The third in our series in using World of Logs to analyze healing, the purpose of this article is to provide basic to intermediate considerations for Restoration Shaman healing through a World of Logs report. This week’s article is written by Joe Perez, author of Totem Talk on WoW Insider, regular contributor on World of Matticus as Lodur, and co-host of the Raid Warning podcast. Joe brings years of Restoration Shaman experience to the table and seasoned considerations of successful raiding.
The idea here is to provide you the means of understanding what to look for in a report so that you can help any Restoration Shaman you may know, including yourself, improve their game and thus help your raids succeed. It also a good idea to point them here so that they can self-analyze. If you have additional considerations, please share in a comment so that others may benefit from your knowledge. If you see anything that needs correcting or clarifying, please let us know. Be sure to check out our considerations for Druid and Discipline Priest healing. Next week we’ll post considerations for Paladin healing.
At the mention of World of logs or meters, most healers will instantly cringe. The truth is, while I don’t think you should worry about your position on the meters or logs, you can still gain quite a bit of useful information that you can use to analyze and tweak your performance. This article is not going to be a guide on how to heal as a restoration shaman. This piece will instead help you analyze restoration shaman healing so that you can make sure you are performing to the best of their ability in the assigned role, or if there is room for improvement.
Healing by spell
Any healer should be able to tell you that you have to use the right tool for the right job. Let’s say if you’re tank healing, you won’t necessarily want to be casting nothing but Chain Heal. The healing by spell tab in World of Logs is a fantastic tool to show you how you are prioritizing your heals for your assignments. Let me show you what I mean.
This is a copy of my logs from our most recent foray into the Firelands. Here I was assigned to raid healing on Shannox and Beth’tilac as well as the general trash. As you can see my healing favored Healing Rain and Chain Heal as my most cast spells. Because I was assigned to raid healing, this makes sense to see those two spells at the top of the list. Other heals like Earthliving should also be fairly high, due to the number of targets being covered by our various spells.
- Healing Rain: Brought in as a new healing tool for restoration shaman at the release of Cataclysm. This spell has become incredibly important for shaman healing, as not only a main heal, but also as a way of delivering Earthliving to the members of the raid. If a shaman is assigned to raid healing, Healing Rain should be close to the top of the list of spells used.
- Chain Heal: The original Smart group heal, this spell has been around for a long long time. Chain Heal was the first spell to be able to pick its own targets intelligently for quick, effective multiple target healing. Even today it is one of our strongest group heals. When assigned to raid healing this spell should appear somewhere among the top spells used.
- Earthliving: This spell is a byproduct of healing while a restoration shaman’s weapon imbue, Earthliving Weapon, is active. Every single heal on a target in a restoration shaman’s arsenal has a chance to proc the ability, which places a heal over time on the target of the heal. While before this may have seemed like a secondary spell, but the HoT will actually account for quite a bit of healing.
If you notice that a raid healing shaman has a lower prioritizing of Healing Rain and Chain Heal, it may be time to talk to them about maybe making a change to the spells they are using on that particularly assignment. If Earthliving is particularly low, this can be a result of not utilizing the correct tools for raid healing, or it could be the result of the shaman allowing Earth Living Weapon to expire. Make sure that they are re-applying the buff every 30 minutes on expiration.
Single Target Healing
There is a misconception that restoration shaman are not solid single target healers for the purposes of tanks and off tanks. For a single target healing assignment one would expect to see higher numbers on spells like Healing Wave, Healing Surge and Greater Healing Wave.
- Healing Wave: A restoration shaman’s most cost effective healing spell. The spell only costs 9% of our base mana, and gives you a great bang for your buck. When combined with the talent Nature’s Blessing and Earth Shield it can be quite effective as an idling heal while waiting for large damaging strikes on a tank. If a shaman is assigned to tank heal, you should expect to see this somewhere near the top spells used.
- Healing Surge: A fast, non cost effective heal designed to quickly deliver a solid dose of healing on a single target. For lack of a better comparison this is the emergency heal of the single target healing spells available to shaman, and is used when there will be bouts of rapid damage incoming on a single target. It will heal for more than Healing Wave, and in many circumstances can be the difference between a tank living or dying through a series of attacks. With the state of many boss fights, expect to see this used quite often on a tank, and it should show.
- Greater Healing Wave: The slow heaving hitting, high mana costing heal. It allows a shaman to heal large chunks of damage on a single target when you can afford the time to do so. So on bosses that have long cast times, or slow attack speeds with large amounts of damage, you will see shaman utilizing this spell.
Honestly, if a shaman is assigned to single target healing, you mainly do not want to see copious amounts of chain heal. Earthliving will be quite a bit lower and even Healing Rain should be lower on priority when single target healing. If you see a shaman favoring group heals when they should be single target healing, you may need to pull them aside and have a friendly chat with them.
Riptide: This is a spell that shaman have had quite a bit of a time to get used to, and now in the post patch 4.2 world is one that should be used and active every single time that it is off of cooldown. Currently this is fairly hard to judge simply by looking at the logs for a couple reasons. First is that while you can cast riptide on every cooldown, anytime you heal someone with chain heal that has riptide on them, it consumes all remaining charges of the HoT and cutting the uptime of the spell down by a considerable amount. In the current tier 12 raid model, this will happen quite a bit as chain heal will be a heavily favored spell among raid healing shaman at this time. Under uptime, one should expect to see around 40% when a shaman is assigned to group healing.
This will change if the shaman is single target healing, as the number for uptime should be quite a bit higher as their spell choices should shy away from chain heal. This number will also gradually increase overtime as shaman gain tier 12 gear. The four piece bonus allows for riptide to no longer be consumed by chain heal. This spell should still see heavy use no matter whether you are raid healing or single target healing, as it can only help and augment your healing done.
Healing by Actor
An important place to work when evaluating shaman healing is the Healing by Actor tab. Once you open the healing done section and select an individual player, you will see a tab labeled healing by actor. This is a breakdown of your healing focus in terms of percentages for everyone in the raid group. For someone who is assigned to healing the entire raid, you would normally expect to see pretty even percentages for each raider. By looking at the percentages you can see, in part, if the person stayed on task or if they wandered off in order to pad the healing meters. This is particularly handy when trying to figure out why a specific person, or section of the raid, died and if it was due to a lack of healing.
This tab can be incredibly important and useful in terms of evaluating the healing focus of any healer. If you notice that they are favoring clusters of melee players, is it because the fight dictated it or is it simply because the healer didn’t move to any other targets? In a recent review of our logs I noticed that one of our restoration shaman were healing themselves quite a bit more than anyone else in the raid by about 5% focus. After talking with them I discovered that they were having a hard time seeing some of the textures on the ground. By looking at the logs, and then talking to them I was able to find that they had not enabled projected textures in their interface. After walking them through enabling it the damage they took, and as a result the healing they required, went down drastically.
Damage by Actor
Unique in many regards to shaman is the fact that the tab normally relegated to DPS can also be used in evaluating restoration shaman performance. A key restoration talent, Telluric Currents, allows a restoration shaman to regenerate mana though damaging mobs with Lightning Bolt. This talent has become an important factor in mana regeneration, especially in the new tier 12 content. When evaluating your shaman healers who are using the TC talent, it will be important to stop by this tab and make sure that they are actually casting lightning bolt when they can. If they aren’t, they are missing out on a ton of mana regeneration that will allow them to keep healing deep into an encounter. This can be located by clicking on the individual’s name in the logs, and selecting damage by actor.
This is probably one of my favorite tools to evaluate a healer of any kind and harks back to one of my favorite sayings; “You can’t heal if you’re busy tanking the floor!” This is a phrase I would routinely bark at my healers while running through raids. The point is pretty clear, how can you do your job if you’re too busy standing in fire? The section for survivability in World of Logs is exactly as it sounds, how well can you stay alive during an encounter. Obviously this is something you want to see as close to 100% as possible, but there are circumstances where it could be lower. Fights like Chimaeron can cause you to have to sacrifice some one and so it is always important to consider the fight when looking at this. If you notice that a healer’s numbers are low for all of their healing done, you may want to have a gander at this tab. While it is noticeable when healers die, shaman can kind of cheat the system with Reincarnation. Sometimes we can die and pop back up without anyone noticing, so it’s always a good idea to check this tab when evaluating your healers. As you can see in the image above, I had a couple of bad attempts at Lord Rhyolith. I swear though, that volcano came out of nowhere!
Overhealing was formerly a great concern of every healer, and every raid leader. The truth about overhealing in the current healing model is that for the most part it has become almost negligible. Unless you notice that every spell your healer is casting comes with an excess of overhealing, 70% or more as an example, you can safely push that statistic to the side. With certain spells like Healing Rain and Earthliving, there will always be a rather high level of overhealing that is unavoidable and is just a byproduct of how the spells themselves function. Be aware of this while you evaluate your healers.
Healing is a hard item to boil down to black and white when it comes to evaluating. For the most part it is a case of “did the raid survive?” and not so much about the individual numbers. World of Logs though is quite handy at tracking habits, maybe more so than just raw numbers. Sure you want to make verify that your throughput is good, but you need to make absolutely certain that you are practicing good healing behavior. When evaluating your restoration shaman, make sure to keep in mind the encounters where you are evaluating them. I hope you found this useful in understanding how to properly evaluate restoration shaman healing through use of World of Logs, and hope that it helped in showing you what to look for.
Officerchat.org extends a massive thank you to Joe Perez aka Lodur for writing this article. Joe is author of Totem Talk on WoW Insider, a regular contributor on World of Matticus as Lodur, and co-host of the Raid Warning podcast.
We also recommend checking out this thread over at plusheal.com to check out further considerations for using WoL to analyze Restoration Shamans.