Restoration is the Druid healing specialisation. It features a unique playstyle that can be challenging to manage at a high level, but will allow you to deliver a lot of value to your party or raid once you've got on top of things. In our Restoration Druid guide, we’ll help you learn how to do exactly that.
Historically, the Restoration Druid has been one of the most sought-after healers since the very dawn of World of Warcraft, due to their resilience, effective heals, and signature powerful spells such as Innervate.
In recent times, healing classes have become even more evenly balanced, although Druids still bring something unique to the table - a style of healing that's based mainly around Healing-Over-Time (HoT) spells, which help them excel at healing raid and party-wide damage while still letting them be competent single-target tank healers.
This style of healing, however, means that a Restoration Druid needs to be extra careful about keeping track of which players have ongoing HoTs on them, and for how much longer they’ll last. World of Warcraft’s default interface is sadly not exactly optimal for this.
We usually avoid recommending addons for aiding core gameplay because we don’t like the idea of depending on an addon that might become broken or unsupported after a patch, but in this case we’ll make an exception and recommend a couple of addons that will be fundamental in playing your healer to its full potential. We'll have more on that in the Gameplay and Cooldowns section below, where we outline how to make good use of your skills and abilities.
Also below, you’ll find our top picks for Restoration talents. We don’t recommend you level up your character by questing as Restoration, as your offensive capabilities are very limited, but you can use this build to effortlessly heal groups using the Dungeon Finder in-game tool. If you feel like questing, our advice is that you switch to the Balance specialisation, and we have written a Balance Druid guide for just that purpose.
We will update this guide continuously over time, and in the next edition we will deal with the process of choosing the optimal stats and gear for your Restoration Druid, and making sense of an efficient levelling path for your Artifact Weapon.
All articles in this series
Restoration Druid talent build
Restoration Druids are very flexible and there's often single correct overall choice. Instead, you can use your talents to fine-tune your character to suit a variety of scenarios. In this first iteration of the guide, we are going to focus on a build that is helpful when healing smaller groups on both levelling and Mythic dungeon content. We will advise alternative picks for raiding in a future iteration of the guide.
|Level||Talent Option||Reason for Choice|
|15||Cenarion Ward - Protects a friendly target for 30 seconds. Any damage taken will consume the ward and heal the target for a high amount over 8 seconds.||The beauty of this ability is that it is preemptive rather than reactive. You can just place it on someone you expect will take a large amount of damage and then move onto someone else, trusting it will do its job.|
|30||Renewal - Instantly heals you for 30% of maximum health. Usable in all shapeshift forms.||A simple panic button that you can use often to save yourself from certain death.|
|45||Guardian Affinity - You gain: Thick Hide - Reduces all damage taken by 6%. You also learn several Guardian Druid abilities that will be usable in Bear Form.||The passive damage reduction alone is reason enough to take this talent, as in Legion dungeons there is no lack of party wide / randomly targeted damage. The extra Bear shapeshift abilities can come in handy to help you do a small spot of tanking if things get out of control (ie. you let the tank die right at the end of a fight). Needless to say, this should not be a part of your game plan!|
|60||Typhoon - Strikes targets within 15 yards in front of you with a violent Typhoon, knocking them back and dazing them for 6 seconds. Usable in all shapeshift forms.||Irrelevant in terms of healing performance, this is nevertheless the most versatile ability in this tier, all of which aim to let you escape from enemy focus. Re-evaluate this choice on a per-fight basis.|
|75||Cultivation - When Rejuvenation heals a target below 60% health, it applies Cultivation to the target, healing them for a moderate amount over 6 seconds.||A free heal that you apply passively while performing your regular healing, this is both powerful and easy to use. Of course, it is wasted if you use Rejuvenation on players above 60% health, and so avoid doing that unless you expect a big hit to land soon.|
|90||Germination - You can apply Rejuvenation twice to the same target.||Essentially doubles your ability to heal a target over time, and again requires very little management on your part.|
|100||Flourish - Extends the duration of all of your heal over time effects on friendly targets within 60 yards by 6 seconds.||Six seconds of increased healing over a 60-second cooldown might not look like it will set the world on fire, but consider that you'll have several HoTs across several players and you’ll understand that the gains are considerable. If you feel you need extra healing on the tank, take Stonebark instead, but this should be your default choice.|
Restoration Druid rotation and cooldowns
As a healer, proper triage should be one of your major goals. This is the art of viewing all of your potential targets and, at a glance, deciding which ones you need to get to first, and which can wait a bit.
Rejuvenation Druids in particular need to also keep watch over their HoT timers - to see how many they have on any given target, how long they have until they expire, and work out which ones should be refreshed.
This is a mammoth task using the default UI, and as such we recommend that you use the Grid addon. This is a clean, easy to configure tool (the default config should be good enough if you don’t want to fiddle around with it at all), grid-shaped list of everyone in your party, that you can move anywhere in your screen (we recommend below or right next to your character). It’s small and minimalist enough that it won't clutter your screen, while letting you be aware of both health totals and HoT duration much better than the default UI.
We also heavily recommend that you use keybindings for your healing spells. The reactive nature of healing, where split-second reactions are often required, is not tolerant of extra clicks and mouse pointer navigation.
More WOW class guides:
Other WOW guides:
Unlike a damage-dealing class or, even - to some extent - a tanking class, a healer has no optimal order or rotation in which to use his or her spells. Instead, a good healer decides on-the-fly what is the most mana-efficient spell to use for any given scenario, based on knowledge of the fight (damage dealt by enemies and their abilities) and the target's health pool.
Here we will outline the general situations where each spell is most useful. We will also tell you how to loosely prioritize the use of them, although your best judgement should override any priority here, in the interest of keeping the maximum amount of players alive.
|Priority||When and whom to target|
|1||Rejuvenation||Keep this on the tank at all times.|
|2||Lifebloom||Keep on tank, or switch to players taking moderate damage. Having Lifebloom applied will give you a chance to gain the Omen of Clarity buff, which is the most efficient way to cast your Regrowth, as explained below.|
|3||Efflorescence||Keep this where the majority of the players are gathered. It comes with a heavy mana cost, so do not recast it if the party will need to move any time soon.|
|4||Regrowth||If you have gained an Omen of Clarity buff, use it on the player with the lowest health. If no-one needs it, consume the buff anyway by using it on the tank, who will benefit from the HoT sooner rather than later.|
|5||Wild Growth||After an enemy ability that deals damage to all or most of the party.|
|6||Swiftmend||Use on any target that gets below 60% health.|
|7||Rejuvenation||As a filler on anyone under 60% health, and if none of the above are available or required.|
|8||Healing Touch||As a filler, to top up anyone damaged.|
|9||Solar Wrath||No incoming damage? Pew pew time! Hit those mobs with your most powerful spell.|
Restoration Druids have a fantastic set of tricks up their sleeves that help save themselves or the party from an early demise. Here’s when to best deploy them.
|Tranquility||This is your main life-saver, though it is more effective in raids than it is in dungeons. A huge heal to all players in a wide area (big enough that you don’t need to worry about it), you should save it for events that deal major damage to the whole party.|
|Essence of G’Hanir||You obtain this after acquiring the Restoration Artifact Weapon, and it effectively doubles the healing of your HoT spells for 8 seconds. As it is on a very low cooldown, you can usually just fire and forget it as soon as it becomes available.|
|Innervate||Innervate was legendary back in Classic World of Warcraft (and Druids were legendarily annoyed when other healers kept pestering them for one) and it makes a triumphant return after a prolonged absence. In a 5-man situation, you will almost always use it on yourself so you can fire your most costly spells for free during a high-intensity damage situation, but when in a raid, communicate with other healers accordingly - one of them might benefit more from it.|
|Ironbark||Not a healing spell, but a considerable boost to your target’s defense is often even better than healing. Due to its short cooldown, make liberal use of it during trash, but save it for the most damaging attacks when facing a boss. You should usually cast it on the tank, but keep an eye out for other players needing it if you think you have tank damage under control.|
|Barkskin||This is a considerable boost to your already decent survivability. You should fire it generously at the slightest sign of danger as it recharges quite quickly. Save it only if you know the fight features attacks that knock you / stun you / otherwise interrupt your casting. In that case, use this cooldown to be able to cast uninterrupted.|
And so we reach the end of this initial version of our Restoration Druid guide! In the next update, we’ll discuss the best path to take when upgrading your Artifact Weapon, and cover the primary stats you should look for in your gear.
Any comments or suggestions? Please let us know in the comments below!