Last week in Totem Talk: Restoration we talked about talents and glyphs a bit more in depth, today I'd like to continue our class 101 series by going over your spells and totems as well as leveling restoration specced. We will discuss the tools of the shaman's healing kit and specifics about totems.
The shaman toolkit might not have as many tools as say a holy priest, but the ones we do have are quite effective at their specific task. Each one is useful and colorful and we do have several that are quite unique. Lets take a look at them shall we?
- Lesser Healing Wave: This is our version of Flash Heal. The cast time is 1.5 seconds and before spellpower and critical strikes, at the maximum rank it clocks in at just under 2,000 healing. This spell is fantastic for fast top offs and when combined with Glyph of Lesser Healing Wave can become a very effective tank heal. You get the first rank of this spell at level 20 and you will be using it pretty regularly as you level. It is a fast heal that does the job well.
- Healing Wave: This is our version of a Greater Heal. This spell comes in with a 3 second cast time and it is our nuke heal. Useful for fights where one target is taking a large amount of damage, it starts with a cap of about 3,500 healing before modifiers, but I've seen this spell hit numbers close to 40,000 healing. You start the game with this spell right off the bat, and you will see your first four ranks of it before Lesser Healing Wave becomes available. For early leveling as a healer this will be your bread and butter. During the end game, if you stack haste up to the soft cap, Healing Wave becomes a replacement for Lesser Healing Wave but we will cover more on that in a later post.
- Chain Heal: This is one of, if not the, most iconic spells a resto shaman has not only in look and ability but also in sound. Each cast is accompanied by the sound of rolling thunder. You get the first rank of this ability at level 40 and as soon as you are able to use it, it will become a healing spell heavily used in your selections. This spell has two modifies to it that increase the healing potential quite a bit. First off there is a talent which we talked about last week, Improved Chain Heal, that gives the spell a 20% increase in healing output. Second there is Glyph of Chain Heal which allows chain heal to affect an additional target. It is one of a shaman's most mana efficient spells and in addition to being cheap and effective it is also a smart spell. It will always jump to the nearest target within the 12.5 yard jump range of the original target with the largest hit point deficiency. The spell will check for a valid target at each stop, so the third and fourth target (with the glyph) don't necessarily need to be within range of the first target. Each jump calculates crit individually on the targets and each jump has a chance to proc weapon effects like Earthliving Weapon and certain items like that Althor's Abacus. On top of all that it has a chance to trigger talents like Improved Water Shield. Once you have this spell you will use it heavily well into the end game.
- Earth Shield: Another iconic staple to the resto arsenal, you get this spell as part of our talent tree. You will have enough talent points to pick it up at level 50, and by 52 you can talent it to give you additional charges and improved healing. Earth Shield is a spell that places 6 charges (8 talented) on a target of your choosing, visible by a ring of floating earth surrounding your target. The spell is instant cast and it is a purely reactionary heal. Each time your target gets hit, a charge is burned and they are instantly healed with a cooldown of roughly 3 seconds between charge uses. The amount healed is modified by your crit, and spellpower at the time of casting the spell. It benefits the most from a high spellpower on the caster, so items that add spellpower like trinkets or temporary buffs that increase your spellpower are highly desirable before casting it. By default it healing is only augmented by 15% of your total spellpower, but with talents such as Improved Earth Shield and Improved Shields, you can push that to 35% of your spellpower. The spell also now correctly benefits from Purification. This can lead to some impressive and very useful shield procs. Normal placement of the spell is on a tank, but there are other ways to use it. It does reduce push back by 30%, so placing it on a healer or another caster when there is a lot of damage pushing their casts back. It can also be used on DPS who has a tendency to steal aggro. It might not be able to keep them solely alive, but it may give enough of a cushion to snap a heal off and keep them alive.
- Cleanse Spirit: This is a cure-all, or as close to one as you will see as a resto shaman. Cleanse Spirit effectively saves you button pushes, removing the reason to ever use Cure Disease or Cure Poison. The spell also allows for the removal of curses, which is incredibly handy in a pinch. While a resto shaman can't remove magical effects, being able to remove 3/4 of removable debuffs with just one spell is pretty good. Another spell you receive from talent points you can pick this up at roughly level 44. Grab it as soon as you can and put it on your action bar, use often for great success.
- Riptide: This little beauty has become yet another icon of the shaman healing toolkit.You obtain this spell through talents and can snag it as early as level 60. Riptide is an instant cast spell that has a heal over time component. Heals a friendly target for 1604 to 1736 and another 1670 over 15 seconds. This is of course modified by your spell power and can produce fantastic numbers both on the initial attack as well as the ticks of each HoT. This spell also has a component that augments Chain Heal, increasing the amount healed by an additional 25%. This helps to increase healing output and also gives us mobility. Riptide also triggers many of our key talents and has cemented itself as a spell that should be used by each and every resto shaman
A shaman is nothing if not for their totems. It is a key feature that is identifiable and synonymous with the shaman class. Our totem hail from the four elemental schools of earth air water and fire. There are a few totems that as a restoration shaman you will use with some regularity.
- Tremor Totem: This totem has the job of removing Fear, Charm and Sleep effects from party members within 30 yards. There are a lot of fights where this is incredibly useful.
- Strength of Earth Totem: This totem will see action when there is no death knight or enhancement shaman around and you have melee or hunters present. Increasing Str and Agi by 155 will be welcome by all physical DPS.
- Stoneskin Totem: This totem adds 1150 armor to party and raid members within 30 yards of the totem. This is very handy for classes that utilize higher armor values such as death knights using Bladed Armor or tanks for use in further damage mitigation.
- Flametongue Totem: When there is no demonology warlock or elemental shaman around, you will want to keep this spell enhancing totem down. It adds 144 SP to all party and raid members within 30 yards. Augmenting all casters spell abilities as well as your own, don't leave home without it.
- Mana Spring Totem: This totem should be used whenever wisdom is not available to you. Your mana regeneration is one of the key elements to maintaining your healing prowess. Restorative Totems increases the mana regeneration of this totem by an additional 20% which roughly equates to 110 MP/5. Not only does it affect you, but it also affects your party and raid members. Shaman in a group using this will be every caster's friend.
- Mana Tide Totem: This totem has a 5 minute cooldown, but every 5 minutes it can be used to restore 24% of the maximum mana of party members within 30 yard. Since potions were changed to only be allowed use once per combat, this totem has become one of the most powerful mana restoring abilities in the game, and is a signature restoration shaman ability.
- Healing Stream Totem: Another totem affected by Restorative Totems this totem is also affected by your total spellpower. It acts like a heal over time ticking every 2 seconds to heal all of your party members within the 30 yard range. This totem, unlike others, scales in real time with your SP. If any trinkets or ability procs increase your total SP, the amount healed by HST goes up as well. This can lead to some very high numbers. Combine that with Glyph of Healing Stream Totem and you can wind up with a totem that can do 8% or more of your total healing. This is especially useful in encounters with interrupts and silences and should be used whenever you have Blessing of Wisdom, or your mana regeneration doesn't need the boost.
- Cleansing Totem: While Cleanse Spirit is an amazing spell, this totem can help you out of many tight situations. There are several encounters where there is raid wide poison and disease effects. This totem will clear those effects off of everyone in your party within 30 yards. This can be very useful when attempting to maximize healing time, by reducing the number of times you're required to cast Cleanse Spirit . Keep this totem handy.
- Wrath of Air Totem: This totem should be placed as often as possible. It gives 5% haste raid wide and anything that reduces your casting time allows you to squeeze that much more healing out. 5% can go along way to increasing your groups survival rates.
- Windfury Totem: This totem can outweigh the usefulness of Wrath of Air Totem in some circumstances. If you're in a melee heavy group on a fight that needs maximum DPS to burn through, windfury will be incredibly useful for you. Keep it handy on the off chance you need it.
Show your totemic mastery by reading Totem Talk, whether reading Mike Sacco's Elemental edition, Joe Perez's coverage of Restoration or Rich Maloy's Enhancement edition, we have you covered.