I am in desperate need of some major advice. I seem to suck as a healer when doing Zandalaris dungeons and I cannot figure out why.
I can manage normal Cata dungeons and I seem to be managing to heal Cata heroic dungeons acceptably (sometimes just barely) but every single fight, regardless of bosses or mobs I run out of mana. Except perhaps the fights where we can use cauldrons to freeze troll mobs.
I have Healbot set up in the following way:
- my main healing spell is Greater Healing Wave
- I use Riptide alot, mostly on tanks and try my best to use it whenever it is available
- I try to use Healing Rain intellegently (i.e. when lots of people are damaged and I can get most or all of them in the AoE)
- If only 2 or 3 are injured and they are close together then I try to use chain heal intelligently
- I keep my water shield up, earth shield up (on the tank) as well as my earthliving weapon
- my totems appear to be correct, as far as I can see from various blogs and forums
- I have reforged to achieve 916 haste and as much crit as I can thereafter. I have heard myriad opinions on the value of crit versus mastery, but in the end I have to chose one, so I chose crit. Thoughts welcome.
I have been advised by a guildie to consider healing wave, instead of GHW, but I cannot see how this can possibly work. I have tried a few non-boss fights with HW instead of GHW and without exception they have been wipes (but I did not run out of mana, I simply could not keep up with the damage).
Constructive advice desired. I have opened myself to a position where I could be flamed and reamed but I ask you to kindly avoid posting if you feel that is the only way you can answer my post.
No one here will flame or ream you, we're like the government, we're here to help.
Your issue may be as simple as Greater Healing Wave being your go to spell, that's a mana pig. Try to use Healing Wave more. I'm not a big fan of Crit; I've been experimenting with Haste these days for faster heals, but am probably going back to Mastery; either way, Crit is probably a healers worst stat to stack (I heal on a Pally and Disc priest also). Sure you'll love that 75k crit heal, but the RNG gods are too controlling with Crit.
Healing Wave can work, but you need to be pro-active with it; same with Healing Rain, put it down before things get too hectic. As a healer you need to be proactive most of the time, if you're just reacting to bad damage you'll find yourself behind the curve and spamming GHW or Healing Surge and your mana will drain. A lot of healing is techinque and knowing the damage that's around the corner. For example, last night in ZG on my pally during the crazy cat lady boss, the tank was new and didn't pull all the panthers, at that point you know once she hits 50% all hell will break loose and the damage will fly around; it gives you a chance to be proactive: on a shammy at that point I'd, top people off, get down a healing rain, prepare to chain heal like crazy, put out your elemental to help with damage; drop your Spirit Link totem when things start going down hill, drop a Mana Tide as mana flows out, etc. Think ahead and be proactive, it will help.
The ZG dungeons are going to be tough with your current gear. I would definitely look into getting the belt and chest piece enchanted, and using your JP's for other items.
Re: Crit vs mastery - people are going to like what they like, but at the early gearing stages, mastery is going to be more beneficial to you than crit, especially in these days, where no one CC's anymore, because as the tank gets lower and lower, you KNOW that your next heal is going to be stronger, and not just hoping for a 17% crit.
And on that point, don't be afraid to tell your tank that you're still gearing up, and if they want to save some corpse runs, a little CC would be advisable. It's a lot longer to run back than it is to CC a mob or two.
Thank you both for responding and for your advice. I have thought further on the mastery versus crit issue and I have some possible scenarios I have calculated (based upon my current gear set). I will probably test them out to see what I like best:
Scenario 1 (max crit + min mastery) (this was calculated by my addon, ReforgeLite)
My original reforging strategy was Scenario 1. After reading the above posts I tested Scenario 2 in heroic Vortex Pinnacle. My success was not what I had hoped, maybe because the party was not jumping for the final boss.
I am inclined to test Scenario 3 wherein I reforge all mastery to crit and all crit to mastery (after the priorities of max spirit and 916 haste, of course).
I'm on the opposite side as the others... I believe crit is the way to go while gearing up, but to each their own. Crit helps with mana regen which is the part that was lacking the most as I was gearing up. Mastery is great, too, but I prefer crit.
You didn't mention Unleash Life in your list of heals and when you use them... it's a very beneficial spell to use, either on the move or just for a free heal (and a bigger heal after!). Using Riptide a lot is good, but not only on tanks because you'll be losing some ticks of the heal by refreshing it early. Rather than using riptide mostly on tanks, keep a riptide rolling on the tank and limit the heals being used on the dps to riptide and healing wave, and in certain circumstances chain heal. Granted, as you know, there are times that more is needed but, generally, dps characters shouldn't be taking more damage than those spells can heal.
As Theotherone said, try sticking with healing wave rather than greater healing wave, but be more proactive. Know when the damage is going to come and start preparing for it before it does. Greater healing wave is great, especially when coupled with Unleash Life, when trying to catch up on a big hit on the tank, but it shouldn't be a spammed spell while you're gearing up. The more gear you get, the more greater healing waves you can cast but that takes time.
After reading all of the patient advice, and adapting my play style to follow it (or most of it) I find myself considerably more comfortable in a (dungeon) healing role. I have only gone back to Zandalaris with my guild, and it was rather painless (but it was with players I know and trust, so not exactly a problem scenario). But additionally I find myself only rarely running low on mana in normal Cata dungeons and Cata heroic dungeons.
After some experimentation, I have reforged to maximize crit and use Healing Wave a lot more. I respect the opinions and advice about crit vs mastery, but for now (dungeons only, not raiding yet) this style seems to be working for me.
After reading some resto shaman blogs, I believe I can improve my play further by setting a few simple macros (I only rarely use macros, on any of my chars) and making use of cooldown management addons (i.e. Power Auras comes to mind).
I have also increased my gear quality quite a bit, and it has certainly helped.