HoTs and DoTs: A Restoration Druid and Shadow Priest

A Light Show

Chain Heal: When it works, it's beautiful

Chain Heal: When it works, it's beautiful

I am convinced that, somewhere along the path towards healing greatness, the Priest or Shaman must accurately be able to predict, and eventually plan for, the outcome of a Prayer of Mending or Chain Heal.

Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding! Any Priest – well any Priest that plays with sound – will recognise the sound of a perfectly executed Prayer of Mending healing its way around the group.

As for Chain Heal? Restoration Shamans get a visual light show to tell us if we’ve been successful. The more white lights, the better. At the moment I’m thinking about Chain Heal.

I tried to heal Trial of the Grand Crusader 10 for the first time this week. I failed. Quite a bit. But fortunately I wasn’t the only one. So when a single Chain Heal beam went out and only hit one target I don’t think too many people noticed. I can only hope that my raid members were too blinded by Snobolds and fire to notice my Chain Heal failing.

Perhaps it’s based on some out-of-date Prayer of Healing (the Priest, party-wide, AoE heal) theorycrafting but my understanding is that AoE healing is somewhat like AoE damage. If you hit less than 3 targets, you probably should have been spending your cast time and mana elsewhere. So 1 beam of Chain Heal? How embarrassing. 3 beams? I’m happy.

If you’re not familiar with Chain Heal there are two things you should know:

  1. The Resto Shaman picks the target: who gets the first hit and healed the most
  2. It can jump to and heal an additional player but only if they’re standing nice and close. It can jump a couple times.

Every time I cast Chain Heal it’s a gamble. Have I picked someone standing out on their own? Is that gap between the tank and melee less than 12 yards? What are the chances that this one will conveniently bounce back to me because I could use a heal too…

Here are some of the most common configurations that my Chain Heals like to take on. I was never one for star gazing or constellations, but I’ve got names for these:

Common Chain Heal Light Show: The Hunter

Common Chain Heals: The Hunter

There’s one of these in every 5 man group – a ranged DPS who not only stands at absolute max range, but also off to the side and way behind you. This means that when you’re in OMG-everyone-is-taking-damage mode and chain healing your lowest health party member one after another you might forget to swap to a different type of heal to keep this sole individual alive. At least I forget. This one is particularly painful to watch because 2 seconds later the rest of the party, including you, is probably still taking damage.

Hunters standing at 44 yards (or whatever it is) are enemies of the effective Chain Heal.

Chain-Heal: The Bridge

Common Chain Heals: The Bridge

It may not look like it at first glance, but this is actually a modified version of “The Hunter”. In this configuration you, the Restoration Shaman, compensate for the poor positioning of the rest of the group by placing yourself right in the middle in an attempt to bridge the giant gap between the ranged and melee group. As long as the ranged DPS aren’t standing at absolute max range you can pull this off.

Common Chain Heals: The Melee Bonus

Common Chain Heals: The Melee Bonus

This is what Chain Healing should look like, right? You heal up your tank by a nice amount and miraculously get all the melee DPS at the same time with no extra effort.


Common Chain Heals: Stupid Giant Hitbox

This is the Melee Bonus without the bonus part. Did you know that some bosses are so freaking bit that their hit box has a diameter of more than 12 yards? Chain healing off the tank doesn’t always mean the melee get some of the love.

Common Chain Heals: The Dream

Common Chain Heals: The Dream

Note: Dramatization – You can’t actually heal 5 targets with Chain Heal.

In an ideal world all my Chain Heals would look like this. Neatly zigzagging their merry way through the group to heal whoever needs it. I did once get a couple of heals off like this during a VoA Koralon kill. It seemed as though there were an infinite number of players nearby just standing around ready and willing to form the next step of the chain!

Perhaps when I’m a Restoration Shaman expert all my Chain Heals will look like this…

32 Responses to “A Light Show”

  1. KaeNo Gravatar says

    This is AWESOME. I linked it mid-raid to my resto shammy buddy :D

  2. NazanielNo Gravatar says

    This is fantastic :) (Yes, my alt is a resto shammy.) Personally I don’t think it matter *that* much if a chain heal only heals once… but I know the pain of the stupid hunter or mage or lock or spriest at max range who is ruining your ability to chain heal. I also hate healing 5 man groups with more than 1 ranged.

    I do agree that shaman healing gives you a new outlook, where you keep a mental model of whether people are ranged or melee – things that don’t really matter to my holy pally main. It’s interesting the different ways that you can think about doing the same thing!
    .-= Nazaniel’s last blog … We stand alone together =-.

  3. CassandriNo Gravatar says

    @Nazaniel One of the mistakes I found myself making in our fail Northrend Beasts attempts was chain healing off our Holy Paladin – we had 3 Paladins in the raid and chaining off the Prot and Ret Paladin was fine… so I started associating pink squares with successful chain healing…

  4. PapaNastyNo Gravatar says

    So ideally, you want someone to stand between the tanks + melee groups, or have the tanks tank further inside a large hitbox

    That’d handy to know. I’ll try to modify my position while dpsing / tanking to take advantage of this (Well if we have a resto shaman lolz, no mainspec ones in guild atm of course)

  5. CassandriNo Gravatar says

    Yeah if you’re grouped with a Shaman healer as a ranged DPS the best thing you can do is kind of stand with them, or stand about 10 yards away from the action – the target/tank/melee.

    When I’m playing the Shaman I like to be fairly close to the melee (the Bridge thing) just so can heal myself and the them all the at the same time if I need to.

  6. VokNo Gravatar says

    There is nothing more satisfying than seeing that heal bounce and bounce and nothing more heartbreaking than that one range that stands just too far out (I’m looking at you Rum!).

    There is nothing wrong with a no bouce CH if it’s aimed at the tank, any other time it’s wasted mana. The true secret to Shaman Healing? Knowing when NOT to cast CH.

    BTW, shamelessly stealing your pics for future use =D
    .-= Vok’s last blog … We stand alone together =-.

  7. JeanneNo Gravatar says

    One trick to use – I run GridStatusCloseUp to tell me how many players are within 12 yards of a given player – yellow dot, 1 or more people, green dot, 3 or more people. The range and thresholds are configurable, but those settings work for chain heal brilliantly.

    It doesn’t guarantee that those people are taking damage, or that I’ll necessarily get full bounces, but it makes that lone hunter stand out like a spotlight.

    You can find it on WowInterface if you a) run Grid and b) want to check it out. :)

  8. TamNo Gravatar says

    Hehe, I don’t know anything about resto-shaman healing BUT I LOVE THE PICTURES!!!

    *runs off to roll a shaman*
    .-= Tam’s last blog … On Story =-.

  9. WindsoarNo Gravatar says

    Like everything, it really depends if that one hit is a waste. If the main target of the chain heal is low enough to warrant a Healing Wave and you’ve got mana to burn, then it doesn’t matter–same can be said if you need a guaranteed huge hit–in conjunction with riptide–Chain Heal will give you the biggest whopping heal, and doesn’t take any longer than a Healing Wave.

    However, when you’re standing there just whopping out Chain Heal’s because you’re on raid duty and you hit the guy in the back for one hit and everyone is in critical straights… it’s a total /facepalm moment.
    .-= Windsoar’s last blog … Dungeon Views =-.

  10. GendaNo Gravatar says

    As a resto shaman, this really rings a bell. I try to use Chain heal to get all the melee, and pick off everyone else one at a time. Usually I will try to throw a HoT on the outlying casters, and I always joke that it is more mana efficient to rez hunters than it is to heal them, and so I tell them not to get too far afield. I am not going to move to get back into range to heal a hunter and risk getting out of tank range.

    Hunters, be forewarned.
    .-= Genda’s last blog … GRATS!: Space, the final frontier… =-.

  11. VidyalaNo Gravatar says

    Haha. This made me laugh out loud and definitely mirrored my (admittedly limited) resto shaman experience. The randomness of it frustrated the heck out of me. Hitting multiple people with Wild Growth always seemed much easier – except I definitely pulled a “Stupid Big Hit Box” and “The Hunter” on occasion even with that. Occasion, I say. Very seldom. Yes.

  12. OleanderNo Gravatar says

    That GridStatusCloseUp thing is an awesome idea! I’m not a grid user, but I believe I can adapt the principle to work for me.

    • AlvisNo Gravatar says

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  13. ambientNo Gravatar says

    Back when I was an spriest without Mind Flay glyphed for range (<3 Melee Range Priesting!), I was always the bridge for my resto druid buddy to cast Wild Growth. I'll try to keep that in mind for shamans as well, even now that the range has been increased.

    Now that I'm a healer though? I'm happy if hunters manage to stay in healing range *period*. I don't think many of them are ready for this level of strategic positioning…

    And while I adore me some PoM (RIP rapidly departing T9 bonus), perfecting its use if you're Disc is really a doctoral-level thesis. Half the time it slips under just as I'm placing a bubble, thus getting trapped. All you can do there is pat yourself on the back for having correctly identified the person most in need of healing, and move on (or train yourself to only bubble the second-most-damaged person in a raid, which is just silly). I don't hold out hope that Blizz will ever change it so that PoM gets used before mitigation, but it would be a glorious day if they did… In the meantime, sure ain't worth going Holy just for PoM, so I'll survive. : )

  14. TaraNo Gravatar says

    My resto shaman is my main and I understand the configurations you’re bringing up but it’s really not that big a deal if your chain heal only hits one target. Unless you’re having mana issues it’s worth the chance that you will chain to heal someone else. Couple things to comment on about shaman healing though

    Even when raid healing, spamming chain heal isn’t the only thing you should be doing. Always riptide when it’s up and throw LHW on your lowest health targets, with all that chain healing you’re doing I’m sure Tidal Waves is up and it’ll crit.
    When someone is so low that they’re about to die you’re not going to have time to cast chain heal anyways, unless you use Nature’s Swiftness. So LHW those near-death people!

  15. UltraNo Gravatar says


  16. ClickityclopNo Gravatar says

    God it’s so true Cass, I actually laughed out loud at ‘Stupid Giant Hitbox’ I’ve had that happen so many times when I play resto. Whenever I do 5man ToC I actually tell people ‘I won’t heal you in if you don’t stack p3′ (Black Knight) and STILL some idiot ronged would stand miles away, get marked and die. It’s so bad that it’s almost at the point where I’d rather heal a hunter’s pet then the hunter, then at least it’ll chain!

  17. CassandriNo Gravatar says

    @Clicky I do the same thing in ToC5 *shudder*

    • DoussaNo Gravatar says

      Power of prayer is ntohing more than positive thinking, sorry to tell you. I agree with the comment about the millions of kids dying, yet your allergies were cured’ people seem to overlook the realities of things. This causes an omission of bad’ things and a boasting of good things’, in terms of religion and its views. Here is an article from the New York Times btw, which highlighted a study done on prayer and how it had no effect:Although I know the religious people will write the study off (see comment on omission of bad’ things in terms of religion).Sorry to ruin your joy-fest, just thought there needed to be some counter-argumentation going on.

  18. RahanaNo Gravatar says

    Haha. As a raiding restoration shaman who once had to master all the pros and cons of Chain Heal not to look like Shaman newbie without any clue, I applaud to this article. The diagrams are just amazing (and so true). My experience only usualy puts Warlocks in place of Hunters :)
    .-= Rahana’s last blog … Weapons of Choice =-.

    • EasonNo Gravatar says

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  19. gorkosNo Gravatar says

    reading this has gotten me thinking about how in effectient i have become. i have not been raiding much so its just heric heroic heroic. and unfortinatly the tanks take so little damege worring about mana isnt really a issue >_<. now iam trying to read more into how i cast chain heal more to make sure iam not waisting mana as much.

  20. RhoduNo Gravatar says

    That was a very good post.
    The other use I found for chain heal was to cast it on people who got knocked up in the air on the last boss of Azjol-Nerub. I really enjoyed seeing a large yellow beam illustrating the error of their ways.

  21. CassandriNo Gravatar says

    @Rhodu That’s a good one! I always loved finding the buggy mobs in the game that when I would Mind Flay them the animation went straight up to the ceiling. Marrowgar’s spikes did that. So did a bunch of stuff in Naxx, I think. Unfortunately Blizzard tend to fix that.

    But they can’t stop me Chain Healing someone thrown in the air!

  22. HolytreeNo Gravatar says

    I guess I’m lucky, with my Wild Growth I more often than not use myself as a target and plant myself in the middle of the group. But I agree, I consider it a fail if I see swirly leaves on only one or two people! I have done some healing on a resto shammy, and I hardly ever got more than one link. Makes me glad I switched to a tree!

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