Thursday, September 11, 2008

HoT Me, Baby!

After a few days of battleground healing on my newly resto druid, part of a Karazhan run, and a regular Old Hillsbrad run, I'm finally starting to get the hang of druid healing. I just wanted to jot down a few observations and comparisons between shaman healing and druid healing.

First off, I find druid healing to be a bit more complicated than shaman healing. Shaman cast one heal after another. All you need to keep track of is who has aggro, who needs a heal the most, the end of your cast time, and how much raid-wide damage is occurring. These things allow you to prioritize your heals, both in terms of who is most in need and what rank you need to use, and also when to start your next cast. It's fairly simple, particularly with add-ons like Quartz (large cast bar to help you time heals) and Healbot.

With druids, you have to keep track of aggro, damage, global cooldown, and the timers on your HoTs. The last is most complicated, because a shaman only needs to know when they can cast the next heal, while a druid needs to know when to refresh the two or three HoTs they have up on their targets.

I'm finding that global cooldown (GCD) timing is very difficult. When latency and timing work out just right, the HoTs just roll off my character without a pause. As with my shaman however, I find myself clipping the end of my GCD (or previous heal if on my shaman), so my next heal ends up being slightly delayed because I tried to heal too early. I'm not quite sure how to combat that problem, since I use add-ons like Quartz and Lifebloomer to keep track of that stuff. It may be the one thing that holds me back in healing.

Adjusting to the timing and style of druid healing is not easy. I'm probably wasting a lot of mana keeping unnecessary HoTs up, since I don't have a good sense of how much they heal for. In the 5-man I did, I found that once I applied a full set of HoTs (lifebloom and rejuvenation) on the tank, I could just stand there and watch them work, so there's more down time with druid healing than with shaman healing. In a way, it's more passive, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.

I've also switched to Grid and Clique on my druid, since Healbot wasn't working very well for druid healing. I think that once I get the system tweaked, I may switch to it on Salanthe as well. I like the versatility and the interface is a bit simpler than Healbot. Jury is still out, though.

I also adore tree form and being able to jump and move while casting heals. When I was healing Karazhan, I had to take my hand off the keyboard during the Shade of Aran's Flame Wreath, or I would have been moving.

I still need a lot of practice to get the hang of druid healing, but I am definitely enjoying it. I'm so glad I respecced my little druid to restoration!

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