Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Restoration Druid Guide Part 5: Legendaries, Gear, and Your Artifact (7.3.5 Compliant)

Other Restoration Druid Guides:
Part 1 - Talents
Part 2 - Stats, Enchants, Gems, and Consumables
Part 3 - Spells
Part 4 - UI and Addons
Part 6 - Gameplay

Restoration Druid Guide Index Page

I know you want me to give you a Best in Slot list.  There's so many options with different stats that knowing which gear is RIGHT is a huge pain in the butt, made no easier by all these differences because of random sockets and the forging system.  Unfortunately, I can't give you a BiS list.

In general, whatever has a higher item level is what you should be equipping.  The exceptions to this is in jewelry and trinkets, where certain stats and effects may make something pull ahead of items with a higher item level.  Generally, we tend to prefer trinkets with a large amount intellect instead of fancy effects that are less reliable.  Your best in slot will also vary based on what content you do.  Obviously if you only raid and don't do mythic dungeons, mythic dungeon items will not be applicable to your BiS list.  My recommendation is to visit, and have it calculate your best in slot based on what content you actually do and whether you run a mastery or haste build.  You can change it up as you wish and sub things in that you believe are better.  That's what I do to generate my list of desired gear.


restoration druid guide legendaries gear artifact

We can only equip 2 legendaries currently, so which 2 do are best to have?  I will break down which ones are most desirable.

Velen's Future Sight - Currently arguably our most BiS trinket no matter what you're doing, this is a great little bit of gear.  It has really good stats even without the on-use ability, which will typically make up 5%-7% of our overall healing.  One of our problems as druids is that because we work primarily in heal over time spells, sometimes a HoT like Rejuvenation will heal someone to full but still tick, which is basically wasted.  The ability of this trinket will let us better redistribute the overhealing from our HoTs.  This would be great to use during or right after a Tranquility, or after we pop Essence of G'Hanir paired with a Flourish for a strong burst heal that will do less overhealing.  If you are unsure when to use the ability, try pairing it with Essence of G'Hanir for the best results. You can view my custom Velen's Future Sigh WeakAuras here!

Aman'Thul's Wisdom - This Legendary synergized well with the T19 set bonus, but since we are two tiers away from that, I don't think this will be topping anyone's list.  I'm not a huge fan of crit, so as a stat stick I wouldn't want to be wearing this.  I also don't see the point of the special ability.  If Rejuvenation is already overhealing someone, what is the point of extending it? It seems like it's just going to be adding in more overhealing.

Tearstone of Elune - If you don't have one of the aforementioned, this little piece of jewelry will be amazing for you.  We use Wild Growth all the time, and with this ring you get free Rejuvenations which, of course, synergize with both the above legendaries as well as your our artifact ability AND our talent Flourish.  It also builds stacks of Harmony.  What's nice is that since Wild Growth is a smart heal and will automatically target the lowest-health players, the added Rejuvenation is less likely to result in overhealing.  The downside is that it procs on the individual cast, NOT each tick.  The stats on this are also great.  Though this legendary is awesome, it has been overshadowed slightly by a few others, but fear not, this is still great if you don't have anything better!

Prydaz, Xavaric's Magnum Opus - I have a new love for this item.  It gives a big boost of our best stats, and the proc effect does a nice percentage of my healing.  It also is nice to worry less about healing myself so I can heal others more.  It's also awesome for soloing.

Ekowraith, Creator of Worlds - Also a utility legendary, with a small healing boost.  It will make our tier 3 talents and Ysera's Gift slightly more potent.  It also synergizes well with the Tier 21 set bonus.  If you got this legendary, don't worry, it's also decently good.

Edraith, Bonds of Aglaya - This is more of a legendary for single target healing, which is not something druids generally tend to do much of unless you are a big fan of Mythic+ dungeons.  If you pop this on a tank (especially in combination with Cenarion Ward!), you can be assured the tank will be okay and move onto topping up other people, which would definitely be a plus.  Synergizes well with Prosperity.  After using this would be a good time to pop Essence.

The Dark Titan's Advice - Also more of a single-target healing legendary, though the extra healing can be unreliable.  For a Mythic+ or similar content where you will be concentrating most of your heals on a single target like the tank, this legendary would be amazing.  However, dungeons aren't something I do much of, and Lifebloom already has a tendency to overheal when it expires anyway, plus you can't control when the final bloom happens.

X'oni's Caress - Also more for single-target, and not even that good compared to the other tank-healy legendaries we have available..  This would be alright in a Mythic+ where the tank is taking high amounts of damage and you need a little more punch to keep him alive.  Ordinarily, Ironbark is purely a mitigation ability, but paired with this it increases the potency of your HoTs.  Unfortunately, its potency relies on the scenario in which you had been able to blanket the group in Rejuvenations before using the effect. It synergizes well with Stonebark if you choose to take it.

Sephuz's Secret - This can situationally be decent, but I would not want to use it if given an alternative.  I don't like relying on random procs and we don't tend to CC or stun at all ordinarily.  We don't do enough dispelling 99% of the time to make this legendary worth picking over something better.  It would also be difficult to coordinate to gain the buff at a time when you'd actually NEED it.  It's probably you'd get the buff with absolutely nothing to use it on.  I'm also not a huge fan of the stats.

Essence of Infusion - It sounds good on paper and it can be great for group healing, but I wouldn't choose this item either.  Tranquility is plenty powerful on its own and the effect of this item would likely translate to pure overheal unless you had Velen's to offset it. On a boss with a cyclical high damage ability that allows you to get the most out of the item it might be worthwhile.  Synergizes well with Inner Peace.

Chameleon Song - The usefulness of this legendary relies on you casting many Wild Growths, which will only burn your mana. It may feel like you are compelled to cast Wild Growth when you don't actually have to just to get some use out of this item.  However, it has great stats and on fights with a lot of consistent damage that make all the Wild Growth casts worthwhile, this may actually be a really good one to have.  I feel like this is one I'll have to experiment with to see if it's maybe better than some others I've preferred thus far.

Soul of the Archdruid - This legendary was somewhat alright while using Tier 20, but now in Antorus it is basically worthless.  It has low stats compared to other legendary rings, and the increased healing from gaining the Soul of the Forest talent isn't enough to make up for the lost stats.  The Swiftmend + Wild Growth combo may also be wasted in a situation where Wild Growth isn't needed and would be pure overheal.

Aman'Thul's Vision - The really nice thing about this trinket is that it isn't on a number lock with the other legendary items, so you can equip this in addition to two other legendaries.  It's an awesome stat stick.  Unfortunately the proc is dependent on your party members having similar trinkets, but when they become more common the effect will be bitchin.  Don't take it off.

Insignia of the Grand Army - I guess at least you get this one for free?  It's got good stats but it still isn't competitive with other legendaries.  The tier two traits are small to begin with it it doesn't give a significant increase in healing out output.  This is also assuming you have the optimal traits in the first place.

Our Artifact

restoration druid guide g'hanir artifact

Our artifact weapon is G'Hanir, which is pretty much a tree branch.  Why not right?  Some people make a big deal of scientifically mapping out which talents to take and when, but honestly, I just put them wherever.  Go for your gold traits first.  At this point, you will be gaining Artifact Power so fast you can fill up most of your traits in a couple days, so it's really not gonna matter which order you slot them in.  However, what IS important is making sure your artifact appearance matches your transmog.  As for relics, I tend to choose ones that have abilities that make my spells cost less mana.  Mana management is always a problem so I often go with whichever relic does that for me.  There are a couple relics that do this, as well as another that reduces the mana cost of Wild Growth.  As always, tailor your relics to your playstyle and what YOU like to do.  If you like healing Mythic+, then go for the relics that help with that such as the one that empowers Ironbark.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

My New PC and Desk Set-up (aka The Girl Cave Part 2)

A long while ago I did a post describing my desk setup.  At the time it got a lot of attention, but looking back on it is so cringe!  I now have a desk setup I am much happier with.  Of course, it will never be perfect.  There will always be something to tweak or change, but this is the best I've felt about my desk setup since, well, ever.

girl gamer room tour setup pc gaming white purple pink

Here's an overview of what it looks like.

girl gamer room tour setup pc gaming white purple pink

We'll start from left to right.  The desk is from a company called Merax and I got it on Amazon.  Actually I got almost everything from Amazon.  The legs of my desk are spraypainted lavender.  Of course, like in the first desk setup post, my remote is close at hand.  My monitor is from HP and I have the same Logitech keyboard.  I also have the same Bondidea N86 mouse, which I love.  Unfortunately, it doesn't come in pink anymore.  I got my Sailor Moon mousepad from a seller on Amazon.  I wish it was a bit brighter and the edges are slightly frayed but I still love it.

girl gamer room tour setup pc gaming white purple pink

I got the purple vase from a garage sale, and I am so in love with it.  I always keep fresh flowers in it.  These ones I got and I wanted to be surprised at which color they turned out to be.  Next to it is a book I'm reading now and a to-do list pad on top of it that I got at Wal-Mart.  I am one of those people who loves to-do lists.  Next to that is my pen holder I got from Amazon that has in it my Sailor Mercury pen, my Ravenclaw pen, a couple other random pens, my scissors, and my Skullcandy earbuds.  Next to that is a little stand that I keep my phone on.

girl gamer room tour setup pc gaming white purple pink

Above that area on the wall I keep my controllers tidy with stick-on wall hooks I got from Amazon.  On the top is a Wireless Windows XBox controller that I sometimes use when playing compatible games on my PC, then below that I have a pink wireless PS3 controller from Rock Candy, then below that I have my white PS4 controller with decals from DecalGirl on it.  Below that is my Skullcandy wireless gaming headset.  Next to that on the board is a calendar I got from a gift shop, and some random notes and stuff stuck in pins next to it.

girl gamer room tour setup pc gaming gargoyle gecko faerie dragon

Finally, on the edge of my desk is the cage that my gargoyle gecko lives in.  I go days without seeing him.  Sometimes I don't even know if he's alive so I check.  Above that is my Brightwing plush.  Next to the cage I keep a water bottle and a spray bottle since it's just handier to keep it there.

girl gamer room tour setup pc gaming faerie dragon white purple pink

Below my desk is where my PC lives.  I LOVE my PC.  I built it myself and named it Faerie Dragon.  The case is a white BitFenix Prodigy which I spraypainted the handles and added a different front cover that fit my color scheme more.  The decal on the front is from RedBubble.  In it are an EVGA GeForce GTX 1080, Intel Core i7-4790, 16 GB of ram, a Gigabyte Z97N WiFi motherboard, Western Digital 1 TB hard drive, and Windows 8.1 OS.  The filing cabinet, with the handles spraypainted, is from Amazon.  The USB hub stuck to the side is also from Amazon.  I have an audio extender cable coming out of the side, stuck to the side of the desk with a cable clip.

As you can tell, the cable management is much better this time around compared to the previous post.  Some products I love for managing cables are cable clips, cable tie mounts, simple thin zip ties, thick reusable zip ties, and mounting tape.  I got most of the tips for managing my cables from a YouTube channel called TechSource, which was super helpful.

I obviously have other things I sometimes have on my desk, like my transmitter for my headset, my XBox controller receiver, and my external disk player, and stuff like that, but I hate clutter so if I'm not using it, it gets put away.  This iteration is definitely less cluttered than it was in the first post.  I really prefer it this way with such a clean and simple look.

This post contains affiliate links.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Restoration Druid Guide Part 4: UI and Addons (7.3.5 Compliant)

Other Restoration Druid Guides:
Part 1 - Talents
Part 2 - Stats, Enchants, Gems, and Consumables
Part 3 - Spells
Part 5 - Legendaries, Gear, and Your Artifact
Part 6 - Gameplay

Restoration Druid Guide Index Page

Your user interface is very important.  It's how you get information about the encounter, know who and when to heal, and react to threats.  It doesn't have to be fancy or unrecognizable from the original UI.  It just has to be functional for YOU.  Ask 10 people what their UI looks like, and you'll get 10 different answers.  What they all have in common is that their UI is optimal for what they do, because everyone plays a little differently.  I'm not going to go over what my UI looks like and how to get it, I'm going to go through what raiders (specifically restoration druids) should have on their UI.

Other Posts You May Find Helpful:
VuhDo Setup and Export String
A Stroll Around My UI

1. Functional raid frames

Restoration druid guide raid frames vuhdo resto addon

Your frames are your bread and butter.  I personally use VuhDo.  I like how it is versatile and highly customizeable, and attractive compared to other frame addons.  Configure your spells in a way that will be the easiest for you to remember where everything is.  Healbot is another viable alternative (and what I started with), as well as Clique + Grid.

I also have my VuhDo Setup and Export String available here.

2. A boss mod

Restoration druid guide boss timers dbm resto

Most raid groups require a boss mod.  It will call out mechanics for you and tell you when you're standing in fire.  It also makes it easier to coordinate healing cooldowns by alerting you of high raid damage.  I use Deadly Boss Mods, but I know some guilds also use BigWigs.

3. Bars

Restoration druid guide bars bartender resto

Presumably you can use the default bars, but I like to use Bartender.  It sleeks up your UI and frees up space for other things that could be more helpful to you for healing, like auras.

4. A meter

Restoration druid guide meter skada resto

Numbers are not everything, but it's still important to pump out as much healing as you can consistently in order to be useful to your raid.  Therefore, you should be using a meter to gauge your progress.  You can also use it to observe other restoration druids who may be doing better than you, and you can perhaps notice a way to improve.  I like using Skada, but Recount is also popular.  Not to toot my own horn, but that's me on the top in that picture ;)

5. Logging

Restoration druid guide analyze logging resto

This is probably more advanced, but when you want to  get into progression content, you should really look into logging your performance.  You can analyze in detail everything you did, and everything you did wrong.  You can see what you did wrong in order to know what you should do better next time.  You can input the logs into the website WoWAnalyzer, which will analyze it and give you point of improvement.  I've found it to be very helpful.  I log raids using Warcraft Logs, which I upload using Loggerhead.

4. Auras

Speaking of auras.  I use WeakAuras.  It adds an icon to your screen that makes it easier to keep track of cooldowns or charges for spells.  Because I use VuhDo, I can take most of my healing spells off my bars and just make auras showing me the cooldowns.  I would not be able to heal without my auras.  Most auras come in two parts: one to show the cooldown, one to show when the ability is ready. For some abilities, like Innervate, I also have an aura that shows buff duration.

Here are the strings I use for my resto druid.  You can import them into WeakAuras.  I finally discovered text boxes so I'm not pasting log strings of code into the post directly, so just right click the box, click "Select All", copy, and paste directly into WeakAuras!  If you find an error, please let me know!

Cenarion Ward Is Ready
Restoration druid guide weakauras cenarion ward aura resto

Cenarion Ward Is On Cooldown

Efflorescence Is Ready
Restoration druid guide weakauras efflorescence aura resto

Efflorescence Expiration

Essence of G'Hanir Cooldown
Restoration druid guide weakauras essence of g'hanir aura resto

Essence of G'Hanir Is Ready

Flourish Cooldown
Restoration druid guide weakauras flourish aura resto

Flourish Is Ready

Ironbark Cooldown
Restoration druid guide weakauras ironbark resto cooldown aura

Ironbark Is Ready

Nature's Cure Cooldown
Restoration druid guide weakauras resto nature's cure aura resto cooldown

Nature's Cure Is Ready

Rebirth Cooldown
Restoration druid guide weakauras aura rebirth cooldown resto

Rebirth Is Ready

Swiftmend Cooldown
Restoration druid guide weakauras swiftmend aura cooldown resto

Swiftmend Is Ready

Wild Growth Cooldown
Restoration druid guide weakauras wild growth aura cooldown resto

Wild Growth Is Ready

Innervate Duration
Restoration druid guide weakauras innervate cooldown resto aura

Innervate Cooldown

Innervate Is Ready

Here's what they look like together:

Restoration druid guide weakauras strings resto

I keep this setup under my player frame, which is to the middle left of the screen so I can easily glance and see them without losing sight of the fight.  Most players typically look at the middle area of the screen so it's best to keep all the important stuff where your eyes are, without overcrowding the space.  You can see my Velen's Future Sight WeakAuras here.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Restoration Druid Guide Part 3: Spells (7.3.5 Compliant)

Other Restoration Druid Guides:
Part 1 - Talents
Part 2 - Stats, Enchants, Gems, and Consumables
Part 4 - UI and Addons

Part 5 - Legendaries, Gear, and Your Artifact
Part 6 - Gameplay

Restoration Druid Guide Index Page

In this particular section I will go over some spells that are specific for the restoration spec, and give tips on when and how to use them.  I will be leaving out talent spells as I already went into detail about them in the Talents section of the guide.  I also won't be discussing passive abilities.

restoration druid guide spells resto how to

Efflorescence - This is our ground area heal.  You place it on the ground under a group and it will heal them.  Make sure it is under a group of at least 3.  I usually find that it's best to put under melee because they're usually stacked together.

Essence of G'Hanir - Our artifact ability.  It's best to blanket as many heal over time spells as you can, then hit this bad boy.

Healing Touch - This is our spell we use when we're not doing anything else.  It's a slow heal that costs a medium amount of mana.  It doesn't do much healing so we won't be using it unless we literally have nothing else do do.

Innervate - Allows the target to cast spells for no mana for 10 seconds. I really recommend using it on yourself.  You can use it to chain Rejuvenations in preparation for using Flourish and Essence of G'Hanir, along with a Wild Growth, for some very strong burst healing. I also recommend placing Efflorescence before popping those abilities.  Bind Innervate to another ability if you have difficulty remembering to use it (like me...).  Don't be scared to use it.  Just use it when it's off cooldown unless you are waiting for a specific time in the fight to use it.  Don't wait for the "perfect time".  It won't come and you can easily go a whole fight without using it if you aren't thinking about it (which is bad and a waste).

Ironbark - This is a defensive cooldown we can put on the tank.  You can put it on them at the start of a pull to make it smoother, or wait until the boss is about to do a strong attack to provide the tank with extra protection.  You can also cast it on yourself.

Lifebloom - This is a heal over time spell that you can have one one target at a time.  Normally I recommend using it on a tank.  If you're healing with another restoration druid, you should coordinate so you each have your Lifebloom on a different tank.  Make sure you keep your uptime on this as close to 100% as you can.  If you recast this with less than 4.5 seconds left to tick, it will trigger the bloom, so you should NEVER let this HoT drop, but still don't recast it too early because that's wasting mana.

Nature's Cure  - This is our basic dispel.  It has an 8 second cooldown, so be careful to prioritize who needs dispels first.  Also make sure it's actually something that warrants being dispelled, because of the mana cost.

Rebirth - Our battle resurrection.  I really recommend saving it in case the tank or another healer dies.  But of course, if your raid leader calls for it, use it.

Regrowth - Our quick OH SHIT heal.  It takes up quite a bit of mana but has a short cast time, so use it if your tank is about to die.  We will occasionally get Omen of Clarity procs to make it a mana-free cast so make sure you use them.

Rejuvenation - This is really what druids are known for as healers. This is our main heal over time spell.  You can blanket the raid in it, but that will burn mana quick, so I recommend keeping it rolling on the tanks and then sticking it on someone who is low on health but not in much danger of dying.  Learn to anticipate incoming damage so your are putting Rejuvenation on the right people and not overhealing at a high cost to your mana.

Revive / Revitalize - This is our resurrection and mass resurrection.  Only castable out of combat.

Swiftmend - You can use this on a target with one of our heal over time spells and it will instantly heal them for a small amount.  Good to save for an emergency since it's instant.

Tranquility - This is our major raid cooldown.  Use it when you can stand still for a few seconds because it's channeled unless you have a point in the trait that makes it castable while moving.  Save it for high damage phases and coordinate its use with the other healers on your team.  Tranquility benefits from your Mastery, so throw out a Wild Growth before you cast Tranquility to give it a boost!

Wild Growth - This is our blanket smart heal heal.  It has a short cast time, and will put a heal over time effect on the 6 lowest health members of your group.  It is usually a top 3 heal so make you use it on cooldown of more than a couple are injured.  Wild Growth will always prioritize player targets over non-player targets (like NPCs and pets).  Make sure you aren't spam casting Wild Growth just because it's come off cooldown unless you actually HAVE to, because it does cost a lot of mana.