- Author: Nevermore
- Date: February 16, 2022
- Expansion: WotLK Classic
In this section we will be covering PvP rotation in Wrath of the Lich King and discussing your abilities/spells in further detail.
Player-versus-Player requires a bit of a different mindset compared to PvE content; instead of a defined rotation you should have a set of strategies. PvP requires fast thinking, fast reactions, and adaptability. Unlike the PvE scenarios, the encounters here are not scripted – you can expect anything from your enemy. However, this does not mean their actions can’t be predictable, depending on their situation at the moment (and yours).
The Druid class is known for its immense versatility, excelling in hybrid roles. It can provide damage, crowd control, debuffs, and healing alike. In the case of the Restoration specialization, Druids offer a vast array of Heal-over-Time spells that will help you keep you and your allies alive through difficult battles.
While Restoration may not provide massive amounts of damage, this specialization comes with plenty of debuffs and crowd control effects that will severely hinder your opponents. The biggest advantage of the Restoration Druid when compared to the other healers in the game is the massive mobility available to them.
In this guide we will cover the abilities of a Restoration Druid build, strategies to initiate and control a fight, and how to best make use of the “Line-of-Sight” mechanic.
First of all, we will talk about the trademark of the Druid class – their ability to shapeshift. Shapeshifting removes movement-impairing effects, but it also offers huge versatility to the Druid class overall. You will have access to several forms, each of them fulfilling unique roles and offering different bonuses.
The first form that you acquire, the Bear Form (which later turns into the Dire Bear Form), can be used in PvP scenarios to maximize your survivability. You can use it to mitigate an enemy’s burst or to offer time for your healing-over-time spells to take effect.
The second form that we will talk about is the Cat Form. If you are confused, thinking, “hey, this is not a feral guide,” let me assure you that the Cat Form is still useful to the Restoration Druid in two distinct situations.
The first situation is the initiation, where you can make use of the Prowl spell to confuse your enemies and then attempt a surprise attack with the Pounce spell. The second situation where the Cat Form comes useful is to reset the encounter. You can use the cat form to attempt to break combat with Dash, then line-of-sight, then immediately Prowl.
The Travel Form allows increased movement speed, in a manner similar to the Ghost Wolf spell. It’s mainly used to break line-of-sight with the target and reset the fight – the reset is completed by either using healing-over-time spells or eating food.
However, the main form of the Restoration Druid is the Tree of Life Form. It boosts all healing effects you apply to yourself and all your allies nearby by 6%. This form also adds 15% of your spirit to your healing spells by the virtue of the Improved Tree of Life talent.
The term “Power-Shifting” is often heard in the community of Druid players – this one refers to the action of constantly shifting in and out of a specific form in order to constantly dispel any Root or Slow effects that may be affecting you.
Power-Shifting allows you to effectively kite your targets (that is, keep them at a distance) around pillars in arenas, or to carry the flag in a variety of battlegrounds. The mechanic itself is extremely useful and constitutes a big chunk of the aforementioned “mobility” aspect of the class.
This can be easily achieved by using macros, like these:
Power-Shifting Macro (Travel Form)
/cancelform /cast Travel Form
Power-Shifting Macro (Tree of Life)
/cancelform /cast Tree of Life
Next, we will discuss abilities for the Restoration specialization, covering your critical spells, as well as the abilities you will find yourself using quite frequently (and you absolutely should).
- Rejuvenation is the first HoT ability that you will learn as a Druid. It provides a powerful heal-over-time effect that also empowers one of your other abilities. You will always want to keep Rejuvenation up on your allies.
- Regrowth is a hybrid spell that provides both direct healing and an additional HoT effect that lasts 12 seconds. This is one of the most powerful spells that you will find yourself spamming.
- Lifebloom is a new addition to the resto specialization that comes with the WotLK expansion. Lifebloom can be stacked 3 times, providing one of the most powerful HoT effects in the game. When the HoT completes or is dispelled, the target affected by Lifebloom is healed by an additional specific amount, while also giving the Druid back half of the mana used to cast the spell.
- Nourish is a direct healing spell that provides an additional 20% of its initial heal if the target is affected by Rejuvenation, Regrowth, Lifebloom, or Wild Growth.
- Healing Touch is a direct healing spell that provides the biggest amount of base healing in your arsenal. You will want to use this spell in clutch situations. However, due to its high cast time, you will want to use it only in combination with Nature’s Swiftness.
- Wild Growth is an area-of-effect instant healing spell that can heal up to 5 targets. At first, it heals the target fast, slowing down as the HoT effect runs through its duration. This HoT AoE spell is your most important spell when fighting in a battleground.
- Tranquility is an area-of-effect, channeled healing spell that lasts 8 seconds and provides a tick of healing every 2 seconds. This spell can cover an entire raid group. Use it when the situation seems to be dire.
- Nature’s Swiftness allows you to instantly cast any nature spell with a duration of 10 seconds or less. You can use it to effectively cast Nourish or Healing touch on a target that requires fast aid.
- Swiftmend is an ability that consumes either Rejuvenation or Regrowth from a target, and in exchange provides an instant heal equal to 12 seconds of Regrowth or 18 seconds of Rejuvenation. With the Glyph of Swiftmend this ability no longer consumes a HoT.
Swiftmend is an extremely useful ability, it can be used as a panic button for yourself, or even as a surprise heal that can throw a wrench into your opponent’s plan.
- Abolish Poison is a utility spell that acts as a buff, instantly removing 1 Poison effect from the target while also attempting to remove another Poison effect every 3 seconds for a total duration of 12 seconds.
- Remove Curse removes a curse from a friendly target. This is your go-to spell when facing scary Warlocks.
- Barkskin is your main defensive ability for whenever you feel that you are about to be burst down, or for when you are attacked by multiple enemies. This spell is usable in any form, even while being stunned, incapacitated, asleep, frozen, or feared.
In a case of an emergency, you can use Barkskin in combination with the Dire Bear Form to mitigate massive amounts of damage.
- Another spell that also falls into the crowd control category (but also falls under the defensive category) is Nature’s Grasp. You can activate it to proc Entangling Roots on any melee attacker. It is quite a useful spell if you are trying to distance yourself or to line-of-sight the target.
- Innervate is an ability you should use if your mana pool is running low. It provides an extraordinary mana regeneration rate. Beware that this ability can be purged or dispelled, leaving you in a vulnerable position as a result. Time this ability wisely!
Crowd Control Abilities
- Cyclone is an ability that makes the enemy target invulnerable for 6 seconds, but in exchange prevents them from performing any actions – you can effectively cast this on your target to cc-lock them. However, beware that the duration of the ability is reduced with each cast, up to the point when the target becomes immune to this effect.
Yet, when used effectively, Cyclone can become your spammable crowd-control ability in both battleground and arena. For example, you can easily render one of your arena targets useless to then focus on destroying his or her partner.
- Entangling Roots is another control spell: it roots down the target for 9 seconds, allowing you to gain distance and heal yourself or to lock down the target in place and then burst it down.
- Hibernate is an ability that forces the enemy beast or dragonkin to sleep. This effect lasts for 40 seconds, and if the target is hit it will be awakened. Use this if you are fighting a hunter to render their pet useless.
- Faerie Fire (Feral) is an ability that can be used both in Cat Form and Bear Form – it renders the target unable to use any invisibility effects and it reduces their armor by 5%. Differently from Faerie Fire, the Faerie Fire (Feral) variant offers increased armor penetration. This ability can be used both as a crowd control ability and a damage buff for your physical damage dealers.
As a healer, you can initiate an encounter in several ways. The Restoration specialization also allows you to control a fight in a few distinct ways while keeping both yourself and your allies alive throughout the whole fight.
Let’s start with the openers. First of all, you have the option to remain in Prowl and wait for your allies to engage first. Afterward, you can assess the difficulty of the encounter and choose the best approach.
You may choose to Cyclone one of the targets to render them useless, cast Entangling Roots on an enemy to prevent their escape, or simply start casting HoT spells on your allies. If you choose to rush a Cyclone cast on a target at the beginning of the encounter, you can then keep that target in a cyclone, effectively removing a trinket.
Another choice for the beginning of an encounter is to start in the Tree of Life Form and apply HoTs to your arena partner or your frontline allies before the fight begins. This action is known as (Pre-HoTting).
Thanks to your mobility, you are able to pick the environment in which you desire to fight. Making use of LoS (we will discuss it at the end of this section) will be the most impactful mechanic that you have to take into consideration.
Remember that aside from keeping your allies alive, your other job as a healer is to become a nuisance for your enemies. What do we mean by “a nuisance”? Well, take two concepts to heart:
The first one is that you should always make it as difficult as possible for your enemy to kill you and stop you from healing your allies.
The second one is that you should always debuff your enemies and crowd control them as much as possible.
Entangling Roots, Moonfire, Faerie Fire, and Cyclone should be cast as much as possible to hinder your opponents and to make sure that they won’t achieve victory.
Being a class that revolves around Heal-over-Time mechanics means that you have the freedom of relocating your position extremely often, making it difficult for your opponents to stop you from continuously aiding your team.
Now that we have gone over our abilities and the mindset that you should adopt as a Restoration Druid, we will talk about which abilities you will want to prioritize at all times.
In the Pre-HoTting phase, you will want to place Rejuvenation, 3 stacks of Lifebloom, and Regrowth on your friendly target. In case your ally is being burst down and is taking heavy amounts of damage, you should continue to cast Nourish and Wild Growth to support the HoTs that you have placed previously.
As a general rule, you will want to let your HoTs run their course. However, in cases when the fight is particularly chaotic you will want to reapply them as often as possible. This will often happen when fighting a team that has many dispellers.
For panic situations you can generally fall back to Swiftmend and Nature’s Swiftness in your kit to avoid any imminent danger.
Nature’s Swiftness is one of your big cooldowns – it will allow you to cast an instant Nourish, Regrowth, or Healing Touch. Healing Touch will be the safest choice here, since it has the highest base heal amount out of all 3 spells.
Swiftmend allows you to instantly heal yourself or your ally by consuming Rejuvenation or Regrowth from the target. However, because we have the Glyph of Swiftmend we do not have to worry about consuming any HoTs anymore. Unlike Nature’s Swiftness, Swiftmend has a very low cooldown, so use it as often as possible.
You can create a Panic button for yourself with a macro like this one:
/cast Nature’s Swiftness /cast Healing Touch
There is also a defensive variant that makes for a useful panic button. You can use it right after, in case you are dealing with a heavy physical damage dealer team:
Panic Button 2!
/cancelform /cast Dire Bear Form /cast Barkskin
We will now give you an example of three rotations: one that you can use to keep yourself alive in case you are being focused on, and one that you can use to keep your allies alive while staying at a safe distance.
Rotation 1: Healing an ally
Regrowth->Rejuvenation->Lifebloom->Lifebloom->Lifebloom->Nourish->Wild Growth->Regrowth->Swiftmend->Nature’s Swiftness->Healing Touch->Rejuvenation
Rotation 2: Running while healing yourself
We will refer to Power-Shifting as PS. For this rotation PS should be mainly done with the Travel Form.
PS->Rejuvenation->PS->Lifebloom-> Lifebloom->Lifebloom->PS->Wild Growth->Swiftmend->PS->PS->PS->Regrowth->Rejuvenation
This rotation assumes that you will constantly move while applying instant-cast HoT spells on yourself and attempting to cast Regrowth once you reach a safer spot.
Rotation 3: Panic button and burst
This rotation should be your go-to in case you are about to receive heavy amounts of damage.
Barkskin->Swiftmend->Nature’s Swiftness->Healing Touch->PS->Kite->Lifebloom-> Lifebloom-> Lifebloom->Wild Growth
Finally, let’s conclude by discussing the line-of-sight. The term Line-of-Sight (LoS) applies to anything that simply breaks the sight of your opponent to prevent them from casting an ability. Of course, it will not be easy when using this against a melee attacker, but it still works in the same way: you are simply not allowing the attacker the required distance to land a melee swing on you.
As a Druid, you are one of the classes that can benefit the most from this mechanic because of your shapeshifting. Shapeshifting allows you to break any movement-impairing effects, effectively removing any Slows from you. The LoS tactic can be achieved with two forms, the Cat Form and the Travel Form. The Travel Form will be your main way to LoS a target. The Cat Form is not usually as good for LoS, but you can use it in combination with Dash in order to accomplish a makeshift escape.
LoS-ing a target in arenas can be accomplished by running around pillars or climbing atop ramparts, then simply jumping down in order to run around another pillar. Think of it as a cat-and-mouse game, only you are the mouse trying to outrun your opponent – either to wait for your cooldowns, reset the fight, or to allow your heal-over-time spells to take effect.
Power-Shifting will play a big role in successfully utilizing LoS, as we have mentioned previously. The persistent clearing of all Rooting and Slowing effects will allow you vast mobility to control the battlefield as you desire.
Notice that you want to use Lifebloom if you got a Clearcast Procc.
That means, your Liufebloom gives you 50% of the Manacosts back, so with Clearcast you dont have to spend Mana, but get some back there 🙂
Really important for Manamanagement.
Great content, thanks!
I wanted to make 2 notes. 1) I read here that Lifebloom is a new addition in WOTLK, but its also there in TBC. 2) Rather than stacking 3 Lifeblooms imediately after one another, I prefer to stack 2, then use other spells as the Lifeblooms ticks, and only refresh it right before it ends to get a full duration 3 stack. In this scenario all of ticks on 2 stacks are “For free”.
In TBC the best healing strat was to keep 3 Lifebloom stacks up at all times as it gives insane healing per second. I wonder whether it is the same in WOTLK, as it appears that the mana cost of Lifebloom is increased, relative to the increase in mana bar size in WOTLK compared to TBC. Do you prefer refreshing Lifebloom, or to let it run out? (As that also gives some mana back in WOTLK). Happy to hear your thought!
Hey there Will! Thank you for reminding me of that! When I wrote the guide, I somehow had in mind that it was added in WotLK and completely forgot about the TBC version of it. I would say that with the crazy amount of mana regeneration available to Resto Druids, you can choose to rapidly stack Lifebloom 3 times! However, you can also confidently choose to stack it only two times and refresh it every time it is about to expire. By choosing to do so, you will generate a penalty, you will up depriving yourself of the instant healing effect at the end of Lifebloom. Also, take into consideration that there are many types of “dispel” effects in the game when you think about mana-management and the instant healing effect of Lifebloom.