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Shifting Perspectives: Gearing up your Resto Druid for Kara Part 1


Every week, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting druids and those who group with them. This week John Patricelli, the Big Bear Butt Blogger, tries to bring some Resto Druid gear info with the haelp of 4 Haelz.

Andrew: "Right. Right. Gotcha." [pause] "I bet even covert operatives eat curly fries. They're really good."
Spike: "Not as good as those onion blossom things."
Andrew: "Ooh, I love those."
Spike: "Yeah, me, too."
Andrew: "It's an onion... and it's a flower. I don't understand how such a thing is possible."
Spike: "See, the genius of it is you soak it in ice water for an hour so it holds its shape. Then you deep-fry it root-side up for about 5 minutes."
Andrew: "Masterful."
Spike: "Yeah." [pause] "Tell anyone we had this conversation, I'll bite you."

- Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Now you know exactly what I'm thinking when someone says "Lifebloom" around me. So, you really sure you want me to write for the Resto set?

Plus, that'll teach Allie to quote Veronica Mars at me the other week. I'll see your modern day Nancy Drew and raise you a Spike. Dare to escalate?

This week, I present you with the first part of a list of gear that the aspiring Resto Druid should be looking for to prepare for Karazhan.

Since if left to my own devices I'd just get you into all kinds of trouble, I enlisted the services of Bellwether at 4 Haelz to bring together the research. 4 Haelz is a blog by an end-game raiding healy Druid kinda person. She's smart and funny and neat and stuff, so go check her out. Her blog, check her blog out.

Follow along after the break and we'll get into the specifics!

Some commentary from Bellwether;

Something to keep in mind, there are a lot more choices for healers than tanks. Having Primal Mooncloth or Windhawk is not necessary for us to do our jobs. And in Karazhan, we can lean on the other healers you bring and let them help us out, unlike a tank who must hold aggro unless the mechanics say otherwise. In fact, getting Primal Mooncloth or Windhawk is almost over-gearing for Karazhan.

+Healing Guidelines:
1k +Healing for first half of Kara (Attumen to Curator)
1.2k +Healing for second half of Kara (Curator to Prince)
1k +Healing for easier heroics (Slave Pens, Underbog, etc.)
1.2k +Healing for harder heroics
1.4k +Healing for hardest heroics (Shattered Halls, Magister's Terrace, etc.)

Why? Because Kara is easier on healers than heroics. Resto's have difficulty with our specific style of healing (HoT-based) in mitigating high damage output. However, Dreamstate spec may be a little less stringent on the 1.2k requirement for harder heroics, due to their healing style being akin to a rather slow Paladin.

Your mp5 should be at 100 mp5 while casting at the very least.

Stat Priorities:
+Healing, Spirit, Intellect, Mana Regeneration (mp5), Stamina

+Healing – obviously important as it increases healing output.
Spirit – only class which gains more mp5 benefit from spirit than druids are priests. Added bonus of having Tree of Life aura increase healing on the affected by ¼ of your spirit.
Intellect – increases size of mana pool, and increases mp5 gain of spirit.
Mana Regen (mp5) – about as good as spirit, you always know what you are getting with this.
Stamina – you need big health pools so you can survive through AoE, splash and targeted damage. It should come naturally with your gear.

Non-priority at this time:
Spell Haste – this becomes more important as you move to endgame, but is unnecessary for a new 70 raiding Resto Druid.

Unimportant stats:
Spell-crit: Rings/necks/trinks with this ability are paladin/shaman gear. Most HoTs cannot crit, and you will be HoT healing unless Dreamstate spec'd. And too many crits is bad for you even then, as you have no aggro drop.

Bellwethers thoughts on Instances:
Magister's Terrace is the best instance for restoration gear. However, it is a higher level than other instances, even on normal. Therefore, it is best not to attempt Heroic Magister's until you have 1400 +Healing at the very least, due to the high demand it places on a healer's shoulders. However, it should be noted that druids do very well as healer in Magister's, and should have less problems than a Paladin. Normal Magister's, with a competent and well-organized group, can be done at roughly 800 +Healing, though it is still a bit difficult.

Shadow Labs is a must. The Lifebloom trinket is one of two "best" idols for a Tree of Life (not Dreamstate) Restoration Druid. The other is the Idol from the Epic Flight quest (once again, speaking to ToL druids. Dreamstate druids will want the Idol from Karazhan) and they should be switched out based upon group role and need.

Sha'tar reputation is very handy for the mace, and Arcatraz and Botanica have many different and beneficial Restoration Druid drops, including the sticks-and-leaves shoulders all the Resto Druids want.

Hallowed Raiment was included since a single piece of Hallowed is better than a single piece of Moonglade; however the set bonus does nothing for a Druid. Trying for more than one piece is superfluous.

Do not be afraid to wear cloth. Cloth healing is designed with Priests in mind, and Druids and Priests share similar stat mechanics. Wearing a mix of leather and cloth healing is perfectly fine. You will not be all that much more squishy, and that should be your only complaint. Some cloth is better than leather at the same level.

Do not be afraid to wear "caster" aka spell damage gear if it is better than what you are wearing. This will be rare, but there is no reason not to wear an upgrade just because it's not the proper "type."

While most gear slots have competitive choices, there is ONE MAJOR EXCEPTION. That is the Lifebloom Idol from Shadow Labs. Get it. There is no replacement for it. Especially if you're going to be raiding. Don't wear yourself out; if it's not dropping, take a break. But this is sadly the best Idol for a raiding druid, especially when your sole task becomes keeping rolling Lifeblooms on three or more tanks.

PvP Gear:
Vindicator's, Gladiator's, Merciless and Vengeful are all appropriate pieces of gear TO A POINT. Too many pieces of pvp gear will gimp you. No more than three pieces of PvP gear should be worn, and they should be enchanted/gemmed for PvE. Without this distinction, you lose out on stats that are more desirable for PvE due to the inclusion of resilience.

It is helpful to note, however, that having a few extra pieces of PvP gear around is beneficial to fights such as the Priestess fight in Magister's, as well as to round out your health should you find your Raid Leader requests a certain amount of it for a fight.

Gear Rankings

The following lists have been ranked using the new Restoration Druid Item Weighting functionality of Wowhead. These ranking are based PURELY on Mana Regeneration, + Healing, Intellect and Spirit. Special abilities are NOT considered in this ranking.

If you are curious, as I was, as to where they developed their numbers from, make sure you read their FAQ on the subject.

As you do look at the following item ranks, keep in mind a few things.

First, these items are being ranked purely on the basis of measurable numbers for Mana Regeneration, + Healing, Spirit and Intellect. Therefore, some items that have an 'on use' duration may be ranked higher or lower than their actual value. To get the full effect from some of these items, you need to make sure you are using the 'on use' effect whenever possible, perhaps in conjunction with a macro that triggers an item just before a key spell.

Also, special abilities such as Spell Haste would not be weighed in. Be especially careful on Necklaces and Trinkets, as they commonly have special abilities that may completely change the value of the item.

And finally, before jumping on a two-handed weapon as the best choice, make sure you compare the results you would get with the combined effect of a one-handed and off-hand pairing. You might find the one-hand and off-hand work better for your purposes.

1) Wonderheal XT40 Shades (30.06) - Engineering BoP
2) Whitemend Hood (26.25) - Tailoring BoE
3) Gladiator's Kodohide Helm (24.46) - PvP BG Honor reward
4) Hallowed Crown (20.84)- Arcatraz (Regular) - Harbinger Skyliss
5) Moonglade Cowl (18.59) - Botanica (Regular) - Warp Splinter
6) Hood of Primal Life (18.36) - Leatherworking BoE
7) Scintillating Headdress of Second Sight (18.22) - Auchenai Crypts (Heroic) - Shirrak the Dead Watcher
8) Kodohide Helm (18.18) - Sha'tar - Honored
9) Watcher's Cowl (17.65) - Cenarion Expedition - Revered
10) Crown of the Forest Lord (17.10) - Underbog (Heroic) - Swamplord Musel'ek
11) Magnified Moon Specs (16.51) - Engineering BoP

Helm Enchant
Glyph of Renewal - Honor Hold - Revered

1) Shattered Sun Pendant of Restoration (14.94) - Shattered Sun Offensive - Exalted
2) Necklace of Resplendent Hope (13.57) - Durnholde Keep (Heroic) - Epoch Hunter
3) Natasha's Guardian Cord (13.08) - Quest reward. End of quest chain that begins here.
4) Necklace of Eternal Hope (11.93) - 25 Badges. Equivalent to Netherspite drop.
5) Living Ruby Pendant (10.55) - Jewelcrafting BoE
6) Swampstone Necklace (10.07) - Underbog (Heroic) - Swamplord Musel'ek
7) Choker of Fluid Thought (9.38) - Arcatraz (Non-Heroic) - Harbinger Sykriss
8) Diamond Prism of Recurrence (8.51) - Durnholde/Old Hillsbrad Foothills (Non-Heroic) - Epoch Hunter

1) Primal Mooncloth Shoulders (21.96) - Tailoring BoP (Set is arguably better than Windhawk in Mana regen)
2) Gnarled Ironwood Pauldrons (21.43) - 60 Badges. These shoulders are expensive, but well worth the price. They outstrip everything until Loot Reaver, and they look frickin' sweet.
3) Hallowed Pauldrons (14.82) - Shadow Labs (Non-Heroic) - Grandmaster Vorpil
4) Vestia's Pauldrons of Inner Grace (14.79) - Mechanar (Non-Heroic) - Cache of the Legion
5) Moonglade Shoulders (13.08) - Steamvaults (Non-Heroic) - Warlord Kalithresh
6) Mantle of Autumn (12.11) - Botanica (Non-Heroic) - Laj
7) Ravenwing Pauldrons (11.15) - Durnholde/Old Hillsbrad Foothills (Non-Heroic) - Lieutenant Drake
8) Kodohide Spaulders (10.81) - Honor Hold - Honored

Shoulder Enchants
Inscription of Faith - Aldor - Honored
Greater Inscription of Faith - Aldor - Exalted
Inscription of the Oracle - Scryer - Honored
Greater Inscription of the Oracle - Scryer - Exalted

1) Bishop's Cloak (13.65) - 25 Badges. Roughly equivalent to Red Riding Hood's Cloak.
2) Cloak of the Everliving (13.57) - Ramparts (Heroic) - Watchkeeper Gargolmar
3) White Remedy Cape (13.26) - Tailoring BoE
4) Avian Cloak of Feathers (12.93) - Sethekk Halls (Non-Heroic) - Talon King Ikiss
5) Cloak of Swift Mending (10.70) - Magister's Terrace (Non-Heroic) - Selin Fireheart
6) Light-Touched Stole of Altruism (10.56) - Auchenai Crypts (Heroic) - Exarch Maladaar
7) Cloak of Scintillating Auras (10.48) - Arcatraz (Non-Heroic) - Zereketh the Unbound
8) Cloak of Whispering Shells (10.20) - Steamvaults (Non-Heroic) - Hydromancer Thespia
9) Sha'tari Anchorite's Cloak (8.44) - Quest reward. This is the quest immediately following the quest for Pants of the Naaru.

1) Primal Mooncloth Robe (33.26) - Tailoring BoP (Set is arguably better than Windhawk in Mana regen)
2) Windhawk Hauberk (24.12) - Leatherworking BoP (Good hybrid Resto/Moonkin gear)
3) Robes of Summer Flame (22.74) - Magister's Terrace (Non-Heroic) - Kael'thas Sunstrider
4) Raiments of Nature's Breath (21.43) - Ramparts (Heroic) - Reinforced Fel Iron Chest
5) Robe of Effervescent Light (21.23) - Blood Furnace (Heroic) - Kel'idan the Breaker
6) Hallowed Garments (20.82) - Shadow Labs (Non-Heroic) - Murmur
7) Moonglade Robe (17.97) - Mechanar (Non-Heroic) - Panthaleon the Calculator
8) Kodohide Robe (17.16) - Cenarion Expedition - Honored
9) Lifewarden's Breastplate (16.10) - Quest reward.

Chest Enchants
Major Spirit
Exceptional Mana
Restore Mana Prime

1) Gargon's Bracers of Peaceful Slumber (15.54) - 35 Badges. Comparable to the Bracers from Lurker.
2) Eversong Cuffs (14.11) - Magister's Terrace (Heroic) - Selin Fireheart
3) Bracers of Divine Infusion (13.29) - Magister's Terrace (Non-Heroic) - Vexallus
4) Windhawk Bracers (11.85) - Leatherworking BoP (Good hybrid Resto/Moonkin gear)
5) Bands of the Benevolent (11.50) - Sethekk Halls (Heroic) - Talon King Ikiss
6) Bindings of the Timewalker (11.00) - Keepers of Time - Exalted
7) Lucid Dream Bracers (9.48) - Mana Tombs (Heroic) - Nexus-Prince Shaffar
8) Goldenvine Wraps (7.51) - Quest reward. Quest chain starts with this area.

Bracer Enchants
Superior Healing

1) Gloves of the Living Touch (16.56) - Leatherworking BoE
2) Prismatic Mittens of Mending (15.35) - Botanica (Non-Heroic) - Commander Sarannis
3) Hallowed Handwraps (13.34) - Shattered Halls (Non-Heroic) - Warchief Kargath Bladefist
4) Cryo-mitts (13.12) - Quest reward
5) Kodohide Gloves (12.49) - Lower City - Honored
6) Moonglade Handwraps (10.45) - Shadow Labs (Non-Heroic) - Black Heart the Inciter

Glove Enchants
Major Healing

That's it for part one!

Be sure to come back next week when we're going to finish off the gear lists for the rest of the equipment slots, and also give you a couple of example gear sets more than suitable to walk into Karazhan with.

Bellwether and Big Bear Butt would like to thank our sources for the information in this article;
4 Haelz
Part Time Druid
A Tale of Two Druids

Looking for more Druid goodness? Every week Shifting Perspectives provides you with advice, strats and humor for Druids of all specs. Read our complete guide to gearing your Bear Tank for Karazhan, leveling tips for Moonkin and our two part Bear tanking guide.

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