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Totem Talk: Restoration's pre-BlizzCon special

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.

Can you feel the electricity in the air? Can you feel the anticipation? This is one of the most anticipated weeks of the year for those of us who play World of Warcraft. Everyone from the most casual to the most hardcore of players tends to love this upcoming weekend.

It will be a weekend of news, a weekend of events, and a weekend of amazing meetups. BlizzCon will be an amazing time, for sure, and an opportunity for many questions to be answered. There will be several panels of interest to us and plenty of opportunity for us to ask questions. The World of Warcraft Class Talent System panel, World of Warcraft Dungeons & Raids panel, and many more will all have potential news for us. This week, I'd like to talk about what we could possibly get news of this weekend.

More totems!

Totems are something that has been a defining element of ours since we first became a playable class. Over the years, we've lost and gained quite a number of totems. We've lost Cleansing Totem and Sentry Totem, all in the name of progress. In exchange for them, we've received Totem of Tranquil Mind and the ever-amazing Spirit Link Totem. While Tranquil Mind may not really get used quite as much as the others might have, SLT certainly has been getting a workout since it was introduced into our spellbooks.

Many of our other totems have undergone massive mechanic changes over the many years. Mana Tide Totem has been tweaked many times since Cataclysm was released, and even Tremor Totem has been adjusted from how it originally worked. Totem duration has been adjusted so that our totems (mostly) last much longer than they did before, and we've even gained Totemic Recall to keep us from having to drag our totems with us whenever we go and to help return some of the mana spent on casting them.

Every time there is a patch, content update, or expansion, many of us wonder what changes will happen to our totems next. Will we gain more of them? Will we lose more? Are there any other tweaks that we should expect to our totems? Well, with us rapidly approaching the end of the current expansion, the focus will shift pretty soon to the next expansion. Now, if we are going to start to hear anything about any more potential totem changes, it will likely come out of this weekend.

What I would like to see this weekend would be an announcement as to a new totem, preferably one that is another elemental. I mean, we have a Fire Elemental Totem and Earth Elemental Totem, and mages even get Water Elemental. The only elemental not represented in the game is one made of wind. I would really like to see us get an air elemental totem.

I'd also like to see something that helps modify the way our totems work a little bit, maybe in the way of a cooldown that lets us launch a totem. Dropping totems can sometimes be incredibly hazardous to our health, and being able to launch one where we need it to go every so often would be quite useful.

Do I think that we will see these changes? Honestly, I don't know about the air elemental, but I'm fairly confident we won't see a totem launcher. Will that stop me from asking about it at the class panel or open Q&A? Nope, not even a little bit. I'm certainly going to ask about our totems if I get the chance.

Mechanics, cooldowns and healing

When Cataclysm started, healers were a lot more on even footing than they are right now. The disparity between specs and classes was a lot less noticeable, and all the healing types could be quite competitive. With the move into the tier 12 content and several patches between, things have changed and the balance is not there like it used to be. We're still pretty capable healers, but it takes a bit more work to keep up. It's been a topic of hot debate among many forums, blogs and even the official forums for many months now. Some healers just seem to pull far ahead of others, and others just seem to fall behind on certain fights.

I expect that we'll get an official response that is more in depth than the ones we've gotten so far. I have a feeling that healing numbers and class balance among healers is something that has been looked at quite a bit by the developers at Blizzard Entertainment for a while now. I also think that it is a question that is going to get asked by a few people, given the opportunity.

During the Catalcysm beta, we heard that shaman were the model for healing going into the expansion. That there would be much more mana management and triage healing throughout the expansion as players leveled, geared and faced down the various tiers of raid bosses. In the beginning of the expansion, this was very much true and goes along with the first point. For the most part, healers were on par, each carrying their own little tricks. Our Healing Rain became quite a champ of the various fights that allowed our raid group to stand together, and things were good. One question I really want to ask is if the healing model is still something that Blizzard wants to follow, if shaman healing in particular is still looked at in the same way as before the expansion was released.

Healer cooldowns is another topic of hot debate as of late. Some have been considered very overpowered, while others have been looked at as just there and in need of being paired up with another cooldown to be effective. Both luckily and unluckily for us, SLT has been considered a bit of an overpowered cooldown by many people. It's true that it's a very strong cooldown and when used right can turn the tide of some of the most gruesome fights.

I'm hoping that we won't hear any news of any SLT nerfs in the near future, as it is an ability that I personally have grown to love quite a bit. What I would like to ask is if there are any plans for healers to receive any more cooldowns as a whole. We have our raid cooldown, sure, but it would be nice to have an individual cooldown for 5-mans or those one-off tank healing moments when an SLT just isn't the right tool for the job. I don't expect we'll get one, but I'm sure going to ask.

What would you ask?

So that's what I'm hoping to ask about, but now I turn to you, the readers. If you had the chance to ask the developers at Blizzard any one thing about our class during BlizzCon, what would you ask them? Is there something that you would like me to try to get an answer for this weekend? What are your predictions for restoration shaman news at this weekend's BlizzCon?

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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