[WoD] Dream of Cenarius, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Wrath Spam

Since I started raiding in Warlords of Draenor, mana management has been a huge struggle for me.  I seemed to eat through my mana so fast, getting down to 10-20% mana while the other healers on my team were sitting at 60% mana or even more!  Worse, I was at the bottom of the healing meters, almost constantly.

I tried to throttle back my healing, to hold back on casting Regrowths, Rejuvenations, and Wild Growths.  But it was painful, and just made my overall healing even worse than before, even if I had mana available when it was truly needed.

Once we started working on Mythic Black Rock Foundry, I knew something had to change.  I ended up raiding in a Heroic pug one night with another Resto Druid who was doing an insane amount of healing.  Afterwards, I checked his spec and the logs.  Dream of Cenarius accounted for about 8% of his total healing per encounter on average.

Dream of Cenarius causes every Wrath cast, at any time during the encounter, to also send a heal to someone in need.  Heals that are completely mana free since Wrath has no cost.  Of course, these heals are (not-so-)”smart” heals, targeting an injured party member, but perhaps not the player most in need.

Nature’s Vigil, by comparison, only accounted for about 5% of my total healing, and required that I be casting mana-intense spells throughout its duration to receive any benefit.  I know I could be spamming Wrath during Nature’s Vigil, but timing a 30-second Wrath spam session every 1.5 minutes is not an easy task.  In most cases, I was simply using NV on cooldown and casting whatever I normally would (usually expensive heals).

When I had previously experimented with DoC I struggled with needing to change targets constantly.  I do much better in WoW when my targets are located in neat rows and columns, whose locations are fixed and known.  Trying to click on targets moving around me on the screen has never been my forte.  And it was even more challenging because I always had to keep an eye on my raid frame in case someone needed a real heal.  I have accidentally let dps and tanks die because I was too focused on spamming Wrath at a particular target when I should have been watching raid frames.  To put it short, using DoC felt incredibly stressful.

Recently, however, I realized that the damage caused by Wrath was miniscule, practically non-existent, when compared to the damage put out by actual raid DPS.  It didn’t matter which target I was attacking…. the damage I did was pretty much nothing.  While this might disappointing other players, it was a very freeing revelation for me.  I no longer felt as though I needed to burn down the add with the rest of the dps.  I could just stay on the boss, focus on healing and Wrath spam, and my damage wouldn’t really affect the course of the encounter.  Even better, since it didn’t matter who I was hitting, I could use a macro to DPS my target’s current target.  This made spamming Wrath during downtimes easier than ever, while still allowing me to focus on health bars and be ready for incoming damage.

#showtooltip
/cast [target=targettarget,mod:alt][mod:alt]Wrath; [target=mouseover, help][help][target=targettarget, help][target=player] Regrowth

Suddenly, instead of spamming Rejuvenations on the off chance that they might get a tick or two of healing through, I was spamming Wrath and sending free 20k+ direct heals to injured targets!  Since switching to DoC I usually spend the first half or so of an encounter around 80-90% mana, and use Wrath spam during down times later on in an encounter in order to regenerate mana while still maintaining a healing presence.

doc

My healing breakdown from Union’s first Mythic Beastlord Darmac kill.

Dream of Cenarius usually makes up about 7-9% of my total healing done which is a huge chunk of healing completely free of mana costs.  This made such a huge impact on my mana usage that I even swapped out my weapon enchant from Mark of Shadowmoon (spirit) to Mark of Warsong (haste).

It’s still a challenge, sometimes, to spam Wrath when my fingers itch for more targeted healing, but I’m a convert.  I’m not sure how I ever healed without Dream of Cenarius, and I can’t imagine going back to Nature’s Vigil any time soon.

[WoD] Restoration Druid Updates in 6.1

Patch 6.1 goes live on Tuesday!

Here’s my comparison of the 6.1 updates between live and the PTR.  To get the best comparisons, I made sure both my live and PTR toons were wearing the same gear.  However, since I’ve upgraded several pieces on live since copying my toon over, I had to remove a lot of mismatched pieces.  As a result, their matching gear maxed out at ilvl 589, with no weapons or offhand items, and no buffs.  So if the numbers seem low in general, keep in mind they have a low item level for this testing. The difference between the numbers on live and PTR is more important than the amount.

Fix for Wild Mushroom

@WarcraftDevs is tooltip for Glyph’d Wild Mushroom fixed in 6.1? More importantly, is the mana cost for Glyph’d Wild Mushroom fixed?

It is working properly in 6.1, and we’ll investigate the tooltip. Thank you for the heads-up!

This is a pretty big fix!!  Currently, if you use Glyph of Wild Mushroom (which lets you place the Mushroom on a location instead of centered on a player) the cost of Wild Mushroom is also increased by about 2,000 mana.  During a 10 minute encounter, if you cast your Mushroom on cooldown and use the glyph, you will have spent about about 40,000 more mana on Wild Mushroom than if you hadn’t been using the glyph.

The tooltip has already been fixed on the live servers, but the cost is still about 2k more than it should be.  This bug has been stealth fixed in 6.1 (it’s not included in any patch notes!), but after Tuesday we will no longer be unintentionally penalized for using the glyph and we’ll have a pretty significant amount of extra mana throughout a boss fight.

Buff to Force of Nature

Force of Nature’s Treants has been buffed with a 35% increase to their health and spellpower, and an 80% increase to their armor and attack power.

Here are the amounts healed by a single Treant’s Swiftmend and Healing Touch:

LIVE PTR
Swiftmend: 2376 Swiftmend: 3209
Healing Touch: 2377 Healing Touch: 3210

As you can see, this is a a decent buff to our healing Treants, but still probably not enough to get me to use the talent regularly.

Buff to Dream of Cenarius (via Naturalist Buff)

Naturalist (Restoration) now also increases the damage of Druid spells and abilities by 15%.

I am a recent convert to Dream of Cenarius, so when I saw the buff to Naturalist I got pretty excited.  Sure enough, the Naturalist buff also makes healing via DoC stronger, making this talent even more attractive.

LIVE (avg over 6 non-crit hits)
PTR (avg over 6 non-crit hits)
Wrath: 8291
Wrath: 9196
DoC Heal: 12437
DoC Heal: 13793

Other Changes

Talent Changes:

  • Moment of Clarity (Restoration) now lasts 7 seconds (up from 5 seconds).
  • Rampant Growth (Restoration) now also increases the healing of Swiftmend by 20%.
  • Renewal now instantly heals for 30% of max health (up from 22%).
  • Heart of the Wild (Restoration) now increases spell damage by 150% (down from 200%), and Agility in Cat Form by 75% (down from 110%).
  • Displacer Beast is now classified as an Arcane School ability and can no longer be used while silenced.

Spell Changes:

  • Moonfire’s mana cost has been reduced by 55%. (1056 mana to 480 mana)
  • Genesis no longer requires a target.
  • Ironbark is no longer usable while silenced.
  • Nature’s Cure can no longer be cast while in a shapeshift form and is now classified as a Nature School ability.

I don’t have too many thoughts on these changes…  Mostly they just seem like minor balance fixes.  The decreased mana cost of Moonfire is nice, but since it doesn’t contribute to DoC, I rarely cast it.  Slight buffs to Moment of Clarity, Rampant Growth, and Renewal make them more attractive, but I don’t really see myself switching to those talents in most cases.

The fact that Displacer Beast and Nature’s Cure have been added to spell schools means that it is now possible to be locked out of them, if interrupted while casting.  But it is basically just another reason to avoid getting locked out of abilities.

Fun Changes!

Cosmetic transformations that alter the character’s appearance now have a higher priority than Druid combat forms. This means Druids can keep a transformation while shapeshifted.

Many Druid shapeshift forms now have attachment points on the head and back for cosmetic toy effects such as Blazing Wings or Pepe. Additional shapeshift forms may receive attachment points in the future.

I wanted to include a screenshot here of my Druid in cat form using Blazing Wings, but for some reason that toy did not survive the copy to the PTR!  However, I was able to transform into a Druid of the Flame using Leyara’s Locket while shifting into cat form.  These cosmetic changes will be a very nice and fun little quality of life improvement for all Druids.

Overall, 6.1 looks pretty good for Resto Druids.  Buffs to a few spells, fixes for Wild Mushroom, minor balance changes to others, and not really any nerfs.  I can’t wait till Tuesday! =D

[WoD] Talent Choices for Mythic Tectus and Mythic Butcher

I’ve spent more time this raid tier testing out fights in different talent combinations than I think I ever have in the seven years I’ve been raiding World of Warcraft as a Restoration Druid.  Mythic Tectus and Mythic Butcher in particular have required me to choose talents from the level 90 tier that I have basically ignored and have made me re-think the value of Tree of Life.

For reference, this is my typical spec: Displacer Beast, Ysera’s Gift, Typhoon, Soul of the Forest, Mighty Bash or Ursol’s Vortex, Nature’s Vigil, and Germination.

Mythic Tectus

The first problem I had with this fight was the Earthen Pillars.  The spike out of the ground shortly after the tan swirl appears, so you have to move fast…very fast…to avoid being hit.  I probably could have done well enough without it, but I decided to spec into Feline Swiftness, giving me an extra 15% boost to my movement speed.  I still had to react quickly, but I felt as though I had much fewer close calls.  Additionally, our Mages and Moonkin discovered that using Blink/Displacer Beast to kite the Crystalline Barrage away also caused it to travel over the tanks.  They were quickly banned from using it, so I certainly felt no need to keep the talent.

The positioning for our raid team during this encounter felt a bit precarious to me, with the tanks often dancing in and out of healing range, especially during the very beginning when we were standing as far away as possible.  I could occasionally reach one of the melee with Wild Growth that would splash onto the out of range players, but it just wasn’t enough.  So I decided to try Dream of Cenarius, a talent which I have ignored since it was introduced.  Surprisingly, I found it to be very effective!  When the ranged group moved backwards, and I could no longer reach the tanks, I swapped my target to Tectus and started spamming Wrath.  I could see DoC healing the melee and, more importantly, the tanks, even though they were out of range of my normal healing spells.   There wasn’t much opportunity for me to use DoC during the rest of the encounter, but just being able to contribute to tank and melee healing when they were out of range was very helpful for my peace of mind.

I also swapped back and forth between Tree of Life and Soul of the Forest a few times.  At first, it seemed like Tree of Life was useful during the first Upheaval.  However, as our raid learned the encounter, the DPS during the first phase grew stronger and the duration of the first Upheaval became much shorter.  So I specced back into my old favorite, Soul of the Forest.  As we got better at the early parts of the encounter, we started working on the final phase, when we had eight Motes of Tectus up at once.  They would cast Crystalline Barrage all at once, forcing the entire ranged group to run along the wall of mountains to the other side of the room.  Healing at this point was definitely stressful for the raid, even with our Hunters chaining Aspect of the Fox.  Luckily, Druids excel at healing on the run, especially when using Tree of Life!  Once I swapped back into this talent, the damage during the last phase smoothed out as I could now spam Regrowth and keep the raid afloat until the other two healers had a moment to stand still.

Final Talent Choices: Feline Swiftness, Ysera’s Gift, Typhoon (not used during encounter), Tree of Life, Ursol’s Vortex (not used), Dream of Cenarius, and Germination.

Mythic Butcher

With strict DPS timers, it was immediately obvious that I would need to use Heart of the Wild, a talent which (despite having named this blog for) I almost never choose.  Heart of the Wild is a really strong DPS talent for Resto Druids, especially for Butcher.  The raid and tank damage during the first part of the encounter is relatively light, so the other three healers on my team were able to handle it without issue.  I just dropped Wild Mushroom on the ground, and spammed Wrath for the first 45 seconds.  With Heroism, I was typically able to burst around 26-28k DPS for the first 45 seconds of the encounter, doing over 1.5% of the total damage dealt to Butcher.  This may not seem like a lot, but when you finish an encounter seconds after the enrage timer, any scrap of damage can make or break your raid’s success.

After a few attempts,  the healer team could clearly see that we needed some sort of additional healer cooldowns around the 4th Bounding Cleave, so I swapped out Soul of the Forest and picked up Tree of Life.  This time, it was the cheaper Rejuvenations that were most valuable, since mana was tight for all four of the healers and damage continued to be spread through the two groups in melee as Butcher cleaved.

Final Talent Choices: Displacer Beast (not used), Ysera’s Gift, Typhoon (not used), Tree of Life, Ursol’s Vortex (not used), Heart of the Wild,  and Germination.

[WoD] Battle Rezzes and You: What Every Druid, Warlock, Death Knight, Hunter, and RAIDER Should Know — Part 2

Battle rez spells have been highly normalized in Warlords of Draenor, though there are still some slight difference between all four options which every raider should be aware of.  Please read my first post on this topic for an overview of how battle resurrections work in a raid environment.

Death Knight Raise Ally

The Death Knight battle resurrection is an instant cast spell. The downside to Raise Ally is that it costs 30 Runic Power, which often requires a few  seconds of power ramp up time where the Death Knight must be very careful about avoiding abilities that require Runic Power. Using Raise Ally triggers a 10 minute cooldown on the ability when not in a raid encounter.

Death Knights are the only tank class that can cast a battle rez spell without needing to wait for taunt; using Raise Ally will not expose a Death Knight to higher incoming damage like Rebirth would for a Guardian Druid. Raise Ally brings players back to life with 60% health, 20% mana, and a cosmetic 10 minute debuff called Void-Touched which gives the player a ghostly appearance. The Major Glyph of Raise Ally will remove the Runic Power cost, making this free for the Death Knight to cast.

Druid Rebirth

The original battle resurrection spell. Feral and Guardian Druids have a 2 second cast time for Rebirth, while level 100 Restoration and Balance Druids have a Enhanced Rebirth, which makes Rebirth an instant cast spell. When not in a raid encounter, using Rebirth triggers a 10 minute cooldown on the ability. Rebirth will bring a player back to life with 60% health and 20% mana, but this can be modified by the Major Glyph of Rebirth which will cause players to be returned to life with 100% health and 20% mana.

Guardian Druids must be particularly careful about when they use their spell as it will force them out of Bear Form. In most circumstances, Bears should be the last ones called upon to use their battle resurrection. However, with common sense and consideration of encounter mechanics, a Bear can pull this off –just don’t expect an immediate battle rez.

Hunter (Beast Mastery Spec w/ Quillen Pet) Eternal Guardian

This is a very rare battle resurrection spell as Hunters do not always favor the Beast Mastery spec, and when they do, they don’t usually prefer to run with a quillen pet.  Eternal Guardian is an instant cast spell that, when not in a raid encounter, will trigger a 10 minute cooldown on the ability.  This will bring a player back with 60% health and 20% mana.  There are no glyphs that modify Eternal Guardian.

Outside of raid encounters, Eternal Guardian has a unique, and very gimmicky feature: the cooldown is tied to the individual pet.  A Hunter with multiple quillen pets could use Eternal Guardian, then switch to the second quillen and use it again; the first quillen is on a 10 minute cooldown, while the second was not.  A Hunter could even do this while in combat (in a dungeon or world boss or group quest). Note, this will only work in non-raid situations.  During a raid a pet switch would not be necessary as all of the quillens’ Eternal Guardian cooldowns would be the same time as the duration left on the charge timer (see my first post on WoD battle rezzes for more details on battle rez cooldowns during a raid encounter).

Warlock Soulstone

Warlocks have the unique ability to choose someone ahead of time for their Soulstone spell. Before an encounter begins, they can create a Soulstone and place it on another player. That player will receive the Soulstone buff for 15 minutes, during which, if they die, they’ll have the option to use the Soulstone and be resurrected.  The main benefit of using a Soulstone before the encounter begins is that the Warlock does not still have to be alive to have a potentially useful battle rez.  However it can be very difficult to predict ahead of time who might die during any given attempt.

Alternatively, the Warlock can use their Soulstone similarly to a battle rez, waiting until a character has died before using their Soulstone on them. The Warlock should ensure they have a Soulstone ready to go in their bags at the start of an encounter to eliminate cast times.

The spell Create Soulstone takes 3 seconds to cast with a 10 minute cooldown (when not in a raid encounter), and creates a conjured Soulstone. Soulstones are “unique,” meaning a Warlock can only carry one at a time. Using the conjured item is an instant action, and will give the target player a 15 minute buff.  If the Warlock creates another Soulstone after their 10 minutes cooldown has expired, but before the first 15 minute buff expires on the first target player, and casts it on a new player, the old Soulstone buff will be removed on the first target player, superseded by the new cast on the new player.  A Soulstone will resurrect a player with 60% health and 20% mana. This can be modified with the Major Glyph of Soulstone, which increases the amount health restored to 100%.

When using battle resurrection abilities, communication is key. The caster should announce when they are using their battle rez spell, who they are casting it on, and if it has suddenly become unsafe to accept the resurrection. If you are the usual battle rezzer for your raid and you have died, make sure you communicate this to your group so that alternatives can be quickly put into action.

[WoD] Battle Rezzes and You: What Every Druid, Warlock, Death Knight, Hunter, and RAIDER Should Know — Part 1

Battle resurrections went through another big change at the start of Warlords of Draenor.  Instead of being limited to 1 battle rez for a 10 person raid and 3 for a 25 person raid, battle resurrections are now available on a charged based system.  Your raid starts with one available battle rez and then after a few minutes an additional resurrection can be come available.

Battle Rez Charges

For each raid encounter, your team will always start with 1 battle rez, and will gain 1 additional battle rez charge every 90/x minutes, where x is the number of people participating in the encounter.

For example, a 10 person raid will earn a charge every 9 minutes (90/10 = 9).  Since most encounters are less than 10 minutes in duration in LFR, Normal, or Heroic raid, you will probably have only the starting battle rez available to your team.

During a flex encounter with more raiders, such as 15 people, the raid will earn a charge every 6 minutes (90/15 = 6).  It’s feasible that a raid encounter on LFR, Normal, or Heroic mode could last 6 minutes, in which case you would start with a single battle rez, and then after 6 minutes of fighting the raid boss, a second charge will be earned by your team.

During an encounter with 20 raiders, the raid will earn a charge every 4.5 minutes (90/20 = 4.5).  During a 10 minute encounter (something typically seen in high difficulty Mythic raids), the team will earn a total of three battle resurrections through out the duration.

You do not need to use a charge in order to get a second charge.  The timer starts ticking the second an encounter is pulled.  In a 20 person raid, the second battle rez is earned 4.5 minutes into the encounter, the third 9 minutes into the encounter, etc.

A battle rez only counts against the raid’s charges when it has been accepted by the target player.  If the target player declines the battle rez, the raid will NOT lose the charge and the caster’s battle rez will NOT go on cooldown.  If a battle rez is pending on a player (meaning they have neither accepted or declined) the caster’s battle rez will be unavailable until the target accepts, or it will be refunded if the target declines.  This last bit may not seem important, but if you having a pending resurrection and someone potentially more valuable to your raid (i.e. a tank) dies, you have the option to decline the battle rez so that someone else may use it.

The Battle Resurrection Cooldown

The tooltip of a typical battle rez says the spell has a 10 minute cooldown.  This is not the whole picture.  If you are in a dungeon, participating in a group quest, or you are just casting the battle rez on someone while soloing out in the world, your spell will indeed have a 10 minute cooldown.  However…

Raid encounters change everything. For simplicity, I’m going to use a 20 person raid team in these example (meaning the raid will earn a battle rez charge every 4.5 minutes).

All battle rez casters will have their battle rez go on and off cooldown at the same time.  If a Druid casts Rebirth 2 minutes into the fight, the raid will then have 0 battle rez charges remaining and all Warlocks, Druids, Death Knights, and Hunters in the raid will have their battle rez spell go on cooldown.  All caster’s battle rezzes will go on cooldown if another member of the raid team accepts a battle rez and the raid has no additional charges.

If a caster’s battle rez has gone on cooldown, the length of this cooldown is the same as the time remaining until the next charge. In a 20 person raid, the caster’s battle rez cooldown has a maximum of 4.5 minutes.  If a caster rezzes someone 3 minutes into the encounter, the cooldown for every battle rez caster in the raid will be 1.5 minutes long since the team’s second battle rez becomes available at that time.  If a caster uses the first battle rez on someone 5 minutes into the encounter, the raid will have earned a second charge and no one’s battle rez spell will go on cooldown.  If the raid team has additional charges, all battle rez casters will NOT be on cooldown, even the caster.

Effectively, in a 15 minute encounter with 20 raiders, a sole Druid can cast all three Rebirths.  She could cast them once every 4.5 minutes, or, if raiders have died only after 13.5 minutes have elapsed, she could cast all three in quick succession.

No matter how much time is left on a caster’s battle rez cooldown, it will reset at the end of a boss encounter (killing the boss or wiping to the boss).  However, if a battle rez was used on the trash leading up to a raid boss, that specific caster will have to wait for the full 10 minute cooldown before being able to cast it, even if the raid has pulled a boss and the raid has charges available.  In this scenario, other battle rez casters will still be able to use theirs normally.

Tracking the Shared Battle Rez Charges

The best way to manage your raids shared battle rez charges is to use a simple tracking addon.  Personally, I find oRA3 to track encounter battle resurrections very effectively.  The oRA3 addon does a lot of raid leader related things (tracking healer and dps cooldown usage, making it easier to invite many people at once for a raid, etc), but for battle rezzes specifically it puts a timer and a counter on my screen, which tells me at a quick glance how many battle rezzes are currently available in this encounter and how long until the next one will be available.  It also shows who rezzed who throughout the encounter.

Since I’ve been using oRA3 as a general raid addon for years, I haven’t searched out other options for battle rez tracking.  If anyone has a suggestion for a solid, standalone, battle rez tracking addon I’d love to hear about it!

Belkin n52te/Razer Nostromo Gaming Keypad

Back in May of 2009 I was inspired by Phaelia’s post in her (now retired) blog Resto4Life about the Belkin n52 to purchase my own gaming keypad.  Now, over four years later I still use the Belkin n52te keypad and I love it to pieces.  It revolutionized the way I played World of Warcraft, and was definitely one of the best decisions I have made in my gaming career.

When I first began using the Belkin n52te* Phaelia’s post really influences my choice of spell locations and macros.  Overtime, I’ve moved a lot of things around.  I’ve had to make room for our new spells and abilities, re-write macros to accommodate my shapeshifting preferences, and reorganize the movement keybinds.

Lately, I’ve thought it was about time that someone to put together an updated guide for (as it is now called) the Razer Nostromo Gaming Keypad*.  So here is my attempt at it.  Keep in mind the keybinds for the n52te/Nostromo* are highly customizable and I would recommend taking the time to see how a few different configurations work for you, especially regarding the movement keys and “alt” key locations.

*Note: For simplicities sake I’m just going to refer to the gaming pad as “n52te” from here on out.  From all appearances, my three year old n52te and the new Razer Nostromo are the same device.

Contents: n52te/Nostromo Guide

Configuring Your n52te

Character Movement Keybinds

Action Bar Layouts in WoW

Key Binding with Bartender4

Macro Planning and Considerations

My Macros


Configuring Your n52te

The n52te has 14 regular buttons, a scroll wheel button, a round thumb button, a D-Pad, and a large thumb pad.  This is how I have my n52te configured:

n52 setup

My setup for the n52te.

The very first button is the accent/tilde key, which is just to the left of the 1 on my keyboard.  It was sort of arbitrary when I chose that to be the first key.  Keep in mind that you can configure your keybinds however you like, I would just recommend avoiding keys that are bound to interface functions you use a lot (such as B for your backpack, P for spell book, or J for the guild roster).

I use the smaller round thumb button above the D-Pad as my L-ALT key (for use in macros).  The larger pad below the D-Pad is bound to my R-CTRL key (Push-to-Talk button).  Final item of note, I don’t use the scroll wheel on the n52te as a button, instead it controls my speaker volume.


Character Movement Keybinds
First, a confession:  I don’t know how to use WASD.  I never learned it.  I tried it once or twice, but pretty much failed miserably.   As a result, when I play using a standard keyboard, I cannot strafe or back up.  I could move using only the mouse.  Luckily, in the early days of WoW playing as a healer meant I was usually removed from the action and never needed to actually face my intended targets, so I never really found this to be a problem.

Once I had my n52te up and running, I began using the D-Pad to strafe and walk backwards.  I thought that was pretty neat, and I liked the flexibility of being able to move with my right OR left hand, but it was only after I began learning how to tank that I truly realized just how critical strafing and moving backwards was to World of Warcraft.

I have my n52te D-Pad keybind like this:

  • Analog Down: S (back up)
  • Analog Up: W (move forward)
  • Analog Left: Q (strafe left)
  • Analog Right: E (strafe right)

Sometimes, I end up hitting a corner of the D-Pad, instead of exactly up, down, left, or right, so I keybound all the diagonals to the corresponding strafe key.

  • Analog Down-Left: Q
  • Analog Up-left: Q
  • Analog Down-Right: E
  • Analog Up-Right: E

My center mouse scroll wheel on the right hand serves as my jump button. I can also move forward by holding down both the right and left mouse button and directing movement with the mouse.  In a raiding situation I can only actually turn my character to face one way or another using the mouse, though I can strafe easily with the n52te.  Lastly, I left both the keyboard Left Arrow and Right Arrow keys bound to turning so that I can “keyboard turn” in non-critical situations (such as flying while eating a sandwich).

I’ve found that having movement options on both my right hand mouse and left hand keypad to be very useful in many raiding situations.


Action Bar Layouts in WoW
As Phaelia suggested, my recommended action bar layout is a 3×5 grid of buttons, which mimics the physical layout of the n52te.

The last button on the bottom row, labeled “B5” is button 5 on my mouse. You could instead use this as the scroll wheel button of your n52te, personally I just found that to odd to hit in the middle of combat to be useful for me.

I use Bartender to manage my action bars, but since it has a limit of 12 buttons per bar, I had to use two separate bars to create the 3×5 grid.  The first bar has 10 buttons in two rows, and the second bar has 5 buttons in one row.  Other action bar addons may not have similar limitations, but I would recommend ending up with a 3×5 grid of buttons.

I prefer to put my main abilities in the center row, where my fingers rest.  Lesser used but important abilities find their home in the top bar.  I found the bottom four buttons to be the most difficult to hit, so I use that bar for abilities that should be key bound to the n52te but that are used much less often in a raid.


Key Binding with Bartender4
You may have noticed in the above screenshot that the top left button is NOT keybound to 1.  Instead I use `, which on my keyboard is the key just to the left of the 1.  It’s the accent key, or tilde key.  If I start there and then go across the keyboard, I have 13 buttons (“accent key” through “equal sign”) and then I have my fourteenth key bound to the forward slash.  This configuration made sense to me at the time, but keep in mind that you can bind the n52te to ANY set of keys that you want, and in any order.  It doesn’t really matter, you just want to make sure your keyboard layout matches your n52te profile set up.

A Note on Vehicle Fights

Vehicle fights may cause slight confusion if you use my current configuration.  For example, for me the first ability in a vehicle fight takes the place of the first button on my action bar, the ` accent key, the second ability is the 1 key, the third ability is the 2 key, and so on.  In fights such as Malygos, where I may normally be told to “spam my 1 key” I have to mentally translate that to spamming the top left button, or ` key, because of my unique keybinds set up.

If I had to do it all over again, I would probably start with the 1 key and put the ` key on the bottom row with the \ key, just to alleviate this slight incongruity.  By now, though, I’ve gotten so used to it, that it doesn’t really bother me.  But it’s something I would keep in mind when setting up your own keybindings.


Macro Planning and Considerations
As mentioned above, I use the smaller round thumb button above the D-Pad as my L-ALT key.  This enables me to set up an alternative action for each button on the n52te through the use of macros.  These macros let me use one ability when I hit a key, sch as 5 , and another ability when I hold down the round thumb button (or the alt key) and hit that same 5 key.  In their most basic form, the standard format of my macros look like this:

#showtooltip
/cast [mod:alt] AltAbility; RegularAbility

Since I use my thumb for both the alt key AND D-Pad movement, I prefer to put instant cast abilities in the “RegularAbility” slot and casted abilities in the “AltAbility” slot.  This assumes that my thumb wont be needed to move my character while I’m forced to stand still casting a spell, and that I can use my thumb to move around the room while hitting the instant cast buttons.

With the addition of Symbiosis (with which I usually grab Spiritwalker’s Grace from a Shaman) and some niche encounters (such as Earthrager Ptah in the Cataclysm dungeon Halls of Origination) the inability to use my thumb for both moving and casting has become a little inconvenient.  However, I’ve found that keeping Regrowth (the go to casted heal for Resto Druids) on the 7 key has helped keep my thumb free for quick strafing while still being able to cast strong heals.

In general, I tend to group my healing abilities on each button.

Key       Regular Ability Alt Ability
`    Tree of Life (location relevant shape shift)
1    Nature’s Cure Stampeding Roar
2    Nature Swiftness + Healing Touch    (nothing)
3    Barkskin (myself)
Ironbark (target)
4    Innervate (myself) Innervate (target)
5 Lifebloom Bash
6 Rejuvenation Genesis
7 Regrowth Nourish
8 Wild Growth Entangling Roots
9 Swiftmend Wild Mushroom: Bloom
0 (tab target) (nothing)
Moonfire Wrath
= Symbiosis Nature’s Vigil
\ Tranquility (nothing)
B5 Hurricane Wild Mushroom

Some additional notes regarding the above listing…

Since B5 is one of the side buttons on my mouse, I tend to like using it for abilities that require placement via the targeting circle, such as Hurricane and (glyphed) Wild Mushroom.  Moving the mouse towards the target location immediatly while tapping a button on it to activate an ability targeting circle feels like a smoother action then using a key on my n52te.

I’ve found the 0 key, located on the bottom left corner of my n52te to be very inconvenient to hit with my pinky. Perhaps this is just a case of having small hands.

As for the 2 key and the \ key, I’ve always been hesitant to bundle Tranquility and NS+HT together with other abilities in a macro.  I have this nagging fear that I would hit them accidentally and waste powerful healing cooldowns.

However, as the number of abilities in the Resto Druid toolkit has expanded, and the cooldowns for both Nature’s Swiftness and Traquility have been majorly reduced, I’ve begun to feel the need to explore better uses for these four essentially empty button slots.


My Macros
Please check out the links below for the specific macro configurations for Leiyan.

Restoration and Balance Spec Macros

Gemming Your Resto/Feral Druid, PSA

When you decide to play a Resto Druid and offspec into Feral (instead of Balance like a normal Resto Druid does), make certain you keep an eye on your gems.  And in case there was any confusion on the issue…

Gemming your amazing new gloves with Delicate Inferno Rubies will not, in fact, help you heal better.  Not that I have -any- personal experience with this matter whatsoever.  *wanders off mumbling about speed gemming during raid breaks*