Orc Shaman, by SupremeDarkling
(http://supremedarkling.deviantart.com/)

 
A

nother expansion, another set of changes to the healing model. Thankfully, Warlords won’t be ushering in the magnitude of changes that we saw in Cataclysm or in Mists of Pandaria, but the newest expansion will still be throwing a few curve balls our way. This section of the Resto Guide will address those new and revamped core abilities and tools of the Resto Shaman, including:

1. Passives and Bonuses
2. Heals (Active cast)
3. Heals (Passive)
4. Utility Spells
5. Cooldowns

Discussion about Totems can be found in the subsequent Totem section of the guide.

Discussion about Totems can be found in the subsequent Totem section of the guide. For abilities gained through talents, please see the “Talents” section.

Resto Passives and Bonuses

The following spells and abilities are those exclusive to the Resto Shaman spec:

Like all other healers, Resto Shaman have a handful of passive talents which supplement the class’s baseline toolkit, and give you some insight into the inner workings of the class:

  1. Grace of Air – the notable change from MoP is that this raid buff now provides haste in addition to its mastery bonus
  2. Meditation
  3. Restorative Waves
  4. Spiritual Insight – the base mana pool at 100 is 32,000 resulting in a 160,000 total mana pool as a result of this passive
  5. Purification – this passive does affect Grace of Air, meaning that Resto Shaman have 550 Mastery x 1.05 = 577.5 base Mastery at level 100
  6. Tidal Waves
  7. Resurgence

At level 100 in Warlords of Draenor, you will also benefit from the following passive perks:

  1. Enhanced Unleash
  2. Improved Chain Heal – note that this bonus will not benefit subsequent hits of CH, only the primary hit (but it is multiplicative with the effects of Crit, Mastery, and Multistrike)
  3. Improved Reincarnation
  4. Improved Riptide – which has zero benefit if you choose to glyph Riptide

Heals (Active-cast)

Resto Shamans’ active cast heals are based on a model of spell-weaving, where effects that are triggered by one heal then provide buffs to subsequent heals. So, when reviewing the active-cast heals listed in this section, it’s important to remember that they receive certain buffs based on the spells that precede them and/or the buffs present on the target. The following table provides a quick summary of the interactions possible:

Spell Throughput gains Impactful Glyphs Impactful Talents
Earth Shield (none) (none) (none)
Riptide Unleash Life
Earth Shield
Glyph of Riptide Echo of the Elements (t60)

Unleashed Fury (t90)

Healing Wave Tidal Waves
Unleash Life
Earth Shield
Glyph of Healing Wave Unleashed Fury (t90)
Healing Surge Tidal Waves
Unleash LifeEarth Shield
(none) Unleashed Fury (t90)
Unleash Life Earth Shield (none) Echo of the Elements (t60)
Chain Heal Riptide
Earth Shield
Unleash Life
Glyph of Chaining High Tide (t100)
Healing Rain (none) (none) (none)

 Single-target

At the core of Resto Shamans’ single target arsenal are two spells:

  • Healing Surge – a high HPS heal that comes at a stiff price, Healing Surge is best used when time is of the essence. Because of its high cost, Healing Surge typically is not used as a core heal, but on an as-needed basis. Healing Surge gains 30% Crit through the Tidal Waves
  • Healing Wave – our slow and efficient single-target heal, HW is best utilized when single-target damage is not life-threatening and the goal is to maintain a mana-conservative rotation. HW gains 20% cast time reduction through the Tidal Waves

 

Multi-Target 

In terms of multi-target healing, Resto Shaman have two main tools at their disposal:

  • Chain Heal – a long-cast, (somewhat) smart heal, CH will provide a high amount of healing to a maximum of 4 targets. Although CH will start its jumps at the target of your choosing, subsequent jumps will be based on injured players within a 12.5 yard range. (Note: Chain Heal will not choose the most injured player, simply an injured player). If no targets are within a 12.5 yard radius or targets within that radius are already at 100% HP, Chain Heal will not jump. Each jump of Chain Heal will reduce the effectiveness of the heal by 10%. Aside from Riptide, Chain Heal is the only other way to trigger the Tidal Waves Chain Heal can be glyphed (through Glyph of Chaining) to increase its jump distance to 25 yards, in exchange for the addition of a 3 second CD.
  • Healing Rain – our efficient AOE heal, Healing Rain is a targeted ground effect which will heal all allies standing within it (although diminishing returns apply for over 6 targets). Our highest HPS AOE heal, aside from Healing Tide Totem, Healing Rain is also our most expensive heal, so its application needs to be both precise and well-timed. There’s no greater pain than placing a Healing Rain and then having the group move out of it, so choose your placement wisely!

The important thing to note about both these raid healing spells is that they benefit from proactive casting—the better you can predict when and where damage will be occurring, the more effective these heals will be. (This pretty much holds true for every multi-target heal out there). And secondarily, both of our core AOE heals are constrained by range, meaning that in situations where the raid needs to spread out, you’ll want to use these AOE heals in conjunction with single-target heals to provide the best coverage possible.

 

Other Core Heals

In addition to our two distinct AOE heals and powerful single-target spells, shamans’ active-cast healing arsenal is rounded out by three other core abilities which can provide significant contribution to throughput:

  • Earth Shield – Although this ability only contributes a small amount of healing during an encounter, Earth Shield’s main strength is increasing shamans’ healing on a particular target by 20% (which is, notably, multiplicative with other on-target healing bonuses, like those provided by Riptide, Unleash Life, and Improved Chain Heal). And, I am delighted to say that in Warlords, Resto Shaman can now delight in the fact that you can have multiple Earth Shields (from multiple Resto Shaman) on the same target.
  • Unleash Life – Another ability that contributes very, very limited healing by itself, Unleash Life is a core spell-weaving ability with a long (15-second) cooldown. Although Unleash Life no longer increases the throughput of Healing Rain, it still provides a powerful boost to any other shaman heal (outside of totems).
  • Riptide- Resto Shamans’ only hot, RT occupies a spot as both a core single-target and multi-target ability. RT provides a steady stream of ticks on tanks and on players that might not be prime targets for Chain Heal. When used in conjunction with Glyph of Riptide, the spell becomes more like Druids’ Rejuvenation and Priests’ Renew. (Although, liberal use of Glyphed Riptide does require more passive regen to support the increased mana consumption).

Heals (Passives)

As of 6.0, Resto Shaman no longer have any passive heals triggered from our rotation. (RIP Ancestral Awakening and Earthliving–I’ll miss you).

Utility Spells

While a Resto Shaman’s time is generally occupied with healing, we are the only healers with both an offensive dispel and an interrupt, which make us particularly adept at taking on additional responsibilities, as-needed, during encounters.

  • Wind Shear – A 3-second lockout on a 12-second cooldown, Wind Shear is a great way to proactively prevent incoming damage at a fraction of the cost of a heal.
  • Purge – Another way that Resto Shaman can affect incoming damage, Purge removes 1 magic effect from a hostile target.

Cooldowns (non-totems)

Despite the great pre-Warlords pruning, Shaman have retained a myriad of cooldowns. Aside from the cooldowns added through totems and talents, Resto Shaman also provide:

  • Bloodlust /Heroism – A raid-wide ability, this 5-minute cooldown will increase all haste by 30% (multiplicative with other haste modifiers). Do note that although this is a 5-minute cooldown, the Sated debuff which is applied to all affected players will prevent Bloodlust/Heroism from being cast for 10 minutes after the first cast.
  •  Reincarnation – A shaman-only ability, Reincarnation will allow a shaman to Resurrect during combat with 20% health and mana. (Improved Reincarnation, the Draenor perk, increases this to 50% health/mana upon use) . For most shaman, Reincarnation is one of those abilities that’s nice to have, but generally unreliable when you need it most. It’s also worth noting that Reincarnation does not count as a battle res.
  •  Spiritwalker’s Grace – A 2-minute cooldown that enables Shaman to cast while moving, the 15-second duration of this ability makes it something that you want to save for periods where movement coincides with raid damage. The duration of the buff can be extended by 5 seconds (for a total glyphed duration of 20 seconds) through Glyph of Spiritwalker’s Grace.
  •  Ascendance – For Resto Shaman, Ascendance will, for 15 seconds, copy and evenly distribute all healing done to nearby allies. Ascendance’s healing done, which will appear as Restorative Mists in the combat log, will be calculated on 1-second intervals during the 15-second duration, resulting in healing done from all Resto Shaman abilities (excluding totems) being totaled once every second and then reapplied to nearby allies. It’s worth noting that any pre-existing hots that are rolling when Ascendance is triggered will be included in the total healing calculation. Also, Restorative Mists is not subject to any additional contribution from Mastery.