0/10/55 (+6 flex) Restoration Shaman Build

1 01 2009

 

(PVE / Raid Healer)

 

A talent-by-talent breakdown of what I feel represents an optimal build for a raid healing Shaman.

 

Restoration Talents:

 

Improved Healing Wave 5/5

Reduces the casting time of your Healing Wave spell by 0.5 sec.

 

A required talent in the build. Not only do you need to get into the second tier of talents (as the other option is very marginal in value), but speeding the cast time for your heals is never a bad thing.

 

Ancestral Healing 3/3

Increases your target’s armor value by 25% for 15 sec after getting a critical effect from one of your healing spells.

 

Again, more or less a required talent, and a very valuable one so early in the tree. The benefit of this talent is one of the reasons why critical strike carries some importance in a Resto build. Maintaining it on the tank is nice; when it procs from the jumps on a Chain Heal, its exquisite. Not only are you healing more damage on that jump, but the distressed party gets an armor buffer to help them ride out the damage spike.

 

Tidal Focus 5/5

Reduces the Mana cost of your healing spells by 5%.

 

It’s a deep sink for a 5% reduction. Essentially, it’s 5% more mana – half of the benefit and all of the cost of the Tier 1 Enhancement talent which will reward 10% more mana. Still, mana is mana, and anything that assists your longevity is a good thing – especially for those times that you’re furiously chain-casting heals.

 

Healing Focus 3/3

Reduces the pushback suffered from damaging attacks while casting any Shaman healing spell by 70%

 

Possibly debatable. With the changes to pushback rules, and the frequency with which Concentration Aura is available, you’re likely not receiving too much pushback. Still, I think it’s prudent that a healer take every step possible to make sure that their heals can be delivered as quickly as possible, and 3 points is worth the reduced risk of not landing that tank heal in time for me.

 

Tidal Force 1/1

Increases the critical effect chance of your Healing Wave, Lesser Healing Wave and Chain heal by 60%. Each critical heal reduces the chance by 20%. Lasts 20 sec.

 

I used to run without this. I’ve recently added it back into my build as part of my emergency heal macro (Tidal Force + Nature’s Swiftness + trinket + Healing Wave), and the one point investment isn’t too bad considering what it provides for insurance.

 

 

Healing Grace 3/3

Reduces the threat generated by your healing spells by 15% and reduces the chance your spells will be dispelled by 30%.

 

The dispel effect is kind of a nice fringe benefit; the primary driver for this talent is the reduced threat. With Blessing of Salvation gone from the game, it is incumbent on healers to use their available “baked in” talents to reduce threat.

 

Restorative Totems 5/5

Increases the effect of your Mana Spring and Healing Stream Totems by 25%.

 

Worth it for 25% more Mana Spring Totem; this is also the gateway to Mana Tide Totem, and thus a necessary element.

 

Healing Way 3/3

Your Healing Wave spells have a 100% chance to increase the effect of subsequent Healing Wave spells on that target by 6% for 15 sec. This effect will stack up to 3 times.

 

Blue posts indicate that this (and, presumably, other elements of the build) is going to change soon. Still, this is a necessary element of tank healing. Once it gets stacked, it will greatly enhance a Shaman’s effectiveness as a tank healer.

 

Nature’s Swiftness 1/1

When activated, your next Nature spell with a casting time less than 10 sec becomes an instant cast spell.

 

For one point, I don’t think that there’s too many Resto Shamans that would like to live without the emergency button.

 

Focused Mind 3/3

Reduces the duration of any Silence or Interrupt effects used against the Shaman by 30%. This effect does not stack with other similar effects.

 

I’ve seen several Resto builds that exclude this. From my standpoint, reducing any window where the tank (or raid) can’t be healed is a good thing, especially because there is usually a bit of catch-up healing to do once those interrupts drop and thus a Shaman is ideal as you can tank heal if needed, or Chain Heal a needy raid.

 

Purification 5/5

Increases the effectiveness of your healing spells by 10%.

 

The wording of this talent is still kind of bizarre to me. I’m operating under the assumption that it means 10% better numbers on your heals. Regardless, it’s necessary for you to get decurse, so take it.

 

Mana Tide Totem 1/1

Summons a Mana Tide Totem with 5 health at the feet of the caster for 12 sec that restores 6% of total mana every 3 seconds to group members within 30 yards.

 

Fortunately, I’m finding myself dropping this one less and less for my own needs. From a group standpoint, though, it’s very beneficial as a means of supplementing other members of your raid that don’t share your mana regeneration ability. I think that any responsible raiding Resto Shaman should have this in their toolbox to use when needed.

 

Cleanse Spirit 1/1

Cleanse the spirit of a friendly target, removing 1 poison effect, 1 disease effect, and 1 curse effect.

 

One-stop shopping for your cleansing needs. With the exception of magic effects, this pretty well covers it – and costs the same as your cleansing spells with only one effect. Of particular use for fights like Noth the Plaguebringer where decursing will make or break your raid.

 

Blessing of the Eternals 2/2

Increases the critical effect chance of your spells by 4%, and increases the chance to apply the Earthliving heal over time effect on the target by 40% when they are at or under 35% total health

 

Again, more healing crits is good. While the Earthliving HoT is fairly menial, it’s still healing. I’d take it for the critical strike percent alone (at 2% per talent point, it’s the most economical critical strike upgrade), and the bonus to healing is gravy.

 

Improved Chain Heal 2/2

Increases the amount healed by your Chain Heal spell by 20%.

 

20% increased output on your most spammable spell, for only 2 points. There is no good reason to avoid this talent.

 

Nature’s Blessing 3/3

Increases your healing by an amount equal to 15% of your Intellect.

 

At WotLK raiding stat levels, this represents between about 100-135 healing spellpower for an unbuffed Shaman. Another core talent.

 

 

Earth Shield 1/1

Protects the target with an earthen shield, reducing casting or channeling time lost when damaged by 30% and causing attacks to heal the shielded target for 150. This effect can only occur once every few seconds. 6 charges. Lasts 10 min. Earth Shield can only be placed on one target at a time and only one Elemental Shield can be active on a target at a time.

 

Another core talent. The passive healing effect of Earth Shield is a great boon to healing because it doesn’t represent a global cooldown and helps to smooth out damage spikes. One more thing that a Resto Shaman should always have available.

 

Improved Earth Shield 2/2

Increases the amount of charges for your Earth Shield by 1, and increases the healing done by your Earth Shield by 10%.

 

Double bonus. Longer duration and more healing. Take it.

 

Tidal Waves 5/5

You have a 100% chance after you cast Chain Heal or Riptide to lower the cast time of your next three Lesser Healing Wave or Healing Wave spells by 30%. In addition, your Healing Wave gains an additional 20% of your bonus healing effects and your Lesser Healing Wave gains an additional 10% of your bonus healing effects.

 

There’s a lot to like about this talent. The primary plus is that it allows you to drop out of Chain Heal spam to address a needy target in a faster manner. The second part of the tooltip is well worth noting though – that spell you’re casting will hit for more effect. Useful for tank healing as well if you slot Chain Heal in every third cast with the tank focused the entire time, as you’ll increase the amount of direct healing the tank gets while topping off the melee group around the tank as well.

 

Riptide 1/1

Heals a friendly target for 639 to 691 and another 500 over 15 sec. Your next Chain heal cast on that primary target within 15 sec will consume the healing over time effect and increase the amount of the Chain Heal by 25%.

 

I’ve found that the biggest usage for this is the instant factor, since it’s the only thing (outside of an NS heal) that you can cast on the run. It’s nice to lay on a tank as one more healing source, or to drop on a distressed raid member for a band-aid before you consume it with a boosted Chain Heal. Really shines on movement fights, despite the 6 second cooldown. I make a lot of use of this for fights like Heigan, when someone might catch the edge of one of the zones and Riptide might mean the difference between survival or death should they catch a second wave.

 

Enhancement Talents:

 

Ancestral Knowledge 5/5

Increases your intellect by 10%.

 

Tier 1 talent, 5 point sink, 1000-1500 more mana. Scales with Kings. Absolutely.

 

Improved Shields 3/3

Increases the damage done by your Lightning Shield orbs by 15%, increases the amount of mana gained from your Water Shield orbs by 15% and increases the amount of healing done by your Earth Shield orbs by 15%.

 

The Water Shield effect here is helpful for maintaining longevity in the event that some of the charges get used. As a healer, though, the primary driver should be the 15% boost to Earth Shield. Every little bit that you can buff your tank helps.

 

Thundering Strikes 2/5

Improves your chance to get a critical strike with all spells and attacks by 2%.

 

While critical heals are always a good thing to have around, the real use for this talent is in its synergy with Ancestral Healing. The more you can spread that armor buff around, the better. Also worth noting that, with all of the Chain Heal jumps, this represents a lot of additional chances to crit. With the changes to critical strike rating (now being universally applied), it makes more sense to place talent here than it does in Tidal Mastery; they represent basically the same effect, the difference being that Tidal mastery is limited to only healing and lightning whereas this encompasses all. Additionally, placing points in this Enhancement talent instead will allow you access to the third tier of the tree, should you elect to talent into Elemental Weapons.

 

 

What I didn’t (immediately) include, and why:

 

Restoration

 

Totemic Focus (5 ranks)

Reduces the Mana cost of your totems by 5%.

 

I just don’t feel like these 5 points are very valuable to a raider. The essential totems that might be recast during a raid due to the need to cycle one in, Mana Spring and Mana Tide, both have very low mana costs. Any switching of the rest represents such a negligible amount (saving maybe 125 mana, tops, on a 5-minute totem, which works out to about 2 MP5) that I don’t feel like you’re getting a return on investment here.

 

Improved Reincarnation (2 ranks)

Reduces the cooldown of your Reincarnation spell by 10 min and increases the amount of health and mana you reincarnate with by an additional 10%

 

There’s a definite use for this, if you can spare the points. Dependant on your opinion of other available options, this might find its way into your build. It’s convenient to be able to pop more, and 20% more health and mana when you do is pretty significant for survivability.

 

Improved Water Shield (3 ranks)

When you gain a critical effect from your Healing Wave, Lesser Healing Wave or Riptide spells, you have a 33% chance to instantly consume a Water Shield Orb.

 

There are definitely positives to this. To me, it’s playing with fire as I don’t really have time to manage my Water Shield, let alone, pick out the icon from a field of buffs while I’m raid healing to see if it’s there or not. If you’re very good about managing the shield, or if you have a mod that notifies you when it is down, this might be worth it as it could do wonders for mana regeneration. That said, I think that it’s the kind of talent where the full investment (resulting in 100% chance to consume an orb) may be detrimental due to the strain it can place on the healer for management and budgeting of global cooldowns. If you elect to drop a point from the tree and spend it elsewhere, putting one here might be a good idea for someone who is finding their Shaman pushing OOM more often than you’d like to be.

 

Nature’s Guardian (5 ranks)

Whenever a damaging attack is taken that reduces you below 30% health, you have a 10% chance to heal 10% of your total health and reduce your threat level on that target. 8 second cooldown

 

In theory, it sounds pretty nice. Unfortunately, it’s one of those things that just isn’t in the budget. Part of the issue is that the damaging attack has to land you in that 1-29% spot. In Raids, when something happens that a healer is taking damage it frequently spikes big enough that you could very well completely surpass that window and thus bypass any chance of the talent proccing. All the same, if I had more points to give, I’d take it. As it stands, there are too many other things that are more useful than this.

 

Tidal Mastery (5 ranks)

Increases the critical effect chance of your healing and lightning spells by 1%.

 

It’s addressed in Enhancement already. Critical strike rating is a good thing; I think that there is probably a point of diminishing returns on it, though. More on this later.

 

Ancestral Awakening (3 ranks)

When you critically heal with your Healing Wave or Lesser Healing Wave or Riptide you summon an Ancestral spirit to aid you, instantly healing the lowest percentage health friendly party or raid target within 40 yards for 10% of the amount healed.

 

I’ll admit to being underwhelmed by this talent – it just feels broken. The tooltip looks so enticing, yet raid reports frequently reveal that it has a pretty poor showing. Likely this is tied to the fact that it doesn’t proc from Chain Heal, so this would be far more valuable of a talent for a tank healer than a raid healer (I tend to be in the latter category). One thing to consider about this is this, though: when you use that Nature’s Swiftness emergency macro (the bomb heal with the really high chance to crit), you’re essentially guaranteeing a 3000+ point heal on someone other than the tank as well, which is pretty nice for the kind of situations where that macro gets used.

 

 

Talents outside of Resto that might be useful:

 

Enhancement

 

Enhancing Totems (3 ranks)

Increases the effect of your Strength of Earth and Flametongue Totems by 5%

 

Strength of Earth can be a boon to your party / raid if not overwritten by a Death Knight. The 15% increase in Flametongue Totem will directly impact your spellpower and that of the other healers and casters in the group / raid, though – and that’s not a bad benefit. It’s still no Totem of Wrath, but it helps.

 

Guardian Totems (2 ranks)

Increases the amount of armor increased by your Stoneskin Totem 10% and reduces the cooldown of your Grounding Totem by 1 sec.

 

Grounding isn’t going to be down most times unless it’s PvP… but the gain in armor from Stoneskin Totem (if that is your Earth totem of choice) directly translates into mitigation for the raid, which means easier healing for you.

 

Elemental Weapons (3 ranks)

Increases the damage caused by your Windfury Weapon effect by 13% increases the spell damage on your Flametongue Weapon by 10% and increases the bonus healing on your Earthliving Weapon by 10%.

 

10% bonus to the Earthliving Weapon enhancement per rank of talent, or 15 points of healing spellpower per rank at 80.

 

 

  Now, after this you still have 6 points (for a level 80 player) left to play with that need to be assigned. Your available options (total ranks remaining in parentheses) include:

 

Improved Reincarnation (2)

 

Improved Water Shield (3)

 

Nature’s Guardian (5)

 

Tidal mastery (5)

 

Ancestral Awakening (3)

 

Enhancing Totems (3)

 

Thundering Strikes (3)

 

Guardian Totems (2)

 

Elemental Weapons (3)

 

  Where you spend at this point is open to debate, at least in comparison to the previous 65 points. The pros and cons of each:

 

Improved Reincarnation: Probably out at this point. It’s convenient, but the only real value for raiding is in wipe recovery and a higher mana pool on return if you happen to get killed. Priority: low.

 

Improved Water Shield: discussed at length before; dependant on your typical spell selection, this may merit attention. I’d be hesitant to place anything more than a point in it, as the potential gains from heavy proccing are outweighed by the consistency of actually having the initial shield up in my opinion. Priority: medium / personal choice

 

Nature’s Guardian: Again, more convenience. Too much of a point sink needed to make it worthwhile when compared to other available talents. Priority: low.

 

Tidal Mastery: Worth a look. Out of the 6 remaining points, I’m in favor of allocating at least a few to spell crit. Whether they wind up here or in Thundering Strikes (or both) at this point is essentially a wash, though (as mentioned before) Thundering Strikes does not discriminate as to which abilities receive the buff. Priority: High, with a lean towards allocating talent points in Thundering Strikes first.

 

Ancestral Awakening: I keep taking this on my respecs, but I’m not sure why. Until it gets fixed in some manner, or they include Chain Heal as a spell that can proc it, I’m remaining ambivalent. Priority: low, unless the tooltip gets revised.

 

Enhancing Totems: There’s a lot of value here. Sinking 3 points into this represents a comparable gain to your spellpower as the same three points into Elemental Weapons would. In addition, that increased spellpower bonus will extend to your raid (unless an Elemental Shaman is along for the ride as well). As if that’s not enough, you get the 15% increase applied to Strength of Earth (if that’s your Earth totem of choice) as well, making it a stronger buff than the Death Knight horn. The only downside is that it’s completely totem dependant, in that the buff can be outranged or destroyed. Priority: High-medium

 

Guardian Totems: Adding ~200 armor raid wide is beneficial, but less so than some of the other healing enhancers. Probably steer clear, unless your raids are short on Devotion Aura and this is your totem of choice. Even then, it represents lesser value. Priority medium-low

 

Elemental Weapons: Max rank is 30% more healing on your Earthliving Weapon enhancement – 45 healing spellpower at 80 (slightly edging out the 15% improved Flametongue Totem). It’s convenient, consistent, and follows you wherever you go. The problem is that it’s also selfish in that it’s only buffing the Shaman. If you’re deciding between this and the Enhancing Totems talents, the auxiliary value afforded via raid buffs on Flametongue and Strength of Earth far outweighs the minor gain in spellpower that you’ll receive from this. However, if your raid has an Enhancement Shaman that is laying Flametongue and Strength of Earth already or an Elemental Shaman with Totem of Wrath, then this would be the favorite, to avoid overwriting. Priority: medium-high

 

 

  From my standpoint, I’d elect to place three points into Thundering Strikes and three points into Enhancing Totems (making it a 0/16/55 build). If no additional points are allocated to augment spell crit, it leaves the build too lean. The danger is in placing all 6 remaining points into Thundering Strikes and/or Tidal Mastery; though beneficial, it makes the Shaman a bit more of a one-trick pony and reduces your raid buffing viability. I think that this is especially true for 10-man raids. In a 25 man raid, the odds are good that there will be Enhancement and/or Elemental Shaman included with your group that have a stronger Fire totem. In a 5 man, it’s almost never going to be the case, though the benefits are going to be lighter. In a 10-man, though, your improved totems will have a sizable impact for 9 other people – and that’s significant. Again, if your totems are redundant just swap those points into Elemental Weapons so that you don’t waste them, or even into one of the critical strike talents if you feel that your bases are well and truly covered, or for a 25-man build.

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