Ribeiro Knows Best: Improving The Resto Shaman

June 20, 2009

There have been discussions about this very topic all over the resto-shaman blogosphere for a long time.  Probably for the entire 5-year life of World of Warcraft.  Right now the problem the Shaman faces as a healer is that it doesn’t excell at any one healing scenario.  While balancing has been taken to the next level as of late by Blizzard we still seem to fall short when compared to at least one other healing class depending on what aspect of healing we are discussing.  The two primary healing scenarios in any MMO are of course AOE vs. Single Target.  AOE of course being a loose term as there are various forms an AOE can take shape in.  Chained heals, cone heals, and actual AOE burst heals in the form of an explosion of healing power originating from the caster.  Essentially the Resto-Shaman that used to be a very key healer in any raid is now the mediocre healer that gets set asside the first time your healing roster becomes too large to include every healer in your guild.

The question is, what do you change or tweak about the resto-shaman to make him/her a prominent healer again and what should their healing niche be?  Should they modify the Shaman’s chain healing ability to make them the choice AOE healer or should the improve the Healing Waves in order to make them the ideal single-target healer?

Personally I think it would be a waste of a sweet spell – the Chain Heal – to not focus on the Shaman’s ability to AOE heal.  I love it, simply put.  It’s unique, it’s fun to cast – it’s the calling card of the Resto Shaman.  The question was always, what can you do to the Chain Heal ability to make it better in turn making the Shaman better at AOE healing?

My answer is, “Nothing”.  Frankly the answer isn’t in modifying Chain Heal or any heal that is already in existence for that matter (though Healing Wave could use a little versatility).  The key is in adding something new to the arsenal or a new feature to one of the other spells that will enhance the Shaman’s AOE capabilities.

My main idea is simple.

The key to my idea is Riptide.  In our current state, Riptide is a very excellent addition to the arsenal of a Resto-Shaman.  We finally got a Heal-Over-Time spell and the Tidal Waves buff that you get with it really makes the rotation of a Shaman much less boring than it was a while ago before the days of the Riptide. 

Right now, when you cast Riptide you can cast a Chain Heal on the same target and it will absorb the Riptide allowing for  a slightly larger number on your Chain Heal.  However it does remove the Riptide (thus the word absorb).  My idea was to change this situation up.  A lot of caster classes are looking alike in many areas to keep them even now days.  For instance, Hunters, Mages and Warlocks now have the ability if spec’d right to proc instant casts of certain spells.  Such as the Shadowbolt via Back Lash.  Why not take a few pages from the news class – the Death Knight? 

What could I possibly mean?  Well, take a look at the Death Knight’s Pestilence ability.  In Death Knight form essentially, you put a series of disease based DOT’s on your primary target.  With the click of a button you can use Pestilence and it will chain together any targets within a certain distance of that target and put the same diseases on them as well, effectively turning your DOT into an AOE DOT.  Now, try putting that same system into the form of a heal – more specifically a combination of Riptide and Chain Heal.  You cast Riptide on your tank and with the simple cast of Chain Heal you put Riptide on two other melee targets.  Effectively turning your Riptide into a partial AOE.  This would give your heals a boost.  Riptide in itself is week so perhaps a tweak of the amount it ticks for is also in order….


The Death Knight’s Blood Boil ability is another key idea in this new structure of healing I’m thinking of.  With the use of Blood Boil anyone effected with a disease explodes for an amount of damage multiplied by however many diseases you’ve managed to infect them with.  You could use this as well.  Give the Shaman an ability to explode any target that has the new Riptide on them for a burst of heals.  To ensure this isn’t overpowered (and it could easily be) give it a relatively long recast timer.  You could make it a new shock of some sort.  This would give you the ability to burst AOE heal as many targets as you can spread it to with your Chain Heal – effectively making the Shaman a very effective AOE healer as well as making the Chain Heal Glyph worth a damn.

Anyway, that’s my idea.  What do my fellow Resto’s think?