Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Restos Bad at Tank Healing?

On one of my recent posts, I received a comment from Pixielated. They asked,

...I'd like to get your opinion on something if you don't mind. I was recently “informed” that resto druids are “Dead Last” in effectiveness of tank healing. I realize our raid heals are kick ass, but to have someone tell me we suck as tank healers struck a nerve. I’m curious as to what your thoughts are!

Here's the thing: Restoration Druids do not "suck as tank healers." However, we are lacking as compared to other classes in some ways. Any healing class can tank heal, it's just that Discipline Priests and Paladins are the best at it.

Why aren't Restoration Druids just as good?

Well, first of all, we lack OSHI- cooldowns. Nature's Swiftness and Healing Touch/Nourish are effective, per se, but they are not as sustainable as Hand of Sacrifice, Guardian Spirit (Holy Priest only, which are arguably less effective at tank healing as per Juz's comment), or Pain Suppression. You have no prolonged cooldowns, nothing that either improves your effectiveness for a while (such as a Paladin popping Avenging Wrath) or the tank's survivability.

We have no mitigation skills, such as Sacred Shield or Power Word: Shield. Every hit that hits the tank has no extra mitigation besides what our HoTs can tick back up, after the blow has landed. We also cannot heal two tanks at once as effectively as a Paladin can.

Does this mean we are not good tank healers? No. I was on tank healing duty for a Lich King 25 man when we had no Paladin healers, and no wipes came about because of tank death. Restoration Druids are not the best option for tanking, and it is probably a toss up between Shamans, Holy Priests and Druids on who is the less effective one, but by no means are we bad or incapable.

So, how do you tank heal?

The best way to tank heal is to stack all your HoTs. That includes Lifebloom. Now, you have to be a bit more careful about it as Tank healing can be a bit of a mana drain. Manage your Lifebloom stack, refreshing it on OoC procs and allowing it to bloom when the tank could use a chunk of health. Monitor your HoTs and keep them stacked, then Nourish in-between. If there are two tanks, focus on the one you're assigned to and give a couple helper-HoTs to the other when your tank isn't being punched in the face.

So, in summary: yes, you can tank heal. All things being equal, Resto Druids should not be first-choice tank healers, but they are competent and will not fail at the job (mechanically; personally is another issue entirely).


Zelmaru said...

Sometimes I have to tank-heal. Such is life. I tend to make sure I have rejuv and regrowth ticking at all times, and stack my lifeblooms as high as I think I need them, and ALWAYS let them bloom (then the mana isn't bad). Since I have the glyph of nourish, I use nourish as my direct heal. By making sure I have 3 HOTS on the tank (LB only counts once despite the stack) that raises my nourish by what... 18%. Something like that.

Also, and this seems counterintuitive, I toss a WG in pretty often if there are others in range who could benefit from it. It's a very powerful, front-loaded heal, and healing the crowd with my GCD allows another healer some breathing room to maybe help me with the tank.

In most raids, there are 2-tanks, so if I'm tank healing, it's usually cross-healing with another healer. It therefore usually makes sense to WG (hits both tanks) and try to keep rejuv & Regrowth up on both tanks at all times for ye-olde-swiftmend.

And finally - few OSHI buttons but... you got Tranq. Make sure you're in the group with both tanks. And use other classes' OSHI buttons. We've had a ret pally hand of sacrifice at the appropriate time on Fester and that worked quite well - or call for D.Hymn from the Spriest, or coordinate with the holy priest healing the raid for GS. Anticipating incoming damage and working with your team to coordinate THEIR OSHI buttons will save the encounter.

Bell said...

@Zelmaru - I agree, throwing out WG is very helpful for hitting both tanks, supplying them with a bit of extra rage/mana/runic power, and for the increase to Nourish.

I dislike Tranquility, however, as after it is done you have to play "catch up," since most of your HoTs will have fallen off. This may be a personal preference but I don't find it to be so effective as to warrant that dangerous downtime.

Ueshiba said...

Indeed... that would be my biggest gripe about Tranq. When it's over, it seems as though I've been tossed into a fight where people are taking big damage and I have to start from scratch, which is where most druids don't excel at.

Juz said...

It's worth noting that Disc priests are effective tank healers. Holy priest suck. Though they do have Guardian Spirit, the number of tools available to Holy priests is about as limited as Druids and, more importantly, nothing is efficient. Holy priest tank healing is one of the very real ways a healer can go out of mana even in an average difficulty fight these days.

Bell said...

@Juz - edited that disclaimer in, thanks!

Zelmaru said...

@Juz hehe you are so right about holy priests. Except, like Beru said, some players are just wired to be good or bad at certain types of healing, despite the class they play. In my raid team there's a holy priest who excels at tank healing. Maybe she's the "tank whisperer" - I don't know, cause she doesn't go OOM more than any other healer. Another team member is a pally healer who enjoys (and excels at) raid healing. Sigh.

David said...

Granted Resto Druids are lacking a bit (conceptually at least) behind Paladins, I think the power of a 4-hotted tank cannot be overlooked.

Just sheer "healing-numbers-to-tank" perhaps you can't beat a pally. But what if that pally needs to move. What if that pally wants to heal someone else (i.e. the non-beaconed tank is now not getting healed).

Those huge trash guys in the first 2 rooms of ICC, yeah, our (10-man) other healer DC-ed and I healed through all four of them (2 at a time) and didn't even know that they had an interrupt mechanic. I would be a pally struggles on that fight.

Druids can single-heal the gunship fight because they can hot up one tank, move to range of another, or move to range/los of dps and hot them up.

If you plan out your LB blooms and/or refreshes well, and generously use swiftmend, Druids make extremely capable tank healers.

They just lack the "meter" toping numbers of a pally or the perceived strengths of Disc priest.

Muscardin said...

I'm asked to tank heal for my guild, and I must say that I don't have any issues. I think you have to make sure you have enough haste. Also, a tree's lack of "ohnoeswtf" buttons is made up for the damage smoothing abilities of having 4 HOTS rolling on the tanks at all times (Rejuv, Regrowth, WG, LB - don't let LB bloom) and then spamming Nourish. I find it much easier to tank heal on my tree than on my Disc Priest really.

Stack haste and keep the HoTs rolling. Spam Nourish then refresh HoTs.

Noran said...

While I can't disagree with your stance, I'd also like to mention a resto druid's lack of an Inspiration/Ancestral Healing buff. While a druid can match anyone other than a holy paladin in single target heals, the other two classes get one of the biggest mitigation buffs in the game.

Armond said...

A holy priest can theoretically be a good healer... but he has to completely gut the holy tree's intended functionality to do it (perhaps like this).

But what makes me sad is the fact that wowhead's tooltips aren't enabled. :<

Delleyntar said...

We can be pretty beast when it comes to tank healing, as long as your doing it right, and really, your gear.

I know, i know this is a HUGE HUGE no-no but i find myself if i am forced to exclusivly tank heal, i find myself putting on my t9.5 set for the rejuvination crit set bonus. My haste is over 900 so no issues there. I also have a bit of an un-conventional way of tank healing myself. Since I'm super bad with using lifebloom because i am so used to being a blanket, I had made a Sequence macro; so essentially, i have my tank targeted and i am literally pressing ONE button....

Thats right ONE button.

Its a slow stack lifebloom set up where it sequences as such:

Wild Growth
Wild Growth

and i repeat.

Its a great macro. I orignally made it for healing Dreamwalker but sadly, i am one of 2 resto druids in my guild and i need to heal the raid during that fight >.<. But in the rare cases, Our main pally healer isn't around, Guess who needs to do the tank healing?

Dillybear said...

honestly i like tank healing more as a druid then a pally since its so much more engaging overall, and still gives you the option to toss some rejuvs around as well. and of coarse wg on cd is a great dual tank/ melee heal as well.

LawGirl said...

I would have to disagree with your comment on shamans being on the same level as druids with tank healing. Shamans are much better at tank healing than resto druids and I am going to guess than holy priests as well. I have both a shaman and druid healer and my shaman is a million times better at tank healing. Druids can do the job, but like you said they are not as good as other classes.

Bell said...

@Kayllnn - while it's great to disagree, I'm wondering if you could give specific instances of this or reasons why you feel this way. I'm not challenging you; actually, my plan is to get a shaman to max level after my warlock and I'd love to hear a more in-depth opinion. At this point in time on my Druid I don't struggle at all with Tank healing, even if it isn't as easy as on my Paladin, so if Shamans have an even easier time I'd love your analysis on why. :)

LawGirl said...

Sure. Like I said I have both a shaman and a druid. And while keeping HoTs on the tank combined with some nourish and swiftmend works great, I feel like my shaman is much easier and here is why:

Earth Shield- It was made for a tank, we can only have it on one target, this ability was meant to be for tanks and it ticks with heals as they get hit. Eight charges so free, easy tank healing.

Ancestral Fortitude- Reduces physical damage by 10%. Maybe one of the weaker damage reduction abilities but druids have none.

Healing Way- Specd 3/3 there is no reason not to be great at tank healing. This spell hits hard, I usually see over 20k on this heal. (50k on dreamwalker but no clue what other classes hit for) No reason to use healing wave on the raid (although I do sometimes), it is for the tank all the way.

Riptide+Healing Wave- Riptide provides a small HoT but my favorite part is that it reduces the cast time of healing wave because of the talent tidal waves, which makes getting quick, huge heals to the tank easy.

I have healed on my druid and shaman in many raids, and both in ICC up the whole plague wing. I healed on my druid throughout BC and now I primarily heal on my shaman in ICC and I have been a bit further on my shammy than my druid. But druids kick butt in raid healing, even over shamans. Shamans in my mind are really good at any roll but not the best at any of them. If you are interested in shaman tank healing you should check out Vixsyn is one of my favorite shammy healers, so this might give you a better idea on how shamans are great at tank healing.

Of course in a 25 man I think each class should stick with their best role. But in ten mans every class is a viable anything healer, just not as ideal as others but doable.