Wednesday, December 31, 2008

"A plague o' both your houses!”

Welcome back to this weeks Way of the Totem. Been busy trying to secure a permanent domain and build a real website, so been quite the busy healer.

Today I'd like to talk about our next stop in Naxxrammas.The Plague Quarter

All in all this isn't a very difficult zone for us of the healer persuasion. The fights are pretty straight forward. First on the list is my man Noth. Noth was one of the greatest wizards and alchemists of the Kirin Tor. Now, he's an emo necromancer with some loot to be had! This is a cleanse fight more then anything else. His Curse needs to be removed asap. If you fail to remove it, he will set his Wrath upon the raid, most likely causing in a bunch of dead folk. Other then that, just heal, cleanse as quickly as possible, heal some more.

Here's a video of the fight.

After you supply him with the razor blade to cut himself, you can gorge on the loot pinata for casters that he is. First up these rather awesome Handgrips of the Foredoomed Great stat distribution if your mp5 is already healthy. The crit and haste make this a loveable choice for both DPS and Healing. In the same vein you'll also find Ring of the Fated No mp5, but comes loaded with crit and haste. If you don't mind wearing cloth you can look for Robes of Hoarse Breaths Amazing stats for us, you just might have to fight off the priests as they learn mp5 pulls slightly ahead of spirit now >.< Thats really the only things I can see you wanting unless you are gun-ho about stacking Spirit.

Next up on the list is Mr. shuffle himself. Heigan the Unclean

Stap on your blue suede shoes because its dancing time! Heigan is a very very easy fight. Phase one stand on the platform. Heal heal heal cleanse heal cleanse cleanse heal. That's it, no seriously that's it. Phase 1 melee will be moving on the floor between eruptions so just cleanse and heal them and get ready for phase 2. Phase 2 he teleports to the platform, so everyone has to run. Stay with the marked people, use Riptide as much as possible and you can even drop a Healing Stream Totem in the middle of the running path so people can still be healed while running. After phase 2 is over, phase 1 begins again and you can make your way back up to the platform. Here's a video of the fight for you.

He doesn't have much in the way of interesting loot for us, but he does have Necrogenic Belt. Lets face it, that's a damn attractive belt.

After the unclean one is dead, and you are done parsing out loot, you can head through the gauntlet and make your way through arguably, the roughest fight in the game. Loatheb (his name is an anagram of Healbot btw =P) This. Fight. Stinks. This is a healers nightmare. Necrotic Aura makes this fight annoying, but gives me justification for haste! This ability gives you 3 seconds to heal. That's all you get. If you heal while the debuff is active it will have 0 effect. My suggestion to you is as follows. If you are stacking haste and have your chain heal around 2 seconds, you won't mind this fight nearly as much. Just wait for the debuff timer to hit 2 seconds and begin your cast. when the debuff wears off you should have chain heal cast and can be ready to start another one. If you have just enough haste to push 2 second chain heals, you can get 2 heals off in the time you have before the debuff is applied again. Haste lets you pile on the heals in this 3 second window, and for fights like this, it's well worth having a healthy chunk. In between the healing you should be helping out on dps, Put up Flame Shock early and keep it refreshed and throw in a Lava Burst before Flame Shock wears off. Earth Shield is pretty much useless here, so I wouldn't even bother with it to be honest. Mana Spring Totem is the way to go here too, since Healing Stream Totem is fairly worthless in this fight. Once the tank has established aggro, I would pop your Heroism / Bloodlust early so that when the debuff timer is off at 5 minutes into the fight you can blow another one (if there's a second shaman) and really go to town on this guy. Watch when Deathbloom goes off and note who is lower then others so you know who to start your chain heal on. When Inevitable Doom is cast, just be aware, soon as the healing debuff wears off you may need to pop a potion / lock health stone on your self as your healing. Lastly healers, avoid getting the Fungal Creep buff. Save this for dps as the more dps they can dish out, the shorter the fight lasts.

So remember, Fast efficient heals in that 3 second window, and light dps when the healing debuff is active.

Here's a movie for the fight to explain the rest of the ecnounter a bit more.

Once he's down, after what will be a test of your nerves as a healer, you get a shot at the Protector Shoulders and if you don't mind a little spirit Fungi-Stained Coverings can be yours for the taking.

Loatheb will try your patience as a healer but if you can make it past him you can make it past anything. That's it for this weeks way of the totem. Happy New year and Happy Healing!


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

"Are you saying that I put an abnormal brain into a seven and a half foot long, fifty-four inch wide GORILLA? IS THAT WHAT YOU'RE TELLING ME? "

Welcome back to way of the totem. Today I'd like to talk about the next wing in Naxxramas, The Construct Quarter.

The Construct Quarter is the second wing you should be looking at after the Arachnid Quarter just based on it's difficulty. This wing contains four bosses as opposed to the three bosses in the other quarters. The trash leading up to the first boss is a series of Abominations, Slimes and Giants. There's nothing really special to note here on the 10 man versions, just simply heal heal heal.

The first boss up is the infamous Patchwerk This cuddly ball of joy and sunshine is going to be your best friend, and by that I mean you'll hate this fight. He hits like a truck and not only smacks the main tank around, but hits another member of the raid for an obscene amount using his Hateful Strike. the target will be the person in the raid with the most health who is not the Main Tank. He is a healing and dps check. My suggestions for you are as follows. Firstly, don't worry about any other totems besides Wrath of Air and Mana Spring. Keep Earth Shield on the Hateful Strike tank. Keep Riptide up at all times on the Hateful tank, and hopefully you have your Glyph of Lesser Healing Wave in, because making that hit like Healing Wave on your ES target, combined with Riptide and liberal use of Tidal Force will keep the Hateful tank alive. Damage on the main tank is a lot more even, so as long as you keep the OT topped off, you should be fine. Patchy does have an enrage timer, and you do not want to let him get there, so after the main tank has established aggro, blow your Heroism / Bloodlust and let the raid burn him down like so much firewood.

Here's a vid of the fight / strategy

After the lug topples over, you can start poking through Patch's pockets. He's actually got a fair amount in the way of viable healing pieces. The mail shoulders are a solid piece, giving you all the necessary shaman stats while adding in some haste. If you are looking for crit, These Leather Gloves or Cloth Boots will server you well (despite having spirit, but we'll forgive them for now). Lastly he drops a really nice dagger. Good spell power, decent stats, crit and haste. It would make a solid pickup.

Next on the hit list is Grobbulus. First question on the list, and one I've been trying to figure out since naxx was released... HOW THE HELL DOES HE SEE???... well, right, anyways. He's a fairly straightforward boss in theory, but execution will more then likely need practice. The things you need to be aware of as a healer are only a few in number. Firstly make sure you are behind Grobby so you don't spawn a slime. Damage on the tank may spike as slimes get to them before
an OT an pick it up. The ability of Mutating Injection has two main points for you as a healer. Firstly this places a debuff that shows up as a disease on the target, it can be removed, however under NO circumstances should you cleanse it. After 10 seconds it spawns a poison cloud, if you dispel it the cloud will spawn immediately and bork the placement, and cause your raid to suffer. This means if you are running Decursive, turn it off. The second point to be aware of is when the cloud spawns. The person spawning the cloud will take a decent chunk of damage, they should be topped off before they go running off and topped back off when they run back in. Other then that move with the raid, top off the cloud people, pop Heroism / Bloodlust at the 50% mark and collect loot.

Here's a video of the fight and strategy.

Grob drops a couple really nice pieces for us. He has a nice set of Gloves, they are cloth, but are still very nice as far as stats are concerned. If you need crit raiting he has a decent Neck Piece as long as you don't mind a little spirit. Now the item you've all been waiting for (I know I still want it =P) This lovely Mace. Great stats, haste, MP5 and goooood spell power. This is a nifty little item to pick up and if it drops, you'll probably want to clean up your drool then bid =)

Next batter in the line-up is Gluth. I have a love hate relationship with this fight. In theory he's a simple fight. You will see three grates on the floor after you run through the pipe. Zombie Chow will spawn from them and start eating people's faces until someone assigned to kite them grabs them. You will most likely have to drop an Earthbind Totem in front of one of the grates to help slow down the chow while a hunter hits up Frost Trap on another. Paladins make great kiters for Gluth's adds and can lay down a consecrate between the middle grate and the raid. You will have to make sure that not only are the tanks getting healed, but so is the kiter. The zombie chow stacks a debuf that increases the physical damage taken. Making sure they don't hit the tank and keeping the kitting tank alive and topped off. Every minute and a half or so Gluth will cast Decimate reducing everyone's life to 5% of their total and summoning all zombies to him. Your first priority as a healer is to top those tanks off! The zombie's drop aggro so you should have enough time to top the tanks off. After your tanks are good switch immediately to the raid, Chain Heal as if your life depends on it. My trick here, is I center my first few chain heals on the healers. The raid is going to be clumped up so you should have an easy time geting 4 targets per cast. When the raid is good, toss down a magma totem to clean up the zombie chow and then proceed until Gluth is a smear on the floor. I love this fight because it's fun when you are trying to get everything set and learn the encounter. I hate the fight because it makes my mana cry big man tears. Conserve your mana, watch your heal targets and make sure you have all your consumable.s

Here's a vid on that fight.

Once he's down for the count, you can rummage through the corpse for some really happy fun loot. First of all, he drops your tier pieces, and not just one, he has a chance at one of three! Your Shoulders, Chest, and Legs. Secondly he drops one heck of a Ring, Neck, Cape and Belt. Chances are you're getting something off this undead puppy.

Now on to our last boss of the wing Thaddius

Thad the man is a Flesh titan, and the first one introduced to the game way back in vanilla and is where fights like Mechano lord in Mechanar draw their inspiration from. Thad has two adds in phase 1, Stalagg and Feugen Listen for the raid healer to assign out sides, normally melee one side, casters another. You should stick with melee so you can use your chain heal. Be advised that these adds every 20 seconds or so will trade tanks between platforms, so be ready to switch out your Earth Shield between both tanks. Treat the tweedle dee and tweedle dumb like romeo and juliet try to down them at the same time, but conserve your cooldowns for the big guy, you'll need him. There's really not much to healing this fight, in theory you shouldn't be tossing out too too much healing so your mana should be fine, My suggestion to help alleviate your healing some is make sure you keep Healing Stream Totem down. I wouldn't bother with Earth Shield on the tank Riptide and Chain heal will do the trick. Other then that just be prepared to move around a bit.

Here's the Thaddius strat video

It's a pretty easy fight. Once the flesh titan is no more, you can rummage through his pockets in hope of finding your Legs if Gluth didn't have them or a pretty decent Helm.

That's it for the construct wing. All in all its a pretty easy wing, just a couple healing and dps checks, but a decent amount of shaman healer loot to be had. Happy healing and good hunting.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Patches!? We don't need no stinking patches!.....wait....

Welcome back to Way of The Totem. Today's installment is about the PTR, the incoming patch and its effect on raid healing.

This post is set to appear as a guest post over at The World of Matticus =) so please check there for it to be up soon =)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Naxxramas 10 man healing tips for the soul! ...*Hack-ACK* Oh! I think I just shot webs out of my nose!

Welcome back to another installment of Way of the Totem. With everyone rolling on up to 80 and getting their badge gear and heroics done. It's time for a foray into Naxxramas! Naxxramas was, in my opinion, one of the best instances ever created. Sadly not very many people got to experience the content and fights that were so ahead of their time. Now however, in what I feel is a truly awesome move, Naxx is your introduction into the world of raiding in Wrath of the Lich King. The zone is broken down into essentially 5 wings. Arachnid Quarter, Construct Quarter, Plague Quarter, Military Quarter and Frostwyrm Lair. There is a grand total of 15 bosses in this zone, all of which were revolutionary for their time. The instance has two settings, normal and heroic. For today we'll just talk about normal 10 man version.

Lets talk about the first wing you should be doing, Arachnid Quarter.

The trash here leading up to the first boss is pretty straight forward... actually throughout the entire wing it is, there's not a whole lot to worry about with the trash. The spiders will curse and poison though. For dealing with the poison I would highly suggest utilizing your Poison Cleansing Totem BUT... wait until the poison is cast. Once the poison is out drop the totem, when it hits, it pulses right away dispelling it for your entire group. Really handy to clean up 5 people with one cast. Dispel curses as they pop up (usually only 1 or 2 at a time) and clear up to the first boss.

Pretty straight forward fight. Stay spread out, keep ES up on the tank, worry only about your personal need totems like Wrath of Air, Mana Spring Totem and Flametongue. Keep max distance from you main tank at all times, especially when he moves the boss around the room.

Lets see if embedding video works!


Pretty straight forward and easy. As far as normal mode drops from this boss, there is two peices I'm fairly certain any shaman will want. This ring and this pair of boots

After you collect your loot from the first boss, it's a quick hop and skip to the next boss Grand Widow Faerlina just double back the way you came, hang a left through the hole in the wall and there you are. You're main problem is to keep poison cleansed, so, same rule as above. Wait till it's cast, and then drop the totem, you can then Cleanse Spirit the stragglers. Chain Heal will be kindda useless here as everyone will be moving to avoid fire, so be prepared to drop a lot of Lesser Healing Waves. Downing her nets you a chance at These Bad Boys

The fight isn't bad, but here's another video for it!

Just roll your heals and keep people clean =D

Next up is Maexxna

Big angry spider! This fight is more of the same, just be prepared to drop your totem to cleanse the poison, but then keep it down. Keep the main tank topped at all times and FULL Earth Shield as well, this way you are prepared for Web Spray. Riptide will keep the cocoon target alive long enough to be broken free and join the raid again. Conserve mana as much as possible because at 30% she enrages. Save your cooldowns for this part. Be ready to pop your Fire Elemental Totem and pop your Heroism / Bloodlust and spam chain heal. Maxxie drops 3 things I think every shaman caster would love to have. This shield is very nice and has a lot of very very good stats on it for both healing and dps. This trinket is the same as my beloved egg, so if you don't want to pony up 40 badges, you can hope for this. Lastly the neck she drops is very nice, again with a solid combination of stats. Here's a video of the encounter for you to enjoy.

Bottom line is this wing is fun, quick, and really Shamans shine here. The mass amounts of AoE poison dispelling makes half of the wing just silly.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Rep rewards: Filling your gear gaps

Everyone's been doing heroics and while you are doing heroics you best be wearing a tabard! If not... then I don't really know what to say expect /emo

Now the badge gear is really nice but rep rewards are going to fill your gaps to help get you ready for raiding. First stop on the rep reward train is Wyrmrest. Our buddies there have some really nice items that fill in gaps quite well. Revered with the dragons gives you a nice selection of items, and the reason I mention the Wyrms first is because well...They have the inscription for your head I think we'll all be looking at. You can also nab yourself a decent Mace. The only thing it's missing is MP5. It does however have good stats, crit and haste. This is good as well if you decide to switch it up and go off-spec elemental. Now at exalted, not only do you get a cool Drake to run around on but you can snag Grips of Fierce Pronouncements which are well worth the 28 gold if you ask me, I mean just look at those stats.

Next stop is Ebon Blade. That sexy Duchess has a really nice goodie for us in the form of this awesome Kilt.
Good stats and two sockets to boot. She doesn't really have anything else that benefits us too much so I wont dwell

On to the mages of the Kirin Tor! Their Quartermaster actually has a number of things you might be interested in. If you want a little crit and don't mind leather This belt will be right up your alley. The Robes at exalted aren't bad. Good stat allocation and 26 mp5. Worth picking up till you can get something better. The head enchant is also good if you are trying to stack crit raiting. The leather helm from there isn't bad either, decent spell power and mp5 and it looks kindda cool. The last piece from here is a Haste Cloak It's not bad but you can have better crafted. It's a definite filler piece and will serve you at least into 10 mans.

Argent Crusade only really has one thing you might be interested in so I'll just point it out real fast. This helm isn't bad if you are stacking crit

That's pretty much it for the rep rewards worth snagging to fill in gear gaps, chances are if you're running heroics you won't have much to worry about but figured I would put them out there for you guys to take a look at.

Hope it helps

Macros, macros macros!

So I don't really use too many macros, I only really use ones that let me clean up my action bars slightly, and one main one for Earth Shield

First I use a macro that lets me cast water shield when I click it, or if I'm holding the ALT key it casts lightning shield. Here's that one.

/cast [mod:alt] Water Shield; Lightning Shield

it lets whatever I'm casting take over the image by leaving it as #showtooltip (I use the "?" icon for the macro icon)

again its just to clean up some bar space. but using the same macro you can alter it to suit many needs.

/cast [mod:alt] Water Walking; Water Breathing

Same principal as the one above it, one button with a modifier that allows you to cast either spell saving your some bar space.

Pre-wrath and before cleanse came and made me giggle like a school girl on prom night we used

/cast [modifier:alt] Cure Poison; Cure Disease

again just a space saver.

now for my trusted Earthshield Focus macro! now I warn you I'm typing this from memory since I'm at work and cant get in game right now to copy and paste it and as a result I will update it when I get home with exactly what I have but here it is

/cast [target=focus,exists][button:2,target=target][mod:alt=/clearfocus][target=focus,help, nodead][target=target,help,nodead][target=targettarget,help,nodead][noexists]Earth Shield

Here's the premise. First target you pick and click the macro button it will set them as your focus and cast earth shield on them. If you right click on the macro, it will put the earth shield on whoever you have targeted and if you hold the ALT key and hit the macro it clears your focus.

That should be the answer to the comment about earth shield focus blues =)

That's pretty much it for what I use for macros, like I said I'm more of a clicker. I had alot more before 3.0 hit. I had ones that swapped out totems for different heals and allowed for total min max, but that's been removed in the current build of the game. =(

Hope this helps

Friday, December 12, 2008

"Oh taking your advice I'm looking on the bright side And balancing the whole thing"

So... lets... Talk... User Interfaces.(couldn't resist sorry)

WoW is not the first MMO that allows for users to customize their interface but it has gone far and beyond what any other game I can recollect has done beyond the cosmetics. A healer's choice in MODs and how they craft their UI has a large impact on how well they do. The first thing to remember is it has to feel right to you. If you don't feel right with your UI and where everything is then honestly you wont do as well. I personally feel that the UI is 10% data feed 10% placement and 80% cosmetic. Lets be honest healers, we're going to be seeing it a lot might as well be pretty to us.

Let me show you mine.

annnnnd Here's a list of the mods I use

Now here's what works for me. First of all, the main thing anyone needs is good unit frames. I use Perl classic for party / target / target of target. Durring a raid the party on the left is hidden, so far no way to remove it completely but it doesn't really bother me in the 5 mans. Mine is hidden and Mine has been replaced by the big diablo 3 orbs at the bottom. That's my health and mana bars. Flashy, yes, effective, yes. Reason for them is two fold. The orbs are aesthetically pleasing but more importantly they put a HUGE reminder in front of me, about my own health and mana, something that even I after years of doing this still lose track of in the heat of a tough boss battle (yeah exploding on Illidan was fun). Healers often suffer from tunnel vision, focusing on the raid and the tank more then themselves (we're selfless like that), so my suggestion to you, put YOUR health and mana in a place HIGHLY visible to you. Some people prefer to just move their frame lower center, some use HUDS. No matter your method make sure you have a reminder of when to heal yourself.

For raid unit frames I use GRID. I adopted it some time ago and it gives me everything I need. It notifies me when a person has aggro, it gives me their health, mana, rage, energy or rune power totals, it tells me when they are cursed poisoned or diseased and it tells me who is targeted for heals and the rough estimate of how much healing is incoming to a person. This allows me to prioritize heals and keep my overhealing low or know when a tank really needs more healing. Find raid frames you like and use them. There are a lot of options to choose from for them.

Second important thing is to have your buttons and macros easily accessable. I use bartender 4 I admit I'm a clicker. I don't like key bindings because I keep my keys clear to get-my-ass-outa-dodge if I need to. I click and use the number keys to cast. Most of the time I'll click a target in GRID and then hit my healing button (2-6 = heals for me). The main thing is I keep everything I need to cast close together and visible front and center this way I'm not looking all over for one specific ability. I also give my pots and food and stones its own little section above my map so I can always see them as well.

My map mod I use chinchilla with Cartographer and Gatherer
so I can keep track of where my guild is, but also move the map to the lower right out of the way and turn off a lot of the features like the calender button, and turn useful things on like Coordinates. Since my attention is usually towards the bottom of the screen for unit bars and other information it seemed logical to place the map down there for easy viewing.

In the upper right you will find RaidCooldown I use this during a raid to track who has burned what cooldowns so I know when to use mine, or when I shouldn't be yelling at a druid to combat res someone =P (but that's more of a raid officer / leader thing if you are not just an information junkie)

I also use fubar with pluggins for many of my mods as well as Mods like Big Wigs for raid warnings and Cellular to keep my in game tells in order and easily accessible. These are just information consolidation for me.

Arguably the most important mod I use is my totem mod. I choose Yata. It provides me with totem timers I can move, totem cooldowns, and a movable, scalable totem bar. The bar itself is very handy. Right clicking on the bar on any totem icon casts Totemic Call so I can drag totems or recall them for one last burst of mana for a heal if I need to without searching for the ability. It's also handy because when I mouse over one of the fours slots, it builds up from that slot all available totems from that school. If I move my mouse up and left click on one of the totems not on the main bar, it places it on that main bar instead of what was there. It allows totem sets to be fluid, which is really good if you have more then one shaman on a raid, it helps cut down unnecessary totem overlapping.

The casting bar you see there is Quartz. It is important to have a good casting bar and here's why. Blizzards is good but it doesn't account for server > client lag, and it doesn't always give you an accurate casting time. Quartz gives you your real time casting time, with any push back from damage you recieve, and gives you a "good to cancel zone" with accounting for your lag. If you look at my picture up there you'll see a little red at the end. As soon as my cast bar is in that area it's safe to "cancel" my heal by jumping or moving and start another. That means the lag should be enough within that red zone that the original heal will go off without cancelling and the second heal will already be started. Ever have an "oh shit I have no clue how you died" moment in a raid? Lag would be the reason why, even if you didn't see it. In that fraction of a second you weren't healing, you missed your mark. Getting and learning how to use a casting bar like Quartz there is a must in my opinion for all healers.

My trend, if you didn't notices, is information gathering and consolidation so I can see whats going on, target the party/ tank quickly, and roll my heals accordingly.

So here's the How to get going key points so to speak.

1.) Get a unit / raid frame mod that will allow you to keep tabs on your party and place it in an area where you will easily be able to float your eyes between that and your abilities. (Grid still gets my vote and at one point in time was required of all my healers in a raid =P)

2.) Place your own unit frame in a highly visible area so you can track your health and mana. Letting yourself die is just embarrassing =P (and yes it still happens to me =[ lol)

3.) Shamans get a totem bar that works well for you. The simpler the better. Totem caddy and things like that just take up too much memory.

4.) keep your main abilities key bound or on the main action bar (1 through " = " ) so you can easily roll your hands across the keys while you are selecting your team mates for fast efficient healing.

5.) Get a casting bar that accounts for latency and get comfortable with it. It will ensure there is no downtime between heals on healing intensive fights and will help you visualize the heal and get used to timing the casts with your connection speed.

6.) Place key items in areas where you can easily see them without having to draw away from everything else. Healing is all micromanagement really, just make sure you keep everything you need in a tight package.

7.) make it aesthetically pleasing to you. You're going to be staring at it all night long it might as well look pretty to you =D

8.) Experiment with placement and trying things out. Test it out in a battleground (no durability lost ftw). I tell all my healers to do this, it helps you get used to your UI while having little to no consequences.

9.) Try to not let it become something like this

Later tonight I will post a list of useful macros I use for things like Earth Shield and Weapon buffs etc etc. =D Hope this helps

The Egg and I

Welcome back to way of the totem. This week we have Triple Post Friday! I'd like to take a second and thank everyone for the kind messages and comments of encouragement. I'm glad that this information has been helpful. Today we'll be exploring badge gear, User Interface and mods, as well as Shaman specific macros. You can thank Shotax for the UI and macro posts as it was his request =)

So, you've been running heroics and you have all these badges Emblems you need to unload. What to buy what to buy? Well I have a few thoughts as to what you should get =)
First of all, Get your tier pieces! With your Gloves coming in at 60 Emblems, and your Chest at 80 Emblems, this is an investment you just can't pass up. Blizzard did an amazing job with shaman tier loot this time around. Even the pants are good! (t6 pants blew btw). Check it out Here. The pieces have near perfect stat allocation and even allow for a good mix of haste and crit letting you balance your tertiary stats a tad bit easier. I enjoy the fact that you can buy two pieces of tier loot with Emblems of Heroism immensely. Honestly though, those should be your first targets for badge loot. they are solid investments, will last you a long while and the 2 Piece set bonus is really nice as well. you wouldn't think 10% to water shield was big, but the extra 10 mp5 really does add up. The 10% alone has accounted for the one mana pot I use during speed pulls (psychotic Death Knight Tank ftw) So, your first choices made lets look at some of the other badge gear.

Lets take a look at neck pieces. Really the only choice is the Choker unless for some reason you really feel the need to stack Spirit (which if you do I will cry a little since spirit is totally wasted on shaman)The neck has great stat allocation and has MP5. It's only 25 Emblems So its an easy pick up (when you're as crazy as I am and pulling 20 ish badges a night it's even faster =P )

For your belt Shamanic Vision is pretty damn awesome it's right up there with The one from Loken. Toss a belt buckle on that bad boy, put in a couple really nice gems and you are good to go. It comes in at a mere 40 Emblems so farming the emblems for it is fairly easy. If you are looking for crit rating there is also Some leather lovin for 40 tokens as well.

If you're looking for a little totem lovin for 15 Emblems you can get This bad boy. Reducing the cost of chain heal is huge. We're all about fast, efficient heals and mana preservation / regeneration and that 79 mana adds up over time.

For off hands if you need a new shield and can't get the one from heroic Culling to drop, this little dandy can be yours for 35 token. Honestly its pretty awesome. All the right stats and all at the right price (and it looks cool too!)

Now for my prized possession. I'm going to admit here that when I got this I made a macro that said "ALL BOW BEFORE THE EGG" in guild / raid and linked to the egg. I'm a haste junkie and this pretty much is my drug fix. 505 haste rating is roughly 15.4% haste. Unbuffed no raid no pots no anything, when this procs I have a 24.7% haste rating. With Wrath of Air totem that's 29.7% add in 8% from a boomkin and retadin and omg the fast heals. Having this allowed me to swap to t7 gloves for two piece so I no longer needed to use Handgrips of Turmoil to maintain a 2.0 chain heal cast time. Even if you aren't staking haste the trinket is awesome sitting at a +98 spell power equip it's really nice. I also have to say the trinket procs off of EVERYTHING and I mean everything. From Ghost Wolf, Riptide, even Earthliving weapon and Earth Shield proc it! As far as I can tell it also has no internal cooldown. I've had it cast, recast right after or restart the count on the buff, so in theory with enough healing being thrown around it will be up most times rather then not. A solid solid piece.

Tomorrow I will talk about rep rewards and filling in your gaps in gear to get you ready for 10 and 25 man raiding.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

"I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration..."

Welcome back to another installment of Way of The Totem. Today I'd like to talk a bit more about heroics. Last time we talked about The Culling of Stratholme and the timed run. Today I'd like to talk about two instances that everyone seems to dread as a shaman healer. Heroic Halls of Stone and Halls of Lightning. We'll start with halls of stone.

Halls of stone is dreaded Mainly for the Brann Bronzebeard event. I can see why after my first shot at it, I hated it with a loathing that bordered on obscene. But then I started breaking down the event and looking at my spells, and it's not as daunting as everyone seems to think it is. I'll get to that shortly though. I'd like to talk about the first two bosses.

First on the plate is Krystallus. He's a fairly straight forward fight. For those of you who were around in Burning Crusade, he's a miniature Gruul the Dragonkiller. He's a tank and spank up to when he throws the group in every which direction and gives you a slow debuff. Make sure your group moves away from each other because after about 5 seconds he'll cause you to stop and then he will shatter you. If no one is around you, you will take no damage, if someone is close, well... you'll take increased damage between you the closer you are. Other then that just dps, heal and call it a day. You will be utilizing LHW and Riptide a lot on this one as people will be spread out. This boss does drop a decent Helm for us resto's here (which contrary to wowhead it DOES drop on heroic). Nice intellect and good spell power and MP5. It's a good upgrade for almost everyone so, here's hoping it drops for you.

Next up is Maiden of Grief. Boy does blizzard love big stone chicks. Now she does have a few abilities that need mentioning, very similar to her kara cousin in the fact that she repentan... I mean Shock of Sorrow. Just keep your tank topped off, roll a Riptide on them and make sure you refresh Earth Shield. The next ability is Pillar of Woe. It's a void zone, people just have to move. Only reason I bring it up is because well.. lets face it, dps is sorta... single minded we'll say. They might not move right away. Just be aware you might have to dump some fast heals in them. The last ability I need to mention here is Parting Sorrow (damn this chicks emo) It's a mana burn with a damage component. Not a big deal really just watch your mana. She does it fairly frequently so just be ready with Mana Tide. Now for the good stuff. She has something you'll be interested in possibly Lightning-Charged Gloves again great stat allocation for restoration (dear lord everything has mp5 can we say longevity fights?).

After her comes the greatest event ever created!Ever! Trufax! If you need a bucket for the sarcasm I'll wait... =D. In all seriousness though it's not that bad. You talk to Brann Bronzebeard and he starts trying to access a super computer of cosmic proportions. Your job is to keep him safe from wave after wave of mobs while he tries to Hack the Gibson. Now the waves themselves aren't bad, it's when the computer gets involved that things get dicey. First phase there is a bunch of little laser beams that hit you for about 300 a pop, easy to heal through no biggie. Second phase the computer breaks out void reaver-esque balls of doom. Giant purple orbs that will target someone's location and head towards them. They just have to move out of the way. You're job will be to yell for the tank to move if needed because the tank should have his back to you while grabbing mobs from the only entrance into the room. The key here is to keep moving. Don't you stop for more then a second and don't let your group stop moving unless it's the tank. Roll Riptide and LHW and just keep moving. Third phase is the one people hate the most, and well... I can understand why. Not only do you have the little laser beams and the Grenades of doom, you get a giant super mega laser cannon beam that will melt you in your armor. You need to keep moving again as does the raid, stick and move like Muhammed Ali and call out if the big beam gets anywhere near the tank / melee. Keep rolling Riptide and LHW. The biggest mistake I see here is that people stop and try to chain heal. You need to use every quick heal you have and Tidal Force will be your best friend. The main thing is to stay calm and keep moving. As long as you do that the event honestly is nothing. The chest yields some decent Boots and Shoulders. So if you are like me, and you love you some haste (and let me tell you 2.0 second chain heals are sexy in naxx) you should give the event a try.

After him you move on to the last boss. Sjonnir The Ironshaper. He's not hard really, just have to keep the group spread out and the tank at the bottom of the path grabbing adds, just heal your ass off and keep the tank alive (there will be damage spikes) Brann again will try to hack the system to summon help but as we've seen with the tribunal.... Don't rely on his hacking skills. After you slay the shaper you're going to want to pray for Spark of Life. I've had this trinket for about a week now give or take and let me tell you. It's godly. The proc is so damn nice. You can check my post Here for more on it. Now that you have halls of stone done, it's time to Ride the Lightning.

Halls of lightning is a very interesting place. The first boss patrols around the ring you see when you first enter. If you look over the sides you'll see tons and tons of stone Skaldi slumbering ala Golden Army style. Cool touch for both here and Halls of stone. I'm not going to comment heavily on the first three bosses because, well, they are straight forward. Heal, keep healing and keep doing it till they are dead.

Your three main bosses are General Bjarngrim (who I keep wanting to call Ben Grimm) Volkhan and Ionar.

General Grim is a tank and spank with an AoE component. Keep healing stream totem down and roll chain heals with LHW for dealing with spikes. That's pretty much it. He drops some good Crit Pants and if you are fiending for haste, some Decent Gloves.

Mr Volkhan is also a tank and spank, but leading up to him is a gauntlet-like room. Move into the room and pick either right or left. There is an alcove there. Head into the alcove, stop, dps everything down, move to the middle of the stairs and up, dps, and then proceed as normal. Clear the whole room at the top and then pull him. Just heal through the big damage spikes and that's it. Doesn't really drop any loot for shamans, so kick his corpse and move on.

Next is Ionar, Avoid the balls, and when he emotes Run far far away straight back from him till the little lightning spiders have de-spawned and he's back. Make sure your tank keeps him up on the platform after he's done with the spiders. He drops a Trinket that's not half bad. Good mp5 and a good on use effect.

After him comes the big man himself. This guy is feared by everyone as he has caused the most wipes and player deaths of all the npc's. Loken is a son-of-a-bitch. I'm going to give you a couple tips to help deal with him. As your tank is running in, drop a healing stream totem. The hell with mana totem, keep the health flowing. Keep everyone grouped up around the tank and chain heal. When loken emotes, run like hell as a group, drop another healing stream totem right away, and wait for loken to come to the tank. Another useful tip for shamans here, his ability Arc Lightning can be swallowed by Grounding Totem. This may be a bug, but for the time being use it. It will save you soooooo much healing and will help keep squishies alive so drop that after you move and are waiting for him to run to the tank. Make everyone run together. We had a rogue that just kept running off on his own and so he was always out of dps range and the fight took forever. Burn Cooldowns here too. Heroism / Bloodlust and Fire Elemental help make the fight faster, which is good. The longer the fight goes on, the more likely you are to die. You will die, yes. I've done this fight probably twenty times (including wipes) in the last two weeks. It happens even when you have the fight down pat. But restos, this Reward is sooo sooo nice. Slap a belt buckle on that and toss in a gem and this belt is going to last you a long long time.

The bottom line is, while this boss and the Brann even do suck and are hard... that's part of the game. Challenge yourself and get into these. These are great training events to get your ready for Naxx and beyond, and honestly the rewards are just stunning in terms of learning, training and yes even some loot. Don't be afraid of them, go in there and knock one out of the park!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Now cracks a noble heart. Good-night, sweet prince; And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.

Last night I logged in to an invite for heroics, always the good start to an evening of wow. The group consisted of a Frost DK, Unholy DK, Retadin, Shadow Priest and Me doing the healing. As a restoration shaman with chain heal glyph you can't really ask for a better group. We went for a timed run of culling. For those of you who don't know, Caverns of Time: The Culling of Stratholme has a timed event. You have 25 minutes to clear 10 waves with two bosses, and then tear through the innards of the town hall and clear the third boss. On your way to see Mal'Ganis and give him a good old down home Azerothian beat-down, an extra boss spawns if you still have time left on your timer. The Infinite Corruptor is really a tank and spank and after you down him, you get a lovely little present Alas I didn't win it, but it's 100% drop rate so if you can do the timed part, you can go back and just farm yourself a nice little companion. Before I get into the tips and tricks of healing I would like to say something about this instance. I am a lore junkie, I love it, its one of the reasons I continue to play this game. This instance is PHENOMENAL! If you haven't done it, even just regular, please go do yourself a favor and go do it. It's well designed, ton's of lore and honestly is just a lot of fun. Now with that said....

Last night was the first time I've gotten to do this one on heroic, so first time doing a timed run. So the tips I'm going to give you or comments are going to be based on Heroic Culling with a Completed Timed run being the goal. Regular is very straight forward.

If you're going for a speed run You're going to be healing on the fly quite a bit. The tank is going to be running ahead tagging mobs left and right and usually dragging a bunch with him. Luckily most are non elites and can be killed very quickly. If you happen to get any on you when the tank stops to kill the boss, drop a Magma Totem by the last tick they should all be dead around you. You're not going to be able to rely on yoru dps to get rid of them for you if you are going for a speed run and any help you can offer to save your own bacon just makes it go that much smoother. Healing-wise, Earth Shield , Riptide, and Lesser Healing Wave (with Glyph) are going to be your new best friends for healing the tank in motion. Obviously when things slow down for one of the wave bosses or larger pulls, if you have a melee centric group (or ranged that flock together), laying down some Chain Heals is good, but keep your fingers on the trigger for LHW and Riptide. Just keep up with the group and you should be fine. A couple intense areas are going to be in the last 5 waves near the town hall, the tank will have A LOT of mobs on him so you will pretty much be chain casting. Don't be afraid to chug a mana pot when on the move between spawns, this way it's on cooldown if you need it in a fight, and your mana pool will be good enough to keep pushing. When you stop you can always drop Mana Tide. The first two bosses are tank and spank so honestly no need mentioning them, just get your badges. Third boss is where it get's fun. The third boss Chrono-Lord Epoch is fun. He's got a few abilities: Curse of Exertion, Time Stop, Time Warp and Wounding Strike. Wounding strike and time stop are your real concerns as the fight is over or should be over well before all your mana is consumed from exertion. Keep the tank topped off! Riptide, LHW and Chain heals. You should honestly be chain casting until time stop occurs or the Wound debuff has worn off. He hits decently hard too and two shots me =P after he is down all you do is make your way through the bookcase to the undead gauntlet. Here is where I caution you. Put your hots on the tank, and follow RIGHT behind him. Some things will come find you and will try to eat your face. Don't be lodur and don't explode here =P. I fell back a couple paces from the tank and I got my face chewed on. Just move with him till he stops, then drop your Magma Totem again and heal heal heal. After the gauntlet is done you will be presented with a fork in the road. Left to the extra boss, and right to Mal'Ganis. Go left first, no matter how much time is on the timer, just kill the extra guy first, Mal will be there still to taunt you later. This guy is pretty much a tank and spank just knock him down and take his loot. Now double back and go pop Mal'Ganis in the demon sack. He's also pretty straight forward the only thing to watch for is his Sleep. Use Tremor Totem it breaks the sleep (as of now that may change later) so you can keep healing. Collect your loot and have a good night knowing you just helped little Chromie keep the past in one piece.

That's pretty much it. It's not bad, just watch your mana and dump constant heals into the tank and you'll have plenty of time left to get a new drake.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

"If the quickness of the mind and the fluency of the tongue are too punctilious and sharp, moderate them in your activity and rest." Xun Zi

Welcome to today's Way of the Totem. Today's topic is going to be about haste. To start today I have a nice cut and paste from elitist jerks I've removed the stuff about level 70

"Spell Haste

Wearing gear with spell haste can be beneficial any time you're not going OOM in a fight. By wearing gear with spell haste, we can cast spells faster, boosting our overall healing done for a fight – and potentially have heals landing faster to prevent deaths.

In most raids, you will have a total of 8% haste before gear: 5% from Wrath of Air Totem
3% from Improved Moonkin aura (balance druids) or Swift Retribution (retribution paladin)

1% haste means you will cast 1 additional spell in the time it would normally take to cast 100 spells. You do NOT cast 1% faster.

1% Spell Haste = 32.78 Haste Rating at Level 80

Haste Need to Reduce Chain Heal Cast Time at Level 80
2.4 seconds = 137 haste rating
2.3 seconds = 286 haste rating
2.2 seconds = 447 haste rating
2.1 seconds = 625 haste rating
2.0 seconds = 820 haste rating
1.9 seconds = 1036 haste rating

Spell Haste is calculated after talents. So if Healing Wave is 3.0 seconds normally and talents reduce it to 2.5 seconds, then 10% haste (157 haste rating) would reduce the cast time to 2.275 seconds.

Spell Haste reduces the global cooldown to as little as 1 second. No amount of haste including Bloodlust/Heroism will lower the global cooldown below 1 second. This can be proven using the following UI hook and spamming an instant spell with no cooldown inside and outside of Bloodlust/Heroism:

/run hooksecurefunc("CooldownFrame_SetTimer", function(_, start, duration, enable) if start > 0 and enable > 0 then DEFAULT_CHAT_FRAME:AddMessage(duration) end end)"

"But Lodur, What does all this mean?"

Well my friends, in short, Haste can be a very useful tool when balanced properly with your other stats. In order to make sure you get the most out of what haste you have, you need to make sure your mana pool is nice and big, coming from BC to wrath you probably have somewhere between 10-12k mana. If you have been collecting gear from rewards you will easily have around 15k mana. This is actually a really good spot for you to start building haste if you want to. Keep in mind that the faster you are putting out those heals, the faster that mana pool moves towards zero.

I've decided to explore the haste route personally after last weeks Naxx runs, and I'll tell you why. Fights like Grobbulus and Thaddius in which I'm running around like a mad shaman and need to get quick, efficient heals out there. Now chain heal is still the most efficient heal we have, with a glyphed Lesser Healing Wave comming in a close second. Right now I have only a few items with haste.

trinket: Spark of Life

75 haste and the MP5 effect is very nice. It procs pretty frequently. The proc lasts for 15 seconds Which doesn't seem like a lot, but that's 3 "ticks of MP5" It is an UP TO proc which means its maximum is 175 mp5 but it can range anywhere from 1 to the cap of the item. Honestly I have yet to see it proc for less then 160 mp5, which isn't anything to scoff at. People say it has an internal cool down, but as of last night I was riding the buff out for pretty much all of heroic Gundrak so either it's broken or people just aren't very lucky with procs. The proc rate is roughly 10% For resto shamans this is nice... because it has a chance to proc off every person affected by chain heal. So when Chain Heal is glyphed, you have 4 targets to affect, you have a 40% chance to proc the effect. That is very good and makes this trinket very nice for us for a bit, at least until 25 man stuff. This item drops from Halls of Stone from the last boss on heroic. Well worth trying for and picking up IMO.

Second haste Item is Avenging Combat Leggings This is a 10 man naxx drop yes, but easily obtained It comes packing 63 haste raiting while still having a very decent amount of + heal, very good stats, and on top of that two Gem slots right up our alley. If you are a resto shaman and these drop, I HIGHLY suggest grabbing them. These will last you quite a while.

Another item I picked up is actually a cloth one Handgrips of Turmoil So, 44 haste, 68 spell power, 14 mp5 AND a gem slot with good stats..... SEXY!. Now you'll be competing with clothies for it, who honestly will be drooling over it as much as you will, but you should try for it anyways. I personally like these better then the mail spell power ones that drop from 10 man Naxx.

I also have two rings I'm using for haste. I'm still using Blessed Band of Karabor and combining it with Solitaire of Reflecting Beams There are spell power haste rings strewn all about the instances and quest rewards, find them isn't hard so just keep your eyes out. They tend to carry with them decent int and decent stam.

Lastly I put the little speed enchant on my cloak

That puts me at 269 haste raiting or 8.17% Combine that with Wrath of Air totem for another 5% and it's 13.17%, that doesn't include the potential haste from a boomkin and a ret pally, which brings up another 8% putting us at right around the 1.9s - 2.0s chain heal cast mark. (What I like to call the chain heal sweet spot)

Lastly lets talk about practical application of these items and the haste effect. Lets take arguably the roughest Heroic run currently, Halls of Stone. The Brann Bronzebeard event and the Last Boss We did the run first when I had only 30 haste from the Blessed Band. The Brann event was quite taxing and honestly we wiped many times. It was a fight that you just simply have to move to not die, no way around it. When I stopped moving I died everytime. When I stopped to queue up a chain heal (heavy ranged group they were all running together) I died, even lesser healing wave when it was done casting at 1.4 s I would have been hit multiple times. Eventually we cleared the encounter (after several wipes) and moved on to the last boss. Now he's not hard and you really don't have to move, it just requires a lot of fast healing. Your tank will take spikes in damage and needs to be topped off. Lesser healing wave just wasn't fast enough. After several wipes we also got this boss down. The next night we came back. I had my haste gear on and gemmed and enchanted. The Brann event went incredibly smooth, no wipes only one death. Lesser healing wave started clocking in at under 1 second cast times. Rolling Rip Tide and Lesser Healing Wave kept everyone topped off and alive (except a silly mage who stood in a laser beam ) And the last boss went so smooth I hardly registered the event began.

NOTICABLE difference here. I will update this post after comparable runs of heroics with haste and non haste gear.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Welcome to level 80, please keep your hands and feet inside the raid at all times!

Welcome back! sorry about the long delay. It took me a while to get going to 80 due to some personal injuries (hand injuries are not conducive to MMO playing lol)

Lodur has hit 80 and Has begun healing heroics and raids. I'd like to take a moment and just say, heroics are pretty hard for shaman if you aren't specced for it, and boy is it fun.

I am indeed at 80 using the following spec.

Shaman 80 Spec

So far it has proven quite effective for both 5 man heroics and raiding. This spec like I stated in my last post, is indeed very glyph dependent. Make friends with an scribe, or become one yourself because it will be wickedly useful.

Glyph of Chain Heal is ridiculous in 10/25 mans. You're overheal will sky rocket (mine was 50% on chain heal last naxx run)but your raid will love you for everyone being topped off. 4 targets is nice when you're watching bounce around, also keep in mind that every person hit by chain heal can also proc Earthliving.

For other Glyphs please see my post Here

Now for the burden of stats.

We talked breifly before about the balancing of stats, mp5, spell power haste crit etc. Time to relay some of my beliefs about gemming and items.

I still very firmly believe that the order of importance is

+spellpower > +mp5/+int > +crit/haste

I have started putting haste up above crit and I'll tell you why. Raid redundancy. Built into a 25 man (and to a lesser extent but still possible 10 man) raid you will find on average an additional 8-13% crit added to your roughly 14% you have just from gear you'll be picking up from quests and heroics. In an average 25 man raid, just starting t7 content, you'll be looking at 24-27% crit raiting. Now I'm accounting for boomkins and elemental shamans, but lets be honest, most guilds have at least one of each (and bless their hearts lol) and most guilds mages will give the healers the crit buff of win since likely we are going to be alive a lot longer then caster dps. Now haste is imporant to me because it lets me use chain heal a lot more frequently then I would normally be able to, and thus keep many many more raid members alive.

Here's a link to my current armory (no this is not for Epeen this is just so you can see how I'm starting to trade pieces out for other gear) as well as some of my gem choices. Check out the hands and the legs. They are slightly better then the tier 6 they replaced (even accounting for the 4 piece bonus)


My haste raiting is only 180 right now (up from 30) but combined with the lovely lovely talent :

Tidal Waves:

(at rank 5) You have a 100% chance after you cast Chain Heal or Riptide to lower the cast time of your next 2 Lesser Healing Wave or Healing Wave spells by 30%. In addition, your Healing Wave gains an additional 20% of your bonus healing effects and your Lesser Healing Wave gains an additional 10% of your bonus healing effects.

I find my self pushing half second cast times on lesser healing waves. You will appreciate this as you are doing things like heroic halls of stone Brann event, or Naxx when you get to Grobulous. I plan on stacking more haste to get my cast time on chain heal sub 2.0 seconds, Thats roughly the sweet spot to be able to rely again on chain heal (still the most mana efficient heal in the game, even more so with the glyph)

While we're looking at gear lets look at gems. JC's got a large large piece of lovin in a BoP Runed Dragon's Eye You can wear three prismatics, sooooo I opted for 3, 96 spell power just from 3 gem slots, and they satisfy all of your slot requirements. Please sir may I have another I say! (I have a third but armory doesn't show belt buckles for some reason and it happens to be on the buckled 3rd slot)

For my other slots I'm moving towards Dazzling Forest Emerald and Royal Twilight Opal Int and mp5 and spell power and mp5, if those don't scream shaman, nothing does. They are cheap enough to get on the AH and any JC will love to cut them for you (it's free skillups for a while) These gems satisfy our 3 major stats now giving us healthy mp5 and healthy INT.

Now for the question of effectiveness. Last night we did Naxx again, spider wing and Construct wing. Spider wing we flew through, barely stopping to drink. Durring the run I beleive I stopped to drink 3 times. once before each boss just to make sure I was topped off. We had a ret pally and shadow priest in the run, so replenishment was always active. I only have 748 intellect which means I'll have about 15k mana unbuffed give or take a little, add in Arcane intellect and food buffs and I can push that higher if I want, The point is I have a decent mana pool. Not only does this let me cast longer then the others in many cases, I get a good chunk back from my Mana Tide Totem and from Replenishment. With replenishment up all the time, I honestly didn't have to use many potions, I think I used one on Patchwerk and one on Gluth (which is not surprising). For consumables that fight I was using Flask of Pure Mojo and Pickled Fangtooth Because lets be honest, mp5 is still our crack rock. The flasks are pretty cheap to make (and I have a really nice herbalist / alchemist friend who likes being healed ;] ) so picking them up from the AH or a friend shouldn't be too much trouble, and the food is pretty common. The two together are another 50 mp/5 which is nothing to blow your nose at.

Spell rotation
so here's the stats from last nights naxx run with the guild. I'm not a big stats guy, but I like using it as a rough tool to figure out whose doing what how often as well as where our mana is going (being a Raid Officer and all =P)

Wowwebstats Naxx 12/02/08

Click on heals, then my name lodur to get a break down of my spells used and some numbers. (keep in mind these numbers are for the whole raid and count everything but should give you a rough idea you can click on breakdowns for more information)

You'll see Chain heal was 47% of my heals, we had some heavy melee so it worked out to me using it a lot (that and my new found haste helps use it more) Now look at Lesser Healing Wave thats 23% of healing and Riptide making up 13% combined for 36%. That's creeping up on Chain heal and honestly, I'm happy to see it, old wws breakdowns pretty much showed shamans doing nothing buf binding every key to chain heal and then rolling face. Now we see all the healing spells and abilities being used.

That's all I have for right now. Now that I can play again, and run numbers and test theories and work on the crafting actively instead of 30 minutes at a time. I'll be posting more frequently and also more numbers for you guys. Thanks for the comments and please keep them comming.

ps. If anyone does have the script to allow roll over pop ups for the abilities, please let me know.

Ayeba your profile is set to private so feel free to contact me with the information if you still have it.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Shamans and 5 man / heroic healing.

Welcome to today's installment of Way of The Totem. Today I'd like to discuss healing 5 mans and heroics. With Wrath of the lich king coming up in the next couple days, you're about to find yourself doing a lot more solo questing and healing the 5 man dungeons for quests and XP. Even at 80, until all your buddies catch up and you ford into Naxx, you'll find yourself doing some mighty fine heroic 5 mans. This post is going to also be geared mainly for those, like me, who are going to level as restoration.

First topic of discussion is going to be glyphs. Until you hit 80, you are only going to have 2 major glyph slots available. With that in mind I would like to suggest the two following glyphs.

Firstly is Glyph of Lesser Healing Wave Use: Your Lesser Healing Wave heals for 20% more if the target is also affected by your Earth Shield.

If you think about it for a few seconds this one is a no brainer. You're going to have Earth Shield up on the main tank pretty much all the time, with this glyph, your LHW hits for roughly the same as your healing wave. What this means for you is that A. for less mana you get your big heal and B. the cast time on LHW is lower by half a second to HW which means more heals in less time. With a lot of the new fights making the healers move, this becomes your mainstay heal.

The second glyph I'm going to suggest is Glyph of Water Mastery Use: Increases the passive mana regeneration of your Water Shield spell by 30%. This one's pretty self explanatory though, more mana regen = gooooooood

Lastly I'd like to add a minor glyph in here. Glyph of Water Shield Use: Increases the number of charges on your Water Shield spell by 1. To me this is a must, and the reason will be because of the talent spec I'm going to suggest.

Glyphs at 80 are really going to depend on your focus. but you can keep the ones you have already and just add another major to the mix. For 5 man / heroic healing I highly suggest adding, either Glyph of Mana Tide Totem or Glyph of Earthliving Weapon


With all the goodies in restoration its a really really tough choice sometimes on what to pick. For 5 man / heroic healing this is what I would suggest for when you start out at 70.

Let me explain some of the choices here. First lets look at the talents chosen in enhancement.

Ancestral Knowledge is very important for a couple reasons. Firstly, like I said in one of my previous posts, intellect has become much more important to us as of the patch. Wrath will make this even more important. This talent helps you get the most of your replenishment buffs from hunters, shadow priests and ret paladins, so that you always have mana and you are always healing. This talent also helps to maximize the effect of Mana Tide Totem. All around for the 5 points you spend in it, you get so much more back for longevity and reduced downtime. No reason not to take it.

Improved Shields Increases the damage done by your Lightning Shield orbs by 15%, increases the amount of mana gained from your Water Shield orbs by 15% and increases the amount of healing done by your Earth Shield orbs by 15%. This is a must have for a couple reasons. Firstly it increases the amount healed by Earth Shield which means less active healing you have to do (this is good for mana and the nerves of healers =P) it also increases your regen from water shield, Combine this talent with the glyph and you are cooking with gas to keep that regen up.

lastly in enhancement I took Enhancing Totems (I only took 2 ranks for now though )Your tanks and physical dps will love you for this talent, and so will your mana. It helps increase your tanks str and agility. If you have a warrior/paladin that helps their shield block as well as their dodge. The more damage they mitigate, the less you have to heal them, the more you can heal the dps of the group. win win if you ask me =)

Now to talk about the restoration talents, well... more to talk about the ones we didn't take.

After the patch Healing Grace Simply feels too much like bloat. You honestly just don't need it. With the changes to tanking last patch, tanks generate, regain, and keep aggro even better then they did before. You should come nowhere close to ganking due to healing aggro, and if you do, you have Wind Shock to help put them back on the tank.

Focused Mind
and Nature's Guardian are just a tad pvp specific for my taste. Having leveled to 80 already and having done the instances available, it's my opinion you really don't need these talents, at least not yet. That may change with later content but for now it would just be wasted points in my opinion.

Healing Way I didn't take because with LHW glyphed I wound up using that much much more then healing wave, making the talents bonus useless to me. again the points to me were much more useful spent elsewhere.

This next one I'm sure plenty of people will yell at me for but I didn't take Improved Chain Heal Here's why. I had this talent as I did when raiding at 70, and while leveling and doing the 5 mans and heroics, I found I used it less and less and less in favor of lesser healing wave, healing wave and riptide. I threw out the occasional chain heal, but circumstances usually called for a different heal. I figured the points would better be served somewhere else (see Enhancing Totems)

Another I didn't take at 70 was Blessing of the Eternals again purely for point conservation.

at 80 a spec more like this

This spec lets you do well in 10/25 mans as well as 5 mans. Very versatile, allows you to fill multiple roles at once. As you can see I've filled in a couple of the talents taking BoTE and Filling in Enhancing Totems and Elemental Weapons to get a little more bang for my buck, capping out Ancestral Awakening and taking Improved chain heal. That's going to be my run for utility shaman healing spec at 80. This spec allows you to chose your role based on what glyphs you decided to use.

Healing tips for 5 mans.

Chain heal has a long cast time, in the 5 mans you mostly won't have 2.5 seconds to sit and wait for it to wind up. Instead use Riptide to proc Tidal Waves, and keep tossing out LHW (if you have it glyphed) or HW. Using your LHW and riptide will eat up some mana, but with your totems, glyphs and Talents you should wind up with most of your mana comming back very very quickly. Chain heal should be used as a situational heal, AoE bosses in which you have all melee or all casters. When laying down totems, make sure to tailor it to your group. The only ones you're going to want down constantly are mana spring and flame tongue, those are your "selfish" totems =P. Keeping them down, keeps your healing up and keeps the group up. the other two slots, play with depending on group needs and composition. Make sure you have totems on your bars, or a mod that lets you swap them out quickly so you change them on the fly, and that's pretty much it.

I will probably edit this for more information for you as the day permits.


Saturday, November 8, 2008

Thoughts on talents.

Come patch time we got some really really really nice talents in the restoration tree, many of which allowed us to be a lot less of a one trick pony. Here's my thoughts on these changes =) As an added bonus, click the image of the talent for a link! I know, I'm considerate like that =)

Cleanse Spirit:

7% base mana; Cleanse the spirit of a friendly target, removing 1 poison effect, 1 disease effect, and 1 curse effect.

This is made of win. It takes care of 3 of the 4 debuffs in the game and costs the same as remove disease and cleanse poison, but with the added benefit of decursing too! Hot damn, if you are resto, and not taking this…. Re-roll. This gives us a way to help priests/druids/mages out and it helps eliminate 2 buttons that you can use on your bars for something else. Plus for the cost is the same as casting either remove poison or remove disease, so this removes 3 things for the cost of one. WIN!

Tidal Waves:

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(at rank 5)You have a 100% chance after you cast Chain Heal or Riptide to lower the cast time of your next 2 Lesser Healing Wave or Healing Wave spells by 30%. In addition, your Healing Wave gains an additional 20% of your bonus healing effects and your Lesser Healing Wave gains an additional 10% of your bonus healing effects.

This is really made by someone who plays a Shaman healer. You’re going around spamming chain heal or tossing around some riptide lovin, suddenly someone takes a ton of damage that looks like its gonna kill them. In the past if natures swiftness was gone then you’ve got nothing left but to watch in vain as they die horribly as you wind up some 2.5 second heal. Not so anymore, this talent pushes the cast time on HW down to 1.6 secs for me, and LHW down to 1.0. Add in a heroism and yeah. .6 cast on LHW and 1.1 on HW makes for some sexy sexy healing. Using this talent I made one hunter in our guild very very happy =)

Tidal Force:
tidal force.<span class=

Increases the critical effect chance of your Healing Wave, Lesser Healing Wave and Chain Heal by 60%. Each critical heal reduces the chance by 20%. Lasts 20 sec.

This is one talent point, no reason not to take it. Think of it this way, right now in t6 I’m rolling with a bout 22% crit after the patch when some lovely mage gives me a buff, or I have a boomkin I’m at 27%... That’s a lot for a healer, and it’s damn good. Combine that with the talent above. 87% chance to crit? Hot damn, I’ll take that with gusto! I think that pretty much says it all.


riptide.<span class=
(at rank 2)Heals a friendly target for 849 to 919 and another 885 over 15 sec. Your next Chain Heal cast on that primary target within 15 sec will consume the healing over time effect and increase the amount of the Chain Heal by 25%.

Some shamans don’t like this talent but for them I don’t have anything I can say to them except BAH!. This talent (which just got some buffed lovin) is really really nice. It’s an instant heal for close to 2k when you factor in your spell power. It can crit. It turns into a HoT for 15 seconds and it buffs chain heal. Using it in a 5 man, 10 man or 25 man can save everyone a lot of time, hassle, oh and can help keep people from dying. That’s always a plus right? Since its instant cast it gives us an awesome heal on the move talent. Great for when your MT goes charging in snap the heal off and it will apply a HoT for 15 seconds. You can also use it on a member of melee whose taking some damage and let it tick a few times before tossing in a chain heal. Oh And it buffs chain heal! Sweet deal huh? I love me some shaman swift mend.

Now look at those 4 talents. They just scream synergy. All of them go together very very very well and allow you to have more complex spell rotation other then just spamming one damn button. Each has generic and situational applications allowing us to effectively use all of the heals in our arsenals. I love no longer being a one trick pony!

Another interesting talent is Improved water shield.

(rank3) When you gain a critical effect from your Healing Wave, Lesser Healing Wave or Riptide spells, you have a 100% chance to instantly consume a Water Shield Orb.

I'm not 100% fond of this because I'm of the camp that the most precious commodity shamans have now as a healer is our Global Cool Down and I hate having to recast water shield and waste the 1.5 seconds to be able to heal again. I should say that this talent is amazing for 5 mans, especially with multiple pack pulls and things that don't give you a lot of time to sit and drink or that don't let you spend enough time out of the 5 second rule. In a 5 man heroic, it's well worth the GCD as, when glyhped and if you talent spec to improved shields this is a free 800+ mana as it's consumed. Not shabby when you don't have another healer to rely on or much downtime.

Thats my thoughts for now on that. Thanks for tuning in. =)