Where in the World is Spirit Link?

So, it has certainly been a busy week around the office so to speak. The announcement of the Cataclysm beta has everyone chomping at the bit, eagerly awaiting their invitation to what is sure to be one hell of a party.

Since the announcement of the beta there has been a flood of information. Among that information was many tidbits about Restoration shaman. I did an analysis of those updates over on wow.com feel free to check it out. The one thing that has been missing from all of this information has been Spirit Link.

Spirit Link was the original 51 talent in the restoration tree in the first Wrath of the Lich King beta build. I fell in love with this spell very early on, and was looking forward to using it in a raid. It was, however, not to be. Shortly after the second beta build of Wrath the talent was taken away like a jealous father stealing his daughter away in a tower prison, replaced by our now glorious Riptide. I still pine for Spirit Link however. I often wonder if, when I look up at the lonely stars at night, if  Spirit Link is somewhere looking up at the same stars missing me. Don’t get me wrong, I love Riptide, but my heart still belongs to Spirit Link.

When we got the very first set of class previews, Blizzard developers stated that they were going to try and bring Spirit Link back. The restoration shaman community was incredibly receptive to this, and there was much rejoicing. I know I danced a little bit at the news. So we eagerly awaited the announcement of its presence. When the beta information was released, I am sad to say that Spirit Link is MIA. There have been no official statements as of this post as to why it was not included this round, but I have a few suspicions.

The reason the spell was removed from the Wrath beta is that it was hard to balance. here was the original wording of the spell.

Spirit Link (Rank 1): You link the friendly target with two nearby targets, causing 50% of the damage taken to be distributed to the linked targets. After 2200 damage, the link will sever.

That is pretty interesting right? The problem was two fold here. First, the spell had no duration limit aside from the damage cap. So you could set it on two targets and just let it be. Second, the damage cap was either too low (2200 damage would be one swing from most bosses) or too high. Finding a sweet spot was always a problem as it was either way too weak, or way too powerful.

My guess is that either it is NYI (not yet included) or they are still having problems balancing it.  In the Wrath beta  it could be stacked and made damage mitigation moot. “Non def capped tank? We have three shaman NO PROBLEM!” type deal. I will be highly interested to see if it makes it to live, because I love it so much. If it doesn’t make it to live, it will surely still be the one that got away.  It was interesting and a brand new mechanic to play with. I love it like a fat kid loves cake, and I’m a fat kid that LOVES his cake. As a bonus here’s a video of the spell in use in the Wrath beta.

So what do you guys think? Want to see this spell make it live to Cataclysm? How would you balance it? How would you change it?

Also this week, my buddy shane has written a new Google Chrome extension called Armory Links. It allows you to look anyone up quickly and easily in any of the various armory and gear checking sites. You should check it out, I know I love it and use it frequently.

And if you’re heading to BlizzCon and are interested in custom badge art, be sure to swing by Ginny’s site and check out her stuff. She does great work, and I know she’s working on a custom Lodur piece for me as we speak.

6 thoughts on “Where in the World is Spirit Link?”

  1. As far as the damage component is concerned, maybe the link could be severed once all but one of the linked players have taken X% damage of total health. Do it on a percentage basis as opposed to an absolute amount.

    This sounds like a spell where you had to target individual players one at a time. What if it worked like Tidal Force where you activated Spirit Link then cast Chain Heal, creating a link between the healed party/raid memebers? This way you only lose one GCD and can link players who are actually taking damage.

    In the end I really don’t have a clue. But since Blizz has had a hard time balancing it I don’t feel bad after just one effort for a good idea here. In the end I’d like to see it in some form or another in Cataclysm, for sure!

  2. As a ‘regular heal’, Spirit Link doesn’t fit anymore. We’ll have 6 separate heals (plus earth shield) going into Cataclysm with Blzzard intending us to use them all in one way or another. Adding this seems like it might be just too much. You want to have tools for every situation but right now I think we can cover all of them.

    Where this could be used is a longer, raid wide utility cooldown. I think they could fit this into the same mold as Divine Sacrifice/Divine Guardian.

    I think it’s a great concept; something Blizzard really wanted to implement but the window has passed for getting this into the game. Bottom line, if it doesn’t fit, or can’t be balanced, just leave it out. It won’t hurt my feelings. Conversely, I’m all about utility, I just don’t think it’s going to work out for Spirit Link,
    .-= Borsk´s last blog ..Halion Post 72653- This is the good Twilight =-.

  3. I wish it hadn’t had the bugs that it did in Beta because it was soooo much fun. I got into beta for Wrath just a week or so before they replaced it with Riptide. It’s a very cerebral talent, you have to think about how you want to use it, and when based on fight dynamics. I really hope it comes back.

  4. I’m not sure if the problem with Spirit Link was that it was too hard to implement or too hard to balance (or both). Either way, I feel like there’s already an easy solution: the Paladin’s Hand of Sacrifice ability. Hand of Sacrifice already has functioning code behind it, so Spirit Link can probably just piggy-back off of that. As for balance, if Spirit Link is made to become analogous to Hand of Sacrifice, then it should be balanced by default (after all, if Hand of Sacrifice is balanced, then Spirit Link should be balanced). The numbers can be tweaked as follows:

    30% of primary target’s incoming damage transferred evenly to 2 secondary targets.
    Damage transfer capped at either 50% of the combined maximum health of both secondary targets, or at 100% of the maximum health of the secondary target with the least maximum health (divided evenly between both secondary targets).
    12 second duration.
    2 minute cooldown.
    Mutually exclusive with Blessing of Sacrifice buff (i.e. the two overwrite each other).

    Now the only real concern left is that some players may decide to abuse the ability in order to get raid/party members killed. To prevent that, an additional restriction of automatically ending the transfer if either secondary target drops below X% health can be added.

    Alternately, if the concern is that Blizzard doesn’t want players to be able to create “friendly fire” situations at all, then they can use the Death Knights’ new Necrotic Strike system (also seen with Lord Jaraxus’ Incinerate Flesh ability) to cause each secondary target to absorb healing equal to one-half of the damage transferred, rather than actually taking the damage themselves. Non-shaman players might be more receptive to that idea.
    .-= Gryphonheart´s last blog ..Cataclysms Shared 10-25 Raid Lockouts =-.

  5. Ideally in my mind it should have the capability to kill the secondary targets thus making it a strange and interesting tool rather than a copy of a shield wall (with the damage spread rather than simply disappearing but still).

    Something like:

    Spirit link: 1200 mana – Links the target and the two nearest players’s spirits. Damage taken is split equally between all three targets until 300% of the highest health target is taken in damage. If the link is severed early the targets suffer 50% of their health as damage unmitigateable.

    So its a self-saberlash technique for a large amount of damage (3x tank health) but can kill the others (300% of a tanks health is a relatively long time) and the blow back if it fails will likely end an attempt making it important to keep up (where as HoS and similar you can ignore the paladin because they won’t die… its just no fun).


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