So there’s datamined patch information that has a rather hefty list of changes for you as a restoration druid. Let’s just dig right in and go through them as well as what the ramifications will be.
1.) Nature’s Swiftness has become baseline. You no longer have to give up a talent option to take this iconic, and mandatory, talent. In place of Nature’s Swiftness there is a new passive ability that bears looking at: Ysera’s Gift. Now here are your two options for 5.4:
-Ysera’s Gift – passive – heals you for 5% of your maximum hp every 5 seconds. If you are at maximum health, it is smart healed to an ally. Assuming early 5.4 gear you’ll probably have in the low 600’s K for health meaning this will be ticking for roughly 30,000 every 5 seconds. Assuming the raid is not entirely full on health, this will always produce worthwhile healing adding up to 5K hp/s in this case. Is this worthwhile healing? At the rate at which it ticks i’d argue that it would more often than not end up as meter fluffing and never really save anyone except yourself. Your mileage may vary.
-Cenario Ward – 30s CD – Protective barrier that triggers upon taking damage healing for a large amount over 6 seconds. At ~40K spellpower this heals for roughly 54,000 every 2 seconds or 162,000 total over 6 s. This is not an overwhelming amount of healing and will usually not be enough to save the tank from imminent demise. It can however soften damage from blows that would generally not outright kill the tank anyway to lighten the healing load. It’s about 5K hp/s at that gear level as well.
I think this will be a case of pick your flavor. If the fight requires more direct tank healing you can opt for Ward. If the fight has consistent raid damage that needs addressing, then Ysera’s Gift provides it with absolutely no thought required.
2.) Soul of the Forest was buffed to 100% spell haste bonus. Didn’t really think it was necessary but perhaps their internal math felt it wasn’t pulling its weight on a throughput level (not factoring in mana savings). All this will really do is force us to create a new haste break point spreadsheet :)
3.) Tier 6, Level 90 talents, received a revamp.
Update: NV is actually quite amazing in practice with the smart healing component and currently is looking to be a clear cut winner for level 90 talents. Further discussion pending additional feedback.
Dream of Cenarius is no longer the terrible shell of a talent for us that it used to be. It now grants you the ability to attonement heal. Every wrath you cast hits for 20% more and heals a raid member for 100% of the damage done. Note that wrath has had its mana cost increase by roughly 50%.
Nature’s Vigil now also allows all direct heals cast while active to heal additional raid members for 25% of the amount healed. The rest of the talent remains the same. Update: It is unclear at this time if it is direct heals or all single target healing spells which would include lifebloom and rejuvenation.
Heart of the Wild, when activated, also increases your healing done by some percentage. It seems to be them justifying the talent for restoration since many people i’d wager never activate it. Update: Buff is 25% to healing done! Fairly significant even if it is only once or sometimes twice an encounter if they run long.
I think this is a choice that remains simple yet complicated. Personally I think it comes down to Heart of the Wild and Dream of Cenarius on a fight to fight basis. I don’t particularly enjoy parking and casting however I am willing to admit that for some encounters with tight DPS checks and phases with minimal damage it can be an option. Heart of the Wild plays more to your strengths overall however it obviously doesn’t allow for the flexibility DoC does in that while DPS’ing with the CD (should you do it) you can’t heal at the same time without shifting gears. I will still probably default to Heart of the Wild as it still benefits our HoT centric style of play, especially with the new addition of Genesis.
I stand by Nature’s Vigil being the most lackluster of the bunch according to my taste. A 10% throughput boost, while very good, is not significant enough to really feel like a bonus from my point of view and the trigger activating only on direct heals seems counter intuitive. Depending on HotW’s throughput bonus, once we know more, we’ll be able to math out ultimately which will provide the most consistent benefit. Stay tuned to this one. Preferences for these talents change at the drop of a hat.
4.) Genesis – activated ability with no cooldown listed as of yet. This spell will quickly activate all of your remaining rejuvenations making them heal and expire at 400% the normal rate. If you cast 6 rejuvenations for example and then immediately used Genesis you would have the first one expire in a little over a second, and the last expire in just over two and a half seconds. Each would produce healing equivalent to however much is left on them.
This spell, provided that it doesn’t play havoc with haste break points and allow for additional ticks that were otherwise unobtainable, is a slight mana loss (the cost of genesis) for a break even in the amount healed and a significant increase in your burst. Since there is set up required for genesis in the form of multiple rejuvenations, it does not need a cooldown. Much like Wild Mushroom: Bloom you are responsible for how aggressive you wish to be with it. You can use it a little or a lot provided your rejuvenations haven’t come close to expiring before hitting the button.
Expect to see this ability as a staple in your healing rotation/toolkit come 5.4. There will more than likely be multiple raid wide damage events that can be predicted in much the same way priests use their absorbs. Prehot the number of people you feel reasonable (3,4,5 perhaps) and let it rip once the damage goes out. Just make sure if you plan to use Swiftmend that you keep the last rejuvenation target as your fuel as they will disappear fast.
Genesis can also be used to TURBO charge your wild mushrooms if you deem it absolutely necessary. Since the window for genesis is small, limited by the time remaining on the heals, storing it up in the mushroom for imminent use gives you a slightly large window if absolutely need be.
5.) Wild Mushroom Bloom received a massive fix. The mushroom’s base healing was significantly increased because now you can only plant one of them. It accrues overhealing at 2/3 the rate they do now but holds the same maximum amount. The plus side though is that it is completely transplantable. You can pick it up and move it without losing the stored bonus healing. While not a perfect spell you can always guarantee you have it active and ready for raid damage with this new change.
- Wild Mushroom: Bloom is no longer capable of critical strikes, and accumulates overhealing done by Rejuvenation by 100%, down from 150%. Overhealing bonus no longer benefits from Naturalist or Mastery: Harmony.
Make no mistake, this is still a great buff. Wild Mushroom is already potent and you can easily work around the drawbacks that come with this change. Between this and Genesis you are now armed with some really nice Burst options for healing. Keep this in mind when you’re looking at heroic encounters in 5.4. Having a fully charged mushroom you can literally transplant and bloom immediately as needed has far reaching applications. Sure this new found versatility is offset by the overheal the spell is likely to do but that is factored into the spell’s throughput by Blizzard I would imagine.
6.) Innervate finally scales with our stats! It is truly a miracle. We have been stuck compared to other healers unable to really benefit from spirit as much as other classes for a long while. This break has left some druids eschewing spirit for mastery when possible and some (of which I am one admittedly) going up into the 12K spirit range for heroic encounters. The new innervate model grants us 50% of our spirit as mana per second for 10 seconds.
Presently Innervate gives 60,000 mana every three minutes. A total of 1,667 mp/5. A number that was probably more impressive doing Tier 14 normals. Comparing that to Mistweavers Brew, Shaman specific MTT benefits, and Rapture is fairly lackluster with current gear.
The new innervate, provided that you have at least 12,000 spirit will give the same amount of mana in return. This seems to be initiated to balance what it provides using a ToT Normal gear level as a pivot point. Every 1 point of spirit you add beyond 12,000 provides 1 mp/5 more than what you would have with the current version on top of its usual benefit. I’ll probably do some gear related math once we know more in order to show just how much regen you’ll really be getting when deciding what spirit soft cap to settle down with.
Glyph of Innervate introduces the innervate swap trick we used to do between two druids. If you have another restoration druid in your raid, however unlikely this might be especially if you are doing heroic content, you could each take this glyph and swap with each other for a 20% boost to each players gained mana. This assumes of course you are both at roughly the same amount of spirit. Personally I am not convinced this is enough of a gain to make it worth it especially with the coordination involved.
7.) Tier 16 set bonuses are poop.
8.) New Glyph: Glyph of Efflorescence increases the healing done by Swiftmend by 20%, causes the Efflorescence healing effect to be triggered by Wild Mushroom instead of Swiftmend, and lasts as long as the Wild Mushroom is active. This glyph is actually fairly significant. It transforms Wild mushroom into a constant effloressence field along with boosting Swiftmend as a direct emergency heal. This could very well become a staple for us moving forward given its implications. Being able to constantly move and replace mushrooms seamlessly can translate to a large amount of bonus healing through the Efflo field.
I may be leaving some things out and I’m rather tired at the moment so my analysis is probably full of holes but please read and enjoy.