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Totem Talk: Resto shaman advice for healing groups, DK tanks, and heroic instances

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.

Man, the last few weeks sure have been fun and full of interesting information regarding our future. Speculation has already begun as to how we're going to be doing when the next expansion is poised for release, and we leave this world of Cataclysm behind us. Let's take the time to bring the focus back to current-day concerns and the most important thing of all, questions from you the readers. Restoration shaman have been a class in flux throughout Cataclysm, and as a result, there are numerous questions from those who are pushing raid content all the way to those who are returning to the game after a hiatus. So this week, let's get started with Ask a Restoration Shaman!

Welldead asked:

What is the best healing spell for Death knights?? I've been struggling just to keep a blood dk and its just getting on my nerves even though they are great tanks i just don't know if its me or is it the spell I'm casting wrong? I usually keep my riptide and earth shield up as long as doing chain heals and throwing healing rain when ever it gets messy.

Well, tank healing is a much different animal than group healing, but I'm sure you already knew that much. Each tank has a different style, and as a result, incoming damage can vary in levels from "Oh, this isn't so bad" to "OMG, why are you taking so much damage!?" In my experience, blood death knights tend to fall in the latter category. Blood DKs tend to dip pretty low and require big heals in steady increments. It seems to just be how they work.

You're doing the right thing as far as keeping Riptide and Earth Shield up on the tank, but I would highly recommend moving away from Chain Heal and Healing Rain when tank healing. Greater Healing Wave and Healing Surge are more appropriate for tank healing, unless under some very specific circumstances you have enough people standing close enough to the tank for CH to bounce.

Personally, I love healing blood DK tanks, mostly because while they certainly take their fair share of spiky damage, they are very capable of stabilizing themselves and giving you time to heal them back up. Also, unlike the other tanking classes, they can let you take full advantage of your Deep Healing with the understanding that they won't die (that is, unless you don't heal them at all). For added punch, add in a Glyph of Earth Shield and add points into Nature's Blessing if you haven't already.

Honestly, it's all about learning the rhythm of the damage on the tank for each boss fight and filling the gaps accordingly. I know personally for most fights, GHW is my best friend for blood DK healing.

Part of the group

Shinae asked:

My question is about group heals. I understand that Healing Rain is a more effective group heal than Chain Heal. Does this mean that I should mainly be using CH for group healing when HR is on cooldown? (I'm thinking I've been using CH too much, anyway, as I haven't completely shaken off Wrath habits.)

Also, when are good times to use Unleash Life? (You probably have already talked about this before, but I forget.)

Group healing is something that restoration shaman have always excelled at. I mean, it's been our specialty since The Burning Crusade. Healing Rain is more effective in a lot of circumstances, but that's mainly because it is an amazing delivery system for Earthliving Weapon's proc Earthliving.

The key really is using both HR and CH together to get the most out of your group healing. I know that sounds hokey, but it really is true. They are the tools that are specifically designed for group healing in our tool kit, and when you find yourself in a group healing fight, that's exactly what you should go to. Drop HR, lay out a Riptide, and keep casting CH and Riptide until HR is off CD.

As with everything, making sure you're doing the right amount of healing and spellcasting is a matter of experience based on your healing team and the boss fight in question. So basically, if you're using CH while HR is on cooldown and the fight has the AOE damage to heal, then you're doing it right.

As far as Unleash Life, well honestly, the best answer is always. It's an instant heal on a decent cooldown timer, and it boosts your healing done. You should be using it every single chance you get!

Luotian asked:

Hey there, Joe, its me again :D. So, I've finally gotten my first little resto shaman up to 85 and she's pretty well set in all the purchasable Tier 11 resto set gear. Here's my big problem, though. I've run a couple of heroics with guildies to have her healing (just the reg heroics, mind) and, while not terrible, I was far from good. We wiped multiple times and my poor tanks had huge repair bills because I'd simply oom halfway through fights.

I know without actually watching me play you probably can't do much, but is there some trick I'm missing that makes healing heroics so much harder? It just seems like everyone is taking much more damage and Healing Wave doesn't cut it like it used to anymore.

Well, when you're first starting heroics, even in all the purchasable tier 11 resto gear, there are a few things that need to be done. First of all, you need to make sure you're triage healing. Let's assume that your entire group is at the same gear level; some mechanics will still punish you. The room swallowing darkness in the Erudax fight and the lightning storm during Asaad -- these mechanics will kill you, and often no amount of healing will compensate for it unless you really outgear the the instance. So if you see someone standing in the middle of something that will kill them, don't waste the mana.

Make sure you're choosing the right heal for the right job, as well. Don't use CH or HR when you're healing only one target, things like that. Make sure Healing Stream Totem is down at all times, and try to ration your healing slightly. While at higher gear levels and later content you should always be casting, when you first start out in heroics, try to take things a little bit slower. You're not expected to power through the heroics, even in tier 11 gear. Also, one last suggestion: If you find yourself running out of mana, make sure you're using Mana Tide Totem aggressively to keep getting your mana back.

If you need some more information, or if you want to set up a time for me to hop on and maybe run a Real ID dungeon with you, email me.

That's it for this week's Ask a Restoration Shaman. As always, I'm available through Twitter and email to answer your questions. You can also find me in game as Lodur on the Ner'Zhul server. Feel free to drop by and ask any questions, and I'll be more than happy to answer them!

Totem Talk: Restoration lets you Ask a Shaman about the tricks of the trade. We'll introduce you to the very latest pre-raid gear and show you how to manage your cooldowns. Happy healing, and may your mana be plentiful!

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