Circle of Healing Redux – Shaman Version
I’m picking up this questionnaire that circulated around the healing blog community last summer; I wasn’t blogging when it first started out, but I did read it on Totem Forest – and it seems like a great thing to go back to during this pre-Mists lull.
Name, class and spec: Rhianon, Restoration Shaman
What is your primary group healing environment? 10-man. Outside of LFR (and the random Wrath pug), I haven’t been in a 25-man since BC.
What is your favourite healing spell for your class and why?
Riptide. Who doesn’t love the sploosh? I was a complete non-believer in riptide when they first released it at the end of BC/beginning of Wrath, but now I can’t imagine NOT casting it on cooldown. Aside from the perfect sounds and animation (I love the idea of tossing some water on someone), the tidal waves buff to greater healing wave and associated spells – yes please.
What healing spell do you use least for your class and why?
Overall, I probably cast healing surge the least. I really only use it for “omigosh someone’s going to die” since the mana cost vs healing output is so terrible. If I have an extra second, I’d much rather use another spell — but Healing Surge is fast in a pinch. Unleash Elements is a close second, but I really try to use it on CD on heavy raid damage phases. Other than that, it can be a little clunky to throw into a standard rotation if nothing crazy is happening.
Revision: Okay. I cast healing surge alot when I’m bored and know I have the mana to spare. But that’s seriously NOT something anyone should be copying!
What do you feel is the biggest strength of your healing class and why?
Shaman are extremely versatile. We can back-up the tank healers with ease; we can back up the raid healers with ease. I’ve always loved healing on my shaman because of that ability to swap between heavy hitting direct heals and AOE love.
What do you feel is the biggest weakness of your healing class and why?
Mana management. Mana management is often a real struggle for 10-man shaman in a raid environment, even with telluric currents. Our staple healing abilities are heavy mana hogs – Greater Healing Wave and Healing Rain/Chain Heal spam. To maintain your mana and still have high output, particularly in spread fights, you need to know when to switch to efficient spells, when to lightning bolt, and how to use mana tide proactively, not reactively. The more experienced a shaman gets, the better they get at managing mana, so I see the most complaints about this from new shaman just starting to raid. I personally have ALOT more difficulty maintaining mana on my holy pally than my shaman, but I attribute that to my level of experience on my shaman.
In a 25 man raiding environment, what do you feel, in general, is the best healing assignment for you?
For me, as a player, I do best on “swing” style healing assignments. That is, I don’t have one specific role (tank healing, for example), but I’m there to swap between multiple different roles as support/back-up to the other healers. Tank healers falling behind? There’s some GHW! Raid healers need some support? Lay down some CH and maybe a HR, depending on the fight. This is mostly a play-style thing for me; I’m very “multi-tasking” oriented IRL and so I’m almost always looking at the whole picture of the raid to see where a little filler is needed. I get very bored when I have a single assignment.
As a class, shaman are also excellent “swing” healers – so I guess I’m playing the right class!
Which healing class do you enjoy healing with most and why?
I can’t say I enjoy healing more with any specific class. I do have moments where I really love druids, particularly when it looks like the raid is going to die and then they’re all WHOOSH TRANQUILITY and we live. I know Divine Hymn does the same thing, but it’s not WHOOSH TRANQUILITY.
What healing class do you enjoy healing with least and why?
A shadow priest or elemental shaman (or ret paladin/boomkin/feral drood). I’m sick of going into LFR and having at least two “healers” dps’ing. And before the “Well it’s LFR” speech, the fact that typically out of the other 4 non-DPSing healers, you will basically have 2 or 3 who are barely geared or minimally skilled, ending up effectively 1 or 2 healing the fights is really not fun. (Especially considering number of mistakes healers have to cover for in LFR).
What is your worst habit as a healer?
Being quiet. I think the major thing I could work on, and that I’m trying to work on, is to communicate more of what’s going on. My major issue is that I get really focused on what I’m doing when things are going bad, so I get silent, and I don’t say what I’m seeing. So then we wipe and I say “yeah, so and so was out of line of sight/in the bad/etc” and people are usually “Why didn’t you say that?!”
But I really think I’ve been improving on this.
What is your biggest pet peeve in a group environment while healing?
“I didn’t get any heals!”
There is nothing that annoys me more than people dying and then saying “no heals!” or “what happened, healers?” (with the implication that we failed in some way). Every healer in the raid knows what happened OR are trying to figure out what happened. There is usually a very good reason that heals didn’t go off — someone got overwhelmed, silence, LOS, etc. Also, if it’s a DPS who did something dumb — it’s not our job to babysit you. We will try to heal you up, but if you’re running out of range to be a hero, don’t expect us to be able to charge after you.
Do you feel that your class/spec is well balanced with other healers for PvE healing?
I’ve played all of the other healing classes at high levels — holy/disc in heroics/LFR/raids, holy pally in heroics/LFR/raids, and druids on normals. Each class has its strengths and weaknesses. Shaman are well-balanced in normal mode raids, and we struggle a bit more on heroics and 10’s versus 25’s. I think overall we are in a good place though, as each class has its weaknesses.
What tools do you use to evaluate your own performance as a healer?
We don’t use World of Logs so the only opportunity I really have to see how I’m doing is by looking at Recount, which is fairly ineffective other than as an activity metric and heal usage breakdown. So, honestly, since BC, I have no real idea how well I’m doing other than stuff dies. I know I usually get complimented in randoms or invited back in pug raids I’ve joined, so maybe that’s good?
What do you think is the biggest misconception people have about your healing class?
We just use chain heal? Or Healing Rain? People think shaman are just good raid healers.
We are so much more. If you’ve ever played with a resto shaman who knows their class, you’ll understand what I’m saying.
What do you feel is the most difficult thing for new healers of your class to learn?
Don’t be afraid of using all your abilities – and learn how to work Telluric Currents into your rotation. I think the first part goes for new raid healers in general. It’s easy to get used to the “use your efficient heal” mentality in 5-mans that the need to use more abilities and heavier healing abilities in raids is sometimes challenging to learn. Yes, healing wave is good. It’s excellent filler. But please please press your GHW button once in a while! (I think conversely that healers who get too used to healing only in raid environments get stressed out by the “heal everything” demands in 5-man groups, particularly in transitions between xpacks, when they are used to relying on some back-up.)
If someone were to try to evaluate your performance as a healer via recount, what sort of patterns would they see?
Ugh. That I’m terribly aggressive when I heal (possibly to the point of it being a bad habit on farm content), have good deal of overheal on farm content (mostly because I get bored and start just casting healing rain to see all the green numbers), and could definitely work on my Earth Shield up-time.
Actually, I think in general, anyone who knows me as a healer knows I get bored easily. And then explode people to give me something to do. Back in Karazhan, our main tank used to take his shield off when he thought we were getting bored!
Haste or Crit and why?
Haste over Crit, but Mastery before all!
Mastery is the powerhouse of progression content; Haste is pretty darn good too, but only better than mastery if your overall raid HP is going to be higher more often than not. Crit doesn’t really give me anything but overheal and I really already have a ton of crit that I can’t get rid of.
What addons or macros do you use to aid you in healing?
No macros, per se, but I use mouseover bindings (Clique) and the default UI/raid frames. The mouseover bindings are mostly a convenience thing; I am by no means dependent on them and heal both in WoW and in other games using ye olde click format just as easily. I simply like them because they free up my toolbar to put damage spells/CD’s or quest items.
Do you strive primarily for balance between your healing stats or do you stack some much higher than others and why?
Int –> Spirit to Comfort –> Mastery –> Haste –> Crit
I have a big personal love of regen stats and so you tend to see me carrying around alot of spirit, in comparison to equivalently geared shaman. Then I tend to squash around between mastery and haste, although if I’m picking between items, I’ll go for a higher mastery one. I’m currently reforged for working on hard modes, so that means haste to the soft cap (916) and then tons of mastery.