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Raid Rx: I feel the need... the need for speed Part 3


Raid Rx is designed to encapsulate and cure the shock and horror that is 25-man raid healing. Ok, so it's mostly horror... Anyways, if you're a big fan of X-TREME Whack-A-Mole (or are being forced into it against your will) this is the column for you. Btw, Kil'jaeden says hi! Ok, maybe not...

This is like the song that never ends. It goes on and on my friends. Who knew there was so much to say about casting faster? I swear this is the last week of it. I'll find something... anything... else to talk about next week. Just stick it out. You can do it!

For a bit of a recap, Part 1 explained how you can reduce casting lag, the first step in getting your heals to land faster. If you haven't read the details, please take the time to do so before you hit up Part 2, the fundamentals of haste. This section covers what haste is, the typical reasons someone would want it, and a breakdown of the common haste healing items as they compare to regular healing gear.

This week I'm going to finish the series with an in-depth look at the remaining haste gear by class, including what's available now and what's coming up in Patch 2.4.


Before we start, I want to give you a link to the haste equations, in the off-chance you've misplaced your copy. Also, don't forget that I've already covered the common haste healing items, including trinkets, rings, cloaks, weapons, and necklaces, in Part 2.

Current Healing Spell Haste Gear
Black Morass: Trinket
Heroic Badges: Plate Gloves, Cloth Pants, Mail Belt
Zul'Aman: Cloak, Mail Chest, Ring, Mace, Neck, Mail Shoulders
Mount Hyjal and Black Temple: Cloak, Ring, Leather/Mail Gloves, Cloth/Leather/Plate/Mail Belt
MH/BT BoP Craftable: Plate/Mail/Leather/Cloth Shoulders (Patterns are BoE)
MH/BT BoE Craftable: Plate/Mail/Leather/Cloth Bracers (Patterns are BoP)

Current 10-Man, Tier 4, and Tier 5 Content
At this level of raiding content, spell haste is a luxury and not a necessity by any stretch of the imagination. Don't feel like you need to have this gear to be a good healer. About 90% of this stuff didn't even exist when these raids first plopped on the map, and I would seriously question the effectiveness of any items that left your stats short-changed. That's not saying all the haste items are crap. Many are good quality healing items in their own right. Just know what stats you have wiggle room in before embarking on a haste set.

Shaman (Mail)
Shamans have the most haste gear available compared to any other class at this level. The easiest piece to grab straight off is [Man'kin'do's Belt] from heroic badges. This is a good quality belt even if you have access to [Belt of Gale Force] in Kara. I wouldn't start questioning its use until you have access to [Girdle of Fallen Stars], a random drop in TK. ZA brings you [Hauberk of the Empire's Champion] and [Hex Lord's Voodoo Pauldrons]. Both of these pieces are excellent healing items and well balanced between int, healing, and mp5. If you're downing the last couple of bosses in ZA, I'd put these on your wish list until you're feeling the T5 love. Between these 3 pieces, Chain Heal would have a cast time of 2.35 sec. With Heroism/Bloodlust, it would be a 1.67 sec cast. To reach 1.5 sec (the current GCD cap), you would probably want to pick up [Scarab of the Infinite Cycle] and cast Heroism/Bloodlust on its proc.

Paladin (Plate)
The only plate piece at this level is [Handguards of the Templar] from heroic badges. These aren't worth purchasing if you have a shot at [Gauntlets of Renewed Hope] from Attumen. I would trade 25 haste for +5 int, healing, and mp5 any day of the week, assuming you slapped [Royal Nightseye]x2 in them. I wouldn't look at wearing the mail pieces, either. You're just going to give up too much crit imo. Plus you already have a 1.5 sec heal and if you did go with a haste set, you're going to wish you had the crit for downranking Lights anyways. Just be happy you're great as you are. :)

Priest (Cloth)
All you have at this level is [Achromic Trousers of the Naaru] . Like the Paladins, these are marginal pants at best. Only grab them if you can sacrifice the +30 spirit, +3 healing, and +4 mp5 you'd get with [Pantaloons of Repentance] + [Teardrop Living Ruby] + [Royal Nightseye]x2 off Netherspite. You'll probably need to grab a couple of the general healing items to even be able to detect a casting difference, too. Sadly, even if you pick them up, their shelf-life is limited. I can see these haste pants getting DE'd as soon as you start in on T4 quality stuff.

Druid (Leather)
Zomg, there is zero leather items at this level! And that's a good thing since instant-cast spells could care less about haste. Like the many classes before you, bulk up on the good stuff (+healing/spi) and be happy you're not tempted like the shammies.

Current Tier 6 Content
After ZA, the next time you'll stumble across haste healing gear is in MH/BT. One thing I want to note is that to get the craftable shoulders, you'll need to have the appropriate profession (Tailor/LW/BS). If your guild isn't in MH/BT, you might be able to find the patterns on the AH from those that are. For the craftable bracers, either get a guildie to make them or look for them on the AH. Please be aware that both craftable items need [Heart of Darkness], which are also used to make the required shadow resist gear for Mother Shahraz. Outfitting the guild in SR will be the first priority so how available they are to the general public depends on how fast your server's progression has been.

I also want to note that the currently available gear at this level does not follow the normal haste for mp5 stats substitution that we've seen so far. Instead Blizzard chose to exchange +healing for haste in most cases. Why? I know not.

Shaman (Mail)
Blizz loves them some shammy haste gear. The mail haste set at this level is [Spiritwalker Gauntlets], [Naturalist's Preserving Cinch], [Living Earth Shoulders], and [Living Earth Bindings]. The comparison set is [Skyshatter Gloves], [Girdle of Fallen Stars], [Skyshatter Shoulderpads] and [Howling Wind Bracers]. Here is the equipment breakdown by detail. The picture to the right shows the net set results. You're going to swap haste for a significant chunk of int, healing, and mp5. At a 139 haste rating, you're looking at a 2.30sec Chain Heal, but that difference in +healing means you'll actually do less healing with the haste set. In a 5 min fight, the haste set would give you about 30 extra casts but at a cost of 8.8k total healing.

This is unacceptable since the whole point of haste is to increase your HPS. Why Blizz decided to do this is beyond me. In my opinion, the only viable haste pieces in the current T6 range are [Blessed Band of Karabor] and [Shroud of the Highborn], which are both very balanced for shamans, assuming you can sacrifice the 19mp5 for 2 of the rings.

Paladin (Plate)
De ja vu ftl. In this case, you would sport [Girdle of Lordaeron's Fallen], [Dawnsteel Shoulders], and [Dawnsteel Bracers] as your haste set, compared to [Girdle of Hope], [Lightbringer Pauldrons], and [Blessed Adamantite Bracers]. Besides the fact that you should be ashamed if you can even make the shoulders, the same tale of woe is told here in gory detail. On the right you can see the summary. Good bye crit and +healing; hello marginal amounts of haste. Yay. :| The one thing you can affect by downranking Lights, mp5, is left virtually intact. So at the end of the day, it's prolly best to pass on these items, although again like the shamans, the rings and cloak may be a good move.



Priest (Cloth)
Moar belts, shoulders, and bracers, but this time in the form of [Angelista's Sash], [Swiftheal Mantle], and [Swiftheal Wraps] for haste. Comparable items include [Belt of Divine Guidance], [Mantle of Absolution], and [Bracers of Martyrdom]. You can find the fine print here. On the right is a summary. I started to have hope for the shoulders since they had spi, but the +healing is still way too low for them to be of use unless you had originally planned on stopping at [Amice of Brilliant Light] from Akama. That was a joke, kk?? You also don't have to have the belt off Illidari Council to beat out the haste one. [Belt of the Long Road], muy attainable from SSC or even the AH, is just as good where it counts. Unlike the other classes, you'll probably want to take [Shroud of Forgiveness] and [Coral Band of the Revived] over their haste counterparts since you are a spi fiend.

Druid (Leather)
Ok, so they gave you leather haste items [Botanist's Gloves of Growth], [Belt of Primal Majesty], [Shoulderpads of Renewed Life], and [Bracers of Renewed Life]. Cool. It still doesn't help your Lifeblooms or Rejuv's in the least. Plus Swiftmend laughs in haste's general direction. But for the sake of completeness, here's your comparison set: [Thunderheart Gloves], [Girdle of Zaetar], [Thunderheart Spaulders], and [Rejuvenating Bracers]. You can find the breakdown here and the summary to the right. Overall, you'll loose a pretty big chunk of healing and spirit for haste that won't help you much. The haste gloves seem moderately viable, though, if you want to swap some spi/mp5 for a bit more +healing. You'll probably want to pass on the rest of the haste pieces, though.

Patch 2.4 Spell Haste Gear as of 2/19/08 (From 25-Man Sunwell)
Rings: [Band of Lucent Beams] and [Ring of Flowing Life]
Necklaces: [Brooch of the Highborn] and [Amulet of Flowing Life]
Helm: Cloth and Mail
Shoulders: Cloth, Leather, and Mail
Chests: Cloth, Crafted Cloth, Leather, Crafted Mail, and Plate
Bracers: T6 Cloth
Gloves: Cloth, Leather, Mail, and Crafted Mail
Pants: Mail
Boots: T6 Cloth, T6 Mail, and T6 Plate
Belts: T6 Cloth, T6 Mail, and T6 Plate

Patch 2.4 T6 Content
After trudging through all of that rather disappointing haste gear pre-Patch 2.4, one of the first improvements I see is the addition of gem slots to the new haste stuff. I really think if the old stuff had slots it would be significantly more viable. Also don't forget that Patch 2.4 heralds in the new GCD cap of 1 sec. You can find all the details in Part 2.

Because of the additional healing items introduced with the Sunwell, we'll need two comparison sets so I'm going to do things a bit differently. I'm not going to link every single item but just believe that you can find it in the appropriate item database should you need more info. I'm trusting you so don't let me down!

General Healing Items
Even the original haste rings were pretty good if you didn't mind giving up some spirit and mp5. The new haste ones are pretty similar. [Band of Lucent Beams] is basically [The Blessed Band of Karabor] with a bit more stam, int, and mp5, and slightly less haste. The other difference is BoLB is unique, where as TBBoK is not. It's a marginal upgrade, so I would probably worry about other items first. The [Ring of Flowing Life] is very similar to [Band of the Eternal Restorer] but you'll exchange the +175 healing proc for 30 haste. I haven't seen a good estimate of the proc rate, but on the surface I would probably pass on the haste ring in favor of it.

In the land of necklaces, both of the new haste necks lack spirit but have pretty decent mp5. I think [Amulet of Flowing Life] is probably really good for Shamans and possibly Paladins. If a paladin already has [Nadina's Pendant of Purity], I would probably pass on [Brooch of the Highborn], though. The crit and healing seem better than the int and haste, imo. If you're a fan of spirit, you'll probably want to stick with [Brooch of Nature's Mercy] instead.

Shaman (Mail)
Here's the big picture for all things resto shaman. At the right I've put the summary. Now, keep in mind that those numbers don't reflect any set bonuses you might have. But as you can see, all of the new haste pieces are very much a viable option to the current gear. The Sunwell set is comprised of the best +healing gear I could find, so you'll find a mix of haste items in there as well. Also note that there are 2 different haste gloves. The crafted ones are in the hast set and the non-crafted are in the Sunwell set.

Seeing this has really cheered me up, since the differences between the haste and Sunwell sets are pretty minor but the haste rating is nearly doubled. With a 212 haste rating, you're looking at a 1.20 sec Chain heal cast. With Bloodlust/Heroism, you'll be at 1.60 sec Chain Heals. Woot! Now you're just going to have to decide if haste is right for your play style.

Paladin (Plate)
There's not much new haste gear for our favorite plate-wearing healers. Here's the nitty-gritty, with the short version on the right. In this case, crit is sacrificed for haste, although the new T6 boots aren't that far off. But with only 3 pieces and 2 of them being T6, you're going to need to snag at least one piece of haste jewelry to take advantage of Heroism/Bloodlust when it's up. And then there's the chestpiece saga. You'll either need to keep Ench/JC and pick up the haste chest, or pick up Blacksmithing for 2 good BS healing items in the entire game (so far, at least). This profession sacrifice would be made solely for 34 crit and the chance to upgrade your [Lightbringer Gloves] with [Sunblessed Gauntlets]. Oh, did I mention the engineering-only healing goggles, too? /wrists

Priest (Cloth)
The priests have a ton of Haste gear, almost as much as the Shamans. I'm hiding the equipment breakdown here. The summary has been plopped on the right. Much like the classes before you, Priests are basically trading haste for mp5 as compared to the current T6 set. Unfortunately, when you compare the Haste to Sunwell sets, there's a lack of balance between their +healing and mp5. This means that the last thing you'll want to do is blindly grab all the +healing gear you see drop in the Sunwell, but be sure your keep your char well-rounded.

At a 169 haste rating, you're looking at a 2.25 sec Greater Heal and a 1.35 Flash Heal. With Heroism/Bloodlust, you'll nab yourself a 1.63 sec Greater Heal and a 1 sec Flash, should you choose to flex your powers.

Druid (Leather)
Last but certainly not least are the arm-flapping trees of life. I has your equipment analysis right here and the summary is to the right. You're kind of in the same boat as the Paladins, with the exception that there's a good chance you actually have LW. A 101 haste rating comes at a steep price in +healing. There's also a decent chunk of spi missing on the hast chest piece, sadly. It seems like to me that getting to a 5 Lifebloom rotation is going to probably be a wash by the time you take into account the other stats losses. On the bright side, the non-healing stuff looks pretty sweet.

And so I end my epic tale of faster casting. It's had some surprising twists and turns but we made it through. And hopefully we ended up a bit wiser. Next week I'm going to try to find something a bit less intense... How about pink fluffy bunnies of healing doom? Yeah... /rubs hands together evilly I'll see what I can do with that...

Marcie Knox has been healing lead for over a year, including old school AQ40/BWL/Naxx. She has suffered through holy priest and now basks in the glory that is healadin. Her pally has been sitting on the waitlist, madly typing up this post because she can't find topics to write about that aren't a million words long.

Filed under: Druid, Guides, Raiding, Tips, Analysis / Opinion, Items, Patches, Shaman, Priest, Paladin, Raid Rx (Raid Healing)

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