This post represents my first blog post since the release of Mists of Pandaria. I ended up taking a week off from work (I still had 2 days of school to attend) to level up my Druid and it took about 5 days. As much as I wanted to level as Resto, I couldn’t. When you hit 86 your stats immediately plummet and I realized I was spending way too much time killing one mob at a time. I ended up leveling as Balance (which was also a bit painful) the rest of the way.
The Leveling Experience
Leveling was fun. One of my goals for this expansion was to try to see the majority in every zone. I mostly stayed true to this goal:
-First thing, I didn’t do any Normal dungeons (at least initially).
-I finished just about every quest in Jade Forest (I may have missed one here or there. I have to go back and look) even after I hit 86.
-When I hit Valley of the Four Winds I was about 1/3 of the way to 87. I finished every quest in Valley (save for the Nesingwary quests because the mobs wouldn’t spawn quick enough for everyone on the quest) and it bumped me up to 87. This is also where I started my farm with the Tillers.
-I completely skipped Krasarang Wilds. I realized this was a mistake a bit later on when I was level 89.
-I did most quests in Kun-Lai Summit. My favorite was the Yak Wash.
-When I hit 88 I moved into Townlong Steppes and finished every quest. This easily bumped me to 89.
-I moved to Dread Wastes where I quickly realized the zone was a bit painful to quest in due to the amount of level 90 mobs. I finished every quest and realized I was about 6 bars short of 90. I tried doing a Normal dungeon and it only moved my bar by two. I decided to back-track to Krasarang Wilds and do the intro quests to bump me to 90.
The Daily Life as a Level 90
When I finally hit 90 I immediately felt overwhelmed. I literally had to get a pen and paper and write down a list of things I needed to accomplish:
-Golden Lotus dailies (mandatory)
-Klaxxi dailies (mandatory)
-Tillers dailies(optional-but I feel like it’s mandatory since cooking has become so complex this expansion)
-Cloud Serpent dailies (optional)
-Anglers dailies (optional)
-Level professions (mandatory)
-Craft/buy gear to get ilvl up to heroics (mandatory)
-Grind Heroics (mandatory)
I immediately realized that Golden Lotus dailies were annoying to do because of the volume of players doing the exact same dailies. It seemed that everyone was “sniping” each other’s kills and at some point people were camping certain areas for spawns. Most dailies only give 135-137 reputation with them only providing about 6 or so dailies per day so the grind to Honored is a bit slow. Once you hit Honored you get an additional quest hub to access. The same also applies to Revered.
Klaxxi dailies were very painful. The competition was bad enough, but doing them alone seemed to take forever. The more Paragons that you unlocked during your initial questing in Dread Wastes, the more dailies you have access to. You’ll easily have access to 8 or 9 at Honored.
Tillers dailies were a mixed bag. Some were extremely easy and some were painful. Fatty Goatsteak is possibly the worst daily ever to grace this expansion. My initial idea was to pull a whole mob of goats to quickly AoE them down. The competition for the goats is staggering because they only spawn in 5 or so locations and the re-spawn timer is slow. Pulling an entire mob of goats ended with me getting pelted off the mountain to my death.
In the end, I found the optional dailies were more fun and enjoyable than the mandatory ones. So much so that I ended up skipping multiple days of Golden Lotus and Klaxxi in favor of Anglers and Cloud Serpents because I didn’t have the patience for them.
My guild is currently 1/6 25-man and 2/6 10-man. We’ve had many sub-5% wipes on Feng in our 25-man. P3 is particularly brutal, especially if your raid is slow at the stack/spread out mechanic.
For talents, I’ve been pretty consistent with the exception of our Tier 4 talents:
Feline Swiftness- I usually take this because the movement speed boost is really helpful for getting to spots quicker or moving out of bad stuff. It also stacks with the boot enchant.
Nature’s Swiftness- My initial thought for Tier 2 was to take Cenarion Ward. Having another spell that could work as a “buffer” seemed really valuable to me. But when I dived into World of Logs I saw that CW had a 70% overheal. I felt that this overhealing is equal to wasted mana since CW is not free and with mana being precious right now it just didn’t seem like a good choice if most of the spell’s benefit overheals. On the other hand, Nature’s Swiftness is free and instant and if used properly has much less overhealing all at the cost of an additional 30 seconds over CW.
Typhoon- I took Typhoon because I’ve always wanted to Treephoon things. You can take whatever you want in Tier 3.
Incarnation- Tier 4 has and will continue to be hard in terms of choices. I have done raids with all three talents, but I’ve found that Incarnation is the most versatile while still giving you a good bang for your buck. It provides a great boost to throughput while saving mana through Lifebloom spam and Omen of Clarity for instant, free Regrowth casts.
When I tried out Soul of the Forest I was really impressed with it’s output when paired with Wild Growth. It can add 3-4 ticks which is a huge increase to Wild Growth’s output. The weakness in the talent lies within it’s synchronization with Wild Growth via Swiftmend. Because of Swiftmend’s 15-second cooldown, it doesn’t sync up very well with Wild Growth’s cooldown, particularly if you are glyphed. I use Glyph of Wild Growth because it increases Wild Growth’s Heal per Mana and my way of using the spell is more “on-demand” versus “using on cooldown.” It also changed how I used Swiftmend in raids. Usually I alter between using Swiftmend as a single target heal or for the Efflorescence effect. Soul of the Forest made me want to save Swiftmend for big raid damage so I could tie it with Wild Growth. I had a habit of saving it specifically for raid healing. Overall, Soul of the Forest seems to provide a larger benefit to Druids who choose to use Wild Growth on cooldown.
My third option is Force of Nature. I tried using this talent for a night and walked away unimpressed. The Treants consistently did only 3-4% of my healing and I used them on cooldown. Incarnation and Soul of the Forest can easily double and possibly triple that output on any encounter. Unless there is a buff to the Treants’ Healing Touch I won’t be recommending that talent to any PvE Resto Druid.
Mighty Bash- I prefer Mighty Bash because I’ve found it fairly useful in PuG Heroic dungeons for interrupting casters. You may find any of the talents in Tier 5 useful in different ways.
Heart of the Wild- I know I know. Not 5 months ago I was blogging about how ridiculous Heart of the Wild was as a talent. Luckily, the talent has been changed to the point where it is a very attractive talent for Resto Druids. The main reason I chose this talent was for the 6% boost to Intellect. It may be boring, but the bump is significant enough to have a noticeable effect on my healing. The utility that comes with it is great for Resto as well because there may be times where healing is low and we may be required to help dps.
Our other “good” option for Tier 6 is Nature’s Vigil. It provides a nice buff to our healing for 30 seconds and also causes our single target heals to damage nearby enemies. The damage caused is pretty negligible so you’ll want to save this cooldown to benefit your own throughput.
Overall I prefer the passive Intellect buff of Heart of the Wild because I don’t really want another cooldown to manage in addition to Incarnation.
As a Resto Druid, I am finding I am very competitive in terms of output with other healers. I don’t feel lackluster at all, however, I am finding it a bit of a challenge to keep up with our Mistweaver. From what I’ve seen, Monks have excellent single-target burst healing and very good group burst. They also have adequate (tho a bit unpredictable) spread healing.
In terms of our toolkit, we still suffer from a large issue: burst healing. Wild Mushroom: Bloom hasn’t even come close to solving this problem. I have tried time and again to make them work, but the healing they provide per raider is so negligible that it’s just not worth the work of setting them out. On encounters where I found I could actually use them, the healing benefit they provide is usually less then that of Living Seed for my healing done during an encounter.
So with Wild Mushroom: Bloom not being a great option and Rejuvenation spam being costly on our mana pools, we just don’t have any other options to deal with major raid damage once Swiftmend and Wild Growth are on cooldown.
Overall I think Resto Druids are in a good place right now. We bring good utility through talents and our output is well-placed. However, we still lack viable burst raid healing which could put us at a severe disadvantage against certain encounters.
I’ve tweeted Ghostcrawler about Wild Mushroom: Bloom and his response has always been, “We don’t want them to be used rotationally, but we don’t want them to be useless. We are monitoring them as we move forward.” This gives me a little hope that they may notice Druids not using them and may respond with some type of buff in the future.