Restoration Druid Healing Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities — Shadowlands 9.2
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 — Shadowlands 9.2.
If you were looking for TBC Classic content, please refer to our TBC Classic Restoration Druid rotation.
Welcome to our Rotation page for Restoration Druids. On this page, you will find everything you need to know about playing the spec in Raiding and Mythic+ scenarios.
If the rotations below seem overwhelming to you, you might benefit from visiting our Easy Mode page, which outlines a close-to-optimal rotation in simpler terms.
The content on this page is purely PvE-related. If you are looking for PvP Rotation tips, please visit our PvP page below.
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).
When you are healing the raid, you should do the following. Keep in mind that after acquiring the Restoration Druid 4-Piece you should be playing Soul of the Forest and as such, your spell priority will change.
- 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.
- When specced into Soul of the Forest, use Swiftmend and follow it with Wild Growth.
- Make sure you use Swiftmends in a way that lets you have Incarnation: Tree of Life tier proc with Convoke the Spirits cast.
- 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.
- 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 liberally to spot-heal.
- Use Swiftmend as an emergency heal unless you are specced into Soul of the Forest.
- 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, especially Sunfire.
- You should be filling your free global cooldowns with Wrath or DPS abilities appropriate to your selected Affinity.
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.
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. Try to heal low damage using Soul of the Forest-powered Wild Growths and Efflorescence. Spend the rest of the time doing damage. Managing to cast less Rejuvenations without letting anyone die will be your biggest DPS increase.
During heavy damage, you should aim to keep up as many Rejuvenations as possible, to always consume the Regrowth HoT to power Wild Growth with Soul of the Forest 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.
There is more specific information on spell usage in Mythic+ on our Restoration Druid Mythic+ page.
If you want to read in-depth guide on how to deal damage in dungeons, read the page linked below.
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. In raids, it is optimal to use Innervate on someone else for the added 50% Mana cost reduction that your group will gain from it. Make sure the healer you are putting it on expects it and will play around it.
- 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.
- Nature's Swiftness should be used with Regrowth. You can make a macro to use them both together, since Nature's Swiftness does not trigger a GCD. Use it as soon as someone drops low and you think they will not live for a Regrowth cast to finish. Do not be afraid to pop it often, because the cooldown is rather short.
- 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.
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.
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.
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 12 HoTs that count towards our Mastery:
- Wild Growth;
- Regrowth's HoT portion;
- Tranquility's HoT portion;
- Cenarion Ward;
- Spring Blossoms;
- Frenzied Regeneration;
- Adaptive Swarm from Necrolord;
- Renewing Bloom from Restoration Druid 2-Piece.
It is important to note that this list is exhaustive. No other trinket effect or conduits interact, contribute or otherwise benefit from Mastery. The Frenzied Regeneration from Well-Honed Instincts conduit does not work with Mastery either.
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.
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 throughput 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 10-second buff on a friendly healer (which includes yourself), during which time all spells cast by the target cost no Mana.
Innervate is best used 10-15 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.
With Innervate providing you with 50% Mana cost reduction when you cast it on on someone else, you should consider doing just that. Make sure you coordinate on the timing, otherwise the effect will be wasted.
Convoke the Spirits
Convoke the Spirits is an important part of the Druid's kit in raids. You should aim to use it as often as possible during damage events. Make sure you have some HoTs up before using it, since Flourish procs would be wasted otherwise. Preferrably you want to pair Convoke with other cooldowns or procs: such as Flourish or Restoration Druid 4-Piece. The Incarnation: Tree of Life is actually ideal, because you can delay it and use it every 1 minute, then immediately follow up with Wild Growth and Convoke straight after. If you top it off with Flourish, the burst healing will be very high.
Another trick for Convoke is to use Nature's Swiftness right before casting it. All Regrowths from Convoke will be empowered resulting in moderate burst increase. Make sure to use Regrowth after to consume Nature's Swiftness and put it on cooldown, otherwise it will be very hard to have it with the next Convoke.
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 low Mana cost Wrath.
- 18 Feb. 2022: Updated for Patch 9.2
- 01 Nov. 2021: Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.1.5.
- 28 Jun. 2021: Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.1.
- 09 Mar. 2021: Reviewed for Patch 9.0.5.
- 02 Dec. 2020: Update Nature's Swiftness and Innervate usage recommendations.
- 23 Nov. 2020: Page updated for Shadowlands patch 9.0.2.
- 12 Oct. 2020: Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
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