The Mists Shaman: Talents
As beta winds to a close over this summer, we draw nearer and nearer to the pre-Mists patch and the redesigned talent trees. While the full-scale changes to the talent system can seem daunting, things become much easier to sort out once you actually dive in.
I went through and picked out my first iteration of preferred talents – and actually gave them a bit of a run through in some Mists dungeons. My talent focus is on healing in a group situation (PvE), so you’ll see a bit more healing and utility orientation than if I was selecting for more of a solo’ing or damage-focused build.
At level 15, you can choose between:
Nature’s Guardian – Ye olde “if your health is reduced below 30%, your max health is increased and your threat is reduced”. And about as MEH for a resto shaman as the original talent was. (Hey, if my health is getting that low, getting a boost to my health pool and reduced threat probably isn’t going to help much.)
Stone Bulwark Totem – Creates an initial and then periodic shield over the caster. CD time is 1 minute.
Astral Shift – Shift into the astral planes, reducing damage taken by 40% for the duration. CD time is 2 minutes.
Of these talents, Stone Bulwark is possibly the most viable (wholly dependent on how the scaling feels at 90 with the shield), mostly due to the low CD time and the fact that it’s a totem that will get reset with Call of the Elements (see below for more info on this MUST HAVE talent) so you could theoretically use it back to back. Astral Shift would be more useful for soaking heavy damage attacks (like Ultraxion’s Hours of Twilight), but it’s not a totem that benefits from Call of the Elements and its CD is twice that of Stone Bulwark.
I will, however, be going with Astral Shift because it suits Rhianon’s character more. Note to tanks: ONLY Nature’s Guardian reduces threat, so if the shaman is eating damage due to pulling aggro, you’ll still need to taunt off. This is mostly for my benefit, since I pull aggro a great deal (although our resto druids have been taking the cake for me on Blackhorn!). I like to blame my big single target heals.
Level 30 talents are our Crowd Control and/or Utility talents.
Frozen Power: Your frost shock will now encase the target in ice for five seconds.
Earthgrab Totem: Similar to our current Earthbind totem in effect. Roots enemies in range for 5 seconds and then reduces their movement speed (if already rooted once) for the remainder of the duration.
Windwalk Totem: Grants party and raid members in range a brief period of immunity to movement-impairing effects.
Windwalk will have most of its use in PvP, unless there is some boss encounter that snares the entire raid when you need to be moving. Frozen Power will have the most kiting utility, but only against a single target. Earthgrab has the limitations of our current snaring totem (pulse and range), but will be effective against multi-targets.
The selection of this talent mostly depends on what you will be using it for, so you may want to switch it depending on what bosses/fights you will be facing. Frozen Power for single target kiting (think the adds on Erudax in GB), but Earthgrab whenever you need to multi-target kite or snare. I’ll probably be sticking with Earthgrab for the time being.
I like the call the Level 45 talents the “Tier of Glory” because not only does it have one talent shaman have been asking for since we had totems (“Why can’t I throw my totems at a location??”) but it also the first of the two most important, MUST HAVE talents for restos.
Call of the Elements : Resets the CD’s on all your totem spells with base CD’s less than 5 minutes. This includes – Healing Tide, Spirit Link, Mana Tide, Healing Stream, etc. This talent is pure awesome. I used it in dungeons on the beta and basically turned into a healing superhero. I’ve been babbling on vent for the past few weeks about how I can’t wait to have this talent in my arsenal (“Wouldn’t TWO spirit links back to back on 4th platform Madness be awesome?!! WELL, when I have my Mists talent —”) I’m sure everyone is sick of me by now.
Totemic Restoration: Reduces the CD on totems if they are destroyed or replaced before the CD is finished. P
Totemic Projection: Tosses your totems to the selected location.
I don’t even really need to bother going into these other two talents because Call of the Elements is such a must have. Briefly — Totemic Restoration will have its most use in PvP where your totems might be targeted/destroyed or if you are dopey and often place your totems in spots where they get destroy (or replace them before they are finished). Totemic Projection might be useful for a placing Spirit Link or Healing Tide/Healing Stream in a large raid environment. And Call of the Elements pretty much blows both of these out of the water.
The Level 60 talents are more “I’ll have to see how these work out at 90″. Nothing screams “TAKE ME!” and all could theoretically have some use in specific circumstances.
Elemental Mastery: Boost your haste by 30% for 20 seconds.
Ancestral Swiftness: Nature’s Grace with a buff. Reduces the cast time of your next nature spell by 100% and passively buffs your haste by 5%.
Echo of the Elements: Each damage or healing spell you cast has a chance to have a duplicated effect. So you might get two GHW’s for the price of one.
Echo is not really a healing talent as duplicated, unpredictable healing often means overheal (which will be doubly bad with our limited mana pools in Mists). Elemental Mastery will give you a situational HIGH boost to your haste which may be helpful in responding to spike damage situations. Ancestral Swiftness will provide your “OH CRAP” tank heal and a static boost to throughput.
I’ll probably be playing with both talents to see which is more useful once I get into raiding/end-game. In the beta, I’ve found Ancestral Swiftness to have more overall usefulness in the early five man dungeons, but I could see Mastery having more value in a raid environment where periodic throughput boosts for raid healing will outpace the smaller static boost and tank-saving heal.
Level 75 – another glorious tier of talents.
Healing Tide Totem: Creates a totem that will periodically heal the 5 most injured raid or party members for a short period of time. Think – mini-tranquility/Divine Hymn.
Ancestral Guidance: Copies 40% of your direct healing and or damage as healing to a nearby, injured raid or party member. Redesign of ye olde Ancestral Awakening talent that most of us dropped to take Spirit Link.
Conductivity: Somewhat complicated — when you cast healing wave, great healing wave, healing surge or lightning bolt at a target in your healing rain, the allies in your healing rain share healing equal to 20% of the damage or healing done.
This is one of those tiers where your selection will probably vary as you progress at end-game. Healing Tide totem is a fantastic small group/raid cluster cooldown that when combined with Call of the Elements will give you extremely high output over a tight period of time. Ancestral Guidance is more gimmicky and probably won’t provide as much of a boost to your throughput since, while it’s a smart heal, you can only have the effect active for a short period of time and requires the ally to be in range. It may be somewhat useful in a small group setting but definitely outpaced over the course of a fight by bigger CD’s like Healing Tide Totem. Conductivity may be more useful in a raiding environment since it would require high Healing Rain uptime combined with single target healing in your HR (not the usual chain healing). Healing Tide is the clear winner here for me, particularly with how you can combine it with Call of the Elements.
I don’t have a beta character at 90 nor are pre-mades available, so I haven’t been able to test out these talents. My perspective is purely “theoretical.”
Unleashed Fury: Increases the effectiveness of your Unleash Elements (Earth Living – further increases your next single target heal on the target by another 50%.)
Prime Elementalist: Turns your Earth and Fire Elements into “pets” under your control with additional abilities. Of note to the Resto shaman, the fire elemental gets Empower which increases your healing done by 10% and the earth elemental gets Reinforce which reduces your damage taken by 20% and increases your healing done by 10%.
Elemental Blast: A blast of elemental energy that temporarily buffs your haste, mastery or crit (whichever stat is higher) by 3500.
Of these, Prime Elementalist will provide the most overall throughput, particularly when combined with Call of the Elements — unless Elemental Blast’s 3500 rating increase is ridiculous at level 90. The limiting factor with Elemental Blast is that you need to weave it into your spell casts, which if you are still taking Lightning Bolt, may be harder than anticipated. Unleashed Fury is the most painfree talent at 90, but a further 50% increase in a single target heal could definitely be outpaced easily in a raid environment with periodic 10% increases in total healing from Prime Elementalist. Unleashed Fury is only of high value if you take Ancestral Guidance AND will be doing a high amount of single target, tank-focused healing. I might suggest taking Unleashed Fury for 5-man groups and swapping to Prime Elementalist in a raid environment.
Of course, all these selections are prone to change over the remaining course of the beta and during the initial period of launch. I remember thinking how lackluster Telluric Currents was at Cata launch – and it turned into one of my favorite talents. Things also change a bit when you switch your focus from 5-man dungeons to raiding. I can see playing with talents such as Conductivity or Elemental Mastery in a raid environment where there is more flexibility with the healing arrangement and/or ability to use CD-based talents more regularly during boss encounters.
Once the pre-patch releases, we’ll be doing some Dragon Soul to try out our new abilities and I’ll have a better handle on how these abilities actually function in a live raiding environment.