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Raid Rx: Handling healer mana in raids


Every week, Raid Rx will help you quarterback your healers to victory! Your host is Matt Low, the grand pooh-bah of World of Matticus and a founder of No Stock UI, a WoW blog for all things UI-, macro- and addon-related. If you're looking for more healing advice, check out the Plus Heal community.

Nothing brings a healer down more than realizing that he screwed up. It gets worse when the healing lead is the one who messes up such a simple oversight. I'm really beating myself up over this, because it was such an easy fix. In fact, it should be the first thing that should be checked before entering encounters.

I'm going to share the conversation I had here with my fellow columnist Joe Perez. I hoped that confessing to him might help alleviate the despair. (It didn't.)
Matt: Hey Joe, can we talk for a sec? I think I goofed yesterday.
Joe: Again? What did you do this time, son?
Matt: ... I uh, forgot to put the resto shaman in the healer group.
Joe: <10 seconds of silence> ... You know how bad that is, right?
Matt: Yeah. Realized it after the fact. I'm surprised the WoW Insider editors haven't fired me yet for making such a rookie mistake.
Joe: I think you need a re-education. Take a seat.
By the way, my guild scored the Critter Kill Squad achievement finally. Next step? Crittergeddon.

Personally, I've found mana management in 25-player raids to be far more forgiving in comparison to 10-man raids. Would you agree with that? I'm basing this on my own experience, but it does make sense. With more raid slots, it means there is a higher likelihood that additional players can be brought in for mana cooldowns.

Think about it as a form of opportunity. When building a raid, a 10-player raid group might not have a shadow priest. However, in a raid involving 25 player slots, the odds of having a shadow priest are higher. Having that class and spec means another Hymn of Hope is available in the event the raid needs it. Perhaps there are extra restoration shaman with additional Mana Tide Totems at their disposal.

Personally, I'd try running a raid composition with five healing priests and five shadow priests. But that's an excellent reason why I'm not in charge of the raid roster.

The deal with resto shaman

What is up with resto shaman? Well, they're the new hotness right now when it comes to mana regeneration. One simple drop of Mana Tide Totem can reset the mana of every healer in the party. Couple it with a Core of Ripeness from the Valorous Quartermaster for even juicier mana.
Mana is an issue, right? Restoration shaman are the new mana battery. It isn't Innervate anymore; it's the totem. It should be the first thing you check before the first pull. Ask yourself: Do you have a restoration shaman? More importantly, is he grouped with the healers? If not, then you're creating your own hard mode which you don't have to.

-- Joe, to me
Yes Joe, I know you're right.

I just don't know what caused me to make such a mistake. So make sure you park your shaman with the rest of the healers. I tend to place them together in group 5 (and I do notice multiple raids and guilds place their healers in group 5).

One thing I do want to add is that your shaman should set up a macro or a warning in such a way that the rest of the healers know a Mana Tide totem is about to be dropped. The other healers can then set up their spirit procs or trinkets to really maximize the return.

Are any classes running out of mana during raids?

Nothing excessively bad is going on that I can see. If all healers are timing their cooldowns and consumable usages at the right times, there should be enough mana to get through it all. I've noticed discipline priests seem to have more mana throughout fights. With six healers, I would then place the discipline priest in the non-healer group, since it seems to me that he or she doesn't need mana assistance as much. Agree or disagree?

Holy priests? Yeah, despite the regeneration buffs, I'm still chugging through mine at a nice clip. That's most likely due to my own playstyle, however. During the intense AoE periods, I'm casting Flash Heal on player A, Flash Heal on player B, then following up with a Prayer of Healing.

The upcoming 4.0.6 patch offers a variety of fixes that will be affecting the costs of numerous healing spells and talents. Some of these have already been hotfixed into the game.
  • Rejuvenation is now trained at level 3, down from level 8. In addition, its mana cost has been reduced from 26% to 16%.
  • Divine Plea now lasts for 9 seconds, down from 15. It grants 4% mana per tick instead of 2%, for a total of 12% mana, up from 10%.
  • Glyph of Divine Plea now adds 6% mana, for a total of 18% over 9 seconds.
  • The mana cost of Renew has been reduced by 24%.
  • The mana cost of Power Word: Shield has been increased by approximately 31%, but its effect has been increased by 208%.
  • Holy Concentration now increases the amount of mana regeneration from spirit while in combat by an additional 15/30%, down from 20/40%.
No shaman changes?! Oh, well. Overall, I do believe that any mana stress will ease up, not just due to gear or using consumables, but player skill should be increasing as they get used to encounters. Players stand in fewer fires and won't get cleaved as much (and this is where I knock on wood). Personally, I've been trying to juggle healing assignments a bit to expose healers to a variety of situations.

Lastly, remember that another way to lighten healing mana load is to ensure that fights go more quickly. Press your DPS players to do everything they can really bring it. The faster boss fights go, the less mana you need to use.

Joe: So what exactly compelled you to set up the healing groups in such a way that your shaman was isolated?
Matt: I wish I knew. I'm going shadow from now on.

Need advice on working with the healers in your guild? Raid Rx has you covered. Send your questions about raid healing to matticus@wow.com. For less healer-centric raiding advice, visit Ready Check for advanced tactics and advice for the endgame raider.

Filed under: Raiding, Raid Rx (Raid Healing)

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