Topic Shaman Healing
How does the Elemental Mastery talent stack against the Ancestral Swiftness talent?
I do enjoy having the added haste + an instant cast for Healing Rain or GHW when a tank is super low. Yet, a talent that gives 30% haste for 20 seconds could do wonders for other CDs such as healing tide/stream and Healing rain...
So, does anyone know how these two talents rate in comparison, number-wise?
Thank you for your time and consideration! ^_^
I'm no theorycrafter myself, but I trust elitistjerks and Life in Group 5 to have run the numbers exhaustively. Elemental Mastery is barely on their radar as situationally useful.
Vixsin (Life in Group 5) says "A personal bloodlust with a 20-sec duration, Elemental Mastery is a straight throughput increase. Its 2-minute cooldown make it a perfect complement for Ancestral Guidance but, unfortunately make it more difficult to align with Resto Shamans’ 3-minute throughput cooldowns (eg: Ascendance, Healing Tide Totem). In a mana-constrained, triage environment, EM is less useful to Resto Shaman because of the high mana consumption associated with its optimization. The counter-point is that, in cases where burst healing is required, it will enable you to supercharge your healing cooldowns to provide maximum throughput."
The point s/he is making here is that EM loses its value if you pop it when you don't have other cooldowns to pop with it, yet if you let it sit off cooldown until your other cooldowns become available, it's also a loss.
However, Vixsin does go on to say that s/he recommends it for encounters with "extreme burst damage mechanics" - ie, where you're making sure all your cooldowns, no matter what they are or how long their cooldown, are available for one particular moment and pop em all at the same time along with EM.
EM will result in 1-2 more ticks of HTT, HR, ELW, RT, HST while it is active. (It depends where you are with your haste relative to the haste breakpoints)
I absolutely disagree that EM requires higher mana consumption to give more output based on this. More ticks = more healing. The fact that fillers are so weak, and that everything a shaman doesn't scales with haste except fillers, makes this possible. And in most fights <20% of me healing is fillers, unless I'm tank spamming.
You cast "Unleashed"-"EM/berserking/HTT macro"-"Healing Rain". When HTT fades, you drop a EM-buffed HST, when HR comes off CD you drop a second EM-buffed HR. If the raid doesn't need more healing than that you let your mana recover. If the raid just needs a little more keep up with the riptides and drop some really fast HW's/CH.
I will say, in 25's it is hard for HTT to be overheal unless other healers are reckless with their mana/CD's and overriding you (Spirit Shell alert), or the mechanic hits too weakly such that fight isn't hard to heal anyways. In 10's however, I could easily see HTT as being too much healing for some fights such that making it more powerful would be a waste.
With EM being a 1.5 min CD in 5.2, it will probably see a bit more use than now; however, as any throughput CD, its real benefit will depend on how you handle it to pump the most out of it in order to make it worth it compared to AS.
Personally, I prefer AS, but I could see using EM in 5.2 if a fight has high burst phases every 1.5-2 minutes and can make good use of HR/HST/HTT for them. However, if a fight focuses more on sustained output then I'd stick to AS preferable. I also enjoy having AS to cast an instant HR during Ascendance right as the first one I had placed before popping the CD fades.
I'm weird I guess and use Echo from this tier, because of its increased proc chance from Chain Heal, which is my primary healing spell for most 25-player content. I do use Elemental Mastery for a few fights - Lei Shi (I alternate EM/Ascendance/SWG for one Get Away! phase and Spirit Link Totem/Healing Tide Totem for another), Tsulong, and currently giving it a go for H Sha for more cooldowns to cover Huddle in Fear healing.
I also play around with staggering cooldowns vs popping them all together for various fights. I mean, sure, if I popped all my CDs together to heal the first Force and Verve on Imperial Vizier Zor'lok, I would do amazing healing, but then for the later FnVs, we may lose people, and I'd have nothing for that. I'd rather do worse on the meters but better at my actual job of keeping people alive by splitting my CDs up and being able to cover every mechanic with something. Meanwhile, on Tsulong, if I didn't pop all my CDs while Tsulong had Guardian Spirit up, I'd be crazy.
I don't think there is a single right answer, I guess - not to which Talent to take, nor to how to use it. Healing isn't like DPS where you can just math out a Talent and find that one has a 0.6% increase over the other so that's clearly the one you take and you use it on CD. You really need to consider the fight mechanics, the abilities of the other healers on your team, and how often your group may make use of hybrid healing/damage reduction cooldowns in order to choose the right Talent and healing style for your raid on each encounter.
Fortunately for you, it's cheap to change Talents! So while I do think AS is more generally applicable for 10-player content, you can give EM a go and see if you like what it does for your throughput/ability to cover threatening mechanics - and if you can live without the instant tank emergency heal or the instant HR during Ascendance - and decide for yourself :)
Cheap and *easy*! I swap talents around to try different things for different fights, or to accomodate our different group compositions as we rotate raiders in & out each week.
I love trying to think about our talents and glyphs (& totems) in creative ways, to handle different situations.
You can't look at it in a vacuum and just say one is better than the other in every case. For instance, I didn't see much use of EM for my group on a fight like heroic will since the fight is very predictable in terms of damage. On the other hand, the instant life-saving ancestral swiftness was great on a fight like that where the tanks can take erratic damage.
Presently, resto shaman who don't spec AS are probably sitting where I am @ about 9.98% raid buffed (for +1 HR or 2017 haste), or @ 12.51% (for +1 Earthliving (i personally don't go for this), or 3039 haste)
My theory is that most shaman who spec this will reach 15.37% haste (raid buffed) or about 4200-4220 haste (about 9.9% unbuffed).
Remember to book that number!
This percent haste is also the one that all resto shaman reached for in dragon soul. It is the equivalent of the ~1290 or so haste mark in tier 13. Whenever we used SWG with our tier piece that gave us 30% haste, we reached healing rain +3 if we got to 1290 haste or whatever the number was. Same case here. The primary reason people probably are not going for it right now is that it costs too many secondary points. I did try it a few t imes but I didn't have the proper gear with haste to do it. But we will have access to a ton more next patch.
So in summary, what does this do? This enables a +3 healing rain (compared to +1 standard) when under the effects of EM. It gives +3 riptide (compared to +1 standard) under EM. It gives +2 earthliving (compared to +1 standard) under EM.
I did not include HTT or HST as there is no consensus as to how they should work.
The biggest issue with Elemental Mastery is that you need to make up the haste breakpoints that you are losing by dropping the 5% haste from Ancestral Swiftness. With Ancestral Swiftness, you get 1 extra tick of Healing Rain, Riptide and Earthliving Weapon automatically (well at a minimum of 871 haste for ELW). To get back to those breakpoints if you take Elemental Mastery instead, you would need to reforge to.
Riptide - 1345 haste
Healing Rain - 2017 haste
Earthliving Weapon - 3039 haste
The Riptide and Healing Rain breakpoints are 100% mandatory. Going up to 3039 haste to get the ELW breakpoint is more debateable, but it would still math out to about a 2% output loss not doing so. Basically, if you do not reforge to 3039 haste, the loss of ELW healing completely wipes out any output gains that you get from extra breakpoints of HTT, HR, etc with Elemental Mastery active.
So, you need to reforge back to 3039 haste to break even. The problem with that is, you have to drop Crit or Mastery (or god forbid Spirit). All 3 secondary stats are almost unanimously acknowledged as better throughput stats than Haste (outside of breakpoints). So, you lose output and mana efficiency by doing that. As a result, unless you absolutely require that additional burst cooldown, you are losing throughput in taking Elemental Mastery.
That isn't even taking into account the value of the instant cast heal every 90 seconds. That ability has saved people countless times. Even when you don't need it to save people, it is very valuable to use to negate the cast time of a Healing Rain, especially during Ascendance.
The only fight where I have found using Elemental Mastery over Ancestral Swiftness justifiable this tier is Tsulong.