So the patch has arrived and with it have come a load of lovely new talents, buttons, mechanics, and so on! The fun of MoP has officially begun!
Lots of people seem to be confused, or seem to be having problems adapting to the new healing environment we find ourselves in. With that in mind, here are some tips from a Shaman who hit the ground running. They are organised as follows, I hope you gain something from reading my thoughts;
- Mana Management
- Gemming/Enchanting, etc…
- What You Should Take Into Mists of Pandaria
With all that in mind, let’s take a peek into what’s happening now, and what it will mean for you in Mists of Pandaria!
So with the introduction of a cap on your total mana (100k, or 102k with the 2% bonus from the meta gem), you now have to be careful. Why?
Because Intellect no longer gives you any regen or mana at all.
Yeah. This is a big change. Mana management is now an important thing, so here are some tips;
- Use Mana Tide at 75% and then on cooldown. It will help a lot. Having more than one Resto Shaman helps immensely. Don’t underestimate the utility of maximising your Mana Tide gains.
- Use your cheap spells. Riptide and Healing Wave cost bugger all, and heal for a lot more than you were used to in pre-5.0.4. I haven’t had to use more than 2-3 Greater Healing Waves per fight since the patch, and we were doing Heroic Madness last week.
- Healing Rain and Chain Heal cost a crapton of mana. Don’t use unless you can maximize the healing done from them.
- Telluric Currents! Is naff. Costs 1.4k, returns 2k. Not really worth the glyph slot. Don’t rely on it for regen – instead, be more careful in how you spend that mana in the first place.
Gemming and Enchanting
With the change to how Intellect affects your regen (i.e. it now doesn’t), Intellect is no longer the Number One Brainlessly Stackable Stat. You will need Spirit. You may need quite a lot of it.
- Blue gem slots can have Sparkling Ocean Sapphires in quite happily now. You will not gimp yourself by gemming for Spirit.
- Intellect is still a damn good stat, so you won’t usually want to replace Red gem slots with Purple.
- The Spirit trinkets are very good. Heart of Unliving is as awesome as ever, and Reflection of the Light is good if you reforge some of the Spirit out (because you don’t want too much Spirit either).
- If all else fails; Enchant for Heartsong.
- Crit and Mastery are our most powerful throughput stats when you can’t get Intellect. Crit has the added bonus of being the only throughput stat which is mana-positive, and it may be more attractive than Mastery because of it. Haste lags a long way behind, in comparison.
- In terms of gemming, enchanting and reforging, you’ll get good all-round utility from going 50-50 on Crit and Mastery. If your party’s health is lower than 65%, you will want to start seriously considering Mastery as your most wanted secondary stat.
- If that isn’t true, Crit will be what you want in progression above even Mastery.
- Your stat choice should depend on several things, including the spell distribution you use. This varies hugely, and to min/max you will be forced to make a judgement for yourself. There is no single “right” way to do it.
- That being said, Glyphs will also affect what you want, since they change your spell distribution!
Most of the talents are somewhat anaemic in terms of raw throughput. There are some which are optimal (but only just) and some with are clear winners for the moment (Blizzard; please don’t nerf Healing Tide. PLEEEEEASE).
- Call of the Elements is the only spell in its tier which can feasibly increase your output. However, it’s probably best kept for utility most of the time. In principle, you could use it to reset your Healing Stream cooldown at 15s, but that’s not much gain. Spend the time you would use working out where CotE is best used instead focusing on judging your heals better.
- Healing Tide Totem is the outright winner of its tier; it doesn’t have the AoE limitation of Conductivity and it has the benefit over Ancestral Guidance of being fire-and-forget rather than an active ability.
- Ancestral Guidance is difficult to use well. The duration is rather short, so you have to focus on getting as much throughput in 10 seconds as possible. Not very easy (if you’re using it, don’t glyph Riptide as that’ll decrease your burst from the frontloaded section). Also, even at max throughput you don’t get as much HPS as Healing Tide Totem; the best I’ve seen is half what HTT did on an equivalent fight.
- Echo of the Elements is awesome, but be aware that you should only be using it on fights where you are extremely unlikely to overheal if it procs. Examples; Spine (Normal or Heroic), Parasite healing on Madness Heroic, Baelroc (any). Ancestral Swiftness is better in general as a passive, and the extra button is useful. Also note that this procs off Chain Heal. Extremely. Useful.
- Use Elemental Mastery if you can think of a good way to use it. Example; using it as a throughput cooldown in the lightning phase on Hagara Heroic. If you’re not using it at a definite place on a fight, it’s probably worth going for Ancestral Swiftness instead.
- Stone Bulwark Totem is best in its tier if you’re not trying to soak a specific big-damage spell. If you are, try Astral Shift instead.
The interesting thing about the new Glyphs is that a lot of the time, it’s a legitimate action to choose not to have any. There are “fillers” (read: utility glyphs) which won’t affect your healing but might save your ass in some other way. We’ll cover healing glyphs first, then utility.
- Glyph of Riptide is interesting. As I already mentioned, it’s probably best not to use it in conjunction with Ancestral Guidance. It’s also not always going to be a throughput increase. If you have been using Riptide as a useful instant heal, then you’re going to have to adapt a bit to the glyphed version; the HoT is the heal part. This glyph is usually best in situations where overhealing doesn’t matter or isn’t going to happen (either hard progression for your team or fights like Spine Heroic). The glyph is also good in situations where you will be moving a lot while there is damage going out (like Hagara Heroic). Try not to spam Riptide too much, since it will burn mana fast if you’re not careful. Another benefit of the glyph is that you can theoretically achieve higher uptime on Tidal Waves, which in turn could translate into an extra HPS increase. This is certainly true on fights where your Riptides don’t overheal (again, like Spine), but in the general case it’s probably not true.
- Glyph of Chaining – woah, this is a doozie. OK, so the cooldown sucks BUT you gain a lot of spread AoE ability out of the glyph. For very spread fights such as Blackhorn (Normal or Heroic) or Morchok Heroic it might well be a boost, since your casts can be sparse but frequent. On any fight where you will want to **spam** Chain Heal or will always be near lots of people, opt out. Example: Ultraxion, Spine, Zon’ozz. My advice with this glyph is to experiment with it; if you’re noticing that you’re often hitting the spell while it’s still on CD, unglyph it. If not, use some common sense 🙂 Also note that the cooldown does not stop the Echo of the Elements proc! This can be very useful on 10’s Madness Heroic.
- Glyph of Spiritwalker’s Grace is good on fights where you’ll use SWG a lot. Extra movement time equates to more throughput if and when you need it. Not the best glyph out there, but if you’ve got a free slot it’s worth it.
- Glyph of Healing Stream Totem – this one is also good; also situational. Since you should be dropping Healing Stream Totem all the bloody time, you don’t have to worry about it’s coverage; just be aware that it’s most useful on fights with Fire, Frost or Nature AoE damage – when the damage is single target and spread about a lot, this becomes less useful. Good example of a place to use it; Madness of Deathwing.
- Glyph of Ghost Wolf – supposedly mandatory in PvP, it can and will save yo’ ass on fights like Heroic Hagara, where good movement and immunity to slows are both essential. Absolutely recommended for such fights, but otherwise probably just a filler.
OK, the short version: be bloody careful about what your spell distribution is. You have more short cooldowns than before; track them, and optimize your uptime. For the win.
- Riptide, when unglyphed, is just as awesome as it was before. You should sill be maximizing uptime. Do. It.
- Glyphed Riptide – if you’ve glyphed Riptide, you have no excuse whatsoever for maintaining a significant uptime on the HoT (and Tidal Waves, too). Avoid acting like a Druid (spamming it to exclusion of all else), but do cast a lot – as much as your mana can reasonably allow.
- Healing Rain – Holy damn, this is expensive! Use, but use sensibly. You can’t afford to have 100% uptime any more. Don’t expect to ever. Just sayin’. Still as good for throughput as it was, more so if you are using Conductivity.
- Chain Heal – As good in terms of power as it was, but more expensive than you’re used to, relatively speaking. Again, you won’t want to spam this for long periods. This is one reason the Glyph isn’t exactly unreasonable. Chain Heal also now hits 4 targets as baseline; you don’t need to use a glyph to optimize your throughput.
- Healing Wave – is more powerful than you have been used to throughout the later stages of Cataclysm. It’s not the only spell you will cast, but it’s back as your “standard” heal. It’s also extremely mana efficient.
- Healing Surge – I haven’t done the maths yet, but this heal probably doesn’t have the upper hand over Greater Healing Wave any more. I like to think of HS as an oshit spell, and GHW as a big bomb. Don’t use either of them more than you have to, or you’ll go OOM fast.
- Cooldowns – plan when to use your cooldowns. They are not oshit buttons because you now have so many that if you pop them all in an emergency, you’ll still be trying to click them when everyone has died. Plan, as tightly as possible, when to press those buttons. You can have as few as two (three when Ascendance comes along) or as many as… well, lots!
What You Should Take Into Mists of Pandaria
There is only one genuinely essential thing you need to take into the new expansion; what you want to use, how you want to heal, what stats and glyphs and talents you want? They all depend on the fight. If you want to know what’s “best”, then use your head and think about what you will be doing. Discuss it. Find what suits you, your team, and the encounter best. Do it properly, and you will do well.
Perhaps I should elaborate a little; Some talents will be throughput increasers. Other times, you will find that one particular talent shines on a fight. It’s entirely up to you to find out which talent and when. Since it depends so much on your own style and team, I can but give you guidance. Furthermore, your stat choices will no longer boil down to one or two stats to stack blindly. The model that we see now, which is the model we will be running on in Mists of Pandaria, is the one that you must make concious choices about what fits you best. That is inestimably important, and uniquely new in WoW.