We went over this a little bit last week when we started talking about stats and spells at level 85 and the basics about the math behind our mechanics, but I think it bears repeating: All of the Cataclysm stat changes have been implemented in this patch.
Spirit is the new MP5. MP5 refers to the amount of our mana regenerates every 5 seconds in game. Formerly, MP5 was a stat that could be found on a lot of the gear designed for the restoration shaman. With patch 4.0.1 comes a big mechanic change for all healers. Spirit replaces the MP5 stat on all gear for regeneration in and out of combat.
Along with this change from MP5 to spirit, we have also gained a new ability called Meditation. As part of choosing restoration as your specialization, you gain this ability. Meditation allows you to keep exactly half of mana regeneration as "in combat" regeneration. Luckily though you don't have to calculate this on your own. Instead, on the new character information panel it is very clearly labeled for you.
Intellect is the new spellpower. Spellpower will no longer be found on items and gear other than weapons. Instead, our intellect now directly influences our spellpower totals. Not only does intellect give us our spellpower totals, but it is also still used to determine our mana pools. As a result of all of our spellpower being converted to intellect, you will see your total mana has grown quite a bit. Intellect also still contributes to your critical strike rating.
Crit will sink. Crit rating will still be there, but as a result of losing some of our key talents through the adoption of the more specialized talent trees, you will lose a decent percentage. Blessing of the Eternals loses the part of it that grants crit, and both Tidal Mastery and Thundering Strikes are gone. Those three talents counted for a whopping 14 percent crit. Acuity in the elemental tree can give you 3 percent of that crit back, but even with it, you are still 11 percent short of where you were pre-patch with talents. There is a silver lining here though; with intellect continuing to apply to crit rating as well, the recent surge in intellect will result in a sort of buffering of your crit. As far as Lodur's stats were concerned, I wound up at 35 percent crit, down from 40 percent.
Minor changes for haste. For now, haste is the same as it was pre-patch with a few minor changes. Haste now affects our heal-over-time effects like Earthliving Weapon, Riptide and the four-piece tier 10 bonus. In layman's terms, this means that there will be more ticks in the duration of the spell. Haste remains the stat of choice for endgame restoration shaman, and in 4.0.1, it gives us just a little bit more bang for our buck.
Mastery kicks in. This stat was introduced with the patch, as well. Every player starts out with 8.00, and as of right now, the stat is not found on any of our gear. You can, however, reforge it onto gear if you so desire. Mastery rating goes towards our Deep Healing specialization bonus, which allows our heals to hit for more the lower the target's health is. While this seems like a great idea, I strongly suggest against reforging your current gear for mastery. At level 80, the benefit of this stat is not as helpful as just keeping your stats intact on the gear. When the expansion is released, this will definitely be something you want to look at again, but for the duration of Wrath, you shouldn't concern yourself too much with it.
Alongside the stats change comes the upheaval of the glyph system, and many of our glyphs have changed with it.
Prime glyphs Prime glyphs are the ones that give you the most improvement to your specialization.
There's quite a bit there for prime glyphs. You only get to choose three at a time, however. The three most common choices now, looking over community sites and forums, are Earth Shield, Water Mastery and Riptide. There are a ton of combinations you can give yourself for various effects here. Glyph of Earthliving is a good solid choice now because how haste affects the HoT component now, and Blessing of the Eternals has had the crit component removed, allowing the imbue to get a little extra kick and healing. Glyph of Water Mastery is solid if you are having any sort of mana issues, but most shaman are reporting an inability to even give mana away while healing now, so you may want to look at an alternative until Cataclysm
is released. When the expansion does go live, though, I highly suggest picking up Water Mastery. I've added Shocking and Lightning Bolt here because some people have been experimenting with Focused Insight
and Telluric Currents
. We will talk a little bit more about these talents a little later on.
These augment our abilities, but not to as large a degree as prime glyphs do.
The most common choices here are Glyph of Chain Heal, Glyph of Totemic Recall and Glyph of Healing Stream Totem. GoCH formerly allowed Chain Heal to hit an additional target, bringing the total affected up to four. Now, however, it has been changed to decrease the amount of healing on the primary target of Chain Heal by 10 percent, while increasing the healing done on the secondary target by 15 percent. Honestly, that's a hell of a bonus on the secondary target. It is a really good choice and makes Chain Heal an even better heal in smaller groups where you may not be able to hit your maximum targets.
Totemic Recall lets you get a little more mana back whenever you recall your totems, and the glyph of HST allows Healing Stream Totem
to grant fire, frost and nature resistance of 130 to everyone in range. The only problem is that it does not stack with Mark of the Wild or Blessing of Kings, so for raiding, this may not be your best choice. It is, however, really handy in 5-man content or whenever a druid or pally are unavailable. Glyph of Healing wave is good, but with the recent changes to Healing Wave
, it is seeing a lot less use in comparison to Chain Heal
Lesser Healing Wave Healing Surge
and even Greater Healing Wave
. Again, most shaman are reporting a surplus of mana, so the more expensive heals are more viable now at level 80 for main heal usage than they will be in Cataclysm
. Even if you are having mana issues, simply swapping in for Water Mastery as a prime glyph can compensate quite a bit. After the expansion however, I highly suggest picking up the Glyph of Healing Wave, if for no other reason it will become your main heal, and healing yourself without costing any additional mana is always a good thing.
I've included a couple of others on the list for a few reasons. Glyph of Hex was something I threw in as a placeholder after the patch when I found glyph of HST did not combine with other buffs. There have been a few fights where it actually came in handy. On heroic Lady Deathwhisper
, I tend to cast Hex quite a bit on mind-controlled
victims. The others are fun alternatives that other players have reported having some fun with. It's always a good time to see what Grounding Totem
can throw back at bosses now when glyphed, especially in heroics. Play around with them for now; you might get some interesting glyph combinations.
One of the cool things about the new glyph system is that once you learn a glyph, you can always use it. If you carry a little Vanishing Powder
, you can swap your glyphs easily in the middle of a run.
Minor glyphs These have little impact on your chosen role and either give you utility or are just fun flavor.
Honestly, not a lost of must-haves here. Most players are opting for the reagent-less glyphs. Making Water Breathing
, Water Walking
require no material components is handy and frees up some bag space. As a personal choice, I picked up Glyph of Arctic Wolf. When Wrath of the Lich King
was still in beta and Blizzard was toying around with the minor glyphs, Blizzard developers mentioned the idea of allowing minor glyphs to change the way some spells looked. Shaman were going to get two glyphs to alter Ghost Wolf
and how it looked, an arctic wolf very similar in coloration to those found in snowy areas of Azeroth and a black wolf. The idea was scrapped before release, but this one has snuck back in. I sort of like running around as white wolf, now that GW can be used indoors.