TBC Classic Restoration Shaman Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities
On this page, you will learn how to optimize the rotation of your Restoration Shaman Healer, depending on the type of damage your group is receiving while doing PvE content in TBC Classic. We also have advanced sections about cooldowns, procs, etc. in order to minmax your healing output and your mana efficiency.
If you have not already, please read the spells summary page. Knowing how each spell and ability works in detail will greatly increase your understanding of the topics discussed on this page.
Rotation for Restoration Shamans
Our recommendations assume you are running one of the recommended talent builds from the talents page and are playing a max level character. If you are still leveling, please refer to the leveling page for a leveling-specific rotation.
Healers do not have a formal rotation. As such we will display a priority list, instead:
Spell Priority for Restoration Shamans
- Use Lesser Healing Wave as an emergency heal for players about to die;
- Remove dangerous debuffs from group members as soon as possible. This includes preparing for Fear effects with Tremor Totem;
- Keep Earth Shield on the tank and Water Shield on yourself at all times;
- Keep your party-buffing Totems active and in range of party members at all times;
- Keep Ancestral Healing and Healing Way, if applicable, on the tank at all times;
- Use Chain Heal to heal group damage;
- Use Healing Wave to heal single-target damage.
Mastering Your Shaman
In this section, we will dive a bit deeper into the core mechanics and various abilities of Restoration Shamans. Understanding these topics is an important step to truly mastering the specialization.
Advanced Totem Usage
Mana Tide Totem can be rotated mid-fight to parties who need Mana, as it only takes 12 seconds for its full effect to take place.
Tremor Totem, Poison Cleansing Totem and Disease Cleansing Totem should all be dropped when slightly less than 5 seconds remains until the Fear, Poison, or Disease application event. As they remove effects every 5 seconds, this will ensure that these harmful effects are removed as soon they are applied, which is of particular importance for Fears, so that allies do not have time to run out of the Totem's radius.
A simple concept which is born from the ease with which you can run out of Mana while casting your maximum rank spells, Cast Canceling is the act of starting a maximum rank spell cast (typically Healing Wave) on a target that you predict will be tanking damage by the end of the cast (such as the tank) and canceling the cast just before it goes off if the target is not injured enough for the heal to be efficient.
This has two major benefits:
- You are able to constantly have huge, Mana efficient heals lined up for the tank well ahead of damage actually happening, allowing you to bypass the large cast time of these types of spells.
- If the target is not injured by the time you are about to heal, you can simply cancel the cast, allowing your Mana regeneration to continue and saving the Mana of the cast itself.
This has a major downside: since you will be effectively spending a lot of time doing nothing, this can be a problem when there are other targets that would have benefited from having weaker / area of effect heals used on them. So this is mostly a strategy for periods of downtime where the tank is the main target being hit.
In order to keep healing throughout a long fight, and to avoid overhealing in general, it is a good idea to downrank your spells when heavy healing is not necessary. As an example, Rank 1 Chain Heal gets a comparable benefit from Spell Healing as Rank 5, but is much cheaper.
Spells that can be learned before Level 20 gain a smaller benefit from Spell Damage and Healing, making them less efficient to downrank. This is why Rank 5 Healing Wave is recommended for efficient single-target healing. Rank 4 is learned at Level 18, and is thus penalized, making Rank 5 the first rank that fully utilizes your gear's Healing Power, while still having a relatively low Mana cost.
In TBC, a new scaling penalty for downranking spells was introduced, which decreases Spell Healing benefits for spells learned below your current level. The penalty is highest for your first rank of the spell, and gradually diminishes as you increase in ranks until you reach your current maximum rank, which has no penalty.
The best ranks to use for some of our core spells are:
- Chain Heal Rank 1 for efficient group healing, Rank 3 for a good balance of healing and throughput and Rank 5 for maximum throughput.
- Healing Wave Rank 1 for quick and cheap Ancestral Healing and Healing Way buffing, Rank 7 as a medium-sized single-target heal, and Rank 12 as a huge, cast cancelling friendly single-target heal, usually used with Nature's Swiftness.
- Earth Shock Rank 1 for Mana-efficient interrupting.
- Frost Shock Rank 1 for Mana-efficient slowing.
In general, utility spells are good candidates for downranking. Consider also that sometimes, instead of constantly using lower ranked spells, it can be more efficient to simply cast cancel for a while, in order to regenerate as much Mana from Spirit as possible, as was explained in the previous section.
If you want to calculate exactly how much gain you get from downranking, try out this tool, by Oskar Holmberg.
Totem Twisting is an advanced Shaman technique that aims to keep both Windfury Totem and Grace of Air Totem effects active on your party at all times, even though using one of the Totems will automatically despawn the other.
When you use Windfury Totem, its weapon enchant is applied to your party's weapons for 10 seconds. During this period, you can use Grace of Air Totem / Tranquil Air Totem and still keep Windfury's effect. However, in order to keep Windfury's enchant active, you need to cast Windfury Totem, followed by your second Air Totem of choice every 10 seconds, which has a huge Mana cost.
This Mana could have, instead, been spent on healing spells, so the decision to Totem Twist requires thinking about the length of the fight and how much healing you are required to do in it. When unsure, play it safe and conserve Mana until it is clear that you will not need it by the end of the encounter, which is usually also the best time to Totem Twist for Warriors who will be using their cooldowns and Execute for heavy damage.
- 30 May 2021: Guide added.
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