Life in Group 5 – A Resto Shaman Blog
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July 15, 2011

The Big, Bad Resto Shaman Update for Patch 4.2

Thrall_at_the_Molten_Front(sm)

It’s been a flurry of activity these past two weeks, as 4.2 launched and safely assured that the population of Mount Hyjal reached levels heretofore only seen at the start of the expansion. At prime time, the Firelands portal becomes a who’s who of the server, as raiders and “LFM FL trash farming” line up to take a look at the front lines of Ragnaros’s invasion. Outside the game, things are just as busy, as players try to assemble gear lists, update addons, and flood the interwebs with information about this new content. And in the midst of it all, LiG5 has been a little uncharacteristically quiet, with no super spectacular awesome post about stat weighting in sight. The question at hand: why isn’t Vixsin telling Resto Shaman what stats are best in 4.2?

The answer: because I don’t know for certain.

Yes, you heard right. Although I suspect it isn’t the case, I don’t know for certain that an all-Crit build wouldn’t light up the meters. Likewise, I don’t know if dumping every stat you have into haste to meet the second RT threshold is going to be vital to doing max HPS, but I have my suspicions. And I don’t know if the investment that I made into Mastery in Tier 11 is going to pay off in Tier 12, although for some fights thus far it’s been amazing.

Why don’t I know these things for certain? Because for as much PTR testing, theorycrafting, and trial runs that I do, what matters when it comes to Resto Shaman healing (and this should come as no shock) is raid HP—something that cannot be predicted until players actually find their way into content on live servers. So today I’m not going to have all the answers you’re looking for, but I do hope you’ll give me leave to talk about what I’ve learned so far and what is still in question in the days to come. (Brace yourself, cause I’m aiming to cover a lot!)

 

 

What’s Bankable

It’s been two weeks of raiding for PC—as of today we are at 7/7 NM and 4/7 HM—and it’s been an interesting experience thus far. For anyone who’s been looking over my armory since 4.2 launch, you’ll have likely noticed that my stats have been bouncing around from Haste to Crit to Mastery and every distribution in between. As one Eagle-Eye pointed out to me—I actually reforged 200 mastery into haste and 200 haste into mastery at one point! (There was a reason, the pieces were being used in different gearsets with different reforging strategies, but it still gave me a chuckle). But in between juggling stats and gear, there are a couple truisms that have emerged from the ashes of a handful of dead bosses:

1. Be prepared to switch hit.

It’s been a while, in 25s at least, that my spell distributions were varying so widely from fight to fight. But in our first two clears it was evident that I wouldn’t be allowed to blindly sit back and mash Chain Heal and Healing Rain.  Taking a page out of the Lich King manual (a fight I praise highly because it tasked shaman to utilize our complete arsenal, and sometimes do it on the move), a good number of the 7 encounters in Firelands mix in raid AOE with burst single-target damage, so I found myself needing to switch gears fairly often. In hard modes, this swing between healing styles became even more noticeable; here’s my breakdown for the first four encounters (do remember that an “assignment” in PC terms is really synonymous with “very loose focus”, as we are all expected to cover the typical tank healing role)


2. It’s worth it to set aside HS for GHW.

Whereas at the start of Tier 11 you would have heard me cautioning shaman from using their “long bomb” spell, that is simply no longer the case. The nerf to Healing Surge (while made from PVP reasons, if I understand correctly … /grumble) had a ripple effect of the PVE world in that it made HS less viable as a staple in a tank healing rotation. Whereas before, HS could be counted on to crit almost 50% of the time, thus ensuring a good amount of regen, and could also be counted on to heal somewhere in the neighborhood of 40-50k, that’s now the stuff of legends. While it can still be counted on in a pinch, as a quick critical heal, the oomph behind the spell is no longer present. A quick look at a night’s worth of attempts, and the disparity in output is plainly evident:

GHW HS
Non-Crit
Minimum Hit 27,318 15,067
Maximum Hit 53,032 19,014
Average Hit 34,905 16,704
Standard Deviation 5,057 1,152
Critical Strike
Minimum Hit 56,869 27,726
Maximum Hit 83,120 52,769
Average Hit 68,746 35,082
Standard Deviation 7,237 6,901

3. Keep. Healing. Stream. Down.

This is oftentimes something Resto Shaman put to the side as they deal with “more important” healing issues. But on HM Beth’ilac, my HST did 1.4M healing. Yes, that’s 1,400,000 healing (2987 HPS) from one darn totem.

4. You will feel the change to MT.

Whereas before, Mana Tide was greeted by that “ahhhhh” feeling, these past two weeks I found myself wondering “is that all?” as my mana bar barely inched up the 12k mana that MT now grants me. So be prepared to feel the pinch a slight bit more if you’re one of those shaman who, like me before 4.2 launch, had pared back on Spirit in order to compensate for an abundance of mana. Speaking of mana …

5. Crit will not be taking over as a “regen” stat.

Yes, it does contribute to more Resurgence procs, but it’s important to remember that it is not a viable substitute to our basic longevity stat; it’s only a supplement. In fact, if you do put talent points or stat allocations into Crit, (which is viable, and I’ll get to that in a second) the gain is actually less than if you were to invest that same amount of points into Spirit. To help illustrate the comparative gains of Spirit and Crit, I put together this handy mini-table (the Excel version of which can be found here):

 

6. For most raid groups with higher ilvl gear (think average ilvl365 and above), Mastery will not be a primary stat for NM kills.

I spent a good amount of time last week and this one, looking over the parses on WoL to try and get a feel for two things: a) where shaman output was falling in relation to other healers, and b) what sort of stats were leading the pack in normal modes. The latter question was particularly important to me because PC’s first clear of NM was spent largely on practicing mechanics and overhealing. So, as much as it got me in the mindset for hard modes, what it didn’t give me a good impression of was the level of damage that other players were coming to terms with.

 

The first thing that I noticed when looking over some of the top parses for Firelands NM (in both 10 and 25), is that a number of the shaman behind those parses had dropped Mastery in favor of Crit and Haste, and not just a small amount. Even more interesting was that, scattered in those top shaman parses, were other Resto Shaman who were on the opposite end of the spectrum, still favoring Mastery. Interestingly enough, the line dividing these two camps did not seem to be raid size nor spell distribution—it was gear level. And that makes a lot of sense to me; for players with no heroic t11 gear, Firelands NM is their Tier 11 hard mode, so the same gearing rules apply. But for players with some Heroic T11 gear (ilvl372), Firelands NM is similar to starting Tier 11 normal modes, so Mastery has little benefit.

 

7. For hard modes, no matter gear level, Mastery will still be the go-to stat for most encounters.

Suffice to say, raid damage in hard modes is intense, and given that most fights incorporate some holy-hell-that’s-a-crapton-of-damage phases, you will be hurting for mana (which in turn means that players will be sitting lower, and not being topped). So, it makes sense that Mastery would be back on the table, especially in those fights where resto shaman find their distributions favoring HR and CH. Even on single-target heavy fights, like Alysrazor HM and Shannox HM, I found myself favoring heavy Mastery-Haste sets as a way to deal with the heavy, HEAVY single-target spike damage that goes out.

8. Tier 12 2pc is better than Tier11 4pc.

At present, I would wager a guess that a good number of PVE Resto Shaman out there have obtained T11 4pc (+540 Spirit for 6 sec on every RT cast). This means that the first question on everyone’s mind when it comes to Tier 12 is, “Is it worth it for me to ditch my 4pc Tier 11 to get the new 2pc?” To answer this, let’s first take a look at how much of a gain you actually do get from T11. A player with 6k Intellect stands to gain the following from each cast of Riptide, based on T11 4pc:

Mp5 = (((0.016725*SQRT(Intellect)*Spirit) / IC Conversion) / per 5 sec)*6 sec duration

Mp5=  (0.016725*SQRT(6000)*540)*(6/10) = 420 mana

Now, the important emphasis here is that the 420 mana return is on a per-RT cast basis, so the longer you wait in between RT casts, the less of that mana you get. For example, let’s compare two examples of a basic fight:

Fight 1: 6 minutes with an average of 8 sec in between RT’s

  • 45 casts out of 60, 74% uptime on Surging Tides
  • 420 mana x 45 casts = 18,900 mana  / (360sec/5) = 263mp5

Fight 2: 6 minutes with an average of 12 sec in between RT’s

  • 30 casts out of 60, 50% uptime on Surging Tides
  • 420 mana x 30 casts = 12,600 mana / (360sec/5) = 175mp5

So, at the best (and yes, 74% is around the max percentage that I’ve ever seen Surging Tides parsed at) you’re seeing 263mp5 from Tier11 4pc, but it’s more likely that you’re sitting around the middle of the pack at 175mp5. So what’s going to happen when you get your 2pc Tier 12? Well, for one thing, the regen mechanic is going to change a slight bit. Instead of working off your RT casts, it will now work off of your RT hots—each hot tick has a 40% chance to restore 1% of your base mana. (If this doesn’t scream “USE GLYPH OF RIPTIDE” I don’t know what does). Let’s take a look at those two examples again, this time making the assumption that you are glyphed for RT and have 8 ticks per application, with no overlaps:

Fight 1: 6 minutes with an average of 8 sec in between RT’s

  • 45 casts x 8 ticks = 360 ticks x 0.4 = 144 restorative ticks
  • 144 ticks x (23430 x 0.01) = 33,739 mana / (360sec/5) = 469mp5

Fight 2: 6 minutes with an average of 12 sec in between RT’s

  • 30 casts x 8 ticks = 240 ticks x 0.4 = 96 restorative ticks
  • 96 ticks x (23430 x 0.01) = 22,493 mana / (360sec/5) = 312mp5

So the ultimate answer to the question T11 4pc or T12 2pc is … T12 2pc. Even if you practice the same style of healing that you did in BWD and BoT, it’s still a solid mp5 gain.

 

What’s Still Theoretical

So that about wraps up what I know for certain, thus far, about this tier and some of nuances of the encounters. (Yes, I will be writing up healing guides for each of the bosses … soon). But there are still some very important issues still on the table when it comes to rounding out Tier 12, some of which might only have answers in retrospect (which for some*cough Paragon* will come sooner rather than later) and some of which will only be proven when they’re finally seen in action. So let’s start with the elephant in the room first:

1. 4pc Tier 12

Around the time when tier bonuses were first announced, I wrote a post taking a critical look at the Resto Shamans’ bonuses, especially the application of 4pc Tier 12 in 10- and 25-man raiding environments. My supposition at the time is that it would have a substantial impact on shamans’ output in 25s (where shaman generally use multi-target tools like CH and HR) but would be less applicable in 10s (where CH sees less usage). However, what I hadn’t considered is that there might be heroic mode fights in Firelands where even shaman in 25s eschewed CH in favor of single-target heals. But, based on the figures I presented in the first point in the preceding section, this seems likely to be the case.

In fights like HM Shannox, Alysrazor, and Baelroc, CH makes up very little of my healing done (it’s precisely 0 in Baelroc, unless I mis-Clique). And this is not because I made a conscious choice to limit my spell usage in each of these fights (thinking: “hey, this will be great to use in a future post!”), but rather because raid damage is incredibly limited and/or sporadic, in which case using CH would be a bad practice reminiscent of those days where “brain heal” was the answer to everything. So, as much as I hate to grind a point into the ground, I’m still going to do exactly that. Let’s take a look at those other healing bonuses again:

  • Priest 4pc: You have a chance when you cast a helpful spell to summon a Cauterizing Flame.
  • Paladin 4pc: Your Divine Light, Flash of Light, and Holy Light also heal  an injured target within 8 yards for 10% of the amount healed
  • Druid 4pc: Your Swiftmend also heals a nearby injured target for the same amount.
  • Shaman 4pc: Your Chain Heal no longer consumes Riptide on the primary target.

So, priests’ bonus works with every spell in their arsenal, paladins’ bonus works with every direct-healing spell they have aside from WoG and HS, and druids’ bonus compliments a practice used by both raid and tank-healing druids alike. (I could pull up the statistics on these spells from our recent parses, but let’s just pretend I gave you yet another table of spell distributions to support my argument and move on.) Shamans’ bonus, however, can wind up having little impact if there’s no demand or call for my AOE healing. In addition, what shamans’ 4pc requires is management, an immense amount of foresight, and a little blind luck, in order for you to make sure that you are in fact lining up your CH hits with a RT’ed target. (And hey, even with all of that, what happens if you used all your RT’s on ranged targets and the melee is taking damage? No bonus for you!) As you no doubt can tell, I’m very pessimistic about how this will work out for all but the single most amazing, incredibly diligent resto shaman out there.

Thus, unless there’s a change that brings Resto Shamans’ 4pc T12 in line with the bonuses seen by other classes, my valuation of 4pc is going to remain uncharacteristically low. Low as in similar to the disdain I carried for T9’s “5% Crit to Chain Heal” boost. Will I still wind up picking up 4pc? Yes. But do I think that Resto Shaman need to rush to get it? Not unless CH is clocking 30% or more of your healing done. Could I be proven wrong? Absolutely. And that’s why I think this one is a case of wait-and-see.

2. Actual Stat Weights / “BiS” gearlist.

It should come as no shock to anyone who has been reading my blog for any length of time, that I’ve yet to release any guide for how to gear in Firelands or what stats are going to govern. (I don’t even start to research gear until we’re out of the first few weeks of progression). But, like I mentioned in the preceding section, I do think there is going to be a definite stat preference shift between normal and hard modes, as evidenced by the parses that have been put up thus far. So, I would tentatively say that Resto Shaman should prioritize:

  • Normal Modes: Int > Spirit (to ~2200) > Haste (to 916) > Crit = Haste (over 916) > Mastery
  • Hard Modes: Int > Spirit (max) > Haste (to 916) > Mastery > Crit

As to how this equates to a Best-in-Slot list, we’ll have to leave that for another day. For now, I would advise shaman to really pay attention to what damage is like in your raid, because that will be the biggest indicator of where your stats are lacking. In terms of gear, pick up what you can, because the Int/Spirit gain is still going to trump any rearrangement you need to do with your secondary stats.

3. Valor Purchases.

Going hand-in-hand with the anticipated gearlist, I would imagine that a number of you are getting a little antsy about just how you should spent those precious valor points (since you will have less of them in this tier). My personal stance has always been to go for the biggest upgrades first, which means that I’ll likely be picking up items in the following order:

  • Erupting Volcanic Tunic – I won’t be purchasing legs first because I already have offset tier legs (so it makes no sense to expend valor points just for a swap in secondary stats), but I also generally leave legs until last in the feeble hope that BH will smile upon me (it never does)
  • Erupting Volcanic Handwraps – the only other non-token item you can buy, and the cheapest, I’ll be picking these up even though they have a massive amount of Crit. (Since I’ll be dropping my T11 chest with its massive amount of Crit, it kinda evens out).
  • Singed Plume of Aviana- upgrading from the valor version from the last tier, this will be a nice boost in stats. It’s also worth noting that I’ll likely be picking up the Spirit version, since I’d rather have extra mana than not enough.
  • Bracers of Misting Ash – only if I don’t have 391 ones by this point, bear in mind that these cannot be upgraded with a Crystalized Firestone.
  • Firemind Pendant– I’ll be skipping this step since I picked up Heartstone of Rhyolith
  • Soothing Brimstone Circle – A slight upgrade on Security Measure Alpha, I don’t think I’ll be picking up this ring unless I have spare valor points and nothing to spend them on.

4. The benefits of 2005 haste.

There’s no doubt that getting to the second haste threshold is going to require a bit of a push for Resto Shaman, since there are a limited number of pure Haste/Spirit pieces in game at present, but the question really is, is it worth it? In terms of benefits, reaching this second haste threshold brings with it two things–additional healing in the form of an additional tick of RT and, with t12 2pc, additional mana regen. Going back to those same examples I used in the preceding section :

Fight 1: 6 minutes with an average of 8 sec in between RT’s

  • 162 restorative ticks = 37,957 mana / (360sec/5) = 527 mp5 (gain of 58mp5)

Fight 2: 6 minutes with an average of 12 sec in between RT’s

  • 108 restorative ticks = 25,304 mana / (360sec/5) = 352 mp5 (gain of 40mp5)

As a benefit goes, I don’t think that ~40-50 mp5 is worth the investment of haste that you need to get to that point (since you could simply invest that same amount, maybe 400-500 haste rating, into Spirit and get a much greater return). So that leaves us with the additional healing. Gaining an extra tick of RT for each of the examples would net me 30-45 additional hot ticks. Assuming an average of 3k healing per tick and 20% overhealing, this would add 72k – 108k healing done to my performance. On an average 6minute fight, using HM Shannox as a gauge of an RT-heavy fight, this would equate to an additional 4% of my healing done. And while 4% additional healing is nothing to scoff at, I can’t help but think it isn’t quite worth the effort … yet.

 

Looking Forward

Judging from the sheer number of emails that I’ve received since the start of 4.2 (side note: please don’t stop sending them, but man there have been A LOT), there are plenty of you out there who are just as uncomfortable with this early-patch uncertainty as I am. And believe you me, it even makes the players at the top end of the raiding world a little bit antsy because it means that instead of preparing for one condition, we have to prepare for many. But if there’s anything that the Resto Shaman community has learned since the start of this expansion, it’s that dynamism isn’t a dirty word; it’s built into who we are.

Because our output is so dependent on unique and varying raid characteristics like composition, skill, and strategy, I know I’m never going to be able to give Resto Shaman a fixed stat priority because nothing will ever be as cut-and-dry as “Healing Surge is 345 HPS”. The relationship between our stats will always vary, and so we need to learn to vary right along with it.

And so, as I wrap up this monster 4.2 post that’s been 2 weeks in the making, what I find I want to emphasize more than anything isn’t really about Firelands at all—it’s about the importance of really knowing your Resto Shaman. Knowing the why’s behind the numbers, and understanding how those qualities impact the decisions you make. Because the worst thing that you can do as a Resto Shaman is to simply follow what I say, or do what I do. Ultimately, I’m just the person who teaches you how to tread water. But when you get thrown into the deep end, as you are at this moment and will be at many points in the future, it’s up to you to sink or swim.






35 Comments


  1. Kelami here (Resto Shaman – Frostmane EU)

    http://www.worldoflogs.com/guilds/1412/rankings/players/ – Some of my nice ranks.

    Love the blog. Prety much says everything I have already thought about but it’s always nice to know I’m thinking the right things.

    /Kelami


  2. Meryniver

    Thank you for this amazing post!

    Keep. Healing. Stream. Down. -> This! The other night I couldn’t figure out why my performance was rather underwhelming. I was tired, and it was right in the middle of the exam phase and everything, but still… it did not make sense. Looking at the log parses finally cleared things up: I had forgotten to reapply HST after MTT a couple of times.. Now, Power Auras is taking care of missing water totems during exam weeks.


    • I set up a PowerAura for it at the start of T12 and found myself wondering “Why the hell didn’t I think of this sooner?” I think, given it’s crappy performance in Wrath, that I kind of put it to the side in my mind, thinking that it really didn’t make a difference. And it didn’t when players were spamming the life out of their mana pools. But in today’s healing environment, careful positioning of HST (and keeping it down) nets you a very good reward.


  3. Aanzeijar

    Sums up pretty much everything there is about the here and now. I’m pretty sure single target healing feels as irritating in 25mans as in 10mans. There just isn’t much to say about it.

    I’m missing the possibility of having 2 piece elemental in your post. With the current design out there having a permanent fire elemental would be interesting on Baleroc at least.


    • While I agree that the boost would be good, I really do think that by the time most shaman have 4pc, other classes will have it as well, making Baleroc less about dps and more about coordination and execution.

      And from what I understand, Elemental 2pc isn’t 100% Fire Elem uptime. I could be wrong though.


  4. Shirlei

    Hey Vixsin, great post as always. I have the same feelings regarding stat valuation, and have been reforging and regearing and regemming quite a bit over the past couple weeks.

    There has been a LOT of discussion regarding Water Shield and it dropping too quickly and our resurgence of mana being low because its not being refreshed. I’ve gotten into a discussion with an officer, that has never shaman healed, regarding its importance and how long shaman can live without a refresh before going oom prematurely. Any thoughts on the changes regarding WS?


    • Well, it was a net zero effect from where we used to be with WS–it simply removed the RNG aspect previously incorporated (which could result in you getting a slightly greater or smaller return based on your offerings to the RNG gods). So it’s not as if much changed in that regard.

      TBH, I haven’t noticed WS falling off more frequently. Fights which incorporate random damage mechanics and auras (EG: Beth’ilac) will naturally proc WS more often. And yes, it is a pain to have to refresh the shield, but it’s necessary since it’s a huge portion of our regen. Forgoing that refresh would be like raiding without replenishment (since the returns are usually fairly close for me). Sure, you can put off that refresh for a short while, but the longer you put it off, the less you have to work with.


  5. Grimtar

    So… Power Torrent or Heartsong?


    • I’ve always said Power Torrent, because healing gains are valuable no matter where you get them. There are always other ways to up your regen (gem for Spirit, reforge for it, glyph), but there is a max amount of Int you can get at a certain gear level. So any time there’s a debate between Int and Spirit (including flasks) I’ll always say: Int, unless you simply can’t find another means to get more Spirit.


  6. “Normal Modes: Int > Spirit (to ~2200) > Haste (to 916) > Crit = Haste (over 916) > Mastery”

    Like you I’m pretty sure this should provide better hps. But don’t you think favoring Mastery over haste and crit is better for your raid as a whole? Having more haste would allow me to snipe the druid’s hots, but it doesn’t seem like it would increase our healing team’s hability to save people.

    (I’m raiding 10 with holy pala and resto druid)
    zahia´s last post ..Fireland is great. Or is it really ?


    • It’s not so much about sniping heals, it’s that the math isn’t there in normal modes to support the benefits of Mastery. On single-target heals, players need to drop to around 50% HP to make Mastery more valuable than Crit. For multi-target heals (that don’t benefit from AA), that threshold is at around 70%). So investing in Mastery might be wise for some fights, where those conditions are met, but I just didn’t find that level of damage in normal modes.

      Of course, this is one of those times where my experience might be very different from yours. Our team went in in BiS Tier 11 HM gear and killed fights quickly. So, we had tanks with more avoidance and block, and dps with more … dps. If you’re in a situation where your team is less geared, and you’re having mana issues, and thus having players sitting at lower levels of HP, then yes, Mastery would be a good choice.


      • I understand that math favors crit and haste above mastery. But healing isn’t about math or meters, it’s about saving people. When there’s only low damage going on, our druid will be casting Wild Growth anyway, before I can cast anything except Riptide, so would more haste and crit really help ?

        It’s not that we’re having lots of mana problems, or that people stay at lower health value for a long time. It’s more that damage is often inequal on the duration of a fight, and that I feel like my healing doesn’t matter much when damage is low, and that mastery will really shine at these moments where my healing really matters.

        To explain it otherwise : there’s a big part of the fight where damage is low and crit and haste would be better, but in these moments it’s very unlikely that someone would die. And there’s a small part of the fight where people are getting lower and may die and where mastery really shine. My question is : is it worth it to increase my healing in the bigger part of the fight where people aren’t in danger, or is it better to increase my healing for the moment where people may die ? If I increase my healing in the moment where the healing need is low, would it make it easier for our healing team as a whole to keep the raid alive in the moments where damage is heavy ?
        Zahia´s last post ..Fireland is great. Or is it really ?


        • I get where you’re coming from, and I think you have a valid question that’s driving you: “why shouldn’t you gear for the worst, because that’s when healing matters?”

          My response would be: because if you go for a crit-haste build, in normal modes where the damage isn’t as intense, you’re adding more healing on the front end to help prevent those worst case scenarios from ever happening. And, in keeping the raid higher for longer, you’re actually feeding into the stat choices you’ve made.

          Ultimately, my goal is always to gear for the type of damage that is going out in an encounter. And if your raid team is finding themselves in those worst case “holy hell HEAL HIM FAST” scenarios quite often, then I’d fully back more Mastery. But if you’re gearing for a scenario that doesn’t happen or maybe happens a handful of times during an encounter, then I would consider that a waste. It would be like gemming/enchanting for straight Spirit on the off-chance that half your team dies and you have to 5-man the encounter. Yes, when it did happen you’d be sitting pretty, but is it really providing value when that situation doesn’t come to pass?


  7. Reminder for anyone with a high level alt, extra gold, or generous guildies: The Valor Point Bracers are BoE. Do not wait!

    Also, there are few rings available this tier. The Avengers’ Exalted ring is very nice, but the other choices are the Brimstone Circle and the Crystal Prison Band. CPB has no spirit but at least has a Heroic version available – which means you’re also competing against all the dps too. The Infernal Signet of the Avengers is another possibility if the wasted Hit rating is made up by the red socket & Int bonus.
    Joe Ego´s last post ..My own 4.2 gear priority list


    • Good reminder on those bracers!

      And yes, I’ll likely be sticking with the rep ring. The additional socket (which will naturally get a nice red gem) is simply too good to pass up. Plus, our healers are generally last in line for those could-also-be-used-by-dps pieces, so yeah … alternate options are good!


  8. As odd as it may sound, it’s actually nice to see you say “I don’t know.” I really admire your work and feel that I have a pretty good grasp on how we work (R Shaman). But I always look to see what you’re saying or doing to either back up or refute what I’ve decided to do.

    I don’t play any other healing classes in PvE but it always feels like there’s far less ambiguity around topics such as this one. Maybe Paladins have recently started actively debating their mastery since their change. Otherwise, it seems like Shaman are always in a cycle of questioning stat choices and priority. I even wrote a blog recently on the revival of the stat debate (an idea which escaped some folks on the WoW forums–no big surprise there).

    I’m still heavy crit for now. We’re only 1/7 HM (we strongly feel there is a problem with Rhyolith that Blizz needs to address) so it’s difficult for me to start looking at other stats for now. I can see where Mastery may be more valuable on Baleroc, and haste maybe on Domo when we get there.

    All I can say is “IDK either.” Just gotta let it play out and hope to have 5 sets of gear to accommodate different builds. :)


    • You’re exactly right. We do discuss stat priorities constantly. Ultimately, I don’t think we’re ever going to agree, because we all play with different groups. I play a holy pally casually, and from what I’ve noticed, it’s just haste haste and more haste. Ok, need spirit too.
      Our mastery impacts our heals a great deal depending on what dps and tanks do. If they do something stupid, then our heals hit for more. I saw a circular chart on another site showing that early in progression mastery will be our best stat. After everyone gets better gear and (more importantly) knows fights better, haste will pass it since less damage is being taken.
      I generally heal with people who “heal everybody”. In general, that philosophy means we will get less benefit from our mastery. But it also allows all of us to keep our mana pools roughly equal, which allows MTT to benefit everyone equally as well.
      I think it’s great that we can have different builds that work. It makes the class fun to play because just by reforging some stuff, we could have a completely different feel to playing our class while still having success.


  9. Vili

    I have been debating about reforging and such out of mastery and into crit and haste as my guild did manage to get into hard modes in the last tier so we are close to that ilvl 365 you mentioned. I have been nervous about doing so as crit seems so random on when it happens, but maybe I am not getting the full benefit out of my mastery so far as I should be. I have felt so far this tier that my healing has been too low, and maybe this actually has been my problem…mainly not enouhg low health bars to get that push from mastery.

    I have a raid tonight and may go ahead and look into this.

    If you don’t mind me asking, on mrrobot.com, what are your stat weights using the NM setup you showed above?


  10. Nyu

    Hello Vixsin,
    thanks alot for your update concerning 4.2.
    There is a biiig question I have and maybe you find the time to answer sooner or later. As I’m no english speaking person I’m sorry for mistakes.
    What do you think about the trinket necromantic focus for restoration shamans. Is it good or a poor choice? (compared to those other 2 trinkets dropping there) I heard the one which heals people isn’t that good because of the long cooldown.
    Thanks alot in advance and keep up your good work :)


    • @Nyu – Hey mate, Necromantic Focus only procs mastery off periodic spell damage. You certainly could use flame shock to get it to proc, however as that is our only DoT it would ramp up slowly and probably fall off if you miss (which on a boss happens all too frequently – at least for me when I TC regenerate. The moonwell trinket from Hyjal dailies has an on use mastery proc, which would be way more beneficial to you.
      Turtle´s last post ..Baleroc, the Gatekeeper


      • Inziladun

        Turtle, you have to miss 3 times in a row for it to fall off if you’re using flame shock on cooldown. Ramp up time is slow but on most fights you can keep it up the entire time. If there are multiple targets to shock, ramp up time becomes quicker (which is the case in half the fights this tier).

        Coupled with focused insight, Necromantic Focus may actually be viable. I can’t see mastery on use being better than a constant 420 mastery (480 in heroic) throughout the entire fight. I think it’s really just a matter of getting comfortable with focused insight if you’re going to use it.

        I’d love to hear Vixsin’s input on this.


        • Inziladun

          After doing Rag, Domo and Alysrazor with Necromantic focus I have to say it just feels worse (than even my Vibrant Alchemist Stone). Due to lack of hit rating you have to refresh flame shock really often to avoid dropping stacks off. Ramp up time is really high, and focused insight does not seem to be very helpful. It would be easier if you glyphed flame shock but I can’t imagine the HPS decrease is worth it.


    • In general, I’m not a big fan of trying to abuse dps trinkets for a healing gain, so my position on Necromantic Focus is … meh.

      I did run with Heroic DFO back in ICC, but that was largely made possible by the fact that my rotation wasn’t as varied as it is these days. The issues that I had then would be the same issues now: misses, uptime, and lost GCDs. But the three biggest concerns that I have are:

      1. Effort – I only have so much focus that I can spare in between making decisions in any given encounter, and especially if we’re underhealing.
      2. Mana – Assuming a 6min encounter and using Glyph of Flameshock, I’d spend over 50,000 mana just to keep up that buff. That’s a shitton of mana that I don’t have to spare.
      3. Healing Gain – In addition to losing out on a prime glyph slot, using 13 GCDs on FS instead of RT or UE not only costs me healing done, but also could potentially impact my regen through 2pc T12.

      So even though I do agree that Necromantic Focus looks and seems yummy, I just don’t see enough of a benefit to offset the costs above.


  11. Obitwo

    Great Post!


  12. Falrei

    In response to Nastiest:

    I’m a holy paladin by trade (I recently came to this sight in order to expand my understanding of other healing classes, even if we have no resto shamans in my ten man anymore…) so I can tell you there IS debate about paladin’s with the mastery rework, but not quite what you probably expect. Over at elitist jerks, the topic was how one top tier holy paladin (I forget the examples name) was going full out mastery, and how he was doing amazing healing on Baeleroc (and any fight in Molten Core which was a holy paladin healing a tank). That being said, it’s a VERY niche situation, and only really viable in 25 mans, and only if that paladin is doing nothing but tank healing. Otherwise, mastery is STILL deemed our least attractive stat and in general holy paladins still don’t gear towards it even after the rework. It’s pretty sad, in my opinion. I’m glad shaman’s get to make some choices concerning the stat, and it’s kind of neat how it flip flops in value based on where you are in progression and if you’re pushing hard modes or not.


  13. Nazoikar

    Nicely done. Wondering if you’ve considered the next HR haste plateau (I know its pretty high) in favor of mastery for HMs? Really doesn’t seem that unattainable anymore… especially with the revered trinkets… I’m strongly thinking about running with both (reforging obviously) and having double win on use for serious burst (90k hps spikes inc?)

    Also thoughts on TC? I hear a lot of bashing (what else is new) but not a lot of constructive thought on it for fights like Shannox HM I’d imagine there is still enough downtime between rages to drop 1-2 lb’s?


    • With little evidence that reaching the RT haste threshold of 2005 would be beneficial, I’d be incredibly skeptical of pursuing HR’s next haste threshold (which is 3050 haste).

      In regards to TC usage in HM Firelands, I’m finding it way more challenging to work into play. Encounters seem to incorporate less downtime for healers (with the exception of Alysrazor) so it becomes a matter of finding those spare GCDs. On Shannox, I can generally toss out a couple while a dog is trapped; on Ryolith, I fit them in on adds when we’re doing well on volcanoes; on Beth’ilac, I work them in on her at the start of Phase 3 (when healing is light); on Baleroc, there’s never a good time; on Domo, I work them in on cat phase; and on Rag I toss them out during hammer phases.

      What’s interesting to note, at least from a TC perspective, is that there are absolutely no +damage encounter bonuses in this Tier. So the overall potential for TC is less than it was in Tier 11.


    • It’s frustrating, to be sure, but it’s hard for me to get worked up about it because I understand both sides of the situation. Someone brilliantly said, in a post on the WoW forums–someone will always be on the bottom; it’s simply the nature of a game where no two classes are identical. It sucks, but balance isn’t just a switch that Blizzard can flip on and off. But … the player in me, the person who’s been playing a shaman for 5? 6? years now, doesn’t like being reminded that I’m at the bottom. I like thinking that I can be a friggin amazing healer no matter the color of my box on grid.

      The interesting thing is … we started working on Rag HM last night and got far enough into it that I could see my output starting to fall off. Enough that I found myself thinking “yeah, I can understand the no-shaman choice”. So, maybe I’ll wind up sitting the fight out, and maybe I’ll be bringing in my druid instead. We’ll have to see how it goes.


  14. Yuna

    “Normal Modes: Int > Spirit (to ~2200) > Haste (to 916) > Crit = Haste (over 916) > Mastery”

    Could anyone tell me what she means by “Crit = Haste (over 916)”?


    • Translation: Past 916 haste, the benefits of crit will be about equal to the benefits of haste. So you can get amounts of either, so long as you have the mana to support them.


  15. Rasputko

    If you don’t mind me asking, on mrrobot.com, what are your stat weights using the NM setup you showed above?

    *re-posted from above, I also would be interested in this.


  16. imössel

    Nice post !

    Just one question about “The benefits of 2005 haste.”

    As goblin, this breakpoint goes down to 1858. Regarding this value, do you still think the same about stat priority ?
    I’d just like to get your opinion. Just consider that I’m raiding only on 10m.

    Thanks !



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