Restoration Druid Review - Battle for Azeroth Community Opinions
Throughout the pre-patch, we'll be launching a community opinions article for every class and spec. We're continuing our Battle for Azeroth Class Reviews and in this post, we'll be taking a look at the state of Resto Druid. See if this spec appeals to you in Battle for Azeroth!
We reached out to the Restoration Druid community to give their thoughts and opinions on the changes and current state of the spec.
If this spec appeals to you after reading this article, check out our
Battle for Azeroth Restoration Druid Guide
- Writer for
. Now on
- Dreamgrove Moderator, streamer, and raid leader.
- Dreamgrove Expert, Author of the
Healer Stat Weights
addon and raider in Keep Calm.
- Dreamgrove Expert, raider in Polar.
In terms of how resto druid plays, BFA Resto is very similar to Legion Resto. The upside of this is you’ve already had two years of practice and hopefully like the playstyle! The downside being we don’t have many new tools to play with outside of some fresh talents and a couple utility abilities we’ll use in Mythic+ (further discussed below).
So, what do we like, and what don’t we? Let’s look at our changes in a little more detail.
Several poor or middling talents in Legion were buffed into viability.
should all see much more usage than in Legion.
was added to all druid specs and there are plenty of dangerous enrage-mobs to use it on. This will be a core part of your utility in Mythic+, so if you haven’t keybound it already then go and do it now. We’ll wait……….. We also picked up
, which is a long CC effect on Beasts and Dragonkin (theoretically could be used on a long cast to spam interrupt). Sadly there aren’t too many of these mobs in the new dungeons.
removes the Raging affix so you won’t get steel piped by the BFA version of Maw of Soul’s Mariner.
is now one of the best throughput cooldowns in the game, with the downside that you can’t move while casting it. It takes some getting used to, but feels great once you do.
is now on a 60s cooldown as opposed to Legions 90s. This is a great change considering the more healer-dependent state of tanks in BFA.
Healing touch was removed. This spell was frequently a trap; it looked appetizing to newer players while being the wrong choice of cast in almost every situation.
While still strong in Mythic+, our strengths took some justifiable nerfs. Bear Form gives far less bonus health than before,
were moved to the same tier, Living Seed was removed, and the
rework isn’t favorable for the near mana-less environment of a dungeon.
There was a lot of interesting stuff attached to our artifact weapon that hasn’t been replaced by anything yet. Azerite Traits are supposed to be the next big thing, but the ones we have seen so far either don’t impact gameplay much (
) or encourage frankly awful playstyles (
being on the GCD is rough. You will need to spend 4.5s in Bear Form to benefit from the full heal (~50% longer than in Legion). Adding throughput cooldowns to the GCD has played out ok, but key defensives should not have been changed.
There’s nothing so far that makes BFA Resto unique or interesting compared to past iterations. If Legion Resto Druid was an $800 whisky then BFA Resto Druid is the same $800 whisky diluted in half a litre of water. Future exciting Azerite traits could fix this.
must be taken off the global cooldown. Currently it encourages innervating another healer as they get an extra cast out of it (while the druid waits on the GCD, the other healer can have a free cast in progress). This is exacerbated by the
azerite trait which gives you intellect based on number of spells cast when the
expires. Most druids will self-cast anyway and take the slight raid loss, but it’s still a poor design decision.
The Dreamwalker and Nature’s Essence artifact traits added a little depth to
by giving a sizeable bonus when you timed it as damage hit. This encouraged players to use the ability correctly and would be a nice addition as a passive trait; ideally it would proc off every
cast (as opposed to 50% chance in Legion) at 50% reduced strength. Small mechanics like these increase the skill ceiling of the spec and make it more rewarding to master.
Catweaving (DPSing with
) became much weaker due to scaling changes on most cat abilities. This is a small one, but Catweaving was a Legion highlight and it’s just fun.
The spec needs interesting Azerite traits that can impact gameplay in a positive way. The Azerite system seems intended to replace artifact traits, set bonuses, and legendaries, but fails to live up to the billing. Several are barely noticeable.
lost a little of the bonus crit chance it offered per stack and gained a reduction in mana cost instead. This is good for its raid viability but makes it weaker in Mythic+ (though still a strong choice).
Displacer Beast is gone. I’ll give you a minute to mourn. In its place we have
instead. It isn’t as good but flipping between it and
depending on the fight is good enough.
fought for the worst talent in the game award in Legion and after losing to
is back for round 2.
The affinities themselves received some ability switch-ups but all three play roughly the same as they did in Legion.
is now the dominant specialization when you want to contribute DPS, otherwise stick with
Unchanged in BFA.
will still be the most generally useful of the set - especially in Mythic+.
This row is unchanged, but
was strong in Legion because of how much mastery benefit we got from the talent.
was already a solid choice for many Legion fights and with the substantially lower Mastery levels present in BFA it will often edge out
. Expect both to see some use throughout the expansion.
is just a little too weak to compete.
Legion level 90 stalwarts
are joined in BFA by
. This becomes the most interesting, competitive set of talents we have with all three proving strong in different situations.
takes advantage of
’s newly found strength and is a great pick whenever the damage patterns of the fight line up better with a two minute cooldown than a three. Mythic Argus himself is a perfect example.
might be a better choice when the raid is stacked often and the fight has a need for consistent throughput. It’s also a decent default if the fight can’t take advantage of IP’s cooldown reduction (most Mythic Coven strats fall into this basket).
was a poor talent throughout Legion since tanks were near indestructible. It also shared a row with
, which was godly in all situations. In BFA,
has a 1 minute cooldown and tanks are mortal again (both making
a stronger choice). You likely won’t use this much in raids, but it will be great in Mythic+ particularly at the start of the expansion.
Our level 100 talents were completely revamped, but we will still take
in every raid. New challenger
is a really cool talent on paper and there is value in being able to switch between a single target or AoE focus during different moments of a fight. However, a great design isn’t enough if the numbers lag behind, and this one likely needs a small push to be competitive.
In almost every difficult fight throughout Legion, being able to heal through damage bursts was much more important than persistent throughput (Varimathras looked good on the meters but it wasn’t challenging to heal) - examples include Kil’Jaeden healing/DPS adds, Argus chains, and Aggramar intermissions (double or quadruple add explosions). It is likely this will continue in BFA, giving
immense value. With Essence of G’hanir now baked in, it’s likely to find a permanent raid spot on your bars.
drops in value a little in BFA. Our mastery is lower,
is shorter, and it has much stronger competition with its move to the level 100 tier. Let’s label this one great for Mythic+, a non-starter in raid.
Resto druid continues to be good at everything (pro), but the best at nothing (con). We have strong survivability, mobility, single target and raid healing, though other specs can arguably surpass us in each category. Our versatility earns us a place in the raid roster, though top world racing guilds may prioritize other healing classes. With lower
duration, BFA resto druids will also be punished more for lack of encounter knowledge, so be sure to research damage patterns ahead of time and prep accordingly.
Overall, we are hopeful and excited to see what happens with Resto Druid in BFA.
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