Val’anyr Explained

•May 5, 2009 • Leave a Comment

A few days ago, Ghostcrawler said they were going to explain the proc on Val’anyr, Hammer of Ancient Kings, and yesterday they posted that explanation:

We have received many questions about how the proc works on Val’anyr, the Hammer of the Ancient Kings. While we originally intended for this effect to be a mystery, we realize that guilds now know what the tooltip on the proc says without necessarily knowing the details on how it works. This leads to situations where a healer may not know if assembling the hammer is worth it for them (hint: it is), and perhaps even worse, a misinformed leader may not think you deserve the hammer (hint: you do). 

Players also wonder if the proc makes the item deserving of its legendary status given that the stat allocation is normal for items of its item level (Hint: it does). 

The effect reads “Your healing spells have a chance to cause Blessing of Ancient Kings for 15 seconds allowing your heals to shield the target absorbing damage equal to 15% of the amount healed.” 

The way this works is that when the proc happens (which is a 10% chance whenever a hot or direct spell heals, with a 45 sec internal cooldown) you gain a buff (the Blessing) on yourself. Now all of your heals for the next 15 sec cause an 8 sec damage shield. The shield stacks with itself. It includes healing done by subsequent ticks of existing hots on the target. Note that the spell has to actually heal, so hots ticking on a fully-healed target cannot cause the proc. However the shield is based on the size of the heal itself, not the amount healed – i.e. 100% overhealing will not proc the Blessing on the healer, but the shield itself includes overhealing once the Blessing is active. The shield can grow to a maximum size of 20,000 damage absorbed. 

Example 1: A paladin casts Holy Light for 10K on the tank, which partially heals her. The Blessing procs, so the paladin’s Holy Light immediately causes a shield on the tank which will now absorb 1500 damage. The tank dodges the next two hits, so no damage is absorbed. The paladin then casts another heal for 8K, but only heals the tank for 600 before she is at full health. The shield is now at 2700 damage absorbed (1500 + 1200) for 8 sec. 

Example 2: A druid casts Rejuv on the tank, healing her. The Blessing procs on the druid on the second tick. A shield is applied to the tank which absorbs 15% of the amount healed by that tick and each remaining tick of the Rejuv. If the druid also gets Lifebloom and Regrowth on the tank while the Blessing is up, then those ticks also contribute to the shield. If the shield goes down because the 8 sec duration expires or it absorbs that much damage, it can go up again as long as the Blessing lasts, which is 15 sec.

Bornakk, 5/4/09 10:20 AM PDT  (source)

To answer some questions:

1) If you are lucky enough to have two hammers in your group, then they will both contribute to the same bubble.

2) It should work as you would expect with PW:Shield and similar effects. Specifically, the damage should work through one shield and then the other. I don’t know off the top of my head which one is used first. Sometimes we have edge cases with multiple absorbs like this that we will need to solve as they arise. (To be clear, PW:Shield will not proc the blessing or the bubble though, because it does not heal.)

3) If you have the blessing (i.e. you caused healing and the proc occured) then overhealing will count towards the bubble. Hots that tick on a target will still contribute to the bubble. You can also choose to switch to a direct heal if you don’t have enough GCDs available to get all of your hots up before the blessing fades. The confusing part here is that hots that don’t heal won’t cause the blessing (we didn’t want you fishing for the bubble before a pull by constantly healing the tank, though I suppose you could if your tank was injured). But once the blessing is active, then all of your healing spells will contribute to the bubble even if they do no actual healing.

We’ll leave it to you guys to theorycraft out if you think the hammer is marginally better for one class than another. Some players were speculating before this announcement that the bubble only applied to one spell, which would definitely favor Holy Light. We implemented it the way we did to make sure the other healing classes could still get juicy bubbles while the blessing was active (which is 15 sec).

Ghostcrawler,  5/4/09 11:07 AM PDT (source)

What does this mean for shamans?

I’m not sure there was any debate before as to whether or not this would be useful for a resto shaman.  My number one question about this proc is this: Once the resto shaman has the Blessing of the Eternals buff, will all targets healed by a Chain Heal recieve a shield? It seems to me that once the buff procs, if you’re not tank healing this could be a huge buff to raid heals, especially in situations where there is extensive raid-wide damage.

One nice thing about the mechanics of the shield is that it counts on ineffective healing. You have to actually heal the target to proc the buff (won’t proc on 100% overheal), but once you have the buff you can cast Healing Waves to get a large shield up on the tank. If you’re a tank healer and you dont already have Healing Way (shame on you), this proc should make it a little more attractive.

Oh one last thing. 10% proc rate is pretty nice =]


Ulduar, Dual Spec, and Swimming Mounts

•April 17, 2009 • Leave a Comment


Ah 3.1. I didnt get to experience it much on Tuesday, due to the random world crashes, and Wednesday I spent out and about in the real world. Yesterday I got to really spend some time enjoying the new patch, and I think it was well worth the wait and the Tuesday hassle!

First off, Dual Spec. Oh so wonderful for us hybrid classes. I find myself switching back and forth from resto to elemental more than I ever imagined. Group looking for a dps? No problem, gimme 5 seconds and I’ll be there! I was doing the elemental thing in Halls of Lightning yesterday, and our healer started having internet problems. Had the group pick up another dps, and I finished out the instance comfortably back in my resto spec.

One of the little perks from this patch, and possibly one of the greatest things ever, is the fact that land mounts now swim. Thank you Blizzard! There aren’t many things in this game that really irritate me, but having to remount after unsuccessfully jumping a 5 foot wide river was terrible. Even more so if you were running through hostile mobs and were in combat. Being able to just GO is really one of my favorite things about this patch.

I’m pretty excited to experience some of the new raid content. My guild is doing its weekly Obsidian Sanctum run tonight as we normally do, still getting used to the encounter with one drake up. Hopefully soon we’ll have that down and we can add a second. If we have control of Wintergrasp when we finish, we’ll be hitting Archavon’s new friend, Emalon. Saturday night, we’ll be taking our first steps into Ulduar, and I’m counting on us downing Flame Leviathan.

The one gripe I have about this patch is with my current favorite profession.. Inscription. Now, I love the profession, I enjoy doing my research every day, I like herbalism. But I have a problem with the way they introduced the new recipes in this patch. I remember before Wrath came out, I was listening to Blizzcast Episode 4 and they were interviewing game designer Jon LeCraft about professions in WotLK. Of particular interest is this excerpt:

Drysc: Sounds cool. Jewelcrafting, new in Burning Crusade. Very useful. I think there were some issues with recipe acquisition from reputation vendors, stuff like that, pretty minor I believe. But how did that work out in your eyes, and again what are Jewelcrafters going to be looking forward to?

Jon LeCraft: Well I think to some degree it worked out pretty well, because if you go and look on the Auction House the price of cut gems are more valuable than raw gems. Which is not the case in a lot of the other parts of professions. Where you’ll see the materials are actually the most expensive part, especially when they’re used by multiple professions. We like how that worked out but it still has that level of frustration where you can’t go farm for any of these drops. The reputations are actually really good, it gives you a goal. You have a way to get it, but a world drop you don’t have any control over. So we’re going to be easing off the world drops, I’m not sure about getting rid of them entirely but moving on to other systems. One of the system we’re considering as well is – so you have profession dailies for all of your professions, and what those end up being I’m not sure, but then when you do that daily you get a token. Then on this vendor there’s maybe 20 recipes, and they cost [maybe] 25 tokens each. So you’ll start making decisions on how you want to spend those tokens and that will help differentiate you from everyone else just by your decisions rather than what you happened to have found or bought off the Auction House.

 Ok, so what happened? The new patch came out and introduced new inscription recipes which can only be learned from a Book of Glyph Mastery, which is a random world drop. On top of that, each book has a random chance to learn any of the new glyphs. Blizzard.. didn’t you learn your lesson on the Random-Random drops from the Love Is In The Air debacle? Why cant inscription have daily quests like just about every other profession?

Ok.. im done ranting. But seriously Blizzard.. think about what you’re doing to us humble scribes.

3.1 Goes Live.. kinda.

•April 15, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Yesterday was an interesting day for a large portion of the US realms. The extended maintenance ended up being even more extended, lasting until about 8pm PST.

I logged on last night once the servers were back up to find that Northrend was repeatedly crashing. It was vaguely reminiscent of when Wrath first came out, and Wintergrasp victories were crashing Northrend. It was happening so frequently though, that I decided to call it a night (after respeccing of course). Obviously, the first thing I did for my shaman was to purchase the dual spec ability. Restoration/Elemental is what I decided on, since it will be the easiest to use without the Gear Manager tool.

This morning, Blizzard brought the servers down again, for a short two hour maintenance, presumably to fix the issues plaguing the realms.

In other news, Wowhead has released a new version of their popular Talent Calculator. This version really builds on the utility of the tool, adding support for glyphs and updating automatically (no more “Link to this build”).
You can read the official announcement from Wowhead here. Below is a small excerpt:

  • Glyphs: Our talent calculator now supports glyphs! Of special note: we used the glyph calculator for a while in beta and discovered that, while pretty, the normal glyph icons are frequently hard to identify at a glance—so we tweaked the glyphs to actually use the icon of the modified spell, rather than the glyph icon itself. Much easier to use!
  • Automatic Updating: No more “link” button! The URL of the Talent and Pet Calculators now automatically updates whenever you add or remove a point—all you have to do is copy/paste the URL, and you’re there!

They also updated the item comparison tool, to add support for gems.

Elemental Weapons vs. Everything Else!

•April 14, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Ok, so patch 3.1 is officially out today, and the shaman class has recieved some much needed adjustments, specifically to the resto tree.

  • Mana Spring Totem – no longer stacks with Paladin Blessing of Wisdom. When this change was first made, I was a little irked, but upon closer inspection, I have decided that this change might end up being ok. In current content with decent gear, there is really not a danger of going OOM. Now, we don’t have to worry about ALWAYS using Mana Spring, which frees us up to use Healing Stream more. With the changes to the Restorative Totems talent, this is pretty nice indeed. Some have argued that it is largely situational, but I think everything in healing is highly situational.
  • Ancestral Awakening – Amount healed on secondary target is now based of your ineffective rather than effective healing. This is fantastic! Ineffective healing means your heal+overheal. Basically this just buffs this talent to make it more viable, especially in situations like Patchwerk where a lot of your heals end up overhealing.

Aside from those, the rest of the changes are mostly moved talents. Here is a typical template for setting up your resto talents after the patch. I left 5 talent points unchosen. The 5 remaining points are mostly preference in my opinion, and depend on your current gear level and play style.

The debate about the Elemental Weapons talent has been a hot one for resto theorycrafters. For the most part, it has been regarded as a waste of points for most players. It only awards an extra 45 spellpower – which doesn’t seem like much for 3 points. Compare to Nature’s Blessing. At lvl 80 in epics from Naxx and Heroics, 1000 intellect is not an unreasonable figure. At that gear level, Nature’s Blessing awards 150 spell power. Granted, it is a much deeper talent.

Now, let’s consider the alternatives.

Using Daidalos’ spreadsheet, with the default values, we can see that Healing Wave heals on average for about 8895. The amount goes up to 9440 with Elemental Weapons. However, with Healing Way, this average heal goes up to 10496.

There have been comments that Elemental Weapons might be nice to help out new resto shamans who are still at lower gear levels, but the benefit from Healing Way still blows it away in my opinion.

The last 2 points could either be spent in reducing your Reincarnation cooldown, or my personal choice, Blessing of the Eternals. 4% spell crit isn’t a ton, but we resto shamans love our crit for mana regen! Also, an extra chance to apply Earthliving is kind of nice. Even though it surely won’t save someone from death, it never hurts to have some extra mana-free heals right?

So, here is an example build using the remaining 5 points the way I plan to.

Given the changes to resto shamans… How would you build your character?

You are now entering.. the blogosphere!

•April 8, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Hi everyone – Totintotems is my name and I like to heal =]

There are so many blogs out there for so many different classes and specs – but there seems to be a shortage of good resto shaman blogs. Aside from my favorites (ShieldsUp!, World of Matticus), there are a few others, but they don’t seem to be updated regularly.

My goal with this blog is not to replace the great blogs out there, but perhaps to supplement them, to supply my own views on common resto shaman topics. I will be exploring resto shaman theorycrafting, attempting to explain to the average player the reasons behind the theories. I will also go into my own experiences as a resto shaman just starting to raid in Wrath. When new patches are in the works, I will discuss what the coming changes could mean to the shaman class, and what you might want to do to prepare. And, of course, I hope to entertain!

As an aside, this will be my first attempt at posting more than 140 characters on a regular basis, so any constructive feedback will be appreciated!

Thanks for reading,

Coming up: Elemental Weapons vs. Everything Else!