21 October 2008

3.0.2 Druid healing: Gruul and Hyjal

Yesterday I talked about my runs into Gruul's Lair and Mount Hyjal. I wanted to give some stats about how I was healing through these runs, to provide more data on how Druids are healing.

First, some background. My Druid is Alamein. Unfortunately the Armory doesn't seem to have updated in weeks, so don't read much into what you see today. (Maybe after today's maintenance.) Her gear is roughly at T4 level; the Gruul's run replaced a couple PvP pieces (helm and shoulders) with roughly T4 equivalents, which slightly boosted her for Hyjal. She should be reasonably geared for Gruul's and somewhat undergeared for Hyjal. And as I had mentioned, I'd never been into either encounter.

I also recognize that the encounters have been nerfed quite a bit with 3.0.2. I believe the stat is that boss health is down about 30%. Certainly we did better than we should expect. Gruul's was a total PuG. Hyjal was mostly a guild run, with four from my guild joining Seditio and a few other additions. This was their first attempt at Hyjal.

So that's all for level-setting. How did the numbers stack up? I have details for Gruul and a quick summary for Hyjal.

Gruul's Lair

As I described yesterday, we had an abortive attempt on Maulgar before restocking the raid with PuGgers and trying again. I reset Recount with tne fresh attempt, which went through all the trash as well as both Maulgar and Gruul. Here's the report:
Character     Class      Tot H     HPS    %Heal
Thaddx Paladin 689198 1242.9 18.8%
Doireann Shaman 529918 1136.6 14.4
Alamein Druid 525971 717.3 14.3
Stastris Paladin 511488 1034.1 13.9
Maxxus Shaman 446992 701.2 12.2
Humansheild* Paladin 317886 410.7 8.7
*Humansheild is a tank, so this represents the first non-healer. He did quite a bit of off-healing for the encounter.

Armory is borked so I don't have a good way of comparing all of us. But I would judge that we were all roughly close in gear levels. Given that — and given that I didn't know the encounters — I feel reasonably good about the healing meters. Obviously the HPS numbers are pretty low, but I suspect that's due to a lot of instant-cast spells and rolling HoTs rather than more bursty heals.

What did I cast? I started with rolling Lifeblooms on the main tank (a warrior named Avith). He was the Maulgar tank for that encounter, and the MT for Gruul. I did 51.9% of my healing on him, mostly from rolling Lifeblooms and Rejuv. He died early in the Maulgar encounter — I'm not quite sure why — and I did a Rebirth followed by some big heals to get him back into the game.

I also did raid healing in between refreshing the above. A lot of that was Regrowth, which I use probably more than I should, and Lifebloom. I also tried to use Wild Growth where it made sense.

Here's the data:
Spell         Count  Total    %
Lifebloom 504 273284 52.0%
Regrowth 85 122565 23.3
Rejuvenation 92 85352 16.2
Wild Growth 78 26043 5.0
Healing Touch 2 9723 1.8
Living Seed 6 5139 1.0
Swiftmend 1 2828 0.5
Glyph of Rejuv 2 1037 0.2
My thoughts on this:
  • Lifebloom still works darn well.
  • I like Regrowth a lot! I'm sure those crits are what spawned the Living Seeds that did proc.
  • My overhealing was 17.6%, which doesn't seem like a lot, though I don't really have a point of comparison.
  • I didn't get much from the Glyph of Rejuvenation. But that's 1000 points of healing that came when the tank needed it the most.
  • Wild Growth is pretty powerful, but I still need to learn it better.
  • Mana was not an issue, though I had to watch it more closely than previously. I used Innervate a couple times, but I don't believe I needed a mana pot at all.
So a bit more on Regrowth. I like it a lot for raid healing, because it gets a good chunk of health back in the initial heal and then keeps working through the HoT. The big problem is that it takes too long to cast. That's a delay in healing received, as well as an opportunity cost in the other spells I could cast. (Note, however, that it's still faster than casting a Rejuv followed by Swiftmend, due to the two GCDs you have to eat.)

Life will be a lot more interesting at 80. On the one hand, we'll have Nourish. That may be the go-to spell in a lot of these situations. On the other hand, we'll have a good shot at taking Nature's Grace in a Resto build. That proc will shave casting time off either spell, making for a fast Regrowth or a blinding-fast Nourish. I suspect we'll be using Nourish a lot, and watch for Nature's Grace to proc; when it does we'll drop a Regrowth into the mix.

Replenish Watch: Like I said, I kept Replenish up on the tank about 90% of the time. The result? 80 rage gained, over the course of the whole raid. Still not worth it.

Finally... I also did 6 rezzes. Yay, Revive!

Mount Hyjal

As I mentioned, I'm rather undergeared for Hyjal. So I wasn't expecting to lead the meters, and I was right. I was #7 on healing done, for 7.9% of the total. I did however do 872.9 HPS. That's up more than 150 from what I did on Gruul. That's probably partly because I had gear upgrades, and mostly because I was just using a lot more of my GCDs. We had no shortage of damage!

There were two resto Druids in the raid, and we were tasked with raid healing. A bit unusual, but I gave it my best. I don't know how it works for more experienced Hyjal guilds, but for this one there was a ton of raid damage. Since I was so busy I used a lot of Lifebloom as a first response to damage. I also tried to keep Lifeblooms rolling on at least a couple of the tanks. That lead to Lifebloom doing almost 70% of my healing — much more than Gruul's. Regrowth was #2, followed by Rejuv. I tried to use a lot of Wild Growth too, but here I think it fell down a bit because it's difficult to spam. I would cast it once, but as I wasn't sure who would receive it, I didn't want to cast it again without knowing who'd been hit by the first. I think there will be WG mods for Grid which will help with this.

On the other hand, I had more Living Seed healing, especially considering how much I used Lifebloom. Regrowth plus Living Seed combines nicely for this type of crazy raid damage. Also, it was nice to be able to rez with Revive between waves. It seems to take a long time though, and I'd find that someone else had already rezzed before Revive finished casting. That's a lack of experience from me as much as anything.

I also did a ton of Remove Curse — more than 100 I believe. I'm not sure how painful that curse is, but I felt it was a useful task for me since I wasn't the most powerful healer there. Hopefully I did some good damage mitigation through that.

All in all, Hyjal was an interesting experience. I certainly felt that I wasn't quite doing the healing I needed to for the raid. On the other hand, I didn't feel useless either. It's a difficult encounter and I can see why it takes some time to learn.

So that's my raiding story. The TLDR reaction: I still feel like Druids can do a lot of good healing. We're still disadvantaged on healing meters, but that doesn't represent our true healing strengths anyway. And despite the Lifebloom nerf, it still works quite well.

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