I think we can all agree that this has been a very busy few weeks, first with patch 4.0.1 going live and then the epic event that is BlizzCon 2010. I want to take a second and thank everyone who stopped by our WoW insider reader meetup. I got the opportunity to meet with quite a few of you, and it was a great experience. I'm hoping that next year even more of the shaman community can make it out to the convention -- who knows, maybe we can take over an area for all our shamanistic shenanigans!
Last week I went though and detailed the changes that the restoration shaman faces in the recent patch. We talked about glyphs, spell changes and the healing mechanic changes we will encounter. This week, I thought we could talk about something that I've been finding a lot of enjoyment in since patch 4.0.1: restoration shaman in PvP.
Since the patch, I've found myself healing through battlegrounds more and more frequently. Before the patch, healing in PvP was always something I found fun, but the patch seemed to ignite that need to competitively heal again. The patch gave us quite a few things for use in PvP.
I'm rubber and you're glue ...
One of the biggest changes to come with the patch was the change to the glyph system. Not only did we gain the ability to use even more glyphs, but many of our glyphs underwent some changes. Now while I talked a little bit about this last week, that was more with PvE in mind.
Glyph of Grounding Totem is probably my favorite out of all the changes in our glyphs in regard to PvP. While the glyph does have some use in regular dungeons, heroics and raids, it really shines in battlegrounds and arenas. Without the glyph, Grounding Totem simply absorbs or negates any spell cast at a friendly target in range of the totem, with the exception of area of effect spells. With the glyph, however, instead of just absorbing the spell, the totem throws it right back at the caster! Imagine the face on that mage when he goes to sheep you and instead of you turning into a fluffy harmless mass, he himself becomes a critter! The totem was always strong in PvP when used to deflect power-charged attacks, but with the glyph, it just becomes even more ridiculously useful.
Glyph of Shocking is really nice for PvP if for no other reason than you simply have a lot less haste in your gladiatorial gear compared to your raiding sets. Stamina and resilience keep you alive and by my understanding tend to be more important, which leaves haste almost on the back burner. In arenas and battlegrounds, even as a healer, you will be using shocks quite a bit. Making sure your triggered global cooldown helps to make sure that you can cast Wind Shear that much faster if needed or get that heal started even sooner. It may not sound like a lot, but in player-vs.-player combat, 1 second versus 1.5 seconds can be the difference between life and death. Paring this with Glyph of Flame Shock and Glyph of Frost Shock gives you that extra versatility and survivability that restoration shaman are notorious for in PvP.
Glyph of Hex is a wonderful thing in battlegrounds and arenas as well. Fights are hectic in PvP, and anything you can do to gain the advantage can help save victory from the clutches of defeat. As healers, we are capable of taking an enemy out of combat for a little bit with Hex. The problem is that most players have their PvP tokens -- or a racial ability -- that lets them break that CC early. Being able to recast hex 15 seconds sooner can help push the battle back in your favor.
Stoneclaw Totem is an underused hero in PvP, in my opinion, often overshadowed by Earthbind Totem and Tremor Totem. The totem lets you protect your other totems by placing a damage-absorbing shield around them that absorbs around 9,451 damage before they expire -- rather important when most of your totems only have 5 health. The glyph allows you to extend that protective shield to you. Who doesn't like absorbing almost 4,000 damage every 20 seconds?!
Glyph of Healing Stream Totem is amazing for restoration shaman in PvP and PvE. Adding resistance to everyone in range for fire, frost and nature damage can help keep your teammates alive that much longer. Glyph of Ghost Wolf should also not be overlooked. Mobility is key in many situations, and being able to out run an aggressor or get into healing range faster is always a good thing. Keep in mind with the patch, we can use Ghost Wolf indoors. That really comes in handy when you're trying to break out of the tunnel in Warsong Gulch.
If you go through the catalog of glyphs we have, and look at the old and the new ones, you can get some very interesting combinations going and have a lot of fun.
That shaman has talent!
With the changes to glyph, we also got our new talent trees in the patch. Many of the new talents really play well into the role of a PvP healer.
Ancestral Resolve is a new talent that reduces the amount of damage a shaman sustains by 10 percent while casting any spell. That 10 percent adds up pretty quickly, especially if you have any form of resilience gear. I picked up this talent for my PvP spec and have been absolutely loving it. I mean, who doesn't love something that keeps them alive a little bit longer?
Spark of Life is another new talent that not only increases the amount of healing you do, but also increases the amount of healing you receive. This includes healing from all sources, so if you Earth Shield yourself, it will heal you for an additional 15 percent every time it triggers. This effect does stack with other heal-altering effects like Glyph of Earth Shield, Nature's Blessing and the bonus healing triggered from Focused Insight. Also consider that with Cleansing Waters, every time you remove a curse or other magical effect, you heal the target and you can keep yourself alive for quite a while, all the time really annoying warlocks and shadow priests.
Telluric Currents is also pretty amazing in PvP right now. There is that basic rule that if you don't have mana, you can't heal after all. With TC at max rank, you can throw a Lightning Bolt costing a mere couple of hundred mana, and in return, get well over 1,000 back. I've been using this to regen mana whenever possible in battlegrounds and have really fallen in love with it there.
As far as a specific PvP spec, play around with your points a little bit. You may find a spec that works well for you depending on if you are going solo or doing preformed groups. Personally, since I've been running with preformed groups I've been going with this build, and it has been serving me well. I don't find myself with too many mana problems, so I dropped TC for now, but the results have been very good. I do, however, respec and pick it back up if I'm just going to randomly enter battlegrounds alone.
Honestly, at this point I feel almost impossible to kill in battlegrounds. It is a lot of fun to not be completely killed within the first 20 seconds of combat, and lately, I've just been having a lot of fun with it. How about you? Have you guys been doing any PvP after the patch? What do you think of it?
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.