Tuesday, November 18, 2008

3. LookingForGroup: I'm a healer. Instant invite.

For those wondering why I'm not on my druid or even priest: I don't have Wrath of the Lich King installed yet. I don't even see the point of it yet. Yes, I'll get it eventually and look forward to it and stuff, but I don't see the point in annoying myself by fighting over quest mobs with everyone else when I can have fun elsewhere.

So I'm playing my shaman, now lvl 63. About 2/3 of my XP from 60-63 is from instancing. 2xRamparts, 3xBlood Furnace, 1xSlave Pens, 1xUnderbog. Finding people for an instance has never been easier. During those runs, I've grouped with a rogue, a warrior, a paladin, a warlock and mage. And 23 death knight. Go figure.

For most of those runs, I healed as Enhancement. For Underbog and the last Blood Furnace run, I healed as resto. The last Blood Furnace run was slightly interesting: Apart from myself, the highest level was a 59 death knight. We were actually inbound for Ramparts, until the message: "Instance is full." had flashed on my chat log for a few times.

Some observations as Enhancement, using the glyphs of Flametongue Weapon and Windfury Weapon:

  • As enhancement, I had almost 600 healing spell power with totems up, without Blood Fury. 600! That's insane. With the old spelldamage system, that'd be equal to about 1100 +heal. As enhancement. Wow, that's a lot at lvl 62.

  • Healing Stream Totem was ticking for 70 health as enhancement, which was about 1-1.5% of each party members total health. Nothing will ever remotely come close the the mana efficiency on this baby.

  • 2xEarthliving Weapon meant 36% chance of proccing Earthliving, which ticked for a considerable amount.

  • Feral Spirit is a decent emergency button thanks to their taunt-ability. Still, they don't build up enough threat to really keep aggro away from me, and I guess that's intended. But on the bright side, their attacks heal me, giving me a decent chance of surviving aggro... if only I remember to equip a shield when I get aggro. Caught myself forgetting that several times. Speaking of forgetting, I also forgot Shamanistic Rage.

  • Maelstrom Weapon should in theory make me capable of staying in melee and healing quite well even so (even instantly). However, staying in melee makes it easier to pull aggro and allows less time to react, many mobs have silencing AoEs which can be avoided by staying further away, and I need to heal one more character, myself. On the bright side, water shield procced slightly more often, yielding a bit more mana to work with.

  • I need an addon which lets me know when Water Shield is down.
  • The ability to drop totems while silenced actually means I can do something to prevent a wipe while silenced. Stoneskin Totem, Grounding Totem and the occasional resistance totem can prevent some damage until the resto-buttons flash up again or silence wears off.

  • Speaking of stuff I forget, my resistance totems are so far unused, which is stupid. The last boss on Blood Furnace practically screams Fire Resistance Totem. Okay, what he actually screams is "Come closer... and BURN!". Even if I warned all three of the groups I was in about it, they still get caught in it all the time. Last time, I even got caught in it myself, misjudging it's range.

Some observations as Restoration, using the glyphs of Earthliving Weapon and Healing Stream Totem:

  • When I respecced resto, I lost a ton of healing spell power. With totems up, I only had about 300 healing spell, which meant that Lesser Healing Wave and Healing Wave healed for about the same as when I was Enhancement, and then only thanks to talents such as Purification and Tidal Waves.

  • What I gained, on the other hand, was a healing toolbox of healing tools.

    • Nature's Swiftness + Tidal Force (+ Blood Fury) + Healing Wave = Big instant heal.

    • (Improved) Earth Shield + Riptide + Earthliving Weapon + Healing Stream Totem = stability healer de luxe. Stability in this sense means a constant stream of incoming health to the tank, as opposed to having to rely on direct heals all the time.

    • Survivabilty of another dimension. When I called back Earth Shield to myself, riptided myself and spammed Lesser Healing Waves on myself, I could survive practically anything. The only time I've died as resto was at the last boss at Blood Furnace, and that was because I'd forgotten to heal myself up after his initial AoE. Earlier, I survived a double pull where mostly everyone died, except me and a blood knight.. and he had 104 health left when the last mob was down.

    • Tidal Waves is a fantastic talent. Since Riptide has a six second cooldown, it's practically up all the time. 1.05 sec LHWs? Yes, please.

    • Mana Tide Totem feels like a weak version of Innervate. Then again, it might be because I was grouped with only death knights except a warlock which life tapped anyway. Go figure.

    • I regret not testing out Ancestral Awakening. I'll do so on next resto-respec, dropping Improved Chain Heal and a point from Improved Earth Shield.

    • I will test out Glyph of Lesser Healing Wave and possibly Water Mastery next time I respec resto.

  • Even with Glyph of Healing Stream Totem and Restorative Totems, Healing Stream totem ticks for less than as enhancement. 60/tick as resto, opposed to 70/tick as enhancement. Something feels slightly wrong here...

Some other random observations:

  • I'm in love. Reincarnation is the best ability for a healer to have, ever. With a bit of judgement, it can either be a superior wipe recovery, or a way to make you survive any time of aggro whatsoever. Well, survive is a relative term. You understand what I mean.

  • I used to, but I no longer like multiple tanks. With a single tank, I can precast and if nescessary abort a big heal, to make sure I always got damage under control. With multiple tanks, I often end up loosing one member here and there. I suspect most death knights have yet to learn to switch to Frost Presence when they get aggro. Okay, I don't mind having an offtank sometimes, but with 3-4 death knights, aggro was jumping around like a frigthened frog, making it hard for me to keep up with the healing all the time. I've noticed a trend: The more exercise my Chain Heal button gets, the less good the group is. Not always, but often. With all that said, it's a lot easier to keep up a group where aggro flies around as resto than enhancement. Working as intended, in other words.

  • Death Knights seem capable of getting every physical buffing ability a shaman has to offer, and they don't stack. Horn of Winter = Strength of Earth Totem. Abomination's Might = Unleashed Rage. Improved Icy Talons = (Improved) Windfury Totem. But very few if any blood knight will have both Improved Icy Talons and Abomination's Might. On the bright side, being a shaman, I've got other totems to drop instead. Stoneskin Totem if I'm grouped with a blood death knight, and Wrath of Air Totem if I'm grouped with a frost death knight, at least as soon as I hit 64.

  • Earth Shield is a fantastic ability. I can see why they won't give it to a spirit-based healer class like priests and druids. In combination with my other stability tools, I often get extended "downtime" while healing. If I'd had decent spirit, that'd allowed me to gain a lot of mana back. But being more of an mp5 class, I don't get too much benefit from that. It'd be overpowered in the hands of a priest or druid. I expect there's a similar thinking behind the new paladin ability Sacred Shield.

  • Earthliving Weapon adds a new random factor to healing. Every healer already has crit as a random factor. Druids, depending most on HoTs, have the least amount of randomness to their healing in my book. It's pretty obvious that Blizz wants to change that, though. As it is now, I'm tempted to say shamans have the most randomness in their healing, but I'm not sure if it's true.

I decided that I didn't want to solo as resto, so I went ahead and respecced Elemental and glyphed Flametongue Weapon and Lightning Bolt. Now I'm looking forward to testing out Thunderstorm... especially in PVP. Did you hear a MOHAHAHAHAHA? No, it must've been your imagination.

There's a special thing, though. I'll try healing as elemental at some point (that's mainly why I picked Unrelenting Storm over Reverbation for PVP). When I do, I have to stay faaaar back not to hit mobs with my Thunderstorm when using it for mana regen. It's a perfect tools for pissing off the tank and physical dps, pull more mobs, and ensure a hillarious (or tragical) wipe all a the same time, when applied incorrectly.


  1. I use SmartBuff http://wow.curse.com/downloads/wow-addons/details/smart-buff.aspx to pester me when Water Shield has run out. It is sometimes a big buggy but works well in combat. I also have the Glyph of Water Shield http://www.wowhead.com/?item=43386 for an extra charge because the thing lasts about 10 seconds in melee soloing.

  2. Thanks for the suggestion. I'll try that out. Also thanks for the link to your own blogs, complete with links to other shaman blogs. I'll check them out.