With Blizzcon two weeks behind us, the information about Legion starts coming in slowly. Last night (on WoW’s 11th birthday), the Alpha was released. It looks like mostly streamers got access to it, and it seems limited to the Demon Hunter starting area. It is expected that the Beta will follow sometime soon. Meanwhile, some info has come our way. We’ve read things about talents, legendary items, and spell changes. Please note however, that until we can experience the context on beta, we will refrain from commenting too much on tuning. We don’t know the full story yet. We don’t know what our artifact customizations will look like and how they compare. And fore mostly, everything is changing constantly.
Time for a chat
When something hits the interwebs that concerns us resto shamans, we usually find out pretty soon. Our team chat wakes up, and we try to schedule a TS meeting as soon as possible. Last Sunday, we spent three hours discussing the new talent builds that were released and the possible implications. We all felt like we should start recording these sessions, as the passion for resto shamans is above and beyond. We don’t know exactly what would be the best way to share this with you guys. We feel that two hour long podcasts might be slightly over doing it, and we wouldn’t know where to start editing our conversations. If you have suggestions, please let us know in the comment section below.
Out of the three hours talking, half of the time was spent on what we should and shouldn’t say. We’re careful to judge without knowing more about context and tuning. However, allow us to run you through the changes we have seen passing by so far. If you notice mistakes, changes, or new info, please let us know. Grab a cup of coffee, this will be a significant read :P.
Here is what we gain:
- Stormcall: teleports you to the class halls area at the Maelstrom.
- Shamanistic Rage: this defensive ability will be available for Enhancement and Restoration! Long awaited and asked for, we’re so happy with this change!
- Stoneclaw Totem: a totem that taunts when we’re hit by a melee attack (replaces Earth Elemental).
- Changed/new talents, more on that later.
Here is what is being removed:
- All glyphs are taken out of the game (this is a generic thing).
- Fire elemental: will be restricted to the Elemental specialization.
- Earth Elemental: will be Elemental only – we will still see the ‘taunt’ ability in our new Stoneclaw Totem.
- Wind Shear: only Enhancement and Elemental will be able to interrupt. Its seems to be a generic change that healers won’t be able to interrupt anymore.
- Earth Shield: in its current state will be removed – we will gain Earthen Shield Totem as a PvE talent, and as an similarly named level 100 talent Earth Shield in PvP;
- Searing Totem: yay! We felt like this didn’t add anything to the resto shaman gameplay, so we’re happy to see it disappear.
- Tremor Totem: it’s a little bit sad, but with the current state it is in we won’t miss it as much as the version we could cast during fears.
- Grounding Totem: this will be removed as a baseline ability. We won’t see it in PvE, but it will be available through a talent in PvP with the same name: Grounding Totem.
- Totemic Recall: just like Earth Shield and Searing Totem, we talked about this previously. Its ok to let this go. It’s a form of min-maxing that wasn’t actively used recently. It is more than fine to min-max something else and say goodbye to this ability.
- Unleash Life: this is our main movement speed increase in WoD through the leveling perk we received. Without this ability our only movement speed increase can come from the use of Ghost Wolf or the level 30 talent tier (and level 75 Graceful Spirit). Whether they give us movement speed through one or another ability, that doesn’t matter. We do feel weak in terms of movement in raids currently.
- Capacitator Totem: will reappear in the form of Lightning Surge Totem in the PvE talent tree.
- Ascendance: it is now reworked in a level 100 talent.
Here are some changes to our current spells:
- Ancestral Spirit – You now resurrect ALL party members to life with 35% of maximum health and mana, cannot be cast when in combat. Furthermore, it seems like ressing will be restricted to healers only.
- The cooldown of Hex has been reduced from 45 seconds to 30 seconds.
- Reincarnation now resses yourself with 50% health and mana instead of 20%.
How does our specialization develop at level 110?
- Basic spells and abilities based on the class and spec
- PvE talents (there are no level 110 talents)
- Evolution of your artifact weapon and its modifications over time (in a way this is your level 110 talent tier).
- Possible legendary items that you can be so lucky to receive.
The new talent tiers
Undulation – level 15
It sounds like an interesting mechanic, although utilizing it properly will require a massive amount of tracking and min-maxing. It might be very strong in specific situations, where ridiculous single-target healing is required. We see a similar talent with the Holy Shock ability for Holy Paladins, called Holy Bolt. Basically, the Paladin version is what we would appreciate in the Shaman version as well: dependability and controllability. With the Paladin version, the heal is just going to be more effective/stronger. We can’t completely control something that is as far ahead as three Healing Waves. Because your third Healing Wave might not turn out to be effective, it is likely to over heal.
Rushing Streams – level 15
Torrent – level 15
We found this talent to be very interesting. Not only because of the increased snipe healing opportunities, but also for the possible Riptide builds that can occur. The gameplay resulting from optimizing Riptide is very engaging and rewarding. You have to think about who you put the buff on the benefit most, and it will become even more important to fire the Riptide the second it comes off cooldown. Might be well paired with Crashing Waves and perhaps Echo of the Elements (providing more leniency with the Riptide casts). It is very likely to become the go-to talent for sniping. It will almost heal as much as a Healing Wave, but then instant.
Gust of Wind – level 30
Our very own reversed Disengage. It sounds like a very cool concept and we love the idea of having more mobility. Since it has a 15 second cooldown you would never have to cast Ghost Wolf, unless you have to counter abilities like Mannoroth’s pushback mechanic.
Unknown – level 30
The mysterious level 30 talent that we don’t know of yet!
Wind Rush Totem – level 30
An insane utility tool for the entire raid. Will be the obvious choice in certain cases where the additional movement speed can benefit the group. A solid raid cooldown, much like Stampeding Roar. We see a choice ocurring in between having personal movement and raid movement. With the removal of Unleash Life, we do see us being forced into using Ghost Wolf more. To see mobility improving for shamans is something we feel could benefit the spec/class a lot. Especially since we feel like the level 75 talent (Graceful Spirit), might not be an option due to the output/raid gains of Echo of the Elements. We can foresee a situation where in you won’t have any personal movement speed increases (other than Ghost Wolf) in the raid, just because it is what the raid needs. This is a troublesome situation especially with our eye on Mythic raiding. The abilities don’t hurt, but kill. You will have to move quickly.
Lightning Surge Totem – level 45
The reworked version of Capacitator Totem; it stuns. Will probably be the default for raiding.
Earthgrab Totem – level 45
Same as we know it, a rooting totem. Probably won’t see many uses. You generally don’t want to root mobs in raids. Before you know it they start melee-hitting some cloth users.
Voodoo Totem – level 45
A new totem that hexes everything inside the range. This will probably not have many uses in the raiding environment either.
Crashing Waves – level 60
This talent does three things: 1) it gives an additional charge of Tidal Waves, 2) your chance to crit a Healing Surge is increased with 10%, and 3) the cast time of Healing Wave is reduced with 10%. Regarding the Tidal Waves. We assume that we have to work with a cap of 2 tidal waves. Each Riptide or Chain Heal, builds up a stack. This creates a spell weave with regular Riptide and Chain Heal usage to maintain high Tidal Waves uptimes. We assume that with this talent, your Riptide and Chain Heal will both apply 2 stacks of Tidal Waves per cast (with 2 stacks still as a maximum).
Secondly, the higher chance of critting your Healing Surge, improves the value of the spell as an emergency heal. At last, the reduction of the Healing Wave cast time is very interesting. There’s a possible synergy with Undulation. You will be able to get out a bunch of Healing Waves faster. Which decreases the chance of over healing only slightly. Regardless, it will work well with Torrent, It adds value to the Riptide cast in effectiveness and Tidal Waves management.
Conductivity – level 60
Same old, same old. Across most fights, this talent requires parts of the raid to be more stationary than they usually are.
Keehn: ‘I would really like the raid to stand still for at least 20+ seconds to just get a bit of value out of Conductivity‘.
Dunderz: ‘Conductivity isn’t a bad talent, it’s bad in comparison to the other talents in the tier’.
Deluge – level 60
This talent will add value to Chain Heal when healing people that are standing inside of Healing Rain. If we run into another Highmaul/BRF type of instance, we can’t see this being super effective. It might end up being the strongest pure output talent on a lot of fights regardless. Deluge is stacked healing, but very situational. Optimizing positioning will make this a powerful talent. In a way, Deluge does to Chain Heal what Unleash Life did to Healing Rain in MoP: make it more effective.
Graceful Spirit – level 75
With this talent we will get more utility from Spiritwalker’s Grace by halving the cooldown and gaining 20% movement speed for the duration. Compared to the other talents in this tier, the raw output might fall behind. But when you have a fight where you have to spend a lot of time running, this might slowly pull ahead.
Earthen Shield Totem – level 75
This AoE shield might be useful when soloing, but will not have a lot of value for raids. If you consider it as a personal defensive, you’re at risk of others stealing your ‘shield’. The effectiveness is not completely controllable.
Echo of the Elements – level 75
This seems to be the stronger talent of the tier on a fight to fight basis. Depending on the encounter you might want to swap this out for one of the others. It looks very strong. Having charges on Riptide will make sure that you can utilize Tidal Waves to the fullest (not becoming less important in Legion), and the additional Healing Stream Totem charge will provide even more flexibility.
Bottomless Depths – level 90
This talent sounds quite interesting. In a way this is a regeneration talent. Our initial response was rather negative. Throughout WoD we found ourselves being bound to Elemental Blast because of the regen. Having to choose between regen and output talents, will most likely create that situation again. After discussion, we realized Blizzard has actually done something very smart here. Yes it provides regen, but only in specific situations. The raid (most likely) won’t be very low regularly on all fights. This creates the situation where it will be stronger on some fights, but it won’t be on others. Basically, yes it is a trade-off between regen and output: but it’s not baseline.
Warning, the next couple of sentences are ‘pure speculation’. If Ascendance (talented) ends up increasing mana cost of spells, you might want to pick this up this talent. It could counter this effect and ensure that you can keep up the spamming for longer periods (at this point there still is a lot of uncertainty on how Ascendance will work). Bottomless Depths will most likely become ‘baseline’ during first tier due to traditional regen strains in the start of expansions.
Cloudburst Totem – level 90
Oh no.. not this talent again! It never felt useful during this expansion. Please.. GO AWAY! If you were to use this talent at all, you would logically pop it when you have to heal. By the time you’ve finally empowered this totem, you will most likely already have topped the group and it will result in massive over healing. It acts much like the shield part of the legendary ring. By the time the shields arrive, the party is over.
Ancestral Guidance – level 90
Same as we know it, not super powerful but looking at the other options it might be worth it. We are prepared to deal with a lot in order not to have to use Cloudburst Totem.
Ascendance – level 100
We don’t exactly know what is happening here. Is the cooldown being taken away from us and being reworked into a talent? Or is this just a modifier of the ability. We have seen two or three changes to this talent in the last few days. Either Blizzard doesn’t know yet, or it hasn’t been updated properly, or there have been mistakes with the data mining. If the cooldown is actually taken away from us, than that will result in somewhat of a /sadface. We really want to know exactly how this spell works. How will we interact with it? Since it says ‘lasts until cancelled’ do we have it up indefinitely? Will there be a downside to it like increasing mana cost of spells? The cooldown was brought down to 2 minutes today, with an uptime of 1 minute. We have no idea..
Wellspring – level 100
This is very exciting. Think Deathwing mace, think wave ability from Mistweaver staff in the Spoils encounter (thanks @healiocentric for the suggestion). We’re going to drown our allies, smash waves in their face. Enough with the soothing rains, we’re throwing water now. Not only do we get super thrilled about possible visuals, we’re also happy to see an ability that requires proper coordination (aiming and all). It adds depth, it adds consideration, its amazing! So cool.
High Tide – level 100
This talent will just add an additional jump to Chain Heal without the requirement of having Riptides up and running. It reduces the ‘loss’ in effectiveness on chain heal from 30 to 15% as we’re reading it. Will probably end up being a must have on stacked fights with paired with Deluge.
Level 110 talents
The max-level talent choices will be modified through the artifact configurations. This is one of the reasons why Blizzard intends to simplify the specs (through clean-up of spells and removal of glyphs). It gives them new opportunities to provide variation through the artifact. We’re really excited to see what they have in mind!