Shaman healing so far in Cataclysm

I’ve been spending as much time as I can in the Cataclysm beta, and trying to maximize as much of my time as possible healing. I mean, after all that’s what I get paid for right?

You may be asking yourself what this song has to do with this post? Honestly a lot of folks think that shaman healing has gone down hill and have thrown their hands up and walked away. Some of these folks just think healing in general come Cataclysm will be so broken it wont even be worth it. I’m here to assuage at least the shaman portion of that fear.

Mana and triage

For as long as shaman have been healing we’ve been a bit of a mana battery. Between our passive regen and our spells and abilities that are geared towards doing nothing but giving us mana back. The problem is that with Wrath most healers were mana batteries. Rarely running out of mana means you can heal almost perpetually through the vast majority of non hard-mode encounters.

This makes for very boring healing, and that is something that the developers have been trying to tackle for a long time now. With the reduction of mana, and the increase in the cost of several of our healing spells, it forces us to triage our heals and essentially move away from mothering a group. Most people have seen this as a fault of the new healing model. I, however, find it incredibly liberating. Granted shaman have fared better than most other classes in this regard because  we are technically the healing model for cataclysm (or so the blues tell us). We’ve been given the tools to heal effectively, and balanced to a point where we don’t over power every encounter and actively have to pay attention and manage healing spell choices. I don’t run OOM unless people are doing very, very stupid things and I’m forced to compensate (a la a mage hugging a dragon cause he though it was cute and needed a hug).

Right now if you yell at someone to not “stand in the bad” a lot of the time they will simply ignore you since healers can just dump heals on them and get through the vast majority of effects out there. If you’ve done any PUGing before you’ll have found it at least once. That hunter that doesn’t want to get out of the fire so he can squeeze off a couple more shots to up their DPS while you dump heals on them. They expect it, and if they don’t get it you are instantly a “bad healer”.

I’ve talked about this on several of my wow.com articles lately, but there is an emphasis on personal accountability. Even if you have the mana to heal someone, they may still die. Pardon my french for a minute here, but bad shit really is bad and players should avoid it at all costs. This includes Tanks and Healers. Doing the dungeon finder in the beta has gotten to a point where players know now they have to manage their own health a little bit, and the curve has gone from nightmare healing to perfectly manageable. If the changes stand and force healers to triage the heals, it will force a shift in the perception of healers. Not saying there wont be players who yell at the healer when they die (those jerks will always exist, sadly) but I think most people will come to stop expecting you to be the only one responsible for their health.

The impression that I get

Overall, healing on the shaman in the beta has been some of the most fun I’ve had to date. I absolutely love having to pick which heal is best for the situation and love the fact that not EVERYTHING is about Chain Heal or stacking pure haste. Honestly I think shaman have the perfect number of healing tools to work with in any given fight. Every new ability compliments each other, old abilities have been given just enough of a tweak to make them interesting. Overall it feels fresh, new and exciting.

I don’t feel over powered, but I do feel capable. I don’t feel like there is anything I can’t do without a little hard work. I still get a twinge at certain bosses in the 5 mans, knowing what they can do and looking at a group composition planning my heals for which ability. It’s exciting and I feel like a tactician rather than a small child playing whack-a-mole at the local carnival being swindled out of my $2. I mean I’ll always be a healer, but it feels like I’m falling in love with it all over again. There’s excitement and consequence and every death isn’t all just on me. I know that priests and shaman have fared better than paladin and druid healers so far, but I think in the end it will balance out and everyone will have as much fun as I do right now.

In conclusion, at least for shaman, the world is not ending. The sky is not falling, and ultimately we’ll be better off in the end it seems. GO TEAM SPIRIT FINGERS!

So I’m going to spend my weekend healing 5-mans and recording videos, anything specific you guys want to see from the beta? I’ll do what I can to provide!

Until next time, Happy Healing!

Where in the World is Spirit Link?

Where in the World is Spirit Link?


So, it has certainly been a busy week around the office so to speak. The announcement of the Cataclysm beta has everyone chomping at the bit, eagerly awaiting their invitation to what is sure to be one hell of a party.

Since the announcement of the beta there has been a flood of information. Among that information was many tidbits about Restoration shaman. I did an analysis of those updates over on wow.com feel free to check it out. The one thing that has been missing from all of this information has been Spirit Link.

Spirit Link was the original 51 talent in the restoration tree in the first Wrath of the Lich King beta build. I fell in love with this spell very early on, and was looking forward to using it in a raid. It was, however, not to be. Shortly after the second beta build of Wrath the talent was taken away like a jealous father stealing his daughter away in a tower prison, replaced by our now glorious Riptide. I still pine for Spirit Link however. I often wonder if, when I look up at the lonely stars at night, if  Spirit Link is somewhere looking up at the same stars missing me. Don’t get me wrong, I love Riptide, but my heart still belongs to Spirit Link.

When we got the very first set of class previews, Blizzard developers stated that they were going to try and bring Spirit Link back. The restoration shaman community was incredibly receptive to this, and there was much rejoicing. I know I danced a little bit at the news. So we eagerly awaited the announcement of its presence. When the beta information was released, I am sad to say that Spirit Link is MIA. There have been no official statements as of this post as to why it was not included this round, but I have a few suspicions.

The reason the spell was removed from the Wrath beta is that it was hard to balance. here was the original wording of the spell.

Spirit Link (Rank 1): You link the friendly target with two nearby targets, causing 50% of the damage taken to be distributed to the linked targets. After 2200 damage, the link will sever.

That is pretty interesting right? The problem was two fold here. First, the spell had no duration limit aside from the damage cap. So you could set it on two targets and just let it be. Second, the damage cap was either too low (2200 damage would be one swing from most bosses) or too high. Finding a sweet spot was always a problem as it was either way too weak, or way too powerful.

My guess is that either it is NYI (not yet included) or they are still having problems balancing it.  In the Wrath beta  it could be stacked and made damage mitigation moot. “Non def capped tank? We have three shaman NO PROBLEM!” type deal. I will be highly interested to see if it makes it to live, because I love it so much. If it doesn’t make it to live, it will surely still be the one that got away.  It was interesting and a brand new mechanic to play with. I love it like a fat kid loves cake, and I’m a fat kid that LOVES his cake. As a bonus here’s a video of the spell in use in the Wrath beta.

So what do you guys think? Want to see this spell make it live to Cataclysm? How would you balance it? How would you change it?

Also this week, my buddy shane has written a new Google Chrome extension called Armory Links. It allows you to look anyone up quickly and easily in any of the various armory and gear checking sites. You should check it out, I know I love it and use it frequently.

And if you’re heading to BlizzCon and are interested in custom badge art, be sure to swing by Ginny’s site and check out her stuff. She does great work, and I know she’s working on a custom Lodur piece for me as we speak.

State of Chain Heal, Lodur’s Thoughts

State of Chain Heal, Lodur’s Thoughts

chain-heal

A couple days ago one of my twitter buddies linked me a forum post that has been going on centered around the state of Chain Heal. Here’s the thread if you want to take a look. I generally make it a rule not to troll the official forums for the sheer amount of flotsam that tends to be present, but I did read it. All 22 pages (at the time of this post). I have a few opinions on this topic (keep in mind this is my opinion), and I’d like to take a moment to share them.

(this will probably be a bit  of a rant. so apologies in advance I just hate gross generalization)

/soapbox

There seems to be a perception that Chain Heal, and Restoration Shamans are broken in general. Not broken in the “DUDE I totally need to roll a Resto Shaman” but broken as in not functioning correctly. I cannot agree with that, not even a little. As a true lover of the class and all it’s faults and strengths, I can honestly say we are better off then most classes and specs. Are we perfect? No, we’re not. Are we broken? Hardly.

In the thread people quote the musings of Mek from Ensidia. I’m going to copy and paste the opening statement from the thread here.

There has been theorycraft showing that CH isn’t as strong as the other options. There have been logs produced showing how shaman are HPS capped. I’m not going to repeat all the data here, because you’ve read every post. Further, you have some of the top guilds putting shaman on spot heals instead of AOE heals or even replacing shaman with other healers for hard modes.

Mek, the resto Shaman from the #1 raiding guild Ensidia, is abandoning Chain Heal in favor of spot healing with LHW/RT.

http://ensidia.com/community/blogs/cause-and-effect.html

Chain Heal cannot compete with the comprehensive AoE healing power of four highly skilled Priest and Druid AoE healers. This is simply because if you compare the relative spell combos they have many advantages.

Vis Maior, a Top 20 US progression guild recently replaced one of their shaman with a priest, because Chain Heal could not keep up. Sixthy, the other resto is spot healing the raid with RT/LHW. His Chain Heal for the raid was 6% of his total heals.

http://elitistjerks.com/f79/t49212-resto_best_practices_pve_healing_discussion/p12/#post1248740

Deconstructor hard mode (25) really made Chain Heal look weak in my opinion. We had a 2nd resto shaman in for a few attempts and CH just flat out couldn’t keep up with PoH / CoH / WG / etc / etc.

Mek and Sixthy are not scrubs that just started playing. They are some of the best players in the world.

While I respect Mek and Sixthy , and appreciate everything they have contributed to the Shaman Community as a whole (this is in no way a shot at them or the OP of the comment above), I cannot agree that Chain Heal fails to measure up to the other AoE healing. I also feel that they are taken out of context quite often and people take statements like “this spell is better in this fight compared to this one” as “OMG SHAMANS ARE BEING REPLACED CAUSE THEY STINK”.  With Vis Maior, pointing out that they replaced a shaman with a priest is fine, but that’s going to have a lot to do with their composition. ( I checked their site they don’t have a raiding roster posted) I did notice they had three Resto Shamans on their members list. Unfortunately I don’t have details as to whether or not they were all raiders, but looking at each toon’s loot page it seems likely they are. I can see that being a problem, not because of the weakness of the class or spells, but based on composition. As a Healing Lead I can tell you, too much of a good thing often turns swiftly into a bad thing, and there have been many nights a raid has suffered from too much of one concentration.

Second thing I would like to point out is quoting that Chain Heal for Sixthy was 6% of his total casts. That’s fine and all but is that one fight? I started going through the EJ post, there is a lot of information there, but all of it is subjective. Keep in mind your mileage may vary. I can produce WWS that show Chain Heal being 50% of all healing done, doesn’t mean it’s a “God Spell” by any means. Also, pointing out that the spell is HPS capped is moot. Technically all healing spells in the game are HPS capped if you have all the items/gems/enchants necessary to push that cap.

I’m going to quote Ghost Crawler here. He chimes in on the topic with the following.

We’re not convinced there is a Resto or Chain Heal problem in PvE.

Part of what we wanted to do was give shamans other spells to cast besides CH. Riptide is an awesome spell and seems to be fun for a lot of shamans. People are still casting CH, and probably a lot more often than priests are using PoH and druids WG (depending on the fight of course). We would want to make sure that any change to CH didn’t send shamans back to the Sunwell world of just using that one spell.

Well, I agree 100% with GC. Blizz gave us a multitude of spells so we weren’t one trick ponies. Back in BT / Sunwell days you could bind all your keys to Chain Heal and just roll your face on the keyboard and win (with the exception of keeping one key for Heroism / Bloodlust). Well… that just wasn’t fun. Now we have a lot of cookies, and they are quite delicious. Personally I think Chain Heal is just fine. Would I complain if they did buff it a little? No sir, I’d be grateful but I don’t expect it. I like the fact that unlike Wild Growth and Circle of Healing, there is no cooldown on the spell other then the GCD. I like the fact that if glyphed I can hit 4 targets at a time. I love the fact that it is a smart heal and not just blindly jumping to pad over healing. I love the fact that it feeds our other talents and spells with buffs and loving. I love the iconic spell, bottom line, but you can’t lose sight of every other tool we have at our disposal and say that we don’t measure up or that the spell fails. Math can be produced to support any argument, ask my buddy mike. He has a degree in Computational Physics. His entire job is to debunk the theories put forth by other scientists using math. His stance is

“I can find an equation to prove or disprove anything given enough time. Numbers change and statistics are subjective”

I agree with mike. In a game of Random Number Generation no numbers can be absolute. I can roll a 20 sided dice 10 times, and I can get multiple 20’s in a row. That doesn’t mean the die isn’t balanced, I just had a hot streak. Try to keep that in mind when applying numbers to the game. We can shift the tables, but at the end of the night it still boils down to RNG

/soapbox

Ok, now that I have the rant out of the way, lets take a look at the Resto Shaman’s Tool box and what we bring to the table.

Cleanse Spirit – While not a “healing” spell in the effect that it doesn’t restore health, it’s a reactionary tool to stabilize. It removes 1 disease, 1 poison and 1 curse for a 7% base mana cost. Well, thats kind of an amazing tool, and one that shouldn’t be looked over.

Riptide – Our instant cast HoT. This spell Is more amazing then people give it credit. As a HoT it’s admittedly not as good as some of the others available, but adding the T8 2pc bonus and the Riptide Glyph makes it a bit better for use as one. Lets not forget the spell gives your Chain Heal a 25% boost. Oh and it can trigger Improved water Shield. Thats hardly something to scoff at.

Tidal Force – This talent is on 3min timer. It gives you a 60% increased chance to crit on your Chain Heal, Healing Wave and Lesser Healing Wave with a diminishing factor of 20% on each successful crit. I know in a normal raid I run about a 31% crit chance. Poping this to give myself a 91% crit chance, and combining that with say Riptide on a target is a very attractive healing explosion.

Tidal Waves – This ability gives your next 2 healing wave or lesser healing waves a 30% haste increase after you cast CH or Riptide. It also gives HW a 20% increase in healing, and LHW 10% boost. Combine that with Tidal Force and you can have some big HW heals in clutch situations.

Earth Shield – This bad boy is a great little cookie. You toss it up on a tank and it gives you a little bit of a buffer for healing. It really shines on a tank that has a ton of avoidance (see Death Knight or Bear Tank). It has a few second internal cooldown between healing procs, but when your tank is dodging 70% of the incoming attacks that becomes less of a factor. Average healing is between 2 – 3k . I tossed this up on our Main Tank (DK) in Uld last week and after one fight he asked if he even got hit. ES was down 3 charges but no healers had to touch him. I think that says something about this spell right there.

Lesser Healing Wave – This is our Flash heal. It’s fast and works like our healing jab. Combine that with Tidal Waves and it’s that much faster while Tidal Force can give it a little more bang for your buck. You can also toss in a LHW Glyph and give your ES target a little LHW loving. It also triggers your Improved Water Shield to help with your mana regeneration.

Healing Wave – This is our Greater Heal. It’s slow and it hits hard. You can speed it up with a Tidal Waves proc and boost it with Tidal Force. It also can trigger IWS and you can Glyph it to heal yourself whenever you use it.

Healing Stream Totem – Since patch 3.1 this has become one of the greatest tools we have at our disposal. Combine it with the recent changes to Restorative Totems and toss in a Glyph of Healing Stream Totem and watch this puppy start pumping out massive AoE HoT healing. Using this with Chain Heal on top of it just becomes a ridiculous amount of raid healing.

Acenstral Awakening – This little puppy might not be the greatest tool we have, but it is definitely useful. It can proc off Riptide, LHW and HW and heals the lowest health target within 40 yards for 30% of the amount you just healed. Combine that with some of the aforementioned talents and you can get a decent amount of mileage out of this one.

Earth Living Weapon – Our healing weapon imbue adds 150 healing and has a 20% chance to toss a small HoT off the target of the heal. This can and does proc off of chain heal and taking Blessing of the Eternals can increase the proc percentage as well as the Glyph. It might not seem like a lot but free healing is free healing, and it does add up.

We have so much going for us now, we are a complete healer. Our strength lies in the synergy of spells and talents as well as our ability to compliment every healer in the game. I once referred to Restoration Shamans as the driving bass line that keeps the song moving forward. I still fully believe that. I think our spells are strong and I think they give us an ability to fill multiple roles in a raid at the drop of a hat. I think our versatility and synergy allow us a certain amount of freedom many classes don’t always have. I can go from raid healing to tank healing in the blink of an eye, and be just as good as any other healing class.

I don’t think chain heal is broken, I just think it’s not the crutch it used to be. I think people should stop looking to it to be the spell it was in Sunwell, and should accept that it is one of many tools to be used with great effect. You have to use every tool you have at your disposal to be effective or as the saying goes, the sum is greater then the parts. I think chain heal keeps up with PoM, CoH, and WG just fine. I think swinging to one extreme and favoring one spell or the other is horrible. You should never grow to rely on a single spell, nor should a class be defined by the strength of a single spell. For all the people who claim that a shaman’s worth lies in Bloodlust and Heroism solely, or that since chain heal isn’t a god-like spell that we have no use in a raid. That just makes me sad. As someone who truly loves the shaman class, and as a person who enjoys it so much that other classes pale in comparison to play I beg you. Please look at the class as a whole. Look at all the wonderful things we bring to the raid and treat us like any other healer. I beg you to keep in mind composition of the entire raid over individual classes. We stack up just fine compared to other AoE healing, don’t write us off.

I’m ok if you say one of our spells is not suited for a specific task, but it really sets me off when it degenerates down into a crude understanding of how things are. I know for a fact I can keep up on hard modes, I know my spells will be there to back me up. I know this because I use everything and the kitchen sink when healing.

What do you guys think? Do you think Shaman Healing is broken? Do you think we can’t keep up with hard mode healing? Do you still love your Lazer Beam of Love?

Until next time, Happy Healing

sig4

Image courtesy of Lize of <Gladius Dei> on Kilrogg
Found through official forums

Revisiting Shaman Tier 8 Gear

Revisiting Shaman Tier 8 Gear

gears_phixr

I took a look at the bonuses for Restoration Shaman’s tier 8 sets in this post HERE before the patch. Now that Ulduar is out and we’ve begun trudging through, we are beginning to see these items drop and get ready for use. To recap here are the set bonuses

Personally I like the 4 piece bonus but with the addition of the Riptide Glyph I’m very meh about the 2 piece. The 4 piece bonus is equatable to the 4 piece bonus of the Tier 7.5 set. Lets take a look at the set bonuses for 7.5

As far as those are concerned I still think that 7.5 got the better allotment for set bonuses, at the very least on the 2 piece. The 4 piece bonus comparison boils down to either a 5% boost in your healing, or what essentially  turns out to be 8% haste. Seems pretty even to me. Now that you know the set bonuses, lets take a look at the stats on the gear.

Stats Valorous Earth Shatter Regalia Conqueror’s Worldbreaker Regalia
iLevel 213 226
Required Level 80 80
Intellect 338 386
Stamina 369 381
Mana Regeneration 93 79
Armor 5224 5337
Critical Strike Rating 95 228
Haste Rating 176 173
Spell power 449 525
Sockets 1Meta 5red 1yellow 1blue 1Meta 2red 2yellow 3blue

This is assuming you’re using all 5 pieces for each which isn’t always the case but will be good for highlighting the differences between the sets. Lets look at what you gain moving from 7.5 up to 8.5

  • Int: +48
  • Stam: +12
  • MP5:  -14
  • Crit: +133 (~4%)
  • Haste: -3
  • Spell Power: +76

I am confused a bit at the lack of regeneration, I mean we actually lose 14MP5. While that might not seem like a lot, it’s a good chunk. I imagine that the idea is to use Improved Water Shield more often to compensate. My guess at this is based on the large amount of crit the set gains. It just seems odd after bringing MP5 amounts down in patch 3.1. All the other stat gains seem normal enough, a slight loss in haste (3 rating really is a drop in the bucket) and it does have a healthy increase in spell power. The choice in colors for the sockets also seems odd to me. Moving away from 5 red slots and spreading the love. Perhaps to make room for +in/+crit gems ? Haven’t quite figured that out yet, but that’s my best guess.

When Should You Switch to Tier 8?

To be honest, I think you should continue to use your Tier 7 until you have a 4 piece bonus from the Tier 8. The Tier 7 bonus being a straight +5% more healing on CH and HW is just plain good until you can don a 4 piece Tier 8. It should be noted that on a pure Heal Per Second value, Tier 8.5 pulls ahead. It does however consume a lot of mana. Even if you switch to 8.5 it might be worth keeping your 7 and 7.5 around for longevity fights. As I gather more numbers I’ll be able to provide a move definitive answer as to when one set is better then another.

The good news is not much has changed. Aside from a slight increase in our crit raiting, and the removal of a little MP5 (still scratching my head at that one) the rest of the set seems on par for upgrading. It feels very much like the increase from Tier 4 to Tier 5 back in Burning Crusade.

On a final but purely aesthetic note, I do love the way the new set looks. =D

Next post we’ll take a look at what I think our current best in slot gear is now that Ulduar is up and active.

What do you think about the Tier 8 set?

Until next time, happy healing,

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Being the Shaman Behind the Meat Shield

Being the Shaman Behind the Meat Shield

meat

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

Gearing Your Fresh 70 Resto Shaman: My Recommendations

Due to the overwhelming popularity of my pre-raid Priest gear checklist, I’ve decided to compile one for my resto Shaman. Bear in mind, this list only contains the best possible healing gear you can obtain before Kara that is mail. If you wanted just the best possible healing set, refer to my Priest check list. It’s bad enough my Priest is a squishy. I wanted my Shaman to hold his own (for a few seconds longer anyway). Your ideal professions here would be skinning and leatherworking. Similar to my Priest, I place a huge emphasis on MP5 even more here alongside Healing. Remember, these pieces may not be the best overall, but they’re the quickest to acquire the moment you hit 70.

If you have any pieces you can think of that aren’t on this list, please add a comment or email me and I’ll make the addition. When I was building my Shaman’s Resto gear, I built him with PvP in mind therefore my gear consisted mostly of Arena or BG pieces.

Head

Living Dragonscale Helm (+81 Heaing, 14 Mana Per 5): It’s a craftable item made by Leatherworkers with a 365 skill which is bind on equip. It’s quite costly but you’ll be using this head piece for a while. The required materials to create it are:

The pattern is also a random world drop.

Headdress of the Tides (73 Heaing, 9 Mana Per 5): If you’re unwilling to acquire all the materials to create the above Helm, you can try your hand at running Heroic Underbog repeatedly until you get this. You’re looking at Ghaz’ran, the hydra boss in the middle so set aside a good portion of your time for it.

Neck (Recycled from Priest Page)

Necklace of Eternal Hope (+48 Healing, 8 Mana Per 5): This one will set you back about 25 heroic badges. If you don’t think you’re geared properly enough for heroics yet, then try the next one which is a little longer to get.

Natasha’s Guardian Cord (+55 Healing, 6 Mana Per 5): You can get this neckpiece from Blade’s Edge Mountains. It’s at the end of a ridiculously long chain quest which starts when you find a Mask on the Ground that you hear voices from. The 9th step in the quest will reward you with this decent neck.

Shoulder

Pauldrons of Surging Mana (No Healing, 13 Mana Per 5): Check the Auction House as you are levelling up. You might be able to snag these discount shoulders for a good price before you work your way up to something better. I picked up my Shoulders for about 17 Gold. They’re not very popular, so expect a slightly lower price. But that will depend on your server population.

Various PvP Shoulders: Just bite the bullet and either do some Arena’s or general BG PvP. The next decent upgrade you can acquire will be in Karazhan. Otherwise, your option is…

Mantle of the Sea Wolf (+51 Healing, 8 Mana Per 5): Ugh. Heroic Mana Tombs. Kill Tavarok.

Back

White Remedy Cape (59 Healing, 7 Mana Per 5): Easiest cape you can possibly get. It’s a tailoring BoE blue. The pattern itself is a world drop. If you put a tell in trade chat, hopefully you’ll be able to find someone who can create it on your server. It’s Level 69 so you can start shopping for it a little earlier. If you’re on Ner’Zhul, look up Mallet and I can craft it for you. Here’s the mats requirement:

Chest

Void Slayer’s Tunic (+88 Healing, 8 Mana Per 5): This one requires a group quest to complete. You need to complete a fairly long quest chain which involves killing Dimensius the All-Devouring way out in Netherstorm.

Earthpeace Breastplate (+92 Healing, 16 Mana Per 5): A slight edge in healing and twice the mana per 5 as the Void Slayer’s Tunic gives the one the slight edge. Unfortunately, this chest piece has no stats on it. I highly recommend using this one in environments where you know you won’t take a lot of damage, or if you do minimal at best.

Bracer

Primal Surge Bracers (+37 Healing, 6 Mana Per 5): You can get these from the last boss in Black Morass, Aeonus himself. Expect multiple runs. But it might be better off…

Veteran Ringmail Bracers (+42 Healing, No Mana Per 5): …For you to spend a day or two grinding out Alterac Valley or some other Battleground and pick up these instead.

Gloves

Fathomheart Gauntlets (+55 Healing, 7 Mana Per 5): The last boss in normal Steamvaults, Kalithresh drops these gloves. Again, these ones may take a while to pick up just because he’s a pain to get to.

Belt

Stillwater Girdle (+53 Healing, 8 Mana Per 5): Ugh, Resto Shamans really don’t have it easy when it comes to gear do they? This one comes from of Heroic Mana Tombs of all places. Furthermore, you have to clear all the way to the end and kill Nexus-Prince Shaffar to pick it up.

Pants

Oceansong Kilt (+84 Healing, No Mana Per 5): The Reinforced Chest you get after dropping Vazruden and Nazan will have a chance to reveal these pair of pants.

Feet

Wavefury Boots (+55 Healing, 8 Mana Per 5): The last thing you need from a heroic instance will be the easiest to get out of all the ones listed. Chances are, it will be super easy for you to find groups to go into Heroic Slave Pens and kill Rockmar.
Rings

Keeper’s Ring of Piety (+42 Healing, 7 Mana Per 5): This one’s easy to get. If you’ve been following your Karazhan attunements, then you will have this one by now. The Quest is given by Sa’at in the Caverns of time after you’ve completed Hero of the Brood.

Ring of Convalescence (+57 Heaing, 4 Mana Per 5): Requires you to be Revered with Honor Hold (Or Thrallmar). Will cut into your gold pouch with a price of about 18G. Pick it up from the Quartermaster.

Trinkets

Lower City Prayerbook (+70 Healing): Yeah the on use effect sucks. But just look at the passive ability! Besides, -22 mana isn’t that bad. Any mana saved is mana that can be used later. Think of endurance fights. Think of how often you you will use it and think of what that mana can be used for later. Requires a Revered Reputation with Lower City (Shadow Labs loves you). Remember that this item isn’t unique so you can pick up two of them.

Scarab of the Infinite Cycle (+70 Healing): Spell haste rating is cool. It makes your spells go faster. Too bad it requires running Black Morass a couple of times.

Weapons (1 Hand))

The Essence Focuser (+227 Heaing, 11 Mana Per 5): Scout your local auction house as it is a world drop. Unfortunautely, no stats.

Gavel of Pure Light (+299 Healing, 8 Mana Per 5): Do lots of Mechanar runs to increase your rep. You need Exalted to be able to buy this from the Quartermaster. This will really make your wallet hurt with a near 192G cost. If you’re lucky, you might be able to get Hammer of the Penitent to drop off of the Mechano-Lord in Mech. Either way, you’ll get a good mace to use.

Shield (Off hand)

Crystal Pulse Shield (+35 Healing, 6 Mana Per 5): Check your Auction House for this other great BoE drop. It’s a great early shield and will last you before you upgrade to the one from Chess.

Totems

Totem of the Plains (+79 Healing): Note that the increase in healing is only applied when you cast Lesser Healing Wave. Once you kill Tusker and turn in the quest, it should be a no brainer to pick up this reward.

Totem of Spontaneous Regrowth (+88 Healing): The increase in healing is applied after you cast Healing Wave. To get it, you’ll be wanting to visit Mennu the Betrayer in Heroic Slave Pens.

Enchants & Other Augments

Glyph of Renewal (+35 Heaing, 7 Mana Per 5): This goes on your head. Requires Honor Hold/Thrallmar repuatation of revered. Costs 100G.

Greater Inscription of Faith or Greater Inscription of the Oracle: Depends on which faction you chose (Aldor or Scryer). Aldor for the win!

Enchant Cloak – Subtlety: Wait for Patch 2.2 and Enchanters will be able to get this beauty. It’s updated for BC materials. It reduces the threat you cause by 2%. That means 2% more healing! Whee!

Enchant Chest – Restore Mana Prime (6 Mana Per 5): Easy to get. You’ll want this.

Enchant Bracer – Superior Healing (+30 Healing): Same thing. 4 Primal Life’s and 4 Greater Planar Essences and your bracer got a whole lot better.

Enchant Gloves – Major Healing (+35 Healing): Ouch. In addition to 6 Greater Planars and 6 Primal Lifes, now you need 6 Large Prismatic Shards. Put it on the best possible gloves you have knowing that you won’t be replacing it for a while.

Enchant Weapon – Spellsurge: This unique enchant has a 3% chance on cast to restore 100 mana (not 100% mana) to all party members over 10 seconds. This is most useful in a raid environment, but there is a lot of debate between this and +81 Healing. Hopefully one of my other fellow Priest bloggers will dwelve on this topic (Ego? Kurt? Anyone? Eh, guess not. I’ll get around to it eventually).

Enchant Weapon – Major Healing (+81 Healing): Stick to this for now. It’s cheaper.

Enchant Boots – Vitality (4 Mana Per 5): Restores Health and Mana every 5 seconds. The enchant is a world drop.

Enchant Ring – Healing Power (+20 Healing): Remember when I told you to take up Tailoring and Enchanting? Here’s the other half of the reason why. Enchanters are able to enchant their own rings (Must be Soulbound).
Golden Spellthread (+66 Healing): Here’s a big hint: Put this on your Whitemend Pants. You’ll need 10 Primal Life’s and an Aldor Exalted Tailor with a Primal Nether. If you’re on Ner’Zuhl as Alliance, send Mallet a tell and I’ll do it for you.

Gems

Royal Nightseye (+9 Heaing, 2 Mana Per 5): This is your best friend. Most of the time, you’ll want to get a yellow gem for the socket bonus. Personally I say it’s hogwash. Most of your red and blue’s should be Nightseyes. There’s not a lot of gear where the socket bonus is good enough to warrant not using a Nightseye.

Teardrop Living Ruby (+18 Healing): I don’t use this at all personally. I heavily favor Mana Per 5 over miniscule amounts of +healing. It’s only 9 more than the Nightseye. I do not foresee it making a huge impact.

Luminous Noble Topaz (+9 Healing): For the rare pieces that do have a kickass bonus when you slot in a yellow gem, use one of these babies.

Conclusions and the Math

I’ve factored in my top choices in gear and included the best enchants, augments, and recommended gems. Here’s the final numbers:

Head: 116 Healing, 14 Mana Per 5 (Living Dragonscale Helm, Glyph of Renewal)

Neck: 48 Healing, 4 Mana Per 5 (Necklace of Eternal Hope)

Shoulders: 24 Healing, 19 Mana Per 5 (Pauldrons of Surging Mana, Greater Inscription of Faith)

Back: 59 Healing, 7 Mana Per 5 (White Remedy Cape)

Chest: 92 Healing, 22 Mana Per 5 (Earthpeace Breastplate, Enchant Chest – Restore Mana Prime)

Bracer: 72 Healing (Veteran Ringmail Bracers, Enchant Bracer – Superior Healing)

Gloves: 90 Healing, 7 Mana Per 5 (Fathomheart Gauntlets, Enchant Gloves – Major Healing)

Waist: 53 Healing, 8 Mana Per 5 (Stillwater Girdle)

Legs: 144 Healing, (Oceansong Kilt, Golden Spellthread)

Feet: 55 Healing, 12 Mana Per 5 (Jeweled Boots of Sanctification, Enchant Boots – Vitality)

Ring: 57 Healing, 4 Mana Per 5 (Ring of Convalescence)

Ring: 42 Healing, 7 Mana Per 5 (Keeper’s Ring of Piety)

Trinket: 70 Healing (Lower City Prayberook)

Trinket: 70 Healing (Scarab of the Infinite Cycle)

Weapon 1H: 380 Healing (Gavel of Pure Light, Enchant Weapon – Major Healing)

Shield OH: 35 Healing, 6 Mana Per 5 (Crystal Pulse Shield)

GRAND TOTAL:

1407 Healing

110 Mana Per 5

Naturally, those numbers don’t look good as the Priest who is fully geared with non-raid epics. But as this is a Shaman, exceptions must be made. Again, if there’s a piece of loot which is easier to obtain and is better then what I have listed, please drop me a line.

And there you have it! Matticus’ recommended pre-raiding checklist for the Restoration Shaman.