Latest in Gaming

Image credit:

Totem Talk: Ask a restoration shaman

Joe Perez

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Totem Talk for elemental, enhancement and restoration shaman. Want to be a sultan of swing healing? A champion of Chain Heal? Totem Talk: Restoration, brought to you by Joe Perez (otherwise known as Lodur from World of Matticus and co-host of the Raid Warning podcast), shows you how.

For the last few weeks, we've been covering some of the basics for normal raid healing. Part 1, part 2 and part 3 are already up and running, so feel free to check them out. Next week, we'll start back in with part 4 with some harder and slightly more fun bosses.

This week, though, I thought I would take the opportunity to answer some reader emails and questions from Twitter. Not too long ago, we answered some questions about the state of shaman post-patch 4.1, but still more changes are waiting for us in patch 4.2. Whenever there are changes and nerfs looming, there are always questions to be answered!

It's just the same old song, right?

I remember before cataclysm came out people were saying "They are completely changing the way you heal! It will be extremely mana intensive, so we won't be topping players' health bar off. We'll keep them at 50-80% most of the time. Healers will have to be more coordinated in raids to avoid over-healing and wasting mana." Or that's the jist of it.

However, I feel like I'm healing the exact same way I was in WotLK, only with a bigger mana pool and more expensive heals to match. Especially with the new Zul'Aman and Zul'gurub dungeons, people are either full on health or dead. Now, I understand they will get easier as new gear is released, but the old cata heroics are practically a joke now. I toss out a few heals to keep the tank topped off, and throw out some LBs in between... which again is exactly what I was doing before cata. Now granted, they have given some interesting fights like Chimaeron, which require us to not top off and coordinate healers, but that is one fight. My guild isn't doing heroic raids yet, but in regular raids, if a fight goes well, I end with 25-50% of my mana and sometimes I hit 0mp as the fight ends. My point is, I feel like healing is the same as WotLK: people are full or dead, and topping off and over-healing is the norm. The only real change is mana is a bit more of an issue. Am I healing wrong? Is this intended or an unintended that's-just-the-way-it-is? Do you think Blizz will make more changes to push healing into what they set out to accomplish?

Troll Resto Shammy

Ellamental, honestly, we're already there. It might not feel like that, but healing does require much more coordination and management of mana than before, at least in raids.

At this point, most players have gotten past the hump of current tier heroic dungeons. They've geared up and have stats on par or better than the instances and potentially have learned the fights and what damage to avoid. Over time, this happens, and the healing load lessens.

This holds true for heroic dungeons and normal raids. Heroic mode raids right now require a lot of coordination between healers and constant monitoring of your cooldowns and resources throughout a fight. As players gather gear and learn what damage to avoid, though, the damage to heal through will lessen. That's just the nature of things.

That said, some bosses have severe spike damage that will push you into the top-off or flat dead situation. Several bosses have mechanics that will just outright kill a person no matter what you do. This is especially true in ZA and ZG (as far as heroics dungeons go), where many of the bosses have abilities that deal massive spikes of damage in as little time as possible.

To answer the second part of the question, I don't think we'll see healing get pushed too far in any one direction right now. Healing is harder; learning to heal is definitely harder than it has been before; and while over time that bar will lower slightly, it's still pretty high. I don't think Blizzard will have much to change left for us, as we're close to the position the developers wanted us to be in from the beginning.

Does greater really mean greater?

I've been struggling with my Healing Wave, vs. my Greater Healing Wave. I started doing Cata regular dungeons three(ish) months ago, and am now at ilvl 356 through the Zandalari dungeons. I've even been on a couple Cata dungeon runs.

In every situation that I've been in, I have found Healing Wave useless. The amount that I heal for with HW is pathetic. To get any kind of heal whatsoever (it feels) I have to use GHW, or HS. Typically I use GHW, making sure to have a Riptide buff up. As I've read your articles, I have been baffled by your reference to HW, since it seems to be so useless to me.

Am I simply stacking the wrong stats?

Thanks for your help.


You've stumbled onto something here that is a pretty good topic of discussion. As we progress through an expansion, a couple of things happen. First, we get better stats through gear availability: more spirit for regen, int for deeper mana pools, and higher spellpower for bigger heals. As we creep up the power chain, the content around us has to creep as well.

Here's how I think it's been set up. When we first start out in heroic dungeons and normal raids, Healing Wave is a great spell, very mana-efficient and providing decent healing. As we get bigger stats and damage starts to increase, we gradually move away from needing to rely on HW as much and move on to Greater Healing Wave and Healing Surge as replacements in order to keep up. By the end, after everyone's gathered up their gear and learned the fights, we start to rely on HW again. It's a natural progression.

That said, though, right now you shouldn't count HW out quite yet. The spell still gets a bonus from our mastery, as well as on targets with Earth Shield if you pick up the talent for it, and can be quite handy at idle healing or fast top-off and triage healing to keep people alive without chewing through your entire mana pool, allowing you to save the mana for when you need it to deal with spike damage. Also, as tanks gather better gear and people learn how to avoid damage, your healing load goes down, allowing you to make further use of HW when HS or GHW would be too much and be too inefficient. I did look you up on Armory, and your stats are fine; you just have to give it a little more time, and you'll notice more opportunities to use HW. Hope that helps.

A personal opinion

I was wondering your opinion on how strong resto shaman are in WoW atm.

wtfagurlzomg (via Twitter)

Overall, I feel that shaman are in a good position as healers. Our healing toolkit gives us everything we need to get the job done properly. Spirit Link Totem helps round out that toolkit and gives us another ability to call on in times of trouble. We're no more powerful than the other healing classes, we just have our own distinct flavor.

Totem Talk: Restoration will show you the basics of endgame resto shaman play as well as how to find the expansion's best reputation gear for resto shaman and tips for easier leveling. Happy healing, and may your mana be plentiful!

From around the web

ear iconeye icontext filevr