WotLK 3.3.5 Resto Shaman PvP Guide
This guide is meant to serve as a basic PvP guide for Resto Shaman beginners, not an exhaustive compendium on PvP/Arena strategies and team compositions, although I will touch on those subjects briefly. More so, it will contain such information as: Talent Spec and In-Depth look at each talent, Gears/Enchants/Gemming/Glyphs, Abilities and their various uses, and some general PvP strategy.
I would also like to make this disclaimer: I'm not claiming to be some uber leet paid-to-play pro best in the world PvPer. While I have played the shaman class off and on since Vanilla, I never made it into any of the top 100 teams on my server in retail, but still did well and have thousands of HKs under my belt. That said, I feel as though I have enough information to give those with little to no Resto Shaman experience at least a basic understanding of the class.
Of course, people have different ideas and may not agree with mine. So let me also say that the information in the following paragraphs is what I have learned from experience and what works best for me. By all means, if you have something to add or think I'm incorrect and would like to provide more accurate information, make a post and let me know so I can edit the guide. I certainly don't know everything, so saying your ideas and thoughts in a constructive manner will only help those looking for a guide.
Ia. What's so great about Resto Shaman, anyway?
Good question! The answer is, a lot! Here, let me lay it out for you:
- Mobility & Kiting (Ghost Wolf, Earthbind, Frost Shock)
- Good Survivability (Mail Armor & Shield, Stoneclaw, Totems, Earth Shield, Talents)
- Variety of Heals (Quick-cast high crit heals, Slow-cast big heals, instant heal with HoT, Healing Shield, Earth Living Weapon]
- Totems for Every Occasion
- Low Cooldown Interrupt & CC (Wind shear and Hex)
- Excellent Mana Longevity (Water Shield, Talents, Mana Spring, Mana Tide)
- Cleansing/Decurse (Both direct cast and through totem)
To sum it all up: Resto Shamans are incredibly fluid and versatile healers, who can easily adapt to and survive any situation. Powerful cast heals combined with the passive healing of earth shield and riptide can heal through massive amounts of damage. Running out of mana becomes a non issue with careful management of Water Shield, Mana Spring and Mana Tide Totems, allowing you to outlast your opponents. It's extremely important that you use your totems as much as possible - many are invaluable for PvP, and can make a match that would normally be very difficult, quite easy. Purge is one of your most useful abilities, allowing you to dispel important buffs and HoTs from your opponents. Bloodlust will make your team-mates unstoppable killing machines, but just make sure to use it at the right time, it has a long cooldown. Your low cooldown interrupt and pseudo-polymorph allow you to keep the pressure on healers by interrupting a large amount of their casts. With practice and learning, Resto Shamans can be incredibly fun and rewarding to play.
The talent spec I use for Arena, BGs and HC Dungeons is 0/13/58
. It's not ideal for raiding, but I'm sure you could get away with it. It's a solid build with good survivability and healing. Certain points can be swapped around if you want (like Tidal Focus ---> Totemic Focus), but most of these are must have's. In this section I'm going to look at all the talents and explain a little bit more about them and why they might be important. Some things on the tooltips are easy to overlook. When discussing talents, the names will be color coded to indicate whether a talent increases your Healing Ability
, or Mana Longevity
. Talents can be in more than one category.
Improved Healing Wave - 5/5: Reduces the time it takes for you to cast HW by half a second. That's your beefy heal, and you're going to be using it a fair amount, so this is very important.
Healing Grace - 3/3: Reduces the chance for your spells - such as Earth Shield, Water Shield, Riptide, Bloodlust and Earthliving Weapon - to be dispelled by 30%. These are all very important spells, which makes this a very useful talent.
Tidal Focus - 2/5: 2% less mana spent on casting heals never hurts, and it unlocks the next tier of talents.
Healing Focus - 3/3: 70% pushback reduction when casting spells. This is another must-have spell, otherwise you're never gonna get any heals off with all manner of scoundrels beating on you. When combined with Earth Shield, which grants another 30% pushback reduction, you are immune to spell pushback.
Improved Water Shield - 3/3: Gives Riptide and HW a 100% chance and LHW a 60% chance to give you mana as if you consumed a charge of water shield (460 mana). Water shield has to be active for this to take effect. This is a great mana efficiency talent, since your heals will be critting a good amount.
Tidal Force - 1/1: Increases the crit chance of your cast-time heals by 60%, and drops by 20% each time you get a crit. This is a great talent for when you need some guaranteed heals with oomph when someone is taking massive damage. It can also be macroed with Nature's Swiftness + HW to give yourself an instant crit HW.
Ancestral Healing - 3/3: Causes your healing crits to give the target 10% physical damage reduction for 10 seconds (does not include earth shield crits). Again, you're going to be seeing a lot of heal crits, so this is active a fair amount of the time. A lot of classes do melee damage, so this is a great increase in survivability.
Restorative Totems - 3/3: 60% more healing from Healing Stream Totem, and 20% more mana from Mana Spring Totem, and since Mp5 is always good, a very useful talent. Not to mention, it unlocks Mana Tide.
Focused Mind - 3/3: 30% reduction to silences and interrupts. Very useful talent - makes strangulate, imp. CS, silence etc. laughably short.
Nature's Swiftness - 1/1: Can't pass this one up - this is your go-to "Oh crap" button. If you or a buddy is getting low, pop this + tidal force and HW, and watch your enemies tear their hair out in frustration as he goes from 20% to 100% in under a second.
Purification - 5/5: 10% more power to all your heals and unlocks Cleanse Spirit. Nough' said.
Mana Tide Totem - 1/1: A 5 min CD totem that restores 24% of your mana over 12 seconds. An obvious boon to your mana longevity, pop this earlier rather than later (when you reach ~70% mana) so that the cooldown is ticking down again well before you need to use it again. Always drop a stoneclaw totem before/after dropping this so it gets a shield.
Cleanse Spirit - 1/1: Yes, finally! A way to remove curses! No more will we be rendered utterly useless by curse of tongues! This ability is a saving grace for shamans all over kalimdor, and should not be overlooked. It removes 1 poison, 1 disease, and 1 curse all at the same time, which covers a wide array of ailments.
Nature's Guardian - 4/5: When you reach <30% health, you get an immediate 12% boost to your HP, so the more health you have the more effective this talent is. Not to be underestimated, this talent provides a big boost to your survivability.
Nature's Blessing - 3/3: Increases your bonus healing by 15% of your Intellect. Intellect was already useful - we like mana and spell crit; but now it also gives you spellpower! Win/Win!
Blessing of the Eternals - 2/2: 4% chance to crit with all heals, and essentially 100% chance to apply earthliving on the target when they are below 35% health. This makes healing people who are getting focused a little bit less painful, and the crit never hurts either.
Earth Shield - 1/1: This baby is one of your best friends. It's an instant cast shield that you can apply to yourself or an ally, but never on more than one person. When fully talented, it has 8 charges that are activated when the wearer takes direct damage, causing them to be healed. It also reduces spell pushback suffered by 30%, which means when applied to most casters, gives them 100% pushback resistance. It can crit. Use it on whoever is taking a lot of damage, or on yourself when you are being attacked and need to heal others. Make sure that you always have Water Shield up if Earth Shield is not.
Improved Earth Shield - 2/2: 2 more charges and 20% more healing for earth shield which means mana saved from having to cast less often and more effective heals. Sounds good to me.
Ancestral Awakening - 3/3: When you get a crit with a HW, LHW or Riptide, the party/raid member in range with the lowest amount of HP is healed for an additional 30% of the amount healed. This talent can save a lot of people's butts without you even noticing, and sometimes it might even be your butt! Great talent that further increases the effectiveness of your heals.
Tidal Waves - 5/5: Gives your Riptide ability 100% chance to reduce the cast time of your next HW by 30% and increase the critical strike chance of your next LHW by 25% until two such spells have been cast. This talent is very important. Tidal Waves should always be up, Riptide should always be on cooldown, and you shouldn't be casting HW without this buff up. Because of this talent, it makes gemming/gearing for haste superfluous.
Riptide - 1/1: Yay! Shammies finally get a direct heal without a cast time! Unfortunately, it's a little but mediocre. It's fairly low powered, and the HoT attached to it is also fairly low powered, but regardless, it procs Tidal Waves and your totem (Totem of Surging Seas) and can be thrown in in between other casts to bolster your target's heals. Although overall a fairly weak heal, it's still incredibly important and should be used every time the cooldown is up.
Earth's Grasp - 2/2: Increases the health of stoneclaw totem by 50% and the radius of Earthbind totem by 20%, and reduces the cooldown of both by 30%. This is another very important talent since you're going to be using both Earthbind and Stoneclaw A LOT.
Ancestral Knowledge - 3/5: 6% more intellect means more mana, spell crit, and because of Ancestral Knowledge, more spell power. It also unlocks the next tier of talents, so can't go wrong there.
Improved Shields - 3/3: 15% more mana gained from Water Shield and 15% more healing from Earth Shield. Both important spells, making this a very useful talent.
Improved Ghost Wolf - 2/2: This one little talent will increase your mobility 10 fold. Ghost Wolf becomes instant cast, meaning you can drop an earthbind, pop in ghost wolf, and get outta dodge in a hurry. Snares have less of an effect on you when youre in Ghostwolf, so if you and your opponent are both snared, you will always be one step ahead. Use Ghost Wolf, and use it OFTEN.
Guardian Totems - 2/2: More armor from Stoneskin, which is all well and good, except you never use it. But the 2 seconds of grounding totem make a big difference, because you DO use that one, a lot.
Shamanistic Focus - 1/1: Shock spells cost 45% less mana. Very useful spell since you are going to be flame shocking/frost shocking quite a bit, and this makes it a lot less mana intensive.
This section will explain which stats are important for you, and how to gear for them including: Armor and Weapon, Gems, Enchants and Glyphs.
IIIa. StatsSo what stats ARE you looking for as a resto shaman? First I should point out that there is in reality, more than one way to gear a resto shaman. You can go Crit Heavy or Mp5 heavy. Crit builds rely on LHW crits and Imp. Water Shield procs. The other method, and the one I prefer, is gearing for Mp5 and using HW more. I find that the passive mana regen allows for more comfort during long fights. Not to mention, if youre going with a crit build, you rely on RNG. If youre healing someone with a healing debuff, you NEED those heals to crit, and if they don't, your target is going to drop. With an Mp5/HW build, you can always rely on HW being consistently powerful to heal through large damage, and still have good mana regen because of water shield + mana spring + your wealth of Mp5. If you are an elemental shaman going resto for offspec, your only option may be a crit heavy build, but this guide is mostly intended for an Mp5 build.
Basically, these five:
You need Spellpower to make your heals more powerful - the higher the better. Spells like LHW and Riptide don't have a great spell coefficient for increasing effectiveness, but you still want them to be as effective as possible. Your goal for Spellpower should be enough for the Riptide HoT to consistently tick for ~1k.
Mp5 is the big one, and you want a lot of it. You can never get enough Mp5. Coupled with your Water Shield, Mana Spring and Mana Tide, you will have very impressive mana regen. The longer you last during a fight, the better the chance that you will come out on top.
Stamina and Resilience is fairly self explanatory. Every class needs stam and resilfor PvP, but you're gonna want it a lot since you dont have as many defensive/escape cooldowns as other healing classes, and at times you will find yourself having to tank a lot of damage.
Intellect is important because it gives you mana, a small a mount of spell crit, but also because of one of our talents, you also get 15% of your Int in spellpower. So if you have 1k Int thats 150 free spellpower.
My Stats Look Like This:
3,038 Spellpower (With Earthliving Weapon)
18.73% Spell Crit
678 Mp5 w/ Water Shield + Mana Spring. 457 w/ Neither Active
You may be wondering why haste isn't on the list. Remember, this isn't PvE. Because of Tidal Waves, HW pretty much always has 30% haste, and LHW is already a fast cast time. You would be sacrificing other important stats for a redundant one. Don't gear/gem for haste.
IIIb. Armor & Weapons
As a shaman, you're going to want a lot of resilience. In fact, you shouldn't be happy until you hit around 1400, but don't go past 1440. This means that the majority of your gear should be PvP gear, save for your totem, ring, and trinket. Obviously, use what you have, and certainly some PvE weapons are probably a better choice than the WF Gavel. Just make sure to keep in mind the stats I mentioned when kitting yourself out.
-Helm, Shoulders, Chest, Gloves, Legs-
The two types of shaman gladiator armor are: Mail and Ringmail. Mail is for crit, Ringmail is for Mp5. That means you want the Ringmail. Before you are able to get full Wrathful Ringmail, I find that doing this can help you with resilience:
*Get 2 pieces of Mail, and the other three of Ringmail. You will lose out on some Mp5, but also gain some crit in the process. But the main idea of doing this is to get the double +100 Resilience 2 piece set bonuses from both types of armor. This can help you get closer to 1400 resil if you are on the lower GS side.*
But once you have 3 or more pieces of Wrathful, they have enough resilience where you can start replacing the mail with ringmail.
-Necklace, Cloak, Bracers, Belt, Boots-
For your offpieces, again, you want Salvation for Mp5. If you are really low on crit, like under 12 or 13%, you might want to grab one or two pieces of dominance to boost your crit a little bit... but if you have the two pieces of Mail armor for the set bonus and the WF Ring of Dominance, your Belt, Boots, Bracers, Neck and Cloak should all be Salvation. Remember, Mp5 is king.
-Weapon & Shield-
Unfortunately, PvP weapons and shield are not particularly easy to obtain on Molten. You can get the Furious Weapon for 73 VP and Shield for 70 VP, or you can donate for relentless/wrathful/whatever. Otherwise, you need 1800 rating for the Wrathful weapon.
You want your weapon and shield to have Mp5, so take the Gavel/Salvation and Redoubt. If you don't have the vote points, and don't want to/can't donate, just get a decent PvE weapon. HC PoS has a nice dagger, or you can even buy a [Battered Hilt] and do the quest chain if you have the cash. The weapon it provides you with will last until your wrathful weapon.
Go to ICC and farm rep until exalted. Get the [Ashen Band of Wisdom], which after smiting a few skeletons (depending on your server, it shouldn't take too long to get exalted), will become the best ring you can get in the game.
The only Wrathful ring is Dominance, aka Crit, but that's fine. At this point you should have plenty of Mp5 from the rest of your gear.
The first thing you should get on any character is the [Medallion of the Horde], the good one that gives you 153 resil. That's a lot of resil, plus the invaluable ability to get out of any loss-of-control effect.
For your second trinket, you can choose to go with Survivability or Healing/Mana Longevity. I suppose it's really up to you, depending on how/what you play. For 3s you might be better off with survivability if you're getting focused a lot, or for BGs. Anyways, it never hurts to have both.
[Purified Lunar Dust] - 179 Spellpower + chance on spellcast to gain 304 mp5 for 15 seconds
[Corroded Skeleton Key] - 228 Stamina + 2 min CD 6400 Dmg. Absorption
Both are great and both have their uses. I usually use the skeleton key, since I have plenty of Mp5 and SP from my other gear. The 2.2k extra health makes a huge difference, and if you use stoneclaw totem and the trinket at the same time, you can absorb 11k damage.
Both trinkets cost 60 Emblems of Frost.
If you need something easier to get to tide you over until you get the emblems, there is a nice BoE trinket that functions much like [Purified Lunar Dust].
[Je'Tze's Bell] - 106 Spellpower + chance on spellcast to gain 100 Mp5 for 15 seconds.
Check the AH often because it's not up a lot, and when it is it might not stay up for long.
I use [Totem of the Surging Sea]. It grants you 85 Spellpower each time you use Riptide, and stacks up to 3 times. With the amount you use riptide, that means essentially a permanent 255 Spellpower buff. It costs 30 Emblems of Frost.
Head: [Arcanum of Dominance] - 29 Spellpower + 20 Resilience (40 Stone Keeper's Shards)
Shoulders: [Inscription of Dominance] - 23 Spellpower + 15 Resilience (30 Stone Keeper's Shards) *If you are Inscriptionist get [Master's Inscription of the Crag] for 60 int + 15 spirit*
Back: [Enchant Cloak - Greater Speed] - 23 haste *If you are a tailor get [Darkglow Imbroidery] for a chance to restore mana on cast*
Chest: [Enchant Chest - Exceptional Resilience] - 20 Resilience -OR- [Enchant Chest - Powerful Stats] - 10 to all stats, if you don't need the resil.
Wrists: [Enchant Bracers - Superior Spellpower] - 30 Spellpower. *If you are a LW get either the Stamina or Spellpower Fur Linings giving you 102 stam or 73 sp*
Hands: [Enchant Gloves - Exceptional Spellpower] - 28 Spellpower
Legs: [Sapphire Spellthread] - 50 Spellpower + 30 Stamina. Alternatively, if you are lacking in Resil, get [Earthen Leg Armor] for 40 Resilience + 28 Stamina.
Feet: [Enchant Boots - Tuskarr's Vitality] - 15 Stamina + 8% movement increase
Rings: If you're an enchanter, get [Enchant Ring - Greater Spellpower] on both rings for 46 Spellpower.
Weapon: [Enchant Weapon - Might Spellpower] - 63 Spellpower
Shield: [Enchant Shield - Greater Intellect] - 25 Intellect
When you are gemming your Resto Shaman, all you have to do is take into account the five stats -EXCEPT Mp5. DONT GEM Mp5. I MEAN IT MISTER- I mentioned earlier. The gems all listed are epic gems - they can be bought from the AH, or cut from raw gems. Raw gems can be purchased in Org in the Hall of Legends.
Meta Socket: [Insightful Earthsiege Diamond] - 21 Intellect + Chance to Restore Mana (600) on Spellcast
Red Sockets: [Runed Cardinal Ruby] - 23 Spellpower
Blue Sockets: [Solid Majestic Zircon] - 30 Stamina
Yellow Sockets: [Mystic King's Amber] - 20 Resilience -OR- [Brilliant King's Amber] - 20 Intellect, once your gear is good enough to reach 1400 without gemming Resil.
If you can't afford epic gems, get the equivalent rare gems. [Kharmaa's Grace] is a unique-equipped gem (meaning you can only have 1 equipped) purchased with 20 Stone Keeper's Shards. It grants 20 Resilience.
[Glyph of Stoneclaw Totem]: Causes your Stoneclaw Totem to also apply a 15 second shield to you that absorbs 4340 damage. This is a very important Glyph. Talented, Stoneclaw Totem has a 21 second cooldown, which means you should be using it often. Use it before you have to cast HW. Use it when warriors bladestorm, or right after you get cheap shotted.
You CAN still drop totems while silenced. DO THAT. If you get silenced/imp. CS/strangulated -- DROP A STONECLAW
[Glyph of Earth Shield]: Earth Shield heals for 20% more. Earth Shield is one of your staple abilities, and you want it to be effective, especially when your life is depending on it. 20% is a nice boost.
[Glyph of Healing Wave]: Your Healing Wave also heals you for 20% of the healing effect when you heal someone else. It can crit. This is incredibly helpful for when you're healing someone else but are taking damage yourself. Between Earth Shield, Riptide, and this, it's not hard to keep yourself up while still healing someone else who is taking a lot of damage.
**If you are running a Crit Heavy build, you may find this Glyph useful as well, to replace Glyph of Healing Wave***
[Glyph of Lesser Healing Wave]: Your LHW heals for 20% more when your target is affected by Earth Shield.
[Glyph of Water Shield]: Your Water Shield has 1 additional charge (making it 4).
[Glyph of Ghost Wolf]: You heal 1% health every 5 seconds while in Ghost Wolf form.
Take whatever you want for a third glyph. I prefer either [Glyph of Renewed Life] to eschew the Reincarnation reagent, or [Glyph of Water Walking] to eschew the Water Walking reagent. Both are nice for BGs.
That's it for the basic overview. The next part will be released shortly and contain information on all your abilities and their situational uses, as well as some basic PvP strategy, Addons, Surviving against specific classes, and some starter Arena tips.
Part II: PvP
An important part of any class in PvP is learning to use efficient keybinds. Any ability you use often should be bound to an easy to reach key, period. It may seem like you have far more abilities to bind than available space (depending on your class of course *cough* rogues *cough*), but don't fret - You can set it so you have to hold down Shift, or Control, to keys. I use Alt for Self-Cast, which is also extremely important.
If you are aren't aware, there is an option already in-game to designate a specific key to be the "self-cast" key. By default it's Alt, which works fine for me. Basically, it means that if you are targeting someone else and healing/doing damage, all you have to do is hold down alt and use one of your heals. You will keep the current target while casting the heal on yourself. It's essential to learn to do this, because targeting yourself every time you need a heal is just not an option.
You have lots of available keys to macro things to. Here's some of the binds I use.
1, 2, 3, 4, 5,
E, Shift + E
Q, Shift + Q
Shift + Middle Mouse
Shift + `
X, Shift + X
Shift + F
Shift + 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Control + F, R, N, E
As you can see, there's a huge number of possibilities for keybinds that are still all within easy reach of WASD. Experiment around and bind what works for you. Even if you're not used to keybinds and have trouble using all your abilities through keybinds, at least bind your more important spells to keys so you can get used to it.
For Example, here's some of my abilities and their hotkeys, if you need inspiration:
Lesser Healing Wave - 1
Healing Wave - 2
Chain Heal - 3
Riptide - 4
Cleanse Spirit - 5
Wind Shear - E
Purge - Q
Earthbind Totem - Shift + E
Cleansing Totem - Shift + Q
Earth Shield - Middle Mouse
Lava Burst - X
Hex - Shift + X
Macros are, again, something that are important for pretty much every class. I find as a shaman, at least, I don't have to deal with quite as many macros as some other classes. You can have as many macros as you want, or as few as you want, but the ones I'm going to post are the ones I feel like everyone should at least try to use:
Nature's Swiftness + Tidal Force + Healing Wave:
This is your Oh-Crap macro. Spam this for an instant almost guaranteed Healing Wave crit on you or a friend.
/cast Tidal Force
/cast Nature's Swiftness
/cast Healing Wave
2v2 Healer Macro:
Use these macros in 2v2 to replace your normal abilities like LHW, HW, Riptide, Cleanse and Earthshield. They make it so you can heal your partner without targetting them, or while targetting someone else.
/cast [modifier :alt,target=player] [nomodifier,target=party1] Lesser Healing Wave
Replace Lesser Healing Wave with whatever spell you want it to effect, and then just put the macro in that spell's usual spot. This macro makes it so even if I am purging a priest for example, I can press this macro and still heal my partner. If you press Alt and the macro it will heal yourself. Very useful macro
Focus macro for Wind Shear and Hex:
/cast [target=focus] Hex (or Wind Shear)
Set a focus target with /focus, and use this macro to quickly Wind Shear or Hex them even if you are busy with someone else. Very useful for arenas
As far as addons go, some of these will just be preference. There are two that I consider fairly mandatory, and others you may or not wish to use.
UI: I use the default blizzard UI, cause I don't mind it. If you're looking for something more customizable, try Bartender
Arena: I use Gladius. It gives you your opponents unit frames and allows you to customize them in many ways, including size, location, text, etc. You can also see their trinket cooldown, and what they are casting. Must have for arena.
Healing: I don't use healbot or any healing addons other than Grid. Basically, it just displays your party/raid in a much more manageable fashion than the standard bliz unit frames. Totally customizable, it displays their names in boxes, and can show buffs and debuffs in different corners of each box. Boxes are class color coordinated. Must have, wouldn't think of healing without it.
Shaman Specific: I use Shaman's Friend which is just a great shaman addon in general, regardless of spec. For resto specifically, it has a nice Earth Shield tracker that shows who has it, how many charges are left, and remaining duration. The addon can also do other things, like announce purges, interrupts, hex's, and many others. Recommended, but not neccesary.
Ok, sorry but this second part is going to have to be delivered in tidbits :S. I got the first part done over the weekend, but now I have work, so I'll try to add another couple sections each night after work. This way, I should finish by the end of the week :D