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Shaman > WoWDec 23, 2015 3:00 pm CT

Totem Talk: Restoration Shaman Artifact traits and abilities in Legion

Restoration Shaman

As we make our way through the Winter Veil season, updated builds of the Legion alpha have been released, and with them we are starting to get our first looks at both the Restoration Shaman spells and abilities as well as the Restoration Shaman Artifact, the Scepter of Azshara. While Shaman still aren’t enabled in the alpha at this time, we can at least start to get a feel for the design direction for those of us that like to throw down some healing goodness.

It should be noted that things are going to be rough at this point. This is still an alpha build and our class isn’t even turned on yet to actually try all of this out. Spell names will change and be removed or replaced, effects will morph as things are fined tuned, and everything will be mercurial for some time to come. So keep that in mind, as well as the fact that since we can’t test any of this yet, this is all speculation and opinions about what we know so far.


New Abilities

Ancestral Protection Totem is an interesting addition. We don’t know a lot about this, but this seems like we’re going to be getting a battle rez. Well, almost — we still have to be proactive about it. According to the wording on the spell, the totem already has to be active, and the first person to die within 15 yards of the totem will be able to Reincarnate. On top of that, we don’t know if this will consume our own reincarnate — though I assume it will — and we don’t know if this will count towards your raid’s battle rez allowance. The last bit though is problematic, because it doesn’t appear to be something you can target. So if a tank and a DPS go down at roughly the same time, but the DPS goes down just a smidge before the tank, seems like they’ll get the rez. It’s a nifty idea that I want to be excited about, but we just don’t know nearly enough about it yet.

Ancestral Vigor is exactly what I asked for a few weeks ago. It’s a spell steeped in the fantasy of calling upon our ancestors to protect us in our time of need. A savvy eye will see that this is a spiritual successor to an old spell, Ancestral Healing, which allowed our critical heals to reduce physical damage, while increasing allies health based on the healing done. I’m happy to see this potentially come back to the game, though I’m curious how health totals or boss mechanics are going to be balanced around our ability to just flat out increase health by 10%.

Earthen Shield Totem is another interesting totemic addition that fits in line with the shamanistic ideal. We summon a totem, and it redirects any damage to allies within 10 yards of the totem to itself. Combined with the built in totem launcher we’re destined to receive in Legion and this could be a bit useful, especially for assisting tanks. Launch it near a tank, siphon off some damage, tank gets to live a little bit longer. I know I wish I had this currently on a few fights in Hellfire Citadel. It’s something I want to play around with and figure out the level of usefulness for sure, but at a first glance this could be useful.

There are several other minor tweaks in the works as well. Chain Heal is getting a bit of a buff, moving from 350% to 400% spell power bonus, though the cost of the spell is increasing to 25% of our mana. Cloudburst Totem goes from 20% of the healing done to 30% of the healing done. Conductivity is being removed, which I’m not surprised about. With the emphasis on movement in encounters, we constantly have to replace Healing Rain anyway. Tidal Waves will also only reduce the casting time of Healing Wave by 30%, instead of 40%.

I expect this is just the tip of the iceberg, as most of the changes are rather tame. The new spells show promise and can give us some additional utility, which I’m always happy to have. I’m also excited to see Ancestral Vigor, which at least to me means that they’re looking at all of the facets of what makes a Shaman a Shaman — that’s pretty much exactly what I’ve been asking for.

Shaman Resto

Artifact Traits

We finally got the first look at the traits that will be packaged with the Scepter of Azshara. This look is so early that not only has it not been implemented yet in the alpha, but half the traits don’t even have icons. There are a lot of interesting abilities here with the major traits, and while the naming conventions are obviously placeholders in some cases, I hope some of them stick around.

Gift of the Queen is the first trait we’ll unlock, and it’s interesting. When we activate the trait, it’ll consume Healing Rain, healing all allies within for a large amount. As before, there are some variables here we don’t know yet. Will the heal be subject to Crit, Mastery and spellpower? Will it suffer from the target cap that Healing Rain suffers from? Will it place Healing Rain on a new cooldown when used, and will the time left on Healing Rain when activated affect the ability? I like the raw idea of it — an on-demand snap AOE heal is great, and if we time it right at the end before Healing Rain expires and we get the full heal, that makes it so much better than just letting it expire to cast a new one.

Totemic Torrents makes it so that anyone healing by our Healing Stream Totem will receive the effect of Riptide’s heal over time. I’m all for free healing, but I’m curious about the wording. Applying the effect doesn’t necessarily mean the same thing as applying Riptide. I want to know how, if at all, the effect will interact with our other abilities. Cumulative Upkeep is something I haven’t heard since the olden days when I used to play Magic: The Gathering. Every time Healing Tide heals an ally, they get a stacking buff that increases the healing taken from Healing Tide. That’s interesting, and makes Healing Tide an incredibly potent healing cooldown. It also potentially makes anything that might affect Healing Tide — increasing the number of targets or healing done — that much more valuable.

Tidal Pools is an odd duck — we don’t really know what it does. The tooltip so far says that Riptide has a 30% chance to leave a Whirlpool under the target. We have no clue yet what that whirlpool does, but the fact that it’s capitalized in the tooltip makes me think it’s going to be a new talent or ability.


All of the minor traits are valuable as far as increasing healing or adding additional utility. In fact, there are several that increase both damage and healing, which may mean that there’ll be a push to be more of a hybrid healer that fills downtime with DPS. A couple of the minor traits stand out to me as interesting or at the very least just fun. No You Don’t, to me, is pretty awesome — first of all I love the name, though I know deep inside that it’s only a place holder.

Second, I love that it gives us a bonus effect for performing another action. When Purging or using Wind Shear, we’ll fire a Lightning Bolt at the target. It also increases the damage of Lightning Bolt by another 50%. I’m a sucker for abilities that let multiple spells fire off when you do something, and having an added incentive when casting Purge or Wind Shear is a great starting point. I don’t expect it to be a ton of damage, but I’ve had my share of sub 1% wipes on bosses so every little bit helps.

Caress of the Tidemother allows Healing Stream Totem to grant anyone healed by it additional maximum health and more Dodge chance for 6 seconds. This is potentially really great for some added survivability, and it slots in nicely with giving us an additional benefit to offer our groups on top of our healing.

Overall, I’m fairly happy with what I’m seeing so far, though I do expect it to change. There’s some solid potential here, and I can’t wait to see how this evolves. I’d like to see some more emphasis on the spiritual aspect of Shaman healing, but we’ll have to wait for that. Whether or not these abilities and changes are good though, well, we’re going to have to wait a bit longer to test them out — I’m excited to see them. What do you think so far?

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