These next installments are largely based upon speculation.
PTR Lifebloom, Part 4: For the Beginner and Newbie
What does this Lifebloom change mean for those who are just now starting to level a Resto Druid, are contemplating it, or are just about to reach 80?
Well, to start, if you haven't had a Druid before now, you won't have to go through the messy process of relearning the class and how to play. Congratulations! You get to come to this change with no real practical knowledge of how it was beforehand (at least none put into practice) and therefore will have a much easier time adjusting. There actually will be no adjustment; simply learning. Most Druids now probably envy you.
That's great and all, but I'll give you a little more information to go on, yes?
A good spec for levelling while still being majorly focused on healing is what is often called "Dreamstate." This spec involves going deep enough into the Balance tree to gain Dreamstate, a mana regeneration talent, and then putting the rest of the talents into Restoration for more healing efficiency. This also allows for the Druid to do more damage, levelling faster than a non-Dreamstate Druid (in theory). A Dreamstate spec can look like this:
Though it is by no means the only way to spec Dreamstate, it gives a general idea of how this spec would be planned out.
The focus of a Dreamstate spec is an intense amount of mana regen, some damage dealing capabilities, and competent healing. It is generally considered sub par for anything beyond five man instances. It does not have the ability to reach Wild Growth or other bottom tier Restoration talent. However, it should allow for a player to gain the confidence in rolling Lifeblooms (if that is the desired style) with less penalty on the mana pool. It will also aide those with less than impressive stats to maintain a ratio, and provides a boost in spellpower through intellect to cover for some that is lost without three points in Improved Tree of Life.
It should also allow for some more utility in the form of Healing Touch (especially glyphed) being a shorter cast time, though in the end it is best used with Nature's Swiftness if it is not glyphed.
For levelling, especially with a Dreamstate spec, Glyph of Healing Touch is actually a very viable option. At 80 it is frowned upon (especially with the advent of the Nourish Glyph being upon us), but with a levelling Dreamstate spec it is certainly usable. This is especially true if you choose to put the talents into improving Healing Touch.
Until you reach Swiftmend, the Glyph, though amazing, is useless and should come later. If you find you are still having mana issues, it may be prudent to invest in Glyph of Innervate. Rejuvenation could be an option, but I have found it plays only a small part in healing, and how many glyphs you can have pre-level 70 is too limited for it. Extending the time of Lifebloom's ticks is not really necessary until you are raiding, and you do not receive the spell until level
So, you've got your Dreamstate spec and your Glyph of Healing Touch. What now?
As you level, you'll get used to using Rejuvenation and Regrowth, with some Healing Touch "flash heals." When you gain Lifebloom, however, it may be difficult to start introducing it into your rotation. However, this is the best time to begin experimenting with what works and what you can handle before being put into higher pressure and more gear-dependent (and spec dependent) situations. Because Lifebloom is such an expensive spell, slowly working it into a rotation is your best bet. Druids have always been about finding your personal rhythm for each separate encounter, just like the other healer classes. There is no tried and true rotation, though you will find some things work better than others.
Keeping a Dreamstate spec while you experiment with Lifebloom will allow you a little more freedom where mana is concerned while you build up your gear set and gauge what you can handle. Can you keep Lifebloom rolling on multiple people? Is just one stack killing your mana? If it blooms, do you fall too far behind on healing? Can you make the split-second judgments required to micro-manage blooming or rolling? Do you find it more effective to ignore Lifebloom for the most part? Many styles can be dictated not only by gear, but by preference. However, be aware that just because you like doing it one way, it may turn out to be less effective than it should be, and you will need to adjust.
Of course, do not get discouraged if it does not work out. Continue trying; it takes a long time to develop a stride while still remaining flexible. I'll be honest; I still don't have mine down!
The next part of this series will focus on being newly 80 and how to adjust to switching to a more raid-oriented talent spec, and how the different casting styles fit in.