I heal with my lightning
Telluric Currents is one of those talents that has always been incredibly intriguing but always seemed a bit unusable. It made its first appearance in the big talent overhaul in patch 4.0. Let's look at what it does exactly.
Your attunement to natural energies causes your Lightning Bolt spell to restore mana equal to 40% of damage dealt.
When we got our first glimpses of it, the general feeling among the forums, blogs and Twitter feeds was one of dread. The mere concept of DPSing to regen mana sent a shiver of panic through the collective spine of restoration healers. Some began to hail it as a PvP-only talent, as a means to regen mana in those circumstances where we will be DPSing as much as healing.
Ever since patch 4.0.6, though, players have been re-investigating this talent with a little more curiosity. You see, after the changes to Mana Tide Totem, many restoration shaman are feeling the mana pinch. Now this new talent basically allows you to convert 40% of your Lightning Bolt damage back into mana. At level 85, a restoration shaman will spend 1,405 mana on a Lightning Bolt. At 6,500 spell damage, your Lightning Bolts will hit for somewhere around 6,000 damage and crit for somewhere around 8,500 and 9,000 damage. So with the above spellpower, a normal hit will net you about 2,400 mana back for a net gain of almost 1,000 more mana than you spent, and a crit will land you somewhere in the neighborhood of 3,400 mana back. That's a pretty sweet deal, and because it is a percentage based on the damage you do, as you gain gear and your spellpower increases, the amount of mana you will return as you progress in the game.
You still have to hit the target and deal damage for it to return any mana to you, so it will be affected by things like damage reduction and damage bonuses. While we will miss sometimes due to our lack of percent to hit, it really isn't as bad as you would think. Sure, we won't top any DPS charts, but it will be sufficient for our purposes.
Making it work
Making TC work for you requires a few things. The brains around the healing community seem to have come to a consensus on this one, and suggest a specific spec for it: 7/2/32. Truth is, though, that you can get very good results with a standard healing spec like 3/7/31, with the only difference from any normal spec being the two points in TC. The spec isn't the most important thing, so don't agonize over it too much.
The more important thing is knowing when to use it. At first look, it would seem that you wouldn't get many opportunities to cast Lightning Bolt, when you consider its 2-second cast time and the use of a global cooldown. You may be surprised to find out that there are many fights when you get perfect opportunities to use it. Looking at raids, some bosses seem tailor-made for it, such as Magmaw. When the giant worm of Blackwing Decent becomes impaled, he takes double damage. That can equal quite a bit of mana return if you time it right. Other bosses don't offer ideal spots to utilize this ability, like Halfus Wyrmbreaker in Bastion of Twilight, but you can still use a little Lightning Bolt grease to oil the mana recharge wheels to recover from those mana-intensive moments. This can also be useful in the various heroics when certain bosses give you lulls to work with, such as Corla, Herald of Twilight in Blackrock Caverns.
Trying this out for a few weeks, I've found that it is actually pretty easy to work into a normal healing rotation. The mana returns can help out quite a bit and keep you casting those heals quite a bit longer, especially when combined with our other mana regeneration. If you find yourself having some problems with mana consumption, you may want to consider playing around with TC a little bit. While timing will vary based on bosses and group composition, you may find a perfect way to work in a few Lightning Bolts that works for you. I also suggest poking around communities like PlusHeal and TotemSpot to see how other shaman are making use of it and see some of their numbers for mana regen. You may be surprised.
I have some insight, but it's very focused
The other rogue talent in our toolkit, Focused Insight, is a little more tricky to work with but has also been getting a little attention lately. Before patch 4.0.6, talk about the talent largely died down. It seemed that it was regulated pretty solidly as a PvP-only talent. After the patch, though, shaman were starting to look at it again a viable way to increase healing and reduce mana costs. We've gotten pretty used to combining spells for maximum effect, such as Riptide + Unleash Elements + Chain Heal as an example, so the idea of combining other spells into the mix is not so farfetched.
After casting any Shock spell, your next heal's mana cost is reduced by 75% of the cost of the Shock spell, and its healing effectiveness is increased by 30%.
The basic idea is that you use a Shock, reduce your next healing spell's cost and give your next heal a bit of a healing boost. As an example, Flame Shock comes in at 3,983 mana, meaning with full ranks in the talent, you will reduce your next haling spell cost by 2,987 mana. Seems like a pretty good amount, but I still find it pretty awkward to use. It's very handy in arena and PvP because I'm constantly shocking, but I find myself not really using shocks in PvE. While our shocks are instant-cast, they still sit on a 6-second cooldown, so I've found more returns and better use out of TC and Lightning Bolts. It seems that the community mostly feels the same way, and this talent is largely relegated back to a PvP talent.
So how about you? Have you considered using Telluric Currents or Focused Insight? Have you tested them out? What type of results have you seen? What have your experiences been with them?
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!