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March 5, 2013

The Patch 5.2 Summary for Resto Shaman

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Written by: Vixsin
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It seems like just yesterday that I was finding my way through Pandaria, leveling up through a world of new zones and getting acclimated with our newest tools. But, here it is on the launch of the second tier of the expansion, and I can hardly believe that it’s been over 5 months since we took those first tentative steps on a new continent. Like many others, I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed by the thought of a new content patch so soon; my MoP bucket list has been growing since late September and will likely balloon even more in the time ahead. (Who ever thought I’d complain about too much content? Sheesh!)

But, fortunately, Patch 5.2 doesn’t contain any groundbreaking changes for Resto Shaman, but rather some slight modifications to our toolset. So those of you who might be worried about having to make significant changes to your gameplay as you launch into Throne of Thunder—don’t fret. There will be some slight tweaks to make as a result of these changes, but the core of Resto will stay quite solid. To help you get an idea of what to expect, I’ve put together a handful of tidbits about class changes, what to expect in the actual raid instance, and what gearing options will become available.

Resto Shaman Changes

Most of the changes that are being put in place for Resto Shaman in 5.2 are actually changes to the class as a whole and not just our spec. (Patch 5.2 Notes can be found here). I’ve divided this section into two parts—changes that should make you sit up and take notice and changes that you should make note of but which won’t have that big an impact on your gameplay. So, let’s get to that first category:

  • Stone Bulwark – buffed to offer 25% more absorption. SBT was a favorite of mine in Tier 14, especially on fights with continuous damage,  and will likely be even more a favorite in the content to come because of its unbeatable efficiency.  With a solid increase to the absorption effects, this totem should help shaman survivability a tad and provide you with a mini CD for frequent heavy hits.
  • Elemental Mastery – cooldown decreased to 90 seconds. The impact of this talent is that it will now be possible to line EM up with Ascendance and Healing Tide, provided that you stagger them appropriately. For HTT, this means you’re going to be gaining a handful of additional ticks, and for Ascendance, it means that if you pre-cast and EM-powered HR, you’re going to net a ton more blanket healing on the raid. The downside of this change is that you’ll be trading in the passive 5% haste from Ancestral Swiftness, which means that you’ll need to tack on at least 2,168 more haste to meet the first breakpoint for Earthliving (if you were already above the 871 haste mark).

Now, onto those changes that, while noteworthy, won’t have as significant an impact on your gameplay:

  • Nature’s Guardian – will now preserve your health increase, making it a pseudo-instant heal similar to priests’ Angelic Bulwark, triggered when you drop below 30% HP.  With  ~450k HP, Nature’s Guardian will result in a 112,500 heal on a 30-sec CD, making its max contribution over a 6-minute encounter (assuming it procs on CD, which it will won’t likely do) 1.35M healing done. HOWEVER, (<- note big caps here), it is unlikely that you’ll see that level of performance, so overall, SBT is going to be the better-performing option.
  • Healing Rain – Mana cost reduced by 15%. If you were a shaman who was dropping HR on a very regular basis (say, every 12sec), this means that on a 6-minute encounter you’ll have an additional 116,370 mana at your disposal now. While not a huge change to shaman mana or throughput, on the premise that every little bit counts, this is a welcome change heading into the new instance.
  • Conductivity – received two changes aimed at making this talent more attractive to Resto Shaman. First, the talent no longer requires that the target of the GHW, HS, or HW be in the HR; so your heals on a ranged target will still be distributed to those players in your HR. Second, the amount distributed has been increased to 30% of the healing done. Unfortunately, I don’t think this is going to have Restos flocking to the talent, because it’s still unlikely that it will rival the throughput of the powerhouse of that tier, HTT. (To put it in perspective, if one drop of HTT yielded 3M healing done, I would have to do 10M combined healing from GHW, HS, and HW in a 3-minute window, for Conductivity to yield the same throughput).
  • Ancestral Guidance – now copies 60% of the amount healed to 3 nearby targets. This constitutes a 150% increase (120% v. 180%) to total throughput for the talent. Unfortunately, AG’s 2min CD creates an awkward alignment with complementary cooldowns like Elemental Mastery (1.5min CD) and Ascendance (3min CD), making it a talent more suited for situational use (a la HM Tsulong) that permanent integration into your arsenal. That being said, it’s on this list because I wouldn’t be surprised to see some good applications arise in the upcoming tier and beyond.

 

What to Expect in Throne of Thunder

So, beyond the shaman stuff that is coming as a part of 5.2, what can you look forward to in the newest Zandalari raid instance? Well, although the experience is nothing like the first time you exited the sewers of Black Temple and stepped into Supremus’s courtyard, one of the major things you’ll notice about Throne of Thunder is that it is HUGE. The daily quest zone surrounding it is huge, its exterior is huge, and the zones and rooms within it are huge. And once you get past the scale, the second thing you’ll notice is that it’s bloody gorgeous. Like the rest of Pandaria, the art design and detail of the instance and all its themes is just downright impressive. (And my crappy screenshots don’t even do it justice).

Okay, okay … on to the practical stuff. Based on my raid testing experiences for both NM and HM, 10s and 25s, here’s what Resto Shaman can look forward to in this new 12-boss (plus one bonus!) spectacular:

  1. Lots of spread raid healing. I hate it, you hate it, (okay, maybe just I hate it), but it’s going to be a big part of our world in 5.2. Most of the fights that I tested had mechanics that required or strongly encouraged players to spread out (splash damage = strong encouragement). Even in 25s, this will equate to more single-target healing making its way into your rotation. It also underscores the importance of high HST uptime, since our efficient single-target heals, GHW and HW, are notoriously slow even with the benefits of Tidal Waves and we still don’t have the regen to support a straight RT-HS rotation.
  2. Lots of healing, in general. While I wasn’t able to get a feel for the entire length of most encounters (since PTR testing is generally engineered to assure that you don’t kill the encounter), I think it’s fair to say that ToT isn’t going to hold many fights that feel like the main platform on Sha of Fear—healers won’t be in any danger of nodding off. Raid damage is fairly heavy in NM, which makes Healing Rain a pretty valuable staple of our rotation, and it only gets more intense on HM, where you can pretty much concede that HR should be down 100% of the time if you want to maintain competitive throughput. Which makes it especially wonderful that the fights also have …
  3. Lots of movement. Spread/collapse mechanics, dodge-the-bad-stuff challenges, fixate-kiting, maze-running, Alysrazor tornadoes, Rhyolith fires, Vezax’s shadowcrashes, and a host of other things will keep you on your toes. So, part of the challenge of this tier will be finding smart ways to stay stationary for longer, making the most out of Spiritwalker’s Grace, and properly placing your Healing Rain so that it isn’t just a pretty blue circle out in the middle of nowhere.

In terms of performance, with healing meters bouncing all around during testing and almost every healing class being on top at one point or another, it’s difficult to guess where the ultimate shakedown of classes will be. Resto Shaman started out strong in the early days of 5.0, but we saw ourselves slowly sink through the progression of the tier, as absorbs got stronger and more players became adept at using them. But, with the reduction of Spirit Shell stacking and the integration of more constant-damage mechanics, I do feel like it’s anyone’s game at this point. Druids felt especially strong during HM testing, so I’m really looking forward to seeing them in action.

 

Gearing

The majority of the loot that you have to look forward to with ToT will be collected from the bosses in the instance, but a new faction–the Shado Pan Assault–will offer you some useful rewards as you progress. So, with Valor NOT being transitioned to Justice points at 5.2 launch, you should be in a position to pick up a couple of valor upgrades in your first week (or so) of raiding. Joining the likes of BC’s Ashtongue Deathsworn and Cataclysm’s Avengers of Hyjal, reputation for Shado Pan Assault will be gained through raiding. Trash will, presumably, offer some reputation up to possibly Honored, at which point, further rep progression will only be achieved through bosses (if Blizzard stays true to the Firelands rep model).

The Kirin Tor (Alliance) and Sunreavers (Horde) will also be putting in an appearance in the new zone, and will be the source of many of the new daily quests. However, with the rewards offered by these factions capping out at 496ilvl, their pieces will really only serve to augment gaps in your current gearing or catch characters up before they make their way into the new raid zone. (But a fancy Direhorn mount will keep this faction relevant even to those of us who won’t be using it for gearing).

We’ll be picking up some new bonuses in Tier 15 as well, trading GHW, HS, and HW buffs for … well … more of the same … but different! (lol):

  • Tier 15 2pc: HST will gain an additional 25% healing on a second target. A straight throughput gain and something worth breaking your T14 4pc for, this bonus will be a boon to our lowest overhealing spell. In raid testing with the t15 2pc, I was consistently seeing HST as one of my top heals for every encounter.
  • Tier 15 4pc: Non-critical hits of our single-target spells–GHW, HW, RT, HS, and UE–will have a 50% chance to trigger to trigger AA. As I mentioned in a previous post, I’m still very much against this set bonus because of the incredible variability it sees in application. But, there’s no denying its helpfulness in an instance where raids are consistently spread. I’ts worth mentioning that the bonus will devalue crit rating (something most PVE Resto Shaman are favoring these days) but not to the point that you need to consider alternate gearing strategies.

In terms of other gear, we have some interesting trinkets to look forward to, tier with lots of haste and plenty of sockets, and even a healing fist-weapon (oh the transmog options with that one!) But, that’s a topic for another day. Suffice to say that as you make your way into the instance, you’ll want to continue prioritizing primary stat upgrades (Intellect and Spirit) over any secondary stat changes.

 

The Thunder King Comes

Regardless of timing, I’m quite excited to see all that Throne of Thunder has to offer the raiders of Pandaria. Blizzard set a pretty high bar for themselves with Tier 14, but with a substantial amount of bosses (remember: Firelands only had 7!) and some interesting and unique fight mechanics, ToT will, for good or for bad, definitely be a tier to remember.

 






27 Comments


  1. Ayune

    Vixsin,

    Just wanted to say thanks for another great article. I’m a new resto shaman who just started their healing career in the twilight of 5.1 when the guild I apped to asked if I’d be willing to change classes from my rogue I normally play. Your blog has been a fantastic resource for getting up to speed. Keep ‘em coming, and have fun in 5.2 !


    • Thanks for the reinforcement and best of luck in Throne of Thunder! Do feel free think of me as a resource should you ever have any questions or curiosities; my email inbox is always open. :)


      • Bramook

        Just found your articles as a link from icy-veins.com. Really great! Guild asked me to go resto (from enhancement), and has been a huge change in gearing (every item is totally different) and play style. Starting your healing career with Feng in MSV is a bit intimidating. For a while, I was all hat and no cattle since I got a lot of healing gear from playing the enhancement spec. Have not ventured into an instance yep, lol. Wondering if you use healbot or something else?


  2. Bauric

    Vix, this website completes me. lol Having been gone from prog healing since cata, I’m so ecstatic to be back. Also let’s face it, there is NO other website out there worth a mention when it comes to insights into playing a Resto Shammy. So as always, thank you so much for taking the time to drop some more knowledge on the hoards of RestoShams coming to this site on a daily basis.


    • Awww, thanks for the compliments and welcome back to progression raiding! Resto Shaman endgame healing has shifted a slight bit from where it was in Cata, but hopefully you find it to be for the better. Throne looks like it will be a place where we can put all of our tools–new and old–to the test.


      • Bauric

        Yea, I’m excited. I used to live on LiG5 during Wrath and for a while at the start of Cata. Your theory crafting as well as all the research you do is invaluable to someone as OCD about efficient healing as I am.(Of cause my goal is top healing done lowest overhealing done) I’ve been healing our 10 man progression raid for about a month now, and I must say, at first I hated not being able to ‘set and forget’ my totems. However after a while, and with the right addons, rotating cd’s became bearable. So again thank you for all your hard work and all the effort you put into this site. I know I’m not just talking for myself when I say that you are helping a TON of moderately heavy to casual raiders progress because their raids Resto Shammys are not sucking at healing =P


  3. tunk

    thank you so much for all you do here! what do you think of the change to the Purge glyph? what should be the starting ilvl for ToT?


    • I wouldn’t imagine that Glyph of Purge would see much use in the coming tier, because there really aren’t any mechanics that require cleansing akin to Shield of Darkness on Spirit Kings.

      As far as the starting ilvl for Throne, with LFR awarding gear at the 502ilvl, I’d imagine that you’d want to be around 490-500 for the first several bosses on NM. I do remember a comment that the first several bosses should be an easier intro to raiding, but from my testing of Lei Shen, things definitely ramp up a bit by the end of NM’s. (As a point of reference, I’m going in with around 510 ilvl, but that’s based on months of HM farming).


  4. [...] a.m. and I have been up all night, I will just leave you with a link to Vixsin’s 100% mathier Patch 5.2 Summary for Resto Shaman, and call it a night! Good luck on the Isle of Thunder, [...]


  5. [...] 5.2 Resto Shaman Changes by Vixsin of Life in Group 5 [...]


  6. Kir

    Nice post as usual ))

    any changes in stat priority of resto in 5.2 path? In your opinion

    on elit was many complains that hast it not working properly, and we force to maximize crit (

    best regards
    Kir


    • I don’t think we’re going to see much of a shift in stat prioritization, at least through normal modes. The benefits of T15 4pc will slightly decrease the valuation of Crit, but not in a way that would encourage any drastic gearing changes.

      Personally, I’m excited to try out Elemental Mastery in lieu of Ancestral Swiftness, but it will mean that I need to pick up more haste to make sure my Earthliving heals don’t suffer. I may or may not stick with it, but I’m really liking the additional ticks of HTT so far.


  7. Dusaro

    Is this number the right haste?

    “least 2,168 more haste to meet the first breakpoint for Earthliving”


    • ” … you’ll need to tack on at least 2,168 more haste to meet the first breakpoint for Earthliving (if you were already above the 871 haste mark).”

      Meaning, if you had 871 haste as a Resto Shaman in 5.0/5.1, and now decide to take Elemental Mastery instead of Ancestral Swiftness, you’ll need 871 haste PLUS at least 2,168 (for a total of 3,039 haste) to still have that additional tick of Earthliving. (Without AS you would reference the “5% Raid” column on Bink’s haste cards: http://www.totemspot.com/vb/entry.php?b=41).

      I’m not stating that 2,168 is the breakpoint, I’m stating that you’ll need that many secondary stat points to put into haste in order to make up for the loss of the passive 5% haste from Ancestral Swiftness.


  8. Nyxkali

    I would like to see Shamans Dispelling Buffed, cause Curse – Magic dispels just isn’t good for raiding and seem like i’m Worthless when it comes to it.


    • Could you elaborate on what you mean? With so many dispels in this tier being magic-based, Resto Shaman are in the same place as any other healer.


    • shammypie

      I think he is referring to the poison/disease you see a lot of on horridon.
      furthermore great post as always, however i find i’m going emperor palpitine for this tier as elemental shamans are viable again.


  9. Hi Vixsin, great post again !!

    Could you talk something about ToT TRINKETS for us, resto shamans ???

    Thank you !!


  10. I’ve been lurking your blog for the past few months since I started playing WoW, and I finally feel I have a question worth asking (thanks for the blog, btw, I’ve taken to Resto Shaman and your writing has helped me develop as a player).

    Are you using glyph of chaining in spread healing situations? Or are you just relying on HW/GHW + RT and totems (and I assume prescient placement of HR that comes from a coordinated raid).
    Patches´s last post ..jlingasd:

    by あてか@ついったATK0207

    UNF. I mean…


  11. Hi,

    “But, fortunately, Patch 5.2 doesn’t contain any groundbreaking changes for Resto Shaman, but rather some slight modifications to our toolset.”

    the problem is: we need changes. We are by far the spec with the lowest thoughput for spreaded environments and nearly every fight is spreaded or/and contains a lot of movement. So without effective Healing Rain a Chainheal that hits at least 2 or more members it is only up to our strong CDs that we can maintain a raidspot.
    I had never a low raid attendance like in Throne of Thunder because in some fights a shaman is nearly useless. It is a problem of Healing mechanics. I am our healing officer and sometimes it is so depressing that I put myself on the bench.


  12. Orrot

    Good overview of the tier, what would your take be on the mechanics of the spread healing hampering our throughput overall?

    I used the Elemental Mastery/HTT/Ascendence Rotation on Council and saw some good synergy there. But with this strategy, accomodating for Cool Downs for high damage sections makes it feel wonky. Just an observation.


  13. hadron

    Thank you for this delightful article.

    I laughed on the “Lots of spread raid healing. I hate it, you hate it” part, but this is so damn true :)


  14. ellsie

    Hi Vixsen, thank you for the post.

    I was wondering if you have any thoughts on resto shaman output compared to other healing classes right now in 5.2? I raid 10 mans, and right now I am fighting for my spot, because it seems that every other healing class is seeing more healing done than resto shaman on he bosses in ToT.

    I have looked at my numbers and I am consistent for my gear with other resto shaman, so is it that resto shaman in general are seeing lower healing output, or that my guild just has amazing holy paladins, discs, and resto druids.

    Also, as an offshoot question, how would you recommend trying to justify a raid spot for a resto shaman if it is clear they are being outhealed? I think MTT could be a valid argument, but no one seems to be having mana issues right now.


  15. Sekhmet

    Vixsin how are you feeling about resto shamans being so far behind other healing classes?


  16. Stunchy

    Vixsin,

    Stop the Madness!!! How can I possibly know what to think about the recent Shaman uproar on the WOW healing forums if LIG5 hasn’t weighed in? Please please please make it all clear and tell me what to think. Also, if you disagree with Keals, we’re through :) .

    And one other tiny little request: if you put together one of your super amazing analysis heavy posts on shaman effectiveness or competitiveness, please include a break out between 10 and 25 man raid formats.


  17. It has been a while since you posted anything, the shaman community misses you!


  18. Spiritdancer

    question Vixsin. I won Giorgio’s Caduceus of Pure Moods in ToT. Mr. Robert suggest that i equip Giorgio’s Caduceus of Pure Moods over Kri’tak, Imperial Scepter of the Swarm and Eye of the Ancient Spirit. any ideas about resto shamans using staffs? ty for ur replay. :)



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