Talent Show: Shaman Cataclysm Preview

Don’t let the world deceive you, don’t let their words betray you, don’t let their lies deceive you. Let them do their worst–Killswitch Engage


The drought of New in the World of Warcraft has been long, so long in fact, that I think local authorities were asking people to only read one (two if it’s an emergency) blog posts, 5 tweets, or 5 Facebook updates per day in order to conserve as much time eating content as possible. It’s a long Summer, people. We can’t waste it all in May before it even starts!

Blizzard dropped a rather sizable portion of content on our plates this week as the talent trees for several classes (Shaman, Rogue, Priest, Druid) were revealed. This is our first glance at what the Cataclysm really will do to our playstyles and characters, something that we’ve all been anxiously awaiting since Blizzcon 2009. [Thanks, MMO-Champion!]

Top to Bottom

The Restoration tree was barely touched. All the familiar talents are still remaining and the tree looks like it was copy-pasted, but the subtle changes that do exist are very, very interesting.

Focused Insight (5 ranks available) – After casting any shock spell, your next heal’s mana cost is reduced by 15/30/45/60/75% of the cost of the shock spell, and its healing effectiveness is increased by 5/10/15/20/25%

This new talent, taking the place of our good friend Tidal Mastery (5% crit to healing and lightning spells), will show its true benefit further down this list. This gives restoration Shamans a little something for the Frost Shock kiting that we tend to do whether by design or necessity.

I talked some time ago when the first preview was released about how Blizzard needed to give healers a way to show some skill, show some creativity, and simply have more choices.  As it stands now, I don’t see this becoming part of a “rotation” (as if those exist for healers). The shock isn’t free, it just reduces the cost of the next heal[edit: Wind Shear is not a shock dur].


A high tree PvP talent, the Resto tree is already heavy PvE, so I can’t complain too much about this considering Blizzard’s goals.

Ancestral Resolve (2 ranks available) – Reduces damage taken while casting spells by 5/10%.

Awesome new talent for raiders…right now. In Cataclysm? I can’t be too sure. Right now I spend 90%+ of my time in combat casting. Some fights a little less and some 100%. The ticking auras and the massive amounts of RSTS damage that exist make this basically a flat 10% reduction in damage across the board for Shamans (again, in WotLK). Cataclysm is showing its hand currently as having a different damage output model than what we’re seeing in Icecrown Citadel.

If I’m supposed to pick and choose my heals to cast, so as not to immediately run out of mana, will I get a big benefit from this talent? My thoughts are still up in the air and I don’t think I’ll be able to make up my mind until I’m in a Cataclysm raid. Even if you don’t actually finish the cast, you will still “activate” this talent. Pre-casting and canceling spells will once again be very important in the healing game. The kicker is that you might not actually be taking any damage, and if you aren’t this talent has given you nothing.

Tidal Waves

It will now bump Healing Wave into the 10% category and insert Greater Healing Wave into the +20% buff when active.

Earth Shield and Riptide

Their function remains the same, but the devil is in the details. Same as always except we get a little taste of the mana and spell changes. The base for this spell now reads as costing 8635 Mana and healing at a base 1609 per charge. Putting that into perspective, the current spell heals for a base of 150. Using this spell after a shock would reduce its cost down to 2158 (-6476 mana)! Riptide, according to the post, is 6590 mana (1647 with Focused Insight).

For me, the current numbers for those two spells are as follows (4172 Base Mana):

Earth Shield (15% of Base Mana):626

Riptide (18% of Base Mana): 751


We still like enhancement as our sub spec

The top of the enhancement tree was completely redone.  It looks more like the Arms tree now with 4 tiers of no dependent talents. You have your traditional entry point into the tree with Ancestral Knowledge (still essential), but then you’ll notice 2 things: Enhancement Totems has moved down to tier 2 and Toughness has been moved up to Tier 3, putting into the “attractive for restoration” range. Also sitting pretty in Tier 4 is

Ancestral Swiftness – Increases movement speed by 5/10/15%. This does not stack with other movement speed increasing effects.

Movement speed increase is an essential raiding buff to have. I recommend it to everyone, dps, healing, or tanking, for their boot enchant if they don’t have an talent/inherent ability to make them faster. That little bit of extra speed always pays off. Maybe we can fit this into a resto build with those 5 extra talents…stay tuned…

Noticeable missing is Thundering Strikes. Like it’s sister talent in the restoration tree for Healing/Lightning, this crit increasing talent now has gone the way of the Dodo and leaves Flurry as a talent with no requirements other than 15 invested talent points.

Make the Forest Turn To Wine

My first go at a level 85 build looks like this: [Build 1]

Looking over it I have some second thoughts. Improved Reincarnation is good utility, but not essential. It’s another talent similar to Ancestral Resolve in that it has 0 benefit if you don’t die. It’s an insurance talent, and one I’ve come to like a lot in Wrath of the Lich King. We also don’t really need it to get to Tier 3 so let’s leave it out for now.

+2 Talent Points

Focused insight is something that I sort of adopted because it looks really cool from a 10 man raiding perspective where utility can sometimes be at a minimum. Using some shocks to help gives you a good reward. However, it’s 5 talent points and maybe we can use those somewhere else. We’ve already made it to Tier 4, so let’s fill move on down to Tier 5.

+5 Points (7 Total)

We’ve only spent 4 points in tier 5 so we’ll need to tack on a point back to Focused Insight so we can move down and pick up Purification, a free pass into Tier 7.

-1 Point (6 total)

From here on down we meet head on with a lot of essential stuff, and we still need to get down to Riptide. Mana Tide and Cleanse Spirit are only 1 point talents, we’ll need to back track and put more into something else to move down. We need 3 so let’s put them into Focused Insight.

-3 Points (3 Total)

If we’re looking at the most important 5 points in Tier 8, we’re definitely going for Improved Chain Heal and Nature’s Blessing, no question.  Tier 9 only gives us 3 points from Earth Shield Talents. We left Blessing of the Eternals off our previous Tier so we’ll use that to move down all the way and grab Riptide. Giving us this bare bones talent tree: [Build 2]

We’ll throw in 8 essential points in enhancement (5 for Ancestral Knowledge and 3 for Improved Shields). We have 17 points to spend at the candy store. Where do we spend them?

This is where I spent mine: [Link 3]

That’s a lot of talking to basically say that I moved 4 points, but I wanted to really see what I could get away with in the new “wider with more points” model. As it turns out. Restoration Shamans will have about 17 points to use on utility talents. Throwing 5 more into enhancement to get Elemental Weapons drops that number down even further (12 for those that hate math). There are a lot of considerations for which you would like to use.

  • The 5 points spent in Focused Insight could be moved to Threat Reduction, Pushback Prevention, and even into Ancestral Resolve depending on the situation. None of those are deal breakers from a pure output perspective in an unmolested healing environment.
  • Let’s also not forget some more points could be placed into toughness or silence reduction depending on the fight, again, without impeding your maximum output (unless I missed something, which is fairly likely).

It’s going to be a fun time playing with some of this utility before Cataclysm really hits, and hopefully we’ll get a little preview of exactly what our mana pools in relation to our healing spells will be looking like with the beta coming in the next month or two.


  • We got our Icebound Frostbrood Vanquishers last reset, woo hoo!
  • Decided to finally dive into the world of Twitter a mere 5 or 6 years after everyone else it seems. You can find me @borskzj. Only about…25% of my tweets are related to WoW, but that will likely change as the beta ramps up.
  • The Starcraft 2 beta ended for a while this past week, boredom has once again consumed me as I look for more obscure films to take in (No obsucure, but go see Splice if you haven’t).
  • A-Team. Expendables. Inception.
  • The long wait for football season has officially begun with Patrick Kane and the Chicago Blackhawks lifting the cup for the first time in 49 years. Suck it, Flyers.
  • Once I finish the last couple site banners, I’ll post them all here for everyone to look at without having to click our web-page a bunch of times.


I was sort of living in the past when Earth Shock still had an interrupt component. There was bound to be something I would gloss over in this preview! That puts focused insigt squarely in the PvP corner as the chances to use a shock in a raid on a regular basis are pretty small.

As of right now, the talents aren’t really in a state that prevents restoration shaman from getting everything so I’m quite certain they’ll be throwing a lot more changes our way. If they don’t, then that’s a definite advantage to Shamans.


3 Responses to Talent Show: Shaman Cataclysm Preview

  1. Eiona says:

    I am quite ashamed you got twitter.

  2. Wugan says:

    I wish Focused Insight was better, but I think in the end it’s really going to be a PvP or situational talent. The main reason is that I do not believe Wind Shear will benefit from the talent, meaning we will have to cast Flame or Frost shock to get the benefit. Wind Shear has no GCD and is not really a shock spell. If it did trigger this talent, then I would macro Wind Shear into all my big healing spells to take advantage of the talent with no GCD.

    Only real PvE use I can see is a situation with a predictable huge damage spike on the tank, where you will prepare ahead of time with a shock spell and then follow up with a 25% improved nuke heal.

    • Borsk says:

      That’s true about wind shear, it’s not a shock spell. The good thing about our tree is you can get everything that helps your healing relatively easily.

      I guess it’s for us to decide whether that’s a good or a bad thing.

      I’m sure I’ll be trying out quite a few different things before I settle on what brand of screwdriver I like.

      Something like this with 3 points still to thrown around.

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