Totem Talk: Restoration week in review

Joe Perez
J. Perez|11.02.10

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Totem Talk: Restoration week in review
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Totem Talk for elemental, enhancement and restoration shaman. Want to be a sultan of swing healing? A champion of Chain Heal? Totem Talk: Restoration will show you how, brought to you by Joe Perez, otherwise known as Lodur from World of Matticus and host of the BDTU: Lore edition podcast.

Last week, we talked about my rekindled love of PvP. Honestly, I love it like it was all new again, and I'm getting a big thrill out of doing organized groups. It's helping fill the hole of raiding until Cataclysm. Prior to that, we talked about surviving in a post-patch, 4.0.1 world. This week, I thought we could talk about some new information gathered from BlizzCon 2010, as well as go over some changes coming with the new beta patch. I'd also like to talk a little bit about what the developers are discussing about healing and mana in Cataclysm.

First things first I would like to take a second to make a correction to last week's PvP post. I fat-fingered an extra zero in the shield total for Stoneclaw Totem with glyph. It should have read "about 4,000," not "about 40,000." For those of you who caught it, thank you. For those asking, I did test this in both live and a controlled environment to see what the absorbs were soaking.

That's not a keg; that's my totem!

BlizzCon was a very exciting time for just about every player and class. The numerous panels saw the developers answering many of our questions rather honestly, and sometimes with a healthy dose of sarcasm to go with the honesty. I tried at every panel that offered Q & A sections to get in line and ask some questions -- but alas, it was not meant to be and I didn't make it to the mic. There was, however, a question that did get asked that does pertain to us.

The question that got asked for some reason didn't get much attention. During one of the panels, a person asked the developers if they had considered different skins for shaman totems of the various races, such as beer kegs for the dwarves. The boys in blue looked at each other and murmured amongst themselves for a few minutes and then turned to give an answer. They mentioned that they had not previous considered keg totems for dwarves and that they liked the idea and that it fit with the race. They then said that it may be something that they could add in later, maybe something that could be glyphed. I don't remember the exact phrasing, but I was most certainly one of the voices yelling for it in a positive manner.

Don't get me wrong; I do like our totems, now that I've gotten a chance to play around with them, but the idea of being able to customize my totems is pretty exciting. It wasn't so long ago they had discussed more fun glyphs that changed the way spells looked. You can already see it with the Glyph of the Arctic Wolf.

Another point to consider as well, is that with any discussion of healing in Cataclysm or questions about the variance between healers, whenever restoration shaman came up, the developers always said the same thing: that they were happy with how shaman healing is working and that it really is the model for healing -- at least spell-wise. It's always exciting to hear confirmation that you're in a solid position moving into an expansion, especially when an entire system has just undergone massive upheaval.

It's Cataclysmic! Boogie woogie woogie!

A significant change is happening in beta build 13221. The mana cost of Chain Heal is being increased from 17 percent of our base mana, up to 20 percent. While this may not seem like a significant increase, it does actually add up. Raid healing in the beta was still very much Chain Heal-heavy. Even with the lowered top end, it was still the go-to spell. In most cases, it could be used over your other spells as long as there was a possibility that it would hit another person, and you would get very good results. With the increased cost, though, it's moved away from being the only spell you want to cast. It may sound silly, but that 3 percent adds up and will chew through your mana that much faster. The change puts the spell where it needs to be -- very useful, but not a standalone. Still, that is the most significant change to our spells in recent weeks, and that is a very good thing.

Now, while we may be the model for healing spells right now, it would seem that we aren't quite the model in mana regeneration and consumption yet. Here's a topic that came up during a conversation about priest healing on the forums.


Over a thousand MP5 difference is pretty amazing. The problem will only get worse in Cata.

We're still comparing all of the active and passive sources of healer mana to make sure things feel even among the different classes, but we feel pretty confident that the mana from Revitalize is too high. The Holy priest at 85 feels the closest to how we want mana to feel at 85

Since the healing changes, mana consumption and regeneration has been a hot topic among any healers. Shaman have been in a pretty good spot for most of the Cataclysm beta, with our regen being pretty solid in most healing environments. It's interesting to see that holy priest design is closest to how Blizzard wants mana to feel. So what does that mean for restoration shaman? It means we're likely to see some rebalancing of our mana costs and regeneration values beyond the recent change to Chain Heal. I don't suspect it will be much of a change, but it will be interesting to see what the final balance is now that raid testing is going on.

For next week, I'd like to do another shaman Q & A. I want you to let me know what you want to know about. What questions do you have about restoration shaman? Curious about Cataclysm? Need a spell or ability clarified? Let me know. Comment here or email me to let me know. You can also find me on Twitter if you want to ask me there. One final thing -- whoever sneaked the Gushing Totem card into my pocket at the reader meetup, I applaud your ninja skills.

Show your totemic mastery by reading Totem Talk. Whether it's Sarah Nichol's elemental edition, Joe Perez's coverage of restoration or Rich Maloy's enhancement edition, WoW Insider's shaman experts have you covered.
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