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Totem Talk: Tier 13 and Patch 4.3 for restoration

Joe Perez

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 For the Lore and Raid Warning podcasts), shows you how.

Last week, we had a chat about transmogrification and your choices as a restoration shaman. We also covered the shamanistic style through the years, covering the various tiers of gear and how they were defined through their art style -- strong tones of the elements and classic Warcraft shaman iconography.

This past week, we finally got our first look at the shaman tier 13 set. Opinions have been varied, ranging from love and adoration of the set to outright hatred of it. So I thought this week we could talk a little bit about the shaman tier 13 armor set, as well as speculate as to what we might see this week in the upcoming patch 4.3 information and what it could mean for restoration shaman.

The shaman's new clothes

It's an exciting event when the next tier of content is announced. Eagerly awaiting information regarding the next quests, dungeons and raids like children waiting for the candy shop to open, we drool at the speculation of all the new armor and weapons and goodies galore that will come with new content. The newest tier sets of armor are always at the highest of almost every person's list of must-knows. What will they look like? What set bonuses will they have on them? What bosses will drop them for us?

This past week, we received the first answer to the series of tier armor questions, as the art for the next set was revealed to us. Along with it came a brief description of why it was made like it was.

Blizzard Entertainment
The best shaman sets are a mix of the animal and the elemental. This tier combines huge wolf-skull shoulder pads, bone fetishes, and fur with glowing shards of amber crystal. The entire set is lashed together with lengths of rope and heavily stitched leather, which lends the set a savage bearing.

Well, that certainly explains the look of the set, but since the big reveal, reactions have been a bit mixed as to whether or not players actually like the way the next tier looks. Through polling Twitter and asking for emails, we see that the divide seems to be between the two walks of shaman life specifically. Our enhancement and elemental brothers and sisters mostly seem to really love the set. The savage nature of the set seems to speak to the strength called upon by those normally on the offensive. Those of us who follow the path of restoration seem mostly to not care for it. That's not to say there aren't exception to both sides, but that seems to be mostly how the line is drawn.

Personally, I'm of two minds for the set. On one hand, I absolutely love how it looks on a male Orc shaman. I think it perfectly speaks of their past and present and how far they've come as a whole. The combination of the wolf skulls and the ignited amber are perfect reminders of the past and bridge it to the present. I can also see it being quite awesome on both Trolls and Goblins as well. I think the helm will fit nicely with the tusks and facial features of the races. Tauren I think might be a little odd-looking in it, but the shoulders alone will be huge and awesome on them.

On the other hand, I don't think it will look so good on the Alliance-side shaman. I don't really see it looking that great on Dwarf shaman. I think it might wind up looking a little off. The helm especially seems like something I'll be hiding or transmogrifying for sure. I'm also uncertain how it will look on Draenei. It might look OK on males, but on female Draenei it could be a bit awkward. Don't get me wrong -- I truly appreciate the artwork and time put into the set. I just think it will wind up looking much better on the Horde half of the shaman culture.

While personally I'll still be using transmogrification for the gear, I'm hopeful that this will lead to other sets that are more defined in similar fashions. I would love to see a shaman tier set that looks like the Wildhammer clan made it themselves, but only time will tell if we'll see more like this or not.

Patch 4.3 healing

Recently, a little more information was revealed about the upcoming patch 4.3. An interview with Ghostcrawler, otherwise known as Greg Street (lead systems designer), brought us quite a bit of information on the upcoming patch and a little insight into how the developers at Blizzard Entertainment feel about healing currently in Cataclysm and what they think about it going into the next tier.

So when Cataclysm came about, there were a lot of changes to the healing model. Do you think that it has been successful and will you insure its stability in the next raid set?

Yes, we've really liked the way the healing model has worked out. It had some hiccups along the way where I think players just starting out going into dungeons, particularly the heroic dungeons, felt like they just didn't have the mana to do anything. That was probably a little too extreme. We've gotten to the point now where most raid geared healers feel like they have the mana to do what they want, but they still can't completely waste it. A Discipline Priest that does nothing but Power Word: Shield is going to find they're going to have to do something quickly to get their mana back or they'll have to risk not having enough for the end of the fight.

It appears that they are quite happy where with healing is as a whole right now in the current content. Mana concerns have certainly lessened, as it appears that each flavor of healer has a way to recuperate mana. There are still some concerns that there remains a disparity between the healing classes and that shaman in particular aren't quite as useful in raids as the other healers. To be honest, I think those concerns are being assuaged slowly as more heroic boss deaths are being accomplished with restoration shaman in the raid ranks -- not just being there for Mana Tide Totem, but actually being competitive on heals in many cases.

In the next few weeks, as more information about the next set of tier content becomes available, we will likely start to see exactly what type of set bonuses we can expect. It might not be that long before we get hints as to what to expect in terms of what type of damage we'll have to heal through or what kind of mechanics we'll have to deal with in the next tier. So now the question turns to you, readers. What do you think of the tier 13 look? How do you think we'll do compared to other healers in the next patch?

Totem Talk: Restoration lets you Ask a Shaman about the tricks of the trade. We'll introduce you to the very latest pre-raid gear and show you how to manage your cooldowns. Happy healing, and may your mana be plentiful!

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