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Totem Talk: While my Chain Heal gently weeps

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

Last week was a massive update to the Mists of Pandaria talent calculator for shaman in general but especially for restoration shaman. There were quite a number of surprises, a fair amount of tweaks and the implementation of a brand new mystery in our yet-to-be-named level 90 talents.

Among all those changes was one that I didn't bring up. Instead, I wanted to wait until this week because I felt the topic required a bit of time all to itself. That is the change to Riptide in the new talent calculator. No longer will it be consumed by Chain Heal whenever we cast it on someone with Riptide as our primary target. This is certainly a cause for celebration, and as I imagined it in my head, Chain Heal gently wept with happiness at the news.

While we're at it, be sure to enjoy the ukulele stylings of Jake Shimabukuro, who is a genius on the uke.

Riptide and Chain Heal, a match made in Azeroth

Why should you be excited about this change? Well, to be honest, it's a huge potential boost to our healing per second. I know it doesn't sound like a lot, but it really is a big deal. It essentially takes the tier 12 restoration four-piece bonus and rolls it into the base ability for Riptide. That set bonus, while it may have been over shadowed by other classes' healing in Firelands, was part of the reason going into tier 13 we were such healing badasses out of the gate.

If you were lucky enough to have the four pieces of your tier 12 gear going into Dragon Soul, it was a treat; basically, the mechanics of the new raid zone, combined with our ability to continually boost Chain Heal by an additional 25% without having to worry about cutting Riptide short, meant that we could throw heals out with impunity. In layperson's terms, this meant that we could just sit in one place and dump out healing without having to check if we were going to screw ourselves by cutting Riptide short. The result was an overall massive boost in healing that made a lot of us restoration shaman question if it was worth breaking our four-piece tier 12 bonuses for tier 13 until we were capable of donning a full four pieces of the new tier gear.

I noticed that after breaking my four-piece tier 12 that my healing took a bit of a dip. Looking back on it, it was exactly for the reason that I was either cutting my Riptides short by using them to boost my Chain Heals or picking targets without Riptide on them to cast as my primary target for Chain Heal.

Moving into Mists, that will no longer be an issue. We'll be able to roll our Riptides out like normal and be able to continually boost our Chain Heal every single time we cast it without having to worry about hurting ourselves in the long run. This really seems like an attempt to bring us further into focus with other healers and give us the ability to use our tools more aggressively to be more competitive in healing situations.

If you think about it, this isn't just a change that will be good for a little while, either. It's something that will continue to improve throughout the course of the expansion. The higher our intellect totals get, the higher our spellpower and healing gets, and then it will just continue to explode in an escalating manner when we continually buff our Chain Heal by that 25%. I don't know about you, but that's something that I'm super excited for in Mists.

If it stays as it is, that has the potential to be a pretty serious buff to our overall healing, especially when you consider that with our new cooldown, Ascendance, if we can stack haste and pump out a ton of Chain Heals that are boosted by an additional 25%, we could have a metric ton of healing done in short period of time. Ultimately, it's a minor tweak that could just result in a strangely large difference going into Mists and one that I'm eager to get my hands on and see exactly how far I can push it.

Let the speculation begin!

I've been thinking a lot lately about what could possibly fill the gap on that is sitting primly at the top of our level 90 talents. It's been occupying a lot of my time, to be honest. What would possibly fit in there without being so overpowering that all the other healers shed tears of dismay whenever we took to the healing stage? What could be put at the top and still not fall so short of our own expectations or be so lackluster that we write it off as something that we'd never use? This led me to look around at the other healing classes and what they get as possibilities when they hit the new level cap in Mists.

Druids seem to get some form of utility in their level 90 talents, with an emphasis on shapeshifting or taking on different roles. Heart of the Wild giving 50% agility as intellect and increasing hit rating by 100%. On top of that, it regenerates 2% of maximum mana every 5 seconds. If that wasn't enough, in this form it also allows your damaging spells to cost no mana!

Priests get access to things like Void Shift, which allows them to swap their health total with another raid member and then heal themselves for 25% of their health. That is a pretty strong talent, and the raid utility of it is something that I can see being very strong. Vow of Unity also adds utility that is strangely reminiscent of the original Spirit Link Totem that we first saw in the Wrath of the Lich King beta years ago. It also allows that link to supply you with a binding heal that gives you 20% of the healing done back to the caster, which looks a lot like our Glyph of Healing Wave.

Paladins get a veritable smorgasbord of items with Holy Prism, Light's Hammer and Stay of Execution.

So now the question is to you, dear readers. If you were asked to design our level 90 talents (or at least the portions that deal with us restoration shaman in particular), what would you pick? We'll share some of those answers in next weeks column, when I will share mine as well. Feel free to leave your ideas in the comments here or email me directly and let me know how you would design our level 90 talents.

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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