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Advice to New (Druid) Healers

July 7, 2009

TreeSo, what happens to a bear when said bear begins running heroics and raids with two spectacular Prot warriors and a bunch of DPS? Yep. Said bear is stripped of all fur and mashed down until it fits inside a giant hollow log costume and you end up with a tree. It’s gotten to the point where I don’t even try to roll on feral gear anymore, I just take it if there’s not a Cat or rogue lying around.

Hello, my name is Mitawa and I… am a tree.

Apparently a rather good one. I’m not really sure how, but I’m apparently the go-to guy for new healers now. I wipe the meters with people better geared than me, and it’s a very strange feeling.

Now, I’ve found that once people get into the swing of healing they do allright, but the largest obstacle in the way is they just don’t know where to start. Therefore, I’m going to break it down into the five biggest things that new trees (or recommissioned bears) ought to know so they can feel confident enough to type, “Healer LFG hVH!”

1. Addons will save your sanity.

I’ve settled into a good groove now. Streamlined. I have the obligatory raid addons (Omen, DBM, and Recount), and for healing I added Grid, Clique, Decursive, and a Grid “mana bars” module.

Decursive is simple enough, and something I think most druids run anyway even if they’re feral or boomkin. If they don’t, they ought to, it saved many a party for me even as the proud offtanking beast I was in BC. Curses? Poisons? Left and right click respectively and they’re gone.

Grid, Grid “Mana Bars”, and Clique all work together though, and need to be explained together. Now, I know a lot of people use Healbot. I hate Healbot. I’ve never even tried the stupid thing but it always seems to me like those people who say they’re using Healbot just aren’t as good of players. Maybe it’s a good program to start out with, but it looks like nothing but a liability to me.

What you need to do is get set up with Grid, the module, and Clique, then log in and mess with stuff for a minute or two. Type in “/Grid config” and find the “mana bars” section of it, then alter it showing mana to looking for Lifebloom. Whenever you throw a Lifebloom on someone now it’ll show up as a red bar down the side of grid that will turn yellow when Lifebloom is almost done and then finally green when you’ve got about one GCD left on it. This will make your life a LOT easier.girdinaction

In the  picture I have here, “Etsug” Has just recieved a Lifebloom and the mana bar section is red against the warlock purple. “Lutta”‘s is near to running out and is yellow, and “Jakul” though hard to see, has a bluer green Lifebloom indicator against the yellower green hunter class color. (In retrospect, I should have swapped the modelling on Etsu and Jak…) Second in the party, “Gresh” is shown as greyed out, or out of range, that’s always handy to know so you’re not wasting time healing people you can’t reach!

Finally, open up your spellbook to your Resto tab, and click on the funny little mouse icon right below it. That opens Clique. What you’re going to do now is make mouse macros. All you have to do is click on the spells in your spellbook however you want the macros to be set. I have Rejuvenation set to Shift+Left Click, Lifebloom is Shift+Right Click, Nourish is Ctrl+Left Click, and Regrowth is Ctrl+ Right Click. The beauty of this is that you can click with your modifiers directly onto the grid unit frames to heal the respective person. Grid will grey out if they’re out of range, keep track of your lifeblooms, and you can go in any time you need and add in your own things it needs to look for. (Like the ice block debuff that Kel’Thuzad throws in Naxx. You have have anyone with that debuff glow in Grid if you need to.)

The other great thing about Grid is that it’ll work with other people that have it and play nicely. You’ll be able to see when other healers in your party have heals queued up on people because the damage on their unit frame will be partway grayed out to cover the estimated amount of healing they’ll receive.

2. Lifebloom will also save your sanity.

Yes, I know Lifebloom is a mana hog, and I know how we’re getting pushed farther and farther into Rejuv and Nourish. Lifebloom is still my friend. Any fight with full-party stuns is a lot easier because while you’re stunned, Lifebloom is going to bloom and the tank still get a decently-sized heal. Any fight with enrage periods or with bosses that simply hit really hard goes a lot easier too with all that HoTed goodness helping to even out the damage. Honestly, I’m offended that they’re pushing us to use Rejuv and Nourish because Lifebloom is what makes us different. I don’t want to be a priest.

I try to keep rolling Lifeblooms up wherever necessary, which usually means on one or both of the tanks during boss fights. With a Lifebloom up you know they’re getting a good stream of healing, and it usually frees you to to go around slapping Rejuvenation and Wild Growth on the rest of the party.

3. Mana is the stuff of life.

You want mana, and you want lots of it, all the time. Spirit and Mp5 are your best friends in the whole world. If you haven’t taken the talent that lets you regenerate mana in combat, there’s no excuse and you ought to march yourself back to Moonglade this instant and either take it, or just turn yourself in. Seriously, the stuff is so important I’ve seriously toyed with the thought of going deep enough into Balance that I could hit both mana regen talents, but I decided it just wasn’t worth giving up Wild Growth to do. The more mana you have, the more healing you can do. Heck, you’ll be pulling spellpower off of Spirit, so there’s just no excuse! Mana, mana, mana, mana, mana.

Mana.

4. Never “Root” yourself.

You’re a druid, you have roots, but your heals are nearly all instants or very short casts. There’s no excuse for standing in stuff, being out of range, or getting caught in a cleave unless you’re stunned. Just like druid bears are some of the most mobile tanks in the game, so are trees the most mobile healers. Even “Healing Touch” tends to be an instant cast for me, as I never use it except when Natures Swiftness is activated. Move, druid. It makes life easier.

5. Make sure you’re having fun.

It may seem like a silly thing to put in here, but healing can be stressful. Seriously stressful. If you’ve given healing an honest shot and it’s given you nothing but frustration and tears… then you don’t have to. This is meant to be fun, it’s why we call it a “game”. If you’re in one of those guilds that tells you what race, class, and spec you have to be to stay in…well, I wouldn’t stay there, persoanlly, and you didn’t need this guide in the first place. I’d still say it’s not worth your frustration, though.

Good luck to all my tree-friends out there, and I hope you’re making a good show of it like I am!

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