Guide to Gearing A Resto-Shaman – Part One: Getting Started At 80
Up until my first level 80 I had never really bothered studying up on just how to gear an end-game bound character. I just sort of played until things fell into my lap. But, after getting my Death Knight ready for raiding by running heroics for drops and emblems which help buy epics as well as saving up reputation to buy gear from the 4 major Northrend factions, I felt as though I had really caught on and could do it easily with the help of trusty ol’ atlas loot. That said, I feel as though for this blog to truly be a site worth visiting there needs to be at least a certain percentage of content that is actually helpful to OTHER Shamans that come in whether it be by accident through Google or on purpose looking for a Shaman-related blog to read. So I hope this meets that criteria. I will be working on it and updating this over the next few days (2/18-2/2oish) to get it perfect, hope you enjoy it once it’s completed!
Just remember, the key to gearing yourself is not limiting yourself to one outlet of gaining such things as equipment. You want to go for drops, reputation gear and at times even AH bought/Skill-made items to get ahead! Read the whole guide and go from there!
If you have any ideas, suggestions or corrections for these guides please comment or send me an email listed on my “Contact Me” page.
Table of Contents
- Introduction: Stats and How To Pick Gear
- Section One: Where Should I Go & When?
- Section One/I – Reputation Tabards (First thing’s first)
- Section One/II – Heroic and Regular Instances (Gauges heroic instances by difficulty and briefly analyzes them)
- Section One/III-A – Where The Gear May Drop (Normal Instances) (Guide to Gear Locations and Analysis)
- Section One/III-B – Where The Gear May Drop (Heroic Instances) (Guide to Gear Locations and Analysis)
- Section Two: Reputation Gear (A guide to the worthy gear that is attainable through Reputation Quartermasters)
- Section Three: Master Gear List (The Best Gear Pre-Raid Per Equipment Slot According to Myself)
Introduction: Stats and How To Pick Gear
The first thing I think someone should understand when gearing their character is what stats are important to them and why, especially in the final 10 levels of their character, where stats matter the most. Before those 10 levels you don’t have to be as picky because the content has become watered down over time as skill levels and experience in players goes up and Blizzard tries to speed up the rate in which one can level as they raise the cap.
For a Shaman healer I think the first thing to understand is that while Spirit is helpful to an extent – MP5 (mana per 5 seconds) is more important. Priests are essentially one of the only classes that really benefit from having a stockpile of Spirit. However, if you can’t find a piece with Mp5, then spirit is your next best bet – though I suggest you weight he options when comparing gear with high int, and medium int, medium spirit. As a large mana pool may make up for the lack of Spirit regeneration. Staman is essentially only important to those who level. Most gear at high levels has at least some Stamina on it so your health will never be too low. Once you hit 80, min-maxing is key and having a ton of health in a raid as a healer really isn’t optimal – the reason being is gear with a lot of Stamina sacrifices other stats that you need more such as Intellect, Spell Power and so forth.
So, in my opinion (and I’m sure a lot of Shamans will disagree) the Stats in order of importance go like so:
- Spell Power (or Bonus Healing)
- Spirit (/Critical)
- Stamina (/Haste)
A lot of Shamans are going to put Stamina above Spirit due to the fact that no matter what you do you’re bound to get hit at SOME point in a run, whether it’s a simple 5-man instance or a big 25-man raid. The fact of the matter is almost all gear is going to have Stamina on it by default. You’re not going to go into a gear selection, have two pieces for the same equipment slot and pick the one with the most Stamina – you ‘re not a tank. Spirit is going to be more beneficial – there are very few pieces of Mail gear (or any gear for that matter) that are going to have Spirit and no Stamina – at least not many Blues and above. Stamina is not something you want to concentrate on even though it helps marginally more than Spirit might. Armor is another statistic not represented, it does reduce damage taken quite a bit but, it is absurd to even look at the number when considering a piece of armor – which is why I didn’t bother including it on the above list. As a Shaman you’re wearing the second best gear in the game for mitigation via armor. Other than Healadins (Holy Paladins) you are the sturdiest healer in the game because of your ability to wear Mail (Paladins get Plate, obviously) in addition many times your shield will add even more mitigation on top of that. This passive ability to defend is also another reason you can feel safe putting Stamina at the bottom of your list. You can logically say that you will need less health to survive just as long as say, Druids and Priest healers due to the fact that you will inherently be taking less damage then them. This is of course all based on physical (melee) damage.
Section One: Where Should I Go & When?
I. Reputation Tabards:
Well, heroic instances at 80 are going to be your bread and butter for a few reasons. Compared to 70 heroics, your 80 heroics are easier. They have reconstructed the gear progression flow so that heroics are an big part of getting geared for raids, where as in the past heroics might have been a part but one would generally find themselves in a Battleground before they would be grinding a heroic dungeon. Another reason is the addition of Reputation tabards. Unlike the Tabards of old, the new Reputation tabards for the four primary Northrend factions (Kirin Tor, Argent Crusade, Wyrmrest Accord and Knights of the Ebon Blade) aren’t just for looks. When wearing one of these tabards any reputation gained in a level 80 instance is magically turned into reputation for THAT faction. All of the instances basically grant you Horde Expedition reputation, which is a default Reputation that really isn’t going to get you anything. So translating it into something of importance is extremely productive for you. By 80 instances this not only includes the regular level 80 instances like Halls of Lightning, Culling of Stratholme, Utgarde Pinnacle and The Oculus – but also covers any Heroic instance. To break it down, a regular instance is going to give you a decent amount of reputation per kill but a heroic is going to triple that making that route your best route.
That said, the first thing you are going to want to accomplish at 80 is attaining these fabled Tabards. Where can you find them? Their Quartermasters of course…
- Ebon Blade: Quartermaster is the hardest to find, you will have to complete a quest-line in Northrend in order to turn Shadow Forge into the Ebon Blade stronghold in Icecrown. Once this is finished you gain access to the Quartermaster within.
- Argent Crusade: Argent Crusade’s Quartermaster can be found at Argent Vanguard in Icecrown.
- Kirin Tor: Kirin Tor’s Quartermaster is in Dalaran in the Violet Citadel.
- Wyrmrest Accord: Wyrmrest Accord’s Quartermaster is on the top level of Wyrmrest Temple in Dragonblight.
To attain these Tabards you will only need to be Friendly in faction with each. This task should be easily attainable as you will finish plenty of quests that grant you reputation for each faction as you progress through Northrend. Anything short can be achieved through Daily quests and turn-in’s.
II. Heroic & Regular Instances:
Once you have your 4 tabards your next step will consist of getting into groups for instance runs. At first depending on the gear you obtained prior to hitting 80, you will probably find yourself running some normal level 80 instances. You will get decent rep and be able to replace any questionable gear.
When should I feel comfortable starting heroics?
Like in The Burning Crusade level 70 heroics, there are ranges of difficulty. The three easiest are probably The Nexus, Utgarde Keep and Violet Hold – so plan on running them a lot to start off. In order to get started I would suggest trying your best to get up over top of 1200 Bonus Healing. If you are keeping up with gear as you level this really shouldn’t be a problem. You can easily have nearly if not over 1,000 +Heals by level 75 with Earthliving Weapon on if you run just enough instances to get the healer Mail drops and trinkets/rings/necks from them. Combine that with some decent quest rewards and you shouldn’t have to run too many normal level 80 instances to be able to get into heroics. That said here are some stats I would suggest reaching:
- 1200 Bonus Heals (1300 if possible)
- 14k Mana (15k if possible)
- MP5: 200+ (This is a guess really, your mana regen is a crap shoot depending on what you are running and what classes you are running it with)
With the above stats you should be able to heal the easiest of heroics (as listed above). However, limiting yourself to three heroics can be debilitating to how much progress you can achieve within a set amount of time. So if you can get into a group that is willing to give you a chance for some other heroics I suggest you go for it.
Below is the extended list of heroics based on a rough estimate of how difficult they are in my own opinion and experience. From easiest to hardest:
- Utgarde Keep
- The Nexus
- Violet Hold (Is probably the easiest of the three easiest but if your tank is inexperienced it can quickly become the most grueling)
- Drak’Tharon Keep
- Culling of Stratholme
- Halls of Stone
- Halls of Lightning
- Utgarde Pinnacle
- The Oculus
- Old Kingdom
The above is a loose translation of Heroic instance difficulties. Depending on your group make-up they may shift a place up or down amongst themselves as well as may be harder for some tasks than others (tanking vs. healing vs. DPS). Next up on our fair guide is just what drops you should be looking for and in what order!
III-A. Where The Gear May Drop (Normal Instances)
Before you venture into the world of heroics then raids you will need to run a few regular level 80 instances for a few reasons. One of them is simply rep gain, but on top of that you will find that you will get a few nice pieces that upgrade you to a more suitable stat line-up getting you ready to move up to the next step (Heroics). Take a gander at the list below for recommended instances and what they drop!
A. Halls of Lightning:
It’s the first “80” instance that you can really run, as early as 76 and as long as you’ve been keeping your gear upgrades up by running various instances on your way up you should be able to handle healing with a nice chain heal/LHW rotation. In addition there are some viable drops to check out.
- Kilt of Molten Golems: An absolutely delightful set of leggings for a Resto-Shaman, MP5 and sexy visual included.
- Chaotic Spiral Amulet: This is another “holy”-type amulet with a lofty Spirit count. But, it isn’t a terrible option if you don’t already have something better for a Shaman.
B. Culling of Stratholme (COS):
- Enchanted Wire Stitching: A decent Spirit ring but honestly you should have better rings all around (SP included) by this time from lower instances that actually have MP5.
- Treads of Altered History: These are primarily DPS boots – you should have better ones that drop in VH by this time!
- Soul Preserver: One of the reasons this instance is worth running (other than it being really fun). A great healer trinket!
- Buguiling Sceptor: While this is in fact a DPS 1h Hammer, it has a lot of Spell Power on it. You may find that it’s enough of a boost to replace whatever you have (probably the hammer from the Amphitheatre of Anguish questline), it’s probably personal preference and may be more worth it to those who are running really low on +Heals and just aren’t healing very hard.
C. Utgarde Pinnacle:
- Tor’s Crest (King Ymiron): This is a good healer shield based on the fact that there really aren’t many caster shields at this point. You’re probably going to be sporting your Tharon’ja’s Aegis still from DTK – this will be an all around upgrade even though it’s a DPS shield.
- Signet of Ranul (King Ymiron): A DPS caster ring, not terrible but you probably should still have something more suitable by this point.
D. The Oculus
- Timeless Beads of Eternos (Drakos the Interrogator): A decent healer necklace that has Spirit rather than MP5 on it – this could very well be an upgrade for many Resto-Shamans out there. Especially as far as SP goes.
III-B. Where The Gear May Drop (Heroic Instances)
Once you have the amount of +Healing, Mana Regen, Mana Pool, etc that you think is sufficable to start Heroic runs then I suggest that you go in the following order – follow it loosely otherwise you won’t be very productive – take what runs you can, just use this as a loose guide to such things. The following is a list of key drops within said heroic instances.
A. The Nexus (Heroic):
The Nexus us a great place to start your gearing conquests for various reasons. Primarily because its one of the three easiest heroics to run. Secondly it has several drops within it that are cater made for the Restoration Shaman that’s looking to get started in the end-game.
- War Mace of Unrequited Love: First off is the best 1h for healers pre-raid and possibly your first purple (epic).
- Frozen Forest Kilt: Next is a very nice set of blue leggings that cover all of the major Shaman stats.
- Amulet of Dazzling Light: Third is a great shaman healer blue Necklace.
- Bands of Channeled Energy: Last but not least is Shaman bound blue wrist piece.
This run is probably one of the only runs that has four clear cut Resto-Shaman drops with the perfect stats setup and ready to go for you. Take advantage of it!
B. Utgarde Keep
Heroic UK is another easy Heroic but with slightly less payout then The Nexus, which is why it’s B on the list instead of A. There are really only two drops worthy of a Shaman’s time. However, you should keep it in your rotation because the drops combined with the Emblem collection from downed bosses really make UK runs worth while.
- Dalronn’s Jerkin: First a very important starter piece. This is one of the rare chest pieces you’re going to get until you save up your 80 Emblems of Heroism for the token chest (covered in Part 2).
- Annhylde’s Ring: Next is actually a epic drop from the final boss of UK, however the ring is not totally catered for use by a Resto Shaman, instead of the standard MP5 you have a haste bonus, odds are the ring is good enough to roll need for anyway depending on what you already have equipped.
Gundrak isn’t terribly hard, however the if not done right some of the bosses can be a pain which is what puts it above the top three on the easy-list. However, it is in the top 3 here because while it’s harder in my opion than Violet Hold, it does make up for that with the items received.
- Slad’ran’s Coiled Cord: A Rest-Shaman blue belt through and through, mp5 included.
- Shroud of Moorabi: The cloak you will find drops here is more of a “Priestly” cloak with it’s Spirit, but I think you will see that you will be hard pressed at first to find a heroic drop that caters to you – this is a decent choice for upgrade unless you already have a nice cloak that better suits your needs.
D. Violet Hold
Violet Hold in my opinion actually deserves the title of “Easiest Heroic” however, it can go downhill and get hard REALLY fast if you don’t have an experienced tank that knows what he’s doing regardless of what boss the instance chooses for you. Unfortunately the drops in VH while they may be upgrades they aren’t exactly the perfect pieces for a restoration Shaman mostly due to a lack of MP5 on the two items that drop here in VH.
- Girdle of the Ethereal: First is the the blue Mail belt. This is actually a good drop because it has a single gem slot (blue) that can be equipped with a nice MP5 gem to make up for the lack of MP5 on the belt itself. While the Gundrak belt drop is ideal, this may be the belt you end up equipping first depending on how well you can heal Gundrak.
- Zuramat’s Necklace: This is another necklace however I suggest if you have to choose to go with the amulet drop in The Nexus as this one replaces MP5 with Spirit.
E. Drak’Tharon Keep
H DTK is a boss intensive instance that mainly focuses on the bosses of said instance. Like a tedious arena. There are a lot of bosses (5 on heroic mode) so this makes for a good badge run. On top of the badges there are two drops worth noting.
- Limb Regeneration Bracers: Another item where Mp5 is replaced by Haste – not completely un-useful and a definite decent upgrade considering it is a purple (epic) set of wrists. It will be up to you as to whether it’s better for you than the blue wrists that drop in Heroic Nexus.
- Talisman of Troll Divinity: This drop is a trinket, something you may really need to replace by the time you hit 80. Most trinkets at this level are based around procs however, so whether or not they are worth it depends on what you already have and mathmatics that I honestly don’t have the patience to calculate (percent of procs compared to base stats, etc). This trinket is however, based around a base spirit bonus and a “Use” function that boosts your healing to your target by 58 and this stacks up to 5 times. This really isn’t a terrible trinket for healers in general, to be able to pop when the damage your tank is taking gets out of hand such as on bosses or big pulls or during “enraged” portions of fights.
F. Cavern of Time: The Culling of Stratholme
H COS is a very entertaining instance and without a decent tank and a group that’s motivated to move around and keep their eyes open it can be a bit intense. Other than the instance being fun and having a timed option (if you get to a certain part of the instance in a certain amount of time a special boss to kill is there and he drops a drake mount with a 100 percent drop rate, much like timed Z.A.) the instance has a few drops worth mentioning. Mostly in the way of jewelery.
- Necromancer’s Amulet: This neck piece is not as ideal as the drop in The Nexus, but if you can’t seem to snag that one, this is a decent back-up with Spirit instead of MP5
- Band of Guile: Another epic ring worth mentioning. Odds are once again, this ring’s standard of stats will make up for the line-up not being perfect. Odds are you’ll want to need roll this when it drops unless you’ve snatched something better by then.
- Leggaurds of Nature’s Power: First of all let me say that this is an epic drop and I recommend you roll need on it unless you have an elemental shaman DPS’ing in your group. However, I personally would keep the blue leggings from The Nexus on. These supply about 100 more mana to your pull and about 30 more Spell Power by comparison, but they lack MP5 – they are for all intents and purposes a Elemental set of leggings. Not only that but they lack gem slots which the blue pants from Nexus have 2 of (Red and Blue) so technically if you felt you were going to miss out a lot on spell power by not taking them, you could easily have more spell power total coming out of the blues from The Nexus than you would out of these. So basically you’re really only losing some mana and stamina and what little spell power the 10 more intellect is going to offer (not much). Additionally these gem slots offer you the ability to gain even more MP5 if you don’t mind the loss of SP. I would need on these simply because having a purple for as many slots as possible can pay off in the future if you join groups who judge you by color of gear rather than statistics. A good item to keep in the bank – also a good item to pop out when questing solo.
G. Halls of Lightning
H HOL and HOS are on par with one another, while HOS may tend to be easier than HOL on a marginal level. This fact couples with the idea that you get a purple belt that proves to be the best Shaman belt until you raid makes it an easy choice to focus on first when deciding between the two. But, in all fairness if you can heal one you can heal the other. You will likely excell in this instance up until the final boss as a Shaman healer. The final boss makes your party move a lot limiting the time you can stand still and cast heals. Riptide will be key as well as keeping Nature’s Swiftness’ CD up until you really need to pop a Chain Heal. If your party is smart/experienced this boss can be one of the easiest in the game, if they aren’t then it will fail very hard and very fast making it one the hardest. All in all you will enjoy yourself if you have the stats to succeed and if you’re lucky the payout will be lovely.
- Mail Girdle of the Audient Earth: With MP5, SP and Int. worthy of an epic – you won’t want to pass this one up. It’s your best belt – it’s a sure upgrade once you get to the point where you can heal well enough for Halls of Lightning runs.
- Patroller’s War-Kilt: A DPS mail set of leggings. You should have something more suitable by this time – but if by some chance you don’t – pick them up. The crit won’t be worth much but it has a socket (Red) and some decent stats otherwise.
H. Halls of Stone
As I said above – the two are very close as far as which one you really should do first – in my opinion the waist equip puts HOL over the top though by numbers HOS probably renders more viable upgrades than HOL. This is only a tough instance if you are heavy on melee. This is of course a problem for healers with very little viable AOE healing – Shamans should be able to cover melee groups pretty well – in fact I welcome them now.
- Sabatons of the Ages: This is one of the very few sets of boots that are good for a Resto Shaman so you should definitely put some time into attaining them. Unfortunately, these aren’t perfect for Resto as they lack any MP5 – they replace it with Haste – I do however prefer Haste over Crit (for super fast LHW’s).
- Lightning-Charged Gloves: These are a lovely set of blue gloves ideal for your job as a Shaman healer with a decent MP5 count on top of the general allotment of other caster stats. These will hold you over if need be until you can get a set of purple Reputation rendered gloves that I will mention in Section Two.
- Spark of Life: The instance has two viable healer trinkets. This one has two Equip bonuses; a Haste bonus and the chance for a healing (or damaging) spell to have the chance to gain 175 mana every 5 seconds for 15 seconds. This is actually a decent trinket especially if you’re running low on MP5 as it is but, due to it being in a later tier instance you may already have something you like better and enough MP5 to not need it. It’s still great because it has the chance to proc this mana regen on any heal, not just criticals. This is the more suitable of the two trinket drops in this instance.
- Forge Ember: This is the other trinket drop in HOS. This is more of a DPS drop as it grants you two Equip bonuses as the previous trinket does but, these grant you a crit bonus and a proc that has a chance of increasing your Spell Power (by 512) for 10 seconds. Good news is like the other trinket this two has a chance of happening on any damaging or healing spell that hits (not crits).
This instance is probably one of the hardest instances. The first pull is probably the most difficult part but throughout it is a bit tedious. This is why it makes it so far down the list with ease. The shield that drops in the instance however, moves it back up a bit… Check it out.
- Facade Shield of Glyphs – This is probably only low on the list because I personally suggest you get the Emblem shield first and foremost thus rendering this drop useless – which is why AN isn’t higher than this on the list. It’s a great Rest0-Shaman blue shield.
J. Old Kingdom
This isn’t as hard as you might think given it’s place on my list as a basic level – I think the hardest part for a healer of any type is the close vacinity of the groups of mobs to one another (one false move and you have 2-3 groups aggro’d instead of one) and the poison and hard hitting small trash. There are various drops that are worth looking at and possibly looting, but it is all clearly filled with crit for DPS. As mentioned before Crit isn’t all bad, but it’s no replacement for MP5 starting off. Take a look at these…
- Fiery Obelisk Handguards: The purple drop of the instance, perfect for an elemental Shaman with plenty of crit and other such stats. Not perfect for the Resto Counterpart. You should already have a purple set of gloves that are better suited at this point. Still this is a purple and such it’s a great “Need” roll for an offset especially with the dual-spec features in 3.1!
- Brood Plague Helmet: Another Elemental drop that is suitable for a Resto-Shaman if they have nothign better. Replacing the crit with MP5 on the mail helmet. It’s saving grace for the Resto would be it’s 2 gem sockets (red & meta). You can probably make up some ground with a nice MP5 gem and a nice meta.
- Amulet of the Spell Flinger: Following the pattern of the rest of the drops this necklace is high on crit and spell power but lack the key elements making it ideal for a healer. Might be a good necklace for your PVP set.
K. The Oculus
This instance is incredibly tedious, long and original – yeah I know. It’s great the first time around and terrible from the second time on. Unfortunately, it does drop a nice ring and a “eh” cloak.
- Ancient Dragon Spirit Cape: Better sported by a Priest or something of that sort – but if you haven’t tagged a nice Shaman cloak by this time – you probably should snag it.
- Scaled Armor of Drakos: A primarily DPS chest with critical strike rating and spell power. Not a bad pick up if you have nothing better. But you should by the time you can actually do H Oc.
- Band of Enchanted Growth: As previously mentioned, this is the ring. Nice spell power, nice MP5 – take a gander.
L. Utgarde Pinnacle
There’s a good reason this is last. There’s no real drops for a Shaman worth noting. Sorry, guys.
Section Two: Reputation Gear
- Grips of Fierce Pronouncements: The best reputation item for the Rest-Shaman. This should be your first objective when it comes to rep. So grab your Wyrmrest Tabard as soon as possible!
B. Kirin Tor
C. Argent Crusade
- Battle Mender’s Helmet: A critical/SP mail (blue) head piece that isn’t a bad start.
D. Ebon Blade
To be continued…