"Shields are extremely good (so good I am smelling an incoming nerf)"
"The cost of Power Word: Shield is being increased by 33%. While we wanted Discipline priests to be able to utilize this spell more often and with better results, we also did not want it to be the main spell (and often the only spell) used while in groups. We don’t find this to be a particularly compelling playstyle and have found that it encourages players to avoid using other spells such as Penance. We believe that using a shield in a tight moment is totally appropriate, but we don’t want it to be incredibly efficient to do so with more frequency than that.<br /> <br /> We realize that by making Power Word: Shield slightly more expensive for Discipline priests to cast that it might cause Holy priests to avoid using it. To that end, we are adding mana savings into the Body and Soul talent. The tooltip will not reflect this change until a future patch, however. Ideally, Holy priests should not notice much of a change to the Power Word: Shield costs."
Sure, I knew they'd do something. Things were crazy. This is just how crazy;
Instead of capsing some curse words, which is what I feel like doing, I'd like to hold a moment of sad faces.
Good, now that that is out of the way... Wait, just another one - :(
And now that my initial pouting has been poured into some sad faces let's try to be objective about the changes. So, we knew it was coming. And considering all the things Blizzard could've done to "fix" us, this was among the better. I'd be alot sader if they had reduced the effectiviness of the shield, for example. Increased mana costs are something we can work with, it is something that good healing techniques and gear can counteract - bad spells are always bad spell however. So on the bright side, this nerf is probably the best that could've hit us. How will this change our way of healing? We will probably keep shields up on our main targets just as before, but be a little more conservative when it comes to targets that we don't know will actually benefit fully from it. For example I shielded all the targets on my platforms on Nef 25, and I probably won't do that after this change. I realize Blizzard don't want us to go back to spamming on one spell, and don't want us to rely too heavily on it either - and I don't mind that. They have been doing the same thing to Rejuvenation to quell the Rejuv spamming druids (with limited success I'd say). The very reason Blizzard nerfed Shields and Chains Heals to the ground at the beginning of Cata was to make sure we'd look at other spells as well, they just went a little over the top in those cases. They buffed both Chain Heal and Shields in 4.0.6 to counteract this, and now they drag Shields back down again. Blizzard is like a yoyo! Sometimes they will just "accidentally" yoyo you in the crotch when they try to show you some fancy trick.
Also, I love the wording of "We realize that by making Power Word: Shield slightly more expensive for Discipline priests to cast that it might cause Holy priests to avoid using it. To that end, we are adding mana savings into the Body and Soul talent". 33% is "slightly more"? Me and Blizzard clearly don't agree on the definition of "slight", but oh well.
In other news, the other healers are becoming some changes as well (same source as above);
Are Shamans really in such a bad place? I won't disagree on them being in a badder(er) place than all the other healers, but is that due to lack of healing throughput or bad healing design? I will shamelessly ninja a quote from a shaman guildie of mine, when we discussed this matter on our forums, because he makes a really good point (the graph he is referring to is the one I linked up there);"We are also applying a hotfix for Purification for the Restoration shaman passive from 10% to 25%. We think that shaman healing per second is not as competitive with other healers and while we hoped to bring down Holy priest and Holy paladins (in particular) in 4.0.6, which we did, shaman still appear to be behind. In this case, it is simply easier to buff Restoration shaman rather than nerf everyone else or rebalance the encounters."
"I dont agree that the shamans situation is as bad as the graph says... however we are in a pretty tight spot today... not due to our abilities but due to our dependancies.
I think that Shamans can perform just as good as other healers as long as the positioning allows for effective use of healing rain and if the raid takes big chunks of dmg that gives us a chance to make use of our mastery.
I also think that we will perform better the more the healercommunity learn to not compete over the heals. A major part of our heals comes from helaing rain and earthliving which can be considered hots... today we tend to top ppl up quicker than needed using expensive heals wasting mana, instead of letting the heals already on the targets do its job."
Basically, shaman healing depends the most on the infamous triage healing, and the less triage healing there is, the tougher it is for them to compete on the meters. Shamans are simply the healers that get to do their job last, when everyone is down and under. If the other healers never let, or never are forced to let, people down low on health, shamans won't get to do much work. The design of fights is what could change this, but as Blizzard already have told us it is "easier to buff Restoration shaman rather than nerf everyone else or rebalance the encounters". Bye bye Triage healing? It was fun while it lasted. A 15% straight buff to all healing spells is a huge buff and resto shamans across the bloggosphere are doing the macarena (so is my resto shaman of course). I can't help but feel like Blizzard are overdoing it again however, will this go the same way disc did? We'll see.
And also (same source as above);
"We agree with the sentiment among some players that Restoration druids and Restoration shaman are lacking in the healing cooldown department. The shaman buff and Power Word: Shield adjustment above should bring all healers reasonably close in terms of throughput. The decision on who to bring then might end up being dictated by the strong cooldowns offered by paladins or priests."
Although I do agree that shamans deserve a nice raid cooldown I don't agree that they're really that replacable (not taking elite hardcore endgame guilds into account). They have a really nice setup of buffs (totems, BL) and they don't suck miserably at healing. But, all those buffs are provided by some other class as well (except mana tide) and their healing is at the bottom of the list. I wouldn't mind at all if Shamans got something like Tranquility/Divine Hymn or some damage reducing cooldown like Pain Supression/Divine Guardian/Hand of Sacrifice. I think the reason they don't is because they used to be special enough with their totems and BL, and now they're not anymore so Blizzard have to react to that.
Druids on the other hand don't need a raid cooldown. First of all they already have good raid cooldowns in Tranquility (which now is better than Divine Hymn) and Rebirth. Add Innervate to that. Also I feel like the unique healing style of druids is not easily filled by another class. Hots are so powerful I consider them to be sort of a "continous healing cooldown". Shamans even have a special cooldown to be able to do what most druids can do basically all the time - run and heal.