I went through about 13 or so awkward intros for this post and in the end all I could think to start this off was to say—it’s been one heck of a ride since 4.3 launched. For some, it’s been a trial in patience, as new dungeon heroics and LFR bosses have asked you to venture outside your comfort zone and interact with other people in the world (of warcraft). For others, this marked the start, and possibly end (for those 8/8 DS folks) of progression for the expansion. And for everyone, the bustle and population of the game rose as people logged in to experience all the new things to do and see in game, except transmogrification, because no one was excited about that (/sarcasm).
Arguably, it’s been a busy two weeks for me as well, not only because of 4.3 launch but because I’m starting the final tier of the expansion with Vigil on US Mal’Ganis. They were kind enough to offer my cranky arse a spot on their healing team, as the lone Ancestral Vigor buff, and on last Sunday, earned my undying adoration for letting me snag a coveted title for my resto druid, who double-druid healed her way to Firelord Mynkz (months behind, I know!) But, enough about me—there’s a ton that I want to mention when it comes to the new world of Dragon Soul. So sit down, strap in and get ready for a lightning round of 4.3 tips and tidbits!
- Possibly the most depressing thing about 4.3 launch was the fact that I was finally forced to give up my precious Shard of Woe, which had its mana reduction nerfed from 405 to 205 mana per cast (which is upwards of a 50k mana impact to my total mana pool). The nerf dropped it out of the BiS running for the tier, which isn’t really that terrible of a thing, because it means that I’ll have the opportunity to try out some of the exciting new trinkets. (Yes, I’ll have a post coming out about trinkets in the next week or so, since for some reason, healers seem to obsess over trinkets more than anything else).
- If you have a chance to get Heart of Unliving, take it. Because the +Spirit buff now stacks with Mana Tide, and it has a nice dose of static Intellect, I think it’s a viable contender for BiS for Resto Shaman (and especially for their healing teams). One of my guildmates was kind enough to pass it along to me, and I can confirm that I got an additional 6k per MT drop. And because that additional chunck of spirit was passed along to the rest of the healing team, it roughly translated to an extra 35k per drop for our healing team. With a total of 4 drops on Madness, this brought the approximate gain for the healing team up to 140k extra mana. Not too shabby.
- I said it before, and it’s worth mentioning again that Maw of the Dragonlord will be Best in Slot for every healer out there. I don’t care if Scalpel of Unrelenting Agony has better stats or you like the look of Vagaries of Time more. The proc from Maw is life-altering. Period. End of Story. Get it. Take hostages. Kill (Deathwing) for it. Get this mace. Now. (But don’t roll against me for it LFR, kthx).
- If you haven’t read this Meta Gem discussion from Derevka, please do. Long story short—if you’re not having mana issues and have a crit level that’s above 10% (so, just about everyone), then you should seriously consider swapping to the Burning Shadowspirit Diamond for the +3% boost to critical heals.
- I won’t be breaking 4pc T12 until I have 4pc T13. The CH throughput loss simply isn’t worth the mana gain from the awkwardly-designed T13 2pc, not to mention that CH is turning out to be my #1 or #2 Healing Done on most DS encounters. It’s also worth mentioning that when you do get your 4pc, expect your mana consumption to jump a bit, since provided that you do maximize your Spiritwalker’s Grace uptime, your average haste value will be significantly higher, and thus your burn rate will be higher as well.
- Although NM damage was moderate, you should be prepared to be a little more OOM as you work your way towards your Destroyer’s End title and then into HM’s. Because almost every Dragon Soul fight incorporates a stack mechanic (even in 10s) you will likely be working more Healing Rain into your rotation than in Firelands. Even in normal modes, I could feel the crunch, so be prepared and don’t skimp on Spirit unless you know you can spare it.
- TC-friendly fights are back! Warlord Zon’ozz, Haggara and Madness both incorporate +damage dealt mechanics, which will really boost how much mana you have available to spend on both encounters (and will definitely help in hard modes). And, it’s worth mentioning that Morchok, Yor’shaj, and Spine and all have periods of time where there is significantly reduced incoming damage, so working in an LB or two is a viable alternative to standing around regenning.
- If you are going to be a primary dispeller on Zon’ozz and Haggara (NM and especially in HM), it will be worth your time to go for 2/2 Cleansing Waters. The mana savings will be a boon and the small heal can be a life saver in heavy-damage environments. (Somewhat ironically, I swapped to this spec this week in anticipation of HM Zon’ozz and then we wound up healing through the debuff—d’oh!)
- Do make sure that you have pets displaying on your raid frames before you go about dealing with Yor’shaj’s Shadow Globule (especially on HM). Because pets do not suffer from Deep Corruption, you can use them as targets for RT and UE without stacking the debuff. Thankfully, only the initial hit of RT counts for the buff, but if you’re in a bind and need the buff, turn to pets. Having Tidal Waves up while Deep Corruption healing will not only increase your throughput, but give you faster GHW’s and thus more chance to proc an AA on a low HP raid member. (Also, remember to keep your HST totem down–the hot won’t proc stacks either).
- Let Ultraxion padding begin! I’m delighted to see a healer-centric fight that actually lets healers have a little bit of fun seeing some big numbers, but oh the G5 battles that this boss is going to cause. At present, we’ve been utilizing Shamans and Druids on Red, Priests on Green, and Pallies on Blue. Although we could easily swap the Druids and Shamans off red, we found that it offered much quicker raid stabilization, and helped offset the mana issues that Priests and Pallies can have when spamming AOE healing for 5 minutes straight.
- Spine of Deathwing debuffs are a pain in the ass, but the key to the encounter is knowing they’re there in the first place. On normal difficulty, Searing Plasma will absorb 200k healing done (obviously, this does not include absorbs—they need to be direct heals). And, it will remain on the target until it is removed, so it behooves you and your healing team to keep a close eye on who has the debuff. Do note that excessive Healing Rain usage is only the “right” answer when Amalgamations get close to exploding; the rest of the time you will want to stick addressing the debuff through the cheapest (yet still timely) way possible. This means your best solution for removing the debuff is to toss an RT on affected targets, and then start using them as primary bounces for CH. Work in some GHW’s to speed things up, and you should see a marked improvement in the amount of mana you have available.
- DO get yourself into Looking for Raid (LFR). Even if you walked out of Firelands in full BiS 391/397 gear, it’s still worth picking up some LFR tokens to supplement your tier and have a shot at an upgraded belt (Belt of Shattered Elementium), a good ring (Signet of Suturing), trinkets (Windward Heart and Heart of Unliving), and the amazing and tasty Maw of the Dragonlord. So grab a couple of guildies (the more you have, the smoother it will go) and get your PuG on. If you’re nervous about herding all the LFR cats, arm yourself with MMO Melting Pot’s Quick LFR Guide and look like a hero when your group sails through 8/8.
- Although I always struggle to author posts during progression, it’s much easier to find time to Tweet. So, for tips and tidbits like these, in bite-sized 140-character snippets, do feel free to follow me on Twitter: Vixsin_LiG5.
- Lastly, brace yourself when you look at meters … Resto Shaman will be doing better in this final tier of the expansion. Although I wholeheartedly dislike the fact that we’re being “propped up” by fights that favor our Mastery (HM: Yorshaj, Maddness, Ultraxion) and allow us to showcase our healing strengths (stacked raids), I’m optimistic that Maddness HM kills will benefit from having a Resto Shaman in raid. And I’m sure we’ll find out soon enough!