The big news this week is that the level cap on the Mists of Pandaria beta has been raised to 90. You can go and explore Dread Wastes and Vale of Eternal Blossoms, but there isn't any raid content or Pet Battles, and some of the scenarios and Battlegrounds are not yet available. At the time of writing this, the premade template characters were not available yet for level 90, so you'll have to climb the level ladders the old-fashioned way right now.
I'm sure you're thinking that it took long enough, but to be honest, this is a bit sooner than I anticipated. While we've seen the talents, we haven't have the chance to work with them quite yet. Now, we finally get to dive in and play with them, experimenting for what will be our best choices in any given situation. It's like unwrapping a brand new toy for the first time, and I'm pretty excited.
The look of level 90
While the level cap being raised is awesome, I sadly haven't had a chance to get some first-hand experience with each of the top-tier talents. This is largely due to the fact that I can't seem to stay connected to the beta in this latest build long enough to level up. This makes me sad, but even now, I'm completely reinstalling the beta client as quickly as my internet will let me. Soon, this article's top image will be a fact and not just a dream.
That hasn't stopped me from tracking down how our level 90 talents will look. The video above will give you an idea. The video is from Muxx of Clarity on Arthas (US), and it shows off our level 90 talents pretty well.
The first one is Elemental Blast. This is a damaging talent that also increases your critical strike, haste or mastery by 3,500 for 8 seconds. It has a 2-second cast time and a 12-second cooldown. It does a decent amount of damage -- but more importantly, that stat boost is pretty darn killer. The spell also looks really awesome. You can see that each blast has fire, lightning frost and wisps of green nature energy with some pretty cool particle effects. No doubt about it, the visuals are really well done, and I think that the bonuses it gives could potentially be very useful for restoration shaman. It's just a matter of getting in there and weaving the ability into your healing flow when you can.
Next up is Unleashed Fury. Unleashed Fury is like the bigger brother Unleash Elements, and in the case of healing, that's pretty much exactly what it is. With Earthliving Weapon, you get an even bigger boost to your healing done. This equates to a 50% increase on your next single-target heal on one of your allies. It's a sizable bonus, for sure. Each element that you unleash carries with it a unique animation and spell effect. Essentially, your character gets surrounded by the corresponding element to the weapon imbue you have active, whether it's fire, air, water or earth or ice. There's something for every walk here. It's OK, nothing too earth-shattering.
The biggest change, visually and mechanically, comes from Primal Elementalist. This talent takes your Earth Elemental and Fire Elemental and inserts them full of awesomesauce. The first thing it does is give your elemental companions a 50% increase to health. The second thing it does is give them new abilities, and the third thing it does is let you control them directly as a pet. Fire elementals grant you Empower, which increases damage dealt by 5% and healing done by 10% while the elemental channels the buff on you. While channeling, the elemental does not attack, but the talent basically lets you use your elemental as a healing cooldown if you need to, and that's pretty cool. The earth elemental gives you Reinforce, which reduces all damage taken by you by 20% and increases all your healing done by 10%. Pretty cool, if you ask me.
Not only do you get some pretty cool new artwork to go along with it, but your elementals take on the appearance of those found throughout Bastion of Twilight and Firelands. They look good, the bonuses are cool, and it has incentive for us to use it as healers.
Of course, with the new level cap, we start getting our taste for what is to come, and that means looking at raids, gear and what we have to look forward to. Well, over on MMO-Champion, they've been digging up the next tier set of armor, and we got a bit of a sneak peak at it.
I think it looks more druid-like than shaman-like. I might be in the minority on this one, but it's got me a bit put off. I have a hard time seeing my dwarf wearing this, and unlike tier 13, where it looked absolutely amazing on orcs and draenei, I'm not sure who this is going to look the best on. Off the top of my head, I'm thinking maybe trolls could look pretty cool in this get-up. Makes me wonder what the next raid tier will look like as far as bosses go, as well, since each tier of gear throughout Cataclysm and before had a sort of flavor for the zone. Wonder if we'll be making some giant omelets? All I know is, personally, I'll be grateful for transmog when putting on the pieces of this gear. Don't get me wrong, it looks really cool in its own way, just not something I personally dig.
I do, however, really like that the sets of armor have been seemingly favoring the different races in which it looks best on. It's a trend I'd like to see continue, and it keeps me eagerly anticipating and guessing at what the next tier is going to look like. Heck, maybe I'll break out the pen and paper and draw up some dwarven-style shaman gear for fun.
So ultimately, we're getting a ton of visual upgrades at level 90 -- not just gear, but our spells, totem effects and the like. It's looking much prettier than it has before. With everything like new glyphs for changing how Chain Heal looks and new aesthetics for Ghost Wolf to new spells all together, we're certainly shaping up to be looking pretty for this expansion. So what do you think so far?
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!