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Shaman Healing is now more fun!!!

January 12, 2009

After the  wind changed…. I had a look at my Alliance Shaman!!!  I am always surprised when I hear Shaman are the least played class in WOW, because I think they are awesome!!!  Perhaps Blizzard should look at their tool bars and consider something similar to the excellent totemtimers mod, that’s why I think there are not more Shammies out there, it’s an interface issue based on how to access all your totems!!!

Anyway, someone asked me to heal a group for their alt as a return of a favour, so I dusted off my Shaman…..  In the last weeks of Burning Crusade I switched my Draenei Shaman over to Resto after raiding/running heroics exclusively as an elemental dps character.  I played elemental because resto healing was really hampered by the length of time spells took to cast, haste gear was not so common, and it was dull spamming Lesser healing wave throwing in the odd chain heal.  Even emergency Natures swiftness/Healing waves weren’t that exciting.  Spamming a quick cast healing spell is no fun, messing about down ranking spells more of a yawn, but all this has changed!!!

On my first impression of Restoration changes in WotLK looking at the talent trees I liked what I saw.  Riptide looked a nice instant heal with a HOT, a few people were moaning that the initial heal is not that big but it is a time buyer, talenting it also gives good haste/heal bonuses to HW/LHW/CH.  There was another another HOT through Earthliving weapon and the ability to remove curses.   My ‘try’ of the changes didn’t really give them a proper test because the players I went into Instances with in BC were really well geared heroic/raid players.  Healing on Easy mode in UK or Karazhan does the WotLK changes no justice at all…  I guess things would have been different if I went into the Black Temple with my shaman, I was also a bit blinded by wanting to tank as the new class, the Death Knight.  

So I’ve not levelled my Shaman first because I played other classes, and if I wanted to level now I’m in the position of going into Instances with levelling geared players and alts, and this believe it or not is a good thing!!! Healing groups flying by the seat of their pants is much more involving than healing ‘easy mode’.  A better way to hone my healer skills and much more entertaining than DPSing (it is believe me!!).  It’ll also be great for getting known on my server and into Pick Up Group Land for Badge farming, if my guildies are too busy raiding!!

My Shaman is pretty well geared at the moment as a raiding Elemental, in full 70 Epix with plenty of spell crit.  Playing as a Restoration spec with mostly under geared group through UK and Nexus has been a challenge as well as awesome fun.  Certainly not a dull experience, and made more so because of the interesting procs!!!  Blizzard note… we want MORE proc abilities!  They add an element of interest, far more than spamming a single heal!!

Luckily I’ve a decent mana pool, so I’ve glyphed Healing Stream for 20% more heals and I’m using it rather than Mana stream, only throwing in a manatide if I get below 60% mana.  Combined with Riptide/Earth Shield/Earthliving weapon procs, I’m HOT healing a load on my tank and my crits are throwing heals over to the group as well as giving me back mana.  No one has yet asked me to use Mana stream!!  Anyone with damage less than 2-3k usually do not need a direct heal, unless I know it is periodic damage or I can see they have aggro, the healing totem quite effectively heals up  small amounts of damage and they can also get splash heals from Ancestral Awakening procs or chain heal jumps, which I only use if a few players are in the 2-3k damage bracket.  I have not had to take a mana pot so far as well even without mana stream totem!!! 

Another great thing is Elemental gear seems to work great with the new Resto changes better than my old Resto healing gear.  Shaman healing is ‘enhanced’ by crit because of Ancestral Awakening procs (30% of the crit heal to the lowest HP party member!!) and mana from a talented Water shield.  A decent crit rate really helps ’splash’ healing (pardon the pun!).  

I also seem to be proccing my other talented abilities a lot as well.   I Glyphed Earthliving Weapon so I can have another more regular proc!!!  All in all I think a dual specced Resto/elemental will probably be wearing pretty much the same gear when we get dual specs in 3.1!!!  I’m enjoying resto so much I’ve even resisted speccing elemental to level.  If you knew me better you’d know how massive this comment is, it will slow down my levelling but give me much more instance time on the route to 80!!!!!

I thought before this weekend that Blizzard had saved most of their ‘Love’ for protection Warriors, but the job done on Restoration Shaman is at least equal!!!  I can only smile when I see a latent abilities proc, I love the sound of Earthliving Weapon, the graphics effects from Ancestral Healing, seeing the lowest HP player get a wee 30% extra heal from Ancestral Awakening!!!  Having lots of different things go off almost randomly really makes healing interesting… I like the ‘not knowing’ part of waiting for a proc, it is almost like waiting for a present!!!

Blizzard have really done Shaman Healing proud, especially if they were focusing on making it fun.  On top of this they have made Shaman a well rounded healer, no longer the awesome group healer, but ok tank healer they were Prior to WotLK.  Earthshield/Riptide and a few LHW’s mixed up with procs, natures swiftness, healing stream and chain heal = tank and group well covered.

Over the last few days playing resto, I’ve seen my class (and me!!) complimented by groups.  I’ve got a few new added friends (and /w for groups) from Pick Up Group land.  Overall WotLK makes 5 man healing with a shaman efficient, interesting and… well LOADS OF FUN!!!

I’ve gone from liking the changes, to absolutely loving them.  A few runs through UK and the NEXUS, and a few quests and my Shaman went from 70 to 73 just this weekend!!!!  80 in another 1-2 weeks?  And I haven’t even got my Hex spell yet!!!

Maybe I’ve left it too late to raid with my Alliance guild, as they are all flying, but who knows maybe when I’ve done my fair share of Heroics, I’ll be in there!!!

Is the wind blowing me back to a shaman main????

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