2. Healing Spells
Here's a short idea of what each spell does exactly, as well as it's abbreviation (for further use)
* HW = Healing Wave: The efficient heal. Healing Wave will be your go-to spell especially in heroics because it's the cheapest spammable spell. This spell will be considered the baseline when talking about the power and efficiency of other spells.
Scales with: Nature's Blessing, Ancestral Awakening & Mastery
* GHW = Greater Healing Wave: The large heal. Not as efficient as HW, but heals from 3x as much. It has roughly the best healing power of all spammable direct healing spells. Best used for recovering from a larger spike in damage.
Scales with: Nature's Blessing, Ancestral Awakening & Mastery
* HS/LHW = Healing Surge: The fast heal. Formely known as Lesser Healing Wave, HS provides a fast cast and a moderate heal (2xHW), but is extremely inefficient. While it has a high output and the fastest cast of all spammable direct healing spells, it burns mana pools faster than Deathwing can ever dream of! Only really good for situations where GHW cast time is too slow to save someone and instant heals cannot provide enough healing. This spell also receives less (relative) HPS gain from Tidal Waves, but does proc Earthliving at the same chances the slower cast heals do!
Scales with: Nature's Blessing, Ancestral Awakening & Mastery
* UL/UE = Unleash Life: The Earthliving part of Unleash Elements. UL provides a relatively small heal and has a 15s CD, but makes up for it by increasing the next direct heal by 20% (30% if talented). While the initial is rather weak and expensive, it does provide you with an extra instant cast heal. It doesn't replace a straight up HS/GHW cast while standing still, but it's worth the extra button in mobile fights.
Scales with: Nature's Blessing, Ancestral Awakening & Mastery
* ES = Earth Shield: ES is the tank-buff Shamans get for speccing into Restoration. ES provides automatic healing on the target exactly when they need it (after a hit). Only requires an instant cast and is extremely efficient, but can take a while to unload it's complete healing power. This spell is considered a buff, not a heal and as such, is not affected by talents or abilities increasing your healing done. It does scale with the healing done/received of the target it is on.
Scales with: nothing, not even Nature's Blessing!
Extra note: ES healing scales with the caster's spellpower the moment it is cast. When macro'd together with "On Use:" SP trinkets, this can add a large bonus to ES and allows you to make the most of your trinkets.
* RT = Riptide: Riptide is the 31-pointer spell for Restoration Shamans, which is a short-CD instant heal with a Heal-over-Time component. RT is extremely efficient when you let it's HoT run it's full duration, which can be difficult if you cast Chain Heal a lot ( because it consumes it) or are assigned to heal a single tank.
Only instant part scales with Ancestral Awakening & Mastery, both instant and HoT scale with Nature's Blessing.
* CH = Chain Heal: The iconic Shaman AoE healing spell. The spell is cast on a single target, after which it will jump to nearby friendly targets, healing them for 70% of the healing done. Each jump can seperately crit or proc effects. When the initial target has a Riptide HoT, it will be consumed to increase the healing on that target by 25%. Since the Riptide buff in 4.3, a single HoT tick will virtually always provide more healing than the healing increase on Chain Heal.
Scales with: Nature's Blessing & Mastery
* HR = Healing Rain: The new blanket AoE heal. HR is an area-targetted cast which will leave a large blue circle with a small rain effect on the floor, healing all those in it for a moderate amount every 2 seconds, starting when it is cast. The healing done is lowered when more than 6 players are healed. As far as pets seem to be handled, they receive healing, but do not seem to cause the reduction in healing. Because the cooldown is the same as it's duration, you can never have more than one of these up at a time, nor can you start casting the next one while it is still up. Provides more healing per cast than CH as well as proc opportunities. Advanced information: This spell is not a healing spell as far as the game is concerned. You cast an area effect, which causes you to (directly) heal everyone inside it for a certain amount every X seconds, but that healing is not considered a spell.
Scales with Mastery
* HST = Healing Stream Totem: Although technicly not a spell, this party-healing totem can provide a LOT of healing for a single GCD, healing party members for approximately 300-400 health per second in standard heroic gear (without talents). Sadly, it does not scale with crit or haste in any way.
Scales with: Spell Power. Oh, and healing received. That's it. (Because the totem is the one casting the effective heal, talents do not work.)
* EL = Earthliving Weapon (enchant): The Restoration Shaman weapon enchant. While technicly not a healing spell, it does provide healing by giving every heal you do a 20% chance to proc a 12s HoT (Chain Heal and Healing Rain have a reduced proc chance of roughly 5%). Not that much of an increase while tank healing because it keeps refreshing itself, but extremely useful for constant AoE healing or just topping off raid members after a heal. This enchant is a no-brainer for it's +healing alone, on top of being required if you wish to use UE as a healing spell and it costs no mana or time during the fight.
Scales with Mastery
* SG = Spiritwalker's Grace: A special Shaman ability, allowing them to cast while moving. The buff lasts 15 seconds with a 2 minute duration and can even be activated while casting! Recognisable by the little green circle around the Shaman's feet. Great if you have to run after a tank kiting or are being chased by angry monsters trying to nomnom your face.
* SLT = Spirit Link Totem: A raid cooldown wonnabe, this totem reduces incoming damage by 10% and redistributes the health of players in range every second, so that they all have equal relative health. Unfortunately, it's 10y range is a major party-pooper, as this "raid cooldown" only works in an area as big as your Healing Rain and is placed right behind you! This spell is mostly useful in a raiding environment, where people are standing together and you can drop HR + SLT right on top of yourself. While the health distribution can not be resisted or take advantage of heal-increasing effects, it also works the other way around. This totem allows you to heal through MS-style debuffs that reduce or prevent all other healing done by transferring health from healable players to the target in question.
3. Talents & Glyphs
* Talent(Xpoints) : <max effect in plain language> <Comment on power/utility>
* Ancestral Resolve(2) : 10% damage reduction while casting. In PvE; if you're taking damage, stop casting and move out of the fire! It's not really bad, especially in heroic mode raids, but other options are usually better.
* Tidal Focus(3) : 6% cheaper healing spells. Simple & powerful talent. With the current(T11) strain on healer mana pools, this is an extremely useful talent.
* Spark of Life(3) : You do 6% extra healing & receive 15% more. Again a powerful talent. Makes you 6% better at your job and at the same time gives you a survivability bonus.
* Resurgence(3) : Returns mana whenever you crit with your main abilities. This talent effectively turns Critical Strike Rating into mp5. One of the key talents when it comes to evaluating stats on gear.
* Totemic Focus(2) : Totems are 30% cheaper and last 40% longer. Although having to spend 500 mana less at a start of a fight is always nice, the power here lies in the duration increase. The 40% works on literally all totems, including Elementals and more importantly... Mana Tide Totem! This alone makes this talent extremely potent.
* Focused Insight(3) : Using a Shock increases the next heal by 30% and returns 75% of that Shock's mana cost. While this does make Shock spells cheap and useful, it still costs quite a lot of mana compared to the gain you receive. On top of that, the tooltip is incorrect, as it only works when the Shock manages to land.
* Nature's Guardian(3) : Automatic mini-Fade & Last Stand. Again a PvP talent. The extra HP when you're dying is nice, but you should never drop low enough for this talent to save your life. The threat reduction is not only minimal, there is no realistic situation where you out-threat a tank.
* Ancestral Healing(2) : Crit heals give your target 10% less physical damage taken and increase their max HP by up to 10%. This is one of the best tank healing tools you have. Not to mention it's a pre-requisite for another great talent; Ancestral Awakening.
* Nature's Swiftness(1) : Makes your next casted Nature spell instant. Useful for fights where you can not stand still to cast, but with the additions of UE & SG on top of Riptide, this talent has seen better days. Best used in combination with Healing Rain or Greater Healing Wave (on tank) in emergency situations.
* Nature's Blessing(3) : You heal Earth Shielded players(=tanks) for 18% more. Yet another extremely powerful tank-healing talent, although it loses some of it's effectiveness if you're the only Shaman healing two tanks swapping, due to constant ES re-casting.
* Soothing Rains(2) : Your HR heals for 30% more, your HST 50% more. Perfect for those AoE fights. Both heals provide great over-time healing and these talents only make it better. The HST buff alone makes it worth it.
* Cleanse Spirit(1) : Your decurse now also removes a magic effect. Considered mandatory, as removing magic is a healer-job nowadays.
* Cleansing Waters(2) : Makes your dispell 40% cheaper and adds a small heal to it. If you dispell enough (and you should), this talent will save you a lot of mana and at the same time help you heal up the people that took a tick of whatever debuff they had. Unfortunately the heal has a 6s CD or this talent would be considered mandatory.
* Ancestral Awakening(3) : Your direct healing crits will heal a friendly in range for 30% of the healing done. This talent greatly increases the value of crits. When single-target healing any crit will heal the lowest (in %HP) person in range of you. If nobody needs healing, it will default to you. Extremely powerful because of the smart-heal component. A must-have for all but CH-spamming.
* Mana Tide Totem(1) : Grants the healers in your raid 200% of your Spirit for 12s. Also gives hybrid casters (Druids, Priests & Shamans) a LOT of hit rating. The iconic whirlpool totem grants 200% of your Spirit (excluding temporary buffs such as trinkets) to the healers in your raid. When used in conjunction with Totemic Focus, this talent is worth about 20k mana on a 3min CD. Also has a nice flush animation for RP value.
* Telluric Currents(2) : Whenever you don't need to heal, Lightning Bolt will help regen! There are mixed feelings about this talent. While casting 4-5k Lightning bolts is not the main priority of the Restoration Shaman, this talent can help regen mana whenever there is a "dry patch" in damage taken, especially as your gear improves. If you can spare the talent points, this is a great talent for burn phases, especially if the boss takes increased damage in this phase (e.g. Magmaw). A heroic geared Shaman can easily get an average 1000mp5 out of this talent.
* Spirit Link Totem(1) : Unique raid cooldown, with unique meaning "requiring a strategy to get anything out of it". It slightly(10%) reduces damage and allows party/raid members close to death to steal HP from others. Mostly useful in raids, to allow members to take advantage of overhealing on other members, but due to it's short range and the facts that it is a water totem, removing HST/Mana Spring and being placed right behind your back, this talent will greatly favor larger groups such as 25man raids, BGs or large world PvP groups.
* Tidal Waves(3) : CH & RT grant you ~43% Haste(-30% cast time) or 30% Crit on resp. HW/GHW or LS. A great talent for all healing styles. This talent allows you to vary your repertoire by weaving in Riptides or Chain Heals while tank healing or spot heal that one person being low while AoE healing. Mastering this talent is what makes a good Shaman healer.
* Blessing of Eternals(2) : Healing players that are 'wounded' will guarantee (or give an increased chance on AoE heals) an Earthliving proc. More useful in Cataclysm, but still not as useful as you would want. Earthliving is better suited to top off people that do are not in danger of dying. This talent is also taking the AoE reduction ... twice! Rather than the 85% you think it should have on AoE spells, it only gets 21.25% or 1/4th of what it 'should'. Not really as useful as it appears.
* Riptide(1) : Allows you to cast Riptide (see spells). As said before, instant heal with a nice HoT after it. The most annoying part is the CH-bonus, which actually cuts into overal mana efficiency.
* Elemental Weapon(2) : Flat 212 +healing bonus & Unleash Life buff does 30% more instead of 20%. The gain in +healing is pretty nice, especially as a starter and while UL is not an amazing spell, the buff can help increase GHW efficiency or make Riptide more powerful.
* Improved Shields(3) : Your ES heals for 15% more and getting hit returns 15% more mana. While it no longer affects Imp. Water Shield (now Resurgence), it is still a great talent to buff ES with and is the best choice if you want the talents below.
* Ancestral Swiftness(2) : Instant Ghost Wolf & 15% runspeed. Very powerful talent. the runspeed will allow you to move out of fires a bit quicker, which means you can stop and cast just a bit sooner. And if it's really tight, or you just need to get to the other side of the room to fall in for a healer who d/c'd, died or OOMed, the instant Ghost Wolf will certainly help you out tons as well.
* Totemic Reach(2) : Your totems have up to 12y longer range. This talent looks great on paper, helping you buff people further away. Yet a good totem position solves half the issue and it only really becomes an issue in 25man raids where you are the only person bringing a buff to ranged DPS/healers on the other side of the room. It's most important benefit is probably making Water Totems work up to 39y away.
* Acuity(3) : 3% crit. On everything.(Except HST) Even without considering this talent mandatory, you'll pretty much find yourself picking it up anyway.
* Convection(2) : Damaging spells are 10% cheaper. Mostly used in combination with Telluric Currents and/or Focused Insight for increased mana return/saving.
* Concussion(3) : Your weak damage spells are 6% less weaker than they used to be. Excluding buffing your awesome 3k DPS, only really benefits Telluric Currents and the weakest talent to do so. You should have better options.
* Elemental Warding(3) : Reduces magic damage(read: AoE) you take with 12%. Great survival talent, but does nothing to help your raid group. Ancestral Resolve also does roughly the same for a talent point less.
* Elemental Precision(3) : 3% extra elemental damage and Spirit now also works as Hit rating. Probably the most debated talent amongst Restoration Shamans. With the amount of Spirit you (should) have, this talent basicly guarantees spells to hit. This props up the mana gained from Telluric Currents by ~50% once you start raiding, by increasing average LB damage by ~20-25%. It's only problem is it's position in the Elemental tree, making juicy Enhancement talents such as Ancestral Swiftness unavailable.
Now that you know exactly what everything does, let's build your talent tree!
First, you need to put 31 points into Restoration, like this. Note that I put all the non-essential talent points into Nature's Guardian, so you need to swap those out first with optional talents!
The choice here is totally yours. If you are not completely familiar with Restoration Shamans, you might want to consider easy/passive talents such as Telluric Currents (mana return when you don't need to heal) or Blessing of the Eternals (emergency), although there is no reason to pick up 'active' talents such as Nature's Swiftness (emergency) or Spirit Link Totem (mostly for raiding). In it's current state, Focused Insight is not worth it at all for healing and TC would provide a better "DPS while not healing" synergy.
The next choice is most likely personal one: Elemental vs Enhancement subspec.
Elemental helps you increase your non-healing spells a lot, while Enhancement helps with indirect buffs & movement issues.
As of 4.1, interrupt spells no longer miss, so the Elemental subspec has taken a hit in popularity. Regardless, it is still a viable build for players who prefer a bit of hybridism.
Note: This is an 'offensive healer' build, which is focused on pure throughput stats & gets it's mana regeneration from it's offensive part. It works pretty well in heroics and normal raid fights, but heroic fights probably won't allow too much free time to cast LBs.
Most guides will most likely advise the Enhancement subspec instead. It will provide more mobility than a boot enchant can ever give you (and allows you to enchant 50 Haste/Mastery instead) and grants 'passive' gains on the first tier.
Note: In this spec, especially while raiding, TC is not as strong. Consider the mana gain (especially in burn/dmg buff phases) vs the extra mobility & enh talent gains.
* Earth Shield: 20% extra healing done by Earth Shield
* Earthliving: 20% extra healing done by Earthliving
* Flametongue Weapon: 2% spell crit while FT is active
* Lightning Bolt: 4% extra damage done by Lightning Bolt
* Riptide: 40% longer HoT
* Water Shield: 50% extra passive regeneration on Water Shield
The Glyph of Flametongue Weapon might look interesting when you're starting out with 15% crit chance, but you should really try to avoid it. The loss in +healing alone nullifies the gain, and you won't be able to use Unleash Elements as a heal anymore. Similarly, the Glyph of Lightning Bolt does not add enough damage to advocate it's use for Telluric Currents. That leaves you with 4 options: Earth Shield, Earthliving, Riptide & Water Shield.
If you are starting out in heroics, you will almost certainly want to go for Water Shield, Earth Shield & Riptide, which will help a lot on mana regen and over-time healing. Once you are comfortable on mana, you can drop Water Shield for Earthliving or, if you need the 177mp5 in raids, drop ES (as pure raid healer) or Riptide (as pure tank healer). Generally speaking though, Earthliving, Earth Shield and Riptide will be your top 3 raiding choice.
* Chain Heal: The initial heal does 10% less, but each jump does 80,5% of the previous one (70% * 115%)
* Healing Stream Totem: HST now includes Resistance Totem (195 res to Fire, Frost & Nature)
* Healing Wave: Healing others with HW also heals you for 20% of the healing done. Scales with crits and can crit independantly on top of that!
* Totemic Recall: You now regain 75% of the initial costs on recalling totems.
Major glyphs are not so clear-cut. Obviously, you'll want GoHST to reduce AoE damage, especially in instances & 10man raids. Next to that you'll also want to take Healing Wave glyph if you're just starting out, because in current environments, you will rarely find an encounter where you take no damage at all. You can drop this once you do a lot of progress raiding and you switch more to GHW,CH, etc. So far for the 'mandatory' glyphs.
Chain Heal glyph looks really great at first sight, but remember that the jumps are not 85% (70% + 15%) but 80,5% (70% * 115%). You still get a 5,69% overall healing increase on 4 targets, but the gain on 3 targets is <1% and on 2 targets even a loss of nearly 5%. (If it was 85% per jump, you would see up to 13,22% increase) The major use of this glyph is probably increasing the lowest jump with nearly 37%, providing more survival for that person. Totemic Recall is really worth little mana over an entire fight, because any fight under 5/7min where you do not need to move, you will not even have to recall any totems, making this glyph useless!
The best runner-up is probably Glyph of Stoneclaw, which allows you to shield yourself every 20s for 16572 damage, at the cost of 1s GCD and using up your Earth Totem slot (rarely an issue in 25m raids).
You may also opt to take utility/PvPish glyphs such as Hex, Grounding Totem or Ghost Wolf, which really don't help you keep your team alive (except maybe Hex), but make your life in Azeroth a bit easier
Really does not matter what you take, no Glyph here has any impact on your healing job.
Make sure your Glyphs are complementing your talents. For example, this build is a complete movement build. It focuses on mobility, indirect heals/buffs such as Earth Shield & Riptide, and countering totem range issues. On the other hand, this alternative focuses on burning through fights. It has far more focus on direct healing output, using boss DPS phases (such as Magmaw, Maloriak, ...) to regen tons of mana through Telluric Currents. Ofcourse nobody is stopping you from speccing both specs. Don't be afraid to test some minor tweaks in your build, see what help you play your way the best!
4. Healing Styles
Although there is no more "max HPS rotation" like in WotLK (which totally disregarded mana efficiency), there are plenty of tricks to polish up your healing techniques, which can truly make the difference in the long run.
1) ALWAYS keep up Earth Shield and Riptide on a tank. If you are purely raid healing, you can let ES consume all of it's charges, but in any other situation, you'll want to make sure you get that 18% extra healing on there! And while Riptide is your most efficient heal, you also want to keep it up on your tank because the HoT procs Ancestral Healing, making Riptide the best choice in keeping up this great damage reduction buff.
2) Healing Stream Totem is the best & most efficient HoT you have. Especially glyphed & talented, HST easily provides up to 3k HPS on your party (600 per member) and roughly 15% magic damage reduction on top of that! And all it costs is a single GCD!
3) When possible, try time use Riptide/Chain Heal every 3rd or 4th cast to maximize Tidal Waves uptime.
4) Starting in heroics, use following priorities:
a) Earth Shield & Riptide HoT on the tank
b) GHW/HS tank when <50%
c) Heal(ing Wave) party members to >50% (don't forget yourself!)
d) Heal tank to >80% HP
e) If you have the mana, heal party up to ~80% with Riptides, else ...
f) Lightning Bolt!! (Don't OOM yourself if you don't have TC though)
Remember to allow HST, Earthliving, Riptide & Ancestral Awakening to top off everyone, any DPS that can move out of fires doesn't need to be at max HP all the time (and those that can't will most likely die anyway)
Especially Riptide is useful, because Tidal Waves will give you the lost cast time back over the next two HW/GHW you cast. Because of Riptide's efficiency, you'll want to learn to maximize this synergy.
Extra Pro Tip: Hex, Bind Elemental and/or Wind Shear can help you by reducing the damage your tank/party needs. Don't be afraid to interrupt when you can, and offer your CC should you feel the tank could use the damage reduction. Especially Bind Elemental is useful, because it can be re-cast as much as you want, interrupting any cast in the process, regardless if regular interrupts work! This tactic can in some rare & exceptional cases be used to totally prevent all damage the Elemental does, although it does prevent you from casting healing spells at the same time.
4) Raid healing is pretty similar, although you will see more use of Greater Healing Wave instead of 'normal' HW, which means Unleash Life becomes more useful on movement. And because of Earthliving, Healing Rain becomes very powerful on those grouping-up mechanics, especially in 25man raids, where the Earthliving gained from HR can do up to half the healing of what HR does itself!
5) The best job for a Restoration Shaman currently is being the filler or sniper healer. This means you generally let the Paladins & Disc Priests fill up the tank healing jobs first, let Holy Priests and Druids do the raid healing and you will simply fill in wherever needed. That leaves you with healing whatever is currently being smacked on the most. This will allow the best Tidal Waves synergy (by letting you use Riptide or Chain Heal every 3rd cast without wasting it) and still makes use of your Earth Shield and RT/AH combo.
If you are having mana issues, ask yourself; Did I have Water Shield up 100%? Did I use any GHW or HS where I could've used a HW or two instead? Could I have used Mana Tide twice in the fight if I used it earlier? Did I get the full effect out of Healing Rain and/or Chain Heal and if not, was it because the DPS was spread out while they shouldn't or should I have used single-target heals instead? Always be prepared to improve yourself and remember that as long as you have a self-reflecting and open mind, actual experience will teach you more than any guide can teach you.