Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Updated Healing Gear Rankings

Now that all of the Season 3 gear is available, I've updated my gear ranking posts and have uploaded a revised version of my spreadsheet to FileFront.

Files and individual pages were updated again on 12/18/07 with additional corrections.

The notable changes are:

  • Corrections/additions to gear (many leather healing items on the PTR had their mana/5 changed to Spirit before going "live," plus the Vindicator's Kodohide items are class-restricted)
  • Minor formula corrections
  • Reduction of importance of haste rating from 1:2 to 1:4. This is largely a personal preference, but most discussions regarding haste seem to value a 4-5% reduction in casting time as roughly equal to a 1% improvement in longevity or raw healing output.
The updated postings can be accessed through the link on the sidebar, or through the following links:
Back Hands Off-Hand Waist
Chest Head Shoulder Wrist
Feet Legs Totem Weapon (1H)
Finger Neck Trinket Weapon (2H)

Continue reading "Updated Healing Gear Rankings"

Monday, November 26, 2007

Updated item links

For the past several months, I've been using code created by Okoloth to generate pop-up item links from Allakhazam's database. Although the code works fine, it wasn't nearly as "pretty" as other item links nor as complete as I'd have liked due to Allakhazam's lack of data from the PTR. Fortunately, Wowhead has released a script to allow linking directly to their database, so I switched all the links in my blogs over to this new code. (For those that are interested in using this code for their own blogs or websites, the details can be found here.)

Continue reading "Updated item links"

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Mana Efficiency

One of the biggest challenges for healers is maintaining our healing output without running out of mana. Obviously, using appropriate gear and consumables is one way to help ensure we don't zero out that precious blue bar, but that can only take us so far. Choosing the appropriate spell - both in terms of which spell to cast and which rank to use - is an equally important part of the equation.

In general, the choice of spell is fairly straightforward. If you're healing a single target exclusively, Healing Wave is your best bet. When charged with group/raid healing, Chain Heal really shines, especially with the Improved Chain Heal talent giving an extra 20% healing output. In terms of pure healing output per mana spent, Chain Heal is our most efficient spell (assuming an average of two players healed per cast), which is why shaman are at our best in a raid-healing role.

The other way to conserve your mana is by casting a lower-ranked version of your spells. Although there is a penalty to your +heal coefficient for using these spells, the lower mana cost outweighs the loss in raw healing for any reasonable +healing values. From a strict ratio of healing done per mana spent, the lowest ranked spells are almost always the most efficient (excluding Healing Wave 1-4 and Lesser Healing Wave 1, all of which have additional penalties to their spell coefficients). However, these lower ranked spells won't have the throughput to keep your teammates alive, so there's a delicate balance to be maintained.

  • When healing a main tank, there are generally multiple healers assigned. To avoid overhealing and wasting mana (whether yours or other healers'), you should almost always down-rank your spellsIn these cases, your goal isn't to heal the tank to full health by yourself, but with the combined spells of all of the other healers. Depending on how many healers have been assigned to the tank and how much damage he or she is taking, I generally aim to heal about 2,000 health per non-crit casting (Rank 6 or 7 depending on your +healing stat). This greatly reduces my risk of overhealing (or causing others to overheal) while allowing me to conserve my mana. Of course, it's better to overheal than underheal, so if the tank spends too much time at anything other than full health, you should consider using a higher rank.
  • Raid healing is a different animal altogether, but the basic principal is the same: Select the rank that provides enough healing to keep your teammates alive. Unlike healing a tank, you're not necessarily worried about keeping everyone at full health, but you're also less likely to have backup. There are significant improvements in Chain Heal's mana efficiency between Ranks 5 and 4, and Ranks 3 and 2 so I will typically choose from Ranks 2, 4 and 5 depending on the healing output requirement. When in doubt, start with Rank 4 and either move up to 5 if the healing is insufficient, or drop down to Rank 2 if you have too much overhealing.
  • As a sidenote, don't be afraid to use Lesser Healing Wave if needed to keep someone in your care alive. The mana efficiency is poor, but that's not your goal in an emergency situation. I would recommend against down-ranking, however, as the lower ranks have only minimal gains in efficiency and if things are desperate enough to need LHW, you want maximum healing throughput.
Choosing which spells to use is part of the "art" of playing a healer. After a while, you'll be able to feel the flow of the battle well enough to instinctively up-rank or down-rank your spells, which will greatly improve your efficiency and effectiveness as a healer. If you're not yet to that stage, I've uploaded an Excel spreadsheet to File Front to help you along your way.

Good luck!

Continue reading "Mana Efficiency"

Monday, November 12, 2007

Updating Arena Healing Gear

The third Arena season is nearly upon us and those of us who enjoy PvP have been eagerly looking forward to all the new gear that will arrive with the start of Season Three. Unlike PvE, the upgrade path is pretty straightforward, but there's always the question of which item to pick up first.

In order to answer that question for myself, I modified my healing calculations to fit the parameters and playstyle of PvP (specifics are at the end of the article). Using the same "Healing Equivalent Points" system as before, I came up with the following values for Restoration shaman healing gear:

[Gladiator][Merciless Gladiator][Vengeful Gladiator]
DPS Gauntlets348.5394.1
DPS gloves included due to so many shaman using them for the +5 yard range to Shock spells. This bonus will be included in the Season 3 healing gloves, fortunately.

Although the raw numbers are interesting, it's more interesting to see how much of an upgrade each piece is over the earlier season's items. Interestingly, going from Season 1 to Season 2 was often a bigger upgrade than going from Season 2 to Season 3 will be.

Season 1→2Season 2→3Season 1→3
DPS Gauntlets*+76.3+121.9
* Upgrading from DPS gloves to healing gloves.

In order to determine which upgrade provides the greatest "bang for the buck," we can then normalize the raw upgrade value by the cost in arena points. The highest values indicate the upgrades you should go for first (I skipped going from Season 1 to Season 2 as it's always better to upgrade straight to Season 3).

Value per 100 arena points
Season 2→3Season 1→3
DPS Gauntlets*6.8210.84
* Upgrading from DPS gloves to healing gloves.

As you can see, upgrading from DPS gauntlets should usually be your first priority, followed by upgrading any of your Season 1 gear. In each case, upgrading your weapon is actually the worst value for your arena points due to the higher cost.

We can perform a similar analysis of PvP honor gear as well, using honor point cost as a normalizer.

Veteran'sVindicator'sUpgrade value
per 1,000 honor
* Both versions can be worn at once.

Unless you're sporting Tier 6-level rings, grabbing [Vindicator's Band of Salvation] is your most effective upgrade. Following that, the [Vindicator's Pendant of Salvation] appears to be your next best choice.

The HEP values used for this analysis were: Healing = 1.00; Intellect = 3.68; Crit = 0.68; Mana/5 = 8.49; Resilience = 1.27; Stamina = 3.71; Armor = 0.08. These numbers were arrived at by assuming a 5 minute fight in full Season 1/PvP gear, no use of Mana Spring/Mana Tide (due to their frequent destruction), and use of Water Shield at all times. Survival stats were weighted 1:1 with healing stats (mana/5 was reduced by 75% due to the reduced dependence on mana regeneration in PvP and to account for the occasional use of Mana Spring/Tide).

Continue reading "Updating Arena Healing Gear"

Patch 2.3 Update

The 2.3 patch is scheduled to go live tomorrow and it brings a whole host of new changes. Compilations of all the 2.3 changes have been posted by MMO Champion and World of Raids, along mirrors of the 2.3 PTR Patch Notes. They're both worth a look-over if you haven't been following the changes closely.

I put together a list of the shaman-related changes previously, so I'd encourage you to take a look if you haven't already. There's one additional change worth mentioning: The coefficient for Lightning Bolt and Chain Heal will be increased 5-6%. This is in response to drop in DPS that occurred with the changes in casting time and should hopefully keep Elemental shaman from dropping on the damage meters. The exact mechanism for increasing the coefficient isn't known yet, but some preliminary testing has shown an improvement in DPS by as much as 7.5%.

Continue reading "Patch 2.3 Update"

Thanks, WowInsider!

Chris Jahosky of WowInsider was kind enough to feature my Healing Gear series, which increased the amount of traffic I usually receive over a weekend well over ten-fold! Thanks for the mention and the kind words, Chris! I hope my work has been helpful to someone.

As a note, I plan to review all the new items once the 2.3 patch goes to live to ensure that I used the correct stat values. I've already noticed a couple of changes since I did my analysis (primarily to leather healing gear, which has had mana/5 replaced with Spirit), which will change the overall rankings. I'm hoping to post updates this afternoon and will revise it after the patch as necessary.

Continue reading "Thanks, WowInsider!"

Friday, November 9, 2007

Healing Gear: Table of Contents

The following links will take you to ratings of all relevant gear available for shaman healers. All ratings are listed in terms of "Healing Equivalent Points" (HEP), which represents the relative improvement in total healing output that's obtained by increasing your Healing rating by one.

For an explanation of the math behind these calculations, please read my Comparing Healing Gear series. The specific assumptions used in calculating these ratings are described in Healing Gear: General.

Back Hands Off-Hand Waist
Chest Head Shoulder Wrist
Feet Legs Totem Weapon (1H)
Finger Neck Trinket Weapon (2H)

An updated copy (as of Nov. 28) of the spreadsheet I used to calculate ratings is available through FileFront.

For a more general discussion of shaman gear, including enchants and gems, please see Building a Healer: Gear. In addition, changes occurring in 2.3 can be seen in New Gear in 2.3 and New Healing Gear in 2.3.

Continue reading "Healing Gear: Table of Contents"

Healing Gear: Weapon, Shield, Totem

The following are ratings of gear for the weapon, shield and totem slots. Values are calculated using the weights listed in Healing Gear: General and the methods described in Comparing Healing Gear.

Weapon (1-handed)

1.550.0[Crystal Spire of Karabor]BT: Illidan
2.523.9[Lightfathom Scepter]SSC: Vashj
3.517.5[Vengeful Gladiator's Salvation]3,150
4.505.1[Hammer of Atonement]MH: Kaz'rogal
5.478.7[Dark Blessing]ZA: Zul'jin
6.472.1[Merciless Gladiator's Salvation]2,283
7.428.9[Light's Justice]Kara: Prince
8.420.6[Shard of the Virtuous]Kara: Maiden
9.417.6[Gladiator's Salvation]25,200, 20
10.387.1[Hand of Eternity]Crafted (BoE)
11.366.2[Shockwave Truncheon]Heroic Shadow Lab: Murmur
12.365.5[Ancient Scepter of Sue-Min]World drop (BoE)
13.364.5[Gavel of Pure Light]Sha'tar: Exalted
14.290.7[Lightsworn Hammer]Shattered Halls: Bladefist
15.288.4[Hammer of the Penitent]Mechanar: Capacitus
16.282.8[The Essence Focuser]World drop (BoE)
17.260.3[Dathrohan's Ceremonial Hammer]Heroic Hillsbrad: Skarloc
18.237.4[Runed Dagger of Solace]Botanica: Thorngrim
19.235.6[Will of the Fallen Exarch]Heroic Mana Crypts: Avatar

Jump to: Back - Chest - Feet - Finger - Hands - Head - Legs - Neck - Off-Hand - Shoulder - Totem - Trinket - Waist - Wrist - Weapon (1H) - Weapon (2H)

Weapon (2-handed)
Note: Be certain to account for the loss of the off-hand slot when comparing these items to one-handed weapons.
1.726.1[Apostle of Argus]MH: Archimonde
2.636.2[Staff of Dark Mending]ZA: Timed loot
3.579.6[Staff of Immaculate Recovery]BT: Gurtogg
4.579.6[Exodar Life-Staff]Kazzak
5.567.2[Crystalheart Pulse-Staff]Magtheridon
6.484.5[Ethereum Life-Staff]TK: Solarian
7.432.1[Nightstaff of the Everliving]Kara: Nightbane

Jump to: Back - Chest - Feet - Finger - Hands - Head - Legs - Neck - Off-Hand - Shoulder - Totem - Trinket - Waist - Wrist - Weapon (1H) - Weapon (2H)

1.192.4[Enamelled Disc of Mojo]ZA: Jan'alai
2.190.5[Bastion of Light]MH: Anetheron
3.186.3[Aegis of the Vindicator]Magtheridon
4.174.0[Felstone Bulwark]BT: Supremus
5.169.5[Touch of Inspiration]BT: Essence of Anger
6.165.2[Triptych Shield of the Ancients]Kara: Chess
7.163.5[Vengeful Gladiator's Redoubt]1,875
8.151.5[Merciless Gladiator's Redoubt]1,630
9.140.2[Talisman of the Sun King]TK: Al'ar
10.139.4[Dragonheart Flameshield]Kara: Nightbane
11.136.7[Light-Bearer's Faith Shield]33
12.135.9[Crystal Pulse Shield]World drop (BoE)
13.129.6[Aran's Soothing Sapphire]Kara: Aran
14.118.5[Stormshield of Renewal]Heroic Underbog: Black Stalker
15.112.6[Silvermoon Crest Shield]Shadow Lab: Murmur

Jump to: Back - Chest - Feet - Finger - Hands - Head - Legs - Neck - Off-Hand - Shoulder - Totem - Trinket - Waist - Wrist - Weapon (1H) - Weapon (2H)

Note: Totems should not be considered a one size fits all, but used with the appropriate healing spell. I would recommend adding an "/equip Totem of <X>" macro for each spell.
1.121.8[Totem of Healing Rains]Kara: Maiden
2.106.5[Totem of the Maelstrom]SSC trash
3.101.4[Totem of Living Water]20
4.88.0[Totem of Spontaneous Regrowth]Heroic Slave Pens: Mennu
5.76.1[Totem of the Plains]Quest
6.34.2[Totem of the Thunderhead]Underbog: Hungarfen

Jump to: Back - Chest - Feet - Finger - Hands - Head - Legs - Neck - Off-Hand - Shoulder - Totem - Trinket - Waist - Wrist - Weapon (1H) - Weapon (2H)

Source Key
BT = Black Temple
MH = Mount Hyjal
SSC = Serpentshrine Cavern
TK = Tempest Keep: Eye
= Arena points
= Honor points

Continue reading "Healing Gear: Weapon, Shield, Totem"

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Healing Gear: Finger, Neck, Trinket

The following are ratings of gear for the finger, neck and trinket slots. Values are calculated using the weights listed in Healing Gear: General and the methods described in Comparing Healing Gear.


1.196.6[Band of the Eternal Restorer]MH: Exalted
2.167.6[Band of the Eternity]MH: Revered
3.159.8[Blessed Band of Karabor]BT trash
4.153.0[Band of the Eternity]MH: Honored
5.147.2[Phoenix-Ring of Rebirth]TK: Al'ar
6.146.9[Signet of the Quiet Forest]ZA: Timed chest
7.146.0[Naaru Lightwarden's Band]Magtheridon
8.141.9[Band of the Eternity]MH: Friendly
9.134.4[Signet of Ancient Magics]ZA: Akil'zon
10.132.7[Ring of Calming Waves]BT: Naj'entus
11.129.9[Vindicator's Band of Salvation]15,300, 10
12.123.8[Jade Ring of the Everliving]Kara: Prince
13.120.3[Band of Halos]25
13.120.3[Witches Band]Headless Horseman
15.119.2[Band of the Crystalline Void]Heroic Mana Tomb: Yor
16.113.3[Coral Band of the Revived]SSC: Vashj
17.111.3[Veteran's Band of Salvation]11,934, 10
18.107.4[Violet Signet of the Grand Restorer]Kara: Exalted
19.103.2[Ring of Convalescence]Honor Hold: Revered
19.103.2[Ancestral Band]Thrallmar: Revered
20.101.6[Violet Signet]Kara: Revered
21.115.0[Celestial Jewel Ring]Quest
22.93.4[Violet Signet]Kara: Honored
23.92.5[Cosmic Lifeband]Mechanar: Sepethrea
24.91.3[Mender's Heart Ring]Kara: Illhoof
25.90.1[Ring of Flowing Light]Kazzak
26.85.4[Signet of Unshakable Faith]Kara: Moroes
27.82.4[Violet Signet]Kara: Friendly
28.82.1[Keeper's Ring of Piety]Quest
29.73.3[Band of the Vigilant]SSC: Morogrim

Jump to: Back - Chest - Feet - Finger - Hands - Head - Legs - Neck - Off-Hand - Shoulder - Totem - Trinket - Waist - Wrist - Weapon (1H) - Weapon (2H)

1.161.8[Nadina's Pendant of Purity]BT: Shahraz
2.156.0[Lord Sanguinar's Claim]TK: Kael'thas
3.138.9[Vindicator's Pendant of Salvation]15,300, 10
4.137.7[Brooch of Nature's Mercy]ZA: Akil'zon
5.127.7[Teeth of Gruul]Gruul
6.121.8[Emberspur Talisman]Kara: Nightbane
7.120.3[Veteran's Pendant of Salvation]11,934, 10
8.114.8[Archaic Charm of Presence]Doomwalker
9.112.2[Necklace of Eternal Hope]25
10.108.4[Sethekk Oracle's Focus]Quest
11.102.7[Natasha's Guardian Cord]Quest
12.99.6[Living Ruby Pendant]Crafted (BoE)
13.98.6[Necklace of Resplendent Hope]Heroic Hillsbrad: Epoch Hunter
14.93.3[Shining Chain of the Afterworld]Kara: Netherspite
15.85.1[Medallion of the Lightbearer]Aldor: Exalted

Jump to: Back - Chest - Feet - Finger - Hands - Head - Legs - Neck - Off-Hand - Shoulder - Totem - Trinket - Waist - Wrist - Weapon (1H) - Weapon (2H)

Note: Proc-based and "on use" items can be difficult to quantify. Assumptions for purposes of this analysis were based upon reported performance.
1.237.8[Alchemist's Stone]Crafted (BoP)
2.219.4[Memento of Tyrande]BT: Illidan
3.157.3[Tome of Diabolic Remedy]ZA: Malacrass
4.147.1[Figurine - Talasite Owl]Crafted (BoP)
5.145.4[Eye of Gruul]Gruul
6.133.5[Essence of the Martyr]41
7.130.0[Pendant of the Violet Eye]Kara: Aran
8.126.8[Fathom-Brooch of the Tidewalker]SSC: Karathress
9.118.6[Fel Reaver's Piston]TK: Void Reaver
10.112.9[Warp-Scarab Brooch]Heroic Mana Tombs: Shaffar
11.111.6[Rejuvenating Gem]BWL: Drakes
12.108.1[Scarab of the Infinite Cycle]Black Morass: Aeonus
13.101.7[Lower City Prayerbook]Lower City: Revered
14.90.4[Heavenly Inspiration]Quest
15.89.3[Auslese's Light Channeler]Blood Furnace: Broggok
16.88.5[Oshu'gun Relic]Quest
17.88.0[Battlemaster's Perseverance]75
17.88.0[Battlemaster's Perseverance]30,000, 40
18.85.5[Ribbon of Sacrifice]Kara: Opera
19.81.1[Shard of the Scale]Onyxia
20.61.2[Figurine - Living Ruby Serpent]Crafted (BoP)

Jump to: Back - Chest - Feet - Finger - Hands - Head - Legs - Neck - Off-Hand - Shoulder - Totem - Trinket - Waist - Wrist - Weapon (1H) - Weapon (2H)

Source Key
BT = Black Temple
BWL = Blackwing Lair
MH = Mount Hyjal
SSC = Serpentshrine Cavern
TK = Tempest Keep: Eye
= Arena points
= Honor points

Continue reading "Healing Gear: Finger, Neck, Trinket"

Healing Gear: Waist, Wrist, Back

The following are ratings of gear for the waist, wrist and back slots. Values are calculated using the weights listed in Healing Gear: General and the methods described in Comparing Healing Gear


1.212.4[Cord of Braided Troll Hair]ZA: Timed loot
2.208.9[Girdle of Fallen Stars]TK trash
3.204.7[Life-step Belt]ZA: Timed loot
4.187.4[Primal Mooncloth Belt]Crafted (BoP)
5.178.9[Belt of Divine Guidance]BT: Zerevor
6.191.2[Man'kin'do's Belt]60
7.173.5[Girdle of Zaetar]TK: Void Reaver
8.173.5[Veteran's Kodohide Belt](No longer available)
9.171.0[Belt of Gale Force]Kara: Moroes
10.166.2[Belt of Primal Majesty]BT: Gurtogg
11.165.3[Angelista's Sash]MH: Azgalor
12.161.1[Belt of the Long Road]Crafted (BoE)
13.160.2[Cord of Nature's Sustainance]Kara: Illhoof
14.158.9[Vindicator's Ringmail Girdle]17,850, 40
15.148.4[Cord of Sanctification]Heroic Hillsbrad: Epoch Hunter
16.148.2[Naturalist's Preserving Cinch]BT: Supremus
17.147.6[Stillwater Girdle]Heroic Mana Tombs: Shaffar
18.144.6[Tarren Mill Defender's Cinch]Quest
19.143.1[Veteran's Ringmail Girdle](No longer available)
20.132.7[Cord of Belief]Heroic Slave Pens: Mennu
21.122.9[Cincture of Will]Kara: Illhoof
22.107.3[The Sleeper's Cord]Arcatraz: Soccothrates

Jump to: Back - Chest - Feet - Finger - Hands - Head - Legs - Neck - Off-Hand - Shoulder - Totem - Trinket - Waist - Wrist - Weapon (1H) - Weapon (2H)

1.176.5[Howling Wind Bracers]MH: Winterchill
2.149.6[Gleaming Earthen Bracers]35
3.136.3[Blackfathom Warbands]SSC: Hydross
4.134.8[Bracers of Martyrdom]MH: Winterchill
5.131.2[Gargon's Bracers Peaceful Slumber]35
6.128.2[Vindicator's Ringmail Bracers]17,850, 40
7.125.4[Whirlwind Bracers]Kara: Attumen
8.125.2[Living Earth Bracers]Crafted (BoE)
9.125.0[Swiftheal Wraps]Crafted (BoE)
10.124.0[Veteran's Kodohide Bracers](No longer available)
11.123.0[Bracers of Renewed Life]Crafted (BoE)
12.114.5[Wristbands of Divine Influence]BT: Shade of Akama
13.109.7[Veteran's Ringmail Bracers](No longer available)
14.106.2[Grove-Bands of Remulos]SSC: Lurker
15.106.0[Primal Surge Bracers]Black Morass: Aeonus
16.92.0[Bands of the Benevolent]Heroic Sethekk: Ikiss
17.90.4[Bands of Indwelling]Kara: Maiden

Jump to: Back - Chest - Feet - Finger - Hands - Head - Legs - Neck - Off-Hand - Shoulder - Totem - Trinket - Waist - Wrist - Weapon (1H) - Weapon (2H)

1.167.0[Shroud of the Final Stand]MH trash
2.132.9[Shroud of the Highborne]BT: Illidan
3.136.7[Stainless Cloak of the Pure Hearted]Kara: Prince
4.130.7[Sunshower Light Cloak]TK: Kael'thas
5.127.8[Red Riding Hood's Cloak]Kara: Opera
6.127.2[Shroud of Forgiveness]BT: Gurtogg
7.122.2[Bishop's Cloak]25
8.122.0[Kharmaa's Shroud of Hope]60
9.114.9[Avian Cloak of Feathers]Sethekk: Ikiss
10.112.5[Lifegiving Cloak]World drop (BoE)
11.107.2[Mantle of Vivification]Quest (Alliance)
11.107.2[Vicar's Cloak]Quest (Horde)
12.106.4[Cloak of Ancient Rituals]ZA: Malacrass
13.99.6[Light-Touched Stole of Altruism]Heroic Crypts: Maladaar
14.99.3[Cloak of the Everliving]Heroic Ramparts: Gargolmar
15.95.1[White Remedy Cape]Crafted (BoE)
16.93.7[Cloak of Whispering Shells]Steam Vaults: Thespia
17.88.7[Apexis Cloak]Ogri'la: Revered
18.88.3[Shadowvine Cloak of Infusion]Kara: Illhoof
19.81.2[Cloak of the Ancient Spirits]Kurenai: Exalted
19.81.2[Ceremonial Cover]Mag'har: Exalted
20.79.0[Cloak of Scintillating Auras]Arcatraz: Zereketh

Jump to: Back - Chest - Feet - Finger - Hands - Head - Legs - Neck - Off-Hand - Shoulder - Totem - Trinket - Waist - Wrist - Weapon (1H) - Weapon (2H)

Source Key
BT = Black Temple
MH = Mount Hyjal
SSC = Serpentshrine Cavern
TK = Tempest Keep: Eye
= Arena points
= Honor points

Continue reading "Healing Gear: Waist, Wrist, Back"