An overview of other healers: Shaman

I’m going to take a look at the other members of the healing team, from the point of view of the priest. These looks will be overviews – picture a hunter describing a shadow-priest’s abilities to get some idea. Basically, I’ll look at what the class can do to supplement and enhance you. I won’t, however, break out the numbers. Not least because they’re going to get modified by talents and gear. Today’s spotlight is on the Shaman.

The Restoration (Healing) Shaman isn’t going to compete (much) on the direct healing. He’s basically got two spells – healing wave and lesser healing wave. The former is more or less comparable to our Greater Heal (including cast time), while the latter corresponds pretty well with Flash Heal (again, including cast time). On a heal per mana basis, our spells are a lot better (before talents and gear are applied).

Where the Shaman is going to make you drool at the thought of working with him are the totems. The totems are basically action-over-time area-of-effect devices. The shaman can have one of each group (element) out at a time. There are four elements – Earth, Fire, Water, and Air. As healers (and in some cases as Shadow), you will really only be interested in some of what’s available for Water and Air.

Water has healing totems – think AoE Renews. It also has a disease removal totem and a poison removal totem. There are also two – TWO – totems that’ll restore mana over time. And just to add to the frustration, this is the element that provides the Fire Resistance totem. Again, only one Water totem can be active at any time.

In Air, there are again several that your party will be clamoring to have placed. You, the priest, will be interested in two. One reduces threat by a significant amount. The other is essentially a spellpower boost, increasing healing and damage of the group’s spells. Competing with these will be nature resist and an agility increase and a melee haste and a defense against ranged attacks and the peculiar Sentry Totem, which helps spot the normally unseen (stealth, hidden, invisible, that sort of thing).

Earth and fire have things that are also useful to us, but not specifically as spellcasters/healers. As a consequence I’ll keep this short. Just recognize that essentially what you’ve got is a priest with flash heal and greater heal, both with worse mana efficiency (though that and speed can be modified by talents), but who has some of the most wonderful trinkets if you can keep the other classes from getting THEIR buffs instead. And all of the totems have an optimal time and place for use.

One final note when you’re dividing tasks. All else being equal, let the shaman be the one that generates more aggro from healing. He can wear better armor than you, which improves his survivability. This meshes well with the fact you’re more mana efficient — he can do the heavy burst and take the hits when it’s too much, while you can do the secondary bursts and take over when he’s OOM or under attack. In fact, if your party can afford it split the healing tasks in half by time – the Shaman takes the first half (till he reaches a point where he can only maintain totems with the mana he has left), at which point you take over – fresh and without any aggro buildup. Other alternations of healing maximize both your mana regen capabilities to the utmost – IF your party can afford it.


~ by Kirk on August 16, 2007.

11 Responses to “An overview of other healers: Shaman”

  1. LOVE the totem explanation in particular.

    Please be for to adding information on Earth Shield!

  2. Ego, think of the Earth Shield as a cross between our bubble and our inner fire, only directed on any target.

    It’ll last for 10 minutes or 10 (can vary by gear/talent) hits, whichever is first. Each hit it absorbs (some) damage and converts part to healing of the target. It also has a chance of preventing spell interruption from the hit.

    Oh, it’s a Resto talent spell. Asking another spec for it is like asking a shadowpriest for holy nova.

  3. Is it something that’s used often by shaman healers, or is it too mana-intensive for regular use?

    And lol, holy nova. XD

  4. I’ve not played or been around enough shammies to know if it’s “often”. However, its base cost (3 ranks) is 600/745/900 mana, and the heals are 10 charges of 150/205/270 – though those heals can be boosted by buffs, talents and gear.

    I suspect but don’t know that it’s like Lightwell. When I spec holy that’s one of my definite choices — it’s too useful to ignore once understood and used appropriately. But it’s easily misused at which point it’s huge waste of mana and talent points.

  5. Our healing shaman loves to stack it up on the tank before a battle. I haven’t observed him too closely, but those meatballs are nice to have on you.

    He also gets a Chain Heal spell that heals 3 people at once.

  6. Chain Heal! It looks magical from a priest’s point of view for two reasons:
    It heals across the raid (jumps to members that aren’t in the same party)
    It heals people who need it without the shaman having to do anything about it. So it’s incredibly efficient since it will not jump to a player that’s at full health.

  7. Thank you for reminding me, Malva. And… sorta.

    Chain Heal is the Shaman’s frisbee. It’s got three pops instead of five. It jumps and heals, acting more like chain lightning than our frisbee. Each jump has a base heal (crits are possible) of half the previous heal.

    It can jump to any friendly target UNLESS the friendly was a party mamber, in which case it’s limited to party members. Well, that’s what the tooltip says — my experience is like yours in that if you’re in a raid it’ll jump to the rest of the raid. I do not know the selection criteria – nearest with less than full health, lowest health percentage of those in range, or what.

  8. *read, read, read* Oooh, good point.

    I’m curious as to how that chain heal works, if it’s intelligent then my little baby drae shammy will be getting some love!

  9. heh – give it some love and try it yourself, and then tell US.

    Look way, way up in the aboutme section. I mean it.

  10. Great article!

    Just wanted to add a note, that after a resto shaman finishes the shaman quest at level 50 for Sunken Temple, there is a 3rd mana totem one can use as a trinket. It’s called the “Enamored Water Spirit” and is someplace between mana tide and mana spring. I believe it has a 3 minute cooldown.

    Neat the read this article and site, keep up the great work! (have a resto shaman and holy/disc priest myself)

  11. Remember that Shamans aren’t the most efficient of healers. I have both a holy Priest and a Resto Shaman and I still firmly believe a Priest will always outweigh a Shaman. That’s not to say they don’t have their uses.

    Chain Heal is one of the best, efficient spells a Shaman can fire off. In fact, during raids, I mainly light off chain heals (just because it looks pretty).

    Don’t forget, Dranei Shaman’s also have a HoT: Gift of the Naaru. It’s a 3 minute racial, but heals are heals.

    A really awesome trinket for Shaman’s drops off of Tempest Keep’s, Void Reaver. It’s called the Fel Reaver’s Piston. The proc ability has a chance to activate on each chain heal jump from what I’ve heard and seen. In addition to the MP5, it’s a true godsend.

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