What are my talents looking like now?
So if you haven't been around for Cataclysm, things have changed a bit. Even though they've changed, though, don't get too comfortable, because it will change again in Mists.
But in the meantime, there are some things that you'll notice. First of all, we have considerably fewer of those things. Some talents are considered optional and suboptimal, while others make you a force to be reckoned with. Become acquainted with Telluric Currents; it will greatly increase your mana regeneration and help you hang in there in the new content. Originally, it was thought that TC wouldn't be that big of a deal, but honestly, it's pretty important in terms of your overall healing output if you intend to raid.
Cleansing Waters is pretty useless in PvE when compared to our other talents now, as it carries a cooldown between healing procs. The reduced cost on the Cleanse Spirit is nice, don't get me wrong, but two talent points for the 40% reduction is not the best of choices. Mana Tide Totem, Nature's Swiftness and Riptide are all still talents that you have to choose. Riptide is a must-have and is still one of your greatest healing assets, and Nature's Swiftness is still just as useful as ever. Mana Tide Totem has undergone quite a number of changes since the start of the expansion, but it seems to have settled for the time being. It does not give you 200% of your spirit, and temporary buffs like the one afforded from Core of Ripeness are no longer applicable. It has a 3-minute cooldown and is now something you can use pretty aggressively to make sure you and your healing team around you have a solid store of mana.
How bad is the content to heal?
To be honest, right now is one of the greatest times to be a healing shaman. First off, the new Hour of Twilight heroics are amazingly well done and fantastic to heal through. You get the chance to gather some awesome trinkets and to be a part of history quite literally. These heroics are challenging without being too bad, especially if you haven't been around since Firelands.
Also, the Raid Finder is a wonderful tool for you to get your feet wet with in Dragon Soul. It takes normal raiding and makes it a little more accessible, providing very good gear rewards, including versions of the current tier gear. It's a great way to dust off those raid healing skills and earn some very good loot to get you ready to do the normal mode raid.
Dragon Soul in general is much more shaman-friendly than tier 12 was. Fights have a lot more stationary healing intervals and allow us to really dump out the healing. Many of the fights mechanics also force the raid groups to group together, making it ideal for our Healing Rain and Chain Heal to really dish out some truly massive healing. For full information on all of the encounters, be sure to check Ready Check and previous articles in this column. All in all, the current content is a great place to shake off your healing rust and to rise and shine while you're getting ready for Mists.
Level 90 shaman talent information
Did you enjoy watching that NDA break on the Blizzard media event? I know I sure did, if for no other reason than all the cool class stuff we found out. What was of particular interest, of course, was the talk about the level 90 shaman talents. If you missed it, please allow me to recap them for you.
One supercharges your Unleash Elements to provide a much better bonus for each imbue type.
Another removes the cooldown on your Fire and Earth Elemental Totems and allows you to control them.
And the last is a blast of elemental energy in a cone on a 15-second cooldown.
Some things to really be excited about there. The first one I don't know about. Adding an additional or better bonus for each of your weapon imbues is pretty cool, but it makes me wonder what the bonuses are going to be. If Earthliving Weapon
only gets a bigger, better heal, that's nice, but I'm not sure if that's going to be quite enough for a level 90 talent. It would have to be something different and much bigger, in my opinion, to make it even worth considering.
The second point is a pretty cool idea depending on what it actually does. The wording on the the idea almost makes it seem like it's going to make the elementals become a constant, summonable pet much like a mage's Water Elemental
that also gets a pet bar like a hunter's pet. I'm not sure if that's the case or if this is a talent that will just let you finish the cooldown on the elemental to cast it again while giving it a pet bar. My money is on perma-pet, which for restoration shaman will be potentially a ton of fun when soloing dailies or anything else where we might need a little DPS backup but don't want the elemental just going all crazy and attacking everything in sight.
The last point is what really piqued my interest -- the blast of elemental energy in a cone on a 15-second cooldown. What I'm curious about is really how it is going to work exactly. Will we get a different version of it based on what spec we are? If we're in restoration spec, could it give us an ability like Holy Radiance
but on a 15-second cooldown? I don't know about you, but the thought of that got me a little excited -- the potential for another heal, this one conic, on a relatively short cooldown. The idea of a conic heal would really fit well with our other AoE heals, and I don't think it would take too long to get used to. Honestly, I would welcome it. On the other hand, it could just wind up being nothing but a DPS ability, and then my hopes and dreams could be dashed.
Either way, I think we'll find out pretty soon, probably within a week or two, as to what these will actually do. What do you think?
Totem Talk: Restoration lends you advice on healing groups, DK tanks and heroics and mana concerns in today's endgame -- or take a break and look back at the rise of the resto shaman. Happy healing, and may your mana be plentiful!