In preparation for the updates to our guides for Mists of Pandaria Patch 5.0.4, we are releasing articles such as this one, explaining what has changed for a particular class and spec, and what the new rotation is likely to be.
Keep in mind that this is still a work in progress (both from Blizzard's side and from our own) and that this article assumes you are at least somewhat familiar with the Cataclysm version of the Restoration Shaman rotation and playstyle (such as from reading our guide).
We will first list the most important changes to the Restoration Shaman Cataclysm abilities, and then we will proceed to explaining the (likely to be) optimal rotation. Keep in mind that we do not document every single change or new ability, only those that impact the rotation.
Finally, we will give you some information about the most useful talents and glyphs you should choose.
Totem ChangesMists of Pandaria is bringing a number of important changes to Shaman totems.
First of all, all your buff totems have been removed or replaced.
- Flametongue Totem has been replaced by Burning Wrath, a new passive Shaman ability.
- Elemental Resistance Totem has been removed from the game. Now, your only way to provide these resistances is to use Healing Stream Totem with Glyph of Healing Stream Totem.
- Stoneskin Totem, Strength of Earth Totem, Windfury Totem, and Wrath of Air Totem have been removed from the game.
In addition, your other totems have undergone the following changes.
- Earthbind Totem has had its duration reduced to 20 seconds, down from 1 minute.
- Grounding Totem has had its duration reduced to 15 seconds, down from 1 minute.
- Earth Elemental Totem and Fire Elemental Totem have had their cooldown and duration reduced by 50%, from 10 minutes to 5 minutes and from 2 minutes to 1 minute, respectively.
- Mana Tide Totem and Spirit Link Totem are now automatically granted to you when you choose the Restoration specialisation.
- Mana Spring Totem, Stoneclaw Totem, and Totem of Tranquil Mind have been removed from the game.
- Stone Bulwark Totem is a Tier 1 talent that replaces Glyph of Stoneclaw Totem.
- Capacitor Totem provides you with a 5-second stun.
- Earthgrab Totem is a Tier 2 talent that snares enemies for 5 seconds and then reduces their movement speed.
- Windwalk Totem is a Tier 2 talent that provides you with a raid-wide movement-impairing effect removal.
- Healing Tide Totem is a Tier 5 talent that provides you with a powerful healing cooldown.
- Stormlash Totem is a new DPS cooldown.
New AbilitiesBesides the totems that we listed above, you only gain three new abilities.
- Ascendance is a powerful healing cooldown that duplicates all the healing that you do and distributes the extra heals evenly among injured party or raid members.
- Grace of Air is a raid-wide passive Mastery Rating increase, available to all Shamans.
- Purify Spirit is combination of the old Cleanse Spirit spell and the old Purify Spirit talent.
Changed Abilities and MechanicsMany of your current mechanics and abilities have been replaced by new mechanics or abilities that are very similar.
- Ancestral Healing: the talent itself was removed from the game, but the mechanic has been added to your Purification passive ability.
- Ancestral Swiftness: Ghost Wolf is now instant, so Ancestral Swiftness became obsolete.
- Elemental Precision: this talent has been brewed into Spiritual Insight, a passive ability that you gain when choosing the Restoration specialisation.
- Cleansing Waters: replaced by Glyph of Cleansing Waters.
- Nature's Blessing: the talent is gone and its effect has been added directly into Earth Shield.
- Nature's Swiftness has been replaced by Ancestral Swiftness, a Tier 4 talent.
- Blessing of the Eternals: the talent is gone and its effect has been added directly into Earthliving Weapon.
- Earthliving Weapon will always proc on targets below 35% health.
- Telluric Currents: replaced by Glyph of Telluric Currents, a much less powerful equivalent that will restore 6,000 mana per hit (maximum mana no longer depends on Intellect and will be equal to 300,000 at level 90 for Restoration Shamans).
- Water Shield: this spell no longer has charges and will therefore never drop, saving you the trouble of refreshing it.
Removed Abilities and Mechanics
RotationAs a Restoration Shaman, you do not have a set rotation. Rather, you must react to the damage by using the right spells. In Mists of Pandaria, your arsenal of healing spells is only enlarged with a few cooldowns, so you will heal in exactly the same way as you used to; i.e., as we describe in our Restoration Shaman guide.
That said, we believe that mana management will be crucial, especially now that Telluric Currents has been replaced by a much less powerful equivalent: Glyph of Telluric Currents. In addition, your mana pool will no longer scale with Intellect, so your mana pool will remain constant throughout the expansion.
Totem CooldownsAs we have seen earlier, you have a number of totems that act as DPS cooldown. With the removal of your buff totems, the only totem you will need to use whenever you can is Healing Stream Totem (30-second cooldown). Regarding your Air, Earth, and Fire totems, you are free to use them as you want; it will not damage your healing performance or deprive your raid of an important buff. Therefore, you should make use of these totems as DPS cooldowns:
- Earth Elemental Totem
- Fire Elemental Totem (keep Searing Totem up the rest of the time)
- Stormlash Totem
Finally, Call of the Elements is a Tier 3 talent that enables you to finish the remaining cooldown on all your totems with a base cooldown shorter than 3 minutes.
Regular CooldownsIn addition to Spiritwalker's Grace and Ancestral Swiftness (a Tier 4 talent that replaces Nature's Swiftness), which work in the same way as in Cataclysm, you gain two new cooldown abilities:
- Elemental Mastery: a Tier 4 talent (so, mutually exclusive with Ancestral Swiftness) that increases your Haste by 30% for 20 seconds;
- Ascendance: a powerful healing cooldown that duplicates all your heals for 15 seconds and evenly distributes them among nearby allies.
TalentsTier 1 talents have been designed with your own survival in mind. You have the choice between:
- Nature's Guardian, which is a passive ability that reduces your threat and increases your maximum health when you get below 30% health;
- Stone Bulwark Totem, which is an Earth totem on a 1-minute cooldown that grants you an absorption shield;
- Astral Shift, which is a damage mitigation ability on a 2-minute cooldown.
Tier 2 talents have been designed with crowd control and utility in mind. Whichever you will choose will largely depend on the encounter you are attempting. You have the choice between:
- Frozen Power: grants Frost Shock a 5-second snare effect;
- Earthgrab Totem: a 5-second snare followed by a movement speed reduction;
- Windwalk Totem: raid-wide movement-impairing effect removal.
- Call of the Elements, which resets the cooldown of your totems with a base cooldown shorter than 3 minutes and will most likely be the default choice for Restoration Shamans;
- Totemic Restoration, which reduces the cooldown of your totem proportionally to the duration that remained on them before they were destroyed or replaced (very useful if you want to use, for example, Fire Elemental Totem every 2 minutes for 24 seconds);
- Totemic Projection, which enables you to relocate your totems to a new location (useful in movement-heavy encounters).
- Elemental Mastery, which has a 2-minute cooldown and increases your haste by 30% for 20 seconds;
- Ancestral Swiftness, which replaces the old Nature's Swiftness talent, has a 1-minute cooldown, gives your next healing spell an instant cast, and provides you with a passive +5% increase to your spell haste;
- Echo of the Elements, which gives you a chance to duplicate your heals.
Tier 5 talents give you a new healing cooldown or a new healing mechanics. All the talents are viable and will depend on the encounter you are progressing on.
- Healing Tide Totem will heal the 5 most injured nearby players for 11 seconds. This talent is very beneficial to Restoration Shamans because the new totem benefits from your Mastery and from your Purification passive ability. Also, you can reset its cooldown with Call of the Elements (if you choose it as a Tier 4 talent).
- Ancestral Guidance can be used as a healing cooldown. You can use it every 2 minutes to copy, for 10 seconds, 40% of your healing to the 3 most injured nearby players. It looks as if this ability has been mostly designed for Elemental and Enhancement Shamans, who will have to use it to help heal the raid in times of high damage (it also works with damage done).
- Conductivity is a very potent ability that will increase the healing done to players standing in your Healing Rain. It will be particularly useful in fights where you can make extensive use of Healing Rain.
- Unleashed Fury is the best healing talent of this tier. It will improve Unleash Elements, making it increase the effectiveness of your next direct healing spell by 50%.
- Primal Elementalist causes your Earth Elemental Totem and Fire Elemental Totem to deal 50% more damage. It represents the highest DPS increase of the Tier 6 talents.
- Elemental Blast is a on a 12-second cooldown and will enable you to maintain a 66% uptime on a buff that changes randomly each time you refresh it: +3000 Critical Strike Rating, +3000 Haste Rating, or +3000 Mastery Rating. The ability also deals a bit of damage every time you use it. Due to its random nature, it will probably be avoided by Restoration Shamans, who usually prefer reliable tools.
GlyphsRestoration Shamans have traditionally had relative freedom when it came to choosing their glyphs. Mists of Pandaria continues in this direction and there are many viable major glyphs:
- Glyph of Telluric Currents will grant you a bit of mana regeneration when you hit a target with Lightning Bolt.
- Glyph of Water Shield decreases the passive mana regeneration of your Water Shield by 15%, but your shield will regenerate 50% more mana when you receive damage. This glyph will be very useful in encounters where you take constant damage.
- Glyph of Healing Stream Totem can be required if no one else in your raid can provide a Fire, Frost, or Nature resistance.
- Glyph of Riptide can be useful for easily maintaining 100% uptime on Tidal Waves.
- Glyph of Healing Wave can be useful early on in the expansion when your low mana regeneration will force you to rely on Healing Wave a lot.
- Glyph of Chaining gives a 4-second cooldown to Chain Heal, but it causes it to jump twice farther.
- Glyph of Cleansing Waters replaces the old talent of the same name and causes you to heal your target for 4% of your maximum health whenever you dispell a debuff or a curse effect. This glyph will only be useful if you have to extensively use Purify Spirit during an encounter.
- Glyph of Totemic Recall is rendered mostly useless by Totemic Projection. However, if you need to often move your totems and if you chose a Tier 3 talent other than Totemic Projection, then this glyph might be viable.
- Glyph of Fire Elemental Totem can be useful for lining up your Fire Elemental Totem with periods of increased damage on the boss, by increasing its duration and cooldown by 40%.
This concludes our Restoration Shaman preview for Mists of Pandaria. We hope you have enjoyed reading it and that it proved useful to you. As always, we are looking forward to reading your opinions on the matter!
Edited by Damien, 26 August 2012 - 09:14 PM.
Updated for MoP beta build 15929.