Reply To: Help, feedback on my healing.

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Since I am not sure what log I am going to be reviewing I am just going to go over some general Restoration Shaman knowledge that will help you regardless of the fight / situation.

One thing I like to start off with is going over what your “goal” in raid healing should be, specifically progression raid healing as a Restoration Shaman. Your job is a little more complex than just keeping people alive. If you think back to a time, specifically pre-Pandaria, you’d recall raids always mentioning, “Okay, X is gonna be focusing on raid heals, X is gonna be the tank healer, etc.” and you do not see this much anymore. There was a reason specific healers were assigned certain healing positions in the raid; Each healer handled each situation a little better / differently. Whether it’s talked about or not, the same rule still applies today. I’ll give you a prime example of comparing a Restoration Shaman to a Holy Paladin. Both healers are perfectly viable in raid healing and can heal every situation perfectly fine. The difference is where each healer excels. If you look over a Holy Paladin’s entire healing kit you will start to see a pattern of abilities / reasons that allow them to excel at single target / top off healing / tank healing. When you look at a Restoration Shaman’s healing kit you see a large majority of spells that allow them to excel at AoE raid healing / multi-target / low health healing. Does this mean Holy Paladins are bad at AoE healing? No. Does this mean Shamans are bad a single target healing? No. Each class just excels in each position a little bit differently. This leads me into talking about your number one goal when raid healing: being as mana efficient as possible. I cannot stress this enough. A restoration shaman’s time to shine, or get the most out of there healing, is when the entire raid group is low on health. When does this situation most commonly occur? Towards the end of the fight. If you go off and spam chain heals / healing surges in the first 3 minutes of the fight with people sitting over 70% HP your going to end up not having enough mana to utilize your healing when everyone is sitting at 20% HP. (Which assuming your sitting on 100% mastery that’s another 50% bonus to your healing you would have received.) Your #1 priority to to achieve the highest healing output / mana spent ratio. How do you do this? Continue your basic healing rotation while only making use of other abilities when you feel you will actually get a good amount of value out of them. How do you determine whether you will get enough value out of them? It’s based on players health, your current mana, how long into the fight it is, etc. etc. There is so many factors that come into play I cannot sit here and tell you exactly when you need to Chain Heal, or when the best time to cast a Healing surge is, as that’s something that you’re going to have to learn over time, and will usually change depending on the fight. If you know the fight isn’t going to last long and mana isn’t going to be an issue, then play a bit less conservative, if you find yourself not having enough mana to sustain the end of the fight play a bit more conservative. You’re going to have to adapt based on the fight and that’s a skill among itself.

I am going to go over talents pretty briefly. I cannot see all of your talent choices based off of the logs, so I am just going to talk quickly about what you should be running and why, if you have any questions about other talents or choices just let me know. Tier 1 talent choice should always be Torrent. I know some people will argue Undulation is a better choice for better mana conservation but I tend to disagree. If you look at your log I posted above you used Riptide a total of 45 times and you used Healing Wave/Surge a total of 28 times. Torrent increases every single Riptide while Undulation only works on every 3rd Wave / Surge. Considering Healing Surge is almost never worth the mana cost to use, I don’t find Undulation strong enough to be considered. I would break down the numbers for you but it would require a correct log of someone not using either talent, but I will save you the trouble in saying Torrent is a much more reliable choice. Tier 2/3 are entirely optional. Tier 4 is between Ancestral Guidance and Deluge.  Crashing Waves is typically stronger if you’re going for single target healing which is why it is commonly used in dungeons. Ancestral Guidance is good in all situations as long as you don’t mind managing another cool down. Deluge is better if you do not want to manage another cool down and/or people are going to be stacked up in the fight such as Ursoc / Dragons / Xavius. Tier 5 is the same idea, both Earthen Shield Totem and Ancestral Vigor are strong. I would personally go with EST but if you don’think you can handle using the ability properly off cool down Ancestral Vigor is a great utility choice that works passively. Tier 6 talent should be Cloudburst Totem. Echo is a great choice again for single target healing where you heavily rely on Tidal Waves for your healing. Like I mentioned before, in a raid environment you are trying to be as mana efficient as possible and Cloudburst Totem has extremely high healing potential for a very low mana cost where as echo relies on you casting more abilities to get the most out of it’s effect. Final talent should be High Tide. Ascendance is a dungeon talent, High Tide is what makes your Chain Heal so valuable.

Now I will talk about your basic rotation. It’s hard to say, “Here is your healing rotation…” because your “rotation” changes so much based on the situation, but there is a few things you should be trying to maintain 100% up time on as well as a few abilities that should be used off cool down. Regardless of the situation you have four core abilities that should be used off cool down: Healing Stream Totem, Cloudburst Totem, Healing Rain, and Riptide. Healing Stream Totem and Cloudburst Totem should be used at the same time, off cool down every 30 seconds. Healing Rain should be used off cool down every 10 seconds and placed somewhere you feel it will be able to effectively heal the most people. Riptide should be used off cool down on the player with the lowest health that doesn’t already have the Riptide HoT. You are going to be getting a lot of Tidal Wave charges (1 from each Riptide and 1 from each Chain Heal) which should almost always be used on a Healing Wave. The only time I would ever consider Healing Surge worth using is when it is guaranteed that someone is going to die otherwise, or a tank needs to be very quickly topped off or an ability will kill them. The spells mana cost relative to its healing output isn’t worth it, even when taking the bonus critical strike from Tidal Waves into account. It’s not uncommon for me to go an entire fight without using Healing Surge once. You want to make the most out of your Tidal Waves by using them on Healing Waves as it will give you a quick and mana efficient heal. You want to do your best earlier on to not waste your Tidal Waves; If you have two charges of Tidal Waves try to make use of them before you cast Riptide / Chain Heal again. An exception can be made when the entire raid is taking heavy AoE damage / is at low health and you want to spam Chain Heal. This situation is explainable because due to the low health of everyone Chain Heal actually becomes more mana efficient than Healing Wave (due to your mastery kicking in, Chain Heal actually hits 5 people that make full use of the healing / no over-healing, etc.).

A couple general tips:

– Don’t focus too much on topping people off early on.  If your Riptide is on cool down and you see someone sitting at 90% health while everyone else is full, let one of your other healers top him off as it usually isn’t worth your time or mana to hard cast a Healing Wave to just heal 180k missing health.

– When you are feeling comfortable with your rotation try maintaining Flame Shock  on the boss / target. It may seem very small but the amount of damage that it ends up being towards the end of a fight is pretty big, especially if you add in any Lava Burst procs on the side. This is especially useful when progression raiding.

– Determine if you can use your cool downs early. If a large chunk of damage is going to hit the raid 4 minutes into the fight, use your Healing Tide Totem some time before the first minute so it will be back off cool down at the 4 minute mark. You may not get the full healing out of it, but considering how much healing it does for such a small mana cost you want to squeeze it in whenever possible. This will change depending on the fight, how fast the boss is dying, etc. You should try to manage this with all of your cool downs. If the fight is over 5 minutes long and you’ve only used a major cool down such as Healing Tide Totem once, you probably could have gotten more use out of it.

– Don’t forget you can manually activate your Cloudburst Totem. There are a few addons out there that will show you how much healing is built up in your Cloudburst Totem. When you push the Cloudburst button before it goes off you can trigger it early.

– Track your Tidal Waves. Get an addon that can track buffs such as TellMeWhen and have it track Tidal Waves. This will give you a visual indicator of how many charges you have so you do not waste them. (If you need help setting up TellMeWhen I can give you my configs that tracks just about everything that’s useful.)

– Make proper use of your artifact ability, Gift of the Queen. So many healers have very weak artifact abilities as of rite now and the Restoration Shaman one is very strong. The amount of healing it can do one such a short cool down for no mana cost is unbelievable and she abused whenever possible.

– If you can’t find a good position for your Healing Rain, just place it on your tank’s position. On some fights such as Nythendra where people are spread apart, it could be hard to find 10 people that can stand within Healing Rain’s range. At this point you’re typically better off putting it on your tank and considering it and extra HoT as it is better for it to constantly heal one person than to sometimes heal one of three people that managed to stand in it. Even if the tank is the only person that is going to be standing in your Healing Rain, it is still always worth casting as it provides passive healing.

– Spirit Link Totem provides a 10% damage reduction, so it’s  better to have everyone in it before the large damage burst comes out rather than after.

– Your two best healing / mana cost spells are Healing Tide Totem and Earthen Shield Totem. Your Earthen Shield Totem costs slightly more than a Healing Wave but puts out about 10 times the amount of healing as damage reduction to your tank. Taking this into consideration, you want to make use of it whenever it is off cool down. To put this in perspective, considering you Earthen Shield Totem was doing an average of 2 million absorption per cast, f you cast it off cool  down it would have almost been your top healing done rite behind Chain Heal.