Totem Talk: Restoration gets buffed edition

Joe Perez
J. Perez|02.22.11

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Totem Talk: Restoration gets buffed edition
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, brought to you by Joe Perez (otherwise known as Lodur from World of Matticus and co-host of the Raid Warning podcast), shows you how.

Last week, we talked about healing post patch 4.0.6. I shared with you my experiences healing after our initial tweaks, and you were kind enough to share your experiences as well. It was interesting to see how everyone is handling the changes and how their healing has changed, if at all.

This week, I was going to go back into our normally scheduled posts, but as seems par for the course lately, Blizzard has seen fit to throw at us another set of changes. We're a healing class in flux right now, there is no denying it, and we're going to be going through a lot of changes in the weeks to come. Now, while Matt Low already discussed some of our changes and I've talked about it a bit elsewhere, I thought this week we could take some time and talk about it a little further and get your opinions on it from the one place it really counts: the shaman!

What's the hubbub, bub?

So if you haven't heard, we got ourselves a blue post indicating that even after patch 4.0.6, Blizzard isn't quite happy with how restoration shaman are performing. While we got a bit of a boost and could certainly push some good numbers, the tweaks did not have the desired effect Blizzard had planned on.

Since the release of patch 4.0.6, we've been keeping an eye on healers and how they are performing and are currently in the process of making some additional adjustments.


We are also applying a hotfix for Purification for the Restoration shaman passive from 10% to 25%. We think that shaman healing per second is not as competitive with other healers and while we hoped to bring down Holy priest and Holy paladins (in particular) in 4.0.6, which we did, shaman still appear to be behind. In this case, it is simply easier to buff Restoration shaman rather than nerf everyone else or rebalance the encounters.

In Addition- Restoration Druids and Restoration Shaman

We agree with the sentiment among some players that Restoration druids and Restoration shaman are lacking in the healing cooldown department. The shaman buff and Power Word: Shield adjustment above should bring all healers reasonably close in terms of throughput. The decision on who to bring then might end up being dictated by the strong cooldowns offered by paladins or priests. This isn't the kind of thing we can address via a hotfix, but it is something we are looking at for the next major content patch.

As always, we appreciate your continued constructive feedback and will do our best to keep you informed of ongoing developments.

Pretty substantial tweak incoming there. The buff to Purification boasts a hefty jump from 10% passive bonus to 25% passive bonus to our healing effectiveness. So essentially, this means flat out that every single healing spell we have will be increased by an additional 15%. That is pretty darn good, if you ask me, and honestly was more than I could have expected. This change does come with a few very interesting points, though, beyond just a flat out boost.

The mentality behind it is that it is easier to buff a class than it is to nerf all the other healers or to nerf the various encounters. That makes sense, really, considering Blizzard already tried to bring down the healing numbers on two classes, but it didn't work as intended.

The other interesting thing is that this is being done as a hotfix. While we've been seeing quite a few of these hotfixes since patch 4.0.6 was released, the types of changes we've been seeing are ones that previously we would have had to wait for a major content release or a major patch before we would see them. Now, though, when Blizzard needs to fix a problem, it seems the developers don't have to wait and can just get it taken care of. This is good news for us, because that means we don't have to wait too terribly long for this tweak to go through.

Anything you can do ...

The second part of the big blue announcement is that of Blizzard's acknowledgment that restoration shaman are lacking in the healing cooldown department. From the sound of it, the developers seem to be leaning toward giving us one with the next major content update.

Despite our offensive cooldown, Spiritwalker's Grace, I think that a defensive cooldown is exactly what the doctor ordered, especially with regard to smaller content. Looking at healer composition for 10-man raids and even healing through heroics, it can easily be seen why some people would prefer to have healers with some great defensive cooldowns. Shaman unfortunately do not have a Pain Supression or a Guardian Spirit to pop when tank healing gets rough, and there are several fights when it does in fact get rough.

So now it's time for some speculation, I think.

The first thing to consider is how the developers would fit this into our arsenal. Adding it as a base spell available to all shaman would potentially unbalance our DPS counterparts and would defeat the purpose of giving it to us in order to balance us against other healers. I think the most logical thing would be to move it in as the top-tier talent in the restoration tree. Every restoration shaman I know takes Riptide, so to me, it would also seem logical that Riptide could be made a spell given to a shaman who has chosen restoration as his specialty. Basically, make it a perk of choosing the role. This will also add another healing tool to early restoration shaman, making healing earlier dungeons a little bit easier and allowing starting players more time to get acquainted with the spell. This also lets the cooldown be reserved for later on in the levels when a healer is more likely to need it.

The other question, then, is what would the cooldown be? Should we get a copy of an existing spell like Pain Supression or Guardian Spirit? Should we get something completely different and unique? My money is on something unique, and as I said to Matt for his post and in my previous ramblings, I think it should have something to do with the element of air. All the other elements are well represented already. We use water to heal and fire and earth to blow things up, but air is woefully underrepresented. We get one spell in the form of Wind Shear and a few totems, but otherwise that's about it.

So far, my favorite idea was the following.
Aegis of the Tempest
15% of base mana
40-yd. range
3-min. cooldown

The shaman summons the spirits of the very air to protect a friendly target in the form of circling cyclones. Increases dodge rate by 80% and reduces incoming damage by 30% for 10 seconds.
It's unique in that it increases dodge, something the other cooldowns don't do, while still reducing damage. It's expensive enough compared to the other cooldowns, considering what it does, and gives us another air spell to use. Is it perfect? No, probably far from it, but it's something.

So now I'd like to hear from you, the readers. What do you think of the buff to purification? Do you think it will be enough to remain competitive when compared to other healers? Are you excited at the idea of a cooldown? What ideas do you have for a new restoration shaman defensive cooldown? How would you work it in for our use?

Totem Talk: Restoration will show you the basics of endgame resto shaman play as well as how to find the expansion's best reputation gear for resto shaman and tips for easier leveling. Happy healing, and may your mana be plentiful!
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