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Restoration WotLK Talents and Discussion

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For those thinking about Shaman-as-single-target-healers, take a gander at the top rank spells of Priests vs. Shaman:

Greater Heal (1290, 3.0s) - Heals 3950 to 4590

Flash Heal (775, 1.5s)- Heals 2054 to 2386

Healing Wave (1600, 3.0s) - Heals 3034 to 3466

Lesser Healing Wave (965, 1.5s) - Heals 1606 to 1834

Greater Heal receives 15% less cost (Improved Healing), 10% more healing (Spiritual Healing), 5% critical (Holy Specialization), 16% less cost/20s of haste (Holy Concentration/Improved Holy Concentration), 20% empowerment (Empowered Healing), -0.5s casting (Divine Fury), free casting on 50% overheals, and +15% healing/critical when healing targets below 50%.

Healing Wave receives 5% less cost, 18% more healing, 10% more healing, 14% critical, 25% empowerment, -0.5s casting time.

Both have an on-crit 25% armor talent. Priests gain 25%-31% of Spirit to healing, Shaman gain 30% of Intellect to healing. Priests get a buff to bonus healing via Inner Fire, Shaman get one due to Earthliving (these are probably very similar in amounts - but both will be dwarfed by gear bonuses in any case).

If anything, the gap in single target healing effectiveness between Holy Priests and Resto Shaman widens a fair bit.

On Spirit Link:

There are two ways to read Spirit Link:

1. As a really mediocre variant on Prayer of Mending. The way it's written, it doesn't scale with gear - you just get 2200 out of it - so it's basically a reactive heal on future damage that's capped at a trivially low level and has an additional 'cost' of damaging those nearby. This occurs if you read Spirit Link as ending the moment 2200 damage gets piled on - all additional damage blows on through.

2. As a ridiculously OP, critically necessary raid buff. In this view, the job of a Resto Shaman is to sit there and spam Spirit Link for the entire raid. This results from reading Spirit Link as dropping after the damage is assessed for the entire hit that knocks it down. In such a case, spam-cast Spirit Link becomes effectively a 50% damage reduction on your main tank (slightly less when you considered the chance of multiple hits per GCD), with the trivial cost of some damage to the surrounding players - that 20k hit from a boss becomes 10k to the tank, 5k to Rogue #1 and 5k to Rogue #2. Your Resto Druids can heal that sort of reliable, consistent damage on melee with ease.

More importantly, if it works this way, the amount of damage reduction provided on the MT is so significant that it's tough to imagine how they'd designed raids without this tactic in mind. Either spam-Spirit Link would trivialize tank healing, or it would be absolutely necessary.

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There is a third way but I'm not sure if this is even a possibility for the current wording.

What if Spirit Link remains on the target after it spread the 2200 damage (propably more due to higher ranks available between level 60 and 80) and only is on cooldown. After a few seconds it will refresh and will spread the damage among the links again and so on. It will not function like an ability that is a neccesity for raiding becuase most of the time your tank will be hit normaly, but it regularly spreads some of the damage to the links so your chain heal becomes more effective without you having to recast it all the time.

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As s4dfish mentioned, you'll be able to get Spirit Link at level 50, which like Earth Shield when you first talent it, will probably just be a rank 1 with later trainable ranks. At least that's my gut feeling. Assuming the 2200 cap at level 60 (I'll say roughly 30-40% of a tank's HP at that level) I wouldn't be surprised to see a max rank at level 80 with something more along the lines of a 6000-7000 cap.

Also note that spamming it will not reduce total incoming raid damage, only redistribute it, but it will certainly reduce total outgoing raid healing, as you'd be locked into your GCD if you spammed it.

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Kortar, you forgot one big thing. Ancestral Awakening is going to add a 60% heal to another target whenever we crit, massively amplifying the effect of those 14% bonus crit that we have available.

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Spirit link seems like an interesting ability, not least of all because it turns single-target healing fights into chain heal fights.

Massive potential for misuse though. This thing is going to be way better at killing friendly players than Misdirect ever was. If I'm pugging anything with a resto shaman I'm going to have /cancelaura Spirit Link macro'd into every button. I'm also going to respec resto for AV just to see how many people I can kill by spirit linking them to some green-wearing kamikaze warrior. Spirit linking yourself to a shadowpriest and running into fire right as he shadow word: deaths is going to be comedy gold.

Without some way to control who it targets or for squishy players to opt out of it, I can see this ability going unused a lot or earning resto shamans a reputation for stupidity on par with what hunters have now. Deserved or not, everyone looking for an instance group is going to remember that idiot resto shaman who killed him with spirit link that one time. If we could guarantee that the spirit link will always go to two people who aren't taking retarded amounts of random damage already, this ability would be much stronger. As it is, either the amount of damage it distributes is going to be trivial and it's going to be barely worth using, or every dps in the world is going to resent its existence. That's not a good thing for resto shamans trying to find pugs.

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Of course it's going to benefit from +healing. The actual HP/S of Spirit Link would be roughly on the order of Power Word: Shield, but spammable and it will benefit from pretty much nothing but spell haste, healing and mp5. A Spirit Link Shaman is not going to want to waste a lot of their power on spell crit if they're using almost exclusively Spirit Link and Chain Heal. I foresee ES-SL-CH5-SL-CH5... rotation being Shaman's bread and butter for healing tanks.

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from the way it currently works, following any reasonable extrapolation (even with 100% spellpower scaling, which I doubt), Spirit Link won't be killing any allies that wouldn't have died anyway unless you are TRYING to kill them or they're under ~3k health (and that assumes top rank can soak a 12k shot). When used right, it turns chain heal into an absurdly mana-efficient and vastly more powerful Healing Wave even at current +heal. Guaranteeing both arcs every time you cast without increasing incoming damage is more than slightly sick.

Ok, off that track, I find myself in cautious agreement that we're going to be finding ourselves with the same syndrome as the Feral tree. That s, there are two distinct playstyles within the tree. In our case, the flavors come in Healing Wave and Chain Heal specs, with a potential LHW-focused one for PvP. All will share some core talents, then branch off sharply to focus on their dedicated purpose (imagines a raid with 6 shaman healers, 3 Chain Heal specced and 3 Healng Wave spec).

... oh, crap, I just doomed myself to writing out all three theories, didn't I?

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Do ancestral awake heal 60% of total healing done by crit or only effectively part?

If its total then it's absurdly powerful. Imagine brutallus with five shamans on tank spamming healing wave with 35%crit gear. 0.7crit per sec and >10k crits. Effective raid healing 4.2k hps and tank healing hps >12k. It's like longer range chain heal jump.

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Anyone who's played warcraft 3 would know that spirit link is an extremely powerful ability against burst damage; I wouldn't be surprised to see a cooldown on it by the time WoTLK comes out.

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Kortar, you forgot one big thing. Ancestral Awakening is going to add a 60% heal to another target whenever we crit, massively amplifying the effect of those 14% bonus crit that we have available.

I didn't so much 'forget' it as 'omit' it as it isn't terribly relevant to tank healing in a raid setting. If the Resto Shaman is solo-healing a 5-man instance, this ability will be incredibly useful. But in a raid setting, you're more concerned with reliable burst healing against the one target of interest - the tank - since other healers can cover the non-tank damage.

Do ancestral awake heal 60% of total healing done by crit or only effectively part?

There's a model for this type of talent: Ignite

So I'd argue that Ancestral Awakening would provide 60% of the critical - for 90% of the normal heal.

In any case, let's presume you have 25% critical (talents + gear) and +3000 healing.

On the primary target you'd have (3260 + 3321) * 1.18 * 1.1 * (1 + 0.25 * 0.5) = 9610. On secondary targets you almost certainly wouldn't have Healing Way, so it would be (3260 + 3321) * 1.1 * (0.9 * .25) = 1629. Note: These figures are short-handed a bit since I'm just using them to show hpm/hps.

The total heal is 11239. With 1520 mana, that's 7.39 hpm and 4496 hps (note that this is substantially lower hpm for about 150% the throughput of current Chain Heal).

With current talents only (and no Holy Concentration), a Priest with 10% critical and the same +3000 healing would heal for a total of 8594 assuming none of their situational talents were active. With 1097 cost, that's 7.83 hpm and 3438 hps. IHC would increase the hpm to 9.08. Presuming an 5:1 mix of Greater Heal to Flash/Binding Heal to maintain IHC, the Priest would have 88% uptime on 60% haste, or a total of 5246 hps. And that's before we even starting considering any of the other high end Holy talents for Priests.

I'm not really going to set up a completely spreadsheet detailing all the possible spells and downranking, but it should be apparent that if you need controllable burst on the tank in a raid setting, Resto Shaman aren't really even competitive. Nor can you really 'throw away' the initial hit of the Healing Wave like you can with Chain Heal, since it's so much of the healing. So you need to find someone who can take a heal that big - which is unlikely if you're not healing tanks.

My suspicion is that means that Lesser Healing Wave will get more out of this in a 25-man raid. So let's look at Lesser Healing Wave. We'll still have +3000 healing and +25% critical. We'll ignore the fact that it's almost certain that the empowerment talent will be changed to reflect different levels on LHW/HW. So we get a heal for 4647 on the primary target and 25% of the time we'll get a 3718 on a secondary (5576 total). With a cost of 917, that's 6.08 hpm and 3717 hps against one target every 1.2s. Currently Chain Heal is more than double this efficiency, heals one target every 0.83 seconds, and has about 60% of the throughput noted. Additional ranks of Chain Heal will probably close the hps gap quite a bit.

Even in terms of the armor buffs, our Priest is going to being casting about once every 0.8s compared to our Shaman's every 2.5s. Which means that even with discrepancy in critical, Priests will still have greater up-time on the armor buff.

Comparisons against Flourish are essentially impossible since we don't know how the coefficient will work, or what the healing curve will be on Flourish, but it's almost certain that Flourish is enormously more efficient than anything a Shaman could possibly come up with - a reasonable guess is that Flourish can potentially do around 25k of healing for under 400 mana. More importantly, it imposes a significant boundary on the utility of Shaman multi-target heals - the only niche they might occupy is in providing bursts of healing beyond what Flourish can accomplish. But even here, you're still talking about taking some major hpm/hps hits over what Holy Priests could be doing with their single target heals.

Basically, what I trying to get at is that the various Resto Shaman talents seem to work well for solo-healing in 5-man instances - Spirit Link compensates nicely for the relatively weak single target heals - but in a raid setting, Healing Wave/Lesser Healing Wave and perhaps even Chain Heal will be so much worse than what other healers bring to the table that you'd have trouble justifying a Resto Shaman as a healer in your raid.

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Some thoughts.

Spirit Link: the more I think about this, the more I think this would push shaman towards pure CH casting in most all situations (provided it remains as is without a lengthy (>10 seconds) CD). As such, the talents devoted towards LHW and HW could be skipped. In single target healing instead of using HW you would simple keep SL up and CH, I'm guessing that even with the mana cost of SL it would still end up being more efficient than HW. Would need the specific cost/benefit of SL and the new max-rank CH to know for sure.

If you choose to omit the talents that focus on HW and LHW you can spend 54 in Resto and get most everything you'd like:

  • Tier 1
    5/5 Tidal Focus
  • Tier 2
    3/3 Ancestral Healing
    5/5 Totemic Focus
  • Tier 3
    3/3 Healing Focus
    1/1 Totemic Mastery
    3/3 Healing Grace
  • Tier 4
    5/5 Restorative Totems
    5/5 Tidal Mastery
  • Tier 5
    1/1 Nature's Swiftness
  • Tier 6
    5/5 Purification
  • Tier 7
    1/1 Mana Tide Totem
    1/1 Cleanse Spirit
  • Tier 8
    2/2 Blessing of Eternals
    2/2 Imp. Chain Heal
    3/3 Nature's Blessing
  • Tier 9
    1/1 Earth Shield
    2/2 Improved Earth Shield
  • Tier 10
    5/5 Tidal Waves
  • Tier 11
    1/1 Spirit Link

Key talents I'm omitting

  • Improved Healing Wave
  • Healing Way
  • Ancestral Awakening

With 17 points left to spend you easily grab the 8 Tier 1 Enhancement talents, then probably pick up some of the omitted Resto talents. If you're assuming that you're not going to be casting much LHW or HW then Elemental doesn't hold much for you.

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One of the big things I'd like to see is if Clearcasting is meant to proc on multiple CH bounces.

If it does, not only would it be a significant buff to Chain Heal, but it might point towards an intention to get us to mix up our heals a bit more. Spirit Link to spread the damage, Chain Heal to rub it out, with a high chance of a Clearcasting proc allowing us to drop a bigger or faster but less efficient heal where it's required.

I think it's fair to assume we'll see at least two more ranks of Spirit Link, as has been rightly pointed out it's potentially available as early as level 60, so that is most likely what we're seeing just now.

My worry about the crit based talents is that it'l leave us with a much more random distribution. We can't rely on these abilities proccing when they're needed, and while randomness isn't as bad when you're dpsing, it tends to average out, it can be death for healers. You just can't afford a 'lull' in your heal cycle, no matter how dinky the potential effect is.

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The new Elemental Focus doesn't proc from Chain Heal, only from Lesser Healing Wave and Healing Wave.

"After landing a critical strike with a Fire, Frost, or Nature damage spell, Lesser Healing Wave or Healing Wave, you enter a Clearcasting state. The Clearcasting state reduces the mana cost of your next 2 damage or healing spells by 40%."

You could of course save any Clearcasting procs you get from Lesser Healing Wave or Healing Wave for a Chain Heal, but that doesn't seem a particularly useful play style. It does work nicely with the new crit-based talents however, as those are also all based on Lesser Healing Wave and Healing Wave.

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Yeah, the absence of EF working with CH is a little disappointing, but I suppose if it did work there'd be a completely silly amount of good talents to pick from...

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Thanks for the correction, I read that completely wrong the first time around for some reason.

Still a bit nervous about a crit based healing build, but the efficiencies might outweigh the randomness/overheal element. Guess that's one that'll only shake out through crunching the numbers on the new ranks.

Wonder if we're going to be seeing much in the way of new totems as well. Certainly Earth can be very weak if you're not in a melee group. I love the look of the new weapon buff, but it might be too much to task for to see it in totem form.

But some stronger non-melee Earth totems would be much appreciated.

Can't see Spirit Link being targetted to specifically unless they have some new mechanic coming for targetting such as firing the spell 3 times (target, Link 1, Link 2). My guess would be it'll be the closest two targets. I guess it could be the furthest away two, but that seems unlikely.

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Between Elemental gear being suitable for some healing and the billion and one crit talents we now have access to, I fully expect to see someone bust the 40% mark on criticals with HW and LHW. 50% is within the realm of possibility. Being able to reliably keep Ancestral Fortitude up on the main tank with near-100% uptime is incalculable (well, it's calculable, but the benefit is MASSIVE). This is something that priests are totally unable to contemplate unless something changes in a fairly dramatic fashion, and it only just occurred to me an hour or so ago. Any thoughts here?

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The crit heavy single target healer seems to be a valid direction for the class. Sad that it doesn't mesh with the spec's defining spell, but can't have everything. Making Shaman capable of being uber single-target healers makes me wonder what will happen to Holy Paladins as that's long been there realm (well, before the changes to regen that is).

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A valid point, there. As talents stand, Shaman healers retain their role as the king of raid-healing, and if they decide to spec and gear out properly they become monstrously powerful single-target healers that generate a ton of splash heals. Priests get even more secure in their rather schizophrenic grab-all healing methods, and Druids stay the most efficient predictive healers in existence, with a new AoE HoT and some new front-loaded goodies to go along with their current plethora of over-time tricks.

In order to define a class's role in their niche, you have to be able to define everyone else's. Until we get the paladin trees, we can't know exactly how we're supposed to be focusing. My prediction? 51 Holy is going to act an awful lot like our T1 8-piece, affecting Holy Light instead of Healing Wave (and probably being limited to one jump). Their efficiency is probably going to go back to pre-BC levels (exception being Spiritual Attunement, anyway), with a maximum-geared Holy Pally being able to keep up their primary spell output at maximum for an hour if need be, played right. I could see the 46-50 talent attaching a +heal coefficient to their Concentration Aura. besides that, they will certainly retain the clutch buffing role from before (and from what we've seen of the new max-ranks of buffs, this will be even more profound than before).

All of this is somewhat tangential and based solely on guesswork, but it makes for a decent premise for our assumptions. For now, anyway.

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Being able to reliably keep Ancestral Fortitude up on the main tank with near-100% uptime is incalculable (well, it's calculable, but the benefit is MASSIVE). This is something that priests are totally unable to contemplate unless something changes in a fairly dramatic fashion, and it only just occurred to me an hour or so ago. Any thoughts here?

Let's give both our Holy Priest and our Resto Shaman full WotLK healing specs. We'll give them +3000 healing, and the Shaman (but not the Priest) gets another 11% critical from gear. Both have 10% base critical.

With these stats, our Holy Priest can use Flash Heal to generate 4500 hps @ 6.91 hpm with 93% Inspiration up-time. We'll ignore the possibility he overheals (more than 50% wasted healing is a free heal for him) or ever lands a heal on a target below 50% (+15% healing, +9% critical). Greater Heal generates even more hps at better hpm, but the Inspiration up-time drops to around 87%.

Our Resto Shaman using Healing Wave with triple-stacked Healing Way will generate 4081 hps @ 6.71 hpm with 93% Ancestral Healing up-time. Lesser Healing Wave drops the hps/hpm preciptiously, but raises the up-time to 99%.

Of course, if we have 2 Holy Priests doing direct heals, the Inspiration up-time is over 99%.

As talents stand, Shaman healers retain their role as the king of raid-healing,

Don't be too sure about that. Flourish may well render Chain Heal useless.

and if they decide to spec and gear out properly they become monstrously powerful single-target healers that generate a ton of splash heals.

Take a look at the numbers I posted above. Now think about the fact that a Holy Priest's Greater Heal with the listed stats generates about 5300 hps @ 9.5 hpm. So Healing Wave has 33% less throughput and is 40% less mana efficient than the comparable Priest heal - even without counting the overheal and low-health healing benefits Holy Priests enjoy. If we speculate that 10% of heals are overheal and 10% are low-health heals, then the gap grows to around 35% more throughput and 45% better mana efficiency.

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Let's give both our Holy Priest and our Resto Shaman full WotLK healing specs. We'll give them +3000 healing, and the Shaman (but not the Priest) gets another 11% critical from gear. Both have 10% base critical.

With these stats, our Holy Priest can use Flash Heal to generate 4500 hps @ 6.91 hpm with 93% Inspiration up-time. We'll ignore the possibility he overheals (more than 50% wasted healing is a free heal for him) or ever lands a heal on a target below 50% (+15% healing, +9% critical). Greater Heal generates even more hps at better hpm, but the Inspiration up-time drops to around 87%.

Our Resto Shaman using Healing Wave with triple-stacked Healing Way will generate 4081 hps @ 6.71 hpm with 93% Ancestral Healing up-time. Lesser Healing Wave drops the hps/hpm preciptiously, but raises the up-time to 99%.

Of course, if we have 2 Holy Priests doing direct heals, the Inspiration up-time is over 99%.

Don't be too sure about that. Flourish may well render Chain Heal useless.

Take a look at the numbers I posted above. Now think about the fact that a Holy Priest's Greater Heal with the listed stats generates about 5300 hps @ 9.5 hpm. So Healing Wave has 33% less throughput and is 40% less mana efficient than the comparable Priest heal - even without counting the overheal and low-health healing benefits Holy Priests enjoy. If we speculate that 10% of heals are overheal and 10% are low-health heals, then the gap grows to around 35% more throughput and 45% better mana efficiency.

Are you taking into account ancestral awakening when you are considering hps /hpm of healing wave?

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Take a look at the numbers I posted above. Now think about the fact that a Holy Priest's Greater Heal with the listed stats generates about 5300 hps @ 9.5 hpm. So Healing Wave has 33% less throughput and is 40% less mana efficient than the comparable Priest heal - even without counting the overheal and low-health healing benefits Holy Priests enjoy. If we speculate that 10% of heals are overheal and 10% are low-health heals, then the gap grows to around 35% more throughput and 45% better mana efficiency.

As the above poster said, are you taking the Ancestral Awakening bounce or Elemental Focus mana reduction into account? I can't imagine going with a HW/LHW build and not getting Elemental Focus.

edit: we also don't know the co-efficients/internal cooldown on Earthliving Weapon's HoT, which is even more healing for no mana cost.

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guess not.

As u all know it says that lesser healing wave as well as healing wave criticals causes you to clearcast, but it also says, that only damage spells will have their mana costs reduced by 40%. I can't see where healing spells are damaging spell or am i mistaken? if I'm not i would choose a 8-6-57 with following talents:

Elemantal:

T1: Concussion 5/5

T2: Elemantal warding 3/3

Enhancement:

T1: Improved Lightning Shield/Ancestral knowledge 3/3 - 3/3

Restoration:

T1: Healing Wave & Tidal Focus each 5/5

T2: Ancestral Healing

T3: Healing Focus/Totemic Mastery/Healing Grace 3/3 - 1/1 - 3/3

T4: Restrorative Totems/ Tidal Mastery each 5/5

T5: Nature's Swiftness 1/1

T6: Purification 5/5

T7: Mana Tide Totem / Cleanse Spirit each 1/1

T8: Blessing of the Eternals / Improved Chainheal / Nature's blessing 2/2 - 2/2 - 3/3 <

T9: Ancestral Awakening / Earth Shield / Impr. Earth Shield 3/3 - 1/1 - 2/2

T10: Tidal Wave 5/5

T11: Spirit Link 1/1

besides i chose these talents becaus i can't image blizz putting the best raidhealer out of service and hiring a new kinda pala :)

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Ugh, hopefully that is a typo. Why have clearcast proc off heal spells then not apply to them? That makes no logical sense...

I'm really excited for Cleanse Spirit. Curse of Tongues won't utterly ruin us anymore.

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Ugh, hopefully that is a typo. Why have clearcast proc off heal spells then not apply to them? That makes no logical sense...

I'm really excited for Cleanse Spirit. Curse of Tongues won't utterly ruin us anymore.

It makes sense for an Elemental I suppose. Do the odd spotheal, if it crits your next damage spells are cheaper. At least makes sense in my mind :$

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As the above poster said, are you taking the Ancestral Awakening bounce or Elemental Focus mana reduction into account? I can't imagine going with a HW/LHW build and not getting Elemental Focus.

Elemental Focus does not appear to reduce the cost of healing spells - only damage spells.

As to Ancestral Awakening, I do not account for it when I discuss 'single target' healing. While it's certainly useful to have that healing bounce, when we're talking about burst healing on a tank, the fact that you occaisionally get a stray raid heal out of it isn't particularly important. I did run the numbers include Ancestral Awakening in an earlier post - and HW/LHW still didn't stack up against Greater Heal/Flash Heal even including the bounce.

From the way it looks, this will not be a problem in 5-man instances, since Spirit Link will make up the shortfall in healing throughput/efficiency. However, in a 25-man raid setting, the Shaman heals appear to be dramatically inferior to what other healers receive.

Right now, as far as I can tell, there is an enormous disparity between the effectiveness of Druid/Priest healing and Shaman healing in WotLK. My suspicion is that this will be changed prior to release, but I have no idea how.

edit: we also don't know the co-efficients/internal cooldown on Earthliving Weapon's HoT, which is even more healing for no mana cost.

To make up the discrepancy between Healing Wave/Greater Heal, the proc would need to be roughly 5 times the power of Lifebloom. I think it's reasonable to suggest that the Earthliving proc is not going to be that powerful.

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