Welcome to the cataclysm Restoration Shaman Guide.
Updated for 4.0.6! If there's something missing please let us know.
First off a big thanks to: Radux + Instant (and all the lovely hardcore raiders who keep me informed, you know who you are <3) for all the help and input on this guide.
Please note this is being written VERY early into Cataclysm. Things can and will change + some information may be incorrect as it is still being tested. I have done my best to get as many opinions as possible on this and got as much information as I could from other reliable sources, as well as my own.
Do not use this thread for asking questions or discussing problems with restoration. The only posts here should be debating the FAQ or theory crafting how to heal more effectively
If you have read the entirety of this thread and still have your question unanswered feel free to make a thread about it (hopefully you won’t need to).
Common abbreviations used throughout this guide:
HW: Healing Wave
HS: Healing Surge
ES: Earth Shield
WS: Water Shield
ELW: Earth Living Weapon
CH: Chain heal
HR: Healing Rain
UE: Unleash Elements
MTT: Mana Tide Totem
HST: Healing Stream Totem
HoT: Heal over time
SWG: Spiritwalker's Grace
Oom: Out of mana
3) Restoration spells
Talents have changed much since WotLK. The trees are now 31 points and many talents are now optional, this allows a lot more freedom when selecting talents. However some talents are still compulsory and should always be taken.
This is an optional talent. If you find yourself dying a lot or if there is heavy raid damage in cataclysm content this may be worth taking.
This is a compulsory talent if you suffer from no mana issues ever, then you may want to pick up some filler talents instead.
Spark of Life
This is a compulsory talent. 6% increased healing + more survivability in one talent.
Improved Water Shield
This is a compulsory talent. Our mana regen talent. Do not ever skip this.
This is an optional talent. The only reason you would take this is to increase mana tides duration. Judge if you or your raid needs this talent to be taken.
This is an optional talent. If timed right you can produce a powerful heal, which could save a player from dying. If you have spare GCD it can be worth getting. Unfortunately we have no hit rating, therefore if you miss it is a waste of a GCD and mana. If you do decide to use this talent, use flame shock.
Note: This spell DOES NOT save you mana. It will increase the heal and reduce the cost by a percentage. But because you had to spend mana on the shock in the first place you will end up spending more mana using this spell.
Generally considered worth skipping. A pvp talent, but if you find you pull aggro to much in a 5m environment by healing then feel free to take it (or get a new tank).
This is a compulsory talent. Even if you have a Priest in your raid, it is still worth taking this talent as they overwrite each other.
This is a compulsory talent. Our only cooldown currently in game, can be used to quickly save a player.
This is a compulsory talent. If you ever have to throw a heal onto the tank this will improve the healing.
This is a compulsory talent. In a raid someone will have the Mana Spring buff taken care of (usually through Blessing of Might), so you'll use HST. HR and HST both provide excellent AoE healing. This talent is great.
Improved Cleanse Spirit
This is a compulsory talent. Not much to say here, unless you never ever have to dispel should you skip this.
This is an optional talent. If you find yourself dispelling lots of the time this talent will be greatly beneficial to you. It heals a reasonable amount while reducing the mana cost. Some raids prefer Shaman to be on dispel duty solely because of the extra healing.
This is a compulsory talent. Increases your scope of healing when tank healing or spot healing. Should never be skipped.
Mana Tide Totem
This is a compulsory talent. This is our big mana regeneration tool. It provides 400% of the Shaman's static Spirit. Trinket proc's can no longer affect the % modifier of the totem (thus giving like 21k combat regeneration). This may or may not mean that Shaman could start stacking Spirit to provide maximum mana return to yourself and the raid. Regardless, it's an awesome tool. Make sure you discuss/call out when to use yours with any other Restoration Shaman in your raid/group.
This is an optional talent. If you find time to throw some bolts then feel free to pick it up. It currently gives very little mana back. It has a chance to miss and has a large cast time. There are some encounters where TC can give back massive amounts of mana. The use of this talent will heavily come down to player preference and healing style.
This is a compulsory talent. Also one of the most important talents in the tree. With it being a huge boost to healing it should never be skipped.
Blessing of the Eternals
This is a compulsory talent. Since it lost the 4% crit bonus it has become fairly poor. But it will still give you more of a throughput boost to healing then the other optional talents. Unless you purely heal the tank, it should be taken.
This is a compulsory talent. A instant single target heal, very useful when on the move , increasing the heal of chain heal and activating Tidal Waves.
This is a compulsory talent. The talent grants a passive bonus to our ELW weapon ability while also increasing the benefit of UE by 50%.
This is a compulsory talent. A flat 15% increase to our mana gained from WS and 15% increased healing to ES.
This is a compulsory talent. The increase to run speed alone makes it worth taking. But now you can ghost wolf indoors. Making this is a fantastic ‘run out of fire’ ability.
Acuity is the only talent worth taking in the Elemental tree. It grants 3% crit to all our spells, this greatly helps in early content where crit is low.
If you are unsure which optional talents to take, see these 2 specs:
Without Telluric Currents or With Telluric Currents
One final note about specs: Some major Hardmode Guilds have been using This spec. They gear haste heavy and essentially just keep HR on cooldown and use LB's (via TC) as filler. Ancestral Resolve + HST + Stoneclaw Totem are there for self + raid damage reduction. A true hybrid role, if you will. Note that this spec is not viable if your raid needs you at full time heals or to provide a consistent buff (Ancestral Fortitude). Also understand that more than likely, if you and your guild are using this cutting edge type technique, you probably won't need the information in this guide.
Water shield - If you struggle on mana (Replace ELW for this).
Healing stream totem
These are the main 4 you should be using. The most important one here is Chain heal, Healing Stream Totem and Healing Wave glyphs can be swapped for other useful glyphs if needed (Hex, for example, can be used as a utility glyph for heroics).
With the current damage in raids being so high, while our health pools being low due to gear, I would reconmend swapping Healing stream for Stoneclaw. Stoneclaw gives a personal 16k shield and can be a very useful tool if you know damage is incoming on yourself. (Thanks to Instant for pointing this out!)
How do I heal now?
Healing in cataclysm is very different to WotLK. Mana is now very important to watch, AoE healing has been nerfed to hell and spells have become very expensive.
An example of this:
WotLK healing: Spam chain heal on AoE fights. On non AoE fights, use riptide on CD and spam HW/LHW.
This type of healing is dead. If you constantly chain heal you will be oom in seconds + have not made a huge difference health wise (CH isn't great right now).
To understand how we heal in cataclysm you first must understand our new spells and how/when to use them.
3) Restoration Spells
HW is our spammable heal. It heals for a very low amount but you can spam this forever. This should be the spell you are using the most. Spam it when needed but learn when this heal will not save your target in time. If that is the case you need to switch one of your other, more powerful heals. It is highly recommended that you use this under the effects of Tidal Waves.
Healing surge is our new “oh shit” spell. If a target is about to die, this can be used to quickly save them. It heals for a huge amount while being on a very low cast time (1.5s). But this spell costs a bomb to use. Under Tidal Waves this can almost guarantee a Crit. This provides huge amounts of healing, especially in conjunction of Ancestral Awakening.
Greater Healing Wave
Greater Healing Wave is like the old HW. It is a costly high strength heal. Use this when you know large burst damage is coming or with nature’s swiftness to save someone.
Chain heal has seen better days. If there is a large amount of AoE you should be using our new spell Healing Rain. If this heal is not enough to keep up with the damage you can start using chain heal. For example there is a large amount of unavoidable AoE, you cast healing rain. The raid is still taking damage and is not very separated, now would be the time to start using chain heal. Currently this should be a last resort spell. It heals for a very low amount, has a long cast time and costs a high amount of mana.
Healing rain is our new AoE heal. You should use this ability as soon as there is a large amount of AoE damage. Try to encourage players to stand in the rain as much as you can to increase the healing. It is costly, so you can’t keep it down 24/7, but use it when its needed. Healing Rain has the ability to crit and proc ELW on each tick of the heal. It is also affected by our haste and mastery, making this an extremely potent AoE heal.
Unleashed Elements is a new spell gained at level 81. You should be using this spell when there is about to be a large amount of damage incoming. The only other time you should use this spell is if someone desperately needs a quick heal and you have to move and riptide is on cooldown. If that is the case then feel free to use it.
Riptide has not changed much since WotLK. You should use this spell to provide a HoT for incoming damage, to save some-one about to die, to heal on the move and to gain the tidal waves buff.
Earth Shield has the same mechanics as it did before. It is more costly, so only refresh it when it is about to run out or already has done (1 stack or lower).
This is a 2 minute cooldown gained at level 85. It allows us to cast when moving. Use this when you need to run to a target to get in range, or when you are having to move due to fight mechanics. It has a long cooldown so remember to use it wisely.
Now you know what our spells do, you should be thinking of scenarios where you could have used them better. We have a large range of heals to use in raids/instances now. Use them.
Some basic tips for new Shamans:
For players just starting out with the shaman class, some basic tips:
• Keep Earth shield on the main tank at all times.
• We can dispel magic and curses, do so whenever it is needed.
• Discuss when to use heroism/bloodlust with your group and use it when required. Try to have a dps use this since it actually costs quite a bit.
• Manage your totems well, check to see if people are in range of them and if you are using the right ones.
There will be mixed opinions on this. But I will state what I have found so far and after talking about it with others the best combination of stats. Right now the order of stats should look something like this (especially at very early gear levels):
Spirit/Int > Crit > Haste/Mastery
Now to explain why.
As I have already pointed out before mana is a struggle in cata. An oom shaman = a dead group. Make sure every item you have has spirit on it, gem it/enchant/reforge it if needed. With our improved water shield talent, this is now our main source of regeneration. It is recommended to get about 2k in combat regeneration to be pretty comfortable (this can/will change on a per person basis).
Intellect gives us spell power, mana and a small amount of spell crit. This will be on every item you own. It is, point for point, our most powerful stat. If you feel your heals aren't healing for enough, try to get some more!
Haste, in WotLK the shamans best friend. Currently, not so much. If we are already struggling with mana, why make it worse for yourself by getting items with haste. That being said haste is still a very powerful stat for us. If you are comfortable with your mana and your healing play style, it is highly recommended to get about 916 haste rating so your ELW, Riptide (glyphed) and HR all gain an extra tick.
Crit is now a very useful stat for us. It provides us with more healing, procs Ancestral Healing and Ancestral Awakening. It also is mana regen stat as it procs improved water shield. You should be aiming for crit as soon as you have enough spirit and int.
Mastery is the new stat in Cataclysm that allows us to heal for more (with our direct heals) on targets with lower amounts of health. This means when healing a target with 100% health, we don't heal for any more than anyone else. However, if a target is at 1% health, we can heal for quite a bit more (24% base come 4.0.6). It is a large misconception that Mastery is our worst stat. This is simply not necessarily the case. Any fight where people take raid damage, your Mastery can help you heal for more for absolutely nothing. On the other hand, it is not recommended to stack Mastery at the expense of other stats, or if you are under geared.
Once mana becomes less of a concern, you are able to worry less about regeneration stats and more about throughput stats. This is personally what I've used as a stat balance after I stopped going oom every other pull:
Int > Spirit (until you have "enough") > First haste Softcap (916) > Crit = Mastery > More Spirit > More Haste
A note to remeber: You need to keep in mind your role in a group, as well as your group size. If your raid relies on you to keep Ancestral Fortitude up on the tanks, you better be running a Crit heavy gear set. If you basically only raid heal, Mastery heavy gear can definitely be your friend. More haste can also be extremely helpful in both situations. Saying that there is only 1 way to gear is just wrong. Cataclysm has been great about giving us options as well as not having any really wasted stats.
Useful gems you should be using:
http://db.mmo-champion.com/s/55396/i...siege-diamond/ - This gem can still be used temporarily, until you can get one of the cata metas.
The gems I reconmend:
Red - http://db.mmo-champion.com/s/73338/b...-inferno-ruby/
Blue - http://db.mmo-champion.com/s/73355/purified-demonseye/
Yellow - http://db.mmo-champion.com/s/73366/potent-ember-topaz/
Helm - http://db.mmo-champion.com/s/86932/arcanum-of-hyjal/ (Hyjal Revered)
Shoulders - http://db.mmo-champion.com/s/86899/g...ged-lodestone/ (Therazane Exalted)
Cloak - http://db.mmo-champion.com/s/74240/e...ter-intellect/
Bracers - http://db.mmo-champion.com/s/74237/e...tional-spirit/ or http://db.mmo-champion.com/s/96262/e...hty-intellect/ (4.0.6) [Note: Haste or Crit are also acceptable here if you need it]
Gloves - http://db.mmo-champion.com/s/74198/e...-gloves-haste/ or http://db.mmo-champion.com/s/74255/e...eater-mastery/
Legs - http://db.mmo-champion.com/i/54450/p...y-spellthread/
Boots - http://db.mmo-champion.com/s/74199/enchant-boots-haste/
Shield - http://db.mmo-champion.com/s/74235/e...ior-intellect/
Weapon - http://db.mmo-champion.com/s/74242/e...power-torrent/ or http://db.mmo-champion.com/s/74225/e...pon-heartsong/
Pre-raid Gear guide writtern and compiled by Instant
I know that at this moment we need pre-raiding list more than BiS, but i decided to include epics (which drops from raids). They will be listed at the bottom of each armor piece segment. So if you want pre-raiding gear, take a look at those which are mentioned first.
Spirit > Crit > Haste > Mastery
No mail specialization. As for now my character (with few hc blues and blues) has 3276 INT unbuffed. 5% of that would be ~160 INT. At this moment i belive it's not strong enough to outweight stats on some cloth/leather armor.
I'll add mail items though, even if they don't meet the criteria. Because we all now there often is drama when it comes to loot. But w/o additional info, if you wan't it, click it.
To answer your question, why i'm mentioning crit only items - Reforge. If anything you can always reforge crit into some haste or mastery. In few cases i skipped over epic w/o crit and put it lower on prio list, but to be honest it's not much of a difference, and i always listed items so you could see what's the alternative. Only items that i left out are epics for reputation that do not have any spirit
Buyable for 2200 JP from vendors
No epic that meets criteria.
Drops from Atramedes
Drops from Halfus Wyrmbreaker
Drops from Anraphet Halls of Origination
Buyable for 1650 JP
Drops from Elementium Monstrosity The Bastion of Twilight (Twilight Ascendant Council)
Drops from Golem Sentry Blackwing Descen
Buyable from vendors for 2200JP
No Epic at all that meets criteria.
Drops from Rom'ogg Bonecrusher Blackrock Caverns
No epics that meet the criteria.
Drops from General Husam Lost City of the Tol'vir
Drops from Vanessa VanCleef The Deadmines
Buyable for 1650JP
Drops from Atramedes (Blackwing Descent)
Drops from Temple Guardian Anhuur Halls of Origination
Zone drop in Blackwing Descent
There are two other belts, but somehow wowhead doesn't show where those drop :O
Blacksmith Abasi Vendor in Uldum (revered reputation - easy to get)
Drops from Karsh Steelbender Blackrock Caverns
Provisioner Arok Vendor in Shimmering Expanse (Earthen Ring reputation) - very easy and awesome pants to get
Drops from Asaad The Vortex Pinnacle (H)
Drops from Overlord Sunderfury Twilight Highlands (rare elite mob)
Drops from Maloriak Blackwing Descent
Provisioner Whitecloud (hyjal reputation)
Buyable for 2200JP
Mmo db somehow bugged for these pants
Boots are easy, get reputation with Earthen Ring and buy those:
There is really no point in farming any other rep than ER as resto shaman. You can get 4 items that WILL help you, and two of them are BiS (legs and boots) until raids, and two of them are pretty damn nice (epic ring and hands afair). I won't list other boots cause it doesn't have any sense. If anyone thinks otherwise please say so
Drops from Altairus The Vortex Pinnacle
Drops from Halfus Wyrmbreaker The Bastion of Twilight
Drops from Commander Springvale Shadowfang Keep (H)
Drops from Drahga Shadowburner Grim Batol (H)
No epics that meet criteria.
Drops from Asaad The Vortex Pinnacle (H)
Drops from Ammunae Halls of Origination (H)
Zone Drop Blackwing Descent
Drops from High Priestess Azil The Stonecore (H)
Buyable for 700VP
Drops from Ascendant Lord Obsidius Blackrock Caverns (H)
Drops from Atramedes
Buyable for JP
Requires Baradin's Wardens - Revered
Drops from Rom'ogg Bonecrusher Blackrock Caverns (H)
Drops from Setesh Halls of Origination (H)
Drops from nefarian... only weapon with spirit and crit
And now... most arguable thing ever. Trinkets. Personally i always have few trinkets with me. Different fights require different approach. But for now i think most important thing to get is regen. Funny thing about regen is that it requires Spirit, and our Mana Tide boosts spirit by A LOT. So at this moment i'm aiming for two trinkets with Spirit. One of them is very easy to find:
Buyable for 1600VP
At this moment this trinket should double user's spirit. When i'll finally get it, i'm gonna make a macro to use this trinket and Mana Tide at the same time.
However, there is one more trinket that i'd like to have VERY VERY MUCH.
Drops from High Priestess Azil The Stonecore
However if you're a JC by a chance, you can always make yourself:
Craftable from JC
With both trinkets up, AND mana tide you can get close to 25/30k MP5... Which basically means you get new mana bar every 3 minutes when Mana Tide is off the CD.
There is also a spirit proc trinket, but it has mastery instead of intellect, it can be reforged, and if you ever see it, roll for it ASAP.
Drops from Isiset Halls of Origination (H)
That's it for trinkets as for now, those are what i'm aiming for, although it will take some time. Meanwhile you can always get:
Which gives you 2850 MP5 if absorb will last for entire duration and another 5700 mana when it's gone. To maximize your MP5 you can use Glyph of Stoneclaw, this way you'll have ~20k absorb and hopefully you'll get more mana.
This one is also not bad: