Totem Talk: New look for Chain Heal, new features for resto shaman

Joe Perez
J. Perez|05.22.12

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Totem Talk: New look for Chain Heal, new features for resto shaman
Shaman flies a kite
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 cohost of the For the Lore and Raid Warning podcasts), shows you how

So with all the excitement over the release of Diablo III, Mists hasn't been one to sit idly by and just be completely quiet. There have been a number of changes to shaman in general over the last few builds. I figured if you could tear yourself away from the eternal struggle of the High Heavens and the Burning Hells, then we could take a look at some of those changes.

One of the most underrated aspects of the new expansion, in my opinion, is the glyphs themselves. There's a lot to be said about the importance of the glyphs in the new expansion. I personally feel that they will become much more useful as tools to help define our healing kits for the fights, much more so than talents currently do.

The new, the improved, and even the meh

So a lot of our the glyphs you've come to expect to see around have shifted. There are some new ones, and some have even gone away. Some of the most notable have to do with our Chain Heal spell. The first up is the Glyph of Chaining, a new glyph that increases the range of your Chain Heal jumps by 100% but at the cost of giving the iconic spell a 4-second cooldown. Honestly, it's one of the more interesting glyphs.

At first, I commented on Twitter with a few people about how I wasn't sure how this glyph would really work out. Adding a 4-second cooldown to the spell seemed counterintuitive, and I almost wanted to reject the glyph out of hand, but it was just interesting enough to make me want to play around with it.

Surprisingly, it's fairly handy, especially in the 5-man dungeons where your group is going to be spread out, in some cases far enough apart that Chain Heal won't be able to bounce. The 4-second timer wasn't actually that bad. There are plenty of other spells that you can use to fill the gap while Chain Heal is on cooldown -- Riptide, Healing Surge, Healing Wave or Greater Healing Wave. It was handy in the many circumstances when the group would be running and there would be more than one target who needed an immediate heal, but the group would have run out of Healing Rain and be kind of spread out.

As an added bonus, it was a nifty way to force you to rely on your other spells instead of just Chain Heal, where in some circumstances you might have just spammed the spell. I would honestly keep this glyph in consideration when looking at new glyphs for healing early on in the expansion (if it stays around, that is).

Telluric Currents is now a glyph, and we touched on this briefly before, but it has even undergone a bit of a change. While before, it would restore a portion of the damage dealt back as mana, it had the potential to become very unwieldy and unbalanced pretty quickly, especially when you consider that it would continue to scale as you gathered more intellect and your Lightning Bolts hit for more and more damage.

Now, though, in the latest incarnation, it returns 2% of your mana when your Lightning Bolt hits an enemy. This feels like it might be reaching a pretty good point, honestly. The 2% mana will scale as your mana pool grows but without completely unbalancing your mana regen and making this glyph a mandatory one. It can be useful, for sure -- I have no doubt about that -- but now you have some choice regarding it.

Totemic Recall and Glyph of Water Shield also got a bit of a reworking as well. Totemic Recall formerly would return only a portion of your mana spent on totems when used; however, with the elimination of a lot of our passive totems, that percentage was really next to nothing. This is more of a balance change than anything else, really, since it allows you to regain 100% of the mana spent on a totem when you recall it. It's not great, but it makes the glyph less horrible. Water Shield's new glyph really is for those forgetful people who never remember to reset their water shield when it has spent all charges. Honestly, the mileage may vary.

The last glyph is one that revolves around our Spiritwalker's Grace. Glyph of Spiritwalker's Grace extends the duration of the ability by 5 seconds, which can be handier than it sounds. Those few extra seconds can really save your group's hide and help keep you from clipping that last heal short.

You'll also notice that some of the other glyphs are gone -- in particular, the Glyph of Earth Shield is completely gone. Honestly, with the way it was being changed for Mists, I'm not too surprised. The glyph had changed to turn Earth Shield into a defensive cooldown with a short duration. It was an interesting but ultimately clunky mechanic. Removing it seemed just about the next step -- and well, that's exactly what happened.

shaman chain heal glyph
Chain Heal gets a face lift

One of my biggest pet peeves from when Blizzard redid all the shaman healing spellcasting animations for Cataclysm was that Chain Heal was just flat-out untouched. Every flavor of healing wave got a cool, watery animation. Our element of healing was present every time we healed -- that is, except for Chain Heal. Every time we cast the spell, we looked and sounded like a paladin. It grated on my nerves, because for such an iconic spell to get left behind -- it just seemed, well, stupid. I mean, how can you update every thing else but leave that one alone? I've been complaining about it for quite a while and even cornered a Blizzard Entertainment employee or two to ask about it.

Well, looks like we finally have a response, and that response looks pretty damn good! The Glyph of Deluge might actually be my favorite new glyph. You can go ahead and make fun of me for it, but having the ability to take a minor glyph and make our Chain Heal look awesome makes me so happy. Gone are the paladin-like spell effects and sounds, replaced with the healing sounds of water and the flowing water particle effect surrounding your character. The Chain Heal beam itself takes on a blue hue, and I think it looks quite sharp.

To me, this is the embodiment of what minor glyphs should have been all along, cosmetic changes to our toolkits so we can personalize our look, and Glyph of Deluge is a step in the right direction. What do you think?

Totem Talk: Restoration lends you advice on healing groups, DK tanks and heroics and mana concerns in today's endgame -- or take a break and look back at the rise of the resto shaman. Happy healing, and may your mana be plentiful!
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