Well, the long-awaited patch hit us yesterday. Well, it hit U.S. Us who live in Europe still have to sit and wait while our servers are being patched. I must say, it was like the night before Christmas yesterday (and no I don’t mean I got visited by ghosts of patches past, present and future) – that’s how excited I was about this patch. And not only as your generic resto shaman 3485732 but as well as 10M raider and raid leader. This patch brings (asides from more healer balancing/nerfing/changes) long-time needed tuning of some 10M hardmode encounters and makes them challenging instead of impossible. Yes, we are talking about the high-end encounters like Nefarian, but even for the average Joe raiding guild like ours is the Atramedes change is very welcome, the Bile-o-tron change is great as well as far as lining up cooldowns for offline phases goes in 10M hard and so on.
But, this patch brought a lot of Shaman changes too, so let’s take a close look on those related to restoration talent tree and what could they possibly mean or whether we should be pissed such a change went through in first place.
- Cleansing Waters now has a 6-second internal cooldown - easily spotted straightforward Arena change. To my knowledge restoration shamans are kings of Arena healing at the moment due to their utility and healing teammates at the same time as dispelling them is just… stupidly overpowered really. There isn’t any dispelling in 10M content that would be heavily hit by this change as far as I know (Argaloth? Cho’gall shadow debuff?) so… meh. And if there will be something requiring so much dispells in the future the changes are we will already be used to this new internal CD that we won’t even remember it was different, back in the day. However I would say that this changes frees 2 talent points from Cleansing Waters.
- Deep Healing now benefits all heals, not just direct heals – definitely a hardmode change. Sucks to admit it but this is change you will not really notice on normal mode fights since everyone is close to full health and our mastery just does not kick in properly. On most hardmode fights on the other hand, you are utilizing mastery more, since people are generaly lower or very low to start with, as well all the hots will be fully used.
- Earth Shield healing done by Restoration shaman has been reduced by 20% - again, clearly Arena change again. While I personally dislike it, I think in the grand scheme of things this change is really not important, especially related to Nature’s blessing change (below). However, as a 10M healer who often is on raid healing duty, ES always provided great safety net on the tanks for the times when the designated tank healer was on the move, silenced, out of position or well, whatever really. This safety net is now less firm and won’t catch everything.
- Nature’s Blessing has been improved to 6/12/18% bonus direct healing on Earth Shielded targets, up from 5/10/15% - there we go, compensating change for the ES loss, unfortnately only when tank healing (see safety net above). However, I believe this change is actually better for tank healing due to ES versus HW/GHW/HS scaling and the fact that you don’t rely on any internal ES cooldown and actually actively influence the amount healed on tank.
- Spirit Link Totem (new talent) reduces damage taken by all party and raid members within 10 yards by 10%. This lasts 6 seconds, and every second it is active the health of all affected players is redistributed among them, such that each player ends up with the same percentage of their maximum health. This counts as an Air totem and has a 3-minute cooldown - yay for raid cooldown, yay for spirit link! Just wondering how many times will I wipe my raid / waste it on stupid thing before I get the hang of things. Oh well.
That’s it from the shaman changes, well, restoration shaman changes. Another interesting slash important note is this one – Grounding Totem cooldown has been increased to 25 seconds, up from 15. While having no direct raiding impact, it’s worth noting for all dungeon endeavours – nothing hurts more than wiping a run (or just letting people die) because you’re on autopilot and not watching your cds.
The single most important change of 4.1
Yes, that’s right. There is a change that is more worldbreaking than Spirit Link totem to me. There is a change that is more exciting and thrilling than Deep Healing benefiting all heals possible, including HST. What is it, you ask?
All non-damaging interrupts off the global cooldown will now always hit the target. This includes Pummel, Kick, Mind Freeze, Rebuke, Skull Bash, Counterspell, Wind Shear, Solar Beam, Silencing Shot, and related player pet abilities.
Yes. That. Now stop frowning and imagine the following – on Nefarian, for example, we have one pillar counting entirely on non-capped me and non-capped warrior to interrupt blast novas. That means, if we both miss at the same nova, our cooldowns won’t be back up till the whole channeling is over and the raid is dead. I can be sure that my WS on other healers will hit on Worships, that I can take care of Arcane Storm on Maloriak, Shadow Nova on Halfus, Feludius ice lanceish spell – all these easily done focus interrupt spells. Especially now when our court interrupter is taking week off.
Best 10M change this expansion, by far.
Other goodies include – Atramedes timer changes making it even easier to heal, Bile-o-tron not going into chain-offlines too often, allowing better cooldown distribution on hardmode, huge tuning down of heroic Cho’gall to be actually doable and tuning down of Shadow bolts on Nefarian both difficulties 10M removing the biggest mana drain on the encounter.
All in all – awesome patch for restoration shaman (as in we get more shiny things than those that were broken in the process) and one huge package of improvements for 10M raider.
Cherry on top – new content with higher level gear to make pugs succeed and close the gap on gear progression to help out recruitment.