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Totem Talk: Ask a restoration shaman (again)

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 For the Lore and Raid Warning podcasts), shows you how.

Last week we talked about shaman with axes and a little bit about the restoration shaman two-piece bonus from tier 12 gear. The last week has certainly been a busy one for most folks. With the video now out for DREAM Paragon's 25-man heroic Ragnaros kill and an idea of their group's raid composition, it has been a week of speculation and debate.

There's one thing that always will remain constant -- there are always more questions to be answered! This week, we'll be taking reader questions that have come in through comments, Twitter or email in another installment of Ask a Restoration Shaman!

Keeping up with the healers


I am a resto shaman for a 25 man raiding guild that has cleared normal and killed heroic Shannox. I have been having a hard time keeping up with the other healing classes on most fights, excluding Majordomo and Baleroc. I have just over 15 mastery which is up to 46% increased heals, around 916 haste and 17 crit before buffs.

I have also recently switched to a spec with Telluric Currents with the hope that being less mana reliant will allow me to use mt bigger heals more frequently and use up my mana before regen phases.

I was wondering if going for the next haste plateau would be worth it.


Tin, you've got a couple of questions nestled in there; let's see if I can help you out a little bit. Your stats -- at least the secondary ones -- are what I would expect to see for someone with that progression. It's honestly normal at that point to feel like you might be having a hard time keeping up.

The Telluric Currents specs do actually help out with this, especially when a fight has clear regen phases. It does allow you to drop some bigger heals like Greater Healing Wave, especially on tank, and recoup the mana. With that much mastery, you can easily drop some very large heals; relying on the regen from TC, you can do it more frequently. I've had a lot of success with that in fights like Alysrazor, Majordomo Staghelm and Shannox.

As far as going for the second haste plateau, that's a trickier question to answer. Haste is always useful, but mastery has really come into its own with this patch. My personal experience after attempting to reach the second haste plateau was not a good one. As I reached the haste level, my healing numbers diminished quite a bit. When I started going with a little more mastery and crit at the expense of haste, my numbers increased back to a more competitive level.

Some of this has to do with healing team composition, so if you're running with a lot of druids or paladins, haste might not be the best for you. Both are still viable, and I encourage you to test it out. Worst-case scenario, you try for the second haste tier, and if it doesn't work out, you can always swap back. I plan on doing a much more in-depth post about this very soon.

Competitive eye
Is there any way for us to compete with Paladins, Druids and Priests when it comes to healing? I'm well aware that healing is a collaboration and not a race, but right now I often feel like my guild would be better off bringing a Priest or Druid instead of me. Right now the healing team (10-man) is generally a Holy Paladin, myself and either a Resto Druid or a Disc/Holy Priest. The Priest I can somewhat keep up with, but the other two are just a lot more effective than I am, it seems.

Aside from a few phases during boss fights in Firelands where the raid has to stack up, I feel like I'm squandering my full potential because Chain Heal doesn't bounce far enough, Healing Rain isn't efficient without enough people in it, and SLT totem isn't something people will group up for because no one will ever notice it.

Would it unbalance the game if SLT had a more noticeable effect (like PW: Barrier has) or if SLT/Chain Heal/Healing Rain had a bigger range? Or if the Tidal Waves buff from casting Riptide/CH gave us three stacks instead of two so that we would be very competitive when it comes to tank healing? I just want... something to return us to being competitive. Right now it just feels like, at similar skill levels, Shaman healers just fall behind.

The Lesser Evil
TLE, don't be discouraged by not being able to keep up with holy paladins and druids. For some reason, they always seem to enter the new tiers of content incredibly strong. I understand your feeling that your team would be better off bringing another class along, but the truth is as a shaman healer, you do offer a lot to the raid environment. Our mastery is unique in that it becomes better the more damage everyone takes. That means for less mana, you can get that clutch heal on a tank before he dies and bring him to full, and Spirit Link Totem really is quite a useful cooldown to have.

As far as not feeling like you can reach full potential without anyone being grouped up, while we're best when we can get people in range of Chain Heal or get everyone standing in Healing Rain, we're far from helpless when people are spread out. Riptide is a very strong spell, and you can roll that throughout the entire raid. Healing Surge is good for sniping heals when you need the speed, and GHW is fantastic for deep or predictable damage. We just have to work a little bit harder at it, but we can do just fine in a spread out fight.

As far as SLT, I understand that frustration quite well. It has taken a bit to convince people to group up, but you can do what I do to alert people. Make a macro that announces that the totem is down and to group up, and if you can, announce it in voice chat before you drop it. You'd be surprised how people react with just a gentle reminder. As far as the question about balance, SLT can sometimes get lost in the huddle of a spell-intense fight, but I'm not sure giving it a different effect would help much.

As far as increasing Tidal Waves to give more stacks, honestly, if you're rolling Riptides, it should almost always be up anyways. Considering a 6-second cooldown, you might miss one cast of a spell without it, but I'm pretty sure the developers have already considered it before. It would amount to a constant 30% reduction in cast time for Healing Wave and GHW and what is essentially a permanent 30% crit increase to Healing Surge. Without the possible lapse in uptime, I can see that potentially becoming quite unbalanced. I like the train of thought, though, and maybe we'll see another tweak before the end of this expansion to our healing.

Tiers of happiness?
Currently I am wondering if the 4 set Tier 11 is better than the 2 set tier 12?

Ciseres, without hesitation, I can say that two-piece tier 12 set bonus is better than the four-piece tier 11 set bonus, flat-out. It is almost double the amount of MP5 when compared to the previous set bonus. There's tons of math out there showing this, but rolling Riptides with the four-piece T11 in a 6-minute boss fight (assuming normal reaction time on keeping Riptide up) will give you somewhere in the neighborhood of 175 MP5 and 263 MP5. With the same conditions, Flametide can earn you something between 312 MP5 and 469 MP5. Remember that instead of working whenever you cast Riptide like the T11 set bonus, the T12 set bonus has a 40% chance to proc off every tick of Riptide.

Considering that you can lengthen the time Riptide is up with Glyph of Riptide, that 1% of your base mana starts to add up. Unlike other classes, you can safely break that set bonus the second you get two pieces of tier 12 gear. From first-hand experience, I can tell you that it does have a very visible impact on your mana while healing, and you'll notice this change almost right away.

That's it for this week's Ask a Restoration Shaman. If I didn't answer your email in this post, don't worry -- you'll be getting a direct reply email from me soon.

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!

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