First and foremost, thanks for the support and tuning in to the show! 🙂 Its always great to hear some feedback regarding things that we all do in the community. Your support is greatly appreciated!
The quickest and easiest question to answer, so I’ll jump to it first, is your question regarding tier.
Even though the tier bonuses are boring, and the stats on the gear are simply not “ideal” in the mind of a Resto Shaman, the bonuses themselves are strong. Regardless of talenting Echo, your HST uptime will increase. There is no limit to the number of HSTs you can have active at any one time, so there is no reason to talent into or avoid Echo just because of a tier bonus. As long as youre watching your HST cooldown and hitting it on cooldown, you will very rarely, if ever, waste the reduction in cooldown gained from the tier set. HST, when dropped on cooldown, will make up anywhere from ~3-6% of your total healing done from fight to fight, and the tier set increases your HST uptime by anywhere from ~70-100%, effectively doubling its output when used to its absolute maximum. Combine this with increasing the frequency in which we have Caress of the Tidemother active for 10% DR and youre actually really saving some damage taken.
With regards to Drape of Shame from Maiden in Karazhan, its certainly an interesting and powerful piece of gear, admittedly so for anyone focusing on the strength of Chain Heal in a raid because of relying more upon Critical Strike to proc passives. The raw straight to the point fact is that the kind of math associated with Drape of Shame value vs X Y Z cloak of any item level (and often the kind of math many ask about regarding stat weights and Pawn and the like) is the kind of math that you don’t exactly apply to healers. Too many variables go into healing, especially contributing to the strength of a Shamans Mastery, to be able to math out the specific strength for a stat or effect like “Increases the effectiveness of your Critical healing by 10%” for any given encounter before the encounter has already been completed. There are log analysis tools out there that will give a rough estimate of the strength AFTER the fact, but healing cannot be simulated (outside of setting super specific variables that will obviously change in real time) for a Shaman it can only be analyzed.
To the point; the Drape of Shame has some approximate values out there for other classes, and they should not be taken as fact for a Resto Shaman. The cloak is so incredibly powerful for Holy Paladins that they will never take it off but that is because they have a built in modifier to their crit for their spells and many passives that make up the entirety of their specialization. Its safe to say that the cloak would see approximately the same value as a cloak about 30-35 or so ilevels above it but when factoring in that the tier cloak has good stats and most importantly life saving stats, its a no brainer.
A good example of the value of the Drape of Shame is a script that is floating around giving the approximate value of the Drape vs the Intellect gained by using a cloak of a greater ilevel. This script is used by druids to find approximately how much Intellect they need on a cloak before they can drop a Drape of Shame and thats because their secondary stats are valued so closely together for general raiding use that outside of a specifically Mastery heavy 5 man build, they would need a high ilevel off cloak to wear instead of Drape. Shamans, however, value Mastery heavily during progression because of its lifesaving power and Mastery, in critical conditions, far outweighs the value of Intellect by a factor of more than two meaning that the Mastery on the tier cloak, when it matters (ie target is in need of healing) will further increase the Tier cloaks value.
In an ideal world of having the best gear out there, you’ve got two “best” options. (keeping in mind that this will hardly ever happen because the game is very random now because of WF/TF gearing, its quite possible that you wont want to give up a couple of high ilevel pieces etc etc)
Tier Helm, Cloak, Chest, Legs with the Suramar 2p (Shoulders and Bracers) and Tidecallers Legendary Gloves.
Tier Helm, Shoulders, Chest, Legs with a high rolled Drape of Shame and Tidecallers Legendary Gloves.
Don’t forget, while not ideal its important to realize that all secondary stats will increase our healing output and we favor Mastery over others because of its strength when people are critically injured. Versatility is a flat healing increase and damage reduction resulting in less healing needing to be done and Haste linearly scales all our “over-time” effects and reduces our GCD for all those instant cast spells we have in our toolkit. Those are good things!
Finally, a point to remember is that *generally speaking* Legendary items should not dictate how you talent. Talents should be chosen to counter raid mechanics or encounter design more than anything else. If an encounter has very little movement and a stacked raid, perhaps Deluge will be valued more to increase the healing output of your Chain Heal. If the encounter has several scripted heavy damage phases, maybe Ascendance will see use to help your raid get through a tricky spot where you just need that little bit of extra cooldown healing. Talents are subjective to playstyle and encounter much more than Legendary item or set bonus gearing. Remember, just because you have Jonats doesn’t mean that Unleash Life or High Tide will be best for those situations. If youre hardly casting Chain Heal, then theres no reason to really build your entire healing toolkit around it.
I hope that this has been informative, and again, thank you so much for the continued support. As I just said on Twitter after the show on Sunday, we in the community couldn’t keep doing what we do without the support from everyone – other players most of all.