In the last few weeks we have talked about Icecrown Citadel and various boss encounters found inside. We have gone over upcoming talent changes that were discovered through a small leak, and we talked about macros, addons and even more addons, and we even got a glimpse at some new potential swag from the Ruby Sanctum. It has been a busy couple of months.
There are still a number of changes coming that we can look forward to. One of the more anticipated items is rated battlegrounds. When it was first announced, a lot of people became quite excited about this idea. Back when the arena format was released, some people simply did not care for it. They were people who either did not have the time to commit to being competitive in arenas or simply don't like the format. There is still a large number of people who like PvP and prefer battlegrounds, but in order to get to the good PvP gear, they are required to have an arena rating. The idea of a rated battleground helps to bridge the gap and provide a way for those that would prefer to work in the larger battles found in battlegrounds to be able to work towards that high-end PvP gear.
This is for the healing shaman looking to get ready for rated battlegrounds and wondering what we have to offer besides healing.
The strength of a restoration shaman is its versatility in combat. They can heal and deal some damage while still offering buffs and a wide variety of support and survivability. To that end, the shaman class has a very versatile tool set for use in battle grounds from spells and talents to the various totems we have at our disposal. Let's take a look at what we have to potentially offer besides our plethora of healing spells
Earth Bind Totem Mobility is one of the most important things in PvP. This totem allows you to slow opponents down so you can help keep them in one place to be attacked by your teammates, or so you can beat a hasty retreat and save your hide. Placement of this totem can count for a lot, such as placing the totem on a bridge or near the end of the bridge in Eye of the Storm.
Tremor Totem A long-time PvP staple, this crowd-control-breaking totem should always be placed for easy access.
Stoneclaw Totem This is an easily overlooked totem but can be useful for a few reasons. First, it places a protective shell on your other totems, allowing them to absorb some damage. Traditionally, our totems suffer from low health and quick death, and players with a totem stomp macro or pet macro to target and kill them can be quite annoying. This totem may not do much, but it may allow your other totems to live for a few seconds more. Second, it has a chance to stun whatever is attacking it. This may not seem useful, but I have used it to get away from a warlock pet or hunter pet a time or two.
Grounding Totem Another long-time PvP staple, this totem has a short, 45-second duration and a 15-second cooldown. Its value truly shows though when another player is launching a supercharged spell at you or one of your friends.
Sentry Totem Well, this totem has largely been seen as a joke, and soon enough it will be going away for good. However, it has still been useful in a few situations. I have found it handy for quickly checking the tunnel to the base in Warsong Gulch when hiding out at the top of the base with the flag carrier waiting to safely return the flag. I have also found use for it for quickly checking behind the bases or at the bridges in Eye of the Storm. Other than that, it is pretty useless -- but hey, you never know.
Magma Totem This totem can be useful when trying to check for stealth classes around you.
Cleansing Totem This totem is also a staple of shaman PvP and is often times considered overpowered. Every three seconds, it will attempt to remove one disease and one poison from party members withing 30 yards. In the heat of battle, if this totem is left alone, it can wreak havoc on rogue poisons and warlock and priest diseases and take some of the burden of healing off of you.
Talents and spells
Guardian Totems This talent increases armor from Stoneskin Totem by 20%, but it also reduces the cooldown of grounding totem by two seconds. That may not seem like a lot, but in the fast-paced combat of PvP, two seconds can be life or death.
Earth's Grasp Increasing the health of Stoneclaw Totem is nice, but increasing that radius of Earthbind Totem and reducing the cooldown can potentially come in handy.
Improved Ghost Wolf This talent is often overlooked by healers. It can be extremely useful in many PvP situations simply because you cannot mount while in combat. Being able to get out of Dodge quickly can be all the difference between staying alive or getting stomped into the dirt.
Healing Grace Helps keep your heals like Riptide and Earth Shield up on your targets longer improving their effectiveness.
Improved Reincarnation You will die in PvP; it is an inevitability. Sometimes though, as a shaman, you can give your opponents a surprise and rise back up to keep healing your friends. Reducing the cooldown of the Reincarnation, while increasing the amount of health and mana you return to life with, can be very useful in PvP.
Focused Mind Reducing the duration of Silence and interrupt effects can be quite useful. When facing off in PvP, there are a number of spell and abilities that people will potentially stun you or lock you out from spell casting. The quicker you can shrug these effects without using a PvP trinket, the sooner you can go back to healing and keeping you and your teammates alive.
Nature's Guardian Not only can shaman rise from the dead, but you can have a chance to make yourself just a little bit harder to kill. The previous incarnations of Nature's Guardian had a chance to heal you when you an attack brought you below 30% health. Now, however, it increases your health by 15% at maximum level, very similar to how the Battlemaster's trinkets increase your maximum health. This will increase any effect that restores a percentage of your health and possibly help keep you alive just a little bit longer on your path to victory.
Wind Shear This interrupts your targets' spellcasting and locks them out of the school of whatever spell you interrupted for a time. This can be handy or stopping opponents' heals or interrupting a spell aimed at you.
Earth Shock Even as a healer, you have access to all of your shocks. The benefit of this one is that it reduces the melee speed of your target by 10%. That might not seem like a lot, but even a few fractions of a second you can buy with this can help keep yourself or your teammates alive.
Frost Shock This deals damage and slows the target's movement speed down. Combining this with Earthbind Totem can be a great way to get away from your aggressors.
Purge Purge removes two beneficial magic effects from the affected target. This can be insanely useful for removing HoTs, buffs and bonuses from the target and can help your teammates bring their target down.
Hex This is a shaman's form of Polymorph and is often a forgotten spell in our arsenal. Even as a healer, you can use this spell to transform an opponent into a harmless toad. The real benefit to this is that it can withstand some damage before it breaks. This means if your teammates are waling on an opponent and you cast this, they may get another couple swings in while your opponent is unable to defend himself. This can also be very handy for use as an interrupt, and unlike the mage spell, the target does not regenerate health while in toad form.
So as you can see, we have a lot of things that we can do in a fight, and it is this versatility that will be incredibly handy in those rated battlegrounds on the horizon.
Show your totemic mastery by reading Totem Talk. Whether it's Mike Sacco's elemental edition, Joe Perez's coverage of restoration or Rich Maloy's enhancement edition, we have you covered.