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Totem Talk: Restoration PTR patch 4.2 changes

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Totem Talk for elemental, enhancement and restoration shaman. Want to be a sultan of swing healing? A champion of Chain Heal? Totem Talk: Restoration, brought to you by Joe Perez (otherwise known as Lodur from World of Matticus and co-host of the Raid Warning podcast), shows you how.

Last week, we talked more about raiding as a restoration shaman through the next set of bosses, and this week, we had been planning to continue the series by talking about some bosses that are full of hot wind. However, recent changes on the latest PTR build are worthy of some review and analysis.

Today, we're going to talk about some changes to shaman healers in the upcoming patch (or at least where they stand right now). We're also going to discuss a little bit about the recently posted tier 12 set bonuses for restoration, as they too have changed a bit. Since this is still on the PTR, we have to operate with the understanding that this could change at any given moment as things are balanced out. Lets take a look!

The good, the bad and the so-so

First things first: Let's take a look at the proposed changes as of right now on the PTR.

Shaman
  • Lightning Shield and Water Shield can no longer be dispelled.
  • Unleash Elements is now in the Nature school, and thus can no longer be used if a shaman's Nature school has been locked out.
  • Water Shield has had its internal cooldown reduced to 3.5 seconds, once again matching other shields. The amount of mana restored when Water Shield procs has been reduced by 50%.

Restoration
  • 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%.

Glyphs
  • Glyph of Unleashed Lightning (new Prime glyph) allows Lightning Bolt to be cast while moving.

Water Shield seems to be getting a little bit of a facelift as far as the spell itself goes and the talents that affect it. In patch 4.1, a hotfix went out that increased the internal cooldown of Water Shield procs from 3 seconds up to 6 seconds. Now, the cooldown is being lowered again down to 3.5 seconds, and it can no longer be dispelled. It does, however, come at the price of having the amount of mana restored from proccing through damage taken by 50%. The increasing of the internal cooldown was a way to attempt to soften the mana explosion. Problem is that internal cooldown hurts us -- nothing crippling, mind you, but something we certainly feel when raid healing or even just healing dungeons. The reduction of the internal cooldown isn't just to throw us a bone, though; it is because of another change.

Improved Water Shield will now be called Resurgence and is being completely redesigned. Each spell you cast will reward a different amount of mana back when it reaches a critical heal. Every critical direct heal will trigger the ability. To give you an idea, Healing Wave and Greater Healing Wave criticals will restore (2,292 *100/100) mana; Healing Surge, Riptide, or Unleash Life critical will restore (2,292*0.6*100/100) mana; and Chain Heal will give (2,292*0.333*100/100) mana. I'm sure if you remember your order of operations, you can see how much mana it will restore. It's an overall improvement from what it was, and I think that is a very good thing. When I test it out more, I'll make sure to report back to you guys about it.

The next change is to our beloved Mana Tide Totem. This has been a major concern for a lot of folks. It will now only grant 200% of the caster's spirit, down from 400%. This reduces the effectiveness by about half, but I think I understand why. We tend to break the mana curve. Two resto shaman stacked in a raid with a reasonable amount of spirit can completely negate the mana curve for some fights. I should know -- I do this pretty regularly with another resto shaman in guild. The other reason is that with a new level of tier gear, there will be even higher spirit totals possible, which just further breaks the curve.

Don't get me wrong -- I don't like the change, but I think I understand where Blizzard is coming from. Now, if you look at the changes to WS and the new Resurgence, you can see Blizzard is making up for some mana loss there. New shaman healers will feel the hurt from this more than raiding veterans simply because of the difference in spirit. That said, with talents like Telluric Currents, it just gives you a reason to learn to use it sooner rather than later. Along those same lines, the new Glyph of Unleashed Lightning looks like it could potentially be fun when using Telluric Currents. Mana regen while moving and dealing damage could come in handy, and I really want to play around with it just a little bit.

A matching set

It is very likely that the set bonuses for the tier 12 gear will change or at the very least be altered slightly, but for the time being, here is what's listed for restoration shaman tier bonuses.

Zarhym
Tier 12 set bonuses
  • Restoration 2-Piece Bonus: Your periodic healing from Riptide has a 40% chance to restore 1% of your base mana each time it heals a target.
  • Restoration 4-Piece Bonus: Your Chain Heal spell no longer consumes your Riptide effect on the primary target.

Honestly, I really love the two-piece bonus. With a Glyph of Riptide and using it on every cooldown, you have a possibility of some serious mana return. You should be using it every time the cooldown is up already, so this is just an added bonus. I mean, 40% chance to restore mana on every tick of healing may not seem like much, but the potential is there. With tier 12 gear, it is very likely we will be able to hit the second haste plateau.

Now with healing over time, you don't get more healing out of the spell, but you can push more ticks of healing in the duration of the ability. At 261 haste (130 for a goblin), if you're using the Glyph of Riptide it gains an extra tick. It still lasts the same duration and heals the same amount, but it is essentially divided over more ticks that come faster. At 2,005 haste (1,857 for a goblin) with the glyph, Riptide gets a second addition tick during the spells duration. So you have some prime opportunity coming for some serious mana returns with a two-piece bonus.

The four-piece bonus, I'm on the fence about. I like it because if you're rolling Riptide throughout a raid, and your primary target for Chain Heal happens to have Riptide on them, you are in essence wasting HPS by letting the Chain Heal get consumed. So the set bonus eliminates that possibility, which is a good thing.

On the other hand, it seems a little off when compared to the free area healing that the other three healing classes are receiving. While I don't exactly want to copy them, and this does buff one of our AOE healing tools, I reserve judgment on it until I can get my hands on it and see it in action. That said, it is much better than the old one we caught wind of not too long ago that only added an additional jump to CH.

I'm looking forward to playing around with these changes on the PTR, particularly in a raiding environment. I think there is some good potential here, and I'd like to see what we look at after these changes. Please keep in mind that since this is still in the PTR phase, it can change at any given moment. If it does, you can bet that I'll let you know about it.

Next week, unless there are some major changes, we will be back to our raiding encounter quick tips. But I leave you with some questions. What do you think about the changes so far? Are you scared about them? Do they make you unhappy? What are your thoughts about the tier 12 set bonuses?

Totem Talk: Restoration will show you the basics of endgame resto shaman play as well as how to find the expansion's best reputation gear for resto shaman and tips for easier leveling. Happy healing, and may your mana be plentiful!

Filed under: Shaman, (Shaman) Totem Talk

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