Mana Tide -- or just mana trickle?
I've been getting quite a few emails about the upcoming changes to our dear old friend Mana Tide Totem. We talked about this a little bit before, but with patch 4.2, our dear old friend mana tide will be getting hit with the nerf bat. It will no longer grant 400% of your total spirit as mana regen to everyone in range of the totem, but rather only 200% -- quite a big drop, but honestly one that I think we all saw coming. A lone shaman could use high spirit and a totem drop to become a mana battery for an entire corps of healers, while more than one shaman with average stats could chain their totems and break the entire mana curve for an encounter. I freely admit I abused this mechanic in any raid fight when I had more than one restoration shaman at my disposal.
While other fixes are in place to try to normalize mana regeneration, the change does mean we'll have to make a few adjustments to how we use mana tide. We are going to have to be quite a bit more aggressive with the usage of the totem. Where before, you could wait until you were sub-50% mana to use it, you may want to consider using it more often and then whenever it's off cooldown. This goes for both 25-man and 10-man raiding, as well as heroics. Having healed through some of the new raid encounters, I can assure you that there will be plenty of damage to heal through, so make sure to maximize your mana returns.
Let 'er rip!
Riptide is back to stardom in patch 4.2, especially with the new tier 12 set bonuses, where it takes center stage. The tier 12 two-piece set bonus allows for a chance to restore 1% of your base mana every time your Riptide heals a target. Consider that at this point, you are likely past your first haste cap and likely approaching your second haste cap. Every time the spell's periodic healing ticks, it has a chance to trigger. This set bonus makes the Glyph of Riptide worth its weight in gold because it gives you a few more seconds to possibly proc the set bonus.
The four-piece set bonus is also quite spectacular. Having Chain Heal no longer consume the remaining charges of Riptide in order to get the healing boost is really quite good. This means you can roll your Riptides and Chain Heals with near-reckless abandon without worrying about clipping short your own periodic healing.
Now, you should already be keeping up Riptide every time it is off of cooldown (you are, aren't you?), but with patch 4.2, it has become even more important to make sure you're doing so. Once you receive your tier two-piece bonus, you should make absolutely sure that you are using it each and every cooldown. If you aren't doing so, you are missing out on quite a hefty chunk of mana return -- and trust me, you'll need it.
Time is on my side, yes it is!
Watching for your cooldowns on Riptide and Mana Tide Totem has just increased quite a bit in importance, and managing all that can seem pretty hard to keep track of. There are, however, many addons that can help alert you to your cooldowns' being up and remind you to use them, and these addons are quite easy to use.
Totem Timers [Curse|WoWInterface] This is a personal favorite of mine for totem management. It gives you a customizable bar for all your totem needs. I've gushed about it many times, but it really is quite wonderful. You can resize each button and move them wherever you want, and the addon has a full complement of timers. It can be set to give you a very clear countdown on when your totem will be available and gives you easy access to cast it. Really, any totem mod will let you do it, but TT gets my highest seal of approval.
Power Auras [Curse|WoWInterface] This is another favorite of mine and many members of the community. Power Auras can be configured to show you any number of things with both visual and audio cues. Traditionally, it has been used to show when certain buffs have become active, and even in Cataclysm, a form of it has been built right into the game itself. It is, however, incredibly handy with tracking cooldowns. In the options for PA, you'll see a tab for activation. There's an option on that tab labeled "activation by" and a dropdown menu immediately below it; if you select "action usable," you can then type the name of the spell or ability you wish to track in the box right below the dropdown menu. There is also an option on this tab for "Show when not active"; if you remove the checkmark from this, it will show you whatever graphic or notification you have chosen when your spell is off cooldown and available again. You can then select any graphic, animation, sound, or even a timer bar to appear, and position it as you want on your screen.
OmniCC [Curse|WoWInterface] OmniCC is an addon that I've had in my UI for a very long time, and it has served me very well over the years. This little gem places a cooldown timer on all of your abilities whenever you place them in any action bar. It is compatible with most bar mods, and the cooldown timer is very clear. Size, color, and text can be adjusted to suit your needs and help make sure it fits with your UI. One of the cool things about this addon is that whenever an ability comes off of cooldown, it will pulse and shine to draw your attention to the button. It's just enough to remind you the ability is available, without being too intrusive or obnoxious.
ForteXorcist [Curse|WoWInterface] In Wrath of the Lich King, this addon became quite popular for tracking cooldowns and abilities. Not only does it give you a handy listing of your abilities and cooldowns, it has a main bar on which you can watch the icons for your various abilities and cooldowns move from right to left. Once they reach the end, they pulse in a way similar to OmniCC in order to draw your attention to the ability.
Basically, anything you can do to remind yourself to keep Riptide active on every cooldown and let you know the moment your Mana Tide Totem is off cooldown will help you out immensely in the near future. It will help keep your mana levels high, help you push through all the damage in the new tier of raiding, and help you compensate for the reduction in Mana Tide Totem in earlier content and heroics.
So how do you track the cooldowns on your abilities?
Totem Talk: Restoration will show you the basics of endgame resto shaman play as well as how to find the expansion's best reputation gear for resto shaman and tips for easier leveling. Happy healing, and may your mana be plentiful!