Over the past several days, a number of common Resto Shaman questions arose amidst the rumblings and shakings in our capital cities and within the icy halls of Icecrown. Hopefully, the following will address some of the fears and quandaries that Restos have had over the past couple of days, and maybe encourage some additional areas of debate. If you have a question that isn’t addressed below, feel free to post it in the comments or send me an email!
Q: Should I start reforging to spirit/crit/haste/mastery from spirit/crit/haste?
Not permanently, no. Right now, Mastery and Reforging are shiny new toys that we all want to play with, but because healing is based on the stats and performance of other classes (most importantly, tanks and our healing compatriots), it’s going to take a while before we can argue with any degree of certainty that reforging for Mastery or any other stat is truly going to be beneficial. For the first couple of weeks, things are going to be wonky as tanks, dps and healers adjust to the changes that 4.0.1 has brought. And if you did happen to get lured in by one of those seductive thaumaturgists, enjoy the feel of something different before I hit you with the HPS numbers in a week or so and kill every last bit of fun you have. :::chortle:::
Q: Should I be concerned about regen?
Only if you find yourself really strapped for mana. Running ICC25 (HM) this week, I found myself struggling to OOM on the large majority of encounters. This being said, if there are Restos out there who delight in finding ways to expend their mana bar I have the perfect solution—Healing Surge. As someone who only recently has had rekindle a long-dormant relationship with Healing Wave to heal dungeons and Heroics on Beta, I think I can safely say, the mana-tax on Healing Surge is a strong discouragement to using it as an all-around solution. That being said, don’t be afraid to use it if the situation calls for it.
Q: What effect is haste scaling having on Riptide and Earthliving?
Since 4.0.1, all hots (with the exception of Healing Steam) now benefit from haste and crit. For shamans, this means that our Riptide and Earthliving ticks can be accelerated through haste stacking and can be critical heals (although they cannot proc AA as a result of the critical). Simply put, haste’s effects will allow your hots to tick faster, meaning that you can decrease the interval of time between ticks (to a limited degree). But, this benefit is not without constraints—you cannot stack haste to the point where a hot would tick every second. Instead of reducing to that point, you will instead gain an extra tick of the hot.
So, let’s use Riptide as an example. Riptide has a 15-second duration and ticks every 3 seconds. This means, as a baseline, Riptide will tick 5 times (15sec/3sec) on a target. When you start to pick up gear with haste, that 3-second interval will start to decrease, but the number of ticks will remain the same. Thus, the overall duration of Riptide will shorten. Let’s say that you have sufficient haste to reduce the interval to 2.8 seconds; this would mean that your Riptide would tick for 14 seconds (5 ticks x 2.8 seconds per tick). However, you will see that based on the original duration, you should be getting 5.36 ticks—Blizzard simply drops off the remainder.
However, when the value of [ original duration / interval ] reaches the point where the remainder is greater than 0.5, then the hot will gain an extra tick. So, when you gain sufficient haste to reduce Riptide to a 2.7 second interval, you would have 5.56 ticks (15secconds / 2.7 seconds) and would thus gain an extra tick. With this additional tick, your Riptide’s duration increases to 16.2 seconds (6 ticks x 2.7 per tick).
Q: Is there a new haste “soft cap”?
Yes, no longer is 1269 the solution to everything. With the removal of the stacking haste effects of Moonkins and Ret Pallies, casters will now only have access to an additional 5% casting speed buff (which will now also be satisfied by Wrath of Air). This means that the golden number where HS has a 1sec cast time is now:
With “X” being haste rating:
X = ((1.5/(1.0*1.05))-1)*32.79*100
X = 1405 (without T10’s RT bonus or Tidal Waves)
Do note, however, that Healing Surge is likely not a spell you want to be designing your gearset around, because of its low HPM efficiency. So, the argument thus becomes that Restos should continue to stack haste (as they did pre-4.0.1) well past any soft cap or threshold. Up until Cataclysm, it will continue to be a solid increase of HPS and a dependable throughput stat.
Q: Is my CH broken? Why is it hitting for under 10k?
Unfortunately, I wish I could say that CH is broken right now. Suffice to say I was prepared for lower green numbers on that initial hit, but even I was caught off guard stepping into the 30% buffed environment of ICC only to find that my CH crits were hitting for around a max of 11k (compared to 22k just one week ago).
But this has not resulted in an angry post on the official WoW forums for three reasons—first, because the so-called nerf to CH affected my overhealing more than anything else. I’m simply not going to shed a tear over that. Second, when you combine the CH glyph, and handful of melee, and all the supplemental hots in the Shaman arsenal, it all equaled out to a pretty good AOE healing package, with room to spare for Healing Rain. This was nowhere more evident to me than on HM Sindragosa, where my hots were allowed to tick on the raid for almost their full duration (by virtue of an Unchained Magic-soaking tree, sorry Kaillee), and thus recorded some of their highest numbers ever.
And third, at present Mastery doesn’t really factor into our healing equation, which means that right now Resto Shaman are functioning at what you could call a baseline level. When Cataclysm hits and we start to see real variation in party and raid health (which if dungeons and heroics are any gauge, will be the new norm) then our power will scale more appropriately. In that type of environment, if my CH was hitting for even 16k on a target with 50% HP, assuming 40% Deep Healing, that 16k would be back up to a 20k baseline heal, around ¼ of a player’s HP at level 85, after which point the hots would be sufficient to almost bring them back to 100%. And as much as I hate to admit it, that’s simply too powerful.
Q: Should I still be assigned to raid healing in 25s? In 10s?
A doppelganger actually mentioned this one to me in an email and, from my perspective, healing assignments for Restos are still as wide open as they have been through the latter half of the expac. Although I’ve yet to test out tank healing since the patch, raid healing for the Resto Shaman is fundamentally the same as it has been for all of ICC. Of course there was some performance variation on our healers’ number this week in raid, but myself, our resto druid, and our disc/holy priest all came out on top of meters at various points during the night. That being said, with the addition of Greater Healing Wave and the modification of Healing Wave, the Resto Shaman’s tank toolkit is better than ever. While I don’t think they’ve quite nailed the HPM and HPS of the two spells, I’d have no qualms picking up the slack from a pally who’s taking time off to mourn the gutting of Beacon.
In sum, if you’re comfortable in a raid-healing role, I’m not seeing compelling enough numbers at this point to recommend that you shift out of it. Accordingly, if tank- and spot-healing are more to your liking, by all means, stick with it. If anything, this is a time to get a better feel for Resto Shamans’ new tools, not to sit back and continue to 1-button spam until Deathwing arrives.
Q: Should I be using Telluric Currents to regen?
As Ghostcrawler pointed out a couple weeks back, the intent for Telluric Currents is that it remain a mana-neutral spell, a nice diversion for healers who have overgeared an instance to the point where very little healing contribution is needed. So, while it might provide a good filler, it is not meant to be the new regen mechanic for Restos. That being said, the return at present is such that you *can* actually use the talent as a regen tool, so if you enjoy the dps-and-healing game, by all means, have at it!
Q: What healing rotation should I be using for Valithria?
The one that keeps up your stacks. Yes, I do say that quite often,\but letting your stacks drop represents such a significant HPS loss that the debate between HS and GHW becomes moot.
Beyond that, the recent changes to Restos’ spellbook should result in a slight tweaking of our rotation for the encounter. With the significant reduction in the value for the primary hit of CH, it no longer maintains comparable throughput on a single-target. Which means that instead of Restos’ Valthiria rotation being organized around maintaining Tidal Waves by alternating between RT and CH, the goal will be to fit the highest HPS spells in between RT cooldowns.
At present, given the high crit rating and near-GCD cast time of Healing Surge, the highest HPS rotation demonstrated over the past couple of weeks of parses has been:
When not Bloodlusted: RT > GHW > GHW > HS > HS
When Bloodlusted: RT > GHW > GHW > GHW > GHW (GHW should be close to 1sec at this point)
The simplest explanation for the above is that, in a fight where mana is a non-issue and AA is guaranteed (for the majority of the encounter) to fall on Valithria, high crit is becomes a much more powerful variable, and when it’s combined with the GCD-capped throughput of HS, it becomes a powerful throughput spell. However, when Bloodlust’s effects take over, the additional cast time reduction to GHW (and the reduction of HS to below the GCD) means that GHW overtakes HS as the spell of choice.
However, if you really want to triumph over Valithria and aren’t afraid of exploits, I suggest you bring in a Holy Priest with Althor’s Abacus and Holy Nova bound to every key—2 Million HPS in HM and it was over in 1min, 32 seconds. Holy hell. (WoL Parse / Details of the strat)
Q: How does Mastery affect Chain Heal? Earthliving hots? Riptide?
Currently, on live and on the Beta, Resto’s Deep Healing mastery is not affecting Earthliving, Riptide and Healing Rain’s hots. (My understanding is that this is intended and will not be changing in Cata, but things could change). In terms of Chain Heal, Deep Healing’s effects are applied to the primary hit only, multiplying the initial heal by the appropriate percentage based on the target’s HP. The subsequent hits of CH are then calculated based on the initial hit. Deep Healing is not factored into these secondary hits, otherwise we would be double-, triple-, and quadruple-dipping into our Mastery.
Q: I hate this new crap—any chance all these changes aren’t permanent?
Not a possibility in hell. Change is here to stay; either adapt or reroll a dps. Sorry, I’m not sugar-coating that one!
Q: How does our current experience compare to raiding on the Beta?
Great question, and something that I’ll be talking about more in an upcoming post, after I get my nerd on at Blizzcon.