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Restoration Druids in the Shadowlands: Class and Spec Highlights

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Update: the Restoration pre-patch guide is ready and you can check it out here:
Restoration Druid Shadowlands Guide

Shadowlands is less than 2 months away so it's time we took a look at the highlights for the classes and specs of WoW, to make it easier for players to choose which class to pick or return to, and just get a good general overview of the changes coming. We've already covered the specific changes themselves, but now it's time we turned to our experts for this, with each overview penned by our guide writers for the relevant specs. We're starting with Restoration Druids and to also note, other than the Covenants and legendaries, all the rest is relevant for the pre-patch as well, which is coming even sooner.

Our resident Resto expert Torty takes a look at the Covenant choice, new baseline spells, talents, spell changes and legendary highlights, focusing on PvE, so let's get to it!

Exciting Changes for Restoration Druids in Shadowlands

One of the best new features in Shadowlands is Covenants, but Restoration Druid unfortunately has no real choice in the current state of beta. However, we do get a handful of new abilities: most of them returning from previous expansions, with some of them only having been available for other Druid specs, or were locked behind PvP talents.
 

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Covenant Choice: Night Fae

Druid Ability - Convoke the Spirits Convoke the Spirits - 2min CD

Call upon the Night Fae for an eruption of energy, channeling a rapid flurry of 12 Druid spells and abilities over 4 sec.

The Druid ability granted by the Night Fae is Convoke the Spirits. This 4 Second channeled ability can be cast while moving and will rapidly cast 12 random Druid spells, mainly focused on the form you are currently in. It will cast 8 or 9 spells from your current form: healing spells in caster form, damage spells in Moonkin form, and melee abilities in Cat form. The other 3-4 will be used from a selection of spells from other forms. This makes Convoke the Spirits an extremely flexible ability to use. Need that healing burst for a big AoE? 1-2 Wild Growth Wild Growths, a couple of Swiftmend Swiftmends and a few Rejuvenation Rejuvenations make it an insanely strong healing cooldown, even if you do not use anything else with it. Want to absolutely destroy a boss in a dungeon? Convoke with Heart of the Wild Heart of the Wild can make any DPS player jealous with the burst it does. Convoke even has a small chance to cast Flourish Flourish, Full Moon Full Moon or Feral Frenzy Feral Frenzy as a bonus. Swiftmend Swiftmends cast by it do not consume HoTs, but they do proc Soul of the Forest Soul of the Forest.

In general, it is a very fun ability to use. Seeing raid frames fill up with your HoTs or enemy health rapidly deplete from machine gun ability spam is extremely satisfying. 

The power of Convoke is such that it makes any other Covenant not competitive, at least in PvE content. While other Covenant abilities put limitations on the amount of targets they hit, have longer cooldowns, drawbacks or even straight up poor numbers, Convoke has virtually no downsides. It does damage, small group healing, big group healing, has relatively low CD. While the generic ability is admittedly the weakest out of all, the power of Convoke more than covers for it and then some. 

Generic Ability - Soulshape Soulshape - 1.5min CD

Turn into a Vulpin, teleporting 15 yds forward and increasing your movement speed by 50%. You may reactivate Soulshape every few sec to teleport again.
Lasts 12 sec, or indefinitely while in a rest area.

The generic ability from the Night Fae is Soulshape. Unfortunately, it duplicates a lot of things that Druid already has in its toolkit. Increased movement speed is basically the same as Cat form and the blink distance is short enough that you could use Wild Charge Wild Charge with less hassle. You might find this useful to jump over mechanics that would be otherwise impassable, but that is about it. 
 

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New Baseline Spells

  • Cyclone IconCyclone. This ability used to be baseline before it got locked behind the PvP talent system. You can make mobs immune to everything, including healing and receiving Bolstering keystone affix stacks. It might not be as useful in PvE as it is in PvP, but it has its uses. 
  • Nature's Swiftness IconNature's Swiftness. An old favourite returns. This time it is restricted in use to only 3 spells: Regrowth IconRegrowth, Rebirth IconRebirth, or Entangling Roots IconEntangling Roots. Still, it provides us with an incredibly powerful instant healing tool on a short 1 minute cooldown. 
  • Stampeding Roar IconStampeding Roar. At different points of the game's history it was available to Restoration Druids or locked only to Guardian and Feral Druids. A fantastic tool in Mythic+ and Raiding. There is even a Finesse Conduit that increases the radius of the speed increase and prolongs the duration.

Changed Spell Functionality

  • Innervate IconInnervate. If cast on somebody else, you gain the effect at 50% effectiveness. While Innervating other healers is not particularly exciting, especially at the cost of your own power, this might come in very strong in a progression environment. 
  • Regrowth IconRegrowth. 40% increased chance for a critical effect if the target is already affected by Regrowth IconRegrowth. A very nice change for both Mythic+ healing and tank healing in raids. 
  • Swiftmend IconSwiftmend. Now consumes Regrowth IconRegrowth, Wild Growth Wild Growth or Rejuvenation Rejuvenation. Cooldown changed from 25 seconds to 15 seconds. Prosperity IconProsperity (talent) removed. This change makes  Swiftmend IconSwiftmend less of a rotational ability and more spot healing and/or combo ability. Soul of the Forest IconSoul of the Forest will be available for use more often, making it stronger.
     

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Talent Changes

  • Nourish IconNourish. Replaces Prosperity IconProsperity in the first tier. Heals a friendly target for a moderate amount. Receives triple bonus from Mastery. Probably not a good button, at least with the stats we have in the first season. On top of that, we have 2 different legendaries that significantly buff tank healing. 
  • Typhoon IconTyphoon is now locked behind Balance Affinity IconBalance Affinity. Feral Affinity Feral Affinity gets Maim IconMaim and Guardian Affinity IconGuardian Affinity gets Incapacitating Roar IconIncapacitating Roar. On top of that, Balance Affinity IconBalance Affinity gets the Eclipse system from Moonkin druids instead of empowerments we had in Battle for Azeroth. 
  • Heart of the Wild IconHeart of the Wild. Replaces Typhoon IconTyphoon in the fourth tier. Another old favourite. Significantly increases your damage using Balance and Feral Affinities and provides extra Stamina for Bear form if you are using Guardian Affinity IconGuardian Affinity. Overall, a very strong ability that offers good shapeshifting opportunities. Coupled with Convoke the Spirits Convoke the Spirits, this talent is an absolute power house. Who doesn't want to outdamage actual DPS specs on pull? 
  • Overgrowth IconOvergrowth. Replaces Stonebark IconStonebark in the sixth tier. A very expensive healing spell that applies Rejuvenation Rejuvenation, Lifebloom IconLifebloom, Wild Growth Wild Growth and Regrowth IconRegrowth to the target. Unfortunately, it does not provide a Regrowth IconRegrowth instant healing effect, which makes it a lot weaker than it looks at first glance. The mana cost and restrictive cooldown (1 minute) make it unusable in raids, but it very well might see use in the Mythic+ environment.

Legendary Effects

While there are way more Legendary effects than we list here, we tried to focus on the more interesting ones that you might use in Shadowlands. 

  • The Dark Titan's Lesson IconThe Dark Titan's Lesson. You may Lifebloom IconLifebloom two targets at once, but all of Lifebloom IconLifebloom's healing is reduced by 10%. This Legendary effect has obvious strong synergy with Photosynthesis IconPhotosynthesis. Yes, you can get both single target and self effects at once. This is a very exciting power to possess in Mythic+. Furthermore, two Lifebloom IconLifeblooms proc Clearcasting IconClearcasting twice as often. Unfortunately, this legendary is pretty mediocre in raids.
  • Verdant Infusion Circle of Life and Death. Your damage over time effects deal their damage in 25% less time, and your healing over time effects in 15% less time. This is another power that you will only use in Mythic+. Your DoTs will start doing their damage faster, making your DPS global cooldowns more efficient. The same is true for HoTs, but to a lesser extent. Mostly, this is going to be used for extra damage, although healing increase is not trivial either. 
  • Verdant Infusion Memory of the Mother Tree. Wild Growth has a 50% chance to cause your next Rejuvenation or Regrowth to apply to 3 additional allies within 20 yards of the target. This is an excellent legendary for raiding. It allows you to ramp for damage events better, it makes your Wild Growth more Mana efficient, and gives overall good throughput. 

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Conclusion

Restoration Druid has not received many rotational changes in Shadowlands from BFA or Legion, so if you haven't played Restoration recently or are getting back into it make sure to check out our current Restoration Druid Shadowlands guide. The baseline is mostly the same, you will only have to adapt to a Covenant ability instead of Essences and add a few keybinds for the new utility buttons we are going to receive. 

The changes overall make the class more fun. We get new buttons to help the group, use our forms more and even get an extra raid cooldown with an ability to use it for burst DPS. These are extremely powerful tools to have both in raiding and in dungeons.
 

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Other Spec Highlights:

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Quote

Exciting Changes for Restoration Druids in Shadowlands

One of the best new features in Shadowlands is Covenants

Restoration Druid unfortunately has no real choice in the current state

That sounds like something Blizzard would say, except the last line...

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37 minutes ago, Teufel said:

Do not mean to nitpick, but that's a Shaman on that picture 😛

Which one? All of the ones said druid in their description etc. I admit I can't really tell druid and shaman healing spells apart, but yea did check that they all said druid.

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7 hours ago, Starym said:

Which one? All of the ones said druid in their description etc. I admit I can't really tell druid and shaman healing spells apart, but yea did check that they all said druid.

The main one. That's Shaman ICC25 Heroic set that tauren is wearing.

Edited by Teufel

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On 9/6/2020 at 2:05 AM, Teufel said:

The main one. That's Shaman ICC25 Heroic set that tauren is wearing.

It's an art for Wrath card in Hearthstone, which is a Druid one. 

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Just now, Torty said:

It's an art for Wrath card in Hearthstone, which is a Druid one. 

It is a Shaman armor he's wearing, and its design preceeds the card, so I'd refrain from using it still.

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As a Resto Druid main, I'm quite excited for those news. I'm a bit sad that Nourish's return is not as good as it was in WotLK, but the other minor tweaks and synergy possibilities look very nice.

Also, I think this was Blizzard's missed opportunity to bring back Tree of Life as a shapeshift ability, rather than a cooldown. If the excuse is that "Players want to see their transmogs", this can be remedied by simply slapping a cosmetic Glyph much like Glyph of the Stars.

Edited by Valhalen

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