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My understanding is that your Conquest Point cap is based off of your highest Personal Rating. To get the points you need to play 5 games. Since the cap is directly related to PR, I don't think you need to play 10 games.
Summary of Knowledge Regarding Resto Shaman Secondary Stats
Please note that this summary ignores spirit as I consider that to be a core stat. I don’t think anyone questions the importance of spirit so its discussion isn’t particularly valuable.
Crit - Healing throughput, less chance of overheal with larger health pools and smaller heals - HOTs and Earth Shield can crit - Mana efficiency through Improved Water Shield - Additional healing through Ancestral Awakening (which is 27% of the crit, not 40%) - Damage reduction from physical through Ancestral Fortitude
Haste - Improved cast times and lower GCD - Improves tick rate of HOTs, increasing HPS - 7.3% haste needed for an extra tick of Riptide (with glyph – not sure if this impacts this calculation as this is from Elitist Jerks, http://elitistjerks....ing_discussion/) - 12.8% haste needed for an extra tick of Earthliving
Mastery - Maximum of 2.5% additional healing per Mastery (when target is extremely wounded) - Healing throughput
According to EJ, mastery is only marginally more effective than an equivalent stat allocation of crit on extremely wounded targets. I’m guessing this is only based on healing throughput and does not take into account mana efficiency through IWS or, of course, Ancestral Fortitude.
Crit feels like the best secondary stat to me, offering both throughput and mana efficiency and impacts all Shaman healing spells (including Earth Shield). As items with more stat allocation are available, it would probably be beneficial to get haste to the 7.3% or 12.8% level. I doubt this is possible currently since so much stat allocation will go to spirit and resilience.
All this being said, I still think mastery is a useful stat. In its current state, it doesn’t feel like a stat we should prioritize on gear whatsoever. However, as stated above, an on-use mastery trinket would be spectacular for situational burst healing, potentially the best on-use stat we could have (except perhaps a ton of spirit combined with Mana Tide).
In summary, for those of you who like the simple answer: Spirit->Crit->Haste->Mastery, in my opinion.
For gemming, I will probably do various combinations of intellect, spirit, and crit to get socket bonuses.
I don't recall any major periods when Restoration was the clear "worst" healer, even at level 60. I think clearly Druids weren't terrible in WOTLK, as almost every strong comp in Season 8 included a Druid.
I also don't necessarily agree that Shamans have to be used in "gib" setups. I do agree, though, that they are wildly vulnerable without their trinkets. However, having played MLS, I've had a lot of long games against a variety of opponent types where we won and lost.
My recollection is that druids weren't very effective at all in Season 1. I was playing Elemental for 3s and 5s at the time and Restoration for 2s. In Season 1, Druid/Warrior was a joke compared to what it became in Season 3 / Season 4 and WOTLK. Druids were actually killable in Season 1. Frost Shock->Intercept->Purge purge purge -> windfury -> mace stun -> dead druid.
That being said, I DON'T think Shamans have ever been the all around "best" healer, and again I would emphasize that Shamans require a lot of multi-tasking to be effective and great teamwork to be effective.
What makes the class very fun is that it has a variety of offensive, defensive, mana regen, etc. tools at its disposal, but it's not nearly as error-friendly as Druid/Paladin.
The removal of purge resistance mechanics and the introduction of magic removal for Shamans should open up a lot of interesting new team comps. However, I'm not sure that the swap-to-the-trinketless-Shaman-and-hit-your-face-on-your-keyboard-until-he-dies strategy will be ineffective. Shamans will still need a lot of support to survive.
For the original poster... if you like Druid, I wouldn't recommend doing a "flavor of the month" re-roll. A lot can change with simple patches...
That being said... Resto Shaman survivability is typically considered the worst among healing classes because Resto Shamans haven't had much to get them out of sticky situations due to:
(1) limited number of instant cast healing spells
(2) lack of damage mitigation abilities like Pain Suppression, Barkskin, Hand of Salvation Glyph, Divine Shield, etc.
(3) lack of "oh crap"-style CC like Psychic Scream, Hammer of Justice
As a few posters above mentioned, it's often been possible to simply have two players mash their face on their keyboard with the Shaman targeted, haphazardly aligning their stuns and silences, and get a kill.
That being said, I found the class exceptionally fun to play in Season 8 (I didn't play Season 5-7 as restoration so I can't comment). There's no question that survivability was an issue, but with good anticipation and good coordination with teammates, I typically wasn't the player dying or even being targeted.
Some of these issues have been addressed in Cataclysm:
(1) More instant heals than before with Unleash Weapon, Dispel
(2) Ability to heal on the move with some cooldowns
(3) Removal of a lot of other classes' damage mitigation talents, evening the playing field
(4) Improved DRs, such as Cheapshot and Kidneyshot sharing DR
(5) Mortal Strike set to 10% from 50%, which is a big boost for Shamans since all of their defense comes from raw healing
In addition, it looks like all the talents and spells are positioned to continue to allow Shamans to bomb huge heals, which is supposedly going to be more important with higher health pools and low overall healing:
(1) Boost to healing after shock
(2) Boost to healing after unleash weapon
(3) Deep Healing Mastery
NOTE: This is all theorycraft as I don't have the Beta.
Although this game is claimed to be "easy" and "stupid" by many on these forums, there is actually a depth of knowledge that all good players have about game mechanics. To be honest, I've played off-and-on since Classic Beta so it's hard for me to even imagine coming into WOTLK in the last season and trying to learn the game.
Overall, you're trying to piece together a bunch of paradigms, techniques, and tactics on top of each other. This formulates your understanding of the game and how you're going to react in various situations under pressure.
WOW is much like a sport - you want to practice specific things until you feel comfortable that you're better at them. While duels may not be great for determining skill or really anything from who won or lost, they are useful for practicing techniques and understanding game mechanics and the mechanics of each class. As an example, in Classic I used to duel players on my Holy Paladin with the sole intention of trying to keep myself alive forever (not as easy back then as it is now). This is one way to practice techniques to avoid Kick, Counter Spell, how to get heals off, how to kite, etc. Just an example.
It's definitely great to level alts or, if you're inclined to break the rules, play other people's characters.
While I think it's possible to become a good arena player by just playing arena, I think having a depth of experience really helps. When you want to learn to play Baseball, you practice taking ground balls over and over, or hitting over and over. If you just jumped in and played the game, you would be overwhelmed by everything going on. (Just looked up and saw that you're EU...Just relate my comment to any sport that you practice individual pieces of the sport and then apply it to the overall game.)
If you're going to just spam arena games, I would focus on executing specific strategies until your friend is able to do those consistently, then adding to those. Effectively use the arena queue as a way to practice specific things...(I can't give specifics because you didn't mention your friend's class or spec)