#1 - 2013/06/21 02:08:00 AMHere is a list of the issues and concerns that I have with Resto Shaman going into 5.4, and given the most recent patch notes.
1. SLT is not a competitive raid cooldown - It has been made clear that there is no intention of buffing HTT to bring it in line with other raid cooldowns because SLT is our raid cooldown. If that is the case, SLT really needs to be seriously evaluated in terms of how it stacks up to other raid cooldowns. It currently has the following restrictions
(1) Small, 10 yard radius - requires stacking
(2) Short, 6 second duration
(3) 10% damage reduction
Devotion Aura doesn't have restriction (1) and has double the damage mitigation of SLT for the same duration. PW: Barrier has 2.5 times the damage reduction and a 4 second longer duration. SLT has all three restrictions while the other damage reduction cooldowns only have 1 of the 3. The health redistribution effect is only really relevant on fights with debuffs that it can bypass (i.e. Spine). On fights where the entire raid is taking AoE damage from a threatening boss ability, it adds next to nothing.
2. Shaman spread healing has not been effectively addressed. We still have the same mechanical limitations and are still restricted by the range and effectiveness of both Healing Rain and Chain Heal. The Healing Rain radius increase will not really have a major impact, because an extra 4 yards on the diameter of the circle is generally not enough to cover more than melee on spread fights. The mana cost reduction and reduction of the Glyph of Riptide penalty to 75% of the direct heal instead of 90% will likewise not make much of an impact in the viability of that glyph. We are talking about about a 4000 increase in the direct heal with this change. Mana is not really a major issue with current gear scaling and the legendary meta. The problem with glyphing Riptide is that the HoT itself just does not heal for enough or heal fast enough to be competitive with other healers in spread situations or even to be competitive with our other spells.
3. Shaman throughput is unacceptably low - Since the 5.3 healer changes, we have been 20% to 30% behind the top healing spec across all raid sizes and difficulty levels on an aggregate level. While we bring strong utility, that utility was nerfed in 5.3 with HTT being turned into a lesser healing cooldown. Mana Tide becomes less and less critical as a buff the further gear scales, the more healers get meta gems. The fear is with the progressive loss of our utility, we will no longer warrant a raid spot without throughput being buffed to a more competitive level.
4. Lack of a tank cooldown - This is something that is an ongoing issue that has yet to be addressed. Every other healer has an external tank cooldown except Shaman. It is something that should probably be homogenized.
5. Tier set bonus concerns - Earth Shield heals for an average of around 10,000. This makes the T16 2 piece bonus extremely lackluster, and significantly weaker than our current 2 piece bonus. The 4 piece bonus has the potential to be strong, but really needs to not be linked to SWG. SWG is something we cast when we want to heal while moving, and we don't necessarily want to use a major throughput cooldown at the same time. This 4 piece bonus should be linked to a more appropriate spell (possibly Ascendance), or should be something that we can use standalone.
6. Mana Tide Scaling and the "Mana Bot" problem - Having MTT scale off Shaman's personal Spirit is problematic, because it pushes 25 man Shaman into often needing to forgo personal throughput stats for a greater raid wide MTT gain. You should consider either switching Mana Tide back to being a static mana return per player per use or have the Spirit that it grants be based on the receiving player's Spirit level, not the Shamans'. This would free us up to gear to our own personal regen comfort level and not feel chained to a clunky mechanic.