This is not a strategy post.
It’s not going to tell you any awesome stupendous shortcuts to healing as a Resto Shaman – but it *will* introduce you to the various spells and abilities that you’re going to want to remember and use as you are healing as a Resto Shaman. Consider this Resto Shaman 101.
Resto Shaman 102 and 103 are in the works to cover gear and customizations. Resto Shaman 201 will be when I start raiding again, and I have a massive Totem Overview post in the works as well (since Totems are for more than just Resto Shamans, I’ll be doing that as its own thing).
For those of you who are NOT Resto Shamans – this is for you too. This is for anyone that runs instances with a Resto Shaman, is their healer lead, their raid leader, or their loot-distribution-specialist. This is basic, no frills, standard (healing specific) Resto Shaman infos for your brains.
(And yes, you can expect some “Holy Paladin 101” posts too!)
- Long heal – Healing Wave – 2.5 seconds talented, this is your bomb heal. It’s less mana efficient than Chain Heal, but more mana efficient than Lesser Healing Wave.
- Short heal – Lesser Healing Wave – 1.5 seconds talented, this is your “flash heal”. It’s not very mana efficient, but it’s fast! You can glyph this one so it’s more effective for oshit moments when healing a tank, but it’s still more of a situational heal.
- Group Heal – Chain Heal – 2 seconds talented, this is your “smart heal”. If it hits one target, it’s not very mana efficient, and it hits for somewhere between a Lesser Healing Wave and a Healing Wave. But Chain Heal bounces to targets within 15 yards that need healing (and it’ll pick the target with the lowest health to bounce first!). If Chain Heal hits three targets, it’s the most mana efficient spell we have.
- Instant Heal – Riptide – an instant heal with an accompanying HOT that also buffs your next Chain Heals on that target. This is your “oshit!” heal, your “run away!” heal, and your “don’t stand in fire!” heal. It’s also a nice thing to douse your target with if you are expecting a lot of incoming damage.
- Passive Heal – Earthliving Weapon – talented, has a chance to put a HoT on your healing targets. It’s not huge, but it’s a really nice weapon imbue and also increases your +healing.
- Passive Heal – Earth Shield – throws a giant rock that spins around your target, healing them whenever they get hit. Six charges. Your tank should ALWAYS have Earth Shield (except in situations where you’re taking tons of spell knockback, which is a much lesser problem now than it used to be!).
(Your) Buffs to your Healing:
- Tidal Waves – a buff for small group more than raid healing, this increases your healing and decreases your cast time of Healing Wave and Lesser Healing Wave after you use Chain Heal or Riptide. Tidal Waves is intended to make it easier to switch between Chain Healing to keep a group alive and Main Tank healing – and it does a nice job!
- Tidal Force – Increases your chance to crit with healing spells by 60% (decreasing each time you crit). A nice spike damage modifier, this is a good one to use if you know that the boss is about to use his giant AOE stompy spell and you don’t want the nubhat rogue to keel over.
- Healing Way – Currently after 3 applications of Healing Wave (but in 3.1 will require just one) your mana efficiency of Healing Wave goes up significantly because of this buff. Great for tank healing.
- Flametongue Totem – nom nom nom spellpower. use it!
So that’s your basic breakdown of the tools in your toolbox.
But Anna, you ask, what does all that MEAN?
Well, it means that you have a lot of tools at your disposal, and that rather than being relegated to chain heal spam (like we were in Burning Crusade raids), we have a lot more utility. The addition of Tidal Waves and Riptide gives us some flexibility in our healing – and no, we can’t keep up with a Paladin for long term tank healing. Chain heal/group healing is still our forte, but in a pinch, we can definitely keep a tank alive. We’re capable 5 man healers, excellent additions to any 10 or 25 man group thanks to totem buffs, and we’re hawt too.
There was some discussion over at EJ and PlusHeal about using the Lesser Healing Wave glyph and PILES of crit to be an effective fast-heal tank healer – and this works relatively well in small group situations, and will likely be the way that you’ll find yourself healing in 5 and sometimes 10 man situations.
In a 25 man raid, however, it’s an effective way to get out of a pinch, but riptide plus chain heal is still a more reliable and sustainable method of healing – particularly with the massive raid and tank damage found in raids in Northrend. Chain heal is still incredibly desirable, useful, and efficient in large raids – but the new mechanics make it so that a Resto shaman can absolutely pinch hit as a tank healer with little ill effect.
Unfortunately, farther than breaking down the spells, I can’t tell you “hit button 3, button 4 and then button 2 four times to heal any situation”. One of the advantages of the new abilities that we have is that we’re more flexible healers. Each of us will have slightly different rotations based on our gear, the gear of the tank and group we’re healing, the instance we’re in, and whether or not this is the 14th wipe on this boss. So be flexible, and know your stuff. With Riptide and Tidal Waves, even raid healing has flexibility for more than just chain heal spam!
Remember, getting better at healing is a two step process: first – knowledge and second – practice!
So good luck, and may the Loot Fu (and the Totems!) be with you!
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