Restoration Druid Healing Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities — Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.1
On this page, you will learn how to optimize the rotation of your Restoration Druid, depending on the type of damage your group is receiving. We also have advanced sections about cooldowns, procs, etc. in order to minmax your healing output and your mana efficiency. All our content is updated for World of Warcraft — Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.1.
1. Rotation / Playstyle for Restoration Druids
Your exact healing playstyle as a Restoration Druid will depend on what targets you have to heal, which is normally very closely related to the environment in which you are healing (raids or dungeons).
1.1. Raid Healing
When you are healing the raid, you should do the following.
- Keep Efflorescence under a group of players, usually melee.
- Keep Lifebloom on an active tank.
- Use Innervate during low to moderate damage moments and try to fit both Efflorescence and Wild Growth in the duration.
- Use Clearcasting procs as soon as possible to avoid wasting them.
- Use Cenarion Ward on cooldown, if you are using the talent.
- Keep Rejuvenation on an active tank and any players with debuffs. Avoid casting too many Rejuvenations to keep your Mana for Flourish windows.
- Use Swiftmend liberally to spot-heal.
- Start casting Rejuvenations about 10 seconds before you plan on using Flourish. Follow it with Wild Growth as soon as the damage event hits, then use Flourish.
- Use Regrowth as an emergency heal.
- During downtime, use Moonfire and Sunfire on enemies to help with the damage. Be careful with casting both, since they cost a lot of Mana.
- You should be filling your free global cooldowns with Solar Wrath.
It is important to note that because of the global cooldown, it is more efficient to use Innervate on another healer. Make sure they are expecting the buff or ask for it, otherwise use it on yourself.
Doing damage in Cat Form can put you in difficult situations or even outright wipe the raid, when used without full knowledge of the fight. You are still considered a ranged and a healer in any shapeshift form, therefore you will be targeted by all mechanics that do not specifically target players based on distance.
1.2. Dungeon Healing
When healing in a dungeon, it is important to remember that Restoration Druids have a lot of powerful tools to contribute to damage and crowd control on top of obviously keeping the group alive. Since the group is smaller than a typical raid, you will be able to produce a much more significant portion of DPS, which is essential in a timed Mythic+ content.
A Restoration Druid's priority should be keeping the group alive. That does not necessarily mean keeping everyone at 100% Health or aiming to do so at all times possible. On some packs and affixes, you can afford to heal your group between the pulls or let the HoTs tick fully without resorting to single target healing spam. Judging damage intake of the group is the most important aspect of your success as a healer in dungeons.
During light to medium damage, you should aim to keep Lifebloom on the tank and a few Rejuvenations on group members when they drop a bit lower on Health to get full use of Cultivation. Use Wild Growth when 4 or 5 players have taken damage. Spend the rest of the time doing damage.
During heavy damage, you should aim to keep as many Rejuvenations as possible, Wild Growth whenever 4 or more players are not full Health and otherwise cast Regrowth. Efflorescence is a good spell to cast, if you can ensure 3 players will be healed by it. Placing it before the pull is the preferred strategy. Ironbark anyone who might be in danger liberally, as its cooldown is too short to sit on. Tranquility can be used as a strong cooldown when needed.
2. Cooldown Usage for Restoration Druids
As a Restoration Druid you have a few healing cooldowns by default. Additionally, you can gain others depending on your talent choices. Your non-talent cooldowns should be used as follows:
- Tranquility should be used during heavy raid damage or when you are assigned to use it by your raid leader. It is recommended not to stack it with anything else. Casting Wild Growth before Tranquility is recommended to increase the benefits from Mastery.
- Innervate should be used as many times during the fight as possible. Refresh Efflorescence, cast Wild Growth, and spam Rejuvenations during Innervate.
- 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.
- Flourish should be used as close to on cooldown as possible. Make sure each Flourish extends Wild Growth, as many Rejuvenations as possible, and preferably Cenarion Ward.
- Incarnation: Tree of Life is a very powerful cooldown. You should aim to use it to cover entire damage events. In case those are too short, it is preferred to use Tree of Life a little bit before damage occurs to pre-HoT for less Mana. Tree of Life greatly increases efficiency of both Rejuvenation and Wild Growth. You should plan your Mana in a way that would allow you to continuously cast during it, even at the cost of greatly reduced output outside of Incarnation.
3. Optional Read: Mastering Your Restoration Druid
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
3.1.1. Healing Spells
In order to make the best use of your heals, it is important that you familiarise yourself with their strengths and weaknesses.
Rejuvenation is an instant-cast HoT which also provides a small initial heal. This is one of your most frequently used spells.
Wild Growth places a HoT on up to 6 lowest health raid members around the target you cast it on. The HoT heals for more damage initially, then for less and less as it goes on. Wild Growth is very expensive, yet very Mana efficient. You should be casting this spell any time 6 people need healing and plan your Mana usage around it.
Swiftmend heals the target for a moderate amount. It is instant cast, and it has a 25-second cooldown. It is an excellent way to react to sudden spikes of damage efficiently.
Lifebloom is a HoT that can only be on one target at one time. You should always keep Lifebloom up on a target who is taking constant damage, such as the tank. When Lifebloom expires, it Blooms — heals its target for a large amount. This also happens if you refresh it with 4.5 seconds remaining or less, which you should aim to do in order to not waste any uptime.
Regrowth is an emergency heal. It heals for a moderate amount instantly and a smaller amount over 12 seconds. Without Abundance, Regrowth is inefficient. Abundance makes Regrowth a decent spot healing tool.
Efflorescence creates a healing zone that lasts for 30 seconds, healing up to 3 players standing in it every 2 seconds. Efflorescence is the most efficient healing spell outside of Tranquility. Unlike Wild Growth, Efflorescence is not a fully smart heal, which means it will pick a random injured player within its radius to heal. Spring Blossoms makes your Efflorescence prioritise targets that do not have Spring Blossoms HoT on them and ignore the injured player rule.
3.1.2. Utility for Restoration Druids
Barkskin reduces damage you take by 20% for 12 seconds and prevents damage from delaying your casts. It is a very strong ability, especially when coupled with Bear Form. It has a 1-minute cooldown and is usable in any form.
Entangling Roots root the target in place for 30 seconds. Almost any damage will quickly remove the effect. The ability is useful for various skips in dungeons: usually each trash pack has a leading mob and all other mobs will stop moving when it is rooted. Keep in mind that Entangling Roots have a 35-yard cast range, which is 5 less than the vast majority of your healing and damage spells.
Hibernate puts enemy Beast or Dragonkin to sleep for up to 40 seconds. Any damage will awaken the target. Hibernate is limited to which targets you can use it on, but it works in the same way as Entangling Roots for stopping patrolling packs in dungeons without pulling them. It can also be used to interrupt casts of NPCs without removing DoTs from the target. Range of Hibernate is only 30 yards, so it might be dangerous to cast in some places.
Rebirth resurrects a friendly player. Usable in combat. Cooldown is shared between entire group in raids and Mythic+ dungeons. You will accumulate one charge every 4.5 minutes in a 20-player raid and every 10 minutes in a Mythic+ dungeon. In any other content Rebirth has a personal 10 minute cooldown, not shared with anyone else.
Nature's Cure removes all Magic, Curse, and Poison effects from friendly target, and has an 8-second cooldown.
Prowl activates Cat Form and places you into Stealth. Important to note that Prowl can be cast in your caster form and does not require Cat Form. It is often used to evade certain packs in dungeons or to take shortcuts. Can be coupled with Night Elf's racial Shadowmeld to escape combat in open world and dungeons.
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, increases your healing done to a target for each HoT that you have on that target at the time. Each HoT's healing is updated dynamically as soon as you apply another one. With 10% Mastery, a single Rejuvenation will do 10% extra healing. If you apply Lifebloom to the same target, both HoTs will be doing 20% (10% + 10%) extra healing as long as they are both up. Once Rejuvenation fades, Lifebloom will continue ticking for 10% extra healing, since it will be the only HoT present on the target. There are currently 11 HoTs that count towards our Mastery:
- Wild Growth;
- Regrowth's HoT portion;
- Tranquility's HoT portion;
- Cenarion Ward;
- Spring Blossoms;
- Frenzied Regeneration;
- Grove Tending HoT from Azerite trait.
3.2.2. Clearcasting Procs
Each time your Lifebloom ticks, you have a 4% chance to get a proc from Omen of Clarity, making your next Regrowth, cast within 15 seconds, cost no Mana. You should use these Regrowths freely, as soon as you receive them, to avoid the procs overwriting each other.
3.2.3. Ysera's Gift
Ysera's Gift is a passive ability that heals you for 3% of your maximum health every 5 seconds. If you are at full health, then a random nearby injured ally is healed instead.
3.3. Detailed Cooldown Usage for Restoration Druids
In this section, we explain in depth how to use your cooldowns.
Tranquility is a channeled spell that heals all raid members for a large amount of health over 8 seconds and leaves a stacking HoT behind. It is an extremely powerful spell. It is best used during times of very heavy raid damage.
You should use Tranquility when you can channel it for its full duration (or at least very close to its full duration). It is acceptable to use either Barkskin, Ironbark, or both on yourself to ensure full cast without interruptions. You should Wild Growth before the cast to maximise Mastery contribution.
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.
Innervate is not strictly a defensive cooldown, but it is still a very important part of a Restoration Druid's kit. It has a 3-minute cooldown and it places a 12-second buff on a friendly healer (which includes yourself), during which time all spells cast by the target cost no Mana or Energy.
Innervate is best used 12 seconds before you plan to use Flourish. You want to refresh your Efflorescence during it, so you also want to time Innervate when Efflorescence has fewer than 10 seconds left on its duration. You want to cast Wild Growth and as many Rejuvenations as your Haste allows. Timing it together with any Haste procs or Heroism/ Bloodlust is a very good strategy.
Due to Innervate being on the global cooldown, the most optimal strategy is to use it on another healer in your group, provided they expect to get it or ask for it specifically.
3.4. Mana Management
Mana management is the most important aspect of playing a Restoration Druid. The way you decide to allocate it in a fight determines how well you will perform. Going out of Mana too early or not using your entire pool during a boss fight are the most common misplays.
- In cases where you are unfamiliar with a fight or healing team, you can start by matching your Mana bar percentage to the boss's Health percentage. Make adjustments in later pulls.
- You are supposed to utilise available cooldowns to their full potential. Good Flourish bursts, getting off Tranquility as often as possible, keeping high uptime on Efflorescence and Lifebloom are going to be the most defining elements of your raid throughput. All of these points lead to the fact that encounter knowledge, familiarity with mechanics and timings will lead to the biggest returns. Even experienced players take quite a few pulls to familiarise themselves with each boss fight.
- Learn to control Mana usage in maintenance mode. Low cost spells do not necessarily imply a good Mana investment. For example, it is almost always better to not cast a few Rejuvenations during low damage, but instead cast one Wild Growth, because it will do more healing per Mana, or even let other healers handle the damage. Since Druids are not able to afford constant Rejuvenation spam, you have to resort to either not casting anything or doing damage using 0 Mana cost spells ( Solar Wrath or any Cat Form abilities).
- 10 Dec. 2018: This page has been reviewed for Patch 8.1 and no changes are necessary.
- 13 Aug. 2018: Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
- 03 Aug. 2018: Fixed a couple of typos.
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