Cataclysm Beta: Restoration shaman changes in Build 12984

Joe Perez
J. Perez|09.19.10

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Cataclysm Beta: Restoration shaman changes in Build 12984
Cataclysm Beta: Restoration shaman changes in Build 12984
Last night, a new beta build was revealed, build 12984.The builds are coming quicker, it seems, as it was only last week that we received Cataclysm build 12942. Until the last patch, restoration shaman were left largely untouched except for some minor tweaks here and there and a little pruning in our talent trees. Last week's patch saw the removal of even more passive critical strike rating, the renaming of a spell that has become an old and trusted friend (the new Healing Surge), and some boosts to some of our spells' cast times with a tweak to Purification and healing output of our Healing Rain and Healing Stream Totem through Soothing Rains. Overall, it was a very good patch for us.

This week's change sees us once again with a multitude of changes. We get a few more tweaks and what are potentially a couple of nerfs. Shaman have been referred to as the healing model for Cataclysm, and we've been enjoying this kind of protected bubble in a sea of changes.

So what exactly is changing for us in this patch? Here's the list of changes so far.
  • Earthliving Weapon now increases healing done by 531, up from 167.
  • Healing Wave base healing value reduced by 25%. Mana cost changed to 9% of base mana, up from 6% of base mana.
  • Mana Tide Totem no longer restores mana, now increases the spirit of party members within 40 yards by 200%.
The first change here is a good one for us. Earthliving Weapon is now going to provide us quite a bit more healing than it did last build. It has been increased to over three times the previous amount, and that goes a long way to make each spell we cast count for that much more. This is particularly important now that the healing model has changed to emphasize mana conservation and triage. Being able to heal for a little bit more, while having to cast a little bit less to make up health deficits, is a good thing.

The change to Healing Wave is most certainly a nerf, at least a little bit. In the last build at level 85, Healing Wave healed for between 3,737 and 4,269. A 25 percent reduction puts it at a range of around 2,802 and 3,201. That is a pretty sizable drop in healing for the spell, and any loss in healing is bad. This could be a result of a change in the spell's spellpower coefficient, though. It is hard to tell until we can log in the game and see it in action. I plan on reporting back on this after I get to spend some time with the changes this weekend.

The other part of this change is the mana cost. The previous build had healing wave set to 6 percent of your base mana. Compare this to Greater Healing Wave, which clocks in at 30 percent of your base mana or Healing Surge at 27 percent, and you can see why the cost of Healing Wave is attractive. While the extra 3 percent is not going to completely break the spell, it will add up over time and make you chew through that mana just a little bit more.

After healing a ton on the old build, I think the problem was that Healing Wave was just too efficient. With a moderate amount of haste and with Purification dropping the cast time an additional 0.5 seconds, I found myself favoring Healing Wave over any other spell about 75 percent of the time (if not more) in the 5-mans. I had very few problems keeping groups alive with Healing Wave when they avoid unnecessary damage, so most of the time, I didn't have to choose between spells. Creating a larger disparity in healing values between spells and upping the mana cost really is just another way to try to get us to use the right tool for the right job and not just spam one button over and over again. I suspect this balance between the Healing Waves will shift a few more times before release, but I'm confident it will settle into a good spot for us overall.

The last change affects our beloved Mana Tide Totem. Let's be honest here: 6 percent of total mana every 3 seconds for 13 seconds was just too good, even with a 5-minute cooldown. Especially when it affects everyone around you. You shouldn't panic yet, though; the move to make the totem increase your spirit by 200 percent fits with the new model of all healers' using spirit for mana regeneration. Keep in mind we get Meditation now, which directly pulls our regen in combat from our spirit totals and means that every 5 minutes, we can double our total regeneration. It is also significant because in Cataclysm spirit is a primary healer stat. This places Mana Tide Totem firmly in the healer's toolkit.

Pretty sizable changes this time around ... After I get to test these out, I will be reporting back with more details. Overall, though, it doesn't seem that bad. Keep in mind that this information is based on a beta client and can change at any time between now and release. Be sure to check back often, as we here at WoW Insider will keep you up to date with the latest news about Cataclysm.

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm will destroy Azeroth as we know it; nothing will be the same! In WoW Insider's Guide to Cataclysm, you can find out everything you need to know about WoW's third expansion, from brand new races to revamped quests and zones. Visit our Cataclysm news category for the most recent posts having to do with the Cataclysm expansion.
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