V. GlyphsI. Introduction
As healing can be a bit of an art these days, with mana pools tight even in heroics (at least when you first get them) and healing spells significantly underpowered in relation to health compared to what people may be used to from the Wrath days, I decided to follow Undra's lead and keep an up-to-date Restoration Shaman thread for anyone who might be leveling an alt or have one at max level that they want to be able to play to the best of their ability.
Please note that this guide is up to date as of Patch 4.2.0
The first question people generally want answered when looking into a spec is how exactly they should be speccing in the first place. This spec
should be the basis for your talents. There isn't a whole lot of room for error. Some notes on specific talents, and what to do with the last five points (pretend there's nothing in [spell]Blessing of the Eternals[/spell]:
[spell]Ancestral Resolve[/spell]: This talent is mostly just filler to get from Tier 4 to Tier 5 if you don't put any points in Cleansing Waters, and do content where you can expect to be taking lots of damage. Basically, put 1 point in Cleansing Waters to move down the tree if you'll use it, otherwise this works.
[spell]Totemic Focus[/spell]: This talent's primary strength is in the fact that it also increases the duration of [spell]Mana Tide Totem[/spell] from 12 seconds to 17 seconds.
[spell]Cleansing Waters[/spell]: This talent makes cleansing debuffs extra fun and extra efficient. In many cases, when debuffs are coming rapidly (for example, Forgemaster Throngus's sword phase), the healing from this talent may be all you need, completely removing any decision-making along the lines of, "Do I heal now or cleanse now?" Easy: do both! That said, as your gear improves and you move onto ZX and/or raids, this talent becomes a much less effective use of points, and can be dropped.
[spell]Tidal Waves[/spell]: This is one of the bread and butter talents of Resto, and if you're going to be good at it, you really need to get a feel for how this works. Basically, every time you cast Riptide or Chain Heal, your next two direct heals gain a buff. For HWave and GHWave, it's 30% haste, and for HSurge it's 30% crit.
[spell]Ancestral Swiftness[/spell]: This seems gimmicky, but it is a necessary talent. The 15% passive run speed is a must-have for getting out of fire, catching up to tanks, etc. The instant-cast Ghost Wolf is a nice bonus, and is often useful for getting out of a lot of fire even faster. Don't be afraid to pop into GW when healing to get to where you need to go faster.
For the last five points, consider the following:
[spell]Telluric Currents[/spell] (2 pts): I highly recommend this for raiding Shaman. It allows you to blow your mana pool and recover it when you don't need to be healing, as 2/2 points makes Lightning Bolt restore more mana than it costs. In fights with bonus damage phases like Magmaw, this talent is phenomenal, and gets better with raid buffs and gear. It's not super useful in heroics, though, in my experience. In either case, it's 1 point is useless--go with 0 or 2.
[spell]Blessing of the Eternals[/spell] (2 pts): This talent was essential in Wrath due to the large amount of high-damage AoE that would regularly bring people down to low health combined with the fact that Chain Heal was our primary heal, allowing us to spread the Earthliving HoT to lots of people. Now, this talent tends to be poor outside of 25-player hard modes, but pretty much everyone still takes it out of habit anyway. If you don't plan on using Telluric Currents, this is an okay allocation of those points, but it's never really going to provide a ton of performance unless you spend a lot of time healing low-health players using Chain Heal and Healing Rain.
[spell]Focused Insight[/spell] (3 pts): I don't really like this talent, especially for the significant point investment, but many people do. This is essentially another button you can push to boost your next heal if you know you're going to want to do so. Highly situational, and dependent on playstyle. Can be extremely powerful with Healing Rain.
[spell]Totemic Reach[/spell] (2 pts): Might be useful in raids. Definitely makes Spirit Link Totem more useful. I find that most encounters are set up such that optimal totem placement covers everywhere people could conceivably be, other than SLT. Might be useful on raid fights like Al'Akir or Heroic fights like Erudax.
[spell]Acuity[/spell] (3 pts): Put any leftover points you have here, as it's a decent throughput and mana efficiency talent, especially now that crits are double effectiveness instead of merely 1.5x.
[spell]Elemental Precision[/spell] (3 pts): I'm mostly including this for completeness. This is really only relevant to 25m raiding shaman who are assigned to raid healing and cast Healing Rain basically on cooldown. This talent boosts the efficiency of Telluric Currents on raid bosses by ~20%, as it removes the chance that you will miss and end up spending mana instead of restoring it. In order to get this, you have to be willing to drop Ancestral Swiftness and some other talents, and likely use [spell]Convection[/spell] as your filler to further maximize your TC efficiency.
Personally, my 5 points are split with 2 in Telluric Currents and 3 in Acuity, but your mileage may vary.III. Spells
Restoration Shaman have several attributes that set them apart from other healers, and most of these are abilities that aren't necessarily healing abilities, but are equally important to any Shaman that wants to contribute to their group. As such, I'm dividing this section up into Healing Spells and Non-Healing Abilities.
(a) Healing Spells
[spell]Healing Wave[/spell]: This is your bread and butter spell. This is the long-cast-time, low-throughput, ultra-low-mana-cost heal. Unless you are having exceptionally bad mana problems, you want to be spamming this on the tank to keep up [spell]Ancestral Healing[/spell] even if he's at full health.
[spell]Riptide[/spell]: Riptide is our second most cast spell, and is often my highest healing ability. Keep it up on the tank, use it to spot heal, and when moving. Crits from the initial damage proc [spell]Ancestral Awakening[/spell] (AA), but HoT tick crits don't.
[spell]Greater Healing Wave[/spell]: This is the shaman long-cast-time, high-throughput, high-mana-cost heal. Can be very good for tank healing, but tends to be too slow for raid healing with other healers present. An excellent spell under Tidal Waves, still okay otherwise. Note that this spell got a significant buff in 4.0.6, and is generally more worth casting than Healing Surge unless Tidal Waves is down and time is of the essence.
[spell]Healing Surge[/spell]: This is our "Oh Shit!" heal. It's a fast-casting, extremely high-throughput, extremely high mana cost heal. That said, under Tidal Waves, with 30% extra crit chance, its HPM is only a bit behind that of GHWave. Outside of Tidal Waves, its HPS is better, but its HPM goes down the hole. As of the 4.0.6 changes, this spell is much more situational, and should mainly be used when someone desperately needs a heal immediately, mana be damned.
[spell]974[/spell]: Just as good as it always has been. Keep it up on the tank. Now automatically increases all direct heals on that target.
[spell]Earthliving Weapon[/spell]: You have no control over this HoT, other than that if you take [spell]Blessing of the Eternals[/spell] (which you may or may not have), you automatically put it on anyone you heal who's under 35% health. Like all other HoTs, this can crit now.
[spell]Chain Heal[/spell]: CH isn't what it once was. It is still a pretty good AoE heal, and you should still keep it available, but it is only worth casting if it's going to hit 4 targets, or at least 3 with no overheal. It's also good for spreading the Earthliving Weapon HoT.
[spell]Healing Rain[/spell]: Superb area healing for at least 4 targets who are going to be standing in one place for a while. This can also proc Earthliving Weapon, but with a reduced chance.
[spell]Healing Stream Totem[/spell]: This ticks for ~1100 or so on all five group members every two seconds in fresh lvl 85 gear. By the time you start collecting ilvl 359 epics, you'll see it ticking for > 1500 raid buffed. HSTotem is your go-to water totem unless there's no Paladin giving you [spell]Blessing of Might[/spell] (same mp5 bonus as [spell]Mana Spring Totem[/spell]) and you really really need the mana. Otherwise, the healing and the resistances from the glyph make HSTotem superior.
[spell]Unleash Elements[/spell]: This does very little healing in and of itself, but it's instant cast, so you can use it on the move. It's also good if you know you're going to want to buff your next heal. This does not affect Healing Rain. It is useful to know, however, that if you queue up a Riptide during your next cast, both the cast time heal and Riptide will gain the +20% bonus. UE is obviously most useful in conjunction with GHWave.
(b) Non-Healing Spells
[spell]Mana Tide Totem[/spell]: This is now raid-wide. Use it on cooldown any time you or any other healer in your raid might need the mana at any point.
[spell]Spirit Link Totem[/spell]: This is easily the strangest of the healing cooldowns in the game. For the duration of the totem, everyone within its effective radius takes 10% reduced damage, and their health is redistributed every second such that everyone has the same percent health. For example, if three people are in it who all have the same max health, and one takes damage that brings them down to 1 HP while the other two remain at full, then after 1 second all three will be at 67% health. It gets less simple when you factor in varying health pools and a myriad of other effects. However, the totem is still a useful cooldown both for raid and tank damage when used properly, though it suffers a lot from the positioning requirement. You may not use it super often in 5-mans, but it can be amusing when you have adds on you to run up to someone and drop it so the damage is being split.
[spell]Spiritwalker's Grace[/spell]: This gives you the ability to heal on the move as if you were standing still for 15 seconds.
[spell]Wind Shear[/spell]: Have this available at all times. Shaman have the shortest cooldown interrupt in the game, and you should be ready to use it no matter what spec you are. As a healer, it's often the case that it takes less time, effort, and mana to interrupt a spell than to have to heal the damage it would have done.
[spell]Fire Elemental Totem[/spell]: Believe it or not, Fire Elementals do very noticeable damage, on the order of 3-4k single target DPS and 5-8k AoE DPS, depending on the fight. The duration is also affected by [spell]Totemic Focus[/spell], so it lasts a very long time. Use it on every encounter where some extra DPS would be helpful, especially if adds are involved. Be aware, though, that as caster DPS has increased with gear, if there's no other source of +6/10% spell power buff in the group, your Flametongue totem may be a better source of DPS for the group. Your hit rating does carry over to your Fire Elemental, so it will do more damage if you choose to take an Elemental Precision spec.
[spell]Tremor Totem[/spell]: Due to recent changes, this is no longer the "set and forget" ability it once was. Know when you might need it, and have it ready.
[spell]Grounding Totem[/spell]: When your air buff totems aren't necessary, don't forget to consider the potential for Grounding Totem. Every little bit helps!
In general, know what classes bring buffs equivalent to or better than Strength of Earth, Stoneskin, Windfury, Wrath of Air, and Flametongue Totem, and adjust accordingly.IV. Stats
Restoration Shaman stats are more of an art than a science. I can't give you exact numbers on what is better than what and by how much, in large part due to the Restoration Shaman community as a whole can't agree on the relative values of ANY of the secondary stats. All I can do is give you a run-down of what each stat can do for you, provide any thresholds as applicable, and let you decide what to gear for.Intellect
: Obviously Int is our primary attribute. Provides spell power, mana, and a small amount of crit, which in turn gives us more mana. Gem for this primarily. Most socket bonuses are still worth getting, though, so don't necessarily gem for it exclusively.Spirit
: More important early in gearing. You'll notice that you begin feeling better about your mana pool and longevity once you hit somewhere around 1800-1900 spirit. Depending on the content you're doing, more isn't bad, but probably unnecessary for heroics. Note that with the new mechanics of [spell]Mana Tide Totem[/spell], your spirit matters to your fellow healers in raids. This is probably not a big enough effect for you to go out of your way to gear for it if you don't need it for yourself, though. That said, if you plan to transition from heroics to raiding, you should aim to have Spirit naturally appear on almost every item you have, and reforge to it on other items.Haste
: Haste is still our best secondary stat for consistent, reliable throughput. It doesn't provide nearly the bang for the buck as it did in Wrath, though, and some people actively dislike it as a result. (I'm not one of them, for the record.) It is worth noting that it also decreases the time between HoT ticks, and at certain thresholds, provides an additional tick. Assuming Wrath of Air, the practical points where this happens are as follows:
Riptide - 8th tick at 261 rating; 9th tick at 2005 rating. (1858 for goblins)
Earthliving Weapon - 5th tick at 916 rating. (780 for goblins)
You'll probably want to gear for 916 rating from regular and heroic dungeon content. If you start raiding and getting lots of ilvl 359+ gear, the 2005 rating mark becomes feasible if you really want it and you find yourself getting close. Otherwise, there's not much need to go overboard on haste, especially in today's mana environment, where haste is the only secondary stat that actually has a negative impact on HPM, while all others are positive. It's worth noting that if you spec into Telluric Currents, haste does provide increased regen from this talent.Crit
: Crit is a good throughput stat, and a good regen stat, through [spell]Resurgence[/spell]. Basically, this is an all-around good
stat that pretty much all resto shaman like okay, as something you probably don't want to super gear for, but not something you want to reforge off, either, especially in 4.2 with crits healing for 200% instead of 150%. For Telluric Currents-specced shaman, crit also boosts TC regen.Mastery
: Mastery is a very highly debatable stat. With the 4.0.6 buffs, it finally actually provides more throughput than crit and haste on low-health targets. It scales linearly from 1-100% health, providing full benefit at 1% health and zero benefit at 100% target health. One oddity of our mastery is that it scales negatively with raid gear and skill. By that I mean that as your group gets better at the encounters and as their (and your, and your fellow healers') gear improves, everyone will spend less time at low percent health. Furthermore, as your gear improves in the same content, HPM becomes less of an issue, and HPS via haste can allow you to get the job done faster. As a result, there's an interesting cycle where mastery is often better for progression fights, while haste takes over as encounters get more comfortable:
If you want to read up in more detail on our Mastery, I suggest this blog post
by Vixsin, who is also the originator of the above graphic, from a different post in his blog.V. Glyphs
(a) Prime Glyphs
[item]Glyph of Earth Shield[/item] - Still great, as always.
[item]Glyph of Riptide[/item] - You really want the extra ticks of Riptide. I can't emphasize this enough.
[item]Glyph of Earthliving Weapon[/item] - Once your Spirit is high enough that you're not dying for mana, this is really all that's left that's useful.
[item]Glyph of Water Shield[/item] - When you're first gearing up, this is worth using. It doesn't scale with gear at all, however, so you'll outgrow it. Replace it when you don't really run out of mana much anymore.
(b) Major Glyphs
[item]Glyph of Chain Heal[/item] - Chain Heal is only worth casting when it's going to hit at least 3, preferably 4, targets with or without this glyph. If you only cast it under those circumstances, then this glyph can only make Chain Heal better.
[item]Glyph of Healing Stream Totem[/item] - Obviously useful. You'll be using HSTotem almost exclusively as your water totem anyway, and this just makes it even better.
[item]Glyph of Stoneclaw Totem[/item] - This is glyph is extremely good for a Major Glyph. The amount of damage prevented (16,000) is roughly equivalent to two full Healing Wave casts. It takes 1.5s to cast as opposed to 5s, and uses less than half the mana. If you know you have damage coming at you and can preempt it by dropping Stoneclaw with this glyph, you save yourself time and mana. In a raiding situation, this typically does not come at the cost of any group buffs due to everyone and their brother providing Strength of Earth, and Stoneskin coverage by paladins. Even if you have to redrop whatever totem you had down before, it's still a mana and time saving glyph, it's just not as significant of a gain.
[item]Glyph of Healing Wave[/item] - This does a good job of making it so you don't have to worry too much about healing yourself in many situations. Actually trivializes some situations, like when a mob has a random secondary target DoT that ends up on you. However, as your gear and, more importantly, experience improves, Glyph of Stoneclaw Totem is really the way to go.
[item]Glyph of Hex[/item] - Worth remembering when you're doing heroics and are being called upon to CC. Chances are high that Glyph of Chain Heal is completely useless in your heroic group, so this can be safely swapped into that slot.
(c) Minor Glyphs
Whatever you want. If you suck at remembering to buy Ankhs, you should probably get the one that removes the reagent cost, though.