It seems like just yesterday we were newly 85, stumbling around the fresh Cataclysm landscape, getting used to new mechanics and new healing norms. But, this past Tuesday marked the first “major” patch of Cataclysm content, a patch designed to fix a myriad of issues with classes, instances, and the world at large. Patch 4.0.6 saw a handful of changes for Resto Shaman, notably: a change in the effects of Mana Tide (MT), a 0.5% buff per point of Mastery rating, an increase in the healing done by Chain Heal (CH) and an increase in both the cost and healing done by Greater Healing Wave (GHW), the effects of which I’m going to address in the following, somewhat math-laden, post.
So, grab your new casting animations (glowy white hands, just what I’ve always wanted!) and let’s take a look at the aftermath of 4.0.6.
The Newer New Version of Mana Tide
Short of the amount of dissection needed to understand Shadow Priest tooltips, never has so much discussion centered around such simple wording. The redesigned version #3 of Mana Tide was foisted onto Restos everywhere as a countermeasure against MT group stacking and on-use trinkets. As of 4.0.6, Shamans’ mana restore ability will be described as:
Summons a Mana Tide Totem with 10% of the caster’s health at the feet of the caster for 12 sec. Party and raid members within 40 yards of the totem gain 400% of the caster’s Spirit (excluding short – duration Spirit bonuses).
So, the million-dollar question of the hour is: What effects are defined as short-term and what effects are defined as not short-term? Thankfully, the testing on this one is easy, and as of this evening, MT will affect the following:
- T11 Spirit bonus
- DMC: Tsunami
- Jar of Ancient Remedies
As to what it won’t include in the Spirit multiplier:
- Core of Ripeness
- Fall of Mortality
- Dream Owl
- (any other trinket with a +Spirit on-use or random proc)
So, although I’m not likely to be advocating that all resto shaman out there switch immediately to using only trinkets, enchants and buffs which offer spirit, the above list is good thing to keep in mind when you’re gearing up. Especially when you start picking up hard mode loot, you’ll want to be very conscious of how much spirit you’re gaining on gear if you do choose to break your 4pc. (My own t11 4pc bonus is currently parsing at ~60-70% uptime, so I was looking at a +400 Spirit difference to make up when I ditched tier for heroic pieces).
Trinket Selection, Redux
Now, the secondary question that comes about as a function of some trinkets being included in the MT calculation is: “how much do I gain from each of these trinkets?” And wouldn’t you know it, I have some math to throw at you! Here’s how I calculated the value of each trinket if used in conjunction with MT:
- Determine the OOC mp5 value of the Spirit using the Spirit regen formula: 0.016725 x SQRT(Intellect) x Spirit
- Determine the IC mp5 value: (OOC mp5) x 0.5
- Convert the IC mp5 value to mp2: (IC mp5) x (2/5)
- Determine the additional mana gained during MT, assuming Totemic Focus: (IC mp2) x 8
- Determine the mp5 value of the gain over a complete MT CD: (Mana gained) / (180/5)
This process means that your final calculation looks something like this:
MP5 gain during MT = ((((0.016725*SQRT(Intellect) x (Spirit Gain x Multiplier)) x Meditation) x (Mp5-to-IC2)) x MT ticks with Totemic Focus) / (MT CD / per 5)
Going through this same calculation for each of the trinkets that we know are affected by MT yielded the following (assuming 5000 Intellect and 2200 Spirit as base values):
- For JoAR = ((((0.016725*SQRT(5000)*(515*5))*0.5)*(2/5))*8)/(180/5) = ~135 mp5
- For JoAR H =((((0.016725*SQRT(5000)*(580*5))*0.5)*(2/5))*8)/(180/5) = ~152 mp5
- For Tsunami =((((0.016725*SQRT(5000)*(400*5))*0.5)*(2/5))*8)/(180/5) = ~105mp5
- For Mandala of Stirring Patterns … [brick wall]
Yes, that last one is a bit of a toughie …quite frankly I went cross-eyed trying to work my way through the math of aligning proc timers with MT gains and whatnot. And since I’m not yet exalted with Hellscream’s, because I already sleep only 4-5 hours a night, I won’t have the option of testing the gain until sometime next week. (Sorry to disappoint, folks.)
So, Mandala of Stirring Patterns remains on the “to be considered” list. But there is one thing I’d like to note when it comes to Mandala—because it offers static spirit and a +Int proc, it will essentially double-boost the regen formula. Not only will you benefit from the 500% multiplier on the Spirit, but if you time an MT drop with the +Int proc, the regen converter will adjust upwards as well (which will boost the mp5 you gain from the Spirit you just boosted through MT).
But before everyone rushes out to pick up JoAR because of the above data let me be perfectly clear about how the trinket weighs up against your other epic options (the numbers presented are based on 5000 Int and 2200 Spirit, prior to adding trinkets into your gearset):
|ilvl 359 & 372 trinkets||Total stat gains|
|Core of Ripeness||5136 Mana , 337 Spellpower , 0.49 Crit , ~233 Mp5|
|Fall of Mortality||5136 Mana , 337 Spellpower , 0.49 Crit , ~328 Mp5|
|Fall of Mortality (H)||5808 Mana , 381 Spellpower , 0.56 Crit , ~333 Mp5|
|Jar of Ancient Remedies||~860 Mp5|
|Jar of Ancient Remedies (H)||~969 Mp5|
|Darkmoon Card: Tsunami||5136 Mana , 337 Spellpower , 0.49 Crit , ~384 Mp5|
|Vibrant Alchemist Stone||5616 Mana , 369 Spellpower , 0.54 Crit , ~169 Mp5|
|Lifebound Alchemist Stone||~145 Mp5 , 194 Haste|
|Mandala of Stirring Patterns||~368 Mp5 , 337 Spellpower|
|Tyrande’s Favorite Doll||5136 Mana , 337 Spellpower , 0.49 Crit , ~393 Mp5|
What I’m hoping you did was look at the above and think to yourself, “wow, JoAR doesn’t really offer much beyond mp5”. If you did–bravo!–because you’ve just recognized the trap that so many Restos are falling into. Yes, the mp5 is alluring; yes, you’ll be able to give each of your healing teammates 2-3k mana back every 3 minutes. But please recognize that you’ll be losing out on so much more to do it. So, to summarize:
JoAR is best from a PURE REGEN PERSPECTIVE. If you take other stats into account, cause you’d like to, ya know, actually contribute some healing to the healing team, IT’S PRETTY DARN HORRID. Work some TC into your rotation and stop taking pure regen trinkets FFS. Pure regen trinkets make Vixsin emo-rage.
Whew, okay. Now let’s move on to looking at those great healing boosts that went into place on Tuesday.
Effects of the Mastery, GHW, CH buff
Suffice to say, I started out healing post-4.0.6 on the wrong foot—the first pull of Bastion on Tuesday night saw me land an 82k crit GHW on our almost-dead main tank. My jaw promptly hit the floor and I floated my way to Halfus, convince of my own epicness. But, as we took Halfus down, despite having logged much better overall performance on the fight, reality started to set in.
Moving over into BWD, we made our way through each of the hardmodes—Tron Council, Magmaw, Maloriak, Chimaeron, and Atramedes, all fell over in quick order (after we made a few strat adjustments to deal with the changed heroic mechanics). But two things immediately stood out through all of our kills:
- Disc priests got a HUGE buff.
- The disc priest buff would serve to reduce the amount of “available” healing, meaning that I likely wouldn’t get an accurate assessment of the impacts of the Mastery change.
In order to get a better understanding of just how the disc priest and resto shaman changes were playing out in terms of my own performance, I turned to CompareBot (the most amazing, wonderful, absolutely helpful tool ever) to take a look at a couple of pre/post patch fight pairings. The following are only a couple of pairings I looked at while comparing pre-4.0.6 data with post-4.0.6 data; for each I’ve called out some notable qualities of the comparison.
- HR Healing remained similar, suggesting that Mastery buff had little impact
- CH healing per hit skyrocketed
- EL hits and RT overhealed a lot more, meaning that players were not being topped by hots
- ~80% of heals affected by Mastery, 25% passive healing pre-patch versus 20% passive healing post-patch
- ~300 HPS gain, kill time reduced by 30sec
- Very similar distribution of heals (meaning that I didn’t change my playstyle)
- CH average heal increased while overhealing stayed constant (meaning that a. I was hitting lower HP targets and/or b. my heals were hitting harder)
- Greater overhealing experienced on EL
- ~78% of heals affected by Mastery, 28% passive healing contribution (consistent performance for both weeks)
- ~540 HPS gain, kill time reduced by 50sec
- Very similar distribution of heals (meaning that I didn’t change my playstyle)
- CH average heal increased with similar amounts of overhealing
- Both EL and RT overhealing increased
- ~78% of heals affected by Mastery, 22% passive healing contribution (consistent performance for both weeks)
- 550 HPS gain, kill time reduced by 45sec
And so, I walk away from this week with one issue lodged into my brain like a pebble in your shoe—it’s painfully and perfectly clear that Resto shamans’ HPS will decrease in inverse proportion to the gear of your healing team, and more especially, the gear of your Disc Priest(s). As was posited so early on in Beta, this week’s healing meters for many guilds were a preview of what’s to come when content starts aging and stats start rising. Whereas at the start of the xpac, my hots were consistently making up a significant portion of my healing, they’re slowly starting to experience increasingly higher amounts of overhealing, which would seem to indicate that players are getting “topped” more often. Which leads me to think that if this trend continues I’m going to be dialing haste up like an old girlfriend, looking to rekindle the flame.
In conclusion …
Ultimately, while this patch did make some inroads into bringing shaman more in line with the pack of healers, I think 4.0.6 was more about baby steps forward as opposed to a big goblin spring-loaded, jet-pack enabled leap. While most players look at the MT changes and cry foul, the removal of the “MT group” limitation is actually a boone for every healer ever asked “Do you need mana tide more than Googlypriest? Can we put him in G5 instead of you?” In addition, I think the healing boosts to GHW and CH were well-placed, although maybe more valued in a 25-man environment than in 10s (since CH really isn’t as effective in smaller raid sizes).
But I admit, I’m still a bit frustrated these days, still a bit out of sorts. And it has nothing to do with the small, incremental changes slowly (very slowly) closing the gap between shaman and other healers. It does have everything to do with the continued silence from Blizzard on the issue. A number of concerns raised by the community over the past several weeks have been valid ones (many, many others have been complete and utter hooey and/or pure loads of shite), and yet there has been an absolute dearth of comments about the topics being created daily on WoW’s own forums.
Tell us that Paragon’s a bunch of noobs, tell us that you might possibly agree, tell us that everything is working as intended or that we can expect Spirit Link “soon”. But for the love of the horde, please don’t let us to wallow in assumptions and conspiracy theories any longer. We shamans may look tough, but when it comes down to it, we all want some big blue to come along and tell us that everything is going to be okay.