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Totem Talk: Restoration tier 13 set bonuses and Firelands nerf

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.

So last week, we talked about the aesthetics of the shaman tier 13 set. It is a pretty good-looking set overall, and it was very nice to hear what the community had to say about it as a whole. You guys certainly offered quite a bit of insight into how you view the set. We also took some time to make some speculative guesses as to what we might see in the next patch in regards to shaman healing and even discussed how the developers looked at healing as a whole.

Another week has come and gone, and it certainly has been full of excitement. We got our first glimpses of the restoration shaman two- and four-piece set bonuses for tier 13, and I thought we could take a moment today to talk about that as well as what the current tweaks to the Firelands raids mean for you as a restoration shaman.

Oh, and in case you didn't see in Sunday's The Queue, that handsome dwarf shaman on the playing card is yours truly. I'll freely admit that I squeed a bit when I saw that arrive in my inbox.

All hail the nerf bat!

It's been one week since the nerf bat has fallen on the Firelands. The once-glorious and challenging home of the firelord has been diminished. In normal difficulty, Shannox, Beth'tilac and Rhyolith have had their health and damage reduced by 15%; all other bosses have been reduced in health by 25%. In heroic difficulty, boss health and damage has been reduced by 15% with the exception of Ragnaros himself, who's untouched in heroic difficulty. Adds have had their health and damage reduced by the same proportions as bosses, and Alysrazor's tornadoes move much more slowly than they did before. Guilds and raids have been blowing through the content, finishing 7/7 normal and pushing through hard modes.

What does this mean for a raiding restoration shaman?

I've received a lot of email about this in the past week and many comments on Twitter as to how our healing brethren have been faring after the nerf. To be honest, a nerf like this is going to hit all healers because of the general rule that players will be taking less damage overall. For resto shaman, this means that with people taking less damage and avoiding more boss abilities, our mastery will have a little bit less of a chance to kick in. Higher health totals for longer periods of time simply reduce the effectiveness of our mastery. Not that it will become unuseful or anything of the sort -- but at least for normal modes, you'll feel the bite a little bit.

Don't be discouraged by reduced numbers that you may see. I assure you it gets better in heroic modes. Overall, it just means you'll have to work a little bit harder until the next tier comes out to make sure you're getting your heals out. Watch Riptide cooldowns, and make sure you're using it on every cooldown. Drop some mastery for some other stats if you need to like haste, spirit or crit. Basically, the best advice I can give you is hang in there for just a little bit more; the next tier shouldn't be too far off, and heroic modes will still pose a challenge. Remember, someone will always stand in the fire.

Set bonuses galore!

This past week we also got some good news, namely, the naming of the tier 13 set bonuses. So what are they? Well, let's take a look.

Zarhym - Patch 4.3: Tier 13 set bonuses
  • Restoration, 2P -- After using Mana Tide Totem, the cost of your healing spells are reduced by 25% for 15 sec.
  • Restoration, 4P -- Increases the duration of Spiritwalker's Grace by 5 sec, and you gain 30% haste while Spiritwalker's grace is active.

Now I know that this is still in the talking stages -- the PTR hasn't quite gone up yet with the set bonuses, and nothing is set in stone until the developers at Blizzard say so -- but I can't help but look at these and start to think about how they will work for us. The restoration two-piece is interesting. Essentially, it turns our Mana Tide Totem into an on-use trinket with a 3-minute cooldown. It's like having a Jaws of Defeat that, whenever you try to regain mana, gives you 15 seconds of purely reduced healing spell costs by 25%. Honestly that's a pretty hefty chunk of mana to have your heals reduced by.

What I like about it is that it rewards players for using it more aggressively as well, and I have a feeling in the next tier of raiding we'll have to. The tier 13 raid, from everything we've heard about it so far, seems to carry a promise of epic scale combat and increased raid damage. The Deathwing fight alone sounds like it's going to be quite lengthy, and we'll likely have to utilize our totem just a bit more. Having that extra ability is quite nice indeed, and I think it will serve us quite well.

The restoration four-piece bonus is something I'm incredibly excited about. It looks awfully familiar though, doesn't it? A few weeks ago, we offered answers to a question about what you would do if you were in charge of the shaman class for a day, what you the readers would have changed or chosen to address with the healing shaman. I also offered up my own suggestions, one of which was tying an extra bonus in to Spiritwalker's Grace. Sadly, in tier 12 raids, it is a spell that is woefully underused. Fights like Alysrazor give you the ability to cast and move as part of the mechanics, and others give you the opportunity to minimize moving.

Having an extra bonus associated with the spell means that it will see a lot more use. The four-piece bonus that is proposed here is quite simply awesome. It turns our ability into not just something to use on fights where you have to move and heal, but something we can pop every time we need an additional spot of haste. The ability currently is still on a 2-minute cooldown, and there's been no mention of changing that quite yet. 30% pure haste is a rather large amount and something that I think will help us deal with a lot of burst damage and let us turn up the healing output when we need to.

Personally, I hope these remain our set bonuses. I think that they will be really awesome in the next tier of raiding and will go a long way to helping us out. Having two of our key abilities get a little extra boost might not seem like much, but reduced healing cost and extra haste can add up and will help even when transitioning from normal to heroic modes.

What do you think about them? Do you love them or hate them? If you could pick your own two- or four-piece set bonus, what would you choose?

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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