Gems and gear
Quite honestly, there has been little changed here that will cause most restoration shaman concern; however, there are changes at least worth noting.
Armor With patch 4.0.1, we received a bonus in the form of Mail Specialization. While wearing all mail gear, you can a boost of 5 percent to your primary stat. Consider that all spellpower has become intellect, and this becomes a big deal. Previously, it was acceptable to pick up a piece of cloth or leather if it was an upgrade, but now it is more beneficial to stick to mail gear. That boost to intellect not only gives you more spellpower, but it also increases your crit rating and gives you a larger mana pool. That larger mana pool also increases the amount you gain from sources of Replenishment as well. So if you are wearing any cloth or leather gear, the time to ditch those pieces has now come. This only counts for armor slots; there will be no mail trinkets or rings or anything odd like that.
Relics Our relic slot items have changed. Now, instead of granting various bonuses to spellpower based on our spell usage, they have become more or less stat sticks with a gem slot. This isn't a bad thing, entirely, as it does give us additional options while filing the slot based on need. We can take a totem now that grants crit instead of spirit if we are good on mana regeneration. Let's take a quick look at how the totems that are commonly used have changed.
You can see how they changed, and we can now pick up Bizuri's to add haste and crit if we feel like doing so.
Gems After 4.0.1 went live, some gems have changed color; others have changed function. Haste gems will remain largely unchanged. Quick King's Amber will still be your haste gem of choice and will stay a yellow gem. Haste gems will still be your main gem of choice throughout the end of the Wrath expansion. Runed Cardinal Ruby will now changed to Brilliant Cardinal Ruby and grant intellect instead of spellpower. It will, however, remain a red gem. Here's a quick breakdown of the gem changes that concern restoration shaman.
- Runed Dragon's Eye has become Brilliant Dragon's Eye.
- Quick Dragon's Eye remains unchanged.
- Brilliant Kings Amber has been removed.
- Runed Cardinal Ruby has become Brilliant Cardinal Ruby.
- Reckless Ametrine now grants 10 intellect and 10 haste.
- Quick King's Amber remains the same.
The reforging system is now live. It allows you to take a secondary stat on any piece of gear and allow you to make up to 40 percent of it into another secondary stat. None of the primary stats are allowed to be reforged; this means strength, agility, stamina and intellect. Here is the list of what are considered secondary stats:
I recommend not reforging any of your stats into mastery at this time. In the current content, the benefit is limited and you are much better off worrying about haste and crit. Rarely are tanks or people going to drop low enough in the current content for deep healing to really be of any use. While your friends of other classes may be rushing to stack mastery rating, I highly suggest waiting for level cap in Cataclysm before you start looking at that. If you are a fresh level 80 character, I also suggest not reforging, at least for a little while. As a fresh 80, your stats will be in flux as you replace gear, so it would really be a waste of gold for you.
Talents and specs
There are quite a few specs being thrown around right now. Here are a few of the more common choices.
2/3/31 This spec allows you to put a few points in Acuity and regain a few points of crit, and it lets you pick up Telluric Currents. This new talent gives you 40 percent of the damage done by Lightning Bolt as mana. Lightning bolt costs only 263 mana to cast, and the average return at 3,000 spellpower is close to 1,000 mana. Pretty good return if you find yourself running low on mana in a fight and can spend a few moments throwing a Lightning Bolt instead of chugging a potion. This is also a spec that considers using Glyph of Lightning Bolt for the extra 4 percent damage.
0/5/31 This spec drops Acuity in favor of picking up two ranks in Elemental Weapons and drops Telluric Currents for Ancestral Resolve. Ancestral Resolve is quite handy in keeping yourself alive in fights during which you are constantly casting; the Lich King transition phase comes to mind when I think about that. This 10 percent adds up over time and can sometimes be the difference between life and death for you.
0/5/31 I personally favor this spec. It drops the points in Ancestral Resolve and moves them to Totemic Focus. This talent allows all of your totems to last longer and reduces the cost of them quite a bit. Totemic Focus does affect Mana Tide Totem, bringing its duration up to 16.8 seconds. It's a little extra time of regenerating at a higher spirit total, and I personally like having 7-minute totems. It does also affect Searing Totem and Grounding Totem. The spec also maximized points in Cleansing Waters, further reducing the cost of Cleanse Spirit by 40 percent -- which you are charged for whether it actually removes an effect or not -- and lets the free heal when it does remove an effect hit for a little bit more. I personally didn't feel picking up points in Acuity was necessary at this stage of the expansion simply because a loss of about 5 percent crit was not too bad.
Play around a little bit with your talent points and find out which one you like the most.
A number of our spells have changed, and we've gotten at least some new spells to entertain us until Cataclysm, while some have been removed.
- Lesser Healing Wave is now Healing Surge. It is a big, fast heal that is quite expensive now.
- Healing Wave is now a medium, low-cost heal.
- Greater Healing Wave is the new big, slow heal, with a proportionate mana cost.
- Chain Heal now affects four targets without a glyph. The top end was lowered slightly at level 80 but still remains strong.
- Riptide remains the same, but the HoT effect is now affected by haste.
- Bind Elemental is our new crowd control aimed at, well, elementals.
- Tidal Force has been removed.
- Cleansing Totem has been removed.
- Sentry Totem has been removed.
- Totem of Tranquil Mind is new and helps to eliminate spell pushback by 30 percent.
- Cleanse Spirit no longer removes disease or poisons, only curses.
- Improved Cleanse Spirit now lets you remove magic effects from a friendly target.
After a full week, most of our habits are unchanged with few exceptions. We will be replacing HW as a nuke heal in favor of GHW or Healing Surge, sure -- but that is a minor change for now. We are still strong healers in every aspect, and we offer another level of utility with a few more tricks. When Cataclysm comes this will change, but for now, we get to sit back and enjoy some new toys. As always, if you have any questions, feel free to email me; I will do my best to respond in a timely manner. Until next time, happy healing!
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