have enough space on your keyboard but there is.
Here are the available buttons, Green squares are buttons you can keybind normally and blue circles are a combination with shift.
Now, all you have to do is physically go to the keybind screen and keybind your abilities. You should keybind things that are very clutch (Like kick, intercept, earthshock) to easily accessible keys. Practice with your rest position with your hand. Spells you cast often should be keybound somewhere easy so you’re not cramping your hand.
Every player that was not using keybindings was about 200 rating lower then he could have been were he using keybinds.
To easily make you learn your keybindings download a mod like Bartender3 and hide the bars. Alternatively you can use the :Hide() function on certain bars to hide them. I have my bars hidden and only show important cooldowns. If you hide your bars you will have no other way to play other then with keybindings.
Specific tips: Keybind abilities with similar functions close by. For example, if you’re a warlock and you keybound fear to F, keybind Howl of Terror to Shift + F. Keybind abilities you use in succession to rows of keys: For example as a warlock you might keybind Corruption, Siphon, Agony and Immolate to Z X C and V, or ` 1 2 3. If you hit the wrong spell by accident you will still do something good.
Remember that your mouse is the best tool for camera control and turning. Healers, remember that targeting your party can be done via keybinds (Default is the F keys). Make sure to unbind shift + scroll wheel from switching around your action bars. Cleansers make sure to remember to bind character specific cleanse macros.
Here's a sample bind setup using some of the abilities we covered earlier:
Part 3: Macros
#showtooltip /cast Nature's Swiftness /cast Healing touch Use this macro to NS and Healing Touch with the same binding. /cast IronBark /cast Cenarion Ward This macro combines IronBark and Cenarion Ward. These share the same cooldown and it is often helpful to use them in combination with one another. #showtooltip /stopcasting /cast Nature's Swiftness /cast Cyclone Using this macro will use your NS and Cyclone in the same global. #showtooltip /cast [target=focus] Cyclone Casts Cyclone on focus target. #showtooltip /cast [target=focus] Entangling Roots Casts Entangling roots on focus target. #showtooltip /use Might of Ursoc /use name of battlemaster trinket /use Healthstone All in one defensive macro which will use Might of Ursoc and your Battlemaster + Healthstone at one time. These will normally boost your health +70%. #showtooltip /cast Berserking(Racial) /cast Lifeblood Troll Racial + Herbalism in same bind. #showtooltip Hibernate /stopcasting /cast Nature's Swiftness /cast Hibernate NS Hibernate macro. Good against other Druids and Shamans in Ghost Wolf. #showtooltip /cast Symbiosis /cancelaura Ice Block On first use, will cast Symbiosis on target. The next press will use the Symbiosis ability. If you are playing with a mage and you are in Ice Block, you can use this macro to cancel the Ice Block quickly (somewhat risky, be warned). #showtooltip /cast [@mouseover] Innervate This ability while use Innervate on whatever target or frame your mouse is hovering over. Good for RBGs. Limited usage inside arena. #showtooltip /cast [nostealth] Prowl /cast [stealth] Pounce All in one Prowl/Pounce button so you don't have to make two seperate binds in Cat Form. #showtooltip /cast [flyable] Swift Flight Form /cast [noflyable] Amani War Bear All in one mount macro. Replace flyable line with name of your desired flying mount and noflyable line with name of your desired ground mount.
Part 4: Talents
There is very little flexibility within the Resto Druid spec. For the most part, your talents will always be the same. I will discuss each talent for each tier and explain the best choice for each. I will include a lengthier discussion on the level 60 tier of talents, which I find to be the most interesting tier and the one in which there isn't a clear cut better talent.
Feline Swiftness - This talent doesn't really have much usage for Resto Druid PvP. The only circumstance I can see this ever being useful would be for carrying a flag in a Battleground. The reason why it isn't as useful in Arena is because maps are relatively small and confined and you will not be spending the majority of the game running in a straight line for a long period of time.
Displacer Beast - This is the ideal talent for this tier. You can use this ability both offensively and defensively. You can use it to move toward the enemies for a Disorienting Roar or Bash. You could also use this ability to gain distance from enemies who are training you. An advanced use of this ability is to avoid getting feared by Priests by using the ability when a Priest is running towards you to fear. One should note that using this ability will break snares if you use it in something other than Cat Form.
Wild Charge - This ability changes depending on what form you are in. It is an interesting ability but its main downfall is using it in Travel Form. Unlike Displacer Beast, which immediately teleports you to a new position, Wild Charge has a travel time which makes using it to avoid enemies much harder.
Ysera's Gift - This ability is strong in Rated Battlegrounds but has limited usage in arena. It is nice for healing gradual consistent damage, something which is absent in arena with the current meta. An advantage to this talent is that it requires no mana.
Renewal - You should really never chose this talent. It's cooldown is far too long for a heal that is relatively weak. The main problem with this ability is that you cannot use it on anyone but yourself.
Cenarion Ward - This is the best talent in this tear. It's main strength in arena is that it is able to be used while silenced and even while locked out on your nature school. The other advantage to this ability is that it will only activate when someone takes damage, meaning you can put it on a target in anticipation of them taking damage. This spell also has high healing per second during its healing duration.
Faerie Storm - This is the weakest talent of this tier. The reason being is that most classes that you will be using this on (ie. Rogues, Warriors, DKs) have slows themselves and abilities that allow them to have high uptime.
Mass Entanglement - This talent is preferred only if you are playing with a class that has knockbacks. As of Patch 5.4, knockback effects share diminishing returns. This means if an Elemental Shaman on your team uses his Thunderstorm on an enemy player, your Typhoon on that player will do nothing until the 15 second diminishing return has ended. Avoid using this talent if you are playing with a mage, as Mass Entanglement will put a diminishing return on the mages Nova abilities, which puts strain on the mages ability to kite.
Typhoon - This is the strongest talent in this tier. It has many usages. Aside from simply knocking players away, you can use this ability to knock players off ledges and even remove certain classes from stealth. Another use of this talent, though hard to time, is using it to interrupt casts. The reason why this is sometimes hard to time is because the travel time is quite slow for the ability, so in many cases you will have to use it at the very beginning of someone's cast in order to interrupt it. Use this talent especially if you are playing against a priest. You can use it to avoid the priest landing fears though his Spectral Guise + Feather fear bomb.
This is the section of the guide in which I expect to take the most criticism. The reason being is that the current paradigm for Resto Druid PvP is to go Soul of the Forest. I have been over 2500 this season multiple times without running this talent and I have very specific reasons and justifications in doing so.
Soul of the Forest - This is the first of the very powerful talents within this tier. Soul of the Forest is the talent of choice for many top Druids. After using Swiftmend, you will recieve a 100% haste bonus to the NEXT spell you cast. This means if you have the Soul of the Forest Buff, your Cyclone cast will be super hasted. Additionally, if you use a healing over time effect with the Soul of the Forest Buff, the HoT itself will be super hasted. Using SoTF with Regrowth will not only make the cast super fast, but will also affect the HoT portion of Regrowth.
There are some precautions in using Soul of the Forest, specifically in regards to how it interacts with Lifebloom.
1) Refreshing a hasted Lifebloom with non-hasted Lifebloom = non-hasted Lifebloom.
2) Refreshing a hasted Lifebloom with hasted Lifebloom on self = hasted Lifebloom.
3) Refreshing a hasted Lifebloom with hasted Lifebloom on party member = non-hasted Lifebloom.
4) Refreshing a hasted Lifebloom with hasted Regrowth on self = hasted Lifebloom.
5) Refreshing a hasted Lifebloom with hasted Regrowth on party member = non-hasted Lifebloom.
6) Refreshing a non-hasted Lifebloom with hasted Lifebloom on self = hasted Lifebloom.
7) Refreshing a non-hasted Lifebloom with hasted Lifebloom on party member = non-hasted Lifebloom.
8) Transferring a stack of non-hasted Lifeblooms to or from party member to or from self with hasted Lifebloom = non-hasted Lifebloom.
9) Transferring a stack of hasted Lifeblooms from party member to self with hasted Lifebloom is impossible because of item 3.
10) Transferring a stack of hasted Lifeblooms from self to party member with hasted Lifebloom = non-hasted Lifebloom.
There are some interesting healing combinations you can do with Soul of the Forest. The first is combining Soul of the Forest with Genesis. You can use Swiftmend to get the SotF buff. You can then apply a hasted Rejuvenation to a target which can have its HPS dramatically increased by a subsequent use of Genesis.
Incarnation - This is the second powerful talent on this tier and the talent that I currently use for arena. Incarnation allows you to activate Tree of Life Form on a 3 minute cooldown which increases healing done and improves some of your spells.
The spells that are improved are the following:
Lifebloom: Can be cast on unlimited targets.
Wild Growth: Affects an additional 2 targets.
Regrowth: Becomes instant cast.
Entangling Roots: Becomes instant cast.
One should note that while in Tree, you can put Lifeboom on multiple targets. This dramatically increases the possibility of receiving a Clear Casting proc, which is enormously helpful for being mana efficient while putting out high healing per second.
Tree Form lasts 30 seconds and is a great way to counter enemy offensive cooldowns. The reason I use tree form is because of the comp I prefer to run. I almost exclusively run Rogue Mage Druid, a comp that relies heavily on building and sustaining momentum. The building of this momentum is generally done through having a strong opener with Shadow Dance and Frozen Orb (both 1 minute cooldowns). Tree of Life is a great ability for sustaining team momentum while waiting for cooldowns to come back up. During its 30 second duration, it is very difficult for enemy teams to put our pressure, allowing you to bridge the period of time between Frozen Orb and Shadow Dance.
Force of Nature - Don't use this ability for PvP. Very limited usage.
Disorienting Roar - This is the talent of choice, especially if you aren't playing with a Fire Mage or Hunter. This is an AoE disorient on a short cooldown which cannot be dodged or parried. Because it is a disorient, the enemy players can't use any abilities during its a duration. For example, a Holy Priest won't be able to use Guardian Spirit while disoriented, even if he is able to use it while stunned.
Ursol's Vortex - I've only used this talent running one comp (Fire Mage / Destro Warlock / Resto Druid) it was nerfed in a recent patch due to its strength in combination with Solar Beam. The only time I can see it being useful in Patch 5.4 is if you are playing with a Fire Mage and against a melee heavy comp like Kitty Cleave.
Mighty Bash - This is a good talent for comps like LSD and any comp you are playing with a Hunter. It's main downfall is that it is effected by melee hit and by expertise, meaning it can be dodged or parried. The other downfall to this ability is that you have to be in melee range to use it, which can be risky against teams with AoE fears.
Heart of the Wild - This is the best talent of this tier. Not only does it provide an increase to base stats (so that it scales with gear/buffs) but it also allows you to put out massive damage as a Resto Druid. The highest DPS you can do with Heart is to spam Wraths, but be wary as this does put you at risk of being interrupted. This ability also increased your healing done, meaning it is the ONLY healing cooldown for Druids playing with Soul of the Forest.
Just like Tree Form, I often use this ability to bridge the cooldowns of Shadow Dance/Frozen Orb while playing Rogue Mage Druid.
Dream of Cenarius - Never use this talent, nearly impossible to benefit from in current Meta.
Nature's Vigil - though this ability does seem appealing, I do believe that it is outperformed by Heart simply because it does not provide the passive stat increases that Heart does.