Restoration Shaman and Essences for the Heart of Azeroth

Essences are a new system coming in 8.2 that allow you to use 1 Major/Minor Essence, and 2 additional Minor Essences. These can be changed like Talents, and are meant to be changed with the content you are doing to make the most use out of them. With 8.2 right around the corner I thought I’d try to do a quick write-up of what we thought about the new Essences while testing them.

I’ll give a quick description of what each Essence does, give some Pros and Cons for each, where and how easy they are to obtain, and try to explain situations where each of them would be useful. Keep in mind, this is from the PTR and things could still change (there were changes as recent as the day before writing this) and I’d imagine numbers tuning may not be final until the start of Mythic. Also, at the bottom I’ll try to list which Major/Minor powers from each Essence will be useful for us in most scenarios.

Artifice of Time

Major: (3 minute CD) Creates a time vortex around a player absorbing 331,288 damage and healing for 6 seconds. When this expires, the absorbed damage and healing is delivered over 10 seconds and the damage is reduced by 20%.

Minor: Your heals have a very high chance to grant the target 281 Haste and 281 Speed for 8 seconds.

Pro: This is very similar to the Void Stone trinket we have from Crucible of Storms, but absorbing more damage/healing. This will probably be a nice pick in some M+ dungeons or in some niche situations in raid when you need to save a person that will be taking a lot of damage in a short period of time. 

Con: It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to use the entire shield, so in terms of healing this probably isn’t the essence of choice unless you need to take it.

Location: PvP and Honor Achievements

  • Rank 1: Win a PvP Island, an Epic BG, and a normal BG
  • Rank 2: Gain 15,000 honor from PvP
  • Rank 3: Gain 50,000 honor from PvP

Note: Unlike Void Stone, you do want to heal into this.  This isn’t a shared healing / damage absorb, it is a delay of damage / healing.  If you do not heal into this, whoever you use it on may die from the damage caused when Standstill expires.

Conflict of Strife

Major: Gives us the PvP talent Ancestral Gift (Cannot be silenced for 5 seconds after activating Spiritwalker’s Grace) and while you are stunned the defensive benefit from Strife (minor power) is doubled. Dispelling, interrupting, or applying cc also grants a stack of Strife.

Minor: (10 ppm, 3sec ICD) Your spells and abilities have a chance to increase your Versatility for 14 seconds, stacking up to 8 times. Getting cc’d also gains a stack of Strife.

Pro: I can’t think of anything honestly, I’d rather just get silenced and not use up an essence spot. The Minor is decent, and may be good enough to fill up a minor slot, but there are also some other decent minors. It has a high ppm, which means you should (in theory) be able to reliably maintain high-ish stacks of the Versatility buff.

Con: It doesn’t contribute to throughput in any way.  Most encounters either have predictable interrupts or don’t have any.

Location: PvP and Weekly War Chest

  • Rank 1: Open a PvP War Chest
  • Rank 2: Reach 1000 PvP Rating and open a PvP War Chest
  • Rank 3: Combine items gathered from the weekly PvP War Chest

Life-Binder’s Invocation

Major: (2.5 minute CD) Implant 40 Seeds of Eonar (Heals for 199 every 0.9 seconds, if the target takes damage the Seed bursts, healing them for 4132) divided over all allies within 30 yards. Seeds that expire unused reduce the cooldown of this ability by 2 seconds.

Minor: (15 ppm) Your heals have a very high chance to implant a Seed of Eonar in the target for 15 seconds.

Pro: This is a fairly weak 2.5 minute CD that can be used just to give your raid extra raid CD’s to use during high damage parts of fights. The HoT portion of the Seeds are quite low so the power of this essence comes with raidwide aoe damage so that the seeds burst, doing more healing.

Con: The HoT of the Seeds are quite weak so this Essence probably isn’t super powerful unless your group needs the extra CD’s or you can make use of the seeds bursting.

Location: Mythic+ dungeons and Weekly Cache

  • Rank 1: Complete a +4 dungeon in Season 3
  • Rank 2: Complete a +7 dungeon in Season 3
  • Rank 3: Combine 15 items gathered from the weekly Mythic+ Cache

Memory of Lucid Dreams

Major: (3 minute CD) Use the Heart of Azeroth, increasing your Mana generation rate by 100% and your Leech by 623 for 12 seconds.

Minor: (2.4 ppm + Haste) Your spells and abilities have a chance to refund 50% of the Mana spent on them, healing you for 11,956 and increasing your Versatility by 502 for 8 seconds.

Pro: The on-use gives 800 mana every second and with that and the use of the minor can restore quite a large amount of mana over the course of a fight.

Con: This Essence only becomes really good if you’re going to make use of the extra mana you are getting. If you use this but end the fight at 50% mana then you could have easily taken another Essence that does healing and been more beneficial to the group.

Location: New Follower system in Nazjatar

  • Rank 1: Get one follower to level 3
  • Rank 2: Get 3000 xp combined between all the followers
  • Rank 3: Get 6000 xp combined between all the followers

Ripple in Space

Major: (1 minute CD) Creates an Azerite beacon at a target location and after 2 seconds you will relocate to that beacon and deal 13,758 Fire damage to all nearby enemies. For 10 seconds after teleporting you take 10% reduced damage.

Minor: Your movement speed is increased by 5% and when you move more than 25 yards within 4 seconds, you gain 540 Intellect for 20 seconds (can only occur every 30 seconds)

Pro: This can be very useful if you need to dodge boss abilities. As an example, you could use this just before the Mekkatorque ability that knocks you in the air, and will be able to dodge the mechanic without being a Goblin. This works similar to Blink, so you may be able to even teleport through things like Uu’nat beams.

Con: This obviously does no healing, and for the most part the damage portion of this essence is negligible. The minor is okay, but this Essence will probably only be used to give us extra movement on a relatively short CD if we need it.

Location: Warmode (World PvP)

  • Rank 1: Kill 25 players of the opposite faction in Nazjatar
  • Rank 2: Achievement: Fighting on Two Fronts (warmode activities)
  • Rank 3: Complete the Call to Arms Weekly quests

The Crucible of Flame

Major: (30 second recharge) Blasts the target with a ball of concentrated flame, dealing 10,329 Fire damage to an enemy of healing an ally for 10,329, then burn the target for an additional 75% of the damage or healing over 6 seconds. Each cast of Concentrated Flame deals 100% increased damage or healing. This bonus resets after every third cast. (2 charges)

Minor: (3 ppm + haste) Your spells and abilities have a chance to cauterize your target for 7150 Fire damage over 10 seconds or healing an ally for 7150 over 10 seconds, stacking up to 3 times.

Pro: It has a short CD and the initial healing of it feeds CBT. The minor also is okay, however there are better ones out there.

Con: It just doesn’t seem to do enough healing to be worth using up your Major slot for so if this is used it will likely be used as a minor power.

Location: Artifact Power

  • Rank 1: New intro quest with Magni
  • Rank 2: Reach AP level 54
  • Rank 3: Reach AP level 58

The Ever-Rising Tide

Major: (30 second CD) Overcharge your mana for 8 seconds, causing each spell you cast to increase your healing by 4%, stacking. While overcharged, your mana regeneration is halted, and you gain 10% haste.

Minor: (1.75 ppm) Your heals have a chance to grant either 1,306 Intellect for 10 seconds or 2,520 mana. Chance of receiving mana increases with your missing mana. 20% chance to gain both effects.

Pro: The cooldown of this essence fits perfectly with CBT, and although our cast times are longer than many of the other healers, we are able to reach a decent amount of stacks by mainly using instant casts, totems and tw buffed Healing Waves. It is also worth noting that you can precast heals into the on-use effect to start with 2 stacks instead of just 1. CBT should be used in the later half while you’re building stacks to reach maximum efficiency on it. You are able to use cheap Totems like earthbind and tremor to build stacks but usually you’ll have to be healing either way.

Con: Your mana regen is halted during the 8sec windows, so this will probably be the most mana-intensive Essence there is, but if used correctly could create a very fun playstyle.

Location: Nazjatar Reputation

  • Rank 1: Ankoan/Unshackled – Honored, cost 10 Prismatic Manapearl
  • Rank 2: Ankoan/Unshackled – Revered, cost 25 Prismatic Manapearl
  • Rank 3: Ankoan/Unshackled – Exalted, cost 50 Prismatic Manapearl

Note: The healing % stacks only proc off spells that cost mana. The maximum duration of the healing increase is 16 seconds.

The Well of Existence

Major: (15 second CD) Release all healing stored in the Well of Existence into an ally. This healing is amplified by 50%. The Well will not release more healing than needed to fully heal the target.

Minor: 15% of your overhealing is stored in the Well of Existence. When you heal a target under 50% health, the Well releases up to 5,184 of its stored healing into them. When the Well contains less than 13,252 healing, it absorbs healing twice as quickly.

Pro: The Major does do very little, if any overhealing to targets, meaning this is quite literally free healing you can put out on players. The Minor power was known to be doing really well in the PTR raid testings.

Con: This only stores Overhealing, which isn’t something that you want to try to do and is generally bad as it’s just wasted mana. I don’t believe the Major is strong enough to warrant using over some of the other Essences.

Location: Mechagon Reputation

  • Rank 1: Rustbolt – Honored, cost S.P.A.R.E. Crates and Galvanic Oscillators
  • Rank 2: Rustbolt – Revered, cost S.P.A.R.E. Crates and Galvanic Oscillators
  • Rank 3: Rustbolt – Exalted, cost S.P.A.R.E. Crates and Galvanic Oscillators

Vision of Perfection

Major: Your spells and abilities have a chance to activate Healing Tide Totem for 35% of its base duration. When the Vision of Perfection activates, you and up to 2 other nearby allies gain 107 Haste for 10 seconds.

Minor: Reduces the cooldown of Healing Tide Totem by 13% and increases your Versatility by 45. When you activate Healing Tide Totem, immediately heal for 5% of maximum health.

Pro: On some fights where there always needs to be healing (Jaina P3, Uu’nat P3, etc) the Major could be nice as it is our Major CD being activated, which means free healing. The minor power could be quite nice to have, especially if you can fit in an extra HTT during a fight.

Con: Healing Tide is arguably one of the worst Healing CD’s unless it does very little to no overhealing, and because this is RNG as to when it activates, the Major power is probably too much RNG to be useful on progression (Similar to the Legendary Chest in Legion, just even worse).

Location: Operation: Mechagon (new dungeon)

  • Rank 1: Kill King Mechagon
  • Rank 2: Loot the pattern from King Mechagon and learn/use it
  • Rank 3: Requires 4 Progression Sprockets from King Mechagon

Vitality Conduit

Major: (45 second CD) Direct the Vitality Conduit toward an ally. Every 0.5 seconds for 6 seconds, they transfer 9,482 health from the highest-health ally within 30 yards. If the target reaches full health, it jumps to the lowest-health nearby target for the remaining duration.

Minor: (12 ppm + Haste) Targets of your heals have a very high chance to transfer 9,482 health from the highest-health ally within 30 yards. Health transfers leave 3,951 damage absorb shield on the target for 5 seconds.

Pro: This will do a decent amount of healing to a target, on a relatively short CD. This could be decent in M+, especially with how much we can struggle to keep tanks up on some weeks. The Minor power could be nice, it was hard to test this on the PTR because you can only test Essences in the Proving Grounds (solo).

Con: This is a life-steal, and especially during progression that is something to always be wary of. It does steal from the highest health player, which is nice, but probably won’t be good enough as a major to be worth using.

Location: Raiding

  • Rank 1: Cost 9 Aqueous Reliquary, from Radiance of Azshara, Queen’s Court, and Queen Azshara
  • Rank 2: Cost 18 Aqueous Reliquary, from Radiance of Azshara, Queen’s Court, and Queen Azshara
  • Rank 3: Cost 27 Aqueous Reliquary, from Radiance of Azshara, Queen’s Court, and Queen Azshara

Note: The major is not a channel that you have to hold, but rather behaves like a buff.

Worldvein Boon

Major: (1 minute CD) Concentrate energy into the Heart of Azeroth, immediately causing 3 Lifeblood Shards (Grants you and any other ally using this Essence 154 primary stat while within 12 yards of the Lifeblood Shard. You can benefit from a maximum of 4 Lifeblood Shards at a time) to erupt from the nearby ground for 18 seconds.

Minor: (13sec avg spawn) Every 1-25 seconds, a Lifeblood Shard erupts from the nearby ground for 18 seconds.

Pro: Gaining primary stat is never a bad thing, but the ‘best’ use for this is probably the Minor Essence because you can now only gain a benefit from up to 4 Shards at a time. I can definitely see groups having Worldvein stack areas, similar to Sliver stack groups like we saw in BoD and CoS.

Con: This was recently changed to allow you to only benefit from up to 4 Shards, making the Major not very good, assuming you can still gain a benefit from other people’s Minor Shards. Also, if you have to move away from a certain area, you will not gain the benefit of this Essence until more shards spawn.

Location: Island Expeditions

  • Rank 1: Complete your weekly Island Expedition quest (map)
  • Rank 2: Collect 15 Fragments of Zem’lan’s Lost Treasure Map from Islands + complete the mission that follows
  • Rank 3: Recruit a Captain follower, and complete the mission that follows

Spirit of Preservation

Major: (1 minute CD) Channel a beam of energy onto an ally, healing them for 167,182 over 2.3 sec. Up to 6 other allies in the beam are healed for 2,784 every 0.5 sec. Each time Spirit of Preservation heals the primary target, gain a stack of Devout Spirit (the minor).

Minor: Every 5 sec, gain Devout Spirit, causing your next Healing Surge to heal for an additional 2665, stacking up to 5 times. Each stack of Devout Spirit consumed increases the critical strike chance of your next Healing Surge within 6 sec by 20%.

Unique: Corruption Resistance increased by 10.

Pro: The minor pairs really well with the increased crit chance we have because of Tidal Waves, so you don’t always have to wait until 5 stacks to get the most out of the minor. We also have a lot of multipliers we can put on healing surge, like Undulation, Unleash Life, Turn of the Tide, and you can ‘force’ an extremely large Healing Surge by stacking up Undulation using Healing Wave until you have a proc.

Con: The major does a lot of healing, however it will likely go into overhealing in most cases in a raid scenario. Also, because we typically cast Healing Surge with Tidal Waves up, it is likely that Healing Surge will have a greater than 100% crit chance, and anything over 100% is ultimately wasted so stacking the minor effect to 5 will most likely not be necessary.

Location: Vale of Eternal Blossoms

  • Rank 1: Complete the quest chain beginning with !It’s Never Easy from Magni
  • Rank 2: Combine 3 Breath of the Everlasting Spirit from your first Visions of Darkness quest of the week
  • Rank 3: Bought from the Rajani quartermaster after reaching Exalted for 50 Corrupted Mementos

Unwavering Ward

Major: (3 minute CD) Release 12 protective spheres outward over 3.1 sec, granting the first ally to touch it a barrier that absorbs 31,985 damage for 10 sec. Each time you send out a protective sphere, gain an absorb shield for 2% of your maximum health. When an ally gains the absorb shield, you and that ally heal for 6,637.

Minor: Every 10 sec, allies within 15 yards gain a shield that absorbs 2,167 damage, stacking up to 19,509. Targets protected by Unwavering Ward take 3% reduced damage. 

Unique: Corruption Resistance increased by 10.

Pro: Throughout PTR testing the minor has proven to be incredible on some fights as it provides a shield to every ally within 15 yards. Having a 3% DR up for a good portion of the fight is very strong (this is the same amount as a Holy Paladin’s Devotion Aura passive) and that alone is enough to probably use this essence in raids in the minor slot. The more allies that gain the shield, the better this essence becomes.

Con: The major doesn’t seem quite good enough outside of some niche scenarios. Also, if there are fights that require you to spread out, this essence loses quite a lot of value because you’ll only be hitting a few allies with shields every 10 seconds.

Location: Horrific Visions of N’Zoth

  • Rank 1: Defeat Alleria or Thrall in a Horrific Vision and loot an item from the end-of-scenario chest
  • Rank 2: Complete a Tier 2 section in a Horrific Vision and loot an item from the end-of-scenario chest
  • Rank 3: Combine 45 Spark of Unwavering Strength from end-of-scenario reward chests

The Formless Void

Major: (Variable CD) Replicate the energy in your target’s Heart of Azeroth, gaining access to rank 3 of their currently slotted Major Essence for the next 15 sec. The Formless Void will go on cooldown for 30% longer than the base cooldown of the Essence you replicated. This does not work on passive Essences (Like Vision of Perfection, as an example).

Minor: Each time any ally within 40 yards uses an Azerite Essence, gain 570 Intellect and 98 Haste for 20 sec. The ally who used an Azerite Essence also gains 98 Haste for 20 sec. Only one ally can have this Haste effect at a time.

Unique: Corruption Resistance increased by 10.

Pro: The opportunities with this essence feel endless, because you can copy any essence in the game except for passive essences. In M+ this means you can steal Essence of the Focusing Iris to deal large AoE damage to mobs, or things like Condensed Life-Force from DPS users to do a large amount of damage on single targets, and you can change your selections throughout an encounter so long as you wait on the CD to come back up.

Con: This essence will (likely) be used for dps purposes, which means in terms of healing this is not a great major essence, however, it should be noted that dealing large amounts of damage from the healer role has proven to be invaluable in the past few tiers, and likely will be in 8.3 as well. Also, assuming you are copying something like the Essence of the Focusing Iris, it is effectively 30% worse as you have a longer CD than DPS classes do, so that is something to keep in mind.

Location: Ny’alotha Raid

  • Rank 1: Combine 15 Encrypted Ny’alothan Texts from Prophet Skitra, Ra’den, Vexiona, Il’gynoth, or N’zoth
  • Rank 2: Combine 30 Encrypted Ny’alothan Texts from Prophet Skitra, Ra’den, Vexiona, Il’gynoth, or N’zoth
  • Rank 3: Combine 60 Encrypted Ny’alothan Texts from Prophet Skitra, Ra’den, Vexiona, Il’gynoth, or N’zoth

Essences to Obtain (TLDR)

You’ll eventually want to unlock all of the Essences and all of their Ranks, as they can be useful in many different types of content and will most likely be with us for the rest of the expansion. Below are the Essences that are likely to be used most-often in a variety of content types for both the Major and Minor Essence slots.

  • Memory of Lucid Dreams
  • The Ever-Rising Tide
  • Vision of Perfection
  • Worldvein Resonance
  • Conflict and Strife
  • Unwavering Ward
  • Spirit of Preservation
  • The Formless Void

Note: Conflict of Strife (PvP), Life-Binder’s Invocation (M+), Vision of Perfection (new Dungeon), and Vitality Conduit (Raid) are all Essences that require SEASON 3 in order to be unlocked. All other Essences can be worked towards once 8.2 has hit live servers.

theun

I enjoy healing. Niseko testing dummy irl.
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