PvE Restoration Shaman Healer Guide

PvE Restoration Shaman Healer Guide
  • Author: Luxrah
  • Date: May 23, 2024
  • Updated: May 23, 2024
  • Expansion: Cataclysm

The Restoration Shaman hasn’t changed much since Vanilla World of Warcraft when they were the heroes of stacked raid healing, coveted for their many powerful totem buffs. In Cataclysm, the build leans heavily into these strengths while also improving some of their tools for tank healing.

Restoration Shaman in Cataclysm

Resto Shamans add Healing Rain to their arsenal in Cataclysm, which along with Chain Heal keeps their reputation as strong raid healers intact whenever the group is clumped together. Their tank support also sees a buff through improved versions of Earth Shield and Riptide. While they aren’t ideal as tank healers since their single-target heals aren’t very mana efficient, just having a Restoration Shaman in the group will make your tanks sturdier thanks to their passive Ancestral Healing buff.

But the real show-stopper is Spirit Link Totem. This new cooldown not only reduces the damage taken by all stacked raid members, it also redistributes their health so that no one gets too low. That in itself can be a literal life-saver, but you also get a lot of benefit from it with your stacked raid heals. Since everyone in the group will be missing the same amount of health, they’ll all take ticks from your powerful AoE heals without any of it being wasted on overheal.

Finally, Restoration Shamans make ideal flex healers in Cataclysm thanks to the Elemental Precision talent, which allows you to use most of the same gear for your Elemental offspec.

Restoration Shaman Strengths & Weaknesses


  • Powerful Stacked AoE Healing
    Healing Rain and Chain Heal combine to let you compete with Holy Paladins for who can put up the biggest numbers when the group is stacked.
  • Strong Utility
    You can have four totems up at a time, meaning four different raid buffs, of which you have quite a variety of options. You can interrupt, purge, and cleanse. You also have Spirit Link Totem, which is arguably the strongest healing cooldown in the game. If all that wasn’t enough, you also bring Bloodlust/Heroism.
  • Easy DPS Off-Spec
    The Spirit on your gear can be converted to Hit with the Elemental Precision talent, which makes it a lot easier to support an Elemental offspec.
  • Good Mobility
    While the bulk of your spells must be hard-cast, you have some new tools to help you out on movement heavy encounters. Spiritwalker’s Grace will let you cast spells while moving for 15 seconds. The Ancestral Swiftness talent also speeds up your movement speed and makes your Ghost Wolf instant so you can get into position (and back to healing) more quickly when you need to. You also have a couple of instant spells you can use and Nature’s Swiftness for an emergency.


  • Weak Spread AoE Healing
    As strong as your heals are when the group is stacked, you may struggle to keep up with damage when they are not. Most of your AoE heals have a pretty limited range and you don’t have spammable HoTs or absorbs like Priests and Druids.
  • Lacking Defensives
    Despite all of your utility, you won’t be able to do much to protect yourself from heavy incoming damage. You pretty much just have to heal yourself through it.
  • Expectation to Flex DPS
    Due to the ease of having an Elemental offspec, you will probably be expected to use it from time to time. Most groups will want their Paladin and Priest to heal full time while their Shaman and Druid take turns DPSing when the extra healing isn’t needed.

Best Races for Restoration Shaman in Cataclysm

Wow Alliance Crest Alliance


Although the Alliance now has a second potential choice for Shamans, the Draenei remains the stronger option thanks to Gift of the Naaru. Heroic Presence is also nice to have, especially if you have an Elemental offspec, although it only affects the Draenei now and not their group.

  • Gift of the Naaru gives you an extra, mana-free heal every few minutes.
  • Heroic Presence gives you a flat 1% Hit toward the 17% cap you would need to reach if you want to do some DPS.
  • Shadow Resistance will five you 85 points of Shadow Resistance at level 85. This will help you take a bit less damage on certain fights.
  • Gemcutting can help if you plan to level Jewelcrafting.


The Dwarf Shaman is a new race/class combo in Cataclysm. Unfortunately it’s not one that offers much for Restoration Shamans specifically.

  • Stoneform is a nice extra personal defensive cooldown.
  • Frost Resistance will give you 85 points of Frost Resistance at level 85, which will help you take less damage on certain fights.
  • Explorer is an excellent bonus if you plan to use Archaeology on your Shaman.

Wow Horde Crest Horde


The new Horde race is a very good option for a Restoration Shaman, with a steady 1% increase to your casting speed. They also give you a useful movement cooldown with Rocket Jump.


Troll is a great fit for a Restoration Shaman for the same reason it’s great for any other caster or healer: Berserking.

  • Berserking gives you a 10 second Haste buff every 3 minutes, adding you another great healing cooldown that you can weave into your rotation.
  • Regeneration gives you a little extra survivability.
  • Da Voodoo Shuffle is nice to have but not really a game changer.


All three Horde races are pretty close in terms of efficacy as a Restoration Shaman, so it may come down to personal preference. Blood Fury is the main draw for Orcs.

  • Blood Fury gives you an extra healing cooldown in the form of a buff to your Spell Power.
  • Command will cause your Earth Elemental and Fire Elemental to do some extra damage.
  • Hardiness can be useful, but rarely will make a difference in raids.


About the Author


I've been playing World of Warcraft on and off since vanilla, usually as a healer or caster and often as a guild leader. I play both retail and classic. I also love RPGs, sandboxes, and sims.
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