It is a big patch, for sure, and with all that new content comes near constant testing and tweaking of all the features to make sure they work as intended; and with that testing, changes are made and classes undergo changes whether to their gear or their abilities during this time.
Tier 15 two-piece set bonus update for restoration
If there is anything that is a constant, it is that things on the PTR are constantly changing right up to the time that the content is set to go live. Patch 5.2 is a great example of that, and things have been changing and being updated regularly. The tier 15 preview we've been seeing over the last few weeks is also something that has been updated a few times. Now, we finally know the name of our healing shaman set, Vestments of the Spiritbreaker. Personally, I like the look of it quite a bit and I think the name is very fitting. More importantly though will be the stats and the set bonuses. The two-piece and four-piece set bonus has been updated since it was discovered on the PTR, and even since we talked about it last time.
Tier 15 restoration two-piece bonus has received a bit of a change, and this is in the form of a little bit of a downgrade from what was originally in the works. Originally, the two-piece bonus was going to allow Healing Stream Totem to heal a second target whenever it was activated for 50% of whatever it healed the first target for. I commented last time that combining that effect with Call of the Elements could result in some very decent healing numbers. Apparently, that second target for healing stream totem at 50% of the healing done to the initial HST target was a bit much. As a result, the new two-piece bonus has been reduced. Originally it was tweaked to 20% on the extra heal, but right now it seems to have settled on 25%. That is still a fair amount of extra healing, especially when you take in to consideration it is essentially free healing for using an ability we normally cycle through anyways.
The reduction also makes a certain amount of sense when you consider that the potential amount of healing we do does increase between tiers. Increased stats on gear allow us to push plateaus, and of course trinket and proc effects also contribute as they tend to get bigger and better between tiers. That said though, I don't think we're going to see this shift too much more than it already has. Where it is at, 25%, seems to be a good number for it. Not too much to make it overly powerful and skew our healing numbers too much, but not too low so that it is still desirable and useful to our healing.
Tier 15 four-piece set bonus update
The tier 15 four-piece bonus was something that originally surprised me when it was first discovered. It centers around our Ancestral Awakening, which takes 30% of the healing done on a single target heal, after crit and mastery are added in and including overhealing, and distributes it to the most injured person in your party withing 40 yards whenever a direct heal crits. The original four-piece that appeared in the PTR information gave you a 20% chance on non crit heals to trigger AA. That in and of itself was pretty interesting, and a huge potential boon to healing. This means all heals from Healing Surge, Greater Healing Wave, Healing Wave, Riptide and Unleash Life. As it was it held a lot of potential to really increase the amount of healing we could dish out when swapping to single target healing, and that was pretty exciting.
In the latest set of information gained from the PTR, the set bonus has been modified. Instead of a 20% chance to trigger AA after a non crit single target heal, it has now been increased to a whopping 50%. That is a huge buff to the four-piece bonus, and potentially can result in a huge change in our healing output when single target healing. The idea certainly excites me, as single target healing has been considered by some over the years to be the resto shaman's weak point. Recently though, with Cataclysm and now Mists of Pandaria, resto shaman single target healing has closed the gap with other healing classes. It looks like that trend will continue going into 5.2.
The only point of concern with the chance being moved to 50% is how much will it devalue crit in our stat priority. Recently crit has taken on a more important role in our stat priority, and many shaman have been gemming and reforging into it for certain fights and heroic modes. Will this 50% chance on a normal single target heal triggering AA going to make any difference in the importance of crit? I don't really know right now, but it was an interesting point brought up in a recent discussion on Twitter. I am curious though to see how the four-piece bonus would work in a raid situation when set to single target heal, and see how much of a difference it really makes.
It will be interesting to see how much these change from here to patch 5.2 going live. I don't know about you but I'm really starting to like this tier set. The visual of it is cool, the name is awesome and so far the set bonuses are shaping up to be quite nice. I am really looking forward to this set 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!