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The morning of the all hands summon to the Blasted Lands, Aely went for a walk. The late fall air was clear and cool, and leaves crunched under their feet in the less-traveled parts of the streets. She and Roger took the long way around Old Town, south through Tanner Circle and down Bulwarks, across […]

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Raiding and the Resto Shaman
comment 6 Written by on March 3, 2008 – 4:51 pm

Or How I learned to Stop Worrying (about overheal) and Love my Chain Heal Button

So, this is the first of two posts covering some aspects of raiding and resto shamans. You can read Part Two here.

Blathering the First (for you who play resto shaman):

Know your strengths: You have Four (count’em) things that you bring to a raid that no other healing class does.

  • Multiple Target Healing
  • Heroism/Bloodlust
  • Totems
  • Earthshield

Chain Heal Makes You Awesome

Nobody – and I mean nobody – can group heal like a shaman can. Yes, other classes have group heals, and they’re quite useful, but they’re also mana expensive, time expensive, and at the cost of other healing spells. As a healing shaman, you can expect as much as 90% of your healing to come from chain heal on some fights. Why is this? Because Chain Heal is the single most effective healing spell you have if it bounces (and often, even if it doesn’t).

Don’t believe me? Watch this (given 1800 +heal) :

Chain Heal Rank4:

  • Costs 413 mana
  • Heals for how much?
  1. single target = 2635. efficiency = 6.4 healing per mana
  2. double target = 3952. efficiency = 9.6 healing per mana
  3. triple target = 4610. efficiency = 11.2 healing per mana

Healing Wave Rank 8:

  • Costs 418 mana
  • Heals for 2680. efficiency = 6.4 healing per mana
  • With 3 stack of healing wave: heals for 3163. efficiency = 7.4 healing per mana

What does that mean? Simply put, chain heal rank 4 is ALWAYS better than Healing Wave Rank 8, unless there is *no possible way* that it could bounce to another target, AND you have had time to get a 3 stack of healing way on the target you are healing. If chain heal has even a chance to hit a SECOND target, let alone a third, it outclasses Healing Wave 8. It also outclasses it as a single heal on a target – only going to heal that guy once and move on? Don’t you touch that healing wave button…

Under similar mathematics, Chain Heal Rank 2 ALWAYS (even with 3 stack of healing way!) outclasses Healing Wave Rank 6.

The downside of all of this? Well, sometimes chain heal just doesn’t bounce. Or it bounces to someone with a 12 HP deficit and overheals them for 2K. As a shaman, the little thing in WoW Webstats that measures overheal? It no longer concerns you. Repeat after me:

If I am not going OOM, there is NOTHING wrong with overheal.

Say it again. Don’t you feel better now? Yes, those single target types are all sneering – Hey Anna, look, you have 40% overheal!! <snicker> you must suck! The appropriate response to this is… not publishable in a family style blog. But the short version is that your heals bounce whither and to whom they will. You can’t tell your chainheal not to bounce there or whom to bounce to first. And so, your most mana efficient heal… is also the one with the most potential for overheal. Go figure, right?  Obviously you still have to be smart about it – don’t use rank4 when you only need rank2, don’t mindlessly spam unless it’s a boss that requires it, but (especially when raid healing) don’t be so concerned with those overhealing numbers.  None of the healing meters are really any good at measuring healing effectively anyway (but that’s another post entirely as well).

(now this little bit is kind of controversial, but… if you’re healing someone, and someone else heals them first, and you’ve got the mana… don’t cancel the heal. If there’s chance the chainheal will bounce to others, you’ve not wasted the mana!)

Of course, all this means that you have to not run out of mana… MP/5 is your friend. Get an enchanter friend to make you some Mana Oil, eat some Blackened Sporefish, and keep around flasks of Mighty Restoration. ( Major Mageblood also works, if you want to combine it with a +heal flask, in raids where you’re not apt to die a lot) Oh. And you should ALWAYS have water shield up. It’s free mana. <3 You also might look into the Spellsurge enchant, especially if other members of your healing team are using it – the more people in a group that have spellsurge, the better it is.  (81 healing is never a bad option though, so don’t go running off and redoing all your enchants)

A note about Lesser Healing Wave. You’ll notice that I’ve hardly mentioned it at all. That’s because the only time you should ever use LHW is if the person you are healing is going to die before you get off a chain heal. THE ONLY REASON!! At rank 7, Lesser Healing Wave still only has 5.0 healing per mana spent. That means that if you can spare the extra second to get a chain heal off… you should. I only have rank 7 of LHW on my bars, and it’s off to one side. That’s how rarely I use it in raiding. (PVP is another story, and another post)

Other Stuff That Makes You Awesome

Buffs. You are a walking buff for everyone in your group. There are several ways that your totems of awesome can be used to benefit a raid group. You can even add some extra dodge/avoidance to a tank in a particularly hairy situation.

Shadowpriests will love you, since you increase their mana regen (and as a Draenei shaman, their spellhit, allowing them higher DPS gear if they know you’ll be around), and they will, in turn, be more useful to the other casters. Shadow priest and Resto Shaman is a “you scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours” situation – everyone leaves happy.

Windfury Totem and Heroism/Bloodlust provide any melee group with what essentially can become DPS-crack. They’ll get addicted to having you there, every week, looking for you – asking about their winfury. Why? Because for a fury warrior or a ret paladin you, through your totems, can mean an extra 150+ DPS for them. Windfury is not to be trifled with. Would an enhancement shaman be even MORE DPS? Yes. But you don’t always get to choose what flavor of shaman you get, and even a resto shaman is a significant boost.

Mages/Moonkin. If you can stack a group with a shadow priest, a boomkin, a resto shaman, and two mages, the general DPS of the four casters will go up significantly, your mages will have more mana, and the synergy will be tasty. Like cake. Or pie. Of course, again, an elemental shammy would be better here (for Totem of Wrath), but even as resto you can do a lot towards making this group a nuke happy aggro fest. Just, you know, be prepared to ankh when the mages suddenly do more damage for longer than they’re used to on fights that are aggro triggers.

And of course, Earthshield – it’s like those silly rotisserie commercials on TV. Just set it and forget it! (well, don’t forget it entirely). What other heal can do 200K healing over the course of a night without you ever having to do anything but pop back to the tank every few minutes to make sure there’s still a few ticks left?

The #1 Thing That Makes You Awesome?

Situational awareness.

Know the fight. Know whether or not that thing over there spits poison, causes diseases, or will do massive amounts of frost damage or fire damage or nature damage to your hapless group. Realize that sometimes you’ll be dropping totems that are NOT conducive to helping your healing – and that you can/will still be a kickass healer.

For example: In the Karathress fight, someone has to tank a shaman. Of course, being a shaman, the shaman add has all the shaman tricks. Windfury and FrostShock being the two that hurt the most. So what do you, the shaman who finds him/herself in that particular tank group for part of the fight? Well, you’re not dropping windfury, that’s for sure.

  • Stoneskin Totem – it’s not much, but it helps
  • Frost Resistance Totem – Frostshock doesn’t hurt so bad if it gets resisted
  • Healing Stream Totem – again, not a lot, but helps
  • Grounding Totem – to eat the Frostshocks altogether

That combo, plus earthshield on the shaman-add tank, and you’ll find that your tank is all of a sudden not having so much trouble. Of course, you’re still multi-target/raid healing, hitting the tank with the chain heals as well as the melee and anyone that gets hit with either spitfire or Karathress Shadow Blast.

Situational awareness is the difference between a well placed chain heal that hits three people and saves a melee group and a poorly placed, over ranked heal that doesn’t bounce at all. Know your group – look up from the little green bars every now and again, and learn the fights. Your raid will thank you, and they’ll wonder how they managed without a resto shaman for all that time.

Raid Leaders – I’ll have a post directed at you later. >.>

Credit goes to all the Shamans over at Elitist Jerks, particularly those that posted in the Shaman Healing Thread.

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6 Responses to “Raiding and the Resto Shaman”

  1. *****Say it again. Don’t you feel better now? Yes, those single target types are all sneering – Hey Anna, look, you have 40% overheal!! you must suck! The appropriate response to this is… not publishable in a family style blog. But the short version is that your heals bounce whither and to whom they will. You can’t tell your chainheal not to bounce there or whom to bounce to first. And so, your most mana efficient heal… is also the one with the most potential for overheal. Go figure, right?************

    Actually this isn’t true. Take a look at the stats taken by those on elitist jerks and you will notice that the OH on chain healing is thus:

    1st Heal/hit (YOU CONTROLL THIS HIT): over 50% overheal on average

    2nd & 3rd Heals/hits( you don’t control these but as they are instant this and POM are usually one of the first heals off so the OH chances are much smaller): on average 20% overheal

    So where you can’t control the lower 2nd and 3rd heals/hits you will OH there for less anyways. however the first heal/hit .. you chose that and you can always mitigate your overhealing (now this is situational – sometimes you knowingly OH… prince in kara, ROS in Black temple) by down ranking, stop casting and using mods like visual heal which will show you your cast time, others as well as incoming heals and how much yours will go over.

    So I agree… if you aren’t running out of mana Overhealing doesn’t matter much. However, if you are spamming chainheal… yes you will top the charts for most healed and for most OH. This isn’t skill it is button mashing.

    By Kestrah on May 2, 2008 | Reply
  2. “So I agree… if you aren’t running out of mana Overhealing doesn’t matter much. However, if you are spamming chainheal… yes you will top the charts for most healed and for most OH. This isn’t skill it is button mashing.”

    Absolutely true :) But when you’re doing major raid healing on a fight like Void Reaver or ElfTrash or healing through a sporequake, you will be spamming chain heal, because there will be a lot of people taking damage.

    The point I was trying to get across was not that you should randomly chain heal all the time regardless of people taking damage, but that, if you’re working on raid heal, your OH percentage will probably be higher than other classes because if you don’t get a chain heal off as fast as a flash of light – you still heal two other people.

    By Anna on May 2, 2008 | Reply
  3. Addendum…

    One very important thing you’ve forgotten about in your guide is the possible raid saving device that Shaman’s have in their arsenal… Nature’s Swiftness.

    A well placed and well aimed Nature’s Swiftness (NS) could be the difference between downing a boss and wiping the raid.

    If you think about what NS actually is and how it benefits you in terms of HPS it’s a massive boost to your healing power. No other Healing class can throw out an instant heal at maximum power…

    Example.

    My RS, Akaora has 1900 bonus healing when fully raid buffed (at time of writing), I can healcrit for 9k with a crit chance of 18%, with Natures swiftness I have taken a 20k health tank from 10% health to FULL in 3 seconds. No other class has that kind of healing power.

    When to use you Nature’s Swiftness.
    ~~~~ ~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~

    The opportune time to use NS is quite basically when large piles of excrement hit a severely over sized fan. It’s also very handy in places like Gruul beyond the 10th – 13th growth when it’s at the ZOMGWTFBBQHEALZPLOX stage. Practice with the simpler raids like Kara and 5 man Heroics to pre-empt when you will need to use it. Save it only for these times and don’t think because it’s off cooldown that it should be instantly used.

    When NOT to use Nature’s Swiftness.
    ~~~~ ~~~ ~~ ~~~ ~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~

    Nature’s Swiftness can be a hugely overused resource and can lead to very poor and wasted healing in the wrong (read unpracticed) hands.

    If you have trouble curbing your NS Trigger happy finger then macro it and call the macro “Raid Saver” or “Big Red Button” something like that.

    Don’t get into the habit of using it every 3 mins (or every 2 mins 36 seconds in T4 Gear) because inevitably it will be on CD whenyou really do need it. Save it, use it wisely and you’ll learn just how powerful it is.

    You should NEVER use NS as one of your first 3 heals when a tank starts a fight. It is vital that the tank can establish the agro, if you NS too soon it will cause VAST amounts of threat and strip the agro from the tank and big bad boss monster will very very quickly find a nice new target called YOU.

    One of the best places I’ve found to use it is when a DPS strips agro from the tank for a second, Chain Heal the DPS then instant Chain Heal the tank (or the other way round), you’ve maximised healing on both members without breaking rythym and you’re not standing there hoping that one of your CH tails hit the DPSer on half health.

    It’s also very handy in places that deal out mass damage like the first boss in Shattered Halls Heroic at 25%. He spins round with a whirlwind attack dealing nasty melee damage whilst throwing out loads of missiles hitting for about 1100 each. Chainheal -> Nature’s Swiftness -> Chain Heal is a very good combination in this scenario. Also in this scenario forget the tank, he’s just a DPSer now and a lesser one at that. your heal focus should switch to the highest ranged DPS, keep them up at all costs, use Healthstone/Heal pots on yourself instead of healing yourself.

  4. I happened accross a very interesting conversation between some Holy Paladins outside the Orgrimmaar Bank the other day discussing the benefits, differences and possibilities between various healing methods. I’m not really too sure if it works the same with Restoration Shaman’s but there were 4 main schools of thinking…

    1) Pure Healing Bonus Power.

    At all costs (even detrimental to other areas of your character) you should have your +Heal bonus as high as possible. All your Gems should be Teardrop Crimson Spinels regardless of colour or socket bonus and if cloth armour gives you more healing power than your plate then wear that instead, even rolling off in raids against holy priests.

    Concept: The bigger the number the less spells you have to cast.
    Benefit: MASSIVE healing power.
    Cons: One Trick Pony, permanent group healer.

    2) Spell Haste Rating.

    Do everything possible to maximise your Spell Haste Rating.

    Concept: The faster you can cast the less you have to cast, taking benefit of the 5 second rule.
    Benefits: Very fast healing.
    Cons: Lower than average healing power and you OOM very fast.

    3) Spell Critical Chance.

    Do everything possible to maximise your Spell Critical Chance.

    Concept: The more I Healcrit the less I have to heal.
    Benefits: Can cause some MASSIVE heals.
    Cons: Largely dependent on random chance, causes massive threat.

    4) Mana Battery (Mana Per 5 Seconds)

    Do everything possible to maximise your Mana Regeneration during combat.

    Concept: Perpetual Motion, everlasting healing machine.
    Benefits: Very very mana efficient.
    Cons: MP5 maximised at detriment to other stats such as +heal and armour. Causes MASSIVE overheal.

    It was a really interesting conversation to join in with, very insightful.

  5. these are not tips..these are question that im sure any new healing shammy wants to know..i was enh untill lvl 70 then took up resto..still learning it.
    1.Spirit..it gives u Mp5 and other mana effective things but isnt on alot of shaman gear..so is this needed and if so How much is needed..
    2. MP5 is a shammys best friend i have found w/o it we are doomed to fail as a healer….where can i pick up some extra mana at..i use my mana tots,mana shield..My gear needs some more mp5 i know this..but is there anything i as a shaman can help with my own mana as in talent points ect?
    3.recently in 10 man VOA we had a druid healer a pally healer and me..i was on OT ..OT was on adds..i started with riptide gift of naru while he was getting adds together..i was still running after him to get with in reach to heal him..he was about half life and i hit my rip again then HW>HW>CH>HW>RT and rinse and repeat.. i was yelled at for not using my LHW and using my CH on a tank..im used to healing raids not tanks..how could this situation become a better one while healing a Tank and not group??
    4.i use healbot,buff drop,dbm,and some shammy addons as well..what other addons can help me heal in pvp/pve ect.
    i think that is all 4 now.

    By shamanhealer24 on Jun 21, 2009 | Reply

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