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Restoration Druid: Mists of Pandaria Rotation Changes, Talents, and Glyphs (Patch 5.0.4)

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This article is no longer being updated. Please check our Restoration Druid guide, which is fully compatible with Mists of Pandaria, and is being constantly updated. Thank you.

In preparation for the updates to our guides for Mists of Pandaria Patch 5.0.4, we are releasing articles such as this one, explaining what has changed for a particular class and spec, and what the new rotation is likely to be.

Keep in mind that this is still a work in progress (both from Blizzard's side and from our own) and that this article assumes you are at least somewhat familiar with the Cataclysm version of the Restoration Druid rotation and playstyle (such as from reading our guide).

We will first list the most important changes to the Restoration Druid Cataclysm abilities, and then we will proceed to explaining the (likely to be) optimal rotation. Keep in mind that we do not document every single change or new ability, only those that impact the rotation.

Finally, we will give you some information about the most useful talents and glyphs you should choose.

New Abilities

  • spell_druid_ironbark.jpgIronbark is a damage reduction cooldown that can be cast on other players. It is Restoration Druids' only external cooldown, a long-awaited addition. It reduces all damage taken by the target by 20% for 12 seconds.
  • inv_mushroom_07.jpgWild Mushroom: Bloom is an AoE healing spell, based on the Wild Mushroom mechanics that used to be available only to Balance Druids in Cataclysm. It allows you to place up to 5 mushrooms on the floor, at locations of your choice. Afterwards, you can choose when to detonate them, causing them to heal all allies within 8 yards.
  • spell_druid_mightofursoc.jpgMight of Ursoc is a cooldown that increases your current and maximum health by 30% for 20 seconds. Using it activates ability_racial_bearform.jpgBear Form (and cancelling Bear Form also cancels the effect). It can prove to be a useful cooldown if your own survival is of utmost importance.
  • Tier 2 talents offer a choice between spell_nature_ravenform.jpgNature's Swiftness, spell_nature_natureblessing.jpgRenewal, and ability_druid_naturalperfection.jpgCenarion Ward. We discuss these talents in greater depth in the Talents section.
  • Tier 4 talents offer a choice between ability_druid_manatree.jpgSoul of the Forest, ability_druid_improvedtreeform.jpgIncarnation: Tree of Life, and ability_druid_forceofnature.jpgForce of Nature. We discuss these talents in greater depth in the Talents section.
  • Tier 6 talents offer a choice between spell_holy_blessingofagility.jpgHeart of the Wild, ability_druid_dreamstate.jpgDream of Cenarius, and achievement_zone_feralas.jpgNature's Vigil. We discuss these talents in greater depth in the Talents section.
  • spell_druid_symbiosis.jpgSymbiosis is a buff that you can place on one party or raid member. The buff lasts for 1 hour, and grants you an ability belonging to the target's class, depending on what your specialisation is. At the same time, the target receives one of your spells. A full list of all the buffs granted by Symbiosis can be found here. Note that these spells are still likely to change.

Changes to Existing Mechanics

  • The duration of the spell_nature_healingway.jpgMastery: Harmony buff has been increased to 20 seconds (up from 10), making it much easier to keep up this buff.
  • inv_relics_idolofrejuvenation.jpgSwiftmend now automatically applies the inv_misc_herb_talandrasrose.jpgEfflorescence effect (previously, a talent was required for this to happen).

Removed Abilities

None of the abilities that Restoration Druids made frequent use of during Cataclysm have been removed.

Rotation and Spell Usage

Since healers do not have a rotation per se, it is hard to briefly list the rotation of Restoration Druids. The detailed explanations that we provide in our Cataclysm guide are beyond the scope of this article. Instead, we will just mention a few things that are interesting or relevant.
  • The playstyle has remained virtually unchanged. Unless specified otherwise above, all spell mechanics and interactions function exactly as they did during Cataclysm. Many of these mechanics were granted by talents, but they are now provided automatically as passive abilities.
  • The only novelty comes from incorporating some of the new abilities into your gameplay. Most of these are high-cooldown abilities (described in the section below), and their usage is either intuitive or heavily reliant on encounter mechanics.

Talents

Tier 1 talents offer a choice between 3 means of increasing your movement abilities:
  • spell_druid_tirelesspursuit.jpgFeline Swiftness is a passive ability that increases your movement speed by 15% at all times.
  • spell_druid_displacement.jpgDisplacer Beast is an active ability that teleports you 20 yards forward and activates ability_druid_catform.jpgCat Form and ability_druid_prowl.jpgProwl.
  • spell_druid_wildcharge.jpgWild Charge is an active ability that differs based on the shapeshift form you are in, as follows:

  • No shapeshift form: you fly to an ally's location.
  • ability_racial_bearform.jpgBear Form: you charge an enemy, immobilizing them for 4 seconds.
  • ability_druid_catform.jpgCat Form: you leap behind an enemy, dazing them for 3 seconds.
  • ability_druid_travelform.jpgTravel Form: you leap forwards 20 yards.
  • ability_druid_aquaticform.jpgAquatic Form: your swim speed is increased by 150% for 5 seconds.
We believe that Feline Swiftness will prove to be most useful in the vast majority of situations. This is because it will grant you its bonus even over very short distances, such as when side-stepping out of a void zone. Displacer Beast will probably be more problematic to use, since you will have to shift out of Cat Form to continue healing. Wild Charge may be useful in some situations.

Tier 2 talents offer a choice between 3 healing spells:

  • spell_nature_ravenform.jpgNature's Swiftness is an active healing cooldown that makes your next spell_nature_healingtouch.jpgHealing Touch, ability_druid_nourish.jpgNourish, or spell_nature_resistnature.jpgRegrowth instant cast and free of mana cost. Moreover, it increases both the potency of the spell and the spell's duration (in the case of HoTs) by 50%. Nature's Swiftness also affects some utility spells, but this is less important.
  • spell_nature_natureblessing.jpgRenewal is a powerful self-heal with a 2 minute cooldown.
  • ability_druid_naturalperfection.jpgCenarion Ward is a buff that you can place on a friendly player, lasting up to 30 seconds. When the player takes damage, Cenarion Ward activates a powerful 6 second HoT on them, consuming the buff in the process (meaning that it will only trigger one HoT per Cenarion Ward).
We find Renewal to be the least attractive spell to a Restoration Druid.

Which of the other two talents you choose depends on your healing role. Tank healers will probably prefer Cenarion Ward, since the tank is guaranteed to take damage, thus triggering the HoT, while players who have more general healing assignments (such as being a healer in a 10-man raid) will probably prefer Nature's Swiftness.

The choice will also depend on the mechanics of the encounter.

Tier 3 talents offer a choice between 3 crowd control spells:

  • spell_druid_swarm.jpgFaerie Swarm is a spell that replaces spell_nature_faeriefire.jpgFaerie Fire, upgrading the latter spell, causing it to also slow the target's movement speed by 50% for 15 seconds.
  • spell_druid_massentanglement.jpgMass Entanglement is an AoE root, that roots up to 5 targets in place.
  • ability_druid_typhoon.jpgTyphoon is a spell that affects targets in a cone in front of you, knocking them back and dazing them for 6 seconds.
None of these talents appear to have any real importance in terms of PvE raiding. You will most likely be able to choose which one of them you prefer for personal reasons (or for questing or doing achievements/dungeons). At best, they may be useful for clearing trash.

Tier 4 talents offer a choice between 3 talents that each significantly improve your healing performance:

  • ability_druid_manatree.jpgSoul of the Forest is a passive ability that grants you 50% increased haste for the first spell you cast after casting inv_relics_idolofrejuvenation.jpgSwiftmend.
  • ability_druid_improvedtreeform.jpgIncarnation: Tree of Life grants you the Tree of Life healing cooldown. It increases all healing you do by 15% and enhances your spell_nature_healingtouch.jpgLifebloom (allows it to be up on multiple targets simultaneously), ability_druid_flourish.jpgWild Growth (causes it to affect 2 additional targets), and spell_nature_resistnature.jpgRegrowth (makes it instant cast) for 30 seconds.
  • ability_druid_forceofnature.jpgForce of Nature is an active ability that summons 3 treants for 15 seconds. The treants heal nearby allies.
Of the three talents, Force of Nature seems to be the most underwhelming. The other two are both excellent choices, and even though Soul of the Forest might provide more overall throughput throughout the fight, Tree of Life could prove to be a more useful cooldown to have during progression.

Tier 5 talents offer a choice between 3 utility spells:

  • ability_druid_demoralizingroar.jpgDisorienting Roar is an AoE disorient that lasts for 3 seconds and affects all enemies in a 10 yard radius.
  • spell_druid_ursolsvortex.jpgUrsol's Vortex is a targeted AoE slow. When enemies first try to leave the slowing area, they are pulled back in.
  • ability_druid_bash.jpgMighty Bash is a single target 5 second stun.
As with the tier 3 talents, these talents do not have any impact on your gameplay and will most likely be only useful for trash or PvP encounters.

Tier 6 talents offer a choice between 3 talents that can affect your gameplay:

  • spell_holy_blessingofagility.jpgHeart of the Wild increases your Stamina, Agility, and Intellect by 6% at all times. Additionally, with a 6 minute cooldown, it allows you to viably perform roles outside of your Restoration specialisation, for 45 seconds:

    • allows you to tank in ability_racial_bearform.jpgBear Form, by ensuring that you are not susceptible to critical hits, that you gain inv_shield_71.jpgVengeance from damage taken, and that your melee stats and your armor are increased.
    • allows you to DPS in ability_druid_catform.jpgCat Form, by increasing your Agility, Expertise, and Hit Chance.
    • allows you to DPS as a caster, by increasing your Spell Damage and Hit Chance, and reducing the mana cost of all your damaging spells by 100%
  • ability_druid_dreamstate.jpgDream of Cenarius is a passive ability that grants you a healing bonus each time you deal damage, and a damaging bonus each time you heal.

  • achievement_zone_feralas.jpgNature's Vigil is a 3 minute cooldown that increases all healing and damage done by 20% for 30 seconds. While Nature's Vigil is active, all single target healing spells also damage a nearby enemy for 25% of the healing done, and all single target damage spells also heal a nearby ally for 25% of the damage done.
All three talents are very powerful and interesting. Heart of the Wild increases your healing slightly, thanks to the 6% Intellect boost, but more importantly it may turn the tide in a particularly difficult encounter where assuming another role for a short while can be crucial.

Nature's Vigil may pull ahead for most encounters, since it provides a 20% healing increase for 30 seconds, making it a very useful healing cooldown to have. More tests will have to be conducted, but the choice will probably differ on an encounter-by-encounter basis.

Glyphs

Note that we only discuss Major Glyphs here, since Minor Glyphs are purely cosmetic and do not influence your gameplay at all. Unlike other specialisations, Restoration Druids have several glyphs that are clear improvements to their raid performance:
  • inv_glyph_majordruid.jpgGlyph of Healing Touch reduces the remaining cooldown of inv_relics_idolofrejuvenation.jpgSwiftmend by 1 second each time you cast spell_nature_healingtouch.jpgHealing Touch. This glyph seems to be beneficial in all situations.
  • inv_glyph_majordruid.jpgGlyph of Lifebloom allows you to retain all the stacks of spell_nature_healingtouch.jpgLifebloom when you cast it on a new target (while not in Tree of Life form). Without the glyph, casting Lifebloom on a new target will apply it with a single stack, even if the previous target had 3 stacks. This glyph seems excellently suited for fights where tank-switches occur. Again, it seems to be beneficial in all situations.
  • inv_glyph_majordruid.jpgGlyph of Rejuvenation reduces the cast time of ability_druid_nourish.jpgNourish by 30% when you have spell_nature_rejuvenation.jpgRejuvenation active on 3 or more targets. Considering the wide usage of Rejuvenation, this glyph seems like it will be very useful.
Additionally, there are a few glyphs that change the way in which healing spells work, but do not necessarily improve them:
  • inv_glyph_majordruid.jpgGlyph of Blooming causes your spell_nature_healingtouch.jpgLifebloom to heal for 50% more when it blooms, but it reduces its duration by 5 seconds and no longer allows it to be refreshed by other single target heals on the target. This is probably going to only be useful in PvP, where Lifebloom can often be dispelled.
  • inv_glyph_majordruid.jpgGlyph of Regrowth increases the critical strike chance of spell_nature_resistnature.jpgRegrowth by 40%, but removes its HoT component. This glyph will probably be useful in situations where healing targets over time (in an emergency) is not needed or useful, allowing you to increase the potency of the initial heal.
  • inv_glyph_majordruid.jpgGlyph of Wild Growth causes ability_druid_flourish.jpgWild Growth to heal an additional target, but increases its cooldown by 2 seconds. Choosing whether or not to take this glyph seems to still be determined in the same way as during Cataclysm.
Finally, there are several utility glyphs:
  • inv_glyph_majordruid.jpgGlyph of Rebirth remains unchanged from Cataclysm. It resurrects players with full health. This is a near-mandatory glyph for raiders. However, since it now shares a category (Major Glyphs) with other important glyphs, it may be best to only use it when absolutely necessary, namely on encounters where there is a lot of AoE damage that can kill a newly-resurrected player.
  • inv_glyph_majordruid.jpgGlyph of Innervate causes your spell_nature_lightning.jpgInnervate to regenerate 10% of your maximum mana when cast on other players, in addition to regenerating their mana. This glyph will be useful when you find yourself regularly casting Innervate on other healers.
  • inv_glyph_majordruid.jpgGlyph of Stampede removes any form requirement from spell_druid_stampedingroar_cat.jpgStampeding Roar. In the event that your assignment is to cast Stampeding Roar during a time of heavy damage, this glyph may prove slightly beneficial to you.
  • inv_glyph_majordruid.jpgGlyph of Stampeding Roar increases the radius of Stampeding Roar by 30 yards. This glyph may be useful in certain situations.
This concludes our Restoration Druid preview for Mists of Pandaria. We hope you have enjoyed reading it and that it proved useful to you. As always, we are looking forward to reading your opinions on the matter!
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Half-way answered my own quetion when my link to Glyph of Unburdened Rebirth was changed to Glyph of Blooming.

Does this mean no more reagents or just that we have no choice but to carry them come MoP?

Edited by jeffala

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Half-way answered my own quetion when my link to Glyph of Unburdened Rebirth was changed to Glyph of Blooming.

Does this mean no more reagents or just that we have no choice but to carry them come MoP?

Reagents are no longer required for spell_nature_reincarnation.jpgRebirth, by default. Hence, of course, the glyph removing the requirement is gone as well Posted Image

Also, to clarify something else that was mentioned on Facebook: Restoration Druids now have the ability, through inv_glyph_minordruid.jpgGlyph of the Treant (a minor glyph), to permanently be in Tree of Life form. This is the same form that they used to have during Wrath of the Lich King (a treant, essentially), and it is purely cosmetic, granting no benefits whatsoever.

ability_druid_improvedtreeform.jpgIncarnation: Tree of Life grants the "real" Tree of Life, which provides you with all the benefits we list in the guide. This one looks like the "new" Tree of Life form (used during Cataclysm).

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ability_druid_dreamstate.jpgDream of Cenarius now grants a 30% increase to the heal cast after dealing damage, down from 70%. This seems much more sensible :)

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