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Build Shop: Druid 0/11/50

Chris Jahosky

Hey there Build Shop fans! This week, I'm examining a heavy Restoration build for druids, with a few points from Feral thrown in (you know, for spice). This build comes to us courtesy of reader Arajal of Dunemaul, who had this to say about it: "Overall my build is mainly a healer spec with some utility thrown in. I like to DPS or tank instances sometimes, and my points in both trees help each role. Natural Perfection is pretty handy while tanking."

I disagree somewhat with the usefulness of Natural Perfection for tanking -- if you're a Druid tank with the proper amount of Defense, you shouldn't be getting crit at all. On the other hand, this isn't a full Feral build, and without Survival of the Fittest I'd imagine it'd be pretty tough to put together a leather set with enough Defense to get the job done, so it could be useful for reducing damage after you take the inevitable crit. I'd consider Natural Perfection more of a PvP / utility talent than anything else, but what do you think?

Arajal also has made some choices in the Resto tree that could be considered unconventional, but I'll let you be the judge. Let's take a look under the hood!

Feral (11 points)

  • Ferocity (5/5) - Reduces the Rage or Energy cost of Maul, Claw, Swipe, Rake, and Mangle by 5. Not bad for the first 5 points, but nothing in this tier supports what this build was meant to do. Still, I think this is the better choice.
  • Brutal Impact (2/2) - Increases the stun duration of Bash and Pounce by 1 second. Arajal took this because it "helps tremendously in arenas and general PvP, and the extra stun time gives me a better chance to heal myself or do more damage." I think that's a pretty accurate summation.
  • Thick Hide (3/3) - Increases your armor from items by 10%. This bonus helps no matter what form you're in, and gives you a bit more survivability.
  • Feral Charge (1/1) - Charge the target, immobilizing it and interrupting any spell being cast for 4 seconds. Quite useful in PvP and PvE encounters, and this talent was the whole reason Arajal considered the Feral tree for his build.

Restoration (50 points)
  • Improved Mark of the Wild (5/5) - Increases the effect of Mark of the Wild and Gift of the Wild by 35%. It doesn't scale with your gear, but Mark/Gift are great buffs, so getting even more out of them isn't a bad thing.
  • Naturalist (5/5) - Reduces the cast time of Healing Touch by 0.5 seconds and increases the physical damage you deal in all forms by 10%. The physical damage buff is pointless for a healing-intensive build, but this does reduce the cast time of Healing Touch to 3 seconds as well. However, I found this an odd choice, considering the reasons why Arajal said he skipped Tranquil Spirit: "I skipped Tranquil Spirit because I mainly use HoTs in any situation, and the frequency with which I use Healing Touch is too low for this talent to be useful." Arajal also stated that he didn't take Nature's Focus for PvE reasons (as he shouldn't be getting hit while healing in a raid), and just uses Barkskin for PvP. I would think the points would be better spent in Nature's Focus for the anti-spell interruption, since 5 talent points to buff a skill you won't use most of the time seems a waste, but I'm interested in hearing reader's thoughts on this. If you have Tree of Life, is taking Naturalist worth it if you sometimes need to switch forms and drop a big heal?
  • Intensity (3/3) - Allows 30% of your mana regeneration to continue while casting. A great talent for extending your mana pool, since you don't have to worry as much about the 5 second rule.
  • Subtlety (5/5) - Reduces the threat generated by your spells by 20%, and reduces their chance to be dispelled by 30%. Threat reduction is always great for PvE, and anti-dispel bonus helps keep your HoTs (and DoTs) up in PvP encounters.
  • Omen of Clarity (1/1) - Gives your melee attacks a chance to grant you Clearcasting, which reduces the mana/energy/rage cost of your next offensive ability or damage/healing spell by 100%. This was another strange choice for me. I can't imagine spending much time in melee with this build, so I question the usefulness of this talent point. I think even Nature's Grasp over in the Balance tree would be a better place to put this point.
  • Improved Rejuvenation (3/3) - Increases the effect of your Rejuvenation spell by 15%. Since all these wonderful HoTs are the real strength of Druid healing, might as well take talents that buff them.
  • Nature's Swiftness (1/1) - When activated, your next Nature spell becomes an instant cast. Works as a fantastic emergency button when you need a big heal in a hurry.
  • Gift of Nature (5/5) - Increases the effect of all healing spells by 10%. Another buff to your heals, and not bad for 5 points.
  • Improved Tranquility (2/2) - Reduces the threat caused by Tranquility by 100%. At first glance this seems like an awesome talent, considering how much healing Tranquility can deliver (the amount of threat generated by that kind of healing is quite large). However, sacrificing 2 points for this talent (which, with a long cooldown, you won't use all that much) seems kind of a waste.
  • Empowered Touch (2/2) - Your Healing Touch spell gains an additional 20% of your healing. Again, this talent seems like kind of unnecessary unless you're actually using Healing Touch, so if you find yourself using it a lot, it's great.
  • Improved Regrowth (5/5) - Increases the crit chance of Regrowth by 50%. If you're not using Tree of Life, this is an excellent use of 5 points. Apparently you can use this in the Tree of Life form, despite having a direct heal component to it. Thanks Ark!
  • Living Spirit (3/3) - Increases total Spirit by 15%. This feeds into Tree of Life, and scales with your gear -- not to mention it helps out with mana regeneration. Pick this one up.
  • Swiftmend (1/1) - Consumes a Rejuvenation or Regrowth effect on a friendly target and instantly heals them for an amount equal to 12 seconds of Rejuvenation or 18 seconds of Regrowth. Another nice emergency button, and can be used every 15 seconds if necessary.
  • Natural Perfection (3/3) - Increases your chance to crit with spells by 3%, and reduces damage received after a crit by 5% for 8 seconds (stacks 3 times). Like I said earlier, I wouldn't take this one for tanking; however, it's got great PvP applications, adds survivability, and gives your spells another 3% chance to crit. Not bad for 3 points.
  • Empowered Rejuvenation (5/5) - Increases the bonus healing effects of your HoT spells by 20%. Especially important for Tree of Life, because HoT spells are the only heals you'll be able to cast.
  • Tree of Life (1/1) - This form increases the healing received by friendly targets within 45 yards of you by 25% of your Spirit. Your movement speed is reduced by 20%, and the only spells you can cast are Swiftmend, Innervate, Nature's Swiftness, Rebirth, poison removing and HoT spells, but the mana cost of these spells is reduced by 20%. Definitely a mixed bag, here. Healing in the Tree of Life form is very different from healing in caster form, and I don't pretend to understand how to do one or the other (I don't have a Druid). However, I do know that healing in this form is very viable if done correctly.

Overall, I wouldn't say Arajal has a horrible build -- I disagree on a few talent choices but I've given my reasons why. He has enough points in the Resto and Feral trees to be a very durable PvP healer (all the more reason I don't understand skipping Nature's Focus), but it looks like it's working for him. Thanks for your build submission, Arajal!

That wraps up this edition of Build Shop, but I'll be back again next week. What do you want to see on Build Shop? Send me an email with your questions or comments, and we'll talk shop.

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