5.3: Restoration Shaman Changes

My Shaman Changes page and the Restoration Shaman spreadsheet therein are now fully updated for patch 5.3. Swing by if you have any questions!

Patch 5.3 has brought some significant changes to the overall healing landscape. With some healers’ raid cooldowns becoming more potent in 25-player content, and some rebalancing done to other classes (notably Druids and Discipline Priest), you may find your healing meters looking a little more volatile than you’re used to. Unfortunately, not a lot has changed for us in 5.3, but here’s a quick summary of what has.

The only mechanics change our class has received is in the AI that drives our Chain Heal’s target selection. It’s something the Shaman community has been asking for, for a long time, so it’s awesome that it has finally happened!

Chain Heal AI fix in 5.3: Now passes through full-health targets.

Chain Heal AI fix in 5.3: Now passes through full-health targets.

Chain Heal will no longer fizzle upon encountering a full-health target. This is not a buff to the best-case scenario of Chain Heal, but it is a solid buff to its not-quite-worst-case-scenario situations.

I’m sure we’ve all had that aggravating moment where Player A and Player C were both injured, but standing a little too far apart for Chain Heal to bounce directly between them. Player B stands tantalizingly between them, on full health. You Chain off of Player A, it bounces to Player B, and then it … just … stops! Augh!

Well, this will happen no more. Chain Heal will bounce from A-B-C drawing happy little blue beams all over the place. (You use Glyph of Deluge, right? Right? Because if you don’t, you are dead to me.)

Now, this doesn’t make Chain Heal suddenly amazing. A Chain Heal that bounces through full-HP-player-B to hit players A, C, and D with bounces 1, 3, and 4 will still do less healing than a Chain Heal that you cast on C and D with bounces 1 and 2 and didn’t hit anyone else.  But remember that Chain Heal bounces still have a chance to proc Resurgence, Echo of the Elements (if you use the Talent), and Earthliving Weapon, even if they are ineffective healing, and that the alternative to the A-C-D scenario is single-target healing each of those three players – and by the time you got to D, surely some other random healing will have topped off D’s health pool! Personally, I prefer to spread my healing out whenever possible to effectively heal as many injured targets as I can, so this change is pretty much right up my alley.

What this will do is penalise you less for those Chain Heals you’re in the process of casting while freaking Cascade tops off one of the people you were hoping it’d bounce off of. At least you’ll get some healing out of those. And it makes the spell a bit more useful in spread fights of all types (I am absolutely salivating over being able to use it in Heroic Twin Consorts, to heal the ranged after Crashing Stars). I don’t expect to see its representation amongst 10-player-raiding Shamans’ spell breakdowns go up greatly, but hey, it’s a start!

The smart-heal targeting changes may also affect other sources of smart healing, such as Healing Stream Totem, Ancestral Awakening, and the Echo of the Elements/Chain Heal interaction. I haven’t really noticed those spells aggravatingly targeting pets in previous patches, so I can’t say for sure.

A few other changes that don’t really warrant much discussion:

  • Lightning Bolt is now baseline castable while moving. This is pretty cool. I like to contribute a smidge of DPS here and there, and being able to default to LB when I’m moving and Riptide is on CD is pretty nice.
  • The Glyph of Unleashed Lightning has been replaced with the Glyph of Lightning Shield, which reduces damage taken by 10% for 6 seconds after Lightning Shield is triggered by a hostile attack. This might be useful for some Restos in PvP, but in PvE the only fight where I can see this being triggerable is Dark Animus, and I’d rather Glyph of Water Shield for crazy mana.
  • Lava Burst now has a 2-second baseline cast time instead of 1.5, and deals increased damage. This doesn’t affect us much, although if you used to use LvB as a quick damage spell during lulls, you’ll find it a little more sluggish now.
  • Healing Tide Totem got a spiffy new spell effect, to help distinguish it visually from Mana Tide Totem.
New blue swirly looks a lot less like Bouncing Bolt! :)

New blue swirly looks a lot less like Bouncing Bolt! 🙂

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4 Responses to 5.3: Restoration Shaman Changes

  1. Mishaweha says:

    I do not use Glyph of Deluge – golden chain heals forever! For the Horde!

    >_>

    Anyway, good to know about the Chain Heal bouncing. To tell you the truth, I never wondered too much about why it stopped bouncing; I just ragescream in my head and move on to a different spell because they always stand too far apart. ALWAYS.

  2. Jabari says:

    Maybe I’m doing something horribly, horribly wrong, but I HATE Chain Heal with a passion.

    It’s never, ever worked well (i.e., efficiently) for me – I’ve always had way better luck in the “normal case” scenario by going Riptide/HW/HW/HW (even if that 3rd HW is slow, or just waiting until Riptide is ready again) or Riptide/HW/HW/UE. Chain is just slow and seems to cost me too much mana, or the people with Riptide are topped (so I don’t get that bonus either), or the original target is way far away and it doesn’t bounce at all, or etc etc. Bleh.

    (I still have Glyph of Deluge though! *chuckle*)

    The only time I like it is when everyone is stacked and taking damage (i.e., Jin’rokh Lightning Storm, Maegara Rampage, etc), where I’m guaranteed that the Riptide guy isn’t at full and I’m not wasting any of it. Then I’ll spam it between Riptide and UE/HR casts – it works ok then at least.

    • Dedralie says:

      Do you raid in the 10s or 25s format? In 10s, CH is much harder to use properly and if you look at WoL you will see that a lot of 10-player raiding resto shaman do not rely heavily on Chain Heal. I raid 25s and have a guaranteed bounce vector amongst the melee pile, so I tend to rely on CH for my filler.

      With the recent buff to Chain Heal, a CH that hits 4 targets even -without- having the Riptide bonus deals more healing and is more mana efficient than Healing Surge, but it is undeniably slower. It still can’t touch HW for mana efficiency, but I tend to prefer CH over HW if it’s going to bounce because I’d rather spread my healing out in smaller chunks over more of the raid than focus on one target whenever possible. (AoE healing seems to be the name of the healing game these days, at least in 25s!)

      I totally feel you about Riptide healing up the target before you go to bounce a chain heal off them. It’s definitely not worth losing your biggest bounce to overheal just to buff the next 3 bounces down the line by 25%. Huge loss there. Much better to just pick another target who will need the full first bounce heal. The Glyph of Riptide helps eliminate this problem and Riptide as a spammable heal is more mana-efficient than a Chain Heal that is only effective on 3 targets, so you could give that a go if you’re looking to change up your “filler” status – RT for single-target filler and CH off of one of the many RT targets for an AoE filler. But, if there’s something you’re doing that is working for you, then no need to change! 🙂

      • Jabari says:

        10s. (Though I’ll admit I _do_ use Chain a bit more in LFR. But not a lot more. *laugh*)

        Part of it is healing-team makeup – I’ve been raiding with a Druid healer (3rd is Pali or disc priest), and a few people at 75%-ish health are far better served by him Rejuv-blanketing – anything I do with Chain is going to just turn all his stuff into Mushroom powerup. *chuckle*

        Part of it is that I dispise the Riptide glyph, so I don’t usually have more than two options for the buffed-initial-target. *shrug*
        (The main reason for that is that I UE->Riptide on tanks an awful lot when Rain isn’t needed – the 30% extra counts for both the initial and the HoT parts and it’s a really nice buffer to have running on the MT. Losing that much heal on the initial cast really sucks with the glyph – it’s a fairly significant hit when UE is “on”.)

        Part of it is that I see the 4th hit of chain do like 1000 healing or something, and simultaneously cringe and chuckle and wonder “why bother” and think the whole spell is terrible because of that. (Circle of Healing on my priest may have spoiled me a bit. *laugh*)

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