A skill that takes time to hone and master. You can almost always improve the efficiency at which you use your mana. Spending it on the right spells, or making sure you have the ability to go full out on heavy damage phases. A lot of factors are relevant when optimizing how you spend your mana, and how you are going to regenerate it during an encounter.
How does mana regeneration work?
Your main source for mana throughout during a fight is going to come directly from the spirit you have on your gear, and the base spirit your class has been provided with. Spirit has a conversion to mana. It is generated per 5 seconds (MP5) and 1 spirit gives 2 MP5 (or 2 mana per 5 seconds). Additionally, you have a base regen of around 4811 (base line – can differ slightly depending no race) at level 100. As a Shaman you gain an additional 326 MP5 when you buff yourself with Water Shield.
This means that any spirit you gain on items, will impact the rate at which you generate mana significantly. Spirit is a way for healers to really min-max. It allows for some engaging gameplay (however little it may be) when you actively drop spirit for throughput purposes. Although during progression, running with more than enough spirit is a safer bet (and an ancient guideline in WoW). Because one is not completely familiar with the boss, accidents/mistakes will occur and thus unexpected mana will be spent. This is also the reason why Elemental Blast simply is too good to miss out on. This spell alone will, if used efficiently reach more than 50% uptime. Meaning that you will have an additional 500 spirit for more than 50% of the fight. This provides you with a decent amount of additional mana regeneration.
There is no better feeling than ending a fight without a single drop of mana left. It is very important that you are capable of doing this, if you want to maximize the potential of your class. In contrast, it is not very satisfying to be out of mana before the fight ends. The balance is very delicate. The ability to evaluate a fight after each attempt, with mana in mind, will be very insightful. It will provide you with a lot of information regarding whether or not you should change the way you use your spells, to make sure that you are able to last the encounter without going oom.
So which potion do I use?
There are two different mana potions. One is a channeled potion, with a 10 second cast duration. It is called the ‘Draenic Channeled Mana Potion‘. It allows you to have a much larger mana pool to draw from during a fight. It will be more than worth it if you know how to maximize it. However, if you feel the raid might be at risk when you are not casting for 10 seconds, you might want to consider using the instant potion. This potion is called the ‘Draenic Mana Potion‘.
The third option is the ‘Greater Draenic Intellect Potion‘. This is the DPS potion, and can be used to increase your throughput. Ideal when the group is not taking a lot of damage, fights are finished very quickly, or you can’t strain your mana enough to fit in a mana potion.
Experienced healers will often pay attention to their mana levels during encounters. Your goal as a healer is to be completely oom when the boss dies, just not too soon before it. It will show that you’ve exerted all options. This doesn’t mean that we promote unfit spell usage, but given the right rotation you should aim to find yourself oom at the moment of the kill.
How can I drop spirit?
As you enter farm and get more comfortable with the bosses, you might see yourself ending on too high amounts of mana. This will mean that you have the option of swapping around your items to lower you spirit and ultimately gain more throughput. Our recommendation is to not drop your regen trinkets. If you are to drop spirit to begin with, swap out your neck for the drop from Xhul’horac first (Vial of Immiscible Liquid) or the ring from Tyrant Velhari (Loathful Encrusted Band). We think this is the most optimal because our trinkets already have great stats. Necklaces are not available with mastery and spirit on them. You can also swap out your mana potion for an intellect potion to power up one of your cooldowns. The last option is something that should only be considered on very short fights: stepping away from Elemental Blast and picking up Primal Elementalist. Primal Elementalist in itself is stronger for outputting healing, but you will lose quite some potential mana when leaving Elemental Blast. Our expectations are that this talent will be seen more in top rankings once patch 6.2.3 arrives.
Looking at logs with mana management in mind
There are a few things you should look for when evaluating logs. We will use Warcraft Logs as an example. It is rather popular amongst the logging alternatives and we think it provides the most detailed information. Logging like Ask mr. Robot is more generic. Even though it might be helpful to a lot of groups, the detailed information of Warcraft Logs allows us to analyze more in-depth.
The first thing you want to look at is how your mana fluctuates throughout the fight. To find this you will open the log and follow as shown on the image:
- Click on the ‘Resources’ pane.
- Click the ‘All Friendlies’ drop down menu and select your own character.
- Select the ‘Hit Points’ drop down menu and set to ‘Mana’.
It should yield you a nice graph of how your mana moved. This is what you are going to look at to determine if you spent your mana potion efficiently. Here’s a Tyrant Velhari Mythic kill of Dorelei (mana fluctuations). Notice how there isn’t a moment of regeneration with a mana potion (simply forgotten). It does show a proper top to bottom flow from beginning to end (blame Warcraft Logs for doing maintenance exactly at the time of us wanting to post this… cryyyyyyy xD).
The next important thing to start looking for would be to look for the uses of Elemental Blast. You will need to know the amount of casts you’ve made and the duration of the encounter, to determine how well you used Elemental Blast (Or you could look at the uptime of the buff). To do so you will have to first
- Select the ‘Casts’ pane.
- Select your character under the ‘All Friendlies’ drop down menu.
- You can then specify the cast from the ‘All Abilities’ drop down to be Elemental Blast. This will show how many casts you’ve made during the encounter.
We can use this to determine how efficient your casts have been, and we do so by dividing the encounter duration with the amount of casts you’ve made. When getting the result you can compare it to the cooldown of Elemental Blast (12 seconds + cast time). This will be output in the average downtime you have in between every Elemental Blast you make.
But what are acceptable uptimes for Elemental Blast? We sat down and defined some intervals where we qualify uptimes as being either excellent, good, mediocre, or poor. Keep in mind that the cast time of Elemental Blast is slightly affected by haste levels (minor impact). Additionally, there won’t always be validity for an uptime of over 50%. Sometimes it is just not worth it, you don’t need the regen, or other factors will apply. That said, regen is essential in maximizing throughput and Elemental Blast will help you to do just that.
- Excellent – Here we have an uptime of 50%+, this means that your average time between casts will have to be around or lower than 16 seconds.
- Good – An uptime of anywhere in between 40 – 50%.
- Mediocre – With an uptime of 30-40%, here you’ll have an average time between casts around or less than 26 seconds.
- Poor – We consider anything below 30% as pretty low/poor uptime. You’ll have an average downtime of more than 26 seconds for every Elemental Blast cast you make.
Do you analyze your mana levels? Do you actively try to optimize your mana as a resource? If so, are there other ways in which you do this? Or maybe you’re left with questions? Let us know in the comment section below.