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Totem Talk: Cataclysm and patch 4.0.1 restoration questions answered

Joe Perez

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.

Even with an official release date finally announced for Cataclysm, we still have a beta going on in full swing and changes still happening, as is evident in the release of beta build 13117. There is still plenty to talk about and, most likely, still quite a bit that will change between now and when Deathwing breaks through The Maelstrom.

A couple of weeks ago, we talked about how our healing will change when the pre-Cataclysm patch 4.0.1 goes live, and last week, I talked to you about my first impressions about healing in heroics and dungeons in Cataclysm. Those posts generated quite a few questions. So as I like to do every so often, I'd like to take a minute or two to answer some of the more common questions I've been asked through email, comments and various other sources.

With 4.0.1 likely in the very near future and Cataclysm coming on Dec. 7, there are quite a few questions being asked about many aspects of our class and specialization.

Is Earth Shock really that helpful? All tanks will have the ability built into their talents and mechanics, so is it really necessary to use Earth Shock? Wouldn't it be more useful to use something like Frost Shock or Flame Shock? Is the bonus given by Focused Insight really that useful, or would our global cooldown be better served healing?
While it is very true that all tanks have the ability to slow melee and ranged attacks down by a percentage built into their talents and abilities, there are many situations when the fact that we can do this at range will be very helpful. Running in on a pull, hitting a mob at range that the tank hasn't gotten to yet, or simply filling the gap until the tank can re-apply the debuff are all helpful. As far as the other shocks go, it will depend on the situation. Frost Shock is great for slowing down a runner before it can train more mobs and gives your party members a chance to drop the mob before you get an accidental train of mobs. Flame Shock is great for adding a little extra damage on a boss. The best answer I can give to this really is that it is situational. You have to use your judgment here on what is best given whatever situation you are in. When I talked about the usefulness of Earth Shock, it was honestly the best choice in that particular set of instances I was in.

As far as how useful or effective Focused Insight is, let's just take a look at some numbers here. Both Earth Shock and Frost Shock cost 4,217 mana at level 85, while Flame Shock costs 3,983 mana. Since Focused Insight gives you a reduction of 75 percent of the cost of the shock, you are looking at a cost reduction of 3,163 mana if you use Earth or Frost Shock and 2,983 for Flame Shock. Looking at our heals, at level 85, Healing Wave (which is our bread-and-butter heal) is 1,981 mana, and Chain Heal is 3,744 mana. You can do the math from there, I'm sure, but you can see it can be handy. Factor in the various shock effects and it can be even more useful. Again, the answer is all about the situation. The boost to healing FI gives is nothing to sneeze at either, especially when combined with bigger heals like Greater Healing Wave and Unleash Elements.
Will there be a change in the functionality of spirit? As it stands now spirit is useless to us for a reason. Is spirit really that important for us? Should we be looking for it over other stats?
The developers have stated that spirit is primarily a healer stat now. All mana regeneration is derived from this stat for all healers, and Meditation uses spirit to calculate our regeneration while casting. This helps by allowing us to easily identify healing gear compared to, say, DPS gear. This has become a problem in the endgame of Wrath, as there are some pieces of gear that both elemental shaman and restoration shaman have fought over. That said, though, spirit shouldn't be the only stat you focus on. It will certainly be an important stat -- especially considering the endgame, in which we will have a lot more targets to heal and more damage going around -- but if you focus entirely on it and neglect your other stats, you really will be shooting yourself in the foot.
I am trying to figure out if it will be worth it to reforge crit/spirit into mastery. How important is mastery really? Will we get enough of it on the gear we will be getting through questing and reputation? How about justice points?
Mastery is an important stat, but like spirit, you shouldn't focus on it solely. Deep Healing is very useful, but the game developers have even said that they will not be designing healing encounters around this ability. Most of the gear that we'll get through dungeons, questing and various reputation rewards will provide us with more than enough mastery rating. With a lot of our passive crit rating going away with Cataclysm, reforging that into mastery really will not be worth it. The same goes for spirit. With mana being such a concern for healers, taking away spirit from our gear does the same thing as focusing too much on spirit. I will be compiling a list of gear from quests, instances and reputation rewards closer to the release of Cataclysm. That said, the rewards from reputations, quests, dungeons as well as justice and valor points are shaping up to be quite nice.
When patch 4.0.1 goes live, is it really going to be that hard to keep healing through ICC and RS? How much of an adjustment will we have to make?
I've spent a fair amount of time getting into some groups in the PTR testing healing raids/groups in the patch, and honestly it isn't that bad. We will be missing things like Tidal Force, but overall, our experience shouldn't change too much until Cataclysm actually gets here and we hit level 85.

If you have any questions about restoration shaman in Cataclysm or any questions about them in general, please feel free to email me. Next week I'll be bringing you a lot of numbers about our healing, mana usage and various spell combinations in Cataclysm.

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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