WARNING: Shortly after posting, we added a post dedicated to Cloudburst Totem. Be sure to read this too at: https://chainheal.com/raid-testing-and-beta-patch-notes/.
Ladies and gentlemen, we’re back with another ‘State of the Resto Shaman’. This time around: the Legion beta edition!
It’s the thought that counts
We had this great idea. We would discuss the talents and artifact traits while streaming. Record the footage, and post that on Youtube. That way, everyone would be able to listen to our full discussion (zero cuts). This morning I started up the video to get it uploaded as soon as possible. That is when I discovered it was my voice on 80% and the others at 20%. Completely useless footage, so sad. We do feel like we should share our discussions with you in a structural way. Right now is not the most exciting time in terms of WoW talk. But when the expansion hits, we plan to be right there with you. Our initial thoughts are with weekly scheduled streaming or podcasts. Given our experiences from last night, we’ll use the upcoming weeks to figure out what our exact plan will be.
Left, right, or straight ahead? The first few traits (and levels of traits) are easy and fast. You can expect to have one wing unlocked as your reach level 110. But after that it slows down rapidly. So in what order do we want to unlock our artifact traits? Below we present a fully unlocked artifact, as available right now on the beta PvP server. These are our guidelines of unlocking your artifact traits:
- Golden dragons have the highest priority! Don’t go wandering in the middle, go straight for the dragons (golden portraits)
- Go for the right golden dragon first Queen’s Decree. It is by far the strongest trait at the moment.
- Go for Tidal Pools second (left). Don’t get distracted in the middle (like I did).
- Visit your class halls regularly as you level. Each unlocked (and specced into) trait adds extra power to your artifact.
The ring upgrades of Legion
That is what you upgrade after you finished your artifact. One thing that is visible on the PvP server, is the (what we turned into) purple no. 4 in the middle. This is Flow of the Tides. Consider it the dump spot for all your extra artifact power after you are done. It will be a minor reward for staying active in the game. Costing massive amounts of artifact power. I suppose it is similar to the ring upgrade system in Warlords.
What about talents?
After our talk last night, we decided on a beta build. Without further ado:
Keehn and I wouldn’t mind if we could unleash healing rain again like in good old MoP times. But in the current state of Unleash Life, we simply won’t use it. Even if it changed, the fact remains that you often keep waiting to use your buffed heal (avoiding other casts), just to not waste it. Which is something Dunderz didn’t like about using it in the past either. It would be nice if unleash would not trigger the a global cooldown. Undulation still is mechanically unfit for almost all situations. It is clunky. Three casts is too far ahead to determine single target healing. That leaves us with Torrent, which is actually a really a sizable initial heal. And that has us decide on torrent for the first tier of talents.
Wind rush totem does not even occur in our conversations, neither does gust of wind really. Gust is nice when you try to get to an odd place, or fall without dying (gusting just before impact). But other than the occasional in world situational uses, our eyes are on graceful spirit. Always keep casting is our rule, and this one will help us do just that. Level 45 is pretty straightforward as we consider lightning surge totem to be default. There is one boss (High Botanist Tel’arn) that spawns adds that can be rooted. In situations like that you can consider running earthgrab totem.
Ancestral guidance is historically a talent we run towards the end of expansions (burst healing). This time around, we might end up using it straight away. After crashing waves got nerfed, ancestral guidance and deluge are our real two options. Deluge is viable on fights where you know you will be getting maximum amounts of hits every single time (stacked fights). Other than that our preference goes to ancestral guidance.
To me it is suprising Blizzard actually put in the ancestral protection totem. The amount of trouble they get themselves into is phenomenal. That is, if they want to make this talent a viable option. No wonder that they nerfed it with the addition ‘cannot reincarnate an ally who dies to massive damage’. Earthen shield totem scales as you gear up, which keeps it interesting. Still we see ancestral vigor as our basic pick. Just make sure to heal targets that are (expected to) taking damage regularly, to have this buff active on them.
At level 90, the only real trade off is between echo of the elements and bottomless depths right now. With depths only being relevant in niche situations. Even with the riptide proc nerf to echo, it remains to be our favorite in this tier. The level 100 tier is no different. Wellspring is underpowered, even though the arc is wide. And while they took ascendance out of our arsenal, we are not tempted to pick it up as a talent. There are going to be moments in fights when you want to chain a few chain heals to bring up the raid. And without high tide, you’ll feel lacking in strenght. Considering shamans being one of the few (perhaps the only one) being able to continuously chain aoe heals, we can benefit the raid by running high tide.
Nobody puts tidal waves in the corner!
Well actually, Blizz did that for two expansions. In the last few builds tidal waves have been made more and less prominent. Potentially making this the third expansion in which tidal waves end up in the background. You could wreck charts without even knowing of their existance. In fact, tidal waves are one of the backbone mechanics to resto shamans. But many shamans probably couldn’t define their exact function even if you would slap them. Let’s test this with a poll!
Mastery, crit or haste?
In Legion, there is no spirit. That’s right, the stat is gone. Probably a relief to some people. As it removes the discussion of how much you should be stacking, and when to let some go. Our mana pool is rather large this time around. A whooping 1100K (read 1.1 million) mana is what we will be running around with. Mana does regenerate, at 44K per 5 seconds. Regeneration is always indicated per 5 seconds (don’t ask me why), but it equals 8.800 mana per second. So far, we have not discovered any other means of regeneration. Perhaps certain trinkets could change this, but so far no sight of them either.
Mastery is still standing strong. With less presence of shields and absorbs in Legion, our mastery (healing low targets for more) is buffed indirectly. However, most of the artifact traits play into crit (resurgence). The artifact weapon itself is decked out with both mastery and crit. For now this would be our initial approach to gearing:
Intellect > Mastery ≥ Crit > Haste > Versatility
Healing stream nerfs
Some time ago, Rushing Streams had suddenly disappeared from the talent table. For a long time I did not understand the removal of Rushing Streams, other than it being a nerf to the totem. Just before the beta was released, it all fell into place for me. One of our readers asked us the same thing. These are the factors I shared with him (as in: this is how Healing Stream Totem is now build up):
- Queen’s decree: Healing Stream Totem heals each affected ally for an additional 27.5K over 6 seconds. So healing stream is more effective.
- Wavecrash: Increases the rate at which Healing Stream totem heals by 30% (more with an additional relic). The faster it ticks, the more targets it can affect in the same time frame, the more Queen’s decree is active.
- Your 4 piece set bonus: Each time you trigger Tidal Waves, the cooldown of Healing Stream Totem is reduced by 2 seconds.
- Add the legendary hands, the ‘Praetorian’s Tidecallers’, to the mix. With these hands, your healing stream will be up for (almost) 18 seconds instead of 15.
- Play with Echo (which we recommend), and you might even get an overlap of two totems.
Keep in mind that legendaries will be disabled during early progress (if not entirely restricted in raids). So yes, healing stream got nerfed and it doesn’t directly heal two targets anymore. However:
- With proper play it will be up close to 100%
- With smart play you can (if needed) have two totems up at the same time
- The totems will tick fast and constantly apply HoT’s through the raid.
But what about dem druids tho?
Druids are wrecking the charts! Are resto shamans really that bad next expansion? We really got nerfed didn’t we? Is it safe to go resto? Guys, guys, guys.. calm down! We’re doing fiiiiine! Resto shamans are very relevant, and very powerful. As a healer spec because of their core mechanics (mastery), their ability to constantly pad aoe (chain heal), and their strong cooldowns. Personally, I had a great time running heroic and mythic dungeons (I haven’t tried mythic plus yet). One of the main things that stood out was the importance of the group (learning how to) dealing with mechanics. Of course not all groups will have the same ‘progress’ speed, but learning the instances will be relevant. Another thing I run into, is people comparing challenge modes and mythic plus as if they are the same thing. They are not. Mythic plus will differ each week. The nature of the changes to the instance might lead to a different healer being ‘best’ per week. Don’t jump to conclusions, and so far it is all looking good.
Legion offers us new ability animations. Two of them are definitely worth sharing: gift of the queen and wellspring.