Clearing normal modes, trying hard modes and achievements
The tier 12 raid zone, Firelands, is still there for your raiding enjoyment. The fights and mechanics are still incredibly fun, and there is still satisfaction to killing Ragnaros before the time comes to bring a reckoning to his boss. Take the time in the post-nerf environment to try out bosses that you maybe haven't had a chance to yet, or get used to mechanics that you might have had a hard time adjusting to. It is also a perfect opportunity to try out different stat balances and see how they might affect your healing reflexes. Itching to dump that mastery and stack haste up to the next break point? That's certainly something you can do reasonably safely right now.
The other side of the current raids is the hard mode encounters. If you've toppled Ragnaros and all his minions, the next logical step is to sally forth into the more difficult versions of the zone. Many of the fights still offer quite a few challenges. First is the damage. While the damage may have been nerfed by a certain percentage, it can still kill players when they aren't careful. Standing in bad still results in a dead raider.
The second component is the mechanics. Many of the bosses offer new mechanics and new challenges to overcome. As an example, hard-mode Alysrazor adds a new mechanic called Firestorm. She will drop two giant boulders from the sky one at a time that must be DPSed down before they hit the wall. If one hits the wall, it will split into multiple pieces, and you'll be flatted rather quickly if you get caught under it. If you DPS it down, it will stay wherever it was at the point of reaching zero health. When firestorm hits, you have to hide behind it or take massive amounts of damage.
Lord Rhyolith gains an ability called Superheated. Every 10 seconds, he will increase his damage output by an additional 10%. He also spawns double the normal number of Fragments of Rhyolith. As the fight progresses, the damage output just continues to increase, so you'll get quite a bit of a workout to keep you on your healing toes. We don't want those finger muscles getting weak before we face down Deathwing, right?
If clearing normal modes or hard modes isn't your style, now is also the perfect time to get a team together and try to nail those achievements you've been putting off. There is plenty of time to work on that Glory of the Cataclysm Hero if you haven't done it yet. If you're anything like me and have been putting off finishing it out, now is the perfect opportunity.
Now, let's not forget about those raid achievements, either. Now is a perfect time to do Flippy proud and Do a Barrel Roll! While you're at it, you might want to take the opportunity to do a little work on your Bucket List as well. Going after your remaining achievements can be a fun, challenging and rewarding way for you to fill your pre-patch 4.3 time.
Gather your transmog gear
The time between now and Patch 4.3 is the perfect time for you to gather up any of the gear you are looking to pick up for your transmogrification needs. While many players like the look of our new tier 13 raid set, there are an equal number of us who really don't like the way it looks and would rather use the new gear for stats and the new set bonuses only. The timing couldn't be better to start working on those gear pieces that you just really want to see on your character once again.
Truth is, a lot of the old content is easily done solo as a restoration shaman. Most fights you can win as a matter of attrition and being able to out-heal the incoming damage while you whittle bosses down. Don't underestimate the power of our Earth Shield and Lightning Bolt in the old content. You can easily chew through Molten Core all by yourself and engage Blackwing Lair with little to no difficulty. In fact, Ghost Wolf will let you waltz through the suppression room as if it weren't even there. Now, not everything will be a cake walk, and some bosses and zones will require a little assistance. Sunwell Plateau is a perfect example of a place you might need a little extra help with, but offering your services as a pocket healer to a group of individuals also seeking transmogrification gear can be mutually beneficial. Don't forget about hitting the Battlegrounds, either. Your honor can be used to purchase quite a bit of prime transmogrification gear.
Hit the PTR!
If you have the available hard drive space, download the PTR and copy your character over. The new 5-man dungeons are a lot of fun and offer a ton of lore and goodies for you to get acquainted with. It is also a great way to test out the latest changes to our class and healing for yourself and see how they affect your particular healing style.
It's also a great way to get a jump on raid bosses and raid content when they go up for testing. Getting to see the fights and check them against your healing is a great way to stay on your toes and stay competitive. This is something I don't think I can stress enough -- a little time spent on the PTR, no matter what your play level is, can be incredibly beneficial. Whether you want to do 5-man heroics, 10-man or 25-man raiding, or anything in between, it is a great chance for you to get that extra edge and learn those tricks ahead of time. So if you get the chance, pop on the PTR and try it out for yourself.
Those are just some ways you can spend your pre-patch 4.3 time. What do you plan on doing with your time before the big patch and the fight for all of Azeroth?
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!