The Public Test Realm is up and Blizzard has released the first round of patch notes (MMO-Champion version). Here are the relevant restoration shaman changes:
- Bloodlust/Heroism: Cooldown reduced to 5 minutes, but Sated and Exhausted now last 10 minutes.
- Poison Cleansing Totem and Disease Cleansing Totem have been merged into "Cleansing Totem." Cleansing Totem pulses every 3 sec, down from 5.
- Ancestral Awakening: This talent now accounts for your ineffective healing, rather than effective.
- Cleanse Spirit now has a new icon.
- Riptide: This spell has a new icon.
- Tremor Totem: Now correctly pulses every 3 sec, up from 1 sec.
I have to admit, I am disappointed - one tiny buff (Ancestral Awakening), a totem merge, a couple new icons, and two nerfs. The totem changes are undoubtedly pvp-related, but I am really sad about Tremor Totem. It's been absolutely lovely at a 1 second pulse. Many, many wipes have been prevented in 5-man instances because of that little totem (heroic Nexus or Halls of Lightning, anyone?).
I don't understand the nerf to bloodlust, except that Blizzard is apparently trying to enforce the one bloodlust per encounter rule. Disappointing to shaman in 25-mans, definitely. My 10-man won't be affected much because we typically bring one shaman.
Enhancement got some attention and it looks like many of the changes are towards an increase in pvp utility (buff to Frostbrand Weapon?! - I'd forgotten shaman even had that!). I am increasingly tempted to respec Salanthe enhancement and just dps with her. Perhaps I will...
Overall, I'm quite disappointed by the lack of changes to restoration shaman. I've essentially retired Salanthe because druid healing is so much more fun and enjoyable (and hax, I'll admit). I think Blizzard needs to address shaman mana regeneration and they need to give chain heal some benefit from our talents (like Tidal Waves, for example). Maybe even a new healing spell or two to mix things up, as long as the new spell is mana efficient and, well, useful.
If you'd like to read a very good synopsis of what's wrong with resto shaman, let me direct you to the blog Shields Up!, which has a very good post on the subject.