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.
/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.
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.