Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Peaking Under the Hood of the MoP Resto Shaman

Come to think of it, I'm not quite sure where Merinna's hood is.
Hey, did you guys know that "merinna" seems to mean "sailing" in Finnish? Oh the things you'll discover via Google Image Search. I want desperately to put a picture of a newborn Merinna I found at the same time on here, but that's not a nice thing to do. Rest assured, if you Google-search "merinna" you'll get a lot of pictures of sailboats, this oddly big-headed baby, born last month, and your friendly neighborhood shaman.

I miss healing. Because of the strain of the past year and a half and a general dissatisfaction with the model of healing they cooked up for shamans this expansion, it's been a year since I last really healed anybody doing anything. I leveled resto back in the days when everybody had one specc that cost too much money to respec    all that frequently and I healed dungeons all the way up to the level cap.

So that said, I think I might need to get back to my first profession because ...

The Good Things - 

No major tools are being taken away - Of course, Blizzard doesn't really much take spells out of the game, but they do things like change the mana costs to make something ineffective in their "vision" for that class. My first take on the major spells a healing shaman needs suggests that everything is on the table. For now. 

Telluric Currents becomes a More Easily-Ignored Glyph- Though, there is much debate raging on shaman forums across the world about this. Many shamans (correctly) came to see Telluric Currents as a requirement to effective healing in Cataclysm. Many people liked Telluric Currents and many (like me) didn't. Many people see Telluric Currents becoming a "required" glyph that everybody is going to have to take, and then Ghostcrawler finally chimed in on the forums saying that they kind of messed up Telluric Currents this expansion and that it was too powerful. He thinks that won't be so much of an issue in the future with they way they have standardized mana pools.  We shall see, but I damn well hated Telluric Currents and hope it dies a horrible death.

Focussed Insight: Gone! - That was a fail talent almost from the start of the Cata expansion. Again, using an offensive spell and running the math of mana savings (vs. mana costs of using the shock) along with the rather poor heal boost it provided required more processing power than it was worth. I think the Devs gave up on that one somewhere around patch 4.1.

Healers are going to have a bunch of new tools that are varied, practical, and interesting - Stone Bulwark Totem, Healing Tide Totem ought to be interesting additions to the world. And did I mention Ascendancy? That's going to be a big mean additional CD to save raids with. 

Healing Wave and Greater Healing Wave Cast Times Reduced - GHW in particular always troubled me for having a three second cast. You never realize how long three seconds actually are until you are trying to cast this regularly.

Problems With Resto - 

Glyphs are a Freaking Mess - The main feature of new shaman glyphs is that they do most of the same things they did before, only with a negative effect tacked on just to make us feel bad about them. There are several that are highly situational, and others like Glyph of Chaining. Increasing the range could be a big deal in certain fights (though, I can't actually think of one). But a four-second CD? Ack, barf gag! I'm a big believer in muscle memory and I've spent six years with my chain heal ready to fire right when I want it to. I think I'd be more likely to find some other way to compensate for distances than suffer a 4-second CD to that spell. I don't think they are going to leave it like this. Ghostcrawler said himself not long ago that shaman glyphs need work. But if they looked like this, I don't think I'd be raiding with a full set of glyphs installed at all.
Stone Bulwark Totem is Personal Use Only - I dunno what I pictured when I first heard about this new totem other than a fancy shield to make discipline priests jealous. Now that I read the tooltip carefully, I see that it will only affect the shaman who placed the totem. Which is still pretty good, really. But yeah... more limited than I imagined.

Healing Stream Totem Takes a Nerfbat to the Face - No longer even featuring party-wide effects, the Healing Stream only affects the most injured player in the party. Ouch.  The stream was never the kind of spell to save anybody's life with but it did a nice quiet job of replenishing fools who stood in the fire for a bit too long. I don't yet have a sense if it has pumped up enough output to mitigate it's newly-limited reach. Though, at level 85, healing back about 65k isn't bad.

Things that Need Some Work (Or At Least Getting Used To) -

Totems - I have been asking for more powerful action buffs for a while and I'm glad they are coming but they still need work. The four elements are uneven. Every shaman has only one water totem presently (unless they talent into a second) while there are three for most other elements. They seem to have given up with fire totems, instead sticking to the exact same three we had before.

There was  funny problem when I first got to beta and gradually realized how things weren't as they used to be. There is no more Totemic Recall (since every totem is pretty short lived now). There are not totem sets that allow you to plonk all four at once (since you'd never plonk four totems at once anymore either).  I have used TotemTimers, a pretty excellent mod and been very happy with how I can use my totems for years now, but I realize at this point that I have no idea how I'm going to key all these individual totems. I always had two keybinds for different sets which could be modified fairly easily with the mod if necessary. And then I had things like Tremor Totem and Fire Elemental hotkeyed since they are "special." But now, everything is hotkeyed. At present in beta, I have my entire numeric keypad set to totems, but that's not going to work for real I have other things bound to my numeric keypad on live. I need those abilities too.

The old totem UI element Blizzard worked so hard on will be dead by the arrival of MoP, I hope somebody is giving some thought to a replacement for it.

Water Breathing - This just seems odd to me, but the long counted-upon Water Walking spell is gone from my books. I can't think of any particular reason why it should be taken out. Warlocks still have their version of the spell. This is not the sort of thing that is going to make or break anything, but it seems very arbitrary to take away at this point, and there has been no comment as to why.

And honestly, yes, there was one time I was extremely bored, cast water-walking on myself and then rode my sea turtle underwater around most of the coastline of Northrend just to see what was there. You can't do that without a spell like that. So, I want it back!

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