In order to help signify which post is about what, each of my posts will be accompanied by an icon in the upper left side, usually a totem. For restoration we'll use mana tide totem, elemental we'll use totem of wrath and for enhancement we'll use the iconic storm strike.
Well, if you've read the patch notes, or have played the game in the last few weeks, you'll know that a lot of things have changed. I'm going to talk about a handful of them here now. Everything I will be posting about from here on out will be things true at level 80 as well.
The first change is the move from +damage / + heal to +spell power. A lot of people saw their +heal on their character sheet get cut down to almost half and freaked out. Not to worry, you're still uber powerful, it's just the math is different. If you want to figure out what your + heal in the old system would be, multiply your current spellpower by 1.88. That will give you a pretty close number to what you had prior to the patch. This is important and all math we run will use this modifer to figure out the effectiveness of spells. So remember
+1spell power = +1.88 healing
The second thing I want to talk about is the change in mana regen from raid / party buffs. Our mana tide totem has always regened a percentage of our mana, so thats nothing new to us, however the new buff replenishment it replenishes 0.25% of maximum mana every sec. "Why is this important to note?" you might ask. It becomes important to us because it causes us to balance stats a little bit differently now then we are used to. Before the patch we would stack;
+heal > +mp5 > +int
in that order (at least that was how you should have been doing it IMO =P). After the patch maximum mana pool becomes a lot more important. Because of this you'll have to start thinking about gems and enchants that not only keep a healthy dose of +mp5 and +int to keep yourself topped off in a raid.
Your prioritization now is something like this
+spellpower > +mp5/+int > +crit
spellpower is still the most important. You want to hit non crit healing for as large as you can so that's a no-brainer. The mp5 /int balance is going to be the tricky part. Right now at 70 running at unbuffed no totems no water shield 310.00 out of casting and 169.00 while casting, with a 11.8k mana pool. This may not seem like a lot, but with the changes in tanking, we spend a lot more time out of the 5 second rule unless it's a particularly painful boss fight (see: Illidan, Muru, and Kiljaden) add in totem and water shield and that number goes up to a nice right respectable ammount. Now I know what you are saying "but thats now at lvl 70, that's going to change come wrath!" well, honestly, as someone who was in the beta and healing on a shaman at 80... no it doesn't really change. In pvp gear at 80 my mana regen was only slightly better then what I just posted 330 ooc and 190 wc. With gemming for int to get the most of replenishment I was able to heal 25 mans without going OOM. Just keep in mind as you're leveling that you might want to toss a few of those +int gems in the bank for later =)
As far as talents with the overall changes, we're going to find ourselves going back into enhancement at least a little bit to pick up ancestral knowledge and imp shields.
That's it for now. More to come later