If you find yourself reading this guide then you are probably interested in or considering playing the Restoration Shaman. Welcome to the useful side of the class. This will be a comprehensive, in-depth guide of what it means to play the Resto Shaman at a competitive level in Vanilla (now Classic) WoW. Within will be discussed all aspects of the class, from totem usage to stat priority, in an effort to bring you up to speed on the ins-and-outs of this utility healer.
A brief preview on the Horde races before we begin:
- Orc: An Orc Resto Shaman does not benefit from Blood Rage.
- Tauren: Tauren benefit from War Stomp in any spec as it has both PvE and PvP utility. They are also a small bit sturdier than the other Horde races thanks to Endurance.
- Troll: The Troll Shaman, however, is ideal and the best choice for Resto in PvE, as Berserking offers a minimum of 10% haste while scaling to a maximum of 30% in correlation with one’s health deficit.
If, for whatever reason, you are not personally inclined to min/max, feel free to opt for any race for either RP or aesthetic purposes.
Let’s begin with a solid spec. Knowing how to allocate your talents is no longer a meme if transitioning from retail. I will provide you a visual and a link for what is considered the standard PvE Resto specialization.
You can tweak this spec to afford 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 until later instances in Vanilla. Warlocks have the ability to Soulstone any healer with resurrection capabilities for wipe protection. Also there should be 4+ Shaman in your raid with whom an Ankh rotation can be established in the event of wipes.
If you are considering avoiding points in Healing Grace in order to pick up Improved Reincarnation, I would heavily advise against it. Chain Heal generates a significant amount of threat, especially with full consumables, and –if you find yourself in a melee group– you will not be able to drop Tranquil Air Totem, unless specifically required, drastically increasing your risk of pulling aggro on trash or boss mobs. A dead Shaman is a worthless Shaman.
Instead, I would take 2 talent points from Ancestral Healing. Unless your primary job in a raid is tank healing, you aren’t getting very much mileage out of the talent and, in that case, take the remaining point from Ancestral Healing and move it to Healing Grace.
The best endgame spec, arguably even better to begin with, is one utilizing Imp Reincarnation and [Totem of Rebirth]. An additional benefit to this spec is securing the last point in Healing Grace, aiding on trash healing as well as encounters with multiple adds -prevalent especially in Naxxramas. The spec is as follows:
If you are filling a unique roll you can alter your spec to pick up Enhancing Totems through a spec such as:
A spec such as this allows utilizing Enhancing Totems as well as Guardian Totems, which could make you slightly more lovable to your Melee DPSers and tanks. This spec is still PvE viable since you do not lose any direct healing throughput, only pushback reduction; although on fights with pushback you will be less likely to ignore the effect which could, in turn, generate a loss in overall healing.
!Caution! You will generate extreme aggro with this spec! Be very careful as you do not have any talents in Healing Grace! Personally, I have exploded onto the tanking scene during Brood Lord, and several other pre-AQ40 bosses, even with 2/3 points in 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.
Secondly, we will address proper gearing, as itemizing yourself to your role is one of the most vital aspects of WoW. Stats beneficial to the Resto Shaman are: Intellect, MP5, Healing Power, Spell Crit, Stamina and Spirit -often in that order. 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 to gearing throughout early Vanilla. It is important that, when gearing up during the initial stages of Vanilla dungeoning, you choose items with as much MP5 as possible. Resto Shaman are sadly not particularly mana efficient during the early stages of play.
With that in mind, I have generated a pre-raid BIS list for gearing prior to MC. This list will not include gear from world bosses. Only gear obtainable off the AH, basic PVPing, world content and dungeon grinding (with DM taken into consideration) will be included in this pre-raid BIS list.
- 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] or [Briarwood Reed] (on shorter fights)
- Weapon: [Hammer of Grace]
- Off-Hand: [Tome of Divine Right] or [Gizlock’s Hypertech Buckler] then [Lei of the Lifegiver] (once you’ve finished your AV farm)
- Totem: [Totem of Rebirth] or [Totem of Sustaining]
With these items you will have roughly (depending on race):
- 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 dungeons, to Zul’Gurub, to Molten Core and even some 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 playstyle 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 cannot be relied upon to proc during a meaningful time. There are instances when it doesn’t proc at all, sometimes on the pull, and other times it will proc about once every 250 seconds resulting in less overall MP5 than a [Mindtap Talisman].
If you need help in gearing yourself after pre-raid BIS, consult this guide for further information: ***The Egregious Guide to Wearing Pretty Purples***
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
- 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 (have you ever walked anywhere?)
- Cloak = 15 FR / 15 NR (dependent on progression) OR 2% Threat Reduction [Subtlety] (I use the threat reduction)
- Shield = 7 Stamina
- Weapon = +55 Healing
Stats for Resto Shamans are very straightforward. There are: Intellect, Stamina and Spirit as primary stats and then: 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 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 value far outweighs its item budget. The EP system arose from that Chinaman, Ming (pbuh), who wanted to more accurately prioritize gear in very minute ways. In order to figure out which piece was the best possible upgrade, he created systems of EP that ranked his respective stats by personal value. This way, he could find items that were even slight upgrades. I rank my HEP values against MP5.
**HEP Values: [stat : 1 MP5]
- Intellect: 5:1
- MP5: 1:1
- hSP: 6:1
- Crit: N/A
In a perfect world (AKA not Vanilla, though hopefully Classic), you have a combat logging system from which you may calculate the overall benefit/loss of equipping certain stats over the period of hundreds to thousands of spell 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 accurate in assessing which pieces of gear are actually worth picking up.
Hands down, the most important preemptive measure to raiding a Resto Shaman can take: consumables. Hate them or love them, it is figuratively impossible to survive in Vanilla without 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. Take this time to familiarize yourself with what consumables you can consider “standard” for the average progression raid:
- Flask of Distilled Wisdom x2
- Major Mana Potion x30
- Brilliant Mana Oil x2
- Mageblood Potion x20
- Elixir of Greater Intellect x20
- Sagefish Delight x20
- Nightfin Soup x20
- Demonic Rune / *Dark Rune x20
- Elixir of the Sages x20
- Rumsey Rum Black Label x20
- Limited Invulnerability Potion x5
- Scroll of Intellect IV
- Scroll of Spirit IV
- Scroll of Stamina IV
- Scroll of Protection IV
- Crystal Force
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, it is not Classic yet, or I got drunk and forgot to update the guide.
As for the items I have listed below the line, you can think of them as a little extra for progression encounters, or if you’re a tryhard. 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:
- Flask of the Titans
- Elixir of Fortitude
- Elixir of Greater/Superior Defense
- Major Troll’s Blood Potion
- Greater Nature/Shadow/Frost/Fire Protection Potion
- Crystal Ward
- Monster Omelet (stacks with Dirge’s Kickin’Chimaerock Chops)
- Dirge’s Kickin’Chimaerok Chops
- Noggenfogger Elixir
- Magic Resistance Potion
- Swiftness Potion
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.
*Something you will have to get used to when transitioning from retail is dropping four totems every two minutes, or just simply dropping totems at all (lol Legion). Yes, every two minutes! And one for your Mana Spring and Healing Stream totems. And say goodbye to Totemic Recall. If you are going to totem pull a mob/boss you’ll have to drop a totem of the same element somewhere else or risk looking a fool.
Totems are integral to the Shaman class (using this logic one may conclude that, in Legion, there are no Shaman) and if you fail to drop them you are a bad Shaman (using this logic one may conclude that, in Legion, there are no good Shaman). A common mistake many Shaman make is not refreshing their totems as they expire or as their party members out-range them. Thirty yards without the talent or 40 yards with the talent and T1 3 piece. It is a deceptively small range. 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 replace them.
A second mistake a significant number of Shaman make is not to bind all of their necessary totems. Totem binds are a required part of playing the Shaman class. There may be a moment 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 click a spell 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.
I will run through the list of raid viable totems per element:
- Strength of Earth Totem – REQUIRED 100% uptime on this totem when in a melee group. Exception when needing Tremor or Earthbind.
- 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 loose 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.
- 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 and useful for snap-aggro on a boss with an aggro reset (Skeram, Noth, etc.).
- Fire Nova Totem – A nice addition to nuking adds on encounters such Anub’rhekan and Maexxna.
- Magma Totem – A nice addition to nuking adds/trash if you have the mana.
- Windfury Totem – REQUIRED 100% uptime while in a melee DPS group. Exception to this rule is when NR/TA 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 when NR is required.
- Grounding Totem – Useful for redirecting ranged attacks from susceptible mobs and bosses. Crucial in PvP.
- Mana Spring Totem – REQUIRED 100% uptime. Exception when FR is required.
- Mana Tide Totem – Use on rotation with Dark/Demonic Runes and Mana Potions.
- Poison Cleansing Totem – Mandatory on fights with high poison output (Viscidus, Huhuran, 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 usage.
**If you are a Shaman download TotemTimers or gotWood from this addon pack:**
~!IT REALLY HELPS!~
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 player’s 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. You can amaze your friends with well timed grenades and irritate some of the big bad duelers outside your capital 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 and amusement.
ADDONS & UI:
A healer’s UI 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. 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 snap, my computer was not the greatest machine.
*In this video you can clearly see how much of the room I am able to view with my UI tailored in this fashion. All important information is displayed on my bars and superfluous keybinds and bars are hidden.
*This SS also provides a sneak peek of what your consumables could look like in future progression encounters.
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, and this is not up for debate, it is very important to keeping alert and raid aware, as well as cut down on potential avoidable damage taken. Addons can help you in this endeavor.
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:
- Blizzard Raid Frames and Units Frames
- Blizzard Units
You can find them here:
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:
- BigWigs or DBM
- Classic SnowfallKeyPress
- 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~~~
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 improve 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.
- 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. Please note that it is impossible to cluster spells in linear text. Know that I do not mean to suggest you start at 1 and bind to 5, then Q to R, etc in the order I have listed. Use your brain.
- 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 2) [to proc Healing Way stacks]
- Lesser Healing Wave (Rank 6)
- Lesser Healing Wave (Rank 4)
- Major Mana Potion
- Dark/Demonic Rune
- Nature’s Swiftness
- Grenades [if you have them]
- Limited Invulnerability Potion
- 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
- Magma 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 (way higher for PvP)
- Trinket Slot 1
- Trinket Slot 2
- Lighting Shield
- Earth Shock (Rank 1)
- Frost Shock (Rank 1)
One thing that will really improve your ability to play the game, as well as other classes, is to have a binding schema. For me R is always an interrupt of some kind. ` a Purge/Dispel, V is always racial, C always my PvP trinket, etc. Again, only you know what works for you, but try to develop a similar scheme for yourself to avoid confusion and to increase your ability to play alts without feeling lost.
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 almost 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:
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 -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. Think of it as a bonus should you get any.
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)
- 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!**
The bread and butter.
With the information I linked above, even spamming Chain Heal (Rank 1), you have the capability of pushing out insane 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, then 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. 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) 60%, CH(R2) 20%, and CH(R3)20%. 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 one’s 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 best friend, you should be aware of situations that call for your other healing spells.
This is your slow, big single target heal. 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. A useful tool when tank healing on encounters such as Chromaggus, Ragnaros, Baron 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 OT 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 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.
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 begin to burn your Mana Potion and Dark/Demonic Rune off CD. 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
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.
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.
NS is a valuable tool. One of our two CDs aside from Mana Tide Totem. However, it isn’t as big of a deal as we would like. There are 2 methods you can use for NS. 1) being the selfless healer method where you save it, NS, for an emergency, and 2) the selfish healer method where you use it whenever you can for raw healing throughput. There is really no right or wrong way to use it since, either way, you are healing players in the raid. The only thing I can offer is just to be cautious when you first enter a guild/group of players. Get to know them, their tendencies and strengths and weaknesses. Then you can decide what is and what is not a good way to use NS.
Another small thing which will drastically improve your performance and reaction time is to download KLH Threat Meter. 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 is what can truly make you a great player: the ability to anticipate where healing is needed. BigWigs or DBM really help in accelerating the learning curve on each boss. So use them and use your brain when healing. 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 the idiots they are? Is someone about to be struck by avoidable damage? These are questions you should always be asking yourself.
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. 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 or Loatheb), 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 challenging because you can hold it for when a raid member needs immediate, big healing and combo it with HWR10 for a ~3,000+ heal or you can use it selfishly 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 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.
Best of luck in your future endeavors!
If you have any further questions, comments, concerns feel free to post a reply in this thread, contact me on the forums or in-game. I will make myself available for you. You an also find me through: