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A Dash of Emo from Blue

March 11, 2009

Eyonix says:

We are making a change to these spells so that their benefits are exclusive in patch 3.1.0. The buffs will be equivalent, but will no longer stack. Mana Spring will affect the entire raid instead of just the shaman’s party. We felt that both paladins and shamans brought too many unique buffs to a group. Additionally, we have been trying to tone down mana regeneration in large groups, and were concerned raids would feel the need to stack paladins or especially shaman to have enough Mana Spring totems. We have also been trying to get more benefits out of the party and into the raid, and Mana Spring previously was still a party only buff. With this change, if there is only one paladin, he or she can bring Blessing of Kings while the shaman offers Mana Spring. If there are two paladins and the second offers Blessing of Wisdom, then the shaman can offer healing or cleansing with their water totem instead.

I just read about this, so I’m still trying to process it. My initial response involves much gnashing of teeth and pulling of hair, maybe with some ashes on the face for good measure.

Mana regeneration is a rather passionate topic of mine, specifically as it applies to shaman. I raided heavily as a restoration shaman in Burning Crusade and the main reason I’ve switched raiding characters in WotLK is due to mana regen. I do not feel that shaman regen is well-designed and I do not feel that shaman have good regen mechanics. This post from blue feels a lot like kicking me while I’m down, and I’ve been down a while.

Mana Spring Totem

Mana Spring Totem

I understand the reasoning behind it. Making Blessing of Wisdom and Mana Spring Totem equal makes sense. It frees the shaman from relying so heavily on that one totem and let’s face it, shaman do. It will be nice to have the freedom to drop the cleansing totem without worrying about the loss to regen. This is, of course, assuming that shaman don’t struggle with mana regen currently and that this nerf won’t hurt us.

So, why do I feel that shaman mana regen is poorly designed? It relies heavily on gear, is completely passive, and the shaman has no control over it. I strongly believe that Blizzard is balancing the game around PvP and 25-man raids. All these changes might be great for people that do PvP or 25-man raids, but what about everyone else?

In my experience thus far (since 3.0), shaman mana regeneration has been incredibly frustrating. This is coming from the perspective of a shaman that raids 10-mans and heals a lot of heroics. I don’t always have replenishment available to me in my 5-mans and 10-mans. Without replenishment, healing certain fights can become pretty horrific because I have no control over how to manage my mana pool. My options are to heal less or run out. I loathe the fact that downranking was penalized in 3.0 because that was a mechanic I loved. I could throttle my healing to match raid damage and had personal control over my mana pool.

I could go on for a while about how I feel as though Blizzard is making a big mistake regarding healing. It boils down the fact that they’re removing it from the hands of the healers. Shaman used to be teased all the time in Burning Crusade about how our healing was so simple, a monkey could do it. Sure, I cast a lot of chain heal. Per raid, I switched between four ranks of chain heal constantly. I adapted to the amount of damage my raid was taking and managed my mana pool and healing per second accordingly. That was a lot of fun. Now, I go into a 5-man or 10-man and when my raid starts taking a lot of damage, I start praying that my mana pool and healing per second can manage. That’s the difference. Healing shouldn’t be based on hope. It should be based on skill.

Maybe once I’ve had time to sit down and organize my thoughts on this issue I’ll be able to formulate a better argument. Or maybe I should just accept that Blizzard is changing healing mechanics in a way that I don’t find enjoyable and respec my healers to dps roles. I’m still on the fence about that.


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