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Resto shaman Guide
12-12-2012, 07:00 PM
Post: #1
Resto shaman Guide
This thread will serve as a combined resource for Restoration Shamans in the Mists of Pandaria expansion. Any contribution towards keeping this thread as accurate as possible by means of intelligent conversation between members is encouraged and will be greatly appreciated. Before posting please read the forums rules and for any questions or input that doesn't help maintain and raise this guide's quality please use the Simple Questions/Answers thread in the stickies instead. Alternatively for any inquiry and specifically for any typos or errors you may find in this guide

Single Target Spells

Healing Wave : This is our slow burn spell and should be cast if being conservative with mana is called for. Its HPS is weak, but its HPM is one of the strongest ones ( save for our HST, HTT and Healing rain when it covers more than 4 targets) since it returns a whopping 148% of its mana cost through resurgence if it crits. The Glyph of Healing Wave described in the glyph section will increase wave's potency, and take some pressure off healing yourself by duplicating 20% of the healing done and layering it on yourself. This can be especially useful in heroic 5 mans, and in some raid settings. As your mana regen increases, you'll gradually use Healing Wave less and less, swapping in surge and greater healing wave, as the situation warrants.

Greater Healing Wave: Healing wave's bigger cousin, It packs quite a punch, especially if your target is low enough to get a good benefit off our mastery. While its huge cast time is initially quite daunting, the way it benefits from tidal waves, makes this spell quite versatile. This comes at a cost since it is three times as expensive as wave, and can drain your mana quickly if you cast it too much. Its HPS is inferior to Healing Surge, but its HPM is superior even when factoring in tidal waves\resurgence effects on Healing Surge.

Healing Surge : This is our expensive quick heal. Use this when tidal waves are up, and you need to push heavy direct healing. With tidal waves up, this spell gains an additional 30% chance to crit, giving us a higher mean chance to save mana through resurgence and get boosted throughput. With tidal waves buffing both Greater Healing Wave and Healing Surge, Surge is stronger and more costly and with tidal waves buffing neither, surge retains HPS superiority. The mana cost of this spell, and the speed in which you can throw it around, means you can drain yourself quickly. By far our best tool if mana is not an issue.

Riptide: Riptide is an important spell in our toolset, not only for its passive effects, but also because it is our only instant spell and our only player targetable HoT. This spell synergizes with chain heal, procs tidal waves, and gives you a slow massage healing effect that is very useful in constant damage situations. Since it is quite a slow ticking, long duration hot, getting maximum healing and minimum overhealing can be quite tricky. Unglyphed, this spell comes with a 6 second cooldown, which should be cast whenever up to maximize tidal waves and address low intensity damage. When glyphed, this spell becomes a powerful tool for raid spread healing and increased mobility since it loses its cooldown.The trade off is losing 90% of the initial heal effect plus possibly losing mana efficiency due to overwriting tidal waves, and overhealing. Proper use of this spell is an important aspect in shaman healing.


[top] AoE Spells

Chain Heal: Chain heal is a smart AoE heal that jumps to any character up to four times, as long as they are 12 yards or less apart and at less than 100% health. Chain Heal can serve as a filler spell for AoE damage after casting healing rain. It prioritizes targets by absolute health values, not percentages, making mastery a good stat for optimization of this spell. As of 5.01 note that targeting a player with the Riptide hot active, will effectively buff all resulting jumps of chain heal by 25%. While getting all four jumps is advisable, the fourth jump's heal value is so diminished that its fairly negligible HPS. It is a good general rule to only cast this spell if you stand a fair chance at getting the third jump out of it, since its weaker than direct heals if it jumps less. Along with riptide it will proc tidal waves on cast. The Glyph of Chaining will increase the jump distance by 100% for 4sec CD trade-off and will be discussed further in the glyph section.

Healing Rain: This is our strongest AoE healing spell, and the strongest HPS spell we have, not counting talent dependant spells and cooldowns. It is a ground targetable AoE hot effect with a 10 second cooldown that heals everyone standing in it, but has a quite high cost, and takes skill and a fairly dense clump of players to be effective. As such, it is by far easier to get the max effect of this spell in a 25 man raid, but it is definitively useful in a 10 man raid, kept either on the melee\tank pile, or on any predetermined stack points to heal through AoE damage. The spell has an effective target cap of 6 people, meaning that it will tick for max potential if 6 or less players are standing in the rain. Add players, and the ticks potency will adjust accordingly. The shaman 75 talent Conductivity is discussed in the talent portion.


[top] Abilities

Unleash Elements: For Resto, you'll be using the Earthliving Weapon enchant. When cast Unleash Life on a target, you'll directly heal them for a small amount and gain a buff that increases the healing done by your next spell by 30%. Usually the wasted global cooldown is not worth the trouble later in patches but it serves as a very good mana conservation method at the beginning of the expansion when mana is an issue. It has a niche while moving or when anticipating massive single target damage. Unleash will buff both Healing Rain and Chain Heal by 30% even as stated otherwise in the tooltip.
The 90 talent, Unleashed Fury, buffs unleash life with an additional 50% effect. However contrary to the original unleash, the 50% buff will attach to the target not the shaman, so the only way to benefit, is to hit that target with a direct spell. An Unleashed Fury buffed Riptide on the tank can be a good way to get full benefit from this talent.

Water Shield : Shamans got a quality of life upgrade in regards of the new Water shield which now has a 60min duration and no longer sports charges. Its mechanics however remain the same, meaning that every direct melee or spell attack will activate it granting you an on hit mana bonus on top of the passive mana bonus the shield constantly provides. It is imperative that you maintain a 100% uptime for water shield. The Glyph of Water Shield will trade off 15% of its passive regen for 50% increase on the on hit component. Check Glyph section and Mechanics for more information on its utility.

Earth Shield: Earth shield is a core mechanic of shaman tank healing. It is a direct buff that can be placed on one target at a time, and comes with 9 charges. Every time that target is hit by a direct damaging effect, earth shield will expend a charge and heal the target for a small amount, helping to alleviate the pressure on tanks. An additional and important effect, having earth shield on the target will buff the shaman's direct heals on that target by 20%. It is strongly recommended to keep uptime of this buff on the tank as close to 100% as possible.

Purify Spirit:This spell removes all curse and magic effects from the target but has a new cooldown of 8 seconds. Worth noting, this cooldown will not trigger unless an effect is actually dispelled. Additionally, the talent which reduced the cost of our dispell has gone pining for the fjords with the talent revamp. With the glyph of cleansing waters, you also heal your target for 4% of your maximum health.


[top] Procs

Ancestral Awakening: Ancestral awakening is an instant heal that will proc from our passive Ancestral Awakening ability. Each time you crit with Healing Wave, Healing Surge, Greater Healing Wave, Ripitide, or Unleash Life, you instantly heal the raid member with the lowest percentage of health within 40 yards for 30% of the amount healed, calculated after the crit and mastery, including any overhealing.

Ancestral Vigor: Often underestimated, this proc comes from any healing spell you cast, direct, HoT or AoE. Heals you cast increase allies total health by 10% of the amount healed, up to a max of 10% of their health, effectively giving them a temporary hit point buffer. It has a 15 second duration that can be refreshed by almost all our healing spells.

Tidal Waves: Tidal waves is a proc effect triggered by casting Chain Heal and Riptide. While you have tidal waves up, Healing Surge gains 30% increased crit chance, increasing its mana efficiency through resurgence and its total healing potency. Healing Wave and Greater Healing Wave's cast times are reduced by 30%. This means that good management of tidal waves results in both increased hps, and increased mana efficiency. Being able to cast your slower mana efficient heal faster, for example, is a good way to stay mana efficient while still retaining fairly decent throughput.

Earthliving: The earthliving effect is a passive granted to us by the resto specific weapon enchant. It gives each heal a chance to trigger a hot with a 12 second duration, that will heal for a moderate amount. Single target heals on targets below 35% of maximum health will always trigger earthliving.
The chance of the earthliving effect proccing depends on the spell used. For all direct heals, including riptide, the chance for it to proc is 20%. However, for chain heal the chance to proc is 10% per jump and 50% per jump if the target is below 35% max health, and for healing rain, 6% per tick, and 30% per tick if below 35% max health.
Note : The MoP expansion greatly buffed Earthlivings proc chances.

Cooldowns

Ascendance: On a 3 minute cooldown and a low duration of 15 seconds, our new level 87 ability works with every healing spell we have in our arsenal, making it a solid throughput ability. When triggered, it duplicates the healing done by the shaman, and spreads it evenly amongst raid members. The duplicated healing is spread outwards from the shaman, making the shaman's positioning fairly important, but testing has shown that its radius is quite big regardless. This ability synergizes well with our other cooldown dependent talents and abilities, but can result in a lot of overhealing. Ascendance will also buff any heals that were pre casted before hand such as Healing Rain and Riptide.
Ancestral guidance, while on a 2 minute cooldown, will benefit from Ascendance as will Conductivity. If using either of these talents in lieu of Healing Tide Totem, you should line up ancestral guidance and ascendance every second time guidance is up, and try to maximize healing rain uptime while Ascending. This will maximize healing vs mana spent.

Spirtwalkers Grace: A band aid to our main healing weakness, mobility, this cooldown allows us keep casting while moving. It is off the gcd, so it can be cast while casting other spells. It is on a 2 minute cooldown, with a base duration of 15 seconds, that can be glyphed to increase to 20 seconds.

Healing Stream Totem: Whether or not this is a cooldown in the traditional sense can be debated. I like to consider it a heavy hitting jumping smart hot. When dropped, it will automatically heal the lowest health raid member, and jump from target to target accordingly. Its cooldown is 30 seconds, and it lasts for 15 seconds. This spell is quite mana intensive to keep on cooldown, though you can trust it to not overheal. Plop this down in raid damage phases or parts of the fight where the tank is taking minor repeated damage. Its HPM is significantly higher than all our spells except Healing Rain (when above 5 targets) and Healing Tide Totem.
HST is affected by all temporary intellect or spellpower increases but only as long as the effect lasts. After their expiration it will not be affected anymore.

Spirit Link Totem: Back from Cata, Spirit Link Totem now has a 6 second duration instead of 8.4sec ( counting the old Totemic Focus Talent), is still on a 3 minute cooldown, has a 10 yards radius, and is functionally the same. It ties together everyone standing in its health pools, and evens them out every tick while also giving you a 10% damage taken reduction. This ensures minimal overhealing, can save tanks from spikes, and is great as a compliment to many of our talents and cooldowns, including Ascendance and Ancestral guidance.

Mana Tide Totem: Mana tide totem gives all raid members within 40 yards 200% spirit for 16 seconds. This is an integral part of shaman mana regen, and a hefty nice bonus for any other healer who is lucky enough to have one on the healing team. With MoP, and the advent of spirit mana regen detailed under stats in this thread, this is now the only remaining scaling mana regen ability in the game. Functionally, it will not duplicate any on use or on proc temporary spirit gains. The only exception to this rule are trinkets that function on the same premise as the Heart of Unliving trinket from dragon soul, where you gain a stacking spirit buff. Other trinkets functioning on the same premise include Jar of Ancient remedies from tier 11, and Darkmoon Card: Tsunami.


[top] Passive Abilities

Meditation: Meditation is a passive ability all healers get. It allows 50% of the mana regen from spirit to function while in combat.

Purification: Purification increases healing effectiveness by 25%, and the healing done by water totems by 50%. This is mostly in place as a mechanic to ensure elemental and enhancement shamans healing spells and totems are much weaker than restoration shaman versions.
It also gives us Ancestral Vigor, detailed elsewhere in this section.

Spiritual Insight: This passive, given to us upon choosing restoration specialization, increases our mana pool by 400% and increases our chance to hit with lightning bolt, lava burst, hex,flame shock and Elemental Blast by 15%. In reality, this is here to give us a separate mana pool from other shaman specializations, to help blizzard balance healing spell costs and limit the healing those specializations can do. The hit bonus is there to allow us to have 100% hit chance vs raid targets so that we can weave in some dps if we're in a low intensity healing phase without stacking hit, and so that we can reap the miniscule benefit from Glyph of Telluric Currents.

Resurgence: Resurgence used to be a talent in our restoration talent tree, but has now been reworked into one of our main mana conservation mechanics for mists of pandaria. The way this functions is, you gain a spell dependent amount of mana back, if that spell crits on its initial hit. The only active cast spells and abilities that do not proc resurgence is healing rain and healing totems. Further discussion of the usefulness of this ability will be put under the crit section of stats.




I am not going to provide with a stat ratings table as their values are completely arbitrary and you will be fooling yourselves if you are gearing up following any strict stat rating table provided anywhere. If you want to follow a simple formula and you feel you must then the following makes for a good reference:

Intellect [= Spellpower] > Spirit >Haste (Until 871 for the start of the tier, jump to 3764 for when the gear allows you too )> Mastery rating (~50%) > Crit

Further analysis is provided below , do read on.


[top] Intellect

Intellect is our primary stat. It increases spellpower at a 1:1 ratio.It converts weakly into crit and it is subsequent to the following calculation for lvl 90 : 2533.66Int = 1%crit
You should always strive to get as much as possible through gear, gems and enchants with very few exceptions. Gear is your primary source for intellect. Note that wearing all mail armor grants you with a 5% bonus Intellect so wearing anything but is not a viable option.

As of 5.0.1 intellect it is no longer part of the regen formula and will not boost the value of spirit.
Normalizing mana across the board at 300k at lvl 90 means that intellect doesn't provide with any active or passive boost on your mana regen thus making spirit more valuable.
Intellect will interact with our resurgence mildly due to its conversion to crit. Shamans therefore will also stand to gain a bit of mana back from our primary stat. Check Crit section for further information about Resurgence.


[top] Spirit

Spirit (aside from Water Shield procs and Resurgence ) is our main source of mana regeneration. With the fixed mana pools of MoP, stacking intellect has no effect on our mana regeneration, so spirit is what you will look towards increasing the amount of mana you are getting back. One of the interesting features of MoP will be to figure out what levels of spirit is right for you and your raid composition. Take note that depending on the strength of your dps, length of fights, and your own skill as a healer and specific raid encounter mechanics, you will need more or less of this stat. It is worth noting that every point of spirit is a point lost in a throughput stat buffing your spells, be it crit, mastery or haste. It is also possible to trade intellect for spirit, through gemming ,some enchants and through potions, flasks and buff food.
Spirit converts to MP5 as follows: 100 Spirit = 55.68MP5 with 50% Meditation.


[top] Haste

There is a known bug affecting the behavior of HTT and HST regarding haste. It appears that HTT and HST will gain or lose a tick near their haste breakpoints due to latency issues and might randomly award another tick at arbitrary haste levels. The second part has led the resto community to believe that the haste breakpoints are wrong which is not the case. For all intent and purposes the Haste section and its theorycrafting will reflect the intended behavior of both of these abilities.

Personal observations (special thanks to Mimu for his valuable help) have proved the following. For more detailed information and the observed results refer to the discussion at #69. In short :

1. HST and HTT breakpoints are correct however if you have above 50 world latency chances are that you are going to lose a tick if you are very close to your haste breakpoint more often than not.
2. HTT breakpoints in practice will, to some extent, follow Healing Rains breakpoints. Note that both totems will not follow spell haste breakpoint calculation methods due to their fixed duration so there is no need for time adjustment in the formula (special thanks to Binkestein for his help on that). This means that even though HTT appears to almost coincide with HR breakpoints, by no means their formulas are the same.

[b]As a final note. With the latency issues all of HTT and HST breakpoints are fluid and very unreliable. Just because you hit a haste breakpoint you are not guaranteed an extra tick. It is not therefore recommended to aim for these soft haste caps. For more information on how to reforge do read on. For in-depth explanation refer to #71.


How to reforge Haste

Since HST and HTT extra ticks are for the most part dependent on your latency their first breakpoint of 3764(3306 for goblins) is greatly devalued. Aim for as low as 871 (441 for goblins) as you can. For this exact reason Ancestral Swiftness talent is also greatly devalued. Given the fact that Echo of the Elements doesn't synergize well with most spells Elemental Mastery talent becomes the strongest contender. As gear ilevels increase haste will become exponentially harder to control. Depending on your percentage of RT usage ,when 5676 (5199 for goblins) becomes easy to attain, you might want to reforge to it although it is not recommended since that one extra tick of the HoT portion will not make up for the loss of the throughput the other secondary stats would bring. At 7613 (7116 for goblins) HR gets an extra tick. In a situation where you're stuck at a high level of haste, it can be beneficial to go for that haste breakpoint, however, the throughput gained would generally not make up for the lost secondaries in other stats, specifically crit and mastery. Refer to Secondary Stats Priority and Reforging section of this guide for further information on Mastery vs Crit. As a rule of thumb, consider reforging to haste only when you are very close to the haste breakpoint and you cannot reforge out of it.



Haste is one of our secondary stats. To get 1% haste you need 425 haste rating. Haste provides with a lot of throughput that is attached to a sizable mana cost. It directly decreases our reaction time since it effectively lowers all our direct spells casting time , reduces global cooldowns and has the additional benefit of adding extra ticks at certain breakpoints to the hot portions of Riptide, Healing Rain,Healing Tide Totem and all Earthliving procs. These breakpoints are affected by the tier 60 Talent Ancestral Swiftness (+5%haste), being a goblin (+1%haste) and having the passive raid buff, for example Elemental Oath (+5%haste) brought by an Elemental Shaman, Balance druid or Shadow priest.

Crit

Crit affects most heals you have in one or more ways, and comes with a substantial mana back component via Resurgence. It will proc Ancestral Awakening making its throughput 30% stronger. At lvl 90 we need 600 Crit rating for 1% crit and it will heal for 200% of the original spell.
For shamans Crit is considered a hybrid stat since it combines throughput with a mana back factor. Its realistic problem is that it is unreliable and due to its RNG nature completely out of your control. While with 20% Crit you can guarantee that 1 out of 5 spells will Crit you can never know which one and how much percentage of that healing will end up on your overhealing meters.

That said, regarding its throughput using average numbers Crit will be better than any other stat for targets above 46.7% regarding single target heals and for targets above 66.7% for AoE heals. (method at R41#4 with updated math for lvl 90)

Regarding its mana back component , its regeneration point by point is weaker than that of pure spirit given that 100 spirit gives us 55.68mp5. 100 Spirit is superior to 100 Crit rating for most of our spells although GHW and HW seem to come very close. All results on the following table are calculated using 0% haste.

Crit has gotten more value in MoP, due to the fact that the amount of mana back we gain from resurgence was buffed. I would recommend not to overlook this stat as its gains are far superior to what we were used to.

Mastery

Mastery is a throughput stat that grows stronger the lower the health of your healing targets is. It affects almost all heals but for more information on that refer to the Procs table. If your target is at 1 HP you will get the full benefit out of your mastery, and at 30% you will get 70% out of your mastery. Healing someone at 90% health will get you only 10% out of your mastery.

At lvl90 it works as following 600 Mastery = 1 point of Mastery = 3% of the effect of mastery (for detailed information refer to #10 , with my thanks to Bink )
% Healing Increase = (-1 x Max Deep Healing % x HP of target) + (Max Deep Healing %)

Our base Mastery percentage with 0 Mastery rating in our gear for MoP is 39%. The reason behind this is that every lvl90 Resto Shaman has a base mastery of 24% and for MoP we get another 15% ( 3000mastery rating through our passive Grace of Air raid buff) added to that, bringing us to a total of 39% of Mastery.

How does this translate regarding spells?

When target is < 100% hp: Mastery is better than haste for HR, Riptide, UE
When target is < 66.7% hp: Mastery is better than crit for HR and CH
When target is < 46.7% hp: Mastery is better than crit for single target heals

Secondary Stats Priority and Reforging

Every stat has its strengths and weaknesses. In terms of raw throughput haste is superior to both mastery and crit on average. Mastery is the strongest stat by far when everyone is low, which is arguably the most useful stat for progression. Haste burns your mana faster, crit returns mana, mastery is neutral. However there is always a delicate balance between them and as always at certain breakpoints one stat will be more preferable than the other.

Given the incredible amount of Mastery that we start with and the low first soft haste cap we encounter, navigation through different secondary stats will be easier. As always preference and different game styles will play a big role in what you choose however depending on your progression , the fight and your role in the raid, stat priority might change.

The table below illustrates how 100points of every stat will compare to each other regarding their relative increase in healing throughput. For the calculations mastery is set at 50%.
•Be mindful of the amount of spirit you need to sustain you through the fights. There is no point in buffing up your healing throughput if you are to run out of mana. Most progression fights will assume a soft enrage based on healers mana and efficiency so get as much as you need without overdoing it. When you end up with more than 10%mana on any fight then you have too much spirit.
•Along with getting at comfortable levels with your spirit note that you will need to reach a minimum amount of haste before you start reforging to either mastery or crit. 871 ( 416 for goblins) [ 3764 (3327 for goblins) when the gear allows you to) is enough for you to get to the first breakpoint for every HoT. Do not neglect this. (Note also that for 13.35% haste 0.207% increased healing would only be realistic if the entirety of our healing came from 100% direct heals. )
•As soon as you are safe with your spirit and haste levels its time to look at your mastery. At lvl 90 we start with 39% fixed mastery so its easier than ever to bump that number at 45%-50%. Aim for those levels before you start reforging what is left to crit (although you will soon discover that you will reach them by default through gear upgrades and you will reach a point where you can't possibly reforge down from there).
•After you have balanced your mastery feel free to invest in crit. The reason for this is that mastery loses its value after this point, and any further stat points would be arguably better spent in crit, due to resurgence and AA. Remember that crit is a strong opponent now in MoP, the fact that I have listed it last is not because it's devalued but because there are specific soft caps for haste and mastery.

While the above guidelines are generally designed for a balanced throughput and mana efficiency remember that you will be the one deciding on how to proceed. You should run some raids, check your performance using your logs and then revisit your spell composition. Be mindful of the health levels of your raid and act accordingly. If your raid is below ~40% for most of the fight you should invest points in mastery. If you find that your raid is topped very quickly after incoming damage, your mastery is better spent in crit. If you struggle with people dying before your heals land, maybe you need more haste even at the expense of not abiding with haste breakpoints. As a rule of thumb, never stop evaluating yourself , combat log is your best friend in game.

Mana Sources

As every other healer ,the shaman gets mana back primarily from Spirit. However we are unique in having various other methods of either passive or active regeneration which include getting mana back when our spells crit through Resurgence , our Water shield, our raid cooldown Mana Tide Totem and through the glyph of Telluric Currents.


[top] Resurgence

For a deeper comprehension of the behavior of our spells, we will use the table below as a reference whenever we need to compare our mana intake and mana output.
The table below includes mp5 costs of our various spells under zero Haste Rating. GHW ,HW and HS are always cast with Tidal Waves buff and the numbers shown in parenthesis are the averaged sum of the actual mana cost after subtracting resurgence effects on 20% crit.
Resurgence is in fact a mana conservation method rather than a mana mp5 increase but for this thread purposes we will refer to it as mana regen so we can easily compare it with everything else.


In general, we need to multiply by [1+HastePercentage] to find the actual costs given your haste percentage.At a haste rate of say 20%, these numbers need to be increased by 20%. As a conclusion haste will of course increase our healing throughput but will also decrease our time to run out of mana.
It is important to note that resurgence scales well with every other stat save spirit, and will likely be considerable source of mana back as we gain more intellect, crit and haste.


[top] Water Shield

Water Shield gives you a passive 2138 Mp5, but every time a hit will trigger it you will also gain 2928 mana. If triggered every time on ICD, it would give you an average of 4880 mp5. This is unrealistically high, however. Water shield comes with a glyph that reduces its passive mana regen by 15% reducing it to 1817 mp5. On the same note it will increase its on hit regen by 50% making it 4392 per hit amounting to 7320 mp5.
In any fight where water shield reliably triggers more than 2.63 times every 1 minute, this glyph will give you a significant boost in mana regen.

After extensive testing (findings can be found in the discussion at #85), it is proven that the Glyph of Water Shield is almost obsolete, as in most of the fights it will act as a disadvantage draining you of the mana the non glyphed version would have landed you with. Even for the few cases where the glyphed version seems superior, the other options for glyphs that we can choose from (Glyph of Totemic recall being the most prominent ) surpass its MP5 gain with ease.

For those that are still wondering which bosses can benefit from the glyph below you will find a detailed table with recommendations regarding the application of Water Shield glyph. Take these with a grain of salt and always check your own Water Shield relative mana gains from your combat log or alternatively from uploading your own parses in WoL.
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