Hello fellow Totem-Mule,
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 TBC. Within will be discussed all aspects of the class from what’s new, to gearing, to UI in an effort to bring you up to speed on the basics of this utility healer.
We welcome the Alliance to the fold and will preface the guide by going over the four Shaman races.
- Best choice for Resto in PvE, mediocre in PvP
- Berserking is a strong healing cooldown on a 3 min CD
- Provides a minimum of 10% haste for 10 sec, scaling up to a cap of 30% at low health
- Lacking PvP racial comparable to Orc stun resistance or Tauren War Stomp
- Strongest in PvP, weak in PvE
- Blood Fury increases spell damage and healing by 143 for 15 sec
- Stun resistance is very effective in PvP. Ideal for those pushing Glad
- 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)
- Male model gets extra 2.6 yards to their hitbox and female gets 1.6
- Your only choice as Alliance
- Sadly not super great for either PvE or PvP
… you can always just pick your favorite.
WHAT’S NEW IN TBC (Spells & Talents):
As you may have noticed we’re not in Classic anymore. Good job, you’ve taken your first step in TBC toward becoming a better player. Situational awareness is key. There are a few new Spells and Talents that you should familiarize yourself with. These consist of six new spells and four new talents available to the Resto Shaman. They are as follows:
Bloodlust [H] / Heroism [A] (all specs):
A game-changing spell. Bloodlust/Heroism applies a buff to all members of the Shaman's party, not the entire raid, that increases the melee, ranged and spell casting speed by 30% for a duration of 40 seconds. This buff, unless nerfed by Blizzard going into Classic TBC, will not apply the Sated debuff. This means you will be able to chain Bloodlusts by rotating Shaman into a desired group and casting back-to-back Bloodlusts.
Wrath of Air Totem (all specs):
Think of this as Windfury Totem for casters and healers. This totem provides a bonus of 101 spell damage and healing to all players within 20 yards. This totem will be mandatory when in a ranged or healer group unless running Tranquil Air for threat. Wrath of Air Totem does not apply an aura in the same way Windfury Totem does so it is not possible to twist WoA with TA to the same effect as WF with GoA.
Water Shield (all specs):
Water Shield is T3 8pc bonus as a spell. While active it grants 50 MP5 with three charges. When struck a charge will be consumed and provide 200 mana back to the caster. The charges have a short ICD similar to Lightning Shield. You must keep Water Shield active 100% of the time. If you are low on charges, know big damage is coming up and won’t have time to reapply, then refresh it early during a lull period even with a charge or two remaining so as not to lose uptime. Finally, because this spell costs no mana it does not trigger the five second rule (5SR) when refreshed.
Earth Shield (Resto only):
Earth Shield is a new pseudo-HoT and defensive ability Resto Shaman receive from their 41 point talent. It applies a shield with six charges to a single target that not only heals the target when struck for a base of 270 but also provides a 30% chance of ignoring spell interruption on the target while active. Only one elemental shield can be active on any target at a time. ES and WS cannot persist on the same target at the same time so keep this in mind when casting ES on yourself or other Shaman. A mistake many Shaman make is to only think of this as a Main Tank ability and neglect to use it on melee or casters for certain mechanics.
Totemic Recall (all specs):
This is a very simple but much needed addition to the Shaman class. This spell destroys all currently active totems and refunds 25% of the base cost of each totem. This ability will save you from totem pulling mobs, packs, bosses and generally being the cause of many problems within a raid. A meta level play is to recall your totems at the very last moment to effectively reduce the cost of your totems by 25%.
Earth Elemental Totem (all specs):
This is a utility totem that provides an effective tank in support of the Shaman for two minutes. Although this can be applied as a wipe prevention measure in dungeons and Heroics, it can equally as easily cause a wipe if used recklessly.
Fire Elemental Totem (all specs):
Another utility totem that provides some decent AoE and single target damage in support of the Shaman for two minutes. You can use this totem at almost any time within an encounter for extra damage.
New Resto Talents:
Optional. Nature’s Guardian gives the Shaman a chance to passively heal oneself if damaged below the 30% threshold. Each point gives an additional 10% chance for this effect to happen capping at 50%. It is important to know that every single instance of damage taken under the 30% threshold has a chance to proc this talent, not just the damage responsible for crossing the 30% threshold. This means that, if the frequency of damage is relatively consistent and the damage minor, it is unnecessary to max out the talent in order to benefit from it. Most Shaman typically run three points in this talent if they opt to spend points in it.
Improved Chain Heal:
Mandatory. Imp CH increases the amount healed by your Chain Heal by 20%, 10% per point. This value affects the spell coefficient. In TBC Purification, and by extent Imp CH, affects not only the base of the spell but also the additive +healing from gear. To do this it modifies the coefficient. To calculate your new CH coefficient you would follow this equation:
(CH base coefficient) 74.13 * (Purification) 1.1 * (Imp CH) 1.2 = 94.29%
Mandatory. Nature’s Blessing increases spell damage and healing by 30% of your total Intellect pool. This talent is worth about 100 healing on the lower end at the beginning of TBC dungeons and gains in value as your gear improves throughout TBC.
Focused Mind (PvP):
This talent is more oriented for PvP. Each point increases the Shaman's chance to resist Silence and Interruption mechanics by an additional 10% capping at 30%.
Earth Shield (spell):
Mandatory. Outlined above.
Now, let’s cover your spec options. Below is what should be considered the standard PvE Resto specialization.
This is the bread and butter Resto spec for TBC and can be thought of the “triage” spec. You have all the tools you will need for Dungeons, Heroics and Raids. Improved Healing Wave and Healing Way for tank or slow paced single target healing and Improved Chain Heal for group/raid healing.
There is a bit of leeway in this spec if you want 2/2 in Improved Reincarnation and can be found in the six points between Nature’s Guardian and Healing Grace. Threat is actually something you as a healer will have to manage in TBC -see the Threat section- and it is therefore inadvisable to pull more than one point out of Healing Grace. If you do want Imp Reincarnation I would suggest pulling two points from Nature’s Guardian or one point from each.
The next spec is Ele Warding Resto and is useful for those Shaman who are primary raid healers and who don’t hard cast Healing Wave. This may be your playstyle or may be a development over time as you progress into T5 and beyond, filling the raid healer over triage healer role.
This spec sacrifices the ability to hard cast Healing Wave and reliability of the spell as a viable tank or single target heal in exchange for greater elemental damage survivability. Healing Wave can still be used in dungeons or very low pressure scenarios but LHW will now act as your go-to for single target damage solutions. This spec is possible but may not be optimal for an early game Shaman during dungeons and Kara. While there is still elemental damage in this content, the need to triage heal with HW outweighs the benefit of added survivability. Movinginto T5+ the frequency and lethality of elemental damage increases and utilizing Elemental Warding becomes increasingly attractive.
This spec has six points of flexibility between Nature’s Guardian and Healing Grace. However, threat management is more challenging in TBC and it’s advisable to have at least two points in Healing Grace.
The final spec is for the Twisting Shaman and utilizes Enh Totems to further buff melee should you spend time in a melee group or are designing strats around melee comps.
This twisting spec makes the same sacrifice of Healing Wave functionality for the added utility of buffing your Strength of Earth Totem. It is inadvisable to go further into the Enhancement tree to pick up Improved Weapon Totems as the application of this buff is very nominal as you sacrifice a significant amount of your throughput to obtain the talent. The loss of Earth Shield, Nature’s Blessing and Improved Chain Heal are significant throughput drawbacks that should only be made in the most extreme circumstances by those who have specific comp and strat requirements in mind.
This spec has five points of flexibility in Enhancement and seven points of flexibility in Resto. In Enhancement you can do anything with the five points between Ancestral Knowledge and Enhancing Totems. That said, Imp Ghost Wolf is very attractive as the base cast time for the spell is reduced to two seconds in TBC. This means that two points in Imp Ghost Wolf reduces the cast time to zero giving you instant travel form. Additionally Guardian Totems can see use through the CD reduction of Grounding Totem. Look for mechanics that can be redirected in dungeons, heroics and raids to decide if this talent suits you.
WHAT TO SAVE FROM CLASSIC:
This section is for both those transitioning over from Classic interested in what items are worth saving and those fresh TBC players interested in what old content to farm. The question of what to save will depend on what path Blizzard chooses to take regarding patch structure for TBC. We’ll do a complete rundown of what to save and how to determine if it will be useful when TBC is launched.
Tier 2 (all 8):
On Classic TBC release if you read in the 3pc tooltip, “... by 5%” instead of 30% you can toss this set. If the 3pc text still reads, “... by 30%” save it, it will be BiS throughout TBC.
This trinket is amazing due to the manner of healing it provides. Scarab Brooch imbues each direct heal recipient with a shield that absorbs 15% of the total raw value of the heal. These shields cannot stack and will overwrite each other as a higher value shield is applied to the target. If you apply a shield with a value of 10 and follow up a consecutive heal with a value of 100, the shield with a value of 10 will be removed and the shield with a value of 100 will take its place. This trinket is limited in scope by the imagination and skill of its wielder. There will certainly be niche applications of this trinket throughout TBC.
Eye of the Dead & Hibernation Crystal:
Eye of the Dead is a better version of Hibernation Crystal; however, both trinkets are still extremely good and hold up in competition with early TBC options. Save these as they will provide powerful trinket options into Kara. Unlike Scarab Brooch these trinkets will be replaced with time.
Rejuvenating Gem is a BiS trinket option all the way up to Kara, hold onto it. Unlike Scarab Brooch this trinket will be replaced with time.
Hammer of the Twisting Nether:
All main hand weapons from C’Thun to KT are viable and solid healing weapons up to Kara. This is equally true of shields and OHs from Wormscale Blocker and Sartura’s Might onward. However, Hammer of the Twisting Nether is on par if not slightly better than non Heroic pre-raid BiS options.
Shield of Condemnation:
This item is the direct BiS shield going into Kara.
Totem of Life:
This item is directly BiS going into Kara by a margin of one point of healing over [Totem of Spontaneous Regrowth].
Tier 3 Ring and Bracers:
Save these two pieces of T3 in addition with any others you are currently using. T3 or T3 equivalent BiS will last you up until TBC pre-raid BiS. Additionally, these two pieces of T3 will be part of my recommendation for pre-raid BiS gearing if you are twisting. If you aren’t then these two pieces will save you approximately the same amount of MP5 as you would lose from the alternative options and are therefore inadvisable. All of T3 in general will serve you well as you level to 70.
Resilience of the Scourge:
Save as many of these as you can as they are marginally better than or on par with Greater Inscription of Faith depending on your HEP values.
There may be additional one-time-use or unique quest items that can be useful for TBC but have not been included due to their impracticality and limited time nature. Regardless there will still be consumables that can be of value from Classic into TBC. Things like Limited Invulnerability Potions, Free Action Potions, Magic Dust, Dark or Demonic Runes, Major Mana Potions, and Weapon Oils can all still be valuable raid consumables. Dark or Demonic Runes along with Brilliant Mana Oils are a mainstay in your consumable arsenal throughout TBC.
GEARING AND PRE-RAID BIS:
Proper itemization is one of the most vital aspects of WoW. Stats beneficial to the Resto Shaman are: MP5, Intellect, Healing Power, Spell Crit, Stamina, Spirit and Haste. 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 through early TBC when you do not have access to Haste.
When gearing up during the initial stages of TBC Dungeons and Heroics 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. However, in TBC itemization has drastically improved and it is possible to obtain gear that covers both your conservation and throughput needs.
With that in mind we have gathered a pre-raid BiS list prior to Kara. All gear available during TBC launch will be considered for the pre-raid BiS list. Alternatives to some profession, Heroic and world boss gear will be supplemented for those disinclined or unable to put in the work.
The above is the absolute best gear you can acquire before going into T4. Some pieces last longer than others and I will be publishing progressive BiS lists for Resto Shaman across the TBC expansion soon. These lists will be announced and pinned in the Classic Shaman Discord and will be linked here as well. Below is an alternative BiS list that excludes some of the more complicated items to obtain such as world boss gear, crafted items, etc. I will include alternatives to just these two BiS lists in the progressive lists but for now consider these the best options for those of us who have unlimited time and access to the game and for those of us who have more limited schedules.
||Harbinger Skyriss (5%)
||[Natasha’s Guardian Cord]
||Quest: The Hound Master
||Grandmaster Vorpil (20%)
||[White Remedy Cape]
||H Murmur (16%)
||[Primal Surge Bracers]
||[Prismatic Mittens of Mending]
||Commander Sarannis (20%)
||H Nexus Prince Shaffar (16%)
||H Warlord Kalithresh (25%)
||[General's Kodohide Boots]
||16800 Honor Points + 40 EotS Marks
||[Celestial Jewel Ring]
||Quest: Hitting the Motherlode
||[Essence of the Martyr]
||41 Badge of Justice
||[Scarab of the Infinite Cycle]
||[Lower City Prayerbook]
||Lower City [Revered]
||H Murmur (25%)
||[Tears of Heaven]
||25 Badge of Justice
||[Light-Bearer's Faith Shield}
||33 Badge of Justice
||[Totem of Spontaneous Regrowth]
||Quest: The Ultimate Bloodsport
The BiS and Alternative gear sets provide a very even spread of stats and should keep you comfortable healing everything from Heroics to your first forays into Karazhan. There are some alternatives to those listed above which exchange healing for MP5, MP5 for healing or some other combination of stats, but, overall, the pieces with the best budget and highest impact have been selected. Unlike in Classic, the available gear is very well itemized and typically has both +healing and MP5 as well as Int and Stam. Across the set no item budget is lost to Spirit or the inferior damage-and-healing secondary stats.
Although the BiS list includes three pieces of crafted gear from Tailoring, which can be a challenge, it will definitely be worth the effort even into T5. Whitemend can be a very strong option as well if you don't have access to World Bosses and have a surpluss of gold or Tailoring alts, especially if you get Enchanting for the additional +healing to rings. We will go into more depth on the benefits of each profession in the Professions section.
ENCHANTING & GEMMING:
Enchanting as a Resto Shaman is as easy in TBC as it is in Classic. Simply:
||Glyph of Renewal
||Thrallmar/Honor Hold - Revered
||Greater Inscription of Faith
||The Aldor - Exalted
||Restore Mana Prime
Gemming is a new and exciting addition in TBC. Gems are a product of Jewelcrafting and are profession items which provide stat bonuses to gear with special slots called gem sockets. Gemming is different from current retail in that no gem socket is prismatic. Sockets are broken up into the 3 primary colors, red, blue and yellow and can be properly socketed by either red, blue and yellow primary gems or by hybrid orange, green and purple gems. Each piece of gear with sockets will have a socket bonus that can be activated only if the gems used to socket the item satisfy the socket's color requirement. Primary gems satisfy only one color whereas hybrid gems satisfy both constituent primaries that comprise them. Additionally, primary gems offer a single stat bonus while hybrid gems are a composite of their constituent primary stats.
Understanding how to gem properly in TBC is important for both gaining access to additional socket bonuses and for working to activate the 4th and final socket type, the meta socket. Meta sockets are always found in the helm slot and are a unique socket that may only house a meta gem -either an Earthstorm or Skyfire Diamond. All meta gems provide additional, often unique benefits to the wearer and can only be activated through meeting specific requirements. Each meta gem will specify those requirements in their item text. That text will change from grey to white when the requirements are met.
As a Resto Shaman in PvE you will be aiming for the following gems by socket color:
- Meta: [Insightful] or [Bracing Earthstorm Diamond]
- Red: [Teardrop Living Ruby]
- Yellow: [Luminous Noble Topaz]
- Blue: [Royal Nightseye]
- Meta: [Insightful] or [Bracing Earthstorm Diamond]
- Red: [Teardrop Crimson Spinel]
- Yellow: [Quick Lionseye] > [Luminous Pyrestone]
- Blue: [Royal Shadowsong Amethyst]
It is important to know that you do not always have to activate the socket bonus on a piece of gear. Sometimes socket bonuses are underwhelming and it is a better move to socket a Teardrop Living Ruby/Crimson Spinel or use one of the available yellow or blue sockets to satisfy your meta requirement. Understanding how to make the most out of your sockets and socket bonuses will be a learning curve and is something even experienced players take time to consider.
Here is an aside on [Insightful Earthstorm Diamond]’s (IED) MP5 value depending on cast time. IED procs off any spell cast which includes heals, totems, DPS abilities and even Water Shield. On proc you will receive 300 mana which should be labeled as a “Mana Restore” in WCL (spell ID to follow). The proc has a 15 second ICD and as a result the gem has a 3.85% chance to proc if you are approaching it from a 2.5 second cast time. Haste will reduce the proc rate further and with more than 200 spell haste rating the proc rate drops to around 3.75%. Here are some MP5 values based on an adjusted chance to proc based on cast time:
These values assume a 100% active time and MP5 values will diminish linearly as active time decreases. The bolded selection highlights the value of IED from the standard CH and talented HW cast times to the extreme hasted versions of the same.
To find the MP5 value from IED you first establish the adjusted proc chance. To do this first identify how many casts it takes to proc on average. Here that is twenty casts: 100 * 0.05 = 20. To find the adjusted proc rate, you would average time it takes to proc the trinket with the additional time incurred by the ICD, 15 seconds, and finally multiply that by the proc rate. The formula is as follows:
((CtP * Cast Time) / ((CtP * Cast Time) + ICD)) * Proc Rate = Adjusted Proc
((20 * 2.5) / ((20 * 2.5) + 15)) * 0.05 = 0.0385 = 3.85%
Then you take the proc rate and:
300 mana * (Proc * 100) * (Adjusted Proc / Cast Time) = Proc Value
300 * 5 * (0.0385 / 2.5) = 23.1 MP5
In TBC Shaman benefit from the same three Primary stats, Intellect, Spirit and Stamina and the same three secondary stats +healing, Spell Crit, and MP5. Although much is the same, the benefits of some of the stats have changed due to new talent options. Later in the expansion a new stat is added, Spell Haste. Haste quickly becomes the choice secondary stat and will become your primary gearing and gem selection.
Functions mostly the same as it did in Classic. A single point of Intellect still provides the player 15 points of mana, increased to 15.75 with 5/5 points in Ancestral Knowledge; however, in TBC Intellect also increases the player’s spell damage and healing by 30% of the total Int pool when running 3/3 in Nature’s Blessing. This means that Intellect also provides .3 healing per point, increasing the overall value of the stat and making margin calls like 6 Stats vs 150 mana to chest easier to calculate.
Int also provides a small amount of Crit per point, exactly .0125%. The amount of Int needed to gain a whole point of Crit has been raised from Classic and now requires 80 Int to gain an additional 1% Crit.
Functions exactly the same as it did in Classic but at a slightly different conversion. Shaman do not have a productive relationship with this stat as we do not have talents that allow for Spirit regeneration while inside the 5SR nor do we have a talent that increases the return rate of Spirit to mana. However, this stat still does apply a benefit if you spend time outside of the 5SR (O5SR) and marginally when running the [Primal Mooncloth] set. The equation for Shaman mana return O5SR is very simple:
(Spirit / 5) + 17 = MP2 while O5SR
Where MP2 is the amount of mana returned every tick while not casting. All things considered you will never elect to gear for Spirit and it remains the lowest stat in priority.
Functions exactly the same as it did in Classic where a single point of Stamina is worth 10 health. Although in Classic it was common to select gear pieces with very low Stam and suffer very little in the way of drawback, TBC has far more lethal mechanics and making sure to have a decent pool of Stamina will be of higher importance as you progress through content.
Functions exactly the same as it did in Classic. To calculate how much actual healing you receive from your bonus healing you follow this simple equation:
Raw Healing = ((BaseMin + BaseMax) / 2) + (Coefficient * Healing)
If you want to factor in Crit as well you would use:
Raw Healing = (((BaseMin + BaseMax) / 2) + (Coefficient * Healing)) * (1 + (Crit * 0.5))
In this equation the Base Minimum and Maximum of the desired spell are averaged and then added to the spell’s Coefficient times the player’s total Healing pool. If you want to factor in Crit you take the same equation and multiply that by 1 plus the player’s total Crit times the bonus value of the crit, which is an additional 150%, so 0.5 in this equation.
It is important to know that going into TBC a Downranking Penalty was introduced in an effort to make previous ranks of spells less appealing and less effective options. This effort worked to a degree but downranking is still prevalent in TBC. This penalty is calculated with this formula assuming you are at level 70:
(Spell Level When Trained + 11) / 70 = DRP%
This penalty is then applied to the coefficient of the spell to reach the new value that will be multiplied with your total +healing. Keep this in mind when selecting spell ranks.
Functions exactly the same as it did in Classic. A single point of MP5 returns 12 mana every 60 seconds. Mana is returned on the energy ticker, every two seconds, and having a sizable pool of MP5 will be more significant in TBC than it was in Classic. Fortunately gear is itemized more efficiently and less cost benefit has to be done when stocking up on this critical stat.
This stat has undergone a slight change from Classic to TBC. To prevent the possible overuse of old gear going into TBC, Blizzard switched from whole percents to the rating system. In TBC it will take 22.08 crit rating at level 70 to gain 1% Crit. For healers the stat still provides the same 150% bonus to spells upon critical strike.
Spell Haste is a new stat introduced with T6 and is also on a rating system. This is an exceptionally good stat for Resto Shaman and will be your most sought after secondary stat upon introduction. In TBC you will gain 1% haste from 15.76 haste rating at level 70. The way this works is slightly counter intuitive. You will not gain 1% reduced casting speed per percent of Haste but rather you will cast one additional spell in the time it would normally take to cast one hundred.
As Shaman have no HoTs there are no haste breakpoints to be concerned with. As always the haste soft cap is reached when you reduce your GCD to one second, a change that was made in patch 2.4, for a value of 783 haste rating in TBC -which is impossible outside of Bloodlust/Heroism and Berserking for a base 2.5 second cast. The equation for haste is:
New Cast Time = Old Cast Time / (1 + (Haste Rating / 1576))
To find the amount of haste rating you will need to reach a desired cast time simply follow this equation:
Haste Rating = 1576 x ((Old Cast Time / Desired Cast Time) - 1 ))
With gear available in the game, it isn’t really possible to hit the haste soft cap without assistance from Bloodlust/Heroism and, even then, only while casting LHW. Since this is not an issue, and as Resto Shaman don’t revolve around the GCD as far as healing is concerned, the goal of Haste is to reduce the cast time of CH to the lowest possible value. This means that stacking Haste past the soft cap would be perfectly fine and it is not uncommon to see Shaman go full Haste gems and gear in Sunwell. Below is a small table of haste values needed to reduce Chain Heal’s cast time:
Haste Needed to Reduce Chain Heal Cast Time
Resto Shaman stat priority begins similarly to early Classic and ends with a new stat hierarchy with the introduction of Haste. However, gear being far better itemized facilitates easier gearing choices and running less overall cost benefit analysis when deciding what pieces of gear to choose amongst all the possible options. The best way to do that is by building out or following a HEP (Healing Equivalency Point) system.
It is useful to note that building your stat priority and EP values for healing can be more complicated than building EP values for DPS. Much of the value from stats revolve around the role you are filling, the healing roster you are a part of and the general mechanics of each encounter and trash pack(s). Below will be an outline of what I consider to be standard HEP values for the average Resto Shaman covering standard environmental factors. Treat them as a starting point and use them to help you build your own understanding of gear. Here are my recommendations for HEP derived from a stat's increase in Chain Heal's HPS and averaged, values with Blessing of Kings are in parentheses:
Remember that +healing, as in Classic, scales to be more efficient than MP5 at mana conservation throughout the expansion due to downranking and its interaction with the spell coefficient. A clever Resto Shaman can achieve much of the same benefit of a high MP5 gearset while also preserving the performance opportunity of stacking +healing through proper downranking. Conversely MP5 does not offer the same opportunity simply due to the amount of MP5 in the game and its comparatively weaker relationship with your spells.
This means that the more +healing you have, the more efficient your down ranked spells become relative to max rank. A complicated way of saying you improve the HPM of your spells through more +healing. A well-geared Resto Shaman can down rank more often than an intro-geared Resto Shaman. The curious result is that a well-geared Shaman consumes less mana/sec while providing greater throughput. Essentially that more +healing can conserve more mana than stacking MP5 can provide.
Support for these HEP values can be found in the TBC Resto Shaman Calc at the bottom of the front page. This calculator also includes a personalized EP calculator for your current stats or whatever goal stats you may have. They are derived from weighted HPS increase from CH and based around ballpark stat values for each tier. To find reasonable stat values I built out multiple sets on SeventyUpgrades, averaged, did some lowballing in places, and used those as a base. If you want to build your own HEP values you can follow the methodology outlined in the calculator or go to the Classic Shaman Discord to discuss with other players.
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 the fight goes on. Accordingly, the relative value of MP5 on any given encounter increases with the duration of that encounter. 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 we assume a given encounter 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 from fight to fight.
Remember that Int has a few perks over MP5 too:
- 80 Int = 1% Spell Crit
- 1 Int is .3 +healing with Nature’s Blessing
- Mana from Int 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. Finally, the more Int you have the longer you can retain a mana deficit allowing your MP5 to function for greater periods of time.
Static vs Effective Mana
It is important to know both the difference between Intellect and MP5 in addition to understanding the difference between your static vs effective mana pools. Your static mana pool is very simple; it is the value of mana gained from your total Int between your gear and buffs as well as any modifiers that may alter Int’s value. This mana is the resource available to you at the beginning of an encounter before any passive or active regeneration occurs.
Effective mana on the other hand is the total amount of mana you will have access to over the course of any length of time. To find this value simply set a time frame and then use that time to calculate how much mana you would get from your MP5, buffs, consumables and any abilities such as Mana Tide or Innervate that may be applied to you. To get the most value out of your effective mana pool it is important not to allow your mana to cap during a period of combat. If you do cap mana then you are wasting your passive regeneration at least and potentially delaying further application of your active mana regeneration at worst.
Use this information to help inform your gear, consumable usage and spell rank choice decisions in live raid settings. Knowing how to gauge your effective mana pool is critical in being a well informed player and should improve your ability to attenuate your mana usage within each encounter.
SPELL PRIORITY & ROTATION:
For Resto Shaman and healers in general there is really no hard rotation to adhere to. There is, however, a spell priority you will follow when addressing which of your healing spells best fits your current needs. Some good healing hygiene and general knowledge regarding each of your primary spells will be outlined in this section. Keep in mind that each healing spell fills a certain niche and are essentially mutually exclusive when paired with their ideal use case.
Our bread and butter and the most efficient heal in our arsenal.
Resto Shaman are key players in raid healing. We may not be as powerful as a Druid, Priest or the holy grail Paladin for direct tank healing, but with our CH we can do both effective tank and melee healing simultaneously. Additionally, our spell critical strikes have a chance to grant Ancestral Healing, a very useful physical damage mitigation buff. A crit can happen on any or all of the three CH segments. With CH, we can add a steady stream of anywhere between 1,500 and 4,000 (depending on the CH rank and player’s stats) to the tank every 2.5 seconds, even less when hasted, and additional healing to nearby targets.
Even spamming Chain Heal (Rank 4), you have the capability of pushing out insane throughput with a single spell. It is not uncommon for CH to comprise 90% or more of a top end Shaman’s casts. It is also important to never stop casting. If you find that you are casting at a target who is at full HP and all nearby players are as well, then cancel your cast and queue up another heal, but always keep casting. Sometimes it is even beneficial to let the heal land if you are uncertain your target or nearby targets will take damage in the final moments of the cast. This is why you have your arsenal of consumables and your pool of MP5.
To up and down rank effectively involves an acute knowledge of one’s mana consumption, encounter time, incoming damage and resource regeneration rate. Without comprehending these factors it can be easy to run yourself out of mana far before the fight is over. At such a point you will be rendered useless or be forced 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 mana 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 potential healing or effective overhealing. Both are bad, though overhealing less so.
When selecting ranks of CH keep this basic table in mind (set at intro gear level, 1800 +healing with Purification and Improved Chain Heal modifying the coefficient):
For further information on +heal scaling and other spell values check the Egregious TBC Resto Shaman Calculator.
The entire base CH coefficient is:
71.43% + 35.72% + 17.856% = 125%
Multiplied by Purification (10%) the coefficient is:
78.57% + 39.29% + 19.46% = 137.50%
Multiplied by Purification and Imp CH (20%) the coefficient is:
94.29% + 47.14% + 23.57% = 165%
Multiplied by Purification, Imp CH and T6 4pc (5%) the coefficient is:
99.00% + 49.50% + 24.75% = 173.25%
CH is, in its purest form, your main heal and it’s important to know those HPM numbers outlined above will continue to scale with a greater pool of +healing. You will use CH to heal tanks, melee and ranged. Although this is the case do not mindlessly spam a mid rank of CH. Think about what kind of mechanics comprise the encounter 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.
There are some useful aspects of gameplay to keep in mind while utilizing this spell. First, there is a known issue with the CH AI where if the spell bounces back to the caster on its first jump it will not jump to a final target. To mitigate this it is sometimes beneficial to heal oneself first to avoid potential jump loss. Additionally your Earth and Fire Elemental Totems do not count as party, group or raid members. This means if you land a CH on a player in your riad it will not jump to either elemental; however, if you heal the elemental first CH will jump to nearby party, group or raid members.
Trinket nomenclature is important. If a trinket says “direct healing spells” then each of the three CH segments counts toward a chance to proc the trinket. If the trinket states “each spell cast” then only the initial land of CH counts toward the proc chance and not the consecutive jumps.
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, your tank heal. One benefit of this spell is that it applies the talented buff Healing Way. Healing Way can stack up to three and increases your consecutive HW (not LHW) spells on that target by up to 18% -up from only base in Classic. It is a useful tool when tank healing on encounters where the primary threat is tank damage such as: Gruul, Magtheridon, Attumen the Huntsman, and many others. It is important to know that each point in Healing Way increases the chance to apply a stack by 33%. The buff itself will not be 33% less effective if you remove a point. You can therefore in a pinch pull a point out of this talent and still be left with a comfortable 66% proc chance.
Utilizing HW can be a challenge. Even though the spell is relatively mana efficient using only the max rank(s) of the spell can quickly deplete your mana pool. This means that you will need to have several ranks on your bar (see the KEYBINDS section) to address multiple damage potentials. A low, mid and high output HW is ideal as it should cover the breadth of possible tank damage. When considering what ranks to choose it is important to know how the spell coefficient and Downranking Penalty works. The longer a spell, the higher bonus you will receive from your +healing. Fortunately in TBC you will not be selecting HW ranks from below the full 85.71% coefficient; however, you will likely be using at least one rank that suffers the DRP. Talenting into Improved Healing Wave does not reduce the coefficient. So with that in mind, keep your lowest rank at HW R5 as that is when the coefficient has capped.
Using HW on the tank is good practice 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 a compensating 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 on the tank while raid healing to both refresh their Healing Way stacks and for a chance to proc AH. With the utilization of mouseover macros, your target frame functionality can now be used as a second 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 may result in less overall healing than a Shaman who spams CHr4 into the raid. However, if your raid has problems with tank healing, this method of healing is particularly beneficial.
Lesser Healing Wave
The Flash Heal and Flash of Light 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 heal the tank and proc Ancestral Healing ASAP.
In these three situations casting LHW becomes the prudent option. Encounters where LHW can be a handy option are: Maiden, Aran, Netherspite, Gruul, etc. 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.
Although we’ve gone over Earth Shield lightly in the What’s New in TBC section there is considerably more to know about this new spell. Let’s do a quick recap before we go into additional information on this new spell.
Recap: Earth Shield is a new pseudo-HoT and defensive ability Resto Shaman receive from their 41 point talent. It applies a shield with 6 charges to a single target that not only heals the target when struck for a base of 270 but also provides a 30% chance of ignoring spell interruption on the target while active. Only one elemental shield can be active on any target at a time. ES and WS cannot persist on the same target at the same time, so keep this in mind when casting ES on yourself or other Shaman. A mistake many Shaman make is to only think of this as a Main Tank ability and neglect to use it on melee, ranged or casters for certain mechanics.
If the target is taking consistent damage, Earth Shield will typically last for about 30 seconds before needing to be refreshed. The max rank version of this spell receives a coefficient of 28.6% and is based on the +healing of the player at the time of cast and not at time of proc. This means you can drop a Wrath of Air Totem, pop an on use +heal trinket and front load a stacked Earth Shield on a player before an encounter begins.
The healing done by Earth Shield is attributed to the recipient player and not the caster directly. This means that in addition to healing the target each point of damage healed will generate a base of .5 threat divided evenly among the mobs in range. This can be very valuable for a tank and a drawback for melee and casters, beware. Warriors and Ferals receive .7475 threat per point of healing due to the Defensive Stance and Defiance multipliers. The interaction is defined by this formula:
Earth Shield Threat = 50%(Base) * 130%(Def Stance) * 115%(Defiance)
Paladins receive additional threat through their passive ability, Spiritual Attunement, that restores mana equal to 10% of the healing they recieve. Each point of mana they restore will generate 0.5 further threat. However, unlike Warriors receiving extra threat only from Earth Shield healing, all healing will increase Paladin threat due to this mechanic.
Here is a bit of info on the pushback capabilities of each class; the following casters: Moonkin, Ele Shaman and SPriests have no talents to prevent spell pushback. Destro Locks have 70% pushback resist through talents, Ele Shaman can run four pieces of S3 arena gear for 50% and Mages have a range of pushback resist options ranging for 70 to 100%; however, there is no pushback resist for Frost spells. Consider this information when applying Earth Shield in non traditional situations.
Technically applying your ES to any caster provides the same reduction in pushback as no caster exceeds 100% reduction thereby wasting a percentage of the buff. Essentially, assuming all things equal, there is no reason applying your ES to any class should be a mathematical improvement overy any other. However, some classes may be running a crucial role, responsible for a critical mechanic in your raid, or simply are the highest DPS player and may be ideal candidates for ES. Additionally Destro Locks with ES can cap at 100% pushback reduction which can be extremely powerful in AoE scenarios.
Get in the habit of refreshing Water Shield. This is a critical ability that must be active on you at all times while in a PvE scenario, period. I commonly watch RShaman vods or review my own and the first thing that I notice is when WS falls off and is not refreshed for a length of time. I would suggest getting an addon such as TotemTimers or ShieldsUp to track this. An alternative is to create a WA that spams you every time it falls off. Or even better, do both.
A great habit to get into in TBC is refreshing WS every time you reposition or every time you have a spare GCD. Make this habitual. Think about it in the morning, in the evening, when you put your kids to bed. Water Shield (Rank 2) provides 50 MP5 while active. If that weren’t stupid enough on it’s own it also restores 200 mana every time a charge is consumed. Charges can be consumed either through direct damage, cleave, frontal cones, tail swipes, AoE and even some auras. As it requires no mana to cast, it does not trigger the 5SR so there is literally no drawback in expending a global on refreshing this critical ability. Finally, this ability counts as a successful spellcast and has a chance to proc [Insightful Earthstorm Diamond] so make sure to spam it during movement periods.
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.
- The Selfless Healer method where you hold NS for an emergency, and
- the Selfish Healer method where you use it off CD for raw throughput.
There is really no right or wrong way to utilize this 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 new 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.
In TBC as in Classic, downranking plays an important role in healer longevity and in effectively attenuating HPS to outgoing RDTPS without egregious overhealing. At the end of Classic during the TBC pre-patch Blizzard implemented a downranking penalty in the hopes of dissuading players from overutilizing extreme low ranks of spells. However, this effort didn’t work out entirely as intended and many of your spell’s lower ranks are still quite appealing from both a throughput and HPM perspective.
I will be continuously updating the TBC Resto Shaman Throughput and Efficiency Calculator where you will be able to play around with +heal values to assess spell values for yourself. In the meantime suffice it to say that you will be using several spell ranks across all of your main heals that will have been learned during Classic. I will list what I consider to be the ideal ranks of each of your main spells:
||Lesser Healing Wave
||Rank 1 (for HW stacks)
||(do not go below 5)
Use these ranks as a starting point and adjust them as you develop your healing style. It may be that you want different rank breakdowns for your particular raid environment or simply feel more comfortable utilizing different ranks. As you progress through the expansions and gain confidence in your mana consumption and regeneration you can uprank CHr3 up to 4 and uprank HWr7 to 8 as well. When selecting which ranks you want to run go to the Shaman Calc, input your +healing and look at the spell breakdowns. Ideally you select spells with a solid heal value and decent HPM in relation to the other spell ranks. You will want to select ranks that offer raw healing values that make sense in relation to types of damage done in your raid environment and not simply go based on the HPM value.
Keep in mind that you typically want to leave some space between each of your healing ranks as running back to back ranks of the same spell makes it extremely challenging to put both effectively into practice. If you do have certain spell ranks too close together you will notice that you tend to favor one over the other. If this is the case simply rebalance your spell rank selection.
Consumables are the most important preemptive measure to raiding a Resto Shaman can take outside obtaining pre-raid BiS. Hate them or love them, you aren’t bringing your full value to the raid without them. While in TBC there are about as many performance consumables for Shaman there are far less supplementary consumables that you will have to worry yourself with. This is a small blessing and simplifies the grinding and raid prep process considerably.
Take this time to familiarize yourself with what consumables you can consider “standard” for your typical progression raid:
- Elixir of Healing Power x20
- Elixir of Major Mageblood x20
- Elixir of Draenic Wisdom x20
- Super Mana Potion x20
- Brilliant Mana Oil x2
- Golden Fish Sticks x20
- Dark/Demonic Rune x20
- Haste Potion x10
- Flask of Distilled Wisdom
- Major Mana Potion x20
- Brilliant Wizard Oil x2
- Superior Wizard Oil x1
- Major Fire Protection Potion x5
- Major Frost Protection Potion x5
- Major Shadow Protection Potion x5
- Major Nature Protection Potion x5
- Major Arcane Protection Potion x5
- Major Holy Protection Potion x5
- Drums of Battle (Leatherworking)
Consumables listed in the Baseline Consumable section are those that you will have in your bag at all times and use on every encounter. They are the best and highest impact consumables you can be using. The Supplementary Consumables are generally a step down from their higher end counterparts or are situationally based. Resistance potions should obviously be used on encounters or in situations where you are looking to mitigate a specific type of damage. On the other hand the oils are situationally ideal depending on the balance of MP5 and +healing you are looking to strike. Your go-to here will be Brilliant Mana Oil.
If you are new to raiding, try to plan for 20 wipes. I find that number generally sufficient for new groups of players. Obviously you only need to stock up for your unique raid requirements so you may find yourself wanting to take more or less of all or some of these consumables. Remember to always be looking for the application of unique consumables in each encounter to further your gameplay.
In TBC the profession game is far more important for PvE performance than in Classic. For the first time each profession will grant the user a unique bonus only attainable through that specific profession. While each profession has a different unique bonus, some are vastly more valuable for certain classes and specs than others. The professions and their unique PvE benefits to the Restoration Shaman are as follows:
- Alchemy: [Alchemist Stone] (not worth)
- Blacksmithing: N/A
- Enchanting: Enchant Ring - Healing Power
- Engineering: N/A
- Jewelcrafting: [Kailee’s Rose]
- Leatherworking: [Windhawk] + [Drums of Battle]
- Tailoring: [Primal Mooncloth] & [Whitemend]
- Alchemy: [Redeemer’s Alchemist Stone]
- Blacksmithing: N/A
- Enchanting: Enchant Ring - Healing Power
- Engineering: [Primal-Attuned Goggles]
- Jewelcrafting: [Kailee’s Rose] + [Amulet of Flowing Life]
- Leatherworking: [Drums of Battle] + [Sun-Drenched Scale Chestguard] + [Sun-Drenched Scale Gloves]
- Tailoring: N/A
While nearly all of these professions offer something useful in one way or another to the Resto Shaman the professions that you will most concern yourself with are Alchemy, Leatherworking and Tailoring. Of these, Tailoring is by far the most valuable profession to have in the early game. Both sets of gear, [Primal Mooncloth] and [Whitemend], can be worn concurrently offering powerful bonuses, and the [Primal Mooncloth] set should last the wearer until Tier 5.
The Early Game
While Tailoring is your solid first choice for professions, Leatherworking is an unclear second. The benefit of Leatherwroking is relatively close to that of [Whitemend] in the early game and can be used to substitute [Primal Mooncloth] for the [Windhawk] set. Although this set is a modest loss of stats over [Primal Mooncloth] and will not hold up well throughout T4, it does provide the user access to [Drums of Battle] and [Drums of Restoration] which may be attractive options depending on your raid environment. Enchanting is always good as the healing power to rings will never be something to turn your head at. You can pick this profession up prior to either Tailoring or Leatherworking to enchant your early game rings. Jewelcrafting is a lesser appealing option compared to Enchanting as the benefit is only a few healing on a single gem. Alchemy with its exclusive trinket is not of much value in the early game unless you're going to be speed running or know you will require the extra mana from the equip bonus.
Conclusion: running Tailoring/Enchanting in the early game has the highest personal value if you can only run two profession. However, if you want to be of more use to your raid you can run Tailoring/Leatherworking for strong personal bonuses and [Drums of Battle] for your raid, or you can run Leatherworking/Enchanting taking a bit of personal stat loss, maintaining [Drums of Battle] and increasing your survivability by going [Windhawk] over [Primal Mooncloth]. A hidden bonus here is that [Windhawk] should be significantly easier to craft and if Phase 1 of TBC is short may save a significant amount of gold.
If you want to get really ridiculous with professions in TBC eking out every last ounce of performance, you can. To do this you would start off with Enchanting and Jewelcrafting (assuming JC gems will be in from launch) and enchant your rings with healing and craft a [Kailee's Rose]. Then you would drop them and pick up Tailoring to craft your [Primal Mooncloth] and Leatherworking for [Drums of Battle]. While this is the highest value you can get in the early game, doing a profession cycle like this will be extremely expensive and likely unattractive to the average player. However, if you're a player that chases every possible source of min/max potential then this would be the way to do it.
Your profession cycle will look like something like this:
- Enchanting [Prof 1] (optional before crafted profession to get your rings enchanted)
- Jewelcrafting [Prof 2] (optional before crafted profession to get JC only gem)
- Tailoring [Prof 1] (hold)
- Leatherworking [Prof 2] (hold)
The End Game
As you progress through T5 and into T6 you should have replaced all your original crafted gear with superior options leaving you the freedom to start preparing for the end game. As you leave T6 and enter Sunwell, Leatherworking will become your ideal primary profession. This will be convenient for those of you who chose to hold Leatherworking in the early game to provide Drums to your raid. Additionally, you will get your two BiS rings in Black Temple. This mean after you replace your [Primal Mooncloth] you can drop Tailoring and pick up Enchanting in order to complete your BiS rings for the rest of the game.
Your secondary end game profession is a toss up between Jewelcrafting and Alchemy. While having Engineering for your first forays into Sunwell will be a noticeable power boost, you should expect to replace your upgraded [Primal-Attuned Goggles] once you have Kil'jaeden on farm. Although Engineering will certainly have early impact in Sunwell, the most impact will be gained from either Jewelcrafting, from a throughput perspective with [Amulet of Flowing Life] and your JC exclusive [Kailee's Rose], or Alchemy, from a resource management standpoint with [Redeemer’s Alchemist Stone]. It is too Soon to say which profession will be ideal and I will update this section as we get a clearer picture of the difficulty and mana needs of our class througout Classic TBC. An easy way to think about it is if you want throughput and are not concerned with mana go JC, whereas if you are concerened with mana then you should go Alchemy.
Your profession cycle will look like something like this:
- Enchanting [Prof 2] (pick up once you get 2x [Blessed Band of Karabor] enchant them and drop. You are now done with Enchanting)
- Leatherworking [Prof 1] (Replace Tailoring or keep LW if you already had from the early game)
- Engineering [Prof 2] (if you want an early power boost in Sunwell and do not mind the expense)
- Jewelcrafting [Prof 2] (if you don't want to bother with Engineering or after you have replaced your [Primal-Attuned Goggles])
- Alchemy [Prof 2] (alternative to Engineering or JC if you are concerned with mana)
Something you will have to get used to when transitioning from retail is dropping four totems every two minutes, or just simply dropping totems at all. Totems are integral to the Shaman class and if you fail to drop them effectively you are a bad Shaman. A common mistake many Shaman make is not Totemic Recalling their totems as they are about to expire or as their party members out-range them. This is a mana loss overall and should be considered a mistake. If your party outranges your totems, reposition with them, recall your totems and replace. Do not simply replace them as you run. Same goes for when your totems are about to expire; simply recall and refresh to save on mana. An exception exists if you want to trade mana for an extra GCD.
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 DPSer will be all too eager to assist you in this way.
Get in the habit of thinking about your totems and their position in relation to your party members. Remember that your party members must be within 20-30 yards of the totem depending on your spec to receive a benefit from them.
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
If you don’t already have one from retail or Classic, I would heavily advise downloading an addon to help with management of your totems. Addons like TotemTimers are all-in-ones; however, you can build your own custom set of totem times through WeakAuras, the greatest addon to ever exist. Whatever you do make sure to scale your totem trackers to a decent size and place them in an area of your UI that you are familiar with tracking. If you’re building out a new UI or are new to the class make sure these notifications have some prime real estate on your screen.
SHAM 103 – 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 the Wrath of Air and Tranquil Air Totems. In TBC Shaman obtain a new caster/healer totem in Wrath of Air. This totem becomes the Windfury of the caster/healer group(s). Make sure it’s down 100% of the time in those parties unless you are running TA for threat.
In addition to direct performance totems there are utility totems as well. If you’re not using Tremor Totem during fear mechanics, resist totems during high periods of specific elemental damage, or cleansing totems to remove debuffs… you’re an idiot.
SHAM 301 – Totem Twisting
Sometimes it can be worthwhile to swap quickly between totems of the same element, a tactic known as “totem twisting.” While demanding on both your mana pool and your attention span, this tactic can be particularly effective with Windfury Totem as it applies a 10 second buff that persists even if the totem is replaced. 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.
In TBC onward, twisting will fall more into the realm of the Enhancement Shaman in your raid; however, if you are running particular melee heavy raid comps you may be in charge of a melee group and be asked to twist. For the most part Resto Shaman will be in charge of caster or healer groups where twisting will be limited to utility and not DPS boosting. In these scenarios the extent of your twisting may be monitoring your KTM and twisting TA if a Mage or other player is rising too high on threat.
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 useful tool in kiting/running from loose trash in an instance.
- Stoneclaw Totem: Good to drop before Earthbind in order to take loose mobs/adds 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.
- Earth Elemental Totem: Use this if for some reason shit is hitting the fan. Be careful using this in a raid setting as you could easily mess your tanks up.
- Frost Resistance Totem: Very beneficial to have down if you are a healer/ranged DPS group during an encounter 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 or predictable add spawns.
- Fire Nova Totem: A nice addition to nuking adds waves.
- Magma Totem: A nice addition to add/trash DPS if you have the mana/GCD.
- Fire Elemental Totem: Use this as a Resto Shaman to help burst adds or trash.
- 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.
- Wrath of Air Totem: REQUIRED 100% uptime while in a caster or healer group. Exception: NR/TA
- Nature Resistance Totem: Very beneficial for fights involving high amounts of Nature damage.
- Tranquil Air Totem: Optimal while in a group where overthreating the tank is an issue. 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.
- Fire Resistance Totem: Very 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.
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.
Despite being Elemental in this video, you can clearly see how much of the room I am able to view with my minimalist UI. All important CD information is displayed on my bars and superfluous keybinds and bars are hidden. I recommend blocking your CDs by category or duration so that you can easily identify what you have available at any given time.
Notice how the upper portion of my screen is unobstructed and I have a clear view of what is happening on either side. 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 (I prefer this raidframe)
- Shadowed Unit Frames
- Blizzard Raid Frames and Units Frames
Spend some time on your UI and get to know the ins-and-outs of your chosen unit frame. In addition to a unit frame, there are several other addons that are crucial to be an effective healer. Those addons are:
- WeakAuras (mandatory)
- Clique or mouseover macros (mandatory)
- Bartender2 or Dominos
- BigWigs or DBM
You can, of course, download more addons as you see fit but these cover the basics of what are beneficial for healers. I consider WeakAuras mandatory as the level of customization and information availability it offers is unparalleled. Learning how to make quality WeakAuras alone can raise your level of gameplay from average to excellent. I also consider either Clique or mousovers mandatory for PvE healing as the reduction in lag time caused by constantly clicking can be drastic over the course of a single encounter or raid.
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 if they have formatted their keybinds 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.
- Orange: Signifies keys that are slightly less efficient than Green.
- Red: Signifies keys that are incredibly hard to hit precisely.
Your frequently used abilities should be bound to Green keys and the less frequently used abilities to the Orange or Red keys. If you’re a Gladiator or used to high end PvP you may elect to free up the Q, E and possibly S keys for additional bindings. I don’t recommend doing this in PvE as it is common to maneuver your character while mousing over a target frame and the additional movement keys make this far easier. I also subscribe to the philosophy that you should never remove functionality from the game, only add, and by taking away these movement options you have removed functionality.
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 5)
- Chain Heal (Rank 3/4)
- Chain Heal (Rank 1)
- Healing Wave (Rank 12)
- Healing Wave (Rank 10)
- Healing Wave (Rank 7/8)
- Healing Wave (Rank 1)
- Lesser Healing Wave (Rank 7)
- Lesser Healing Wave (Rank 5)
- Water Shield
- Earth Shield
- Mana Potion
- Dark/Demonic Rune
- Nature's Swiftness
- Remove Poison/Disease
- Purge (way higher for PvP)
- Earth Shock (Rank 1)
- Trinket Slot 1
- Trinket Slot 2
- Mana Spring Totem
- Mana Tide Totem
- Poison Cleansing Totem
- Fire Resistance Totem
- Healing Stream Totem
- Disease Cleansing Totem
- Frost Resistance Totem
- Searing Totem
- Fire Nova Totem
- Magma Totem
- Fire Elemental Totem
- Strength of Earth Totem
- Tremor Totem
- Earthbind Totem
- Stoneclaw Totem
- Earth Elemental Totem
- Windfury Totem
- Wrath of Air
- Tranquil Air Totem
- Nature Resistance Totem
- Grace of Air Totem
- Grounding Totem (way higher for PvP)
- Lighting Shield
- Frost Shock (Rank 1)
- Totemic Recall
One thing that will improve your ability to play the game as well as other classes is to develop a binding schema. For me R is always an interrupt of some kind, tildae a Purge/Dispel, V is always racial, C always my PvP trinket, etc. Again, only you know what works for you, but try to build out a similar scheme for yourself to avoid confusion and to increase your ability to play alts without confusing your muscle memory adjusting and readjusting to your keybinds.
If you want further information on keybinding schemas specifically for WoW, I heavily recommend watching this video. I find this the best information ever compiled for keybinding in any game. This video subscribes to the Gladiator school of thought regarding strafeing keys. I do not personally reccomend new PvE healers to unbind their strafe keys to create new bindings; however, if you are familiar with this playstyle or are looking to get into PvP, you might consider doing so.
This may be more of an esoteric section dedicated to narrow shades of meaning than anything concrete you may want to walk away with. That being said, I believe there to be two distinct healing styles that surround all healers and by function the Resto Shaman. As far as I am concerned, there exists the Throughput Healer and the Clutch Healer. I could go into endless depth on these two distinct styles of healing but this overview should approach the major facets of these distinct styles.
The Throughput Healer
This type of healer is aggressive, active and broadband. Aggressive in that they are always looking for the maximum healing possible per cast, active in that they would rather expend resources than suffer idle time, and broadband in that they evaluate the entire raid’s damage intake simultaneously in order to inform their decision on where exists the highest throughput available. This type of healer is the archetypal “parse lord” who ranks well despite assignment, encounter mechanics and overall healing roster competition. This healer is always attempting to spend every single GCD during its highest value throughput window from moment to moment.
The Throughput Healer will queue a heal on the backend of another with the goal of mitigating the most possible damage, not necessarily the most lethal damage. They are attuned, however, to their raider’s unique playstyle habits, to the most significant incoming raid damage, comfortable managing resource waste, and capable of attenuating their resources while achieving the highest possible raw output across an encounter. Overhealing is often a notable factor in the learning curve of a throughput healer. Unfortunately it is also an indicator of an over-exuberant healer who needs more time to mature in the role.
The Clutch Healer
This healer is systematic, calculated and cost-benefit oriented in practice. Systematic in that they maintain no less than the base output of healing required per encounter, calculated in that they are always prepared to identify and address an imminent flaw in execution, and cost-benefit in that they would rather spend inefficiently in both time and mana to achieve a high impact play. While this player is also consistently participating in each encounter from a raw output perspective they are more concerned in the moment with mitigating a potential fatal error in execution and strategy than their possible throughput potential.
While there is certainly crossplay between these two styles, I find that healers tend to fall into one of these two categories more than the other. How I define them is based on how they spend those final fractions of a second before cast completion while determining whether to cancel and while planning their next cast. Are they thinking about maximizing their throughput or are they thinking about a potential save? The answer to that question demonstrates what type of healer they are.
Both types of heler can be found in either the tank or raid healer role and any assignment in between. Knowing what type of healer you are will help you and your raid more effectively utilize your healing on each encounter and may help bring self-awareness to some of your shortcomings within the raid. Although it is possible to run a raid with only one type of healer represented in your roster, a raid will run far more effectively if you have a balance between the two. What type of healer you are is not set in stone. If you see that no one operates in a clutch capacity then become the clutch healer. If you see too many members of your healing roster always looking for the save and your raid suffers from a low healing ceiling, then become the throughput healer.
With the healing roster size dropping down to between five and seven players per raid, it is possible to become intimately familiar with each healer on your roster and learn their playstyle habits. A good healer should strive to compliment any healing roster they belong to and mould their play to fit the needs of their raid. Be aware of what type of healing you are naturally inclined to provide and be open to modifying your playstyle to suit your roster’s specific needs.
In TBC raid size has been fixed at twenty five players for the vast majority of end game raid content. The drop in raid size means that you’re not likely to see more than five Shaman in any given raid, one per group. Additionally, Elemental and Enhancement Shaman are more well received in TBC and it is likely that anywhere between two to three of your Shaman will be DPS of either spec. This means that Resto Shaman for the most part are free to occupy a caster group or the iconic Group 5 healer group. Enhancement will take over the brunt of twisting and be the best melee group choice for Shaman whereas Elemental will be the best caster DPS group option due to Totem of Wrath. However, there are still three basic group types that you may encounter during your travels in TBC.
If you are in a melee group either someone hates you, you are running a less than optimal number of Shaman or you are running two or more melee groups and don’t have enough Enhancement Shaman… again because someone hates you. In this scenario you may be asked to twist for performance reasons and may be expected to run the Twisting spec outlined in one of the earlier sections. In raid, your positioning and totem setup will be as follows:
- Positioning: melee cluster or very close by to your assigned group
- Air Totem: WF to GoA/TA twisting depending on threat
- Earth Totem: SoE
- Water Totem: MST or HST depending on mechanics and encounter time
- Fire Totem: dealer’s choice
A more traditional group assignment in TBC for a Resto Shaman; however, suboptimal as we do not have access to Elemental’s Totem of Wrath. The benefits of this group may be that you receive a Boomkin for extra crit or a runnover SPriest for added mana regen, though they are likely to be with Group 5. In this group your positioning and totem setup will be as follows:
- Positioning: ranged near your assigned group
- Air Totem: WoA or TA depending on threat
- Earth Totem: dealer’s choice
- Water Totem: MST
- Fire Totem: dealer’s choice
The ideal group and one best loved by all dedicated healers. This group is typically comprised of the best of your healing roster and a SPriest -if your raid really loves you. In this group you will typically never have to worry about dropping TA and can coast on running only two totems for the majority of most encounters. Obviously any utility required in the Earth and Fire slot means you fill it. If your raid is running a SPriest in this group mana will be less of an issue as well. There is some debate as to whether a SPriest is ideal in the primary caster group or in Group 5; however, if healing ever becomes an issue in an encounter and you only have the one SPriest, an easy case can be made to move them into this group. In Group 5 your positioning and totem setup will be as follows:
- Positioning: basically wherever you want
- Air Totem: WoA
- Earth Totem: dealer’s choice
- Water Totem: MST
- Fire Totem: dealer’s choice
Threat works exactly the same way as it did in Classic. Each point of healing generates half a point of threat divided evenly among all mobs present. While effective healing does generate threat overhealing does not. This covers basic threat for healing in TBC. However, it is important to know, as mentioned above, that Earth Shield applies its threat generation to the recipient of the spell and not the Shaman caster. Warriors and Ferals receive .7475 threat per point of healing due to the Defensive Stance and Defiance multipliers. The interaction is defined by this formula:
Earth Shield Threat = 50%(Base) * 130%(Def Stance) * 115%(Defiance)
50%(Base) * (1 + (30%(Def Stance) + 15%(Defiance)))
Paladins receive additional threat through their passive ability, Spiritual Attunement, that restores mana equal to 10% of the healing they recieve. Each point of mana they restore will generate one half point further threat.
Despite threat functioning identically between Classic and TBC the relationship healers have with threat has drastically changed. Reduced raid size in TBC means a proportional reduction in DPS, healers and support tanks. Additionally, tanks are more likely to be deep Prot than dual wielding threat monsters, reducing overall threat generation compared to Classic. DPS also generate the same or less threat as they are doing the same or lesser damage than Classic thanks to the loss of world buffs. However, healers are doing on average two times the effective healing they were in Classic raids, generating far more threat.
This increase in raw healing is multivariable: new ranks of healing spells, new relationships between how certain talents interact with spell coefficients, the increase in overall raid damage, a boom in +healing, and finally the reduction in healing roster size forcing higher performance from each individual healer. All factors considered, healers are at much higher risk of generating sticky aggro on pulls and even potentially pulling off tanks, experienced or otherwise, in early stages of play.
Always be wary of initial aggro on pulls, any add phases an encounter may have and always watch your threat meter. It is inadvisable to have less than two points in Healing Grace, especially in the dungeon, Heroic and Kara period of the game, as threat in TBC is far more relevant to healers than it was in Classic. Remove points in Healing Grace at your discretion and always monitor your threat meter.
Don’t suck ass.
REFERENCE MATERIAL AND WORKS:
Skyhoof’s EJ Shaman Material
Skyhoof: How to Heal Like a Pro
[Mechanic Primer] - Haste - How it works, and what that means.
Bokomatic EJ Post on the DRP