Following is a list of the best gear available to a healing druid pre-raid in WoW Classic, in ascending order followed by the total stats of the top items. It is based on the basic assumptions and valuation of stats explained below.
The list is finished by a reevaluation of stats for those druids who have reached the midgame or endgame content to calculate their HEP2 or HEPNAXX.
Items available from quests besides Argent Dawn Rewards might not be taken into account. Drop rates are from atlas loot, so they might differ a little.
The best items for each slot from the list above leave you with total +stats of 62 stamina, 94 intellect, 34 spirit, 42 mana per 5 seconds, 0 crit and 553 +healing.
Combined with the useful +heal enchants for such gear level (i.e. 24 +heal on bracers, 55 +heal on weapon, 30 +heal on gloves, 8 +heal on head, 8 +heal on legs) you will end up with an amazing 678 +heal and 42mp5 in total unbuffed.
The maximum enchants (i.e. 24 +heal on head and legs from ZG enchant instead of +8 from DM arcanum and 33 +heal on shoulders from ZG exalted enchant) will increase you even to 743 +heal unbuffed pre-raid.
The stats most important to a healing druid at the beginning of raiding are +heal and mp5, followed by int, spirit, crit and stam.
Reasons are as follows: +heal increases your healing and makes downranking more effective, which helps to save mana. Mp5 increases mana reg and is just cheaper than spirit in terms of itemization . Int increases your starting mana pool, meaning its more efficient in short fights than in longer ones; also it gives crit. Spirit increases mana reg. Crit effectively increases heal, but we don’t like it yet (in a starting 5 0 46 specc), cause its wasted overheal most of the time. Stamina is basically useless for us, but we can’t heal, when we are dead.
Valuation of stats
The exact valuation and weighting of the stats is, as always, a question of taste and playing style.
I calculated them in healing equivaleny points (HEP) based on the following: 1 +heal is worth 1 +heal (of course :-D); 1mp5 is worth 4 +heal; 1 int is worth 0,6 +heal; 1 spirit is worth 0,3 +heal; 1 crit is worth 7,5 +heal; and 1 stam is worth 0,2 +heal.
Or, in short: +heal=1; mp5=4; int=0,6; spirit=0,3; crit=7,5; stam=0,2.
Reevaluation of stats (HEP2 and HEPNAXX)
Later, in the midgame content with 3/8 t2 bonus, the value of spirit doubles in relation to mp5. From that point on, +heal becomes even more efficient as the bigger mana pool and higher manareg decreases the importance of int and spirit/mp5. Stamina is worth nothing anymore, because you will have enough life to survive anyway.
These changes are reflected best by a second value for the midgame content i call HEP2, based on a reevaluation of stats as follows:
+heal=1; mp5=3; int=0,3; spirit=0,45; crit=10; stam=0.
Then in the endgame content with t3 and a 24 0 27 specc, crit finally becomes more valuable, whilst spirit is cut down half again, as soon as you replace 3/8 t2 with 4/9 t3. Also, the importance of +heal rises even more because you will mostly rely on cheap low ranked healing touches now.
These final changes are reflected by a third value for the endgame content i call HEPNAXX, based on another reevaluation of stats as follows:
+heal=1,2; mp5=3; int=0,3; spirit=0,225; crit=12; stam=0.