Shaman SoS: Help!   21 comments

I am a pretty fail shaman.  Amongst other things, I constantly forget earthliving on my weapon…but I think I’ve gotten pretty good about keeping watershield up now!  I desperately want to unfail as a shaman, but I just am not quite sure how.  I am pretty stubborn and hard-headed at times, and generally try to figure things out on my own by researching, “reading the manual” and trial and error.  Unfortunately, these things aren’t helping me 😦

If you follow my blog, you know that my main is a fairly accomplished resto druid (Beruthiel).  What you may, or may not know, is that I also have each of the healing classes at level 80, with a Holy Paladin (Dannie), Disc Priest (Earenn) and Resto Shaman (Mynn).

It’s Mynn that we are here to talk about today (Hello, Mynn).

I leveled Mynn as pure enhance from level 1-70, and played exclusively enhance throughout TBC.   I was good at it, and I really loved it.  However, with WotLK I found that I didn’t care for the enhance changes and I decided I’d try something different and went Elemental giving her dual spec resto.  With the constant need for heals, resto became my main shaman spec quite early on in her leveling process, with Elemental becoming just a means to level.  And even now, my resto gear has so far surpassed my elemental gear that I’m not even sure why I mention she has an elemental spec.

But here is the problem:  I am not at all comfortable in my shaman skin, and feel like a failure of a resto shaman.  If mediocrity was my thing, I’d be golden.  But it’s not.  And I want to do well.

 My struggle is this: I feel that I’m a fairly competent healer, but I find that I struggle horribly with my shaman in just about most settings from 5 mans to 25s.  In 5s with a good tank, and DPS that doesn’t do too many stupid things, I am fine.  But, put me into a challenging situation (say, H HoR) with a slightly undergeared tank (say, Brade’s DK) and some DPS that doesn’t always assist and I just flail.  Give me a simple 25 man raid where there is just lots of raid damage and I can fall asleep on my chain heal button I feel OK…but put me in a 10 man, such as a TotGC where I have much more responsibility as a healer and I just feel like I can’t keep up my end of the deal.

I’ve done a decent amount of research, realized that I made some errors in my gemming/gear that I’m working towards fixing (silly shaman trying to gem like a paladin, get yourself some more haste already!).  I think I have a decent spec and viable gear, but I could be wrong, and I know that some of her pieces need upgrades (and her boots enchanted!).   Perhaps it just all comes down to that I just don’t “get” shaman healing.  I feel so clumsy and uncomfortable when I heal with her and often at a loss when it comes down to being in a pinch.  With my paladin, priest and druid everything feels so natural to me, yet my shaman feels so…forced.

The best way I think I can describe it is that with my other healers I feel that they have something they “excel” at, but my shaman truly feels like she’s a jack of all trades, and master of none.  Now from reading varying sources, I know that this isn’t necessarily true.  But for the life of me, I can’t figure out what I’m doing wrong or how to make healing on Mynn feel more natural.  Hell, I’d even settle for just being a more competent shaman healer!

So I ask you, my fellow trolls, tauren, orcs and spacegoats, what am I doing wrong?! (You will find Mynn in the normal parses, and to be slightly fair to myself both Nazyud and Virile are main healers on our progression team).  What are your secret tips and tricks in tough situations?  How do you remember to keep earthliving on your damn weapon?  (I swear, I never had trouble remembering to keep WF on them as enhance!).  Have I completely failed in my gear, gemming, glyphing choices?  I want to “get it”, I want to learn, I want to hear the wind, dammit!

Will trade the secrets of the grove for totem talk!

Posted January 5, 2010 by Beruthiel in Alt-aholic!, Healing, Help!, Mynn, Shaman Healing

21 responses to “Shaman SoS: Help!

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  1. Maybe I can help… I also have both a resto shaman and a resto druid (and working on a paladin and, come Cataclysm, a gnome priest ^_^), and, since I’ve changed my main from the shaman to the druid, I felt lacking in keeping up… yes, druids nowadays should be one of the top two healing classes overall, but with some work and effort I managed to get my blueberry almost on par with my druid again (I say almost because the druid is already sporting t9/ICC gear, whereas the shaman only now started collecting ToCr10 gear).

    From the log you posted, I’d say you’re using Chain Heal a little too much… Ok, after I got the triumph badge resto totem, I still spam chain heal here and there trying to keep the buff up, but as soon as I get the frost badge totem (and that’s my first priority on gear now), CH will again lessen in my usage… I hate using the term ‘rotation’, because IMO healers don’t have a cake recipe to heal… they use the tools they have that are more appropriate to the situation. 🙂
    But I digress. Well, Riptide + LHW are still the bread-and-butter of shaman healing. Like a druid, I still try to keep the riptide hot rolling on the tanks as often as I can, but more for a huge healing boost if they need, then I’d just throw a CH to consume the hot (kind of like always keeping rejuv/regrowth on the tanks in case they need a swiftmend). Actually, you have to have quite some positional awareness of you and your raid to know when a CH would benefit more than just casting LHW. Fights like Jaraxxus, for instance, shouldn’t have any need for chain heals (maybe for the melee). Just remember that LHW has almost the same healing power as CH, it just goes out faster. Ch is also good for single target healing (even more with the riptide hot on the target), but I still think lhw should have a higher priority in these cases.

    Another thing I’ve been told, and since I changed my itemization i couldn’t agree more… Crit is the shaman mana regen. Ok, popping water shield left and right don’t give you an infinite mana pool, but I can tell you, it makes it last WAY more than just pure MP5 on your gear. Haste is good, but crit is way better. 🙂 well, not only for the mana regen, but you heal for more, and, remember, most resto shaman procs are also based off crits, so… remember to keep those orbs up! 🙂

    I also think it’d be worth to you if you change your glyphs… Riptide is good but the hot isn’t really worth extending… and chain heal glyph is only good if you’re doing a lot of raid healing – and as much as CH is a wonderful raid healing spell, the strength of a shaman still is single target healing. I think you can’t go wrong with the Earth Shield + Lesser healing Wave glyph combo. As for the third major, I’d be among water mastery (if you struggle a lot for mana), chain heal (if you do a lot of raid healing) or, believe it or not, Healing stream totem. If you have a paladin on your raid buffing wisdom, the water totem you should be dropping should be healing stream by default (the only other one I use is Cleansing, for obvious reasons ^^). If you stack crit, thus counting on Imp Water shield for mana regen, you can just drop healing stream even if you don’t have the wisdom buff, and be happy with the extra heals it provides. 🙂

    As for tracking your buffs, I suggest you getting TotemTimers. It’s pretty easy to use, give you some useful warnings (when people are out of range of your totems, how many charges on water orbs, who gets your earth shield and how many charges they have, rez timer, and a nice red blinking button warning you when earthliving is about to fall off. :))

    Truth be told, I only found out you’re a fellow Llane’r when I was searching for your shaman on armory. ^^ If you see a big blueberry named Marsupilami from the Knights Who Say Ni guild pass by you, that’d be me (well, it helps if you also want to check up my armory ^^). I know I’m not the most successful shaman (or druid, for what matters ^^) healer around, but I do fine, and having a seat as one of our progression healers on ICC (and, well, with people like Superhawk and Ishta as fellow raiders/healers, I need to do the best I can ^^), but I hope that all this rambling was of some use… 🙂

  2. Thanks for the input! 🙂

    I actually carry around a stack of LHW and CH glyphs in my bag so that I can adjust them based on my healing assignment. In my raid last night, we had 3 Holy paladins. More than enough to cover tank heals, which put me strictly on raid healing for the night, which is why chain heal is largely so prominent in that parse.

    Would you use LHW over CH for raid healing? I guess I always just sort of made the assumption that LHW was good for single target damage, but if two or more people needed heals you should chain heal. Is that wrong?

    I also have a question about Riptide, you state that you primarily use it for a bigger chain heal on your target. I try to put it up each time it pops off of cooldown (although I don’t always get that done), is this incorrect?

    I really don’t have huge mana problems with anything that I find myself doing at the moment in my current gear.

    • I thought as much that you were on raid healing duty, but, well, I come from a more 10-men oriented background, and always get (friendly) scolded because my healing style is “heal everyone as if you were the solo healer in the raid” ^^ In this case, Chain heal is good, but it can get costly if you just spam it, even for raid healing.

      I rarely change glyphs around… I know they’re even cheap (even more if you have a scribe), but I try to be the more all-around I can be… And, well, I think I’ve been successful even on tight spots (like solo-healing the raid after the other healer dc’ed after starting the Saurfang fight on ICC, or also solo healing the raid on Kelthuzad’s last 35% health on Naxx10 (pre-Ulduar) after the other two healers died on the blocks ^^). 🙂 My guild usually don’t do healing assignments unless it is really needed, not only we know each other well enough to know what we’ll be doing, and, well, i’m know for healing raids as if it was only me, so the other healers usually cut a slack until they see me running oom or when needed ^^

      In the end, I think I end up using lhw more than ch for raid healing, yes. As I said, ch is too positional to be truly effective as a raid healing tool… you need to know who to cast it on, so the jumps wouldn’t be wasted. And more, you need to have that healer awareness of who’s going to take damage and when… as ch is a longer cast, it becomes more like a reactive spell than a proactive heal. IMO, ch shines when you know it’ll hit at least two people. If more than one person is taking damage and I know they’re too spread out for ch to jump between them, I’d usually go with a riptide (or a lhw if it’s on cooldown) on the more critical one, and a lhw on the other one. If you think about it, the cast time of two lhw is little more than one ch (at least for me… with my gear, I take 1.32s to cast lhw, and 2.3s on chain heal). And lhw should heal for almost the same as the first hit on ch (and for sure more than the first jump would).

      As I said… ch depends too much on the situation (people close enough for it to make the jumps, if I can afford the longer cast time, if people are static or running around like chickens with their heads cut off ^^) to real shine as it should. If I know it’ll hit at least two people, I’d go ahead and cast it. If not, I’d use the faster casting spells to get that health back sooner. 🙂

      As for riptide, I use the hot mainly for the ch buff on the tanks (and sometimes on the raid if I know people will be getting a lot of damage, like XT’s tantrum, or the northrend beasts multiple aoe damage gimmicks). I pop riptide whenever I can (sometimes trading it for a ch so I can keep the totem buff up), and that’s mainly the reason why my healing set still sports 2 pieces of t8.5 ^^. I keep the hot on the tanks mainly for the chain heal boost, but I’m not afraid to use it on whoever needs an instant heal – and yes, I know, the hot is not half bad, but I still use it primarily as an instant heal, and a good one at that if I might add. 🙂 I admit, sometimes I even cast it on people who don’t need it (but I know that will be taking damage, so I can pop the ch on them :)). I intend to use riptide even more (and chain heal even less) when I get the new totem… it’s already working miracles for my druid’s healing, so it’ll also have to do on my shaman. 🙂

      And sorry for the huge posts… I’m usually quiet and concentrated in and out of the game, unless I think I might have something useful to say… XD

  3. This is making me want to try a shaman. That is the class that I am far and away the least familiar with.

  4. You’re not crazy. After playing the Priest and now trying to get the hang of the Resto Shaman at level 80 you’ve described my feeling too.

    Earthliving is giving me problems, too. I’ve actually just gotten into the habit of re-clicking it after every boss fight in an instance. Since it doesn’t really cost mana, does it matter if you over apply it?

    But overall I feel that everything the Shaman does (most noticeably in 5 mans) is slooooooooooow.

    You cannot heal on the run. Your first heal is going to take 1.5-3 seconds or so to land.

    In a typical 5 man (with a warrior tank) you’ll be looting bodies after healing everyone back up to full. The warrior will run just out of your range… 40-50 yards. Then they’ll charge in to start the next pack. You start running and when you’re in range (I like to run til I’m about 20yards from the tank) they’re at 60% health.

    You need to drop totems 1.5sec
    You could Riptide them 1.5sec
    Start a heal (lesser or greater) 1-2 sec

    Doesn’t seem like much but I always feel taht I’m frantically trying to bring the tank up to 100% early on in the pull and if the group starts taking AOE damage… ugh. Stopping for a chain heal that may or may not hit all your party members (because ranged DPS like Hunters always stand at MAX range as far away as possible from you)…

    Yeah I know that it looks like I’m a bad healer.

    On the other hand I’m really enjoying raid healing as the Shaman. Once you have a defined role (or even if they’ve left it open ended) you can read the situation and positioning of your fellow players to get the most out of your heals.

    Koralon with Chain Heal? Most fun I’ve had on my Shaman so far.

    I need a macro disclaimer for my runs, I think:

    Hi, I will be your Restoration Shaman for this instance. I cannot heal while running *at all* so beware. Ranged DPS should stand no more than 20 yards away from the tank, preferably near me, if you’d like to receive Chain Heal.

    The only thing I believe that I’ve mastered is keeping Earth Shield and Water Shield up all the time, and use of totems (it really helps when you know the instance well).

    • Oh yeah one trick I’ve figured out, which I kind of touched on before, is to try and bridge the gap between melee and ranged DPS by positioning yourself directly in between both groups.

      That way if you take damage you can chain heal off yourself and hopefully it will splash to someone else, too.

      • Well, you CAN heal on the run on a shaman… every 6 seconds. Or a little less, if you count ES and Healing stream totem 🙂 Well, 5 s if you have 2 pieces of t8. 🙂

        Still, that’s true. I can’t remember who said it first, but shamans are much like turrets… they root themselves and start casting away. When we need to heal on the run, we do it stop-motion animation like: run, riptide, run, stop, lhw, run a little more, stop, another lhw, riptide, run again, stop, another spell… It’s still better than it was in BC, when we didn’t even have riptide… 🙂

        I did the other way around with healing: My first was the shaman, then a druid. And I got to say, even if I still fumble trying to run and heal at the same time, it’s so much better… Even if my style is more reg/nourish based than full hots, still…

        I think shamans seem so slow because they’re almost all cast-based. Only two instant spells (riptide and ES, three if you count healing totem), and the main spells are 1.5 and 2.5s casts… close to the plethora of instants the druid has, and the 1-1.5s casts PLUS instants that priests have (sorry for my french here, priests are the healers I’m less used to… ^^), they make the shamans (and paladins too) sound like taking forever to cast one heal… I feel the same way when I go elemental, or play frost on my mage… so much faster casts, it makes everything else (like arcane or fire) seem slow in comparison…

        But shamans makes up for it being heal bombs. LHW heals for a lot compared to similar-time casts, Chain Heal is a smarter group heal than most (same as CoH and WG, afaik). HW is one of the best long-cast heal bombs in the game. Earth shield saves lives even if not on a tank (i use to bounce it to squishies on Faction Champions, for instance – it heals them, and it helps with spell pushback too), and the totems bring so much needed buffs to the raid…

        But, I think it’s just like any other healing class: you need to know what spells you have in your arsenal are, what they do, so you can cast what is better for any given situation. 🙂 It’s more like knowing what’s going to happen in advance and reacting to it more than just filling the void that the damage causes on the health bars. 🙂

      • I have taken to asking people to stand in melee range on a fight like The Black Knight, or Falric where there is lots of AE damage, so that everyone is in range of chain heal.

        I’ve also taken to letting people die who don’t listen to polite and simple instructions 😉

    • Ugh, I hear you!

      Perhaps it’s just going to take some getting used to 🙂

      I will have to say, one of the things I do like about my shaman is getting to be tricksy with all of my totems! “you gonna fear me?! I don’t think so!” “You wanna fire ball me?!?! I don’t think so!”.

      I think I have the hardest time when it’s just *me* healing, or if there are realtively few healers, but a lot to be healed.

  5. I don’t have a shaman past level 25. I don’t have a non plate class past level 60. However, I do know this, Powerauras is a godsend for tracking weather or not you have certain buffs.

    • As I’m my guild’s “addon whore”, so to say, I’ve tried Power Auras before. You can set lots of reminders for different spells, buffs, debuffs, procs, and whatever you may think. You can put glowy, pretty, colorful graphics on your screen to remind you of those things.

      But I don’t use it. In truth, I don’t really like Power Auras at all. because of two things:
      1) Unecessarily complicated configurations. It took me about 20 mins to figure out how to put a texture on my screen to remind me that Water Shield was off. I kid you not, 20 fricking minutes. If I were to put up every thing I’d like to track on every one of my 80’s (I have 4) on every spec they have, I’d have to take the weekend off. And no, I’m not lazy, I’m a computer programmer and usability fan. If I can’t set something the way I want without reading a 100+ page manual beforehand, I won’t like it at all.
      2) Creates unecessary screen clog. Yeah, you can put a big fiery red glowing fire mark on the middle of your screen to warn that you need to reapply flame shock on your target; but it also creates a huge thing blocking your vision from what’s really important: what’s going on on your fight. I might not really be a minimalistic UI fan, but I like to keep the middle, and hopefully the sides of my screen (and I play on a 22″ widescreen monitor) as free from things I may accidentally click as humanly possible. Because I want to see what’s going on around me so I can react in fashion. As an example, I’ll have to rearrange some of the elements on my screen (namely DXE bars and where I anchored VuhDo’s buff tracker) after last night ToCr run, where I was on orb-killing duty on my mage, and I couldn’t click – or easily find – the damn orbs because I kept those two things on the top of my screen. Worse for DXE: Anub has so many things to track the bars came down to almost the middle of my screen, blocking my vision. :/

      As a shaman, I only use two small things to track all I need: TotemTimers take care of my shammy needs (totem timers [duh!] and if there are people out of range for them [so i can reposition them better], weapon buffs, water/lightning shield, earth shield (I don’t even use it to reapply ES, I just mapped right click on vuhdo to do so), reincarnate timers. For anything else TT doesn’t cover, I use TellMeWhen. I don’t even use it as resto, but it’s really good as elemental (and on my mage) to keep track of buffs and debuffs (mainly on my shaman I use it to see if my target has Flame Shock on it and how long it still last, and if Lava Burst/Chain Lightning are on cooldown; on my mage I use it to track Arcane Blast count/Missile Barrage procs as Arcane, Fingers of Frost and Brain Freeze procs as Frost, and as Fire, Hot Streak procs. 🙂 – Yes, it’s great that TMW has different profiles for different specs ^^). It puts ‘buttons’ on your screen, as big and transparent as you like, that show up or not according to a 2-minute set up you can do by just right clicking on the button you want to set. Simple, direct, uncomplicated and powerful, IMO. ^^

      • As an avid PowerAuras junkie, I’ll just say that the newest version is very intuitive as far as setup. You can also export and import settings between characters.

        For example, on my hunter I have visual cues when trinkets proc. I wanted pretty much the same position, icon, etc whenever trinkets would proc for my warlock. I just exported them from hunter and changed the name of the buff received. Presto!

        As far as the mod being too much clutter – don’t blame the canvas, blame the artist.

        And finally, I though I had convinced Beru of the awesomeness of PowerAuras months ago!

    • @The Renaissance Man – It has been touted to be fabulous! I’m just intimidated!

      @Lash – Sell harder! I’m scurrred! It’s so big, and so…scary!

      • And oh god did that come out all wrong, Lash.

        End story: It’s new, it’s complicated and I’m a chicken shit.

        I think that covers it all 🙂

      • My trollness has that effect on people.

        Really, if you can do all the things I hear you talk about with Grid (which is a total mystery to me) you can set up some PowerAuras to your liking.


    I doubt though, that the understanding of the class is the problem. I’d say the problem is: you just worry too much.

    You’re an excellent healer. You know when the big damage spikes are going to hit. You know the mechanics of the fights. You have all, really all tools and knowledge you need to master healing with any class or spec.

    There really is no big secret shaman healing. To be honest, shaman are far away from versatile healers like priests, there really isn’t that many buttons to press with us totem guys. Just learn to use our few spells without worrying too much.

    Then and only then, you can start to tweak your healing: Get an addon to watch Tidal Waves. Monitor your spellpower to supercharge ES. Gem for haste and haste only. Get different Totems for your relic slots (one for CH, one for LHW, one for HW). Watch the Riptide HoT in Grid so you don’t snipe it too early with CH. Learn to spot idle moments to refresh WS/ES/totems. Learn to heal with RT/LHW as well as healing the group with CH without neglecting all the other spells. But don’t start with those details! Learn to work with LHW/HW/CH and RT, keep up ES and WS, that’s what 95% of shaman healing is about.

    Last but not least: Shaman healing is rather slow. Many healers, coming from druids or priests are pretty underwhelmed by the few tools we have at hand. So don’t forget: you don’t have to like any class and spec. Maybe you just don’t like the pace and style of shaman healing. You could always give enhancement another try: a lot of fun and very challenging.

    • You are very kind Drug, thank you for all the pointers! 🙂

      I have actually read that post multiple times!

      I do suspect that you are correct though, I just need to learn to work with the tools in my kit and become more familiar with them. I really struggled with paladin healing until I gave myself a strict talking to and forced myself to realize I wasn’t a druid. Perhaps I need to do the same for Mynn.

      And then again…perhaps I should just give enchance another go! 😉

      • Enh is so Guitar Hero, I love it. Especially after such a long time of monotonous Lightning Bolt spamming, which has been my offspec until recently. If I do a rotation including magma totem AND fire nova totem I’m physically exhausted after every 5 man run. But in a good way.

        As for the Earthliving problem:

        Even as a veteran healer I still sometimes forget buff like Earthliving or Inner Fire. This is my easy and impossible to ignore solution.

        I’m really curious as to how your resto shaman adventure is going to end. In my experience: You can’t like all of the healing specs. I get Druid Healing, I get Disc. I semi-get Holy, but I have somewhat of an aversion because it’s so popular compared to Disc any many holy priest fail at disc healing. I don’t get paladin healing at all.

  7. One thing that I think I excel at is predicting healing. Like when someone has the bomb or the mobs are about to explode I already have a HW or CH winding up to heal that damage.

    one thing I do fail at is light raid damage. The other main healers are the other 3 classes and the druids always seem to have hots going on everything and the paladins are whackamole specialists. They snipe very well so I tend to concentrate on targets that will need more than a quick topper. I favor HW over LHW and that’s a personal fallacy. Though it works exceptionally well on Jaraxxus as I can usually get the incinerate flesh debuff off the target on my own. When I’m bored spam CH on one of the tanks to keep the melee topped up. CH spam on the tanks works exceptionally well when they’re all taking damage like Marrowgar.

    I often come in “last” on the healing meters but I also come in last on the overhealing usually. I can push it to be first or second on some fights but that seems like the antithesis of what I do, which is keep people alive efficiently and without trouble. But as a long time enhancement shaman come resto I’m used to being at the bottom 😛

  8. Pingback: Magnificent Mynn Update! « Falling Leaves and Wings

  9. Late to the party here, but I found you from related posts to my new blog, I have a few thoughts up so far, and maybe something will be helpful going forward!

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