Life in Group 5 – A Resto Shaman Blog
A resto shaman perspective on raiding


June 18, 2012

Minipost: HPS Data for Tiers 11, 12 and 13

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Written by: Vixsin
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One of the great things about the proliferation of meters and online parsing tools, like World of Logs and WoW Meter Online, is that they provide a great archive of player performance over time. It’s easy to pull up a parse or two from your own history as see just how your performance has changed, from month to month or from tier to tier. But, as anyone looking back through WoL top parses might notice, it’s difficult to get a handle on the performance of a larger spectrum of players. This was one of the challenges that I faced when trying to evaluate comparative healer performance in Cataclysm.

As has been the case many times before, I was saved from an incredible amount of log-diving by Seriallos of, whose site aggregates data from WoL’s public logs in order to display performance rankings by spec. This information is collected contemporaneously with the progression of the tier, meaning that you can see the evolution of HPS over time instead of just a picture of the finish line (as is the case if you look at WoL’s Top Healer parses). A couple emails later, and I had the following snapshots of healer performance in Tiers 11, 12 and 13. While my original intent was to include this data in my post Paradigm Shifts of Cataclysm – Healer Edition, given the rarity of similar information (I seriously spent hours trying to find something similar for T8-T10, and came up empty-handed), I decided it was worthy of its own minipost.

Now, there are some things to note about the graphs below:

  1. They’re not readily available on Raidbots’ site because Seriallos created the custom queries based on the dates of the tier, so that I could try and evaluate the effects of each major patch. (Did I mention how awesome this guy is?!)
  2. The data for Tier 11 does not go back to Cata launch because WoL didn’t start making the raw data available to Raidbots until around February. This means that we are missing 2 months of data (12/7/11 – 2/8/12) which would have given us some context for 4.0.6’s impacts. Bummer.
  3. The numbers represented are Median values, not the Mean.
  4. These graphs are for hard mode encounters; I’m not looking at normal modes. This means that the data set is restricted to a smaller segment of the raiding population.
  5. Each time segment has both a 25-man (“25H”) and a 10-man (“10H”) graph.
  6. This data does not exclude any fights or parses on the basis of “Well, that’s a [OP class] fight”. It’s all there (including the healing from those “meter breakers”, Tranquility and Divine Hymn, and paladins’ blue-crystal-supercharged HPS.)
  7. Most importantly, none of these graphs tell you what you can and cannot do with your class. There is nothing stopping you from proving this data wrong. In fact, I sincerely hope that there are a large number of people out there already doing so (to the sounds of Eye of the Tiger).

The date divisions are:

  1. Tier 11, Part 1: 2/8/2011 – 4/25/2011
  2. Tier 11, Part 2: 4/26/2011 – 6/27/2011
  3. Tier 12: 6/28/2011 – 11/28/2011
  4. Tier 13: 11/29/2011 – date of this post


 Tier 11, Part 1 (4.0.6 – 4.1)

Healing Data for 10HM (Median HPS, by spec, over all encounters)

Healing Data for 25HM (Median HPS, by spec, over all encounters)


Tier 11, Part 2 (4.1 – 4.2)

Healing Data for 10HM (Median HPS, by spec, over all encounters)

Healing Data for 25HM (Median HPS, by spec, over all encounters)


Tier 12 (4.2 – 4.3)

Healing Data for 10HM (Median HPS, by spec, over all encounters)

Healing Data for 25HM (Median HPS, by spec, over all encounters)


Tier 13 (4.3 – present)

Healing Data for 10HM (Median HPS, by spec, over all encounters)

Healing Data for 25HM (Median HPS, by spec, over all encounters)



Graphs are nice, but color-coded charts are better! Here’s the data presented above, but in a more digestible format for people who are just interested in comparing the numbers.

HPS Comparison (T11-13)


A Handful of Observations

Ultimately, I think this is one of those posts where the data presented is going to speak for itself, as well as be open to a wide spread of interpretation (because we are definitely not looking at the whole picture here). That being said, there are a couple things that I wanted to mention and/or highlight about the information above:

  • It’s unfortunate that we don’t have WoL data from the first couple of months of the expansion, because I think it would give us a good amount of perspective on where classes started and why changes were necessary. The good news is that I did find archived pages for the now-defunct which provides some context for the 4.0.6 changes. I can’t speak to the quality of data, but at least it provides some insight into class performance (25H as of 4.0.6, 25N as of 4.0.6)

Tier 11 HPS as of 4.0.6 (per StateofDPS)

  • As I noted in Paradigm Shifts of Cataclysm – Healer Edition, Tier 11 pre-4.1 was seemingly the closest performance of all healers. It had the lowest range for both 25 and 10 mans. Given the performance of Druids post-4.1 and the perception that they were winning meters easily, I wonder if it was a conscious decision of the devs to start including encounter effects that could not simply be healed through, but rather required some sort of raid damage mitigation.
  • Although I don’t really have any viable hypothesis for why the data in Tier 12 25H has such massive variations, I think it’s interesting to note that the bump in the middle of the graph is right at the time that the Firelands nerf hit (on September 20th).
  • With specific regards to Holy Priests, performance data would seem to suggest that their tools are more successful in a 25-man environment versus a 10-man environment. This is the reverse of Resto Shaman, who experienced low performance in 25’s, but improved performance in 10s.
  • Confirming my theory that Firelands fights were all over the board, both 10-man and 25-mans experienced the largest performance range for HPS, with the difference between the highest and the lowest healer being approximately 7k for each.
  • Although Paladins might have had a very strong finish, based on the data above, it was Druids who came out on top for the whole of the expansion. As a result, I expect to read a large number of “So we actually did pretty well this expansion” blog posts in the very near future, along with some recanted testimony about WG/Rejuv nerfs being the death-knell of the class.
  • Lastly, what I think this data reinforces, at least for me, is that Cataclysm healer design and balance was based on a triage state (Tier 11), and the father we moved away from that state–due to set bonuses, class tweaks, rising mana pools and regen, etc.–the more separation we saw between the healers. So, if we can see the same triage state endure for more than just the first tier in Mists, I’m hopeful that we’ll see more of that healer performance parity that we all enjoy.


  1. Hiya, Vixsin,

    I have read your blog for as long as I have been a Shaman (since about mid-Wrath) and I first wanted to say I very much enjoy your point of view and in depth breakdowns of the Resto Shaman. I look forward to where Shaman go in MoP. :)

    I did have a question about your healer comparisons: How does this factor in absorbs and non-healing spells and cooldowns? ie. Spirit Link Totem, Power Word: Barrier, Aura Mastery, etc. HPS numbers are great and all, but I have to wonder how much of my toolkit is actually being represented.

    Are Druids on top because their raid cooldown is a heal (Tranquility) rather than a mitigation of damage (Spirit Link Totem)?

    Thanks so much for the great read!

    ~ Effy
    Effraeti´s last post ..Blog Azeroth Shared Topic: Insert NPC Here

    • The data that’s shown above is directly from World of Logs, by way of Raidbots. So, because WoL doesn’t track the damage reduction component of SLT, PW:B, and Aura Mastery (because those values aren’t shown in the combat log), it won’t factor into the overall HPS shown. So you are correct, in that there are mitigation factors, (Inspiration and Ancestral Fortitude included), that will not show on meters and would theoretically offset the additional healing.

      Yes, Tranquility contributes to Druids’ higher performance, but that’s only part of the picture. In Tier 12, they were enabled by a stronger WG, which worked very well with the spread raid mechanics that were prevalent in Firelands, and very low regen needs, which meant that they were able to max other secondary stats instead. In Tier 13, if you look at the path of their HPS in 25HM, you’ll see that it has a sharp rise around February; my guess would be that around this time is when gear levels (and thus regen levels) were sufficient enough to allow for Rejuv blanketing on the raid (which also explains why the spike is more noticeable in 25s).

  2. Great post as always, Vix! However, there was something that really stuck out like a sore thumb to me a bit.

    After reading the below in your last post:

    “If anything, I’m inclined to agree with GC’s perception on the druid CD being a “meter-breaker”; counting Tranquility’s effects without consideration of the damage-reduction components of PW:Barrier, Spiritlink or Aura Mastery, certainly gives a biased view of Druid performance within the tier.”

    I am a little bit surprised to read this here:

    ” it was Druids who came out on top for the whole of the expansion. As a result, I expect to read a large number of “So we actually did pretty well this expansion” blog posts in the very near future, along with some recanted testimony about WG/Rejuv nerfs being the death-knell of the class.”

    It is almost as if you are stating the opposite of what you provided the other day, which struck me as a little bit odd. As a Druid myself, I would respectfully disagree that we “came out on top”. The first few months of Dragon Soul were pretty miserable for me healing wise. I think that as we got gear, the problems we saw when DS released were played down – but that didn’t make them non-existent. And I’d pretty strenuously argue that many of our problems weren’t solved by the ability to brute force heal our way through damage, and that “winning the meters for the expansion” only makes it that much harder to present information for people where they don’t stop and say “but you heal so much, what is your problem” or “loltranq”. It sucks we got a “cooldown” that made our sheer output so large, and that so many people seem to overlook that fact when doing a comparative analysis of healing numbers.

    In short, you won’t see a post from me that offers a retrospective indicative of Druid healing “having been fine”, because my memory is not so short that I have already forgotten the pain of launch or of the start of T12. And I, personally, feel that any druid that raided in a competitive 25s environment that would make such a post would be doing our class a disservice.

    • There’s an important distinction to make here–I’m not in any way arguing that Druids are “fine” or have an ideal toolbox. There are gaps in Druids’ arsenal (burst healing gets mentioned quite frequently) that do exist, and certainly there are improvements to be made. I’m not dashing any of that to the side.

      Admitting to strengths doesn’t mean that you don’t have any weaknesses; that’s something that I think many people, myself included, struggle with when discussing class balance. We’re quick to point out everything that’s wrong with our class, an exclude discussion about what is going well. And even worse, we do that in a bubble, trying to isolate Quality of Life issues from Balance, when the distinction is really in the eyes of the beholder. So, I don’t think it’s out of line, in fact I think it’s pretty reasonable, to expect a class that did well in terms of HPS to admit that worries over nerfs were a bit precipitous. And if you can use that as a springboard for an objective take on the class as a whole, then I think that would make for a very compelling discussion.

      • Hercdeisel

        “There are gaps in Druids’ arsenal (burst healing gets mentioned quite frequently) that do exist”

        ” So, I don’t think it’s out of line, in fact I think it’s pretty reasonable, to expect a class that did well in terms of HPS to admit that worries over nerfs were a bit precipitous.”

        This pair of statements is I think what’s confusing to people who have healed as a druids in heroics. They go directly together.

        I dare say that hardly anyone (or at least hardly anyone worth discussing these things with) was worried about the *overall* hps decrease from the WG nerfs. It was *exactly* the issue of dealing with rapid group healing that people worried about with the WG nerfs. And as Beru (among others) has so thoroughly chronicled, this fear was realized.

        Dragon Soul was a pretty clear statement that Druids were just going to be allowed to be the worst healers at that particular aspect of healing. This is presumably because the other option of inelegantly propping up Druid rapid group healing with strong WG, leads to Druids smashing other healers by such a degree that it leads to unacceptable levels of complaining (mostly from other classes).

        So, the evidence of overall HPS just isn’t relevant for measuring whether worries over nerfs were warranted or not. DO you have some other data that support this conclusion that you though supported it? It doesn’t seem, then, that resto druids owe any recantations or apologies for their fears that were realized.

        That said, it would be a shame to let this be the dominant theme of the reaction to your otherwise (as per usual for your excellent blog) very interesting post.

    • Omynn

      My druid was my main since BC til I switched to shaman mid wrath. I still play and raid on my druid regularly as well as my disc priest and my holy pally. I have to say that, for this expansion, shaman has been by far the biggest pain in the neck, the biggest struggle to stay viable in a fairly casual raiding environment. My druid does suffer burst healing issues but as far as painful goes, the beginning of cata was almost a deal breaker for my shaman. It was really, really bad for me. I read and read and read and spent week after week trying different specs and glyphs and casting priorities and stat priorities. I have finally found something that, combined with better gear, seems to work well for me but it’s been exceptionally painful getting here and that has never been the case with my druid. I am so afraid of what they’re going to do my shaman in pandaland. :(

  3. Great read and it just re-enforces something that I’ve been seeing for a long time. Shaman’s are the weakest of the healing classes. As you said, those numbers don’t factor in abilities like damage reduction, but the bottom line is we are at the bottom. This is something I’ve had a problem with since I started really caring about my Shaman as a Resto.
    In my opinion, Druids should be at the very bottom of the healing charts. Now, obviously Druids will be in an uproar about this, but I will give my theory which I believe to be reasonably sound. (and as unbiased as possible, even though I’m playing Resto Sham)
    The classes that are healing centric should be at the top of the list, while the classes that have the most diversity should be at the bottom.
    The Priest class is a class based, in lore and play, primarily on the healing arts. As such, a Holy

    1. Priest should be at the very top of the charts. I’m not saying they should blow the rest out of the water, but they should be #1 hands down. Disco Priests offer a sort of dilemma as some of their strength comes from Damage Reduction. Because of that, they can mire towards the middle/bottom as the mechanic is slightly different.
    2. Next on the charts should be Shamans. Shaman’s can play 1 of 2 roles; that of DPS and that of Healer. As such, 1/2 of their focus is on the ability to heal. Now, I understand that they are a 2/3 class in terms of 2 DPS, 1 Healing; but those 2 are DPS. Since they are a damage or heal class; their healing should be the next highest on the list.
    3. Paladin’s – While I personally don’t love what I’ve perceived Heal-a-Din’s to have become, they still deserve a solid enough ranking. Now following my theory, the Paladin class is a 1/1/1 spec. You tank or MELEE DPS or heal. Paladin’s are also, traditionally a class that you can associate some “healing” abilities with. Going back to classic D&D where Pally’s were special with their “Lay on Hands” ability. Because of those variables, they should sit at #3.
    4. Druids – Because the Druid is truly the Jack of All trades (and apparent master of all) they deserve to be at the bottom on the healing barrel. These are a 1/1/1/1 class, and present more variety then any other spec in the game. Regardless of historal/lore perceptions on what a Druid represents; the bottom line is that a class with 4 options should not be the strongest in each of them. Hell, they shouldn’t even be top 2 in each of them. I understand this may sound like I’m punishing the class for having a variety of ways to approach play; and I suppose maybe I’m doing just that! To me, it doesn’t make sense why a class with so many option gets to be “the best” or “top” when other classes have a limited selection of options and suffer.

    Were this a non-healing discussion, I would also launch into a tirade about how the DPS meters are currently ridiculous in terms of where certain classes rank. I’m looking, specifically, at Warlock’s. However, that is for another time and place.
    Ryot´s last post ..Heroic Morchok kicks the bucket!

    • Eskar

      I disagree completely that a player should be penalized for choosing a class that can spec in to different roles. When in combat healing you are a healer and can’t suddenly become a main tank or a bleeding edge dpser. The potential to be something else in another attempt or another encounter shouldn’t come in to it. As a pure healer I could bring a different character instead as a priest I could have a rogue alt sitting out side the instance and be number 1 and have the flexibility.

      However I agree we should be balanced on what utility and other abilities that we have access to in our healing role. Having tranquility hopefully is balanced with mitigation cool downs. We can all do a bit of dps some maybe more than others, some of us have interupts etc etc. The less utility we have perhaps the higher our initial numbers should be. However utility doesn’t necessarily scale making it difficult to balence

  4. Great post, Vixsin and truly sad to see it once again in black and white that Resto shamans were the losers of this expansion healing-wise.

    By the way, I want to ask everyone who can to keep the Resto shaman threads on top at the official Beta forums, e.g (really good thread about the spread healing issue). It bothers me that none of the shaman issue threads got a blue response yet and that the last beta build again had no shaman updates.
    I really don’t want Cata to happen all over again…I’ve gone through so much with my shaman in the past, but another expansion like that would be more than I could take and I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels like that…

    <3 Much love to all my fellow shamans, stay strong!

  5. Anony

    I can’t put into words how extremely interesting I find your writing and thinking. <3 This post is another great example. It's quite late over here and I should reread it again tomorrow though to make sure I got it right :)

    Even though the true skill of the healer lies in using the best ability at the best moment taking into account what others are casting, we just can't deny that the tools that we are given are not the best in the box. I played my tree for a while this tier because it was better for our raidsetup, and the healing is so much easier and more relaxed in my opinion than on my shaman. Although I had to adjust to not having TC, I really got used to having that. But in the end trees have amazing mana regen aswell if you get used to casting Innervate at the right time. I'd say my personal experience is in line with what the charts show and what we've all known all along I suppose.

    How do you think this all relates to healing per mana? I have the feeling paladins will come out on top of a HPM chart if there was one.

  6. Manhands

    The metric of HPS, as you mentioned, does not paint the whole picture. There is no question that the experience of resto drds like Beru is just as valuable as these compiled numbers.

    I’m wondering if there is a metric that would show this experiential data. One thing that came to mind is a tally of the healing specs the top 100 (or whatever) guilds brought on their first kills. On a fight-to-fight basis, you could see which healing specs met the demands of the encounter at progression.

    However it was compiled and listed, I think a more complete picture would include which specs were taken for first kills.

  7. It seems like the overall trend for the xpac is that shamans are near the bottom of the barrel, but are we really bottom of the barrel at times? Because looking at the logs that this pulls from, healing from SLT isn’t shown on logs (I understand why it just redistributes health, but still). In fact, on average my SLT on logs is -50k healing, but on recount it puts me up about an extra 4-5k on average. It’s a small point to an overall problem of our class being slightly underpowered throughout the expac, but it’s still a strong cd thats not being counted.

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