So, I’m making progress – slowly but surely – with my gear upgrading post-Naxx. While Manch was by and large BIS (and therefore not upgrading a whole lot) before Ulduar, there are plenty of nice new loots out there that I can target and incorporate. So far, I’ve been lucky enough to acquire these three things amongst my new goodies:
(Yes, I know one of those isn’t Ulduar. It just took me a while!)
All of them represent upgrades to me, at least according to the rankings and stat weights that I use. However, there is a common thread that is developing here – Haste is out, Critical Strike is in.
Not that I’m completely sideways about this. In Naxxramas, Chain Heal was king. In fact, that was probably about 80% of what you’d cast in most raids. With CH, haste is the best driver. The spell isn’t affected by Tidal Waves, so to keep pumping out the Jesus Beam, you needed to speed it up. Ulduar is showing a very different side of Shaman healing, with a lot more emphasis on single-target heals.
I’ll be honest, I think that Ulduar has made me a lot better as a healer. My Shaman is well geared, and has a lot of playtime – but she’s still only a year old. Ulduar has done a lot to teach me about the value of staying in touch with your Tidal Waves procs and maximizing your casting delivery times while selecting spells appropriately enough to minimize overhealing and reducing mana waste. So now, I’m casting a lot of single target heals with short casting times while stacking crit more and more since critical heals return mana to me (by choice, or otherwise).
Sound like any other class? Yeah, me too. Still, I wouldn’t trade Shaman healing for any other class. Besides, while we don’t get to wear plate or bubble, at least we get cool totems and a viable raid heal! Several of the new pieces are admittedly odd to me anyhow – Resto 8.5 helm + gloves without MP5, for instance. Ouch, my longevities!
Still, with an instance this size, there are plenty of options. Add to that, the loot table for Ulduar is absolutely spectacular in scope and size – if you’re patient enough, you can likely skew your gear in any particular direction you want.
It’s just that right now, I kind of feel like I should have banana shoulders.