The gathering

Dunderz, Keehn and myself met up in a rather wet part of The Heart of Azeroth. A circle of stones can be found towards the back. Our healing rain and spirit link fit exactly in its dimensions. Waves crash into the rock walls, the maelstrom is right beside us. Wet mist swirls up violently in the air. Yet it feels cozy and protected in the class halls. Halûcinogen joins us on TS – he didn’t get access but we are glad to have him join our discussion. The ones that got access were able to test at least one or more raid encounters so far. We talk about what setup we tested and how it felt in comparison to other healers. Dunderz and Keehn have clearly been through this process before. They were able to test out different builds and push their output quite far. I am the obvious scrub amongst them – having missed out completely on our basic artifact ability ‘Gift of the Queen’. It is my first time on the alpha, or raid test in general. I feel more like a tourist. Taking pictures of everything (my screenshot folder is beyond ridiculous), and just enjoying everything around me.

 

Three shamans jumping around.
The team jumping around at the class halls.

 

Bubble heal

‘Gift of the Queen’ Is our basic artifact ability. On a 45 second cooldown, you can use this to consume your healing rain, healing all allies within its area – read mini revival. The spell is very strong. In fact, it is so strong that you can find yourself waiting to use it. Just to get most out of the ability. Some complaining went around in the team for the ability animation. Your character aims the mace in the air and that’s it – too feminine for a tough male orc if we have to believe a mumbling Dunderz. Occasionally a ‘heal’ will travel from you to an ally during 3 seconds, on triggering it will heal all allies in 5 yards. This means you can run into the bubble and force the heal to occur (think the orbs in phase 1 Socrethar). The animation for this is really cool. I had been spotting a bubble randomly, floating around from me to somewhere else. But I didn’t know what triggered it, or what it was. Imagine my excitement to find out this was a passive ability of our artifact.

 

The shaman bubble.
The travelling bubble animation from our artifact.

 

When discussing the first talent tier, everyone disregarded Undulation. The way it works right now makes it feel like the old cloudburst totem: way too clunky and late to the party. Personally, I was really curious to see what torrent would be like (torrent increases your initial riptide heal with 50%). There’s an option on the artifact weapon to increase the initial and periodic healing of riptide, and ultimately a chance to leave a tidal totem (whatever that may be) under the target. Reason enough to experiment. During my dabbling into raids and dungeons, I noticed riptide can crit for crazy amounts – very strong. However, especially in the start of expansions the raid spends more time on lower than full hp. Which means that you have a lot of targets to heal and unless shamans are the best and most efficient tank healers, raid healing will be more rewarding in terms of output.

Therefore, it was no surprise to find out Dunderz and Keehn had been poking around with rushing streams. A familiar and loved talent that keeps coming back, often cookie cutter (default choice). This time around rushing streams will heal two targets at once. One of the ultimate artifact abilities is ‘Decree of the Queen’. It augments your healing stream totem to apply a healing-over-time effect after targets have been healed by the totem. On your way to this epic characteristic, you’ll find yourself gaining wavecrash most likely– causing your healing stream totem to heal 15% more frequently (going up to 45% when you level that ability to the max).

 

All gusting aside

Level 30 offers us mobility. There is no unleash elements anymore, so no speed increase from that either. There is ghost wolf, but as there are no glyphs at the moment (they are being reworked still) – you cannot go much faster with that either. For combat all we can resort to is the talents. Luckily, they are really interesting. There is gust of wind, a mini tornado carrying you forward on a 15 second cooldown, fun but probably disregarded for raiding. Graceful spirit, basically glyph of spiritwalker’s focus (reducing the cooldown) but with full duration and 20% movement increase. Even though the tornado is super fun, why float through the air if you can keep casting? And last but not least: wind rush totem. A projectable stampeding roar totem that gives all allies within 10 yards 60% increased movement speed for 5 seconds. We all discussed it and agreed: if the raid leader cries for the totem, tough luck! They better learn to run faster, because we’re all using graceful spirit (evil laughs).

Gust of wind
Gusting around Val’sharah

 

Level 45 is all about crowd control. You can choose to either stun, root or hex multiple targets by projectable (yet nonadjustable) totems. The default raiding choice will most likely be stunning. Rooted mobs can melee hit people passing by, and hexed targets can be broken out when taking damage. Stunning is usually the overall most efficient, damage taken reducing cooldown. However, we have to be honest about the loss of life quality. We lost totemic projection. Even though the initial projection of totems feels a lot more smoother and well designed, we lose not only time to hand movement to place the totem (which is relevant when moving across raid frames for healing), but also we can’t adjust it anymore. 5 Seconds before the stun goes off is a long time to anticipate the location of a bunch of mobs. It requires coordination of the tank and respective shaman to say the least. We can’t move our spirit link with us, or from one player camp to another (RIP double dipping). We’ve lost something here, and I’m going to miss it. Let’s hope for a glyph that allows readjustment of totem.

 

50 Shades of water

At level 60 it starts to get interesting. Crashing waves, ancestral guidance or deluge. Both crashing waves and deluge are new and passive, ancestral guidance is a remnant of the past. Crashing waves has the property of granting you an additional tidal waves charge. Our passive tidal waves buff (which we gain by casting chain heal or riptide), reduces the cast time of your next healing wave by 30% or increases the crit chance of your next healing surge with 40% – this stacks up to 2 times with crashing waves. Traditionally, chain heal is too expensive at the start of an expansion and Legion looks like it won’t be an exception. Therefore, using riptide on cooldown becomes very important for keeping up tidal waves. Allowing for two charges of tidal waves (instead of one), gives more leniency to begin with. This makes crashing waves as a talent a solid base. On top of the extra tidal wave charge, crashing waves will increase the crit chance of healing surge and decrease the cast time of healing wave by another 10%.

When speccing into the ‘Decree of the Queen’ build, you will end up choosing queen ascendant by default. Through queen ascendant your resurgence (which procs through crits) will reduce the cast time of your next heal by 5%. Showing clear synergy with the talent crashing waves, that decreases the cast time of your healing wave as well (not to be confused with the artifact talent wavecrash). However, this trait seems to be bugged at the moment. Instead of reducting the cast time, it increases your cast time. Additionally, it removes the mana we gain through resurgence. This is obviously not intended, and this will not make it live.

Ancestral guidance did not really grasp our attention. As it stands now it will probably find usage in niche situations or not even. Regardless, none of us seem to be bother it being part of this talent tree. Which leads us to number three of level 60: deluge. This talent causes chain heal to heal for an additional 20% on targets affected by our healing rain or riptide. It shows synergy with High Tide (which we’re all too familiar with). Currently not desirable as pushing chain heals leave you rather out of mana half way into the fight. It shows potential for different builds in different tiers, something we can appreciate.

 

Trying talents in Dalaran.
Trying talents in Dalaran.

 

The level 75 talents add even more curiosity. Ancestral vigor is something that we lost in the past but remains loved to this day. That 10% hp often means the difference between a wipe and victory in progression. Due to the application restrictions and 10 second lasting buff it will be impossible to keep up for a mythic sized raid. But padding a targeted group before incoming damage will be amongst the options. Earthen shield totem works well in dungeons. With the size of a healing rain (with rumbling earth effects along the edges), it naturally directs the group to stand in it. On a 1 minute cooldown, with a shield equal to your own health it seems mildly interesting.

 

Raid spot secured

More fascinating is the ancestral protection totem. Even though it has a three minute cooldown, it does not share a cooldown with battle resurrection. That’s right, you have access to another battle ress, every three minutes under full control. Resetting tank stacks, ignoring fatal debuffs and mechanics is amongst the options. Even though normal battle resses offer the same option, a shaman will give you one more. This probably single handedly secure our raid spot in the upcoming tier. DISCLAIMER – Will not protect against stupidity!

The unexpected happened at level 90. We all preferred cloudburst totem. Whoever worked out this design at Blizzard – you surprised us all! It still doesn’t count totem healing, but it does collect over healing this time around. Counterproductive considering our mastery – but also a good match given our position as pure force of output healing. From what we’re seeing people are spending quite some time on not full hp. This makes Bottomless Depths interesting for the few weeks after the launch. However, it is probably not competitive with either cloudburst or echo, niche fights aside.

Echo does what it always does: giving you charges. This time it is earth shock (a larger part of resto dps in Legion), riptide, healing stream (new), and spirit link totem. Unless resto dps becomes vital for an encounter, earth shock won’t be the convincing argument for echo. The need for riptide charges goes down when you choose crashing waves (already move tidal wave leniency). When building into rushing streams, there is no real need to drop two at the same time. Far more likely is integration into our new spell weave, consisting of riptide, healing rain, healing stream totem and cloudburst totem on cooldown and filling up with healing waves. So let me say the unexpected once more. Unless we desperately need two spirit links, I think we’re going for cloudburst!

 

Casting Wellspring at the gates of Blackrook Hold
Casting Wellspring at the gates of Blackrook Hold

 

Level 100 is not too relevant to our start-of-expac rotation. High tide is too mana intensive, maybe in later tiers. Ascendance is not a first pick given its 5 minute cooldown (you would almost forget you had it). Wellspring seems our default choice for now. Even though it is costly in terms of mana, and not too strong right now. It does make for a very nice addition in the resto spell family, sending waves in a wide arc. We ended up using it occasionally, but certainly not on cooldown (20 seconds).

There you have it, our first alpha resto build review. We didn’t cover everything. Especially resto dps is something I want to elaborate more on sometime. Also one ultimate weapon build we left out of the story: cumulative upkeep. Basically, whenever you healing tide heals an ally, they take 25% increased healing from healing tide, and this effect stacks. Our initial preference goes to building out on healing stream and possibly riptide, but not healing tide. We don’t have enough artifact power available to test out one ultimate ‘golden dragon’ build, let alone test all of them. Until then, it remains guessing. Perhaps our preferences will change, like everything does on the alpha.

We do want to add that mana felt really tight during raid testing, and it was awesome. We hope there are chances it will stay this way – especially if mana stays scarce on items (please don’t add strong regen trinkets). It will keep the healing game very interesting.

See you next time!

Dorelei

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10 Comments on "Alpha build in review – state of the resto shaman"

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Deeztotems
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Deeztotems

I wanted to do this post on the Legion Alpha forums, and then I discovered you have to actually have it to even post which sucks! If one of you guys with alpha access likes this post feel free to put it on the forums, I would love to see these changes happen! But I really enjoy some of these talents. The only ones I’m not too crazy about are Undulation, Ancestral Guidance, Deluge, Ancestral Protection Totem and Cloudburst Totem. Even though the first two talents I mentioned are pretty lackluster, they don’t necessarily need to be taken out… they are good enough in some sense; same goes for Cloudburst Totem.
The two talents I’d encouragingly like to see taken out are Deluge and Ancestral Protection Totem. Deluge is such an odd talent, and it’s almost forcing us to go back to our old, “boring job” of Chain Healing people with Riptides, which is a very limiting factor. I felt so much freedom when they reverted this change. As for Ancestral Protection Totem, I feel this talent is very lazy. As a healer, we shouldn’t have to purposely let someone die just to compensate for a normal healing rotation, it defeats the whole purpose of giving our upmost ability to keep everyone from dying. When you can just mechanically let someone die instead of working hard to keep them alive, it ruins the whole experience as a healer, and it’s lazy! Yeah it can counter all these mechanics, but some of us are Mythic raiders and we want a good challenge and an interesting race to world first. Plus, a lot of times people just drop like flies and we might not be quick enough in putting the totem down, basically wasting a talent slot.
I love everything about the Shaman this expansion so far, but the only major thing I’ve had a problem with is Healing Rain. It’s boring and takes long to cast 2 11; Druids have an instant Mushroom and Holy Priests’s have a much quicker cast time as well. I’ve come up with some talents for Healing Rain that all involve making it an instant cast, as well as making it interesting. Number 1 could possibly replace Ancestral Protection, as it’s a CD. Number 2 could replace Deluge or Undulation. And lastly Number 3 could replace Deluge or Cloudburst as well.

#1 Healing Rain Matters (Excuse the title I had to)

Your Healing Rain now has no cast time and pulls an injured ally into safety. Any player with in your Healing Rain, or 5/10 yards outside that drops below x% health is gripped in and blessed with spiritual waters, increasing their health by 3 0% (or whatever). This effect can not occur more than once in 3 /5 minutes, and does not disrupt their casting. If you have no active Healing Rains (due to the use of Gift of the Queen or forgetting to cast), a Healing Rain will automatically spawn on the floor and grip an ally that falls below x% health, and will remain healing until your next Healing Rain comes off cool down.

#2 Greater Healing Rain

Your Healing Rain now has no cast time and its radius is increased by 10/15 yards.

#3 Empowered Healing Rain

Your Healing Rain now has no cast time and summons a water ascendant. The water ascendant channels your Healing Rain buff to three additional allies not with in the boundaries of your Healing Rain. If there are less than three allies outside your Healing Rain, the water ascendant gives himself to the rain and creates a duplicate Healing Rain that moves with the caster, healing for a smaller amount. Using Gift of the Queen also consumes this duplicate Healing Rain.

 
I know it’s still Alpha so that’s why I’m writing this, I would love to see Blizz do something like this. Let me know what you guys think and if you agree or disagree. Thanks

Keehn
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The only thing you’re forgetting (might not know due to not having alpha access) is how powerful healing rain is compared to the other healer’s counterpart. As of the last time there were a boss test, Healing Rain was usually the singlemost powerful heal I had (Although it was without Wavecrash to give HST 45% more frequent heals). Dropping it on cooldown became the highest priority, which due to the high cost made casting chain heal redundant.

My healing breakdown on the scorpion boss test (http://imgur.com/HllrrbQ) although not a very long pull, and I still have to see the other healers do equal numbers with their ground effects.

(http://imgur.com/zpc8MgH our druid’s healing breakdown for same encounter and pull for comparison)

Deeztotems
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Deeztotems

true just fantasizing, I want restos to be great in Legion.

Keehn
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You’re not alone, would be great to assume a position of unheard superiority amongst healers. 😀

Yocum
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Dorelei,

Great post!  I enjoyed reading your thoughts on the new builds in a raid setting!  Disclaimer for me, I have not yet played in alpha so all of my thoughts are based on current alpha tooltips and what I’ve read from your experiences, but I wanted to ask just a couple of questions thus far.

The biggest thing that surprised me from this post was the preference in Cloud Burst Totem.  While I will admit the changes look nice, I can’t imagine that CBT would win out against HST+Echo+Rushing Streams+Decree+Wave Crash. Granted that is a combo build, but I imagine the pay off is a lot of passive spread raid healing.  As this would theoretically yield 100% uptime on HST healing 2 targets 45% more frequently and leaving hots on healed targets.  While I will admit CBT would provide that raid wide burst if timed well.  I am just curious how it would keep up with the passive healing of the former over a 1 min period.  Am I missing just missing something here?

Could you confirm if Tidal Chains is additive or multiplicative?  E.G. with 3 of 3 of Tidal Chains is selected as well as Crashing Waves is the bonus a 70% cast time reduction (30% base + 10% from CW + 30% from Tidal Chains) on Healing Wave or a 43.89% cast time reduction (30% base * 10% from CW * 30% from Tidal Chains).  Or is it a different combination on those abilities?

Could you explain more how Astral Projection Totem actually works?  Can it be cast on someone who just died like a true battle rez, or is it only a “pre-emptive” battle rez?  Also does the totem go on cd on cast of the APT, or does it go on CD upon the acceptance of the battle rez it provides?

Last question: given your experience thus far, would you say we are truly returning to the jack of all trades healers, depending on tallents and artifact abilities, or do we fit into a smaller box?

Again thanks for all the input you have given us thus far, it is greatly appreciated!

Yocum

Keehn
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Hey Yocum

You won’t be able to have 100% uptime on HST. Yes you will get 1 additional charge although keep in mind it will not count down on both at the same time, you can drop 3 totems after one another with ‘100%’ uptime after that there will be a dropoff. Theoretically it will ‘only’ add another use of the spell over the course of an encounter if used on cooldown. (Being very strong as a utility tool albeit mediocre for raw output)
The numbers you will be able to achieve on CBT will be significantly higher now that it takes overhealing into account, and furthermore we can feed it with our artifact ability or lvl 100 talent. On top of that just using it on cooldown without paying a lot of attention to it will passively add a lot of healing.

For Tidal Chains it is the respective %age of the actual Tidal Waves effect, say 1st stage gives 10% increase then you will (if picking crashing waves having 40% reduction on HW) it will go to 44% and for 2nd stage 48% and 3rd stage 52%. (being respectively 33%, 36% and 39% (40) without Crashing Waves). So Crashing Waves is added directly on top, taking it from 30% (HW cast reduction) to 40% and Tidal Chains adds the the shown % on top (as described).

The way Ancestral Protection works is that it HAS to be placed near the target before death for it to be used as a ress. It will put some limitations, although having another ress on a SEPERATE cooldown will be massive for some scenarios where you have to say reset stacks or soak massive hits. It will go on Cooldown as soon as the ability/totem has been placed.

Say they are not going to alter Wavecrash then yes, we will have insane strengths to deal with pretty much any scenario. (But we highly doubt it will see the light of day in its current shape when getting closer to live)

Yocum
Member
Member

Hey Keehn,

 

Thanks so much for the quick reply and eye openers to things I should know.

To HST, that makes sense now why CBT would play out with more potential throughput.  I forgot to take into account the recharge mechanic of Echo.  This makes me wish they would change the burst of CBT to something like we had discussed on the “Ask Us Anything” section.

Good to know on Tidal Chains, could potentially decrease the value of haste depending on build choice.  (Assuming healing wave usage at the start of the xpac due to mana constraints)

APT, sounds like it could be rather interesting usage.  Would for sure require knowing you were going to let someone die with the totem active.  I’m very interested to play around with this eventually.

It will be interesting to see at least the path the R-Shaman takes from now till the drop of legion.  Being a shaman from way back, I would enjoy being a jack of all trades, master of none again.

Qoxxy
Member
Member

Thanks for sharing, I also made a post on the wow forums regarding Restoration shamans. Maybe it would be nice if the Restoration shamans from Chainheal.com could also post some feedback for our beloved developers =) I’ll give you some link:

http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/17610421169

 

 

 

Rainlily
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Rainlily

Awesome! Thanks for sharing! I just started my alpha character… I am super excited to see how the dps aspect feels. It feels like cheating to already have a lil’ cheat sheet on what spec to try :). Now if I can just remember how to play without addons >_< lol

 

Feasheen
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Feasheen

Unexpected indeed! I never thought that Cloudburst Totem could catch our attention, even with the 10% increased healing compared to WoD version. You think that in raiding scenarios Echo could be again a better choice?

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