Shaman Mana Management

WoWScrnShot_022316_025237Wait! Don’t run away yet! Mana is the resource that healers use to keep people they like alive. The trick is being able to manage it efficiently so the remaining amount your character has by the end of a fight is as close to OoM (Out of Mana) as possible. This might sound obvious, and I hope it does, as managing resources in WoW is incredibly important. Warriors have rage, Rogues have energy along with Feral druids, the list goes on. Healers have the unique situation of keeping people alive with the synergy of having a resource that prevents what I am going to call “Free Casting”. Which essentially means “being able to cast spells without taking into account the impact it will have on your pool of resources”.

An example of Free Casting would be Wrath of the Lich King, where MP5 in combat was skewed in favor of the player and spamming heals nonstop forever was entirely normal.

Understanding Elemental Blast

I have a breakdown of how exactly MP5 in combat is calculated in the sidebar of this blog, there is a link to a google doc shaman guide that breaks everything down mathematically; however this article is simply geared at making sure the player is thinking about Elemental Blast. As well as remembering to cast it as often as possible. It is always better to end a fight with some mana than being oom at 30% boss health.

First off, what does EB do? Well it is a two second cast target-able spell that hits for a negligible amount of damage and provides the caster with a buff of 1000 spirit for eight seconds. Without going into the math of how much mana gain is provided by 1000 spirit in combat I will simply say it is noticeable. Having reasonable up-time on EB throughout a fight increases your passive regen by a significant margin. I am by no means saying that I have perfect up-time, far from it in fact. As there is a log that will show my up-time on a mythic Fel Lord kill was around 13%. Optimal up-time, realistically, is 30ish% and near perfect is 40%. This is taking into account movement, having to react to mechanics, and time required for casting healing spells.

Try not to think of EB by itself. Shaman have a multitude of mana regen passives and buffs that all work together. We have Resurgence that returns a percentage of a healing spells mana cost on crits. We have Water Shield which passively increases our mana per 5, and we have EB; which is our mental check for mana gain. Do your best to hit Elemental Blast when it comes off CD and you will be “drowning” in mana.

Digging Into Logs

Here is where someone will either love or hate mana regen. Some people really like looking at in-depth charts and number and fine tuning percentage up-times. While others just want to hear “keep EB on CD” and move on. That’s great! If you are not a log person I completely understand; I would love if you did check this one out at least as it is a line graph showing mana consumption throughout a fight. This is my log so be warned its not perfect. But it shows some regen points as well as some intensive resource spending.

Mana Management for Mythic Fel Lord

Learning From Logs

A very brief look at the above log. Without leaving that page at all you will see a graph showing mana consumption during the encounter. By my own analysis I can see that I had decent regen throughout but I ended above 50% mana when Fel Lord “fell” over. I can interpret from this information that I can be more intensive (maybe just this fight or perhaps over all) in my casting later on in encounters to make up for my strong passive regen.

Another thing I can check is by clicking “Buffs” going to the “All Abilities” section just below it, hovering over E, then selecting “Elemental Blast: Spirit” I can see a chart for my EB Spirit buff up-time. It is abysmal on this fight. I only cast it 4 times during the 4ish minute encounter.  I need to be more consistent with my EB and hit it more frequently.

Elemental Blast up-time chart

Don’t Be Afraid of Logs

Feel free to dig around in mine and have a peek at my short comings. As this sort of analysis is what makes you a better player. Being able to look at a combat log and see your mana regen up-times or resource management will allow you to improve from your own issues that crop up. It also helps with identifying problems.

This post was to assist players with mana management; or maybe you already knew about all this and I shed some light on logs.

Hope it was helpful and will see you in the next post. – Nop ❤

Shaman Mana Management

Taking on more “Jobs”

CoverImage5No, not like a Thief that can also cast White Mage spells. (That is actually a really good idea; I am going to try that in my next Bravely Default play through.) I am talking about those tasks that are presented in various raid encounters requiring players to switch up their tactics.

But I don’t do anything but hit/heal/get hit by stuff, what are you talking about?

That’s OK! I want to broaden your idea of a raid encounter. This is most prominent in the mythic setting but it does creep into heroic/normal in most circumstances, as the penalty for not doing this extra task is often diminished outside of mythic.

We need examples! And I won’t use Gorefiend

A prominent and relevant example is Xhul’horac. Aside from his atrocious name pronunciation; seriously say it out loud, it’s gross, this encounter has the wonderfully fun “Job” of clearing fire. Most circumstances will have a Rogue using feint and DRing the damage for the entire encounter. Rogues often are the ones who get to do these fun Jobs. This is where you come in! As a healer, encounters often times are boring for long stretches then suddenly super stressful! Then boring. It’s a cycle; and if you know your raiders well enough you know where the spikes in damage will go “those raiders” “the guy who stands in all the fire” etc.

Why does any of this matter to a healer? Well, not only giving your Rogue another person to help with clearing fire, it gives you the practice of healing whilst performing a secondary task. Multitasking! I hear people yell from the crowd, yes it is. And I might be in the minority but it’s super fun! Obviously this is being taken as a broad statement and not every healer can do every “job” or extra task in these raid encounters but its pretty clear when you can. The flamethrowers on Brakenspore is another example.

Managing the careful balance of clearing fire, without stacking debuffs, while raid/tank healing, and dropping grounding totems to catch the Void Fire is super engaging. (yes that’s a thing #RestoShamanPower) Do consider taking on the “Job” in your next raid and improve as you move through your Resto Shaman career.

Conclusion-type wording below

Basically; have fun with your Shaman and don’t be afraid to try out tasks in a raid. Volunteer for these jobs and you might be surprised at how often you are recognized for clearing fire properly, or burning the Brakenspore goo away from your friends.

Thanks for reading and until next time. Nop ❤

Taking on more “Jobs”

Resto Mastery VS The Disc Priest

WoWScrnShot_030216_114344

Preface for this post: It contains opinions, I am aware that Legion is reverting shields to the choice of “who should I shield” not “how many people can I hit before I run out of targets lol”. I am specifically referencing the current meta. I love Priests, I just can’t stand shields. #Salt

Mister Knuckles Protects the Power Word: Shield

Much like Mister Knuckles not letting you steal from the BMAH; Discs in their current iteration don’t let us steal heals. Like, ever. It’s amazingly broken. Part of this issue has to do with player power and ilvl inflation. I mean I was crit healing the other day on targets for 400k. The power level is across the board, I am more so going to focus on why shields are too abundant and powerful. (I see you over there holy pally, I’m talking about your shields too!)

So whats the issue with shields?

I will exclude Clarity of Will (CoW) from this section as that is a whole different can of worms. Power Word: Shield by itself is a wonderful spell. An instant shield that prevents damage is awesome. In most cases this shield can save a life if placed on a low health target (not annoying to the Shaman) or the Priest could pre-shield the target preventing the damage (again not annoying when logic is applied to one target). This allows for player choice. Great! I love having the choice, especially if what I’m have to choose between has a reasonable CD (previous cds for PWS were something like 8 seconds if I recall correctly). Giving a player choice and in turn consequences raises skill caps and makes the game more fun.

The issue that creeps forward is when the game allows for a shield to be spammable. Forgoing CoW for the moment; Disc is capable of blanketing the majority of the raid in a powerful instant cast shield. With no cool down, low mana cost, and the debuff the shield applies can be reduced to the initial duration of the shield. Downside? No. Shaman can spam cast Healing Surge for crazy big and fast heals but the downside is mana consumption. Holy Priests can spam Circle of Healing or another AoE heal and the downside is mana consumption. Resto Druids can spam Healing Touch and the downside is mana consumption. Is anyone else noticing a pattern? Other healers make a choice to spend mana to keep a target alive. Disc hits a single button and tabs to the next raid frame to do the same.

This partially comes down to how mana is regained in combat; however with the tremendous focus on Power Word: Shield it causes a strange “locked” healing spot in the raid.

“My raid comp doesn’t use a Disc and we are fine.”

A perfectly acceptable thing to do, either by choice or necessity. The problem is when you find yourself (as a healer) wishing you had the class and spec you despise because it makes an encounter trivial. This is because a power focus on a singular spell causes the raid design to account for that spec being in the group.

Remember how I said Gorefiend is a great raid encounter example? I’M USING IT AGAIN 😀 . Mythic Gorefiend, Touch of Doom, when that debuff expires your character pulsates large amounts of AoE damage to your raid members based on their distance from the explosion. Have good players and there is no need to be carried by a disc priest; have players that pay attention sometimes but mostly don’t? Get a disc and 15 shields on the raid and you will be fine. This type of design rewards sloppy play.

Oh the disc can shield me so I don’t need to pay as much attention to X

This in turn is severely punishing when you don’t have that disc carry. Clearing Mythic Gorefiend farm last night (at the post of this article) was painful because players were not properly paying attention to debuffs and blowing up the raid one Touch of Doom debuff at a time. Insert a disc into our healing roster and I could have carried those players ignoring mechanics with my eyes closed, with one button. That’s not only broken, that’s boring.

Once again, the issue is when you hinge a mechanic based around a single specs ability to carry a raid. (Anyone remember Mythic Maidens? If not, look up how that fight was done cough*CoW*cough)

Shaman Mastery: It’s important to let targets get low.

Deep Healing increases the amount healed to a target based on the target’s health and the amount healed is an ever increasing percentage; which can be increased by higher amounts of Mastery. What happens when a target is given a 400k shield and takes 300k damage? Well they still have 100k for the next 300k hit and then can be healed.

What happens when 5 people are each given a 400k shield and then another passive shield for half the initial amount is then applied on top of the existing shield due to crits? The absorption count quickly gets out of hand.

This mostly becomes a problem when your raid is on farm, as the shield strength vs incoming damage gets to a break point where the incoming damage doesn’t break the stacked shields. Healing at its basic form is a game of whack-a-mole. And when there are no moles to whack there are more reasons to drop healers. Blizzard has been exclaiming the idea that they want 5 healers in a mythic raid group. Progressing currently there is only ever the NEED for 4. Put the Disc’s ability to prevent the majority of damage and you really only need 2 healers and a Disc. It’s a slippery slope that I hope is fixed with the spec redesign in Legion.

TL;DR: I HATE SPAMMABLE SHIELDS

Thanks for your reading of my tirade. The goal is to keep things positive, I love priests and if you enjoy “shield spam” that’s fine. Take solace in the fact you didn’t lose CoW. If I was in charge Disc wouldn’t have CoW either lol. -Nop ❤

Resto Mastery VS The Disc Priest

Why a Melee Alt Improves Healing

WoWScrnShot_021016_131655Hear me out, I know most people roll healers/ranged so they don’t have to be in the melee pile; but knowing what melee go through is important for a healer. The concept is simple; if you (as a healer) understand what makes a melee dps function and position itself the way it does you will begin to understand the mistakes that your melee raid members make. In turn allowing you to fix (sometimes) these mistakes with proper healing.

What is the idea of a melee dps?

Well for the most part it is to hit stuff really hard in the face with a big stick. A pretty simple concept that yields great results. Hitting the boss enough times with a pointy stick often results in the target falling over dead. I’d call that a win.

The reason you, as the healer, need to understand this is because of our need to be predictive. Knowing why a melee stood in the fire can give you an understanding  and prevent “Get out of the fire” spam in vent or raid chat. I am not talking about rolling a melee class for every conceivable fight in order to predict what the melee is going to mess up mechanics wise. I am simply suggesting that a well informed healer will perform better than someone who refuses to play a class that is fundamentally different; refusing to step out of their comfort zone.

My own examples and preferred Alts

The choice for which melee alt you decide to play with in your off time is entirely up to you. If you made it this far in the post I at least hope you are open to the concept. Narrowing down what alt you want to play is going to take some experimentation, and in reality you don’t even need to reroll if you don’t want to. You are a Shaman, you have tremendous flexibility in your class. Alt spec Enhance and go Storm Strike some LFR to get a sense of what being in melee is like. The difference is tremendous, and if you haven’t played a melee character before in a raid environment it might be eye opening.

If you are looking for a suggestion, I would recommend:

  • Rogue – Solid choice, I recommend Assassination as the starter spec. It is simple yet effective.
  • Warrior – Fury is simple yet effective with minimal gear, Arms is hilarious in PvP if that’s your thing.
  • Enhance Shaman – STORM STRIKE!

“Tunneling the boss”

If this were a dps focused blog, a much more informed player would probably tell you that tunneling is a situational thing that happens when it is appropriate. But I’m not a dps and I won’t ever claim to be (I find it leads straight to snoozeville). However, as a healer I need to know when the dps is “tunneling the boss” because that is most likely when that dps player is not paying attention to raid wide mechanics. I used Gorefiend as an example in a previous post but he is such a great example I’m doing it again. The Feast of Souls phase on Gorefiend is the textbook definition of dps not paying attention to anything else other than punching Gorefiend. This is good, as dps gain a bonus for tunneling during this phase. Healers, you need to be paying attention to the dps’ shifts in focus (in a broad sense) to make sure that key debuffed targets are remembering to run out and soak a soul to remove their death debuff. (This is of course in the context of mythic, if you don’t raid mythic thats perfectly ok, keep reading <3)

There are appropriate times to tunnel and there are inappropriate times. An inappropriate time on the very same Gorefiend encounter is, “anytime the boss isn’t in Feast of Souls”. Now think back to when you were on your alt and punching LFR bosses in HFC/BRF. Were you always remembering to move out for debuffs/fire patches/ect., or were you just thinking “killbosskillbosskillboss” this is what I want you to realize. That ah-ha moment where you understand; dps from every level love to kill stuff. A good player knows when to kill stuff, but most people decide right from the start that they need to be on the top of the kill stuff meter.

Today’s improvement post is for people who feel like everything is fine in an encounter then suddenly everything goes to shit and people are dying. Often times it’s not your fault (unless you caused your own death, then it is your fault). If you are looking at a wipe and seeing that a few of your raids melee died in the fire; ok, WHY did they die in the fire? Maybe they were tunneling, maybe one guy needed that last 2 seconds of his recklessness, maybe a cat jumped on his keyboard and he couldn’t move. If you have an understanding of why melee do melee things it will help you decipher the puzzle.

Thanks for reading and I will see you in the next post ❤ Nop 🙂

Why a Melee Alt Improves Healing