Wednesday, January 5, 2011

AOE Healing Woes

A number of bloggers are complaining that Restoration druids have no emergency AOE abilities.

Kae at Dreambound writes:
AoE Healing? no longer our forte. Wild Growth has a monstrous cooldown, and Tranquility's is even longer. Swiftmend has a cooldown for its use and subsequent green puddle of aoe healing, but the puddle itself is insufficient for healing more than a sliver of health at current gear levels.

Lissanna writes:
The reason R4HT and Xaar are concerned is really because we have NO tools to deal with the spiky large burst AOE that is happening in Heroic-level raid encounters (which is a problem that only druids in guilds like Paragon are having to deal with now, but unless Blizzard does something, this is going to become a bigger problem with time).

Rank 4 Healing Touch writes:
So by now it’s no secret about Xaar’s (of Paragon) post on the Warcraft forums. In his post he calls out some rather serious issues with restoration druids at the higher end of this current tier of content. As of right now, due to poor scaling with gear and lack of burst AoE healing druids have fallen pretty low on their healer priority list for heroic content.

It's now the common lore among resto Druid bloggers, right up there with haste having a cap and the new Tree of Life being a travesty.

The discussion is a little odd to me, though. We have just as good of tools for dealing with raid-wide damage as we did in Wrath. What's different now is that rejuvenation has been doubly nerfed: it takes far more mana, and it doesn't last as long. Rejuvenation is mana expensive, but what exactly do you expect if you want to heal everyone, a lot, and quickly?

If you look ahead to later tiers of gear--or back to 4.0.1 in Northrend content--mana will be plentiful and we will be able to chain cast rejuvenation whenever there's massive raid damage. Meanwhile, we will still use rejuvenation, but we'll have to cut back on it in one way or another. Either we can't chain cast it, or we'll have to have responsibility over just part of the raid rather than the whole raid, or we'll have to alternate between times of furious chain casting and then times of sitting back and letting mana regen.

I haven't raided any yet, but I've done about all the heroics. So far, there aren't that many cases where there is massive, unavoidable damage to the whole party. In such cases, I tend to spam rejuvenation and then try to hold off after the emergency to regain mana. It works fine so far. Perhaps raids are different, but we'll see. In a raid, there are more people to heal, and the fights last about twice as long, but there are also more healers.

Overall, you look at these problems differently if you take the point of view of sustained throughput. The question is not whether you use rejuvenation or not, but how often you can insert a rejuv without going out of mana, and then whether or not you can keep up with the damage by doing so.

Personally, I haven't raided yet, but I must say the balance is pretty good for heroics. Lots of fights are a real mana drain, but if everyone executes well then I can keep them healed. That said, if any change is to be made, I'd rather it not go toward buffing wild growth. Wild growth just isn't much fun: you just press your "heal the world" button every ten seconds. I'd rather they added the healing mushrooms that Lissanna describes, or that they add a mini-rejuvenate that was low mana and low healing.

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