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Totem Talk: Onnix's Ultimate Casual Hardcore Guide to Shaman Resto Talents

Every other week, Robin Torres investigates Shaman issues, interviews experienced Shamans and reports her findings in Totem Talk.

For those of you just joining us here in Totem Talk, Onnix the Shaman is a level 70 Tauren raiding healbot of a shaman who is also my husband. He has played this character since a few months after WoW's launch -- after he abandoned his level 60 Dwarf Pally, changed to a PvP server and changed factions. This was all while I was suffering from morning sickness (stupid name -- lasted all day) and couldn't play for a few months. Though I tried multiple times to get him to play other classes and help me catch up with my drood, he always goes back to Onnix after half-hearted attempts.

I have often made fun of how much gold Onnix has wasted on respecs. He used to spec one way for raiding and another for his non-raiding activities. He also experiments with new talents whenever he feels the urge. He has stayed with his current spec for some time now for survivability when soloing and healing for raiding.

Without further ado, here is

Onnix's Ultimate Casual Hardcore Guide to Shaman Resto Talents

Improved Healing Wave: Reduces cast time of Healing Wave by .5 seconds at max rank (5 points).
This is a must have for any serious healing spec. Half a second is too often the difference between a good boss kill and a raid wipe. It is not necessary for a hybrid build, but is still good to have.

Tidal Focus: Reduces mana cost by 5% at max rank (5 points).
Because it increases mana efficiency, this is a must have. Take it over Imp Healing Wave to unlock the next tier for hybrids.

Improved Reincarnate:
Reduces cooldown on Reincarnation by 20 minutes at max rank (2 points).
Meh, sure it's ok, but a completely unnecessary use of 2 points.

Ancestral Healing: Increases target's armor value by 25% after healing crit at max rank (3 points).
Useful. I would take for a full resto spec, but in my opinion, I prefer to save those points for another tree to help DPS for solo farming. In high end raiding, all of your tanks that are getting beat on should be so close to the armor cap anyway, that any increased mitigation would be marginal. (Admittedly, my tank knowledge is minimal.) Also, any restoration shaman will typically have a very low crit chance, therefore making the effect a rare occurrence.

Totemic Focus: Reduces mana cost of totems by 25% at max rank (5 points).
For up and coming shamans struggling with mana problems, I would probably recommend this. But once you're up over 150 or so MP5 while casting, mana becomes less of a problem, and the mana cost of totems becomes negligible.

Nature's Guidance: Increases chance to hit with melee attacks and spells by 3% at max rank (3 points).
No resto shaman should have this talent, period.

Healing Focus: 70% (max rank) chance to avoid interruption when casting healing spells (5 points).
This talent is indispensable. You need to be able to reliably heal your team, even while being beat on (part of the reason we have shields).

Totemic Mastery: Increases the radius of your totems to 30 yards (1 point).
Unless you're rocking 3 piece Earthfury, take this talent.

Healing Grace: Reduces the threat generated by your healing spells by 15% at max rank (3 points).
I'm a big believer in this talent -- a must have for a resto build. Although, I could see it being less useful in higher end raiding, with very well geared tanks. (I might have to do some testing) But until then, take it and keep mobs off you!

Restorative Totems: Increases the effect of your mana and healing stream totems by 25% at max rank (5 points).
The usefulness of 15 mana vs 12-13 mana per tick could probably be debated until the next expansion is released, but with 3 piece Cyclone Raiment, it puts you at 19 per tick, which is nice. Lucky for us though, it's necessary to get Mana Tide, which no Resto build would be complete without.

Tidal Mastery: Increases chance to crit with healing and lightning spells by 5% at max rank (5 points).
Personally, I like this. It helps boost solo DPS a little, but honestly for a heavy resto build, this could be left out -- if you needed points for something else.

Healing Way: 100% (at max rank) chance to increase the effectiveness of subsequent Healing Waves by 6% for 15 seconds, stacks up to 3 times. (3 points).
LOL WUT? It's a bit of a mouthful, but this is particularly useful if you have a lot of resto shamans. But since my guild is light on shaman healing, I personally forgo it and resto shaman crit percent is horribad anyway, reducing the chance this spell will be activated. However, I would include this on a heavy resto build.

Nature's Swiftness: When activated, makes your next nature spell instant. 3 minute cooldown (1 point).
This is your defining 21st point in any hybrid build -- no shaman build should leave home without it. It could mean the difference between an epic save or a run back from the Spirit Healer for your raid. Elemental Shamans often spec to here to get as much burst damage as possible.

Focused Mind: Reduces the duration of any silence or interrupt effect by 15% at max rank (3 points).
I have this talent, but have mixed feelings about it. It's only practical use would be in PvP, but I personally haven't seen it shine. Maybe somebody else has a more solid opinion about it? If you have the extra points to spend, it certainly won't hurt, and will likely make a difference if you Arena a lot.

Purification: Increases the effectiveness of healing spells by 10% at max rank (5 points).
Makes you a better healer. Get it. 'Nuff said.

Mana Tide: Restores 6% of your total mana every 3 seconds for 12 seconds (1 point).
This is why we took restorative totems, please don't stop now. This is just another thing that will increase your efficiency as well as those casters around you. One of the defining characteristics of a "restoration" shaman.

Nature's Guardian: 50% (max rank) chance to increase your health by 10% whenever an attack takes you below 30% health (5 points).
Another long winded description, but a great talent. It's particularly useful in PvP to give you a chance to squeak a heal in just before you go down, and is one of the things that makes full resto shamans so hard to take down. Marginally useful in raids, but helps quite a bit while soloing when you forget to heal yourself which i do quite often when I'm not paying attention.

Nature's Blessing: Increases spell damage by 30% of your intellect at max rank (3 points).
Fairly useless, but necessary to get Earth Shield. It actually does help with solo DPS, but since your elemental spells are so gimped this far down in the tree it's purpose is kinda moot.

Improved Chain Heal: Increases the amount healed by your Chain Heal spell by 10%.
Chain heal has often been referred to as your bread and butter spell in high end raiding, and I have to agree. It's amazingly mana efficient and works extremely well when you're assigned to keep melee groups alive. This is a must have.

Earth Shield: Protects your target with an earthen shield, giving a 30% chance to ignore spell interruption when damaged, and causes melee attacks to heal shielded target for 270 at max rank (1 point). Ranks 2 and 3 are trainable from your Shaman trainer.
This is the last rung on the ladder for any restoration shaman, but is what puts our survivability through the roof. The healing effect stacks with +healing gear, so an average heal for me is 1K, with the range being 800ish and about 1200 with crits. Each heal effect also has a chance to proc the Gruul's Eye trinket which makes it particularly useful in soloing. Its usefulness really can't be understated. However, its biggest problem is that it can be dispelled, purged, and taken via the mage's Spellsteal ability. It is also expensive, making it unlikely to be recast in combat. Despite its problems, it is still the best tool a shaman can have.

Random Tips:

1. Real shamans use a one hander and a shield. Please, please, please don't use a staff. Those are for druids and priests. The armor increase alone from using a shield is enormous.

2. I always say, if you're gonna put one point in a talent, go all the way and maximize that talent. There are of course exceptions to this rule, but it's a good one to stick by if you're not sure what you're doing.

3. A full restoration build is roughly 55 points, depending on what your personal preferences are. I'm currently using a build that minimizes the resto tree to the point of just barely getting ES, and putting the rest into early elemental talents. This is specifically for solo farming, and i find it works really well. If you have some good enhance gear, you could easily shift those points to the enhancement tree and do well there as well.

4. Ancestral knowledge in the enhancement tree is worth picking up if you find that you need the extra mana, and is often included in various restoration builds.

5. This may seem obvious, but i have seen far too many cowpriests running around to not say anything. Use mail gear. There is a ton of resto shaman gear in the Burning Crusade -- find it. Cloth or leather are generally designed for priests and druids who can actually use spirit. There are some really nice cloth pieces, but they are the exception.

6. Stat priority for a level 70 shaman considering gear should be MP5, +heal, Int, then stamina.

Are you a level 70 Shaman with interesting experiences or insightful opinions or inside knowledge that you would like to share? Please email Robin.Torres AT weblogsinc DOT com for a possible interview.

Filed under: Shaman, Analysis / Opinion, (Shaman) Totem Talk

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