Talent Spec Angst and Heroics

I’ve been seeing a few other druids out there re-talenting lately, and it’s a while since I’ve touched my spec. Maybe it’s time for a change, particularly in light of the experiences (difficulties) I’ve been having in heroics lately.

Now I have about +1500 healing unbuffed these days, thanks to some BoJ rewards, PvP epics, enchants, Kara drops, and so on (I was somewhere between +1000 and +1200 when I started this blog). This still doesn’t seem enough to comfortably manage heroics while relying on Regrowth, Rejuvenation, and Lifebloom. If my tank is well-geared, I’m usually fine, but if my tank is a bit light for heroics I sometimes just can’t keep up. Okay, so this is really the tank’s problem, not mine, but it would be nice to be able to be able to heal just about anyone through a heroic, instead of having to potentially ditch a run and go find a decent tank. Also, the tank dying is ALWAYS the healer’s fault (just like DPS pulling aggro is ALWAYS the tank’s fault), and I hate looking bad. Even to nubs.

I’ve been experimenting with ditching ToL form in some runs, and running a combination of HoTs and HT. This lets me keep LB and other HoTs ticking (albeit slightly less efficiently), and still throw in a big HT when the tank starts to drop low.

You know what? Healing a crappy tank through a heroic is suddenly much easier. Even if my HoTs just aren’t keeping up, and my Swiftmend isn’t packing enough punch, when my tank gets down below about 40%, I just toss in a HT and begin the gradual creep downward again. I can keep Insect Swarm up, which helps with damage reduction. I have so much mana regen I just don’t know what to do with it anyway, but… I do struggle with mana. Because, you see, I skipped ALL of the HT talents. And to boot, untalented HT is PAINFULLY slow to cast. So I’ve decided to see if I can’t put my current talent spec on a diet, and squeeze in a few HT talents on the way through. My goals are:
1. Maintain full HoT talenting (as I still see this as the core of my healing) and keep ToL (for most bosses, because mana efficiency is usually king there).
2. Talent HT as fully as possible, to improve mana efficiency and reduce casting time.
3. Take 11 balance talents, because I love insect swarm (particularly for tanks who take the occasional crit).

Now in the past I thought I was ditching HT to leave room for some balance talents, but it turns out there is some extra wriggle room. I’m considering this build, and below is my (ridiculously detailed) explanation of each decision. What I took, what I skipped, and why. I’ve listed the high hopes I have for this build at the bottom, so you at least need to skim the talent list.

Balance: 11 points

Starlight Wrath: 5/5. My core DPS involves spamming Wrath or Starfire.
Nature’s Grasp: 1/1. I needed to find 10 points to get Insect Swarm, and the occasional CC proc is nice.
Improved Nature’s Grasp: 0/4. I only took NG at all ’cause nothing else was better.
Control of Nature: 0/3. Needs 2 or 3 points to be worth it, too expensive.
Focused Starlight: 2/2. The extra DPS definitely won’t hurt.
Improved Moonfire: 2/2. Moar DPS.
Insect Swarm: 1/1. Moar DoTs. Also, this is basically pre-emptive healing by damage reduction (increased chance to miss), and druids are all about pre-emptive healing.

Feral: 0 points

I’m a healer, and everything I do and have is about casting. This complements balance DPS, but not feral. Anyway, I’d only manage a point or two, and the first level talents are useless for me.

Resto: 50 points

Improved Mark of the Wild: 5/5. A no-brainer if you don’t use feral forms.
Furor: 0/5. Duh.
Naturalist: 5/5. Half a second is a long time if you’re having to resort to HT, so I feel this is important for my new HoT/HT build.
Nature’s Focus: 0/5. I just don’t expect to be casting these while a mob is beating on me. Even when I’m grinding, I tend to just throw lifebloom into my DPS rotation.
Natural Shapeshifter: 0/3. I couldn’t spare the points, and I just don’t expect to be in and out of ToL a lot in any one fight anyway. If I’m out it’s because I need HT to keep up, or I have to decurse.
Intensity: 3/3. This is the core of druid mana regen, because we almost never get outside the 5sr.
Subtlety: 5/5. Threat reduction is great. If stuff attacks me, I don’t heal OR dps as well.
Omen of Clarity: 0/1. This would be nice, and I took it last time, but I just don’t use it much, and it doesn’t seem to proc often anyway.
Tranquil Spirit: 5/5. Improved HT mana efficiency is the whole reason I’m re-speccing.
Improved Rejuvenation: 3/3. This is one of my main HoTs, and it gets a LOT of use.
Nature’s Swiftness: 1/1. Good panic button for when your tank just got crushed. Macro with HT.
Gift of Nature: 5/5. Bonus healing on all spells is a no-brainer.
Improved Tranquility: 1/2. I get picked on for this, but tranquility is a great panic button, particularly on trash. I’ve always had 2/2. Mine ticks for over 2000, and that’s on everyone in the group. BUT, I hate saving a wipe only to go down myself (which then just leaves us short a healer, which leads to a wipe anyway). I’m going to wait and see how the 50% works out, and maybe borrow a point from Subtlety if I still tend to get aggro.
Empowered Touch: 2/2. My +healing is around 1500. 20% of that is 300. Bonus 300 +heal on HT. Rock on.
Improved Regrowth: 5/5. When Regrowth crits, it crits hard. A few crits on Regrowth here and there is a lot of extra healing.
Living Spirit: 3/3. More mana regen, more +heal. Some people skimp on this one, but I think it’s too good to miss.
Swiftmend: 1/1. Central to a HoT build, and using it every time it’s up can seriously up your HPS, at the expense of saving it for a panic button.
Natural Perfection: 0/3. I shouldn’t be copping too many crits myself, and 3% crit just isn’t worth the 3 points. Sorry.
Empowered Rejuvenation: 5/5. Can’t miss this.
Tree of Life: 1/1. I am oneHoTnelf, and a HoT build is all about the ToL.

So there you have it. My new build. My hopes are:

1. I’ll maintain full HoT efficiency. I can’t see why I wouldn’t, I’ve managed to keep all of my mana and HoT talents.
2. I’ll still be able to do some decent DPS, particularly with my DPS gear strapped on.
3. I’ll have a much easier time throwing some Healing Touches out there without blowing all my mana. The motivation for this was to make heroics easier, but…
4. Have a built-in “rescue mode” for raiding. We usually use a druid (for HoTs) and another healer (for burst heals) on our MT. I’m hoping that if our burst healer goes down, I can keep most of my HoTs up and still get some HTs in there as well. Ideally, the raid healer won’t have to panic if our MT burst healer dies, because I can fill both roles at once. Mana will still eventually become an issue though, especially if it happens early in the fight. However, I can fill this role until I’m low, then get the raid healer to switch to the MT. I have enough mana regen to roll lifebloom AND rejuvenation indefinitely if I save enough to switch back to tree form, then we just hope we can keep the MT AND the rest of the raid up long enough to finish the fight.

If anyone has any tips, I’d love to hear them, but I think I’m probably just going to jump in and give it a try tonight.

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