In Legion, Resto Druids have had significant buffs to their ability to do DPS. At the core of this buff is the level 45 talent option, which provides access to some core abilities from another Druid spec. This DPS guide will focus on the Balance Affinity option. Resto Druids can deal enough damage to level through the world as Resto (something I did at launch, and it felt surprisingly efficient). Importantly, the damage can provide a significant contribution to a group. With HOTs rolling around a group capable of avoiding sources of avoidable damage, you might pull around half the damage or more of a dedicated DPS, while maintaining your healing.
The benefit of choosing Balance Affinity is that haste, generally the highest priority stat for resto druids, provides the greatest DPS increase as well, so the choice aligns with your gearing preference.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see the composition of normal and heroic mode raid groups (especially pugs) change to prefer an extra healer or two to allow healers the ability to DPS when healing is comfortable and to switch back to heals in a pinch.
Resto has a largely single-target repertoire of spells. It’s extremely simple at just 5 abilities and a very basic rotation.
There’s a drawback to Resto DPS and that’s switching in and out of forms. You need to be in Moonkin Form to cast Starsurge and Lunar Strike, which are pretty crucial to maximising DPS. You can do a reasonable chunk of damage in caster form with just Moonfire, Sunfire and Wrath, but you aren’t unlocking the full potential.
Casting Starsurge generates an empowerment charge of both Solar Wrath and Lunar Strike, which increases their respective damage by 20%. Solar Wratch and Lunar Strike can have a maximum of 3 charges, at which point any subsequent Starsurges offer no bonus apart from its direct damage.
Moonfire and Sunfire are an instant cast ability that provide a DOT for 16s and 12s respectively. They should be active on the target at all times. Re-applying the DOT will add the remaining duration up to a maximum of 4s for Moonfire and 3s for Sunfire. For example, re-cast Moonfire with 7 sec remaining = 20s duration. Re-cast Moonfire with 2s remaining = 18s duration.
Sunfire is the only real AOE and basically applies the Sunfire DOT to all enemies (whether hostile or not) within 5 yards of the target. This means it’s great for clumps of enemies. To clump enemies, you might look to synergise with movement and control abilities, like Displacer Beast, Ursol’s Vortex and Mass Entanglement/Typhoon.
Solar Wrath is your filler spell, and you should basically spam it when nothing else is available.
Basic Spell Priority:
- Lunar Strike (if 3 charges)
- (Re-)Apply Moonfire/Sunfire
- Lunar Strike (if charged)
- Solar Wrath (charged)
- Solar Wratch (uncharged)
- Lunar Strike (uncharged)
So basically, you shouldn’t cast Lunar Strike at all if it’s uncharged, unless you’re locked out of Nature Spells or something.
There are two primary ways you can play your DPS rotation:
- Spend your charges immediately
This is the best option for most situations where you are actually considered a “healer” because it consistently does the maximum damage at any point in time, and has no penalty if your DPS sequence is interrupted.
- Save your Lunar Strikes until 3 charges, then chain them
The best use of this option is when you can tie those 3 Lunar Strikes to a major cooldown, because it’s the way to get maximum damage out of that cooldown. This could be Berserking if you’re a troll, bloodlust, or anything else that gives a significant benefit.
Tips & other things to remember:
Here is a list of things that you should know, but are pretty quick to run through:
- Moonkin Form is required to cast Starsurge and Lunar Strike. You can do reasonable damage with only dots and Solar Wrath spam, but it doesn’t match to true rotation.
- Moonkin Form gives no additional damage bonus – for Moonfire, Sunfire and uncharged Solar Wrath, there’s no more damage in Moonkin Form.
- Most healing spells cancel Moonkin Form.
- Moonkin Form provides 200% armour. The act of shapeshifting beaks snares as with shifting to any other form.
- Starsurge and Solar Wrath are projectiles and have flight times. Lunar Strike is an instant hit and has no flight time. Ideally, particularly in solo play, pull mobs with Starsurge (or Solar Wrath during CD) and then cast DOTs during the flight to maximise the damage from the point at which the mob engages combat