Friday, January 16, 2009

Major glyphs for resto druids: My choices

I want to share my thoughts on our major glyphs.

I won't go into too much detail on the ones I don't use; I see the merit in them for people with different play styles and preferences, but there are a couple that I'm just not interested in personally.

If you're looking for a good comparison of all of the glyphs, check out 4haelz and Elitist Jerks.

Instead, this is more about the glyphs that I choose and why - which tends to be the general flavour of most of my posts - who needs math and science when you've got anecdotes, right? :D

In the beginning, there was Rejuv

Glyph of Rejuvenation. It seemed a good idea at the time, but I was swayed mostly by the fact that nobody HAD the other good glyphs yet. So, Rejuv was it.

I suppose it served me well for a little while, maybe procced a few times on Patchwerk or something. It really is more of a PvP glyph than PvE; I could probably count on one hand the number of times that A) my target dropped below 50% health AND B) Rejuv was able to tick more than once before the target was topped up by someone else.

You could probably argue that the extra 500hp or so (stab in the dark here) helped, but in the grand scheme of things, a major glyph that gives your target an extra 500hp a handful of times in a raid.... is not so great. The slot is definitely better filled by other glyphs available to us. I place this glyph firmly into the "better than an empty slot, but not by much" basket.

Resto staple: Glyph of Swiftmend

Almost every resto druid has this one, no matter what other combination of glyphs they have. This is the glyph I couldn't wait to get my hands on pre-expansion because it was just so yummy.

Before this glyph, one of two things would happen when you Swiftmended your target:

1) you would lose your HoT and have to reapply it, meaning that a) you're using extra mana, and b) you just lost a valuable HoT ticking on your tank. My rejuv, fully buffed, ticks for around 2k. That's a sizeable chunk of healing that you're losing, and fewer HoTs on your target means fewer safeguard against big spikes. Letting a HoT drop, or in this case consuming it, is a big deal if your target is taking big damage.

2) you would consume someone else's HoT and they would be cranky at you. I think we can all agree that if there are two or three druids in the raid, it is VERY handy to be able to have all those HoTs ready to Swiftmend if needed, but we've all had someone "steal" our Rejuv that we intended to Swiftmend.. it's frustrating!

With this glyph, your HoTs are not consumed, meaning you don't drop your ticks and you don't need to reapply - your HoTs can run their course. This usually means a much smoother HoT rotation because everything can run for its entire duration. It means less mana spent because you're not reapplying after a Swiftmend (and a GCD saved for the same reason).

It saves mana, it saves time, and it keeps your HoTs up while giving your target a direct/emergency heal. It really is a fantastic glyph to have.

I must say though, it takes a while to get out of the habit of re-casting a Rejuv immediately after Swiftmending!


I waited impatiently for this one to show up on the AH.

Although it was originally a 50% boost, 20% is still very nice. It not only boosts the direct heal portion of your Regrowth but the HoT ticks as well, so recasting it on your target will increase the ticks to be more substantial (note: this effect does not stack with subsequent applications).

Add in Regrowth's innate 50% crit rate from Imp Regrowth (combined with Nature's Grace for fast heals), the bonus heals from Living Seed (if you have it), mana cost reduction from ToL and Moonglow, the lengthening of the HoT timer from Nature's Splendor and the increase to healing over time spells from Emp Rejuv, and Regrowth becomes a great little tank heal option.

You can either "spam" Regrowth if you need direct heals on your target, or let the HoT run its course, but be ready to cast another Regrowth to counter sudden spike damage if needed. It's easier now to do this between refreshing your other heals - Nature's Splendor gives you plenty of time to cast Regrowth a second time without overwriting the HoT, and coupled with the Swiftmend glyph you won't be accidentally removing Regrowth prematurely.

Regrowth is definitely my staple direct heal, but if you're interested in the pros and cons of using Regrowth vs our other direct heals, Phaelia from Resto4Life has written an excellent article comparing them, taking into considerations various talents and glyphs also.

The last slot

This is where it gets hard. Most people will pick two major glyphs and then have problems deciding on their third. I had trouble picking between Glyph of Innervate and Glyph of Lifebloom.

When Lifebloom was nerfed, many people declared it was now "useless" in its new state. More expensive and less effective, you shouldn't waste your time casting it, many said. Certainly I think that is the case for raid healing - it used to be a decent spell to toss around if the raid was taking damage. It's very weak for that now, but still a great buffer to put on people who are taking consistent damage (ie, the tank/s, usually). My lifebloom ticks for around 1200-1300 buffed and runs for 9 seconds with Nature's Splendor - that's a really solid buffer on my tank/s and I still value that. An extra second would add a lot of healing and flexibility in my rotations.

So, the glyph was a "maybe" - extending by a second would mean more time for other heals, or the capacity to heal more people. But I hadn't really needed that so far in WotLK; I wasn't rolling HoTs on a bunch of people at once, and I wasn't feeling stretched in my rotation.

I was feeling the mana pinch, though, at least at first. I think for a while I was sitting at just over 200mp5 and it was hard. So I went with the Glyph of Innervate, and, as a lot of druids have said, I said that I would probably swap to Lifebloom when I got more regen.

That time came - quite quickly, actually - but I didn't want to give up Glyph of Innervate, it was so nice to have. I certainly don't need it anymore; it's rare that I struggle for mana, and I often don't pot or Innervate. But.. *cling*!

The decision was made for me though, when we started doing Sartharion+3 on 10 man. I have to be a lot more mobile, heal several people at once, and sometimes slip just out of range of the tanks for a second or two. Having one extra second on my rotation would mean flexibility to fit in extra direct heals on the tank/s, toss a raid heal, or not lose the tank if he steps a yard out of my range or vice versa.

The difference felt enormous, I couldn't believe it. You wouldn't believe how much of a difference one extra second on your Lifebloom makes. It really feels like you have forever to refresh it.

So, my new combo is Swiftmend, Regrowth, Lifebloom. I suppose I'll have to wait and see what kind of mana issues they throw at us in Ulduar, but I think this super long Lifebloom would be very hard to give up.

If you've been sitting in the Innervate camp and your regen is pretty solid, I really suggest you test out the Lifebloom glyph and see how it feels. Everyone's style is different, but if you play like me and like to keep full HoTs on one or two people and spot heal, that one little second is going to make a huge difference. Give it a try!


Kayeri said...

My current three majors are Swiftmend, Innervate and Rebirth. Swiftmend, IMO, is the most awesome glyph we have on the heal front. I dont need the Rebirth often, but if I have to do it, that extra health on the target is worth its weight in gold in getting them back into the fight NOW, especially if its one of your tanks that you are rezzing.

I have a Lifebloom glyph sitting in my bank, and like you, Keeva, I have discovered I have few to no mana issues. But will I go back to Regrowth or put the Lifebloom in is the question.

Kayeri said...

Um... open mouth, insert foot? ::chuckle::

we got Kel'thuzad down for the first time on our first try, but it was ugly...

I died early on and our feral battle-rezzed me. I innervated and dove back into healing.

Later, priest goes down, resto shammy goes down, I'm trying to keep tank alive and I'm OOM living on mp5 and lifebloom and I've 10.. 9.. 8.. seconds to go before I can innervate again...

and then the achievement flashed across my screen and I realized he was dead... I wasn't triumphant, I was relieved and exhausted! ::laughing::

Keeva said...

I've had a few of those moments, living on Lifebloom...

Silly potion cooldown nonsense.

The other day I accidentally hit a Crazy Alch pot instead of mana - and instead of giving me mana, it gave me haste. Sigh... can't wait for them to fix that.

erumel said...

I'm currently using Swiftmend, Regrowth and Innervate.

I think I have to try Lifebloom after all now that you say so. It doesn't sound like it would do much difference but I guess it really does then :)

Keeva said...

I honestly felt the same way.. Splendor is a decent amount of extra time, but 1 second.. pssh, that's not worth a whole glyph slot.

But I hardly ever use my Innervate (or even pot.. darn pot spec), and Sarth 10+3 was causing me some troubles, so during a break in the raid I ported to Orgrimmar and swapped to Lifebloom to give it a try.

It really did feel like a lot of extra time to refresh the stack.

Plus with my new GSHoTs setup, I can keep a better eye on the other HoTs and refresh them when I'm meant to, rather than it being a little haphazard.

It's the little things that make big differences, I think.

Trismegistus said...

Hi Keeva, I just found your blog today form our discussions on EJ.

I'm currently using Swiftmend, Lifebloom and Innervate. I don't use Regrowth that often and I almost never use it on a target currently under the effects of Regrowth.

I really disagree with your ranking. To me, the mandatory glyphs are Lifebloom and Swiftmend and the rest are up for grabs.

I work with a Regrowth spammer now in the guild so I can see why some might pick that up, but I don't see Lifebloom glyph as optional.

Keeva said...

To each their own :) By no means is my post an order to say "this is what you should go get right now."

It depends entirely on your play style, the level of content you're at and choose to play, the size of the group, etc.

For example, Glyph of Rejuv would probably be more useful in 5 mans where another healer isn't going to be there to top someone off before your Rejuv can tick. Regrowth would probably have less value here because you could use Nourish, particularly with the change to Wild Growth.

Swiftmend was always my definite. Regrowth, Lifebloom and Innervate were my "maybes". I preferred Regrowth and Lifebloom, but my lack of regen at first made me choose Innervate over Lifebloom - and I did very well for myself despite not having that extra second on my Lifebloom. As I explained, I really had no need to have extra long rotations, nor did I ever need to roll hots on more than a couple of people, so it just wasn't an issue.

When I stepped into Sarth10+3, things changed. I really needed that 1 extra second.

If Regrowth isn't your style (or others have that covered), that's okay. It is a really, really good glyph, but if your style and usual assignment doesn't suit that, you're not wrong for choosing a different glyph.

At the moment, for me, Glyph of Innervate is a highly situational and very, very rarely needed glyph. On the other hand, I use Regrowth on the tank/s a lot, so it is more valuable for me on a weekly basis.

If you're hardly ever refreshing Regrowth on a Regrowthed target, then that glyph is highly situational and rarely needed, so it would make sense to choose something that you would get more use out of.

This is exactly the same reasoning why the Rejuv glyph is quite poor for 25mans - because it's so situational and is barely used. You have to get economy from your glyphs, and if your style and raid makeup means Regrowth is rarely used, then it would be silly to use it, unless of course you're working on new content and you find you do need those heals (which is what happened with me and the Lifebloom glyph).

There's no real right or wrong with Glyphs. It's all about weighing up your group size, content level, play style, and who else is in there with you (if you tend to run with set groups). If you're not getting the use out of a glyph, don't take it.

Just don't ever be so set in your decision that you won't consider switching things around as you move to different encounters or your gear changes.

Kalanna said...

Excellent write-up! I liked the way you moved through your thinking and why you chose what you did. It's made me realize that my mind was already made up on this front. lol


Keeva said...


I am very conscious about seeming too "preachy" so I always try to frame my posts as anecdotes or trains of thought about how I feel about particular subjects, not so much how things are in black and white.

Also, I think someone should do a study to find out the proportion of healers with "K" names.. there seem to be so many!

Kalanna said...

Let the K's unite!


Kulat/Kriyet said...

Hehe - another K.

Followed a link from Sydera on Matticus' blog, and I'm glad I did.

I'm currently running heroics, getting geared for raiding. My current glyphs are Regrowth, Swiftmend and Rebirth. Right now, the Rebirth is invaluable. When you're only running 5 people, being able to bring one back with enough health/mana is vital.

But, when we move into raiding, I can see that the Rebirth glyph will lose a lot of usefulness, and at the same time, Innervate and Lifebloom will be much more valuable with more targets and longer fights.

Thanks very much for giving us your reasoning in choosing, and your experience in using these. There's a lot of theory out there, but that's only so helpful.

After your post, I think I will start with Innervate while I'm still working with low mana regen, then change to Lifebloom as I upgrade gear.

Kriyet of Bladefist

Keeva said...

I think it's really important that we don't get so attached to particular glyphs that we're not willing to change them around as content changes for us.

I don't think I'll ever drop Swiftmend (because it will always be useful for me), but the other glyphs are wholly subject to the content and my usual assignments & healing style.

If I find in future that I'm barely using Regrowth, then that glyph because less useful and I might sacrifice it for something else. If regen is an issue again in Ulduar, you bet I'll consider swapping it back in for a while (although it will be tough to decide which one to swap out!).

I still have 2 points in Imp Tranquility from back when I was mostly doing heroics. I should probably ditch those as I don't use it very often at all. In the past people would scoff at Imp Tranq because it was bad - but it's another one of those situational things that might be rarely used in raids but used often in heroics.

And the same goes for glyphs - what isn't so great for raiding is often good for 5 mans - and I think that's great. We can actually choose, rather than being forced into taking something because there's no variety or options.

I found Innervate so useful in the beginning, but then I found I was hardly ever using it (at the moment I use it on Sartharion+3, that's about it). I hardly ever even need to pot - I can't remember the last time I had to make mana potions for myself. So Innervate became really situational and a poor choice for a glyph for me.

1 second on Lifebloom sounds trivial but if you're using Lifebloom all the time and Innervate once a week.. it wasn't a hard decision to make once my mana became a non-issue again.

Alex said...

Interesting read. Im a prot warrior, but love to know how my healers work, so I can work with them.

Thanks :)

Averna said...

Really awesome post =D

As resto class leader in my guild I've actually made the SM glyph and the LB glyph required for raiding... but now I'm wondering if that's the best way to go (Obvi I'd still require the SM one; it's the LB one that I'm wondering about). Also, I've been using the rejuv glyph, which was awesome in 5s and even sometimes 10s, as a sort of "ohcrap" button (or rather, a "tide the tank over" while I press all my other ohcrap buttons) but in 25s I've realized it's pretty much wasted space. On WWS in Naxx 25 it healed for under 1% of my total heals. So I'm going to replace it with the Regrowth Glyph.

Anyway, thanks for the post, really good one =D

PS I came to this site from Phaelia's site, Resto4life, she's got your link on her page.

Anonymous said...

Hey Keeva, this Jove used to play a warrior in Epitaph... now playing a druid.

I suspect this post is now out of date with the advent of patch 3.1 and [Glyph of Wild Growth] which in my mind, kicks ass.

Keeva said...

Hey Jove! :)

It absolutely is out of date. WG is now one of our staples, and I love it. I paid 100g for my glyph when only one person had it :P

My new choice is Swiftmend, Nourish, WG. For some fights I was swapping Nourish with Rejuv (eg Mimiron). If they ever give us tri-specs, I would probably have a tank healing spec, raid healing spec, and feral.. so that I could have tank-oriented glyphs and a set of raid-oriented glyphs for trash and heavy raid damage fights.