Focus Casting: Macros And You

Focus Casting: Macros And You

I had a revelation last week. It’s one I’m not afraid to share because I suspect there are a lot of players in the same position as me.

That position is peering out from round a corner with a bemused grin and crimson cheeks, watching the macro users of our raid do ten things at once while showering the raid in light and laughing at the boss. We’re cautious because they’re clearly performing some kind of common folklore which all players should know, right? And we shouldn’t even consider asking about macros?

Wrong.

If you’re in that position of knowing nothing about healing macros then we have something in common, you and I. Maybe you’ve just started a new healing class and know nothing about it. Maybe you’re looking to improve your WoW playing generally. Maybe you’re a raid leader, like me, and have been getting into macros via raid leading and now want to see if this macro malarky can do anything for your healing. Whatever the case, read on.

If you do know something about macros then have a read anyway – some of these might be basic to you, but you might pick up something that saves your skin, bark or cow-printed hide.

Paladins

1. Buffs up quicksmart

/castsequence [target=focus] Beacon of Light, Sacred Shield

  • This macro will put both of your essential healing buffs up on your focus, which is likely to be the tank.
  • TIP: you can use the addon Need To Know in conjunction with this setup. It’ll give you permanent timer bars for those buffs regardless of whom you’re targetting.

 

2. Easy judging

/cast [target=focustarget] Judgement of Light

  • Casts your judgement of light which both does healing and gives you a powerful haste buff
  • It won’t cause you to overaggro when casting your judgement as you’re using it on the tank’s target
  • Means you don’t have to mess around with tab or mouse targetting a mob to cast it on. You may need to re-target your tank but that’s less trouble than having to target everything manually.
  • TIP: you could use the addon Clique, which will allow you to set up mouse and key bindings for anything you could wish. Want to heal the tank? Sure, click the <insert mouse button here> and you needn’t retarget them after using your JoL macro.

 

3. Catch-all Holy Shock

/cast [mod,target=player] [nogroup,target=player] [target=mouseover,help,nodead] [target=targettarget,help,nodead] [] Holy Shock

  • If you have an enemy targetted it will automatically holy shock you
  • If you have *anything* else as target and a friendly unit as mouseover (or target) then it will holy shock that friendly unit

 

Priests – holy and discpline

1. “oh noes” button

/console Sound_EnableSFX 0
/cast [combat,@player] Power Infusion
/cast [combat] Inner Focus
/cast [spec:1,@mouseover] Penance; [spec:2,@mouseover] Greater Heal
/console Sound_EnableSFX 1

  • It works for priesties of both healing flavours. Yep, you read right, It’ll work by casting one of the spells, based on whichever spec you’re in. This saves you having two separate macros for holy and discipline
  • You could also add commands to pop your trinkets (/use 13 and /use 14) but be careful of the macro character limit.

 

2. Holy single target “oh noes” button

/cast [target=focus] Guardian Spirit

  • For you holy priesties. This is an “oh noes” button if you’ve been focussing on the raid and see that your focus, probably a tank, is wilting a bit and needs help now.

 

3. Discy Pain Suppression management

/cast [target=mouseover] Pain Suppression
/sw 8
/script Stopwatch_Play();
/say Pain Suppression Up!
/in 8 /s ***Pain Suppression depleted***

  • This is most useful for keeping track of PS cooldown and alerting you when it’s ready again – useful in fights where you need to time cooldowns and don’t have time to keep an eye out for them ticking down
  • TIP: this one may not work off the bat for you. The ‘in’ command is said to be provided through an addon, possibly the Ace3 library, though various people with various addon setups have got the macro working.

 

4. Discy raid-healing insta-bomb

#showtooltip Divine Hymn
/cast [target=player] Power Infusion
/cast Inner Focus
/cast Divine Hymn

You’re a discy priest so you’re probably healing tanks most of the time, right? That might be so, but sometimes you’ll be on raid anyway, and sometimes you’ll be on tanks watching the raid take heavy damage – and we all know how comfortable that isn’t. This macro will help you help the raid recover and soak up damage.

  • Try to have Borrowed Time proc’ed too for the (extra) haste
  • You’ve just given yourself power infusion which both reduces your cast time and mana costs
  • Bubbles! Bubbles everywhere! Your increased critical effect chance from inner Focus should mean more chance of divine aegis’ popping up.

 

Druids

1. Rolling Lifebloom
/target TankName/cast [modifier:shift] Rejuvenation ; [modifier:alt] Regrowth ; Lifebloom
  • Make a macro for each tank in the raid and you’ll be able to keep them all rolling on 3 stacks of Lifebloom, lag and catastrophe notwithstanding
  • This particular macro also has modifiers which give you flexibility in HoTs. Got a bit of extra time? Throw Tank1 a Rejuv. by pressing shift. Everything refreshed and got a couple of seconds? Stick Regrowth up by holding down alt

 

2. Quick response to tank death

#showtooltip Rebirth

/castsequence reset=600 Nature’s Swiftness, Rebirth

/run c=”Don’t release! I got ya.”if UnitInRaid(“player”)then SendChatMessage(c, “RAID”)elseif GetNumPartyMembers()>0 then SendChatMessage(c, “PARTY”)end

  • This is your “oh noes tank’s dead!” macro
  • It’ll immediately get him back on his feet and announce what you’re doing.

2a. Intuitive-res macro

#show Rebirth

/cast [@mouseover, combat, dead] [@target, combat, dead] Rebirth; [@mouseover, dead] [@target, dead] Revive

  • This is a similar one for other “oh noes” times – specifically when key people have dropped like lightbulbed flies. If you’re in combat it’ll try to use combat res, if you’re not it’ll use revive
  • Just be sure you’re out of combat after a fight’s ended before you use this, for fear of wasting your combat res.

3. Easy poison cleanse

#showtooltip

/cast [target=mouseover, help] [] Abolish Poison

  • This is a time saver anywhere there is a lot of poison kicking around. Its utility is simple: it allows you to cleanse your mouseover target without having to target them then retarget your healing target
  • TIP: I reckon this one works for all healing classes for their various cleansing duties.

Shaman

1. Earth Shield ease

/cast [target=focus] Earth Shield

  • Very, very simple way of refreshing earth shield on the tank, providing that your tank is your focus.
  • TIP: you can also get the addon Shaman Friend to support this macro by playing a sound when ES runs down. Alternatively you could have it in place of the macro: it can be setup to provide a focus button for earth shield refreshing, and a box which visually tracks ES stacks so you don’t miss it falling off.

 

2a. “Oh noes” button version 1

#showtooltip Healing Wave

/cast Nature’s Swiftness

/cast Tidal Force

/cast Healing Wave

  • Any resto shaman worth his salt has some form of this macro. Some shamans prefer not to attach a healing spell to it so they can choose whether to fire off a single target spell or a chain heal after nature’s swiftness. You could make both of those options achievable by altering the macro slightly, to this:

2b. “Oh noes” button version 2

#showtooltip Nature’s Swiftness

/stopcasting

/use 13
/use 14

/cast Nature’s Swiftness

/Cast Tidal Force
/cast [mod, help] [mod:shift, target=mouseover, help] Chain Heal; [help] [target=mouseover] Healing Wave

  • This version will cast healing wave after blowing your cooldowns or, if you hold down shift, it will cast chain heal. It also uses your trinkets (/use 13 and /use 14) for extra “oh noes” aversion value.

In both of these you could also add a command to tell party chat or a specific target that you’re averting catastrophe this time by blowing all your cooldowns, and so won’t necessarily be able to save the day again. At least for a few minutes.

 

External links:

There look to be quite a few sites out there with musings and help on macros, ranging from forums to class-specific blogs to macro specific-all class sites. Some of them are better than others. Here are the ones I found to be either most useful for digging these macros up or, in the case of the third link, just a Very Good Idea:

  • Arena Junkies – Arena Junkies macro forum – for your PvP macro needs
  • Elitist Jerks’ various guides, forums and threads have some useful macros squirreled away.
  • Macro Explain – does what it says on the tin. You paste in a macro, it explains each line of the macro. The website also has links to other macro resources and addons.
  • PlusHeal – plusheal’s macro forum – you’ll find good discussions and very helpful folks here.
  • WoWWiki – WoWwiki’s section on macros has links to class specific macro pages.

 

Most of these macros have been tested but let me know if any of them make things go boom. Or worse still, make nothing happen at all. I hope these do work and help you have more fun healing. Perhaps it’ll even bring about that myth us healers have heard whispered about – less stress while healing.

What do you think? Are you a macro-newbie and had been afraid to admit it? Feel free to do so! Share your tales of macro learning experiences. Also let me know if any of these prove really useful or otherwise. Likewise, if you’ve been hit by inspiration and have just spent thirty minutes writing some new healing macros or perfecting existing ones, do share them!

This is a post by Mimetir, an oversized owl of a raid leader on The Venture Co (EU). You can find my twitter feed here.

(Macro image created by Emrank @Flickr, used under CC)

Healer 101: How To Storm Citadels More Smoothly

Healer 101: How To Storm Citadels More Smoothly

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Say you’re storming the Citadel on a fairly regular basis, massacring the Lich King’s advance nasties from Lord Marrowgar right up – literally – to Deathbringer Saurfang. You might be progressing through it at your own pace, or you might have it on farm and are running through weekly as a warm-up to pick up gear. Well, either way. Here are some general and some shaman-specific tips from my own experience on how to healing can help your group steamroller the nasties.

Lord Marrowgar:

1. Bone Spike Graveyard: Pain. In. The. There are two things you can do to mitigate its effect on your healing. Firstly, make sure you remind your healing  Marrowgar diagram 3teammates to watch out for bonespike on each other. For example, if your tank healer is spiked then you need to pick up the slack for him and heal the tanks. Just til he gets back on his feet. Secondly, standing behind Marrowgar as shown in the diagram will help your DPS get you un-spiked as quickly and safely as  possible.

2. Coldflame is not cool. Really. Move out of the fire before it gets to you. Yep, I know it’s a pain and it seems to as soon as a healer has moved there’s more coldflame racing towards you. Standing at range will give you time to see it and move.

3. One shaman to another: people stand in fire. Us healers know it like we know the sky is (sometimes) blue. Bone Storm and Bone Spike Graveyard do damage. There’s a lot of it going round. So consider dropping mana tide early to have it ready again later if needed and using bloodlust after the first Bone Storm so that DPS get time to use it when Marrowgar’s not doing the tango.

 

Lady Deathwhisper:

1. Spread out. At least a bit. Deathwhisper’s room is just big enough that if you stand too far to either side you won’t be able to reach the people on the other side. Spread your healer team out so that tank healer A is covering the tank on the left, tank healer B on the right and raid healer in the middle. If you’re running two healers then they’ll need to be a bit closer to the middle for raid coverage. There’s also less chance you’ll all get caught in death and decay if you spread out.

2. Healer, cleanse… everything. This fight has some status changes which give Deathwhisper and her crew an edge. If Curse of Torpor is running amok on your raid then cleanse it, first on you then on other targets. If a Cult Fanatic casts Vampiric Might (magic effect) on itself then cleanse it in order to down it quicker. Or tell your mages to spellsteal it: they’ll love you.

3. Shamanic wisdoms: think about your totem placement; you might want to manually place them rather than drop all four in one place. Personally I drop stoneskin and healing stream well to the left with the tank I watch over. I then separately drop Flametongue and Wrath of Air nearer the middle/mid-back, depending on whether it’s 10 or 25 man. I re-place totems at Deathwhisper when phase 2 hits.

 

Gunship battle:

1. Welcome returning soldiers back. With a lot of healing. When the boarding party returns Muradin might well still be trying to kill at least one of them, probably with rending throw. In my opinion it’s best to play it safe: overheal them all as they come back over rather than waiting for them to take an unexpected damage spike they might not survive. If at all possible have one member of the boarding party announce when they’re returning.

2. You’re a field medic, not a pirate. I think healers should stay on their ship rather than boarding. Healing on the Edge ™ of the ship works just fine. Yes, you have to move out of the cannon fire patches but at least there is ample time to do that. Things can and do go wrong for the boarding party and the chance of that goes up exponentially according to how many people jet over. You don’t need to.

3. Shaman talk: Consider earthshielding a different target, particularly a DPS on the boarding party. My 10 man run usually has an enhancement shammy swinging over to swash some buckles, and full of health they’re not. If Muradin/Saurfang decides he doesn’t like her she’s the most likely to go splat quickly and she is aware of it. I put earthshield on her for this fight: not only might it help in a pinch but it also makes her feel a tad bit safer when jetting off to hostile territory. She hasn’t died here since I made that change.

 

Deathbringer Saurfang:

1. Healers need time to breathe. Mark of the Fallen Champion can make things hectic if everyone’s trying to deal with everything on this fight. Arrange for one person to deal solely with victims of the mark when it starts hitting. Personally I have our disc priest doing that while our shamans chain heal around the rest of the group. It just gives everyone enough slack to not turn into headless chickens.

2. Be prepared. You’d be forgiven for thinking this was a healing-easy fight based on the first couple of minutes of it. Remember that the longer it goes on the more healing-intensive it gets, and its length is dependent on your group’s general level of kit and knowledge of the fight. Don’t let boredom tempt you into overhealing early on. Manage mana well and be ready for it to be challenged.

3. If you’re a shaman: Earth bind is your friend. Place it near-ish the platform to catch blood beasts as they spawn. It’ll just give the ranged DPS some breathing time, which should give you breathing time with less potential for blood beasts tearing up your warlock. Keep it refreshed. If you have more than one shaman co-ordinate to have your earthbinds cover a greater area.

 

World of Matticus: helping healers storm their local citadels since 2010. As with many fights at present the thing to remember above all else is to be mobile and flexible if the situation requires. I’ll also briefly be extolling the virtues and citing an example of shamans retreating to advance, later in the week.

How about you – are you a healer with any tips to add for the first wing? Any widely held tactics you’d particularly like to discredit? Any questions been troubling you about the healing on wing the first, whether or not you’re a healer? Comments are very welcome!

Can It Be!? A Dwarf Shaman!?

Can It Be!? A Dwarf Shaman!?

dwarfshambanner

So as I’m sure many of you know, I’m waiting not so patiently to turn my blueberry into a Dwarf Shaman. To this effect I’ve recently commissioned a wonderful artist by the name of Ginny to draw me one! Who’s Ginny you ask? Well let me tell you. I met Ginny through my podcast (For The Lore), she’s a wonderful artist who has done a lot of the work for our podcast’s episodic icons. She has a great eye for composition and pays a lot of attention to detail. I went  to Ginny for a commission work, I wanted to pay her to draw me up a Dwarf Shaman! I just couldn’t wait anymore and I had to have something to hold me over until Lodur can be reborn with a beard and a penchant for ale! When I approached Ginny I didn’t have anything specific in mind and honestly in retrospect didn’t give her much to work with. My conditions were a Dwarf Shaman, from the Wildhammer clan, Wearing Tier 10 armor (because honestly I’m a fan boy of the T10 art). Originally I had asked only for a Black and White drawing with shading, but instead I was surprised to watch as Ginny proceeded to color him in and did so very very well. I was so pleased with how it came out that I had to share it with all of you here. So without further ado, here’s Ginny’s rendition of a Lodur as a Dwarf Shaman!

dwarfshaman

See how the armor is frosted over (and just a little bit on the beard too) and Lodur seems a bit angry at the fact his Tankards are empty! Notice the Facial Tattoos that are common to the Wildhammer Dwarf clans and the lightning coming from Lodur’s eyes! To be perfectly honest I am in LOVE with this picture. I’ve already set it as my computer’s background and the background of my phone! This picture will indeed be how I envision my Shaman from now on and it makes me want even more so to be logging into the game to see the diminutive figure throwing chain heals and getting surly when the ale runs dry! I figured also I’d take an opportunity to share with you the images of some of Ginny’s other commission work. Heres a few more examples of this amazing artist’s work.

Taldraion

taldraioncommissionink

Kraint

kraintcommissionfin

Shizu

shizucommission2

This talented artist is also a wow player and plays a toon named Tsunomi on the Earthen Ring server. So I’m sure you’re saying to yourself, “Lodur! How can I get Ginny to Draw me something so fantastic like that!?”

Well Ginny does accept all commission work and works for very reasonable rates for the quality of art she does. I mean just look at the ones above! Well if you’re interested in seeing the above pictures at full size or are interested in commissioning Ginny into drawing art for you, you can head over to her Gallery over at Deviant art or Newground and soon enough you can visit http://magicalmelonball.com and you can even find her on her Twitter immamoonkin. She accepts all commission work and she takes care with each piece. She pays great attention to detail and as you can see does a fantastic job. I know personally I’ll be going to Ginny for all of my commission artwork as I know from first hand experience the talent she has and the care she gives each of her projects. Now obviously commission work is paid work as she is an independent artist, but I think that she is worth every penny! She’s having a sale now until the end of January and the prices are as follows:

Black and white (screentoned/one character) – $15

*Additional characters – $8 each

Color (less detail/one character) – $25
*Additional characters – $5 each

Color (more detail/one character) – $40
*Additional characters – $10 each

Sketches (one character) – $5
*Additional character – $3 each

BACKGROUNDS ONLY $10 EXTRA!

So if you’re looking to give your character a little extra love this year, stop on by and give Ginny a message. Oh, and expect to see that Dwarf Shaman picture randomly =D

Until next time,

sig3

Help Simone: Heroic Northrend Beasts

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Meet Simone.

She’s the new healing lead and she needs your help. None of the other healers wanted the job of organizing and assigning healing. The raid leader doesn’t understand enough about healing to confidently handle it himself. Simone has decided to take initiative and do it.

But she needs your help!

Scenario: Heroic Northrend Beasts 25
Tanks: Warrior, Paladin, Death Knight
Healers: 2 Resto Shamans, 1 Holy Paladin, 1 Discipline Priest, 2 Resto Druid (1 optimized for tank healing, 1 optimized for raid healing)

What you know

Terrence has given Simone the tank assignments. On Gormok, the Paladin starts first, followed by the Warrior and then the Death Knight. It’s been timed in such a way that the Warrior will end up tanking Gormok until he falls over. With the twin snakes alive, the Paladin will be getting Dreadscale while the Death Knight is picking up Acidmaw. After Acidmaw is taken down, the tanks are in free for all mode on Dreadscale as it largely depends on who has the fire debuff and who doesn’t. It’s safe to assume that the Warrior will be the one tanking Icehowl when he comes out and will do so for the rest of the fight.

We can assume that her raid group is reasonably competent and are able to get out of fires fast enough. We also know that they all have excellent awareness skills and can dodge Icehowl’s trample. In fact, the raiders are so good that they spread out so well and are able to minimize Acidmaw’s poison debuff so that only one player will get it at any time. The healers are smart players and they won’t need Simone to micromanage their big cooldowns for them this time. That might change in the future when new players are brought in, however.

What would you do?

This is where Simone turns to you for help. You’re the only person she knows that’s handled healing assignments before. This is what she wants you to do:

  • She needs 3 healers on the tanks on phase 1. Which ones should she choose?
  • She needs 2 healers on each snake-tank on phase 2. How should they be distributed?
  • She has 2 Shamans and 3 tanks. How should she assign the Earth Shields throughout the fight?
  • On the Icehowl phase, Simone is worried that all the healers could get nailed by Icehowl’s Arctic breath. What solution would you give to her to calm her fears?

Remember, there is no wrong answer. This is just an exercise to see how you would handle it and what you would do.

Give Me Patch Notes and I’ll Give You Totems!

Give Me Patch Notes and I’ll Give You Totems!

thehammer

As I’m sure many of you know by now, the PTR is live bringing with it a wonderous amount of changes to pretty much everyone. I’m going to focus today on a few things, Shaman changes and tier 10 set bonus for Restoration Shaman. First let’s take a look at the set bonuses for tier 10 Restoration shall we?

Shaman T10 Restoration 2P Bonus – Your Riptide spell grants 20% spell haste for your next spellcast.

Shaman T10 Restoration 4P Bonus – Your Chain Heal critical strikes cause the target to heal for 25% of the healed amount over until cancelled.

Hmmm, interesting set bonus. Two piece gives you more haste very much like how Tidal Waves reduces the cast time of your Healing Wave by 30%. Personally I love haste, and rolling Riptide should be a part of any Shaman’s normal healing arsenal so this set bonus really appeals to me. The four piece bonus is also very intriguing. The wording is a little weird and so it will have room for interpretation. Is it placing a HoT on a target for 25% of the amount healed similar to how Earthliving Weapon places a HoT on the target? Will it give an instant heal for 25% of the total? My moneys on a HoT. Personally I like these set bonuses. I think they are solid additions to our repertoire. Looking at them though we can take a guess at what type of damage we’re going to be seeing… I’m guessing lots of raid damage. Giving us haste, adding an additional heal component to our chain heal this just screams to me tons of raid wide damage (thoughts of Sun Well suddenly jump to mind). Now I’m looking forward to the aesthetics of the set. Hopefully we wont look like a mix between bugs and sand people.

So our set bonuses are shaping up nicely (which is pretty par for the course for us at this point). Lets swing our attention over to the patch notes shall we?

Not much is changing as of yet, of course as you know that may or may not change. For now though here are the bits though.

Orc and troll shamans now have their own unique totem art.

Shamans

* Fire Nova Totem: This totem has been replaced with a new spell, Fire Nova, which is available at the same ranks as the old Fire Nova Totem. Existing characters will automatically learn this new spell in place of the totem. With a Fire Totem active, shamans will be able to use Fire Nova (fire magic) to emit the same area-of-effect damage as the old Fire Nova Totem from the active Fire Totem, not consuming the totem in the process. Fire Nova will activate a 1.5-second global cooldown when used and has a 10-second spell cooldown. The caster must be within 30 yards of the totem to use this ability, but does not need to be within line of sight of the totem.

I’ll leave the totem art aside for a second, first lets talk about Fire Nova.

This one is… interesting. Basically getting rid of a totem that some of us were using to help with AE damage in fights like Thorim’s arena. It lets us not have to cast a different totem, but instead we can center an AE spell off our current fire totem. This still requires you to run into melee and drop said totem, but it’s a nice touch. I can run in set my totems and then when needed blast out some AE damage to help thing the gaggle of bad guys we’re killing. I’ll have to play with it more, but so far so good.

Now, onto totem art. Orcs and Trolls it has been long overdue that you guys get your own. Lets take a look at them real fast

3.3-orc-totems

The Orc one is pretty gnarly. Not only is it a totem but it can double as an axe! It seems to fit to me.

3.3-troll-earth-totem

Trolls are pretty cool too. Troll fetish hung from the totems looks like the shadow hunter’s totems in WC3.

All in all pretty good job. Now if I may I’d like to take a second to rage about another set of totems. The Dwarf Shaman Totems. Now I know that Cataclysm (or at least 4.0) is a while away, they… bother me.

3.3-dwarf-totem

I understand the concept behind it. It’s a hammer with Gryphon feathers. I’ll be honest though, as someone who is going to race change into a Dwarf Shaman I’m a little disappointed. I mean I can see the correlation between axes and Orcs, fetish masks and Trolls and I can understand the correlation of hammers and Dwarves… kinda. When I was at blizzcon and they were talking about bringing Dwarves into the fold of Shamanism, they mentioned making sure they had unique totems. They said they wouldn’t be kegs (which made us all sad) but that they were looking at maybe rune stones. I look at the above totems and that doesn’t scream Dwarf to me. Had they been chunks of stone with glowing colored runes in them I’d have been content. I mean look at the Draenei’s totems

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They pretty well scream Draenei. They have holographic rings around oddly shaped stone with the element present above it. Even the *Now* Tauren Totems fit their race

totems

So… why can’t Dwarves get something stone related? I mean think about it. They live in the mountains, they have a racial ability called Stoneform, they are known for their Gryphons, but only one clan (Wildhammer) and they aren’t playable, but we hear about is how they are awesome miners. Sure we hear about their forges and smithy’s but I think the totems could be a bit better suited to the race (read more metal/stone and less wood please).

Don’t get me wrong. I’m happy I can finally be a Dwarf Shaman. I’ve wanted to be a Dwarf Shaman for a long long time. I thank Blizzard for that, but that doesn’t mean I won’t weep a little bit every time I drop a set of hammers on the ground. Trolls and Orcs won out with some pretty good totem design and Tauren get to be unique snowflakes again with theirs. Overall I’m happy with it. Giving each race’s Shaman’s a unique totem is a good step. But if Goblin Shaman get cool looking gear totems, I don’t know what I’m going to do. Maybe throw my hammer at them. Maybe cast Wrath of Carpentry.

Although maybe I can rename myself Captain Hammer and invite people back to my Hammer Cave to show them my Hammer….

So what do you guys think so far? Like the new totems, dislike the new totems? Like the set bonuses?

Until next time, Happy Healing

Sig

Images courtesy of Dr. Horrible sing along blog, WoW.com, and WoW guru

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

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

ash2es_phixr

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

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

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

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

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

But wait, there’s more!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sig

Image courtesy of Universal Studios

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Shaman Tier 9 Aesthetics

Shaman Tier 9 Aesthetics

WoW.com did a little post comparing the Alliance to the Horde Shaman tier 9 pieces, I’m sure you’ve seen it by now, if not it’s worth the read.

The tier 9 stats are good so far, but I really think they dropped the ball on looks. Lets take a quick peak at them

Alliance:

mmocwow-t9a_shaman

Horde:

mmocwow-t9h_shaman

Just look at them, it’s nothing to write home about. The alliance one though just makes me very sad. If you go back to my old post Why Play a Shaman? I posted a picture of a bunch of  the tier sets up to Tier 7, add in Tier 8 and we’ve had a hell of a good run with some nice looking gear. (with in my opinion one exception, but more on that in a second). I was excited for the new tier set and was interested to see how they would do the faction specific gear. Let me share my opinion with you.

Alliance Set

I’ll be honest. I don’t like it. I’m kind of ok with the helm, but the rest is just…. blah! Looking at the set it reminds me of another odd set we had back in the day, the Stormcaller’s Garb (also known as Tier 2.5).

Here’s a picture of it:

5905

In a time where Tier 2 and Tier 3 sets were around, this set just seemed out of place. Thats how I feel with Nobundo’s set for alliance. The set lacks anything distinctly “Shaman”, honestly to me it feels more like a Druid set look-wise.

Where is the power of the elements? Tier 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7 and 8 all have very obvious signs of elemental power coursing through it. Tier 4 was a little subtle with its touches of elemental power but it was still there (the water orb effect of the shoulders). So you have Stormcaller’s Garb and Nobundo’s gear which both lack anything that is distinctly “Shaman”.  Give me lightning or caged fire! Something! Anything that says “The spirits of the elements flow through me”! The color scheme as well is something that is lacking. Teal, orange and Purples? blech! Give me a color scheme that makes sense! Also, my faction symbol is a lion’s head roaring, why not make it more prevalent then two small icons on the shoulders?

Horde Set

Horde fared much better then alliance here. Very clear Elemental influence, Color scheme is solid with Blues and Reds worked into the metal coloring. Faction symbol dead center on chest (just like the old Tier 2 set!). The set might be very similar to the Cataclysm Set (Tier 5) but I’ll forgive them that because it looks pretty cool still. My only gripe is it doesn’t seem horde enough. Now I’m sure I’ll get flamed for saying this, but to me the height of Shaman gear was Tier 2. That set was amazing, particularly going to talk about the shoulders. Carved Wolf faces with lightning crackling over them? Not only did that scream shaman it screamed Horde (at least to me) I would have liked to have seen some animalistic reference in there. All in all though, much better then the alliance set.

I think this was an ok effort, but I find myself lacking any motivation to wear the pieces. Sure I’ll get them and use them during raids, but I think I might have to resurrect a “vanity” set for general use when not raiding.

How about you? What do you think of the sets? What do you like or don’t like about them? What would you like to see?

Until next time,

Sig

Images courtesy of mmo-champion

Resto Shaman Tier 9 and More!

Resto Shaman Tier 9 and More!

By now I’m sure you’ve all heard about the tier 9 sets that have been released. Unlike Tier 7 and 8, instead of having two different levels of gear, there are three levels.

Conquest (ilevel 232)

Triumph (ilevel 245)

Heroic Triumph (ilevel 258)

This is kind of nifty. It adds more opportunity for raiders of all levels to gain tier set pieces. There is no artwork for it yet, but you can click the link and check the stats. The big thing here is the set bonuses.

Instant cast
Increases the healing done by your Riptide spell by 20%.
Instant cast
Increases the critical strike chance of your Chain Heal spell by 5%.

These might not seem like a lot, but these are quite nice as it stands. Lets take a look at the 2 Piece. Riptide already seems to have received a little buff in it’s healing come the patch but lets use the value of the Rank 4 Riptide and according to the 3.2 talent sheet, the current rank 1 Riptide

The spell has two parts we’ll make the assumption that the set bonus affects both parts. The spell initially hits for 1604 to 1736, a 20% increase on that 1925 to 2083 on the front end. After the initial heal it places a heal over time for 1670. With the set bonus that HoT becomes 2004 over 15 seconds. While that might not seem like a lot consider a couple things. First it’s an instant heal and HoT for Shamans, never a bad thing. The new ranks for the spell haven’t been released yet (that I can find, if you see them please link them to me) so you can imagine those numbers will be higher. Secondly combine the 2 piece with Glyph of Riptide which increases the duration of the HoT by 6 seconds (or with these numbers should be another 800 healing if my math is right) and 2 piece Tier 8 , which lowers the CD of Riptide by a second and you have an instant heal that places a 21 second HoT on your target, and it only has a 5 second cool down. I can see that being extremely useful. Oh, and it still buffs chain heal on the target by 25%.
Let’s take a look at the 4 piece bonus now. Increasing the critical strike change of Chain Heal by 5% might not seem like a lot either, but you have to keep in mind a couple things. Before raid buffs I’m packing close to 27 % crit, maybe more depending on what pieces I am wearing. I suspect the vast majority of the Shaman Healing community falls between 25% and 30% before buffs (cursory glace at armory seems to support that theory) in a raid environment you can already get close to 40% crit. Adding another 5% to that is just insane, it will definitely increase our throughput quite a bit. It will also work hand in hand with changes to Improved Water Shield which now procs off of chain heal without consuming an orb. This will do wonders for our mana regeneration along with our healing throughput.

The newest item I’m probably most excited about though so far is not the Tier 9 set (while it is nice) but we have a new Totem. The Totem of Calming Tides is, quite simply put sexy. When you cast Chain Heal you have a chance to gain 234 spell power for 15 seconds. That is just nice any way you slice it. Combine that with the increased crit chance and the fact we’ll most likely be packing enough haste to have 2 second or sub 2 second chain heals and I suspect more often then not we’ll have the buff. There is no information on proc percentages yet, but it’s still very early in the PTR.  It should also be noted that this so far does not just affect your chain heal spell power, but your overall spellpower, meaning when it procs Earth Shield, Riptide, our various Healing Waves and even Healing Stream Totem will gain a benefit. Personally I can’t wait to get my grubby little Shaman fingers on this one.

Along with the Tier Sets we were provided information for Badge Goggles andBadge Shoulders. While they are pretty good I just find myself hard pressed to get excited about them. Maybe after the models are released for Horde / Alliance.

The new totem and the Tier set fits very nicely with the talent and spell changes for Shamans in the coming patch, you can read my initial thoughts on them Here.

For those who don’t remember here they are again.

  • Call of Air – Simultaneously places up to 4 totems specified in the Totem Bar. Can call different totems that Call of Fire or Call of Water.
  • Call of Water – Simultaneously places up to 4 totems specified in the Totem Bar. Can call different totems that Call of Fire.
  • Call of Fire – Simultaneously places up to 4 totems specified in the Totem Bar.
  • Totemic Call has been renamed to Call of Earth -     Returns your totems to the earth, giving you 25% of the mana required to cast each totem destroyed by Call of Earth.
  • Tidal Waves has been changed to -     When you cast Chain Heal or Riptide, you have a 100% chance to lower the cast time of your Healing Wave spell by 30% and increase the critical effect chance of your Lesser Healing Wave spell by 25%, until two such spells have been cast. In addition, your Healing Wave gains an additional 4/8/12/16/20% of your bonus healing effects and your Lesser Healing Wave gains an additional 2/4/6/8/10% of your bonus healing effects.
  • Nature’s Guardian now give you a 100% chance to increase your maximum health by 15% for 10 sec instead of 50% chance to heal for 10% of your total health. Cooldown increased from 8 second to 30 second.
  • Mana Tide Totem now has 10% of the caster’s health. (Up from 5 health)
  • Nature’s Swiftness now has a 2 min cooldown. (Down from 3 min)
  • Improved Water Shield no longer consumes a Water Shield Orb when you gain a critical effect from your spells, now also has a 10/20/30% chance to proc from Chain Heal.
  • Ancestral Healing now reduces your target’s physical damage taken by 3/7/10% instead of increasing its armor by 8/16/25%.

Looking at those and looking at the set bonus I’m definitely starting to get excited. I’ll report more on it after I get some time in on the PTR, Lodur is transferred over on the PvE server for the PTR and will be getting some play time tonight after my raid and tomorrow for sure. I’ll update this when I get some more information on how the talents are working and how it feels in a raid environment, particularly hard modes.

What do you guys think of the Tier set and the Relic? Are you going to transfer over onto the PTR and try the new talents out? Are you looking forward to hard mode as a Shaman healer?

Until next time, Happy Healing.

Sig

Official 3.2 Patchnotes for Shamans

Official 3.2 Patchnotes for Shamans

Ok so yesterday I posted what the Devs were saying, but now they are officially up on the forums. Lets see what shamans have cooking for the patch and PTR

Shaman

  • A customizable totem bar will now be available for shaman allowing the storing of 4 different totems. These totems can be placed on the ground at once in one global cooldown for the combined mana cost of all 4 totems.
  • All Shocks now have a default range of 25 yards, up from 20 yards.
  • Base health increased by approximately 7% to correct for shamans having lower health than other classes.
  • Chain Heal: Jump distance increased to 10 yards. In addition, the amount of healing now decreases by 40% as it jumps to each new target, instead of 50%.
  • Ghost Wolf: Can now be learned at level 16. While in this form, snaring effects may not bring the shaman below base normal run speed.
  • Talents
    • Enhancement
      • Shamanistic Rage: Cooldown is now 1 minute, down from 2 minutes. Successful melee attacks now have a chance to generate mana equal to 15% of the shaman’s attack power, down from 30%.
    • Restoration
      • Ancestral Healing: The buff from this ability now reduces the physical damage taken by the target by 3/7/10% instead of increasing the target’s armor.
      • Cure Poison and Cure Disease: Combined into a single spell, Cure Toxins.
      • Earth Shield: Dispel effects will now remove charges of Earth Shield rather than the entire aura.
      • Healing Way: Redesigned. Rather than providing a chance of increasing Healing Wave spells on a friendly target, this talent now innately increases the effectiveness of the shaman’s Healing Wave by 8/16/25%.
      • Mana Tide Totem: Totem health now equal to 10% of the shaman’s health.
      • Nature’s Guardian: Redesigned. Now has a fixed 100% proc rate, has a 30-second internal cooldown and increases the shaman’s maximum health by 3/6/9/12/15% for 10 seconds.
      • Nature’s Swiftness: Cooldown is now 2 minutes, down from 3 minutes.
      • Tidal Waves: No longer reduces the cast time of Lesser Healing Wave by 30%. It instead now provides +25% critical strike chance to Lesser Healing Wave, along with the previous 30% cast time benefit to Healing Wave.

Lodur’s thoughts:

Oh my! We knew about the totem bars, and we knew an increase in health was comming. 7% increase will be very nice for our survivability in PvE as well as PvP

Nature’s swiftness – We already knew about but it’s nice to see it in print

Ancestral Healing – Great googly moogly thats awesome. I have to say reducing incomming damage by 10% that’s just amazing! And it scales ridiculously well with content. I mean Disc priests used to only get 3% from grace.  This change has made me excited (I hope this one stays! think of this with chain heal!)

Cure Toxins: With us having Cleanse spirit this change is kindda meh for restoration Shamans, but really awesome for odd PvP specs.

Earth Shield: More of a PvP buff but still pretty slick.

Healing Way: This is very handy. The change to this talent will let you roll your Healing Wave around a bit and I’m certain more people will use it now as a result. Maybe not much more, but a bit.

Nature’s Guardian: Also more of a PvP fix, but I’ve seen some Shaman pick it up for progression fights, which isn’t a half bad idea. The change to it could see more use esepecially in hard mode fights with lots of raid wide damage.

Tidal Waves: A lot of Shaman I’ve been talking to haven’t taken a shinning to this one yet. Personally I think it’s a great thing. The extra crit will let you get Ancestral Healing out there and its a fast heal to begin with. I like this change.

Improved Water Shield: 30% change to be triggered by Chain Heal is nice. Not losing an orb is even better. There have been too many hectic fights where you forget or just can’t spare the GCD to toss Water Shield back up. This takes care of that and lets you keep it up a bit longer, which will help your overall mana regen.

Chain Heal: We new the increase in range as well as the lower number on the healing reduction, but seeing it there is a comfort for sure

I can’t wait to test these out!

*edit*

I forgot to mention the replenishment nerf.

Replenishment: This buff now grants 1% of the target’s maximum mana over 5 seconds instead of 0.25% per second. This applies to all 5 sources of Replenishment (Vampiric Touch, Judgements of the Wise, Hunting Party, Enduring Winter Frostbolts and Soul Leech).

Also at the same time MP5 gear will be getting… more MP5

I do <3 me some MP5

Who wants to do some hard modes? What do you guys think so far?

I’ll update this post as needed, but until then, Happy Healing,

Sig

  • Improved Water Shield: This talent now has a 10/20/30% chance to be triggered by Chain Heal, and the charges of Water Shield are no longer consumed by this talent.
  • New Shaman Changes Announced!(updated)

    Well we talked about it durring the Shaman Q&A recap here. At the time they were talking about revamping the way totems are handled, and well some news has just come up to shed some light and detail on the new design.

    Nethaera Chimed in an official blue post:

    There comes a time in all shaman’s lives when they must learn to harness the power of nature and wield powerful totems. As they grow in power, so do the opportunities to use these instruments of healing, protection, and destruction. In the upcoming content patch, Call of the Crusade, the shaman will be able to quickly place totems of each element, aiding them in managing these powerful focuses of nature.

    We wanted to provide some insight regarding the upcoming shaman-specific interface addition, the Totem Bar. Shaman will be able to utilize this new bar to manage their fire, earth, water, and air totems in a more accessible and convenient way. This bar will appear on the left-hand side above the standard toolbar, similar to warrior stances or druid forms. The bar contains space for four totems of the player’s choice, one of each element. Clicking the respective button will drop that totem. To the right of the four totems is a button for Totemic Call, which we have renamed Call of Earth. To the left of the four totems is a new ability named Call of Fire which will drop all four totems on the bar at once. The mana cost is the same as if the shaman dropped all four of the totems one at a time. However, it takes but a single global cooldown.

    Questing shaman will be able to quickly move their totems of choice forward, while a shaman in an instance, Arena, or Battleground will be able to replace their totems if they have to move or if the totems are destroyed.

    Shamans will also be able to customize their bar to set Call of Fire to drop less than four totems if they choose. Access to this functionality is made available at the same level as Call of Earth (currently level 30.) At higher levels, Shaman will gain two additional spells, Call of Air and Call of Water. These function exactly the same as Call of Fire, essentially giving the shaman three different sets of totems that can be placed at once. New key bindings will also be made available for all of these slots.

    As with all new content under testing, we want to caution players that, as a new part of the interface, there may be additional changes during the period of the PTR until the release of the Call of the Crusade content patch. We look forward to constructive feedback once it is available for testing.

    This is FANTASTIC news! First of all it should be noted this is something many many players have been suggesting for a number of years. The “stance” bar for totems should provide a nice, neat way to keep them organized. On top of that not only do we get our promised ability to drop all our totems on one cool down but we get THREE sets. Call of fire, Call of Air and Call of Water. This means we can swap from casting say our standard caster totems, to melee to even PvP.

    I’m already making plans for what mine are going to look like if we get them and baring any totem changes. Tentatively I’m looking at the following unless they do revamp all the totems drastically.

    Call of fire (caster) Stoneskin Totem, Flametongue Totem, Healing Stream Totem, Wrath of Air

    Call of Air (melee) Strength of Earth, Healing Stream Totem, Windfury

    Call of Water (utility/pvp) Tremor Totem, Cleansing Totem, Grounding Totem.

    I look forward to being able to run in after a tank on a fight like hodir, hit one button and then run like hell out of there and start healing right away!.

    Not to be left in behind, Ghost Crawler himself pops up and has a few things to say about Shaman healing as well.

    GC:

    We have changed Healing Way to work better with HW and we have changed Improved Water Shield to also work with CH. We also dropped the cooldown of NS to 2 min so that you can HW more often. We’ll try to make a post of all of the Resto changes soon.

    Improved Water Shield procs will not consume Water Shield charges. The tooltip says something like “as if you had consumed an orb.”

    Oh my!

    Nature’s swiftness dropping a full minute off of its cool down is really huge, Chain Heal causing Improved Water Shield to proc is very nice as well not to mention that Improved Water Shield will not consume an orb. That’s really really good news!

    I think this is a step in the right direction. They are beginning to look at our healing and are trying new things to tweak us and bring us up a bit in mana conservation as well as throughput. I’m excited to see these hit the PTR and I look forward to seeing what else they have in store for us!

    So, what do you guys think so far? What other changes do you expect?

    EDIT:

    ANOTHER HUGE change

    GC says

    We have changed these spells for 3.2. And yes, there are some other changes. The main buff to Chain Heal is likely to come in increasing the jump distance to 10 yards and buffing the amount of healing decrease with subsequent targets to 40% down from 50%. CH, HW and LHW should all be doing bigger numbers when you consider all the talent changes.

    We’ll try to get the full notes out soon, but even then remember that this is a major “new tier” patch and is likely to have more iteration due to PTR feedback than the last few patches.

    OH BOY! Chain heal going to 10 yards and retaining  only losing 40% of its heal!?!? I’m a happy happy happy shaman with this news.

    My fingers are firmly crossed that this happens.