Gear, Talents and Patiencee
Resto healing is no easy task in a raid. Sure most Resto Druids can get through healing an instance with moderate gear and mixed specs but if you really want to make a difference in a raid there is a pretty steady progression to hit. I am by no means a Druid expert... just sharing what I did. :-)
What really matters
You need to have fun... part of the fun for me is to figure out how to make these more challenging specs work. I also really like to be doing things not just spamming the same heal over and over again. Topping the meter isn't as important as my impact on the raid so I will also go over the benefits of the specs as we progress through this. There are tons of online articles and opinions on how to level and what specs to use. But not as much out there about what to do when you start to get BiS gear. Here is what I did...
Starting out you aren't going to have the mana pool to go right for a solid Resto end game build. There are tons of resources out there for possible specs but it boils down to just a few in my opinion... Swiftmend, Moonglow or maybe the HotW 0/30/21 spec if you want to tank or still like to solo. If you are getting serious about healing, you need one of the first two. So what's the difference...
The Swiftmend Talent Build
This build gives you the ability to pop Swiftmend when you get into trouble. Its your lifeline and allows you to consume the latest cast HoT (heal over time) spell. As stated it is going to bang out the full heal for that spell once cast. Timing is everything here so you will want to swift mend towards the end of the HoT. usually time it for 1 second left, it will immediately cancel the HoT and apply the full amount of the HoT to the target for a huge bump. If timed right you can consume it on a rejuve, and with a regrowth queued behind have enough time to hit it again for your regrowth. In my opinion, its a great lifeline while learning to heal or for an under geared tank in an instance. You will not really have an opportunity to use this once the raid gets to 7+ healers, it will end up just over healing as everyone is trying to heal the tank and it isn't really efficient for other raid members taking normal raid damage.
Moonglow Talent Build
Stepping into a raid... Step up to Moonglow. This is a great build for early raiding as everyone on the internet has already said. You get almost 10% mana reduction (9%... close enough) and Crits are giving you a .5 sec cast reduction. Perfect for casting a big heal on a target that is in trouble. In early raiding when people are less geared this will work out and be effective. Also given the cost of heal casting, you need as much mana saved as possible so... down rank them spells. (a topic for another post)
So what's next?
You might be wondering where do I go from here... Well here is what I have found out. There are a few possible builds that will be more useful in raids. Remember I said earlier that my measurement of success isn't toping the healing meters, its more about my utility to the raid. Reducing the problem of healers running out of mana was my target. To do that I started out with this build (warning... slightly modified... not standard):
"Man, Shailya... I don't know... that's strange"
Yeah I hear you, let me get you there. I wanted to be able to HoT. The more I keep my hots up the less the Priests and Pallys have to big heal. They can keep the tanks up with their down ranked spells saving everyone mana. But I can hear you now...
"But mana, regrowth is rough"
Correct! You need a mana pool for this. I waited until mine broke 6K (with buffs) and my mp5 was over 40. I also grabbed a bunch of Crit gear... wait for it... The Cenarion set is actually perfect for this with a few additions. So my regrowth is gritting at about 49% with gear and buffs, great for those critical heals as an example, currently at the time of this writing my regrowth Crit hits for about 1.9k and then ticks for another 1.2k over time unbuffed. That's a little over 3k over 21 seconds. Combine that with 2 rank 10 rejuves and at the end of the 21 seconds my output is 4.8K ish. Why is that important? over that 20 seconds I bumped up the tank by 2k then kept a steady 468 heals over time to help reduce the damage and that's less heals that the flash healers have to do.
So why not all in on the regrowth you might ask? I needed a few points in moonglow still to help me keep some mana. For most fights I have to innervate and maybe use a mana pot. Without that few points I would have to use a mana pot every fight for sure. Once I get a few more specific pieces of gear, I will switch to a full regrowth spec with Nature's Swiftness.
So if you are interested in getting a Resto druid up to Raid level Ready... I hope this helps. If you are just looking to figure out what to do with your alt, this should defiantly help... go Moonglow as soon as you can and just stick with it :-). If you are looking for something a little more complicated and busy, this is your build.
Hit me up with any Resto healing questions... always happy to help. Have fun.