There are times where something looks amazing in theory but falls absolutely flat in application (Bizuri’s Totem of Shattered Ice, I’m looking at you here). And there are other times when something seems okay on paper but turns out to be hugely beneficial (t8 4piece towards the end of Ulduar, I miss you). And then there are times where despite the hype, doubt and hoopla, an underdog emerges triumphant—such is the case for Resto Shamans’ t10 4pc bonus. While t10 2pc was largely touted as a great buy, 4pc was met with grumbles from the community, likened to a wasted hot, and frequently asterisked when ICC gear lists were being assembled. And I’m here today to tell you—all those pessimistic predictions were right, but so very wrong at the same time.
Just as a refresher, the t10 bonuses as they currently stand, are:
- Tier 10 – 2 Piece – applies a 20% haste modifier to the cast following RT.
- Tier 10 – 4 Piece – applies a hot to the crit-healed target, equal to 25% of the crit heal amount
Drug already posted an excellent review of the benefits of the 2-piece, which mirrors my own sentiment almost entirely. So instead of essentially repeating his own well-voiced praise, I’m going to restrict my own review to the much-scoffed 4pc. But before I launch into the numbers and data, let’s take a look about how the bonus actually works.
Understanding the 4pc Bonus
While the 2pc bonus is, frankly speaking, a no-brainer, when it comes to the 4pc bonus, testing has actually revealed that the seemingly bland description hides a surprisingly more complex application. First and foremost, like Shamans’ AA, the CH hot includes overhealing into the value calculation. So even if your CH crit is pure overheal with not one bit of effective healing, you’ll still have the hot applied. Thereafter, the hot will tick at 6, 3 and 0 seconds remaining (after an initial application lag) and it is additive with other active CH hots on the target. This means that if you have a crit heal for 15,000 followed by another 1.5sec later for 18,000, you’ll have [(3750 + 4500) / 3 ] = a hot that ticks for 2,750 every 3 seconds for 9 seconds (starting after the second crit heal).
Further encouraging is that hot durations can be refreshed with another crit of CH on the target. Ultimately, this means that upward bound of this effect is limited by the likelihood of consecutive CH crits on the target, within the 9second application window. However, it bears noting that, based on combat log evidence, if your cast after initial crit is a crit as well, then the hot will be forestalled from ticking for another 3 seconds. So hypothetically, if you were to chain crits on that same target, the hot would be forestalled until the point where 3seconds elapsed without a crit CH heal being applied. An example of this can be seen from a recent Blood Queen kill where I crit the main tank 5 times in a row, starting at the underlined row, resulting in a 12sec delay between the first crit and the final roll of the hot (an intermediary tick occurs at 21:57:46.609):
[21:57:34.906] Vixsin Chain Heal Duces +*0* (O: 13799)
[21:57:35.690] Duces gains Chain Heal from Vixsin
[21:57:38.662] Vixsin Chain Heal Duces +0 (O: 1150)
[21:57:41.015] Vixsin Chain Heal Duces +*2540* (O: 11988)
[21:57:41.584] Duces’s Chain Heal is refreshed by Vixsin
[21:57:42.913] Vixsin Chain Heal Duces +*718* (O: 12939)
[21:57:43.594] Duces’s Chain Heal is refreshed by Vixsin
[21:57:46.502] Vixsin Chain Heal Duces +*0* (O: 14513)
[21:57:46.609] Vixsin Chain Heal Duces +0 (O: 3115)
[21:57:47.190] Duces’s Chain Heal is refreshed by Vixsin
[21:57:48.110] Vixsin Chain Heal Duces +*13311* (O: 1191)
[21:57:48.875] Duces’s Chain Heal is refreshed by Vixsin
[21:57:50.072] Vixsin Chain Heal Duces +*0* (O: 14643)
[21:57:50.813] Duces’s Chain Heal is refreshed by Vixsin
[21:57:53.834] Vixsin Chain Heal Duces +0 (O: 5715)
[21:57:56.906] Vixsin Chain Heal Duces +0 (O: 5715)
[21:57:58.593] Vixsin Chain Heal Duces +0 (O: 9402)
[21:57:59.845] Vixsin Chain Heal Duces +0 (O: 5715)
Additionally, it is worth noting how the rolling hots are calculated on the target. In the above example, you can see that the first tick of the hot (which occurs at 21:57:38.662), is calculated by:
- Crit 1 = (13,799 x 0.25) / 3 = 1150 hot
This hot does, in fact, hit shortly after the first crit occurs. However, the hot effect is refreshed in the following line with another crit heal on the tank. In accordance with our understanding of the CH hot, (the next hot application doesn’t occur until a 3sec window has elapsed without another crit CH heal), the next occurrence of the hot (at 21:57:46.609) is ~3 sec after the second crit heal. This time, the hot is calculated as:
- Crit 1 = ((13,799 x 0.25) – 1150 ) / 3 = 766.6 hot
- Crit 2 = (14,528 x 0.25) / 3 = 1210.6 hot
- Crit 3 = (13,657 x 0.25) / 3 = 1138.1 hot
- Total Hot Effect = 3115.3 (which is rounded down in the log)
As you can see, the crit *does not* refresh the first hot, it only refreshes the timer. At the point of refresh, the total remaining value of the hot is calculated, hence the deduction of the first hot tick, and then that remaining value is redistributed over a new 9 second duration. So, in following the combat log’s progression, you can see that after 5 critical CH hits on the MT, and one intermediary tick, my CH-based hot ticks 3 times for 5715 apiece.
Now let’s talk practical application, because when it comes down to it, you need to know what sort of contribution you can count on from the t10 4pc. As you might have noted in the preceding section’s combat log excerpt, that fabulous 5.7k hot that I stacked on the tank, was 100% complete overheal. So, even I will admit, the picture looks a bit discouraging.
But, when I assembled data for the last 2 weeks of ICC, I found a reason to be happy after all. After selecting encounters in which I’ve been using 4pc t10, removing those ones where conditions were sub-optimal (like a scrambled pickup, strat adjustment mid-fight, nub death, or special assignment) or where I was utilizing 2 pc t9/t10, I collected information for 5 encounters on my effective hps per spell, distribution of total healing, and overheal percentage. (The Google Doc of the data I assembled can be found here.) The average HPS contributions while using my t10 4piece were as follows:
- Chain Heal – 3,242 ehps
- Tier10 4pc CH hot – 393 ehps
- Earth Living Weapon – 304 ehps
- Healing Stream Totem – 566 ehps (BQ skews this number heavily)
- Lesser Healing Wave – 254 ehps (versus 788.8 in 2pc t9/t10)
- Earthshield – 463 ehps
- Riptide – 250 ehps (versus 654.3 in 2pc t9/t10)
- Ancestral Awakening – 150 ehps (versus 650 in 2pc t9/t10)
As you might expect, the highest values for Chain Heal and the 4piece bonus occurred during the Blood Queen encounter, where CH reached 4457.6 hps and the CH Hot reached 604.3 hps. And while the average overhealing amount of the 4pc hot was 57.5%, it also factored out to be 7.6% of my total effective healing. That looks pretty damn good to me.
Hopefully, I’ve managed to at least demonstrate thus far that the contribution from 4pc isn’t trivial. Of course, your mileage may vary depending on a variety of factors, but overall you should have enough reason to purchase those last two pieces. But the t10 4pc actually poses an interesting quandary—if the set bonus is based on crit, how does that impact my stat selection once I’ve achieved my set bonus?
Arguably, if you are wearing 4pc t10 and have been following generally accepted forum/theorycrafting logic, then you are either fast approaching or have already surpassed the LHW soft haste cap. So the question as to what stat weights govern really becomes a question about the value of continuing to stack haste past that point. Looking at Shaman HEP for past two weeks, for the fights in question, nets me the following:
- Spellpower = 1
- Haste = 2.0 – 2.2
- Crit = 0.64 – 0.82
- Int = 0.65 – 0.85
- Mp5 = 0.8 – 1.3
So, while it has been observed that the set bonus actually scales marginally better with crit than it does with haste, wouldn’t go regemming your gear just yet. Haste still seems to be going strong, albeit with less oomph than in the previous tier. However, the fact that the bonus does rely more on crit values, might be enough reason to shy away from picking up those pure haste pieces and instead going for crit/haste or crit/mp5 pieces instead.
The Final Verdict
So in the end, it seems that the doubters were correct about Resto’s 4pc bonus. It is a hot very similar to Earthliving and hots do generate crazy amounts of overheal in targeted-damage encounters, especially when you can’t finely control their application (druids on Deathwhisper, can I get an amen here?) And the tier pieces that you need to pick up to make that 4pc bonus are laden with crit instead of our precious haste (though their itemization isn’t so terribly allocated given general levels of haste on supplemental pieces.) However, based on the data that I’ve seen thus far, I see no reason to pass on what amounts to a significant portion of additional healing, and which comes at the price of a couple hundredths of a second off of my CH or HW. In fact, I think I can safely declare, with no reservation, my undying adoration for our last tier of the xpac.