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Stoove

Resto Shaman Stat Guide Feedback

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So I've read your guide here about Resto Shaman stat priority and I feel that it's got some good and some bad points. The guide needs updating/extending with some points (one of which is glaring!), but some sections are really excellent.

Good points

The Soft Haste Caps section is very good indeed. It's the most readable comprehensive list I've seen around, so that's excellent.

Intellect - This is a good little summary; it's important to emphasize that Intellect is more important than any other stat and that's done well here.

Bad Points

Haste Explanation - You need to point out that Haste is a mana negative stat - stacking more of it effectively decreases your mana longevity. This is very important on long fights. This is important to contrast to the other secondary stats - they are all either mana neutral (Mastery) or mana positive (Crit, Spirit).

Stat Weighting Values - You should point out that all of the secondary stats are pretty much the same in terms of value - the stat that you choose to stack is dependent on several factors, including your playstyle. Elitist Jerks goes so far as to assign them completely arbitrary (equal) stat weights - your guide needs to reflect this!

Critical Strike - For a "comprehensive" guide, this section is way too short. I've already pointed out that Crit is considered equal with the other seondary stats in terms of stat weightings, and that's for a good reason. Crit's interactions with Mastery and Haste are complicated, and you absolutely need to give some impression of this in the guide. For example; One point of Crit is worth less in terms of throughput than one of Haste, but Haste also decreases your HPM to the point that you have to stack more Spirit to compensate. That means that when considering both mana and throughput, 1 Crit is worth approximately (iirc) 1 Haste and 1 Spirit point [source is the Life in Group Five post on Mastery's value mid-Cata].

Crit also has an interaction with Mastery - see the same Life in Group Five source - when your raid is at higher average health (in Normals or farm runs), Crit's value shoots up above Mastery.

I'm happy to continue a discussion with anyone about this.

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Hi Stoove

I believe this is the post you are referring to in the section about crit?

Life in Group 5: Gearing, Gemming and Enchanting

The explanation of the stats are found here: Life in Group 5: Stats but the previous link explains the stat priorities.

From what I can see these have been last updated during 4.0.6 so the stat priorities with better gear might be slightly off.

I understand your points in this, as a healer myself I know quite a bit about the stat weighting and priorities. That said I also think that stat priorities for healers are very personal, some people like slower, bigger heals (no haste lots of master/crit), others like faster and smaller heals (haste/mastery). However, I do not fully agree on your critical hit rating standpoint. (Just want to add quickly that I'm a priest healer main with ever other healer as an alt)

In the current situation, where gear is really good, with huge amounts of spell power and intellect (I believe I'm at about 14k SP?), critical hit rating loses a bit more value than it used to. With the high amounts of intellect, crit already gets a nice boost (I have 2 items with crit, reforged into haste/mastery and still get 25% crit in raids) and putting it even higher on the priority list to me seems a bit over the top. I personally think that crit is only usefull in a number of encounters (mostly Spine, Ultraxion and Zon'ozz), where getting critical heals is really good, in the other encounters it is very situational (e.g. on hagara it is only usefull during lightning phase) because it often becomes a lot of overhealing, where haste/mastery would have been a better choice.

Now I do understand that shamans have some really useful critical hit bonuses through ancestral awakening and ancestral fortitude, but once again these are quite situational. As for the ancestral awakening, for as far as I know this only procs on direct heals and not on healing rain or chain healing... which are your biggest heals in a raid environment, single target direct healing isn't used an awful lot so this is put a bit on the back foot.

As for the relation to mastery: I think stacking mastery is better since it ALWAYS increases your healing output, whenever you need it, as opposed to the random critting. stacking both makes your crits really good, but this once again makes the overhealing that much larger as well.

But enough about crit and mastery, I wonder what you think about my ideas on haste and spirit.

As for haste: I totally get your point, I have tried many stat priorities with many different reforges, and found myself going out of mana really fast when I was stacking haste. But once again, with this really good gear, I would rather label haste as mana-neutral as opposed to mana-negative. Why? Because with such good gear our lightning bolt hits for a lot more than it used to in 4.0.X and being able to cast these faster makes you regain more mana during downtime.

On the spirit point: personally I really like to stack this on my shammy, because Mana Tide Totem makes it so good, not only for myself (which most healers mana cooldown are personal: innervate, divine plea, shadowfiend), but also for the entire raid since all the healers get this buff. A buff that grows better really fast with spirit and is especially effective in a 25-man raid. Ofcourse that is just my opinion, personally I don't mind losing some HPS if that means that the other 4-5 healers can get their HPS up by a lot more than I lose (e.g. if i lose 3k, they gain 3k each), but that is just how I like to play.

What are your thoughts on this? I would really like to heal your opinion on it because my ideas could be off as well.

Happy to start a discussion.

Kind Regards

MadMonk

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So for the LiG5 reference I gave I actually meant this post, which is Vixsin's seminal work on Mastery just before T12 came out (and it's valid for T12 onwards, I believe).

The reference to haste vs crit is in the "But What About Haste?" section (second to final).

I think that the Stats section of LiG5 hasn't been updated since right at the start of Cata (4.0.6 like you said) - which was before the above linked article! So that's why I think we're misunderstanding each other there.

An example extract w.r.t. Haste/Crit is:

"1.87 crit = 1 haste + 1.1 spirit for chain heal (12% more effective to stack crit than haste+spirit)"

So you can see where I'm coming from on Crit/Haste. Actually, in response to your comment about Haste and Telluric Currents ("being able to cast these faster makes you regain more mana during downtime") I think you should re-evaluate that. As was also pointed out by Vixsin, Haste's effect on LB's cast time is rather small - that 0.1s change isn't going to get you another cast every downtime; it gets you another cast every fight or so. That's not really a significant gain in mana regen! OTOH, it does reduce the opportunity cost of casting those LB's, which means you might feel more confident to cast them in smaller gaps (for example by following the "abc" style which was rather fun in Firelands) - that would potentially increase your regen, but only when you adapt your entire playstyle around it! So if you're going to say that Haste can be mana neutral, say that "it *can* be mana neutral" rather than "it *is*".

In T12 normal mode progression I found that on some bosses, running with maximum haste and a special spec/glyphs made it easier to top people on Raggy - this was confirmed by several people doing HM content (but it apparrently took a lot of skill to execute in Heroic mode).

Your point of Spirit is valid, and it depends on your healing team completely; raiding 10's, I often find these days that my fellow healers aren't screaming for as much mana. That means that stacking Spirit to any degree isn't really worth it for me.

Back to crit:

While Crit is (as you pointed out) random, RNG isn't something I think we should dislike quite as much as we do. For one thing, it compliments our Mastery (which I agree is more reliable) nicely. Secondly, I think that Mastery stacking alone is a little naive unless you're really pushing the limits of the raid's survival; when topping people, Crit is much more valuable (as in the linked post). Considering that Crit gives you regen too (wheras Mastery doesn't), it's usually a good idea to have a balance of stats. I actually roll for general purposes with Mastery, followed by a reasonably high amount of Crit, followed by as low Haste as I can get away with (916 ideally, ofc). I think that it's important to remember that as a healer, you don't *just* save people's lives; you top them off too, and everything inbetween. Mastery isn't so good for that on its own.

I don't think that extra Crit is needed for the bonuses: they tend to happen frequently enough anyway. The only spec bonus from Crit that we might want is Ancestral Awakening, which is folded into the Crit relative power as above.

It's also important to keep in mind that we're about to jump into a new expansion, where single target heals will be fashionable again and mana will be tight. While the secondaries aren't changing, Intellect will no longer increase our regen, so the go-to stat for simultaneous regen and throughput will be Crit! It may well become the case that we want Intellect, Mastery and Spirit OR Intellect, Crit and Mastery depending on the fight. That's just speculation though.

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As an addendum, I'd also like to agree in part with your point on Crit's overhealing - it's not that useful when it overheals. On the other hand, when you get a critical overheal, you do get an AA proc as well as regen (assuming we're talking direct healing here) so it's not worthless nearer 100% hp by any stretch of the imagination. I do agree, though, that higher gear levels makes stacking crit less appealing due to Intellect scaling and higher SP. In that case, it's worth considering that we're about to hit a new expansion again; therefore it's worth re-evaluating our attitudes now so we're ready for it!

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I see your point better now. The biggest problem is that these stat weights depend heavily on the player's current health as pointed here with the 100% crit heal bonus.

  • For single-target healing, your approximate breakpoint where Mastery > Crit is going to be around 50% HP. If the target is lower than 50% HP, Mastery generates greater throughput.
  • For multi-target healing, your approximate breakpoint where Mastery > Crit, is going to be around 70% HP. If the target is lower than 70% HP, Mastery generates greater throughput
since we can't change our stats during a match, it is good to look at this for each fight. For example, the biggest problems on zon'ozz occur when we get the purple debuff which is single target heals, so we look at the first point and decide that mastery is about the same as crit.

The problems on ultraxion grow towards the end and , so we look at the second point and see that mastery is slightly better. This way, whenever we have a problem, we can look at what's causing the problems and quickly reforge our stats to adjust appropriately.

I think some good stats would look like this:

haste between 916 and 1000

25-30% crit

and ~18-22 mastery

you can lower the latter 2 a little bit and get haste to 2005, which is the breakpoint for another RT tick, but in a 25-man raid this seems less necessary than in a 10-man raid.

These stats do of course depend on your current gear and might be lower, but the main goal is to get your stats divided evenly between crit and mastery.

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Yes, I think we're agreed on Crit and Mastery now! :)

As for changing stat priority - fights are certainly one factor. I found that stacking too much Mastery on Ultraxion actually lead to me losing HPS on the fight, though. This was because my main role was to keep everyone topped during the early-mid stages so our Paladin could slack off and wait for Blue - I was much better off with a balance than simply stacking any one thing. That's a special case, though!

I think that what it really comes down to is that you have to attain a detailed knowledge of each secondary stat, and then evaluate which you want most for your healing environment, raid size, fight, role, raid skill, difficulty, etc. That's something that I think the stat guide is missing currently, and which I think needs fixing.

It might be that all healer stat guides need a look at, but since I play only one character (my Resto Shammy) I'm not really qualified to comment on them.

Nice discussion,

Stoove

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Thank you for the detailed feedback! I've been really busy today with my preview of Jade Forest and haven't had the time to come up with a suitable reply yet. I'll do it tomorrow :)

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Ready for a longer reply now. It is going to look as if I am avoiding the discussion on stats, but the point I am going to develop here is why I think it is detrimental to our guides if we go too much in depth regarding the stats.

First of all, our class guides are aimed at players who attempt content that they find hard. In most cases, it means heroic raiding, but it also applies to someone getting started on the class and doing heroic dungeons or normal modes. Therefore, when we write healing guides, we make the assumptions that raid members will very often be low on health, and not that people are on farm mode and no one ever goes below 80%. Heroic Nefarian can probably be healed by spamming Healing Wave in full T13 heroic, this does not mean we should make a mention of it in the guides :P

Second, our stats priority is meant to reflect what we stated in the previous paragraph. In the case of Restoration Shamans, the best stats during progression are Haste Rating and Mastery Rating because 1) Haste Rating provides accuracy (which is essential to a healer) and 2) Mastery Rating grants increased throughput on low health targets, which is what you should be casting healing spells on during progression. I have yet to see a Restoration Shaman that stacks Critical Strike Rating under normal circumstances.

Third, you said that a comprehensive guide should include discussions about all the possible stat priorities. I disagree. Our guides are comprehensive because they give the necessary amount of information to perform excellently with a given combination of class/spec. If we decide to skip the explanations on Critical Strike Rating because we believe it to be useless during progression, it does not make our readers less capable of playing their Restoration Shaman.

Fourth, we need to keep the explanations simple, so that they can be understood rapidly by almost everyone. The matter at hand in this thread is rather complex. I don't know if you realize, but it requires quite a bit of thinking to go through everyone's arguments and analyze them. Imagine that amount of work it would require us to put everything in a more digest form and update the guide, especially when we believe that only a handful people are interested in these aspects.

For all these reasons, we opted for keeping our guides as simple as possible, all the while providing all the information we deemed relevant to progression raiding. Of course, we cannot possibly cover everything and this is why we added these forums. I can't thank you enough for tackling this complex issue here. All your points are valid, but it does not mean that we should make a drastic update to the guide, other than mentioning that Critical Strike Rating should go over Mastery Rating for "easy" content.

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Good response Damien, and I've got a lot of words in reply buzzing around my head. This might take me a while to work through. Overall, though, your strategy is perfectly understandable. However, I think that a guide that claims to be comprehensive must at least recognize that there is some subtlety there, rather than just presenting a single build and neglecting to mention that there are other ways of doing it. I think that this is important, because for people looking for a good guide for improvements, you could potentially confuse them. Claiming to be comprehensive and then failing to recognize in the text that there are subtleties is a little contradictory, in my opinion.

I'm not saying that this thread needs a chapter or anything, but a sentence or two to recognize that Haste can give you a disadvantage in progression and that Crit is not necessarily the worst stat would be a massive improvement.

I do have other points, but those will have to wait until after the work trip to the pub.

I much appreciate the effort you go to in the name of making the guides good!

Stoove

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We added the mention in the guide, regarding Critical Strike Rating. Please tell us what you think :)

Regarding Haste, we have a different opinion than you, but Vlad will elaborate on this.

Also, everything is going to change with Mists of Pandaria, so we decided to skip some sensitive matters in the last class guides we released and focus on testing the new expansion (better invest our time in content that will soon be current rather than on content that will soon be obsolete).

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Haste Explanation - You need to point out that Haste is a mana negative stat - stacking more of it effectively decreases your mana longevity. This is very important on long fights. This is important to contrast to the other secondary stats - they are all either mana neutral (Mastery) or mana positive (Crit, Spirit).

In regards to Haste being a "mana negative" stat and Crit being "mana positive stat", I think it's a rather narrow way to look at things. I'm speaking from a general healing perspective here, not specifically Restoration Shamans.

Haste Rating is only "mana negative" if you think of the fact that "you get to cast x extra heals during the fight, consuming y mana". But that's not all Haste does. Haste allows you to heal surgically. It helps ensure that the heal you are casting will land in time. Not just in time to make someone else overheal instead of you, but in time to save a life. In my raiding experience, I've witnessed a lot of cases where a player died because a heal was 0.1 seconds away from being done.

Likewise, Critical Strike Rating is only "mana positive" if the crits don't overheal. Over the course of a fight (or a large sample of fights), naturally, stacking Critical Strike Rating will show an increase in HPS. But the problem is that this increase is uncontrollable in any way. You can have 10 non crits in a row and 5 crits that all overheal. And while you're at this, all these spells are slower because you aren't stacking Haste.

Personally, I never encountered high progression healers stacking Critical Strike Rating, for the reasons that I mentioned above. Stacking Mastery can work well for certain specs (Disc Priests for certain types of raid damage, Holy Priests).

Spirit is absolutely a "mana positive" stat, but in general we aren't suggesting that you reforge out of Spirit to get Haste (including in the stats page of Resto Shamans).

Favouring Haste for healers is a general philosphy we have at Icy Veins, but you will have noticed from the stats priorities in other healing guides (Resto Druid, Discipline Priest) that we have no problem adivising a different priority if it is actually better (such as if the other secondary stats offer some excellent benefits).

Having said all this, don't think that we aren't grateful for your contributions (and for you arguing your point). No good content will ever come out of just one side silencing the others.

As Damien said, Cataclysm and many of its mechanics is coming to a close very soon; so soon, in fact, that it seems rather a waste of time to iron out strategies for it now.

You have a very good grasp of Restoration Shamans, it seems to us, so perhaps you could help give us your input on what is coming with Mists of Pandaria?

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With regards to Haste as a healer stat in general, I agree that I'm taking a narrow-minded view of it. Then again, this is my feedback for Shaman specifically, rather than healers in general. The same goes for Crit as a mana-positive stat. In the case of Shaman, it is actually mana positive no matter whether it overheals or not (Improved Water Shield).

I also think that it's a little narrow-minded to consider only what healers will want to stack (i.e. give them one priority to take to the exclusion of all else) - this is silly. We all know that progression requires a lot more than just black and white "Fight X needs just stat Y" - the very reason healing is so exciting is that it brings up unexpected circumstances. Hence, I believe it's naive to just talk about "what stat to stack" when as a healer, it's incredibly important to have some of your stats distributed elsewhere. An instance might be this; topping people after a Magma Trap on Ragnaros - general healthbars are somewhere around 50% (very approximately), and at this point Crit is as good as if not better than Mastery (see Vixsin's analysis, the link to which I posted earlier). It is true that later in the fight, you will want more Mastery - but it's no use if you can't get the hps on the first phase, so the sensible thing to do is put a little more Crit on your gear than you would when just stacking Mastery - this way, you optimize for the fight.

I agree that a general guide talks in generalities and so talking about stacking is the easiest (perhaps best) thing to do - but any good guide recognizes when there are subtleties to a mechanic - I think that's the main problem I'm having with the guide, is all.

I do agree that Haste is beneficial for reaction times - that 0.1s can indeed change the course of a fight. What I don't agree with is the statement that Haste greatly increases your Telluric Currents regen - this is not necessarily true. Indeed, it will range greatly between fights, groups, setups, skill levels, and so on.

I do agree that Crit is RNG, but I think that RNG isn't something that should be completely unattractive to us. Yes, it has the potential to not fire when needed but every stat has a disadvantage, and the analysis has shown that Crit can be good as (see Vixsin's analysis) or better than other stats that have different disadvantages. As I've stated, I don't think that healers should simply stack one stat and expect that to be optimal - this applies to my view of Crit as well. Crit is (in my opinion) best used to compliment Mastery or Haste.

After all that, though; I do agree that it's a little bit of a waste of effort arguing over Cataclysm mechanics at the moment. I do have some thoughts about Mists of Pandaria healing - specifically, stat weights. I'll post them here or in another thread if you prefer.

Thanks again for the constructive discussion,

Stoove

PS: Thanks for the update to the guide. It's good to see the change, and I'm happy with it even if it's not exactly how I'd write it (but then, it was never going to be!) All in all - good, thanks! Posted Image

Edit: SPG

Edited by Stoove

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I do agree that Haste is beneficial for reaction times - that 0.1s can indeed change the course of a fight. What I don't agree with is the statement that Haste greatly increases your Telluric Currents regen - this is not necessarily true. Indeed, it will range greatly between fights, groups, setups, skill levels, and so on.

Note that this was a comment from Madmonk and it isn't in the guide :P

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Sure, but I wanted to make it clear that Haste has it's limitations too. It's not a one-stat solution to everything :)

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We will split the Class Discussion section into class-specific sub-sections, soon. If you were willing to start and/or (preferably and) maintain a thread in the Shaman section about this topic in Mists of Pandaria, that would be awesome.

In regards to your post, I agree with most of it, of course. And again, I was speaking in general terms because I'm really out of my league when it comes to Restoration Shamans (that's all Damien's section). The only thing I take some objection to (but we'll agree to disagree for now, until we see what it's all really like in Mists of Pandaria raids) is tolerating the RNG nature of Crit.

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I think Vlad meant "Class Discussion" section.

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I think Vlad meant "Class Discussion" section.

You're right. I edited it.

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Yeah, I understand that the RNG nature of Crit is controversial so I'm happy to agree to disagree for now. I'll be really getting going on hardmodes soon and I might give Crit stacking a try just to see what happens! ^_^

I'd certainly be interested in maintaining the thread, I'm new to it though so some pointers (via DM if possible) would be nice.

Cheers!

Stoove

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Just to re-open the discussion about Crit, I wanted to respond to the statement that;

I have yet to see a Restoration Shaman that stacks Critical Strike Rating under normal circumstances.

At the time it was written, I didn't think I had the experience to comment on Crit's efficacy on Hardmode progression. My new guild recently moved up to Spine Heroic progression and I wanted to talk about my experience with the World's Hardest Fight ™. Spine really requires a peculiar combination of throughput and longevity (even with three healers) so we have been trying everything we can to push harder with less mana.

One thing that both myself and my raid leader (also a Resto Shaman) found was that reforging for the priority Mastery > Crit > Spirit (min 2800) > Haste (min 916) worked extremely well in comparison to taking the "superior" Haste. I think that this is because in Spine we're dealing with a situation where it's extremely hard to overheal (due to the Searing Plasma) and at the same time we're not seeing people's health dip as low as on (for eg) Blackhorn or Ultraxion progression. This means that Mastery is less effective than normal, and Crit becomes really excellent.

I think that this constitutes a relevant example of Crit's usefulness to progression raiding, despite its drawbacks.

I don't think that the discussion on Crit necessarily needs more discussion here, but when I make the MoP Resto Shaman topic later I will certainly put it as one of the issues to be addressed.

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