For Matty – On Resto Shaman
This is a response to Matty’s recent request for Resto Shaman assistance. I am hoping to keep it brief and to the point, but figured I would post instead of straight reply – just in case.
Warning: I am no theory-crafter and I hate math. So expect no big World of Logs-based dissertation. Just a breakdown of what I do and find to work well. 🙂
So You Want to Heal Faster?
Back in the days of Wrath of the Lich King, the Resto Shaman and Haste were best of friends. Rather than completely rehashing this devastating breakup, I refer you to Life in Group Five. It is a post from the beginning of Cataclysm, but still holds a great deal of truth.
Basically, for a Resto Shaman, more Haste means the faster you will go OOM. Now, this is mostly true, except in a few minor situations where you can take advantage of it.
Think of it not as wanting to cast faster, but as wanting to heal faster and more efficiently.
LFR/Normal Versus Heroic Mode Raiding
I have discovered that I have different stat priority preferences based on the type of healing I am doing.
When we were working our way through LFR and normal mode Dragon Soul, I found myself favoring Haste above all. We run six healers, and getting my casts off before I was in the dreaded realm of Overheal made casting faster important. In non-Heroics, I also found higher Haste to be beneficial to my mana regen (see Telluric Currents, below).
Mastery was far less important, because at this point in raiding, hardly ever did anyone in our raids drop low enough for me to gain useful benefit from our Resto Shaman Mastery – Deep Healing.
Heroic bosses are another story. Especially at times of beginning progression, the Resto Shaman Mastery is priceless – the less health your target has when you heal them, the more your heal will hit for. Obviously in a raid setting this is still not 100%, because other healers will be raising the health of as many people as they can, but even with less Haste, your heals will hit and they will hit big.
Keep in mind these stat priorities are my own opinion, but they work very well for me.
Stat Priority for LFR/Normal Raiding and Heroic Dungeons:
- Haste > Crit > Mastery
Stat Priority for Heroic Raiding:
- Mastery > Crit > Haste (916 Haste)
Many people talk down on Telluric Currents, but I personally find it to be something I could not raid without at this point.
There are very few fights in Dragon Soul where I do not find myself time to cast a few Lightning Bolts in low damage phases. So whenever I have a free GCD or two, Lightning Bolts are what I use in these spaces.
It is my goal to always be casting something – either a heal or a Lightning Bolt or dropping an Elemental – but I aim for 95%+ activity time on raid bosses. Sometimes (not sure how) but I break 100%.
Not only does Telluric Currents help me to keep casting (without making me go OOM like Exorcism or the like would) it gives me MORE mana. Don’t ask me for numbers, because everywhere people look at numbers, it looks as if Telluric Currents would barely break even, let along refill your mana bar. But I tell you – it works.
Some tricks to using Lightning Bolts well:
- Use them with Haste procs or CDs (Spiritwalker’s Grace withe T13 4-set bonus, for example, or Lifeblood, if you are an Herbalist).
- Use them while Mana Tide Totem is going.
- Use them during phases where the boss has a damage increase, such as the black phase on Zon’ozz.
- Use them during phases where incoming damage is low, such as the Black Blood phase on Morchok.
I like to pair Nature’s Swiftness with Healing Rain as I am running to stack for the Twilight Onslaught on the Warmaster Blackhorn fight. This is a good pair in heavy damage stacking phases, in general.
It is also good to use with Greater Healing Wave on those who are really trying to die on you.
Getting Comfortable with the Resto Shaman “Rotation”
Yes, in my opinion, Shaman have a rotation similar to other priority DPS classes.
With points into the talent Tidal Waves, Riptide (and Chain Heal for that matter) affect your next two Greater Healing Waves by making them cast faster. This is a great talent to take advantage of, especially during high damage to tanks or single players.
Honestly, I am usually focusing much more on raid heals, but having the option to drop a fast, big heal is great in tight spots or when a healer is down. It is likely something I would utilize more in a 10man raid than our 25mans.
The other part of the Shaman rotation is Water Shield and Earth Shield. These are your two most important buffs, and yes, do require rotational attention as both are removed in pieces by damage. So whatever means you use to monitor these, make sure they stay up. Without Water Shield you will quickly be without mana, and without Earth Shield you will quickly lose a good chunk of your healing. In fact, if I am the only Shaman in the raid, I like to switch the Earth Shield back and forth during tank switches, as well. It might seem obsessive, but I prefer to keep Earth Shield at no less than 3 charges. This helps if my attention is distracted by GTFO telling me to move or a large hit to someone in raid.
Your Earthliving Weapon is also an important buff, but with a 30 minute duration and no way to be knocked off you in standard combat, it not something I consider part of a Shaman’s rotation. I simply make sure to cast it and my shields at the start of a fight.
Some Tricks for Using Chain Heal
In a raiding situation of any size or flavor (LFR, Normal, Heroic), Chain Heal is the go-to Shaman heal, and because of its effectiveness, the Resto Shaman is usually put in a position of raid healing, rather than tank healing. Using Chain Heal to its full potential is key to your success as a Resto Shaman.
- Drop a Healing Rain in the tightest pack of raiders taking the most damage (usually melee) and Chain Heal throughout that area. (I consider Resto Shaman to be exceptional melee healers.)
- Remember to use Unleash Elements before Chain Heal as much as possible – the bigger the initial hit, the bigger each of the hits to follow it.
- Riptide can be used to augment your Chain Heal’s first hit, but use this sparingly – the more Riptides you having ticking, the more overall healing your are putting out.
- Use your Earth Shield target as your primary Chain Heal target as often as possible – the Nature’s Blessing talent will boost the first hit.
- The more you know about your raiders the better – cast Chain Heal on targets with bonuses to healing received. Rogues, for example, have Quickening which looks to be a must-have talent given that it also increases movement speed.
One last thing to remember, no matter how much Haste you have, in panic situations without the correct tools, you will always feel like that critical heal is coming too slow.
See, Matty? It is a good thing I did not put this into your comments. lol
For my current talents and glyphs and such, see Effraeti@Elune on the WoW Armory.