Did you miss me? I know I missed you! I know you were all super excited about the update to restoration shaman on the beta a couple of weeks ago. I was. We got some good information to mull over. Clarification on one of our new talents along with some numbers for estimated proc rate was a good starting point, and we even got our first glimpse of the tier 14 raid set bonuses. I still believe that the four-piece bonus needs to be revisited, because I think that it will wind up wasted on us for the most part. I'm holding out hope that we'll get an update sometime soonish.
That said, we haven't had a whole lot in the way of updates the last few weeks for restoration shaman. Things are starting to slow down, at least for right now. I'm guessing that will change as soon as more raid data gets parsed and verified. We'll see some tweaks, whether it's to spell coefficients or mana regeneration. While it's been slow, there has been at least some news and some blue responses to the current restoration position.
Glyph of Riptide, and blue posts
Last week, I brought up the point that with the wonderful new Glyph of Riptide will basically result in infinite uptime on Tidal Waves. This is all a result of the cooldown being removed from Riptide as long as you have the glyph active. This came at a cost, however, and that cost was trading in the instant heal portion of Riptide for the removal of the cooldown. Even with the removal of the instant heal, it was a quite effective and fairly mana-efficient heal if allowed to tick for the full allotted time.
There was a problem with that, though. Without that instant heal, there was no chance for Riptide to proc Resurgence. That's actually a fair amount of mana lost over the course of an instance or even an encounter. The change gives us back a little bit of that direct heal, but we're still getting a 90% reduction on the initial heal from Riptide. I know it may not seem like much, but this is really a good change for us.
One of the major concerns for most restoration shaman has been our performance in raids, including how much healing we can dish out compared to other healers and how we can handle doing so while keeping the necessary mana. This seemingly minor change does actually help address the issue at least a little bit, and you can already see that our mana returns from Resurgence have improved once again on the beta. It's absolutely a step in the right direction.
On that same topic, we got a blue post on the forums from Greg Street, otherwise known as Ghostcrawler, lead systems designer. There has been some concern in the recent raid testing that restoration shaman are falling behind the other healing classes. GC responds to that thought:
It would seem that the developers have noticed that there may have been some dip in the mana regeneration and will be paying attention to it. I'm actually pretty sure that was part of the reason that the Glyph of Riptide was changed to begin with.
Ultimately though, I think that Ghostcrawler makes a good point. Healer mana and regeneration is a long process. Unlike DPS, you can't just walk up to a target dummy and unload and see where the chips lay afterwards. There are a ton of factors that feed into it -- raid composition and size, encounter mechanics and even comparative spell usage.
It's not something you should expect to see fixed instantly, because it will require a lot of data. That said, if you have been testing out restoration shaman healing beta, be sure to leave feedback on the forums. The more information we can provide from practical application, the better off we'll be in the long run.
Preparing for the expansion
While anticipating change before the beta become release is OK, it's better to be prepared in the event that things might not be quite where we want them to be. I mean, it's happened before where an expansion has shipped with things not being quite done yet, and we had to make do for a bit until things got rebalanced. So in the meantime, it's better to assume that we'll be looking at the much the same as we do now in the beta when Mists goes live.
What does this mean for us really, though? Well, it means be ready to make sure you have a good, healthy stacking of spirit for regen, and expect to throw some Lightning Bolts. At the opening of the expansion, you'll be relying on that spirit for continuous passive regeneration, as well as to make use of your Mana Tide Totem.
While before, I would have suggested maybe reforging out of spirit to pick up more haste or mastery, it may be time to restore all that spirit and start looking at either picking up more mastery and maybe even a little crit. Reworking my stats on the beta to pick up more crit, spirit and mastery and dropping my haste levels down has actually helped me keep my mana totals up and made healing through heroics much easier. Glyph of Telluric Currents is still incredibly useful, especially early into the expansion. Keeping my spirit totals slightly higher than I currently would, along with Mana Tide Totem, have kept me from scraping the bottom of the barrel in terms of mana. It's a good feeling.
That's at least what I can offer you from my experience on the beta, and it's just something to keep in the back of your mind as you get ready to transition into Mists of Pandaria. So what about you? Have you had the chance to put any time in on the beta? What are your thoughts on the current mana situation and the how things may shape up for us in the weeks to come? Now, to see a panda about a yak ...
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!