Restoration Druid Healing Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities (MoP 5.4)

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Restoration Druid Art Image
General Information

On this page, we list your Restoration Druid core abilities and how they should be used together (rotation) in World of Warcraft MoP 5.4. We also explain when to use your various cooldowns. Then, we go deeper and present all the subtleties that you will need to know if you want to excel at playing a Restoration Druid.

The other pages of our Restoration Druid guide can be accessed from the table of contents on the right.

About Our Reviewer

This guide has been reviewed and approved by Celece, a Restoration Druid who raids in Midwinter, one of the best guilds in the world. You can watch her stream on Twitch.

1. Rotation↑top

How you heal as a Restoration Druid depends on several factors, such as the type of damage (burst damage, sustained damage etc.) that your raid is taking, the target(s) you are assigned to heal and who the other healers in your raid are. Additionally, of course, the intensity of the damage will also further narrow down your spell selection choice.

It is impossible provide a "rotation". You will have to choose when and on who to use each of your spells, based on their strengths and weaknesses. Once you familiarise yourself with your spells, you should also read our playstyle section.

1.1. Commonly Used Spells (HoTs)

  • Rejuvenation Icon Rejuvenation should primarily be used:
    • to pre-HoT players before a spike of damage;
    • to act as a pre-requisite for casting Swiftmend Icon Swiftmend on players;
    • to heal players who have taken damage.
  • Wild Growth Icon Wild Growth should primarily be used:
    • on cooldown, whenever multiple players are in need of healing.
  • Swiftmend Icon Swiftmend should primarily be used:
    • to heal groups of players who are standing together;
    • before a burst of damage will hit the raid, to heal players through it, allowing you to cast other spells;
    • when a single target is in urgent need for a quick (instant cast) heal.
  • Lifebloom Icon Lifebloom should be used:
    • on the tank, or another target who is taking heavy sustained damage, always with 3 stacks.
  • Wild Mushroom: Bloom Icon Wild Mushroom: Bloom should be used:
    • to detonate the mushrooms that you have placed at the location where raid members are sustaining damage;
    • to place Efflorescence healing zones (if you are using Glyph of Efflorescence Icon Glyph of Efflorescence, which we recommend).

1.2. Less Used Spells (Direct Heals)

  • Nourish Icon Nourish should primarily be used:
    • as a filler, during times of low damage;
  • Healing Touch Icon Healing Touch should primarily be used:
    • on players who are taking a particularly high amount of damage;
  • Regrowth Icon Regrowth should primarily be used:
    • on players who are about to die before you can get another, longer cast off, when no instant cast spells are available;

It is important to note that, if you are using Glyph of Regrowth Icon Glyph of Regrowth, Regrowth Icon Regrowth will always have a critical effect but its HoT is no longer present. This glyphed Regrowth basically replaces Healing Touch Icon Healing Touch, being more efficient than it.

1.3. Additional Action To Perform

In addition to simply using the above spells to react to the damage being done, you should also keep the uptime on the Mastery: Harmony Icon Mastery: Harmony self-buff at 100%. This requires that you cast a direct heal (Swiftmend Icon Swiftmend, Healing Touch Icon Healing Touch, Nourish Icon Nourish or Regrowth Icon Regrowth) at least once every 20 seconds.

2. Cooldown Usage↑top

As a Restoration Druid you have 4 healing healing cooldowns by default. Additionally, you can gain several others depending on your talent choices. Your default cooldowns should be used as follows:

  • Tranquility Icon Tranquility should be used whenever a very large amount of raid healing is needed. You may be assigned to use this at a specific time, as part of a rotation with other healers.
  • Ironbark Icon Ironbark should be used to reduce the damage a tank is taking during critical moments (such as when important boss abilities are about to be cast). In the absence of such situations, you should just use it on players who are taking damage. You may be assigned to use this at a specific time, as part of a rotation with other healers and the tanks' own cooldowns.
  • Genesis Icon Genesis should be used during heavy AoE damage phases to quickly heal up raid members who are low. Since Genesis causes your Rejuvenation Icon Rejuvenation to run out faster, you must be careful not to over-use it, because re-applying Rejuvenation to multiple players is very expensive.
  • Nature's Swiftness Icon Nature's Swiftness should be used on cooldown.

We cover the cooldowns that are obtainable from talents, as well as a few additional details regarding your default cooldowns, in our detailed cooldowns section.

2.1. Abilities Granted by Symbiosis

Symbiosis Icon Symbiosis 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. Both of these spells come in a slightly modified version (less powerful than the original). You can see the full list of spells here, but the spells useful to you as a Restoration Druid are:

  • Icebound Fortitude Icon Icebound Fortitude reduces the damage you take by 20% for 12 seconds. It is gained from Death Knights.
  • Deterrence Icon Deterrence grants you virtual immunity for 5 seconds. It is gained from Hunters.
  • Ice Block Icon Ice Block provides you with a 10-second immunity, during which time you cannot perform any actions. It is gained from Mages.
  • Cleanse Icon Cleanse allows you to remove Disease effects. It is gained from Paladins.
  • Spiritwalker's Grace Icon Spiritwalker's Grace allows you to cast non-instant spells while moving, for 15 seconds. It is gained from Shamans.

3. Optional Read: Mastering Your Restoration Druid↑top

While playing correctly as a Restoration Druid does effectively rely on using the above spells as we recommend, there is more you need to understand to maximise your performance.

3.1. Understanding Your Spells

In order to make the best use of your heals, it is important that you familiarise yourself with their strengths and weaknesses.

Rejuvenation Icon Rejuvenation is an instant cast periodic heal which will make up the highest amount of your healing at the end of most fights. It also provides a small initial heal. It is not very costly, and as long as it will not overheal, it is always mana efficient to use it.

Wild Growth Icon Wild Growth is a spell that heals 5 (6 with Glyph of Wild Growth Icon Glyph of Wild Growth) low health raid members over 7 seconds. It is very mana efficient, assuming it does not overheal.

Swiftmend Icon Swiftmend heals the target for a moderate amount and places a healing zone called Efflorescence on the ground, under them. The healing zone heals the three lowest health targets in it for a very good amount, making it a very strong spell. Keep in mind that Swiftmend can only be cast on targets who have a HoT on them from either Rejuvenation Icon Rejuvenation or Regrowth Icon Regrowth.

Lifebloom Icon Lifebloom is a healing over time spell that can have up to 3 stacks and can only be on one target at one time. You should always keep Lifebloom running with 3 stacks on a target who is taking constant damage, such as the tank. It is interesting to note that you can transfer your existing stacks of Lifebloom from one target to another without having to re-stack them. For example, if a tank switch is about to happen, casting Lifebloom on the new tank will apply Lifebloom on them with 3 stacks instead of just 1 (assuming, of course, that you already had a 3-stack Lifebloom on someone else, such as the other tank).

Wild Mushroom Icon Wild Mushroom allows you to place a mushroom at the location of a targeted raid member. The ability has a 3-second cooldown and no mana cost. You can then detonate the mushroom with Wild Mushroom: Bloom Icon Wild Mushroom: Bloom, healing all players around it. These mushrooms are an excellent source of healing in AoE situations, and they allow you to anticipate the type of damage that will happen. It is best to make use of mushrooms only when you can pre-plant them, during periods of low damage. This is because taking time out during periods of intense damage to set up mushrooms is not as efficient as simply casting other healing spells.

When the mushroom is re-cast before having been detonated, it will move to its new location and it will retain its accumulated healing bonus.

It is worth noting that 10% of the overhealing you do with Rejuvenation Icon Rejuvenation will be added to the healing that your existing mushroom will do when detonated. This effect caps at 33% of your maximum health. The bonus healing thus offered is divided evenly among the players who are healed by the mushroom.

It is also very important to note that, thanks to Glyph of Efflorescence Icon Glyph of Efflorescence, Swiftmend no longer triggers the Efflorescence healing zone, and instead placing your mushrooms does. In addition to this, if you are using this glyph, then the healing zone will last as long as the mushroom that triggered it.

Nourish Icon Nourish is a cheap heal with a relatively long cast time that heals for a low amount. It heals for an extra 20% on players on whom you have a HoT active.

Healing Touch Icon Healing Touch is an expensive heal with a long cast time that heals for a high amount.

Regrowth Icon Regrowth is an emergency heal. It has a high mana cost and a low cast time. It heals for a large amount instantly and a smaller amount over 5 seconds. Its total healing is below that of Healing Touch. If the target of Regrowth has less than 50% health, then each tick will refresh Regrowth on the target to a 6 second duration.

3.2. Procs and Mechanics

As a Restoration Druid, you have quite a few things that you must keep track of and react accordingly to. Other than using the appropriate spell for the type of damage that is being done, this is really all there is to playing to your maximum potential.

3.2.1. Mastery: Harmony

Your Mastery, Mastery: Harmony Icon Mastery: Harmony, has two effects:

  • A permanent boost to your direct healing. While this is a welcome buff, it is not very impressive, since the vast majority of your healing will come from your HoTs.
  • A temporary, 20 second boost to your periodic healing, each time you cast a direct heal. This part of your Mastery is very strong.

It is important to make sure that the self-buff from your Mastery never drops off. This means you need to cast at least one direct heal every 20 seconds. Since you should be using Swiftmend Icon Swiftmend practically on cooldown, the requirement is very lax.

3.2.2. Clearcasting Procs

Each time your Lifebloom Icon Lifebloom ticks, you have a 4% chance to get a proc from Omen of Clarity Icon Omen of Clarity, making your next Healing Touch Icon Healing Touch or Regrowth Icon Regrowth, cast within 15 seconds, cost no mana. Which of the two spells to use it with depends on the situation:

  • Healing Touch Icon Healing Touch heals for more, but also has a longer cast time. Use this when you want to heal the tank and you are not in a very big hurry.
  • Regrowth Icon Regrowth is a faster cast, so you can use this to save low health raid members. You can also use Regrowth Icon Regrowth on someone and then follow it up with Swiftmend Icon Swiftmend, since Swiftmend requires a HoT, such as the one from Regrowth.

3.2.3. Living Seed

Living Seed Icon Living Seed requires a mention as well, even though its benefit is entirely passive and you will not really have to keep track of it in any way.

When you critically heal a target with the direct healing portion of Swiftmend Icon Swiftmend, Regrowth Icon Regrowth, Nourish Icon Nourish, or Healing Touch Icon Healing Touch, you place a buff on them, lasting 15 seconds. When the target is attacked, the buff is consumed and the target is healed for 30% of the amount healed by the spell that triggered Living Seed in the first place.

As we said, this happens passively, but you should still be aware of its existence.

Successive Living Seed procs stack up on the target, up to a maximum of 50% of your maximum health.

3.3. Detailed Cooldown Usage

In this section, we explain in depth how to use your cooldowns.

3.3.1. Tranquility

Tranquility Icon Tranquility is a channeled spell that heals nearby raid members for a large amount each second, and also places a HoT on them that heals for an additional amount after the channel is finished. It is an extremely powerful spell. It is best used during times of very heavy raid damage.

You should use Tranquility Icon Tranquility when you can channel it for its full duration (or at least very close to its full duration).

3.3.2. Ironbark

Ironbark Icon Ironbark should simply be used on the tank, when they are taking a large amount of damage, or on another player who is targeted by a powerful boss mechanic.

3.3.3. Genesis

Genesis Icon Genesis should be cast whenever there is heavy AoE damage, provided that you have several Rejuvenation Icon Rejuvenations active on raid members.

3.3.4. Nature's Swiftness

Nature's Swiftness Icon Nature's Swiftness should be used on cooldown, or as close to it as possible. You will find it most beneficial to use it with Healing Touch Icon Healing Touch. This macro may prove useful for the purpose.

3.3.5. Tier 2 Talents

Your Tier 2 talent of choice should be used as follows:

  • Ysera's Gift Icon Ysera's Gift is entirely passive, so you do not need to worry about it.
  • Renewal Icon Renewal should be used whenever you have taken damage, as an easy and free way to heal yourself.
  • Cenarion Ward Icon Cenarion Ward should be used on cooldown on a player who is taking constant damage (such as a tank).

3.3.6. Tier 4 Talents

Your Tier 4 talent of choice should be used as we describe below.

Incarnation: Tree of Life Icon Incarnation: Tree of Life should be used as many times as possible during the encounter, whenever you feel it will benefit you the most. What exactly to do during Incarnation: Tree of Life Icon Incarnation: Tree of Life depends greatly on the situation that you used Tree of Life for. Generally, the best thing to do is:

  • Use Wild Growth Icon Wild Growth on cooldown.
  • Place a stack of Lifebloom Icon Lifebloom on as many raid members as you can.
  • Place additional stacks of Lifebloom on raid members, if time allows it.
  • Use Omen of Clarity Icon Omen of Clarity procs (which should be abundant from the many ticks of Lifebloom) on instant cast Regrowth Icon Regrowth.

The idea is that Wild Growth is very powerful, and should be used on cooldown. Also, the more players you can place Lifebloom on (which is a very mana efficient heal), the more procs you will get from Omen of Clarity Icon Omen of Clarity. This in turn means you can save a great deal of mana by casting mana-free spells. Regrowth is the best choice since it is instant cast when in Tree of Life.

You can also use Incarnation: Tree of Life Icon Incarnation: Tree of Life to maintain a decent amount of healing while moving, by making use of instant cast Regrowth Icon Regrowth. Though this technique is generally not the best use of Tree of Life, it can work situationally.

Force of Nature Icon Force of Nature should be used on cooldown.

3.3.7. Tier 6 Talents

Your Tier 6 talent of choice should be used as follows:

  • Heart of the Wild Icon Heart of the Wild should be used whenever you wish to gain a healing boost, or when you need to perform a role other than healing.
  • Nature's Vigil Icon Nature's Vigil should be used when you need a 20% increase in healing, but as many times as possible during the encounter.

3.4. Restoration Druid Playstyle

As a Restoration Druid, you cannot simply "react" to the damage that is happening in the encounter, since most of your spells are HoTs. While you can react to bursts of damage with spells such as Swiftmend Icon Swiftmend and Regrowth Icon Regrowth, this is not your best asset.

Instead, you should become familiar with the way in which damage occurs in the encounter you are progressing on, and you should always prepare for it accordingly. This means that you should be able to do the following things:

  • Have Rejuvenation Icon Rejuvenation already up on players before the damage occurs.
  • Use Swiftmend Icon Swiftmend (or Wild Mushroom Icon Wild Mushroom if using Glyph of Efflorescence Icon Glyph of Efflorescence) to place a healing zone under a group of players just as damage is about to occur.
  • Have Lifebloom Icon Lifebloom and Rejuvenation Icon Rejuvenation always on the tank, even if you are not assigned to it.
  • Place your mushrooms in strategic locations (where the raid will move at a certain moment in the near future, or simply under the raid's stationary position) and be prepared to detonate them when needed.
  • Know ahead of time when you will use Tranquility Icon Tranquility.

Indeed, these are the most important things that you must plan ahead for as a Restoration Druid. The rest of your gameplay will have to do with keeping up your Mastery: Harmony Icon Mastery: Harmony buff, making good use of your Omen of Clarity Icon Omen of Clarity procs and using spells such as Swiftmend Icon Swiftmend and Regrowth Icon Regrowth to respond to unexpected damage.

3.5. Mana Management

Your only tool for mana management is Innervate Icon Innervate. While this spell can be cast on other players (healers, mostly), its effect is diminished when doing so. If you are using Innervate a lot on other players, then we advise you to use Glyph of Innervate Icon Glyph of Innervate, which makes this less detrimental. Casting Innervate on others should only become standard practice for you when you are very comfortable with your mana regeneration.

You want to Innervate as many times as possible during an encounter. You should use this spell as soon as your mana is low enough that the mana you gain from Innervate will not be wasted (so generally when you are below 80% mana).

4. Changelog↑top

  • 12 Sep. 2013: Patch 5.4 update.
    • Updated several areas of the guide to account for changes to talents and abilities.
    • Added mentions of the new abilities, Genesis Icon Genesis and Ysera's Gift Icon Ysera's Gift.
    • Added that you can (and should) use Glyph of Efflorescence Icon Glyph of Efflorescence to have your Efflorescence be triggered by Wild Mushroom Icon Wild Mushroom.
    • Made a change to the Innervate Icon Innervate section to account for the changes it and its glyph (Glyph of Innervate Icon Glyph of Innervate) received.
    • Removed a mention of Glyph of Lifebloom, since its effect is now baseline and the glyph is no longer in the game.
  • 20 May 2013: Patch 5.3 update: nothing to change.
  • 29 Apr. 2013: Made several changes.
  • 07 Mar. 2013: Patch 5.2 update.