Shaman Q & A With Ghost Crawler, Resto Recap

Shaman Q & A With Ghost Crawler, Resto Recap

marioleafboxx

For those of you who might not have caught it yet, the Shaman Q & A is out HERE . Go ahead and take a look, there is some interesting answers there. Lets talk a little bit about some of whats there, I’ll try to keep it focused on things that affect us as healers.

Ghost crawler opens up with explaining what makes the shaman class unique, and I tend to agree with him. We are a unique hybrid in the fact that we can throw out healing while melting faces without having to shift forms like a druid would have to do and we can change those roles faster then a Paladin can. He also talks about how we are the ying to the paladin yang. We are in many ways the anti paladin.

GC says:

As envisioned from the start, shamans were also the “offensive” hybrid. Things have inevitably blurred a bit since then, but they are still a counterpart and complement to paladins – paladins have cleanse, shamans have purge; paladins will let an ally move freely to escape or catch an opponent, shamans will snare an enemy to let their ally escape or catch him or her; paladins will make sure their allies’ casts aren’t interrupted, shamans will interrupt enemy casts; and so forth.

It’s true, just think about it. We are balanced in many ways to work against a paladin, but with each faction now having both classes, we stack up in a weird and awesome synergy with them.

Next point of interest is the discussion of totems. The question was asked Are there plans to look at totems in general, the way they are managed, their uses, and their benefits in the future? I’m very happy to say the answer was yes, there are plans and the first thing mentioned is the ability to drop all four totems on one GCD! When I saw that I’ll be honest, I almost did a lap around the block from sheer excitement. As any experienced raid healer will tell you, it often boils down to effective use not only of your heals, but of your Global Cooldowns. This will free up three seconds of cooldowns (totems have a one second GCD) That’s another heal, or a faster heroism, or if you’re on melee totem duty three seconds more to get your rear out of harms way. The other important note about this is since they are looking at abilities to drop all four totems on one cooldown it means they will have to continue working on the totem UI. While I appreciate the Totem timers blizzard built into the game, it still pales in comparison to mods like Totem Timers and Yata. I’m excited to see how they are going to balance this change as well as update the game’s UI for this.

Beyond this the discussion also talked about the mechanics and possible further consolidation of totems,  and there are some very interesting ideas in there. There was talk of removing buff totems and replacing them with spells (which as a shaman who is constantly supplying wind fury totem to melee I can certainly appreciate this idea) and making all the totems do something active like Healing Stream Totem. The idea of possibly letting you carry an active totem around on your back was also tossed around. GC continues on to talk about consolidation of totems (magma and fire nova potentially being combined as an example) as well as some hitting the chopping block (bye bye sentry totem). Most interesting is the talk about possibly using any Fire or Earth totem as an anchor point for Elementals. Personally I think that’s a fantastic idea and one I hope they fully explore. It’s hard to chose between that little extra damage from the fire elemental or keeping up Flame Tongue / Totem of Wrath.

There was also mention about our health pools. If you didn’t notice we have the lowest base health pool out of any of the classes. According to GC and crew they will be looking at this for 3.2. This will be good for us on those fights (like Hodir with frozen blows) where we see our health drop like a rock and have to quickly heal ourselves before we use our Aggro Dump.

After talking about totems and our health pools, the topic of PvE healing comes up.

GC says:

I know there is some concern about Restoration shamans losing their healing niche of area damage. We think that perception might exist in Ulduar just because recent talents, glyphs, and set bonuses have all propped up things like Lesser Healing Wave over Chain Heal. Chain Heal is still quite useful in some situations and with different gear in the next couple of tiers, we expect to see more shamans going back to it. We don’t want to see them return to just using Chain Heal as was the case in much of Burning Crusade. We do think Restoration shamans are at the risk of running out of mana perhaps more than any other healer right now, and in fact the seemingly unlimited mana in some healers is what leads to Chain Heal getting stomped on by other big heals. This is a problem we plan on addressing.

Well that’s refreshing. He goes on to say;

We want Restoration shamans to be a strong group healer with the option of focusing on a single target with Lesser Healing Wave as needed. Restoration shamans have two distinct healing styles now that they can shift between, and we want to preserve that. We don’t want to return to the Sunwell era, where 95% of healing came from Chain Heal. It’s just a boring play style. (And yes, paladins, we hear you.) We suspect that with a new totem or set bonus that propped up Chain Heal a little more, you’d see it getting a lot more use. We’re cool with that. It’s fun when you upgrade your gear from tier to tier and it actually pushes you into a slightly different play style.

I can honestly say I’m ok with that. Like I said in my post about Chain Heal I don’t think we’re broken or that the spell stinks, but I do agree that it needs tweaking to be competitive. I’m perfectly fine with them addressing it through gear be it totems or tier set bonuses. It’s a great way to balance out the spell without reworking the whole mechanic of it. It is a great spell and I adore my lazer beam of love. It’s iconic and distinct and has one of the coolest spell effect sounds ever (turn your volume way up and listen. Rolling thunder ftw!). On the other hand I love our new spells and abilities too. I love having heals and abilities that are synergistic and having the ability to pop out of raid healing to get some single target loving in. I’ll be honest, I hated the mindlessness of Shaman healing in BC in the end game, I like my variety I just want to be able to keep up in hard modes.

The last item I’ll talk about is something they touched on in the PvP section but I think will have an effect on PvE as well. When asked Are there any other considerations in store for improving overall performance for shaman in PvP encounters (whether in Arena or in Battlegrounds)? GC replies with

Mobility is a big problem. One of the designers described casting shamans the other day as “turrets,” which is very apt. You sit and spin and shoot (or heal). We need to get shamans some more mobility, and we have some ideas for how to do that without just giving everyone Blink.

Well, this is true for PvE as well. Think about fights like Hodir, lots of movement where we have to stop long enough to push out our healing. He’s right though, we are turrets. Like survival hunters, give us a nice warm spot to sit where we don’t have to move and watch the healing fly. I’d love to see a bit more mobility added to the class (maybe something like a hunter’s readiness so we can use Natures Swiftness quickly).

All in all it seems like we’ll be getting some much needed love. I’m hopeful and the Q&A helped keep me there. I look forward to the changes to totems and I really look forward to seeing how they address our burst AE healing.

What do you guys think? Think things will work out? Think we’re doomed?

Till next time, Happy Healing,

sig2

Image courtesy of Wired.com

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

Restoration Shaman – Best in Slot 3.1

Restoration Shaman – Best in Slot 3.1

puzzle-piece_phixr

Once again we find ourselves with new content and as a result new upgrades. Our tier sets await us as well as many more foes that must be conquered. That means it’s time for another best in slot post for my fellow raiding restoration shamans. Before we get started I would like to say just a couple things.

  • First, this is my opinion. Use this as a guide or not at all, but this is based on my value of the stats we use.
  • Second, please feel free to make your own list or suggestions, after all it is your character and you should equip it as you see fit.

Head: [Steamworker’s Goggles] – Flame Leviathan 25: Good MP5 and great stats

Neck: [Charm of Meticulous Timing] – XT-002 25 (hard mode) this is a tough one to get, and so you might not get a chance at it for a while. In the meantime a good alternative is [Frozen Tear of Elune] which will run you 19x Emblem of Conquest.

Shoulders: There are two options here, first is [Conqueror’s Worldbreaker Spaulders] – Yogg Sarron 25. Haste, good mp5 and a red socket. Second runner up is [Amice of the Stoic Watch] - Auriaya 25. Crit instead of haste, decent mp5 and a red socket.

Back: [Shroud of Alteration] – Ulduar Trash 25

Chest: [Conqueror’s Worldbreaker Tunic] Hodir 25 or 58 Emblems of Conquest

Wrist: Again two options here, First is [Binding of Winter Gale] Hodir 25 (hard) or if you aren’t quite there yet, [Armbraces of the Vibrant Flame] from Ignis 10. These are BoE so you might be able to find them on the auction house as well.

Hands: [Conqueror’s Worldbreaker Handguards] Mimron 25

Waist: I’m going to give this to [Windchill Binding] This will cost you 28 Emblems and it’s a great upgrade from the Naxx 25 loot. If you want more crit you can go with [Blue Belt of Chaos] but I’m finding the price rather inflated to have it crafted right now.

Legs: [Conqueror’s Worldbreaker Legguards] Freya 25

Boots: [Boots of the Forgotten Depths] General Vezax 25 Good MP5 and haste.

Rings: There are a lot of options here, I’m going to give my top 4 choices though to [Pyrelight Circle] – Ignis 25. [Sanity’s Bond] – Yogg 25. [Ring of the Faithful Servant] – Auriaya 25 and [Signet of Manifested Pain] – KT 25

Trinket: Again a lot of options my top picks are [Scale of Fates] – Thorim 25. [Living Ice Crystals] – Malygos 25. [Energy Siphon] – Flame Leviathan 10.  [Pandora’s Plea] – Mimron 25,    [Je’Tze’s Bell] – BoE World Drop. I’m normally not a fan of on use trinkets, I prefer ones that give passive buffs most times, but Energy Siphon and Living Ice Crystal’s passive mp5 make them worth picking up alone. The on use effect of each is icing on the cake.

Off Hand: Two solid choices here, First is [Ice Layered Barrier] – Hodir 25 (hard) or [Pulsing Spellshield] – XT-002 10. Both have good stat allocation (and it helps they look cool!)

Relic: [Steamcaller’s Totem] – Flame Leviathan 25 or [Totem of Forest Growth] – 15x badges of heroism.

Main Hand: I saved this for last. First weapon that should be on EVERY healer’s list of wants is [Val’anyr, Hammer of Ancient Kings], Amazing mace with good stats. The proc as we’ve seen from the blue posts is crazy good. This will be at the top of everyone’s list. Second to this mace I vote [Guiding Star] – Razorscale 25, for best in slot runner up.

Looking at this I’m sure you will see it’s got a decent mix of MP5, haste and crit, while maintaining good intellect for replenishment and good spellpower. Some of the choices seem predictable, such as the tier 8.5 set pieces. The four pieces I selected I feel offer the most bang for the buck and allow you to gather the four piece bonus, which is worth it’s weight in gold.

If you’re looking to place value on items and stats, and figure out what weight works for you, you can use Shaman_hep, an addon from Stassart which allows you to calculate a miryiad of information from your combat logs to help lend a hand figuring out what’s best for you.

So now you’ve seen my list, What do you think are the best in slot items for Restoration Shaman?

Until next time, Happy healing

sig

Image courtesy of UToronto.ca

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,

sig1

Suggested Restoration Spec and Glyphs for 3.1

3.1 is upon us and it’s free respec time. Here’s my suggestion feel free to edit it as you see fit. I’m going to quote matt here from his post previous to mine

WoW Insider has a great roundup toeverything 3.1 related.

No Stock UI has a great list of updated and compatible 3.1 addons for you to peruse.

Restoration Shamans were largely untouched in this patch (yay) but some things have shifted around allowing use to move some talent points and gather up our talents.

0/16/55

Restorative Totems: Increases the effect of your Mana Spring Totem by 20%, and increases the amount healed by your Healing Stream Totem by 45%

This is still a must have, if for nothing else with mana spring totem no longer staking with Blessing of Wisdom, you’ll be using healing stream totem a lot more.

Healing Way: Your Healing Wave spells have a 100% chance to increase the effect of subsequent Healing Wave spells on that target by 18% for 15 sec.

With the talent points being freed up, there is no good reason not to take this

Thundering Strikes: Improves your chance to get a critical strike with all spells and attacks by 5%.

More crit is always good

Elemental Weapons: Increases the damage caused by your Windfury Weapon effect by 40%  increases the spell damage on your Flametongue Weapon by 30% and increases the bonus healing on your Earthliving Weapon by 30%

People may scoff at this one, but with the points floating around, taking this with it’s full 3 points is a great way to give your spell power a bit of a boost.

The spec lets you get everything and the kitchen sink, foregoing the more pvp centric ones. The movement of the talents to different tiers and just a couple point changes really give us everything we need.

As far as glyphs go it might be time to change it up a bit, I’ll list the ones I feel are the great contenders

Water Mastery
Healing Stream Totem – With the change to restorative totems this is worth a second look.
Mana Tide Totem
Earth Shield – NEW 20% increase in the healing done by your Earth Shield is always a good thing.
Riptide – NEW while it might not seem like much, increasing the duration of riptide makes it more into a true HoT instead of just a Chain Heal buffer.
Chain Heal

Now as far as totem mods go, I will make an endorsement here. Totem Timers worked for me on the PTR’s latest build when Yata and Flototem failed me. If you haven’t seen it, it’s worth checking out. Tracks Earth Shield charges, water shield, lightning shield, all totem schools, has a totemic recall option and is pretty light weight.

Good luck in Ulduar!

As always feel free to follow on twitter http://twitter.com/LodurZJ And don’t be afraid to ask questions using direct message there or the contact form here on the site!

Shamanism Part Deux

Shamanism Part Deux

totem_rmbc_1_phixr

Lodur here again, this time with the second installment of Shamanism. This week I’d like to talk about my favorite area of Shamanism, Norse Shamanism. To give you a bit of background before we start, my love of Norse mythology was born in college in my classics class. The epic stories always seemed to resonate with me. I carried this over in the naming of my Characters

Here’s a little background on the name Lodur

Lodur, (Icelandic, Scandinavian) In the Norse Edda, one of the creative divine trinity who endowed nascent humanity with their own properties, thus creating a thinking kingdom of beings out of the ashtree and the alder. Lodurr’s gifts were la and laeti (skill and manner, also translated as blood and keen senses), while his brother deities Odin and Honer gave them respectively spirit and discernment.

The name Lodur is also an obscure reference to the first shaman of Odin, who carried the burden of Odin by tearing out one of his own eyes in ritualistic fashion to become closer to the god and earn his favor.

My other toon Sigrdrifa is named after one of the Valkyre’s, the one which acted as mentor to Sigurd, who is one of the Norse heroes. As you can start to see that my interest in norse mythology goes a long way.

Norse spiritual leaders had two schools. Shamanism was practiced mainly by females, a group known as the Völva. You can find reference to them in many of the texts of Norse mythology. The Völva practiced a form of magic called seiðr. This magic involved the invocation of spells to invoke spirts, manipulate the environment and seek visions.

They could work on the spirits of the wild animals and were responsible for the good luck in the hunt, executed the correct rituals in order to ensure the fertility of the earth, knew how to tune the spirits of their ancestors benevolently an more. In trances they contacted the ancestors, could be possessed by them, giving their body and their voice to the spirits in order to let them act in the world of the living . They knew how to cure diseases on a spiritual, psychological and physical level. Long before modern medicine, they had a broad knowledge about the interactions between body, soul and spirit. They also had a commanding knowledge of the available herbs and how to use them to great effect in both rituals and healing.

You can see this in Northrend in Warcraft. Lets take a gander at the Howling Fjord. You travel into the spirit world in the Quest chain that starts with Into the World of Spirits. The chain has you bring a shaman his goodies and then he sends you into the spirit world to gleam information from the spirits past. The chain follows up with The Echo of Ymiron and  finishes with the Anguish of Nifflevar.I think this is pretty darn cool. (and a little cookie if you didnt already know, when you’re in the spirit world if you head over to Utgarde Keep where the ramp leads up and in you’ll be treated to a visit from the Lich King and a discussion of Shaman magic. )

You can also see this particular item in some of the NPC’s. Dragonflayer Seer’s are female magic users, throwing lightning and healing their party members, Dragonflayer Spiritualist is another form of this NPC. (You can also see Valkrye type NPCs like Annhylde the Caller and Svala Sorrowgrave.) Take a look around Northrend and see what you find. You’ll see a ton of Norse spiritualist influence there.

Until next time, Happy Healing.
~Lodur

P.S. At the goading of Matticus I’ve reinstated my twitter, Feel free to check it out

http://twitter.com/LodurZJ

T8 Set Bonuses Revealed

Post updated 1:42 AM
MMO Champion’s got the goods on the next level of tier 8 bonuses. Let’s check it out and do some quick analysis shall we?

Priest

  • Priest T8 Healer 2P Bonus — Increases the critical heal chance of your Prayer of Healing by 10%.
  • Priest T8 Healer 4P Bonus — Casting Power Word: Shield also grants you 15 spell power for until cancelled. Increases spell power by 250 for 5 sec. (Source: Thottbot)

I’m not the most thrilled with the 2 piece. It’s not bad but it’s not that great, I don’t think. Although let’s not forget that Prayer of Healing is no longer restricted to the Priest’s current party. You definitely want to consider coupling this with the Prayer of Healing glyph. Having the extra crit chance means there’s a higher chance the glyph portion should tick for more.

Now the 4 piece is a real eyebrow raiser. I’m almost certain that’s a typo. More than likely, it’ll grant 150 spell power instead of 15. The second typo is towards the end. It sounds to me that either a) There’s going to be a duration on it. Probably 9 or 15 seconds. b) Until the Shield wears off of a target. This is a bonus that seems targeted towards Disc Priests. With talents like Soul Warding (Reduced cooldown of PW: Shield by 4 seconds and reduces the mana cost by 30%), I can see myself throwing shields around. It’d be mana inefficient, to be sure. But I’m chain casting it to maintain a spellpower boost. Of course, with the mana regeneration changes this might not be the most smartest idea. Anyway, I don’t think they’re quite finished with this set bonus yet guys.

Paladin

  • Paladin T8 Holy 2P Bonus — Your Holy Shock critical heals now also place a periodic healing effect on the target, healing for 15% of the Holy Shock’s heal amount over 9 sec.
  • Paladin T8 Holy 4P Bonus — Increases the damage absorbed by your Sacred Shield by 10%.

Any Paladins want to weigh in on these bonuses? How do these look to you guys?

Shaman

  • Shaman T8 Restoration 2P Bonus — Reduces the cooldown on Riptide by 1 sec.
  • Shaman T8 Restoration 4P Bonus — Reduces the cast time of Chain Heal by 0.2 sec.

That Shaman 4 piece makes me go wa wa wee wa. Assuming haste, could we possible see 2 second Chain Heals?

And for the Druids, don’t forget that Syd’s got a nice writeup for the Druid bonuses that were released earlier in the week.

A Healer’s Most Important Skill

A Healer’s Most Important Skill

artillery 

It amazes me to no end how many healers still have trouble grasping this concept.

It’s not so much about covering as many people as possible. Nor is it about conserving your mana and knowing when to regenerate. Moving around and avoiding fires is a good skill but not quite the most important skill. Situational awareness is an incredible asset to have but it doesn’t quite rank as high up there.

The art of spamming

It is the act of standing in one place and doing nothing but going through global cooldown after global cooldown and dumping massive heals on one target.

Actually, spam means unsolicited or undesired electronic messages so that might not be the right word to use.

Then again saying focused rapid-fire heals is a bit of a mouthful.

The point is that any healer regardless of their class should master the art of spam healing. I’ve partied and raided with healers who are too worried about regeneration or movement or otherwise that they’ve lost track of simply dumping heals on a player.

For a Priest, it’s a combination of Penance, Flash Heal, and Greater Heal depending on your spec, of course. Yeah you can sprinkle Shields and Renews here and there. But when you’re in a raid and when you feel that you cannot heal damage of that magnitude, it’s time to grind your teeth, narrow your eyes, and lean forward. Every healer has their own personal heavy artillery healing spell. Don’t be afraid to get into that zone and start mashing your heal button.

You are the last line of defense. Spam healing might go against everything you believe in. But don’t be afraid to go out with your heals blazing.

Image courtesy of klsmith77

More Shaman 3.1 Changes (With Edit!!!)

More Shaman 3.1 Changes (With Edit!!!)

800px-ketchican_totem_pole_2_phixr

Lodur back again with more Shaman changes on the PTR. There was a recent patch and it looks like this is what we got changed

Restoration

  • Healing Stream Totem range increased from 20 to 30 yards.
  • Mana Spring Totem now restores 91 mana every 5 seconds at max rank. (Old – 34 mana every 2 seconds)
  • Nature’s Swiftness changed to – When activated, your next Nature spell with a base casting time less than 10 sec. becomes an instant cast spell. Nature’s Swiftness shares a cooldown with Elemental Mastery.
  • Restorative Totems now Increases the effect of your Mana Spring and Healing Stream Totems by 4/8/12/16/20%. (Down from 5/10/15/20/25%)
  • Healing Grace has been moved from Tier 3 to Tier 2.
  • Ancestral Healing has been moved from Tier 2 to Tier 3.

Totems

Nature Resistance Totem, Stoneskin Totem, Fire Resistance Totem, Frost Resistance Totem, Strength of Earth Totem, Flametongue Totem, Wrath of Air Totem, Windfury Totem descriptions have been changed to reflect the latest changes, they now affects all raid members. ( But will not Stack with some class buffs)

Healing Stream and Mana Spring totems will not be combined at this time.

So, what do we think about all this?

The Healing Stream Totem range increase is nice, I’ll give them that. Not going to really elaborate on that one.

Mana Spring Totem change brings it to 109 MP5 with talents, making it the exact same mana regeneration as Blessing of Wisdom. To be honest, we knew this was coming since BoW and MS no longer stack. This goes hand in hand with the Restorative Totems Talent

The Natures Swiftness change is more PvP centric. It seems to take down the Hybrid spec people were running around with letting them get Elemental Mastery and Natures Swiftness and then have an “I kill you now!” button.

Healing grace and Ancestral Healing Swapping places does not really affect us, that’s more just housekeeping. You still spend the same amount of points in the tree to get what you want without having to take anything you really don’t.

Totems tooltips were updated, that’s about it for the top part there. The big news here is the decision to not combine Mana Spring and Healing Stream totems. With them tweaking MS, I’m not surprised. As much as I would love to see that combination, I personally think it wont happen, at least not till they figure out how to handle mana regeneration for everyone.

Playing around on the PTR (when the world server is active) Nothing really feels different in the play style. I’m hoping to get into an ulduar group (hopefully the raid invite goes through this time =P ) so I can test it out on some heavier content.

What do you guys think ?

*EDIT*

Restoration

  • Mana Tide Totem: This spell no longer costs mana.
  • Restorative Totems: Reduced to 3 points, down from 5. Increases the effect of your Mana Spring Totem by 7/12/20%, and increases the amount healed by your Healing Stream Totem by 15/30/45%.

There it is. Was waiting for the shift in restorative totems. Could be quite nice.

Image from wikimedia

Shamanism

Shamanism

totem-pole_88_phixr

Shamanism will be a regular (as I can make it) posting comparing real world Shamanism and Shamanistic ideas to the Warcraft universe and will also point out how Shaman’s throughout the history of the Warcraft universe have been key players in many of the events that have unfolded. This will be a journey into the lore that brings us to our present class.

Shamanism has always been something that has fascinated me in real life. A shaman’s role in society was always varied and always important. They operated as Mediators, Healers, Leaders, Diviners, Warders of Spirits, agents of fertility among many other roles. We covered Shamanism in real life a little bit in the last post. I’ll recap them real quick.

From Wikipedia:

  • Spirits exist and they play important roles both in individual lives and in human society.
  • The shaman can communicate with the spirit world.
  • Spirits can be good or evil.
  • The shaman can treat sickness caused by evil spirits.
  • The shaman can employ trance inducing techniques to incite visionary ecstasy and go on “vision quests”.
  • The shaman’s spirit can leave the body to enter the supernatural world to search for answers.
  • The shaman evokes animal images as spirit guides, omens, and message-bearers.
  • The shaman can tell the future, scry, throw bones/runes, and perform other varied forms of divination

Shamanism is based on the premise that the visible world is pervaded by invisible forces or spirits which affect the lives of the living. In contrast to organized religions like animism or animatism which are led by priests and which all members of a society practice, shamanism requires individualized knowledge and special abilities. Shaman operate outside established religions, and, traditionally, they operate alone, although some take on an apprentice.

Well with that in mind, lets take a look at how blizzard blended this into Warcraft. Let’s first cast our gaze on the Orc race. We were introduced to the Horde way back in the days of Orc Vs. Human or the First War. They were a slovenly bunch of blood thirsty mongrels, but before that they were a nomadic shamanistic people who worshiped their ancestors and the spirits of nature. Lets take a look at the first major Shaman we are introduced to, Ner’zhul.

Here’s an excerpt from wow wiki:

Ner’zhul was the chieftain and elder shaman of the Shadowmoon clan and one of the most popular figures in orcish society. He was admired, respected and venerated by all for his deep connection to the spirits, and was the closest thing the orcish race had to a single leader prior to the foundation of the Horde. However, deep within, Ner’zhul craved a power he did not have…

One day, Ner’zhul was contacted by the spirit of his dead mate, Rulkan (with whom he had a regular correspondence), who warned him about the menace of the draenei, who were plotting to destroy the Orcs. After several moons, she introduced him to Kil’jaeden, the “Great One”, who began to instruct him in the ways of warlock magic and the treachery of the draenei. Though Ner’zhul was elated that he was saving his people (and finally getting the power and respect he deserved), he was puzzled why the ancestors would no longer speak to him, and why the spirits grew more distant.

Ner’zhul managed to get the rest of the clans to begin attacks on draenei settlements, supposedly by order of the ancestors, but, as he saw more and more of the draenei, he gradually became puzzled; apart from his horns, clothes, and skin tone, Kil’jaeden bore an odd resemblance to the draenei and possessed a hatred of Velen unbecoming of a divine being. Seeking answers, he attempted to commune with the ancestors in Oshu’gun, the “Mountain of the Spirits.” He was horrified when the ancestors greeted him as a monster, and the real Rulkan revealed the truth: Kil’jaeden had been lying all along.

Ner’zhul’s shamanistic ways were used against him to trick him into selling his people’s souls to the Blood Lust. His connection to the spiritual world was turned against him. He used his position to unite the Orc Clans and began the foundation work for the first Horde. He believed that he was doing what was best for his people. Without him being Shamanistic, Kil’jaeden would never have had the opportunity to manipulate Ner’zhul like he did, which would have made it much more difficult for him to create the bloodthirsty army that he wished the Orcs to become.

Ner’zhul was also panged by guilt, fueled by his sense of honor and duty to his people that he had ignored for so long. Eventually he decided to rebel against Kil’jaeden, and as a result was stripped of his Warlock powers. When he discovered the plans of the Shadow Council to make the Orc people drink the Blood of Mannoroth, his honor and duty bade him to attempt to save his people, but only one Chieftain would listen, Durotan of the Frostwolf Clan. Ner’zhul’s warning was one of many factors that lead the Chieftan to speak out against the corruption of the warlocks and attempt to bring the Orc people back to their Shamanistic roots. The actions of this leader caused him and his family to be assassinated. The only survivor was his son, who grew to be the figure known as Thrall. One Shaman set so much in motion that affected so much of the Warcraft universe.

Today’s is a brief post, but there will be more to come next time.

Till next time, happy healing!

~Lodur