What follows is an in-depth look at each row of talents. If you are looking for a good general set of talents that will do you well in most situations, see the Reference Sheet.
There is no decision to be made for this tier. Cenarion Ward is far too strong to give up. Here is a breakdown:
- Prosperity. Gives you two Swiftmend charges and a 10% reduction in cooldown. This is a talent that looks good on paper, but tends to be quite weak in practice.
- The cooldown is shared between the two charges, and so in a situation where you are casting it on cooldown the talent only really gives you 10%+1 additional Swiftmends per fight.
- If both charges of Swiftmend are on cooldown you are back to getting 1 charge every 27 seconds and the three second reduction isn’t significant enough to make it a good choice.
- Swiftmend doesn’t interact with Flourish, Essence of G’Hanir, or your mastery like the stronger Cenarion ward does, and heals for less overall.
- Cenarion Ward. Gives you an extra HoT on a 30 second cooldown. This is the best talent in almost all situations.
- The HoT counts toward your mastery, and as it will be cast on a tank most of the time it’s likely to get a ~40-50% boost from your mastery.
- The HoT can be extended to 14 seconds with Flourish.
- The HoT is affected by Essence of G’Hanir doubling the healing it does when combo’d together.
- It can be pre-cast on the tank before a fight starts.
- Abundance. A very fun talent to play around with. Unfortunately weak for a few reasons:
- Healing Touch’s problem is not its cast time. Even if you have enough Rejuvenations up to make it near-instant it is still rarely worth casting.
- Regrowth is still poor healing per mana even at 100% crit chance. It also stops benefitting from Abundance at 3-4 stacks since in reasonable gear it already has a 60%+ crit chance.
A pretty interesting tier with a pretty clear winner. Displacer Beast should be taken in all fights in which movement is relevant.
- Renewal. A big self-heal on a long-ish cooldown.
- Off the global cooldown.
- Not usually necessary since we already have Barkskin, and Bear Form to survive bursts of damage.
- Displacer Beast. Basically Blink with a kitty Sprint tagged onto the end.
- Changing back out of Cat Form doesn’t incur a global cooldown.
- It’s a blink spell, not a dash ability so you can use this to get through walls, patches of fire, and other mechanics without taking damage.
- Can be cast in any form including Bear, Moonkin, and Travel.
- It’s a Druid blink! Take it. Use it. Love it. Pray they don’t take it from us.
- Wild Charge. Useful for swimming faster and uhh….
- The non-shapeshifted fly to an allies position can actually be situationally useful but Displacer Beast is just better in most situations.
The level 45 talents allow us to pick a different Druid spec to specialise in. I love this tier, and I’ve never felt more like a shape-shifting Druid than I have this expansion. Guardian Affinity tends to be the most powerful of the set, with Feral Affinity offering more DPS than Balance Affinity if you need to push more damage and care less about survivability.
- Balance Affinity. The weakest of the tier. It offers a passive 5 yard range increase on all spells, and grants you access to Moonkin form along with a few extra DPS abilities.
- Offers less DPS than Feral Affinity.
- Worth taking for the range increase in fights where the raid is veeeeeery spreadout, but even then you will likely gain better value from spreading out your healers. I took it on Helya for a better dispel range.
- Feral Affinity. Offers a passive 15% movement speed increase, along with access to some key Feral DPS spells.
- Higher DPS on both single target and AoE compared to Balance Affinity.
- Very useful for Mythic+ dungeons where healer DPS is very important (Catweaving guide here).
- Guardian Affinity. Worth taking for the 6% damage reduction which is a little boring but very strong on progression content.
- Of the Bear Form spells you gain, Frenzied Regeneration is a stand-out for the huge self-heal it offers.
The level 60 talents are all utility based, and Typhoon is the most generally-useful of the set.
- Mighty Bash. A 5 second stun is never bad, and it’s excellent in PVP. Some niche use in Nighthold like stunning the adds on Krosus.
- Mass Entanglement. A cool ability that spreads just a little slowly for my liking. Situational use in Dungeons, but useless in Nighthold except for proccing Sephuz Secret on add fights like Botanist.
- Typhoon. A push back and a slow in one.
- You can use it to push back the plant adds on Botanist to buy your raid a little more time to run away.
- If you cast Ursol’s Vortex, and then Typhoon all of the mobs will be grouped together in the center of the vortex for maximum AoE. A useful trick for Mythic+.
The level 75 talent row offers some interesting choices, but is dominated by Cultivation.
- Soul of the Forest. The Wild Growth options offers the most value, and a 75% increase to every 3rd Wild Growth is quite appetizing (indeed Prosperity / Soul of the Forest was a common build in 7.0).
- Unfortunately mathematically inferior to Cultivation.
- Wastes your only emergency single target heal to increase the value of Wild Growth, and adds another GCD of prep time.
- Incarnation: Tree of Life. Strong PVP talent. In PVE it’s a little underrated but tends not to quite hold up to Cultivation. Here’s why:
- The flat 15% heal increase is nice, but not amazing.
- Regrowth has the same cast time as the global cooldown, so making them instant doesn’t increase the hps or hpm of the spell. It just makes it a slightly better tool for saving people.
- The 50% increase to Rejuvenations applies to Rejuvs you’ve cast before you Tree of Life (nice!) and the 50% increase is higher than Cultivation, however Cultivation adds a stack of mastery whereas Tree of Life does not.
- Cultivation is active six times as often and as healers we care heavily about consistency.
- Cultivation. I’ve spent the last two paragraphs talking up Cultivation. Here’s why it’s so strong:
- It applies a second HoT effect to the target, increasing the healing of both the Cultivation effect as well as the Rejuvenation that applied it and any other HoTs the target might have.
- It kicks in when the target actually needs the healing (sub 60%).
- It’s active at all times, as opposed to SotF and Incarnation which come in bursts.
- The HoT can be extended by Flourish, and benefits from Essence of G’Hanir. It also reapplies itself if the target is still below 60% HP when rejuvenation ticks.
The level 90 talents are all very strong choices, though each fight usually has an ‘optimal’ option. See the encounter guide for specifics.
- Spring Blossoms. More Hots!
- A good choice for most raid fights. The heal value itself is not significant but the extra stack of Mastery is very nice, and it still adds ~10k+ hps itself.
- If you run Spring Blossoms you reeeeeeealy need to make sure that you have an Efflorescence down 100% of the time. There is a WeakAura in the Interface section to help you with this.
- Inner Peace. More Tranquilities!
- A significant cooldown reduction for one of the strongest raid cooldowns in the game. Often unnecessary in Nighthold.
- If you take Inner Peace you must get at least one extra Tranquility off to make it worthwhile.
- Consider how long you expect the fight to last. How many other healer cooldowns do you have? How many will you need to survive the fight?
- Germination. More Rejuvenations!
- The Germination HoT benefits from anything that effects Rejuvenation. The only difference is the name.
- Offers its own Mastery stack separately from Rejuvenation.
- Very strong in 5 mans, and decent for various Nighthold Bosses (including Spellblade and Tichondrius in particular).
The level 100 talents all have their place, but Flourish is almost always the best raid option since the mana efficiency it affords spells is huge.
- Moment of Clarity. Three slightly-boosted Regrowths for every Omen of Clarity is decent, but it often doesn’t help you accomplish the goals of the encounter very well.
- Pretty bad synergy with the rest of your kit and the random nature of the proc wastes a lot of the value of the free Regrowths.
- Poor in Mythic+ since the free mana is rarely required and the buffs to the Regrowths is not significant enough.
- Completely dominated by Flourish in raids.
- Stonebark. Gives your tank cooldown a bit more punch, as well as bringing it up more often.
- Useful for Mythic+ dungeons where tank damage is very high and bursty (Example: Ymiron in Maw of Souls, or Oakheart in Darkheart Thicket).
- Weak for the current set of raids since other healers still possess better tank cooldowns, and you have to give up the powerful Flourish to pick it up.
- Remember: It doesn’t increase the damage reduction, just the healing of the HoT’s on the target.
- Flourish. Almost essential in a raid environment. Effects every HoT in your kit, including talents.
- With a one minute cooldown you want to cast Flourish as often as possible, as it increases the HPM of almost all of your spells.
- Every second Essence of G’Hanir can be combined with Flourish to double the effectiveness of your longer-lasting HoTs.
- Be sure to cast Cenarion Ward before Flourish to almost double its duration.
- Insane synergy with your Mastery and the rest of your talents, as every Spring Blossom, Cultivation, Cenarion Ward will all tick for (in some cases) twice as long.
Phew, you made it. Take a deep breath, and we’ll take a look at your Artifact Weapon.