Below you'll find details on how each Restoration Druid spell functions and what its best use conditions are. Druids excel at using and buffing Heal over Time (HoT) effects and as a result are one of the more mobile healers. While they have no problem single-target healing, they really shine in group-healing situations where multiple players are taking damage at one time.
This information is geared towards new and intermediate players, so I've done my best to avoid lots of math or complex theories. Feedback is greatly appreciated! Feel free to leave comments at the bottom of the page, contact me using the form at the bottom of the site, or tweet @PrestonDvorak.
Your main spell should be the one you're using most often during most situations. Group-healing spells should be used when most of the group is taking sustained damage, you should supplement these spells with your main spell. Single-target healing spells will be used when you're healing one player taking damage, again, they should be supplemented by your main spell. Emergencies occur when a player is taking critical damage and at risk of dying if you try to heal them with any of your other spells, these spells are generally used less often than all others. Major cooldowns can be used to make it through particularly tough situations, but only if your other spells aren't enough on their own. Utility spells won't see usage in every situation, but knowing the situations they're useful in is very important. Click on any of the spell names to be taken to that spell's section.
Your main spell should be the one you're using most often during most situations.
This is the spell you should be using the most when healing. It's pretty inexpensive and heals for a lot over the duration. It's safe to put it on anyone who is missing at least a quarter of their health. If you know there's heavy group damage on the way, you should cast it on as many players as you can starting about 10 seconds from when the damage is going to happen. Take a look at our healing tips and tricks for more information on healing group damage.
Group-healing spells should be used when most of the group is taking sustained damage, you should supplement these spells with your main spell.
Place this underneath the largest group of players you can find, especially before group-wide damage. If everyone is mostly spread out and you can't place it underneath at least three players, you can place it underneath the tanks. They're usually taking constant damage so it will always be healing someone. You shouldn't place Efflorescence if the group or tanks you'd put it under are going to move again soon. My personal rule is not to place it if I'll have to place it again in 15 seconds or less.
This will function like a small group-healing cooldown. It will be stronger the more HoTs you have active on players in the group. If you know the group-wide damage is coming you should try to get as many Rejuvenations active on players ~10 seconds before the damage happens. As soon as the damage hits, cast Wild Growth and then use this cooldown. It should feel like a mini-Tranquility while you continue to place HoTs on players who are missing them. You should try to avoid using this without many HoTs active, or when most HoTs are close to expiring. The exception being if this is the only cooldown you have and the players affected by your HoTs will die otherwise, but this should be a very rare occurance.
This is a substantial raid healing talent. Ideally, you'd put as many HoTs as you can in preparation for heavy group damage, use this talent just before the damage, and then continue placing HoTs on targets who don't have any, or spot heal players with emergency heals as needed. More details on using it in combination with other cooldowns can be found on the healing tips and tricks page.
This is a “lite” emergency group-heal; not as strong as Tranquility, but still pretty powerful in the right situations. You should use it during periods of moderate to heavy group damage where casting Rejuvention on players one-by-one isn't enough. Refrain from using this to top off the group after heavy damage is over. It has a high mana cost and Rejuvenation will be more efficient. Our healing tips and tricks page has more information on healing different group-damage situations.
Single-target healing spells will be used when you're healing one player taking damage, again, they should be supplemented by your main spell.
Cenarion Ward is similar to Swiftmend, but it's not quite as bursty. It's best used to heal moderate to heavy sustained damage if the target is above 50% health already. You can also cast it in preparation of a player taking damage, giving it a little more flexibility. Try not to use it in place of Swiftmend if the player is already low on health and risks dying. Cenarion Ward heals for a lot, but much more slowly. In some encounters, it can make a great personal survivability cooldown, too.
This is our main filler spell, it's cheap and has a slow cast. If there's no major healing to be done and you don't want to use Wrath or Moonfire/Sunfire for added DPS, you can't go wrong with casting Healing Touch on the tanks – or anyone else taking small amounts of damage. In most cases, you'll regenerate more mana than you spend casting it. Don't use this as a replacement for Rejuvenation when multiple players are taking moderate to light damage.
Most commonly, you'll be using this on the current tank before they take a heavy hit, or if they suddenly drop to low health. You can also use this on non-tanks in similar situations, such as a DPS player soaking a mechanic as part of a boss fight. If a player is dangerously low, you should use Swiftmend to heal them up first if it's available, then apply Ironbark if necessary. More elaborate single-target healing strategies can be found on the tips and tricks page.
You should keep Lifebloom on the main tank at all times, or at the very least keep it on someone taking sustained damage. It's the only spell that procs Omen of Clarity, so having it active constantly is a must. When Lifebloom expires, or if you refresh it with < 5 seconds remaining, it causes a larger "bloom" heal. This is another great way to heal a larger chunk of damage without using an emergency heal.
Emergencies occur when a player is taking critical damage and at risk of dying if you try to heal them with any of your other spells, these spells are generally used less often than all others.
This is our fast, expensive, “emergency” heal. You should only cast it when you have no other spell that will save a player from dying, or use it if you have an Omen of Clarity proc active. If you're using it with Omen of Clarity active, use it to heal up someone who is low first. If no one is low, you can cast it on the current tank before Omen of Clarity expires. This will at least give the tank the HoT effect from the spell.
Like Regrowth, this is another emergency heal. It's stronger than Regrowth and costs less mana, but has a cooldown. You should use it on someone who would die if you attempted to cast any other spell on them.
If you've taken the Soul of the Forest talent on Level 75 (Tier 5), you will be using Swiftmend much more often in order to gain the buff. In this instance, it's acceptable to use it outside of emergency situations.
Major cooldowns can be used to make it through particularly tough situations, but only if your other spells aren't enough on their own.
This is a strong raid-healing cooldown and is best for blanketing the raid in Rejuvenation and using Wild Growth. Regrowth becomes instant-cast, and while it's fun to spam, it's not great for mana conservation. Stick to Rejuvenation unless a player is going to die without using Regrowth. In preparation for group-wide damage, I recommend still blanketing the group in Rejuvenations before the damage happens, and then popping Tree of Life a few seconds before the damage starts. This will buff all your existing Rejuvenations, allowing you to focus on the players who really need healing.
In some cases, you may need to use this as a single-target healing cooldown. If this is the case, you should maintain all of your HoTs (Lifebloom, Rejuvenation, Regrowth) on the player and then continually cast Healing Touch on them. Using Swiftmend, Ironbark, or additional Regrowths to bring them back up from critical damage.
This is our huge group-healing cooldown. In most raid situations, it will be coordinated with other large cooldowns to prevent using too many at the same time. If it isn't, you should use it during periods of critical raid damage. If you know the damage is coming, you can still pre-cast Rejuvenation on players for added healing. In five-man groups, you should still use it for periods of high group-wide damage. You normally shouldn't use this for low to moderate group-damage. The exception being if most players are already low on health and would die from the damage if you tried to use your other cooldowns and emergency heals.
Utility spells won't see usage in every situation, but knowing the situations they're useful in is very important.
Ten seconds of free casts for healing is very strong. This is something you'll want to coordinate with your group. Using it on yourself or another healer during periods of heavy damage will be the most likely scenario. It will allow them to spam their high-cost, high-healing spells without hurting their mana. Just be sure they know you're using it on them! Information on which healers benefit most from Innervate in which situations is forthcoming.
In most cases, it's safe to dispel any Magic, Curse, or Poison effect immediately. However, because of the eight second cooldown, you may need to prioritize what you dispel first if there are multiple debuffs present. Usually, you want to dispel things that incapacitate the player first, followed by debuffs that cause high amounts of damage. Be on the look out for debuffs that “explode” or otherwise cause harm to the player or nearby players when dispelled. Coordinate positioning ahead of time or be ready to use an extra cooldown (like Ironbark) to keep them alive.
Resurrecting someone in combat is very powerful. My rule for using it in raids is to resurrect tanks immediately, healers immediately if it's a heavy healing fight, and to leave DPS down unless the chances of a tank or healer dying are low. When in a five-man group, it's usually safe to resurrect anyone immediately. This is something you can coordinate with your group leader when needed.
Use these to resurrect dead group members when out of combat. Classes with healing specializations are the only ones who get a mass resurrection, so be sure to use it!
This ends up being nice little bonus healing in some situations, but not really something you should rely on constantly. Regrowth will be the spell that applies it the most thanks to it's bonus critical strike chance.
Our mastery rewards having multiple HoTs on a player (something that's not hard to do). Even a single HoT will benefit from this mastery, but the more the better!
A free Regrowth cast can be powerful at the right time. You should use the Regrowth on anyone who is missing health at the time, with tanks being the priority. If no one is missing health, you can use it on a tank to give them the Regrowth HoT.
This is the baseline movement speed ability for Druids. It's not quite as good as Displacer Beast because it requires you to stay in Cat Form in order to take advantage of the speed increase. However, you can freely shift in and out of Cat Form for the duration of the buff. You should use this ability if you won't make it out of something without the speed increase. If you can make it out safetly without using Dash, you should always continue healing while moving.
This is a fantastic mobility spell if you've chosen the talent (and I recommend you do). In addtion to allowing you to cover ground quickly, it will also allow you to blink over harmful spell effects on the ground to avoid taking damage. You should work on getting used to how far this spell moves you forward, as it's possible to blink off the edge of things. The blink does technically take you over the edge, but often times you maintain forward momentum without realizing it and will simply run the extra step off the edge.
January 17, 2017 - Moved the Macros guide to its own section. Overhauled the Stats and Gearing page for 7.1.5.
January 12, 2017 - Overhauled legendary information and added best in slot legendaries to both BiS lists.
January 10, 2017 - Updated guide for 7.1.5, including adding Nighthold items to Best in Slot lists.
December 2, 2016 - Updated Mastery information to indicate there is no longer a cap on the number of HoTs that can contribute.
November 4, 2016 - Updated enchants to reflect Mark of the Claw proc'ing from heals again. This is now the top enchant for large-group healing.
October 29, 2016 - Updated stat weights based on my new simulations and information in the community. This didn't change much as far as BiS lists.
October 25, 2016 - Updated the guide for 7.1, including small talent/spell tweaks and an update to the Best in Slot list to include Karazhan loot.
October 15, 2016 - Updated stat weights, added Best in Slot list, and expanded the Picking Trinkets section.
October 13, 2016 - Updated some spells and talents with new usage information after having a chance to use them at max level in raid and mythic dungeon situations.
September 19, 2016 - Added actual stat weights to the "Stats and Gearing" page. Also added alternate weights for small-group content.