Last week, we talked about the first impressions of healing with Spiritwalker's Grace and how it fits in with our spells and or ability to heal. After that, we had some breaking news for beta build 12942 and then build 12984. The first patches where we really started to see some changes to the restoration shaman spells and abilities beyond the first set of talent swaps.
With all the news about the various changes coming in Cataclysm, it is easy to overlook the PTR and the ever-imminent Patch 4.0.1. Truth is, this is a point of concern for quite a large number of people. Like previous pre-expansion patches, it is an exciting yet terrifying time for most players. Some remain optimistic that the changes to our classes will make us stronger and pack even more fun. Others believe that in the case of the upcoming patch, the sky is falling and that we are all doomed. The official forums and the various sites out there are filled with both sides of the debate, and often you can find a very heated discussion about these changes.
So what changes are in store for restoration shaman once this patch goes live? Let's take a look.
First and most importantly, there is one thing to keep in mind throughout all of this. DON'T PANIC! While change is always a little bit scary, it's best to take a look at it from a rational view point. As far as actual changes, there are quite a bit heading our way with the 4.0.1 patch.
There are lists of all the changes that are floating around for every class and every specialization. That said, I thought it would be good to go over what exactly those changes are once again for restoration shaman.
What 4.0.1 will change:
- Mail Specialization has been added.
- Bind Elemental has been added.
- Lesser Healing Wave has become Healing Surge.
- Greater Healing Wave has been added.
- Mana Tide Totem has been changed to affect spirit.
- Totem of Tranquil Mind has been added.
- New talent trees and specialization bonuses are active.
- New glyphs and glyph system are active.
- Tidal Force has been removed.
- Dispel changes go into effect.
- Int replaces spellpower on gear.
- Spirit replaces MP5 on gear.
- Mastery is implemented, but no gear comes with it yet.
- Unleash Elements
- Healing Rain
- Spiritwalker's Grace
- levels higher than 80
- new zones
- new races or race/class combos
- old-world flight
What about balance?
One of the more frequent questions about this upcoming patch: How will we be balanced after the patch goes live? Well, just like the pre-Burning Crusade patch and pre-Wrath patch, there's only one answer available. We won't be balanced. Blizzard has already told us that everything we are getting, all of the new shinny toys, are balanced around being level 85. Since we will not get the chance to level until Cataclysm is actually released, balance is not something we should worry too much about. Honestly, the developers aren't quite concerned with balancing the new talents and abilities around the content of Wrath come patch 4.0.1, so for now, don't sweat it.
That said, it isn't a terrible thing we aren't balanced at this time. Honestly, this patch doesn't really change anything for us that is really earth-shattering. We will still be able to heal through Icecrown Citadel and Ruby Sanctum, as well as any heroics, just fine.
To give you an idea of what our stats are going to look like once we make the switch over to the new patch, I've gathered up the pertinent stats from Lodur on the live game and on the patch 4.0.1 PTR.
Live server stats:
- Int 1,612
- Healing bonus 3,259
- Crit 39.19%
- Haste 39%
- MP5 out of combat 279
- MP5 in combat 175
- Mana pool 28,296
Patch 4.0.1 stats:
- Int 2,203
- Healing bonus 3,189
- Crit 34.52%
- Haste 39%
- MP5 out of combat 431
- MP5 in combat
- Mana pool 37,161
Healing in 4.0.1
I'll be honest, at first I was a little scared about healing at the current level with the new patch. I dove into it, though, and healed through a PUG ICC-25 run. My first impression of healing in the new patch was not favorable. Marrowgar demanded more than the normal amount of healers to get through, but looking back at it, this was probably symptomatic of everyone's getting used to their new talents in a raiding environment. After pushing back into the citadel, running numerous heroics and just spending time with the new talents in general, I was able to fall back quite comfortably into healing. After returning back into ICC on the PTR, healing went much more smoothly, and honestly, it was quite enjoyable. Still, it took me a while to get used to not being able to Cleanse Spirit poisons or diseases, but wasn't that bad after the first week.
Overall, we will be in a good place when patch 4.0.1 drops. We will get to play around with some of the new mechanics and stats long enough to get used to them before Cataclysm is released, without disrupting our playstyle too much. So the moral of the story is: DON'T PANIC. There is nothing special you need to worry about, and things should be just fine to continue life in Azeroth as normal. That is, until Deathwing decides to crash the joint.
Show your totemic mastery by reading Totem Talk. Whether it's Sarah Nichol's elemental edition, Joe Perez's coverage of restoration or Rich Maloy's enhancement edition, WoW Insider's shaman experts have you covered.