“Oh no! The second charge of Spirit Link has disappeared!” If you follow the alpha updates, this news probably reached you. Are we upset about it? Not really. But more on that later…

 

Wind of change

So the cooldown on stampeding roar wind rush totem (level 15 talent) has been increased from 1 to 2 minutes. Our preference is with graceful spirit to begin with, so the impact is minimal. More impressed we are with the change to the cooldown of ascendance (level 100 talent) from 5 to 3 minutes. Our previous feedback was that a cooldown of 5 minutes is so long, you will start preferring other talents over it – so you can actually use them regularly throughout a fight. Now we actually consider both ascendance and well spring to be useful for our start-of-expac build.

 

So you want to max out your artifact?

Salty tears and frustration when Dunderz discovered he messed up his artifact. With the latest build we could gather enough artifact power to max out at least one ‘golden dragon’ of the artifact. Except, Dun had been taking detours around the talent tree. Even with the added artifact power, there was no way he would be able to max out right now. The respec/reset button apparently had disappeared this patch, so there was no other option than to level a new shaman and max out a new artifact. Today there are two Dunderz’s on the alpha – and one maxed out his artifact line.

Changes to the artifact tree included reshuffling of trait links (which traits enable other traits), and a new visual for activated sockets (see green decoration on the third trait on the left). The traits themselves have not been changed, although some are more expensive to max – making the obtaining of other traits more of an effort. We still believe we will somewhat max out our artifact before we enter raids. This makes the road to full artifact power a struggle relevant to leveling and gearing up only.

 

Dorelei's creative artifact spec.
Dorelei’s creative artifact spec – much like Dunderz#1.

 

Oh my shock!

So remember how we told you guys about earth shock? Or maybe we didn’t.. can’t remember. It was our new insta-cast-proccing-double-charge (with echo) dps ability. Which was interesting since earth shock had been useless for so long. But now it is gone, and lava burst took its place. On top of that, we gained lava surge – the former elemental only proc. Basically, there is a chance lava burst procs to an insta cast through your flame shock dot. We have been promised the ability to level as restoration (properly). It does not feel like we are there yet, but we remain hopeful.

The damage of lightning bolt and chain lightning has been increased. Hopefully, this will make the levelling experience as a resto shaman less tedious. Artifact traits tidal feedback and lord of storms will make lightning bolt do even more damage than lava burst. Lightning bolt will still cost mana though, whereas lava burst is mana free.

 

Behold! Lava surge on a restoration shaman.
Behold! Lava surge on a restoration shaman, with a very clever lava orb in the background.

 

Ress tax

Guess what: they removed mass resurrection. And not just that, if you are not a healer, you will loose your single target ress as well (if you had any). Oh yes, can you hear the cries of the dps yet? Not to worry, every healer is receiving a mass resurrection spell. Ours is called Ancestral Vision – so fancy! This time without the drawback of a mass resurrection debuff. I do wonder how long it takes before we all beg Blizzard to give us back mass resurrection. After all, we will be the new commodity along with the health stones and the portals. Every single wipe, we need to ress all those lazy dps/tanks. I have suggestion to make: ressurection taxes. Healers receive a weekly contribution from the other guild members for their services.

 

Bonus level

The new tier bonuses have been announced.

We see a synergy with the artifact talents decree of the queen and tidal pools. Therefore, with tier we will probably favor talents like rushing streams, crashing waves and echo of the elements.

 

The new echo of the elements.
The new echo of the elements – so tidal.

 

Echo Echo

There was the day where we received double charges on Spirit Link Totem, and then there was the day they took it away. It is happening, echo of the elements lost the double SLT. However, more exciting news is the brand new addition: ‘When you cast a heal that benefits from Tidal Waves (healing surge through increased crit, and healing wave through decreased cast time), you have a 15% chance to generate a charge of Riptide’. Ohhhh… shiny! Do I feel bad about losing charges on SLT? Only slightly. Am I happy with the riptide proc? Yes. But that is from my humble personal output perspective. My raid leader will probably prefer having the possibility of running double charges of SLT.

The riptide proc will add amazing synergy with tier pieces, talents and artifact traits. The additional riptides will gives us more procs of Tidal Totems (through Tidal Pools). Additionally, casting riptide more frequently will interact with our tier bonus to further reduce the cooldown on healing stream totem. And healing stream totem on its own is improved by Rushing Streams (talent) and Decree of the Queen (Artifact Trait).

 

That’s it for now. Yet another alpha build. There is so many, we started naming them by their number. Just keep in mind that – as with all things alpha and beta – everything is prone to change. Hopefully, y’all can keep track :D. See you next time!

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zohd
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zohd

It’ll be interesting to see numbers when Tier sets are able to be tested in a raid environment. Depending on how deep into the artifact weapon tree you can go early on, you may see a shift towards a more riptide spam based healing model.

Keehn
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This is definitely a trend we’re seeing about to rise already, but can’t wait to test out tier bonuses along with a (hopefully) completely unlocked artifact weapon! 🙂

Kilel
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Kilel

Yeah I think the changes to Echo are good, even though we lose double SLT, I still think it is a improvement and interested to see how well it goes with the traits etc you can build into HST. And i did mean 4pce not 2pce, shows you shouldn’t try to write things when your tired 🙂

Kilel
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Kilel

Have a question, I know previously you mentioned you were all leaning towards cloudburst, now that Totemic Persistence is baseline, wouldn’t Echo pull ahead, you can have HST down continuously due to the 2pce reducing our HST cooldown consistently (if they stay as they are now). I wonder also if you dropped both charges of HST at the same time whether it will heal 4 people or would they both choose the target with the least health and if they did heal 4 people how much uptime we could keep with the 2pce mentioned.

Keehn
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The value granted to Echo with the latest build (15% chance to reset cd on riptide), is massively increased due to how powerful riptide in itself is, and the fact that having more riptides rolling will automatically increase the frequency of which the Tidal Totems (artifact trait) will spawn. Together with our tier piece (4pc reducing cd on HST by 2 sec when getting tidal waves) we will be able to keep at lot higher uptime on HST (and it will have 2 charges).
I personally could only spot a single scenario or two, where popping both HST charges would be beneficial. When popping both right after each other there will be a slight delay in between their heals, causing them to somehow not snipe the heals of the other totem since they are generically smart healers, making them always pick players not at full health.
I haven’t tested if this applies, but I should find out if popping two HST after each other will make them buff with two individual sets of Decree of the Queen. If this does not apply I hardly think you would ever want to pop both HST at the same time at risk of ‘wasting’ that trait. Except certain scenarios, thinking Gorefiend Feast.

Then there is the fact that we don’t have the mana to spam chain heal on the alpha anymore, leading us into single target healing. The uptime of Tidal Waves will automatically improve as riptide gets a ‘shorter’ cd from echo procs which is a direct synergy to the 2p (10% flat increase to HW and HS when Tidal Wave is up, which will be 100% with Echo).

I still feel that Cloudburst is a clunky talent and if I get the option to steer clear of it, I will.

Deeztotems
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Deeztotems

I agree with everything you’ve mentioned, and even your talent picks. But what’s your thought on Gust of Wind? That row is such a tough decision for me, but the others seem pretty obvious. I love the fact of having Blink because it’s so versatile in the ways you can use it. Blink is the oh shit button that saves you, gets you back into the fight if your knocked back (ex. Iron Jugg or Blackhand Impale) or you can dismiss any falling damage taken if you activate it as soon as you’re close to landing. It can also get you pretty long distances especially if you jump before using it. And even if you don’t choose Graceful Spirit, it’s not like you don’t get the Spiritwalker’s Grace spell at all. I wouldn’t recommend taking Gust of Wind if you’re a Goblin though because it’s basically the same thing – but the Goblin version is better because it’s off the GCD. Lmk what you think, great post!