You’ve been searching for it, you’ve been asking for it, and after a month and a half of hot Firelands action (/snicker), it’s finally time to start talking about it—that ever-coveted Resto Shaman Best in Slot. We’ve got one hell of a good looking tier set this time around—who doesn’t want to wear a crown of flames?!—and I know a number of you are already well on your way to having a very shiny gearset (or two). In which case, the following sets should give you the confirmation that you’re looking for. But, as you wander about Ragnaros’ domain, shopping list in hand (wtf aisle has those shiny new rep rings?!), there are a couple things you should know. Because with Tier 12 comes some good and some bad news, and the reappearance of a familiar face.
So first let’s talk good news. Possibly the best part about building your own Molten Volcanic Fiery Red Set of Awesome is that you don’t have very many pieces to choose from, so much like Tier 11, your rings, cloak, belt, bracer and neck options are quite limited. And when it comes to boots, an offhand, and a relic, your choices are even more narrow. So really, the slots you have to play with are a limited bunch, and with reforging available at the drop of a hat, the gear you do have can be very flexible.
Now, the bad news. Okay, it’s not so much “bad” as it is something that I think might make a number of players nervous. Now brace yourself here … wait for it … *ahem* … there’s really no clear front-runner when it comes to Resto Shaman stats. Yes, I know, it’s shocking, but let me explain. The stats that seem to dominate normal modes are not the stats that dominate hard modes, and depending on your spell distribution, your stats can even vary fight to fight. So, ultimately, there are a multitude of directions that you can go with your Best in Slot, and all of them are represented in the top parses on WoL.\
My Direction for Vixsin
As with every tier (and as I’ve said before), issuing Best In Slot lists is always something that I struggle with. To be quite honest, I don’t really start thinking about “Best in Slot” until we’re almost done with that tier of content, because in all reality, it was the previous tier’s BiS that needs to carry me through progression. Thus, at the start of the new tier, my sets become a hodgepodge of old items and whatever has dropped through the course of our new kills. In contrast, at the end of content, I generally have every possible piece of loot in my bags (one of the perks of having content on farm for so long), so that I can pick and choose at will, and make any stat adjustments necessary when I get into the subsequent tier.
But, just to elaborate on my mindset while I’m working my way through content, I generally stick to the following gearing tenants:
- Assume Mastery for new fights. The first time I face off against any boss, I’ll be in max Mastery gear on the presumption that we’re going to be struggling to hold out for as long as possible while we figure out strats, work through bugs, and generally get situated. Since Mastery is going to allow me to do more healing with the same amount of mana, it’s the only way to go if I think we’re going to be knee-deep in triage.
- Pick up what I can. If it’s a mail piece that I can use, regardless of whether it has Crit in place of my current piece’s Mastery or has no Spirit where I currently have some, I’ll find a way to make it work. Generally speaking, higher ilvl is better (with the exception of tier bonuses).
- Have alternate pieces with Crit and Haste. Again, this is a convenience for me personally and something I think most other players can simply accomplish through reforging. But, the principle here is to be prepared to switch around my stat distribution based on the TYPE of spells that I’m using in the encounter.
- Later fights will require more Spirit. As is typical for most instances, the later fights are the more trying in terms of individual performance but also in terms of longevity, and Firelands upholds this standard in its entirety. So while PC crushed HM Shannox with me at 2200 Spirit, I knew that going into Rag with the same amount wouldn’t be possible. Knowing this ahead of time though, made it possible for me to be prepared when the time came.
After spending just under two months in Firelands, the conclusion that I’ve come to is a fairly simple one (and one that I had back in the days of Ulduar)—it’s all about multiple sets. Your healing distribution in some fights won’t be the same as it is in others, especially when you get into hard modes. (If it is, then we need to have a talk). And this means that the stats you should shoot for will be different, from fight to fight, because the value of a secondary stat is based on the spell that you’re casting. And it’s important to remember that Resto Shaman are unique in this respect, because of the way that our Mastery is designed. (Good lord, you’re going to get tired of me saying that).
So, how does this impact Resto Shamans’ Best in Slot list for Tier 12? Well, it means that instead of one “best” list, you’re going to have several to choose from:
As I said before, flexibility is king—you need and should want to tailor your stats depending on your raid team and the encounter in front of you. And unlike other healers whose stats are independent of everyone else (a GHeal , for example will never vary outside of a certain range), Resto Shaman are entirely dependent on the conditions of the raid. But, before you start to despair over the number of items that you think might be included in those “multiple sets” I’m talking about, I’ll let you in on a little secret … you ready? … they all use the same items. So whether you’re trying to max out Crit, dig deep into Mastery, or power your Chain Heals, you’re going to be using the same pieces. And those pieces are:
|Back||Wings of Flame|
|Back||Flowing Flamewrath Cape|
|Chest||Erupting Volcanic Tunic|
|Feet||Treads of Implicit Obedience|
|Hands||Erupting Volcanic Handwraps|
|Head||Crown of Flame|
|Legs||Erupting Volcanic Legwraps|
|Main Hand||Ko’gun, Hammer of the Firelord|
|Off Hand||Ward of the Red Widow|
|Off Hand||Goblet of Anger|
|Ranged||Singed Plume of Aviana|
|Ring 1||Quicksilver Signet of the Avengers|
|Ring 2||Crystal Prison Band|
|Ring 2||Soothing Brimstone Circle|
|Shoulder||Erupting Volcanic Mantle|
|Trinket 1||Shard of Woe|
|Trinket 2||Jaws of Defeat|
|Wrist||Lava Line Wristbands|
Now, in the instances in the above list where I’ve included two items, that means that you have some non-Spirit options, if you find yourself swimming in mana, or visa versa. So, if you happen to nab Wings of Flame you can always make up the lost Spirit by grabbing Soothing Brimstone Circle instead of Crystal Prison Band. The same thing goes for Singed Plume of Aviana and Soulflame Vial—you can pick either one and simply supplement them with a different reforging plan.
So What About This “Familiar Face”?
In the recent Resto Shaman mailbag post, I talked about the reasons why for a couple weeks I was sporting massive amounts of haste for HM Ragnaros. And although I ultimately decided the stat investment just wasn’t worth the cost and ultimately made my rotation hard to sustain without copious amounts of Spirit, there’s no debating that Resto Shaman are inching back towards a stronger relationship with our old buddy from WotLK. With 2005 haste obtainable in the above BiS Haste set, the end of Firelands means we’ll all be facing the temptation of speedy chain heals and an extra tick of RT. And while some of us will continue to resist, I know others will cave into their need for speed.
But interestingly enough, as PC settles into farm mode, what I’m finding about the stat cycle I illustrated in the Tier 11 Best in Slot post, is that with its boost to 200%, Crit has pushed its way a little closer to the front. So instead of seeing a swing between Mastery and Haste, what I think we’re seeing is a swing between Mastery and Haste/Crit, especially when it comes to single-target healing. (As usual top WoL parses are a tough gauge of “top” performance since a number of other influences factor into a top parse aside from gear). Regardless, I think it will be interesting to see if this shift in stat preference holds through the final tier of the expansion. Or if, given the effects of stat inflation and the fact that even Blizzard sees an inefficiency rise on the horizon, Resto Shaman will once again find themselves crawling back to haste, full mana bars in hand, looking once again for that edge that only haste can give us.