Coming Cataclysm we'll have to get used to looking at our talents in a new light. We no longer have to choose as hard core between doing two different things, but can mix and match more to our liking. Or at least that is what Blizzard is hoping for, by shortening our talent trees so that we can go into several if we like, and still do our job. Instead, we will get a bonus to whatever tree we pick as our favorite aka place the most talents into, called a Mastery. So to as at least differ roles somewhat and not have everyone being able to do everything. I am certain of course that there will still be "bestest" specs to be had, but hopefully there will be more room for utility and fun talents than before. We'll see.
Today I thought we'd look at the different healing masteries to see what we can look forward to.
Increases the potency of your heal over time spells by up to 20% based on the current health level of your target (lower health targets are healed for more). Healing increased further by mastery rating.
Pointing out that resto druids are all about hots, this doesn't come as a suprise. This is a very good mastery as it is affected by the current health level of the target, making it count when you really need it.
Your healing spells also place an absorb shield on your target for 8% of the amount healed lasting 6 sec. Absorb increased further by mastery rating.
As I've said thousand times before, absorbtion really is the best way of healing. This doesn't aid paladin aoe healing at all however, which probably means that Blizzard want to keep paladins at what they do best now - point healing.
Holy - Your direct healing spells heal for an additional 10% over 6 sec. Healing increased further by mastery rating.
Giving holy a hot-component to their direct healing spells is also in line with how holy works now, combining the best of druids and paladins into something that works inbetween.
Disc - Increases the potency of all your damage absorption spells by 20%. Absorption increased further by mastery rating.
Incredibly boring mastery, with a simple increase to the efficiency of disc healing main component. Very good nonetheless.
Increases the potency of your direct healing spells by up to 20%, based on the current health level of your target (lower health targets are healed for more). Healing increased further by mastery rating.
Sort of the "opposite" of the resto druid mastery. The resto shaman role isn't as cut out as the other healers really. I could probably write a whole post about that alone, but the problem about shamans are that they are neither tankhealers nor raid healers. They usually call themselves "melee-healers" but what kind of a role is that really? Shamans are extremely dependant about their targets being within range of chain heal, or so they think at least, and rarely do anything but spamming this spell in raids. I would love it if Blizzard could give shamans the courage (and skills) to use their other heals as much. Chain heal is good, but it feels like we let shamans use it the way they do because they're not good at anything else. On a sidenote. The mastery buffs chain heal well so all shamans should be happy.
My first impression with these masteries is that Blizzard doesn't seem to want to change anything in the way we heal in Cataclysm, compared to how we do it now. On the other hand we should look at masteries as improving the very core of our healing style, without it implying that we're not supposed to do anything else. Initially I was kind of bummed about not seeing some interesting masteries, the most interesting one is probably the hot component to holy priest healing. Instead masteries should be seen as defining one heal style from another, but as we have seen from different talent specs there will be alot of changes to the way we heal in other aspects, like dpsing while healing. Masteries are probably there to make sure whoever places some more talents into disc, and therefor intends to play as disc, should be noticeably better at doing that than someone who has placed most of his talents in another tree. Because we can now go far into several tree, Blizzards expects to see us do some cross-over specs, and there must be some way to distinguish the one player from the other.
Healing looks really interesting in Cataclysm, even if the masteries don't look so exciting at a first glance. They're well cut out for each class (and spec) in any case. Most importantly they're all about equally good compared to eachother and what good they will do to that particular class healing. Considering all the changes we have seen so far in Cataclysm Beta we must also take everything with a grain of salt. There might still be alot happening to the masteries. In that case I think Blizzard would change everything entirely, as it looks now it's pretty clean and neat and if there would be a change it would be to the very concept of masteries. But we'll see!
You can read more about other masteries over at wow.com (which also was source for this information).