Resto Druids’ healing spells have only experienced a few significant changes in Mists of Pandaria. Below, I have explained how to use each of our healing spells (and some utility spells) as you begin to heal heroics and raids.
Updated for patch 5.0.4.
Harmony (Mastery) At level 80, all players learn the Mastery for their class. For Resto druids, our Harmony Mastery is especially powerful, though it is also something we need to keep an eye on. Harmony procs when ever we cast a “direct heal” on someone (our direct heals are Swiftmend, Regrowth, Nourish, and Healing Touch), and grants us an increase to all of our heal-over-time spells for 20 seconds. This is an increase from the duration of Harmony during Cataclysm, which was only 10 seconds, and it will now be much easier to achieve 100% uptime on this buff. Still, to ensure we are doing as much healing as we can, we must be sure to cast at least one direct healing spell every 20 seconds. I use a Power Aura to track my Harmony usage.
Lifebloom At the beginning of almost every fight, the first thing you will do is put three stacks of Lifebloom on your tank. Doing so will put a reasonably powerful HoT on your tank and can also proc Omen of Clarity. The goal is to keep Lifebloom “rolling” on your tank at all times, unless you think you will be unable to land a heal on the tank in time to save her and need the burst of healing that a bloom would provide. Even if you are assigned to raid healing, 3 stacks of Lifebloom should be on one of the tanks, both to help the tank healers and allow us to cast free spells when Clearcasting procs.
Rejuvenation Rejuv is a powerful heal-over-time spell which is likely to provide the majority of your healing in any fight. In Mists of Pandaria, Rejuv will also provide a small instant heal as soon as you cast it on someone (this was previously a talented passive).
Healing Touch Healing Touch is expensive, since it is our largest heal, and is best used on players who have taken significant damage but who do not need to be instantly topped-off. The spell is quite slow, especially since we have access to limited amounts of haste on our gear early in an expansion. Healing Touch will be your main heal for your tank as well, since it refreshes the duration of Lifebloom.
Wild Growth Wild Growth is an AoE healing spell that you should use when multiple people in your party or raid has taken damage. The other difference you will notice is that Wild Growth has an 8 second cooldown and on fights with heavy group damage, you will generally want to use this every time it’s available. If you choose to glyph Wild Growth, it will heal 6 people rather than the usual 5, but it will also increase the cooldown of the spell to 10 seconds.
Nourish Nourish, like Healing Touch, can be used to refresh the duration of Lifebloom on the tank. It is less expensive than Healing Touch, but heals for about a third of what HT does. Nourish is the spell you should be casting if you have nothing else to do.
Swiftmend Use Swiftmend to instantly heal a target who already has a Rejuvenation or Regrowth effect on them. Casting Swiftmend on a target will cause Efflorescence to proc at their feet.
Efflorescence Efflorescence occurs when we Swiftmend a target, placing the center of the circle under that target’s feet. Using this and Wild Growth together is the most effective way we have to heal our group to full as quickly as we can. Since Efflorescence is not a targeted ground spell, the way most of the other healing classes’ AoEs are, we have to be particularly aware of where our Swiftmend target is standing when we cast it. When in doubt, I run to where I want Efflorescence to drop and then cast Swiftmend on myself so that I can be absolutely certain of its placement. Since 4.1, Efflorescence works like a less-powerful version of Tranquility in that it automatically heals the 3 most injured people within the circle. It is considered a “smart heal” because it always targets the 3 most injured targets for each of the 7 seconds that it is active.
Regrowth Regrowth is our fastest heal, and leaves a short HoT on its target. It is expensive and generally should used when we think a player may die to another hit if we don’t heal them quickly (and a more powerful spell like Swiftmend is on cooldown). If I have enough mana (or a Clearcasting proc), and if I need someone to survive badly enough, I may occasionally spam it to keep someone alive until I can get a stronger heal on them. Regrowth can also be used to refresh Lifebloom on your tank.
Wild Mushroom and Wild Mushroom: Bloom Wild Mushrooms were first introduced as the druid level 85 ability in Cataclysm. In Mists, our mushrooms now will heal rather than deal damage if we are Resto speced. We can place 3 mushrooms at a time and then, using the separate Bloom spell, detonate those mushrooms to provide a small burst of healing to anyone standing within 8 yards. This spell has a relatively small heal and a very small radius, so be sure to place your mushrooms somewhere that they will be able to hit several players (preferably in your ranged or melee piles) so that the Bloom is not wasted.
Tranquility Tranquility is an extremely powerful group heal on a 3 minute cooldown. Save this for when your raid is taking a lot of damage – it can save a wipe when used well.
Innervate Innervate is on a 3 minute cooldown and returns 20% of your maximum mana pool. Use it early in the fight, anytime after you’ve used 20% of your mana, so that you’ll have it up again before the end of the encounter. Innervate is even more powerful when used as a priest is casting Hymn of Hope. Hymn increases your maximum mana pool, so casting Innervate while the priest is channeling means that you’ll get even more mana back.
Barkskin Barkskin is our personal damage reduction cooldown. Cast it when you’re taking damage but need to heal someone else before yourself, when you know a damage spike is coming, or when you need a stretch of time when your spellcasts won’t be interrupted by damage. Remember that Barkskin doesn’t activate your global cooldown, so you can use it anytime you’re not actively casting. Another great spell to use every time it’s up, just because it’s a great tool to mitigate damage.
Ironbark Ironbark is similar to Barkskin in that it decreases damage taken by 20%, but unlike Barkskin we can cast it on someone other than ourselves. Ironbark should be used on a tank or any player who is about to take a large spike in damage. This spell is new to Resto druids in Mists of Pandaria.
Nature’s Cure This is our dispell ability, which can remove one poison, one curse, or one magic effect from its target. In Mists of Pandaria, all dispells will have an 8 second cooldown and are significantly more expensive than they were in Cataclysm.
Mark of the Wild Mark is the raid buff provided by druids. You may also hear it refered to as “paw” due to the spell icon. Mark provides +5% Strength, Agility, and Intellect to your party or raid group. It is identical to Blessing of Kings (provided by Paladins) and Legacy of the Emperor (provided by Monks), and these buffs will each override the others, meaning only 1 of the 3 can be active at a time.
Symbiosis Our new level 87 ability can be cast on one player in our party or raid group. We will gain an ability from our Symbiosis target, and they will gain an ability from us. (Don’t worry, neither we nor our target will lose that ability in the process – we just gain something new.) Which ability we get from each class varies dependent upon our spec. A full list of the abilities granted and gained through Symbiosis is available on WoWhead.