Tips and layout proposals for lesser-experienced resto players

Post Reply
Posts: 498
Has liked: 2 times
Likes: 8 times

Tips and layout proposals for lesser-experienced resto players

Post by Akos1896 » Mon Feb 12, 2024 3:34 pm


The purpose of this article is to give an in-depth breakdown of the way I play a resto shammie. I don't say that I'm an optimal player but collected some experience along the way. I wanna write this article for those who started playing this build not a long time ago or who are interested in some new tricks.
Writing this because despite finding some excellent online how-tos, I didn't find an article about some basic things which took me time to learn. The article will mostly be about my action bar layout + keybinds for optimized usage and it will also contain some gameplay tips.

A video I deeply recommend is the below one:

Please note the following:
1. This will be long. I really want to go in-detail.
2. This might not be the optimal way. I'm no Shockwarden, I'm an experienced but casual resto shammie. A competitive player would write a better guide.
3. For layout advices, I use PFUI + threatmeter + decursive. I will assume that you also have those or at least PFUI and decursive.

Philosophy behind the layout


I use three main action bars and some complementary ones. The most important one has the keybinds 0-9, 1st mouse button, 2nd mouse button.
The 2nd most important one has the same keybinds with shift, the 3rd one has them with control. They are put together in a rectangle and each column has a specific thematic so spells can be found easily. As you can see above, there is a 4th row there but it is more loosely connected (it has the same keybinds with alt).

As a resto shaman, the most important parts of the gameplay are putting down totems and healing. I selected the keys 2-4 for healing because they can be easily accessed via shift and control, too, allowing quick usage. Column-wise I use 2 for chain heals, 3 for lesser healing waves and 4 for healing waves. My main action bar has the biggest version of them - those three keys are the easiest to access and you wanna use max version heals if there is an emergency. Shift action bar has rank 1 chain heal, r3 lesser healing wave and r5 healing wave. Very mana-efficient versions, which can be used for a long time if there is no emergency in sight. Control action bar is slightly harder to access, it contains an in-between version of these spells: r2 chain heal, r5 lesser healing wave and r7 healing wave. It is for cases when raid HP starts to drop but there is no emergency. Can be maintained for a while but sooner or later mana becomes an issue. R1 healing wave is at 0 for the main action bar, but I regard it as a buff, not as a heal. More about it later. So healing is between 2-4 for easy access. Accessing the big heals the easiest way for emergency healings and the usual small heals the second easiest way because they need to be used the most.

Shock is at 1 - normal action bar has min level earth shock for mana efficiency and low threat, shift bar has max flame shock, whenever DOT is needed. Control bar has max level earth shock for cases when an instant, bigger damage is needed. I chose 1 for shocks because normal bar is very easy to access and interrupts have to be done quickly. Other shocks, like shift+1, control+1 are more clunky, but the utility they provide for a healer is less important. In other words, used 1 for shocks because there is one which is important to access quickly, and there are two where being a bit slower is not a problem.

5 is the shield column. Unless you are full T3, lightning shield is a bad choice, so I put it to control+5. Water shield and earth shield are both very useful, I think it's kinda interchangeable which one to put to 5 and which one to put to shift+5. Only difference is when you use a totem of the calming river which causes a preference towards water shield.

The big one. Totems. I use 4 column categories, meaning 12 totem slots, between 6-9, and their shift + control variations.

Here, unlike at other numbers, I actively shuffle the totems, based on the team comp I'm in and based on the dungeon or raid enemies. As we'll see, I have 4 columns for totems and whatever gets to the main action bar depends on the team and on the enemies. I usually shuffle the totems back after a raid to their 'default setup' - this is what I'm sharing with you. But this 'default setup' can change very quickly in a fight (fire rez getting main action bar in MC, tremor in ES etc).

Under 6 there are the mana+life totems. In practice it means a mana spring totem for 6, a manatide for shift+6 and a fire totem of choice to alt + 6. Mana spring is the default water totem, unless you need to cleanse something or the party needs fire resistence. Manatide is usually used on cooldown, unless you expect a big mana/long fight very soon. Fire totem has one slot, so you can use one whenever you wanna add a bit of DPS. Usually searing, but use it carefully.
Number 7 column is for cleansing and fire resistance. They are used when cleansing or resistance is needed, otherwise you use manaspring. Life totem is so bad, I put it to the sideline for cases when we have 2-3 shamans in a party.
Number 8 is for earth totems. Whenever there is a melee in your group, the default one is strength totem. It is followed by tremor at shift+8 for fear, charm and sleep and stoneskin at control+8. I only propose using stoneskin if there are a LOT of small hitter mobs, adding up. Imagine Stratholme with those 20 ghouls and skeletons rushing at ya. Ideal for stoneskin. If you are in black morass, and 2 big hitter dragons punch the tank badly, stoneskin is too inconsequentual, you are probably better off with a strength totem. Earthbind is on the sideline, just like stoneclaw, but they are used rarely. In theory stoneclaw can be used as a lifesaver if you pull aggro: summon it and rush to tank while the mob one-hits the totem. However, I never really used this trick, can't confirm.
Number 9 is for air totems. Contrary to beliefs, it is not always windfury. In my opinion you have five valid options. Windfury is 9 for me, followed by grace of air at shift+9. Grounding is at control+9. However, what I put to 9 (main action bar) depends on the enemy and on the party comp:
* In a melee group, it's windfury.
* In a druid/hunter group, it's grace of air.
* In a caster group it's tranquil air totem for reduced threat OR grace of air for some added dodge + armor if threat is somehow not an issue.
* Nature rez for certain enemies.
* Grounding... Again, for certain enemies.

I prefer this setup over totem macros because this is highly flexible. In the down-time, f.ex. during a drink, you can setup the main action bar based on the current needs and just smash 987 or 986 when the fight starts (depending if you want mana or cleansing/fire resistance).

About totem twisting:
I'm usually against it. Raids tend to rush from pack to pack with few drinking time. If you totem-twist, you drain your own mana fast, forcing you to consume a bunch of potions to keep up with the others mana-wise. In my opinion and I know, this is debatable, totem twisting only worths it if your primary air totem is not windfury for a fight. WF gives so much damage that if, for example you need to use a nature resistence totem by default, I highly recommend twisting in some windfury as long as you are in a melee group.

The other 3 keybinds are less structured, this is what works for me the best.
I use r1 healing wave at 0 to spam it on the tank before a bigger pull to make sure he runs in with an ancestral fortitude buff. That extra armor makes wonders.
2nd mouse click is totemic recall. I just made it a habit to use it after every fight. It's very important. Some mana for you, nullified chance your left-behind totem pulls a pack for the party.

The 4th action bar, which is right below the 3 aforementioned ones is an alt-row. Alt1-alt 2nd mouse click. It is a mixture of rarely used spells and a dumpster. If I want a weapon enchant as a resto, I quickly click the one I want. It also contains some back-up totems. I rarely use the keybinds for them, in all honesty.

The big 3.
Big ones, in the middle of the screen. These are bigger CD spells, and I wanna know how much time I have until I can use them. So they are big to shout it to my face. Used easily accessible buttons for them (R, T, G). I advice using both nature's swiftness and berserking on CD unless you know there's a hard part coming very soon. Also a tip for berserking. If a boss does an aoe which brings down half of your HP but you don't expect other damage in the near future, use that time to press berserking, heal up the party and finish it by healing yourself. 30% cast speed bonus is huge. However, also helps when you are at full HP, don't avoid using it at full HP, either.
Hex is a very misunderstood spell. At PVP it is cool but at PVE it is mostly considered the poor man's polymorph. However, it has a practical use as a resto shaman. Mitigated damage is also healing. So if your tank pulls too big, you can mostly take out one target for 4 seconds which might be enough to kill one mob, making the rest manageable when the frog turns back into the enemy (-66% damage + no casted spells as a frog). For me, hex is the 'pull was a bit too big, let's try to make it manageable until the guys kill something fast' button.

Consumable action bar: I have no keybind for them because accidentally drinking something expensive because of a wrong button feels bad. They are kinda small to reduce the chance of accidentally clicking on something expensive, too. If you need to consume one, just click on it, it's at an easily accessible place.

Trinket action bar: for trinket swapping. Can come in handy. Made them small out of aestethical reasons, to mirror the consumable action bar.

Right-vertical action bar: added dumpster for professions and nieche abilities like water walking. To avoid having to open the spellbook. Some totems, too, for the sideline.

Bottom-right corner action bar: quality of life segment, with donation rewards, teleports and companions.

I use a more compact view of threatmeter to slide it without overlap between the action bars. Just in case somehow heal overaggroes.

Decursive is to the right, just above PFUI's buff/debuff icons. I don't use heal statistics because it makes me way too competitive and somewhat toxic.

Other tips which can come in handy:

* Use searing totem if it has no chance of pulling and no mob is polyd, shackled, etc. It adds damage.
* Use flame shock if you are within range and you don't have to save your shock CD for an interrupt, as long as mana is not an issue.
* Use r1 earth shock to interrupt. Some mobs cast many spells, only interupt those which count (like a big heal).
* Dare to be lazy! If there is nothing to do in a raid fight, sit back for 5+ seconds for mana regen, specially if your spirit is decent.
* Until you are geared enough, use r2 chain heal for raids to have enough healing power. Once you are better geared, r1 is your base one for mana saving.
* Chain heal is your best friend at raid healing. But always make sure that your target has allies nearby where chain heal can jump. If you target a melee, that's usually not a problem, they are usually at the same place, punching something.
* Lesser healing wave is your quick-patchup at raids where life totals change so fast that a slower healing wave either leads to death or overheal because someone else's heal already reached the target. Use downgraded lesser healing wave for mana-efficient, quick patch-ups, max rank for decent, quick patch-ups.
* Healing wave is mostly a dungeon spell in my opinion. Use it during raids only if a single target's health goes down at a manageable rate (let's say some brave guild lead asked you to tank heal; with lesser healing waves you'd be oom very fast). Mostly consider it a tank healing role's spell in my opinion.
* Nature's swiftness has 3 modes in my eye: someone is about to die -> NS into max level healing wave to bring the guy to full health. Big aoe damage happened -> NS into max rank chain heal to patch up as many people as possible. Third option is mostly for dungeons. If noone is in any danger, you have the mana for it and threat wouldn't be an issue, you can always cast an instant lightning bolt or chain lightning to add to the overall DPS.
* When the party drinks, summon a manaspring totem so that mana refill will be a bit faster.
* I advise to use magma totem and fire nova totem in dungeon scenarios. If tank is fighting against a bigger pack and you have enough mana, jump into the fight, cast a fire nova or magma totem for damage, jump out and continue healing. Dungeon-only.
* Despite common belief, flametongue totem has some very limited uses. If you have to use a non-WF totem in a melee group as an air totem out of whatever reason (like keeping up grounding totem), you can add some melee damage via flametongue.
* In some places mount can't be used but ghost wolf can. Keep up the wolf somewhere in your action bar for fast movement in those areas.
* A bit specific, but when you fight Hakkar, put the grounding totem kinda near to him, not at the max-range caster position. In my experience grounding can fail there if it is put that far away.
* Decursive addon is your friend at raids. Use cleansing totem for your party and click on the decursive entries for those parties who don't have a way of such cleansing.
*As a healer you are somewhat vulnerable if mobs attack you in the open. I usually use earthbind totem or frost shock to keep the chasers slowed down and I heal myself with nature swiftness + max rank healing wave or max rank lesser healing wave when I stop for a sec during escape. The strategy in case of these mobs is to stay alive until they turn back. If you have more time, mount or ghost wolf can also help for faster escape.
* Know when you need to purge. Purge in PVE is very situational but when it can be used, it is extremely useful. F.ex. remember that Black Morass 1st boss or certain mobs during AQ20 2nd boss can be purged.
* If out of any reason I decide to add melee damage in a dungeon (strictly in a dungeon), I propose using rockbiter weapon. It gives additional threat but honestly as a resto shaman my melee damage is so lame that I never took over threat this way. Using rockbiter because it gives the most added damage. Situations where I would consider doing this: you want to add damage to a mob which doesn't cleave, aoe stun etc and you wanna save up mana; situations when paladin blessing is active which lets you recharge mana based on melee hits. Never do this with mobs which cleave, aoe damage or aoe stun.
* If you have enough shiny fish scales, you can give water breathing to others. You can surprise a group in Kara5 with this. Also, you can be an @hole and give them waterwalking before the underwater part of the dungeon. I suggest trying both of these out.
* As a healer, I think I have to specifically mention warlocks. There are some unwritten rules in my eye regarding them. Since they have many ways to manage their life and mana, I usually give them a low priority in dungeons (not in raids, I heal everything in raid). It's a bit of a passive aggression game because I saw many of them life tap down to 1HP right before a pull. It sends the message: 'healer, heal me up, I didn't bother to bring oranges and I will not care about my health, I'll complain though if a random aoe insta-kills me'. This is even worse because in case of an intense pull in a dungeon you always wanna focus on the tank from the beginning to make sure he stays alive. I only heal warlocks normally in a dungeon if 1) I see that they care about their health - life drains, not life tapping to 1 HP, using consumables etc or 2) they say at the beginnign that sorry, having no consumable, please heal more if it's okay. In any case, if you have to decide between healing the tank in a dire situation or healing the 1HP warlock, always heal the tank.
* As a healer sometimes you have to triage in dungeon fights because pull was too big and someone will die. If you try to keep healing everyone, it will be too slow or will lead up to too fast oom. Make a quick decision and decide which character is the least useful at the moment. Usually tanks, overleveled guys, top DPS-s and people who can offheal have higher priority. Only start 'sacrificing people' though if you are totally sure that you can't keep up the healing otherwise, even if offheal joins, if there is one. Also consider that letting someone die means lower overall DPS against these mobs. Just keep this also in mind. One last thing. If you can't decide between two players, keep the one alive who has more expensive repair costs, to save some money for someone.
* Ankh: at raids it has two uses. First one is wipe-protection. Don't use it instantly, whenever you can, guild should discuss first who can rezz, who's on CD etc, to make sure that you are all covered in case of some wipes in the near future. Use it in accordance to this in raids. Only difference is, and it is usually called out by the raid leader is when you are very close to kill a crucial pack or boss and reincarnating can increase your chances very much. Don't use ankh instantly if you died at a boss though! Ask it in DC or wait for the raid leader's call! Otherwise you sacrifice wipe-protection.
* Tip: at a raid, if you want a cloth healing item and a mail healing item, usually SR the cloth one. More people can roll MS for a cloth healing item. This depends on many factors though like drop rate, team composition, how geared the other healers are, etc.
* As a resto shaman, almost every guild wants you. Once you hit level 60, you have to decide what you want, if you want raiding. You can choose a progression guild or most probably any Naxx speedrun guild, too. My advice is: since so many guilds are interested in you, dare to be picky! Not abusive, picky. Take your time, make sure you absolutely love the people in the guild and raiding time also suits you. You don't have a reason to make compromises: if you kinda suffer at a place, 20 other guilds would insta-invite you if you want so. I suggest staying loyal to the guild you have chosen, I just say that you don't need to make any compromises when you try to find the guild which perfectly suits you. When found those guys, stay loyal to them.
* Consumables: don't overdo them. As a general rule, you need to be somewhat serious with consumables from BWL and really serious from AQ40 (arguably only from Twins). This depends on the overall gear and raid performance, too. I'm against throwing out 50G in the window at MC to try to compensate for the fact that half of the raid wears green. I think that with proper gear and communication, MC can be done with some greater mana pots, 1-2 tea, and maybe a fire rez and arcane rez pot. Spending more is overdoing it. For BWL, more major mana pot, more tea, consider a shadow prot pot for Nefarian and here, especially if your mp5 is not high enough, I'd advise mageblood potion and nightfin soup. Nightfin soup before 1st boss, Chromaggus and Nef. Some people say that distilled wisdom is needed from the start of AQ, some say it is needed from Twins. I think it's gear dependent. If you are frequently in mana trouble despuite correctly downgrading the healing spells, go for the potion.
* As a resto shaman your biggest challenge is to heal just enough while downgrading as much as possible to have enough mana. Whenever you overheal, you threw out mana on the window. It's always okay to interrupt a healing when you see that someone else has done it quicker. As a practice, I advise running some dungeons with the goal of using as few oranges as possible. It serves as a very good practice.
* First-aid. Learn it. Have a button assigned to the best bandage you can get because it can be used as a heal when mana is scarce or when you are silenced. Since the effect of the bandage is interrupted once the target takes damage, use it on yourself and on casters/other healers who are less expected to be damaged. Using it on a tank or a melee DPS can be risky. Sometimes bandaging a melee DPS can work though.
* If you are specifically a troll shaman, always have some dark runes or demonic runes. They share CD with the tea, and 90% of the time, tea is the better choice. However, runes are berserking enablers for you as a troll shaman. If things go really bad and you want the extra spell haste while you are at near full HP, use a rune, get some mana, lose a bunch of life, activate berserking and output much more heals than you'd otherwise do.
* In Decursive deselect everything except for poisons and diseases to keep things clean. Also, set up a priority list (MT, OT, maybe people from parties without shaman). If you like animals just like I do, put hunter pets on top of the priority list. Less effective, more wholesome setup.
* If there is an enhancement shaman in your party, let thewm use WF and strength totems because they have advanced versions. But insist on using manaspring totem, since yours is better. (Presuming that you are deep resto.)

Post Reply