Shaman Q & A With Ghost Crawler, Resto Recap


For those of you who might not have caught it yet, the Shaman Q & A is out HERE . Go ahead and take a look, there is some interesting answers there. Lets talk a little bit about some of whats there, I’ll try to keep it focused on things that affect us as healers.

Ghost crawler opens up with explaining what makes the shaman class unique, and I tend to agree with him. We are a unique hybrid in the fact that we can throw out healing while melting faces without having to shift forms like a druid would have to do and we can change those roles faster then a Paladin can. He also talks about how we are the ying to the paladin yang. We are in many ways the anti paladin.

GC says:

As envisioned from the start, shamans were also the “offensive” hybrid. Things have inevitably blurred a bit since then, but they are still a counterpart and complement to paladins – paladins have cleanse, shamans have purge; paladins will let an ally move freely to escape or catch an opponent, shamans will snare an enemy to let their ally escape or catch him or her; paladins will make sure their allies’ casts aren’t interrupted, shamans will interrupt enemy casts; and so forth.

It’s true, just think about it. We are balanced in many ways to work against a paladin, but with each faction now having both classes, we stack up in a weird and awesome synergy with them.

Next point of interest is the discussion of totems. The question was asked Are there plans to look at totems in general, the way they are managed, their uses, and their benefits in the future? I’m very happy to say the answer was yes, there are plans and the first thing mentioned is the ability to drop all four totems on one GCD! When I saw that I’ll be honest, I almost did a lap around the block from sheer excitement. As any experienced raid healer will tell you, it often boils down to effective use not only of your heals, but of your Global Cooldowns. This will free up three seconds of cooldowns (totems have a one second GCD) That’s another heal, or a faster heroism, or if you’re on melee totem duty three seconds more to get your rear out of harms way. The other important note about this is since they are looking at abilities to drop all four totems on one cooldown it means they will have to continue working on the totem UI. While I appreciate the Totem timers blizzard built into the game, it still pales in comparison to mods like Totem Timers and Yata. I’m excited to see how they are going to balance this change as well as update the game’s UI for this.

Beyond this the discussion also talked about the mechanics and possible further consolidation of totems,  and there are some very interesting ideas in there. There was talk of removing buff totems and replacing them with spells (which as a shaman who is constantly supplying wind fury totem to melee I can certainly appreciate this idea) and making all the totems do something active like Healing Stream Totem. The idea of possibly letting you carry an active totem around on your back was also tossed around. GC continues on to talk about consolidation of totems (magma and fire nova potentially being combined as an example) as well as some hitting the chopping block (bye bye sentry totem). Most interesting is the talk about possibly using any Fire or Earth totem as an anchor point for Elementals. Personally I think that’s a fantastic idea and one I hope they fully explore. It’s hard to chose between that little extra damage from the fire elemental or keeping up Flame Tongue / Totem of Wrath.

There was also mention about our health pools. If you didn’t notice we have the lowest base health pool out of any of the classes. According to GC and crew they will be looking at this for 3.2. This will be good for us on those fights (like Hodir with frozen blows) where we see our health drop like a rock and have to quickly heal ourselves before we use our Aggro Dump.

After talking about totems and our health pools, the topic of PvE healing comes up.

GC says:

I know there is some concern about Restoration shamans losing their healing niche of area damage. We think that perception might exist in Ulduar just because recent talents, glyphs, and set bonuses have all propped up things like Lesser Healing Wave over Chain Heal. Chain Heal is still quite useful in some situations and with different gear in the next couple of tiers, we expect to see more shamans going back to it. We don’t want to see them return to just using Chain Heal as was the case in much of Burning Crusade. We do think Restoration shamans are at the risk of running out of mana perhaps more than any other healer right now, and in fact the seemingly unlimited mana in some healers is what leads to Chain Heal getting stomped on by other big heals. This is a problem we plan on addressing.

Well that’s refreshing. He goes on to say;

We want Restoration shamans to be a strong group healer with the option of focusing on a single target with Lesser Healing Wave as needed. Restoration shamans have two distinct healing styles now that they can shift between, and we want to preserve that. We don’t want to return to the Sunwell era, where 95% of healing came from Chain Heal. It’s just a boring play style. (And yes, paladins, we hear you.) We suspect that with a new totem or set bonus that propped up Chain Heal a little more, you’d see it getting a lot more use. We’re cool with that. It’s fun when you upgrade your gear from tier to tier and it actually pushes you into a slightly different play style.

I can honestly say I’m ok with that. Like I said in my post about Chain Heal I don’t think we’re broken or that the spell stinks, but I do agree that it needs tweaking to be competitive. I’m perfectly fine with them addressing it through gear be it totems or tier set bonuses. It’s a great way to balance out the spell without reworking the whole mechanic of it. It is a great spell and I adore my lazer beam of love. It’s iconic and distinct and has one of the coolest spell effect sounds ever (turn your volume way up and listen. Rolling thunder ftw!). On the other hand I love our new spells and abilities too. I love having heals and abilities that are synergistic and having the ability to pop out of raid healing to get some single target loving in. I’ll be honest, I hated the mindlessness of Shaman healing in BC in the end game, I like my variety I just want to be able to keep up in hard modes.

The last item I’ll talk about is something they touched on in the PvP section but I think will have an effect on PvE as well. When asked Are there any other considerations in store for improving overall performance for shaman in PvP encounters (whether in Arena or in Battlegrounds)? GC replies with

Mobility is a big problem. One of the designers described casting shamans the other day as “turrets,” which is very apt. You sit and spin and shoot (or heal). We need to get shamans some more mobility, and we have some ideas for how to do that without just giving everyone Blink.

Well, this is true for PvE as well. Think about fights like Hodir, lots of movement where we have to stop long enough to push out our healing. He’s right though, we are turrets. Like survival hunters, give us a nice warm spot to sit where we don’t have to move and watch the healing fly. I’d love to see a bit more mobility added to the class (maybe something like a hunter’s readiness so we can use Natures Swiftness quickly).

All in all it seems like we’ll be getting some much needed love. I’m hopeful and the Q&A helped keep me there. I look forward to the changes to totems and I really look forward to seeing how they address our burst AE healing.

What do you guys think? Think things will work out? Think we’re doomed?

Till next time, Happy Healing,


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15 thoughts on “Shaman Q & A With Ghost Crawler, Resto Recap”

  1. I can hardly wait for these fantastic changes to come out realizing that it will take a bit to become used to them–but it will be totally worth it. And it makes it more fun to play as we experimaent with how the changes can affect the raid group.

  2. “What do you guys think? Think things will work out? Think we’re doomed?”

    You’re all doomed. You are destined to be replaced by Holy Priests. Sorry! Don’t worry though – we’re gonna replace warriors with DKs and Pallys (both tank and DPS).

    You can always look on the bright side though, if you can be the one shaman invited to the raid (thanks Hero!) then there won’t be much competition for your token!

    I will be very excited when shamans get buffed. My buddy is a QQ factory because his favorite class is Shaman – and unfortunately his Q is often right.

  3. GC: “..and in fact the seemingly unlimited mana in some healers is what leads to Chain Heal getting stomped on by other big heals. This is a problem we plan on addressing.”

    I think GC sees the problem with CH that we have been complaining about. The other healers just overwhelm it. CH does do better when there are few or no priests/druids in the raid. So if the other classes did less AoE healing, CH would do better. (part of the issue is the 2.5s cast time vs instants for the other classes).

    I dunno about his solution. PoH/CoH/WG are already more mana efficient than their other spells, and shaman’s CH. I hate to put too much analyse in a blog comment, bug here it goes:
    PoH: 1483mana / 30,000 heal 20.2 HPM
    CoH: 927 mana / 18,000 heal 19.4 HPM
    CH: 793 mana / 12,000 heal 15.1 HPM

    A priest can heal 48,000 with 2410 mana in 4.5 seconds
    A shaman can heal 48,000 with 3172 mana in 10 seconds
    Shaman are paddling upstream against quicker healing, more efficient healing, and better mana regen.

    GC’s “solution” is to reduce mana regen so priests cannot cast AoE every time the raid needs the healing, thereby giving shaman more of a chance to do their share of the healing. I’d really hate to be a priest in this situation.

  4. @Vvodka I think in the end (read hope) that they won’t really touch the other classes in that regard, but address our issues though the relic / tier loot like he mentioned. I think it would be a decent vehicle to bring us back into line with other healers. But you are right on the money about us paddling upstream >.<

  5. Honestly, I’m content as a resto shaman.
    Sure, I’m not head and shoulders above the crowd when healing in 10m Ulduar, but as I look at things, I am no longer having to carry my guild’s Pally and Druid 😉

    Chain heal still plays a big part of my overall healing strategy. I do end up using HW/LW a bit more than I would have in Naxx, but unless Tidal Waves is up or I must focus exclusively on the tank, I’ll reach for CH. If you can spare the extra half second it’s usually worth it. Especially after you have trained your raiders to group up when the fight allows such.

    If I had to have a gripe it would be PVP. No matter what I seem to do, rogues always tear me a new one, and in 5v5 arena I am without fail, the first target of the enemy, no matter what spec I play.
    Maybe I just don’t QQ enough about PVE.

  6. @Babb GC has a section about resto survivability in PvP. I didn’t touch on it much here because we haven’t really moved into pvp resto shaman discussions quite yet. Check it out though I think you’ll be happy with what he says.

  7. @address our issues though the relic / tier loot

    I don’t want to see us fixed by a T9 4set bonus. That would leave us in our current state for all of Ulduar, plus the 8-10 weeks on the new 3.2 raid content while we gathered our tier set. And we’d be in the same boat we are in now for T10.

    The shaman problem is not enough tools. HW is a once every 3 minute NS spell. Riptide is on a CD. That leaves us LHW and Chain Heal. When CH can bounce effectively, we us it. When CH cannot bounce effectively, we use LHW.
    Maybe CH and LHW are just too similar. Both heal the target for roughly the same amount. CH is just slower to cast countered by the ability to chain to other targets.

  8. @Vvodka Fair enough. I would love more tools but I don’t think we’ll get them unfortunately. I guess we’ll see what happens when 3.2 drops. Hopefully it will be something good. You are right, and waiting for tier loot to fix it would suck, but the question is how does one fix it now? I guess we’ll see what their plan is come 3.2 (hoepfully) soon.

  9. @Vvodka “CH: 793 mana / 12,000 heal 15.1 HPM”

    How do you figure it’s only a 12k heal? My first hit is 9k+ in a raid, before crit. I crit for 13k+ on the first hit. If it hops to all four targets, my average non-crit chain heal easily does in the 16-18k range, not 12k. With a 35%+ raiding crit chance, the numbers are consistently much higher.

    At 17k per CH (a very conservative number) you’re talking about a 21.4 HPM ratio, not 15.1.

    I completely agree that CH is too slow, and that the bounce distance is too short, but the potential HPM numbers aren’t too shabby, if it gets to bounce.


  10. I wonder if a thing like sniper training would work for healing. Get a bonus if you stand still, but you can still heal on the fly. Would be an interesting mechanic to work with.

    And all totems in one cooldown, pretty awsome indeed ^_^

    Shyraias last blog post..To the experienced

  11. if you read the last post in

    “The second is that when you are in a perfect situation to use Chain Heal, it’s not be cutting it as an AE heal. This is a more legit concern in our opinion and something we are likely to address”

    It sounds like some number tweaking for CH is in the works, whether this is increase bounce range, more healing, lower mana cost or whatever.

    so it doesn’t seem like getting CH back into rotation via gear is the only method they are looking at.

  12. I’m a little bit disappointed by the Q&A. But then again, it’s just a Q&A and no patch notes and it’s very interesting to hear how blizzard sees a class and what direction they plan to take.

    But we have to be realistic, in the end it’s the patch notes that count. And something like squeezing all totems into one GCD and more totem homogenization sounds lovely, but is very likely to take longer than we or blizzard expect. And I really hope that blizzard helps us with the range issue as well.

    I really hope though they go the way of adding more synergy in our top tier talents, adding more synergy between chain heal and RT/LHW, maybe even give us 1-2 new abilities in the long run. And plase blizzard, don’t rework CH too much. We can spam chain heal, so chainheal will often be either too good or just a tiny bit too weak, and I’m much more comfortable with a slightly too weak CH than an overpowered one. The only thing I’d like to see is maybe a little bit more healing on jump 3. and 4. and more range, but even little changes like that could have a huge impact on CH HPS/usefulness.

    My ideas that would help resto shamans:
    1. Adding a talent with a low chance to refresh one WS orb
    2. Adding a tidal wave like synergy to CH (Casting two LHWs will add XX% haste to your next CH or something like that)
    3. Adding a talent/ability to help us with some burst healing (30 sec cooldown, your next CH is instant but only heals for 50%)
    4. A PVE relic for LHW and a ES independent LHW glyph (blizzard seems to accept LHW as a strong PVE spell, I’d love to see it unliked a bit more from its PVP direction)

    drugs last blog post..State of the Resto Shaman


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