Sometimes knowing how to do well at something relies on knowing what not to do. Over time, we can accumulate some pretty bad habits, and if we're not careful, they can make us look like a terrible healer or a complete and total noob. There's nothing worse than that feeling of being the cause of a wipe or looking like you don't know what you're doing.
That's sometimes the hardest thing a new restoration shaman faces when starting out healing groups in instances and the Raid Finder. It's OK, though -- just because you're a beginner doesn't mean you have to look like the world's worst healer. I've compiled a list of things you can and should avoid doing.
1. Just stop healing. This may sound silly, but in my time in the Raid Finder on my hunter, I've seen a number of restoration shaman just set Healing Rain and then not cast another spell for the entire duration of the spell. You have a healing arsenal for a reason. Chain Heal, Riptide, Greater Healing Wave are all there to be used, not to just look pretty. If you want your group to survive an encounter and not just be so much adventuring good on the ground, please just heal.
Nothing makes you look like you don't know what you're doing more than sitting there doing nothing at all. It also makes it very likely that if there is a wipe or a lack of healing, you're going to get called out on it. Logs that show up on World of Logs, death reports from addons like Death Note, and other sources can very quickly identify when you've been sleeping on the job.
2. Pull bosses and trash before the group is ready. This is something I've noticed a lot of random restoration shaman doing in the Raid Finder lately. Yes, we are capable of casting Lightning Bolt even when in healing spec, and sure, we use it to regenerate mana with Telluric Currents -- but not when your group isn't ready. Attacking mobs, bosses, or otherwise engaging an encounter is just a big no-go.
Be patient! Wait until your group and especially the tanks are ready to start the fight. You may be ready to go, but what do you think takes longer? Waiting to pull the boss or recovering from a wipe when you pull too soon? Like I said, I know it sounds like a no-brainer, but I've seen it happen way too frequently as of late.
3. Stand in the bad. Again, something one would normally consider a normal thing that everyone does, but I've seen a lot of restoration shaman lately just sort of sit in bad stuff in the Raid Finder. I see them focus healing themselves to survive damage, but it's still something you shouldn't do. While you may survive, there are damage mechanics that do things like up boss damage, heal the boss, or can cause spillover damage to the rest of your group. Sure, it's an easy way to pad your own numbers, but for every heal you dump onto yourself, you take one away from the rest of the group. It's a needless waste of mana and a needless way to risk your own life.
If that weren't enough, I've seen these very same people yell at other people in their group not to stand in the bad. Sure, no one should stand in damage effects unless the fight specifically calls for it, but yelling at other people when you're doing it yourself is just bad form.
4. Roll on DPS gear. Every healer wants to make sure they have the latest and greatest gear, but knowing what is actually healing gear and what is gear designed for DPS gear is pretty important. For restoration shaman, we're in particularly weird spot. This is because while some items are designed specifically for DPS, we can still make use of them in some circumstances. This can make certain items more attractive than they should be to healers.
Take Insignia of the Corrupted, for example. This trinket drops off Yor'sahj the Unsleeping, so there's a chance you'll see it early in Dragon Soul. Every time you deal damage, you will have a chance to gain 2,904 haste. Considering that we use Lightning Bolt to gain back mana or use spells like Flame Shock to trigger Focused Insight, I can understand why some restoration shaman would want this trinket. That said, it's much better off in the hands of someone who does damage full time.
The same goes for intellect items that have hit on them. Again, I've seen some restoration shaman trying to amass hit gear for themselves in various instances so they don't miss with their offensive spells. I understand the thought process behind it, but honestly, it's better left to those who deal damage full time. Invest in more appropriate gear for you as a healer.
5. Roll on gear you don't need. How often has the following scenario happened to you? You queue up for the Raid Finder and down a boss, and a tier token drops. Everyone who can roll for the piece does so, and when all the rolls are tallied up, you look to see that the person already has that piece of gear. It's -- well there's no real nice way to say this ... It's a jerk move. They will often try to trade it later on for another piece of gear to another eligible player, but that doesn't make it right.
Do yourself a favor -- don't be that person. If you have the piece of gear already or you really don't need it, don't roll on it. This isn't just limited to raid gear, but also to heroic and dungeon gear as well. If you've got a heroic tier 12 piece equipped, alternative gear like valor gear, or something of equal level to what dropped, really evaluate if you need that piece. If you don't, just move on with the run. Everyone will be much happier, and you're less likely be called a bad restoration shaman.
These are simple things to avoid, really. Just be vigilant to avoid doing them whenever you can. Do you have any tips you'd like to share on how to avoid being singled out as a bad restoration shaman?
Totem Talk: Restoration lends you advice on healing groups, DK tanks and heroics and mana concerns in today's endgame -- or take a break and look back at the rise of the resto shaman. Happy healing, and may your mana be plentiful!