Restoration Talents are not very complicated to handle, since there are not many possible variations. Basically, there are two possible builds for a Restoration Druid:
this is the basic build for all beginners. Since there are no really useful talents in the higher feral or balance trees, just cover all the useful restoration talents and put the remaining 5 points into Nature’s Grasp. Although it’s nearly useless for raids, it’s pretty handy for solo play.
This would be the preferable build for 5man/10man instances, with a better possibility to defuse emergency situations with Swiftmend, and Subtlety will increase your chances of survival significantly.
this is the build for advanced raiders with some better gear, since crit becomes very valuable with it. It takes away Swiftmend and Subtlety, but gives 9% less mana cost and 0,5s cast time reduce after a spell crit. Subtlety should really not be necessary in 20/40man raids anymore and Swiftmend is worth losing for increased mana efficiency and faster casting speeds from time to time. Nature’s Focus and Improved Rejuvenation are no vital talents for raiding, since Healing Touch will be your main spell and you should not take damage very often that disrupts your casts. The Talents I chose to put into Balance before Nature’s Grace & Moonglow are not necessarily to be copied (except for Improved Thorns maybe).
2. How to heal effectively
As mentioned before, your main spell to heal with will be Healing Touch. Healing Touch and Rejuvenation are the spells that profit the most from Bonus Heal, but Rejuvenation is just not reliable enough to use it effectively. Since the most healing in Vanilla is done with direct heals, most of it would be wasted on a full HP bar after one or two ticks. It is not forbidden to use, but only on targets that take continuous damage or have to be kept at 100% HP (Most of the time, this would be the Main Tank).
For anything else, use Healing Touch. NEVER use Regrowth (except for Vaelastrasz in BWL maybe) since it is a very expensive spell which will result mostly in useless overheal.
Of course, using Rank 10 (or 11 if learned) of HT (=Healing Touch) will only be possible if a target has lost a big enough amount of health to not result in a huge amount of overheal. This will only happen in some exceptional cases or in combination with Nature’s Swiftness.
For that reason, we make use of downranking (using a spell with a lower rank). Downranking decreases the healed amount, but also the mana cost and the cast time. This makes you not only heal faster, but also increases the efficiency of your healing, because the overheal is reduced and the healing done per mana point spent increases with an increasing amount of bonus heal on your gear.
For example: Rank 10 HT heals an average amount of 2060 for 720 mana, resulting in the amount of 2,9 HPM (Healing per Mana). Calculating Rank 4 (220 Healing/110 Mana) results 2,0 HPM. Now we add 500 Bonus Healing and calculate again: HT Rank 10 (2560 Healing/720 Mana) = 3,6 HPM; HT Rank 4 (720 Healing/110 Mana) =6,5 HPM. Of course, this is a very simplified example because there are penalties for spells with lesser cast time or lower ranks, but the base concept should be clear.
So, what spells should you use now?
For big/emergency heals use Nature’s Swiftness+HT Rank 10/11.
For MT Heal use Rejuvenation.
For >1000HP heals use HT Rank 4.
For <1000HP heals use HT Rank 3
Of course this depends on your bonus healing. With AQ40 gear, Rank 3 becomes more interesting because it heals about 1k with a cast time of only 2s. Just try it out yourself which heal fits best for which amount of health loss.
So why Rank 3/4?
Blizzard added some downranking penalties to prevent you from stacking bonus heal and healing with too low ranks, which would result in a very fast heal with almost no mana cost but considerably high value.
There are two penalties to be considered:
1. The Cast Time Penalty: Every Heal with a cast time below 3,5s has its Bonus Heal multiplied with the cast time divided by 3,5 (Bonus Heal*(Cast Time/3,5). So for a spell with 3s cast time this would result in a penalty of ~0,86. This penalty is calculated before talent reduce, so Improved Healing Touch does not affect this penalty.
2. The Level 20 penalty. Every spell learned below level 20 suffers from a penalty that is calculated by the following formula: 1 – ((20 – lvl) * 0,0375) (lvl = Level that the spell is acquired). So for rank 1, the penalty would be 1-((20-1)*0,0375) = 0,2875. Like the Cast Time Penalty, this does not affect the base heal, but the bonus healing added to the basic spell.
As you can see, healing with a spell lower than rank 3 would result in a large penalty and decrease the efficiency rather than increasing it.
Here is some useful information on Rank 3,4 and 10 (calculated with 500 Bonus Heal):
Obviously, Rank 4 is the most effective heal with good HPM and HPS values. With better gear and increasing bonus heal, the effectiveness of Rank 4 compared to Rank 3/10 will increase more and more. Still, Rank 3 will be more interesting with increasing gear, because the cast time of Rank 4 is just too slow to have a chance against paladins/shamans or priests.
3. Pre-Raid Gear
I will not provide another huge item list here, because there is already a very good post in this forum by eleana and I want him/her to get the credit for the great work:
4. Useful Addons
The most important addons for any healer are of course raid frames and decursive. There are some good raidframe addons, you can choose any that fits best to your playing style, for me it is important to have a range check and a hot display so I don’t overwrite another druid’s Rejuvenation. Recommended for raiding is also the display of incoming heals (Grid) which will increase the overall efficiency and increase the survival chance of the whole raid. You should always display the health deficit to produce a minimum of overheal. To show the duration of hots, use the HotCandy or DoTimer which works fine at least for your own hots.
Other useful raiding addons are for example OmniCC to display ability cooldowns, Bigwigs (or other Bossmods), SpellAlert or any Enemy Cast Bar (i.e. Nature’s Enemy Cast Bar) addon.
I wont say anything specific about keybindings, of course you should have every ability on keybind, clicking is a waste of time and also a risk to fail because it distracts your attention.
Head: Zul’Gurub Enchant
alternative: Arcanum of Focus
alternative: Argent Dawn Reputation Reward
Bracer: Healing Power
Gloves: Healing Power
Legs: Zul’Gurub Enchant
alternative: Arcanum of Focus
Boots: Minor Speed
Weapon: Healing Power
I would always prefer Speed on Boots to the other enchants, the stat increase is just too small to keep up with walking speed increase for better movement.
Consumables are very important for vanilla raiding, even if it can take a lot of time to farm them all. If you want to be a successful raider, you will have to work for it.
Temporary Weapon Buff:
If you want to buff yourself to the max, farm/buy also
So, this is would be all I have to share by now, I hope this will be of some use for all the raiding druids out there. If I made any spelling/grammar mistakes please forgive me, I am not a native speaker.
Do not hesitate to contact me ingame if you have any questions, I play on Warsong (Alliance).
Have fun with the awesome druid class!