It’s been a week since the patch, so I thought it would be time to talk about my first impressions on the three characters that I have actually spent talent points on.
Kadomi was of course the first character to receive any attention. I chose a 2/2/32 spec, going for Field Dressing in the Arms Tree and Blood Craze in Fury. I then tested the waters in a Zul’Gurub fun run (which got me to Exalted, yay!) and immediately the threat pingpong started. Even the most sensible players in my guild seem to struggle with the concept of having to wait before DPSing, so it’s going to be an interesting ride.
I find that virtually nothing about the playstyle has changed, with the exception that Cleave/HS now have a cooldown. If you knew how to play a protection warrior then, you know it now. The priorities remain the same. SS > Revenge > Devastate. Concussion Blow is back, but I will need to do some research to figure out where it ranks on the priority scale. Spam Thunderclap to get 3 stacks of Thunderfury and deliver whammy Shockwaves. Thunderclap does the AoE threat of a wet noodle now, so in that ZG raid, I had bored priests that smited non-focused mobs and thus drew aggro.
Shield Slam has been boosted by a lot of talents, so it is now more important than ever to not miss any Sword&Board procs. Keep your eyes open for the Blizzard aura thing and hit mobs in the face with your SHIELD. I love Shield Slam.
I ran a couple heroics with guildies and actually went back to marking pulls. If I didn’t mark a skull, things were a bit hairier. But again, if people were waiting just a little bit for the first Shield Slam, then it felt like nothing had changed.
I have been sniping Naithin’s excellent Power Auras setup from his guide, but need to set up an aura for the HS/Cleave cooldown. I find myself having so much rage that it is my reflex to start spamming, and that doesn’t work anymore.
I do know that I am already facing my first respec, because Blood and Thunder sounds fun on paper and in the current game is one of the most pointless abilities ever. As you need to Thunderclap right at the start of a pull and then Shockwave, you can only apply the AoE Rend on the second Thunderclap, and by then, mobs are almost dead already. Rend doesn’t tick for enough that it’s even worth it to keep the talent for a nice Rend refresh via Thunderclap. you can’t feasibly expect any group to wait til you have used that many GCDs to apply that stuff. My horde heart is bleeding with some thunder, but the talent is going away. My points will be much better spent in Incite as you still have plenty of rage to use Heroic Strike regularly. Might as well have it pack a real punch.
While we’re talking about talents that sound good on paper, I skipped Impending Victory completely and have no intention of speccing into it anytime soon. It just doesn’t convince me enough as a talent, despite self-heals being sweet. Has anyone tested and loved this talent? Would be curious to hear.
Short version: the sky is not falling, almost nothing has changed, and we can still put out good threat, if your party is working with you. I do not know how our threat compares to the other tanks, as I have yet to do a raid, but I am not overly worried.
Ah, taste my salty, bitter tears of QQ here. My shaman was always my main alt throughout the expansion, and for a long time it looked like she would be my Kingslayer, not Kadomi. I love my pig-tailed orc girl with the golden chains of healing. But I might have to stow her away in a box for a while, or replace her golden chains with the pew-pew of lightning bolts.
The short of it is that shamans probably aren’t broken, but that I personally cannot handle the changes, or enjoy them. Much like protection warriors, resto shamans didn’t get any really new toys. Sure, I can weave in DPS spells now to boost my healing and regen mana, but I wouldn’t call those breathtaking playstyle changes.
In Wrath of the Lich King, you were predominantly using three healing spells as shaman: Lesser Healing Wave as the ‘flash heal’ style heal, Riptide, and Chain Heal. Healing Wave was in the realms of slow heal that you would use with Nature’s Swiftness or if you had it hasted to top off a tank. But Lesser Healing Wave is gone now, replaced with Healing Surge. Healing Wave is now a medium, slow heal that for me heals piddly amounts of health. 5k health heal in 1.8 seconds unhasted? Piddly. Greater Healing Wave costs almost 4 times the mana, and heals considerably better.
Healing Wave is supposed to be our bread and butter, the spam heal. I only find it sustainable if you can keep it hasted with Tidal Waves, which means you need to keep casting Riptide to keep the buff up. On Saturday, we went to Ulduar, where I 2-healed with a druid. I felt clumsy and useless. I had the druid take care of the tanks for the most part, and tried to play the raid healer, and feel I failed miserably. I tried to heal Cataclysm style, and it didn’t work out. Healing Wave really was not worth my time to top people off. The heal was too small to quickly top them off. I should have used Healing Surge instead, because my mana knew no limits, but instead I tried to conserve mana. After all the new healers are all supposed to do that. In the meantime, the druid rocked it with Rejuvs, Wild Growth, Efflorescence, while I struggled to find the right spell for the right situation. In 10-mans you can’t just spam Chain Heal, and I feel like none of the new tools fit my 10-man hands at all.
Ultimately, the druid did more than 50% of the total healing in the raid, with me at 36%, and that has me all sadface. We are similarly geared, and in the past always came out even, so it’s definitely my issue. The only fight where I shone was Assembly of Iron hard, but only because the druid was focusing on the Steelbreaker tank, and I healed the other tank and the raid.
I am undecided yet what my shaman’s fate will be, but I just know that I had no fun with shaman healing, for the first time since I went resto at level 74 sometime in 2008.
I originally had not wanted to level the druid. She was my last character to hit 80. I decided to level my discarded TBC druid as resto, when we hit a snag on Sindragosa. At the time our healing corps was mostly shaman, and having no real HoTs on Sindragosa was horrible. So I leveled my druid, enjoyed playing her, and ultimately had her at 10/12 in ICC, 2-healing everything but BQL and Dreamwalker with her. But my shaman was my healing first-love. Then above happened, and I got jealous of all the interesting abilities of resto druids. The change to tree form never bothered me much, I think my cow is extremely cute, and she can still jump around a lot.
So off I went, went resto with her after spending some time over at Restokin and TreeBarkJacket, and then did a couple quick heroics. I had fun! Admittedly, I SUCK at keeping lifebloom rolling. I was a tree in TBC very briefly, and even then I sucked at keeping lifebloom rolling on multiple people. Now I suck at keeping it up on one, but I mostly need practice. Besides, a full 3-stack of Lifebloom seems extremely overkill. I was boggling when that bloomed for 23k. Very powerful. I had to experiment with using Nourish to keep it rolling, but mostly, that was not a good strategy, as Nourish was all overheal for the most part. I like the feel of Regrowth as quick emergency heal. I can still cast Rejuv on people and don’t feel punished by the Wild Growth increased cooldown. I had no reason to use Swiftmend, so no shiny Efflorescence just yet, and I also had no reason to use the Tree of Life cooldown, but I can see how that would be amazing fun and super-powerful. Lifebloom and instant Regrowth for everyone! What an amazing burst healing tool. No wonder our druid owned me so much in Ulduar!
As you can tell, I am much more enamored with the new resto druid than the new resto shaman. Then I did Headless Horseman and she got the reins. It might be fate now. I will now grind heroics a bit to pick up all the frost gear I could possibly want, and think this will be my healer for a while.
This week I will actually spec the DPS offspecs of all those characters, so next week you will be able to read my impressions about the DPS specs: fury, elemental and balance.