Last week, we went over some of the shaman updates on the latest beta build as well as a bucket list. Some readers chimed in with their thoughts on what they had for goals to accomplish before Wrath comes to a close.
This week, we are going to talk about Healing Rain, a new spell obtained when a restoration shaman reaches level 83. When we first received word of the new spells and abilities during the Cataclysm class preview, there were quite a number of people who didn't know how they felt about this new spell. Would it be good? Would it be useless? Was it really necessary? When the beta was released and the level cap moved to 83, we started to get a small idea of what the spell could do. I've been spending the better part of the last couple weeks testing it out in various situations, seeing how it complements the other tools in our healing arsenal.
What is Healing Rain?
Healing Rain is a new restoration shaman healing spell learned at level 83. Here are the stats:
46% base mana
2-second cast time
Calls forth healing rains to blanket the area targeted by the Shaman, restoring 345 to 409 health to allies in the area every 2 sec. for 10 sec.
Seems like a hefty cost at first glance, but Healing Rain has a few things going for it right off the bat. First of all, unlike Tranquility, it is not a channeled spell. Once you hit the spell and select the spot, that's it for 10 seconds. It is like the Ronco Showtime cooker in that regard. This is good because if you need to, you can move after you've cast the spell, and there are a lot of mobs that like to charge you when you are in a group.
The second thing to note is that each tick of healing it provides can crit. This is important because a lot of our talents and abilities rely on spells getting a critical strike in order to proc. Through testing, I have determined that Healing Rain can indeed cause Earthliving Weapon and Ancestral Healing to proc. I have confirmed that right now, it causes the Ashen Band of Endless wisdom to proc, but I have been unable to tell if it procs Althor's Abacus. You can use Nature's Swiftness to instant-cast the spell, as well. The amount of healing done fluctuates with your spellpower, so any boosts you get to your spellpower even after it is cast will cause the healing amount to increase. This holds true in reverse, as well. At the time of this posting, the spell's healing is on par with Healing Stream Totem at the same level.
The spell offers a good one-two punch when combined with HST and offers some coverage if you are in a group that doesn't have another shaman or paladin to provide Mana Spring Totem or Wisdom, leaving you to do that task.
How to be a rainmaker
After selecting the spell, a ground targeting reticle will appear at your cursor. You can place this anywhere in the spell's range, and all you have to do to complete the cast sequence is click the location where you want to put it. The spell will then light up the ground in a bright white circle, making it very easy for players to see the affected area. This persists throughout the entire 10-second duration of the spell.
Strategy-wise, in its current state, it is best to use when players are forced to group up for maximum effect. Personally, I've been using it as a stopgap to heal ranged clumps in the instances. In places like The Stonecore, there are a lot of things that decimate melee and make the instance very healing-intensive. So because my attention is squarely on the tank and melee, I've been using Healing Rain as a quick spell to cast on the ranged players to keep them topped off while I manage the melee. In melee-heavy groups, I've also used Healing Rain in combination with HST to take some of the healing burden and even it out a little bit. It can also be used to give yourself an extra couple of seconds of healing on yourself, if the need should arise.
Impressions of the spell
After using the spell for a couple of weeks, I've found it very easy to work into my spell rotations. In the current instances, I've found it absolutely necessary to use this spell. There were many times when I would use Nature's Swiftness just to pop it down very quickly on a pull, to give me a few seconds to position myself and get heals going. Stonecore really pushes you as a shaman healer to use every single spell in your arsenal. I've found being able to use Healing Rain effectively and picking proper placement for it has allowed me to heal every effectively. I can already see how this spell will shape up to be very handy to use in a raid later on, when you can drop it on a group of healers or melee to give some solid healing and maybe a little breathing room. Healing at 82 without it and healing at 83 with it feels completely different, and it offers a great complement to our other abilities. I found the cost of the spell easy to manage as long as I wasn't chain-casting it, which was quite surprising. The fact that it also can proc Earthliving and other abilities and items is a big bonus, especially because with Healing Rain, you can have more than four people targeted at one time. It just has the potential to be a powerfully useful spell.
Visually, the spell is very nice. It has a fantastic visual of rain falling from the sky. As each drop hits the ground, there is a small splatter. All of the sounds of rain go along with it, as well. If you turn your sound all the way up, you can hear the rain drop and the splatter as it hits the ground. It complements the effect of Chain Heal with its rolling thunder sound quite well.
Overall, the spell feels like a perfect complement to our healing tools. I'm hoping that it will still feel like that at level 85, but only time will tell. My first impressions of this spell are quite favorable; I really like it. My only criticisms are that the area of effect marker cuts through the terrain, making it hard sometimes to see the edges of it. I suspect that will be changed. Also, if your spell detail is turned up super high, it can cause even high-end machines to drag, so it will probably require a slight turning down of spell effects for you.
Here's a video of the spell in action for your viewing pleasure
So what do you think of the new healing rain spell? Show your totemic mastery by reading Totem Talk. Whether it's Matt Sampson's elemental edition, Joe Perez's coverage of restoration or Rich Maloy's enhancement edition, WoW.com's shaman experts have you covered.