State of Chain Heal 2:”Hail to The King, Baby!”

State of Chain Heal 2:”Hail to The King, Baby!”


Alright you Primitive Screwheads, listen up! You see this? This… is my boomstick! The twelve-gauge double-barreled Remington. S-Mart’s top of the line. You can find this in the sporting goods department. That’s right, this sweet baby was made in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Retails for about a hundred and nine, ninety five. It’s got a walnut stock, cobalt blue steel, and a hair trigger. That’s right. Shop smart. Shop S-Mart. You got that?

I simply can’t resist making Army of Darkness references, especially with all the WoW movie talk  and everything circling Sam Rami. This also mirrors a conversation I had with a guildie the other night on the current state of Restoration Shamans and where we are after this most recent patch. For some reason it always makes me think of Army of Darkness and Bruce Campbell, each time I chain heal I feel the urge to yell “THIS. IS. MY. CHAIN HEAL!”

Patch 3.2 brought with it not only a new instance in the coliseum, but a slew of Restoration Shaman changes that helped bring our healing up a little bit. Back in May I responded to a very lengthy thread with my own thoughts on chain heal, and in truth shaman healing as a whole. A lot of people thought we were broken in a bad way and were QQing about how it was time to re-roll. I stood up for us and said, yes we need tweaking but we aren’t broken. Patch 3.2 brought us that tweaking. In 3.0 and in 3.1 Shaman were given a slew of other spells to round out our healing and move us further away from the Haste / MP5 Chain heal spamming model of the Sunwell days. Blizzard did an amazing job doing that… but swung a little too far and inadvertently took Chain Heal down a few pegs to the point that we were having a very difficult time keeping up with AE damage in hard modes. Many Shaman were getting passed over to bring in other healers, that was bad news and quite frankly made me a sad Shaman. Then the man himself Ghost Crawler chimed in and said that changes were coming but they had to ride the knifes edge to not over power Chain Heal and make it the only spell we cast. Congratulations sir I dare say you guys did a fine job!

Lets take a look at what made the cut, First let’s look at Chain Heal.

Chain Heal: First of all, the Range between target was increased. 12.5 yards between targets is pretty good. It’s better when you consider that this is a smart heal and directs itself to a healing priority list and makes sure those who need it get it. This gets even better when you add in the Glyph of Chain Heal which lets it hit another target for a grand total of Four at a time! Now add in the change that between jumps the amount healed only is reduced by 40% (down from 50%) and you have yourself one sexy heal again.

But wait, there’s more!

Chain Heal was made very attractive again, but there were some other changes that compliment this as well.

Improved Water Shield: Not only does this give mana back on crit heals from LHW, HW and Riptide, but now it includes Chain Heal! The other good thing about this, is when you gain the effect, it doesn’t burn an orb. This is great news because that means it’s one less GCD you have to burn, which means that much more healing. This helps fix a lot of shaman mana problems, and ensures we can hang with paladins and disc priests for that near infinite mana.

Tidal Force: Another change that included chain heal. This now gives, HW, LHW and Chain Heal 60% additional critical strike rating. This also goes well with the next change

Nature’s Swiftness: The major change here is the Cool down. It’s been reduced to 2 minutes down from 3. This is huge in fights where you’ll need a fast chain heal or a fast healing wave more often (Hodir comes to mind). Having this available 1-2 more times a fight is a big boon to us.

Tidal Waves: Again this was changed to give a different bonus to LHW. When you cast riptide or chain heal, this bad boy procs. Before it gave a haste rating to LHW, now it gives it an additional 25% crit chance. That again is pretty huge considering everything we have that procs off of critical healing.

Healing Way:  This change was bigger then a lot of people I believe have noticed. Prior to the patch it placed a buff on your target that increased healing from Healing Wave. No other target benefited from it except for the one with the buff. This made the spell primarily a nuking tank heal spell. Now however it adds a flat increase to the healing output of the spell. A 25% bonus is nothing to scoff at. This allows you to work it into your spell rotation and make sure everyone you hit with it gets the added bonus of the talent

Ancestral Healing: This used to add armor. Now it adds a 10% physical damage reduction on any person you critically heal. This procs off of every crit, including Earth Shield crit heals. Look at the other above changes. The increased crit rate, the talents that add crit and make your heals faster combined with this? You could be rolling that 10% reduction over almost the entire raid with some smartly placed chain heals and liberal use of your talents. This is huge because it helps take environmental damage and even it out for the rest of the healers. This means less mana consumed trying to catch up and top people off and overall greater raid survivability.

Putting it all together, you get a rather complex and complete toolkit with which to heal your raid. We solidify our position as one of the games best swing healers, we can put out some very very good AE healing, or can spot heal on the fly. We can take over tank healing duties, or simply roll between them all. The changes to the spells make sure we are competitive in hard mode raids, but aren’t limited to casting a single spell over and over again. Personally I think the devs did a great job with us this patch. I feel they did a great job balancing Chain Heal out while not letting it overshadow all the other spells we have at our disposal. The synergy our class has always enjoyed is still there. Personally I’ve seen somewhere between a 350-450 hps increase in throughput, which puts us on par with the other healers, I’ve been able to keep up better with area effect damage and have been able to nuke heal a tank as needed. Healing is still challenging and fun, but I don’t feel underwhelmed by the shaman’s ability to keep up.

How about you? How has your healing been since the patch? Do you think they did a good job with the changes? What would you change, add or remove that the devs didn’t? Do you feel confident to head into a hard mode encounter and give it your all?

That’s it for today, Until next time Happy Healing


Image courtesy of Universal Studios

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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.


  1. How am I feeling about the patch? Very very Happy. While i miss the lightning fast LHW, being able to mix in a HW spell other than as an Oh Hxxx! button has been great. I didnt catch the fact that the Ancestral Healing is proccing on Earth Shield Crits, if so that is fantastic. I am loving where my Resto Shaman is right now. And dont forget about the 4 totems for 1 GCD. That is 3 more healing spells i can get out now without rushing and feeling off balance at the beginning of a fight or at the worst possible time in the middle of one.

  2. It’s a much-needed adjustment IMO. It’s good to see shamans in contentions for top of the chart again.

  3. “I feel they did a great job balancing Chain Heal out while not letting it overshadow all the other spells we have at our disposal.”
    That is most awesome news. I was fearing that Chain Heal would become too powerfull in comparison. I hope it stays that way when the gear scales it. Anyways, at the notes of p3.2 I feared how this change would affect class balance (if there is such a thing). But so far, the reports I’ve seen are good. The Shamans have a firm increase in throughput but it all feels relatively balanced at this point which can only be called awesome.
    So far, so good 🙂

  4. I’m glad they didn’t make it a spamfest again, but I’m also very glad they made the spell really incredible again, too. After the “bleh” I felt toward 3.2 in general, it’s nice to see that Blizzard’s dev team actually got something right in the patch. I haven’t logged on to play with the new Shaman changes, but this post is a step in the right direction for me to want to keep playing him if I ever do come back.
    .-= Beej´s last blog ..True Blood – Wait, Who’s Doing Those Bad Things Again? =-.

  5. It’s been AMAZING! Prior to the patch I was (still am) all about haste and chain heal. I’ve never had problems keeping up with the top of the charts because I can spam chain heal so fast (currently sitting at 939 haste).

    The changes have helped my overall healing and mana regen by huge amounts. I’ve managed to top several fights (Freya / Mimiron / Hodir) at 25% or more of the overall healing done.

    I think the changes to shamans has made them even more effective in conjunction with other AE classes such as COH and WG.

    Anyway, I think the changes have only made chain heal spam more fun for me and I’m srsly loving what my shaman does now.
    .-= Xeonio´s last blog ..HOLY rubber ducky batman! =-.

  6. Yeah, as much as I LOVE my class, in Burning Crusade when healing became “Bind all keys to chain heal, Roll face on keyboard, hit heroism / bloodlust, win” I felt an undeniable urge to hit myself in the face just to make sure I was awake. Now (thankfully) I can feel excited about everything we have to offer. I mean I always thought Shaman were all kinds of win, it is just nice to be able to back it up 😉

  7. Just an fyi: Ancestral healing is Physical Damage only, so it doesn’t stop most boss aoes. This is really just a buff for crit heals on squishies.

  8. Community will scream nerf shamans in 3… 2… 1…

  9. OMG! I’m leveling a Shaman for the purpose of healing. When I heard how bad it was in the previous patches I was like “I’ll just go Elemental” but now my faith in resto shammys is back! Woot!
    .-= kakalaki´s last blog ..An Eventful Day =-.

  10. @ hints all I have to say to that is Whirlwind.

    @matticus already happened, day of patch =P

  11. > I stood up for us and said, yes we need tweaking but we aren’t broken

    Just to put things back into context, let me quote your post.

    “I cannot agree that Chain Heal fails to measure up to the other AoE healing”

    GC: “We’re not convinced there is a Resto or Chain Heal problem in PvE”
    Lodur: “Well, I agree 100% with GC… Personally I think Chain Heal is just fine”

    “I think chain heal keeps up with PoM, CoH, and WG just fine”

    And so on. So much for standing up for a resto shaman, which in this case would be admitting that they need help.

    Good thing in the end devs disagreed with you.

  12. I didn’t like just solely using chain heal in TBC but then we got Riptide to weave into it things changed. With Riptide / Chain Heal and LHW I’ve thought we were fine for quite some time. Maybe not as stellar as COH / WG spam in its day but I really do love the way healing for shamans has been since 3.0 came out.

    I’m guessing its just not in the current technology but they should try making chain heal jump to say 5 targets or 6. Change the modifier so the first jump is a 50% cut, then 40% cut, then 30% cut so by the time it jumps to the 5th or 6th person isn’t just 100hp. That might fix a bit of the AE issues.
    .-= Xeonio´s last blog ..HOLY rubber ducky batman! =-.

  13. @amibroken Taken out of context of the post.

    The original post was a response to the people saying that the spell was completely unusable. People that said that the entire class was unplayable, broken and people should just re roll.

    If you read further and into comments you’ll see where I agree it needs to be tweaked, but that the spell was far from broken. I stand by the statement that the spell was not broken, however with the changing pace of the game tweaks were necessary to make sure it stated competitive in hard modes.

  14. > tweaks were necessary to make sure it stated competitive in hard modes

    In other words, it wasn’t “fine”, it didn’t “keep up with PoM, CoH, and WG”, and the whole condescending talk about how people should stop looking back at Sunwell faceroll, embrace the potential, and use every tool we have at our disposal ended up uncalled for.

  15. Totemshock says

    I’ve gotten the ball rolling on the shaman plusheal forum, but I wanted to post here as well to draw your attention to it. With the changed tidal waves LHW and HW cast times are very very close. A LHW crit on an earthshielded target with the glyph still does not equal the heal of a non-crit HW that now casts in almost the same time. This means that ignoring cast times the difference between HW and LHW is now: cast HW for more heal, cast LHW for crit procs and mana efficiency. Having examined the two the crit procs can’t make up the difference between HW and LHW except when the target does not have ancestral healing up.

    What does this mean? I’m using chain heal and riptide as much as ever (in fact I glyphed into riptide to give me more opportunity to use it to buff CH) but I’ve swapped out HW and LHW positions in my bindings. My crit is high enough that between CH/riptide/HW I get ancestral healing rolling often enough, but I will proc it on purpose using a tidal waved LHW on tanks, especially in advance of incoming damage spikes.

  16. bubbles from a disc priest and hots from a druid will destroy you, while keeping a MT alive. honestly lol

  17. So..

    I don’t play a shaman, or really a healer at all. But I’ve been a follower of WoM for quite some time, and the picture of Ash in my feedreader made me stop by to leave a comment.

    As someone who was born and raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan (heck, I STILL live here), I had to “represent”, as they say. Big ups for Army of Darkness! XD
    .-= Asara´s last blog ..Kidlet Cuteness =-.

  18. I am just saying that you have written it is 10% damage reduction, when it is only physical. While it is a buff, you make it sound like some uber anti-aoe talent when it just isn’t. Whirlwind is pretty rare in raids now a days. Most aoe is some sort of elemental damage.

  19. First of all, love the changes. I never really felt ‘broken’ before 3.2. I could hold my own against equally skilled healers…. since 3.2, I feel like a rockstar…and it feels good.

    I know most people are big on the CH changes, I am too….but I think Shamans really need to give Healing Way and Healing Wave a serious look

    I was talented for Healing Way throughout 3.1 and used it regularly with and without Natures Swiftness. Its long been a regular fixture in my arsenal….nearly as much as LHW. With the buff to Healing Way, I plan to use LHW much much less given that a Healing Wave is only .2s slower, but will always heal for more, even if LHW were to crit.
    My fellow Shamans, work Healing Wave into your routine, you won’t be disappointed.

    As far as Chain Heal, I almost think they went a bit too far.
    Riptide + CH combos are able to provide insane levels of healing output. Between the MP5 buff on items, and the fact that it can proc our Water Shield, we can keep it up for quite some time. I wouldn’t be surprised if CH gets a bit of a nerf actually…either going back to 50% reduction, or a reduction in the chance it procs Water Shield.

  20. Correct me if I’m wrong, but the Ancestral Healing (and Inspiration) change applies 10% reduction to only incoming *physical* damage, doesn’t it?

    I’m pretty sure that’s how inspiration works, being a priest at all, but does the shaman version apply to magical damage as well?

  21. Yeah thats my bad (sorry) it is physical damage only. I thought I had put it in I must have missed it when I was editing. Thanks for pointing it out =D all fixed now.

  22. My shammling was in the works since January and coincidentaly finished her this Sunday, after the great patch hit us (easy to gear, easy to level alts). I always wanted her to be Resto with Ele offspec and although I have never experienced pre-patch shaman healing, I must say now it feels godlike (coming from seasoned pally and druid healer). Having so much fun on the shaman so far.

    Coming to the change of Ancestral Healing – I think that is actually pretty smart change, as the old model was subject to armor dimnishing returns. I think that with T9 gear and onwards, the new AH nets more reduction that 10% armor buff.

  23. Funny, I was THIS close to referencing Ash in my post this week!

    I really don’t know much about shaman (Holy Paladin main), but as I look at the tooltips for the spells and talents here, it *looks* like Blizz has done a great job with creating a real synergy amongst them. For Holy Paladins, Infusion of Light and Judgements of the Pure are steps in the right direction, but most of our talents are of the ‘Increase spell crit by X/amount healed by Y’. I’d like to see more of this sort of synergy built into our tree going forward.
    .-= jeffo´s last blog ..Patch 3.2: the Ten-foot tall Bug =-.

  24. I simply love the “smart heals” of the Priest and Shaman class. I wonder what othe healing mechanics Blizzard is going to give us.

    .-= Skonged´s last blog ..Who is healing who? =-.

  25. Much better. I would say, much much better. Always loving Resto Shaman despite our pretty bad state before 3.2. It’s refreshing to see ourselves topping the chart while keeping low in overhealing. Unexplainable happiness to see crits over crits & the numbers when Chain Heals land.

    Mana isn’t really a problem now, I rarely got to drop mana-tide totem desperately needing the mana. Now that I don’t have to keep refreshing Water Shield, better rotation there. =)

    I’m a satisfied panda haha =D
    .-= Phix´s last blog ..Double Jaraxxus. =-.

  26. yeah the changes to chain heal are really awesome.
    to bad I´m stuck at LHW spam, MT healing because my GM thinks resto shamans are not raid healers…

  27. Random side note – I’m from the Grand Rapids area 🙂


  1. […] does a great job over at World of Matticus explaining the new changes to shaman healing, and how that puts them at a really great place right now (capable of filling raid healing, spot […]

  2. […] as the resident Shaman poster over on World of Matticus.  Most recently he’s written about The State of Chainheal.  With out further ado, lets dive right in on what Lodur had to […]

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