Cataclysm for the Shaman

19 12 2010

It has been 2 weeks since Cataclysm came out. I hit 85 on the Wednesday after launch. Got up at 3, played until work, got home at 3:30, played for 12 hours, did the same thing until 11:54 on Wednesday night when I hit 85 and then logged off for bed. Not really worth it. The rest of the guild is just now hitting 85, so now we can start doing normal/heroic farming to one day raid again. But, enough about me. Let’s talk about the state of Resto Shamans right now.


So, you’ve hit 85. Wondering about a spec, right? Well, it would appear that your choices are pretty limited. Not really. There are a lot of talents that are mandatory, but the optional talents have kinda fell off the way. Here is what I am running with now:

  • Ancestral Resolve doesn’t really seem worth it still, though there are some fights in normal/heroic that I’d like to have it in.
  • I’ve heard Telluric Currents is good for downtime during healing, but since people are still adjusting to the game/mechanics, you might not have that much downtime. It is a net gain of mana, but is really only usable during downtime.
  • Totemic Focus increases the duration of totems, including Mana Tide Totem, so you get a little bit extra time with the increased Spirit.
  • Cleansing Waters is very useful now. There seems to be a lot of Curse/Magic debuffs in 5-Mans and the reduced mana cost/heal is a nice combo.
  • Focused Insight… you tricky bastard, haha. If you toss a Flame Shock, you are reducing your next heal by about 1000 mana and increasing its effectiveness by 30%. I’m sure it’ll be more effective when I get into raiding, but for now, I skipped over it. I forget to do Unleash Life as it is, haha.
  • Ancestral Swiftness is useful for the instant Ghost Wolf during fights that require movement. Also a 15% speed increase frees up a criterion for Boot Enchants, though I don’t know what I want to do with my boots at this point.

As far as Glyphs, they are still pretty cut and dry. Take Water Shield if you are having Mana problems (which I’ll discuss later). Earth Shield is to be kept up at all times, so increased 20% heal is a no-brainer. As far as Earthliving, you are buffing one of the few HoTs that we have. Earthliving has always been there… not really reliable, but he’ll help you move out if you offer him pizza and beer. Increased Riptide duration is good, because you’ll be using Riptide a lot for all sorts of situations. Major Glyphs are pretty easy, too. The only one that I am stuck on is Totemic Recall. To lay down Totems (Stoneskin, Flametongue, Healing Stream [glyphed], Wrath of Air), it costs 5737 [talented] mana. Totemic Recall will give back 1434 mana normally, 4303 when glyphed. If you find yourself laying down totems every pull, this might be a good choice for you. If you have a Paladin running Resistance Aura, you can probably sub it out for Healing Stream glyph. Also, you’d have to remember to pull up your Totems, which I forget. Haha.

  1. Prime: Earth Shield, Earthliving, Riptide or Water Shield
  2. Major: Chain Heal, Healing Wave, Healing Stream or Totemic Recall


Our stats are in a state of disarray. Haste has gone from the stat to stack to the stat to avoid. Not really avoid, but if you have it on gear, it’ll be better suited to be Reforged to either Crit or Spirit. Same thing with Mastery. Mastery isn’t something we can rely on. It is like Crit from Wrath. It’ll come from gear, no reason to stack it. The boosted heal is great in clutch moments, but for a decent amount of an encounter, it isn’t worth it to stack it. Spirit has become our greatest stat. Well, at least until you reach about 3000 casting/combat regen. You don’t need that for normal 5mans. It gets better for Heroics, and is essential for raids. If you are thinking about stacking Haste again, you will find yourself sooner out of mana with little to no regen to bring yourself back up. Once you hit the 3k mark, you can probably stop reforging to Spirit and lean more towards Crit, then maybe Haste.

  1. Spirit is our best stat until around 3000 combat regen.
  2. Haste isn’t to be stacked anymore, as it works directly against new healing mechanics (50% healing vs 100% healing).
  3. Crit is still working for us for Ancestral Awakening, Improved Water Shield, Ancestral Healing.
  4. Spirit > Int/Crit > Haste > Mastery

How to Heal:

How do I heal? Things have changed in our healing game. A lot of people hate Healing now. That was my first reaction. I didn’t like it, was gonna go full-time Elemental. Then I saw the DPS queue was 30m and gave it another chance. Find your tank, put Earth Shield up on them. If it falls off, put it back up. Don’t recast it with more than 2 stacks left. You’ll waste Mana. During combat, keep Riptide up on the tank. Use Healing Wave to keep them up. If a DPS takes damage, put Riptide on them and maybe throw a Healing Wave. Riptide, Earthliving and Healing Stream totem will bring them back up if they avoid avoidable damage. If the tank is taking lots of damage, throw a Greater Healing Wave. If they are taking lots of damage quickly, throw a Healing Surge. Hopefully they have the smarts to pop a CD to help you out.

  1. Earth Shield and Riptide up at all times on the tank.
  2. Healing Wave is used for everyday damage.
  3. Greater Healing Wave is to bring up a tank who can stand to live for a few more seconds, but needs to be brought up.
  4. Healing Surge is to bring up a tank who is about to die in the next second.
  5. Chain Heal is to heal 4 targets that are close to one another. With such large health pools, it barely makes a dent and has gone from “CHspamtodatop” to “Hmm… I’m oom now, great.” It can get the ball rolling on Earthliving for targets close to one another, but you can’t spam it willy-nilly.
  6. Healing Rain is our new spell at 83. I love it, despite the huge mana cost. In conjunction with Healing Stream Totem, it can weather (lulz) overall AE damage. Plus it is not channeled and can proc Earthliving. If you try to chain spam it, you’ll be out of mana. Best used for upcoming AE damage, gotta have people grouped a bit and remind them, “It is okay to stand in the rain.”

New Mechanics Kill:

Ever hear “Don’t stand in the fire”? This is avoidable damage. If you see something on the ground that is purple, black, red… it is probably gonna deal damage to you and others. Move. The damage that you’ll incur to yourself by standing in bad is probably a bigger detriment than the heal that you were casting. If that is not the case, pop Nature’s Swiftness and heal them or use our 85 ability, Spiritwalker’s Grace, and cast while moving.

See that? That on the ground? That is excess Stupidity on the ground. Feel free to move out of it to be less stupid. Or stand in it and marvel as I don’t heal you.

In Wrath we had our tool box but we only used maybe a Hammer and Screwdriver. In Cataclysm, dust off your awl, hacksaw, etc. You get the analogy. Expand your action bars, take off things that don’t need to be there (mounts, companion pets).

The name of the game is making sure people don’t die. Health pools have more than tripled for DPS since Wrath. This is to give Healers more wiggle room. You can keep DPS at 50% health. There is no definite mechanic in a fight that will kill them that is unavoidable. The tank is your priority, once they are well off, feel free to heal the others. They should be able to keep themselves alive.

We also gained Bind Elemental, so we can now CC 3 different creature types: Elemental, Beast, Humanoid. Hex is great because it can take a bit of damage and not break, just not too much. The long CD and short range make it a bit less desirable for every pull. Put it on your bars and remind people that you have it. Without Hit, it may miss. Do your part to help. Hex, Bind, Wind Shear.

Go forth and heal Azeroth.




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