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October 20, 2010

Common Questions Post 4.0.1

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Written by: Vixsin
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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.






13 Comments


  1. AmIBroken

    Apologies, but “How does Mastery effect Chain Heal” should read “How does Mastery affect Chain Heal”


  2. Sekul

    I have found that LB is in fact a wonderful source of mana regen.

    At a cost of 217 mana with a gain of between 1200 and 2900 mana, it’s become a big part of my healing and far from the “break even” cast that some have indicated.

    I use it at the end of almost every trash pull when there’s only one or two mobs left so I’m full mana for the next pull (My last ICC 25, I didn’t sit to drink at all, ever).

    I use it during boss fights at whatever moment the mechanics of that particular fight allows. For instance, H Fester, right after pungent blight we heal the holy hell out of the raid then there’s a few seconds that not a lot is happening so 3-4 LB’s and I’m 90-100% mana again. So sexy!

    On Deathwhisper, the downtime between adds is the perfect opportunity to LB the boss and get right back up to 100%

    Saurfang, a couple of LBs on the adds when they first pop keeps me full mana right up to the 30% soft enrage at which point I can spam whatever I want as fast as I want for the rest of the fight.

    On LK, the transition phases are great for putting some pathetic dps on the Ragings and entering the new phase at full mana. (no more pulling a ghoul on you for water shield regen, “Jesus, don’t AOE until the shammies have their ghouls!!” hehe)

    The use of LB in fights also lets me use HS a lot more, effectively reducing it’s terrible HPM numbers. And I must admit it’s made healing even more fun trying to analyze different fights for the optimum times to throw LB and maximize my healing.


  3. Thanks so much for this wonderfully written guide. Stepped into icc10 last night and was having big mana problems, guess I’m the odd one out or more likely was too slack on keeping RT up and too trigger happy on HS… Used a RT GHW GHW GHW rotation on valithria which worked well, 78% heaLing done! I guess the Holy priest was slacking tho. Thanks to you I have a much better understanding of the new mechanics for a character which will be my new main come cata. Thanks for all the effort you obviously put into this article


  4. Furrak

    Vixsin,

    You have referred to the fact that you are using the re-designed Healing Wave more frequently over your last 2 posts. I agree, that the mana efficiency of the spell is incredible, and I have been using it to relatively good effect when tank healing. The spell allows itself to be constantly spammed, with negligible mana usage, and I simply drop in healing surge or CH when necessary or when the opportunity presents itself.

    While raid healing, on the other hand, it has been my experience that Healing Wave is utterly useless, since a better heal can be delivered with a CH, or a more timely HS.

    What role are you usually fulfilling in a 25m environment? I am curious to know if you have found an effective role for Healing Wave for raid healing that I am overlooking. Also, what percentage of healing do you have between your spells on fights where you cast a large number of Healing Wave? Even on fights where I am predominantly tank healing, and casting the spell more frequently, my effective healing with the spell is still very low.


    • In 25s, I’m predominantly a raid healer, though I will occasionally kick in some additional healing on tanks. So, I absolutely agree that HW has very limited applicability in terms of raid healing at present, because as you so rightly pointed out, CH delivers relatively the same healing much more efficiently and HS delivers more healing more quickly.

      However, in general, I mention using HW more frequently for two reasons: first, because prior to 4.0.1 the only place I used HW was in my NS macro (so technically, even if I used it twice in every encounter, I doubled my usage!); and second, because in Cataclysm, it is significantly more valuable because CH will not be nearly as fast as it is now and because the mana tax on HS is comparatively higher. So, I guess I’m hoping that the more I talk about it, the more Restos will give it a shot instead of letting HWe languish in their spellbooks until they hit 85 and find themselves OOMing every pull in a Heroic.


  5. Doug

    Another awesome column. Look forward to the next one!


  6. Ah thank-you. I have been almost OOM tank healing on LK and was vaguely thinking that perhaps I should swap trinkets or look again at my reforging. Instead I will try less HS more HW, and some Lava Bursts on the Ragings during transition.
    Xeppe´s last post ..Bring the Dispel- not the Player


  7. oooh Lightning Bolt not Lava Burst!
    Xeppe´s last post ..Bring the Dispel- not the Player


  8. Plutos

    Awesome Post!! Thanks for the Heads up on most of the things.
    Please do a 2nd round on any more things you think is important.

    Few changes i noticed were:
    Mana Tide isnt bad with the reduced timer. Returns back around 8k Mana.
    Healing totem is really nice for a constant stream, and is increased to much more than before.
    Healing Surge & Greater Healing Wave is not effecient with our current regen.
    Riptide with reduced CD, and more heals is a great tool and must be used every cd.
    Earth Shield Feels like it heals a bit more.. not sure
    Water Shield is absolutely important to be up always. I am testing glyphing it and not taking much spirit from gear.
    Havent reforged to mastery yet.
    Also what rotation are you guys using now?
    I use RT>LHW>LHW>CH(+trauma+Abacus+4pct10+Earthliving)
    I see Chain heal as a ending spell to leave any hots, but it no where does the amount of overhealing as before.I think Healing rain is going to take its place.


  9. jjjames1979

    thanks for the post!!! i have been leveling a shaman since patch 4.0.1 and have found that mana regen is not an issue at all for me. just incase that helps anyone. i think healers are way more mana friendly now then my priest or druid ever were.


  10. Cort

    Now that we’re a spirit-regen class, how much spirit nets how much “mp5″? Has the value changed from what it was for spirit-based healers pre-4.0.1?

    It sort of bothers me that I don’t know how to math out just how much regen I’m gaining from my mana tide now. Before it was pretty simple, and if you didn’t math it you could just check the combat log for the ticks of mana gained. But with it just increasing spirit there’s no combat log mana gains, and I still feel like I don’t know just how spirit works.


  11. habeus

    I’m just wandering if the 3% crit in the elemental tree is better than elemental weapons. Granted 3% isn’t bad for a talent but EL gives us 210 more Healing Power (if i’m not mistaken). I’m also wandering if Glyph of Chain Heal is really that great. Is it good because it doesn’t always jump to four targets.



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