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[Legion] Leveling for main spec healers: what spec to choose

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I already leveled a resto shaman on Beta to lvl 110 some time ago and was waiting to be closer to prepatch to write about my leveling experience and give some tips to fellow healers but today found out that Dayani already did it in her great and deep article "Legion Beta: Leveling as a Healer – The Surprising Result I Can’t Explain and You Won’t Believe!" (all credit goes to Dayani).

I highly recommend to read the article and confirm that my experience in leveling was pretty much the same up to level 110.

For those who prefer it short:

1. There's no noticeable difference in efficiency whether you choose to level in resto or ele spec.

2. There is a difference in leveling approach:

- ele shaman is much more fragile and has to take healing/drinking breaks but the playstile is more engaging.

- resto shaman is literally unkillable, time to kill regular mobs is pretty similar to ele but killing fat mobs and elites takes ages due to lack of dps CDs/totems.

- choose you personal preference: higher dps but more time between pulls vs lower dps with no breaks between pulls. The difference in dps is not that big: I'd say most of time it's about 20-30%.

3. On level 102 you will get your off-spec Artifacts (quests in the Class Order Hall) so don't worry about being stuck in dps spec until 110 level or not being able to heal leveling dungeons.

4. The waste majority of Artifact power you will gain, are usable items so just switch to the "right" spec to apply them (you automatically switch to the appropriate Artifact when changing spec).

There are some quests that apply Artifact power to your currently equipped Artifact right away but it's such a minor amount of power, you shouldn't bother about it.

5. Artifact Relics: Every time you'll see a Relic choice as a quest reward, you can switch specs to check how it changes (sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't) and make your decision. Then just grab the reward in appropriate spec.

6. You can upgrade your off-spec (dps) Artifact during leveling: the amount of Power used to activate traits growth exponential in the way that activating first 13 traits on off weapon will take less Power than activating Trait 14 on the main weapon.

You can check the math in this thread (thanks and credit goes to Zagam).

7. Better not to spread activated traits between different lines of progression on your main Artifact during leveling: in this case the price of your first Gold Trait would be pretty much unbearable. Choose one line and fill it up to the Gold Trait that will boost your healing in a powerful way.

8. I'd suggest to use Artifact Calculator before spending Power because to drop and rearrange currently activated traits will cost you the last applied amount of Power (at least in the current Beta build, meaning: if the last activated trait costed you 340 Power - it will be the cost of rearrangement, if the last activated trait costed you 15000 Power - it will be the price).

TL;DR: level in whatever spec you want, it wouldn't affect in any way your end-game experience. The leveling efficiency (time spent) is roughly the same for both healing and dps specs.

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Some thoughts by Gardiff @ MMOChamp too:

Quote

Definitely going to do enhancement on live and definitely am going to use all the AP I gain questing on the enhancement spec since with the changes they have made recently, there is very little advantage to hoard the questingAP. The first 11 points combined cost less than the 14th point in the artifact (and about 1/6 of the 18th point) and so there is very little you will gain by hoarding all your AP items and using them on your resto spec. 

Since there is no real 'limit' to how much AP you can gain at any point apart from the amount of time you decide to play your character, there is very little reason to gimp yourself in the leveling process with the meager amount of AP you get from the quests, especially when enhancement can get some very amazing early artifact talents (relative to resto) that make leveling much more fluid. Though they did say they will be nerfing alpha wolves, I still believe it will be incredibly potent. These are my experiences anyway from leveling on beta, everyone will feel differently on what 'fast' means. 

However, the bigger reason for me is not the leveling process. At 110, healers don't scale as well as DPS. They are still behind on the leveling process, but its not as far apart. I can still burst 400-500k (and sustain 250-300k) on my enhance on certain quests while my resto shaman can't reach 100k. Between things like the suramar scenario and just basic world quests, things at 110 will be very slow as resto. You may be able to rely on tagging, but with a 6 second flame shock CD, we are not really the best healing class to be tagging multiple mobs to get credit.

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From what I have leveled, I was able to get the first spirit wolf trait from questing and about 1 point shy of getting the 2nd trait. This is ~11 points by the time you get to 110. I am going to pretty much reach 13 points in enhance at which point there is a rapid spike from 1000 to 6800 or so which also coincides with enhance's 1st gold artifact along with its 2nd 'solo' point artifact (both of which are strong). 

After that, I am going to start leveling resto mainly. Eventually when knowledge kicks in, I will probably continue with enhance (a month or two). I never felt weak starting off heroics as resto with a 0 point artifact. Once at 110, you'll be surprised how rapid the gains come from some quests in suramar (which are not knowledge-based and so they just provide a large flat amount). 

I should add though that there is one thing that you need to take into account . Blizzard recently changed the final 20 points of each artifact. Previously they used to be 0.5% incremental increases in damage (or healing if resto). Now, it starts at a baseline of 5% and then goes up by increments of 0.5%. That is pretty massive all things considered to get the FIRST 5% boost. The 0.5% increments after are pretty small. So yeah after the first 12 or 13 points of enhance, it will be pure resto for me. Things felt pretty good with the 13 points. Ideally you would pick up the other 'solo' artifact for enhance, but that is 4 additional points and that will be pushing it since there is that massive spike and you will want to try to get to your 2nd gold artifact as resto before mythic raids hit. 

 

Edited by Azretha
Formatting.

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