We only get one change this time around, but it is a big one. Back in build 12984, Mana Tide Totem was changed from adding back a percentage of your base mana to increasing your spirit by 200 percent for the totem's duration. This was a fairly significant change that mirrors the shift from MP5 to spirit. It placed the ability firmly in the camp of healers only, and instead of giving us a flat amount back, it increased our mana regeneration based on whatever it was at the time of casting.
The cooldown remained at 5 minutes, which was a bit long, considering the effect. In the latest PTR build, though, the cooldown is being reduced to 3 minutes. This change should also be applied to the Cataclysm beta pretty soon, as well. This is a fantastic change and one that will make us that much stronger in the months to come. An average boss fight right now in Wrath lasts roughly around the 5-minute mark, meaning that you can only use this cooldown once per fight in most cases. After 4.0.1 drops, though, you will be able to use it more than once per boss fight. Pretty sweet deal, if you ask me.
Also consider that in the Cataclysm beta, healer mana is at a premium. Every heal has a right and wrong place, and we consume mana so much more quickly than we have previously. This change allows us to use a very important regeneration cooldown much more often, and so we can keep healing for longer. This will give us a distinct advantage early in the upcoming expansion. Anything that gives us mana back is a good thing. Things that give it back to us faster are even better.
World of Warcraft: Cataclysm will destroy Azeroth as we know it; nothing will be the same! In WoW Insider's Guide to Cataclysm, you can find out everything you need to know about WoW's third expansion, from brand new races to revamped quests and zones. Visit our Cataclysm news category for the most recent posts having to do with the Cataclysm expansion.