It's been a number of weeks since the Mists of Pandaria talent calculator was updated. It was pretty exciting, with everything that got shifted around. I mean, our level 90 talents basically got shifted around to a lower level, leaving a bit of a gaping hole with the ever classic "coming soon" from Blizzard.
I don't know about you, but since then I've been wondering what could possibly be good enough to be our level 90 talents but not be so good that there was no way to have us be balanced. I posed the question at the end of next week, inviting you to speculate with me as to what our level 90 talents could be, what we would like to see if it were up to us to pick our level 90 talents.
Straight out of lore
This one comes from one of my raiding shaman, Archen, who took inspiration from Blizzard's own lore for his ideas.
Passive: Earthen Totems Your totems become bound to earth, gaining more health and becoming more resistant. In addition, some totem effects have changed to become more earth-like.
1. A lot of totems can have their range double -- SLT, FET/EET, and Mana Tide, for example.
2. Searing Totem could have its damage type changed to nature and cause shockwaves, dealing slightly moderately more damage.
3. HST could be combined with a nature resist buff (akin to how the glyph works now).
Passive/Utility: Totems of the Wind The wind holds your totems around you, instead of the ground. Your totems now float besides you (same distance as before) or move to a specific location.
I think this could be really powerful. It might need an output increase to make it more desirable, but I feel having totems move with you or being placed somewhere else is powerful enough. If I could get my totems to move with me on fights like Yor'sahj or Hagara, I would.
Cooldown: Wild Totems The power of your totems can no longer be contained. The power of the elements now pulsates from you, greatly increasing the power of the totems placed down.
Each totem would have to be effected differently instead of gaining a flat increase, or something like FET would become too powerful. It could also not work with talented totems such as Healing Tide Totem, so the talented totems become required. A 1.5- to 3-minute cooldown would be a good balancing point, but a 5-minute cooldown could work too.
I think Archen has some pretty interesting ideas. I particularly like the one with increasing the range on some of the totems with a cooldown. How many times did you wish you had just a little bit of extra distance on the Spirit Link Totem? What if you could make magma totem reach just a little bit further?
The idea of possibly changing the performance of your totem is interesting too, though probably less practical. Totems of the Wind I thought could have been interesting as well and possibly better than Totemic Projection. It lets you be the center of your totems; instead of having to manually select where they go, they just simply follow you around for a little bit.
Last of his ideas, Wild Totems, I thought was also interesting. What if you could increase the damage reduction of SLT or the healing done by Healing Tide Totem? It could be very fun indeed, and it takes its inspiration right from the story of Nobundo, where his totems and power were just wildly springing forth.
A different kind of shield
This next idea comes from reader Redsnake, who was awesome enough to share this idea with us via last week's comments.
8% Base Mana
The earth embraces your target with a volatile layer of sediment, reducing incoming damage taken by 40(?)%. After 10 seconds, the barrier is destroyed by an earthquake centered around the target, dealing damage equal to the amount absorbed over 5 seconds, split among all targets within 20 yards.
I liked the idea of Spirit Link totem and how it's very powerful but doesn't actually heal any damage, rather making it easier to heal among more people. So this would give damage protection when it's needed the most, turning it into something more manageable by Healing Rain/CH.
I like that there is an embracing of the dual nature of shaman there. There is the protection form the barrier, and at the end, an element of damage. It lets the defensive become the offensive. The numbers might have to be tweaked, especially when considering PvP, but I could see the potential there. If it absorbs too much and explodes for too much damage, it could really unbalance things, but if the numbers were just right, this could be a lot of fun in PvE as well as PvP.
My idea (or at least one of them) is not too far off from Redsnake's. I really do believe that we should have an option somewhere for another defensive cooldown -- not so much healing throughput but preventive. This is what I came up with, focusing solely on the restoration aspect of each one.
Strength of the Earth
15% base mana
The caster summons the power of the earth to flow through themselves, empowering their spells with the strength of earth and stone
Restoration: The plates of Earth Shield harden, causing the target to have all incoming damage reduced by 15% for 20 seconds. Each friendly target within 20 yards of the source will gain 10% damage reduction for 20 seconds.
The idea is that it allows us another cooldown, one with an AoE component that we can utilize. It's targeted and requires ES to be active on a target for it to work. It could be handy to help out with tank or melee on some fights, or it could be a choice to move ES off the tank and onto another target. It's not so powerful that it would be 100% unbalanced, but it could probably still be tweaked a bit. The 5-minute cooldown is to help balance out the percentages in damage reduction by making sure that it can't be spammed too often.
Grace of the Air
12% base mana
The caster summons the power of the air to empower their spells for a short period of time.
Restoration: The spirits of air grant each of your spells additional power, causing each heal for the next 15 seconds to heal nearby injured allies for 15% of the healing done.
Similar to Strength of the Earth, the talent would allow us another healing cooldown, but one that would give us a little more AoE healing to throw around. It's on a 5-minute cooldown, so that it is a cooldown you'll likely be able to use once per boss fight, and it won't unbalance things too much by adding too much additional healing. Could be nice for that little extra healing punch. It's also one I thought could be a little fun.
Tranquility of the Water
15% base mana
The power of the water flows through the caster, granting peace and protection to the caster for a short period of time.
Restoration: The spirits of water grant the caster protection, returning 10% of all healing done for the next 20 seconds back to the caster.
I thought this could also be good for survivability, taking the idea of Glyph of Healing Wave a little bit further and allowing us to keep ourselves alive a little bit longer while keeping those around us alive. This allows all heals sent out to be returned back to the caster and reduces the percentage slightly to compensate. Placing it on a 3-minute cooldown means it will still be useful, possibly twice in a boss fight.
The idea was to make level 90 all about cooldowns revolving around our elements, making each one different and allowing for room for our DPS compatriots to be included, since we all draw upon the same elements. The ideas aren't refined, but I think it adds some utility and I think neither is better than the other, so it really comes down to just a choice in what you need and what you want to use. Are they perfect? No, far from it. The ideas could probably use some more refinement. Now, if only the devs at Blizzard Entertainment would let us know what our talents are soon instead of Soon™, I'd be a happy camper.
Totem Talk: Restoration lends you advice on healing groups, DK tanks and heroics and mana concerns in today's endgame -- or take a break and look back at the rise of the resto shaman. Happy healing, and may your mana be plentiful!