Alright, so not exactly the type of subject line I'd normally use... bah, who are we kidding, I would probably never even come up with using that line had it not been for Bellwether's call for a group to come to her aid during this year's holiday heroic (yes, the holiday time catches us all. I hope you have a wonderful trip!).
So, who am I and why am I providing a guest post? Even if you didn't want to know, here is the obligatory intro, and I'm not telling you how far down to scroll to skip it!
I am Byaghro of Casual WoW. Although not my original main, my Druid has been around for almost as long, and has almost always been Restoration spec'd. One of the things I seem to encounter more often than not, especially with all of the changes we have seen in Wrath of the Lich King, is in trying to help Druids who struggle to heal groups figure out what works best for them and effectively use that style of play to progress and have fun.
Honestly, although seemingly nothing more than an attempt to be funny at first glance, you really could equate the different styles of healing to sex. Some prefer fast, hard-hitting play. Some enjoy a more gentle approach in which their intended target is nurtured and coaxed along. And some like to mix it up, enjoying the excitement that comes with experimentation.
Personally, I think the latter suits Druids best, but everyone has preferences.
Anyway, without further ado, let's get to the root of this post: Nourish and Regrowth.
I have been on the fence about whether or not Nourish was remotely useful or pure trash, and I am finally convinced that it comes down to personal preference, healing style, and glyph selection.
Let's start by looking at a typical healing scenario:
The tank is the only person really taking any damage (minor splash damage on the melee dps). Lifebloom is being kept on the tank, as is Rejuvenation. For healing the melee, since it is manageable damage being taken for this scenario, Wild Growth fits the bill perfectly. But wait, the tank is still taking pretty massive damage, and you need to keep some other, strong, direct heal in the mix to make sure they don't get too low. What do you do?
Honestly, this is where every scenario eventually leads you. How do you heal through the times where you really need that direct healing? Technically, there are a few options open to you, and although I'm going to mention all of them here the main focus is when to use Nourish versus Regrowth.
Four common responses to the above scenario:
Swiftmend the target. Especially useful if you have the Glyph of Swiftmend, seeing as how it is a massive direct heal for a low mana cost comparatively.
Regrowth is an excellent candidate for this scenario as well. Typically I default to this as my next option because I like having the extra HoT on the target. It may not absorb all of the damage and I may have to add in another heal, but any additional healing that allows you more time is a plus in my book.
Healing Touch, especially if talented, is a very solid option now also. It is not my preference simply from a mana cost perspective, but it is (I believe) still the strongest direct heal in the game.
Nourish is designed to fill in this gap as well. At first glance it seems relatively unimpressive, and depending on your setup I can easily see why. This is definitely an ability that was designed to fill a very, very select role, and when that role is needed it actually does so very well.
With that very basic overview, it is time to look more at where you would use Nourish and, perhaps more importantly, why?
First, in order to understand the choice of spell best, let's evaluate my healing style, talent spec, and glyph choice. In my opinion these choices are what determine your use for the spell, or whether to completely ignore it.
Talent Spec: Byaghro's Current Talents
Glyph Choice: Glyph of Rejuvenation, Glyph of Swiftmend, and Glyph of Regrowth.
Healing style: I love my HoTs, and work on making them more efficient and stronger as a general rule of thumb. Typically, this means my go-to spells are Lifebloom, Rejuvenation, Regrowth, and Swiftmend.
So where does Nourish fit into all of this rambling?
Nourish is a solid direct heal. When the tank is taking heavy damage, and HoTs simply are not absorbing enough of the damage, then Nourish is the ideal option under certain circumstances. Those circumstances are, basically, as follows:
You are not spec'd for a stronger, faster, or more mana efficient Healing Touch.
You are not spec'd for Swiftmend, or it is on cooldown.
You do not have the Glyph of Regrowth and you have already cast Regrowth on the target (especially if you are like me and absolutely hate overwriting your HoTs early... that's less effective healing!).
Now, there are plenty of other arguments for/against the use of Nourish based on mana efficiency, effective healing per mana cost, etc. For most players this really doesn't matter as much as trying to understand when the spell is useful, and being able to heal to their full potential. Obviously, if you have mana issues then you will want to look closer at how to heal the most efficiently.
My personal experience has been somewhat lackluster with Nourish. Prior to getting the Glyph of Regrowth, however, I found it to be invaluable in those instances when I needed a very quick, direct heal. Now it really becomes even more of a niche for me, because the only time I go for Nourish instead of Regrowth is in the event I have just cast Regrowth. I prefer to use as much of the HoT portion of the spell as possible, primarily because it is just wasted healing otherwise.
In looking at my healing style and preferences, it is fairly easy to understand how Nourish fills a role that I only need on occasion, just as Healing Touch only fills a role I need on occasion. Typically speaking, I use Healing Touch macro'd with Nature's Swiftness most often, in order to either catch up on healing or for an emergency heal. Given that my talent choices do not place any emphasis on making Healing Touch any better (or Nourish for that matter) in a similar situation where I need to catch up on healing, and especially if Nature's Swiftness is on cooldown, it makes plenty of sense for me to use Nourish in the same manner.
In the end, it really does come down to playstyle preference, talent choice, glyph choice, and especially your comfort level with HoTs. This is one area where Restoration Druids are spectacular, and why it is so much fun playing one: we have a lot of choices, and a lot of leeway, to be able to get the job done in different ways.