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Patch 3.02 for Restoration Druids, part 1

The single biggest change for most restoration Druids with patch 3.02 will be the disappearance of at least four commonly-used PvE and PvP specs:
  • 8/11/42 (the traditional resto PvP spec)
  • 11/11/39 (Resto PvP with Insect Swarm)
  • 13/11/37 (Resto PvP with Insect Swarm and Nature's Reach)
  • 11/0/50 (PvE Tree of Life with Insect Swarm).
The first three are kaputski because Feral Charge is now a 21-point talent in the feral tree, and the last three are bye-bye because Insect Swarm is now a 21-point talent in the balance tree. If you still want talents from the balance tree especially, you'll have a ton of stuff to play with (frankly I ran out of space here to discuss the new restokin specs but we'll cover it as soon as we can), but for the moment we're only going to concern ourselves with stuff squarely in the Restoration tree. Shifting Perspectives later today will have a full run-down on moonkin in patch 3.02 and Wrath. Otherwise, there's still a ton of new stuff for tree Druids in this patch, including a resurrected Tier 3 set bonus, a vastly-improved Tree of Life form, an out-of-combat rez, and an insane +haste buff to two of your most-used spells. If you also want a look at what early 5-man healing in the beta is like as a resto Druid, head here.

Read on for a comprehensive look at the new healing and mana regeneration mechanics, Restoration abilities, talents, and glyphs!

The basics that apply to everyone and not just Druids:
  • Downranking is essentially out of the game. If you open up your spellbook, you'll find that lesser ranks of your abilities will have either the same mana cost as its updated version, or an even greater cost. This doesn't affect Restoration Druids all that much; we were never reliant on downranking with a 0/0/61 spec or an 11/0/50 spec. The only people affected would possibly be 30/0/31 or 31/0/30 Dreamstate druids who often downranked Healing Touch, although Dreamstate's become markedly less popular with general access to better gear (the HoT-based specs are significantly more efficient as your gear improves).
  • No chain-potting. Again, not a change that affects Druids all that badly. Our mana regen since the change to the Spirit mechanic has generally been excellent. However, if you're in the habit of running through more mana than you'd like because your tanks are undergeared or your raid loves to stand in fire, then --
  • Make sure a Survival Hunter, Shadow Priest, or Retribution Paladin is in your raid. These are the classes and specs now capable of providing the Replenishment buff, which grants 0.25% of your maximum mana every second. I've had this buff a lot healing 5-mans in the beta (where most of the Paladins seem to be Retribution), and at least for 5-man work with a halfway-decent tank, it's absurdly overpowered. You are very unlikely to go OOM with this up.
Druid-specific form and talent changes:
  • TREE OF LIFE FORM STOPS SUCKING. You want to decurse without leaving form? You go right ahead! Feel like casting Healing Touch? Do eet! Tired of being left behind while your slow-ass arboreal form struggles to catch up? No longer! Tree of Life is now significantly better than its previous incarnation. The 20% speed penalty has been removed, and you can now cast all healing spells, Abolish Poison, Remove Curse, and Barkskin in the form (although I should note that it's still only the HoT's that get the reduced mana cost in form, and, yes, you could already cast Barkskin in ToL form).
  • Lifebloom's had an unfortunate encounter with Ye Olde Nerfbat. The base mana cost has been increased 4%, and the tick has been reduced (you may not notice this as much at 70; you will notice it a bit more while leveling in Northrend). The bloom portion is still the same, so a lot of Lifebloom's efficacy in PvP is unchanged, but Blizzard's pretty serious about moving tree Druids away from being just a walking Lifebloom button in raids.
  • Healing Touch's cast time has been reduced from 3.5 seconds to 3 seconds. Not bad. It's also been buffed a little (it'll cost less mana) and nerfed a little (it'll also heal a bit less), but that's about we expected from seeing it become a shorter heal.
  • Gift of the Wild can now be placed on the entire raid with one click, and not group-by-group. This should save a ton of gold on reagents, as most of us now are carrying 80-100 Wild Quillvine per 25-man raid.
  • Improved Mark of the Wild is less terrible now at a 40% increase to MoTW for 2 points rather than a 35% increase for 5 points.
  • Nature's Focus is now a 3-point talent in the first tier of the resto tree and affects several balance spells as well.
  • Empowered Touch has been increased from a 10/20% buff to Healing Touch to a 20/40% buff.
  • Improved Tranquility reduces the threat caused by Tranquility by 100% and Tranquility's cooldown by 60%. Worth taking? Eh. If you get Wild Growth later in the resto tree, you'll acquire a lot of AoE healing capability that will hopefully make emergencies requiring Tranquility less common.
  • Omen of Clarity is now a passive effect (i.e. you don't have to cast it and it can't be dispelled) that will work with balance and resto spells as well. Worth getting? Assuming it continues to proc on the order of once per minute, if you reserve your more mana-intensive spells for a proc, it could be fairly useful, but it still finds its best use in cat DPS.
  • Subtlety now works only with Restoration spells.
  • Tranquil Spirit will now affect the new level 80 healing spell Nourish (which will be the Druid version of a flash heal) as well. This is a talent you can easily afford to skip if you want the new stuff later in the tree.

Filed under: Druid, Buffs, Classes, Guides, Raiding, Expansions, News items, Analysis / Opinion, Patches, Wrath of the Lich King

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