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

Chain Heal Rises as Circle of Healing Falls

Chain Heal Rises as Circle of Healing Falls

This is a guest post by Lodur, a blogger from Way of the Totem. Today, he examines the nerf to Circle of Healing, the impact it will have to Resto Shamans and how they may need to compensate.

The patch notes can be found here: PTR Patch Notes!

This is going to be important to us in several ways, not least of which is the change to some of the other classes. I’d like to offer my opinion on it. Let’s take a look at priests.

Holy: Circle of Healing now has a 6 second cooldown.

This is going to be extremely important to us. The fact that Circle of Healing is getting a 6 second cooldown is huge. My current experience with CoH raiding priests is they blow group healing out of the water. One of our Shadow priests rolled over to Holy to fill a gap for raiding in 25 man Naxx. With no gear change, he was able to blow past me in healing output while maintaining mana. Now I’m not suggesting that we need to be the kings of the roost, nor am I doubting the abilities of this priest, but it was a difference of almost half a million pure healing output over the next closest.

In a normal raid you would find a few percentage difference between the top 4 or 5. maybe 1-2% difference. Between healer in first and second was a whopping 6%. As someone who has poured over stats and combat logs after raids trying to figure out how to keep the tanks up while maintaining the raid’s health, let me tell you, that’s a lot. The higher the discrepancy between places, the more over-healing there is, the more mana issues during the actual encounter is, and so on.

This "nerf" to CoH to me, is an attempt to try to bring the spell back into line and make healing more consistent. I can’t say I didn’t see it coming, I do however think 6 seconds is going to be a bit much of a cooldownn, but only time will tell as the PTR is being run. I’ve been pestering my priests about it, so we’ll see what they say. In the meantime it means we should be preparing for another reliable group heal not being as powerful or present as it was before, we should be ready to pick up the slack so to speak.

I’ve gone on and on about the joys of haste, you can see it here For those that don’t remember there is a formula we follow to figure out the cast time of your spells and how it’s affected by haste. And look, here it is!

newcasttime

Importance of Haste Rating

If you want to spam your chain heals and heal a raid it’s time to start looking at your haste gear and to start looking at your glyphs.

First of all you should be shooting for somewhere near 350-400 haste. 340 haste with a Wrath of Air totem will net you a 2.2 second Chain Heal cast time.

Your goal should be around a 2.0s cast time on your chain heal.

This will allow for your Global Cool Down to be up but also allow you to keep a constant stream of CH casting. By using the formula above we see that 2.0 seconds = 820 haste rating, however one must take into account the haste around you in a raid. The trend of almost every raiding guild I’ve seen has been to include at least one Retribution Paladin, and lets face it, Balance Druids have come a long way since vanilla and have found their way into raids quite frequently.

I’m going to make the assumption that you’ll have at least a Ret Paladin. So we can assume you’ll have 350ish haste, Wrath of Air totem down and a Ret paladin, your chain heal will be 2.2 seconds. Not bad. If you snag yourself the all holy Egg (which currently does not have a cooldown on the proc) the proc will put you at a 1.9 second cast time. This is good as this thing procs off just about everything. You can see more about the egg proccing in my post here. Now the reason you want to shoot for a 2.0 second cast time is other haste effects. Heroism / Bloodlust give you 30% increase in your casting speed. If you push too much haste, when you use it you will push yourself past your global cooldown timer, causing you to trip over your heals and keeps you from being able to heal effectively.

Glyphs

To go with your haste gear you should also be looking at glyphs. If you are going to be raid healing I have three major suggestions.

  • Glyph of Water Mastery: Will help keep your mana supply coming in good order (30% counts for a lot more then you would normally assume),
  • Glyph of Chain Heal: Necessary. The extra target just makes the spell even more effective. This again allows it to claim the title as most mana efficient heal around.
  • Glyph of Earthliving Weapon This one is a must for a few reasons. First, the Earthliving Weapon ability can proc of any heal, and each target of Chain Heal counts towards it proccing. Second, is the fact that the egg procs off HoT ticks. So, with chain heal delivering Earth Living to everyone and ensuring you have 4 targets and more then likely a HoT up at all times, your egg should be giving you an almost constant 505 haste. Pushing you right at 1.9 – 1.8s chain heals constantly allowing you to keep that raid nice and topped off.

Mana Regen

Now I’m sure many of you are asking "but what about mana regen?"

MP5, the magic shaman stat, is still present. If you are collecting gear based on haste, much of it also comes with a healthy dose of MP5. With that said, it is well within reason to have around 350 haste while still being able to pull off close to 550 mp5 while in combat. Once you reach your haste number, start getting a few pieces with MP5 in spades and everything will be fine.

On the topic of MP5 we do have a change on the horizon that will help with this.

On the PTR currently we see these:

Healing Way: Now only one application is required to reach full benefit. No longer stacks.

Improved Water Shield: Lesser Healing Wave now has a reduced chance to trigger this talent WOOOOOO.

First, of all lets talk improved Water shield. On a crit of Lesser Healing Wave or Riptide It will consume a charge of water shield, giving you the mana return as if you were hit. This is fine and dandy but in the heat of a battle, there are times you won’t be able to give up the Global Cool Down to put it back up instead of healing. A reduction in the proc rate down from 100% is very very good as it allows the orbs to stay up giving use more passive mana regeneration, which will come out to more overall MP5 in the long run.

Second, the change to Healing Way means we only have to plop down one Healing Wave instead of the 3 we normally would have, which means we can conserve that mana and still get the full effect.

Front loading the effect was an amazing move on the part of Blizzard.

That’s it for my thoughts on this patch at this time. I’m currently waiting on a response from my priests as far as their input goes on the talent change, but in the meantime, be prepared to step up and fill the gap.

Happy healing!