Restoration Druid Builds

wowscrnshot_012809_211549This year is turning out to be a year a firsts. I’ve joined an active guild for the first time, I’m playing a healer for the first time (and I’ve specced resto as a druid for the first time), I’ve done both my first Northrend instance, my first heroic instance and my very first raid. Being a healer suits my personality, my disability and appeals to my tastes. As such, I would like to be the best resto druid I can be.

Talent points and a solid restoration build is for me the best place to start. I am not a detail oriented person. I wish I was, but I’m too easily bored by precision. If I had any sense of direction, I would be the person driving to destination A without a map or directions, but simply by following my internal sense of where destnation A is. I acquire my virtual sense of direction through a chaotic assembly of facts, figures, opinions (both informed and uninformed) and points of view. For my resto build, I have been sifting through the official forums, the elitist jerks site, wowwiki and a handful of druid centred blogs, most notably Resto4Life. The action after all this reading I came to the conclusion that as a new hand at resto healing, I couldn’t jump straight into the popular raid builds as I relied too heavily on the wrong spells. As a result, I’ve chosen three variations on the standard 11/0/60 PvE raid builds to ease myself in:

Build 1 (11/0/60 with Naturalist)

HoTs (heal over time spells) are a practised art. It requires skill and excellent time to perfect the art of mitigating damage mostly with HoTs. Skill that I am still acquiring. As a result, I use healing touch often. It’s my get out of jail for free card whilst I’m still a clumsy healer. Combined with innervate, falling back in healing touch when things begin to fall apart is a good back-up plan for me.To compensate for my lack of skill, I removed three points from natural shapeshifter and two from master shapeshifter and placed them in Naturalist. The 0.5 second cooldown stacks with the 1.5 second cooldown of Glyph of healing touch, reducing the cast time of healing touch from 3 seconds to 1.

As I have become more proficient in HoTs, I have been relying on that back-up plan less and less, to the effect that I no longer use a healing touch spam at all. I no longer get caught out as often and when I do, Natural Swiftness + Healing touch with its instant cooldown and Regrowth + Swiftmend serve me well as more than adequate back up plans. It’s time to respec.

Build 2 (11/0/60)

Master shapeshifter increases healing by an additional 4%. I do enjoy a little PvP and the 30% reduction in mana cost for shapeshifting from natural shapeshifter is a definite bonus there. The difference between this build and the next is the three points I still hold in Tranquil Spirit. Points that I could have in Replenish.  I am still using healing touch quite a bit and rely on tranquility being available as needed. I am also using nourish particularly on the tank. As such the 6% reduction in mana cost outweighs the benefit of rejuv having a 15% chance to restore 1% mana / 8 energy / 4 rage / 16 runic power per tick. I am still struggling with an insufficient sized mana pool and less than optimum mana regen. The 6% reduction on every cast wins out over the 15% chance for a 1% mana restoration.

Build 3 (11/0/60)

I aspire to be a well-geared and skilled druid focused mainly on group PvE. As such, I think this build is pretty good. It’s a build with powerful HoTs and decent mana preservation and regeneration. It’s the build that I’ll be using for 10-man raids, heroics and a little battleground PvP and I think itwill serve me really well.

UPDATE:Build 4 (14/0/57)

Feeling a little more adventurous and are currently trialing a slight variation on the standard cooking cutter build. I now very rarely use healing touch as I’ve gotten better at keeping HoT’s up and mitigating damage rather than attempting burst heals to bring health bars back up. I think Nature’s Grace may be a better use of my talent points than Empowered Touch. I’ve lost a point on Improved Regrowth, but I think I can comfortably live with that. If not, it’s backto build 3.