The Misadventures of Suffolk and Darnell, Part I

Upon waking in a shallow grave, Suffolk looked around and began absorbing his new surroundings. Dank, musty, wet, cold… Suffolk sighed. “I guess this is it, huh,” he said to no one in particular.

Just as he was dusting himself off, he noticed a bony, flesh-eaten hand waving in the air. “Oh jesus, what now?” he wondered. He scooted over to the owner of the grotesque hand. “What’s the matter?” he asked.

“My name is Undertaker Mordo,” said the putrid-smelling corpse. “Welcome to Deathknell! I have an urgent task down in The Shadow Grave,” said Mordo.

Suffolk sighed again. He looked up at Darnell and his jaw dropped a little more than normal. “That’s a big bastard!” he smirked to himself; “I wonder who the hell he was in his life.”

Darnell smiled amiably to Suffolk and asked, “Are you ready? I know the way.”

Suffolk scooted behind Darnell, following him to the entrance of The Shadow Grave. For all that’s happened to him today, he really shouldn’t have felt the heebie-jeebies creep across what’s left of his skin. But he did. He shook his head quietly and descended down the crypt’s stairs.

When they reached the last room of the crypt, Darnell began looking in every crevice and on every shelf for the Undertaker’s supplies.

Suffolk looked around for half a second before spotting a small table over in the far corner of the room. He glanced at Darnell, who was still examining an empty shelf. Suffolk sighed.

“They’re over here, Darnell,” he said unimpressed.

“Oh! Right! Great job, Suffolk!” said Darnell emphatically. They ascended the crypt’s stairs and headed straight for Undertaker Mordo. Suffolk hands over the embalming fluid and thread.

“Well, I guess our task here is done,” said Darnell. “I’ll be on my way to Tirisfal Glades. See you soon, Suffolk!”

Suffolk watched that big bastard head off toward the huge gate and just shook his head, smirking to himself.

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Neav UI & the Raiding Healer: A Verdict

Well. Although I have been using Neav UI for a few days (week?) in 5-mans and LFR, I wanted to see how it would perform in a “real” raid setting where debuffs matter more and coordination is king. So we tromped into Dragon Soul last night and I was rocking Neav UI. Everything was good as gold until _that_guy. You know who I’m talking about. He’s T13’s Chimaeron (for Waypoint, at least). Warlord Zon’ozz.

Since I am specced into both Improved Cleanse Spirit and Cleansing Waters, I was asked to be the sole dispeller on this fight. I was also asked to call out who I was dispelling so they would be ready for the knockback. (Keep in mind, this was a strategy we were trying. This strategy, whether right or wrong, is not the point of this post.)

I was excited. I had a specific job to do during a raid. I had responsibility. I didn’t want to let my raid leader down.

For the first few seconds of the fight, everything was peachy. Then the debuffs were doled out. And all hell broke loose, in my head. The oUF raid frames clearly show the debuff — BUT IT COVERED THE NAMES. Granted, I should know who is where on my raid frames, but I have issues with self-doubt and I get paranoid about doing the wrong thing, so I had to mouseover to check. I even installed Decursive to help, but those unit frames don’t have names either. People, we have two priests, two druids (the death knights aren’t an issue as one is a tank & was the first raid frame).

And then there’s the issue I’ve been having with my mouseover macro for Cleanse Spirit:

#showtooltip

/cast [@mouseover, help]Cleanse Spirit; [help]Cleanse Spirit; Cleanse Spirit

Seems pretty straight forward, right? Well, so did I until last night. I realized that my placing this macro on a shift+ modifier button (See screenshot below, bottom bar, button 7; notice the empty slot on the second bar >.>;) was causing it to misfire in relation to the GCD. At least that’s what I could tell. Ever since 4.3, I was having to manually select a target then use my macro. Which negated the whole “mouseover” thing and infuriated me to no end. So, in an ephiphanic moment, I moved my macro down to my main action bar (unmodified) and IT WAS WORKING AGAIN. Sons of biscuit eaters I am a moron.

Let me give you a pro tip: Use what works for you. While some things may be prettier than others, what really matters is your performance in the heat of the moment. Don’t be like me; don’t let your raid leader down over some STUPID issue like dispels. ;~;

So it is with a still-frustrated, perturbed, and slightly sad heart that I will be uninstalling Neav UI. I know I can just change the raid frames. Or I could tweak the raid frames. But I’m now over it as a UI. I’ve failed myself and my raid team in trying to use it — I’m not going there again.

Looking for Raid & Shaman Healing

E'rrybody loves a UI shot!

Last Sunday, I decided to do something wild and crazy. This is something I haven’t done in a really long time (because I found a great guild and I now raid)…. I pugged. Not only did I pug, but I pugged Seige of Wyrmrest Temple.

Rick was watching one of his anime series out in the living room and I needed to unwind from my parents’ visit. So I opened up the Raid Finder panel and hit “Find Group.”

Two minutes later, I’m clicking “Enter Raid” — Insta-queue is very nice! I’m not sure how long the average DPS wait is, but it can’t be that long right now (given that LFR is brand new). Or that 17 DPS are pulled from the queue to make a group. Maybe I’ll try this later on one of my other 85s.

We started with Morchok (as the currently LFR-accessible content is only the first four bosses of Dragon Soul) and one-shotted him. Some people died, but I attribute that to either arrogance/ignorance at the deadliness of the Black Blood of the Earth or just laziness. One of our tanks died twice, but he thought he was out of the way in time. Nope.

Just a tip: The Black Blood of the Earth appears to reach out to the SAME EXACT locations each time. So run back to the same SAFE place you were the first time that event occurred. Trust me. (Unless Blizzard decides to mess with everyone and make it dynamic).

All-in-all, Morchok (or Porkchop, as he is affectionately known to Waypoint) was pretty easy. I thoroughly enjoyed the stacking required on this fight so I was able to appropriately use Healing Rain and Chain Heal to get the most benefit from both.

We then charged on to kill Warlord Zon’ozz (Zo’loft), Yor’sahj the Unsleeping (Yo’gurt), and Hagara the Stormbinder (Haggis). We roflstomped Zon’ozz and Hagara. We would have one-shotted Yor’sahj if the DPS actually killed the slimes/mana voids like they were supposed to.

One difference to note between LFR-Dragon Soul and regular raid-Dragon Soul (normal and heroic versions) is that the green slimes do not do the AOE thing on LFR. So the kill order for slimes in LFR is Purple > Yellow > Red whereas regular-raid is Purple > Green > Red. The blue slimes are also pretty annoying, especially when DPS don’t kill them quickly after the other slimes. But I did surprise myself with how much healing/stabilizing I could do with just Healing Wave.

I think part of the reason that we had such a smooth time in the LFR Dragon Soul was partly due to most of the other 24 people having recent raiding experience. They may not know these new fights (I didn’t know two of them), but they are good at moving out of the fire and other basic raiding skills. Our success could also be attributed to the required iLvl to use LFR (372) so we outgeared the raid encounter. To have at least that iLvl, you have to had completed some Firelands bosses or run a bazillion Zulroics in order to get enough VP to buy T12 or T12-equivalent gear. So you should be familiar with not standing in the fire (*hurr hurr Firelands jokes here*). And of course, the fights are not nearly as complicated as say, Ragnaros (DOUCHENAROS).

Easily-understood mechanics + gear + basic understanding of staying out of the fire = LFR Success.

I will probably do LFR a lot more — it’s an easy way to get 250 Valor points in about the same time as it takes to complete a full zulroic. I could see, however, horrifying LFR runs where you can’t one-shot these bosses. I’m not sure I have the temperament to withstand more than 4 wipes on one of these bosses. Partly because I don’t think these bosses are so hard that it requires more than one wipe to “get it” and also partly because I don’t have enough time to take hours to complete a LFR run. I like to save up my energy for my guild’s raids because I know those people and actually *like* them.

But now! Now we’re on the road to glory and punching Deathwing in the face! 

Sidenote: Ever since 4.3 launched, the default raid frames have been buggy in terms of dealing with buffs/debuffs and totems. Prior to 4.3, totemic buffs show up on the raid frames out of combat. Once combat occurs, the totemic buffs disappear and other buffs such as Riptide and Earth Shield are shown. This is all borked now that the bug results in the totemic buffs being shown throughout combat. It’s hard to see how many Earth Shield stacks remain and the time remaining on Riptide. I have switched between Grid, Grid2, and now Blizzard Raid Frame Indicators to deal with this bug. I think Grid has been the best choice for me so far.

 

Dreams & Fears: What the hell.

The Nightmare, Johann Heinrich Füssli 1781 (Source: Wikipedia)

I’m not sure why, but I have a lot of nightmares. A LOT. Last night was no exception and I ended up waking up my husband. Again.

I had a dream that he was annoying me with a camera (I don’t even..) so I went to our spare bedroom to go to sleep. The first weird thing is that the relation of my dream bedroom to my dream spare bedroom was very different than the real layout. It was like we were in someone else’s house. I digress… it only gets weirder.

So he comes in to see what I’m doing (god bless him, he never gets it when I’m upset) and I tell him “Trying to sleep!” He says “Okay,” walks out and shuts the door. Immediately after the door shuts, I feel a man’s hand sliding up my right thigh toward my hip. I am so freaked out that I can’t even breathe or scream. I was choking on my own breath.

This is when I wake up and hear my husband say “Are you okay!? Are you okay!?” Yep… it was his hand, but I didn’t recognize it in my dreamstate. After realizing what just happened (and that I was safe), I started to cry.

I hate my dreams.

Another recurring dream I have is being hovered over by a ghost. I can never make out whether it’s a male or female ghost, but I can always detect its presence. I wake up suddenly but still feel as though someone or something is standing over me and staring. It’s quite unnerving and I usually can’t go back to sleep. Let’s just say I really actually dislike Halloween a whole fricking lot. I’m afraid of the dark, Bloody Mary*, and being alone in the house at night. We all have our own fears; those are my big ones.

One last nightmare (for me): I dream that a spider is coming down from the ceiling onto my face. I’ve had this dream A LOT. Sometimes, I have run out of the bedroom because I *knew* there was a damn spider in the bed.

Is it any wonder why I’m so tired all the time? Why I don’t get enough sleep even if I am in the bed from 9pm to 6am? -_-;

Vanderbilt University here in town has a Sleep Clinic. Maybe I should get myself checked out.

 

*When I was young, I had an… interesting friend… who loved to do all of those things like Ouija boards, “Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board” things. She made me stand in the dark bathroom with her at night while she tried to summon Bloody Mary. Yep. I’m almost 30 now and *still* scared shitless when I have to use the bathroom at night.

Switching Gears (and Raiding Mains)

So it’s been a few months since I transferred my shaman over to Medivh to become my raiding main.  With two resto druids on our healing team, I just felt it would be more fair to bring a non-competitive class.  Not that our team would devolve into loot drama at all, but I felt like I was taking loot from our other resto druid and I didn’t want to do that.

Anyhoo! I transferred my little 81 shaman, Reura, from Misha-US to Medivh-US.  I had to change her name since it was /gasp already taken!  I chose a name that was Scottish as it seems (I AM SO NOT AN RPer PLEASE DON’T STONE ME) dwarves take after Scottish or Gaelic naming sounds/conventions.

Reura became Marsaili.

In truth, I’m glad I had to do the name change. Reura was an enhancement draenei shaman I created in The Burning Crusade and when she became a dwarf, it really was like she was a different character. She was no longer the prancing, /train hollering draenei she used to be.  She’s now a short, sometimes crotchety, giggling dwarf.

But changing my character’s name was just a necessary, cosmetic change. Altering my healing style became a completely different story.

Switching between HoT-style healing and direct clump-style healing has really thrown my cognitive abilities for a loop.  I thankfully had started another resto shaman a couple of months ago and had leveled her to about 65 before transferring Marsaili to Medivh.  So I understood the utter basics — Earth Shield, Riptide, alt-tab to Zappos.com …. :|a Okay, that works until about level 40. Or whenever Chain Heal becomes available. (Just kidding!)

With Lizzia, I was used to moving and throwing HoTs at the same time.  I could run and roll up a full stack of Lifebloom at the same time as the tank was running to smack the dragon in the face.  With Marsaili… Things are a bit different. Namely, having to stand still to toss my heals. I have, however, adjusted quite well and remember to remain standing until the cast bar is gone (there’s some technicality with this; I can begin moving when the cast is close to being done thanks to latency time). And now that I’ve grown accustomed to shaman healing, I feel like I have lost my “touch” with druid healing.

I hopped on Lizzia back during Brewfest to kill Coren Direbrew and I realized that I have forgotten a few things about druid healing! (It also didn’t help that my raid frames weren’t showing my HoTs!) I actually flailed a little bit.  But I guess that’s part of the transition — you learn some new skills and forget some old skills.  I’m okay with that.  I know that if asked, I could pick up Lizzia and be ready to go in about 30 minutes.

But I sure am enjoying healing on my shaman. Although we have progressed far enough in Firelands that my mastery is almost useless compared to the other healers’ masteries, I still love being able to bring someone from the brink of death to about 80% health. I am also enjoying the rhythm of shaman healing as it currently stands with the Tidal Waves waltz. There have been some fights in the Firelands that have made me almost tear my hair out, but through it all, I am enjoying my shaman even more than I have in the past.

For all of the issues we have currently (check out Vixsin‘s response to the Blizzard class feedback survey) and some other issues we may yet face when Patch 4.3 rolls out, I really find shaman healing more engaging than the other three healers.

I am proud and excited to say I am a Resto shaman.

P.S. I also want to thank my Guild Leader, Snack, for being understanding of my need to change as well as all of Waypoint for their support of my “new” class. <3

Awesome Addon: Nostalgic Edition

Okay so I don’t have a long list of gamer cred… I have been playing games since we got a NES in the 1980s. I haven’t been playing them very well, but I enjoy it.

This addon makes me feel like I’m 9 years old again watching my sister rack up her mushroom lives (yeah, she was so good she got past 100 lives in Super Mario Brothers so her life count just showed icons).

Download it here.

Q&A: How I Shaman Heal

After posting how I heal on my shaman to our guild forums, my GM and Raid Leader had a few good questions. I wanted to share both his questions and my responses, for funsies. :)
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Answering Snack’s questions:
Q: Firstly, I had no idea that SLink totem was also a damage reduction buff – and it lasts the entire duration of the totem itself?
A: It does; keep in mind the short duration of the totem, though, at only 6 seconds. I wish they’d increase it’s duration to at least 12 seconds.

Q: I didn’t know much beyond Mana Tide totem other than it worked like Hymn of Hope – it seemed like something we might want to pair? Or, perhaps, to stagger on top of each other? It seems like something we could probably coordinate very well to work for maximum mana regen, on the longer more drawn out fights (Ragnaros? Possibly Deathwing?) or something else entirely?
A: I think there could be synergy between MTT and HoH. We will have to play around to see (testing in combat would be pretty easy I think?) I’m not sure of the duration of HoH, but it seems MTT is also a short cooldown. It used to be based on my amount of Spirit, but I don’t think it’s this way anymore (Shaman used to stack Spirit to be the “Mana Battery” back in Wrath).

Q: I’m very jelly of your ability to decurse AND dispel. ;~;
A: Isn’t it great? I try to dispel as much as possible, but Cleanse Spirit can drain me if I’m not careful (cost is 14% of base mana)

Q: What sort of things do you do to manage your abilities, since shaman seem to have nine million totems to manage on top of their heals, buffs, shocks, etc?
A: Do you mean in terms of UI? I have been using both the default UI and recently RealUI. I really like RealUI as it shows my Tidal Waves buff.

Q: Is there a particular reason you use Flame Shock over the other ones?
A: I use Flame Shock since it does damage (trying to be helpful for the raid). Frost Shock is more PVP oriented (it slows the target), but I could use that on trash (aren’t most bosses immune to snares/slows?). Earth shock doesn’t do as much damage since I’m resto.

Q: Do you try and use Telluric Currents during lulls in damage to keep a regen flowing in the midst of battle? (ex., Shannox, post Rageface, pre-burn?)
A: I try, but as I mentioned above, it’s often a decision between spending the mana on Lightning Bolt hoping I gain that plus more back OR casting a Healing Wave. My regen is decent enough that I can pretty much cast Healing Wave consistently throughout combat (but it’s not sustainable for a tough fight as HW does not do enough healing to overcome some damage).

Q: Also, I note Ancestral Healing/Ancestral Fortitude and it sounds an awful lot like my Divine Aegis, which seems really cool!
A: Ancestral Fortitude is a great buff — I try to cast a GHW to get it going on the tank.

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If you have any questions for me, hit me up in the comments or on Twitter @_Lizzia!

 

Earth, Water, and Lightning: How I Shaman Heal

~~This post is something I’ve been wanting to post for awhile but hesitated because, really, why do another guide? So this really isn’t a guide, but an insight into how I specifically play. It’s not about right or wrong (because I don’t think I’m really doing anything _wrong_); it’s for informational purposes for my healing teammates.~~

The healers on our raid team have had an idea to get together to discuss how we operate during raids to provide insight and opportunity for strategic planning. This is my contribution to get the ball rolling.

My background
I have been healing on a shaman since I started Cathrynis (Now Balma, the trollie) in late May 2011. I transferred Marsaili to Medivh in early July and began seriously healing on her. I have, however, been a healer my entire WoW career — from my first character, a night elf druid casting heals on Rick’s night elf warrior. I never really played the official healer role until I rolled my priest, Elizabeth. But when I did, it just felt right. I finally had a legitimate excuse for my constantly watching health bars and estimating incoming damage. I am a healer.


I am Dorflady. I whip my hair back and forth.

My character
I have set up my shaman’s talents and glyphs to provide the most throughput as possible. Note, however, that shaman sacrifice raw healing output to gain the utility of totems. As a shaman, I will never match or exceed a druid’s or holy priest’s awesome throughput. And I shouldn’t. I bring additional utility through my totems to hopefully make up for the lack of raw healing. Some days I recognize this sacrifice; some days I literally cry out in frustration. But everytime I slap down Healing Rains, Spirit Link Totem and Chain Heal, I am reminded why I heal on my shaman.

Talents & Glyphs
My shaman uses a pretty standard talent setup, found here. I have been thinking of creating two resto specs, one aimed at raid healing and one aimed at tank healing. This is a second raid healing-specific talent spec/glyph setup I’ve been playing with.

You’ll notice something about the resto talent tree — there’s not a lot of room for variance. Sure, there are some talents I don’t *have* to take. It seems, however, that I would lose even more throughput or utility by transferring talents from the resto tree to either the enhancement or elemental trees. I’m comfortable where I am currently, but I may play with that second spec some to see what happens.

Things to note with this talent setup:
1.) My Earth Shielded targets gain 18% healing effectiveness through Nature’s Blessing. This is one of a few talents that increases my tank-healing effectiveness.
2.) Ancestral Healing provides a buff, Ancestral Fortitude that mitigates damage.
3.) I gain instant-cast Ghost Wolf by talenting into Ancestral Swiftness in the enhancement tree. This ability is pretty awesome as it allows me to run faster — I tend to use it when I need to get near someone to heal them up. Fabulous talent.
4.) I have a 20% chance to heal a target for 1.4k when I dispel Curses or Magic from people.
5.) I have two important talents taken, Focused Insight and Telluric Currents, that allow me to either cut my mana cost or actively regen mana during a fight.

Glyphs
Glyph choices for resto shaman are quite limited.  There really are only so many glyphs that actually pertain to healing. My main talent setup uses the following glyphs:

Prime

  • Earthliving Weapon – Increases the effectiveness of your Earthliving weapon’s periodic healing by 20%.
  • Riptide – Increases the duration of Riptide by 40%.
  • Earth Shield – Increases the amount healed by your Earth Shield by 20%.

Major

  • Chain Heal – Increases healing done by your Chain Heal spell to targets beyond the first by 15%, but decreases the amount received by the initial target by 10%.
  • Healing Stream Totem – Your Healing Stream Totem also increases the Fire, Frost, and Nature resistance of party and raid members within 30 yards by 195.
  • Healing Wave – Your Healing Wave also heals you for 20% of the healing effect when you heal someone else.

Minor

  • Renewed Life – Your Reincarnation spell no longer requires a reagent.
  • Water Breathing – Your Water Breathing spell no longer requires a reagent.
  • Water Walking – Your Water Walking spell no longer requires a reagent.

I won’t go in-depth on these glyphs as they are pretty straight forward, but if you have any questions, please ask!

Mastery
The restoration shaman mastery is very nice for my current healing assignments. This mastery tends to wane in usefulness as we overcome raiding obstacles and learn the fights better — less damage is taken due to better damage avoidance, so the need to spike heal is less.

For the time being, I am enjoying the ability to bring a player from 10% health to 80% in one cast. :>

My mastery is called Deep Healing and it provides:

Spells, Abilities & Totems
This part of my contribution, I think, is the most important. This is how I actually do my healing. Since I typically raid-heal, that is what I will outline below.

Pre-pull
The first three things I do before doing anything else are 1) cast Water Shield; 2) imbue my weapon with Earthliving Weapon; and 3) drop my totems. Preparedness really does pay off when playing a shaman.

I will Earth Shield one of the tanks; either the one pulling the boss (who tends to take more damage) or the one tanking the boss.  As each fight is different, this strategy will and can change on the fly.

I then tend to cast Riptide on the tank as a buffer (because I still try to be a druid okay) if they will be in range of the melee players so I can cast Chain Heal, which is buffed by Riptide.

Depending on my mana needs for the fight (I’m looking at you, ugly Psider) or anticipated incoming damage, I will Flame Shock the boss to gain Focused Insight and then, depending on amount of incoming damage AND number of people being damaged AND ALSO how close together they are, drop Healing Rain. You may have noticed that Chain Heal is buffed by Healing Rain; the two are meant to be used together. So when I see someone standing OUTSIDE the shiny blue circle, I cry on the inside.

Note about Healing Rain: It costs me 46% of base mana, which is just over 10k mana. OVER TEN THOUSAND MANA. My mana pool is, fully buffed & with Power Torrent procs, ~120k mana. So this spell is essentially 8% of my entire mana pool. Suffice it to say that I simply cannot spam Healing Rain.

During the Fight
I typically try to keep Riptide up and Chain Heal when I can. I have had a hard time with melee not standing near enough to each other to make Chain Heal worth its mana cost. I realize that some fights require movement and being spread out, so I tend to switch to spamming Healing Wave. I save Greater Healing Wave for moments when someone is taking more damage than anticipated and I need to get them up fast.

Tidal Waves
Tidal Waves is a buff gained from the Tidal Waves talent in the restoration tree. Tidal Waves really shapes the actual feel of shaman healing — it’s almost like you’re waltzing with the raid. Riptide – Healing Wave – Healing Wave, Riptide – Healing Wave – Healing Wave. The 30% reduction in cast time really does help get healing to people that need it. This will come as second nature to new shaman healers (which is why I forgot about it completely!)

In-combat Mana Regen
Shaman have both active and passive means of in-combat mana regen. I’ve outlined these abilities below:

Active

  • Mana Tide Totem – See below.
  • Telluric Currents – Note: TC is great on a fight where I have some downtime, but know that I have to make a decision between losing a GCD to TC for mana regen OR using that GCD to throw out a Healing Wave. (Trust me on using HW; if I am at the point of considering TC, I probably don’t have enough mana to use Greater Healing Wave.)

Passive

  • Resurgence
  • Water Shield
  • Spirit – My in-combat mana regen is about 2.7k, which seems like a lot, but you have to consider the mana cost of my spells is rather high and my mana pool is rather limited (even with 2.4k Spirit and 5.6k Intellect).

Oh-Crap! Button
Most healers have an “Oh Crap!” button they hit when big, fast heals are needed.  I actually have a combination of buttons I press to produce the achieve the same goal:

1.) Unleash Elements with Earthliving Weapon
2.) Nature’s Swiftness (Note: Resto Druids have a spell of the same name but it does not do they same thing, exactly)
3.) Greater Healing Wave

If I have my wits about me (and a second to spare), I will also mash my Moonwell Chalice button before doing the above to make sure whomever I’m healing is at least brought back to 75% health.
I don’t have these abilities macro’d together as I would still be required to press a button three times (or three buttons one time each).

Totems
Shaman have an epic ton of totems. Totems, however, only have a range of 20 yards (I have it talented with Totemic Reach; without the talent, my totems would only reach 15 yards). There are totems useful for buffing your groupmates and debuffing your enemies.  Some totems are intended by the developers to be used in PVp situations and others in PVE situations.  The fun thing about totems is figuring out which ones to use when and where. Sometimes, I’ll find a use for a PVP-oriented totem in a PVE situation (a good example is Grounding Totem when being barraged by shadow bolts on what’s-her-face-cat-lady boss in Zul Gurub).

For my healing purposes and in consideration of our raidteam makeup, I tend to run with the following totems, at all times:

  • Stoneskin Totem – Our death knights provide a similar buff to Strength of Earth Totem with their Horn of Winter ability.
  • Flametongue Totem – Straight up spellpower buff
  • Healing Stream Totem – This is a workhorse totem. Can be up to 1.5m healing. When looking at my performance on raid logs, it’s important to remember how much healing HST does — You have to effectively combine the “Marsaili” row on Healing Done with the “Healing Stream Totem” row to get a rough idea.
  • Windfury Totem – Buff to our consistently melee-heavy raid composition.

I do weave in other totems during a fight as they are more like cooldown abilities.  These totems are very special and provide flavor and uniqueness to restoration shaman. One of them is why I love my shaman.

Mana Tide Totem – Once the great spirit-slaving totem of yore, MTT is now a mana regen cooldown useful for gaining back some mana during lulls of some fights. It has a short duration (12 seconds), but does provide a nice chunk of mana.

Spirit Link Totem – This totem can be confusing as when placed, it displays a circular, moving yellow graphic and appears to give health to raid/party members.  What actually happens, however, is not that simple. This totem provides two benefits: 1) 10% damage reduction and 2) health. The latter benefit is derived from redistributing the collective group health across all raid/party members during a 6-second period. Jadiera of Totem Forest created this nifty graphic to really show how this totem works and you should take a look at it to fully understand.

I will try to get into the habit of announcing when I’m going to drop Slink — this will hopefully get everyone aware and using their damage mitigation cooldowns such as Anti-Magic Shield, Plasma Shield (engineering tinker), or other similar cooldowns.

Something to keep in mind about Spirit Link Totem: I am apprehensive about just dropping it anytime. I feel that the raid should be healed up to some extent before using it as it does have the potential to kill people or wipe the raid due to low health and constant incoming damage. Most experienced shaman healers will disagree or question my hesitation and that’s okay. This totem is like driving on your own the first time ever: It’s really powerful yet very scary at the same time. The more I heal, the more comfortable I will get.

UI
Here is a screenshot of my UI, trying to be in-combat at a training dummy <:\ (Click to make bigger)

I think I’ve covered just about everything — please ask questions! You can email me liz at authorizedtoramble dot com or send me a message on Twitter. Or yanno, leave a comment. :>