In an interesting turn of events, Blizzard dropped three bombs on the Resto Shaman raiding community today. The first of which, ostensibly an effort to address concerns over shamans’ lack of a raid/tank/personal CD, brings back the spell-we-shall-not-name in true shaman fashion:
Spirit Link Totem (new talent) reduces damage taken by all party and raid members within 10 yards by 10%. This lasts 6 seconds, and every second it is active the health of all affected players is redistributed among them, such that each player ends up with the same percentage of their maximum health. This counts as an Air totem and has a 3-minute cooldown.
I’ll admit, I honestly thought my guild was trolling me as they read some of the patch notes into vent this evening. But as CD’s go, the concept of Spirit Link totem is an interesting one. Similar in practice to Power Word: Barrier (which requires players to clump on demand), Spirit Link Totem seems like it will act as a group D-Sac with a twist, not only taking a flat amount of damage off the top, but also offering the raid the benefits of some class’s inherent damage reductions so that player spikes are all the less likely. Quite naturally, I’m left wondering if the Totem’s effects will stack with other Spirit Link totems, offering you multiplicative damage reduction, and how it would interact with players who pop damage immunities while in the area of effect. In terms of the PVP side of things (which arguably, I’m not all that in tune with) the question would seem to be–can the totem be stomped like all other shaman totems? Would it matter if it could be? Of course, I’ll be reserving final judgment on Resto Shamans’ new shiny until I can see it in action, but in the time being I’ll stick with my thumbs-up to developers for at least getting the ball rolling.
The second bomb, which definitely came as a shock to me, was the following:
Deep Healing now benefits all heals, not just direct heals.
This one left me a bit puzzled, wondering if this might be a way to bolster talents like Blessing of the Eternals into becoming a more valuable contributor to shaman healing or if the developer team thought that, even in light of recent Purification changes, shaman healing still needed an additional boost. (I actually don’t believe it does). But, one thing’s for certain if the Mastery change does go live, this will spell a major boost for RT’s healing power and make rolling RT’s all that much more viable for raid healing in situations where CH and HR aren’t very powerful (read: 10-mans).
Lastly, although this isn’t specific to Resto Shaman but more so the raiding community, it looks like patch 4.1 will not be accompanied by the release of the new raid instance–the Firelands:
… we don’t feel Cataclysm needs a new raid tier just yet. We’re close, though, and Firelands will be part of patch 4.2, which is expected to hit the PTR very soon after 4.1 goes live.
To this I only have one thing to say–good decision. Although the top raiding guilds are inching themselves closer and closer to 13/13 hard modes with each week, it’s clear that a large majority of guilds are still enjoying progressing through normal and hard mode Tier 11 content. Moreover, I’m solidly behind Blizzard’s idea of releasing content as more of a steady stream and less opening-of-the-floodgates. Hopefully a change in the timing of content releases will go some ways to alleviating the malaise that spreads when “farm content” sets in.
So, all in all, a good news day for shamans. And oh yes, one more thing that makes this a good day–LiG5 has been updated with the strat guides for Throne of the Four Winds. (The great thing about not raiding 7/days a week–I actually have time to write stuff for the blog!) Enjoy!