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Totem Talk: Restoration's raiding talent specs

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Totem Talk for elemental, enhancement and restoration shaman. Want to be a sultan of swing healing? A champion of Chain Heal? Totem Talk: Restoration, brought to you by Joe Perez (otherwise known as Lodur from World of Matticus and co-host of the Raid Warning podcast), shows you how.

Last week, we talked about our choices for restoration shaman in terms of pre-raid gems and enchants and a little bit more about stats. Making sure you know what options you have for your sockets and what enchantments to put on your gear is just as important as gathering the gear itself.

This week, we're going to be talking about choosing a starting a raiding talent spec. Your talent choices not only define what type of role your character will play, but they give you a set of bonuses to make you better at your chosen job. Picking that talent spec when you are first getting set to raid can be a bit tricky, but that is exactly what we are going to focus on today.


While we are going to be talking about talent specs today, we're not going to go into too much detail about the individual talents themselves. In fact, that's something we did several weeks back, so feel free to check out the talent and tier breakdown if you want a refresher. Today we're going to talk about three specs that are good for starting restoration raiders and the strengths of each.

Lightning? No thanks, I'll just heal!

3/7/31

Main features Acuity, Ancestral Swiftness , Cleansing Waters , Blessing of Eternals

Does not include Telluric Currents, Ancestral Resolve

This spec is a basic starting spec for a raiding restoration shaman. It covers all the basics and really fills out some of the better support stats. Fully talented Acuity gives a full 3% crit in addition to whatever gear, gems, and enchants you are already wearing. Cleansing Waters gives you some free healing in those instances where you'll be removing curses or magical effects from your raid members, while Blessing of the Eternals helps to maximize the healing from Earthliving when your raid's health is low -- and honestly, when your first start raiding, it's likely that there will be many people low on health.

Ancestral Swiftness gives you a boost to movement speed, which is very important when raiding, because the faster you can get into position, the faster you can start healing. Also, if you're not in a position to purchase a movement speed boot enchant, you won't have to stress about it as much with this talent. As an added bonus, it makes Ghost Wolf instant-cast, and since it can now be used indoors, it can be quite handy when you need to get out of Dodge.

The spec ignores Telluric Currents and Ancestral Resolve for greater benefit elsewhere. TC can be tough to squeeze in when you're first learning the ropes of raiding, and while it does have the potential for some major mana returns, it might not be the best thing to focus on right away. AR at first glance seems like a great pickup, but not when you weigh the benefits of 10% damage reduction versus spending the two points elsewhere. Also consider that there may be times when you aren't casting at all and you lose the benefit. I think you're better off spending the points somewhere else.

All in all, this is a very solid starting spec.

I'm gonna light you up, sweet cheeks!

3/7/31

Main features Acuity, Ancestral Swiftness, Cleansing Waters 1/2, Blessing of the Eternals 1/2, Telluric Currents

Does not include Ancestral Resolve

The is another good beginner raiding spec for a restoration shaman who is pretty comfortable with throwing out a Lightning Bolt or two. Picking up TC only involves moving two talent points around. Pulling a point out of Cleansing Waters isn't too big of a hit; you give up a slight decrease in mana reduction and a little less on the heal, but it's for a good cause. Giving up a point in Blessing of the Eternals reduces your healing output on lower-health targets and will be less than optimal on fights like Chimaeron where everyone's health will be super low regularly -- but again, this is for a potentially good cause. What you are left with is full use of Ancestral Swiftness and all three points in Acuity for maximum bonus crit.

The big gain here is Telluric Currents, which if you make use of it can result in some serious mana gains and an incredible increase in your healing longevity. If you're comfortable doing it, there are many entry-level bosses that afford you time to squeeze some Lightning Bolts out.

Let's look at Magmaw for a quick moment here. The fight is one of the first two that you can engage in inside of Blackwing Descent, and the entire fight is basically divided into two phases: one in which there is a ton of potential damage and your mana will seem to fly away in buckets, and another phase when there is really no damage to worry about, basically a down phase. During the second phase when Magmaw's head is exposed, Point of Vulnerability will become active, and Magmaw will take an additional 100% damage. Looking at TC, you will gain 40% of any damage dealt by Lightning Bolt back as mana. During this phase, you can really fill up your mana bar in preparation for returning back to phase 1. There are actually quite a few opportunities to regen mana using TC if you can spot them, so keep your eyes open for them. The spec also ignores Ancestral Resolve.

But Lodur, what spec are you running?

3/5/33

Main features Acuity, Cleansing Waters, Telluric Currents, Blessing of the Eternals

Does not include Ancestral Resolve, Ancestral Swiftness

I figured it would be only fair to let you know what spec I'm currently running. This spec makes use of the key restoration talents and moves two points out of Ancestral Swiftness over into Telluric Currents. The reason for the shift is honestly because of picking up the Lavawalker enchant on my boots. With the additional run speed on my boots, I was able to move the two points into TC without sacrificing points in CW or BoE.

It ignores Ancestral Resolve -- because to be honest, there are plenty of times where I'm not actively chain-casting heals and instead am letting passive healing tick or throwing out a LB in order to regen some of my mana. I've been using this spec moving from normal mode raiding into heroic raid content, and it has served me quite well so far.

What works for you?

Now, these specs are based on personal preference, but the first two are great starting points for a beginning raiding shaman. These will likely be revisited when patch 4.1 finally goes live for slight modification to include Spirit Link Totem, but for now, they are good specs while you get your raiding feet wet.

I know I promised to dive into the relationship between mastery and haste this week a bit, but truth be told, that topic has a lot behind it and I couldn't justify squeezing it in, as it deserves some solid discussion. So instead, we're going to devote an entire week to that soon.

As always, if you have any questions feel free to email me, and I'll do my best to respond to you quickly.

Totem Talk: Restoration will show you the basics of endgame resto shaman play as well as how to find the expansion's best reputation gear for resto shaman and tips for easier leveling. Happy healing, and may your mana be plentiful!

Filed under: Shaman, (Shaman) Totem Talk

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