The Egregious Guide to Classic Resto Shaman
Also make sure to check out the Navak & Egregious Restoration Shaman Throughput and Efficiency Calculator!
If you find yourself reading this guide then you are probably interested in or considering playing the Restoration Shaman. This will be a comprehensive, in-depth guide of what it means to play the Resto Shaman at a competent level in Classic WoW. Within will be discussed all aspects of the class, from totem usage to stat priority, in an effort to bring you up to speed on the ins-and-outs of this utility healer. Additionally, if you are interested in the Shaman class, please join me and many others in the Shaman Community Discord.
Best choice for Resto in PvE, mediocre in PvP
Berserking is a powerful healing cooldown on a 3 min CD
Provides a minimum of 10% haste, scaling up to a cap of 30% at low health
Lacking PvP racial comparable to Orc stun resistance or Tauren War Stomp
Strong in PvP, weak in PvE
Blood Fury does not benefit Restoration in Classic
Stun resistance is very effective in PvP. Guaranteed to make your enemies rage
Strong in PvP, weak in PvE
War Stomp → heal combo is p o w e r f u l
Huge model; best race for accumulating server fame (size does matter)
Egregious plays this race
… or just pick your favorite.
Let’s begin with a solid spec. I will provide a visual and link for what is considered the standard PvE Resto specialization.
If you are considering avoiding points in Healing Grace I would heavily advise against it. Chain Heal generates a significant amount of threat–especially with full world buffs and consumables. And if you find yourself in a melee group, you will usually not be able to drop Tranquil Air Totem with any regularity, drastically increasing your risk of pulling aggro on trash or boss mobs. This is still true in a higher end raid where the ability of your tanks and off-tanks is higher. Every time a new mob is engaged is the beginning of a new encounter and carries with it the highest risk of over-aggro and subsequent death. A dead Shaman is a worthless Shaman. If you do decide to move those 2 points the clear choice is Improved Reincarnation. You can treat Improved Reincarnation as an emergency mana potion if you OOM during an encounter. Simply call out not to be healed, get yourself killed, and Ankh. Note: that this will obviously cost you any World Buffs and consumables currently active on your character.
If you are a first timer in Naxx progression I recommend switching 2 points into Improved Reincarnation. This is because of high wipe density and a short corpse run. To free up the 2 points, you can take them from Healing Focus (not recommended) or Ancestral Knowledge (recommended) depending on your mana pool and consumable usage. I would advise against swapping them out of Healing Grace as once in Naxx there is more justification for the talent than in any raid prior.
If you are filling the specialized melee buffer role, you can alter your spec to pick up Enhancing Totems through a spec similar to the one shown above.
A spec such as this allows for the utilization of Enhancing Totems and potentially Guardian Totems (simply swap 2 points out of Shield Spec), which makes you more lovable to your Melee DPSers and tanks. This spec is still viable for high throughput healing, however, you are losing the ability to cast Healing Wave meaningfully. If this isn't a situation you're comfortable with, here is a modified spec to retain Imp HW. Including Imp HW causes this spec to suffer from the moderate drawback of losing 28% pushback reduction.
Improved Weapon Totems does not apply a benefit to your party members! Do not dive further into Enh to pick up this talent as Resto!
It is useful but not important to know that there is a "linger" period on the aura Windfury Totem applies. This linger period extends past the 10 second timer the aura indicates and can last anywhere from .1 to 5 seconds. However, this linger period is unreliable and can vary between each member of your party. It is strongly advisable to replace your WFT on the 10 second marker in order to prevent any loss in WF aura uptime.
The final throughput focused spec is to go into the Elemental tree and spend 8 points to pick up Elemental Warding for encounters where elemental resistances (Frost, Fire and Nature) are important. This could be particularly useful on fights such as: Vaelastrasz, Viscidus and Sapphiron. This is a powerful option all the way from the beginning of MC to the end of Naxx. Due to the frequency of elemental damage, this spec can be considered the best end game spec.
This spec suffers from the same drawback as the Melee Buffer spec which is the loss of Healing Wave as a compelling tool in your arsenal. Without Imp Healing Wave or Healing Way (which can be run by another Shaman in your raid) HW loses much of its competitive edge against LHW. When running specs without these two supplementary talents I would recommend avoiding the use of HW outside of NS max rank HW. However, this drawback is unlikely to impact your overall raid performance. At this point in the game you are running a high +healing threshold and/or T2.5 which should relegate the majority of your healing to CH and LHW. A short aside; as you gear up, the strength of your HW spell depreciates in your healing triage arsenal. Despite getting HWr10 in P5 the value of your slow cast high output heal falls off when compared to Priest and especially Druid. In the end-game you are a raid healer and your primary tools will be CH and LHW.
If you are feeling super avant garde you can run a hybrid between the Endgame and Melee Buffer spec. There are two basic options here; one with 5/5 in Purification and a second with Mana Tide. Each suffers a unique drawback but both are performance viable for a throughput focused Shaman.
Proper itemization is one of the most vital aspects of WoW. Stats beneficial to the Resto Shaman are: MP5 (around which all my theory is based), Intellect, Healing Power, Spell Crit, Stamina and Spirit–often in that order. We will go into more depth on the respective benefits of these stats in the Stat Priority section below, but for now, the order listed above is a fair guideline to gearing throughout early Classic. When gearing up during the initial stages of Classic 5mans, it is important to prioritize mana stats (Int, MP5) over throughput stats (Healing Power, Spell Crit). Resto Shaman are sadly not very mana efficient during these early stages of play. The caveat is of course if you do not require mana exceeding your effective mana pool as the intervals between your in combat time are frequent and your average length of time spent in combat is low.
With that in mind, I have gathered a pre-raid BiS list prior to MC. This list will not include gear from world bosses. Only gear obtainable off the AH, basic PvPing, world content and dungeon grinding (including Dire Maul) will be included in this pre-raid BiS list.
Phase 1 Pre-Raid BiS
SLOT MP5 +HEALING Head Clever Hat Insightful Hood Neck Tooth of Gnarr Animated Chain Necklace Shoulders Royal Cap Spaulders Back Archivist Cape of Healing Hide of the Wild Chest Ghostwave Vest Robes of the Exalted Bracers Brazecore Armguards Loomguard Armbraces Gloves Gilded Gauntelets Harmonious Gauntlets Belt Felsurge Girdle Sash of Mercy or Whipvine Cord Legs Woollies of the Prancing Minstrel Ghoul Skin Leggings Feet Boots of the Full Moon Verdant Footpads Ring1 Rosewine Circle Fordring’s Seal Ring2 Ring of Demonic Guile Rosewine Circle Trinket1 Mindtap Talisman and Second Wind Royal Seal of Eldre’Thalas Trinket2 Mindtap Talisman Briarwood Reed Weapon Lorespinner The Hammer of Grace Off-Hand Gizlock's Hypertech Buckler Drakestone of Healing or Brightly Glowing Stone Totem Egan’s Blaster Egan’s Blaster
With all of these items you will have a very even spread of stats and should be keept comfortable healing everything from dungeons to Zul’Gurub to Molten Core and on into Blackwing Lair. There are some alternatives listed above which exchange healing for MP5 or MP5 for healing, but, overall, the effect will be about the same. I advise you to get all of those pieces listed, as swapping gear out for more mana intensive encounters is an intelligent move. The inverse is equally true; on fights with a lower MP5 requirement, a greater pool of Healing Power will be more beneficial. The rest comes down to your playstyle and use of consumables.
Dire Maul Pre-Raid BiS [Phases 2-6]
*You may have noticed that I did not include Darkmoon Card: Blue Dragon in my gear breakdowns. That is because, even with a theoretical proc rate of 2% over 250 seconds while casting back-to-back Chain Heals, the proc is highly mercurial and cannot be relied upon to proc during a meaningful time. There are instances when it doesn’t proc at all, sometimes on the pull, when you are already near mana cap, or just before a period of downtime when you aren’t casting, resulting in less overall MP5 than a Mindtap Talisman.
Enchanting as a Resto Shaman is easy. Simply:
SLOT PHASE 1 PHASE 4 Head +150 Mana Zul’Gurub helm/leg enchant (Requires Zandalar Tribe: Friendly) Shoulders None Zul’Gurub +Healing enchant (Requires Zandalar Tribe: Exalted) Bracers +7 Intellect +24 Healing Chest +4 Stats +4 Stats Legs +150 Mana Zul’Gurub helm/leg enchant (Requires Zandalar Tribe: Friendly) Boots Minor Speed Increase Minor Speed Increase Cloak 5 Fire Resist 15 FR / 15 NR (depending on progression) OR 2% Threat Reduction [Subtlety] (I use the threat reduction) Shield +7 Stamina +7 Stamina Weapon +55 Healing +55 Healing
Resto Shaman concern themselves with three primary stats (Intellect, Stamina and Spirit) and three secondary stats (MP5, Healing Power (hSP) and Spell Crit). Typically, the primary stats and secondary stats are prioritized in that order.
Stat Priority – Early Game
- Spell Crit
It is important in the early stages to pick up as many items as you can with MP5 since it is a rare and integral stat for the Resto Shaman.
Stat Priority – Late Game
- Spell Crit
It is important to understand these HEP values are relative in value only when you are in progression content. "Progression" content in Classic can be defined as having gear on or sub par compared with the difficulty of content, or when your raid is pushing for speed clears. Stat priority in the early game, think dungeons, 20 mans and MC, is the same as late game if you have access to consistent combat breaks and sub-3 minute boss encounters. The "Early Game" stats assume longer boss encounters or a Shaman on a learning curve so feel free to approach the entire game from the "Late Game" stat priority if you and your group are confident in your ability.
MP5 and Intellect shift in value throughout Classic. Mana that you don't use at the end of a combat window is wasted (unless you are about to quickly resume combat). Accordingly, pure mana stats like MP5 and Intellect rapidly lose value the more you have. This decline in the value of mana is exacerbated by the way hSP scales with downranked spells and the fact that the majority of your effective mana pool is generated through consumables. The more hSP you have, the more efficient Chain Heal Rank 1 and your other lower rank spells become relative to max rank and relative to the return on investment of MP5 and Intellect. An endgame Resto Shaman can use Rank 1 more often and for greater effect than an intro-geared Resto Shaman. The curious result is that an endgame Shaman consumes less mana/sec while providing greater throughput with less mana issues.
A common mistake many well-geared Shaman make is they take their newfound abundance of mana as an excuse to use fewer consumables. This choice saves gold but contributes nothing to your raid effectiveness. A Shaman who receives an MP5 upgrade only to cease using Dark Runes provides no additional value to his raid, only to his bank account. From the raid’s perspective, that item did not improve the Shaman at all and should have gone to someone else who will actively use the mana.
Intellect vs MP5
Both Int and MP5 provide mana, but in opposite ways. Int provides a static amount of mana up front while MP5 contributes more and more mana the longer combat persists. Accordingly, the relative value of MP5 during combat increases with duration. We can easily calculate the time it would take for MP5 to surpass a given amount of Int in terms of mana provided.
1 Int = 15 mana, 15.75 mana with Ancestral Knowledge
1 MP5 generates 15.75 mana in 78.75 seconds
If a period of combat is 5 minutes (300 seconds) long, how much Int is needed to provide the same mana as 1 MP5?
1 MP5 = 60 mana over 300s
60 mana = 3.81 Int (with Ancestral Knowledge)
Swap your gear around accordingly to suit combat scenarios. Remember that Int has a few perks over MP5 too:
59.5 Int = 1% Spell Crit
Int’s mana is available on demand, have to wait for MP5
Int increases maximum mana pool
Enables you to start using your mana consumables sooner.
With a sizable pool of Intellect you can afford to use your consumables in a way that is more efficient. Relying on static mana from Int rather than a constant stream of mana from MP5 makes it easier and less stressful to get your consumable rotation exactly on point.
59.5 Int = 1% Spell Crit
Crits heal for 50% more, not 100% more
In theory, crits add a lot of value to your heals. However, because of overhealing, this theoretical throughput is higher than reality. Overhealing disproportionately impacts larger heals, making crits especially vulnerable. One positive caveat for Resto Shaman is that the second and third bounces of Chain Heal are less likely to overheal, compensating somewhat for this downside of crit.
One final point about crit: the talent Ancestral Healing. This armor buff is extremely important to keep up on the tanks and can offer good mitigation for melee damage. Thankfully Priests also provide this buff from their critical heals and will likely carry the majority of the applications on your tanks.
*It is important to know that Ancestral Healing and Inspiration (the two armor buffs applied by Shaman and Priest) will not overwrite each other, they will replace each other. However, with batching, when you proc Ancestral Healing it will exist simultaneously with any previously applied buff for the duration of the batch before knocking it off. This causes the recipient of the proc to have two buffs active for one batch and will cause the player to lose another buff if said player is at buff cap. Be careful not to fuck up your melee or tank's buffs.
Spirit is often underrated. Contrary to popular opinion, it has situational value for Resto Shaman. It provides a relatively large amount of regen, but only outside the 5 second rule. During periods of chain casting, Spirit contributes nothing to a Resto Shaman. Depending on the fight there may be more or less opportunity to spend time outside the 5 second rule.
For a Resto Shaman, 10 Spirit provides 5 MP5 while not casting. That is considerable. Additionally, you probably spend more time outside the 5 second rule than you think. Even on fights where you felt like you were chain casting the entire time, if you go back and watch a replay you will find moments where you got a tick or two of Spirit regen. This can be caused by cancel casting, repositioning, clipping a heal on a player who dies mid-cast, etc. Using a system like WarcraftLogs to look through your parses, you can accurately gauge how much time you spend outside the 5 second rule.
On fights with significant downtime, such as: Onyxia, Ossirian, Chromaggus, Firemaw, Skeram, Huhuron, Ouro, C’Thun, Maexxna, Heigan... it would not be unreasonable to considering wearing pieces of gear with more Spirit should they also carry primary beneficial stats. Although it is never an intelligent move to prioritize pieces based on Spirit it is nonzero stat.
Healing Equivalence Points (HEP) is a succinct way to interpret the value of the various stats on an item. The Equivalence Point (EP) system was created in remote antiquity by Ming, godfather of min/maxing, who wanted to more accurately prioritize gear in very minute ways. MP5 happens to be a unique stat in that its HEP value far outweighs its item budget and the function of a Resto Shaman revolves around mana pool. For this reason, I build my HEP around MP5.
It is important to remember that these values are subjectively inexact. Your particular HEP values will be determined by the average length of time you spend in combat and how frequently you re-enter combat, followed by unique raid conditions. The exact value derived from each stat will vary from one week to the next -even on the same encounter or trash. Despite this, I have found these numbers to be accurate in assessing which pieces of gear are actually worth picking up for combat duration of up to 3 minutes. If you spend longer than 3 minutes in combat simply add an additional 1 HEP to MP5's value for every minute you spend over 3.
Hands down, consumables are the most important preemptive measure to raiding a Resto Shaman can take. Hate them or love them, you aren’t bringing your full value to the raid without them. Your arsenal of consumables will impact your performance so greatly that you may as well be playing two Shaman.
While the farming time may be rough I assure you it is far and away worthwhile. Take this time to familiarize yourself with what consumables you can consider “standard” for your typical progression raid:
These consumables should be considered compulsory raid consumables. Some are more complex than others to farm but most of them should be no trouble at all (pepega Black Lotus). It is possible to use far more consumables than I listed, however, it is up to you and your raid to define your needs. Feel out your raid and learn how many consumables you should bring to achieve a successful raid evening.
The items listed below can be thought of as a little something extra for complex encounters... or if you’re a tryhard. Again, bring them in quantities of at least 5 to 10. Preparing for 5 to 10 wipes should cover your bases and worst case you have extra for later. A short list is as follows:
Flask of the Titans
Elixir of Superior Defense
Major Troll's Blood Potion
Greater Nature Protection Potion
Greater Shadow Protection Potion
Greater Frost Protection Potion
Greater Fire Protection Potion
Dirge’s Kickin’ Chimaerok Chops
Magic Resistance Potion
Free Action Potion
Elixir of Poison Resistance
Rumsey Rum Black Label x5
Night Dragon’s Breath x10
Whipper Root Tuber x10
It's is a long list but every one of these items can, and will, come in handy on some encounter so I suggest you stock up early. Scan the Auction House every day to try and catch consumables at their cheapest prices if you cannot farm them yourself… it’s a good money saver and you will need every bent copper for Naxxramas. TL;DR, you'll probably need or want every consumable listed during your Classic journey.
*Something you will have to get used to when transitioning from current retail is dropping four totems every two minutes, or just simply dropping totems at all (cough). Yes, every two minutes! And one for your Mana Spring and Healing Stream totems. And say goodbye to Totemic Recall. If you are going to totem pull a mob/boss you'll have to drop a totem of the same element somewhere else or risk looking a fool.
NO LONGER FUNCTIONING
There was a script that will allow you to cancel your totems. Simply input:
/run if not UnitAffectingCombat("player")then for i=1,4 do n="t"..i CreateFrame("Button",n,UIParent,"SecureUnitButtonTemplate")_G[n]:SetAttribute("type", "destroytotem")_G[n]:SetAttribute("totem-slot",i)end end
You must use this once when you log on or it may not take effect the first time you attempt to use it in combat.
Totems are integral to the Shaman class and if you fail to drop them you are a bad Shaman. A common mistake many Shaman make is not refreshing their totems as they expire or as their party members out-range them. A useful tool in the endeavor to provide buffs for your party members is the Weak Aura that monitors Windfury up-time.
SHAM 099 – Remedial Totem Dropping
If you are new to the idea of placing buff sticks, your group can help you learn to refresh totems in a timely fashion and to manage their short range. I advise you to notify your group to spam a macro in party chat should they notice a cherished buff has fallen off. A buff-hungry melee DPSer will be all too eager to assist you in this way. They'll also likely yell at you.
SHAM 101 – Totem Keybinding
A mistake a significant number of Shaman make is not to bind all of their necessary totems. Totem bindings are a required part of playing the Shaman class. There may be a moment where you have to swap from one totem to another rapidly or where there will be no time to open your spell book. Clicking them is not an option either. Every time you click a spell a kitten is brutally murdered.
SHAM 102 – Totem Timers
GET IT FROM TWITCH!
~I'm only going to remind you 1 more time!~
SHAM 203 – Totem Utility
A further mistake many Shaman make is to neglect the benefit of casting non-melee totems while in a ranged DPS or healing group. This is a very serious lapse in judgment as there are several totems that can be worthwhile to a ranged DPS or healing party. Chief among these would be Tranquil Air Totem. This extends to dropping damage dealing totems, resistance totems and further utility totems like Grounding, Earthbind and even Stoneclaw in certain situations. A well placed DPS totem can add DPS to a single or group of target and, from a utility perspective, generate a brief window of aggro in which another player may be saved from arriving first on a target's threat table.
SHAM 421 – Totem Twisting
Under certain combat conditions it is optimal to swap quickly between different totems, a tactic known as “totem twisting.” While demanding on both your mana pool, your attention span and most importantly the number of GCDs you have available to you, this tactic has a wide variety of raid utility and is primarily utilized in conjunction with Windfury Totem. Windfury Totem applies an aura to party members lasting in practice 10 seconds. During this window you are free to replace the Windfury Totem with another Air totem and receive the full benefit of Windfury and whichever totem you replace it with. The generic and highest DPS combination is Windfury with Grace of Air, however, any Air totem can be selected to fill specific needs; Tranquil Air if threat is an issue or Nature Resistance if a nature damage quotient is high.
The practice of "Totem Twisting" is often exclusively defined to mean the interchange between Windfury and another Air totem, it is not impossible to benefit from swapping your active totems around during combat. While it is true that only Windfury twisting benefits from the unique ability to apply multiple buffs simultaneously, swapping between totems in combat to address specific combat needs is often the mark of a great Shaman.
For example, if you find yourself with extra mana at the end of a fight you can twist between Windfury and Grace of Air to pump out some extra DPS from your group. Do it. Be the good you need in the world. Hero/10.
I will run through the list of raid viable totems per element:
Strength of Earth Totem – REQUIRED 100% uptime on this totem when in a melee group. Exception: Tremor or Earthbind.
Tremor Totem – An important totem to use when a boss encounter has fear/charm/sleep mechanics.
Earthbind Totem – A very useful tool in kiting/running from loose trash in an instance.
Stoneclaw Totem – Good to drop before Earthbind in order to take loose mobs off your tail.
Stoneskin Totem – Not a very worthwhile totem. Use this if there are, for some reason, two Shaman in a melee or tank group.
Frost Resistance Totem – Beneficial during Twin Emperors, Sapphiron or other encounters with Frost damage.
Searing Totem – A nice addition to DPS race boss encounters and useful for snap-aggro on a boss with an aggro reset (Skeram, Noth, etc.).
Fire Nova Totem – A nice addition to nuking adds on encounters such Viscidus globs, Anub’rekhan and Maexxna.
Magma Totem – A nice addition to nuking adds/trash if you have the mana.
Windfury Totem – REQUIRED 100% uptime while in a melee DPS group. Exception: NR/TA
Grace of Air Totem – A nice buff for a group with a Hunter or if you are one of two Shaman in a melee DPS group.
Nature Resistance Totem – Very beneficial for fights involving high amounts of Nature damage. See Viscidus and Huhuran.
Tranquil Air Totem – REQUIRED 100% uptime while in a healing or caster DPS group. Exception when NR is required.
Grounding Totem – Useful for redirecting ranged attacks from susceptible mobs and bosses. Crucial in PvP.
Mana Spring Totem – REQUIRED 100% uptime. Exception when FR is required.
Mana Tide Totem – Use on rotation with Dark/Demonic Runes and Mana Potions.
Poison Cleansing Totem – Mandatory on fights with high poison output (Viscidus, Huhuran, Grand Widow Faerlina and some Naxx trash).
Fire Resistance Totem – Beneficial for fights involving high amounts of Fire damage.
Healing Stream Totem – Useful if there are two Shaman in one caster DPS/healer group.
Disease Cleansing Totem – Nominal usage.
If you are a Shaman download TotemTimers Classic!
~!IT REALLY HELPS!~
But it’s Classic, you say, I can’t min/max professions? But you can, to a degree. Engineering and, to a lesser extent, Alchemy can be viewed as raid viable professions for a healer.
Engineering is uniquely raid viable since with it you can produce Goblin Sapper Charges, Field Repair Bots and pseudo-bandages. Things like Thorium Grenade, The Big One and, most famously, Goblin Sapper Charges can be used to stun and damage mobs in challenging encounters where DPS can be an issue. On fights such as Viscidus or Maexxna a well timed Goblin Sapper Charges can cause significant damage to spawned mobs. In addition, having an entire raid of Engineers can greatly increase damage dealt over the encounter. Consider this another tool in your arsenal.
- Additive pro: Engineering is dually viable for PvP. You can amaze your friends with well timed grenades and irritate some of the big bad duelers outside your capital city.
Alchemy gives you the power to bring certain consumables in the form of herbs and allows you to utilize a Satchel of Cenarius. This provides a marginal increase your overall inventory space if you craft specific consumables on the go and gives you the unique ability to bring more than a standard player's arsenal to the raid.
- Additive pro: It also prevents you from having to spend your day pestering people in Org to craft you this or that.
- Additive pro: If a guild member isn’t online you don’t have to tip someone who would otherwise craft for you.
Fishing and Cooking are no-brainers. With these two professions you can kill time and earn a little extra gold on the side. Not to mention, you can farm those elusive Stonescale Eels that are so sought after for Flask of the Titans.
- Additive pro: You can fish and cook your own Nightfin Soup.
- Additive pro: You can make a campfire for a nominal Spirit buff and amusement.
Addons & UI
A healer’s UI is crucial in adapting quickly to a fluid raid environment. It is equally important to have both a clear and “drama free” UI as well as a focally centered UI on your screen.
Only you can know what is right for you but consider orienting your unit frames in the lower middle section of your screen. The advantages of this are a clear and unobstructed view of your raid, an unobstructed view of the ground you are standing on, and a central focus point for your eyes to rest upon while keeping the entire screen in your periphery. I find that visuals are always helpful. I apologize in advance for the quality, in those days my computer was not the greatest machine.
Egregious vs Thaddius
*In this video you can clearly see how much of the room I am able to view with my minimalist UI. All important information is displayed on my bars and superfluous keybinds and bars are hidden.
Notice how the upper portion of my screen is unobstructed and I have a clear view of what is happening on either side of me. I believe–and this is not up for debate–it is very important to keep alert and raid aware, as well as cut down on potential avoidable damage taken. Addons can help you in this endeavor.
There are many unit frame options and all of them have their own unique feel yet they all serve the same function. I would advise you spend a few hours, or days, playing around with each one to find which suits you best. The most common options for raid frames are:
- Grid2 (Here is my Grid2 profile)
You can find them here @ WillitClassic or on your Twitch client.
Spend some time on your UI and get to know the ins-and-outs of your chosen unit frame. In addition to both TotemTimers and a Unit Frame, there are several other addons that are crucial to be an effective healer. Those addons are:
- BigWigs or DBM
- Classic SnowfallKeyPress
- Decursive (or be good and dispel)
- EnemyCastingBar (ECB)
- Qlique or Mouseover Macros
I am going to start this off by saying that I cannot keybind for you… sadly. Only you know what suits you best. But here we go.
Along with a proper UI, keybinds can greatly improve player reaction time and decrease wasted time when utilizing abilities. Keybinds also allow the player to subconsciously react to situations with muscle memory should their keybinds be formatted well. It is the goal of every great player to keybind all their important, and even some of their moderately important, abilities. When keybinding, keep this picture in mind.
White: Signifies movement and utility keys.
Green: Signifies keys that you can reach most quickly and most accurately.
Brown: Signifies keys that are slightly less efficient than Green.
Red: Signifies keys that are incredibly hard to hit precisely.
This means that your frequently used abilities should be bound to Green keys and the less frequently used the ability to the Brown or Red keys.
Here is a list of Shaman abilities that you should consider keybinding. I will rank them in –what I consider– the order of importance for PvE. Please note that it is impossible to cluster spells in linear text. Know that I do not mean to suggest you start at 1 and bind to 5, then Q to R, etc in the order I have listed. Use your brain.
Chain Heal (Rank 3)
Chain Heal (Rank 2)
Chain Heal (Rank 1)
Healing Wave (Rank 10)
Healing Wave (Rank 7)
Healing Wave (Rank 4) or (5) [whatever your gear can sustain]
Healing Wave (Rank 1) [to proc Healing Way]
Lesser Healing Wave (Rank 6)
Lesser Healing Wave (Rank 4)
Trinket Slot 1
Trinket Slot 2
Earth Shock (Rank 1)
Frost Shock (Rank 1)
One thing that will really improve your ability to play the game, as well as other classes, is to have a binding schema. For me R is always an interrupt of some kind. [`] a Purge/Dispel, V is always racial, C always my PvP trinket, etc. Again, only you know what works for you, but try to develop a similar scheme for yourself to avoid confusion and to increase your ability to play alts without feeling lost.-
Now to the fun part. Gameplay.
There are two indistinct styles you can adopt as a Resto Shaman. MP5 over Healing Power or Healing Power over MP5. What it comes down to is what kind of epics you like to pick up and how good you are at managing your mana. If you do either of these “builds” correctly the difference will amount to almost nothing. If you chose to go for MP5 over healing, you will use higher ranked spells more often. If you chose to go for healing over MP5, you will use lower rank spells more often. The effect balances out and both are about the same.
With those two stat priorities in mind, your overall stat goals will be:
Short Combat Duration Long Combat Duration Healing MP5 Intellect Healing Crit Intellect MP5 Crit
The bread and butter.
With the information I linked above, even spamming Chain Heal (Rank 1), you have the capability of pushing out insane throughput with one spell. With this knowledge, Chain Heal is even more of your go-to heal. It is important to never stop casting at all. If you find that you are casting at a target who is at full HP and all of the nearby players are as well, then cancel your cast and queue up another heal. But always keep casting. This is why you have your arsenal of consumables.
Resto Shaman are a key player in healing the tanks and melee. We may not be as efficient or powerful as a Druid or Priest for direct tank healing, but with our CH we can do both effective tank and melee healing. Additionally, our spell critical strikes have a chance to grant Ancestral Healing. We can add a steady stream of anywhere between 1,000 and 1,400 (depending on the CH rank and player’s hSP) to the tank every 2.5 seconds.
The goal of CH spamming is to use about this breakdown of ranks: CH(R1) 60% and CH(R3) 40%. The reason for this is to lead into initial raid damage with your max rank CH and taper off as damage diminishes. With proper itemization and consumable usage this should be well within the reach of a Shaman in MC/BWL gear. CH(R2) costs 52 mana more and can hit for 100~ more than a R1 and can be tricky to use effectively. It's not uncommon to simply stick to ranks 1 and 3. R3 is a the most expensive but, if timed correctly, is extremely handy in AoE raid healing scenarios. It comes down to if you can afford it, cast it. It's also completely possible in short boss encounters to exclusively use CH R3 for maximum throughput.
This style of play involves an acute knowledge of one’s mana consumption, encounter time and resource usage. Without these three factors, it can be easy to run yourself out of mana far before the fight is over, rendering you useless or forcing you to steal an Innervate from another player. A good Shaman should rarely ask for an Innervate –though it’s always nice to receive one. The goal of any healer is to use all of their consumables effectively and be as close to OOM as possible at the end of an encounter. Any extra mana at the end of a fight can be viewed as either loss of possible healing or effective overhealing. Both are bad, though overhealing less so. *This is of course barring scenarios where the goal is to reenter combat as quickly as possible after a boss encounter. In those situations be as frugal as possible during a boss encounter and leave enough mana in your tank to continue on after the kill.
CH is, in its purest form, your main heal. You will use it to heal tanks, melee and ranged. Although this is the case, do not mindlessly spam CH. Think about what kind of mechanics the boss has and where your CH will be most valuable. Pre-cast on melee members when AoE damage is going out. Use it on tanks if a proximity based AoE is about to be dropped onto the floor, this will allow you to both heal the tank and the melee. A good example is on the Snake boss in ZG. After the 50% transition into Phase 2 you should start -after waiting for your tank to reestablish threat- casting CH R2-3 on the tank to both keep him alive as well as sustain the melee who will be taking damage from his AoE poison ability and the ground mounds.
Even though CH is your definitive best friend, you should be aware of situations that call for your other healing spells.
This is your slow, big single target heal. Basically, a tank heal. The benefit of this spell is that it applies a talented buff called Healing Way. Healing Way can stack to 3/3 and increases your consecutive HW (not LHW) spells on that target. It is a useful tool when tank healing on encounters such as Chromaggus, Ragnaros, Baron Geddon, Anub'Rekhan, Maexxna and all other encounters that require you, as a Shaman, to directly heal the tank.
Utilizing HW can be a challenge as it is not particularly mana efficient. This means that you will need to have several ranks on your bar (see my KEYBINDS section). A low, mid and high output HW is ideal as it covers the entire span of possible tank damage taken. When considering what ranks to chose it is important to know how the spell coefficient works. The longer a spell, the higher bonus you will add with your hSP. This means that, when you choose shorter cast time HWs, the spell coefficient will receive less than the longer duration heals in terms of bonus healing. Talenting into Improved Healing Wave does not reduce the coefficient. So, with that in mind, keep your low to mid range HW at R4 or above as that is the level where the coefficient is at its maximum.
Using HW is a good practice to start when there is little damage going out on the raid. This is because typically, when Blizzard decides for there to be less raid damage, there is an increase in Tank damage. So, if you know raidwide damage is about to dip, top off your raid and then begin casting HW on your tank to help with the overall healing. Again, as I said in the CH section, there is no real reason to ever stop casting as someone is always going to be taking damage.
One mark of a great Shaman is keeping Ancestral Healing up on the Main Tank and as many other OT as possible. On fights with heavy tank damage, a clever Shaman can pop off a HW(R1) every 14 seconds to both refresh their Healing Way stacks and a chance to proc AH. With the utilization of Vallen’s ClassicMouseoverMacros, your target frame functionality can now be used as a handy focus frame. If you keep that directed at your tank all the time you will be able to see whether or not the Ancestral Healing or Inspiration (the Priest AH equiv) is active. If not, try to proc one. A good fallback is just to spam your tank with CH until it procs.
That method of healing will result in less overall healing than a Shaman who spams CHr1 consecutively. However, if your raid has problems with tank healing, this method of healing is particularly beneficial.
Lesser Healing Wave
The Flash Heal and Healing Touch (R3) of the Resto Shaman.
Using LHW effectively can be challenging. Since it does not benefit greatly from the coefficient–it has a very short cast–it will be the weakest spell in your arsenal. However, short of NS HW R10, it is also your fastest heal. There are a maximum of three scenarios where casting LHW is viable:
- You, your tank, or another raid member is about to die and they need healing ASAP–and your NS is on CD.
- Your raid is spread out in a manner that renders CH ineffective.
- Your tank is taking large damage and neither Inspiration nor Ancestral Healing are active; therefore, you must proc Ancestral Healing ASAP.
In these three situations casting LHW becomes the prudent option.
Fights where LHW can be a handy option are on: Chromaggus during a Time Lapse, Nefarian if the Curse is not being dispelled, Skeram, Sartura, Twin Emperors, C’Thun and so on. Whenever you need to do quick healing in anticipation of follow up damage or quickly get someone in the raid a couple more health points, LHW is the way to go.
First off, to properly utilize your in-combat mana consumables, it is important to develop a rotation. If a boss requires intense healing, begin with a Major Mana Potion when you have a deficit of 2,200 mana. Then, if the fight is over 5 minutes, use your Mana Tide Totem at 92% total mana. If the fight is going to be less than 5 minutes, burn your first Dark/Demonic Rune at roughly 1,500 mana deficit. Then begin to burn your Mana Potion and Dark/Demonic Rune off CD. Your rotation should look something like this:
Scenario 1 Scenario 2 Short Duration Boss w/ Intense Healing Long Duration Boss w/ Intense Healing Major Mana Potion Major Mana Potion Dark/Demonic Rune Mana Tide Mana Tide Dark/Demonic Rune <[rinse repeat]> <[rinse repeat]>
Ostensibly, if the boss encounter does not warrant intensive healing, adhering to a consumable rotation will be of less importance and you can just wing it.
The key is to continue to use your mana consumables off CD in order to keep your mana up at as high a level as possible throughout every encounter. A lapse or two could leave you near OOM in the middle of a fight or during a critical period of raid damage. Also, it is crucial that you have a good view of your mana consumables (Mana Tide, Major Mana Potion, Dark/Demonic Rune) somewhere on your action bar. You must be aware of when they come off CD and use them immediately. It is very easy to get swept up in the healing required to save people’s lives but it is even more important that you drink that pot. And the good news is they are off the GCD so you can quickly down them and continue healing without having to wait 1.5 seconds.
NS is a valuable tool; one of our two CDs aside from Mana Tide Totem. However, it isn't as big of a deal as we would like. There are 2 methods you can make use of when approaching NS. 1) the selfless healer method where you hold NS for an emergency, and 2) the selfish healer method where you use it off CD for raw healing throughput. There is really no right or wrong way to utilize the spell as, either way, you are correcting health deficits within the raid. The only advice I can offer is to be cautious when first entering a guild/group of players. Get to know them, their tendencies and strengths and weaknesses. Then you can decide what is and what is not a good way to use NS.
Another small thing which will drastically improve your performance and reaction time is to download KLH Threat Meter. Use this as a tool to monitor who is, and who is not, high on threat in order to be ready with appropriate healing should there be a: tank switch, loss of aggro, or an Ignite Mage about to explode onto the tanking scene. Utilizing KLH is an easy and surefire way to not only up your performance but also increase your player awareness. The more things that you force yourself to keep track of, the easier it will be to maintain that level of concentration in the future and the easier encounters will begin to feel for you. In essence, the more you train the better you will become.
Finally, know your boss fights. The more you know about boss mechanics the more you can predict player specific or raid wide damage. A good healer is up-to-date on boss strategies and looks for raid-group specific damage. They are aware of the player here who takes more “I stood in the fire” damage or the player there who always wants to pop off that last bit of their rotation before moving out of avoidable damage. This more than anything is what can truly make you a great player: the ability to anticipate where healing is needed. BigWigs or DBM really help in accelerating the learning curve on each boss. Use them and use your brain when healing. For god’s sake, do NOT tunnel vision your UI. Take your eyes off every few seconds and quickly scan the raid. Is the tank re-positioning? Are DPS running around like the idiots they are? Is someone about to be struck by avoidable damage? These are questions you should always be asking yourself.
So, a quick recap.
Chain Heal is your go-to heal in terms of both tank and raid healing. Prioritize healing melee members of your raid when AoE hits as that is where your healing is most effective. Let the Priests and Druids heal the ranged, especially if they aren't grouped. Then, once the melee are taken care of, you can assist with the rest of the raid.
Lesser Healing Wave will be your primary choice when the raid is not appropriately positioned for you to make full use of CH. Instead, use LHW to shoot out quick heals to members in your raid who are in desperate need of healing. This is a useful tool when used judiciously. Do not get it into your head that you are a Druid and try to Healing Touch your way to glory. A good time for LHW R6 spam is on Chromaggus during a Time Lapse.
Healing Wave is going to be one of those spells that you only use if you know there will be significant tank damage and low raid damage. If there is even a question as to whether or not the melee will take damage, default to Chain Heal. But, if you know it will only be tank damage (IE Chromaggus or Loatheb), you can utilize Healing Wave. Use R1 before the fight initiates to quickly stack up 3 Healing Way then swap to R4 or 5 (whatever your mana can sustain) and heal with that during moderate damage. If the tank will take heavy damage swap to R7 or 10 and keep it up as long as necessary.
When to use Nature's Swiftness? This is challenging because you can hold it for when a raid member needs immediate, big healing and combo it with HWR10 for a ~3,000+ heal or you can use it selfishly for throughput off CD paired with CH. It is really up to you. If you want to feel/be more of a clutch healer then save NS for an emergency. If you want to do a little more healing on the charts then bust that thing whenever you can and CHr3 into the raid.
Be raid aware. Learn the fights and learn when and where to accurately apply your healing. This is the most important thing needed to transition from a good or average healer to a great healer.
And if all else fails, you can always just mindlessly spam CH.
Best of luck in your future endeavors!
If you have any further questions, comments, concerns feel free to post a reply in this thread, contact me on the forums or in-game. I will make myself available for you. You can also find me through:
Supplementary Video by Egregious and Melderon
Link to Google Slides
You can access the Google Slides from the Supplementary Video here!
all shall bow before Egregious
Thank you for all of the great info. It is hard to remember everything after so many years this was a great refresher that every Shaman should read.
This is my Bible!
Discovered Melderon's youtube guides and got led here. It's like the god damn Quickening. Can't wait to level to 60 as resto and get to raiding. Also, love the Tauren bias present in all the material.
talent links aren't working anymore. wowhead changed the way share links work for those. you'll want to update the guide for those.
@Egregious Do you think you could talk more about Healing Equivalence Points (HEP)? (not because my name is the same) Could you give examples of where one piece of gear might be a better value over another with Healing Equivalence Points (HEP) in mind?
I'm waiting for Classic to launch so I can do some parsing and come up with more accurate HEP values. However, yes, once I do I'll add to the section.
I'm waiting for Classic to launch so I can do some parsing and come up with more accurate HEP values. However, yes, once I do I'll add to the section.
Awesome! Looking forward to it.
Either i'm a goldfish, or i learn something new every time i read this post. (probably the first one.....wait what did i say). In all seriousness, i love this guide.
As i will be leveling as resto, it gives me something to aim for.
Thanks again for the info.
.........Wait, have i read this yet?.............
@Egregious Hi mate, i was wondering what your thoughts on tailoring and enchanting are for a resto shaman? Seems that we use a bit of cloth armour, so it seem to make sense. Plus getting lots of drops from dungeons as i level could be a good way to help with Enchanting.
@Kachin25 Hey, man. Both of those professions would be fine for a Resto Shaman. Professions in Vanilla are all about accessibility to resources and your personal interests. I personally go Herbalism or Enchanting and Engineering for PvP. Herbalism is a great money maker, most gathering professions are pretty solid for that, and Engineering allows me to do some PvP stuff. Honestly, any profession you pick up will have value to you. Tailoring will have less of an impact on your gameplay than I think you're expecting. From my experience, no profession in Vanilla has a high impact on your play as far as Resto Shaman are concerned.
*Edit: Enchanting is a great profession especially if you intend to do a lot of dungeons.
@Egregious Thanks for that, i pretty much have my professions decided now (tailoring/enchanting).
now i just have to wait till 27th of August to play, only ten weeks...........
Thanks for the great guide!
I have several questions. First, wtf is that thing you recommended as ranged in you phase 1 pre raid bis?
Second why don't you use the totems from the second list in the first one too? Scholomance is available in P1, isn't it? And the last one, do you use the same talents for pvp and if not, what would you change?
- Egan's Blaster is a meme item but the only item you can put in that slot until Phase 5.
- Because totems/relics will not be available until Phase 5.
- 30/0/21. It's a fairly common spec you should be able to find by Googling 30/0/21 Resto/Ele Shaman.
Also, please join the Resto Shaman Discord for future questions, comments, concerns: Shaman Discord
@Egregious First off, amazing guide. I plan to get all of the pre-raid BIS items for phase 1 and use it for MC to get the earthfury set. When phase 2 comes around will the earthfury set still be good or will the pre-raid BIS items for phase 2-6 be better?
You only break T1 when you get 3pc T2 and only on fights in BWL where you're going to utilize CH over HW.
@hep links should all be working now and images are updated
hey man was just wondering what consumables you'd recommend taking to raids in P1, since most of these aren't available until ZG. Thanks, love the content!