By now, you’ve heard the murmurs in the shadows and seen the patch notes circulating—changes are in store (again) for healers in the coming expansion. With the disconnection of Intellect from the regen formula and healers’ mana pools, healers of all classes can expect a greater emphasis to be placed on regen, or more specifically, on Spirit. And when I say “greater emphasis” you can take that to mean: we’re going to start seeing and wanting more Spirit gear, more spirit reforging, more Spirit gems, and even Spirit flasks. Spirit will be your key to your throughput; the linchpin of your longevity. Eschewing it for more Intellect won’t be an option as it was in Cataclysm (at least at expansion launch).
When it comes to the wide world of regen, things won’t be changing all that significantly for Resto Shaman in MoP. While other healers will see their formerly max-mana returns scaled back, (because of the cap on healers’ mana pools), Resto Shamans’ regen will maintain the same dual-pronged approach that it has for all of Cataclysm–on one hand we’ll have our passive combat regen (drawing from all that Spirit) and on the other hand we’ll have Water Shield. Unglyphed, as of the last Beta build, WS does the following:
- Provides a static, passive regen amount – 2138 mp5
- Provides a static return on proc – 8,849 for HW/GHW; 5,309 from HS, RT, UL; and 2946 from CH (per hit)
- Provides mana back on incoming attacks – 2,928 mana (on an ICD)
Now, in the past, WS’s static values put shaman at a disadvantage when it came to regen–as others healers’ regen scaled strongly with the common practice of Intellect stacking, Shamans’ regen saw comparatively less increase to Resurgence regen due to the conversion factor of Intellect into Crit and the fact that most shaman did not itemize for the secondary stat.
But, that doesn’t mean that Resto Shaman won’t be affected by the changes coming in MoP, because there are some in store for us too. In order to illustrate this (and because I’m a huge WoW nerd), I took a look at the WS-based regen scaling we saw in Cataclysm, and for 12 different “base” rotation types. Those were:
- RT + 2xCH
- RT + 2x HW
- HR + RT/2xHW filler
- HR + RT filler
- HR + CH filler
- HR + RT/CH filler
- RT + 2xHS
- RT + 2xHS/2xHW
- RT + 2xGHW/2xHW
- RT + 2xGHW
- CH + 2xHW
- 2xCH + 2xHW
For each, I calculated the consumption for a 24-25 cast rotation (the total casts depend on completion of a full “rotation” cycle), and then looked at the average expected Resurgence gains over that set (since you can calculate an average mana return for a spell by taking mana return x Crit chance). For CH, I assumed an average of 3.5 hits per CH cast, in order to account for the fact that sometimes your CH will dead end into targets because of a lack of options or the target being in BFE. I also assumed that Tidal Waves would be present on every cast of HS, GHW, and HW. Then, I iterated the mana return for the rotation at various levels of Crit, from 15% (which is likely where you’ll start in MoP) to 40%, (which is likely highly than you’ll be able to reach in the expansion). At which point, I was left with something that looked like this:
I then aggregated those individual calculations into one nice summary table, which shows you for each rotation type:
- The mana consumption of the rotation, per 5 seconds
- The Resurgence of the rotation, per 5 seconds
- The differential between the consumption and the returns, expressed as a %.
Which resulted in these:
Which, in turn, enabled me to create the following graphs which show, for Cataclysm and for MoP the regen scaling of each rotation by Crit %:
So, there are a couple things that I think you can take away from this analysis.
First, that the differential between rotational Resurgence gains that existed in Cataclysm has been improved upon and the gaps have been narrowed. If you look at something like HR+CH filler, you see that in Cata, its regen potential barely moved at all from 15% to 35% crit. But in MoP, we’re looking at regen that increased by a factor of 11.5 but cost that only increased by a factor of 2.9. And this is necessary because we can no longer make up regen differentials by simply increasing the pool we have to work with.
Second, the recent change to the mana cost for HS and GHW means that a RT+GHWx2 rotation will actually surpass an RT+HSx2 rotation’s sustainability as we gain crit. This is notable because prior to the most recent Beta patch, GHW never caught up, nonetheless exceeded, HS’s sustainability. This change makes sense with both the fact that GHW is Resto-only, so we should be inclined to use it, and that we should also tend to use it more, the farther into the expansion we get.
Lastly, what the above graphs underscore for me is how much our Resurgence gains are tied to our rotation. More so, they emphasize that when shaman regen (via Resurgence) is not a static contributor, like, for example, Paladins’ Divine Plea, which returns a set amount no matter what. This means that when Paladins ramp up into a more mana intensive rotation their differential is between their baseline and the new mana cost. But for shaman, when we switch into a more mana intensive rotation, our baseline actually falls off, while costs increase, creating a wider variance between our regen and our consumption.
I bring this last point up because that gap (the variance between increased consumption and decreased regen) was exactly the hole that TC filled in Cata. Remember, at the start of the expac, we had the situation where Resto Shaman in 25s found that they could rely heavily on TC regen to support rotations that were phenomenally unaffordable. And we didn’t see that same sort of TC dependence in 10′s raiders because, as the charts above demonstrate even for Cata, those rotations were comparatively more affordable. (This isn’t to say that 10s Shamans didn’t use TC, but rather they weren’t forced into it by the necessity of AOE healing on a larger raid team). We won’t have that same crutch when we walk into Pandaria, and as I’ve experienced on beta, that makes for a noticeably different playstyle.
Obviously, the next stop is figuring out how these Resurgence gains compare to Spirit’s scaling, but I’ll leave that for another day!