pve restoration druid rotation, cooldowns, and abilities
  • Author: Nevermore
  • Date: September 27, 2022
  • Updated: September 27, 2022
  • Expansion: WotLK Classic

It would be hard to specify a specific, static rotation for a Restoration Druid, as the spells you will cast will be based on what your allies require in that very specific moment. This means that, instead of a rotation, we will have a priority list of spells that changes based on your situation.

Restoration Druid is a specialization based on “Heal-over-Time” effects, meaning that most of your gameplay will revolve around HoT upkeep. It’s important to mention that your abilities are subjected to a multitude of effects, such as talents, glyphs, and item set bonuses.

Our spell priority has nothing to do with your talents (we will have the default 3.3.5 talents) — instead, it all comes down to the tier set bonuses we get. Some abilities will be stronger than others depending on the phase of the expansion.

Rotations: Quick Overview

We will go over the changes to your spell priority under the “In-Depth Explanation” section in the Overview of Abilities Tab below, explaining what each tier set bonus does to your abilities and how you can better optimize your build around these.

Single-Target (Tanks)

Area-of-Effect (Raid-wide/Party-wide)

We highly recommend that you take a look at the tabs below for in-depth discussion of the Abilities (which includes tier set bonuses changes), as well as the ability priority for Single-Target and Area-of-Effect rotations.

Abilities Overview

  • Nourish is your other new healing spell in WotLK. Nourish is the Druid version of Flash Heal, a quick mana-efficient heal.
    • This ability gains a default 20% healing increase if the target has an HoT active on them.
    • Nourish can also be subjected to two different effects gained from glyphs, and tier set bonuses that we will explain in the “In-Depth Explanation” section.
  • Swiftmend is a Restoration talent that consumes a Rejuvenation or Regrowth HoT, healing the target instantly instead. This is a great emergency heal and your only direct healing that can be used on the move.
    • This ability can critically strike.
    • With the addition of the Glyph of Swiftmend, this ability no longer consumes your HoT spells from the target, effectively offering one big, powerful, instant cast heal.
  • Healing Touch is still not incredibly useful for Restoration Druids, being a slow, expensive cast that is generally worse than Nourish in every way. The only exception is when it’s combined with Nature’s Swiftness — this can be used as a very large instant heal in emergencies.
  • Wild Growth is a new spell in WotLK. It places a 7-second HoT on 5 raid members. Wild Growth is a “smart heal”, meaning it prioritizes targets with lower health. This ability’s healing effect ramps up quickly in the beginning and then slows down over time.
  • Rejuvenation is our bread-and-butter healing ability. It’s empowered by a lot of different effects all throughout the expansion and provides a heal-over-time effect on the target. The default duration of the spell is 15 seconds.
    • This spell can be subjected to a multitude of effects from different sources, such as your talents, glyphs, and tier set bonuses. The effects range from increased duration, to empowerment from critical strike chance, additional healing effects for targets under 50% health, and faster ticks (depending on your haste rating).
    • More explanations on how the ability works can be found in the “In-Depth Explanation” section.
  • Lifebloom is no longer the mana-efficient amazing HoT it was, instead being significantly more expensive than most of your healing spells. This spell stacks up to 3 times and, upon expiring “blooms”, heals the target for a large amount for each stack and refunds the Druid half of the mana cost of each stack.
  • Regrowth gives two different effects to the target: a direct healing effect, and an HoT effect. The duration of the HoT is 21 seconds. This ability will be your main filler spell, depending on the phase. Regrowth will be one of the abilities subjected to changes from our tier item set bonuses!
  • Tranquility is an AoE heal channeled over 8 seconds. Every 2 seconds of channeling your group will be healed for a large amount. Unfortunately, this ability does not affect your entire raid, meaning that, to fully benefit from it, you will have to place your Restoration Druid in the specific group that could benefit the most from this powerful heal.
  • Barkskin is our primary defensive ability, reducing all incoming damage done to us by 20%. This ability can be used while stunned, frozen, incapacitated, feared, or asleep. The most important part of this ability is that it prevents spell pushback entirely, allowing us to channel spells like Tranquility without interruption.
  • Cyclone is a crowd control ability that can render an enemy unable to act for 6 seconds, but makes them immune to any other spells or attacks.
  • Entangling Roots is a crowd control ability that can snare an enemy for up to 27 seconds, with any damage dealt having a chance to break the snare.
  • Hibernate can be used on beasts and dragonkin to force them to sleep for up to 40 seconds. Any type of damage effect will immediately break the sleep effect.
  • Bash is a 4-second stun and 3-second interrupt only usable in Bear Form. Because of the form restriction, we will rarely be able to use it, but it is always good to know it’s there.
  • Pounce is a 3-second stun that can only be used in Prowl and Cat Form. Because of the form and stealth requirement, we will rarely be able to use this, but it is always good to know it is there.
  • Revive is a new ability in Wrath of the Lich King, giving Druids the ability to resurrect players outside of combat. We finally get a standard resurrection spell.
  • Rebirth is the iconic Druid “combat ress”, allowing the us to resurrect players while in combat. This spell alone is one of the main reasons why raid rosters will always include Druids, as it is virtually invaluable. This spell alone can prevent a wipe.
  • Innervate restores mana to your target equal to 225% of your base mana over 10-seconds. This is a great tool to keep your healers going for longer fights.
  • Nature’s Swiftness is a Restoration talent, making your next Nature spell instant. This is an important tool for emergency healing.
  • Mark of the Wild / Gift of the Wild is one of two buffs Druids bring to a raid, increasing the raid’s armor, attributes, and resistances by a significant amount.
  • Thorns is the other unique spell Druids bring to the raid, making everyone who hits the target take damage. This is mostly reserved for tanks because it generates threat and has a short duration.
  • Abolish Poison cures 1 Poison effect instantly and then 1 more Poison every 3 seconds, for 12 seconds total. This is an important dispel in both PvE and PvP, and should never be neglected.
  • Remove Curse cures 1 Curse effect instantly. This is an important dispel in both PvE and PvP, and should never be neglected.
  • Tree of Life is the main form that we will be using as a Restoration Druid. It increases the healing received by all of your allies within 100-yards by 6%. Combined with the new talent, Improved Tree of Life, it also gives you Healing Power equal to 15% of your Spirit, making Spirit a very valuable stat while gearing.
  • Bear Form / Dire Bear Form turns you into a bear with a gameplay style mimicking a Warrior. This ability also drastically increases your health and armor, allowing you to take significantly more damage. This enables the use of many spells, but most important to us are:
    • Frenzied Regeneration, which converts your Rage to health for 10 seconds. This is very rarely useful for Restoration Druids, but if you ever find yourself in Bear Form for a longer period of time, needing healing but worried about leaving Bear Form, you can use this to help keep you going.
    • Bash is a 4-second stun and 3-second interrupt only usable in Bear Form. Because of the form restriction, we will rarely be able to use this, but it is always good to know it is there.
  • Cat Form turns you into a cat with a gameplay style mimicking a Rogue. This enables the use of many spells, but most important to us are:
    • Dash, which increases your movement speed by 70% for 15 seconds while in Cat Form. This is a great ability for getting from point A to point B, and is the best mobility we have as a Restoration Druid.
    • Prowl allows you to enter Stealth, reducing your movement speed by 30%, but potentially letting you sneak past enemies. This rarely finds use in Raids, but is invaluable in PvP and the open world.
    • Pounce is a 3-second stun that can only be used in Prowl and Cat Form. Because of the form and stealth requirement, we will rarely be able to use this, but it is always good to know it is there.
  • Travel Form increases your movement speed by 40% as long as you are in this form, but can only be used outdoors. This is a great instant speed boost for going short distances, but most raids and dungeons are indoors.
  • Flight Form / Swift Flight Form is a Druid-exclusive flying mount, allowing you to instantly shapeshift into a bird. You can pick Herbs with Herbalism without ever leaving this form, making Druids one of the strongest gatherers in the game.
  • Aquatic Form is essentially Travel Form but for when you’re underwater. While the uses for this spell are very few and niche, you’ll be happy it’s there when you have to swim.

In-Depth Explanation

Now that we have gone through an overview of the abilities, we will talk in-depth about the single-target rotation and gameplay elements. Restoration Druids have more of a priority list of spells that they have to upkeep on a target rather than a standard rotation.

Apart from the HoT spells that Druids have to upkeep, we carry 2 different filler spells that provide direct healing, one of them providing a heal-over-time effect as well.

HoT Spells

Important Note: you should never refresh your HoTs before their duration expires! This way you will allow the spells to reach their full extent and help yourself manage your mana! If you refresh your HoTs before their duration is finished, you simply end up wasting your mana.

  • Rejuvenation is our most powerful spell, affected by different effects throughout the entire expansion. Those effects range from the ability to critically strike (through Tier 9 set bonus), to the ability to be affected by haste (through Glyph of Rapid Rejuvenation), to provide an additional direct healing effect (through Tier 8 set bonus), and even to have the chance to jump towards a new target (with the Tier 10 set bonus).
    • Rejuvenation should always be maintained on the target at all times!
  • Lifebloom can be stacked up to 3 times on a target. You should always try to maintain this on your target. However, you should stack this spell before the fight and maintain it in the moment of the engagement itself by reapplying a new stack (stack it on the tank).
    • Maintaining Rejuvenation takes priority before stacking up Lifebloom. If you are stuck between the decision of adding a new stack of Lifebloom and renewing Rejuvenation, you should always choose Rejuvenation.
  • Wild Growth is another HoT spell that you should maintain at all times! The benefit of Wild Growth is that it offers a fast ramping-up spell, that slows down as it reaches its end, providing fast healing. Wild Growth also affects targets in proximity to the target, offering an area-of-effect healing besides the single target.
    • Wild Growth can be placed immediately after Rejuvenation, and it’s usually best to place right after the pre-stacking of  Lifebloom (stack it on the tank).
  • Regrowth can be considered both a direct healing spell and a Heal-over-Time spell. Regrowth should be maintained on the target after you manage to place the rest of your Heal-over-Time effects.

Filler Spells

Now that we have talked about the priority of our HoTs, we will talk about our “Filler” spells.
There are 2 main filler spells, and one very situational direct healing spell.

  • Healing Touch is your first direct healing spell. This one can’t be truly considered a filler spell, but rather a very situational direct healing spell. The only time you will want to use this is with Nature’s Swiftness to provide a last-resort healing spell that can potentially recuperate a high amount of health.
    • The reason why Healing Touch cannot be considered a filler spell is due to the extreme mana cost and ridiculously high cast time.
  • Regrowth is our first true “Filler” spell, and the one used the most throughout the expansion. The reason why is due to the direct healing part, but also because it offers an HoT effect as well. It combines the best of both worlds with a very accessible cast time that can further be reduced to 1 second with enough haste.
    • Regrowth will be mainly used as a filler spell through Phase 2 and Phase 4.
  • Nourish is our second “Filler” spell, providing direct healing, empowered by 20% if one of your Heal-over-Time effects is present on the target.
    • Nourish truly flourishes during the first and third phase of Wrath of the Lich King.
    • During Phase 1, the 4-set bonus of Tier 7 provides 5% increased healing for each HoT effect on the target, reaching a total of 20% increased bonus healing from the set bonus alone. If you add on the Glyph of Nourish, you will get another 24% healing increase. With all of these counted in, Nourish can reach an astounding 64% healing increase of the initial value, providing a stronger healing spell than Healing Touch.
    • During Phase 3, Nourish loses the tier set bonus but can still provide amazing results due to the set 9 tier bonus of an increased 5% critical strike. Glyph of Nourish can be considered a very potent choice for Phase 3.
  • Lastly, we will talk about Swiftmend! This ability has the potential to provide huge direct healing because of a chance for critical strikes. Having a 15-second cooldown, with Glyph of Swiftmend as an essential pick, this ability turns into one of the best life-saving abilities in your arsenal.
    • The reason for this is that you can quickly place Rejuvenation on the target and then use Swiftmend to provide a hefty critical strike of the entire value of Rejuvenation, without consuming the HoT itself.

Single-Target Priority

The Overview of Abilities should have walked you through the one general priority list we have for the Restoration Druid, but there is also specific priority for each different phase that entirely depends on your tier set bonus, which you will find covered in this section.

Priority: Stack x3 Lifebloom -> Wild Growth -> Rejuvenation -> Regrowth -> Nourish (Filler spell) -> Wild Growth -> Reapply Lifebloom -> Rejuvenation -> Regrowth

Priority: Stack x3 Lifebloom (Tank) -> Wild Growth -> Rejuvenation -> Regrowth (Filler) -> Lifebloom (Stack it) -> Nourish (In case Swiftmend is not available).

Priority: Stack x3 Lifebloom (Tank) -> Wild Growth -> RejuvenationRegrowth -> Nourish (Filler) -> Refresh Wild Growth ->RejuvenationRegrowth -> stack Lifebloom

Priority: Stack x3 Lifebloom (Tank) -> Wild Growth -> RejuvenationRegrowth (Filler) -> Refresh Wild Growth -> Rejuvenation -> stack Lifebloom -> Regrowth (Repeat)

Single-Target Rotation (Tanks)

Area of Effect

Restoration Druids can be considered the Kings of Area-of-Effect!

However, there is still no true area-of-effect rotation for a Restoration Druid. They can achieve their AoE potential by simply placing multiple instant cast Heal-over-Time effects, some of them affecting multiple targets at once.

  • Wild Growth is your main area-of-effect spell, affecting up to 5 targets. With the addition of Glyph of Wild Growth, you can affect up to 6. This spell has a low cooldown and provides quite hefty amounts of healing.
  • Rejuvenation can be considered our true second area-of-effect spell, as you can simply place it instantly on each target that requires your aid.
  • Tranquility is our last area-of-effect spell, affecting the Druid’s group (not the entire raid) with a powerful channeled healing spell, that ticks every 2 seconds, lasting 8 seconds in total.Tranquility is a spell that should be used in only the direst of situations, as it has a very long cooldown.

Area of Effect (Raid-wide/Party-wide)

A typical Raid-Wide Rotation will look like this:

 

About the Author

Nevermore

Hey there folks, I am Nevermore and have been deeply passionate about WoW for more than a decade. Whether we talk about the hidden mysteries of Azeroth or the otherworldly Outland, my journey brought me here to share the things that I have experienced with you all.
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