And, no, I don't mean from the developers. I mean from you, fellow Tree Druid. You need to love Lifebloom again. I am also, of course, talking in the strictly PvE sense, as those who've done any sort of PvP on a tree know that Lifebloom is the noms. But, to continue (and continue I shall, in quite an extended form)...
Lifebloom has changed, it's true. It grew up. It evolved. And, unfortunately, many have rejected it for what it has become. You know who were also rejected for becoming different? The X-Men.
Yes, I am comparing Lifebloom to the X-Men. Deal with it.
Like the X-Men, Lifebloom is powerful, yet misunderstood. The majority of the population shun or actively speak out against Lifebloom, and though no one's built Sentinel robots yet I'm pretty sure we're close to it.
Lifebloom is powerful, the problem is you have to think about how you use it. It's not the Burning Crusade spell, AKA the "brain dead heal." Yes, you had to keep an eye on time to keep it going, but, let's be honest; how many of you, like me, made three /target [tank name] /cast Lifebloom macros and just hit those in succession for fights like Mother or Bloodboil? I know I did, because, hey, it was my healing assignment, it was what I was supposed to do, and it worked. And it was completely and utterly brain dead.
Now, though, if I tried to do that I'd drain my mana pool dry in under a minute (and also waste heals because of increased duration blah, blah, you get the point). It "lost" its "purpose" even with the mana return, because if you rolled the stack you'd never see the return, just the drain. Though, really, it didn't, it just couldn't fulfill said purpose in the same way.
And therein lies the problem. People are notoriously resistant to change, and this was a big change. Most Druids will say they cut it out of their spell rotation completely, others will say they use it for a fight or two and that's it. I'll be honest, it makes me a little sad to know that many Druids look to Lifebloom with the same scorn they do Healing Touch (Healing Touch and I have gotten reacquainted in the last couple of weeks and we're starting to see eye to eye, but that's a story for another day).
So, all right, perhaps I've managed to convince you with that huge, rambling introduction to give Lifebloom another shot. Great! But how, you ask? I suppose since I am in the habit of explaining things on this blog, I should say a bit about that, huh?
Your usage of Lifebloom will depend on a few things, the majority of them falling under the wide categories of gear, situation, and assignment. All three of those working together will determine your average Lifebloom usage.
For example, your gear denotes your mana pool size and regen capabilities. The smaller your mana pool and the weaker your regen, the less helpful it is to throw out Lifebloom casts without having an Omen of Clarity proc. That being said, it should be obvious that when you do have an Omen of Clarity proc, that, if at all possible, you use it for Lifebloom!
Well, if your mana pool is small and your regen needs to work out at the gym more, every cast of Lifebloom applied during an OOC proc that is allowed to bloom is a return of 489 mana to you, and you're still healing someone. It's awesome! You should be doing it! Why aren't you? Yes, you. You know who you are.
So, what if you don't need to worry about a small mana pool? Well, in that case, casting Lifebloom shouldn't bother you, right? At the very least, always start a pull with Lifebloom on your tank. You know when they just charges headlong into the boss, outranging your heals in the flash of a Feral Charge or, in some odd cases, rocket boots of doom (you know who you are, because you use both)? Yeah, that's a good time to have a fast-ticking HoT working on their hide. You know when you don't have anything to do, because no one in the raid is taking damage? Get Lifebloom (and your other HoTs) on the tank. A big boss cooldown is coming up and you've got Rejuv and Regrowth already ticking on them? Get Lifebloom on the tank.
Noticing a theme here?
Well, you said it had something to do with assignment and situation, right? Well, yes. You need to be able to judge when Lifebloom is appropriate. Obviously, when the raid is taking heavy damage is not when you should be Lifeblooming them or the tank, but using your harder hitting heals. Someone gets tossed in the crotch pot of Ignis? Give 'em a Lifebloom. Quick ticks will buffer the damage they're taking, a bloom will add to that, and it'll tick twice before Rejuv ticks once.
Is it about time to run in for Vezax? Have your tank give you a ten second countdown. Pop your Innervate, HoT him up, and don't forget the Lifeblooms. Even though OoC procs on Vezax are a thing of the past, those Lifeblooms you precast will still return mana to you on their bloom, taking care of whatever your innervate didn't cover to refill your mana bar and give your tank, essentially, free heals.
Is your assignment tank healing? It's a rarity, but it happens, especially in guilds full of Druids or in 10 man guilds (and hey, in 5 mans, too). If you're tank healing and you're ignoring Lifebloom, you're doing it wrong. Sorry, you just are. The problem here becomes one of Lifebloom management. To illustrate, you must understand this important information about Lifebloom, the spell:
The application of Lifebloom is preventative, while the "bloom" is a reactive decision.
The preventative aspect is easy to understand, as all HoTs function this way. You apply the HoT not necessarily because the target is taking damage now, but because you anticipate future damage. HoTs are buffer and slow-recovery heals. The initial application of Lifebloom works exactly like this; its goal is to provide a buffer for incoming damage or slowly recover from damage taken.
What Lifebloom has that is different from any other HoT that exists in the game is a "bloom." This bloom removes the HoT but heals for an amount that increases with each stack of Lifebloom applied. This is an instant chunk of health, most often associated with straight-heal classes like a Paladin, who use reactive heals that heal a chunk of past damage taken.
The bloom of Lifebloom is a reactive decision because you have a choice to make: do you allow it to bloom or do you apply it again, extending the buffer period. This is a simple choice hinging upon several questions that must be answered quickly: Will the bloom go to waste due to the tank not missing a chunk of health? Will he need that fast-ticking buffer soon? Can your mana sustain continuous rolling or do you need the return from the bloom?
The decision has to be made the split second before the bloom goes off. Which many people find difficult, so they go one way or another: simply ignore Lifebloom use all together, or allow it to bloom every time. Which is lazy, really.
But many of you might say "But I do fine without it, why should I care?"
I dunno. Why do you care if you get a B instead of an A? Most of you, I assume, read blogs because you want to get better at being a Druid. You want to excel, you want to do your absolute best. If you don't understand the possibilities of every spell in your arsenal, from the gimmicky or situational to the established or untapped, you're not really playing your Druid.
Just think of it this way: when you watched X-Men, and thought those guys were uber awesome, and you got so frustrated with the people picketing against them and reacting to them with fear and loathing and Professor Xavier was like "They fear what they do not understand," you were all like "That'll never be me!"
It's so totally you, Lifebloom haters.
The X-Men are completely copyright by Marvel Comics, I'm just borrowing them for the lulz.