Shaman Guide (1-60)

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Hello fellow Totem Mule,

If you are reading this then you are probably interested in, or at least considering, playing the Restoration Shaman. Welcome to the useful side of the class -in PvE, hurr durr buttmad PvPers. This will be a comprehensive, in-depth guide of what it means to play a Resto Shaman at a competitive level in Vanilla WoW. We will discuss all aspects of the class, from totems to stat priorities, in an effort to bring you up to speed on the ins and outs of this utility healer.

A brief preview on races before we start. Some of the racials are not properly implemented and, as such, do not work as intended -if at all. Continuing on. An Orc Resto Shaman does not benefit from Blood Rage as does its Elemental counterpart. Tauren can benefit from War Stomp in any spec as it has both PvE and PvP utility. A Troll Shaman, however, is the best choice for Resto since the Berserking racial gives you 10% haste. It does not scale with loss of health on Feenix, so it is best to use it whenever you can and not to worry about your current health percentage. If you are personally not a fan of min/maxing, then you can choose any race for RP or aesthetic purposes.

TALENTING:

Let’s begin with a good spec. Knowing how to allocate your 51 talents is considerably less challenging in Vanilla as there are significantly less viable options to pick from. Since this is the case, talenting as a Shaman is what is colloquially referred to as “cookie cutter”. The idea that there are so few possible choices that the tree almost talents itself for you. I will provide you a visual, as well as linked, talent tree for what is considered the standard PvE specialization.

OLha1.jpg

Talents

You can tweak this spec to afford you both Improved Reincarnation and full 3/3 in Healing Grace by simply taking as many points out of Healing Focus as you desire. However, I am not a big fan of Improved Reincarnation since Warlock’s have the ability to Soul Stone any healer with resurrection capabilities for wipe protection. Also, there should be 4 Shaman in your raid with whom you can set up an Ankh rotation in the event of wipes.

If you are considering not taking any points in Healing Grace in order to pick up Improved Reincarnation I would heavily advise you against it. Chain Heal generates a significant amount of threat and –if you are in a melee group– you will not be able to drop Tranquil Air Totem which will drastically increase your risk of pulling aggro on trash. A dead Shaman is a worthless Shaman… true for any class.

**End-Game Spec**

The best end-game -arguably even better to begin with- spec is to pick up Imp Reincarnation and use [Totem of Rebirth], pioneered by the <Omega> Shaman core, and Ojack in particular. An additional benefit, you also get to put the last point in Healing Grace which will help out on trash healing as well as encounters with multiple adds -prevalent in Naxxramas. The spec is as follows:
<Omega> Resto Spec

**Alternative**

If you are a unique, “special snowflake” Resto Shaman you can alter your spec to pick up improved melee totems with a spec such as this:
*Special Snowflake* Imp Melee Totem Resto Spec

This allows you to pick up Enhancing Totems, as well as Guardian Totems, which could make you slightly more loveable to your Melee DPSers and tanks. This spec is still PvE viable since you do not lose any direct throughput; although, on fights where there may be pushback (the cast time bump you receive when struck by an enemy player or NPC), you will be less likely to ignore the affect which could, in turn, cause a loss in overall healing.

!Caution! You will generate the meni stronk aggro with this spec! Be very careful as you do not have any talents in Healing Grace! I have exploded onto the tanking scene during Brood Lord and several other bosses even having spent 2/3 talent points into Healing Grace. You have been warned.

Another possibility is to go into the elemental tree and spend 8 points to pick up Elemental Warding for encounters where elemental resistances: Frost, Fire and Nature are important. This could be particularly useful on fights such as: Vaelastrasz, Viscidus and Sapphiron.
Magic Mitigation Resto Spec

GEAR:
Secondly, we will address proper gearing as itemizing yourself to your role is one of the most vital aspects of WoW in general. The stats that are beneficial to the Resto Shaman are: Intellect, MP5, Healing Power, Spell Crit, Stamina and Spirit. We will go into more depth on the respective benefits of these stats but, for now, the order that I have listed above is a fair guideline. It is important that, when gearing up, you choose items with as much MP5 as possible as Resto Shaman are not particularly mana efficient during the early stages of play. Even with gear, Shaman tend to scale more poorly than other classes in terms of raw healing since MP5 tends to be your primary focus.

This list will not include gear from world bosses. Only gear obtainable off the AH, basic PVPing, world content and dungeon grinding.

Helm: [Clever Hat]
Neck: [Tooth of Gnarr]
Shoulders: [Mantle of Lost Hope]
Back: [Hide of the Wild]
Chest: [Robes of the Exalted]
Bracers: [Loomguard Armbraces]
Gloves: [Harmonious Gauntlets]
Belt: [Whipvine Cord]
Legs: [Padre’s Trousers]
Feet: [Merciful Greaves] or [Abyssal Mail Sabatons of Restoration]
Ring: [Band of Piety]
Ring: [Rosewine Circle]
Trinket: [Mindtap Talisman]
Trinket: [Mindtap Talisman]
Weapon: [Hammer of Revitalization]
Off-Hand: [Tome of Divine Right] or [Gizlock’s Hypertech Buckler] or [Lei of the Lifegiver]
Totem: [Totem of Rebirth] or [Totem of Sustaining]

*Note: There are other items that you can obtain through Vote Points(VP) on the Feenix home page. However, since I am not a fan of voting I have not included those in my gear breakdown.
*Note: Totems have been fixed and should work as intended. If you are a hardcore, progression oriented player I would recommend using [Totem of Rebirth] as the reduced CD on Reincarnation is highly beneficial for progression encounters.

With these items you will have roughly:
Intellect: 135 (+2093 Mana)
MP5: 59
Healing: 394
Crit: 2.18%
Spirit: 16
Stamina: 69 (+690 Health)

This is a very even spread of stats and should keep you comfortable healing everything from dungeon 5 mans, to Zul’Gurub, to Molten Core and even most of Blackwing Lair. There are some alternative options in there that exchange healing for MP5, or MP5 for healing, but, overall, the effect will be about the same. I advise you to get all of those pieces listed as swapping gear out for more mana intensive encounters is a very smart move. The inverse is equally true; on fights that do not require as much MP5, a greater pool of Healing Power will be more beneficial. The rest comes down to your play-style and use of consumables.

*You may have noticed that I did not include [Darkmoon Card: Blue Dragon] in my gear breakdown. That is because, even with a theoretical proc rate of 2% over 250 seconds while casting back-to-back Chain Heals, the proc is highly mercurial and just plain unreliable. There are times when it doesn’t proc at all and the majority of the time it will proc about once every 250 seconds resulting in less overall MP5 than a[Mindtap Talisman].

If you need help in gearing yourself post pre-raid BIS, consult this guide for further information: ***The Egregious Guide to Wearing Pretty Purples***

ENCHANTING:
Enchanting as a resto Shaman is easy. Simply:
Head = Zul’Gurub helm/leg enchant (Requires Zandalar Tribe: Friendly)
Shoulders = Zul’Gurub +Healing enchant (Requires Zandalar Tribe: Exalted)
Bracers = +24 Healing OR 4MP5
Chest= +100 Mana OR +4 Stats (use the latter at higher gear levels)
Legs = Zul’Gurub helm/leg enchant (Requires Zandalar Tribe: Friendly)
Boots = 7 Stamina OR Minor Speed Increase
Cloak = 15 FR / 15 NR (dependent on progression) OR 2% Threat Reduction [subtlety]
Shield = 7 Stamina
Weapon = +55 Healing

STAT PRIORITY:

Stats for Resto Shamans are very straight forward. There are: Intellect, Stamina and Spirit that are primary stats and then there are: MP5, Healing Power (hSP) and Spell Crit as your secondary stats. Typically, the primary stats and secondary stats are prioritized in that order.

Overall, the stat priority will look like this: MP5, Intellect, hSP, Stamina, Spell Crit, Spirit.

Almost every item you pick up in the beginning will have some mix of Intellect and Stamina while very few will have Spirit. It is important to avoid picking up Spirit as much as possible in the early stages of the game as you will lose a considerable amount of item budget (the total points spent on item stats) to this significantly less valuable stat. It is also important in the early stages to pick up as many items as you can with MP5 since it is a rare and integral stat for the Resto Shaman. MP5 also happens to be a unique stat in that its HEP (or Healing Equivalency Point) value far outweighs its item budget. The EP (or Equivalency Point) system arose for players who wanted to more accurately prioritize their gear in very minute ways. In order to figure out which piece was the best possible upgrade they would create systems of EP that ranked their respective stats in personal value. This way, they could find items that were slight upgrades. I rank my HEP values against MP5.

**HEP Values: [stat : 1 MP5]
Intellect: 5:1
MP5: 1:1
hSP: 7:1
Crit: NA

In a perfect world (AKA not Vanilla), you have a parse logging system that calculates the overall benefit/loss of equipping certain stats over the period of hundreds to thousands of casts and spell lands. Here, I can gauge the rough benefit via checking my overall healing done when playing in the same style, on the same encounter, over the same duration. It is always hard to judge accuracy this way as the difference from one week to the next, even on the same boss, can be profound when human error and RNG are thrown in. I have found these numbers to be fairly accurate in assessing which pieces of gear are actually worth picking up.

CONSUMABLES:
Hands down, the most important preemptive measure to raiding a Resto Shaman can take. Consumables. Hate them or love them, it is literally impossible to survive in Vanilla without them especially on this server where everyone and their mother uses them. Your arsenal of consumables will impact your performance so greatly that you may as well be playing two Shaman.

While the farming time may be rough I assure you it is a necessary evil. The mantra is, “The more , the better” and it’s true. So, take this time to familiarize yourself with what consumables you can consider “standard” for the average non-progression raid:

——————————————————-

**It is important to note that some of the values may have been altered on this database after the release of TBC. Keep this in mind when farming as the necessary materials may NOT be what you think. Simply ask around and the many friendly people of Feenix will assist you. You will also be trolled… it’s best to ignore them.

**Since the core merge Sagefish Delight and Nightfin Soup stack. Abuse this.

The items I listed above the line should be considered compulsory raid consumables. Some are more complex than others to farm but most of them should be no trouble at all. If you are an old school player and have noted that Songflowers, Night Dragon’s Breath etc. are not included it is because they are bugged on this server and do not work as intended –or not at all.

As for the items I have listed below the bottom line, you can think of them as a little somthin’-somethin’ extra for progression encounters. Again, bring them in quantities of 20. I have found that preparing for 20 wipes usually does the job. However, the list does not stop here. There are many other consumables that can be valuable for unique encounters and for those challenging bosses. Fights like Viscidus, C’Thun, most encounters in Naxxramas can all benefit from resistance potions, Flask of the Titans, and stamina food. List as follows:

Yes, it is a long list but every one of these items can, and will, come in handy on some encounter so I suggest you stock up early. Scan the Auction House every day to try and catch consumables at their cheapest prices if you cannot farm them yourself… it’s a good money saver and you will need every bent copper for Naxxramas.

TOTEMS:

*Something you will have to get used to when transitioning from retail is dropping four totems every two minutes. Yes, every two minutes! And one for your Mana Spring and Healing Stream. And say goodbye to Totemic Recall. If you are going to totem aggro a mob/boss you have to drop a totem of the same element somewhere else or you will look like a fool. This is also valuable to know on Geddon where he may make one of your totems the bomb. If he does, simply redrop the totem of the affected element.

Totems are integral to the Shaman class and if you fail to drop them you are a bad Shaman. A common mistake many Shaman make is not refreshing their totems as they expire or as their party members out range them. 30 yards without the talent or 40 yards with the talent or T1 3 piece *(the talent and set bonuses stack on this server so it is possible to have a range of up to 40 yards)*. It is a deceptively small rage. I advise you, if you are new to the idea of placing buff sticks, to notify your group to spam a macro in party should they notice a totem buff has fallen off. It will, of course, be up to you to re-drop them.

A second mistake that a significant number of Shaman make is to not bind all of their necessary totems. Totem binds are a required part of playing the Shaman class. There may be an instance where you have to swap from one totem to another rapidly or where there will be no time to open your spell book. Clicking them is not an option either. Every time you take your mouse off your raid frames a kitten is brutally murdered.

A final mistake many Shaman make is to neglect the benefit of casting non-melee totems while in a ranged DPS or healing group. This is a very serious lapse in judgment as there are several totems that can be worthwhile to a ranged DPS or healing party.

ALL TOTEMS MUST BE PLACED IN LOS OF THEIR BENEFICIARY! On Feenix, totems have to be placed in LOS of the players you wish to benefit. Otherwise, players in your group will not benefit from the buffs your totems provide. While this bug is definitely annoying, there are other bugs in the Shaman class that increase the efficiency of our healing spells. Regardless, keep this in mind.

I will run through the list of raid viable totems per element:

Earth:
Strength of Earth Totem – REQUIRED 100% uptime on this totem when you are in a melee group.
Tremor Totem – An important totem to use when a boss encounter has fear/charm/sleep mechanics.
Earthbind Totem – A very useful tool in kiting/running from loose trash in an instance.
Stoneclaw Totem – Good to drop before Earthbind in order to take lose mobs off your tail.
Stoneskin Totem – Not a very worthwhile totem. Use this if there are, for some reason, two Shaman in a melee or tank group.

Fire:
Frost Resistance Totem – Very beneficial to have down if you are a healer/ranged DPS group during Twin Emperors, Sapphiron or other encounters with Frost damage.
Searing Totem – A nice addition to DPS race boss encounters.
Fire Nova Totem – A nice addition to nuking adds on encounters such Anub’rhekan and Maexxna. *It is important to note on this server the damage is dealt on totem drop.
Magma Totem – A nice addition to nuking adds/trash if you have the mana.

Air:
Windfury Totem – REQUIRED 100% uptime while in a melee DPS group. Exception to this rule is when NR is required.
Grace of Air Totem – A nice buff for a group with a Hunter or if you are one of two Shaman in a melee DPS group.
Nature Resistance Totem – Very beneficial for fights involving high amounts of Nature damage. See Viscidus and Huhuran.
Tranquil Air Totem – REQUIRED 100% uptime while in a healing or caster DPS group. Exception is when NR is required.
Grounding Totem – Useful for redirecting ranged attacks from bosses such as C’Thun (green beam).

Water:
Mana Spring Totem – REQUIRED 100% uptime. Exception when needing FR.
Mana Tide Totem – Use on rotation with Dark/Demonic Runes and Mana Potions.
Poison Cleansing Totem – Mandatory on fights with high poison output. See Viscidus, Huhuran soaker wall, Grand Widow Faerlina and some Naxx trash.
Fire Resistance Totem – Very beneficial for fights involving high amounts of Fire damage.
Healing Stream Totem – Useful if there are two Shaman in one caster DPS/healer group.
Disease Cleansing Totem – Nominal useage.

**If you are a Shaman download TotemTimers or gotWood from this addon pack:**
***Feenix 1.12.1 Addons***
~!IT REALLY HELPS!~

PROFESSIONS:

But it’s Vanilla, you say, I can’t min/max professions? But you can, to a degree. Alchemy and Engineering can be viewed as raid viable professions for a healer.

Alchemy gives you the power to bring your consumables in the form of herbs saving you bag space and allowing you to utilize one, or more, [Satchel of Cenarius] a 24 slot Herb bag. This effectively increases your overall inventory space if you craft your consumables on the go and gives you the unique ability to bring more than a standard players arsenal to the raid.
*Additive pro: It also prevents you from having to spend your day pestering people in Org to craft you this or that.
*Additive pro: If a guild member isn’t online you don’t have to tip someone who would otherwise craft for you.

Engineering is also uniquely raid viable since with it you can produce bombs, repair bots and pseudo-bandages. Things like Thorium Grenade or The Big One can be used to stun and damage mobs in challenging encounters where DPS can be an issue. On fights such as Maexxna a well timed The Big One can cause significant damage to the spiders that spawn before the web wrap. Consider this another tool in your arsenal.
*Additive pro: Engineering is dually viable for PvP, as well. You can amaze your friends with well timed grenades and irritate some of the big bad duelers outside your capitol city.

Fishing and Cooking are no-brainers. With these two professions you can kill time and earn a little extra gold on the side. Not to mention, you can farm those elusive Stonescale Eels’ that are so sought after for Flask of the Titans.
*Additive pro: You can fish and cook your own Greater Sagefish Delight.
*Additive pro: You can make a campfire for a nominal Spirit buff.

ADDONS & UI:

A healer’s UI (user interface) is crucial in adapting quickly to a fluid raid environment. It is equally important to have both a clear and “drama free” UI as well as a focally centered UI on your screen.

Only you can know what is right for you but consider placing your Unit Frames in the lower middle section of your screen. The advantages of this are a clear and unobstructed view of your raid, an unobstructed view of the ground you are standing on, and a central focus point for your eyes to rest upon while keeping the entire screen in your periphery. I find that pictures are always helpful and you can find many ideas in the UI thread of the forums which you can find here: http://forum.wow-one…__fromsearch__1. I will also link a picture of my UI for reference as to what I am talking about. I apologize in advance for the quality of the screen shot, my computer is not the greatest.

Reveal hidden contents

This SS also provides a sneak peek of what your consumables could look like in future progression encounters.

Reveal hidden contents

Notice how the upper portion of my screen is unobstructed and I have a clear view of what is happening on either side of me. I believe this is very important to keeping alert and raid aware, as well as cutting down on avoidable damage taken.

There are many unit frame options and all of them have their own unique feel yet they all serve the same function. I would advise you spend a few hours or days playing around with each one to find which suits you best. The most common options for raid frames are:

  • ag_UnitFrames
  • Blizzard Raid Frames and Units Frames
  • Blizzard Units
  • CTRA
  • DUF
  • Grid
  • PerfectRaid
  • sRaidFrames
  • XeekUI
  • XPerl

You can find them here:

***Feenix 1.12.1 Addons***

or here:

***1/3***
***2/3***
***3/3***

Spend some time on your UI and get to know the ins and outs of your chosen unit frame. In addition to both TotemTimers and a Unit Frame, there are several other addons that I believe are crucial to be an effective healer. Those addons are:

  • Bartender2
  • BigWigs or DBM
  • Classic SnowfallKeyPress
  • CooldownCount
  • Decursive
  • EnemyCastingBar (ECB)
  • KLH Threat Meter
  • Qlique or Mouseover Macros

You can, of course, download more addons as you see fit but I believe these cover the basics of what is required of healers. Links to SnowfallKeyPress and Mouseover Macros can be found here:
***Vallen’s ClassicMouseoverMacro***
~~~Vallen’s SnowfallKeyPress~~~

KEYBINDINGS:

—I am going to start this off by saying that I cannot keybind for you. Only you know what suits you best. But here we go.

Along with a proper UI, keybinds can greatly increase player reaction time and decrease wasted time when utilizing abilities. Keybinds also allow a player to subconsciously react to situations with muscle memory if their keybinds are well planned out. It is the goal of every great player to keybind all of their important, and even some of their moderately important, abilities. When keybinding, keep this picture in mind.

Keyboard_Layout.png

White: Signifies movement and utility keys.
Green: Signifies keys that you can reach most quickly and most accurately.
Brown: Signifies keys that are slightly less efficient than Green.
Red: Signifies keys that are incredibly hard to hit precisely.

This means that your frequently used abilities should be bound to Green keys and the less frequently used the ability to the Brown or Red keys.

Here is a list of Shaman abilities that you should consider keybinding. I will rank them in –what I consider– the order of importance for PvE:

Chain Heal (Rank 3)
Chain Heal (Rank 2)
Chain Heal (Rank 1)
Healing Wave (Rank 10)
Healing Wave (Rank 7)
Healing Wave (Rank 4) or (5) [whatever your gear can sustain]
Healing Wave (Rank 1) [to proc Healing Way stacks]
Lesser Healing Wave (Rank 6)
Lesser Healing Wave (Rank 4)
Major Mana Potion
Dark/Demonic Rune
Nature’s Swiftness
Decursive
Grenades [if you have them]
Limited Invulnerability Potion
Purge
Water Totems:
Mana Spring Totem
Mana Tide Totem
Poison Cleansing Totem
Fire Resistance Totem
Healing Stream Totem
Disease Cleansing Totem
Fire Totems:
Frost Resistance Totem
Searing Totem
Fire Nova Totem
Earth Totems:
Strength of Earth Totem
Tremor Totem
Earthbind Totem
Stoneclaw Totem
Air Totems:
Windfury Totem
Tranquil Air Totem
Nature Resistance Totem
Grace of Air Totem
Grounding Totem
– – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Trinket Slot 1
Trinket Slot 2
Racial
Lighting Shield
Earth Shock (Rank 1)
Frost Shock (Rank 1)

GAMEPLAY:
Now to the fun part. Gameplay.

There are two indistinct styles you can adopt as a Resto Shaman. MP5 over Healing Power or Healing Power over MP5. What it comes down to is what kind of epics you like to pick up and how good you are at managing your mana. If you do either of these “builds” correctly the difference will amount to nothing. If you chose to go for MP5 over healing, you will use higher ranked spells more often. If you chose to go for healing over MP5, you will use lower rank spells more often. The effect balances out and both are about the same.

With those two stat priorities in mind, your overall stat goals will be:
Intellect———————————-Intellect
MP5——————–<Or>————Healing
Healing———————————–MP5

MP5 and Healing are important for the obvious reasons, but Intellect is one of those stats -like Stamina- that is heavily undervalued. With a sizable pool of Intellect you can afford to use your consumables in a way that is more efficient as it becomes easier and less stressful to get your rotation on point 100% of the time. You also have the luxury of a few more heals worth of mana which is never a bad thing. Since your mana is essentially other people’s life you can never have too much of it. Lastly, it acts as additional crit which is beneficial for both Ancestral Healing and throughput.

Crit and Spirit fall by the wayside and manage to attach themselves to random pieces of gear in very inconvenient locations. Spirit is “worthless” for us Shaman anyway so do not feel concerned about that in the slightest. Crit, however, is very valuable but very hard to find.

Important thing to note! Feenix has corrected the broken CH coefficient and CH numbers should be closer to their retail equivalent. With these changes, LHW is a more viable option as it will heal for around the direct healing of your CHr3. However, you should still only use this heal when raid density renders CH less effective or when a player is taking quick, spike damage and needs dire healing. You can look at it this way as concrete demonstration (these values were derived from AQ40 and Naxx gear):

Healing Done (965 +Healing): (Crits would be 150%)
LHW r6 = 1378~ (100 casts)
CH r1= 1077~ (100 casts)
CH r2= 1181~ (100 casts)
CH r3= 1363~ (100 casts)

Cost:
LHW r6= 361
CH r1= 247
CH r2= 299
CH r3= 384

Mana Efficiency: [or amount of healing per 1 mana] (Higher # = Greater Efficiency)
LHW r6= 3.82
CH r1= 4.36
Ch r2= 3.94
CH r3= 3.55
** It is important to note these Efficiency numbers do NOT include the bounces!**

CHAIN HEAL

The bread and butter.

With the information I linked above, even spamming Chain Heal (Rank 1), you have the capability of pushing out insanely high throughput with one spell. With this knowledge, Chain Heal is even more of your go-to heal. It is important to never stop casting at all. If you find that you are casting at a target who is at full HP and all of the nearby players are as well cancel your cast and queue up another heal. But always keep casting. This is why you have your arsenal of consumables.

Resto Shaman are a key player in healing the tanks and melee. We may not be as efficient or powerful as a Druid or Priest for direct tank healing but, with our CH, we can do both effective tank and melee healing. Additionally, our spell critical strikes have a chance to grant Ancestral Healing (AKA Ancestral Fortitude from retail). We can add a steady stream of anywhere between 1,000 and 1,400 (depending on the CH rank and player’s hSP) to the tank every 2.5 seconds.

The goal of CH spamming is to use about this breakdown of ranks: CH(R1) 30%, CH(R2) 40%, and CH(R3)30%. With proper itemization and consumable usage this should be well within the reach of a Shaman in MC/BWL gear. CH(R2) costs 52 mana more and can hit for 100~ more than a R1. R3 is a little more expensive but, if timed correctly, is extremely handy in AoE raid healing scenarios. It comes down to if you can afford it, cast it.

This style of play involves an acute knowledge of ones mana consumption, encounter time and resource usage. Without these three factors, it can be easy to run yourself out of mana far before the fight is over rendering you useless or forcing you to steal an Innervate from another player. A good Shaman should rarely ask for an Innervate –though it’s always nice to receive one. The goal of any healer is to use all of their consumables effectively and be as close to OOM as possible at the end of an encounter. Any extra mana at the end of a fight can be viewed as either loss of possible healing or effective overhealing. Both are bad, though overhealing less so.

CH is, in its purest form, your main heal. You will use it to heal tanks, melee and ranged. Although this is the case, do not mindlessly spam CH. Think about what kind of mechanics the boss has and where your CH will be most valuable. Pre-cast on melee members when AoE damage is going out. Use it on tanks if a proximity based AoE is about to be dropped onto the floor, this will allow you to both heal the tank and the melee. A good example is on the Snake boss in ZG. After the 50% transition into Phase 2 you should start -after waiting for your tank to reestablish threat- casting CH R2-3 on the tank to both keep him alive as well as sustain the melee who will be taking damage from his AoE poison ability and the ground mounds.

Even though CH is your definitive buttbuddy best friend, you should be aware of situations that call for your other healing spells.

HEALING WAVE

This is your slow cast, high single target healing spell. Basically, a tank heal. The benefit of this spell is that it applies a talented buff called Healing Way. Healing Way can stack to 3/3 and increases your consecutive HW (NOT LHW) spells on that target. This is a cool and nifty spell especially since Healing Way also effects every other Shaman’s HWs (Healing Way was fixed and no longer affects additional Shaman’s stacks of Healing Way)! This means free hSP for you and all other Shaman in your raid. A useful tool when tank healing on encounters such as Chromaggus, Ragnaros, Barron Geddon, Anub’Rekhan, Maexxna and all other encounters that require you, as a Shaman, to directly heal the tank.

Utilizing HW can be a challenge as it is not particularly mana efficient. This means that you will need to have several ranks on your bar (see my KEYBINDS section). A low, mid and high output HW is ideal as it covers the entire span of possible tank damage taken. When considering what ranks to chose it is important to know how the spell coefficient works. The longer a spell, the higher bonus you will add with your hSP. This means that, when you choose shorter cast time HWs, the spell coefficient will receive less than the longer duration heals in terms of bonus healing. Talenting into Improved Healing Wave does not reduce the coefficient. So, with that in mind, keep your low to mid range HW at R4 or above as that is the level where the coefficient is at its maximum.

Using HW is a good practice to start when there is little damage going out on the raid. This is because typically, when Blizzard decides for there to be less raid damage, there is an increase in Tank damage. So, if you know raidwide damage is about to dip, top off your raid and then begin casting HW on your tank to help with the overall healing. Again, as I said in the CH section, there is no real reason to ever stop casting as someone is always going to be taking damage.

One mark of a great Shaman is keeping Ancestral Healing up on the Main Tank and as many other Off Tanks as possible. On fights with heavy tank damage, a clever Shaman can pop off a HW(R1) every 14 seconds to both refresh their Healing Way stacks (talent that adds additional healing to your –and other’s on Feenix- HWs) and a chance to proc AH. With the utilization of Vallen’s ClassicMouseoverMacros, your target frame functionality can now be used as a handy focus frame. If you keep that directed at your tank all the time you will be able to see whether or not the Ancestral Healing or Inspiration (the Priest AH equiv) is active. If not, try to proc one. A good fallback is just to spam your tank with CH until it procs.

That method of healing will result in less overall healing than a Shaman who spams CHr1 consecutively. However, if your raid has problems with tank healing, this method of healing is particularly beneficial.

LESSER HEALING WAVE

The Flash Heal and Healing Touch (R3) of the Resto Shaman.

Using LHW effectively can be challenging. Since it does not benefit greatly from the coefficient -it has a very short cast- it will be the weakest spell in your arsenal. However, short of NS HW R10, it is also your fastest heal. There are a maximum of three scenarios where casting LHW is viable.

  • You, your tank, or another raid member is about to die and they need healing ASAP -your NS is on CD.
  • Your raid is spread out in a manner that renders CH ineffective.
  • Your tank is taking large damage and neither Inspiration nor Ancestral Healing are active; therefore, you must proc Ancestral Healing ASAP.

In these three situations casting LHW becomes the prudent option.

Fights where LHW can be a handy option are on: Chromaggus during a Time Lapse, Nefarian if the Curse is not being dispelled, Skeram, Sartura, Twin Emperors, C’Thun and so on. Whenever you need to do quick healing in anticipation of follow up damage or quickly get someone in the raid a couple more health points, LHW is the way to go.

MISCELLANEOUS

First off, to properly utilize your in-combat mana consumables, it is important to develop a rotation. If a boss requires intense healing, begin with a Major Mana Potion when you have a deficit of 2,200 mana. Then, depending on if the fight is over 5 minutes, use your Mana Tide Totem at 92% total mana. If the fight is going to be less than 5 minutes long, burn your first Dark/Demonic Rune at roughly 1,500 mana deficit. Then being to burn your Mana Potion and Dark/Demonic Rune off CD (cool down). Your rotation should look something like this:

Scenario 1—————————————————-Scenario 2
Short Duration Boss w/ Intense Healing—————-Long Duration Boss w/ Intense Healing
Major Mana Potion——————————————Major Mana Potion
Dark/Demonic Rune—————————————-Mana Tide
Mana Tide—————————————————-Dark/Demonic Rune
——————————–<[rinse repeat]>

Ostensibly, if the boss encounter does not warrant intensive healing, adhering to a consumable rotation will be of less importance and you can just wing it.
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The key is to continue to use your mana consumables off CD in order to keep your mana up at as high a level as possible throughout every encounter. A lapse or two could leave you near OOM in the middle of a fight or during a critical period of raid damage. Also, it is crucial that you have a good view of your mana consumables (Mana Tide, Major Mana Potion, Dark/Demonic Rune) somewhere on your action bar. You must be aware of when they come off CD and use them immediately. It is very easy to get swept up in the healing required to save people’s lives but it is even more important that you drink that pot. And good news is they are off the GCD so you can quickly hit them and continue healing without having to wait ~1 second.

An aside on Nature’s Swiftness.

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Another small thing you can do to drastically improve your performance and reaction time is to download KLH Threat Meter (one of the addons I listed above). Use this as a tool to monitor who is, and who is not, high on threat in order to be ready with appropriate healing should there be a: tank switch, loss of aggro, or an Ignite Mage about to explode onto the tanking scene. Utilizing KLH is an easy and surefire way to, not only up your performance but also, increase your player awareness. The more things that you force yourself to keep track of, the easier it will be to maintain that level of concentration in the future and the easier encounters will begin to feel for you. In essence, the more you train the better you will become.

Finally, know your boss fights. The more you know about boss mechanics the more you can predict player specific or raid wide damage. A good healer is up-to-date on boss strategies and looks for raid-group specific damage. A player here who takes more “I stood in the fire” damage or a player there who always wants to pop off that last bit of their rotation before moving out of an avoidable damage affect. This, more than anything, I believe, is what can truly make you a great player. The ability to focus and anticipate where healing needs to go before it does. BigWigs or DBM (boss timer addons) really help in speeding up the learning curve on each boss. So use them and use your brain when healing. And for god’s sake, do NOT tunnel vision your UI. Take your eyes off every few seconds and quickly scan the raid. Is the tank re-positioning? Are DPS running around like idiots? Is someone about to be struck by avoidable damage? These are questions you should always be asking yourself.

RECAP

So, a quick recap.

  • Chain Heal is your go-to heal in terms of both tank and raid healing. Prioritize healing melee members of your raid first when AoE hits as that is where your healing is most effective. Let the Priests and Druids heal the ranged, especially if they aren’t grouped to start off with. Then, once the melee are taken care of, you can assist with the rest of the raid.
  • Lesser Healing Wave will be your primary choice when the raid is not appropriately positioned for you to make full use of CH. Instead, use LHW to shoot out quick heals to members in your raid who are in desperate need of healing. This is a useful tool when used judiciously. Do not get it into your head that you are a Druid and try to Healing Touch your way to glory. A good time for LHW R6 spam is on Chromaggus during a Time Lapse.
  • Healing Wave is going to be one of those spells that you only use if you know there will be significant tank damage and low raid damage. If there is even a question of whether or not the melee will take damage, default to Chain Heal. But, if you know it will only be tank damage (IE Chromaggus), you can utilize Healing Wave. Use R1 before the fight initiates to quickly stack up 3 Healing Way. Then swap to R4 or 5 (whatever your mana can sustain) and heal with that during moderate damage. If the tank will take heavy damage swap to R7 or 10 and keep it up as long as necessary.
  • When to use Nature’s Swiftness. This is a hard one because you can save it for when a raid member needs immediate and insane healing and combo it with a NS + HWR10 for a ~3,000+ heal or you can use it for throughput off CD paired with CH. It really is up to you. If you want to feel/be more of a clutch healer then save NS for an emergency. If you want to do a little more healing on the charts then then bust that thing whenever you can and CHr3 into the raid.
  • Be raid aware. Learn the fights and learn when and where to accurately apply your healing. This is the most important thing needed to transition from a good or average healer to a great healer.

And if all else fails, you can always just mindless CH spam right?