Two weeks ago, I was gushing about how much fun I was having in Mists. I still am having a blast, and I truly enjoy healing through the new dungeons. I haven't had a chance to test out shaman healing in one of the new raid encounters yet due to the times they've been scheduled, but I'm keeping my eyes peeled for a time that lines up with my being home so I can bust in some raid skulls.
Over the course of the last two weeks, however, there have been a number of updates to the beta client, as well as statements and replies from the developers at Blizzard Entertainment in regards specifically to a shaman talent in the expansion. One of the updates also contains the first glimpse of our tier 14 bonuses for both two-piece and four-piece sets.
Keep in mind that all of this information is based on the latest Mists of Pandaria beta build and is subject to change at any time.
Echo of the Elements
Echo of the Elements is one of our new talents coming in the revamp for Mists. It's a fourth-tier or level 60 talent that shares a line with Ancestral Swiftness and Elemental Mastery. The talent basically states that whenever you directly damage or directly heal a target, you get a chance to proc a free copy of that spell's effect.
There hadn't been a whole lot of information forthcoming about the talent until recently. We finally got a little more information regarding the talent form the head crab himself. Ghostcrawler, otherwise known as Greg Street, lead systems designer, chimed in on a recent forum post.
This is the proposed proc rate for the talent, and to be honest, it actually makes a bit of sense. As elemental or restoration, we tend to swing a lot more in the way of spells around than your average enhancement shaman. By that I mean that when we're in restoration form, pretty much everything we do is a spell and has a direct component. Even our beloved Healing Rain counts as direct healing for trinkets, effects and mastery. Through virtue of our spec of choice, we basically "throw out a bucket of dice," and so giving us a 6% proc rate feels about where it should be. Keep in mind though that this may change as raid testing gets further under way and we see how these talents play out comparing dungeons and raids.
The other side of the coin is that at least early on, you're going to be conserving mana. Even when you're healing through dungeons, when you start in the expansion, you're going to be spending a goodly amount of time either recuperating your mana or just waiting to throw out that appropriate heal. Considering that -- and that 6% proc rate -- at least early on and for dungeons, my money is still on Ancestral Swiftness for being the best bang for our buck at that level.
First look at tier 14 set bonuses, stats
I've already given my two copper on the look of the set, but thanks to the wonders of transmogrification, the look really doesn't matter quite as much. The really, truly important parts are the stats and the bonuses. We got our first glimpse of all the set names and bonuses for tier 14 recently, and ours is the Vestments of the Firebird. So let's not waste time and get right to the bonuses.
The two-piece bonus is something that at first glance might seem a little out of place for the first set bonus of the first raid tier. It reduces the cost of our Greater Healing Wave spell by 10%. Honestly, I can see why this is something that we would see for our first set bonus; after all, this early into the raid content, mana will probably still be a little bit of a concern. GHW is a great spell for spike healing, and it's something I'm already using in dungeons, I can only imagine that we will be using it quite the same as we did early in Cataclysm. And hey, anything that reduces the mana cost of the spells we're putting out is a good thing, right? I just want to know how often we'll be using it in the opening raid tier and if it will offset mana costs enough to be noticeable. Only time and testing will tell on that one.
The four-piece bonus for restoration is centered around our Tidal Waves ability. The four-piece bonus grants you an additional charge, bringing you from two to three total charges whenever you cast Chain Heal or Riptide. That 30% reduced cast time for Healing Wave and GHW, combined with the 30% increased critical chance for Healing Surge, can come in quite handy.
It's not the most glorious set bonus, but it can be useful, though, if you're rocking Glyph of Riptide, you'll probably always have full stacks of tidal waves up. It's going to depend largely on your playstyle and what's best for your situation, but I can see circumstances in which the four piece could be going to waste. That said, I'm not quite sure what I would like to see in place of the four-piece bonus. Maybe something that increased the duration of Healing Stream Totem or buffed its output a bit could be a bit fun and useful.
Combined, the pieces grant you the following stat totals: 8,231 stamina, 4,927 intellect, 2,552 spirit, 1,450 mastery, 1,349 critical strike rating and 1,325 haste. On top of that, you'll end with one meta gem socket, one red socket, two yellow socket and two blue sockets. This is almost double the stats of tier 13 raid gear, but of course with much less in the way of sockets. Still, not bad for early stats. I'm sure there will be some adjustment before actual release, but it's not looking too shabby right now.
Not too shabby indeed. I think I'll really have to get into one of the raid tests to see how things are going so far. I know there has been some rumbling about shaman healing in the raid tests so far, but I really can't speak about it until I experience it first-hand. Again though, this is just how things are on the beta right now, and they may very well change before release. So what do you think so far?
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!