I’m a recent convert to player versus player gameplay (having just over 3000 lifetime kills). I participate in two arena teams, one that’s 3v3 and one that’s 5v5, and neither of which is rated highly among the many teams of the Reckoning Battlegroup. For a long time I refused to participate in any PvP content, believing the premise to be unfair to those who don’t spec to do damage. There is no Honor in healing, despite the fact that it makes you the #1 target for rogues and Mortal Strike warriors. The Restoration tree offers little defensability, so more often than not, I spent my limited PvP time at the graveyard waiting for my 30 second resurrection while the rest of my team farmed Honor.
That’s begun to change, however.
With the addition of the Healing Done statistic to Battleground leaderboards, it feels as though healing is appreciated and valuable. It also provides a gauge to determine how you are well you are filling your role each game you play and relative to other healers of both factions. In fact, when the leaderboard showed only Damage Done and Killing Blows, it effectively devalued the contributions made by those specced to heal so the addition of this stat, while likely a small development effort, represents a large payoff for people like me.
Survivability of the Restoration spec has also been improved with defensability added to several core Restoration talents. Subtlety, for instance, now has a chance to prevent heals over time from being dispelled in addition to its PvE threat reduction. Heal dispelling was a large problem for druids whose quick heals are primarily those that require time to take effect. A new 3-point talent, Natural Perfection, not only provides 3% greater chance to crit with all spells but reduces the damage of ranged and melee critical strikes against the druid by 10%. And of course, all druids have greatly benefited from the the addition of Cyclone — to such a degree that members of other classes clamor daily for a reduction of the spell’s effectiveness.
So much have I recently enjoyed Arena and Battleground play that I recently respecced from 61 points Restoration to a spec which includes 8 points of interrupt prevention in Balance. This slightly more hybridized spec affords some defensive utility in PvP without compromising much PvE healing ability. And let’s face it, healing for Drek’Thar with more than one warrior or feral druid present is a challenge that any PvE-healer would find tasking!
Despite my recent advances on the field of battle, I recognize that I have a very, very long way to go. Which brings me to Gromzy.
Gronzy of Ner’zhul is a high-ranked druid who’s dipped far enough into Restoration to have picked up Tree of Life. He’s also picked up the same 8 balance points that I have plus 11 points in Feral — enough to pick up Feral Charge. She’s ranked 6th in 2v2 and 5th in 3v3 within the Bloodlust Battlegroup, and anyone who’s seen the stats demonstrating how poorly druids typically perform in Arena will recognize how impressive these rankings are. Best of all, Gronzy has shared her triumph in video form. At 322 MB, the video’s a considerable bandwidth investment, but it’s worth it to any Restoration druid who wants to enjoy Arena play without losing strong PvE healing ability.
Some things I learned from this video:
- Healer? What healer?
Gronzy does a tremendous job of avoiding becoming the primary target of her opponents. She begins each game in stealth (which I already do) and makes use of the Dash ability (which I have not). When she is targetted, she quickly shapeshifts into cheetah to dart away or into Bearform, making her a less attractive target. I suspect that she annoys her opponents so much with her kiting that they make a conscious decision to ignore her, allowing her to heal away with little fear of reprisal.
- Healing Spells
The only time she uses Healing Touch is in combination with Nature’s Swiftness. She relies instead upon Regrowth as her “big” heal with lots of Rejuvenation + Swiftmend to supplement. This may have something to do with the fact that she hasn’t chosen any of the Healing Touch talents, but that spell is too slow even talented to be of much help in Arena.
- Line of Sight
She does a great job of using Line of Sight to best advantage, purposefully choosing positions that allow her to quickly remove herself from her the possibility of being range attacked by her opponents. At one point, she even hides behind a pillar and is able to heal her teammate without revealing herself.
- Cyclone Much?
Wow, does she spam Cyclone. She seems to have a great sense of internal timing so that she can lock down at least one opponent for the full duration of non-immunity (6 + 3 + 1.5 = 10.5 seconds). I imagine that your teammate(s) would need to have pretty high hit point totals to allow you to spend so much time doing so, but it’s still very impressive!
- Feral Charge
While I’m not about to shift 11 points out of Restoration and into Feral to pick up this talent, Gronzy makes frequent use of it, preventing paladins from getting up to all kinds of mischief and generally wreaking havoc among caster opponents. I imagine that it’s pretty confusing to people initially trying to determine her talent spec, too (although at this point I’m sure she doesn’t fight many people who don’t immediately recognize — and fear — her).
These are just a few of the methods that I’ve noticed her using, but I definitely plan to keep the video as a reference on superior gameplay in Arenas.
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