Being the Shaman Behind the Meat Shield

Being the Shaman Behind the Meat Shield

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Back on the 13th, Mera asked a question that I felt deserved a post to fully answer it.

“Can shamans make good MT or OT healers, as in to the same standard of other healing classes?”

I provided a short answer of yes on the 13th, but I’m going to try to flesh it out a bit more here.

Shaman have been given a lot of tools when Patch 3.0 was brought live. These tools allow us to be competitive with other healers in single target healing. Really we can break this down into a few sections – Spec (talents), Glyphs and Strategy.

Spec/Talents:

There are three very popular specs out there right now:

  • 0/16/55 This has been referred to as the cookie cutter spec.
  • 0/14/57 This spec. This spec moves points out of Elemental weapons to buff ancestral healing.
  • 0/14/57 A build which takes a few points out of Thundering Strikes in order to have a maxed Healing Way and Ancestral Healing while forsaking Improved Water Shield.

Each has different strengths they bring to the healing fight so to speak so lets take a quick peak at some of the choice talents.

Let’s take a look at the talents we pick up in enhancement first.

Thundering Strikes: This talent is five points of wonderful. It boosts your crit by a solid 5%. This is great because when you are on a Tank there can often times be spikes in damage. Having a higher crit ensures a better chance of being able to top off the tank with one healing wave instead of two or three.

Improved Shields:  This talent increases the bang for the buck you get out of your Earth Shield. That 15% counts for a lot in the long run, and your tank will thank you for picking it up.

Elemental Weapons: More spell power is always good.  This gives you an additional 45 spell power, no reason not to take it.

Now, those are very straight forward. One can argue the same about the next set but I’ll highlight the talents in the restoration tree that, in my opinion are great main tank healer abilities, or have been updated recently and can fill that role.

Healing Way: I’ll start with Healing Way, which is second only to Earth Shield in my book when one thinks of Shaman healing a tank.  This talent recently underwent a change that make it a very useful talent once again. The full affect of the talent is applied when you use the spell once. This means that you no longer have to spam the ability 3 times to get it rolling. Front loading the effect means that you can toss a Healing Wave on the tank, and then burn another 15 seconds worth of spells and Global Cool Downs until the ability expires. Tossing another healing wave on the tank will immediately receive an 18% boost and keeping this in mind it’s very very easy to net 20k crit heals and higher. I personally feel this is a must for shaman doing tank healing.

Earth Shield / Improved Earth Shield: These are pretty self explanatory. Earth Shield is a bread and butter talent. For as long as we’ve had it, we’ve been using it and rightly so. You toss this up on the main tank and it can help to create a very nice reactive buffer for health loss. This talent also underwent a fix recently. Previously the chance for the shield to crit heal was based on the person you put it on. Meaning a fire mage was more likely to get crit heals then a prot warrior. They’ve fixed it now so that it has a chance to crit based on your crit at the time of casting. Looking at your talents you have 14% built in before gear and INT are calculated. This just helps improve something that was already golden.

Ancestral Awakening: A lot of people don’t like this talent, but I personally love it. Taking a look at it, Ancestral Awakening really fits well with a main tank shaman healer. It procs off of Lesser Healing Wave, Healing Wave and Riptide. If you are on a tank, you’re going to be using a lot more Healing Wave then you usually do, and as a result this will proc more often. It heals for 30% of the amount healed. Lets say it procs off of a nice Healing Wave crit for 20,000 hp. The talent (like beacon of light) only spreads around the part that’s effective healing. Lets say 10,000hp of that heal is actually healing. That’s still a 3k heal that lands on someone who needs it.

Tidal Force: Again, pretty self explanatory. Having something that boosts your crit for Healing Wave is always a good thing

Tidal Waves: This talent is also very nice. It procs off Chain Heal and Riptide. We can assume that you’ll be using Riptide pretty liberally as it’s an instant cast hot with a flash heal at the front (so yes you should be using it if you’re not), and so this should be up all the time. It reduces the casting time of your Healing Wave spells by 30%. That extra little bit of haste helps to deliver your big heal faster.

Glyphs:

For Glyphs it might be a bit hard to choose for tank healing duty but we do have some good ones to choose from.

  • Glyph of Water Mastery: More mana! I hope I never hear anyone complain about more mana =D
  • Glyph of Mana Tide Totem: Again more mana, in this case taking full advantage of all the INT you have.
  • Glyph of Healing Wave: This takes advantage of your Healing Wave casts by returning 20% of the effective healing done, ignoring overheal amounts. Great glyph for AoE bosses and fights where you might not be able to heal yourself.
  • Glyph of Lesser Healing Wave: Less mana to cast, and faster then it’s big brother, this glyph lets LHW strike an Earth Shielded target for a respectable amount on par with non crit Healing Waves.
  • Glyph of Earthliving: This helps make sure you have a HoT up as much as possible. 5% more Earthliving procs can help cushion your healing a bit.
  • Glyph of Chain Heal: Even though you’re going to be casting more heals then Chain Heal, it still remains our most efficient heal. Casting it in between Healing Waves can help keep Tidal Waves up, and if you happen to catch any low melee in the process, so much the better.

Pick glyphs that help fill in gaps in what you need. If you need more mana, two glyphs will go along way to help that. If you find yourself taking damage and not being able to peel away from the tank, there is a glyph that help you keep standing long into the fight. Now these are just the Resto ones, I’ve heard people using ones to finagle more crit and such.  Take a look Here and find ones that work for you.

Strategy

Lets face it, loling around and chain healing a raid isn’t rocket science. Using our tools to their full potential while raid healing take much more finesse. Switching gears from Raid Healing to Tank Healing takes a different mindset. First thing to remember is Resto Shaman don’t really have any preventative measures to help mitigate incoming damage beyond Stoneskin Totem and Strength of Earth Totem to add armor or STR/AGI for mitigation. Our healing is all reactive aside from maybe our two HoTs, and even then we only have full control over one of them. Earth Shield requires the person you put it on to be hit before it goes off. As a result we spend a lot of time overhealing when we’re on a tank in an attempt to keep them topped off. With the amounts of mana regen we usually have, it’s not hard to keep the spells constantly streaming while keeping up on mana. You will also make full use of all your healing spells as a tank healer. Be adaptive to the situation and be ready to move with your tank. With raid healing it’s easy to sit put and plug away but a lot of times with the tank you’ll have to move with them to keep them in healing range or line of sight.

Conclusion

With all this in mind my answer to the question is Yes, I feel that shaman are more then capable Tank Healers, on par with other classes. We have all the tools necessary to fill both roles of the Raid Healer and Tank Healer effectively. There may be fights were a certain type of healer is better for the job (like a Discipline Priest healing the Sartharion Tank on Sarth 3D) but that doesn’t mean it’s the case every time. We can keep up with the Priests, Paladins and Druids in single target healing just fine.

Image courtesy of www.plan59.com

Resto Shaman: Best in Slot

Resto Shaman: Best in Slot

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Lodur here again, this time I’d like to talk a bit about the Restoration Shaman’s Best in Slot items. Syd’s post from the other day got me thinking that it would be good to toss this up for everyone to peruse. For those of you who don’t visit Plusheal often or at all there was a great thread and discussion over there in the shaman section based on the Best in Slot premise. I’d like to thank BeefyBuffalo for starting a great thread there, as well as all the theory crafters who contribute there regularly. This loot selection will most certainly change once Ulduar comes out but this is my best shot at putting it together for the available content. This list also in many places gives alternatives for preference gearing (crit or haste).

Head:

[Valorous Earthshatter Headpiece] (Kel’thuzad-25)

This offers a great set of of stats for us high INT and a good amount of MP5 and Spell Power. It also features Haste over crit as well as having two sockets for gemming.

[Helm of Pilgrimage] (Heigan -25)

This helm has slightly more MP5 then the Earthshatter as well as slightly higher Spell Power, but at the cost of both sockets. In place of haste it features a good chunk of Crit (almost 2%)

Comparable to the two is [Helm of Unleased Energy] (Gothik-25)

Neck:

[Life-Binder's Locket](Malygos key quest) or  [Chains of Adoration] (several boss in Naxx-25)

The Life Binder’s is a better overall piece but you’ll probably see chains before the locket.

Shoulders:

[Valorous Earthshatter Spaulders](Loatheb-25 or 60x Emblems of Valor) or [Council Chamber Epaulets] (Sartharion-25)

Again it’s a crit vs haste itemization here. I put Valorous higher on the list for two reasons. You can get it for badges which makes it easy to obtain and it puts you closer to the full set bonuses.

Back:

[Pennant Cloak](Sartharion-25), or [Cloak of the Dying](Kel’thudzad-10)

For this I personally prefer the Pennant cloak. Good stats and it has both crit and haste. I know it doesn’t have MP5 but it does have a socket which is very nice.

Chest:

[Tunic of the Artifact Guardian](Malygos-25) or [Valorous Earthshatter Tunic](Four Horsemen-25)

Again the Earthshatter tunic is nice if you’re still working towards your 2 piece or 4 piece bonuses but my honest suggestion would be go after the other slots (legs, gloves, shoulders and helm) and try to grab yourself the Artifact Guardian chest. It’s an awesome chest piece with a goodly amount of crit and a nice chunk of spell power. You lose a socket compared to Valorous but what you gain from this chest piece is just too good to pass up in my opinion.

Wrist:

[Bindings of the Decrepit](Heigan-25) or [Cuffs of the Shadow Ascendant](60 x Emblem of Valor) Identical

Pretty straightforward here, same item, two different ways to get it. Simply best bracers you can get.

Hands:

[Winter Spectacle Gloves](Malygos-25) or [Bountiful Gauntlets](Sartharion-25) or [Valorous Earthshatter Handguards] (Sartharion-25)

These are all good options each has great stats and looks pretty slick too. My personal suggestion again though is if you don’t have your set bonuses or are working towards the 4 piece, go for the Valorous

Waist:

[Sash of the Parlor](cloth from Anub’rekhan-25) or [Girdle of the Gambit](Patchwork-25)

While the cloth belt is viable, I personally prefer the Girdle of the Gambit. Toss a belt buckle on it and march that thing around!

Legs:

[Valorous Earthshatter Legguards] (Thaddius-25) or [Legguards of the Undisdurbed] (Noth-25)

Again both are good, but I personally prefer the Valorous leggings.

Feet:

[Sabatons of Firmament](Sartharion) or [Atonement Greaves](Faerlina -25)

Here I prefer the Atonement Greaves. Slightly better stats and a good dose of haste with a bit more MP5. Again though this selection boils down to preference of Crit or Haste.

Finger:

[Signet of Manifested Pain](Kel’thuzad-25) or [Seized Beauty](Faerlina-25) or [Ring of Decaying Beauty] (Sapphiron-25) or [Wyrmrest Band] (Sartharion-25)

This again is largely a matter of choice, these are just the best options available. Personally I prefer a combination of Decaying Beauty and Wyrmrest Band.

Main Hand:

[Torch of Holy Fire] (Kel’thudzad-25) or [Hammer of the Astral Plane](Kel’thudzad-10) or [Wraith Strike](Maexxna-25)

Yeap that’s right, a spell power fist weapon! It’s really a great 1 hander well worth picking up if you see it drop. Baring the fist weapon dropping, holding out for Kel’s Torch isn’t a bad idea. It gives us a ton of stats we love and well… it looks pretty cool too!.

Off-hand:

[Voice of Reason](Kel’thudzad-25) or [Shield of Assimilation] (Anub’rikhan-25)

My preference here is for the Shield of Assimilation. To me the MP5 on it makes it a bit more enticing for a Resto Sham.

Relic:

[Totem of Forest Growth](15 Emblem of Heroism) or [Totem of the Bay] (30 Venture Coins- Grizzly Hills)

Not a lot of choices at 80, but I think Forest Growth should be the first badge item you buy. It’s a cheap and effective item that will carry you well throughout current content.

Trinkets:

[Illustration of the Dragon Soul] (Sartharion-25) or [Je'Tze's Bell] (BoE World Drop) or [Soul of the Dead] (Sapphiron-25) or [Mercurial Alchemist Stone] (Crafted) or [Living Ice Crystals] (Malygos-25)

These represent the crème de le crème of trinkets for us in my opinion. Personally I favor The Bell combined with Crystals. The MP5 Combined with another instant heal makes it a beefed up [Vial of the Sunwell] !

Set Bonuses:

Your Tier 7 bonuses for both 2 piece and 4 piece are extremely nice. 2 Piece nets you Water Shield Boost: your Water Shield is 10% stronger. This means that your passive MP5 from water shield, as well as your mana returned per charge consumed is increased. Lets face it, more mana is never a bad thing right? 4 piece allows for Spirit Link Chain Heal which means the healing done by your Chain Heal and Healing Wave is increased by 5%. That’s most definitely a good thing. I mean, when was more healing ever bad? More mana + more healing output = great set bonus.


Final Thoughts:

Keep in mind that your T7 gear is the equivalent of T4 back in Burning Crusade, so if you don’t get everything on your list don’t panic. There will be upgrades coming in the next content patch besides tier loot, of that I am certain. Also remember these represent my opinions, feel free to create your own wish lists or checklist of items you are looking for.

If you have something on your wish list that you want to share, please feel free!

Till next time, Happy Healing.

~Lodur

Image courtesy of dallasvintageshop.com

Patchwerk through the eyes of a Resto Shaman

Image courtesy of Feralis.org

Lodur from Zul’jin here once again. This post I’d like to talk a little bit about healing Patchwerk as a restoration shaman. This will be a bit of a short post for me this week. Patchwerk for the longest time has been THE premiere check for your dps, your tanks and your healing. He is a perfect measuring stick for your raid if you think about it. He’s a straightforward fight, dps can sit and dps, tanks sit and soak damage and healers sit and heal. There’s no fancy gimmicks, no movement or fire to move out of , so it really is the perfect boss fight to check out your raids gear and ability.

You might ask youself “What is there to know? Don’t we just dump heals into tanks and call it a day? ” There are a couple different roles a shaman can play for healing through Patchy here. The two tried and true methods are Chain Heal spam and Lesser Healing Wave spam. Lets talk about the strengths of each for a moment here.

Lesser Healing Wave method.

  • Quicker heals
  • Using Glyph of Lesser Healing Wave allows the spell to hit for almost as much as Healing Wave
  • Lower spell cost for more heals per mana spent.
  • Quickly allows off tanks to be topped off to full health

Chain Heal Method.

  • More efficient heals (5.3 healing per mana spent)
  • Allows for both off tanks and main tank to be targeted and healed through the jumps of chain heal.
  • Smoothes out healing on the off tanks so second healers have an easier time keeping the tanks health even.
  • Allows for lag compensation due to added healing buffer.

Lesser Healing Wave Method:

This method is really straightforward. Simply put you keep Earth Shield up on your tank and continue to dump Lesser Healing Waves and Riptides into him constantly. Make sure to keep your Water Shield up for maximum mana regen and to make sure you have full charges available for Improved Water Shield. Using this method you have to apply healer tunnel vision. By that I mean you have to pay attention to your tank and only your tank, if you try to heal another OT or the Main Tank, your tank is likely to eat a large spike before you can top him off. This method allows for very little error but is very mana costly in the end.

Chain Heal Method:

Personally I prefer the Chain Heal method, let me explain a bit about why. Firstly, it is simply our most efficient heal. You get the most bang for your buck out of it and if you have your 4 piece set bonus from tier 7, or even if you’re still rocking a couple pieces of tier 6, you just get the most mileage out of it. Secondly it has a lot of synergy with some other talents that you will find useful for this fight.

Lets go ahead and assume you’re assigned to heal one of the two Hateful Strike tanks (I’m operating under the assumption you’ll be using the two OT strategy.) The tank you are specifically assigned to will be your the starting point of all your heals. He will get the most out of your chain heals. After that if the OT’s are situated right, it will bounce off of your tank and onto the second OT, thereby adding a buffer to that tanks healers. My experience has show that two restoration shamans placed on the OT’s produce enough of a healing buffer that the other healers have a light healing load, it makes sure to smooth out the spikes in healing you normally see. Think of it as like providing the driving baseline for a band, it helps set the framework for everything around it. There are a few more benefits to this. Lets say something goes terribly wrong and all of a sudden someone other then the OT’s takes a Hateful Strike, if you’re already chain healing you’ll be able to heal the person through the smart heal component without having to divert attention away from the OT’s in order to heal someone up. We can also assume you’ll be using a healthy smathering of Riptide it’s just going to pump your Chain Heal amount up that much more. Also, by using your chain heal you’re allowing for Tidal Waves to be up all the time so if you need to throw a LHW or a HW it hits for that much more.


All in all he’s not terrible for us, just make sure you have your Runic Mana potions and Mana Tide Totem ready to go to keep your mana up, and it should be smooth sailing for you. Both methods work (regardless of crit or haste gear =P ) and as long as you’re paying attention to your tank, you will easily succeed.

Now if you guys have a different way of doing it, please feel free to share =)

Till next time, Happy Healing!

~ Lodur

Best in Slot for Resto Druid

Best in Slot for Resto Druid

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Note:This article is now out-of-date. It does not take into account new items from 3.1 or the 3.1 changes to mana regen or Restoration druid abilities. (edited 3/8/09)

I see the question of what items are actually best-in-slot for one class or another come up time and again on forums and blogs alike. These lists can come in pretty handy. Of course, at the current difficulty of content, you don’t really need your best-in-slot, but without something to strive for, where would we be?

I have worked to keep this list mostly leather, but where there’s a cloth contender I’ve tried to mention it as well. My criteria of judgment are purely the relative stats of the item. The item level serves me as a guide, but is never a consideration in its own right.

Head

Valorous Dreamwalker Headpiece, from Kel’Thuzad 25

This helm, featuring both Spirit and Mp5, is most certainly the best piece in our tier set–it’s a shame, though, that there are other good headpieces as well.

Hood of Rationality, from Malygos 25

If your loot rules allow you to pick up some cloth, here’s a piece to consider.

Headpiece of Reconciliation, from Sartharion 25, 2 Drakes

This should be our best-in-slot, but right now it isn’t. It’s a level 226 item, but the stats don’t match expectations. It could be corrected in the future, but I’m not holding my breath.

Neck

Necklace of the Glittering Chamber, from Malygos 10

Shoulder

Spaulders of Catatonia, from Malygos 25

These shoulders have the best stats, but be careful. If Nourish is in your rotation at all, you will want to keep your 4 pc bonus. If not, have at it with the non-set pieces.

Valorous Dreamwalker Spaulders, from Loatheb 25

This item is well-balanced and very useful for filling out the set bonus. However, it’s clearly inferior to the Spaulders of Catatonia.

Cloak

Cape of the Unworthy Wizard, from Kel’Thuzad 25

There’s no argument here. This cloak is far out ahead of its competitors, a must-have if you can get it.

Chest

Valorous Dreamwalker Robe, from 4 Horsemen 25

I’m a big advocate of wearing leather while I can, and this item is quite good. I also like my set bonuses, even though I don’t get much out of the boost to Nourish.

Blanketing Robes of Snow, from Malygos 25

If your guild gets enough of these to outfit the priests, by all means, add this to your set.

Bracers

Unsullied Cuffs, from Sartharion 2D

These may be cloth, but they are my runaway favorite, much better than our leather options.

Bands of the Great Tree, From Emblems of Valor

These bracers are probably the best in leather, but they are not significantly different from the more easily accessible Swarm Bindings, from Anub’Rekan 25. I wouldn’t spend the emblems for them myself.

Hands

Valorous Dreamwalker Handguards, Sartharion 25

There’s no contest here. This is a nice, balanced item that will help you get your bonuses.

Waist

Unravelling Strands of Sanity, from Malygos 25

I was very lucky to pick up this little beauty on our second Malygos kill. There’s no doubt about it–this belt is by far the best.

Legs

Valorous Dreamwalker Leggings, from Thaddius 25

Once again, the tier piece isn’t strictly ideal in terms of stats, but that has more to do with it being introductory gear than with it being the “wrong” piece to wear. I use these quite happily.

Leggings of Mortal Arrogance from Kel’Thuzad 25.

I like the stat allocation pretty well on these leggings. They’re better for priests than druids, though, and you should by all means let your clothies–maybe even dps–have them first.

Feet

Rainey’s Chewed Boots

Get these boots with your Emblems of Valor and never worry about it again. They are the runaway winner in this category.

Fingers

Lost Jewel, Naxx 25 shared loot

The Spirit makes this item a good bet. I’m personally going for Spirit on both rings, but your budget may vary.

Band of Channeled Magic, Emblems of Valor

This item gets points for spirit and accessibility. A must-have.

Arguably, the real best in slot is the Loop of the Kirin Tor, but I’m never going to have 8,000g for a marginal upgrade.

Trinkets

Je’Tze’s Bell, BoE world drop

I love everything about this item except its price. I saw one last night on Ner’zhul that had bid up to 5,000. I don’t have that much total gold across all my toons. Here’s hoping I get lucky with a trash drop.

Forethought Talisman, Naxx 25 shared loot.

This one packs a huge spellpower punch, and the proc, while lackluster, will give me an extra 3,000 or so effective heals per fight.

As for other trinkets–the Spirit-World Glass is something I really want to pick up for myself just in case changes are made to mana regen. I like the idea of the Illustration of the Dragon Soul and the Majestic Dragon Figurine, though there’s probably a bit of a learning curve to keeping the effect up as much as possible.

Weapon

Torch of Holy Fire, Kel’Thuzad 25

This one is a no-brainer, but good luck getting it. This is a very hot ticket item in almost every guild.

Off Hand

Matriarch’s Spawn, Maexxna.

Idol

Idol of Lush Moss, Emblems of Valor

There’s no real choice here. Lifebloom may be nerfed, but we still need it.

Set Bonuses

Make sure that you get your 2 pc T7.5 set bonus. You will continue to depend on your Lifebloom, particularly if you ever heal tanks. 4 pc T7 gives enough of a bonus to Nourish to make it your most efficient heal on a target who already has all your other hots, i.e., a tank. However, the 4 pc isn’t strictly necessary. You have plenty of mana regen for this level, and a less efficient Nourish won’t hurt at all. Efficiency will only be in play in a harder dungeon (Ulduar) or if the mana regen formula should be changed. If it’s only a factor in Ulduar, you probably won’t hang onto 4pc T7 for long anyway–you’ll be replacing it with T8.

Final Note: Introductory Gear

Remember, no matter how good your T7 gear is, we’re still in the first tier of Wrath content. If you look over the Resto druid items, there are many items with “wasted” stats like crit and haste. Don’t pull your leaves out over it. At this point, there are no real best in slots. Je’Tze’s Bell comes the closest, but even that may be replaced in Ulduar. I’m hoping that when we do start getting some T8 upgrades, the stats actually come closer to ideal.

For the Resto Shaman: Settling the Crit vs Haste Discussion

For the Resto Shaman: Settling the Crit vs Haste Discussion

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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

Healing Assignments for Resto Druids

Healing Assignments for Resto Druids

broccoli-banner

Perhaps more than any other healing class, Wrath of the Lich King has revolutionized the way druids heal. I’m going to take a bit of a look back to where we came from as a way to help understand any troubles druid healers might face at present when we try to figure out what our role in raids should be.

Back in the “Good” Old Days

I came of age as a healer during the BC raid content, and I think part of me will always missing rolling Lifebloom stacks on four different tanks during the Hyjal trash waves. Lifebloom spam may have been widely criticized, but at the time it was effective and felt very dynamic for the player. The timing was tight enough to require tank-specific macros, which I miss, because I could always change their icons to a pig whenever I got mad at them (sorry, Brio). However, when healers argue now that they don’t want to be locked into a rotation, they’re probably thinking of something like old-school LB rolling with horror. That was a rotation, all right–but it left me dizzy. I had to keybind Lifebloom twice–both to my mouse clickwheel and to F. The “F” was for when I needed to refresh while turning with the mouse. At the time, there was no way to increase the 7 sec Lifebloom rotation, and the penalty for letting the stack fall off was fairly severe. I never ran into mana problems, but sometimes the tank would take more damage than I liked if their stack slipped off, and I had few ways to play catch-up. If one tank’s stack went, then most likely all four would.

Even some boss fights made Lifebloom spam worthwhile. On Illidari Council, I used to assign Bonkers to roll LB on three tanks, giving him 1 GCD per cycle free to do “whatever he wanted.” Let me add that the healing buffer Bonkers provided to three of the tanks won the fight for us on more than one occasion. Why did I give the assignment to Bonkers and not myself? Because Bonkers is quicker than me. My assignment, keeping up the group on Malande, was a lot easier. The odd thing is, these kinds of assignments seemed great to Resto Druids at the time–1 GCD free? That’s amazing.

Now that I think about it, the Good Old Days don’t seem so great after all.

Broccoli, v. 3.0

Patch 3.0 brought new tools for the druid healer, offering flexibility where before we had none. However, it strikes me that many Broccoli Stalks might be a little bewildered by all our new toys. And if we’re confused, imagine what it’s like to do healing assignments for a resto druid these days. A few days ago I came across this topic on PlusHeal forums, posted by Siha of Banana Shoulders:

So, I’m the healing lead for my guild, and it usually falls to me to do healing assignments.

I’m having some trouble deciding how best to make use of resto druids. I know in TBC I always used to use them for a multi-tank assignment, keeping a bunch of people hotted up with Lifebloom, but I’m not really on top of all the resto druid changes in WotLK yet.

The talented Siha, as always, gets right to the point with her post. I replied in the topic, but I think that the question has enough merit to warrant a full-length post.

So, what do we do with the newly-versatile druid? After looking at my own performance and those of my Cruciferous Vegetable buddies in Conquest, I am convinced that Resto Druids can be assigned in two different ways for Wrath content. I’m going to showcase a couple of meters-topping druid performances to show just how versatile trees are these days

Raid Healing

This assignment is the most obvious for a resto druid. Wild Growth, due to its higher total healing and it’s status as a heal over time spell, suffered less from the recent nerf than Circle of Healing did. With Rejuvenation, Wild Growth, and perhaps a glyphed Healing Touch in the mix, druids have a powerful toolkit to deal with raid damage.

Let’s take a look at the meter breakdown from an expert druid healer on Gluth, which features heavy raid damage:
s13-meter

Now, the meter % alone might not mean much, but let’s factor in healing assignment. Both S13 and I were assigned to heal the kiters on Gluth, and we have similar gear. Why did he outperform me? Let’s take a look at the abilities breakdown.
s13-breakdown

Take a look at S13′s Healing Touch percentage and the amount it hits for on average. That tells me–even if I didn’t already know–that he’s using the Healing Touch glyph. The fact that he’s able to get so much healing out of a direct healing spell also tells me that S13 is fast. He’s really great at reacting to situations. Notice here that he’s also made a lot of use of Lifebloom–nerfed it maybe, but useless it is not. This WWS report is post-WG nerf, by the way. S13′s performance shows how little a healer has to rely on Wild Growth to be effective (and to post good numbers while doing so). If I were to take a look at S13′s targets, I would see a lot of healing on the 5 kiters, but also a decent amount on other members of the raid. S13 is a great raid healer because he’s able to pay attention to a lot of things at once and to accurately judge when he can go a bit beyond the boundaries of his assignment.

Tank Healing

Yes, I know druids have an AoE heal now. That doesn’t mean that we’re not still good at our old role, healing the main tank. I’ve just shown you the WWS from a druid who excels at raid healing. Now, I’m going to show you my own meter performance. I am a tank healer. That’s what I like, and that’s what I’m good at. I’ve been healing a warrior MT so long that I know how the damage hits and what I can do to fix it. I don’t pretend to be the best at anything, but if I’m in charge of healing assignments, I’m going to stick myself to a tank. It’s not usually very showy on the meters, but I’m going to give you a peep at the one fight in Naxx that does let tank healers show off–Patchwerk.
syd-meter

To understand this image properly, you should probably know that Silvia and I were assigned to heal the offtank, a druid, while S13 and Arktos were assigned to the main tank, a warrior. For the life of me, I can’t remember what Kaldora, our holy priest, was assigned to that day. The nature of the fight dictates that there is simply more healing to do on the off tank(s) than on the main tank, so an off-tank healer is going to post higher numbers. Be that as it may, this is nonetheless a good performance from me personally. Let’s look at the breakdown of what I did.
syd-breakdown

First of all, notice the presence of Regrowth. I use the Regrowth glyph, and a fight with heavy tank damage also shows it off. Meanwhile, I keep Lifebloom rolling on the primary off-tank. As for Rejuvenation, I keep it on both the primary off-tank and the backup. At higher gear levels, your raid is less likely to need two offtanks for Patchwerk. I used to post even more impressive numbers when two off-tanks took heavy hits. I would keep up my full hot rotation on the druid and use Rejuvenation, Swiftmend, and a Nature’s Swiftness/Healing Touch on the secondary off-tank. I always say that Resto Druids can heal two tanks as well as one, and it’s very nearly true. This is a lesson I learned in Zul’Aman, and it still serves me well on a multi-tank fight like Patchwerk. One thing an MT healer can never forget is the power of Swiftmend–it’s easy to ignore, but make yourself use it whenever you can. You’ll notice that Nourish is missing from my rotation, even though I have the 4pc T7 bonus. Regrowth is simply better if the damage is high. I will use Nourish on fights where Regrowth might be overheal, or on long fights that might stress my mana.

My message to healing leads is this: resto druids can tank heal. You might think that only a paladin or discipline priest will work, but don’t discount the resto druid, particularly one who’s used to this job. We may have a discipline priest solo-healing the MT on Sarth 3D, but that doesn’t mean a resto druid cannot be assigned to the task. In fact, some days I want to arm-wrestle Mallet for the job.

Glyphs and Talents

As you can see from our performances, S13 and I, despite having almost the same gear, are very different healers. There are slight differences in talents and glyphs that support each of our preferred roles. Here are my thoughts on how to set up a resto druid to excel at either raid healing or tank healing.

Raid Healing

In terms of talents, I suggest Tranquil Spirit to make Healing Touch and Nourish more efficient, a fully talented Gift of the Earth Mother, and perhaps Naturalist for the shortest Healing Touch cast time. As an alternative, you might put either 1 or 2 points into Improved Tranquility. I find this spell very useful when I can remember to use it. It shines on any fight where the raid is fairly close together and AoE damage as high–I’ve used Tranquility to good effect on Loatheb, Sapphiron, and OS3.

To heal S13-style, you will absolutely need to glyph Healing Touch. I am extremely impressed with the HPS of this spell, and it only gets better as your gear scales. In addition, we can all afford the mana at this point. S13 doesn’t run OOM any more than I do. The raid healer has some amount of choice in the other glyph slots. I suggest Swiftmend and Innervate, but if you find that you never use Swiftmend, Lifebloom will also work. The Regrowth glyph, while good in and of itself, won’t do much for you if you’re never assigned to tanks.

Tank Healing

In terms of tank healing talents, the most important one to have is Nature’s Splendor from the Balance tree to extend HoT duration. However, all raiding restos should have this talent. I also use Tranquil Spirit to support my Nourish (in case I ever use it), a fully maxed Improved Regrowth, and Gift of the Earthmother for easier HoT refreshes. I do not have Living Seed at the current moment. It accounted for less that 1% of my total healing when I had it. If I get enough haste to remove points from Gift of the Earthmother, I may try it again. I have a feeling that either 1) Living Seed will do more healing in Ulduar or 2) it will get some sort of buff in the future. As for Replenish, either build should skip it because it’s endlessly terrible, but the tank healer especially does not need it.

In terms of glyphs, I use Swiftmend, Regrowth, and Innervate for main tank healing. The only debateble choice here is Innervate. I prefer it over Lifebloom, but Keeva of Tree Bark Jacket, who also main tank heals often, writes very convincingly in favor of the LB glyph in this recent post. A main tank healer should not glyph Healing Touch. It’s more useful in the large version paired with Nature’s Swiftness.

Conclusions

We’ve come a long way from Lifebloom spam. Whether we’re set to healing tanks or the raid, druids have a variety of techniques now to support their chosen role. We can do it all–just not all at once. If you’re a healing lead, it’s important to get to know your healers. With the new diversity of the druid class, skill and preference start to weigh heavily on how you should assign your druids. So, why not ask them what they like, and what they are good at?

Resto Shaman: INT vs MP5

This is a guest post by Chloebelle, a Resto Shaman helping you decide between MP5 or Int as the stat to aim for

There is something that feels really dirty when you start stacking intellect. Like that’s what you would do if you knew nothing but what was on the WoW Tool Tips.

For so long MP5 was vital to ensuring you could last an entire fight. Now, thanks to Replenishment, intellect has stepped into the spotlight.

Replenishment restores .25% of max mana every second. If you have an 18k mana pool then you are getting 45 mana a second or 225 extra mp5. If you have a mana pool of 20k then you are getting 50 mana a second or 250 mp5. That is a lot of additional mana.

Solely looking at gems, check out what intellect could do for you:

Ignoring socket bonuses – if the average person has 7 sockets (not including meta) all gemmed with blue quality intellect gems they would have 123 (including 11 with talent) intellect, 1845 mana, 18 spell power (with talents), 1.5% to crit and 23 extra mp5 from a replenishment buff.

If you gem all your sockets with blue quality royal twilight opal then you have 63 sp and 21 mp5 (but you don’t rely on the buff). Less mp5, less mana, less crit, but 45 more spell power. If you socket all 6 mp5 gems, then you would get 42 mp5. I know it’s not realistic to think that you would socket all one way or another – but just as an idea.

Don’t forget that shamans also have Water Shield and mana stream to that will boost mp5 another 185 at least. That doesn’t even count talent points and glyphs that would increase it even more. On top of this, our gear has a great deal of MP5 on it already. Don’t waste a gem slot on 3 or 6 mp5. Use the slot to increase your intellect and let your raid make up do its job. Let the Ret Pallies, Hunters, and Shadow Priests handle your mana regen while you concentrate on healing.

As you gear up you are going to notice that you are rarely going to run out of mana. If this is the case, you can start replacing some of your intellect gems for haste or crit or more SP, depending on how you like to play. Chain heal healers will most likely enjoy haste, while Lesser Healing Wave and Healing Wave healers will most likely enjoy crit.

If you are guaranteed to have the replenishment buff – socketing for intellect is the smartest solution.

On the other hand, if you don’t have the buff – your larger mana pool will likely not make up for the mp5 and SP you will miss.

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!

Guest Post: Mana Tide – To-do List for the Level 80 Resto Shaman.

Guest Post: Mana Tide – To-do List for the Level 80 Resto Shaman.

This is a guest post written by Devon.

guest-post Prologue

Click the link above fellow totemites, let the rejoicing begin. This position of power ensures Shaman buffs in the future (and hopefully a college football playoff); not even Blizzard can tell this guy “no”. Damn government just can’t keep its hands off, but in this case I’ll keep my trap zipped.

In preparation for the shaman revolution and my PvE aspirations I’ve compiled a quick gear list and to-do list for the chain healer in all of us. This can, and should, be started at late level 77 and 78. The goal is not to make heroics manageable, but to make you one of the best resto shamans in your guild regardless of your time in Naxx.

Print it out, tack it to your wall, and let it do the thinking for you. You know you want to.

*Steps 0-0.5 are preliminary. The rest should be completed every day until your desired epeen loot level is achieved.

Step 0:

Get your freak spec on.

Before respeccing I suggest getting your Icecrown quest achievement. It will get you the Cannoneer’s Morale trinket, Knights of the Ebon Blade rep, and Argent Crusade rep. Searing totem just doesn’t kill as fast as ye ol’ Stormstrike.

http://www.wowhead.com/?talent=hZ0xxIZxMezVxogkrIRt is my recommendation.

The 16 points in Enhancement are very solid. The following build has the restoration tree must-haves, everything else is just gravy (or filler you pessimists):

Must have talents click here.

Head over to the AH and grab your Glyph of Chain Heal, Water Mastery, Earth Living Weapon, and Water Shield. You should have already had the latter Boudreaux.

This oh-@#^& macro free of charge from elitistjerks.com:

#showtooltip Nature’s Swiftness

/stopcasting

/use 13

/use 14

/cast Nature’s Swiftness

/Cast Tidal Force

/cast Healing Wave

With this and rip-tide I’ve had no heroic troubles. This has the over-zealous rogue seal of approval.

Step 0.5

Where the little guy gets his totem.

Grizzly D. Adams will give you Totem of the Bay.

Dis one, it’s da best. Get 30 of these.

Step 1

What’s with the fat guard standing on the quest giver? Go do your Wyrmrest Dailies everyday until you are Exalted for the Grips of Fierce Pronouncements.

- Drake Hunt at the Nexus. Raelastrasz 33, 34 coords. The harpoon has ridiclous range. If you don’t have your flying mount I recommend the western platform.

- Defending Wyrmrest Temple at Wyrmrest Temple. The quest-giver is on the MIDDLE level of the temple. As with all dailies practice makes perfect, but I recommend renew and the sprint (press 4) every time they are up. For those going for time note that it only takes one dot and one flame breath to kill the drakes, pwn and move on. Happy hunting.

- Aces High. See comments here.

Step 2

Knights of the Ebon Blade make me think of emo kids at my high school.

Ebon Blade Dailies everyday until you are Exalted for your Kilt of Dark Mercy.

Icecrown dailies:

Repeatable Quest:

Step 3

Troll Pa’troll everyday until Exalted with Argent Dawn for your Signet of Hopeful Light.

The Troll Patrol quest is given in the Argent Stand of Zul’Drak. 3 of them are very easy, the quest form Alchemist Finklestein WOULD be difficult if you didn’t have this mod: http://wow.curse.com/downloads/wow-addons/details/easyserum.aspx

You get a bonus for doing Troll Pa’troll in less than 20 minutes, there should be time to spare using this mod.

Step 4

No moar dailies, so sayeth my sanity.

All in all I spend about 1.5 hours doing dailies. I try to keep my play time at less than three hours a day for personal reasons so another 0.5 – 1.5 hours lets me run an instance or two (good riddance UBRS). In addition to the loot list below I recommend doing the daily regular or daily heroic instances for the reputation and emblems of heroism. Much of the gear you get in this step each day will be a place holder for crafted epics listed in Step 5. Start with the Wyrmrest Tabard since those dailies require longer flights between quests.

Step 5

Ok, I can haz gold now.

As money permits purchase the following items or their respective mats as they show up on the AH:

Revenant’s Breastplate (Leatherworking): 12 Heavy Borean Leather, 12 Eternal Water, 1 Frozen Orb

Revenant’s Treads (Leatherworking): 10 Heavy Borean Leather, 10 Eternal Water, 1 Frozen Orb

Titansteel Guardian (Blacksmithing) – 6 Saronite Bars, 6 Titansteel Bars, 2 Frozen Orb

I haven’t gotten my guardian yet because I’m scurd of handing a stranger that many mats. Guild blacksmith has a wifey, no chance for me there. The two revenant’s pieces cost me about 1000 gold, which you should have after all that questing you did RIGHT? Quick aside: Lesser Healing Wave and its associated glyph rocks my healing socks.

Regards,

Devon

A Healing Druid’s Naxx-25 Shopping List

A Healing Druid’s Naxx-25 Shopping List

As many of you longtime readers are now aware, I have joined forces with Matticus and Conquest for Wrath of the Lich King. Matt is a hard taskmaster–even before we started raiding, he gave us homework! The nerve!

However, as a veteran of too many years in graduate school, I LOVE homework. Here is my Naxx-25 wishlist, dressed up pretty for the blog.

This list is as exhaustive as possible given the current information out there about Naxx. Given that it’s early, the loot table could be subject to change. The following list isn’t personal, per se–it’s a list of all the best stuff out there for restoration druids. I have divided it by bosses, using the typical order. There are many items that are shared across several bosses, particularly necklaces, rings, and cloaks. In that case, I’ve listed them only under the first boss who can drop them. This, dear reader, is your Naxx 25 Resto Kit–use it as a guide for all your holiday DKP purchases.

Anub’Rekan:

Swarm Bindings
Well folks, these are your bracers from Naxx-25. The selling point for this item is the spirit. Now, the crit is less optimal for us, and I wish I had a talent to turn crit into mp5. However, from here on out, you’ll be choosing between the lesser of two evils on your gear–heavy crit or heavy haste, neither of which the resto druid wants to stack to excess. For my Naxx-25 kit, I’m largely going to ignore these and work to get items that give me a solid amount of regen while casting. That means lots of spirit, but also some mp5, as the return on spirit is less than in post 2.4 Burning Crusade content.

Grand Widow Faerlina:

Chains of Adoration
This neck has a decent amount of mp5 and a healthy dose of stamina as well. It’s not perfect, but it will work for any healer. Most of your gear as a druid will have spirit, and in my mind it’s good to plump up your while-casting regen with just a little bit of mp5 as well. That said, this item is available from several bosses and I might let shamans and paladins take it first.

Seized Beauty
This item, like the Chains of Adoration, is available from multiple bosses, and it is likewise a multi-purpose item. I like it better than the neck, mostly because I’m used to having mp5 and not spirit in my ring slot. Once again, something you can feel safe passing on the first couple of times until the mp5 junkies in your healing team have one.

Tunic of Prejudice
This item is simply great. Where I can, I’ll take haste over crit. The druid healing spells that can crit are few: Healing Touch, Nourish, and Regrowth. However, if you can get enough haste, you might be able to take some points out of Gift of the Earthmother and put them elsewhere. I would personally rather have mp5, but in this expansion, mp5/spirit items seem to have gone the way of the dodo.

Maexxna:

Cowl of the Perished
The best feature of this item, aside from it’s cool name, is a whopping 72 spirit. It has crit in an equally stunning amount, so I might let a boomkin have it first.

Mantle of Shattered Kinship
With haste and spellpower, this is another decent buy for a resto druid. However, if you’re bidding, bid low, and if you can pass, you might want to do it. It shows up not long before the shoulder tokens, which will get you something better. However, if you’re not a set bonus junkie, take it and let others have the token.

Shawl of the Old Maid
This is another multi-boss, multi-purpose healing drop. The spirit will serve a druid well, but I might let holy priests have it first, as they will get more mileage out of the crit.

Matriarch’s Spawn
This one is an incredibly cool-looking spirit-haste combo that will have you wishing that offhand items showed all the time. A solid buy for your DKP, so feel good about splurging on this item. Whether you choose to gear for staves or main hand/off hand should probably depend only on what drop you happen to get first. Once you have a decent combo, let others in your raid take these things.

Wraith Strike
Even though this weapon looks really cool, it’s just not made for resto druid. It spends its budget on both crit and haste, making it attractive for both Elemental Shaman and Moonkin Druid. Take it if it would otherwise rot, and if you end up with it, keep it for your moonkin set but replace it when you can with a one-handed mace that has either spirit or mp5.

Noth the Plaguebringer:

Accursed Spine
This one is similar to Matriarch’s Spawn with crit instead of haste. Matriarch’s is better for a healer, but you can take it if it would otherwise rot.

Belt of Potent Chanting
It’s got the ubiquitous crit, but as set pieces aren’t an option for a belt, go ahead and pick it up, especially if your moonkin friends already have it.

Lost Jewel
Even though it has crit, of the rings, this one looks good to me because it’s also got spirit. Also a shared drop, this is one that’s good enough for Resto Druid that I might go ahead and take it early.

Heigan the Unclean:

Cloak of Averted Crisis
Here is another solid cloak that’s shared by several boss loot tables. It’s another decent option–you just have to choose whether you want mp5 or spirit on your back.

Gloves of the Dancing Bear
This is a really nice item with spirit, a red gem slot, and a spirit bonus for socket matching. Even though it’s not a tier piece, it’s really good. My only suggestion is that it should have been named “Gloves of the Dancing Tree.” It does have crit, but assuming that you use the best gem available to you, I think the socket gives the item an edge.

Shroud of Luminosity
This is one of the few non-spellhit items that you might argue is truly offspec for a druid healer. Sure, you can wear it, but it spends its item budget on both haste and crit, which makes it a poor buy for your DKP. Take it only if your casters and fellow healers don’t want it.

Loatheb:

Shoulders token, yielding the Valorous Dreamwalder Spaulders
Of course you will want all your tier pieces. However, I urge you to see them as one option among many. The bonuses–particularly the 4 piece, which plumps up a mostly-unused spell–are just window dressing. They are not obligatory. If you already have something good in a slot, pass to those who do not.

The Impossible Dream
Now, Don Quijote is actually my favorite book. However, I strongly dislike the musical Man of La Mancha, even though I know all the songs. Right now, that horrible ballad is right there, in my head, and in less than 30 seconds I’m going to start singing it and scare the crap out of my cat, who disapproves of off-key arias. Anyway, this is a great item for resto druids. Take it at your own risk–the WoW devs will not compensate you for lyrical madness.

Instructor Razuvious:

Nothing unique from this boss, but there are several items from the shared loot table.

Gothik the Harvester:

Idol of Awakening
While I’d rather have an idol for Wild Growth, Regrowth or Lifebloom, I always suggest that players pick up the available idols whenever they can. Even if you won’t use it now, you might later.

Shackled Cinch
For my money, this is the best resto druid belt in Naxx. Go ahead and pick it up with confidence.

Four Horsemen:

Chestpiece token, yielding Valorous Dreamwalker Robe
Once again, a great piece, but there is another chest option to keep in mind.

Damnation
Something tells me–the name perhaps–that casters will drool over this staff. It will work for healers too. Sure, it has crit, but it also has a really nice helping of stamina, spirit, and intellect.

Gloves of Peaceful Death
These could be nice if you’re stacking haste, but in my mind, the gem slot on the other gloves in Naxx makes them a better buy. These are inferior to the set piece gloves from Obsidian Sanctum as well.

Patchwerk

Boots of Septic Wounds
These are your Naxx-25 boots, unless you want to squabble with the clothies over one of their options for fine footwear. Put them high on your priority list and take them when you can–it’s really your only option in this tier.

Grobbulus:

Nothing unique

Gluth:

There may be inaccuracies about this boss, as wowwiki and wowhead don’t agree on his loot table. This guy seems to be able to drop chest tokens, leg tokens, shoulder tokens, and a whole host of miscellaneous stuff.
Charmed Cierge
If in fact this item drops from Gluth on Heroic, it’s a pretty decent staff.

Legs token, yielding Valorous Dreamwalker Leggings
If you can choose only one piece of Tier 7, let this be your target. There isn’t a good substitute for this item unless your raid can kill Sapphiron.

Thaddius:

Headpiece of Fungal Bloom.
This item is pretty unique, featuring massive stamina and mp5. This isn’t a bad piece if you’re otherwise low stamina and heavy on spirit.

Spire of Sunset
This is the weapon that I personally want the most. I like the haste and mp5–I’m used to weapons with no spirit, so I don’t miss it here.

Sapphiron:

Cosmic Lights
You could argue this one as offspec for a resto druid. With the crit/haste combo, it’s not a great buy, and I’d hold out for a necklace with either spirit or mp5 if I had a choice.

Legguards of the Boneyard
Now, I realize this isn’t the tier piece, but this is a really great item. I’d take it in a heartbeat.

Kel-Thuzad:

Helm Token, yielding Valorous Dreamwalker Headpiece
This is likewise a high-priority piece, as it has the holy grail of both spirit and mp5. If you can help it, don’t miss out.

Cape of the Unworthy Wizard
With it’s high item budget, this piece is a probably the best cloak in the zone. However, it’s also the best for many others. As no cloaks–or armor pieces in general–are perfect for resto druids, just get one of the many available ones at some point and be content with it.

Torch of Holy Fire
Predictably, this end-boss item is also a best in slot for 1-h maces. Take it if you can–but pass to another player with a blue weapon if you have one of the other available choices in Naxx. By the time you hit KT, you’ll be moving on soon to bigger and better things.

Appendix: Obsidian Sanctum

OS is quite an easy raid and most guilds will do it while they’re in Naxx. Here are the pieces you might want to acquire there.
Majestic Dragon Figurine
This is an interesting little trinket to theorycraft with. My instinct says that, with our high cast frequency, this will be excellent for resto druids, but someone with a better knowledge of mathematics will have to graph that out for me.

Illustration of the Dragon Soul
Here’s a dps version of the above. Healing druids could also benefit, but my feeling is that the frequently-casting affliction locks are going to want this one more than we will.

Staff of Restraint
This is a very good, very accessible, nicely balanced weapon. I certainly wouldn’t mind having one!

. . . and of course, the gloves token
Valorous Dreamwalker Handguards

Syd’s Gear Theory

Perhaps this deserves its own post, but I have changed my own personal gear strategy. I used to play in a guild where loot was scarce enough that no one got very much. We were never certain of killing farm bosses, and we had a huge raid roster. These two factors combined to give our guild, overall, a lower gear level than peer organizations and a higher dependence on badge loot. However, with the new expansion and innovations like shared loot, there seems to be absolutely no reason to hold out for the best pieces. My current theory? Think about my guildies as much as myself when loot comes down. With a smaller raid, and a Loot Council to distribute the goods, there’s less reason to make the “smart” buys. I’ll be passing frequently and cobbling a decent set together out of stuff that other people don’t want. Our Loot Council should ensure that everyone’s equipped to play at the proper level.

However, in making this list, I’ve tried to indicate how to intelligently navigate the loot system for people in situations where they have limited DKP or bidding power. These players will have to evaluate items more carefully than raiders in guilds who random roll or use Loot Council. As much as we don’t like to admit it, if you’re playing in a DKP guild, you can end the tier undergeared–despite putting in as much effort as everyone else–if you don’t spend your points wisely. I’m not talking about hoarding here, because hoarding hurts everyone, the player who hoards included. I’m talking about not spending your points on stuff you don’t really need, especially if other players need or want it more than you do. It’s particularly important for new guild members who don’t have a pile of DKP to spend from past raids to make good choices. Since the advent of spellpower, that has become a little harder to do–but this list should help you figure out when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em, so to speak.

N.B. I’ve tried to craft this post as a guide. If I missed something, post a comment and I will gladly update.