So what is Nourish, exactly?
Nourish amounts to our flash heal. It replaces Healing Touch at 80 as our go-to casted heal due to its quicker cast time, lighter mana cost, and the fact that its power is boosted by the number of different HoTs you have on the target.
Nourish Replaces Healing Touch
A nourish cast, while you cannot cast it while moving, doesn't take longer in your spell rotation than does casting any of our insta-cast spells, since all spells require you to wait for the Global CoolDown (GCD) to complete before casting another. While Healing Touch can reach this cast-time with talents and a glyph (while also reducing mana cost and healing power with the glyph), Nourish does so without wasting a glyph slot just to make it faster, and is more powerful as it is boosted by HoTs. Most druids will remove the plain HT from their bars at 80.
When is HT used at 80, then?
Healing Touch works best at 80 macroed to Nature's Swiftness. HT is our most powerful single-target heal in its raw form, especially when boosted by talents such as Empowered Touch; it is just useless due to its long cast time compared to the Heals per Second of our other spells, and our need to keep HoTs rolling on targets.
Macroing NS+HT can done like this:
/cast [combat] Nature's Swiftness
/cast [@mouseover,help][help] Healing Touch
Sometimes you may wish to use HT out of combat, and you'd prefer to save NS for upcoming combat. To allow for this, simply add a [combat] modifier into the macro to prevent NS from firing when you're not in combat.
When do I use Nourish?
Personally, I use Nourish when I would use Swiftmend, with these stipulations:
- a) They need a quick heal but Swiftmend is on cooldown, OR
- b) They need a quick heal and I need to save Swiftmend for upcoming movement.
When using it to tank-heal, make sure to HoT-up the tank by keeping stacks of rejuv, regrowth, and lifebloom rolling on the target. These will increase the spellpower of your Nourishes, especially if you've glyphed for it. Casting a Wild Growth on the tank will buff it further for a 4-HoT buffed nourish, and should splash on nearby melee.
Other things that may impact your use of Nourish include:
- Co-Healers: your use of Nourish will depend on the other types of healers present in your raid. Sometimes it's not even class but the playstyle (or even the skill) of your cohealers that determines whether or not you need to cast Nourish very often. If your raid is heavy on other direct healers (paladins especially), you will not need to cast this as much, except when a dps/healer gets themselves in trouble... which should hopefully be less often than your Swiftmend cooldown. This is the reason many 25-man restos don't use Nourish very often: they are able to focus entirely on just HoT-healing the raid, while other healers manage the direct healing.
- Raid size: the smaller the raid, the more likely you'll need to use it, as you're called upon to shoulder more of the direct healing. In some cases, between 5-mans with a "squishy" tank or in progression raids, a druid may need to focus entirely on tank healing (ex. Valithria, heroic LK), and then Nourish becomes a large part of their healing.
Cataclysm and Nourish: --no "leaks," just blue posts--
From the information Blizzard itself has given us (and remember, everything is subject to change as the expansion is still in its alpha phase), it seems as though they intend Nourish to be used as a "spot heal" (blue posts). Regrowth will be gaining prominence due to the splash-healing its crits can provide, and they have stated that they wish each healer class to have a small, medium, and large casted heal (in addition to AoE) to homogenize the healing classes out from their niches: using regrowth, nourish, and HT as these spells for druids. While I personally think Nourish would be the small and Regrowth be the medium, in terms of cast time, mana cost, and HoTs, it could be different depending on how they alter the spells.
The following cataclysm talent changes are going to impact it:
- 0.5s cast-time reduction talent seems incongruous with a cast time that already matches the GCD. This suggests that either:
- a) we'll wait for GCD like we do for insta-cast spells, OR
- b) they might be increasing the base cast time. As far as I know, all numbers for this are rumors and unofficial, but a longer cast time has its own implications on how Nourish might be used.
- It will refresh lifebloom duration on the target. This can disrupt your healing if you want to have the bloom go off, especially in situations where your emergency heals are on cooldown. This will impact your spell selection.
- Crits will reduce remaining the cooldown of swiftmend by 0.5 seconds. I really like the concept of this one, though 0.5 seconds off a 15-second cooldown is rather tiny.
- It is loosing 20% bonus healing from empowered touch.
- It is loosing 25% crit from nature's bounty.