Totem Talk: Classic Restoration Shaman spells return for PVP

Whenever an expansion is in the works, things get paired down, shuffled, changed, and of course moved around. Legion is no exception to this and things are still in flux. But unlike previous expansions a lot of Restoration Shamans’ old favorites have been not completely removed, but instead re-imagined slightly or re-purposed.

Today I’d like to talk about something that I haven’t discussed much in the past, and that’s PVP. This is because the honor talent system added in Legion presents brand new PVP-focused abilities plus some old familiar faces. Combined with the fact that things in the beta are constantly changing, that makes our PVP abilities a little hard to quantify.

The normal disclaimers apply here. Since we’re talking about items from the Legion beta, things can and will change before the game is released.

While I haven’t talked about it much here, I’ve always enjoyed Shaman PVP. In Restoration PVP, I’ve enjoyed the feeling of being an unkillable healing machine for years. But since the beginning, we’ve had a single set of talents for both PVE and PVP. The developers have always struggled to balance those talents between both worlds — and in Legion, they’ve finally decided not to.

Now we have a PVP-specific Honor Talent System. It’s a completely separate talent system that players use in PVP, but it works similarly to the talent system we’re used to: you pick and choose your load-out. When you hit level 110, you’ll gain honor ranks that unlock talents and abilities only usable in PVP combat. Not only does it allow for easier balancing between PVE and PVP, it also means the talents and abilities we unlock will be more important than gear we’re wearing.

What interests me most is the number of old favorites making a return. Numerous spells and abilities that disappeared from normal PVE play have found a new home on the honor talent tree. Some are just as they were, while others have been reborn or re-imagined — and today we’ll be talking about both classic and new PVP talents we’ll see in Legion.

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Celebrating the return of old favorites

First on the list, Windfury Totem. We haven’t seen this totem in a long time, so you might not be familiar with this DPS buff. Over its lifetime, it evolved from giving the group extra attacks to giving the group a flat haste buff, but it was always a DPS boost. This beloved totem is making its return, now granting allies within 10 yards a 40% chance to generate an extra three attacks that deal physical damage. Honestly, that’s pretty awesome.

Become a Watcher

Purifying Waters is a rebirth of Glyph of Cleansing Waters, serving a similar purpose with a twist. When you successfully dispell a harmful effect with Purge (or when you are dispelled), you heal yourself for 5% of your total health. It’s a nifty survival trait for sure. Grounding Totem also makes a return, with the same spell redirects of its former glory.

Probably one of my most-missed spells, Earth Shield, also makes a return in the honor talent tree. It’s one of the last talents you unlock, and for good reason because it reduces incoming damage on the target by 20% and heals them whenever they take a hit at least 15% of their total health. The number of charges has been reduced to only three, but it’s still a powerful must-have. I’m very excited to see its return, even if it is only for PVP. Mostly I’m just happy that these old favorites are still part of the class in a useful, meaningful way.

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Brand new spells and abilities in PVP

Even with these classics returning, there are a number of new spells and abilities in the selection pool. I won’t go over all of them, but I would like to point out those I found particularly interesting. First, we get a couple of brand new totems to add to the arsenal, and I’m always a fan of totems.

Skyfury Totem is a fire totem that increases the critical effect of damage and healing spells of all allies within 40 yards by 30% for 15 seconds. That will be incredibly useful (especially if those numbers stay the same), and it helps fill an empty slot for Restoration. Right now we don’t have a fire totem to use regularly, and this lets us make use of that elemental school which is welcome.

Counterstrike Totem is a really cool concept. This air totem takes all damage dealt to you and your allies, then deals 100% of that damage to the lowest health enemy within range. The design seems rooted in the old Grounding Totem Glyph that rebounded the spell it countered — and it has a lot of potential to help even our healing spec rack up some kills.

Vim and Vigor hearkens back to the days of MMO gameplay where you would red-line tanks. This basically meant keeping them at dangerously low health while keeping them alive to get a fantastic buff to the damage they did. While you are below 80% total health, you gain an 20% increase to the healing you do. It gives you incentives to stay below maximum health, which is incredibly risky in PVP in particular. I like this idea of this high risk, high reward tactic — it will be an exciting ability to play with!

These are just some of the items in the PVP honor talent tree — check out the full talent tree on Wowhead. It’s already fueling my desire to dive back into PVP in Legion, or at least get to max level in the beta and take these for a test drive. We’re going to be talking about this again for sure, and next time we’ll take a look at some of the honor talents that are specific to Elemental.

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