Cataclysm: A Second Look at Talent Trees

One of the major game play changes that arrived with the launch of Cataclysm was Blizzard’s decision to entirely revamp class talent trees. Blizzard’s reasoning behind doing so was that in prior expansions, such as The Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King, developers felt talent trees had too many boring options that simply buffed passive stats and bloated the trees. The theory behind altering the trees for Cataclysm was to remove uninteresting five-point talents and to make each talent point feel significant and exciting. In moving towards this goal, Blizzard restricted the existence of hybrid roles by forcing players to dedicate 31 of their 40 talent points to a specific tree before they could place points elsewhere. By limiting the presence of hybrids, Blizzard’s hope was to lessen the occurrence where players would select “over-powered” talents from each tree, which resulted in unbalanced circumstances for PvE and PvP.

Talent Tree in Cataclysm

However, was Blizzard accurate in their assumption that altering talent trees would create more unique and exciting game play? Some players condemn the change, claiming that it homogenizes the ways in which players can experience the game. Whereas in previous expansions players could pick and choose talents that fit their play style, resulting in distinct talent tree compositions, Cataclysm talent force players to spec a specific way because there’s clear distinction between which talents are and aren’t necessary. This resigns players into assigning their talents identically, which diminishes the feeling of having a unique identity and play style within the game. While Blizzard developer Greg Streets argues that “there are some legitimately hard choices for many of the specs. Usually these come in two varieties: which talent you want before you can advance to the next tier of the tree, or where you want to spend those remaining talents after you’ve hit the bottom of the tree,” this really only holds true for a handful of spec, and even then it’s only in relation to the remaining 9 points after reaching the bottom of a tree. A good example of this occurrence is retribution paladins. In Wrath of the Lich King, retribution paladins had to make a tough decision on whether to spec into Aura Mastery or Divine Guardian, since each talent had its respective benefits in certain encounters. However, the current standard retribution PvE spec is unarguably concrete, and any variation from it simply cripples the player.

While there are exceptions to this argument, it’s impossible to ignore the fact that the removal of hybrids and the trimming of talent trees results in homogenized game play.  Yet, as it is with all changes it ultimately depends on the player base to decide whether or not homogenization is a step in the right direction for the evolution of World of Warcraft.

Healing for Raids as Druids

So you want to raid as a Resto Druid in Patch 4.2 but aren’t sure how or you want to freshen up your memory? No problem! Here is the information that you’ll need to do so.

First off, you’ll need to know about the spec and talent tree. Resto Druids are specced with a lot of Healing over Time spells (or as people call them, HoTs) which is excellent for healing raids (as well as dungeons too!) Here is the rundown of your talents and what you should use in your talent tree.

Druid Resto Talent Tree for Raid Healing

Restoration (31)
Natural Shapeshifter, Naturalist, Heart of the Wild, Master Shapeshifter, Perseverance, Improved Rejuvenation, Revitalize, Nature’s Swiftness, Empowered Touch, Malfurion’s Gift, Efflorescence, Wild Growth, Gift of the Earthmother, Swift Rejuvenation, Tree of Life

Balance (10)
Nature’s Grace, Nature’s Majesty, Moonglow, and 2/3 Furor or Genesis.

After you are done putting your talents in, you should have 1 extra point in your talent tree to place wherever you may choose.

The talents that stack – Gift of Nature, Improved Rejuvenation, Blessing of the Grove, Genesis, Glyph of Rejuvenation, Empowered Touch, and Harmony.

Omen of Clarity: Does NOT proc from healing spells. Clearcasting is only consumed by Healing Touch and Regrowth and can only be procced with Malfurion’s Gift. It only lasts for 15 secs.

Moonglow: Mana cost is rounded down.

Mark of the Wild: Does NOT stack with Kings.

Efflorescence: Its based on the size of Swiftmend and double-dips from buffs such as Master Shapeshifter, Tree of Life as well as Harmony. It also benefits from crit (individual ticks do not crit)

Here are the glyphs you should use while healing.

Resto Druid Glyphs for Healing


  1. Glyph of Rejuvenation
  2. Glyph of Lifebloom (very handy when healing the tank)
  3. Glyph of Swiftmend


  1. Glyph of Wild Growth
  2. Glyph of Rebirth

Because 4.2 nerfed Innervate, the glyph is rather pointless. Instead you should go with Glyph of Healing Touch.


  1. Glyph of the Wild – Can save some mana but since 4.2, its a very cheap spell.
  2. Glyph of Unburdened Rebirth – Avoid embarassment of having to use reagents.
  3. Glyph of Dash – Can help if you’re falling behind.
  4. Glyph of the Treant – Miss what the old tree looks like? This is the glyph for you!

In order of importance:

Intellect – Spellpower – Mastery – Haste – Critical Strike – Spirit

Intellect (the best stat for HPS and mana)
Provides 1 spell power; 0.00154% to crit per point. With Mark of the Wild, Heart of the Wild, and Astral Leather Specialization, it provides 1.169 spellpower and 0.0018% crit. Increases your maximum mana by 1753 and regen with Innervate, Replenishment, and Revitalize.

A weaker form of Intellect but still good to have.

128.05 haste rating gives 1% spell haste. This reduces the cast time and GCD of all of our spells, to a minimum of 1 second GCD. Causes our HoT’s to tick faster as well as gain extra ticks. It does improve Rejuvenation or increase our mana pool.

Critical Strike
179.28 crit rating gives 1% to crit. Crit heals do twice as much healing since patch 4.0

Improves mana regen but gives no mana pool increase.

Before I begin talking about reforging, the most important thing you should know, is your HoT haste breakpoints.

  • 916: 5th tick of Rejuvenation. You should have this in any raid gearset.
  • 1573: 9th tick of Wild Growth and Effloresence with Dark Intent. If you have DI, you only have to make it to here instead of 2005 to get this nice bonus.
  • 1602: 5th tick of Rejuvenation without 5% haste. If you’re missing the haste buff, you really want to be at this point or higher.
  • 1779: 6th tick of Rejuvenation with Nature’s Grace.
  • 2005: 9th tick of Wild Growth and Efflorescence. This point is very valuable, as these two spells make up a large portion of our healing.
  • 2032: 6th tick of Rejuvenation with Shard of Woe proc active. If you have a Shard, this is only a small leap from 2005 and makes your trinket use much more effective.
  • 2490: 7th tick of Rejuvenation with Nature’s Grace and Shard of Woe active.
  • 3106: 11th tick of Wild Growth/Efflorescence with Nature’s Grace.
  • 3478: 6th tick of Rejuvenation with Dark Intent.
  • 3754: 10th tick of Wild Growth/Efflorescence.
  • 3967: 6th tick of Rejuvenation.

It is very important to maintain a haste breakpoint of 2005.

When planning to equip or reforge, you should keep these in mind while doing so.

  1. As said, be aware of haste breakpoints.
  2. Reach the 2005 haste breakpoint but only if your gear is good enough to reach it without any problems.
  3. Choose an item of higher ilevel in each spot.
  4. While choosing between spirit, crit and mastery, mastery ends up being the better choice than crit since you can stack mastery as high as you please. However crit may be better in certain situations like frequently spamming Living Seed. If you find yourself running low on mana constantly, go with spirit.

Casting Mechanics, Spells and Macros.

As you know to heal a target is to target them (only if it exists and friendly. To heal yourself, you should turn Auto Self Cast on (Interface – Game – Combat)

Clear Casting: It’s not a spell but a proc. However, it should be known about because it’s the most important proc the Druid has. When clearcast procs, you should cast a Healing Touch or Regrowth in the next few seconds. Although its better to use Healing Touch more than Regrowth since it has a higher healing rate when used.

Rejuvenation: Very central to our healing as it does a very high amount of healing, is efficient, and enables Swiftmend. However, it is moderately expensive on mana and will burn mana quickly if you spam it. Although it won’t give you an overcast, it’s still a great spell to use. Also, you should keep Rejuv on a tank that is taking alot of damage mixed with Nourish.

Swiftmend: Another one of our best spells as its instant and has a short cooldown. Activated by rejuvenation, it should be used on a group of people who are low on HP. Using Swiftmend’s cooldown heightens Harmony uptime.

Wild Growth: Will automatically target 5/6 people (6/6 people with the Glyph of Wild Growth) with the lowest HP and in range. The 30 yard range makes it easier to use and can often cast it on anyone and get a great result making it an excellent spell to use. In heavy damage situations, use Wild Growth on cooldown. Even though it is an expensive spell to use, it’s definitely worth it.

Lifebloom: Great heal to use on the tank or the person taking the most damage at all times. It is the cheapest HoT and strong, fast tick rate, and gives frequent Revitalize and Malfurion’s Gift procs. Keep it stacked on the target (3x).

Nourish: Cast this spell when you’re not using anything else as a filler because it’s the Druid’s cheapest heal. Easy on your mana consumption. Also, anytime you’re using your Nourish to refresh Lifebloom (every 10 seconds), you will have 100% Harmony uptime.

Healing Touch: Much larger than Nourish and less efficient. Good use when the tank needs a good direct heal. Combined with Nature’s Swiftness, it provides an emergency instant heal which is somewhat stronger than Swiftmend. You’ll usually use it with Swiftmend when you need two consecutive instant heals on someone.

Regrowth: Fast, inefficient direct heal when targets need immediate heals to avoid death (also use with Swiftmend when available.) When clearcast procs, use this spell to top someone off.

Tranquility: Puts out massive amounts of healing during the channeling time. Can easily save people from dying when used correctly.

Resto Druid in Tree Form HealingTree of Life Form: Has a few effects on spells as well as having a 15% bonus healing.
Lifebloom: Can cast on a number of targets instead of one.
Regrowth: Instant cast.
Wildgrowth: Targets 2 extra people.

Rebirth: A battle resurrection. Used when a person in your raid/dungeon dies during a fight and need to be resurrected quickly. Be sure not to waste it as it has a long cooldown. It also gives the person 100% health making it the best combat resurrection in the game.

Innervate: Use when you’re running low on mana during a fight.

Thorns: Useful on a tank during AoE fights or threat-sensitive situations.

Remove Corruption: A spell to cure debuffs on people in the raid;/dungeon.

Barkskin: Use this spell instantly in threatening amount of damage situation.

Target Priority Control

/use [@target, help] [@targettarget, help] Rejuvenation (or whatever spell you choose.

Mouseover targeting
/use [mouseover, help] Rejuvenation (or whatever spell you choose)

Nature’s Swiftness combined with Healing Touch

/showtooltip Nature’s Swiftness
/stopcasting /use Nature’s Swiftness
/use [@mouseover] Healing Touch

Cast Revive instead of Rebirth after a fight (also tells your group when it is being cast)

/use [nocombat]
/stopmacro [nocombat]
/use Rebirth
/ra Rebirth on %t