It’s been a busy week for healers on the beta, with a good number of thoughts being thrown about from testers and GC alike. (And MMO recently previewed an Alchemy mount, which although it has nothing to do with Resto Shamans or healing, I am completely and utterly giddy with excitement about! … Where was I? Oh yes, Beta updates … ) As normal, the changes to Resto Shaman have been less than eyebrow raising and in pretty short supply as we continue towards Cataclysm with some of the same questions in the air, and with the CD-that-shall-not-be-named still nowhere to be found. (I think it’s safe to say that no one is sending out a search party for it.) Regardless, there are still some very interesting developments that have come up recently and plenty of mechanics to evaluate as we work to close the gap with the coming expansion.
So, today’s post is going to be a mixed bag of sorts, looking a little deeper at Resto Shamans’ Mastery, the changes to Mana Tide, dand ending with a handful of testing/mailbag questions that I finally have answers for.
Starting with the big fish first—Resto Shamans’ Deep Healing Mastery. Recently, this perk of the Resto Shaman tree came into question in a big way, in collaboration with our druid friends, who’s Mastery was a near mimic of our own:
We like the shaman version. The druid one is problematic for a couple of reasons. Conceptually, a hot is often the last thing you think of putting on someone who is grievously wounded. Second, at the moment the bonus is only calculated on the initial application and not the ticks. If we can fix that problem, then the druid mastery would be better. It’s also possible we’ll just redesign it. (Source)
So while trees are back to leaping around in excitement after GC’s subsequent release of the redesign, it seems that Shaman are still slated to be tied to the triage model and the healing benefits to be found in attending to lower HP teammates. But how exactly does our mastery work?
Well, thanks to one very helpful beta compatriot and one of Shaman’s most easily predictable spells (Riptide), I have some answers to that question. First though, let’s look at what Deep Healing is described as:
Increases the potency of your direct healing spells by up to 20%, based on the current health level of your target (lower health targets are healed for more). Each point of Mastery increases direct heals by up to an additional 2.5%.
So, several important things to note right off the bat. First is, that the “20%” specified in the first sentence is a variable percentage, which changes based on your total mastery rating and the mastery points you gain (do note, this percentage rounds up). It also represents the max healing increase you can receive on any spell, which through my own testing, was pretty much only reached when you got down to around 2% HP. Additionally, the “2.5%” per point of Mastery means that for every 179.63 mastery rating you achieve, you will gain 1 point of Mastery and accordingly, a 2.5% increase of your Deep Healing max threshold. Lastly, the description above reflects the base mastery that you gain at level 85, which starts you at 8 Mastery Points / 20% Max Healing effect.
Now, in terms of what you can expect when it comes to Deep Healing—you can expect an entirely linear application of the percentage increase from 1% HP to 100% HP, with the latter HP value receiving absolutely no increase in the total amount healed. To test this, a friend and I stood in Tol Barad (during a battle, natch), and proceeded to catalog starting HP values and non-critical heals of Riptide on my shaman, first with no mastery, then with increasingly greater amounts. Because Riptide does not have a range of application, it makes it the ideal spell to test in this scenario because the effects of Deep Healing can be seen quite easily. So, after establishing that an RT cast on myself while I was wearing a single Mastery trinket and no other gear, and while I was at 100% HP, amounted to a heal of 3210, I could thereafter determine the amount gained from Deep Healing while at varying levels of HP.
|Max HP||Actual HP||% HP||% Gain||Heal Amt|
Plotting these points netted me a linear distribution, similar to the graph shown below. Thus, because the application of Deep Healing is linear in nature, I was able to determine that the value is predictable and can be calculated according to the following:
% Healing Increase = (-1 x Max Deep Healing % x HP of target) + (Max Deep Healing %)
Using this formula, you can then predict what the performance of Deep Healing will be at varying levels of Mastery rating and points. These calculations are captured below:
As expected, the true benefits from Deep Healing come at much lower levels of HP. Targets that you manage to save from imminent demise are much more likely to see a larger heal, rather than those you’re simply attempting to top off. But there are two additional conclusions that came about out of conducting this testing:
- Deep Healing is deceptive in that it is highly unlikely, in any raid environment, that you will benefit from the Max Deep Healing % increase. The amount of increase you experience on your heals, on average, is more likely to fall between the 30-100% range (with the bottom value really being dependant on your healing team and the encounter mechanics).
- Thus, when looking at the benefits of Deep Healing, you should mentally adjust the range to be something far less than the Max Deep Healing % represented in the Mastery description. For example, at varying levels of Mastery, you can expect to see the following percentage increase of healing done:
|Mastery||HP @ 30%||HP @40%||HP @ 50%|
Although it remains to be seen if the instance norm of players at varying percentages of HP holds true in raiding content, what I suspect this means is that Mastery will likely have a soft cap calculated for the point at which your overhealing is outpacing the healing gain from Deep Healing. At that point, it will become advisable to start investing in another supplemental stat, like say … haste.
Possibly one of the biggest shocks to hit Resto Shaman in the Wrath to Cataclysm transition is the gutting of our begrudgingly-accepted-and-undervalued Mana Tide. In the newest patch to hit Beta servers, Mana Tide has been completely gutted:
Summons a Mana Tide Totem with 10% of the caster’s health at the feet of the caster for 12 sec. Party members within 40 yards of the totem have their Spirit increased by 200%.
To be quite honest, I’m having a hard time finding something positive to say about this change other than “at least it scales with gear”. Even then, if you’re a class that gets a substantial chunk of regen through mechanics other than static mp5, this change is likely as much a downgrade for you as it is for Resto Shamans, who historically have had less mp5-augmented gear than their Priest/Druid counterparts because of the regen gain to be found in Water Shield. In other words, with WS contributing a static 354 mp5 (531 mp5 with the glyph), and operating completely independent of spirit, Shaman will need less spirit than their healing counterparts to reach equal levels of regen. (Look at Priest v Shaman level 85 regen v spirit numbers.)
Unfortunately, because of the nature of the change and the fact that it affects passive regen (which is not actively tracked in the combat log), the actual return from the new beta version Mana Tide is incredibly hard to track. But I’m at least going to get points for trying! In an attempt to roughly determine the amount of return (while in combat, mind you) I found myself a nice corner of Crystalsong Forest and a Treant with nothing to do, and proceeded to OOM myself. In general, it would appear that with 573 spirit and a passive 1389 mp5 (without WS or Spring) while in combat, I gained ~6500 mana.
Considering that Mana Tide prior to this change was providing me with approx. 36% base mana (or 12,600 mana every 5 minutes, this amounts to a ~50% reduction in effectiveness.
Additional Facty Tidbits
As with any patch or update with beta, in addition to the big news, there are also a number of little items which slip through the cracks or which go by mostly unnoticed. So, the following is a list of questions submitted by interested readers, that I came up with while playing the Beta, or which were posed in various community forums.
Q1: Does CH count as a direct heal for the purposes of Nature’s Blessing?
Yes, CH counts as a direct heal if your ES is on the primary target (I believe Lodur confirmed that it is also applicable if another shaman’s ES is on the target.) The subsequent CH jumps maintain the increased healing gained from this talent.
Q2: Range of new CH base healing?
Currently on Beta, CH is specified as 4319– 4742 healing, given 4226 spellpower.
Q3: Is the decrease of each CH jump still 30%?
Yes, per the tooltip, CH’s healing value will decrease by 30% for each jump.
Q4: Is it worth it to use Glyph of CH?
At it currently stands, you will only stand to gain healing by utilizing Glyph of CH if you can be assured that your CH will consistently be hitting 4 targets. Doing some napkin math:
Q5: What Resto Glyphs are out there right now?
Not many, to be honest. As they currently stand, Restos have almost no choice in their Prime, Major and Minor Glyph categories.
- Prime Glyphs
- Glyph of Earth Shield – unchanged
- Glyph of Earthliving Weapon – Increases the effectiveness of your ELW’s periodic healing by 20%
- Glyph of Riptide – unchanged
- Glyph of Water Shield – increases passive regen by 50%
- Major Glyphs
- Glyph of Chain Heal – increases the healing done to targets beyond the first by 15% but decreases the amount received by the first target by 10%
- Glyph of Ghost Wolf – your GW gains 5% additional movement speed
- Glyph of Healing Stream – Increases resistances by 195
- Glyph of Healing Wave – unchanged
- Minor Glyphs
- Glyph of Arctic Wolf – changes your appearance to that of an arctic wolf
- Glyph of Renewed Life – unchanged
- Glyph of Water Walking – unchanged
- Glyph of Astral Recall – unchanged
Q6: With Restorative Totems removed, is Improved Mana Spring now baseline resto or baseline shaman?
Per tooltip, Mana Spring is returning 326 mp5
Q7: Has Glyph of Lesser Healing Wave been removed, given Nature’s Blessing being incorporated into the tree?
That would seem to be the case; Shaman currently have no glyphs which relate to Healing Surge, Greater Healing Wave, Healing Rain, or Unleash Life.
Q8: Has the Int to Crit ratio changed?
No, it remains 1 Int = 0.001528 crit. (Which means that Int stacking likely won’t benefit your crit as much as gear will).
Q9: What’s the current return of WS procs?
Each proc of WS returns 1744 mana (although the tooltip states 1517 mana per proc)
Q10: What’s your base HP and base Mana at 85:
Base HP: 38397 / Base Mana: 25175
Q11: Is mail specialization worth it?
Absolutely. The gain to your spellpower and mana pool (which then ties to greater replenishment returns in raids) is substantial. In addition, the specialization scales with Int, resulting in very large gains at higher levels of gear.
Q12: Do Focused Insight and Unleashed Life stack?
Yes, and they are seemingly multiplicative in nature. So, provided the heal is UL + Shock + Heal and that you meet the incredibly short window for healing, your spell’s healing will be increased by 56%.
Q13: I heard that the game now has effects similar to PowerAuras?
I’ve heard the same thing. Unfortunately, they’ve not yet been implemented for Resto Shaman.
Q14: Are Riptide hots affected by haste or Deep Healing?
No, they are not.
What’s on the horizon?
With Heroic dungeons recently released and character copies upgraded to an average ilvl333, the coming weeks should be filled with a good amount of feedback about performance at higher gearing and stat levels. I know I’m going to enjoy setting foot in some instances that I haven’t been into in a while and getting into the swing of this thing called Cataclysm Triage. And no doubt, I’ll have a lot more tidbits and discoveries to share along the way!