Shaman healing so far in Cataclysm

I’ve been spending as much time as I can in the Cataclysm beta, and trying to maximize as much of my time as possible healing. I mean, after all that’s what I get paid for right?

You may be asking yourself what this song has to do with this post? Honestly a lot of folks think that shaman healing has gone down hill and have thrown their hands up and walked away. Some of these folks just think healing in general come Cataclysm will be so broken it wont even be worth it. I’m here to assuage at least the shaman portion of that fear.

Mana and triage

For as long as shaman have been healing we’ve been a bit of a mana battery. Between our passive regen and our spells and abilities that are geared towards doing nothing but giving us mana back. The problem is that with Wrath most healers were mana batteries. Rarely running out of mana means you can heal almost perpetually through the vast majority of non hard-mode encounters.

This makes for very boring healing, and that is something that the developers have been trying to tackle for a long time now. With the reduction of mana, and the increase in the cost of several of our healing spells, it forces us to triage our heals and essentially move away from mothering a group. Most people have seen this as a fault of the new healing model. I, however, find it incredibly liberating. Granted shaman have fared better than most other classes in this regard because  we are technically the healing model for cataclysm (or so the blues tell us). We’ve been given the tools to heal effectively, and balanced to a point where we don’t over power every encounter and actively have to pay attention and manage healing spell choices. I don’t run OOM unless people are doing very, very stupid things and I’m forced to compensate (a la a mage hugging a dragon cause he though it was cute and needed a hug).

Right now if you yell at someone to not “stand in the bad” a lot of the time they will simply ignore you since healers can just dump heals on them and get through the vast majority of effects out there. If you’ve done any PUGing before you’ll have found it at least once. That hunter that doesn’t want to get out of the fire so he can squeeze off a couple more shots to up their DPS while you dump heals on them. They expect it, and if they don’t get it you are instantly a “bad healer”.

I’ve talked about this on several of my wow.com articles lately, but there is an emphasis on personal accountability. Even if you have the mana to heal someone, they may still die. Pardon my french for a minute here, but bad shit really is bad and players should avoid it at all costs. This includes Tanks and Healers. Doing the dungeon finder in the beta has gotten to a point where players know now they have to manage their own health a little bit, and the curve has gone from nightmare healing to perfectly manageable. If the changes stand and force healers to triage the heals, it will force a shift in the perception of healers. Not saying there wont be players who yell at the healer when they die (those jerks will always exist, sadly) but I think most people will come to stop expecting you to be the only one responsible for their health.

The impression that I get

Overall, healing on the shaman in the beta has been some of the most fun I’ve had to date. I absolutely love having to pick which heal is best for the situation and love the fact that not EVERYTHING is about Chain Heal or stacking pure haste. Honestly I think shaman have the perfect number of healing tools to work with in any given fight. Every new ability compliments each other, old abilities have been given just enough of a tweak to make them interesting. Overall it feels fresh, new and exciting.

I don’t feel over powered, but I do feel capable. I don’t feel like there is anything I can’t do without a little hard work. I still get a twinge at certain bosses in the 5 mans, knowing what they can do and looking at a group composition planning my heals for which ability. It’s exciting and I feel like a tactician rather than a small child playing whack-a-mole at the local carnival being swindled out of my $2. I mean I’ll always be a healer, but it feels like I’m falling in love with it all over again. There’s excitement and consequence and every death isn’t all just on me. I know that priests and shaman have fared better than paladin and druid healers so far, but I think in the end it will balance out and everyone will have as much fun as I do right now.

In conclusion, at least for shaman, the world is not ending. The sky is not falling, and ultimately we’ll be better off in the end it seems. GO TEAM SPIRIT FINGERS!

So I’m going to spend my weekend healing 5-mans and recording videos, anything specific you guys want to see from the beta? I’ll do what I can to provide!

Until next time, Happy Healing!

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About Lodur

Lodur is the right hand shaman to Matticus on World of Matticus, and a recruiting officer of Conquest and Co-Host of For the Lore podcast. Read more of his works at WoW Insider.

Comments

  1. How about a group making effective use of healing rain/correct placement and timing. I’m curious about it from a healer point of view even though I almost never heal on my shaman =p

  2. @Sryii you know, surprisingly enough, people tend to run away from HR right off the bat because they are so worried about standing in the bad. I’ve gone so far as to make a macro that is essentially

    /p Healing Rain centered on %t
    /s Healing Rain centered on %t
    /cast Healing Rain

    Just so they don’t run away! After doing that though, most people have been using it pretty effectively. I’ll do a special post about placing it later on for you. Also don’t forget, it is not a restoration specific spell and so elemental shaman and enhancement CAN cast healing rain if they feel so inclined.

  3. after reading this post, I am really glad that I decided to get my resto shaman to max level before the expansion drops. I have been nothing but nerves reading the resto druid perspectives on the beta. I am glad to hear that healing as a whole is not broke, just my current class. I can live with that. Druids may be fixed at launch or it may take a patch or two before they are fun to play. either way I am loving the totem life right now and seems like that is where I will start in Cata.

  4. I finally jumped into a fresh guild ICC 10 run on my shaman recently, my first proper run as a shaman healer. And my God was it fun, we even managed to down a few heroic modes. I love healing on my shaman now, to hear that it is becoming better is fantastic. I cannot wait to be healing tactically in cata.

    My best freind has a resto shaman as well, and he looks forward to Cataclysm Healing as well. Aside from the slight worry of shaman/shaman conflicts (are there any? do you think a 10 man would be losing out with 2 shamans?) I can’t wait to try and heal alongside him.

  5. Needs more spirit link

  6. I have been doing quite a bit of reading on shaman healing, before cata i was decent now though i cant seem to be able to heal H pugs or even guild runs, i’m okay running regular random’s though. my mana pool is 20k lower then my hp’s and every group so far has made me go dps in resto gear or they kicked me out. somebody said to stack intell another said stack spirit, i’m annoyed at hunter’s pets using there hero ability at the wrong part of the fight,

  7. I am having the same problem.. I find that I just run out of mana soo fast i have 70k mana… and i have 2.55k spirit! I have about over a 3k combat regeneration when buffed with my normal buffs.. but i still run out of mana.. and that damn talent that uses the lighnting bolts to gain mana.. its hard to use them when your group is falling fast? should i be using lesser heal greater heal whats the best heals to use??!?!?

    • Yeah man I feel ya. Completely fine with norms and I’ve only downed a couple of bosses in heroics. My problem is the same… mana. I have roughly the same stats as you and if a boss fight is long enough i’ll go oom and party will fall even with all our mana regen abilities. I like the idea of spamming healing wave just because of how easy it is on the mana but of course it only heals like 6k/11k crit. So when staying away from healing surge (because it absolutely ganks your mana) im using greater healing wave as well but most of the time after unleash elements to get the most out of its 6k mana cost. Riptide is a cheap spell so i’ve been slapping it on someone whenever it’s off cooldown for some preventative healing. But like lodur said we’re not necessarily responsible for everyone’s health bar and people have to follow boss mechanics ever so closely for a successful group and that’s what i’ve found in guild heroic runs.

  8. It takes some getting used to, I’ve read around a bit, and for themost part I have the same stats. 93k hp abd about 79k mana. I walk around spamming HW and riptides on everything when its off CD. I’ve noticed that HR just throw it ontop of the tank and the melee and the tank get extra healing while HST gets the range for the needed boost.

    If your range dps takes dmg, don’t heal them unless they hit 50% or you know they have solid agro. (throw earth shield on them).

    I spam HW on the tank, until he hit 50% then UE GHW to bring him back up. rinse repeat while refreshing ES and RT.

    On boss fights, if you have a sprit use trinket, use it at about 90% and hit mana tide. Use it early to keep your mana sustained. (or save for the rough phase).

    Make sure your DPs know their roles, if you have a boomkin they should be ready to back up heal just in case.

    Most trash pulls i end with 60-70% mana left. Bosses. I’m oom at about 20%. Then you pray. you’ll be suprised how well a tank can be defensive when his HP is almost nil.

    Some other things I haven oticed is that people are still in ‘wrath mode’. As a healer you have to start taking control of your pug’s and you will have to mark. Make sure you know all the classes CC abilities and use them to full effect. If they don’t. You will die or be waiting for you to chug water after every pull.

    Mage – sheep
    Locks – Banish
    Priest – Shackle, Mind Control
    Ret pally – repentance
    Warrior – *cough* they have some … nothing really.
    rogue – Sap, but don’t bet on success.
    Shaman – Hex and Bind.
    Druids – nothing really, they can soothe beasts if i remeber.
    Hunters – freeze trap, they can throw it.
    DK – HATE

    Enjoy the actual playing you get to do instead of cast HSt and sleep like before.

    *salute*

  9. How can u not run oom in cata?

  10. Haha, yeah. I’m having fun too. … I didn’t like my shaman too much, really. It’s a healer I’m unfamiliar with, and our main heal seemed really weak, long, and inefficiant, but I’ve had a lot of fun on my druid. xD

    I found that.. yeah. I actually had to think about what was best to use, and I get more of a.. y’know. Rush. Can’t just top everyone off anymore, and 3 lifeblooms and a juvi just doesn’t make the cut. I actually gotta use some nourish. Save my regrowths and wild growths, use swiftmend wisely… I even use healing touch now! … And my tre(ant)e of life.

    It’s just so much more fun in general than wotlk where it was “Wild growth here. Oh, its not working. Rejuvination. Done.” Back then all I had to watch to get a kick out of feeling like I was a good healer was the bloody healing meter. Now I get to feel like a good healer when I keep everyone -alive- xD .. And yeah. It’s not all on me. It’s great. \o/

  11. dissapointment says:

    Shaman healing is doable except for the bosses that require people to spread out while taking huge pieces of damage. Healing rain doesnt cut shit. its a spell that relies on people gathering up in one area to recieve heals. many times in heroics, everyone is dyin everyone is spread out and the tank is chunking hard. Do you A spam the tank? or B spam heal individual people? or C put down a blue circle on the ground and hope everyone runs in it? come on. im at 78k mana i go in there with mana pots and elixired up and certain bosses drain me out like a dehydrated vampire. i watched videos of priest healings and lets not even talk about the druids, push one button then another and thats it. shamans are the hardest healers to play imo and their viability in raids in my eye is blizzards ability to assemble situations where everyone can stand in one spot so we can put a blue circle over them called healing rain.

  12. I have continously farmed Heroes for some time now and i must say that my restoshammy by now makes me feel pretty secure. If a grp now wipes its usuually because somebody has been standing in a voidzone or the grp DMG was to low. Wotlk pugs needed a solid tank, a “ok healer” and some dmg. No movement no responabilty was givin to the DDs. Thats what really has changed and makes the biggest difference. In most cases Healing wave+ earthshield + riptide can keep the tnk up forever, but oh no there is also voidzone spawning and DK1 is to busy critting on the boss to step aside. This is when we start going oom. DK1 needs a quick heal while the tank gets to low hp which means another big Heal is required.
    Same for trashmobs that do extreme amounts of DMG, force us to Manaburn ourselves inlc. Manatide just because noone thinks it might be worth it just kicking them out of their AOE channeling or dispelling the fireshield. In most cases i have to do that. Still better then healing up fot it though. But its getting better and HC Instances have become an everyday job. Which is kinda sad actually. I dont see myself healing raids with Healing wave though.

  13. Andrómeda says:

    Can you please help with the best Glyphs for a Resto Shaman.

    The ones I use now are:-

    Prime –

    Glyph of Earth Shield
    Glyph of Earthliving Weapon
    Glyph of Riptide

    Major

    Glyph of Healing Stream Totem
    Glyph of Chail Heal
    Glyph of Healing Wave

    Minor

    Glyph of Astral Recall
    Glyph of Renewed Life
    Glyph of Water Walking

    as I feel that tease are the best ons for me but not sure if they are healpful.

    Hope you can Help

  14. The only glyph you might want to consider changing is glyph of earthliving weapon with Glyph of Water Shield which increases the passive mana regen of your water shield by 50%. This glyph is great if you are having problem with mana in cataclysm. I’ve noticed though with better gear and trinkets etc. i am no longer having to much of a problem with mana so i may change back to the earthliving weapon glyph.

  15. i healed in wrath loved it thout it was perfect but i dont and wont heal in cata u cast 5 heals and out of mana and its ur fault caus ppl fail at life seems like they made it a ton harder on healers now they catch more shit from players i cant evan do 1 heroic

  16. Paraliz3 says:

    I have tried to throw off a few LB’s to regain mana and a few Shock spells for the extra healing.

    If anyone has a good macro that will help with this aspect of healing please post it.

    I was using cligue before with standard frames and recently switched to healbot.

    Man, I miss my cleaning totem 🙁 and the 1 min cooldown on tremer totem is just sad.

  17. To overcome the bad healer stigma I tell everyone in pugs “If you’re standing in something I’m not going to heal you through it. Its not wrath anymore.” It usually only resides with them after you let someone die but it works and they learn fast. 😀

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