World of Warcraft – Cataclysm: Guide to Resto Druid Healing in Cataclysm Dungeons

A lot has changed in World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, and I’m not just talking about the scenery or the talent trees. Things have started to go back to how they used to be.. healing is tough, dungeons are tough, pugs can be a nightmare. I see a lot of healers and tanks giving up because they grew up in the “Wrath Easymode” days. Things just simply aren’t that easy anymore, so it’s time to buck up and deal with it if you’re serious about your class and healing effectively.

That being said, I’m going to run you through some things that will make you a better Resto Druid healer. There are a lot of changes to get used to. Healing isn’t impossible now, it’s just more difficult and takes more skill and concentration (as it should).

**Note that this guide was written near the beginning of the launch of Cataclysm, so everything here might not be 100% applicable any longer.

Need WoW gold easily without buying it from gold farmers? Check out WoW Schools: Reaching Gold Cap Guide for tips on making gold quickly and efficiently.

You’re Mana Pool Isn’t Infinite

As you level from 80 to 85, you’ll start to notice big differences in your mana pool when casting. Sure your mana pool is going up quite a bit from Int gains on every piece, but the mana cost of your spells is going up even more. You can’t just spam Rejuv, Wild Growth, or Regrowth like you used to, because you’ll notice very quickly that you’ll be going oom.

Oom is almost a new phrase for people that started in Wrath, because some people just simply aren’t used to it.. just like tanks that started in Wrath are used to being nearly unstoppable in the Wrath heroic dungeons, able to plow through trash without any crowd control, they have to change their ways in Cataclysm or they’ll be torn to shreds.

Luckily, there are a lot of talents to help you out, especially in the beginning while you’re grinding through dungeons trying to gear up.

Here is the talent spec I currently use that is very mana efficient.

You’ll notice that I sacrificed Gift of the Earth Mother for Nature’s Bounty. My reasoning behind that is that GotEM only provided  a few percent of my overall healing when I was using it, and Nature’s Bounty gives me a an additional 60% chance to crit with Regrowth (on top of my natural crit), which I’m using on almost every Clear Casting proc.

Also, with the upcoming changes to Nature’s Bounty making it speed up Nourish casts when you have Rejuv on 3 or more targets, it becomes a much more desirable talent. That coupled with the changes to Empowered Touch, with Regrowth gaining the 10% healing bonus and refreshing Lifebloom along with the other cast time spells, I believe Regrowth will be a much better and viable spell overall.

Some of these are debatable of course, but here are the talents that are crucial to helping fix our mana issues:

Moonglow 3/3 – Reducing the mana cost of all healing spells by 9%.. enough said.

Furor 2/3 – Increases your overall mana pool by 10%.

Heart of the Wild 3/3 – Increases your intellect by 6%, thereby increasing your mana pool as well, bumped up even more by Furor.

Revitalize 2/2 – Gives you back mana when Lifebloom is cast or refreshed.. no brainer

Malfurion’s Gift 2/2 – Gives your Lifebloom ticks a chance to give you Clear Casting (free Regrowths anyone?)

These talents combined make your mana pool much more sustainable.

Once you start to get better gear and you don’t have as many mana problems, then start to switch some of them out for other talents you like, but I guarantee that these will help you start off with less mana troubles in Heroics.

Change Your Rotation

If your “rotation” used to be spamming Rejuv/Wild Growth/Regrowth, then you have a lot to deal with. You HAVE to be more mana conscious now when you start out, plain and simple. Here’s your new priority:

1) Lifebloom on the tank at all times during battle. To get the Symbiosis bonus, I generally cast Lifebloom on the tank, then Rejuv, then two more Lifeblooms.. this way, your Rejuv gets the Symbiosis bonus from the Lifebloom being on there, and refreshing Lifebloom with Rejuv active gives it the Symbiosis bonus as well.

2) Nourish is your primary direct heal spell in the beginning for you tank, since it’s such a low mana cost you can spam it all day and not go oom. Make sure you have a HoT up when using it though to get the full effect.

3) When Clear Casting procs (and it will quite often with Malfurion’s Gift) cast free Regrowth or Healing Touch on whoever needs it most.

4) Cast Rejuv and Wild Growth sparingly as needed, and as a buffer for Nourish. Whatever you do, don’t spam them.

5) Use Swiftmend on every cooldown. Glyph it so it doesn’t take your HoT off. It’s a great spell, it’s cheap, and it procs Efflorescence assuming you have it talented.

6) Use Nature’s Swiftness in emergency situations when you need a big heal fast. Setup a macro for it so you can get it off quick. I’ll give you an easy macro at the bottom of this post if you don’t know how to set it up.

7) Use Tree of Life when you need to get everyone back up quickly. It will allow you to roll Lifebloom on multiple targets, giving you ridiculous amounts of Clear Casting, which will give you free Regrowths that are instant while in Tree Form. You can’t deny this one, it’s good.

Focus on Important Stats

We have a new stat now in Mastery, but it’s not an end all stat by any means. It ranks about with crit, which is fairly low for a Resto Druid. It’s somewhat effective in 5 mans, but it starts do diminish in 10 and 25 man instances.

Here is your general rule of thumb for stats:

Int > Spellpower > Haste > Spirit > Crit / Mastery

Int is our new go to stat, and is on just about every piece you will pick up. Int adds so many other things, that’s why it’s great. It adds crit, spellpower, mana, and mp5 for every point, which is why it’s a great stat to bump.

You don’t see many items with Spellpower any longer, except weapons and trinkets, so you don’t have to worry about it much.

Haste speeds up casting, but more importantly it adds ticks to our HoT’s, so the more the merrier. At level 85 you’ll have breaking points for haste that you’ll want to aim for to add ticks to your HoT’s, and ultimately more hps. Your first goals will be 5% to add a tick to Lifebloom, and 7.15% to add a tick to Wild Growth, but you’ll have these numbers with green gear. Your next major goal is going to be at 12.5% to add a tick to Rejuvenation, which took me right at 1600 haste rating to achieve. Next will be 15% for another tick to Lifebloom, and 16.67% to gain another tick to the HoT portion of Regrowth. Past this gets much more difficult, requiring 21.43% for another tick to Wild Growth, and 25% until another tick to Lifebloom.

Spirit is our mana regen obviously, and will be your savior from the new mana pool problems. Get as much as you can early on to help with your mana troubles when you start heroics. As you gain better pieces with more int, this will become less important.

Crit and Mastery are ok, but you won’t get as much bang for your buck that you will from the other stats, so it’s generally a good idea to Reforge them into Spirit or Haste depending on what you need most and what the item already has.

Mastery is a decent tank healing stat however, so it can be somewhat helpful in 5 man’s, and even 10 man’s where you’re assigned tank heals. Mastery is getting a small bump in the 4.06 patch (roughly a 16% boost from what blue posts say), but i’m not sure if it’s enough to put it above any other stat, besides crit of course.

Track Your Procs

If you can effectively track your procs from abilities and trinkets, you will be much more effective than you would be otherwise. There are a lot of trinkets and abilities that have procs and cooldowns, like our Nature’s Grace talent, or the Witching Hourglass trinket as a couple examples. I don’t know about you, but it’s hard for me to see when I gain these buffs when I’m focused on trying to keep my group alive.

Lets say you have a trinket with a haste proc that bumps you over 25% haste for a short time, and you already know that you need 25% haste to gain a tick to Wild Growth, so you watch for it and cast it when your trinket procs, giving you more hps for your Wild Growth casts.

Another example is tracking when Nature’s Grace is available. What if you had something that notified you when Nature’s Grace was off cooldown so you could get maximum benefit from it when it’s up?

I found a nice little addon called TellMeWhen that can track just about anything you can throw at it. I’m not gonna lie, it has a somewhat steep learning curve, and it might take you a while to get it configured just right, but after a few hours of playing around with it, i’m in love with it. I use it to track all of my procs, cooldowns, temporary buffs, etc. My favorite by far is for Nature’s Grace since it has a 1 minute cooldown. I have a tracker for the cooldown, and another for the buff, so I know exactly when to use it, and how long it’s going to last. I also use it to track all of my trinket proc buff durations to get full effectiveness from the buffs they provide.

Even if you use something else, I can’t explain how helpful it is to track your procs and cooldowns. It’s made my hps and effectiveness go up tremendously.

If you need help configuring it, leave a comment and i’ll help as best as I can.

Change Your Mindset

Change is already here, so we have to deal with it and move on to be effective. We have to be more mindful of mana. You won’t be able to keep the entire group topped off at all times anymore when you start out, and that’s ok. As long as you make it through the encounter and the dungeon, who cares? If people aren’t willing to take a few deaths to learn the content and get the points and loot, then they probably shouldn’t be playing.

Know your priorities. Keep yourself and the tank up at all costs. If a dps has to die so that you or the tank can survive, then so be it. If the dps keeps taking unnecessary damage, that’s their fault not yours.

If you use the Dungeon Finder a lot, you’re going to run into bad tanks, that’s all there is to it. A good or bad tank can make or break your group, plain and simple. If you get a tank that refuses to use crowd control, and doesn’t wait for you to get mana back, ditch the group.. it’s just not worth your time.

All in all, healing takes a lot of practice and patience now. Be patient, be confident, and keep at it.

Nature’s Swiftness Macro

Here’s that Nature’s Swiftness macro I promised you. It can save you from a tight spot, especially if your tank is close to death.

#showtooltip Nature’s Swiftness
/use Nature’s Swiftness
/use Healing Touch

The “showtooltip” options will make your button show the cooldown for Nature’s Swiftness, and the “stopcasting” option will make you stop whatever you’re doing and cast this macro immediately.

Like our guides and tips? Join the free newsletter!


  1. Badhairday says

    Using TellMeWhen, I’d like to have a Lifebloom icon appear to notify me when it’s off the tank. Is there anyway to do this? Thanks for the help!

  2. Gryphin says

    advise sounds wonderful – lettle concerned on talent specs but willing to try anything to make be better healer! Thank you.

    • says

      Those talent specs were made several months ago, so they may not be 100% viable now, but the concept was aimed toward low mana cost at the beginning of the expansion. Probably not nearly as important now with much better gear out, so swap out the mana talents with whatever else you like if you have a lot of extra mana.

  3. aNOOBis says

    Thanx for this exellent guide dude! Finaly some info about haste caps…you should be moved up by google ;)

    like-button pressed!

  4. Six says

    Personally, as far as CD tracking. procs, etc… I use DoTimer – There is a video for setting it up that I highly recommend you watch -

    I started using it on my mains ret paladin and mm/surv hunter, and it’s been invaluable. Now that my druid is getting geared, going to seriously start running him and this addon is going to come in handy with resto/boomie as well. Really it’s great for any class.


  5. Jill says

    I just wanted to say thanks for the article.
    I haven’t healed on my druid since level sixty when I ragequit healing out of frustration. I’ve been looking for a guide to kind of re-teach me in a sense and this was forsure it. I’m now 80 (switched from healing to feral and now back to healing) and looking to level my toon to 85 as a Cata healer. We’ll see how it works out. So again, just thanks for all the tips, etc.
    Happy healing :]

  6. David says

    Hey I was wondering if you could help me configure the add-on you suggested for innervate and the Haste Proc from the trinket Witching Hourglass? I have been looking at it and trying different setting for a day or two now and it seems bugged to me. When im choosing innervate and selecting what it is it should be a burst mana regen right? And What icon type ect should i put for both of them? any help you could offer would be great!

    • says

      @David What exactly are you trying to track for innervate? If you just want to track the cooldown easier, I would suggest using OmniCC, which will put it as a numeral count down on the button. I would suggest OmniCC either way, it makes cooldown tracking much easier, for Tree, Berserking, Innervate, Tranq, etc.

      To track the Witching Hourglass, you have to track the buff it creates which is called “Witching Hour”. You always have to track the buff, not the item name, and the buff is not always called the same thing as the item. If you can’t get it to work by name (it should work by name, that’s how I have it configured) then use spell number 90887 (

      You’re going to make the icon track as a buff, with a 15 second duration. Make sure to check the boxes on the main section for “Show Timer” and “Show Timer Number” once you have OmniCC installed. Without OmniCC, the “Show Timer” option will at least give you a visual timer to show how much longer the buff will last.

      At first the icon may show up as a question mark until the addon figures out what spell you’re tracking. MAKE SURE you’re not in configuration mode, as this is the most common mistake. If you can see all of the bars and buttons fully, then you’re in configuration mode and nothing will appear to work. Type /tmw to exit configuration mode to test your icons.

      Let me know if you still have issues. I can send you screenshots of the exact setup if needed. It may be helpful to visit their site to get a better understanding of some of the options. It takes some trial and error, but it’s a very robust addon once you get your head around it.

  7. Brad says

    Great info, pretty much what i was looking for, however ur macro is not proper:

    #showtooltip Healing Touch
    /cast Nature’s Swiftness
    /cast [@mouseover, help] [ ] Healing Touch

    reason i commented is because /showtooltip wont do anything.

    Also, its a good idea to add “[@mouseover, help] [ ]” to all of your healing spells via macro.

    It will behave like normal, w/ the exception that if you are mousing over a friendly target, it will hit them regardless of current target.

    this applies to the game field or unit frame.

    It also allows the razor naga to interact properly with healbot.

    on another note, id suggest that using nature’s swiftness w/ regrowth is a waste of NS, HT is going to be ur biggest heal, and 99% of the time ur going to be using NS because someone in ur group needs a lot of HP right NOW.

    • says

      @Brad Thanks for the correction.. I wasn’t paying attention at the time. Correcting the article as we speak. The mouseover script is helpful depending on your play style, but I rarely use that function as I mostly use click style addons and am rarely mousing over anyone. I do agree on the Healing Touch > Regrowth however, since Regrowth rarely makes sense for a NS cast, but everyone’s taste is a bit different.

    • Whysper says

      I really want this macro but when i click on it it just goes into whatever chat am using and nothing happens
      Do you have any suggestions

  8. Silverbranch says

    Hey, j/w where your haste calculations came from (did you do your own math?) I’m currently trying to assess what haste cap I should aim for and I’m having trouble finding a reliable set of numbers for the various caps.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

CommentLuv badge