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Totem Talk: Haste and restoration shaman

Joe Perez

Want to be a sultan of swing healing? A champion of Chain Heal? Totem Talk: Restoration will show you how. Brought to you by Joe Perez, otherwise known as Lodur from World of Matticus and the For The Lore podcast.

Last week we talked about choosing a role for restoration and in that piece we talked about how raid healing shaman prioritize haste as their top stat. Haste is one of those stats that gained massive popularity around the time of Ulduar. Shaman were having a hard time fitting into hard mode kills as healers, and Chain Heal was slipping behind Wild Growth and Circle of Healing due to limited range between jumps and the need of many people to spread out beyond the maximum range (at the time 8 yards). Haste allowed healing shaman to use other spells to greater effect in these times, helping to close the gap somewhat.

Through Trial of the Crusader and now well into Icecrown Citadel, haste has remained on top of most end game raiding shaman stat priority lists. Almost any blog you visit now will exalt the virtues of haste as the primary stat. Truth is it can be useful in many situations and there are many boss fights where haste really is king of the stats.

So what do you need to know about haste? Let's take a look!

The facts

  • Spell Haste reduces the global cooldown to as little as 1 second. No amount of haste including Bloodlust/Heroism will lower the global cooldown below 1 second
  • The soft haste cap for resto shamans is 1269 haste rating (38.7%).
  • 1% haste means you will cast 1 additional spell in the time it would normally take to cast 100 spells. You do NOT cast 1% faster.
  • 1% Spell Haste = 32.78 Haste Rating at Level 80
Haste has the ability to reduce the global cool-down from 1.5 seconds to 1.0 seconds. As a healer this can be very important as it directly affects the time between spell casts. In most raids (10 and 25), you will have a total of 8.15% this is before gearing and item procs. 5% from Wrath of Air Totem and 3% from either Improved Moonkin Form or Swift Retribution. Now you might be asking how 5%+3% = 8.15%. Haste is a multiplicative effect, which means each factor that does stack compounds the total rather than simply add to it. An increase in an ability by X% is equal to multiplying the current modifier (which begins at 1.0) by (1 + X%/100); for example, a haste increase of 30% would be a multiplier of 1.30.

The soft cap refers to the amount of haste requires to lower the global cooldown to 1second. What this ultimately means is that in most raids you will begin to approach the soft cap for haste at around 30% on your character sheet. No amount of haste, even with Heroism / Bloodlust, will reduce the GCD below 1.0 seconds. It is also called a soft cap because additional haste rating will continue to reduce the cast time of longer spells, such as Chain Heal and Healing Wave. Here is a rough example of how stacking haste will affect your cast time on the longer spells.

Haste Need to Reduce Chain Heal Cast Time

2.4 seconds = 137 haste rating
2.3 seconds = 286 haste rating
2.2 seconds = 447 haste rating
2.1 seconds = 625 haste rating
2.0 seconds = 820 haste rating
1.9 seconds = 1036 haste rating

Haste is calculated after talents and does have an equation that you can use to estimate the effectiveness of your haste rating.

I'm going to borrow an image from over at elitist jerks here to show you since I think they best illustrate the math.

Practical Application

As restoration shaman, haste allows us to become more mobile healers. Many fights require us to move and heal, but unfortunately we only have one instant cast heal in the form of Riptide unless you are alliance and have Gift of the Naaru. Haste really comes into the lime light as you progress through the later part of raiding content (and a few of the heroics). Let us take a look at Icecrown Citadel. Fights such as Marrowgar, Festergut, Rotface, Putricide and Sindragosa you will truly notice a positive effect from haste. These fights either require lots of movement or a need for very quick healing on specific targets and reducing the cast time of chain heal will be incredibly beneficial. Also as you stack haste, Healing Wave can potentially replace Lesser Healing Wave as your fast heal single target heal.

I am sure you are asking if you are increasing the amount of spells you are casting, how is this going to play with my mana and mana consumption? Well the theory behind stacking haste is that the more spells you cast the move times Improved Water Shield and Insightful Earthsiege Diamond will return mana to you. This is very true and you can gain a lot of mana back from these abilities with higher haste ratings. Combine this with Replenishment and mana should not be much of an issue. If you find it is an issue you can always use Flask of Pure Mojo and either Pickled Fantooth or Spicy Fried Herring to help with regeneration.

It does however require you to very closely monitor your charges on Water Shield. Fights like Blood Queen Lana'thel and Festergut where you will be taking damage will see you refreshing the spell frequently as your charges will very quickly be consumed. It is highly suggested that you find a mod that will make it very clear and visible when your water shield has run out. Even so, late into end game raiding haste is an incredibly useful stat to look for and actively accumulate.

Gems for haste

As you gather gear you will as a matter of course gain gem sockets. If you want to stack haste for raiding you should look at the following gems.
Meta Gem: Insightful Earthsiege Diamond
Blue Socket: Quick King's Amber. To meet the meta requirement Energized Eye of Zul or Royal Dreadstone can be used.
Yellow Socket: Quick King's Amber
Red Socket: Reckless Ametrine

When haste is not best choice

While haste is a fantastic stat for a raid healing shaman, there are some circumstances that haste is not as useful.

In smaller environments such as Heroics, the usefulness of haste diminishes some. While it is still useful, you can not count on the presence of raid haste buffs (such as Improved Moonkin Form or Swift Retribution), which would mean that you would need to stack more haste, and it does have the potential to increase downtime.

In tank healing situations where you are relying on bigger heals haste can be useful, but spell power and crit can be as useful or more so than haste. This is especially true when dealing with tanks with higher effective health such as bear druids and death knights who tend to take large chunks of damage all at once. While it can be argued that haste will still improve the casting potential of chain heal and healing wave, spell power and crit directly affect spells like Earth shield and Healing Stream Totem, while haste does not.

Also anytime a spell dips lower than the global cooldown (less than 1.0 seconds) the effectiveness of that spell drops very sharply. It can clip your casting time and cause disruptions in the flow of healing. Be mindful of this as you stack haste.

In the end haste is a very good raiding shaman stat and in most cases will be the stat of choice. Next week we will talk about about useful restoration macros and some game addons you may find useful in your healing travels.

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.

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