I just got my Etheralus, the Eternal Reward today, and I thought I’d post up a short & sweet summary of the way the ring works in general and for Shamans specifically. I’m sure I’ll find more data in the days & weeks to come for other classes, but for right now this is the best I can do – my next closest character to the legendary ring will finish her Elemental Runes this week 🙂
So the legendary ring has two parts; an activated buff and a burst of absorption healing when that buff expires. I’ll detail the workings of each of these here briefly. (Stop laughing. I mean it! Brief!….-ish?) First, though, the bare facts:
- Etheralus, the Eternal Reward, is item level 735 when you first obtain it.
- Each week, you can kill Archimonde to receive Crystallized Fel, which will increase the item level of your ring by 3.
- The ring can be increased to a maximum item level of 795, which requires 20 Archimonde kills.
- Crystallized Fel can only be looted after you possess Etheralus.
- When you upgrade the ring’s item level, the % boost of its healing/absorption buff and the % that gets converted to absorption after the buff expires also increase, from the base 25% up to the maximum 43.7%!
In short, these rings are extremely powerful based on item level alone. But there’s more!
Instead of having a proc like the previous ring in the series, the Legendary ring has an on-use buff.
- The ring’s buff is called Etheralus, and it can be tracked by spell ID 187618.
- The buff lasts for 15 seconds, and the ring has a 2-minute cooldown.
- During this time, all healing or absorption you deal will be increased by 25%.
- The 25% increase applies to all sources of healing including pet healing (e.g. Totems), consumables (e.g. Healing Tonic, Healthstone), and healing on players/NPCs that are not in your party.
- One exception is healing events that “proc” based upon the size of your heal – for example, Leech self-healing – these do not double-dip.
- Another exception is healing events that are percent-health based, like Gift of the Naaru; these are not increased by the ring.
- Divine Aegis, however, does seem to double-dip; the heal that generates the DA is 25% larger, and the DA shield is 25% larger again.
- Illuminated Healing, on the other hand, does not double-dip.
Whenever any player activates their Etheralus, other players in the party/raid who are wearing Etheralus will benefit from the ring buff as well, and their ring will go on cooldown. As if some invisible hand reached out and clicked all their Etheralus keybinds. Spooky, huh?
- From discussion with Ranor of Temerity, it would appear that other Etheralus wearers must be in line of sight of the player activating their ring in order to also have their ring activated.
- Additionally, there appears to be a maximum range beyond which rings will not activate each other – longer than 45 yards but shorter than 80 yards.
- Players in alternate phases (Gorefiend’s stomach; Visions of Death; Twisting Nether; etc.) will not be affected if players in the main phase activate their Etheralus.
Activating Etheralus therefore acts as a raid cooldown, rather than an individual buff like a trinket proc. Players should be mindful of this, and use the Etheralus ability strategically. But I’ll talk more about this after we dig into the absorption shield effect!
When the Etheralus buff expires, each affected healer will generate an absorption shield based on the amount of healing they generated during the ring buff.
- The absorption shield is also named Etheralus, and can be tracked with the spell ID 187805.
- I really do mean healing. Effective absorption does not count toward this effect.
- Only effective healing counts – overheal does not contribute to the size of the absorption shield.
- Certain healing events are excluded still – for example, self-healing from Leech – but most healing events will contribute to the shield.
- The absorption size is 25% of the effective healing dealt by each healer under their Etheralus buff.
- The absorption pool is evenly distributed to all raid/party members within 100 yards.
- Players do not have to be in your line of sight to receive the absorption effect.
- For example, if you are in a 10-player raid, activate your ring, and deal 100,000 healing, you generate a total absorption pool of 25,000, which will be split amongst all 10 players, granting each player a shield of 2,500.
- A player’s own passive +healing effects (e.g. Glyph of Cat Form) do not affect the size of the Etheralus shield.
- The shield will last until consumed or for 15 seconds, whichever comes first.
Note that friendly NPCs or players who are not in your party will not receive any benefit from the Etheralus shield. I suppose this has implications for things like World PvP, but other than that, it’s not a big deal; it’s no loss that you can’t put Etheralus shields on the Tortured Essences inside Gorefiend’s stomach, for example.
What Happens When I Die?
Not a huge existential question here, just a practical one: What happens if the person who activated the ring dies before the buff expires?
The buff remains on your corpse, and will continue to accumulate other healers’ healing towards their explosion. If you somehow still have active healing (HoTs?) up on other players while you are dead, the ring buff will continue to accumulate this healing as well. At the natural end of the buff’s duration, it will still detonate and provide the raid with the Etheralus shield.
This means that dying only nerfs your own healing throughput, not the other healers’. Which is great.
I don’t know what happens if you die and release. Like, if you were using the ring on trash? Not clear. But it’s probably a bad idea to release if you have the ring buff up 😛
Insert Strained Lord of the Rings Reference Here
It’s pretty clear that you should be using your raid’s rings during times of high damage intake. But which part of the ring should you maximize – the buff, or the shield? And how?
I’ll admit I don’t exactly know. In my Hellfire Citadel encounter guides I speculated on where the best place to use the rings would be in each boss fight, but that was based on theory, not experience – we weren’t able to test these rings on the PTR, after all.
I think the ring should be used reactively rather than proactively, which means that you should be thinking more about how to get the most out of the buff rather than the shield.
There’s a couple of reasons for this. The main one, though, is that the shield’s power is predicated upon effective healing, which means you can’t really mitigate an incoming mechanic by preemptively spamming heals on the raid anyway. I mean, this might have worked wonders on Brackenspore’s Infested Spores mechanic, which ramped up gradually and then ticked very hard at the end, but most raid mechanics just aren’t like this.
Admittedly I haven’t seen every Mythic fight on live servers yet, but there’s only a handful where you could really generate a huge shield effect and have it be useful. This requires an extended period – more than 15 seconds, probably at least 20! – of heavy damage. The few I can think of are Mythic Hellfire High Council, Fel Lord Zakuun’s Enrage/Heavily Armed phase, the final 20% of Xhul’horac, and Gorefiend’s Feast of Souls.
It’s also worth noting that none of your raid’s absorption healers affect the size of the final absorption shield that the ring applies. Your Disc benefits greatly from spamming Power Word: Shields that are 25% stronger (especially with Archangel up), but the Etheralus shield doesn’t even notice. And yes, their direct healing creates large Divine Aegis shields under this effect, but again, the Etheralus shield is totally oblivious to the DA. So it really makes a lot more sense to maximize the buff over the shield.
The natural tendency would be to use the rings with raid CDs. Early in the tier, while your raid’s rings are still trickling in, this is definitely the way to go. But will we reach a point where this … really isn’t necessary? Where one raid CD + the other healers’ high-throughput rotations already deliver too much healing? Should we ever consider using the rings as an extra raid CD, instead of using it to augment one of our healer’s CDs? These are things to keep thinking about as our raids complete their legendary rings and the power boost from them continues to grow with weekly Archimonde kills.
Just a few quick specifics for Resto Shaman with Etheralus:
- Yes, totem healing is boosted by the Etheralus buff, and counts toward the Etheralus shield.
However, totem multistrikes do not currently count toward the Etheralus shield. This may be a bug – I’ve reported it as such, anyway.Fixed today 🙂
- Stone Bulwark Totem’s absorption shield is unaffected by the Etheralus buff. 😦
- Healing Tide Totem, Ascendance, and Ancestral Guidance all work as expected with Etheralus.
- Spirit Link Totem does not benefit from, nor contribute to, Etheralus, at all. Which is probably to be expected, but you know me, I am thorough 😛
- The t18 4-piece set bonus’s extra Riptide, and the Core of the Elements trinket’s extra Riptide, are both affected by and contribute to Etheralus.
- Cloudburst Totem does not double-dip with the Etheralus effect, but if the totem expires before the Etheralus buff does, it does increase the size of your generated shield. If the totem expires after the Etheralus buff does, though, the totem gains no benefit from the application of the Etheralus shield.
It seems tempting to many Shaman to use Elemental Mastery once they get the ring, and you know, it might be the right call if you have the mana to support that healing playstyle and you have the t18 4-piece to help spread Riptides around to compensate for the lack of Echo of the Elements. However, I think the extra charge of Spirit Link Totem is pretty solid too for some fights, so you’ll have to weigh up the benefits of EM syncing with the ring against losing that extra Spirit Link and ditching the Unleash Life/Riptide flexibility.
I already love Ancestral Guidance and use it most of the time (except for extreme spread fights), but I do think it could be nice to pair up with the ring in the same sorts of circumstances that we’d want to pair up EM with it.
It may be a while before I really get to dig in to how the ring works and how we should be best using it. Do you have any thoughts or findings? Do let me know! Leave a comment here, or find me in-game or on Twitter.