Last week we talked about some of the new changes in the Cataclysm beta, as well as answering some questions from our mailbag.This week, we'll go over some of the latest Cataclysm changes and some new comments from Ghostcrawler (Blizzard's lead systems designer) about shaman in the next expansion. He addresses some concerns that people have been expressing about upcoming changes.
This week, I would also like to talk about the restoration shaman bucket list. Normally, a bucket list is a list of things you want to do before you die. For our purposes, it will be a list of things to do before the next expansion drops and the current one becomes, for lack of a better term, obsolete. The main focus of everyone of late has been the Cataclysm expansion. A lot of things are changing, the world is being sundered and not everything about the future is known to us yet. There are still a lot of entertaining things to do and things to accomplish though before the world is torn apart and everything changed.
Another week, another beta build. This week changes were fairly significant, but not all of them solely healing-related.
Glyphs have been moved over into the general tab of your spell book, and once learned, can be applied at will to your glyph slots. This is particularly handy if you find yourself swapping glyphs between fights or zones fairly consistently.
Relics are now changed to add stats and a socket instead of effect bonuses. For us, that means some serious change. For example, Totem of the Surging Sea currently adds 85 spellpower for 15 seconds every time we cast Riptide, up to three stacks. In Cataclysm, however it will be changed to the following:
- 77 stamina
- 51 intellect
- 34 spirit
- 1 red socket
Shaman also received a new totem, Totem of Tranquil Mind. Learned at level 74, Totem of Tranquil Mind has a 5-minute duration and causes party or raid members within 30 yards to lose 30 percent less casting or channeling time when damaged. We already get Healing Focus as part of our specialization bonus, which already reduces our pushback by 70 percent. It is very much like a paladin's Concentration Aura. The totem is a water totem, so you will have to choose between Mana Spring Totem, Healing Stream Totem or Totem of Tranquil Mind. In raids, I can see this being useful if you have multiple shaman and already have paladins with Blessing of Wisdom being thrown around, but in the smaller content, I think it will be largely set aside for one of the other two options.
Mastery is in full effect now for all classes, and Deep Healing is here for all of your healing needs. It increases your direct healing spells by up to 20 percent based on your target's health. This means lower health, bigger heals. This is increased further by the mastery rating found on gear at a rate of about 92 rating per 1 percent mastery increase. We talked a little about this last week, but this week it is in effect for everyone.
The crustacean speaks
With the whole DPS-to-gain-mana-back fiasco, players have been concerned about this. We only gain the mana back if we hit the target. However, since we are healers, hit is not exactly a stat we focus on. But it seems that this was all part of the plan, so we will have to see how it shapes up in another couple of levels and a few more revisions.
This is one of those talents that people have been on the fence with, to either love or hate it. That said, it is a great tank healing talent and it allows you to ignore the Lesser Healing Wave Glyph in favor of something else if you so choose, because the talent affects all of your direct healing spells. While it may feel like it is not a bonus when you're not healing an Earth Shield target, it still remains a very useful talent.
This has come up quite a bit among shaman healers, but I think the response is pretty spot on. Glyphed, Chain Heal will hit four targets. But if people are moving, maximizing chain heal can be a bit tricky. Healing Rain gives us an AoE burst heal that in some situations is preferred. This is similar to druids using Tranquility to help even out health quickly among a large group of people. I'll talk more about healing rain next week.
The bucket list
With Cataclysm approaching, a topic that people have been talking about is what to do before it goes live. We still have plenty of time left before Wrath of the Lich King becomes obsolete and almost forgotten like The Burning Crusade did after Wrath was released. So what are some fun things you can do while you wait for the next expansion?
Heal Ulduar and Icecrown Citadel. If you haven't had a chance to yet, try to get a group together and heal through both. Ulduar offered a lot of fun fights with some great story behind it. Icecrown Citadel is pretty much the crowning achievement of the current expansion. It offers fantastic lore, good fights and good loot. Both zones have fights that force restoration shaman to utilize their entire spell selection and really get your juices flowing.
Kill the Lich King. Arguably one of the most fun fights in the game for a restoration shaman, if you haven't had a chance to topple the Lich King, I highly recommend trying to find a group to down him with. The fight really forces you to use everything you have at your disposal and is just a heck of a lot of fun. I put this separate from healing through Icecrown because getting to him and completing the fight can often be two very different things.
Heal through a hard mode. Both Ulduar and Icecrown Citadel offered some fun and frustrating hard modes. Many of the fights in Ulduar allowed for variable degrees of difficulty and, even now, some truly punishing hard modes, and the same can be said about Icecrown. They tend to be a blast and offer new insight into old encounters. If you haven't had the chance to do any hard-mode fights yet, try to find a group that does.
Do some PvP. Strand of the Ancients and Wintergrasp offer some healer-friendly environments for player versus player. What I mean by healer-friendly is that these zones offer large enough groups that you can heal without having to worry too terribly much about dealing damage, interrupting or crowd controlling. The battles are often times fast-paced and can give you quite a different feeling healing them compared to healing instances.
Achievement hunt. There are a lot of achievements in the game. There are a lot that you can solo as a healer and some that will require you to get a group. Check out the OverAchiever series here for some ideas. Maybe explore the world or invade your enemies home turf to let them know who is boss.
There are a lot of things you can do before you Wrath comes to a close. What do you think restoration shaman should do before Cataclysm goes live? What is on your bucket list?
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