Cataclysm Gear Economy

Cataclysm Gear Economy

Well, I’m confident all of you have heard by now how stats are being changed around come cataclysm but in case you missed it

Itemization
In World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, there are plans to streamline the statistics found on items. We want to remove all unnecessary stats, make all existing stats understandable, and make all “core” stats more appealing. Here are some examples of such plans.

•MP5: This will be removed from items and replaced with Spirit. All healers will be given a meditation-like ability.
•Spell Power: Spell Power is being removed from items as well. Don’t panic, we’ll be improving Intellect so that it provides mana and Spell Power.
•Attack Power: We’re removing Attack Power from items as well. Instead, we’re allowing Agility to provide the necessary Attack Power for leather and mail wearers. Strength will provide the appropriate amount of Attack Power for plate wearers. This means leather and mail items will no longer be desirable for plate wearers.
•Defense: The Defense statistic is also being removed from items so that players no longer have to worry about juggling around “the cap.” Tanks will receive the necessary anti-crit from talents, like Survival of the Fittest.
•Armor Penetration: This ability is too confusing and “mathy.” It is being replaced with Mastery, a stat that makes you better at what you do. More on that later!
•Haste: Will also increase the rate at which you gain energy, runes, and focus. Retribution paladins and Enhancement shaman will have a talent that allows them to take advantage of this benefit.
•Block: Block Value is being removed. Blocking will now always mitigate a percentage of damage.
•Stamina: Players will notice more Stamina on gear as Defense, Spell Power, Attack Power and Armor Penetration are removed.

Lots of changes here, but let us focus on the ones that affect us the most. First on the docket is MP5.

MP5 Is currently one of the prime stats for Restoration Shamans, so this change frightens me a bit I’ll be honest. There is just something dirty about the possibility of Mail caster gear having spirit *shudder*. That’s neither here nor there however. This will be the first time that Restoration Shamans will be stacking something for mana regen OTHER then pure mp5. We’ll be getting something like Mediation for all classes. it’s uncertain at this time whether this will show up as a new talent , or if it might show up in the new mastery system that has been talked about (more on that later). The stat will still be present on the character sheet, but will no longer be seen on gear.

Spell Power is also one of those prime stats for us. Expanding INT to be the root of spell power is interesting, but it does make a certain amount of sense. It does offer a boost in spell power right now as well as in crit and it does affect your mana pool size.  Right now we stack it to take full advantage of Replenishment effects. Seeing spell power removed from gear though is going to be interesting in and of itself. A lot of on the fly gear choices can be boiled down to how much more SP it gives you over your current piece (assuming similar stats in other regards). I’m certain that they will add an item to the tooltip noting how much SP an item is worth similar to how Druids see Feral Attack Power listed on items when everyone else doesn’t.

Haste will continue to affect us casters as it does now. Blizzard is happy with how haste worked out for us so you wont see much if any changes there.

Defense and Block, now I’m sure you’re asking yourself “how does this affect us, we are healers?” well I can assure you it does. Changing Defense to no longer be a geared stat is huge, and in my opinion a very welcomed change. I can tell you that there have been several times I’ve pugged a group and found the tank not defense capped, or defense capped but having rather dismal health pool. This change will help alleviate that. By letting tanks get their crit immunity through talents, it leaves them free to gear up stamina. This will also give some added mitigation from block which as it stands is convoluted and a stat that, to my understanding, is largely ignored by tanks.  After talking with my guilds main tank and guild leader, most tanks gear for effective health. As a healer I appreciate this, letting more tanks do this without worrying about losing a few points in defense is a HUGE boon to not just raids, but pugs and heroics as well.

Stamina for everyone! This is good for us as healers, I remember having to have stamina sets for certain fights just to be able to live through certain effects. Those days should be long gone. Effective raid health should go up and through the roof and our jobs as healers should get just a little bit easier. I look forward to not seeing mages and other clothies getting one shotted by some trash mobs *cough* The Descent into Madness *cough*

My concerns though, are for how gear will be distributed. Currently if a piece of Leather Spellpower gear drops, there is not really any question who it goes to. But if we are gearing up for all the same stats, how much blurring of lines will there be? I remember a time when I saw Paladins running around in cloth because it had better stats for healing. I don’t know if we can rely on things like haste and crit to separate that either, as now most of the healing classes tend to stack both (yes some more then others). I’ll be interested to see how this plays out. I eagerly await the changes if nothing else just to see how my gear is going to look before I put it on and look at my stat sheet.
So, what do you think? Excited about the changes? Hate them? Concerns or ideas?

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

Sig

Priests: Moonshroud or Merlin?

Patch 3.2 whipped out two sets of craftable gear: Bracers and chest pieces. Got a few inquiries about it on Twitter about it. Figured I’d do everyone a favor and outline my thoughts on it here:

Moonshroud

Here’s the Moonshroud set:

Royal Moonshroud Robe

Royal Moonshroud Bracers

Merlin

Merlin’s set:

Merlin’s Robe

Bejeweled Wizard’s Bracers

As you can clearly see, the Moonshroud set offers Spirit whereas Merlin’s contains haste. The spellpower and crit ratings remain identical.

Now if you were a healing Priest wondering which of these to create for your sets, there’s some things I’d like to remind you of before you go off dropping your hard earned gold.

Spirit’s been nerfed. Holy Priest mana regeneration’s been nerfed. Spirit is not as strong as it used to be. Do keep that in mind.

Speed is life. The faster your spells go off, the higher the odds that your heals will catch a player before they die.

Socket bonuses aren’t always the greatest. You do not have to socket your gems according to the bonus. There is no law saying that you have to do that. Sometimes socketing against the bonus yields a higher benefit.

So what’s best for me?

As Discipline: I lean towards Merlin’s set. I won’t need the Spirit as it doesn’t provide me any additional bonuses anyway. For gem choices, I prefer having a large pool of mana to work with. I would socket straight 4 x 20 King’s Amber on the chest and the bracers.

As Holy: Not much difference here. I’d approach it the same way as Discipline. I’m all about the mana pool and stacking loads of intellect. Others prefer Spellpower, Spirit, MP5 or Haste gems. Perhaps even a combination of all of them. I wouldn’t say that’s wrong.

It’s just a matter of preference. I top out at around 2700 spellpower during raids. Most of it’s going to over healing anyway. I may as well reallocate some of those points towards a larger supply of mana or increased speed. It’s not like players suddenly gained 7000 health and that bosses are magically knocking out 80% of a raider’s health to warrant that increase in spellpower.

For the Resto Shaman: Settling the Crit vs Haste Discussion

For the Resto Shaman: Settling the Crit vs Haste Discussion

sham-crit-haste

This is a guest post from Lodur, a Resto Shaman who set up an experiment to determine what is better: Haste or Crit. The experiment consisted of two relatively equally geared Resto Shamans with slight variances in haste and crit thrown into a full clear Heroic Naxxramas.

Round 1

Lodur from Zul’jin here again. Today I’d like to talk a little bit on the topic of Crit versus Haste. This has been a hotly debated topic among the shaman community since patch 3.0 dropped on us giving us all kinds of goodies. Specs have been proposed and gear has been compared using every measuring stick imaginable. The arguments are all over the Internet, and you can find them on all sorts of forums and websites. Right now though I’d like to take a look at some key points for each camp that have recently been brought up in my guild’s Shaman Class forums.

Pro Crit:

  • Bigger heals = less heals needed

  • Allows for increased rate in procs in key talents such as Improved Water Shield,and Ancestral Awakening.

  • Takes full advantage of the fix to Earth Shield which now has a crit change equal to the caster and not the recipient of the shield

  • Allows for Increased performance of preventative healing

  • Allows for greater single target healing efficiency

Pro Haste:

  • Allows for lower casting time for Chain Heal which is a shamans most efficient heal (5.23 heal per mana)

  • Allows for a greater number of spell casts which will allow key talents such as, Ancestral Awakening, Tidal Waves, and Healing Way to proc more often on more targets

  • Allows for Increased performance in "twitch" or reactive healing

  • Allows for greater group healing efficiency, while giving the passive regen of a Glyphed Water Shield time to restore mana. 

  • Allows for quicker application of Earth Living Weapon so as to proc to more targets

To further understand these points we can look at the talents and abilities so you can begin to see where each is coming from.

Talents / abilities Described:

  • Ancestral Awakening: When you critically heal with your Healing Wave, Lesser Healing Wave or Riptide you summon an Ancestral spirit to aid you, instantly healing the lowest percentage health friendly party or raid target within 40 yards for 30% of the amount healed. This may not seem like much but this adds up over time. It normally clocks in at around 1% of your total healing output.

  • Improved Water Shield: You have a 100% chance to instantly consume a Water Shield Orb when you gain a critical effect from your Healing Wave or Riptide spells, and a 60% chance when you gain a critical effect from your Lesser Healing Wave spell. This is helpful with mana regen especially if your find your MP5 or raid replenishment lacking.

  • Healing Way:Your Healing Wave spells have a 100% chance to increase the effect of subsequent Healing Wave spells on that target by 18% for 15 sec. This turns your 15,000 Healing Wave crit into something that creeps up to around 20,000 and with the change to the talent applying the full bonus on once cast of Healing Wave, it has found it’s way into many rotation.

  • Earthliving:Imbue the Shaman’s weapon with earthen life. Increases healing done by 150 and each heal has a 20% chance to proc Earthliving on the target, healing an additional 652 over 12 sec. Lasts 30 minutes. 20% meaning 1 out of every 5 heals will land a hot on a target. Using a Glyphed Chain Heal means 4 targets per heal. A 652 HoT doesn’t seem like much but it adds up over time. 

Practical Application:

Someone once said me to "Lodur, I hear what you’re saying but I need to see the numbers." So after a lengthy discussion with another shaman in our guild we decided to give it a go. I would continue to stack haste (Hello, My name’s Lodur, and I’m a haste junkie) and they (I wont use their name simply because I don’t exactly have their permission to post their toon details on the interwebs and I’m respectful like that) would stack crit and change spec and see what numbers we got.

All numbers are without totems or self buffs, and not including Earthliving Weapon. These also do not take into account trinkets like Egg of Mortal Essence . Both of us were present for all four wings of Naxx and we were both tasked with Raid / OT healing at the same time in order to keep things as consistent as possible.

(And before anyone says quality of player or anything silly like that it should be noted that me and Shaman 2 are consistently within a stones throw of eachother every raid and both have been doing this for a long time!)

Let’s look at what some numbers produce, looking at builds and stats first. All gear is at the item level of i200 and i213. This is without totems, weapon buffs, food or raid buffs. Both shamans used the same Glyphs for the run. Glyph of Chain heal, Glyph of Water Mastery, Glyph of Lesser Healing Wave and Glyph of Water Shield

The Stats

  Lodur Shaman 2
Spec Spec here (Excludes Improved Water Shield in favor of Healing Way) Spec here (Inclusion of Thundering Strikes over Enhancing Totems )
Intellect 1010 983
Haste 419 (14%) 262 (8%)
Crit 19% 31%
Spellpower 1952 1936

As you can see the stats are fairly close, differing mainly in their haste and crit rating. So lets take a look and see what the end result of the run was number wise.

The Results

  Lodur Shaman 2
Total Healing 5328335 5089956
Water Shield 60813 64400
Earthliving 444686 311665
Ancestral Awakening 75251 67245
Average Crit 24% 34%
Overhealing 40% 40%

Wow. Pretty close there! Now that’s overall for the entire raid night. So as everything averages out at the end they wind up being pretty similar. We can break this down a bit further and look at some of the individual fights to look for strenghts and weaknesses for each. Lets pull out two boss kills here.

Maxxena:

Lodur: Total Healing Done: 68,068
Shaman 2: Total Healing Done: 123,953

Damn, got almost doubled on that fight! The strong single target heals allowed for Shaman 2 to top off tanks and webbed people in one gulp causing my quicker heals to move on over into overhealing.

Heigan the Unclean:

Lodur: Total Healing Done: 222,257
Shaman 2: Total Healing Done: 109,780

Haste won that round! The faster group heals and lesser healing waves allowed for me to top people off quicker while diseases were cleansed.

The trade off between bosses carries on from there with Crit winning on Loatheb and Haste winning on Patchwerk. The two have fights where they will always shine slightly brighter then the other, but overall they perform to roughly the same output.

The Conclusion

It is, in the opinion of this shaman, so close that the difference really boils down to playstyle.

Both ways work! If you have a preference roll with it. Gearing for both is very easy. There’s haste on just about everything and what mail spell power pieces don’t have haste normally have a ton of crit (yes I know it can be argued that its elemental gear but it still works for healing all the same).

There will always be fights that are slightly tougher for your then if you had more haste rather then a ton of crit, but thats true about everything in the game. The synergy between the two is also noticeable. Fights where a hastened Healing Wave can keep Healing Way up so that the crit spec can land a huge, huge heal will always be there.

Well that’s it for round one of haste vs crit. Round 2 will be after 3.1 drops and Ulduar is available. Until next time, happy healing.

Image courtesy of Aurik