The Moonglow Experiment: Results
Though my Moonglow Experiment was cut a little shorter than I would have hoped when (as predicted!) I needed to pick up my Balance spec again around midweek, I still had plenty of chances to take it for some test runs.
What I found was already mostly described in an earlier post, and largely what I expected. There were a few surprises a long the way, but in general I found that:
For mana efficiency: The two specs were essentially equal. The Moonglow spec would mean that I stayed above 80% mana for a little longer at the beginning of a fight if healing was light, but when things got chaotic I’d get myself down to the same levels as with the Furor spec. Oddly, I actually managed to completely OOM myself on the Halfus fight much earlier with the Moonglow spec than I usually do. I’d done this past week’s drake combination before in the Furor spec, so I don’t think it was just bad luck with the drakes that drained my mana pool so quickly.
For throughput: Again, essentially the same. I saw little difference in my HPS and the power of my heals. I was healing effectively either way once I got used to casting Regrowth to proc Nature’s Grace.
For complexity: The Furor spec wins out by a narrow margin here. Nature’s Grace is one more cooldown you’ll need to track if you take it in your Resto spec. That’s not exceptionally difficult to do, but it is an additional thing you’ll need to keep in mind.
For healing outside of raids: I tried all of my daily heroics last week with the Moonglow spec and actually really enjoyed it. My gear level is now at a point where I don’t worry much about mana in 5-mans anymore; if I need to Innervate myself, it’s usually a sign that something’s gone wrong. In the Furor spec, I still need to keep at least one eye on the mana bar – but with the Moonglow spec I’m free to bounce around the screen as I please, liberally casting Rejuvs on wayward DPS and spot-healing with extra fast direct spells from Nature’s Grace. If you’re a resto druid who’s just starting out in heroics or who is having mana problems there, I’d highly recommend this spec.
That gives us 2 ties, a point to Furor, and a point to Moonglow – a wash, as expected. A recent post by Glowberry made me think about how much of being a “good healer” really comes down to confidence and familiarity with what you’re doing. I was familiar with my Furor spec and confident in my ability to use it because that was the spec that I healed heroics with at the beginning of the expansion. It served me well when healing was new and scary again, and so I’ve developed the superstitious devotion to it that a football player might have to his favorite pair of socks.
Two really good things came out of this experiment, though. Being that I am a tad superstitious about playing around with my talent spec, forcing myself to do so once has made me feel much more willing to do so in the future. That’s certainly a good thing with the talent changes we’ll see in 4.0.6, and all of the interesting new proposed specs I’ve seen around the blogosphere. I’d love to experiment with a throughput spec, as Jasyla suggested on my original post about this. I’m also excited to see how the reworked Nature’s Bounty talent will play out and whether it’s something I want to keep in my current build.
The other great thing caused by this week’s experiment was my return to using Power Auras on my druid. Originally, I thought I’d just turn it on to import a fellow guild tree’s aura for Nature’s Grace. Three hours later I’d created an entirely new set of auras for myself with all of my resto cooldowns. I’ve got a post in the works for later this week to provide screenshots and the exports for those who might be interested. Any excuse to waste time completely remaking my UI is always a Good Thing.