The end of Dragon Soul
Dragon Soul was a raid that was good to us shaman healers. Resto shaman excelled in many of the fights because of the nature of most of the encounters. Even at the first part of the zone, the Siege of Wyrmrest Temple, started with an extremely shaman friendly fight in the form of Morchock and fights like Ultraxion that would later come to give us the base for one of our class defining abilities. It was a good time to be a restoration shaman, highly desirable, our cooldowns were great and our set bonuses were really well done. The tier 13 2-piece bonus was fantastic, making your healing spells cheaper for 15 seconds after your Mana Tide totem was cast. It might not seem like a lot, but with the haste we were rocking by tier 13, you could cram quite a bit of healing into 15 seconds. The tier 13 4-piece bonus was by far my favorite at the time. Every time you cast Spiritwalker's Grace you gained 30% additional haste for as long as the spell was active. I think it was a great bonus that made one of our spells even more useful.
By the time January rolled around, though, we had spent countless hours in the zone. As with every other raid content, no matter how good it is, it will eventually become a little stale for us. At least for a little while that is. But it was around this time that our focus started shifting to the isles out of time, that lay beyond the mists that concealed it. News about Mists of Pandaria really became the new focus for our healing endeavors.
All about the Mists
The vast majority of 2012, though, was spent waiting for Mists of Pandaria to hit release date. The first of it started with speculating about what healing would look like in mists, and what they would mean for restoration shaman. The new monk healing model caused most healers to start questioning if other healing classes would undergo under massive changes. That speculation though gave an opportunity to talk about what changes we would like to see come to our class and how we heal, I even submitted my own wish list. One of the first changes that was announced by the developers at Blizzard for restoration shaman was that the interaction between Chain Heal and Riptide. It was announced that Riptide would no longer be consumed by Chain Heal. It was more a quality of life change than anything else, but still a significant one. It has resulted in a nice constant boost to healing as long as you keep track of where you riptides go.
For the longest time, the Mists of Pandaria talent calculator was updated frequently while we waited for the next expansion. The talent system change was a big one, as big as the one that moved us away from the system that had been in place since Classic WoW and Burning Crusade. The news system sported 6 talents to choose from, with a completely new design goal. The idea was to make the talents fun and interesting without making any configuration outshine any others. Basically to give real choice and make it fun for the player instead of just having to look up which talent choices were going to let you do your job properly. Early though, there was no listing for our current level 90 talents, and it let to much speculation as to what they could possibly be. Of all the things I would wished for, I'm not certain I would have called what we actually have been given for level 90 talents.
Many other changes were also talked about, leading up to the release of mists, most noticeable was that some of our totems would be going away. A huge change for Mists was that static buff totems would be going away, meaning no more Strength of Earth or Mana Spring Totem. It was the beginning of turning our totems into mini cooldowns instead of constant companions and marked a huge departure and from something that was a certain way for us for so long. This lead up to right before release a bunch of us shaman types getting together to say one final goodbye to our totem forest before Mists pre-patch launched. Sure there's a glyph to make an illusionary totem circle, but it still isn't quite the same.
The big release, and the months after
So the big day came, and Mists was released, and everything that we had basically been waiting for was finally live. We survived patch 5.0.4 and started diving headfirst into dungeons and quests. Gearing up through dungeons was actually easier than expected, and even reputation rewards were fairly easy to obtain and find. It wasn't long at all before we started figuring out stat priorities, and healing through all the new raids. Finding places for our totems beyond healing and discovering new problems to overcome. We've been healing our way through forgotten tombs of a land we know nearly nothing about in the grand scheme of things, and we'll be healing our way through so much more. There are even raid encounters that seem like they were designed just for restoration shaman to do crazy good on. Honestly, 2012 has been very good to us healing shaman. With new raids on the horizon, and at least two whole tiers of content yet before we can even start considering the end of the expansion, 2013 could also be a really good year for restoration shaman.
So how was your 2012? What are you looking forward to in Mists of Pandaria for restoration shaman in 2013?
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!