Paladin Healing Talents for MoP – Your Picks?

Paladin Healing Talents for MoP – Your Picks?

Here’s part 2 featuring the favourite class that everyone loves to hate on: Paladins!

Paladin talents

Matt’s picks

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Level 15: Speed of Light. 1 minute cooldown but at least as Holy they have a personal defensive ability.

Level 30: CC abilities. Repentance, but otherwise there’s nothing that directly affects healing here.

Level 45: Appears to be the defensive paladin section. Nothing healing related, but would personally select Sacred Shield. Never know when you might get spiked. Plus it lets you eat a fire once in a while.

Level 60: Leaning heavily toward Holy Shield. Another ability that stops incoming damage relative to your Holy Power? Cool!

Level 75: Acts of Sacrifice. But there is nothing that helps healing here. Clemency does come in handy if you need two Hand of Sacrifices back to back. I guess it could be thought of as another single target CD.

Level 90: I guess it depends how powerful Holy Shock will be at this stage. I can already see Paladins chain casting Holy Shock over and over again on different players after a large AoE hit. Holy Avenger does look attractive for 10 seconds of maximum Holy Power.

Depending on how you look at it, there are possibly 4 abilities you can grab which will help you do your job as healing. The rest of them are pure utility such as the CC. The talents do not appear to be as diverse as the priest ones in terms of healing selections. But then again, paladins fill three roles. Priests have just two roles as they are unable to legitimately tank. Overall not a bad list. I feel as though additional talents could be brought in or modified here.

Skills

Paladins receive a new skill called Blinding Light. It’s essentially an AoE disorient. Now that’s going to be a fun skill in PvP. Can’t think of too many raiding applications for it yet unless there’s additional crowd controllable mobs.

I’m not exactly a regular Paladin healer so feel free to share your insights on your own selections and why you would differ on your picks.

Shaman and Druids coming up next!

Priest Healing Talents for MoP – Which Would You Pick?

Priest Healing Talents for MoP – Which Would You Pick?

Been meaning to do this for a while. Wanted to analyze all the new proposed talents for the different healing classes to see which ones I would choose if I played that healer.

Priest talents

Matt’s choices

mop-talent-priest_thumb1

Level 15: Nothing. All various CC effects. May as well go with the bread and butter Psychic Scream.

Level 30: Nothing. All various movement effects. Probably Body and Soul for me in most cases.

Level 45: From Darkness, Comes Light would be my main selection. Depending on the encounter, strategy and positioning, Divine Star would be an excellent alternative. Not opposed to blasting the spell down one direction healing the group.

Level 60: Defensive, personal cooldowns here. Leaning heavily toward Desperate Prayer.

Level 75: Wow. This is the hardest selection to make. I think I would take Power Infusion. Not only could I use it on myself for extra healing speed but in the event I don’t need it, i can toss it onto another player. But Twist of Fate and Serendipity are both excellent choices. You really might not be able to go wrong with any of these choices.

Level 90: This would be the second hardest talent selection to make after level 75, I think. Vampiric Dominance offers the ability for you to splash or cleave heal your group. Void Shift* offers another single target cooldown. Vow of Unity is another modified single target cooldown which gives your healing spells a pseudo Binding Heal effect with the added bonus of redirecting half the damage your target takes to you. Void Shift wins!

* For those who are curious, due to the wording of the talent, I believe that the health percentage swap is only temporary. That is, if my target had 30% health and I had 100% health when I used Void Shift and I healed myself from 30% to 60%, the health pools would reverse again so that my target had 60% health and I would have his health percentage (before being healed for that additional 25%).

If the expansion were to come out today, I would be satisfied if these were the talents that came with it. It really does make you think. In some of these cases, there isn’t always a clear cut answer as a simple strategy change or a different encounter could lead to a radically altered talent choice. The latter talents are designed to really make you excel as a healer.

Skills

Where did Vampiric Embrace and Devouring Plague go? That was the first thing I noticed. Nice to see I get Lightwell folded into the Holy skillset without having to actually spec into it. Train of Thought received the same treatment as well. No word on what our level 85+ skills are. But I think Discipline is receiving the castable Shield past 85 at some point.

My thoughts on the rest of the healers will come later this week!

EDIT: WHERE DID PRAYER OF HEALING GO?!

Firelands Nerf, a day later: Lodur’s thoughts

When we first received news of the incoming nerf, I was already on edge. I hate nerfs. I made it a point to help push my raid teams through boss fights before nerfs. Kael’thas died the night before he was nerfed into the ground. Sadly though, I didn’t get to accomplish this goal with firelands. This isn’t for lack of trying mind you. For the last several weeks I’ve been working with the guild trying to sure up lines and push through the content. I’ve been a busy shaman, to say the least.

So, the day of the great nerf has come and gone, and in the aftermath we’re left looking at what was done. Conquest mounted up and dove into firelands yesterday, and toppled every single boss, save Raggy, in just about an hour and a half. Seriously. Raid started at 9pm est, by 10:30pm we were already looking at Rag. This includes a few breaks to make roster adjustments to get in some new recruits. That’s just insane. We had the numbers, but you have to actually do the content to appreciate exactly how much the nerf bat hit firelands. I’ll be honest at the end of the night, I was quite a bit saddened by it.

Nothing is quite as demoralizing as walking into a raid and just breathing on bosses and having them fall over. While this seems like a bit of an exaggeration, I assure you that’s how it felt. Sure you can still die to mechanics if you don’t know what you’re doing, but it just felt weak compared to a day before. I sat at my computer afterwards and I was just kindda looking at the computer screen and my character. Things have changed, certainly in Cataclysm, but sometimes you just have to sit back and look at it. I mean really look at it.

In ICC, when things were getting “nerfed” we had the option of actually turning the buff off and going about the content as originally intended. It was something that I know my group utilized. We allowed the buff for farm content but turned it off if we had a progression boss or a new recruit we were trying to break in. The point is that we had the option to utilize it or not. I thought it was a fantastic way to go about it. Giving your players the choice as to whether or not they want to get a sweeping buff that helped topple content. After all, as a player I value nothing higher than choice. Choice of what bosses to do, in what order, choice of spec and gear, and honestly choice on whether or not to deal with buffed / nerfed content.

So after the raid and again this morning I’m sitting here wondering why Firelands didn’t get a similar style of handling the nerf. The flat reduction in boss health, boss damage and add health was fairly substantial. Substantial enough that each boss kill felt a bit hollow to me. I would have loved to have had the option to turn the nerf on or off, but as it stood looking at the last boss at an hour and a half into the raid was just a bit much. Mana was not an issue, not even close, I don’t think I used my Mana Tide Totem more than twice the entire night. Healing was such a non issue that for a good chunk of the night we were running 5 healers on a 25 man raid, and even then I spent more time throwing lightning bolts than having to heal. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to stop raiding or anything like that. I’m eagerly waiting for patch 4.3 and the next raid tier. I just felt very contemplative over this nerf.

So a day later what do you think about it?  How did it affect your raid? 

How to Move and Heal

Do you know what one of the leading causes of tank death are?

Healers not being in range.

The other cause is not enough healing (ba-dum-tsch).

Whenever I jump into pickup raids or heroics as a DPS player, I am stunned at the inability of players to move and heal. This is an absolutely essential skill to have no matter what kind of healing class you play. We’ll go over a few tips to help get your confidence up to the point where you can effortlessly heal on the go. There aren’t any big secrets or special techniques. Much of it comes with foresight and experience.

Use your instant spells

HoTs, Renews, Shields, Ripties, Holy Shocks, and even Circle of Healing (Inefficient as it may be)! The moment they’re on the run, you need to be able to keep up with them. In most cases, you do not have to keep them at full health when they’re on the move. You just need to keep them alive with a nice margin of health. Instant spells are enough. Once they stop moving, start bomb healing them back to a comfortable level.

Hustle!

Body and Soul yourself. Switch to cat form. Ghost Wolf it. If you need to haul ass and you have a way of speeding up your movement, do it! Stop what you’re doing and move it!

Plan accordingly

Movement phases during raids can usually be planned in advanced. In the Lord Rhyolith encounter, tanks have to haul the ads from the middle of the room to the exterior. In Beth’tilac, large drones are manhandled to a preset location at the back of the room. If you know the rough location where the tank will be at, you can position yourself closer to that point to minimize your movement.

Leapfrog it

You move. Then they move. Then you move. Then they move. During Shannox, I’ll drop a Barrier on the tank and start moving in a pre-arranged direction. Once the Barrier falls off, they start coming towards me. We keep repeating this pattern where both the tank and the healer alternately move until we get to where we want to go.

Stand closer to them

Many of us have been trained to stay as far as possible away from a boss as DPS players to avoid different attacks or things on the ground. As a healer, being at max range can be a liability. The moment your tank moves the other way, you’re stuck playing catchup. Don’t be afraid of closing within 20-30 yards. This gives you additional flexibility and freedom for the tank.

Use your cooldowns

Even if they’re not taking large amounts of damage, a Pain Suppression of sorts can do wonders. If the tank needs to move, consider using a raid wide one like Divine Hymn or Tranquility. It’s like using a shotgun on a cockroach. It’s overkill, but it works. Wouldn’t recommend this unless you absolutely had no outs.

Have healers at different areas

If the tank is going in a predictable circle from point A to point B, have a healer at each point. The moment the tank comes into range of one of the healers, they’ll be under their responsibility. Don’t be afraid to call for help. If you can’t reach your main tank, say so. Hopefully there’s a healer nearby who will see the tank light up on their raid frames and switch to them until you’re back in range again.

Being vocal

Don’t be afraid to say things like “Stop moving” directly to your tank. If they can’t stop, at least they recognize that they’re on their own for a few seconds before you’re back in range of them. Work with them beforehand and arrange what will happen if the two of you aren’t in range of each other. Your tank can use that as a cue to use a potion or a Last Stand.

If you want some additional practice, step into some battlegrounds and participate in some PvP healing. Now it’s your turn. What other techniques would you suggest for healers on the go? Have any lessons or stories relating to healing and movement?

Circle of Healing: Lodur version 4.2

Matt beat me too it, but I too felt it was about time to do one of these again.  A while ago, the circle of healing was started as a way of members of the community to share information about themselves will everyone else in the blog-o-sphere. It has been so long, in fact, that many updates and an expansion have come along since I last filled this out! So, I guess it’s time for an update, as many things have in fact changed for me. For example, I’m no longer on Zul’jin, instead now I’m on Ner’Zhul.

Name, class and spec: [A] Lodur, Restoration Shaman (Ner’zhul)

What is your primary group healing environment? 25 man progression raiding

What is your favorite healing spell for your class and why?

If I had to pick one it would have to be Spirit Link Totem. If you’ve been reading me for any length of time, you’ll know that I’ve had a love affair with this spell since it was first conceptualized in the beta for Wrath of the Lich King. I’ve fawned over it, lamented it’s removal from the game, and celebrated (actually through a party IRL) the re-integration of this amazing spell back into our arsenal in Cataclsym. I’ve been finding new ways to use it and ways to combine it with other spells like Rallying Cry and Power Word: Barrier in various encounters for new and awesome results. I think though, that it really is my favorite not because of it’s versatility, but because I have been crusading for the spell to be brought back since it was removed. Funnily enough, putting it from a spell we cast into a totem to add a limitation to it was one of the very first things I ever fired off towards Blizzard years ago. I love me some totems.

What healing spell do you use least for your class and why?

If you asked me in the last tier of content I would have said Greater Healing Wave. Now though, I honestly don’t know. Every spell we have has a place in each encounter. It’s not like we have a huge toolkit (though it has been expanded over the years). If I had to just pick a spell that is classified under healing but I never use, it would probably be Totem of Tranquil Mind. It’s a water totem, water is the shaman element of healing, therefore I classify it as a healing spell. I just never use the damn thing. Compared to Mana Spring Totem or Healing Stream Totem, it’s just always outclassed. Honestly, give me back my damn Sentry Totem! At least I used that.

What do you feel is the biggest strength of your healing class and why?

Versatility. Shaman are capable of going from single target healing to group healing without really having to worry about switching gear or stats. While some stats are preferable for each role, we are capable of swapping on the fly and that lends us a certain strength. Combine that with a new defensive cooldown that cuts through healing reducing effects and well, we’re just one awesome healing class.

What do you feel is the biggest weakness of your healing class and why?

Unlike other classes our mastery is good/bad in a cycle. Beginning of a tier, or at the start of hardmodes, shaman mastery is a champ. After that however, it sort of becomes the redheaded stepchild in lieu of throughput stats like haste and crit. Other classes benefit from their masteries pretty much all the time, where ours only really gets the lime light if someone messes up and takes a ton of damage, or the raid as a whole is failing. It actually gets worse as players skill and gear improve. What’s up with that?

In a 25 man raiding environment, what do you feel, in general, is the best healing assignment for you?

Raid healing. I’m a roll healer by desire, I love placing Healing Rains, rolling Riptide and Chain Heal and keeping up as many people as I can through some ridiculous damage. I do well at it and I enjoy it. I also think I excel at special assignment healing, such as healing the kiting team for heroic Magmaw, that was just a blast.

Which healing class do you enjoy healing with most and why?

Toss up between Druid and Priest. There’s a lot of synergy there between the way druids and shaman heal together, as well as both flavors of priest. Hymns, barrier, Tranquility and crazy HoTs, they all seem to compliment shaman healing quite well.

What healing class do you enjoy healing with least and why?

Paladins, for the pure petty reason that they stole my Healing Stream mechanic! no honestly its just because of the difference in healing styles. I have a hard time working around paladins most of the time because they just feel like a brute force healing class where as the others feel more delicate or graceful.  No offense to any paladins out there, I know they are exciting to play, I just can’t get the image of a paladin busting his holy book over someone’s head while screaming “BE HEALED BY THE LIGHT” out of my mind.

What is your worst habit as a healer?

My worst habit? That’s a tough one. If I had to pick one it would be stopping healing on a wipe. I just can’t do it. I reflexively continue to heal until it finally clicks in my brain “oh, wait, wipe. Stop healing now!”. Partially this stems from a raid I was in years ago where the Raid Leader called a wipe and I told healers to keep going. We healed through a metric ton of damage and actually beat the boss. It was something that kind of defines me. Till the very last, I’m on the front lines healing your dudes. Whether it’s called for or not >.>

What is your biggest pet peeve in a group environment while healing?

Matt said it, and I’m going to echo it. Getting blamed for healing problems when it’s not a healing problem. There seems to be this mindset, recently even more so than before, that any problem can be solved by obtaining better healers. Sure, sometimes the healers are messing up or need to tighten up, but rarely is it actually a bad healer.  Too often are healers judged purely on meters and raw numbers. Sure World of Logs analysis plays a part in evaluating a healers performance, but unlike DPS being the top of the charts in healing isn’t always a good thing. There are always different factors to consider such as the fight, healing assignment , class of the healer as well as the healing team in the raid. Everyone is quick to blame healers, when DPS standing in the wrong spot can cause a wipe just as much as low healing.

I’ve been healing a long time. I’ve been writing here, my own blog and at WoW Insider now for quite sometime. I got to these places as a healer trying to explain healing to other healers. That’s tough enough some days, but try explaining it to non healers sometime. That’s a brick wall that’s hard to crack most of the time.

Do you feel that your class/spec is well balanced with other healers for PvE healing?

Yes. Shaman were used as the “model for healing” this expansion, so we’ve always been a viable class / spec. Even when our numbers weren’t perfect we were still doing well. Now with recent adjustments we’re right about where we need to be and I think we are pretty well balanced.

What tools do you use to evaluate your own performance as a healer

To evaluate my own performance I’ll go through World of Logs and check to make sure my spell usage is consistent with the encounter and my assignment in the encounter. If it is not, then that’s usually my cue to change what I’m doing.

What do you think is the biggest misconception people have about your healing class?

Honestly, I’m kind of tired of hearing the phrase “shaman can’t heal this”. I have yet to fail in any healing assignment. Just because I don’t top the meter doesn’t mean I can’t heal something. All the classes are capable of all the healing roles. True some may be better than others, but nothing quite gets under my skin like the statement that I CAN’T heal something because I’m a shaman.

What do you feel is the most difficult thing for new healers of your class to learn?

Getting rid of healer tunnel vision. New healers are rarely aware of their own health totals, and you can usually tell how long a healer has been healing by how quickly they react to incoming damage. Whether it’s healing themselves or blowing a cooldown to survive it tends to be a tell-tale sign. That habit is hard to kick, and it’s because of that I love any addon that lets you put your own health in an easily visible place, or ones like GTFO which audibly alerts you to incoming damage or spell effects.

If someone were to try to evaluate your performance as a healer via recount, what sort of patterns would they see?

That I tend to pace my healing for long fights. I’m a long sight healer. I try to make sure I’m using the most cost effective heal for the job. So my throughput might not be as high as some of the other healers in the group, but I make sure I have mana to continuously heal through a fight, unlike a certain dwarf priest. Also that I cast Lightning Bolt quite a bit!

Haste or Crit and why?

The new 4.2 crit giving 200% healing is nice, but I’ll still pick haste first every time. Haste is just so good when it comes to pumping out the healing, and getting to each haste plateau does nothing but improve my healing and help increase the effectiveness I bring to a raid. That’s right folks, I’m a haste junkie!

What addons or macros do you use to aid you in healing?

Aside from a focus macro for Earth Shield and ones to keep me from casting Heroism or Mana Tide when not in combat, the only really healer centric thing I use for myself is Grid. I have it completely configured to show me exactly what I need to know for every member of the raid.

Do you strive primarily for balance between your healing stats or do you stack some much higher than others and why?

I try to hit the haste caps (916 and now 2005) and then after that I maintain balance between my primary healing stats. Haste just gives me so much more throughput on pretty much everything that I can’t ignore it.  I then adjust the rest of my stats according to the tier of content or fight, but generally try to maintain a balance.

That’s it for me on this circle of healing patch 4.2 edition. Normally I would tag individuals, but instead I’m going to tag the entire restoration shaman community as well as anyone who follows me on twitter, or on google +. This also goes for any of the readers out there with blogs of their own! Consider yourselves tapped for this Circle of healing, and I completely expect posts from you guys!

Guide to 4.2

Just in case you missed it, the Matticast crew talked about the imminent patch 4.2 drop. Things like the valor cap, the new Encounter Journal, class changes and the Legendary quest.

Healing changes

You can find more detailed information in the latest patch notes. But here’s what they are at a glance.

All healing critical strikes now heal for 2 times a normal heal (+100%), up from 1.5 times a normal heal (+50%).

Priests

As a result of the critical strike change, Crit appears to have become attractive. It’s possible to see some 50k absorbs. Otherwise, no additional changes have been made to Priest healing at this time.

That’s not a bad thing.

Druids

Symbiosis (Mastery) has been removed and replaced with Harmony. Harmony increases direct healing by an additional 10%, and casting direct healing spells grants an additional 10% bonus to periodic healing for 10 seconds. Each point of mastery increases each bonus by an additional 1.25%. Healing Touch, Nourish, Swiftmend, and the initial heal from Regrowth are considered direct healing spells for the purposes of this Mastery. All other healing from druid spells is considered periodic.

Paladins

Many healing spells have had their mana costs adjusted.

Illuminated Healing (Mastery) has been adjusted slightly so that if a paladin refreshes an existing copy of his or her own Illuminated Healing on a target, the new absorption amount will be added into the old absorption amount and the duration will be reset. The total absorption created can never exceed 1/3 of the casting paladin’s health. Paladins are now Val’anyr!

Shamans

Improved Water Shield has been redesigned and renamed Resurgence. When Water Shield is active, Resurgence causes critical direct heals to restore mana (Resurgence rank 2 is roughly equal to 150% of the old Improved Water Shield value when a Healing Wave or Greater Healing Wave critically hits, and scaled down accordingly for faster or multi-target spells).

Mana Tide now grants 200% of the caster’s Spirit, down from 400%.

Glyph of Unleashed Lightning (new Prime glyph) allows Lightning Bolt to be cast while moving. Handy in tandem with Telluric Currents.

Legendary Thoughts

Start the quest if you like to check it out and such. But don’t force your guild to give it to you. It’s for the casters this time around.

Lack of Spirit Cloth Gear

Yeah, I’ve seen a whole ton of discussion about this around. There aren’t a whole lot of drops and it seems that most of the stuff is going to either come from faction vendors or Valor vendors.

Look, they didn’t forget anything. This was done for a reason. We can still rely on reforging to get the additional spirit if necessary. Prioritize Spirit trinkets to help offset the loss. The Jar of Ancient Remedies is something you’ll want to keep handy (as in, don’t sell it or get rid of it otherwise).

It was my fault.

I used and abused spirit mechanics too much and they the nerfed drops because of me :(.


Firelands raid bosses

It seems that reputation for Avengers of Hyjal are only obtainable from the Firelands raid instance. You can get up to Honored with taking down trash (I just got up to Friendly after about 2 hours and chain dropping battle standards).

You can find the Firelands raid instance out in Mount Hyjal. Just head to the big, flaming castle in the southern part of the zone. No attunements are needed. Feel free to zone right in. Recommended boss order is to start with Shannox, Beth’tilac, Lord Rhyolith and Alysrazor before finishing out the last three.

Need to know where to get started for healing?

  • Beth’tilac
  • Lord Rhyolith
  • Alysrazor
  • Shannox
  • Baleroc
  • Majordomo Staghelm
  • Ragnaros

Topping Meters vs Assigned Role

Ask the healing community what they think about healing meters and you’ll get a varied response. Some people swear by them and attempt to dominate the healing charts or rank on fights through World of Logs (usually recent converts from DPS roles to healing). Other folks see them as a tool to measure spell usage and the overall feel of healing for a fight, not really caring what the overall numbers say.

Recently there has been a resurgence in the camp of people that evaluate healing based on nothing more than the number on meters and logs. While normally this is relegated to what I like to call “outsiders looking in”, or rather non-healers attempting to evaluate healing, it has become an increasing point of measurement amongst healers in Cataclysm. It is with that in mind that I bring up the age old question once again; what is more important,  topping meters or performing well in your assigned task?

Top O’the charts to ye

There are a group of players that care only about the numbers, and only care about how they rank in relation to one another. They have an inherit need to be the top dog, the big boss, the head honcho of the meters. This is because they equate larger numbers with success. For DPS there is some merit there, and having that competition between DPSers can help push your raid’s DPS to rather insane numbers. Sadly though, this doesn’t work for healers or tanks quite as well. Being concerned with topping the charts can lead to some unfortunate happenings.

The most notable effect is that people who tend to heal with the sole intent of hitting the top of the charts tend to run on E longer than other healers, and sooner. They waste more consumables and waste more raid resources like Innervates, or force earlier Mana Tides just to keep going. The wasting of resources can lead to trouble for other healers down the line, and can jeopardize the raid as a whole. A second effect is that you tend to snipe heals from other healers. This means an increase in over-healing and a waste of mana. Every time a healer snipes a heal from another healer, you’re basically denying them the effective healing for mana spent on whatever spell was about to land. Lastly, you have the potential to spread yourself too thin, which can result in a dead raid. Topping the meters on a wipe, well it’s still a wipe.

…narrow of purpose and wide of vision

Another group of players follows their assignments with slavish devotion. They latch on to their healing assignment, and even when they can see other people in need of help do not deviate. They put on healing blinders as it were. This can cause just as many problems as people who try to hog the healing glory. A tank healer may keep the tank alive, but may end the fight with a full mana bar, where other healers may have struggled and ended the fight with no mana and a list of dead that shouldn’t have been dead. The raid healer who focuses on nothing but the raid, but ignores the tanks could see a dead tank.

Locking yourself into one tiny aspect can turn you into a dead weight that brings the raid down with you. If you and your assignment are the last ones standing, and everyone else in the group is dead because you couldn’t deviate from the plan slightly or adjust, well you just doomed them all.

The Question, the answer, and the in-between

Would you rather 1. Follow your healing assignment or 2.  Show up at the top of the healing meters ?

I posed this very question on twitter to see what type of response I would get from the healing community. Seems like both sides of the coin are tainted so to speak doesn’t it? The question is in and of itself a trick. Both answers are wrong. Adhering to a narrow view of the raid can be as bad as trying to garner meter glory. I was pleased that almost everyone responded with the correct answer, adapt.

While healers shouldn’t be concerned with their placement on the meters so much as making sure they are putting out the healing relevant to their current raid content, they shouldn’t abandon their assignments and just do whatever they want. Raid leaders and healing leads assign people to certain tasks for reasons. Whether it is to coordinate defensive cooldowns on a fight or to make sure the healing load is even, they (hopefully) have the best intent for the group and know what they are talking about. That said,they expect you to adapt to the situation around you and help out as you can. Don’t try to be the hero, trust your teammates, but keep an eye out on what’s going on.

If your healing assignment is stable and you see a problem area that needs a little TLC, help. If you are in need of a little help in your task, ask for it. If you don’t agree with your assignment don’t ignore it outright, talk with the heal / raid lead about it and see if you can make a better plan. Our job as healers is to deal with some of the most difficult things the game has to offer. We have to adjust to fluctuating damage, mix ups, mistakes all while dodging fires, void zones, raid bosses, and rabid hockey fans. You have to stay on your toes and be aware, and be prepared to adapt.

Screw the meters, our job is to make sure that we worked as a team to keep the raid alive through the encounter as best we can. You do the task assigned to you, and once your stable and comfortable you branch out if you can and help sure up the sides. To give you a perfect example, we had an encounter where a raid cooldown went off early due to a miss-click. One of the other healers immediately stepped in and filled in out of his normal sequence for cooldowns to cover the miss-click, without being asked to. The healing team was able to adjust and it literally saved the encounter. It’s all about balance in the end. You do what you can to help out the raid without trying to be a hero. I encourage you to throw meters out the window and focus on survival, survival of the raid, of your assignment and of yourself. THAT is what you should be worried about. You show me a parse where you pulled 32k HPS on a H- Chimaeron wipe, and I’ll still show you a wipe. If people try to evaluate you purely on your meter rankings rather than looking at everything you do, ignore them.

The Gradual Shift to Inefficient Healing

I actually had to read this a few times to make sure I was reading it correctly. I swear, blue language happens to take a language on its own entirely. It’s like lawyerspeak but for gamers. This is a passage taken from the Firelands Q&A that was released a few days ago.

Q: It can be anticipated that mana regeneration and maximum mana will increase from gearing up with the new Firelands equipment. Isn’t there a possibility that healers can spam big heals again (and more quick heals) just like in WotLK? If so, is there any plan to handle this without class nerfs? – Whitewnd (KR)

A: As damage increases, healers will need to use their largest, most inefficient heals more regularly to keep up. That’s fine and was all part of the design. We just didn’t want players to opt out of mana regeneration too early in the content because then Spirit (and mana-related procs) on gear wouldn’t be attractive, and because we’d have to balance difficulty by making the tanks die in a couple of GCDs if not healed continually. Most progression-oriented healers still want large amounts of Spirit, often in every single slot. As they get more comfortable with their mana, they’ll be able to replace some of that Spirit with other stats, but the Spirit will still be valuable; more Spirit on a set piece for example might mean being able to use a different enchant or reforge on another piece.

This is still a much better place to be than we were with Lich King content, where mana stopped mattering in the first raid tier. Aside from the mana changes we’ve already made to Innervate, Mana Tide Totem and paladin heals, we don’t think an overall regen nerf is necessary.

The first two sentences pretty much gave it away. We started the expansion heavily relying on triage healing to get things done and to be as efficient as we could. Heal was extensively relied on as our filler spell (for Priests). Other healing classes had the same. Drawing back from the previous years and expansions, we knew that as encounters got increasingly difficult, our gear levels would rise with it. The only constant here is mana cost. The mana cost of Flash Heal stays the same whether we’re working on Tier 11 or Tier 15. So we’re seeing a trend where Heal is going to gradually be rotated out of our spell usage in favor of high impact, inefficient spells – Largely because of necessity. It appears that in Firelands onwards, mana neutral spells can’t even be considered anymore.

For example, during the first part of the expansion, I relied on Heal as my filler spell. I was always casting something on players where damage was expected. Now I’m relying mostly on Renew as a filler spell for Holy. I’m hoping healing in the final tiers of Cataclysm aren’t going to be as mind numbing or stressing as they were in Icecrown Heroic. With higher health pools across the board for everyone, we should still have some time to react to incoming damage. Instead of dying in 1-2 shots, players would die in 3-5 shots.

This appears to be part of the design intent (Sentence two). Rising gear levels means larger mana pools and larger secondary stats. We’ll have much more flexibility when it comes to stat allocation. Right now, we need around 2100~ Spirit to function. The rest of it goes to your Mastery, Haste or Crit (Whatever tickles your fancy). From Firelands PTR testing, we’re going to need a little more Spirit for sure to be do our jobs. We’ll have much more stats to move around though.

Have you seen the Discipline numbers on the PTR? 40000+ Divine Aegis crits and absorbs (stemming from the 200% bonus to crit instead of 150%). I wonder if stacking crit and mastery is the way to go. Decisions, decisions!

I, Shaman: Speculation of the future of resto

I, Shaman: Speculation of the future of resto

With all the changes to healing between the expansion’s release and subsequent patches, restoration shaman have kind of gone in a bit of a circle almost. We started out the expansion with the inclusion of a few new spells that really set the tone. Healing Rain was an absolute power-house addition to our healing, and Spiritwalker’s Grace along with Unleash Elements gave us some additional healing versatility.

Not too long after Cataclysm’s release, shaman healing started falling behind some of the other healers not from lack of trying but for lack of throughput and cooldowns. We have a diverse toolkit to use, but there just wasn’t enough juice in the batteries. The developers at Blizzard ramped up our healing in an attempt to bring us up to par with other healers, and gave us a brand new cooldown to use. It just so happened to be a spell that we’ve been pining over for almost three years. As of patch 4.1 our healing has gone up exponentially and we can keep pace with the other healers pretty well, and we have enough tools an abilities to cover the main healing roles.

But now it’s time to look to the future. One of the big things about Cataclysm was that there would be a great homogenization where all healers could cover all of the roles in a raid or group. This is mostly true at this point. I can tank heal pretty damn well now, and have been for the last several weeks, and can switch between that and raid healing at the drop of a hat without losing pace. Paladins can pile on some massive raid healing and still nuke heal a single target. I think, though, that we’ve reached almost full circle and while we can cover all the roles necessary I think we all still have a specialty. Lets look at shaman and the toolkit we have.

Healing Rain is a massive AoE healing spell with an area of effect large enough to encompass two priest or druid healing circles. It is affected by mastery at each tick, so it can be used for lower health targets to great effect, and each healing tick has a chance to proc Earthliving. Chain Heal has had its coefficient buffed, and overall throughput increased. It was changed to include the additional target from the glyph as a base part of the spell, bringing our total targets up to 4. Riptide, with glyph, can be rolled across multiple targets when applied every cooldown, and Healing Stream Totem also got a bit of a boost and Spirit Link Totem is a clutch cooldown that can bring a raid from the brink of death to flat-out victory.  Shaman still thrive pretty hardily in the barren lands of AoE healing, it’s the point I think we excel the most at overall. This isn’t bad, it’s good to have a specialty, but we’ve done maybe a 310 turn. I won’t say 360 because we aren’t in that awful spot we were before, but we’re close enough to our old niche that we can still claim it, and we get the tools to be able to hang with the single target healers as well. I think though, that it was an intentional move to put us in the niche to give us that specialty and I think that it will become important in the next tier of raiding.

Tier 12 promises to ramp up the AoE damage. This is based purely on speculation of the content as well as some of the items that have been data-mined for set bonuses. As Vixsin pointed out in comments to my last post, is that every 4pc focuses on providing additional splash healing. This is a pretty good indicator as to what we’ll be dealing with, considering the set bonuses are usually tooled towards boosting your healing for the current content. So from set bonuses, and from the general fact we’ll be in the elmental plane of fire, we can expect a lot of raid wide damage and healing. This is something shaman normally can capitalize on by using all our tools. I think that T12 raiding content could be a shaman break out tier, where due to just the nature of our healing, you will see some ridiculous healing done. Basically I think we’ll make a strong showing in the next tier of content based on our cooldown, our healing spells and our ability to just be general healing bad-asses. After that, on the road to Deathwing, who knows what we’ll look like. But for right now I think we’re poised for greatness in the next tier.

Restoration Shaman T12 set bonuses

On the off-chance that you missed it, the tier 12 set bonuses for patch 4.2 have been data-mined. Or rather it is what we think they are currently. Everyone has begun speculating about whether they are real, finished or just place holders as well as the impact they’ll have on the gameplay. Well, I figured I’d chime in on what the uncovered shaman tier 12 set bonus is supposed to be for restoration.

  • Restoration 2 Pieces – Your periodic healing from Riptide has a 40% chance to restore 1% of your base mana each time it heals a target.
  • Restoration 4 Pieces – Your Chain Heal spell will jump to one additional target.

Well, that’s what we know so far. I really like the idea of the 2 piece bonus for a few reasons. First of all, every tick of your Riptide will have a 40% chance to restore 1% of your base mana when it heals. Considering you’re likely to be rolling at least 3 of them at a time due to the nature of the spell and the glyph, the potential return on investment is pretty high here. The other thing to consider is that at our first haste plateau of 916, all of our HoTs get an extra tick. With Tier 12 gear it looks like we’ll likely be able to hit the second haste plateau with buffs, which is around 3.4k haste. At 1,573 haste (if you glyphed Riptide and have the warlock buff) Riptide will gain yet another additional tick. It will still occupy the same time on the target, and heal for the same amount, it will just tick more frequently. The point is, 1,573 is an easy number to hit, and even if you don’t have a warlock to buff you the total of 2005 (1857 if you’re a goblin) won’t be that hard to hit come patch 4.2. This increases your chances of getting some mana back with that wonderful 2 piece and honestly makes it very attractive.

The four piece does not thrill me for a few reasons. First of all, adding an additional target to Chain Heal is something our old Glyph of Chain Heal used to do. I’m not really excited by the idea that our set bonus was something that was previously a glyph, and then was just added to the spell anyways as a base component. Secondly, every jump reduces the mount of healing done by chain heal exponentially. As it stands, that last jump would be a piddly amount of healing, and that is assuming a 5th target is in range, and even needs the heal. Thirdly, it is not raid team neutral. What I mean by this is 10 vs 25 man raiding. It’s often times hard enough to get CH to hit all 4 targets in a 25 man raid, it can be downright impossible in a 10 man. That means that the set bonus could go wasted. Lastly, it hardly compares with some of the other 4-piece set bonuses that have been data-mined. Compare one additional bounce of chain heal to the other set that give free healing to nearby targets, or place a free flame-like Lightwell. It just doesn’t have the same punch, and I don’t see it really contributing to our overall healing.

That said, I’m holding out hope that this is incomplete data, that maybe the set bonus will change. Maybe if it healed two targets at the maximum value of chain heal before starting it’s declining healing value, or gave it another augment. Maybe give a bonus to another spell like Healing Rain. Something that feels a little more in line with the other healing 4-piece bonuses would be nice. Since this isn’t even available on the Patch 4.2 PTR yet, I’m hoping it will evolve into something more robust, but only time will tell.

What about you? What do you think about the data mined set bonus? Love it, hate it? What would you like to see for a restoration 4-piece set bonus for T12?