Still waiting for a tank cooldown
This is something I personally keep coming back to, and apparently I'm not the only one to think this is an area we are still lacking. In fact, many of the responses I got when I asked on Twitter revolved around having a cooldown for large, predictable, single target damage. We have a pretty diverse toolkit right now, don't get me wrong, with Unleash Fury, Greater Healing Wave and the rest of our toolkit we can produce some very strong single target healing. The problem is that even with the ability to carry on those single target healing assignments, we really don't have a tank specific cooldown we can call upon in times of need. This is less of a problem in 25-man normal raiding as your heal team is normally diverse enough to compensate for the lack of a tank cooldown. In my recent stint in 10-man healing though, a bad turn of events being the last healer standing, in a fight where it must be two healed, or if you just happen to have a non ideal healer setup, it becomes something you notice pretty quickly. This also goes for heroic mode encounters when you begin dropping the number of healers you are taking to the encounter. A tank cooldown would be very nice, even if it came at a higher cost. So if this is a problem, what could be a solution.
Well, when re-examining the issue recently, I started looking at our good old friend Stone Bulwark Totem. It is one of my favorite new spells in the expansion and talent change, and I think that it could be a good place to maybe look for a potential tank cooldown. What if there was a glyph that allowed you cast it on a tank instead of yourself at the cost of putting the totem on a 3 minute cooldown? What if instead of just soaking damage it reduced incoming damage for a short duration by a percentage on a single target? Maybe 30-40% over 8 seconds. The 3 minute timer would put it out of range of Call of the Elements and it would be in line with other tank cooldowns. It would come at the expense of personal survivability, and increasing the cooldown on the spell, but something like that could work I think. Again it's just an idea, but I think maybe giving up something for the option of a tank cooldown could work out with out breaking the healing structure or taking away personal healer flavor.
How about HoTs?
This one came up a lot when I posed the question today. We have two heal over time spells. Riptide comes with a cooldown and combines a moderate instant heal with a moderate heal over time effect, or with no cooldown and reducing the initial heal by a large amount with a glyph, but we have complete control over where it goes. The other is Earthliving, which operates on a 20% chance to trigger when you heal someone, and will always trigger on someone whose health is below 35%. It's a great passive from Earthliving Weapon, and with the recent buff it received the total healing it does in a fight has gone up pretty appreciably, but at the end of the day it is still pretty dependent on RNG unless your target is at low health.
Lizzyuh, a fellow player I enjoy conversing with regularly, brought up the idea of shaman having another direct cast HoT, or giving more control to Earthliving. It was an intriguing idea. What if we had the ability to directly control who received the HoT effect from Earthliving for a short period of time? Maybe a cooldown or glyph the enabled us to do so? It would give us potential access to further mobility if needed, which could come in handy on fights like Tortos where we tend to suffer whenever Spiritwalker's Grace is on cooldown. While our mobility has improved over the years from, well, nothing to being able to do so for 15 to 20 seconds every two minutes, I can definitely understand the desire for more mobility and the desire for another controllable HoT. I can definitely support working within the confines of our current toolkit to make that happen instead of creating a new spell all together.
What would you pick?
So now the question gets posed to you. Take a look at shaman healing, and take a look at all the encounters from dungeons to raids and everything in between. If you could have any one tool, be it an ability, spell, glyph or talent, what would it be? Would you want a big single target damage mitigating cooldown? More mobility in your healing arsenal? What about something completely different? Where do you feel we have a healing deficiency that needs to be addressed and how would you address it?
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!