Shaman, by Mike Sass for WoW TCG
(http://mike-sass.deviantart.com/)

 
I

n an effort to reduce the number of cookie-cutter / set-it-and-forget-it builds that populated guides and blogs in past expansions, in Mists of Pandaria we’ll be working with a talent system that is divorced from your spec. Choosing a class specialization to pursue will still afford you a handful of spec-specific talents and abilities, but other cooldowns and abilities will be dependent on those you select from each Tier’s options. (The Tier number of each talent set corresponds to the level at which those talents are unlocked). But perhaps the most significant, and at the same time underestimated, change associated with the new talent system is that there is no longer a cost associated with respeccing (although it does require a reagent for every talent you change– Tome of the Clear Mind). As a result, you can expect to change your talents around a lot more frequently based on the boss mechanics that you’re facing or the raid comp that you’re running with.

 

Resto Specialization

Once you choose to be a Restoration (Resto) Shaman, the following talents and abilities are unlocked automatically at the appropriate level.

Resto Talents

  •  Meditation – The first pillar of our regen model, Meditation functions exactly as described, allowing for 50% of our passive mana regen to occur in combat. (Were Blizzard to want to buff Resto Shamans’ passive regen, adjusting this % would be one possible way). Meditation talents are included in every healers’ passive abilities.

  • Spiritual Insight – This passive talent is the key to calculating your maximum mana pool at any level, through: base mana x 5 = maximum mana. For level 90 Resto Shaman, this means that we have a 300,000 mana pool (60,000 x 5). This passive talent also assures that we have +15% hit on Lighting Bolt, Lava Burst, Hex, and Elemental Blast, making us inherently hit capped against raid bosses with these spells.

  • Purification – In order to empower Resto Shamans’ heals past those of Enhance and Elemental Shaman, Purification provides a 125% healing boost to all heals and a 187.5% (1.25 x 1.5) healing boost to all totem healing. Purification also enables all Resto Shaman heals to apply Ancestral Vigor (see Spells – Buffs for further discussion).

  • Tidal Waves – The self-buff that strongly encourages Resto Shaman spell weaving, Tidal Waves is triggered upon casting Riptide or Chain Heal, and will buff the next two casts of Healing Wave, Greater Healing Wave or Healing Surge cast within the 14-second TW buff duration. Tidal Waves will decrease the cast time of HW and GHW by 30% (note: this is not equivalent to a 30% haste buff, but rather equates to 0.7 multiplier on cast time) and will increase the critical strike chance of HS by +30% (with no cast time reduction). Because Tidal Waves constitutes a significant increase to the HPS of these spells, it is important to ensure that your single-target heals are always cast while under the effects of Tidal Waves.

  • Resurgence – The second pillar of our regen model, Resurgence is unique to Resto Shaman and is enabled by our self-buff, Water Shield. (Logically, if you don’t have Water Shield applied, you will get 0 Resurgence returns). For critical heals on most spells in the shaman toolbox, excluding Healing Rain, Resurgence will return a flat amount of mana based on the spell type. The table below shows Resurgence returns based on type and provides examples of the per cast scaling for each spell.

Resurgence Returns

Return per Cast, by Crit %

Spell Cost On Crit % 5% Crit 10% Crit 15% Crit 20% Crit
Healing Wave      5,940           8,849 149% 442 885 1,327 1,770
Greater Healing Wave    16,140           8,849 55% 442 885 1,327 1,770
Healing Surge    20,580           5,309 26% 265 531 796 1,062
Chain Heal    13,500         10,314 76% 516 1,031 1,547 2,063
Riptide      9,600           5,309 55% 265 531 796 1,062
Unleash Elements      4,920           5,309 108% 265 531 796 1,062
Healing Rain    25,860                    - 0% 0 0 0 0

 

For more information about Resurgence and how it scales based on your healing rotation, please see: Resurgence Scaling and Rotational Regen in MoP.

 

Shaman Talents

As I mentioned above, with the change to the talent system and the ease of respeccing, you can expect to swap your talents around much more frequently in Mists of Pandaria. As a result, and much like Glyphs, instead of simply providing a “suggested” talent build for Resto Shaman, I’m going to try to explain the relevance of each talent option available and identify when and where it might be useful in a raid environment.

Tier 15: Survivability

Nature’s Guardian

The Resto Shaman talent that it seems I am destined to grumble over for the rest of my days, Nature’s Guardian is an automatically-triggered Last Stand(ish) effect that will increase your health by 25% whenever you drop below 30% HP. It’s important to note that the increase in health is only temporary, and after the buff expires, your HP will remain the same while your maximum health will drop back down to its unbuffed level. As such, this effect will garner you “additional” healing while under the effects of Spirit Link (since Spirit Link will attempt to normalize the average HP % of the raid), but the gain would be minor at best.

  •   Suggested for encounters: without heavy-hitting mechanics, where you’d like a no-fuss survival bonus

 

Stone Bulwark Totem

A personal absorb on a 30-second cooldown, Stone Bulwark Totem offers Resto Shaman the opportunity to proactively mitigate incoming damage while they tend to healing other people in raid. (As a point of reference, the absorb for Hard Mode T14 testing was roughly equivalent to a 43k-44k intital absorb with 14-15k every 5 seconds thereafter). While the total contribution of this totem is comparatively small given its duration and absorb value, the fact that it does scale with the Shaman’s stats means that it will not have scaling problems that Stoneclaw had in Cataclysm. Do note that absorbs are not cumulative in nature and last only for the specified interval.

  • Suggested for encounters: with continual damage or times when you know you won’t be able to focus healing on yourself (think: getting onto Nefarian platforms).

 

Astral Shift

A personal damage reduction cooldown on a medium-length timer (not as great as Priests’ Dispersion but better than Hunters’ Deterrence), this talent does exactly what the tooltip says, at zero mana cost.

  • Suggested for encounters: with heavy-hitting attacks, where survival is crucial.

Tier 30: Movement, or Lack Thereof

 

Frozen Power

This talent modifies Frost Shock to be a single-target root (think: Mages’ Frost Nova). Note that Frost Shock does cost 21.1% of base mana, so Resto Shaman are not the ideal source for crowd control using this Talent (because you’ll go OOM much more quickly).

  • Suggested for encounters: that require single-target snares.

 

Earthgrab Totem

Another talent that modifies an existing Shaman ability, this replaces Earthbind totem with the former Elemental Shaman talent of Earthgrab.

  • Suggested for encounters: that require AOE snares.

 

Windwalk Totem

Whereas the other two talents in this tier are focused on limiting the movement of your enemies, Windwalk Totem is a 1-minute cooldown that provides a raid-wide Hand of Freedom, on a 1-minute CD.

  • Suggested for encounters: with movement-impairing effects

Tier 45: Totems

Call of the Elements

Limited in application to those totems that have cooldowns less than 3 minutes (which translates to: no major totems), Call of the Elements still provides on-demand functionality, whether its back-to-back Tremors or 30 full seconds of Healing Stream. Totems that can be reset by Call of the Elements include:

  • Earthbind
  • Stone Bulwark
  • Tremor
  • Grounding
  • Healing Stream
  • Windwalk
  • Suggested for encounters: by default.

 

Totemic Restoration

A talent that enables you to recoup some of the duration of a mis-timed totem, the important thing to note in this description is that the duration of a prematurely recalled totem is reduced “up to a maximum of 50%” of its original duration. This means that the calculation for the reduced cooldown is not simply (% remaining duration x CD) but rather:

  •  Adjusted CD = Original Duration – (% Remaining Duration x Original Duration x 0.5)

So a 36-sec duration totem effect that has a 3-minute cooldown (ie: Glyphed Fire Elemental Totem) that was recalled after 18 seconds would become:

  • Adjusted CD = 180 sec – (0.5 x 180 sec x 0.5) = 135 sec or 2min, 15 sec
  • Suggested for encounters: with infrequent intervals between cooldowns (noting that you will lose throughput on any dps or healing totems that you recall)

 

Totemic Projection

As easy and as simple as the tooltip, this talent allows you relocate a totem, once dropped, to another location (via targeting reticule).

  • Suggested for encounters: where you know you’ll be out of range of a particular effect (eg: you need to give the tank SLT totem while you’re running to a portal).

Tier 60: Throughput, Part 1

Elemental Mastery

A personal bloodlust with a 20-sec duration, Elemental Mastery is a straight throughput increase. Its 2-minute cooldown make it a perfect complement for Ancestral Guidance but, unfortunately make it more difficult to align with Resto Shamans’ 3-minute throughput cooldowns (eg: Ascendance, Healing Tide Totem). In a mana-constrained, triage environment, EM is less useful to Resto Shaman because of the high mana consumption associated with its optimization. The counter-point is that, in cases where burst healing is required, it will enable you to supercharge your healing cooldowns to provide maximum throughput.

  •  Suggested for encounters: with extreme burst damage mechanics.

 

Ancestral Swiftness

Although Ancestral Swiftness provides for 1 instant-cast ability every minute, its real throughput potential comes from the passive 5% haste it provides. As noted in the Haste breakpoint cards (discussed in the Stats – Haste section), by electing to use this talent, Resto Shaman will free up around 2000 points (varying by breakpoint) in secondary stat allocations to use towards Mastery (~10% Deep Healing) or Crit (~3% Crit), both of which provide more significant longevity benefits than haste.

  • Suggested for encounters: where HPM is more important than timing and HPS, and where haste from gear does not cause you to be significantly over a haste threshold.

 

Echo of the Elements

With a static 6% proc chance for Resto Shaman (and a 0.1sec ICD), this talent provides a passive throughput increase. Spells copied via Echo of the Elements will not be differentiated in the combat log, and can be any active-cast by the Resto Shaman. All typical resultant effects (eg: Earthliving, Ancestral Awakening, Telluric Currents, etc.) will apply to the Echo’ed spell. Ultimately, the throughput gains of this talent will depend significantly on: a) your healing rotation, b) the timing of the proc, and c) the level of overhealing present in the raid. In other words, if you happen to be so lucky as to proc another Chain Heal when the entire raid is sub-40%, you’ll have a greater HPS increase from the talent than you would a rotation based strictly on RTxHW when the raid is at high health.

  • Suggested for encounters: where you already meet relevant haste breakpoints from gear alone, and still need to prioritize HPM over HPS.

Tier 75: Healing

Healing Tide Totem

When buffed by Resto Shamans’ Purification, this totem is on par with the direct healing of abilities like Tranquility and Divine Hymn. The totem’s healing is affected by the caster’s Haste, Crit, and Mastery.  However, unlike other spells in the Resto Shaman arsenal, Healing Tide Totem cannot be extended beyond its 10-second duration via haste (technically, the duration is 11 seconds, but healing is calculated based on a base of 5 ticks at 2-second intervals). It’s also worth noting that because Healing Tide is a Water Totem, it can be dropped in conjunction with Spirit Link to provide damage reduction, health normalization and healing, easily one of the most powerful raid cooldown combinations out there.

  • Suggested for encounters: with any raid-wide AOE damage effects.

 

Ancestral Guidance

Although it’s tough to compete with a cooldown as powerful as Healing Tide Totem, Ancestral Guidance tries valiantly to offer Resto Shaman another option on a 2-minute CD. Effectively providing +120% throughput (3 targets x 40% healing) to spells cast during the 10-second duration, Ancestral Guidance can also be paired with a cooldown like Ascendance or Elemental Mastery to increase the total healing gain.

  • Suggested for encounters: with burst damage effects on a limited number of players, where Healing Tide would have high overhealing.

 

Conductivity

The last of the healing throughput options, Conductivity offers a straight +20% throughput increase to your single-target healing spells, making it even more powerful when paired with Unleash Life and/or Unleashed Fury. It’s worth noting that the allocable healing amount (20%) is shared between all allies within the Healing Rain, (versus each ally gaining 20% of the initial heal). Because of its reliance on Healing Rain, which has such a high base value, it’s unlikely that a Resto Shaman will benefit from Conductivity procs on all casts, even in a strictly tank healing environment.

  • Suggested for encounters: without burst damage effects where Healing Rain has high uptime and single target throughput (eg: on a tank) is a priority.

Tier 90: Throughput, Part 2

Unleashed Fury

A strong single-target throughput boost, Unleashed Fury’s 50% buff can be used in combination with or independently of Unleash Life’s +30% healing boost. Since the bonuses are multiplicative, casting UL + a single target heal will result in a 95% output boost. Used independently, Unleash Fury will net you +50% on your subsequent single-target cast (notable if you’re focused on using Healing Rain after every Unleash Life cast). In terms of functionality, it’s very important to note that Unleashed Fury’s buff is applied to the player that Unleash Life is cast on, so in order to receive the benefit of the additional healing bonus, UL and the single-target heal must be cast on the same player.

  • Suggested for encounters: where you’ll be weaving single-target and AOE spells (which is really most encounters) and where HPM is valued more than HPS.

 

Primal Elementalist

A dps option at first glance, this talent becomes powerful for Resto Shaman looking for burst capacity due to the fact that both Primal Fire Elemental and Primal Earth Elemental provide bonus healing while active. (Do note: both Elementals have to maintain a channel on the Shaman to provide the buff, negating any potential damage contributions). Further, by utilizing Glyph of Fire Elemental, Resto Shaman can gain a healing boost of 10% on a 3 minute cooldown (perfectly aligning with the cooldowns of both Healing Tide Totem and Ascendance).

  • Suggested for encounters: where you’ll be casting AOE heals almost exclusively and/or when HPS is valued over HPM.

 

Elemental Blast

The last of the level 90 talents, Elemental Blast is a random +3500 stat boost to a secondary stat. Unfortunately, the stat selection can’t be controlled, it procs every stat evenly (on average), and the base cast time is 2 seconds, somewhat detracting from the usefulness of this talent. However, it’s worth noting that the 8-second buff granted by Elemental Blast equates to 5.8% crit, 17.5% Deep Healing (Mastery), or 8.2% haste, substantial buffs by any consideration and applicable to all spells cast while the Elemental Blast buff is active.

  • Suggested for encounters: where DPS timers are incredibly tight (think: hard mode Ultraxion) and you need to contribute max dps while sustaining throughput.