Life in Group 5 – A Resto Shaman Blog
A resto shaman perspective on raiding


March 4, 2011

Good news, everyone!

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!


      1. Vnko

        I’m ecstatic, really and truly. This is truly an awesome sounding cooldown. I still think we will struggle to handle large scale group damage when groups are spread out, but I can be ok with that, we can’t be well suited to all encounters.

        My question to you is this: Will this new totem merit speccing into totemic reach to ensure everyone is in range and if so, what points would you reallocate?

        • Kawaiidesu

          Going from a 10 yard range to a 13 yard range really wouldn’t make much of a difference, regardless your group would have to stack. but if you really felt like using it, you could easily just take the 2 points out of alot of different areas; most optimal would depend on the fight (whether is ancestral swiftness, or acuity, or blessing of the eternals)

          • Vnko

            Yeah, fair point, 13 yards isn’t exactly getting me too excited. I just hope that this totem is not handicapped by the strict range limit.

            Or they could give the totem a raid wide life grip that drags everyone on top of it, I’d be one happy shaman.

            • HittingStuff

              … I just had a mental image of dropping an Earth Totem (Stonegrip Totem?) to jank the whole raid on top of the totem and then dropping the Sprit Link Totem on top of it.

              Then I imagined just what shenanigans you could get up to with such a mass-grip totem, and spent 10 minutes giggling quietly to myself…

            • Shockeye

              The 10y range has me concerned, I hope during development it will see an increase. With such a short range this CD does absolutely nothing for aiding tank healing, I’d prefer to see a CD that we can decide who get the benefit. If we want to use this totem for aiding tanks we have to be standing right with the tanks, which generally isn’t a good plan.

              Of course this would be a good time for them to implement my long-dreamed-of Totem Launcher ability, allowing us to drop totems at range. Dare to dream I suppose.

              We’re also going to need to sacrifice a talent point from somewhere else to get this new Spirit Totem so that’s a bit irritating and throws off the balance of the talent points per tree dynamic.

              General comments on other changes…

              The Mastery change is very nice to see, speaking as a 10 man only raider. That definitely makes Mastery more attractive from my perspective.

              And yes, the decision to not release a new raid yet is a good one. I experienced the exact situation outlined by the Blue when ToC came out. I actually have never finished Ulduar.
              Given that our guild progresses very slowly (small guild, generally can only field one 10 man per raid night and it’s usually not the same people so player experience, gear, composition and ability wildly vary from raid to raid) I’m in no rush at all for new raid content to come along.

            • Shangra

              Totem launcher in the works? Click totem, click little green circle of where it should be placed, fire when ready.

        • I wouldn’t see the points in Totemic Reach being all that useful. Power Word: Barrier is very similar in its area of effect, and I’ve not seen players have an issue with the concept of “collapse in the bubble”. (Moreso, I’m not spending two talent points to compensate for someone’s inability to position themselves appropriately during an encounter.)

          • Jericho

            The problem with the “collapse in the bubble” mentality, is that in certain circumstances, you do not get the entire raid to collapse in the bubble. Certain encounters force priests to bubble the ranged or the melee. In our case, we will only be able to “link” wherever we are currently standing.

            While I do agree that collapsing onto the shaman rather than into the bubble is something we will learn to do, I would say it is an entirely different mechanics that will take time and effort to learn how to use. (Which is not a bad thing.)

            I would say that by once again forcing this new “cooldown” onto yet another totem limits its usage and loss of an existing buff for a VERY temporary buff. In the case of Spirit Link we are losing a major haste buff for the 6 seconds of the buff + the inevitable gcd to redrop our Air totem. This goes for Mana-Tide and Tremor Totem as well. We need to see these “totem buffs” work like the live version of Fire Nova. They need to be “in addition” to our current existing air, earth or water totem, not dropping an entirely new totem.

            While I am very excited about this addition to our arsenal. I am still extremely disappointed by the continual marginalization of our existing totems. There is a reason our totems now last for 5minutes. So we weren’t having to micro manage our raid buffs every 60 seconds. Now we are left with doing so anyway.

      2. Devos

        Friggen amazing news. I think our mastery is in a good spot, but I”m not one to complain about more buffs, lol. I already tend to top my guilds charts, this’ll just push it that much higher. It’ll be nice for heroic chimaeron (which we’re currently working on).

      3. I am happy for the new totem and finally a defensive cooldown.

        However, I would really like to see it as an Earth Totem. Of all the types of Totems, Earth is the least used / needed right now as Resto, this could make up for some of that.
        Tilion´s last post ..Re- Thursday March 3rd raid

        • Earth, the least used totem class? Man … I can’t believe that you’d diss Earth Elemental like that. Brutal …


        • Nabol

          I agree, but I think you’re looking at the wrong argument here.

          More important than which totem is used most, the Earth element is used for defensive totems throughout the game. We’re talking a defensive cooldown here.

          1 + 1 = ?

          Anyway, on a more serious note, Air just doesn’t strike me as the right element to use for a cooldown like this. It may just be flavor, but in a long-ish e-mail to Vix recently, I lined out some thoughts and I came to the same conclusion. Earth is the way to go if you’re talking defensive cooldowns. End of discussion, imho.

      4. Musimo

        Another good news day fro us shamans. Hope this get into live tbh.
        have a hard feeling that the totem stacks, but will see where it will end

      5. Mhajor

        The new CD is pretty awesome-sounding, the only issue IMHO is the 10 yard range. It brings into mind the age-old question of a Totem Launcher or other similar mechanic, maybe something whereby you select a target and cast the totem on them, and it appears at their feet. Since we as healers tend to stay at a decent enough range form the tanks, not having to run in would be nice. I’m not au fait with PW:B so I don’;t know if that is targetable or centred on the caster, but if it is targetable, as the nearest analogue to SLT, there is precedence, and it would be the icing on a rather tasty-looking cherry.

      6. Oh! Lovely changes. I must say the new raid cooldown looks interesting (as in “original”) but it will be just as interesting to see how Blizzard approaches the questions you ask. In the end pvp will ruin it, I am sure <.< (pvp is kinda getting on my nerves lately). Where did you find this information btw?
        Zinn´s last post ..Mystery Files – The Glowing Guy

      7. They could bring Purification down to maybe 15 or 20% to compensate for having mastery work with all spells. Personaly, I’d much prefer little adjustements to the thinks not working great for resto shaman (like, having each of our secondary stats favour the usage of some spells above the others, or having our signature spell not working on most fights as the raid need to spead out) and Purification at 10% than the contrary.
        Zahia´s last post ..Top 5 addons to help you manage your alts

      8. Mims

        I felt that we were pretty much on par with other healers HPS wise, but only lacking a raid CD, which we are getting now and sounds awesome by the way:) Not to mention the buff to mastery! Earthliving is already a big chunk of our healing (more on some fights then others) with mastery affecting it as well now all i can say is lol:p

        the patch notes are from here:

      9. elye

        I’m actually a little disappointed with the totem based spirit link cool down , my better (hunter) other half said to me …. but I don’t want to share my HP because that slacker didn’t want to move out of the fire which I considered a bit of a ” gimmick” with the meat and potatoes 10 % damage reduction.

        The totem will at best will involve us running over to the Mele to cover the tank , making it feasible for very predictable damage only hardly comparable to say priests palas , or the new tranquillity change

        It just doesn’t really sound like the kind of OH Sh** stuffs gone wrong i can handle it button I had I mind when blizzard chuck around the word … Cool down.

        At the moment we are tackling hard modes which are requiring some cool-down rotations on the tanks ( heroic halfus stunlock phase where the tank can sometimes be killed before we can get an instant off) pain suppression , the holy ” Di ” , loh , bubblewall , all help mitigate this … I definitely dont have time to wander over to the tank … and drop a totem …

        • All valid points. But my one contention is–SLT isn’t really a tank CD. It would perform well on “mass raid damage group up” mechanics, like Magmatron’s Flame Jets, Maloriak’s Fire Breath, Chimearon’s Feud, or Atramedes’ Flames, but as an “oh-crap I’m falling behind” button, I just don’t see it being viable.

          Ultimately, that’s fine with me. I don’t mind having a raid CD instead of a tank one, because I don’t think each healer needs a CD for each type of encounter mechanic. What I mind is having *no* CDs.

          • Totally agree…….I am reading in various places about people moaning about how would this work on Tanks etc etc.

            Well…….it doesn’t, because it’s a Raid Healing CD, its meant to do exactly as Vix has said. When there is an incoming AOE dmg coming, that is when you stack and Pop it… other Raid Healing Cd’s from other classes, barrier, Tranq, AM

            tbh I think its an excellent totem and really cant wait for it to come live!


      10. Suindara

        We do need a cd or two, but I dont really like the idea the cd being a totem. I have this feeling resto shamans are too static, grounded.

        Right now I don’t think resto shamans are tank healers and for raid healing we are not very mobile. Ok, so far raids are not too heavy on the movement part, but yet, I would like to have less situational cds.

        So far we already have to know precisely when we should drop Mana Tide, Healing Rain… So, when I get to my resto druid for fun I feel like facerolling even if druids are not in great shape right now and my druid is very undergeared compared to my shammy.

        It feels clumsy to play a shaman when you start playing with Druids and/or Priests, so I think that even via a cd, Blizz should try making shamans’ life easier, less concern about where droping things.

        Just think about Priest e Druid aoes and healing cds, they are amazing and so easy to use.

        • This is definitely a complaint of many shaman out there (resto, elemental and enhance)–shaman are a static class by nature and by design. We are also a class, especially with resto, that benefits significantly from pre-planning and proactive healing.

          I’ve mentioned this before, but I think the thoughtfulness that goes into playing a Resto Shaman well is part of the appeal for me. I really need to plan my healing in advance and understand damage patterns so that I can heal strategically. On my druid however, as you rightly mentioned, the time frame of focus isn’t as protracted. On my druid, I fall into super-RTS mode, trying to juggle hots and uptime and the like. It’s slightly spastic, sometimes reactive, and very much about flitting about. (Not that any of those are a bad thing–I’m actually quite glad I made her my second raiding toon).

          As described, I do think that SLT falls nicely within the shaman approach to things. But, your point about the movement time required for proper placement is a very important one. Because while the totem would be fine to use in a proactive sense, in a reactive environment it would either a) only cover a very limited number of people, or b) require a good amount of travel time before it could “properly” be placed. Neither of those make me too excited to see it go live in its current design iteration.

      11. Naptune

        Well, dont think you get the point of the totem really. Say on cracle on nefarion. You stack up just before, put down a healing rain, then you drop totem, first you give 10% dmg red. then you heal yourself with GHW and another on the guy next to you. you guys are at 100% hp, with 10 players inside the 10yrds, you will then have healed the others for alot of hp. It sounds simple in tooltip, but think its better then it sounds

        • I have to disagree with your interpretation. As noted in the tooltip: “health of all affected players is redistributed among them, such that each player ends up with the same percentage of their maximum health”.

          This means that if everyone is under the bubble and I pop a GHW, that the total amount will be distributed appropriately among the party. The total healing that I’ve done won’t change, it’s just that instead of me personally receiving the 40k HP, 10 players or 25 players will receive smaller amounts, such that every gains enough to take them up to, say, 82% HP. The next GHW would bring everyone up to, say, 85% HP.

          But, as always, I could be wrong. I’m sure we’ll see a lot of clarification when testing on it starts.

      12. I am so….jealous.

        You get this really nifty, very cool totem that has potential to satisfy the issue of Druids and Shaman lacking life saving cooldowns – and druids have had our tranq cooldown reduced down to 3 minutes. This leaves me so very nervous that this reduction is what we are being given for our “cooldown”. While Tranquility is an extremely powerful spell, it doesn’t really solve the issue with our not having a mitigation cooldown. Please, please, please Blizzard tell me this isn’t our new cooldown =(

        Ok, enough of my tears shed here (I’m about to go cry a river on my own terf!) – I do think that the new shaman totem looks intriguing and has potential to be very cool!

        I also can’t agree more about being happy with the decision to postpone adding another raiding teir so soon. We are still muddling our way through the heroic content and are only at 3/13 (hopefully 4/13 come Sunday!), and I am most certainly not ready for more raid content. I often felt extremely rushed through some of the WotLK content (Ulduar comes to mind), and felt that they pushed it out before guilds really got to enjoy everything it had to offer – and have a chance to take a breath before they were diving into another push.

        So I guess to sum up my thoughts: yay shaman! Blizzard hates Druids! Thank God Firelands isn’t in 4.1! :)

      13. Vorin, US Kilrogg-A

        Deep Healing, now or in the future…does it, will it, affect HR or HST?

        • Deep Healing currently affects Healing Rain; it does not affect Mastery. As to whether it will apply to HST–that’s a good question, and unfortunately for us both, one that I don’t know the answer to. >.< Since HST isn't affected by haste or crit, I'd posit that it likely will remain exclusive of Mastery bonuses.

      14. Sok

        Couple of thoughts….

        – Associating Spirit Link to a clunky totem system, makes it come off as clunky. A fix of being able to drop totems anywhere, similar to Healing Rain would be an improvement to totems and SLT.

        – The 10yd range is fair. However, it needs some animation akin to Disc Barrier so it is apparant.

        – A raid CD is great, AND a rework of Nature Swiftness into a viable CD is not asking for too much. Even the simplest of buffs would complete our CD arsanel.

        – On pushing content back until the raiding community is ready, good move but… how does this new mentality affect the timeline spreadsheet circulated on MMO Champ? If following tiers have about the same level of difficulty, will we be seeing the next expansion later than previously thought?

        • Re; visual effect–absolutely agreed. If it isn’t raid-wide then players need to be able to recognize when they’re not in the affected area. And please no more projected ground textures.

          Re; NS–agreed again. As I’ve said before, the only reason I’m troll is because it gives me the CD that the class lacks.

          Re: content–I very much doubt the timeline of release will be affected. IIRC, major content patches in the past have been spaced about 5-8 months apart, so a release of Firelands before Summer falls just at that 7-month mark. With 4 tiers per expansion, this meets the ~2 year window between expansion releases and gives them room to spare if they need to spend extra development time on something. And in the end, I’d rather Blizzard spent the time to work something through rather than stick to an arbitrary and rough release timeline developed for cashflow or resource planning purposes.

      15. Ateve

        Spirit link only affecting direct dmg spells is an artifact from when druid mastery was the same but only affecting HoTs. It’s difficult enough to determine out how good Deep Healing is even without considering which spells it does and does not contribute too, there are spells like Chain Heal and Healing Rain that it affects that a novice player would probably guess do not count as direct heals.

        Spirit Link is a nice in that its a unique ability, I have no problem with it being connected to a totem. The 2 Air totem buffs are brought by alot of different classes so we can afford to switch it out when needed. As mentioned by Sok though PW:B has a small range but it also has a visual so that ppl know if they aren’t stacked underneath it, SL will hopefully have some clear graphic as well.

      16. Kalfos

        I´m just happy to see we actually have a new Defensive CD that will be able to save us, i don’t know about you guys but when deciding CD rotations in vent i just feel aquard being left out of the conversation. That being said Spirit Link Totem seems to be getting hit a lot by people on the forums for having a 10 Yard Range (13 yards if talented i think) and we just have to accept that it is a TOTEM and it cannot be moved and works as a Disc priest PW:B.

      17. Hairyfool

        I won’t fuss about making mastery affect our entire repertoire, I just hope it doesn’t result in a reduction to the potency of our direct heals. Also, can you imagine healing Chimaer on with this mastery change? ELW already accounts for about 25% of my healing done on HM.

        Re: SLT, just remember that a 10-yard range translates to a 20-yard diameter area. That’s not necessarily horrible. I should know this, but how does that compare to Healing Rain’s diameter?

      18. […] Vixsin did a great write-up on it, and how she expects to see it play out.  If you are interested in our shaman brethren I highly recommend checking it out. […]

      19. Sok


        – Deep Heailng affecting all heals not just direct heals…. What does this do to the Haste vs Mastery debate? Seems like come 4.1 it is tilited in the favor of mastery at any level of gear (vs the current thought that mastery loses value as the raid gears up)?

      20. Pomma

        Long time reader, first time poster.

        Spirit Link that looks to be nothing short of awesome. A 10% total damage reduction is good news. The redistrubtion of health when the raid is stacked and a HR or 2 is on the group could break open some encounters for some guilds. Being able to shift incoming damage off a tank and move it to multiple targets at the same time while simultaneously healing all those targets with AoE heals will be huge.

        Assume a 200K HP MT is standing next to 4 other DPS/healers with 125k health each and the tank gets bombed on for 155k in damage, within the 6 second window. Without the totem we have a tank at 45K HP and 4 healthy DPS at full health. With this totem down after factoring in the 10% damage reduction we would instead have a tank at 160/200k HP and 4 DPS holding steady at 100/125k HP. A single shaman could mash through most of that damage with a well placed HR (already in place of course) and a couple of Chain Heals.

        SLT has the opportunity to really mitigate a lot of damage spikes and in the context I provided above – which I don’t think is that uncommon – this could almost be too powerful. The difference in this CD is that its use needs to planned and deliberate to be really effective unlike a paladin’s hand or priest’s guardian spirit.

      21. AniMayhemZ

        “The difference in this CD is that its use needs to planned and deliberate to be really effective unlike a paladin’s hand or priest’s guardian spirit.”

        Maybe the idea of the Resto Shammy hanging out in the back with the rest of the Range has to be reconsidered. With the SL Totem I can really see good value in staying in closer to the Melee. We do carry shields right?

      22. Just wanted to drop a note and say “Oh, hey, I hadn’t seen this news yet about Spirit Link”, for one, second, I’m happy to see a properly Resto Shammy-centric website. I think I may have to read and comment often, yes indeed.

        And yeah, I agree the Mastery boost is gonna help Riptide, and maybe even Earthliving just a smidge. I wouldn’t mind seeing it help Healing Stream too, but I doubt it.

      23. […] new shaman damage mitigation cooldown was recently revealed. Druids have not received even a hint of a new ability. What we have gotten […]

      24. Zargore

        Thank you Vixsin, for another good update on some of the incomming changes to our class.

        What I personally like about our class is (as Vixsin has also written), the planning in Shaman healing and I think that SLT has a nice fit into our, allrready rather special arsenal, compared to other healing classes.

        Reading the comments above I agree that this is not a magic “I can save the day” CD, but with the proper planning I think this can be a really nice tool in our healing kit.

        I really like the idea of a defensive tool (like some of our existing earth totems, as others have allready pointed out) which enables us to reduce and redistribute the damage, giving us the opportunity to get more benefit from our AOE heals (which have allways been our signature heals).

      25. grakthon

        SLT could be a huge throughput boost., depending on how the sharing of health is calculated. If it takes 1% from mey health bar and adds 1% to the tanks health bar that is a massive inflation in health points. Toss a heal or two on the player with the most shallow health pool, as your heals then translate to the largest percent increase, and have them translate out to everyone else.

      26. Matthew Tagert

        I am getting very tired of druids complaining about not having a mitigation cd. I have a ilvl 361 resto druid (5/13 HM in 10’s), and a 358 ilvl resto shammie (2/13 HM in 25’s). I also have a lvl 85 disc/holy priest and 85 holy pallie. I would still pick the druid again in a heartbeat if I were starting Cata for the first time. The value of a druid lies in the fact that I never have to stop healing. In the same time that any of the other classes actually use their cd’s and move to to where they need to be standing, I can have 5 rj’s cast and a wild growth. Movement never interferes with my ability to heal. No other class even comes close. This means I almost come in top of the meters in heals, AND in the survivability measure.
        As well, Tranq is easily the most powerful raid cd in the game. When we are pushing hard mode Chim during the first feud under 25%, I can pop tree form, cast WG, SM for effloresence, and hit Tranq, and I will have the whole raid topped up in less than 10 secs heading into the last phase. Puting it on a 3 min timer just means I can use it more times per encounter, which is a huge win as far as I am concerned.

      27. Linda

        My personal preference is that I hope the SLT does not go live.

        I have to spend a GCD to drop it, a GCD to replace it, get “enough” of the raid to group up and I have to be near them to drop it? And if it ends up removing health from the tank because several melee stood in fire, then some may not be happy. None of the other healing cds have these onerous of conditions.

        Someone joked in gchat that shamans could be the new sacrificial class: one stacks nothing but spirit to increase the new MTT for the real healers and another could stack nothing but stam in order to provide a bigger health pool for this new gimmick.

        I suspect that with some additional effort from Blizzard and some omgPvP balance issues what ships will be less pleasant than this current proposal.

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