As you probably know, Wild Growth is going to be on a 6 second cooldown come patch 3.0.8. While I am not thrilled about this, I can definitely see the reasoning behind it.
In its current state, its pretty easy to abuse. For example on Sapphiron, all it takes is a pair of Trees running in circles around the raid, spamming WG, to pretty much counter the entire AOE/Aura mechanic of the fight. I can't see that as being the intention of the encounter designers.
On the other hand, some fights are going to get interesting. Phase 1 Malygos, when the raid gets tossed and whirled, comes to mind. Thats going to get interesting. While that phase isn't hard at the level of say, Sunwell, that specific part of that specific encounter is going to be out of wack with the intended difficulty level. Between the WG nerf and the corresponding CoH nerf, I suspect that the damage done to the raid is going to have to be pulled back a little bit, perhaps 10 or 20 percent.
After reading the excellent post at Resto4life about current healing values (http://www.resto4life.com/2008/12/15/direct-healing-in-wrath/), I got thinking about the possibility of a HT spam spec. With the tremendous throughput of glyphed HT, it looked to be worth a try.
Before I get in to the specifics, a little history!
I first started raiding on my Druid back in Molten Core. At that point, if you raided on a Druid, you were a healer, period. We had Regrowth, Rejuvination and Healing Touch. Regrowth was horrendously inefficient, so it was pretty much out the window. Rejuv was a bit weak but not too bad. It was a milestone to have your Rejuv tick for 400. As raids progressed in to BWL, it became obvious that the most efficient and effective heal for a Druid was a downranked Healing Touch, specifically HT rank 4.
Druids spammed HT4 through BWL, AQ40 and Naxx. It was a bit boring, but overall pretty good.
Then the pre-BC patch came out, and something drastic happened: Hots stacked! If 2 Druids both put Rejuv on a single person, that person would have 2 Rejuvs ticking away. This was a huge huge change to Druid healing. On Patchwerk for example, instead of complex HT4 spam rotations, smart healing coordinators would have Druids keep up Rejuv on all the tanks.
Then came Burning Crusade and Lifebloom. Nearly all healing Druids went with Lifebloom as their primary heal, using it with other Druids like the Patchwerk healing strategy I described; roll hots across all the tanks. Or, roll hots across the raid.
At this point, there was a second heal spec to consider, which came to be known as the Dreamstate spec. It was actually originally the HT/Mana Battery spec. The goals of the spec were to be able to cast gigantic HTs, and to have ridiculous mana regen. This spec was very, very, very hard to master, but incredibly powerful. Instead of being reactive or preventative, it was as *predictive* based healing style. HT was far too slow to react to incoming damage, you had to accurately predict the damage and wind up your massive heals before the damage happened. Done correctly, it was by far the highest throughput single target healing spec that WoW has ever seen. It was also a very misunderstood and often maligned spec, mostly because very very few knew how to use it correctly. Make no mistake, having one good DS Druid in your raid made a *massive* difference.
Then came Wrath of the Lich King, and the complete destruction of any downranking. The old DS spec was dead.
Or is it? I decided to try out a DS spec again, based around glyphed HT. I was running about 2100 heal, with about a 19k mana pool and 200 haste. Mana regen was about 1100/300, very high. The build was:
The goals of the build are the same as the old school DS build; maximize HT and mana regen. There are a lot of 'throw-away' points in there, unavoidable to get DS and as deep in to resto as possible.
So I fired up the spec and off we went to Naxx. Patchwerk was on the menu, a perfect chance to try an HT spam spec! Woot!
Keeping in mind that I was not geared specifically for the spec (would want to emphasize int for better mana regen from Replenishment for example), the results are still a good indication of how it can work.
First thing I noticed is that my glyphed HT had a cast time of .85 seconds. You read that correctly, point eight five seconds. Mmmm, this is looking interesting!
Patchwerk inc, let the spam begin!
Pause. I use Quartz. If you don't know what it is, oh are you in for a treat!
(That link is at Curse.com. Based on past incidents, proceed with caution. It is probably available elsewhere)
So I am in the habit of several quick button clicks at around what my next cast time will be to minimize delays due to server/casting latency. Again, if you don't know what that is about, you are probably missing a ton of your peak possible efficiency. You really do need to get Quartz, or at least understand what it does and why.
The HT cast bar goes, gets to the red, and I start the clicking for the next... what the? Oh snap, HT cast time is shorter than the freaking GCD! This seems like a minor thing, but it seriously screwed me up. I got through the best I could, but old habits can be very hard to break.
After making some marginally effective mental adjustments, the HT spam proceeded. In short, I could not make it as effective as it looked like it should be on paper. My overall throughput was not all that stellar. I really didn't dig the whole thing. I respecced after the fight.
In conclusion, I couldn't make it work. That doesn't mean that it can't work, just that I couldn't make it work. As someone who healed through all the BC instances as DS, I figured I would be more qualified to make a new HT spam spec work than most. Perhaps I will revisit it in the future. I also may revisit it without the HT glyph.
On the State of Regrowth
Good Lord its an efficient heal, at least when it doesn't get stepped on by other heals. However, this post just reached the 12 mile long mark, so I am going to shut up for now, and plan to revist the RG thing some other day.