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August 27, 2012

The Resto Shaman Pocket Guide to 5.0.4

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Written by: Vixsin
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In preparation for Mists of Pandaria’s launch on September 25th, patch 5.0.4 will be hitting live servers as of tomorrow’s reset, bringing with it new spells, new talents, and a host of other features that will be setting the stage for the expansion to come. To aid Resto Shaman in making the transition, I’ve put together some notes to explain the major design shifts, the changes to how you heal, and the other noteworthy modifications you can expect as you count down the days until MoP. (Do note, this is not intended to be a full guide to everything Resto Shaman in Mists, simply a highlight. A full guide will be coming in the next week or so, but birthday celebrations have set me back!)

 

Major Shifts

Cataclysm Standard: Totems as buffs.

The change: Totems as utility (both raid and personal)

One of the major changes in Mists, that we’ll be getting a preview of in 5.0.4 is the redefinition of totems as temporary buffs. Whereas shaman up to this point have gotten used to dropping totems the moment a fight starts (from one-at-a-time to totem groups), that’s no longer going to be the norm. Instead, totems are taking a role much like Paladins’ Hands, so that the Shaman arsenal will again have a load of utility. So, we’ll have to get used to having some of our favorite constant buffs becoming “as-needed” drops.

Healing Totems/Changes:

  • Healing Stream Totem - (30-sec CD, 15-sec duration). HST is now a single-target heal that functions much like Priests’ Prayer of Mending. It’s best to drop this totem on CD, since its smart heal functionality will assure you incredibly low overhealing.
  • Healing Tide Totem (NEW TALENT) – (3-min CD, 11-sec duration). Also known as Tranquility Totem, Healing Tide now gives Shaman, and especially Resto Shaman, a way to potentially avert a raid wipe. Used in conjunction with SLT or separately, it will give shaman a powerful button to hit when the stuff hits the fan.
  • Stone Bulwark Totem (NEW TALENT) – (1min CD, 30-sec duration) A personal shield that provides an instant absorb upon drop and weaker absorbs for the duration thereafter, Stone Bulwark is a solid replacement for Ancestral Resolve and Glyph of Stoneclaw Totem, especially since the latter did not scale with gear level. Although it does require the GCD to use, my beta tests usually had it recording 1-2% of my total “healing” through its absorbs.
  • Mana Tide – no changes; will function exactly as it does now.
  • Spirit Link Totem – no changes; will function exactly as it does now.

Utility Totems/Changes

  • Stormlash Totem (NEW) – (5-min CD, 10-sec duration) Something unique that shaman will be able to offer their teams, this totem affords your raid a little extra DPS during critical burn phases. You’ll mostly likely be dropping this during Bloodlust phases, and since the totem doesn’t stack, you’ll want to coordinate drop order with the other shaman in your raid.
  • Capacitor Totem (NEW) – If you’ve ever been a shaman jealous of Tauren’s Warstomp, Capacitor Totem is your chance to contribute to your group’s/raid’s AOE stun rotation. 5 seconds after planting this totem, it will explode and stun all enemies within 8 yards.
  • Windwalk Totem (NEW TALENT) – (1min CD, 6-sec duration) – A raid-wide Hand of Freedom, I haven’t seen much use to this talent in a raid environment, but PVP shaman will be excited for a way to get out of snares and roots.
  • Grounding Totem - (25-sec CD, 15-sec duration) Although the functionality of this totem remains unchanged, it’s worth noting that shaman will need to contend with a shorter duration on this totem, meaning that your timing will have to be a slight bit more precise.
  • Flametongue Totem – (REMOVED) This is now a raid-wide buff associated with shaman, called Burning Wrath, even Resto Shaman will offer their group/raid an additional 10% spellpower.

 

Cataclysm Standard: Talent specs can last you for months.

The change: Talents are somewhat flexible; expect to change points around often.

In an effort to ditch the “cookie cutter” builds that generally dominate discussions on class, the new talent system focuses instead on Tiered talents that, every 15 levels, give you the choice to define your specialization in greater detail. But, likely one of the biggest differences in the new talent structure is that you’ll find yourself wanting to switch talents around a little bit more. For example, you may want the significant damage reduction that comes with Astral Shift (in Tier 15) in order to survive some burst damage, but on another fight, you may simply want the constant damage reduction that Stone Bulwark Totem offers. (I’m not going to go into talent selection in this discussion–I’ll leave that for a later day). Suffice to say, now is a great time to start thinking about talents as being dictated by the requirements and constraints of the fight, instead of by an optimized build selection. (Except in the case of Healing Tide Totem, which is going to be valuable no matter the encounter).

 

Shifts in How you Heal

Cataclysm Standard: Constant Water Shield refreshing

The change: WS is a 60-min self buff.

This one’s fairly self-explanatory, but because it’s something that Resto Shaman have been wishing for since, well … forever …  I thought I’d put it first so that you all can delight in the idea that is a 60-minute Water Shield. Say goodbye to spending half your GCDs refreshing WS.

 

Cataclysm Standard: CD-less dispels

The change: Successful dispels trigger an 8-sec CD

Another minor change that has major implications in raids, dispels are poised to be one of those core mechanics handled by your healing team. As of 5.04., a successful dispel (of a curse or a magic) will trigger an 8-sec cooldown. (If you dispel and there is nothing to dispel, because another healer got there first, your CD will not be triggered). So, although the blues have noted that the dispel change won’t be felt on fights in Cataclysm (like Sinestra or Spine of Deathwing), it bears mentioning that Beta encounters, especially hard modes, have involved a significant amount of dispelling. So, now is a good time to get practicing for the dispel challenges to come.

 

Cataclysm Standard: When the stuff hits the fan, heal harder.

The change: When the stuff hits the fan, turn to your new CDs.

Although we won’t be getting our full array of options until Pandaria launch and level 90, post 5.0.4 we’ll still have a couple of self-tuning options available:

The addition of these personal and raid cooldowns introduces a new aspect of Resto Shaman healing that hasn’t existed before (unless of course you count Tidal Force), so it’s a good time to get acclimated to the idea that cooldown timing will have a significant impact on your throughput.

 

Cataclysm Standard: Riptide has a 6-second CD

The change: CD-less Riptides for everyone!

When it was introduced on Beta, Glyph of Riptide was met with no small amount of opposition. And even though I still dislike the playstyle that it makes available to Resto Shaman (ie: Riptide blanketing), there’s no denying that this Glyph is well placed to become a staple of our arsenal. The HPS loss that you incur from a 90% reduction in the initial hit is made up for the flexibility to toss out multiple RT’s in the same timespan (and, in theory, maintain higher uptime on Tidal Waves, though I often found that wasn’t the case in practice). However, it’s important to note that while RT blanketing may seem a viable strategy in this month before Mists’ launch, as I illustrated in my recent post on Resurgence scaling, it is one of our highest consumption rotations.

 

Cataclysm Standard: Telluric Currents is a substantial active regen source.

The change: Telluric Currents is a glyph and will restore 2% of your max mana.

The natural result of an entire expansion of abusing damage mechanics in fights like Magmaw, Halfus, and Madness, it was inevitable that Blizzard would come down hard on our beloved active regen source—Telluric Currents—especially in their efforts to tighten the reins on healers’ mana. Starting in 5.0.4, TC will not be based on the damage your Lightning Bolt does, but rather, it will be based on your maximum mana pool. At level 85, this means that TC will restore a paltry 2k mana per cast, and at level 90, it will restore 6k mana, significantly reducing Resto Shamans’ ability to use TC as a primary supplement to passive regen. Though returns do result in a small mana gain, this glyph effectively returns TC to a position of being a way to contribute damage without major penalties, versus its position in Cata, as a way to actively regen mana. That tool has been shifted to Priests, in the form of Power Word: Solace, and shaman will be back to relying predominantly on passive regen and Resurgence to support our healing rotations.

 

Other Specific Changes

  • Earthliving Weapon

While the proc chance of Earthliving used to be dependent on Resto Shaman putting 2 points into Blessing of the Eternals, proc chance has been rolled into the Resto specialization. As detailed in a recent blue post, the proc chance of Earthliving will now be:

Earthliving Proc Chance, as of 5.0.4

 

  • Prime Glyphs / Major Glyphs

This category of glyphs is being removed, in preparation for Mists. Instead, Resto Shaman will have the following Major Glyph options to utilize:

  1. Glyph of Healing Stream Totem - unchanged. It’s worth noting that the resistance now will only be applicable 50% of the time and to a single person, making this glyph a much weaker version of the one used by Restos in Cataclsym.
  2. Glyph of Healing Wave - unchanged.
  3. Glyph of Telluric Currents - discussed in the preceding section.
  4. Glyph of Water Shield – unfortunately, this glyph’s dependence on WS procs (from incoming attacks) make it a bit tricky to recommend for every encounter. But, the good news is that, based on WS’s current returns, you only need to have ~1.7 2.6 attacks per minute trigger WS to see equal return between the glyphed and unglyphed versions. So, based on my last set of logs, it would make sense for me to use this on fights like Yor’sahj, Gunship and Spine, whereas on Hagara, Ultraxion, and Zon’ozz, I’d be better served leaving WS unglyphed. (Edit: Many thanks to Therya for pointing out that I forgot to update to the new WS return values! D’oh!)
  5. Glyph of Cleansing Waters – duplicate of the talent by the same name, sans mana cost reduction.
  6. Glyph of Chaining – The new offering to Resto Shaman healing a “spread raid”, this glyph makes CH slightly more usable in conditions which require your group to disperse. The significant downside of this glyph is that if the fight contains both spread and collapse raid situations, you’ll see a heavy penalty on the collapse where you’ll be forced to fill in CH’s CD with single-target healing.
  7. Glyph of Riptide - discussed in the preceding section.

 

  • Fixed Mana Pools

In an effort to ensure that healers work in a triage environment for longer than the first tier of content, Mists will be bringing with it capped mana pools for all healers. So, as of 5.0.4, all healers will have 100k mana at level 85. Your mana pool will increase by 40k with each level you gain, netting you 300k mana at level 90.

 

  • Ghost Wolf

It’s now an instant-cast ability for all Shaman. But do note that the run-speed bonus that was associated with Ancestral Swiftness is now removed, so Shaman still working on progression might want to go out and pick up Enchant Boots – Lavawalker.

 

  • Relics

As of the patch, Relics will be becoming part of Shamans’ history–the slot is being removed from the game and all your old Totems of Shattered Ice, Calming Tides, and Surging Seas will be turned into grey vendor trash.

 

  • Haste Breakpoints

Because of the +haste benefits of Ancestral Swiftness (tier 60), we’ll be seeing some new haste breakpoints for this month of time in between 5.0.4 and Pandaria launch. (All credit goes to Binkenstein of Totemspot for these calcs—please show him some love).






25 Comments


  1. [...] The Resto Shaman Pocket Guide to 5.0.4 – Life in Group 5 Patch 5.0.4 Shaman Talents Review – Spiritwalker’s Grace How to [...]


  2. Mark

    I two strongly oppose the glyph of riptide. And I think I may well get away with not using it as well:
    1. Apart from the tanks, the hot portion of riptide’s functionality is highly dependent on fight mechanics. Ask any druid how much overhealing you get from HoTs.
    2. The initial riptide heal, however, is probably one of the lowest overhealing things around, unless you a) precast it or b) fail. So why gimp that one in favour of more overhealing?
    3. As you said, it may well turn out to be too mana-consuming. Nerfing the most efficient part of your Riptide only adds to that.
    4. My raid group. I run with a Resto Druid (with a priest as the third healer when needed), so there’ll be plenty of HoTs anyway, however more direct heals will be welcome. And I raid 10-mans, where 3-4 riptides rolling will be more significant than in 25-mans.

    BTW nice guide, I always like your stuff. I’m interested to see your thoughts on some of the talent/glyph dilemma’s that have been going around in my head, like the above. Especially interesting because three of the cooldowns you listed are talents. (And the fourth one is an ability, even though you typed talent.)


    • I absolutely share some of your same objections about Glyph of RT, but it’s worth noting that in at least the starting tier in MoP, we will see a return to a state of triage. So, the value of rolling hots will significantly increase (versus where we’ve been for the past several months).

      That being said, I’d like to think I understand where developers were headed with Glyph of Riptide, certainly when it comes to our approach to spread raid healing. In theory, it makes it possible to combine it with Glyph of Chaining, and use CH+RT much in the way that Druids use WG+Rejuv. The problem with that style, when translated to Resto Shaman, is first, that we don’t have the mana regen to sustain it, and second that Glyph of Chaining will significantly hamper us if a fight contains both spread and collapse conditions. And the last thing you want is to sacrifice is throughput when players are collapsed (since those are typically those moments when you’re fighting to keep everyone alive through massive damage).

      But, that’s just my own speculation based on what I’ve experienced testing 10s and 25s on the beta. I’m sure if things are looking that dire, we’ll see some adjustments shortly into the expac.

      (And thanks for the catch on Ascendance–I think I got to the point last night while writing this where I started calling everything a talent. heh)


  3. Tyrant

    The mana regen from Water Shield is currently only ticking from direct attacks. AoE is not triggering the effect. There aren’t very many fights where the Shaman is being hit by something often enough to justify this glyph.


    • Granted, not much was triggering WS during Beta testing, but looking back through DS logs, WS was being triggered on a handful of fights (likely due to direct attacks from adds). So, for the interim, it can be useful. For the long term though, I agree that the outlook for PVE appears bleak.


  4. Niënni

    Hi! Very nice read Vixsin, as always. One thing I noticed is that Binkenstein uses different haste charts though. I haven’t figured out what I’m missing yet, possibly a buff.


  5. Riotgrrrl

    Thery’re for level 90 ;)


  6. jdh79

    One glyph that you missed as a major glyph option is Glyph of Totemic Recall. This glyph is actually really strong because of the relatively high mana cost of Healing Stream Totem. If you have this glyphed, and recall HST on the last tick/with one second left, it makes HST effectively free and can add a lot of regen.


    • Mark

      I can imagine that glyph being useful indeed, however just as gimpy as other new totem mechanics. You run the risk of not being able to use it if there’s another totem down. This downside can be mitigated by the totemic restoration talent, ofcourse.
      All in all, we could end up doing alot of totem management, providing buffs to ourselves and others, instead of healing. Go too far with that, and our healing will suffer from it.


  7. Stunchy

    Hi Vixsin,
    Thank you for another great post. I need to ask you for you thoughts on the healing rain buffs. As a ten man raider, that news is what currently tipped the scales for me towards my priest as my main in MOP over my shammy. My thought being that balancing shamans around healing rain can give us one of two scenarios: 1. That 10 man shamans are balanced and 25 man shamans are OP, or 2. That 10 man shamans are weak and 25 man shamans are balanced. And I also believe that because we have a couple unique, stackable, raidwide benefits we bring to the table, if 25 man shamans are the least bit OP, they will be stacked and the class will be nerfed in short order.

    Sorry for the conspiracy theories. I was hoping that if I mentioned it here, your always measured comments might convince me to take off the tin foil hat.


  8. shammypie

    I don’t see any note about unleashed elements boosting healing rain. Was this changed or did you not want to put it in or forgot or something?


  9. Vixsin Halp me!

    How do you manage your mana on Spine and Madness?

    We have been running no nerf DS recently, and it was going well. With the new patch I decided we should run at-least the first week with the nerf on (and were amazed that it has reached 35% now!) to get everyone past the broken addons and class changes. I was having issues on both spine and madness however to get any sort of sustained healing output and hold my mana till the end. Im pretty confident there is no way we could now to either of these fights without the nerf, which is disappointing.

    Im going to reforge for spi/crit and see it it helps at all, currently reforged for spi, then a balance of mastery and haste. (Which was more for my Ele set to maximize mastery anyway)

    Any ideas? or are we just not able to keep up with fights designed for TC, without TC?


  10. shammypie

    by the way i think i have figured out the best use for the troll racial beserking. It is on the same CD and same duraction as HTT and off the gcd. Coupling it with HTT and only 1077 haste rating (ancestral swiftness +5% and raid buff as well) i was able to get 9 ticks out of HTT. since beserking has been such a short lived cd in the past, i think this might be the optimal time to use it as u can also get a couple spells with it on as well


    • shammypie

      did some additional tinkering and found maximum number of ticks you can get out of HTT is 22. this is with troll racial, spell haste raid buff, bloodlust, t4 piece bonues, elemental mastery, and the haste proc off of the healer trinket.

      for all of you who are wondering what that looks like its ticicitciticiticiticiticitc


      • Very interesting idea. I’ll have to take a look at what sort of benefit Berserk would enable when combined with HTT. The other alternative is to use it with Ascendance, which has the potential to be much more valuable due to the distribution on the entire raid (provided that you have the mana to dump into it).

        Either way, definitely worthy of further investigation.


  11. Tehar

    The Ghost Wolf still seems to be giving a 30% speed bonus.


    • Its the passive speed given while not in ghost wolf, and the “always run at 100% not matter how slowed” parts they removed. You can glyph the second part back in, but we lost our passive run speed.


      • ^ Exactly what Zum said. Pre-5.0.4, Shaman who spent 2 points in Ancestral Swiftness (in the Enh tree) gained instant GW plus passive run speed, allowing us to forgo using run speed enchants on boots. Now, we don’t have a passive increase, so the enchant is valuable.


  12. Squidfayce

    A more compelling design of RT glyph would have been to allow RT to be cast x3 within an 18 sec window with no CD on RT.

    Ie do e you want to cast one every 6 sec or 3 withing 3 sec and have a 15 sec cd before you can re blanket


  13. Shockeye

    I have been playing around with the RT glyph and I’m not sure what I think of it. On the one hand it does add a clear element of speed but it does burn a lot of mana if you want to take advantage of the no CD part and cast it a lot in order to maintain Tidal Waves (more RT casts plus faster casts which equals more casts).
    It also doesn’t feel very Shaman-like and to me seems more Priest-like (comparing to Renew).

    Also tried the Glyph of Chaining, which was far too punitive. The extra reach did not, in my opinion, merit the 4 second CD as stack phases are generally more healing intensive than spread. For spread, the RT glyph is probably better. All of this is based more on feel than math however.


  14. Devos

    The numbers for goblin haste rating are slightly off. Not by much, but they are. As a goblin we only need 2145 haste rating to reach 30% haste with AS and Raid. I can run the other numbers for you if you’d like them more exact.

    Also, there seems to be a complication with figuring out the extra ticks for HST (and likely HTT). There’s a conversation about it over on Totem Spot (http://www.totemspot.com/vb/showthread.php?t=6812).


  15. hotshocklet

    astral shift vs stone bulwark totem, thoughts??? it just seems like 24k absorb is gunna go fast, like really fast. and would the extra 8k a tick stack if not used? i may have missed this info somewhere but i just started messing with my shaman again today. and also im still in the “im a healer i can just keep myself up through anyting” mindset and im sure that is about to change once i start playing around with everything. deff going to ahve to get used to dropping totems at the right time again :P



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