Content by Lytheia – editing by Dorelei – Screenshot by Cinder


Sometimes it can feel like an uphill battle to analyze why you or someone else is underperforming as a Resto Shaman. Below is a list of pointers that will cover what to look for when searching for improvement. We will look at how to analyze these issues from 3 different perspectives: Spell Breakdown, Raid Cooldowns, and Overhealing. We will be using Warcraft Logs for this walkthrough, as it has a very user-friendly and informative, while also being the most commonly used platform.


General principles

First of all, In order to analyze logs you first need to start recording your logs in order to look back on them. Make sure to turn on advanced combat logging in your WoW client to ensure the recording of all relevant data. The current most commonly used platform for analyzing logs is Warcraft Logs. Secondly, you want to discover how effective your spell casting is. This can be achieved by looking at the spells that should have a priority in your spell weave, and check how often you were able to use them and how much they healed for. As resto shamans are largely dependent on their (large array of) cooldowns, using them wisely and as often as possible is important.

You may wonder, so how do I analyze these things? It is all starts with a basic principle. First, you look up in your logs how long a fight lasted. Convert this to a total amount of seconds. A 7 minute and 18-second fight is (7×60)+18=438 seconds. That is your total fight time. Now look at the cooldown of micro cooldowns (Riptide, Healing Stream Totem, Healing Rain), look at the cooldown of your big cooldowns (Healing Tide Totem, Spirit Link Totem, Ancestral Guidance). When you divide your total fight time, by the duration of a cooldown, you get the theoretical maximum number of usages of that cooldown.


For example: Total fight time / cooldown Healing Tide Totem = maximum number of Healing Tide usages in that fight
438 sec total fight time / (3×60 sec) = 2,43 uses of Healing Tide Totem that will be available to you in the fight.


Now look back at your (in this case make-believe) log. Did you use Healing Tide Totem twice? If not, would there be a way to rearrange your cooldowns to achieve this? This way of thinking applies to this article, so without further ado.


Spell breakdown

Chain Heal. You want your Chain Heals to be as effective as possible, meaning they are always hitting as many targets as possible. You can calculate this simply by looking at the logs and taking the amount of Chain Heal hits and divide it by the amount of Chain Heal casts. The maximum amount of bounces for a single Chain Heal is 5 with High Tide, and 4 without the talent. Depending on the fight, reaching this will be impossible so aim for 4.5+ bounces as the least.

Riptide. As one of the most potent and efficient spells in our toolkit, Riptide should be used as close to on cooldown as possible. That being said, occassionally this just isn’t the most effective spell for the damage going out. I personally believe in aiming for around 80%-90% of potential Riptide casts being used. You can calculate this with the following 2 formulas:

Fight Length in Seconds / 6 = Total Number of Possible Riptides
Total Number of Riptides Cast / Total Number of Possible Riptides = Percentage of Possible Riptides Used

Now, this can get slightly more difficult to calculate when you have selected Echo of the Elements as your talent. Ideally, the number will be similar, with roughly 2-5 additional riptides per minute based on how many Healing Waves and Healing Surges you find yourself casting.

Healing Rain. With the addition of our Tier 20 4 Piece Bonus, Healing Rain has taken a step up in priority. While strong, this spell shouldn’t be kept on cooldown at all times. Look to try and make sure you have an active Healing Rain during your Cloudburst Totems, Ancestral Guidance, and Ascendance. You want to use this spell whenever it will be effective, so make sure you look at your overheal to ensure you aren’t using it when it is not needed.

Ancestral Guidance. Ancestral Guidance is a powerful cooldown, and as a result, you want to maximize the throughput gained during this. Obviously, as with all healing, the rules are not set in stone, but you want to try to utilize only Healing Rain, Chain Heal, Healing Surge and Gift of the Queen. Do not cast Healing Stream Totem and try to avoid using Healing Wave while this buff is active. Ancestral Guidance only enhances direct healing. As such totem healing is not effective during this cooldown. Also keep an eye on your positioning, as only allies within 20 yards of you will be able to benefit from the effects of Ancestral Guidance. This cooldown is very effective in snipe healing situations. Its short cooldown often allows you to sneak one use in at the start of the fight, padding those meters straight away. For more on this, consider checking up another of our old articles: ‘Healing skills #3: becoming a cooldown canon’.

Earthen Shield Totem. This talent should be used as often as possible when it will be effective. Ideally, you should have 1 cast per minute.Earthen Shield Totem is most effective when absorbing fast-paced hits and DoT’s on a large group of people.

Healing Stream Totem. Healing Stream Totem is an incredibly powerful smart heal. Under ideal conditions, we should cast this every time it comes off cooldown. This means that we can cast it on the pull, and then every 30 seconds afterward. To find the total number of casts, it is simply 1 cast every 30 seconds. If you are playing Echo of the Elements, you should simply add 1 to this number.

(Fight Length in Seconds / 30 ) [+ 1 if Echo of the Elements is Talented] = Total Number of Possible Healing Stream Totems.


Unleash Life
If you have chosen this talent, ensure that you are using it on cooldown. Not using this regularly enough, can rapidly diminish the value you are getting out of this talent. The total number of possible casts is 1 per 15 seconds and is preferably used on either Chain Heal or Riptide.

Fight Length in Seconds / 15 = Total Number of Possible Unleash Life’s

Major Cooldowns

We have a lot of potential healing tied to our cooldowns and using them optimally can provide with a massive healing increase. My general idea of cooldowns is: use cooldowns as early and as often as possible! You want to look for when during the fight you dropped your cooldowns, and how much overhealing it did. This will vary quite a bit between the various cooldowns we have in our arsenal. Cooldown effectiveness is an important part of how your numbers look on the meters. A marginally effective cooldown placement doesn’t necessarily mean a bad placement. Some groups deliberately choose to use specific cooldowns to counter specific damage moments on the group. Translating in low meter performance, but a steady survival of that moment in the encounter.

Healing Tide Totem. This is a pretty straightforward process of evaluating. Here you just want to look at the big burst phases of the bosses, to see if you had the cooldown up during that time. Then you can look for the amount of overhealing your cooldown did. If the cooldown had a lot of overhealing, it is usually because it was used together with another cooldown. For a 20 man mythic group you should never do less than 10 million healing with a Healing Tide Totem if it is used properly (unless it was deliberately used to counter a mechanic or is a surplus (padding) use). This is, of course, dependant on legendaries and the boss encounter.

Ascendance. Currently mostly used in Mythic Plus. This talent is limited in a similar way as Ancestral Guidance. It only duplicates and redistributes direct healing (so no totem healing) and you have to be positioned within 20 yards of your allies for it to be effective. Make sure to have your direct healing ‘rolling’ before popping this: Healing Rain down, Riptides up and ready to (probably) spam Healing Wave or Chain Heal.

Spirit Link Totem. This is a difficult one to really put a value to. This cooldown usually does not even reflect half of the actual worth on the meters and logs. This is a spell that can I see this spell as a tool to turn around a seemingly lost situation, which is incredibly powerful. The amount of healing done by this ability will have little to no effect on logs either way because it is not seen as actual healing and thus deducted. It will show healing done and at the bottom, it will deduct the same amount due to ‘friendly fire’. Although this being said you can still estimate the effectiveness of them by looking at what situations you used it for and how much healing it shows it did. This will, of course, depends on what situation you used it for, be it as a tank cooldown or a raid equalizer. Spirit Link Totem is great at stabilizing a group of people and makes it slightly more difficult for heavy hitting abilities to kill of your raid team. This makes it easier for the healers to keep a group alive while progressing through a heavy damage phase.


“Spirit Link Totem is very strong when paired with other raidwide cooldowns effectively reducing the overhealing they cause by bringing high health targets down in health %, and low health targets up in health %.  This works very well with something like Revival, a spell that typically struggles with use in scenarios when everyone ins’t low, but a cooldown is needed.  You can drop the totem, then your monk ally casts revival and will heal the entire raid for its full amount.”



Optimizing how you move to your destination is important. To keep the group alive during progress, but also to keep up your uptime and keep up your numbers. This covers how you use Spiritwalker’s Grace.

Spiritwalker’s Grace. This spell is super important to get comfortable with, if you learn how to use it properly you will have the ability to keep very close to 100% active time on all bosses. When tracking for this you can use the replay, to see if you actually had to move when casting it. From this replay you should also be able to see at what points during the fight where you move around the most. You can then map out exactly where on the boss Spiritwalker’s Grace will have the most value for you to use. With the talent, Graceful Spirit, it will only have a single minute cooldown and you can basically pop it whenever you need to move just a little bit. You should be able to use it efficiently at least a couple of times even during shorter encounters. This is one of those abilities that you have to force yourself to get comfortable with. As a result, it will greatly reward your healing output and overall performance.


Overhealing and the repercussions for shamans

Running a healer heavy setup, prevent raids from really dipping low. Ultimately this takes away the potency of resto shaman, as some of our power is found in Mastery: Deep Healing. It is pretty easy to spot if you run with a healer heavy setup just by looking at the overhealing done by the pure output healers. If their rotational abilities do more than 40-50% overhealing, you could probably drop a healer.


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