Leading up to any expansion, especially before any beta access has gone out, is a great time to start your wish lists -- things you want to see, things you don't want to see and changes that you just might not want to consider as a possibility. We've already have received a sneak peek at the new talents that will grace our classes when the expansion goes live, as well as some changes to the way spells are being distributed.
The fact is, though, that what we've seen so far has raised quite a few questions that have yet to have an answer. One of those big questions is what will happen to our beloved Telluric Currents? We're at a point where most restoration shaman can't live without the talent. It's a huge source of our mana regeneration, especially now in Dragon Soul.
Also, before we get any further: This week's image is supplied by an up-and-coming artist by the name of Jeanette Dulzo, daughter of one of my raiding priests Galdrea. She hasn't set up a website, but I'm hoping this young artist will keep at it and set one up soon. The full picture of her concept of a female shaman can be seen after the break.
Where, oh where has my TC gone?
Last week, reader Alga pointed out something pretty scary that I honestly missed. If you go to the official talent calculator for Mists of Pandaria, you'll notice that there is something missing. That something is Telluric Currents. Now, I know that the talent calculator is still in pre-beta phases and that the spell section hasn't been completely updated, but it is something that when missing can cause a bit of a panic -- especially when discussion has been abound about limiting mana totals based on levels instead of how much intellect you can stack. Couple that with the nerfs to Mana Tide Totem that we've seen early in Cataclysm, and it's pretty darn scary.
First thing on my wish list for MoP is to make sure TC is carried over into the next expansion. Not only has it become a staple for competitive shaman healing, but it adds a further element of strategy to shaman healing. At first glance, it might seem that it's fairly straightforward -- cast Lightning Bolt whenever you can to recoup the mana you're burning through as often as you can. Truth is, it's a bit more complicated than that. You have to pick the time that you use it very carefully. Use it too late, and you won't get enough of a benefit from it to really make a difference. Use it too early, and you might not be pushing out enough healing when you need to to keep your targets alive.
Now, with a potentially normalized mana pool, that level of strategy of mana consumption and mana regeneration will become much more important. Healers will have to plan out their spell usage and learn when it's safe to recover their mana -- that is, if TC makes the cut into MoP. I'm hoping we'll hear more about this soon, maybe through a blue post on the forums or somewhere in an interview about how this aspect of class changes will be looking for healers and if our beloved TC will be making its triumphant return as we continue our fight.
Can I get a new heal?
Expansion time is one of those rare times when the developers really get to take a look at healers' toolkits and see what they can add, move around or potentially remove. Let's face the fact that things are already guaranteed to shuffle. The new talent system and ability distribution tells us that much for certain, but what are we going to be getting with the new level cap? When it was first announced that Cataclysm would have only five additional levels, we worried about what spells would be added to our classes. We did get three very awesome new spells in the form of Healing Rain, Spiritwalker's Grace and Unleash Elements.
Unleash Elements was a new tool to give us a quick heal that we could call upon while boosting our other healing spells. Spiritwalker's Grace gave us the ability to move and heal, something that we were sorely lacking before the most recent expansion. Healing Rain has become a champion of a spell, becoming a hero in its own right and allowing us to knock out some pretty tough encounters when placed correctly. I think it's safe to assume that these new spells we've had the chance to play with for over a year now have really come to fit well in our healing arsenals.
At BlizzCon 2011, we received news that Mists of Pandaria will also be raising our level cap by only five levels. We've already seen what five levels can mean for us and what it can accomplish in terms of our healing toolkit. So the question bears asking: What new healing spells will we receive in the next expansion? Our toolkit is pretty well rounded as it is. We have our quick heal in the form of Healing Surge, our idling heal in the form of Healing Wave, and a HoT in the form of Riptide. We've got tools for single-target healing, group healing, mana recovery and everything in between, so what else could Blizzard add to our already impressive repertoire?
Honestly, if I could ask for one thing, it would be another controllable HoT. Not that I don't like Riptide or that I feel it's weak or anything like that, but it could be a nice additional spell to add to our list. Earthliving Weapon is pretty strong, but it still relies on RNG to proc and apply to our targets. Another HoT that we could control would be pretty darn nice. There are a lot of times when I wish I could set more than one HoT rolling on a target, especially on a tank when I know I have to move off them for a little bit.
Maybe an on-demand, single-target damage mitigation, something that summons the powers of earth on a single target to give them either an absorb or small amount of damage reduction for a period of time. It would also be something quite handy in single-target circumstances. Don't get me wrong, I have every confidence in our ability to heal single targets, but having a new additional spell geared toward helping round out that aspect of our healing would be helpful. We've got a pretty good lock on that whole group healing, and shoring up the lines a little bit would be welcome. Truth is though, I don't know what to expect in the next five levels ... at least not yet.
What would you ask for?
Looking at how far we've come over even just Cataclysm, if you were asked to pick one thing that you would like to see in the upcoming MoP, what would you pick? Would you pick another healing spell like a HoT, or would you pick something to help our our single-target healing? What about something completely different? It's still a long way away, and the developers at Blizzard haven't mentioned anything quite yet in regards to what comes beyond level 85 for us restoration shaman. Time will tell, but now is as good a time as any to get those wish lists ready.
Totem Talk: Restoration lets you Ask a Shaman about the tricks of the trade. We'll introduce you to the very latest pre-raid gear and show you how to manage your cooldowns. Happy healing, and may your mana be plentiful!