Totem Talk: What to do after level boosting a Restoration Shaman
As we get closer to Legion and learn more about the next expansion, the excitement is palpable. At least in my own experience, there has been a slight surge in players coming back to the game — I see my friends list and guild list lighting up with names that have been dormant for months. In some of those cases, those returning players have already pre-purchased Legion.
And one of the things that comes with the pre-purchase of Legion is a level boost to 100 for a toon of your choice, which comes complete with a level 3 garrison, ilvl 640 gear, and a selection of glyphs. It’s not a terrible deal, but you are just dumped into your garrison with little to no direction. So what should you do once you have a freshly boosted Restoration Shaman?
Probably one of the first things you want to do is take a look at your talents. You have a lot of choices here and you’ll want to understand each tier to know which options are available for you. Some are handy for PVP and some for PVE, but all of them are useful in some capacity.
Your first tier is your survival tier, featuring:
- Nature’s Guardian: a passive ability that when your health is brought below 30% you increase your max health by 25% while reducing your threat.
- Stone Bulwark Totem: summons a totem when activated that will shield you every few seconds.
- Astral Shift: an activated ability that lets you take 40% less damage for 6 seconds.
Each is useful in their own ways, but for newer players I recommend Stone Bulwark Totem. Even though it is an active spell, you can set it and it will do its thing without you having to do anything further. You don’t have to perfectly time it, and you have control over when you utilize it. However, those of you who won’t remember to click an active ability may find the passive Nature’s Guardian to be more use.
The second tier is your crowd control tier, featuring:
- Frozen Power: allows your Frost Shock to root your target in place.
- Earthgrab Totem: allows you to root all enemies within 10 yards in place for 5 seconds and then slows them.
- Windwalk Totem: allows you to become immune to movement impairing effects for 6 seconds.
In this group, I normally recommend Windwalk Totem. It’s useful for several fight mechanics in raids, dungeons, and battlegrounds. It’s almost like a get out of jail free card, and well worth your time.
The next tier is all about totem utility, and gives your totems buffs in different ways:
- Call of the Elements: instantly resets the cooldown on all totems that have a cooldown shorter than 3 minutes.
- Totemic Persistence: allows you to summon a second totem of the same elemental type without destroying the first totem.
- Totemic Projection: allows you to take the totems you have placed and move them to another location.
I’m going to make what may seem like an odd recommendation here, but take Totemic Projection. In Legion, we get the ability baseline, so take the time to get used to being able to put your totems wherever you want. It might not be exactly the same implementation in the next expansion, but you can at least get your feet wet now so you won’t be completely blindsided by the new mechanic in the future.
The next tier is a utility tier that gives you access to some serious boosts:
- Elemental Mastery: an activated ability that when used allows you to increase your haste by 30% for 20 seconds.
- Ancestral Swiftness: gives you a flat 5% haste bonus at all times, plus when you activate it your next spell becomes instant cast.
- Echo of the Elements: a passive that allows you to carry two charges of several spells. In our case, that’s Riptide, Unleash Life, and Spirit Link Totem.
Here I recommend picking up Echo of the Elements. Having access to additional spells is always a good thing, and being able to increase the number of Spirit Link Totems you can use in an encounter can be absolutely invaluable.
The next tier is your healing tier, buffing healing abilities:
- Rushing Streams: a passive ability allows your Healing Stream Totem to heal two targets and also increases the healing done by 15%.
- Ancestral Guidance: an activated ability that takes 20% of your healing or damage and converts it to healing on up to 3 nearby members of your group.
- Conductivity: increases the duration of Healing Rain whenever you cast Healing Wave, Healing Surge, or Chain Heal.
Here I recommend Rushing Streams. You are going to be using HST often, and this buff makes it that much better.
After that you move into another varied tier that gives you access to some new spells:
- Unleashed Fury: augments your Unleash Life to increase your next heal on the target by 50%.
- Primal Elementalist: buffs your Fire and Earth Elementals as well as turning them into actual pets with pet bars for you to control. On top of that, they get an ability that buffs your healing by 10% while they channel it on you.
- Elemental Blast: a damage ability that increases your Critical Strike, Haste, Mastery, or Multistrike by 500 for 8 seconds after you cast it. In addition, as a healer, you will also receive 1,000 spirit for 8 seconds.
Here I recommend EB. Not only do you get a stat boost every time you use it, dealing damage as a healer is something everyone is going to have to get used to in Legion, so you might as well get a head start.
The last tier gives you access to two new totems and a spell augmentation:
- Cloudburst Totem: absorbs power from your healing for 15 seconds, after which it explodes healing all allies within 40 yards of it for 20% of that healing, divided evenly among them.
- Storm Elemental Totem: gives you another elemental that is affected by Primal Elementalist. The elemental casts gusts of wind that do damage as well as healing allies within 15 yards for 100% of the damage dealt, split evenly among them.
- The final talent is High Tide, which allows Chain Heal to bounce to two additional targets affected by Riptide and no longer diminishes between jumps.
While all of these are useful, I recommend picking up High Tide. The buff to Chain Heal is not insignificant and it allows you to have a little bit of control over where CH bounces. It synergizes well with Echo of the Elements, and is just an all around good choice.
However, you can choose whatever fits your playstyle — there are a lot of viable options available. The above recommendations are just my opinion on what I feel are the best for a fresh Restoration Shaman looking to get into PVE.
Try it all out
Now that you understand your talents, you need to try them out. There are a few ways to go about doing this. A quick run on the healing dummy that is in your garrison will let you get your bars set up so you can put your abilities where you feel comfortable with them. We have a lot of abilities, including damage abilities like Lightning Bolt and Flame Shock, as well as Bloodlust/Heroism which is a big party buff. I recommend spending some time here until the placement of your spells on your bars feel natural, and you’re comfortable with where you’ve placed everything.
Once you’re done with that, you can move over to your garrison’s main hall and talk to your trusted Overseer/Lieutenant and head to the Proving Grounds to do the healing trials. This scenario will let you test your healing abilities, tasking you to keep a party of NPCs up as they fight off waves of mobs. This starts to help you put the puzzle together of which abilities to use and when to use them.
The Proving Grounds are not only important because it lets you get in some practice before you start healing player groups, but also because you need to complete the Silver level challenge before you can queue for heroics as your chosen role. However, you can run normal dungeons or LFRs without silver, so if that’s your goal Silver isn’t needed — but Heroics definitely give you good experience in learning to play your Shaman. After that there’s a Gold level healer challenge that can help refining your spell priority before you start to heal other players in dungeons or raids.
Don’t be upset if you can’t manage these challenges right away: they’re designed to be tough and help you learn your roles. While they aren’t perfect (Gold can be especially challenging for Restoration Shaman), they’re very useful to help fill the gap of knowledge that comes from not leveling as a healer from 1 to 100.
When you pass your trials (even if that’s just Bronze) and you’re comfortable with your abilities, it’s time to dive into dungeons to refine your skills by healing other players in real encounters while paying attention to actual fight mechanics. Dungeons (even Heroic dungeons) won’t hold a lot in the way of gear upgrades for a boosted character, but the experience you’ll get is definitely good.
Once you have a few dungeons under your belt, it is time to up the ante, so to speak. Looking For Raid is the next logical step for PVE content. You can queue and get exposed to a number of new mechanics as well as learning how to heal other players on a much larger scale. While this may not be the same as regular raiding, it will give you a basis to work from while at the same time giving you the opportunity to upgrade your 640 ilvl gear to something a little beefier. Plus, it’s a great opportunity to see to the demise of many of the game’s main villains and get ready for the events in the upcoming expansion.
Now, these aren’t the only things that you can do to get started, but these suggestions are ones I’ve found useful on some of my recently boosted characters. Truth is, there are tons of things that you can do on your new Restoration Shaman, and this only scratches the tip of the iceberg — but if you’re returning to the game and boosting your healing Shaman hopefully this gives you a little help setting up shop.
Special thanks to Lagowatu for today’s header image!
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