Let me tell you a story… (and talk about how to use those spells in your book to heal people)…
RT = Riptide
CH = Chain Heal
HW = Healing Wave
LHW = Lesser Healing Wave
AA = Ancestral Awakening
I’ve been a Shaman since the end of BC. My raiding experience was lack luster, with maybe two visits to Kara. Enhancement was my spec of choice, mainly because I didn’t think I could heal and I didn’t like Casting. As the expansion rolled over and I began my ascent to 80 (after leveling a DK on another server to 80 in order to win a bet). I hit 80 and things were awesome. Got a friend to craft me a Titansteel Guardian, farmed Heroics for some trinkets. Oh yeah… and that Naxx25 I did my first week of being 80. Snagged some nice gear. Healing was the farthest thing from my mind, until the guild asked me to go Heals. Guaranteed raid spot? Sure, why not? I had to learn and learn quick. Chain Heal spam? Nah… didn’t seem much thought in it, so why bother? Also, it was in 10s, so not really effective.
I stuck with Riptide and Lesser Healing Wave for the longest time, and still do it to this day. Tidal Waves was putting my LHW into “clip your GCD every cast” territory. I welcomed the changes to it. Increased crit? Fudge yeah! Whether you are just learning to be Resto or whatnot, here you go:
Earth Shield should be up at all times. I used a combination of Power Auras and Grid to track if ES is up and how many stacks the person has of it. It is a mana efficient heal and is a set-and-forget.
Know what is going on. If a bunch of Melee got knocked back or are sitting in green/red/blue/black goop, fire off a Chain Heal. If your ranged are taking damage and spread out, launch a Lesser Healing Wave. If Chain Heal isn’t hitting more than 1 target, it is generally wasted. A single LHW has a 60% chance on crit to pop your Water Shield. A single CH has 30% chance on crit to do the same. Increase the bounces, increase the potential mana return. Even if you have to stand next to the person to give another bounce, it may be worth it.
Healing Wave is a great emergency spell. Whether coupled with Tidal Waves (Riptide/Chain Heal), Nature’s Swiftness, or Rapid Currents (Resto 2pc) it can be a quick way to drop 20k-25k on a person, has a 100% chance on crit to pop Water Shield and a crit of that magnitude will result in a massive Ancestral Awakening. The mana cost alone makes it something that you can’t really spam endlessly.
Know your synergies. I’ve talked about it before, but you have to understand the class mechanics. And this also boils over into why I hate Chain Heal spammers.
- Tidal Waves: Increases the Haste on HW by 30% and increases the crit chance on LHW by 25%. 2 stacks. This buff is procced from Riptide and Chain Heal. A lot of CH spammers I see never take advantage of this, despite having a potential 100% uptime of this buff. Maybe they don’t have the time to think or maybe they don’t want to.
- Glyph of Lesser Healing Wave: Glyph of LHW increases the healing done by LHW on Earth Shield’d targets by 20%. Any Earth Shield can modify it, not just yours. If you run with more than one Shaman, you can use their ES to give you that boost.
- Improved Water Shield: Returns mana as if 1 charge of Water Shield had been broken when you crit. Procced from HW or RT (100%), LHW (60%), and from each CH bounce (30%). This is what feeds CH spamming. You can potentially get back 2x the cost of CH in a single CH. Nice, right? Though, the chances of that happening are small.
- Ancestral Awakening: Bonus heal for 30% of total healing done by a crit from LHW, RT, or HW. It used to be just effective healing. Total is much better, haha. It can also break LoS (I’ve used it to heal people that get left behind before Putricide). Range is 40yds from initial target of heal.
So, here is where you get to synergize: You can RT or CH. If you crit on RT, you get mana back and proc a AA for around 1-2k on a target within 40yds of that target. If you fire off a CH and crit on a bounce, you have a chance for mana return. You have 2 stacks of Tidal Waves. Seeing a tank going down, you cast a hasted Healing Wave (which is bumped even more by the Resto 2pc after RT). Another person needs minor healing, so you shoot off a 25% crit enhanced LHW. It crits and by chance, you get some mana back. Oh, and they have 10% physical damage reduction. Oh, and Earthliving procced, so they have something more to help them along. Snipe heal? RT + LHW for a nice 15k combo with a nice HoT, potential mana back and AA proc.
Knowing your class is the easiest way to heal effectively. If you get bored, you can try and spell your name out with CH. :P