Crit for 10′s Resto Shaman
At the beginning of Cataclysm, many 10′s resto shamans were favoring a heavy crit build much more than in 25′s. This was, in my opinion caused by how three crit-based talents work.
First, the mana regen produced from single target healing crits (Improved Water Shields) made it attractive while gear levels were still low. Chain heal crits also proc IWS mana but that spell is not widely used in 10′s raids in T11 content.
Second, single target crits also proc a free smart heal (Ancestral Awakening) that heals the lowest health percentage target in range. Because it’s a smart heal, it usually produces very little overhealing.
Finally, there is a 10% damage taken reduction buff that both priests and shamans can provide. Shamans apply it by critting with a heal. (Ancestral Fortitude). In a 10′s raid, crit on gear ensures a good uptime % on this important tank buff.
Now, five months into Tier 11, the three reasons for us to gear crit no longer really apply or there are simply better options.
Many resto shaman are better geared than they were in December and the large amount of INT & SPI on their gear afford them to favor better throughput stats (Haste, Mastery) without needing to gear crit for IWS returns. At our current gear level, according to many theorycrafters, spirit is a better throughput stat than crit.
Ancestral Awakening also is not accounting for the healing done that people expected and shaman in 25′s are even beginning to spec out of it. In 10′s, it’s still probably worth the talent point investment because of our spell selection. For example, it still accounts for about 6% of my healing done.
Ancestral Fortitude in 10′s can maintain a pretty good uptime even with low crit rating on gear. I raid 20% crit fully buffed and this number will continue to increase as my INT improves in T12 and beyond.
There are better options
Now, I wouldn’t go so far to say that crit is a bad stat, I will only say that we currently have better options in secondary stats. We also must remember that Mastery has been buffed twice since 4.03. It received a buff in 4.06 (increased to 3.0% per point, up from 2.5%) and in 4.1 Mastery was made to include all heals.
Not even Haste includes all heals done by shamans!
Mastery will boost your healing done the most when you need it the most. Crit is still a roll of the dice. It’s either a crit or it’s not. In a game based on RNG, a little less RNG for throughput is a good thing. Mastery will always be there when you need it.
I have been speculating since 4.06 buffed our Mastery, Deep Healing, that the developers are committed to making all of the secondary stats “compelling choices”. Between Spirit, Haste, Mastery, and Crit, Crit is the least desirable and I have expected that there would be a future effort to make crit more sought after. My speculation was that they would change how IWS or AA worked to make crit more attractive, but it seems that Blizzard might actually just actually buff what the stat does by making it heal for double instead of 150%.
A Dev Water Cooler on Crit source by Ghostcrawler April 19, 2011
In Cataclysm, where healer mana matters more and even big heals can’t trivially top someone off, crits are more valuable. But they aren’t valuable enough. Getting 10% haste allows you to get a heal to a target 10% faster. Getting 10% crit allows you to heal a target 5% more. Is it any wonder that crit tends to get devalued for most healers? Resto shaman like it, but look at how many talents they have that make crits better for them. We’re strongly considering just letting all heals crit for double, just like most attacks.
As a solely throughput stat, comparing haste to crit, there is also a much steeper ratings cost to get 1% of crit as compared to 1% of haste.
This proposed change by Ghostwalker would make crit paired with mastery very powerful and at least give 10′s raiding resto shaman something to scratch their heads over while at the Arcanist or on the stats editor of AskMrRobot.com. If this change goes through, my next speculation would be that for 10′s, Spirit will be reforged to Crit as we move into T12 and beyond.
(edit: It appears that while I had this post in draft for over two weeks, between finishing it today and yesterday, some big changes were announced for Crit. :) Now on the PTR:
- All healing critical strikes now heal for 2 times a normal heal (+100%), up from 1.5 times a normal heal (+50%).
- Improved Water Shield has been redesigned and renamed Resurgence. When Water Shield is active, Resurgence causes critical direct heals to restore mana (Resurgence rank 2 is roughly equal to 150% of the old Improved Water Shield value when a Healing Wave or Greater Healing Wave critically hits, and scaled down accordingly for faster or multi-target spells).
- Mana Tide now grants 200% of the caster’s Spirit, down from 400%.