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


Shaman - General

July 10, 2012

Spread Raid Healing: Resto Shamans’ Bane

SkyTown

If there’s anything I’ve discovered over my years of blogging, it’s that we authors can be a volatile bunch, dedicated and sometimes overly devout to the causes that have in some way shaped our experiences in WoW. Positive experiences are plentiful, and although cause for a celebratory post or two, it’s typically the problems that we encounter that inspire some of the most passionate and kneejerk responses. Such was my reaction to a recent Dev comment in the Beta Class Balance thread that suggested that Resto Shamans’ challenges of healing a spread raid, challenges which will persist into Mists, are different but acceptable mechanic of the class. And the question that Ghostcawler’s statement begged, “Where do you draw the line between a weakness and a gap, when it comes to class balance?”, has been rattling around in my mind ever since.

For numerous fights over the past two expansions, Resto Shaman have relied on single-target, Tidal Waves powered heals to respond to raid-wide damage that could not be addressed through Chain Heal, and then through Healing Rain. In 25s, this gap in Resto Shamans’ toolkits is often masked by the presence of a larger melee team, which enables raid groups to assign Resto Shaman to heal a specific group of clumped players (which has long been considered a “strength” of the class). However, in 10s, the problem is more starkly highlighted because there are rarely sufficiently grouped players to assure a consistent 4-hit CH. Spread raid healing was a topic that was discussed at great length during the mid-Cataclysm player feedback threads and was highlighted by developers during several Q&A sessions and blue posts, so it is of particular concern to Resto Shaman who are coming off of an expansion where our performance was oftentimes lacking.

 

Mists of Pandaria

In Mists, the problem of healing a spread raid is addressed through several means—a) Tier talents: Healing Tide Totem and Ancestral Guidance, b) Spells: Ascendance, c) Totems: Healing Stream Totem, and d) Glyphs: Glyph of Riptide and Glyph of Chaining. Given that (a) and (b) are tied to standard CDs, they really don’t constitute baseline solutions, but rather represent low-uptime, high-power tools to be used on a more selective basis. So although they do aid in addressing the problem (hence why I mentioned them), they are no more a “raid healing solution” than Divine Hymn or Tranquility. Healing Stream Totem (c) is in a more unique position, because of its 30-second CD, but again suffers from being a low HPS, uncontrollable heal, similar to Ancestral Awakening, making it nice to have, but not something that will significantly impact your ability to handle AOE damage on a spread raid.

Thus, the burden of a solution lies in the combined forces of (d) Glyphed Riptide and Chain Heal, which augment both spells to make them “spread raid friendly”, while also diminishing their throughput in order to offset the improved application. As I have experienced, there are several problems with this as a solution:

  1. First, the pairing of these glyphs is punitive in fights where both spread and collapse conditions are present. Forcing Resto Shaman into this situation isn’t asking us to make informed healing decisions; it’s asking us to take a gamble and sacrifice our flexibility to respond to dynamic raid environments.
  2. Second, because the spread raid dynamic is present more often in 10s than in 25s simply by virtue of raid density, these two glyphs will likely be considered necessary for shaman on the smaller raid teams to offer their group the same tools afforded to other healers. Although that will be contingent upon the point below being addressed …
  3. Third, Glyph of Chaining effectively introduces a ~6.5sec window in between heals, which the spell is decidedly not balanced around. At present, Chain Heal has two effective reductions in its power—the first being its long cast time and the second being its depreciation in spellpower per hit. By introducing a cooldown on the spell, the power diminishes significantly. Let’s say that my CH hits 4 targets for a total of 29k healing. With a 2.5sec cast time, this would give it an HPS of 11,600. Now, when I go into Mists with the same spellpower and use Glyph of Chaining, my 2.5-sec denominator becomes 6.5sec, which makes the HPS of the spell 4,462. That’s a reduction of ~61.5% in exchange for added jump distance. Even worse, you can theoretically achieve nearly identical HPS for relatively the same mana cost by using RTx2 + HSx2 + HW in the same 6.5sec timeframe (versus CH + HSx2 + RT).
  4. Fourth, Glyph of Riptide fundamentally changes the application and usage of the spell, moving it from something that emphasizes spell-weaving in order to maintain Tidal Waves, to a spammable hot (a la Rejuv). And although the baseline effective healing is less per cast, something I noted in a previous post, that lower HPS can be made up in the ability to use the spell more frequently. The unfortunate thing is that “more frequent” usage is translating to a lot more frequently for most Beta testers. In some parses that I’ve looked through, shaman have recorded over 50% or more healing done with Riptide alone. And as happy as I am to see us doing somewhat well in testing (excluding the comparison to Mistweavers), I’m absolutely dismayed by the fact that this one glyph obliterates the flow of Resto Shaman healing. (It’s also worth noting that Glyphed Riptide does not currently proc AA, a small loss in throughput, nor does not proc Resurgence, creating a greater strain on the shaman’s regen).

Further highlighting the problem that Resto Shaman are facing is the fact that, throughout healers’ arsenals in Mists (to a lesser extent on Live), we see distinct solutions for handling AOE healing spread raids v. collapsed raids:

  • Priests – Prayer of Healing or Circle of Healing or Halo/Cascade v. Sanctuary or Divine Star (and Holy Nova?)
  • Paladins – Light of Dawn v. Holy Radiance or Light’s Hammer/Holy Prism
  • Druids – Wild Growth v. Swiftmend or Mushrooms
  • Monks – Renewing Mist or Uplift v. Chi Burst or Chi Wave or Spinning Crane
  • Shaman – (Glyphed) Chain Heal v. (Unglyphed) Chain Heal or Healing Rain

But, as you can see, Resto Shaman in Mists fundamentally lack this distinction—Healing Rain remains unchanged as our powerful, and incredibly expensive, stacked-raid solution, while CH is moved to a role as a switch-hitter. Riptide, glyphed or unglyphed, remains usable in either setup, although you will be arguably more pressured to use the Glyph when healing a spread raid. However, even when you consider the option that Glyph of Chaining offers, you also see that our approach to raid healing will remain remarkably the same—we’ll hit CH on CD and then … fill with single-target. It’s the same thing that Paladins were doing in Tier 11 with Holy Radiance + Holy/Divine Light filler, only on a shorter timeline.

 

Finding a Solution

All this being said, I think it’s important to recognize that there is a balancing act being performed here. There’s no doubt in my mind that if CH went unchecked (ie: if its baseline jump range was doubled with no downside) that it would likely push us back to an environment where spell weaving was forsaken for pure CH spam, which is as undesirable as us becoming RT-spambots. And, I also understand the aversion to adding spells with overlapping purpose into the shaman toolbox, which is delightfully simple and yet has such a high level of interdependence between all of its working elements. But, I also know that the feeling that I get when raid testing in 10s is not the same one I had when I saw how developers had responded to other Resto Shaman issues like survivability or self-tuning. At the best of times I walk away frustrated, and at the worst of times I walk away fuming, as I continue to utilize a playstyle that was acknowledged (and shown) as not being competitive in multiple tiers. As I’ve said time and time before, I’m not interested in a free win; I just want to be able to be competitive.

So what could reasonably be done to address this issue, given the confines above? I’m afraid I could fill a whole post with the ideas that fit that bill and not come close to the multitude of creative suggestions that I’ve seen:

  • Supplement the Resto Shaman toolbox with a cast-time based hot that centers on one player but splashes to X players within 20 yards.
  • Retool Healing Stream Totem (which is pretty brainless in its current iteration—we’re just going to be dropping it on CD for the small HPS boost) to heal multiple (X) targets and be stronger the further away you are.
  • Augment Chain Heal so that if doesn’t bounce to other players (as it often doesn’t in smaller raid sizes), that (x% healing / # of targets) is applied to each of the players who were hit.
  •  Change Unleash Earthliving to an AOE proximity heal (which would make it meaningful to use in conjunction with the Level 90 talent, Unleashed Fury). Or, modify Unleash Earthliving so that any hots on the primary target are duplicated to X targets within X yards.

As it stands, I think it speaks volumes that, despite the changes that have been made over the past 4 years of WoW, I will enter into Mists with the same solution to healing a spread-out raid as I used in Ulduar and every Tier since. It is the same solution that was deemed unfulfilling for Holy Paladins after they spent the entirety of WotLK raid healing with Glyph of Holy Light. And yet, despite the concerted effort to make sure that every healer has the tools to heal every fight, the shaman remain constrained by our iconic spell, and tied to the same rhetoric:

… when your groups are tight and the damage is coming in constantly … then CH is a great spell. (From 6/4/2009)

… Resto shaman look great on fights where everyone can cluster for Healing Rain and Chain Heal and any time everyone stays very wounded for very long. (From 6/18/2012)

The problem is … when that first quote was put out into the ether, there was no Holy Radiance, Light of Dawn, Efflorescence, HW: Sanctuary, Healing Mushrooms, or any of the new range-focused healing mechanics that I listed above. It was appropriate and incredibly accurate to say that Shaman had a niche then–Chain Heal was a unique AOE ability. But (thankfully), that’s no longer the case. Cataclysm went to great lengths to ensure that every healer had an adequate toolbox, bringing in those aforementioned spells and the Holy Trinity in the name of healer parity (and even acknowledging the necessity of raid cooldowns in Patch 4.1). Mists is taking that one step further, and refining arsenals and personal CDs in ways that I think every healing class has hoped for. Through the last expansion and the coming one, Blizzard has redefined what it means to be a healer, breaking the molds the rigidly defined our job descriptions–“tank healer”, “raid healer”, “hots”, “single-target”, etc. With Mists, we are ever closer to be defined by a single job description–“healer”.

So where do I draw the line between a gap in our arsenal and a weakness in our class? When it keeps designers from designing great encounters like those in Firelands and those in Sunwell for fear of highlighting class disparities. When it keeps players on the bench because they lack a raid CD. When it’s easier to bring in my alt than continue on my main. When it keeps me from doing the job that I want to do.

 

(As an aside, a huge nod to Sensations and everyone who has been contributing to his thread on the Beta forums: 10m Restoration Shaman(Spread Healing). I actually didn’t stumble on it until after I finished putting together the majority of this post, and it was heartening to feel not so alone after all.)

 






42 Comments


  1. I am not really sure what I can add, in regards on resto shaman concerns, that hasn’t already been proposed in the Beta Class Balance thread. I am healing 10man raids as of now and I don’t really want to use either glyphs. By actively twicking my Vuhdo and carefully considering my targets I am proud to say my CH almost never misses. Nevertheless I still /cry every time I have to spam it because I know in all of these situations all my hard hitting spells would heal for so much more. How do I dare NOT spam CH when all of the raid is stacked under Deathwings Arm Tentacles while HR is ticking under them? I love how every time I cast it I am thinking of how much further a GHW would take me however GHW doesn’t stop being a single target spell.What about the other 9 OR 24people? Have I tried not using CH?Sure. When I feel secure enough with my health bars. Conclusion. Must remember to write a guide on how to avoid using chain heal and what tricks you can weave in , in order to achieve best results.
    PS: Further testing on Beta shows that resurgence procs out of each jump of CH but that doesn’t really make me fall asleep easier at nights :-/


  2. Aanzeijar

    It will be interesting to see how shamans fare in the first raids. After the Circle of Healing fiasco in 3.0 and the terrible balance in 4.0.3 I don’t think a third botched entry level raid will keep many shamans with the game.


    • I’m just hoping that if there are some inconsistencies in performance at the onset of Mists (and it’s likely that there will be), that Blizzard is a little more proactive with their fixes than they were in Cataclysm. By the time Resto Shamans’ performance was addressed via Patch 4.0.6 in Feb-2011, the progression push had long passed.


      • Aanzeijar

        I understood shamans poor performance as necessary in the previous expansions leveling phase. The flat boosts of our weapon enchantments and totems made us pretty strong during the (in my opinion) pretty fun 5-man progress in Cataclysm, and would have had the same impact on 5-man progress if there had been any in WotLK.

        The problem of course is, that you (and every other raiding shaman in the top1000) is long past that content stage when the majority of players consume it. I haven’t been paying much attention to the exact skill changes, but the flat boosts should be gone this time around, shouldn’t they?


        • The self-buffs provided by Earthliving Weapon, Earth Shield, and Water Shield are still present in Mists. However, totem buffs have been moved to be Shaman auras, which provide +Mastery and +Spellpower. (Elemental shaman will additionally bring + Haste).

          I wouldn’t necessarily call these strengths for the leveling process though, as much as they are buffs that are factored into Blizzard’s class balance. I’m quite sure that they evaluate Resto Shaman performance under the assumption that we have 100% Earthliving Weapon uptime.


  3. Peßßle

    Great post, as usual.

    Any opinion on Call of the Elements? Currently its basically the only choice in the tier (and with double HTT/MTT appears to be propping us up in raid testing), but the proposed changes would make it nearly as useless as Projection and Restoration. Is having an entire tier worthless to raiding shaman acceptable? I think the culprit lies more so in the fact that the other choices are weak, but GC seems to disagree.


    • I’m not a fan of the proposed changes, specifically because I think Call was the only appealing PVE option in the tier. In testing thus far, it has really been a boon, because it gives you an “oh shit” button for both regen and raid protection–you can use your CDs as planned, but if the stuff really hits the fan, you can hit Call and have everything back at your disposal. If we lose that option, then I really have no idea what the value of the talent would be. One more use of Healing Stream within a 30-second window? Color me unimpressed. :-(


  4. Stunchy

    I’m sorry to say this, but I’m happy to see your pain running 10 mans in Beta. Not because I want you to feel it, but because, despite all your historical comments on shammy spread healing problems, I think that your 25 man experience has sheltered you from the worst of it. So now, having the most articulate (and maybe the most respected) shammy healer In the game stand up as a champion for the 10 man shammy healer gives me hope.

    Please don’t forget about us when 25 man raids open up for testing…


    • No worries; I totally get where you’re coming from.

      In Cata, I’ve oftentimes felt that because I experience 10s on my alts and very rarely on my main, I wasn’t really positioned to pontificate on the issues that shaman were facing (even though I was acutely aware of what those issues were). I am hoping to be a better voice for Resto Shamans’ issues in 10s in Mists; it’s why I’ve been pushing myself to have a second Resto Shaman ready to go when the expac launches. It is a different raid style, and a markedly different healing style, and I’m hoping to do it justice. ^_^


      • Stunchy

        Thanks Vixsin,
        I love the 10 man format. The most fun I have in this game, by far, is two healing a 10 man. I’m a casual raider, but my history with 25 mans is that I spam whatever heal or heals is best for my class and gives me the most HPS. In a 10 man, I use everything, even less powerful heals, because that’s what is best/necessary for the raid.

        Unfortunately, it is my belief that 10 man shammies will always be second class citizens while the 25 man format lives because of chain heal. They’ll never get rid of it, and I wouldn’t want them to. In Wrath, Chain was very powerful and I used it a lot but I also used my other spells often because I had to in order to keep the tanks (and that hunter out picking daisies) alive – even riptide when on the move or when I wanted to set up a buffed chain heal. On the “fan out” fights I could either: 1 bounce chain off of the tank, 2 convince range they don’t need to take up he whole map and stay with 12 yards of each other, or 3 position myself to be the link between any players where I wanted chain to bounce. So I could still effectively heal the raid and dealing with the positional challenges of a ten man raid added depth to the class and was actually alot of fun. But in Cata, with chain nerfed and so much of our “AOE healing budget” tied up in healing rain, I am in a bad spot when the raid spreads. Chain is weak on its own. Healing Rain doesn’t hit enough targets, and Thus RT, GHW, GHW spam seems to be my best option. And that, in my opinion, is not fun.


        • I wouldn’t go so far as to say we’re second-rate healers in the smaller environment, but I do think there is a inherent tension between the acknowledged strength of resto shaman (ie: clumped raid healing) and a raid size with low player density. It’s hardly coincidence that the advent of Tidal Waves came when 10s raiding went mainstream in Wrath. It was a mechanic to encourage shaman to cast something other than CH, while still acknowledging that CH would be a large part of our rotation (hence why Tidal Waves procs from CH). In fact, the Tidal Waves rotation was so powerful, it was nerfed in Ulduar.

          Ultimately, I don’t think the RT-HW/HS/GHW model is flawed, because the happy result of the introduction of Tidal Waves is the flow that it brings to shaman healing–enabling us to seamlessly switch from single-target to AOE and then back again. But I think the awkward feeling that you experience in 10s is because shaman try to make that transition, from single-target to AOE healing, and find there’s no AOE healing to transition into because CH simply isn’t a good filler and HR is usually a waste of mana, so you just keep using the same single-target rotation.

          It is, incidentally, the same problem that we’ had with a lack of cooldowns in Wrath and in Cata; where you as a healer know instinctively that you should be doing something else to respond to a change in conditions, but you have absolutely no options available to you other than to keep doing what you’re doing. I feel like Blizzard got that message in spades (because we have 8 million CDs in Mists) but somehow missed the boat when it came to the similar condition of spread raid healing.


        • Stunchy

          It seems both acceptable and taken as a given to Blizzard and to non-Shamans that Shamans are strong when the raid is grouped and strong when the raid is at low health. I’m considering these strengths and how to define strength in the first place. What is “strength” is in relation to.

          Strong when the raid is at low health – A high mastery shaman dropping a GHW bomb on a low health target (and it crits!) is a game changer. Overall, mastery works as billed, makes us superior healers for low health targets, and (for me) is a fun mechanic to play with. It kind of sucks that all healers always have the desire and usually have the means to keep health bars as high as possible, and as the rest of my raid team performs better on a fight, my numbers go down. But that’s okay, there is real value there when we need it.

          Strong when the raid is grouped – I’m not so sure. Compared to what? If you compare our grouped healing to other healers we seem middle of the road (please correct me if I’m wrong). If you compare our grouped healing to our spread out healing, then yes, we are stronger when grouped. But just because we are stronger healers when the raid is grouped than when it is spread, this does not mean grouped healing is our niche. It would be our niche if we were uniquely good at it. We are not. We are just as good (or worse) than most other healers. Now what if it really was our niche and we actually posessed supperior grouped healing ability in exhange for inferior spread healing? That would be interesting.


        • Stunchy

          In all my rambling, I forgot to make my main point (IPhones are hard!)

          If Blizzard really did make Shamans supperior grouped healers, then what is considered grouped for a 10 man raid would put 25 man raiders in a grouped healing environment most of the time. And that would make them superior healers most of the time. And that would break the intended parity between healing specs. And we can’t have that!!!

          So I’m hoping that people stop referring to shamans as supperior healers when the raid is grouped, or saying that grouped healing is our niche. If that happened, then it could no longer be used as justification for our inferior spread healing tools, and maybe the 10 man shaman would get some love.


  5. Jesinta

    I love your column, it’s perhaps one of my favourite wow blogs. I have some issues with this article however. I’m dying of man flu right now so apologies for any rubbish that I write.

    “First, the pairing of these glyphs is punitive in fights where both spread and collapse conditions are present. Forcing Resto Shaman into this situation isn’t asking us to make informed healing decisions; it’s asking us to take a gamble and sacrifice our flexibility to respond to dynamic raid environments.”

    You have done many posts on the strengths of various stats and how one stat might be better for X fight vs Y or early progression vs farm and so all healers have had to choose gear/glyphs that might not be optimal for all parts of a fight. “Why doesn’t Blizz let me swap in my Haste gear for Phase 2?” Also, you are making informed decisions – once you’ve played around with the fight/seen videos you can decide whether to glyph Riptide and/or Chain Heal. If there is a balance of spread/cluster in an encounter, maybe just take Riptide for the spread phase and Rejuv-spam á la Druid. If you take both in a cluster phase you can still cast 2x HR and 3 CH for 11.5 seconds of prehasted time and fill in with 5-6 Riptides in a 20 second time slot die the duration of the cluster phase. In that fashion you are responding to damage in a similar way as Druids.

    Also you mention having to sacrifice flexibility – a Chakra Holy Priest is unable to go from full strength AOE healing to single target at will unless it happens at 30 second intervals. This is something that cannot be glyphed around.

    “Second, because the spread raid dynamic is present more often in 10s than in 25s simply by virtue of raid density, these two glyphs will likely be considered necessary for shaman on the smaller raid teams to offer their group the same tools afforded to other healers. Although that will be contingent upon the point below being addressed …”

    Despite having the “worst” spread healing you somehow managed to heal for a much higher average compared to Holy Priests in Firelands. Why would this be? Perhaps because POH can heal everyone in a wide range it is restricted by group. If only 4 of the people in the group are damaged (or alive), my POH is instantly 20% weaker, if 2 are healthy 40% weaker etc. In ten mans, H Priests perform worse than 25s because this happens a lot more often. Sadly, Priests don’t have the option of glyphing POH to have a reduced range but no party restriction. I wish, like Shamans, we had options like glyphs to help us tailor our heals to damage profiles we are weak at.

    “Third, … Let’s say that my CH hits 4 targets for a total of 29k healing. With a 2.5sec cast time, this would give it an HPS of 11,600. Now, when I go into Mists with the same spellpower and use Glyph of Chaining, my 2.5-sec denominator becomes 6.5sec, which makes the HPS of the spell 4,462. That’s a reduction of ~61.5% in exchange for added jump distance. Even worse, you can theoretically achieve nearly identical HPS for relatively the same mana cost by using RTx2 + HSx2 + HW in the same 6.5sec timeframe (versus CH + HSx2 + RT).”

    I find this part a little unfair. You mention a reduction of 61.5% which gives the impression that you would heal less. But if it is glyphed it is less likely to OH and hit more targets. Plus what is the difference between 1 CH @ 2.5 seconds plus 4 seconds worth of RTs vs 6.5 seconds of CH? Is the difference huge? Also, with both glyphs you have the option of more proactive healing. RT pre rolling on damage and then healing it up after with CH and more RTs. Again, it shows how these two glyphs used separately, together or not at all offer Shamans a huge degree of flexibility.
    If Druids can AOE spread heal with WG and Rejuv I don’t see how Shamans cannot with CH and RT filler – with Shrooms vs. HR.

    “Fourth, Glyph of Riptide fundamentally changes the application and usage of the spell, moving it from something that emphasizes spell-weaving in order to maintain Tidal Waves, to a spammable hot (a la Rejuv). And although the baseline effective healing is less per cast, something I noted in a previous post, that lower HPS can be made up in the ability to use the spell more frequently. The unfortunate thing is that “more frequent” usage is translating to a lot more frequently for most Beta testers. In some parses that I’ve looked through, shaman have recorded over 50% or more healing done with Riptide alone. And as happy as I am to see us doing somewhat well in testing (excluding the comparison to Mistweavers), I’m absolutely dismayed by the fact that this one glyph obliterates the flow of Resto Shaman healing. (It’s also worth noting that Glyphed Riptide does not currently proc AA, a small loss in throughput, nor does not proc Resurgence, creating a greater strain on the shaman’s regen).”

    This comes across to me that “I like the way my class works now, I don’t want the option to play differently”. My main is a Priest and I love the different options of playing Holy and Disc- to me more options to learn and master make it fun for me. Also, the last part of the paragraph regarding AA/Resurgence will likely be fixed with the RT initial heal being reduced by 90% rather than eliminated if a recent GC post is correct.

    Overall, I do not think Shamans will have a glaring weakness with spread AOE healing. Is the requirement to use 1 maybe 2 glyphs too onerous? Is the glyphed healing style unfun? Is CH into RT filler powerful enough to tackle AOE healing? I think those are good questions. But Shamans not being able to AOE heal is patently false.

    Even is CH into RT, or RT spam on spread was weaker than other healers – how much worse? Is it as worse as Druids’ tank healing vs. X or Holy Priests’ lack of burst CDs vs X? Disc can only AOE raid wide damage, so random raid damage would need to be healed up with single target heals. All healers struggle with certain damage profiles, RT/CH glyphs have gone a long way to reducing Shaman’s weakness.


    • Riptide costs exactly as much as rejuv and heals for approximately for half of it. I can hardly say we will be spamming that. If you ask any druid he will tell you he is not spamming rejuv since that would oom him, so if a druid doesn’t want to do it imagine if you as shaman have a spell that does what rejuv does, costs as much but heals for half. I can’t see myself spamming that.
      Chain heal will not jump to people that are healthy either.Meaning that even if they are close enough, if they are healthy then your chain heal could actually only heal one. Now since you need to cast CH that is 2.2 seconds wasted at best. Healing rain is something you could have on CD on DS but not on Mop.Its cost is too punishing meaning you are left with not many tools. Our “new” old healing stream totem has high cost also and since it only heals one person it doesn’t really qualify as aoe healing tool. Overall, I know it seems we have options but once you get into a fight with a shaman, having innumerable things to juggle, spending so much time just to buff all those 1.5 to 2.2 second spells, it suddenly doesn’t seem so easy anymore. And I wish it was hard and rewarding but the problem is that our rotation is hard and not rewarding when it comes to spread out healing.
      Therya´s last post ..Heroic Spine of Deathwing 10man Resto Shaman Pov


      • Jesinta

        So each tick heals for 50% less but don’t you get 2 additional ticks? 25% more healing. Less powerful than Rejuv spam, but it can still help get spread raids healed up. So you can help heal up spread AOE damage in the same way that a Renew Priest might or how a Druid does, but just less powerfully. That sounds like an acceptable weakness.

        And if you include CH glyph, you would then hit CH on CD and then RT between. Sounds very similar (if a little more difficult – shorter, but casted CD, vs instant WG, to how Druid’s would heal up spread AOE to me. How is that hard?

        You can contribute in spread AOE, just not as strongly as you would like.

        There are many damage profiles that all healers are weak against. To me, spread AOE with Glyphed RT and perhaps Glyphed CH are more than acceptable solutions to Shaman’s main damage profile weakness.


        • Peßßle

          A glyph isn’t an “Acceptable Solution,” regardless of how good that glyph may or may not be. They should be optional, and to suggest that 2/3 of our glyph slots should be filled to “fix” our issue goes against everything glyphs are suppose to be.


        • Jesinta

          @Pebble. Why not? Every spec will have weaknesses in areas. If Resto Shamans were not weak at spread AOE, what would they be weak at? Or do you want a spec that has no weaknesses? SuperShaman?

          I’d love to have Glyphs that would supplement my specs weaknesses.


        • Peßßle

          You seem to be confusing a “weakness” with a “giant hole.” Resto Shaman spread raid healing tools aren’t “weak,” they simply don’t exist. There is a difference. No other healer faces such a hole.

          A holy paladin has “weak” spread AoE healing compared to a holy priest or resto druid, but they do have tools for the situation.

          A holy priest or resto druid has “weak” single target healing compared to a disc priest, resto shaman, or holy paladin, but they do have the tools for the situation.

          A resto shaman doesn’t have “weak” spread raid healing. We have single target heals. That we spam. When the raid spreads out. For AoE damage.

          A resto shaman healing a spread out raid is like asking a resto druid to tank heal with only Wild Growth, Rejuv, and Swiftmend. Can they do it? Sure. Does it work well? No.


    • Thanks very much for the compliment and for taking the time to write such a detailed reply.

      I think you bring up a number of good points, especially in regards to decision-making and even more especially in talking about Chakkra (Derevka summarized the issues brilliantly in his recent Chakkra post-http://talesofapriest.com/2012/06/29/chakra-concerns/).

      But, I also think there are a couple key points that maybe you misunderstood or jumped to conclusions about:
      1. I didn’t argue that Resto Shaman have the worst spread healing. In fact I made absolutely no comparisons to other classes other than to highlight the diversity of those classes’ healing toolboxes. What I did say, however, is that the current tools and solutions are insufficient. This is a statement that is independent of every other class. So how priests, druids or paladins heal is inconsequential.
      2. You and I both know that there is more to how a class performs in a specific instance than simply what heals said class has at their disposal. Mana consumption, movement, raid dynamics, damage patterns, etc. all play a role. This is why I specifically didn’t point to FL and say “OMG Restos Suck!” Performance is more than just one thing.
      3. I think you got a little wrapped up at the end of your reply and jumped to the conclusions that a) I’m not willing to learn how to play differently, and b) that I went so far as to say that Shaman *couldn’t* heal a spread raid. Neither of these is true, and I wouldn’t be at the progression level I’m at if I believed otherwise.

      Lastly, you’re a little bit off when it comes to the parallels with Holy Priests. Firstly, Resto Shaman single target is balanced around the presence of Earth Shield on our primary target. In the absence of this, our single-target heals are 18% weaker. This is akin to Holy Priests’ current problem with Chakkra, in that your single-target healing is balanced around Serenity, when oftentimes you spend an entire fight in Sanctuary. Secondly, you have an AOE filler spell in PoH, which although does have a proximity constraint, it is nowhere near the 12 yards of Chain Heal. So imagine that you didn’t have PoH at your disposal when raid healing. “That’s fine,” you’d say, “I’ll just use Renew”. In fact, this is what a number of Priests did on HM Rag, and it worked well. But that’s not the situation Resto Shaman are in either, since Glyph of Riptide makes us choose between a 6sec CD and an ~20% reduction in spellpower. So, if you choose not to glyph RT, you now have a Renew with a 6-second CD. So you have CoH with a 6-sec CD, Renew with a 6-sec CD, and my question to you is–what do you fill that interim time with? Your non-Serenity powered single-target heals? Because that’s what Resto Shaman have had and will have to do. It is doable, but I don’t think you can honestly imagine the situation that I described and think of it as anything but bloody awkward.

      As always, I appreciate the counter-perspective. I’ll take a spirited debate any day over no debate at all.


      • Jesinta

        From your post on the US beta forums.

        “1. Spread raid healing. (which I realize has been discussed in this thread previously). The TL;DNR from my recent blog post about the topic (http://lifeingroup5.com/?p=2844) is that there are currently a number of CDs in our arsenal to assist with healing a spread raid, ********but none that really provide a consistent means of dealing with this common PVE mechanic ***********. Glyph of Chaining is incredibly weak, such that Shaman would be better off electing to handle AOE raid damage on a spread raid as we have since Ulduar–through single-target healing. The raid testing parses that I’ve looked at and recorded myself have supported the idea that it’s better to forgo the glyph for those times when you need to spam CH than to be hampered by a glyph that provides marginal benefit in a very specific condition. The added effect is that in **********absence of a viable spread healing tool****************, Resto Shaman cannot reasonably choose anything other than Healing Tide in Tier 75.

        The parts in asterisks (I can’t italicise or enbolden to highlight) says to me that you think there is no spread AOE tools outside CDs like HTT. If there weren’t, I would agree that it would be unacceptable – I’d hate to be only able to contribute to spread AOE with Divine Hymn. But Glyph of RT allows AOE spread healing. Also, if the fight is conducive, Glyph of CH can help too. But it will just depend on a judgement call before engaging whether it will be effective.

        “Lastly, you’re a little bit off when it comes to the parallels with Holy Priests. Firstly, Resto Shaman single target is balanced around the presence of Earth Shield on our primary target. In the absence of this, our single-target heals are 18% weaker”

        I see this differently, I see the ES bonus as a tank healing bonus, not a tax on single target healing – because it is restricted to one target only and in encounters there is usally only one tank that you’d concentrate at any one time.

        “3. I think you got a little wrapped up at the end of your reply and jumped to the conclusions that a) I’m not willing to learn how to play differently, and b) that I went so far as to say that Shaman *couldn’t* heal a spread raid. Neither of these is true, and I wouldn’t be at the progression level I’m at if I believed otherwise.”

        I jumped to the conclusion because of the first part of this post “no consistent way to deal with AOE spread outside CDs” and an “****absence**** of a viable spread raid healing tool” Paraphrased ofc, but do you see where I’d form that conclusion? Whether RT spam is powerful enough or fun enough is a different question.

        “But that’s not the situation Resto Shaman are in either, since Glyph of Riptide makes us choose between a 6sec CD and an ~20% reduction in spellpower. So, if you choose not to glyph RT, you now have a Renew with a 6-second CD. So you have CoH with a 6-sec CD, Renew with a 6-sec CD, and my question to you is–what do you fill that interim time with?”

        Why would you glyph CH and not RT in this situation? The damage profile of this option reads to me that it’s an AOE bomb in an area hitting x number of spread people every 6.5+ seconds. Or is it becuase you hate having to sacrifice 20% potential RT numbers for the ability to heal spread AOE?

        I would love to have a Glyph that sacrificed the range or stength of POH for the removal of its party restriction. Would I use it all the time? Of course not, but I would use it when I think it would be more powerful.


        • Ah-ha, I think I see why we’re not on the same page here.

          Viable = reasonable or practical
          Possible = capable of happening

          To say that something is not viable does not mean that a method does not exist, but that the method in question is not reasonable or practical. In this case, I was arguing that the condition of having to single-target heal through AOE damage, while possible, is not practical (as always, in my opinion). Thus my statements about the lack of a *consistent* (important because it signals I’m not talking about CDs) and *viable* (important because it implies reasonableness) spread-raid healing solution.


        • Jesinta

          In terms of the reasonable and pracitcal aspect, I know it is your opinion, but I do not agree in terms of Glyph of RT spread healing. Healing with RT is reasonable in the sense that Druids have successfully used this playstyle alongside Renew Priests and Shield spam Discs (mostly in the past). On Beta I’ve not played a Mistweavers, or with them in group play, but I think they seem to spam hots too?

          It is also practical in that it is relatively easy to use and is definitely feasible as shown by the above classes.

          If Shaman only had Glyph if CH to work with for spread AOE, I would agree that this weakness would be too onerous. However, with RT, I think Shaman spread AOE is still a weakness in terms of power, but most definitely viable.


  6. Jesinta

    “Shaman – (Glyphed) Chain Heal v. (Unglyphed) Chain Heal or Healing Rain”

    This really should read Glyphed RT or Glyphed RT + Glyphed CH vs Healing Rain + Glyphed/Unglyphed CH.

    No other healer, except perhaps Holy Priests, have the glanularity of AOE healing options that Shamans have. Spread AOE healing may be weaker, but is definitely doable. And if it is weaker, I expect that weakness will be within acceptable limits.


    • The exclusion was intentional. Riptide is and remains, glyphed or unglyphed, akin to Renew, Rejuv, and Holy Shock, which can be used regardless of raid density.


  7. Jesinta

    Also, looking at the colour coded graph from your last article, it shows that 10 man H. Priests across Cataclysm faired generally worse than Shamans (though admittedly both were dire). 25man Holy Priests performed better than Shaman and this to me shows that spread healing isn’t such a bad weakness for 10H Shamans compared to the party restriction weakness of Holy’s POH in tens.


    • The important thing to remember here is that Resto Shaman have quite different healing styles for 10 versus 25 man. Typically (and there are exceptions on both sides), 10-man Restos will have a large majority of their healing from RT+HW/GHW while 25-man Restos will get the majority of their healing from CH and HR. Even the stat weights for the raid sizes are different, by virtue of the fact that they use different rotations.


  8. wylhelmina

    Great post Vixsin. I was Happy to see your name in the blizz forum! And your blog is as good as always. I share the same thought of you on the subject! I hope we get some more eloquent answer soon from dev! or like you point out a better solution to the problem.

    It’s kind of late in the development of the Beta! so hope are in a fragile state but who knows!

    thanks you so much oh goddess of the words and elements! ;-) peace


  9. Great post as always.

    Though, to be fair… even though you parenthetically commented on it. Holy Nova is miserable, and requires a glyph to even have. In MoP there’s no reason to even use it in PVE. ;-)

    I will say that people do, however, discount the POH “Group Only” aspect too much. It actually is a substantial restriction. While it does have decent range from the originating target (30 yards) their PARTY members are more than 30 yards away they don’t get the heal. For fights like Ragnaros its a nightmare. (How many times did priests have to ask to ‘organize groups for POH’?). having to figure out which of the 5 party members are the best to target can be tricky… hitting a target and only seeing 1-2 people get hit by it is not dissimilar to casting Chain Heal and not seeing it bounce. (Sad Panda Face)

    Its something that is important to acknowledge as the group restriction is a challenge; and while you noted it… I just wanted to underscore it.

    Anecdotally: Priest level 90 abilities are still tricky since 2 of the 3 REQUIRE distance to reach max potency. ideally: 25+ yards

    Side Note: I also might consider Holy’s Divine Insight as something to look at as well. Since it, upon proc, turns Prayer of Mending into something very similar to Chain Heal. (20 yard bounce).

    (Talent at LVL75 Tier) Divine Insight Gives Holy Priests a 40% chance on Greater Heal to proc. It resets the cooldown of their Prayer of Mending, and will jump to all targets instantly.


    • To be clear- I am not saying that Priests have it worse, or better. And, in fact there’s been a lot of POH discussion in these comments already. Just wanted to polish the corners a little.

      But yeah, if I am casting Gheal in 25’s as much as I am in 10’s in testing (though unlikely)…. Divine Insight would irritate me as a Shaman.


    • I always appreciate your perspective, so polish all you want. :-)

      I think it’s a fair point about PoH; I’ve been an annoyance to many raids by my constant fussing over PoH-friendly groups. Although I would imagine that the impact of the restriction would be greater in 10s, since it’s more likely that you’ll have an uneven balance of melee v. ranged, and that mini-raid teams will consist of less than 5 targets. (I’m thinking of HM Zon’ozz here … In 10s, you may have 2 dps per flail/eye, while in 25s, you can afford to put a group of 5 together.)

      Re: Firelands, (since it was brought up elsewhere in the comments), I remember your retrospective touching on regen issues and Divine Hymn scaling being reasons why Holy performance was less than stellar. Do you think those two components masked other issues with the class’s performance or were significant enough to result in Holy being so low for the average fight in that tier?


      • Jesinta

        In terms of Firelands, Divine Hymn was an issue in terms of thru-put but to me it was more a case that it was missing utility – we couldn’t contribute fully to 3min CD chains, which were important in T11/T12. Even if tank damage remains as low in MOP as it was in DS, Shamans should be given a tank healing CD, as this is an area I think Shamans abilities aren’t viable.

        Holy was low in that tier for many reasons. Baleroc was just a pain as Holy as their tank healing was atrocious compared to Disc and generally all other healers – if memory serves me right, there were over 200 Disc and Paladin and 50+ Druid and Shaman kills on WOL before the first Holy Priests started downing him. Because of the way the HPS was artificially inflated with the buffs, this made Holy Priests look even worse overall for that tier.

        POH is a problem in tens, not generally in terms of range but the party restriction and the old Glyph (now gone thankfully). Burst would happen and you would POH grp 1 then grp 2 but at that point the tanks in grp 1 are fully bursted up to 100% meaning it is generally not worthwhile casting POH again and so you are back to Renew or single target heals if COH/POM is on CD. The glyph contributed to this in that the Hot it left would just overwrite when casting POH on the same group meaning that rather than getting the full 20% bonus, you would be lucky to get 10%.
        In 25s, this wasn’t so much an issue as after you had POH’d each group the health of the raid was back up to safe levels.

        Spirit gear was an issue for some Holy Priests in Firelands, but I ran 25s with 2 Resto Shaman, another healing Priest so mana was never an issue and I was always glad for the non-Spirit pieces.


      • Stunchy

        I’ve never found POH to be restrictive in 10 mans. It’s easy to get the raid leader to adjust the groups by mele/range (or left/right for fights like Rag). It’s not perfect, lots of times one of the groups will only allow me to get 4 of 5 players, and sometime the mechanic doesn’t allow me to use it at all, but that’s rare. Since my shaman is my other healer, I compare what I can do with POH on a spread out raid VS what I can do with CH/HR on a spread raid, and I am very happy with POH.


  10. Great post, as always. One small thing — in the beginning you mention Divine Hymn as a low-uptime cooldown to be used on a selective basis. This was true in T11-12, but let’s not forget that in T13 Divine Hymn became a standard heal due to the Heavenly Voice talent. In T13, it wasn’t at all unusual to see Divine Hymn as the Holy Priest’s top heal by a healthy margin in Recount, and thus, I think, a core part of the Holy Priest’s arsenal (vs. a low-uptime tool to be used selectively).

    I haven’t played MoP beta yet, so my thoughts are merely speculatory, but I hope we don’t find ourselves in the same position we did at the beginning of Cata — severely underpowered with lots of room for improvement by the END of the expansion. Personally, I think the most effective solution (patch?) to our ever-persistent positional-healing problem would be the introduction of a totem that would toggle ON the effect of glyphed Riptide & Chain Heal. We could be very effective if they allowed us to drop a totem that would improve our positional healing (with the same downsides as the current glyphs) when necessary, and then retract the totem when the increased distance was not necessary at which point we would return to our baseline range & throughput. Forcing us to pigeonhole ourselves as either a single-target healer or a raid-healer before the fight is unfair unless they give us a massive bonus to either end (ala Divine Hymn or PW:S)


    • Glyph of Riptide is legit and I think most people would agree they are happy with the idea and the fact its a glyph, but that idea to toggle the CH glyph effect via a totem is an awesome one!

      Drop a totem, heal that totem with CH, and it buffs the bounce range with whatever other negative effects they end up keeping or something.

      I don’t think we will see much change from here out sadly, lets hope the CD for the CH glyph is reduced though at least!

      Also much sadness call of the elements is so badly nerfed, although admittedly it was too good, vs the other options and overall.. now they are all terrible! -_-

      On the whole lack of spread healing options topic: I feel via HTT and Ascendance we have options up enough of the time to fill what is really our only weakness. After having no CDs at the start of T11, having more than average now even without call of the elements puts us in an awesome position. SLT, HTT, Ascendance, and AS are lots of oh shit buttons. (love the idea of AS on 1min CD!)


  11. Felade

    Great post, as always. One small thing — in the beginning you mention Divine Hymn as a low-uptime cooldown to be used on a selective basis. This was true in T11-12, but let’s not forget that in T13 Divine Hymn became a standard heal due to the Heavenly Voice talent. In T13, it wasn’t at all unusual to see Divine Hymn as the Holy Priest’s top heal by a healthy margin in Recount, and thus, I think, a core part of the Holy Priest’s arsenal (vs. a low-uptime tool to be used selectively).

    I haven’t played MoP beta yet, so my thoughts are merely speculatory, but I hope we don’t find ourselves in the same position we did at the beginning of Cata — severely underpowered with lots of room for improvement by the END of the expansion. Personally, I think the most effective solution (patch?) to our ever-persistent positional-healing problem would be the introduction of a totem that would toggle ON the effect of glyphed Riptide & Chain Heal. We could be very effective if they allowed us to drop a totem that would improve our positional healing (with the same downsides as the current glyphs) when necessary, and then retract the totem when the increased distance was not necessary at which point we would return to our baseline range & throughput. Forcing us to pigeonhole ourselves as either a single-target healer or a raid-healer before the fight is unfair unless they give us a massive bonus to either end (ala Divine Hymn or PW:S)


  12. Felade

    Ack, sorry about that I was trying to quote the above poster ><

    I just wanted to say that sounds a lot like Chakra – so you can have my Chakra, and make it a totem!


  13. Harpoa

    Been reading your stuff for quite a while now but never posted. I always enjoy your perspective and the way you lay things out. I raid mainly 25 man but have done a lot of 10 man raiding as well. I have never fealt “weak” in the 10 man or “strong” in 25 man. My spell selection is a bit different in the different venues but all in all i enjoy both play styles.

    I am not a huge fan of the glyph’s being introduced in mists. The whole idea of them just seems off and is the beginning of the disection of shaman healing. Gimmicks are gimmicks at the end of the day. I really think that some mistakes are going to be made in design due to druid envy of T12 and Paladin of T13. Shaman are not the best at anything but are real good at everything.

    Sorry for the rambling, and thank you for this blog and your dedication to the class.
    Harpoa´s last post ..Spread Raid Healing: Resto Shamans’ Bane


  14. shammypie

    i feel that this tier is gonna once again introduce a lot of pointless spread mechanics to reduce the effectiveness of aoe heals. This makes me incredibly sad because it shows the lack of creativity that blizzard has in designing mechanics for a fight. I find that for healers there really aren’t any new mechanics that are ever introduced anymore. its either, Healing Buff so they can have you do something rediculous, dispell something nasty at the fight time or at all, spread out healing, heavy healing (spread and stack), heal while moving, or heal for precisely the right amount (yorsahj for exp) or not at all. I can’t think of much else that i have encountered since 3.2


    • Trigonomical

      what else could there be?

      I always when people post complaints, but no solutions. I agree with you, but at the same time I struggle to think what else they could do….

      I did love Chimeron from BWD. That was a great healing fight that took some thinking and shifting of playstyles within a fight.


  15. LastPlaceILook

    “Healing Rain
    46% of base mana 40 yd range 2 sec cast 10 sec cooldown
    Calls forth healing rains to blanket the area targeted by the Shaman, restoring 690 to 820 health to allies in the area every 2 sec for 10 sec. Healing effectiveness diminishes for each player beyond 6 within the area.”

    I really feel if they just made this raid-wide, capped at 10, they could balance the amount of healing and it would provide the relief we need. It wouldn’t fix chain heal, but that would be our weakness and we could deal with it.


  16. Great post, as always and so much truth in it..

    To all the shaman players who can post on the US beta forums: please support all the shaman threads you see, post your issues, your numbers from logs, your suggestions. It’s the only thing we can do. If Blizzard sees that there are enough players who still care about the shaman class, they will maybe take a look at us again.



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