Talented Shaman in Warlords of Draenor

At Blizzcon recently, the World of Warcraft community got their first tentative look at what the level 100 talents will look like in Warlords of Draenor. While we have to take them all with a pinch of salt, it’s never too early to get excited and start analysing how they might play out. Here’s a run down of my thoughts and ideas on the new talents for Restoration Shaman and which ones I like best!

1. Rainstorm – Condensation Totem

Condensation Totem – 1 minute duration

Summons a Water Totem that collects 25% of all overhealing, and grants it to the Shaman as Spell Power towards their next Healing Wave, Greater Healing Wave, Chain Heal, Riptide, or Healing Surge.

This means that any time you like, you can store up all the overhealing that you do and unleash it later as a bigger heal. The caveats on this are important; you only gain spellpower from overhealing and then only towards one spell, and even then only for your direct heals. That’s quite a lot of restrictions, but there is still a lot of interesting things you can do with this talent.

Firstly, it should be pointed out that there’s no cooldown in the current iteration – you can drop Condensation Totem whenever you like and as often as you like! That means that if Healing Stream Totem isn’t up, there’s no loss to dropping yourself a Condensation Totem while you wait for the cooldown. Since there is no downside to doing so, unless the mana cost is prohibitive, this will be a pretty constantly used spell for Shaman. That makes it particularly interesting early in the expansion when mana regen will be low, and making use of that overhealing will be a net mana saving.

To make it even more interesting, think about how it interacts with Critical Strike rating. The more Crit you take, the more overhealing you tend to do due to Crits that will overheal. That bit of information means that this talent will also be interesting late-expansion when we have huge amounts of stats at our disposal and we’re overhealing a lot more.

You also want to have a look at what happens when you’re doing entirely overhealing. In this kind of situation, we’re assuming that there’s a lull in the damage and a big spike incoming. Since you can use Condensation Totem to prepare, how hard can you push it? That’s an Interesting Question (TM) which I’ll have to devote some more maths to. Suffice it to say, it’s going to have an optimal spell usage – keep your eyes peeled for theorycraft on this one.

2. Storm Elemental Totem

5 min cooldown

Summons an Air totem which calls forth a Greater Storm Elemental, which hurls gusts of wind at the caster’s enemies. Each gust does damage to the enemy, and then heals allies within 15yds for 100% of the damage dealt, split evenly.

Not much is known about this right now – we don’t know how it will scale with stats, nor how it will interact with your Primal Elementalist talent. I’m not even sure if the healing is within 15yds of the Shaman or the target. Whether this talent is useful for Restoration really depends on how high the damage is – if it’s very high, it becomes just a matter of figuring out how to optimize the usage. If the damage is very low, it won’t be worth taking it at all. If the damage is just right, then it will be one of those lovely sometimes-used talents like Ancestral Guidance, where using it in the right time and place will distinguish the men from the boys (or the purple space-goats from the purple space-kids).

What we do know is that this will be a position-based burst talent, and another button to plan exactly when to use and then do it that way forever after. I don’t think it’s really very interesting – I already have a bazillion burst cooldowns, I don’t really want another one that requires one button press.

3. Reach of the Elements – High Tide

Passive

Chain Heal also bounces to all targets affected by Riptide.

OK so this is a biggie.

With regular Riptide, this is a marginal talent; you only really get three up at once and one of those will usually be a Chain Heal target. Early-expansion, when mana will be tight, Chain Heal won’t be very easy to chain-cast (ironically?) and this will therefore have to be a talent for fights where either a) there are multiple distinct groups of players who need healing, or b) fights where you don’t have to worry about mana (like… um… farm kills?) or fights where for whatever reason you can’t cast often (like Thok) and you need your heals to hit those extra few people every time. If that were it, it would be perfectly interesting.

But then we have Glyph of Riptide, and this talent could hit 10 people at once with a Chain Heal. And now we have a situation where if the numbers are even slightly too strong, taking both will literally be a no-brainer because a little on 10 players is rather a lot, especially in burst situations.

What we don’t know at the moment is exactly how this works. Will the initial target of the heal be the first person for the “real” chain? Will the final target which has Riptide start the “real” chain from Chain Heal? Will there be separate chains, forking out to hit the right people? Will Chain Heal configure itself smartly to do the most healing, with Riptide targets used as free jumps? Any of these are conceivable (although the last one might be less likely) and they could hugely affect exactly how we use the talent.

My Favourite

From the information we have right now, I think Condensation Totem is the most interesting for two reasons;

Firstly, how to use it optimally is a genuinely fascinating question; both practically and from a Theorycraft point of view. No doubt we will be able to abuse it in some places (much like Spirit Link Totem), but it’s the every-day usage that will make this totem either really awesome or absolutely boring. What we don’t need is it to be another long-cooldown burst button (please! Seriously, PLEASE don’t give me ANOTHER burst option). What we do want is a powerful and complex tool which will be a regular part of the rotation.

The second reason is that it’s another totem! I really like the concept of using totems as major and minor cooldowns, like Healing Stream Totem and Spirit Link Totem. The way the totem works is pretty much unique in WoW and is another of those awesome bits of flavour which I think makes the class fun to play.

So I’m super excited for Warlords of Draenor. Bring on the condensation!

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About stoove

A physicist, researcher, and gamesman. Likes to think about the mathematics and mechanics behind all sorts of different things, and writing up the thoughts for you to read. A competent programmer, enjoys public speaking and mechanical keyboards. Has opinions which might even change from time to time.
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