Friday, October 23, 2009

Making Gear Choices on a Resto Shaman

Depending on if you're shooting for 10 or 25 man content, or if you are intending to maximize your raid healing or tank healing potential, your spell selection will change, and consequently, your stat priorities should change as well. This can make forum or blog discussion on optimal shaman gearing very difficult, as two different resto shaman could have wildly different stat priorities, and neither would be necessarily incorrect.

Fortunately, the resto shaman community has some amazing tools at their disposal to evaluate and optimize your gear, glyphs, and totems. I'm going to go over how I would use these tools to evaluate a potential gear upgrade. In this case, I am deciding whether or not I should break my Tier 9 set bonus for a shoulder piece that has better stats.

  1. Get a combat log
    I suggest the mod LoggerHead, which you can set to automatically toggle logging based on your location.

    Then, pick a fight or set of fights you think represents your regular healing rotation pretty well. Obviously I'd avoid General Vezax, or any fight where you change your role. If you DPS on Hodir, for example, turn off logging for that fight.

    In this case, I logged our guild's first attempts on Heroic 10-man Northrend Beasts this past Wednesday.

  2. Download, configure, and run shaman_hep
    shaman_hep is a tool developed by an awesome guy named stassart. He's a frequent poster on ElitistJerks, and keeps up with the latest theorycrafting for resto shaman (you can PM him or give feedback in a dedicated EJ thread here). He developed this tool that parses your combat log, and based on your configuration, it spits out some important information and analysis that you can use to improve your glyph selection, talents, and gear, based on your actual playstyle. In short, it's awesomesauce.

    Unlike other WoW tools, it doesn't run as a mod in game, but it's a perl script that you run offline on your combat log. The configuration is fairly straightforward. If you have the cookie cutter resto shaman spec, you can assume that it pretty much works out of the box, you just have to put your name in the configuration (this is important because you could have several shaman in the raid, which would mess up the stat collection). You should also look through the configuration and make sure that the buffs and glyphs match your set up. If you're curious, I've uploaded the config I used here.

    After you've done that, you can run it at the command line. It will work on Windows, Mac, or even Linux.

  3. Interpreting the output
    So the output can be kind of overwhelming- I've posted the output from my Wednesday parse here- but all you care about is the stuff at the end really, so scroll down to the bottom.

    What shaman_hep does is it has taken into account every talent, glyph, certain totems, and stats and normalized them in terms of spellpower.

    So since I am evaluating a shoulder upgrade relative to a set bonus, the two important parts to me are:

    Set Bonus Report:

    Tier 9 2-piece:
    Effective: 74738 (2.81%), Total: 141278 (3.52%)
    Combat Effective: 74343 (2.84%), Total: 127720 (3.28%)
    Combat EHPS: 104.9594
    HEP: 167.8772
    Tier 9 4-piece:
    Chain Heal:
    Non-crit Effective: 346244, Count: 85
    Crit Effective: 423183, Count: 82
    Number of crits from T9 4-piece: 8
    Increased average effective per crit: 1087
    T9 4-piece Combat Effective: 9079
    Combat EHPS: 12.8179
    HPS HEP: 20.5016
    Combat extra mana: 78
    Combat MP5: 0.5538, Mana HEP: 0.6510
    HEP: 21.1526


    Stat relationships:

    Shaman Healing Equivalency Points:
    1 SP = 1
    1 mp5 = 1.1755 (calculated)
    1 mana = 0.0330
    1 Haste rating = 2.2574
    1 Crit rating = 1.0384
    1 INT = 1.2802 (actual)
    1 INT = 1.1421 (max theoretical)

    To break down these, what it is saying is that 1 point of crit is worth 1.0384 spellpower based on my playstyle. You will notice that the haste value is very high. While this is probably inflated because of the fight I chose, in general it is in line with how most shaman are gearing these days (I believe most shaman are using 1.8 as a benchmark for haste).

    In comparison, the tier 9 4-piece set bonus is worth about 21.2 healing. So, if I can find a shoulder that gives me that much healing, or equivalent stats, I should break my set bonus.

  4. Plug these stats into lootrank
    shaman_hep even gives you a nice pre-made lootrank URL you can use!


    Once in lootrank, I can enter my own name and server, and then I scroll down to the shoulders section to see if the shoulders I'm looking at (the non-heroic Pauldrons of the Spirit Walker) are worth more than the set bonus.

    At +16.06 points, the shoulders are not quite good enough to break my set bonus yet. Still, I'll hold on to them, and if I get maybe a leg upgrade, I will swap out my set for those.

Whew, that was a lot of text.


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