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August 9, 2010

Resto Shaman BiS: The Final Shopping List

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Written by: Vixsin
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So, it’s come down to this: it’s the end of the expansion, you either have more Emblems of Frost than you know what to do with or not enough to even put a dent in your shopping list, you’re locked to a certain level of progression which either does or does not include ICC/RS hardmodes, and all you want is a gear set that will give you a feeling of accomplishment. Or maybe you’re making the best of this time, gearing out an alt, before (/ominous music) … Azeroth is ripped asunder! Whatever your situation, it’s an interesting place to be, because on one hand you know, without a doubt, that once Cataclysm hits, that there will be some green which replaces your hard-earned Val’anyr or Glowing Twilight Scale. On the other hand, you need some solid motivation to keep you walking through the front door of ICC each week. Enter: the WotLK Resto Shaman Penultimate Shopping List.

After months of abstaining from the discussion of BiS, aside from the one grudging post which I made back in January of this year, and which has had more traffic lately than all the posts I’ve had mentioned on WoW.com (okay, it’s only been 2, so that’s not a hard threshold to meet!), I’ve finally swallowed my own philosophical objections. All those “BiS is a myth” and “BiS only matters during progression” and intense raging disclaimers won’t make an appearance in this post! (heh)

Instead, I’m (hopefully) giving a good number of curious restos precisely what they’ve been trying to Google—the Best in Slot Resto Shaman shopping list. I’m not going to give you the numbers behind the evaluation, because frankly speaking, these items are really only relevant when you’re talking about a set, so the calculated 10 HEP difference between The Pants of Uber and the Pants-of-not-as-much-Uber, doesn’t really matter here. (Visit EJ’s Resto Shaman TTT if you’d like the complete list.) Also, please do assume that I’m referencing the heroic versions of the loot listed; as pure stat upgrades there’s never a time where a normal version will outpace its heroic equivalent.

Weapon: [Val’anyr]

  • Amazingly enough, Val’anyr still comes out on top, even with its decreased stat levels, due to of Protection of Ancient Kings. Because absorbs are by-and-large the best healing you can do in ICC and RS encounters, Val’anyr-equipped healers are still seeing significant contributions from this Ulduar legendary.
  • Runners up: [Royal Scepter of Terenas II]*, [Trauma]

Off-Hand: [Bulwark of Smouldering Steel]*

  • There’s no debate here; this shield will give you every stat you need and none of that pesky mp5.
  • Runner up: [Bastion of Resolve]

Totem: [Totem of the Calming Tides]

Head: [Sanctified Frost Witch’s Headpiece]*

  • Another no-brainer; with no mp5 and no shortage of stats, the t10 helm is leagues beyond any offset piece.
  • Runners up: None. Get thee thy t10.

Neck: [Blood Queen’s Crimson Choker]

  • While at the start of ICC I might have argued that non-tier slots were where you needed to pick up some mp5, in today’s ICC environment, unless you’re doing heroic LK25, that additional regen is largely wasted. So, although you’ll have to fight off all your caster teammates, the throughput to be found on this neck is greater than any alternative.
  • Runners up: [Soulcleave Pendant]*, [Choker of Filthy Diamonds]

Shoulder: [Sanctified Frost Witch’s Spaulders]*

  • Because all of the alternates to this tier piece have the same SP/Haste/Crit distribution, your best gain will come from using the tier to complete your 4pc t10.
  • Runners up: None. T10 or bust. ([Horrific Flesh Epaulets], ONLY IF you’re behind on badges)

Back: [Cloak of Burning Dusk]

Chest: [Sanctified Frost Witch’s Tunic]*

  • As with the tier shoulders, because all of the alternates to this tier piece have the same SP/Haste/Crit distribution, your best gain will come from using the tier to complete your 4pc t10.
  • Runners up: None. Pony up and spend those badges. ([Robes of Azure Downfall] ONLY IF you’re behind on badges)

Wrist: [Phaseshifter’s Bracers]

  • Although HEP calculations on EJ put Bracers of Fiery Night slightly ahead of these mail ones, you’ll likely have little to no luck convincing the casters in your guild to part with them.
  • Runners up: [Bracers of Fiery Night], [Bloodsunder’s Bracers]*

Gloves: [Changeling Gloves]

  • The gloves versus pants debate has raged on for almost all of ICC, with HPS values being presented for both sides of the argument. With all other items being the same, the winner in terms of pure stats becomes offset gloves + tier legs.
  • Runners up: [Unclean Surgical Gloves]*, [Gloves of False Gesture]s

Waist: [Split Shape Belt]

  • Another amazing item from Ruby Sanctum, it’s combination of crit/haste is ideal for a shaman not in need of additional regen (and it should make your cloth-wearing caster friends breathe a sigh of relief because it’ll keep your greedy mits off their Marrowgar belt!)
  • Runners up: [Crushing Coldwraith Belt], [Belt of the Blood Nova]*

Legs: [Sanctified Frost Witch’s Legguards]

Feet: [Plague Scientist’s Boots]

  • Another item that you’ll have a hard time wrangling away from your dps casters (or maybe pallies who haven’t surveyed the RS loot table), the slight bit of additional haste and Int has them moving past the RS10 and craftable mail options.
  • Runners up: [Boots of Divided Being], [Earthsoul Boots]*

Rings: [Ashen Band of Endless Wisdom]* / [Ring of Rapid Ascent]

  • With the proc on the Ashen Verdict Ring on a 60-sec internal CD, the contribution from this ring is greater than any other item out there so it should definitely be in one of your two rings slots. The other slot becomes a matter of preference and longevity, though technically Rapid Ascent will win out from a pure throughput perspective.
  • Runners up: [Ring of Phased Regeneration], [Marrowgar’s Frigid Eye]*

Trinkets: [Glowing Twilight Scale]*

  • While Solace was amazing up through ICC hardmodes, now at the tail end of the xpac, I’d have a hard time arguing that the additional mana (which is generally worthless on anything other than RS) makes it more valuable. With the on-use proc from the Twilight Scale equating to anywhere from 6-12% of my healing on some encounters, its throughput is simply unrivaled.
  • Runners Up: [Solace of the Fallen]*, [Althor’s Abacus]

 

What if I can’t get all these pieces?

First, understand that you’re not alone. Hell, in our main runs, Vanquisher 277 tokens are being distributed to third offspecs, but Protector 277s remain as elusive as a Resto Shaman CD. (Oh sorry, was that my beta bitterness creeping through there?) So, if some of the pieces above are out of your reach, there are some great alternatives which will put you right with the pack.

The one thing to keep in mind when you’re upgrading your Resto Shaman’s gear is that you want to go for the biggest overall upgrades first, not just the low-hanging fruit. Meaning, although that Totem of the Surging Sea is only 30 Frost Emblems, you’ll want to pick up your 4pc first because the performance gains are so much greater.

So when you’re deciding between pieces, kitting out your Resto for some fun before Cataclysm is released, keep the following in mind:

  1. Stats – with a higher average level of gear, you’re going to need less longevity stats (mp5 and Int) and can spend more stat points on throughput (haste and crit).
  2. Upgrade the big items first – there’s a reason 3 t10 set pieces cost 95 badges, instead of 60—because the item budgets are greater overall, and thus represent a bigger stat gain for the wearer. So head for these pieces first, and hope that your luck holds out during VOA runs.
  3. Gear to your issues – If you’re having issues with seemingly weak heals, look to spellpower. If your spells aren’t getting there fast enough, look to haste. If you’re running out of mana, look to Int and mp5. And keep in mind that stacking one stat to the exclusion of all others only works when your gear is of sufficient level to back it up (and that means good levels of Int and Crit).
  4. Don’t gem Regen – Aside from your IED meta, gemming and enchanting for regen isn’t a good idea because the relative gains are comparatively small. The one notable exception to this is Shaman just making their way into raiding who need an overall stat boost, in which case going with a mix of SP/Int and SP/Haste gems with Int trinkets can be quite beneficial.
  5. Don’t gem crit – Just. Don’t. At all. It makes kittens cry.

So, hopefully the above guidelines and shopping list will prove of use when you make your next foray inside the last major instance of Wrath. But don’t feel bad if RNG strikes you down; take heart in that a gear wipe is mere months away!

(I included (*)s on the list showing the pieces that I use in my haste-heavy gear set to illustrate that, no matter if you’ve been downing content for months, you can still be behind the BiS curve.)






14 Comments


  1. Kieradi

    Vixsin, can I just say that I have only recently become aware of your blog and I love it. Keep up the great work.

    I learnt today that I seem to love MP5 a lot more that I should, I think I knew that before I read this, but now I feel silly. I don’t need to have 70% mana left at the end of a hardmode. I just awoke to this fact, thanks for the pro tips!


  2. Totally the wrong place to post this but I just want to bitch about the lack of Priest/Paladin/Warlock tokens in my raid. Been months and months and months since we first killed H Saurfang (not to mention H BloodQueen) and about a month since we stepped up to 4 Heroic Tokens per week and I haven’t even been able to snag 1 Heroic Token.

    What’s up with that? Vanquisher tokens are about to go offspec (did they seriously boost the drop rate because it’s shared by 4 classes or what?!). And i can count on one hand (actually I think we saw one this week which might bring it to 6) how many Conq tokens we’ve seen.

    I even ticketed Blizzard about it. They weren’t even sympathetic! What’s with that?

    Also, I’m not sure how i feel about BiS sets at the moment. I’ve got a draft post about gear and loot (so close to the next expansion and a gear reset) but can’t summon up the energy to finish it and post it.

    I think I want a set that looks good. I suppose i want a set that reflects the hard work I’ve put into ICC.
    Cassandri´s last post ..Where Are All The Warlocks


  3. Great guide. Almost feeling sorry for not raiding the large content. The stats on these look sweet, especially in the 277 variatons. And two shields, trinkets… meh, the one-loot-table for both versions change can’t come soon enough.

    As I am kinda lazy, do you have somewhere simulated how much SP, haste, crit and how big mana pool this gear gives you (totem and weapon buffs included)?

    As well, I start to believe there is like 1 Protector token for a guild or something. That’s about the count I’ve seen drop. Rumour has it there were two other drops when I wasn’t in the raid, but I am skeptical about that…


  4. […] of Life in Group 5 gives us a final Restoration BiS! Shopping List and discusses Just in time vs just in case […]


  5. I love your stuff Vixsin. But I do find #3 and #4 in your bottom guide to be counter purposes. #3 is great and speaks for everyone. I think rather than saying “don’t gem mp5″ in #4, perhaps “gem intellect wherever you can” works. I use one or two int/mp5 and/or spellpower/intellect gems because I like my socket bonuses on a few pieces. And intellect/mp5 seems to make more sense than haste/mp5.
    @valkyrierisen´s last post ..The Tragedy of the Oculus via Root and Branch


  6. coup

    i love your blog

    do you have a list for us shammy alts who wont step in any raid… ie frost badge and icc 5 only


  7. @ Kieradi – Thanks for the compliments, /blush. And don’t feel bad about hefting around too much mp5; I admittedly have for months, simply being the conservative player I am. I was always worried about the “what if” scenario actually going down and me not having enough resources to handle it.

    @ Cass – I actually find it quite funny–FH has a dearth of Protector tokens, while my disc’s priest’s guild can’t get a Conq token to save their life. If ever there was something to make me gnash my teeth! And I agree about BiS being questionable, but I’m bowing to a mass amount of “Resto Shaman BiS” queries on this one.

    @Valk – I agree, I could have been clearer on this point. To me, gemming “regen” translates to gemming mp5, which is something that I’ve seen a number of starter shammies doing when they run into mana issues. The only really valid place to have an mp5 gem in your gear would be to satisfy a meta. Assuming replenishment and speaking strictly in terms of regen, the value of mp5 eclipses Int when a fight is longer than 7 minutes in length, which is greater than the length of most fights these days (with the exception of RS HM and LK HM).

    @ Coup – Sorry, I haven’t developed one as of yet. (So much to do, so little time!) But you can find a starter Heroics set on the EJ Resto Shaman TTT.


  8. @ Rahana – The totals for my personal BiS (which includes 2 pieces of mp5 gear, since I still need a little to get me through RS/LK Hardmodes), and which doesn’t include totems, WS or ELW:

    SP – 3656
    Haste – 1415
    Crit – 42.4%
    MP5 – 163 (while casting)

    Here’s the build on CharDev – http://chardev.org/?profile=441543. (I swear, I don’t know what I’d do without this site.)

    The wonderful thing is, these stats won’t be nearly as impressive once Cata hits!


  9. Taylor

    Vixsin

    Great work! Long time reader of your website/blog. Although this is the first time I have posted. I have a request for you.

    I was curious if you could put together a GEAR guide for a brand new resto shaman. Someone that does not raid and just does heroics/dailys/weeklys.

    Considering it is nearing the end of the expansion, my guess is that you will not post many more topics. I was hoping that you could do this. Would really be helful.

    Thanks


  10. Leliana

    Aha… Yeahhh, I didn’t really expect that post to go full scale, people just tend to give you alot of mixed answers regarding that totem, I’ve gotten things that ranged from “It’s awesome!” to “It sucks, stick with the Chain Heal one”. I was more of the “it sucks” frame of mind, but to put it perfectly simple, I get alot of things wrong, alot of the time, validation was required.

    Anyways, I digress (I’ll do that). Love all of your posts, and this one gave me a good idea of what I should be aiming at.

    “Stats – with a higher average level of gear, you’re going to need less longevity stats (mp5 and Int) and can spend more stat points on throughput (haste and crit).”
    What would you regard as a higher average level of gear? Because I’ve been too scared to drop any more mp5, and I was just wondering if it really is time for me to get rid of most of.


  11. Re: “higher average level of gear”, I would venture to say that once you’ve transitioned into mostly 264s (with maybe a totem or a trinket at a lower level), you can drop a couple mp5 pieces in favor of haste/crit pieces. Once you hit a good mix of 277/264, then you can actually stand to retire your regen trinkets for throughput. Example: 3 weeks ago I retired my second Solace for Glowing Twilight Scale and I haven’t missed the regen one darn bit. So, I probably could have made the switch months ago and not missed the mana, but my conservative nature kept me hanging on to regen that was going to waste on the vast majority of encounters.

    In the end, it comes down to healing style and your level of progression. A good reason I don’t need a heaping helping of regen any more is because FH downs bosses in record time, so I can gleefully spam and overheal on most fights without fear of ooming. This may not hold true for everyone.


  12. Dazdor

    I’m in a guild that runs mostly 10 mans. We’re up to LK10 HM but we also run a 25 man PuG with members from our two 10 man groups and alts from the top 25 man guild on our server. Recently I won the normal version of Trauma while I am currently using the heroic version of Lockjaw. Trauma seems to be an immense decrease in stats and I’m unsure if the proc is worth it. Please advise. :-P


    • Trauma is worth the buy for some fights (BQL, Sind, LK), but by and large I’d stick to stats over the proc.


      • Dazdor

        Indeed. I did two weeks of testing and looking at my meters from H BQL with Trauma and H BQL with H Lockjaw the latter came out on top. I think the Trauma proc was worth .7% of my total healing during the fight. Easily overwhelmed by the increased stats from H Lockjaw.



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