No, I’m not talking about a new gemming strategy or arguing the benefits of reverting back to Int for HW-based rotations, and I’m not going to posture about the benefits of gemming spellpower for LHW fanatics. Today I’m highlighting a staple of the Resto Shaman’s gemming strategy since the days of late BC—your Insightful Earthsiege Diamond meta-gem. For those of you who ventured out of the IED comfort zone a while back (and are reading this with one raised eyebrow), the kind folks over at EJ would like to bring you into the light. But, for those of us who have been sporting IED (and its level 70 variant) since the days of Skyshatter, I have some news for you—the end is neigh.
Swimming in Blue
To be honest, I shake my head that I didn’t see this coming. For a long while now I’ve been ending fights with a significant amount of mana (think: 6k+), and even more so since acquiring the best-gearing-choice-I-ever-made Heroic Solace to combine with its normal-mode variant. And yet I still powered on with my IED smugly nestled in my headpiece, confident in the 600 mana restore it regularly and dependably provides me once every 60 seconds (58 seconds on average based on recent logs.)
The debate over IED rarely touches on its base value (+21 int) because these days that’s a drop in the stat bucket. Instead, the conversation centers around the relative value of the proc. To summarize the findings: when evaluating IED’s HEP value in Shaman HEP, it was seen that its weighted value has been dropping recently. In fact, IED’s value drops off sharply once the healer in question obtains a Solace trinket (or comparable). At that point however, the ~600 mana per minute still outweighs the benefits of any other meta. However, once the healer obtains a second Solace (bringing his/her fully stacked regen at 272 from just those trinkets alone) IED’s comparative value falls again to the point where another meta passes it up–the Revitalizing Skyflare Diamond.
So what if you don’t have two Solaces?
Whatever you do, don’t ignore this debate completely. Based on a preliminary review, mp5 on major ICC pieces seems pretty high. Not to mention that some of the 3.3 trinkets are relatively close to Solace in terms of mp5, meaning this issue could arise again very soon even if RNG hasn’t smiled on you during ToC. And, as collective gear level rises in your raid, and incoming damage decreases, the same output won’t be as necessary.
Further, for those Resto Shamans who are sticking to single-target healing, and have been able to sustain themselves thus far, data is looking pretty good for a switch to RSD even without the powerhouse double-Solace. But again, it comes down to simple evaluation of your personal healing style and how much mana you consume on a given fight. Are you a chain caster (like me) or do you choose heals more selectively? Do you stopcast or simply let your heal go through in anticipation of more incoming damage on the target? Do you single-target or raid heal? All of these factors play into your gear choices and should play into your meta selection as well.
I think there’s a very solid case for making the switch from my ol’ dependable IED to the RSD. Knowing that mana tide isn’t something I drop very regularly, and certainly not according to the ~70% mana threshold the resto shaman community generally maintains as the ideal, I know that I won’t suffer too great a loss even if mana becomes tight(er) on certain fights. Add to this the crit effect of RSD synergizing so well with all of the shaman talents and procs based on crit, and, in my humble opinion, we have a new contender for the throne.
Just as an informational item, here are some of the stats on the Solace versus its ICC counterparts.
- Solace (Normal): 16 mp5 x 8 = 150 sp (constant), 128mp5
- Solace (Heroic): 18 mp5 x 8 = 168 sp (constant), 144 mp5
- Purified Lunar Dust 153 sp (constant), ~76-101 mp5
- Sliver of Pure Ice 158 sp (constant), ~66-87 mp5
- Ephemeral Snowflake 2.4% haste/20sec (2min CD), ~30-60mp5
- Althor’s Abacus 179 spellpower constant + free random heal (although the free heal does technically result in being able to cast 1 more spell per CD, because the mana isn’t actually yours to do with as you please, I’m going with the worst-case scenario and counting this as a big fat 0mp5.)
- Bauble of True Blood = 76/86 mp5 constant + free targeted heal (same as above, you’re really going to have to work hard to get your money’s worth out of this trinket. I would think that most healers who use this will wind up using the on-use as an “oh-shyte!” reaction instead of a regular CD. So 0 mp5 on this one too. Plus I don’t like that its name is really similar to a HBO series that I can’t stand.)