Our main goal during progress is to down bosses as fast as possible. Ranking doesn’t really matter as long as you execute what your raid leader is asking from you. Some classes are better than others on different types of encounters and you can’t always finish on top of healing done. Don’t worry if your numbers are not always high. After progress is done, players are trying to push their best and push their rankings as higher as possible and to compete with players around world. It keeps you motivated to raid, and it helps you improve yourself as healer.
When It comes to ranking, there are lot of factors and I will try to explain some of them here. Keep in mind that I do not recommend fighting for ranks while your guild is still in progressing period.
The first and probably most important factor, is the amount of healers your raid is using on specific fight. I highly recommend reducing amount of healers for the farm period by 1 on most of the bosses compared to progression. It will keep your dps awake, it will make your healers work hard to keep raid alive, and it will push everyone in the raid to play their best to kill even farm bosses. Additionally, it will make farming fun instead of semi-afk play when you know risk of dying is 0.
‘In my guild the disc priest switched to holy’
This brings us to the second factor, which is crucial for shaman healers, and its having a discipline priest in the raid. In the current state of the game, absorbs are superior compared to reactive healing. It’s simple, if your disc wants to push healing you have no chance on getting any decent ranks during farm. In my guild the disc priest switched to holy for the entire farm and I imagine he is also having lot more fun since he is not playing a shield bot anymore. It’s also really good to see your dps doing mechanics properly when there is no shields to carry their fails, which in turn makes them better players.
The third important factor, is using your raid cooldowns in a correct order. To maximize your cooldowns, you need to know the duration of boss encounters and try to squeeze in extra cooldowns if possible. You still have to make sure to have cooldowns up for the moments when it will maximize your healing done. Using the legendary ring while having Healing Tide Totem up is a huge healing boost. While having ascendance up, don’t be afraid to spam expensive heals, the amount of healing you do while having ascendance up matters a lot.
The fourth factor is analyzing logs. You should be looking at the amount of chain heal jumps in a fight compared to chain heal casts. Why is this important? Well because our level 100 talent High Tide provides us 2 extra jumps on targets affected by riptide, and this is the only thing that actually requires you to think while playing and determines the skill cap. If your ratio is low, you have to increase the amount of riptides on the entire raid. Additionally, having the 4-set helps a lot. Look for your Healing Stream Totem uptime, and the amount of Elemental Blasts casted.
The fifth is your gear setup. Again, most important is to know how long the fight will last in order to use your mana as efficiently as possible. For farm, I recommend dropping spirit and getting stats that will boost your throughput. I am always saying: if you finish a fight with any unused mana, you didn’t push as much as you could have. But be careful not to go out of mana too early. Since reforging is gone, I recommend using an item with a higher item level as long as that item doesn’t have 2 really bad stats (Versatility being one of them).
‘Don’t always use Ghost Wolf’
There are lot more things that can improve your rankings, for example your positioning during encounters. If you choose the correct spot, you will be able to heal most of time without having to move. This will optimize the amount of spells you can cast. We all know shamans are really weak when there is a lot of moving involved. If you have to move, always pair it up with Unleash Elements. Don’t always use Ghost Wolf, since Unleash will often provide you enough of a speed increase. This allows you to boost your next heal. I know players are used to Ghost Wolf while moving but try to change that and you will notice improvement.
Please allow me to share my personal perspective on ranking. It is clear to most players that top ranks can’t be achieved while doing bosses normally. When I say normally, I think of using the normal amount of healers and having each of those healers pushing their best. It’s simply not going to happen, no matter how good you are or how hard you are trying. What I noticed is that players are doing different stuff in order to get top ranks. Most of the time you will find logs where guilds are using the normal amount of healers. However, only one healer is pushing the rankings and the rest is there to assist in the hard parts of the fight. However, they semi-afk during most of the fight. It’s something I never liked. Personally, I like the approach that my guild is using. We use a low amount of healers, and they have to work hard to earn both boss kills and high ranks.
‘start pushing yourself to the limit’
So to summarize everything: if you are killing bosses, if you are doing your job. If your numbers are not high, that doesn’t necessarily mean you are a bad player or that you are healing wrong. It’s probably your guild doing things safe and not care about the entire (healer) ranking part. But trust me, once you start pushing yourself (and the people around you) to the limits, you will discover an entire new aspect of the game and you will definitely have lot of fun.
That’s pretty much everything I have to share with you guys. I hope this will help some people to improve themselves as players, as well to understand that you should not watch only rankings or Skada HPS and judge others accordingly, since there are a lot of factors behind top rankings.
Halûcinogen is the resto shaman and raid leader of Enraged Revolution (Ragnaros-EU).