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WRUP: Thanksgiving, Black Friday ... and math {WoW}

Nov 25th 2011 5:19PM a>b>c>d contains the information we need about the six pairings, which are:

therefore a+c > b+c (add c to both sides)
and a+d > b+d (add d to both sides)

therefore a+b > b+c (add b to both sides)
and a+d > c+d (add d to both sides)

therefore a+b > b+d (add b to both sides)
and a+c > c+d (add c to both sides)

therefore a+b > a+c (add a to both sides)
and b+d > c+d (add d to both sides)

therefore a+b > a+d (add a to both sides)
and b+c > c+d (add c to both sides)

therefore b+c > b+d (add b to both sides)
and a+c > a+d (add a to both sides)

Put them all together...

a+b > a+c > a+d ... b+c > b+d > c+d

(There is not enough information to determine the relationship between a+d and b+c.)

This is enough to tell us that c+d=1 (the least sum) and b+d=2 (the second least).

Subtract those to get b-c=1.
b+c=(3 or 4), from the given.
Add b-c=1 to b+c=(3 or 4) to get 2b=(4 or 5),
so b=(2 or 2.5) (divide both sides by 2),
and d=(0 or -0.5) (since b+d=2), and that is enough to answer the question.
Also, c=(1 or 1.5) (since b-c=1).
As for a:
if b+c=3, a+d=4 (the last sum) and d=0, so a=4.
but if b+c=4, then a+d=3 and d=-0.5, so a=3.5.
so a=(3.5 or 4)

Totem Talk: Restoration's raiding talent specs {WoW}

Apr 13th 2011 9:46PM But that's why it wasn't mentioned - you need to take it to get down the tree in the first place, so it's a no-brainer, and you'll see it in every build.

Totem Talk: Restoration's raiding talent specs {WoW}

Apr 13th 2011 9:41PM Movement speed on a healer isn't about just getting out of the fire. It's about getting out of the fire *faster* so we can start healing the slow ones! Those extra tenths of a second you spend can also sometimes be the difference between someone's life and death, or daresay even the raid's.

If meters are something you care about, those tenths of a second will help you beat other healers to the punch.

Those tenths of a second also add up to more downtime devoted to Telluric Currents regen.

In any fight at all with adds where you may draw healing aggro in the case of poor threat management or CC, wouldn't you like to be able to instantly Ghost Wolf away after slowing your pursuers? And then get back to healing from a safer distance with Spiritwalker's Grace?

You can kite nearly anything using instant Ghost Wolf, your slows (when applicable), and some creativity with things like Unleash Earth. You can save other people's lives with that taunt and ensure you can get away safely. Some Shaman don't even know we have a taunt! Granted, it's not hardly as important to us as, say, Distracting Shot is to a Hunter, but creative and alert Shaman can still use it to great effect, and that effect starts with being able to kite with instant Ghost Wolf.

I think that all that is worth the talent point, especially when you consider that you'd be taking that talent point from Acuity at worst, or some not-very-good filler talent.

Totem Talk: Restoration's raiding talent specs {WoW}

Apr 13th 2011 1:35PM Saeadame, our Cleanse talents make heroics a breeze to heal - nearly every heroic has some cleansable debuff for you. In raids, on the other hand, the opposite is true - there are few instances where those talents actually do anything.

Unleash Life is important for several reasons, but only if used correctly:
1) It's instant cast, so you can use it while moving if you can't cast any other useful instants and don't have Spiritwalker's Grace available.
2) The % bonus to next direct heal is valuable if you use it correctly. There is a trick to getting the most out of it: use Unleash Life, then start casting a cast time spell, and while you are casting, spam the hell out of Riptide. This way, you will simultaneously cast both the spell and Riptide, and *both* spells will benefit from the extra 20% from Unleash Life! Not only that, but the Riptide HoT is affected! Ostensibly, the cast time spell you choose will be either Chain Heal or GHW.
3) If you have the Nature's Blessing talent, then you can get the most mileage from Unleash Life by using it on a Chain Heal + Riptide combo on an Earth Shielded target who has the Riptide HoT on. The +20% bonus from Unleash Life, +15% bonus from Nature's Blessing, and +25% bonus from the Riptide HoT add up to a very, very large Chain Heal through your tank every 15 seconds. Not only that but you will refresh the HoT that you consume this way. (If Chain Heal would not hit 3 targets, then you may instead opt for a very large GHW, which doesn't compel you to consume a Riptide HoT.)
4) Correct usage of Unleash Life (not to mention all the other tools in your arsenal) can buy you time to toss out more Lightning Bolts for mana regen.

Totem Talk: Restoration's raiding talent specs {WoW}

Apr 13th 2011 1:55AM (split post due to length)

I should note that I will spec the following in 4.1:
..making appropriate adjustments per boss. (Personally, I favor TC, so I would take points from Acuity for it.)
I consider this the base of mandatory talents:

Anyway, I mean, if you're going to write a column on the best Resto spec, it ought to include the following:
1) the best general spec, i.e. the one spec that would give you the best all-around benefits for all fights;
2) the appropriate annotations for usually-inferior talents that only become worth taking a minority of the time, in the context of certain specific boss fights (in addition to the talents worth dropping in favor of these); and
3) the appropriate annotations for usually-superior talents that are okay to skip for certain fights, or perhaps for farm content.

As for the first point, the best general spec is definitely debatable, but Cleansing Waters definitely doesn't belong in it for obvious reasons: it is useless on most fights. I posit my spec as a better general spec than the ones in the article.

As for points 2 and 3, Telluric Currents has the biggest 'personal preference' factor and has been debated to death - the rest can largely be categorized as either "useful on most fights" or "useless on most fights":

-Focused Insight may become more valuable in 4.1, but does not currently offer as much value in PvE as Acuity, Ancestral Swiftness, or Ancestral Resolve, mostly because of its buggy interaction with Healing Rain, so file it under useless.
-Elemental Precision is an option that is viable for any fight where healers are required to help DPS, and for fights where for some reason you must help interrupt (although this usually falls to other classes and will be a moot point in 4.1). Elemental Precision also helps you Purge better. But if you don't need to do those things, don't spec for them! (Especially since you can't get this and Ancestral Swiftness!)
-Ancestral Resolve is firmly in the "useful on most fights" category, but you may not need it for content that you overgear. (Whether you bother to respec for farm content is up to you.)
-Nature's Blessing is optional for Shaman who are assigned to raid healing, and Soothing Rains is optional for Shaman who are assigned to tank healing, but even in those cases you'd still sometimes take the optional talent because a) your assigned targets may not need healing, b) the healers with other assignments may die and require you to shoulder their burden, and c) you may not find better value in other talents.
-I didn't mention Totemic Reach originally, but I'll touch on it since it was mentioned in another comment - it might be useful on fights that force your raids to spread out frequently, but it is generally more useful to just place your totems better in the first place. After all, you're a very mobile healer now as a Shaman, so you can run the extra few yards to make it happen, while casting even if you need to. I don't think I've ever been in a situation where totem range has been a problem to the point where I'd sacrifice any talents I already have to boost it. I don't recommend this talent at all for Resto.
-Cleansing Waters is a downright waste of talent points on all but a few fights, and therefore so is Improved Cleanse Spirit for the most part. In many raid compositions, you may not even need these talents for fights that *do* make use of them. CW exists mostly to boost our PvP performance.

So that's a lot of optional talents that we don't always want, although it should be easy to find the lesser of these evils in any given situation.

If you want to pick up an optional talent but can't afford it, you may consider taking points from Acuity, especially if Healing Rain and Earthliving are the most of your healing, since they can't crit.

Since there are so many viable combinations for talents for various fights, strats, and raid compositions, writing about 3 specs doesn't quite cover all of the pertinent information. This approach to the analysis of talents is a) entirely within the context of raiding, b) all-encompassing within that context, and c) accurate.

Totem Talk: Restoration's raiding talent specs {WoW}

Apr 13th 2011 12:00AM I think Ancestral Swiftness is better than Lavawalker, in general. Here I will compare the two options:

-Taking Ancestral Swiftness gives you 15% run speed and instant cast Ghost Wolf for another 15% whenever you need it, which is incredibly useful on a majority of fights; remember that Ghost Wolf works indoors now. You can get out of fire and back to healing faster. You can reach a Sprinting target faster, you can heal kiters more effectively, heck you can even kite better yourself. Taking AS also means you are free to use the +50 haste enchant on your boots (which is widely considered to be superior to +50 mastery) rather than Lavawalker, which is a net gain of 7% movement speed and some throughput.

-Not taking Ancestral Swiftness means you get 2 talent points elsewhere - possibly more with the freedom to give up Elemental Weapons if you choose - so what you get out of these points really depends. However, it's pretty clear that all of your other options are just that - optional. You're probably looking at, say:

--Telluric Currents (situationally useful),
--Ancestral Resolve (good for progression, but not farm),
--Cleansing Waters (rarely useful in raids, but fairly useful for those still in heroics),
--Focused Insight (needs Elemental Precision to be useful, but currently bugged with Healing Rain, fixed in 4.1, see EJ), or
--Elemental Precision (situationally useful, although much less so in 4.1 when Wind Shear won't miss, and requires giving up Elemental Weapons).

(It's worth noting that you need to have 2 points spent among the first 4 talents in this list anyway in order to reach Riptide. High-tier content demands Ancestral Resolve.)

So would you rather have Lavawalker and two more talent points in one of those talents, or 7% move speed, Instant Ghost Wolf, +50 haste and -30 mastery? Looking at that list of optional talent choices, and looking at the ones I didn't mention, give me Instant Ghost Wolf any day - I think there is clearly way more utility for all levels of PvE content in this talent than any of the others. This talent has the capacity to save your life! Only Ancestral Resolve can also save your life, and as noted, high-tier Shaman already have it.

The other talents just don't give you enough of anything worthwhile to think about taking them over the extra mobility. Certainly take some of these talents *AFTER* taking Ancestral Swiftness, but not instead! And if the fight doesn't demand as much movement, or if you can't afford what you need elsewhere for some reason (maybe you have to pick up Cleansing Waters or Telluric Currents for one fight where it's useful), then you might definitely consider dropping AS (although I'd drop Acuity).