Resto Shamans are a slowly dying breed right now in Cataclysm content. Through much of WOTLK as well, they were a relatively underplayed class, or at least everywhere I have been. Most players who are serious about their healing decide to roll a druid or priest, or a paladin just because they’re easy. But enough of that.
Resto Shamans currently receive a lot of hate from a lot of the middle-top line guilds, because they believe that resto Shamans are not feasible as healers for neither 10 nor 25 man content. Of course, they are lacking behind the other healing classes on some fights, but this is not all to consider.
Firstly, there was recently a buff to Purification, a talent which is automatically granted to any player who chooses to spec down the restoration tree. Prior, this talent increased all healing done by 10%, and recently was changed to 25%. This does put us in the game a little more competitvely against other healing classes. However, we still lack mobility, and a lot of the instant cast throughput that all of the healers have. We are typically gap fillers, but can work really well on our own or tank healing as well.
Most shamans I have raided with as resto don’t agree with the way I spend my talents, gear, or heal. However, I destroy them both on the meter for mana gained and throughput. I also bring a lot to the raid, and utility is the second of the two things to consider when bringing a particular class into a raid. Although Shamans may lack in throughput on some encounters to other healing classes, they are a great utility class regardless of the spec you bring them in as. If you don’t have another shaman, a resto can bring in a wide array of buffs. Through totems they can bring in ranged, melee, or spell haste, spell power, mp5, agility and strength, armor, resistance, immunity to fear, pushback reduction, 10% reduced physical damage, tons of powerful cleansing, LOTS of mp5 to the entire raid via mana tide totem, and further, soon we will bring a raid mitigation CD to the game. So regardless of how you think a shaman will perform on the meter, think of what he can do for both the raid and the other healers’ performance.
Aside from all of the utilities we bring to the raid, take into consideration the fact that we do have quite a few very useful healing tools and talents. With our mastery, we can quickly bring a tank from nearly empty to full health in a much faster way than even paladins can do. We can also quickly top off a nearly dead raid group that is stacked up with healing rain and a combination of haste and mastery. Of course, most of our healing mechanics are more viable in 25 mans, because of the way that healing rain and chain heal work. We are however very effective tank and spot healers in 10 mans, so do not discredit us from doing this. With the upcoming change to mastery, Shamans will be even more effective healers, and may compete directly with paladins and druids.
There are a few things to take into consideration when choosing a restoration shaman for your raid. Make sure that they are not stacking any particular stats, neither for reforging or gems. They need to have their meta activated, and should be using mostly int gems, but should be getting int socket bonuses via int/haste or int/spirit gems. They should not be reforging out their spirit for haste or mastery unless they are having no mana issues. There should be somewhat of a balance between haste and mastery once mana is not an issue. Stacking one at the expense of the other will create problems. Do not allow them to use anything but int trinkets, preferably tsunami/doll/jar/fall of mortality. Also, make sure that the shaman calls out when he is dropping mana tide. Since Mana tide totem (MTT) grants spirit, raid members will get the full effect of its mana regen if they do not cast while it is out. There are many ways to accomplish and rotate this cd with other healers, tanks and dps.
All in all, remember that shamans are feasible both as great healers and an awesome utility class as a whole. Take one.