The situation I want to have is where I can cast Hex from distance and keep my 2/3 stacks of MW for when I enter combat to use for healing - since the 1.5 seconds cast time (at most) is usually less than the time it would take to build the stacks back up.
---------- Post added 2012-05-02 at 11:02 AM ----------
I also believe that some of the criticisms of Shaman talents as less "hybridy" than other classes hold some weight - look at Elemental Blast for example - it's only damage, whereas ALL of the T6 Priest talents do damage and healing, Chi Torpedo for Monks does both damage and healing, ALL of the T6 Paladin talents are capable of damage or healing. All of those make for interesting talents for healers of those classes. For Shaman however, our bonuses are limited to: 50% extra bonus healing on Unleashed Life (pretty boring), the ability to channel +20% healing while FE is active and +20% healing and +10% damage reduction while EE is active or some bonus haste/mastery/crit if we cast Elemental Blast. All of those are pretty boring for Resto, even if they do provide some nice bonuses.
Why can Elemental Blast not do damage AND healing, when Priest T6/Paladin T6 talents can?
A lot of the talent tree apologists are making the case that the new talent paradigm is to increase hybridisation, and that's great, I'm all for increased hybrid ability. The problem is that the other hybrids are given hybridisation options PER TALENT, whereas we're given them OVERALL. Look at Druid talents - lots of them provide spec specific bonuses, or are useful to any spec, whereas there are some Shaman talents (e.g. Elemental Blast) that are simply no good for a particular spec (before someone says about EB being potentially useful for the buff, it's an 8 sec buff on a 12 sec cd/2 sec cast, meaning you're spending 1/6th of your time to maintain a 75% uptime buff, and it doesn't even benefit from our +hit% talent). I don't know whether it counts as a Nature spell either, so there's also the potential problem for PVE Enhancement - if it's got a 2 second cast time, then casting it will reset our swing timer, meaning that although the spell might be nice, it's going to reduce our white damage and Maelstrom stacks. If it counts as nature (therefore is reduced by Maelstrom) then fine, but although I agree with Enhancement being able to hard-cast, it's not something that I feel we should be doing rotationally (hence the nerf of spellpower weapons to eliminate LvB hard-casting rotationally). If it's for a utility spell or in a specific situation (SWG + running) then fine, but rotationally, I don't think it should be there.
There are also other classes whose talents augment their most-used spells - look at Paladins and a LOT of their talents focus around Judgement and Holy Power - this means that they've got talents working synergistically - as an example, they can talent for movement speed AND a slow effect AND a healing buff all from their judgement - and that's a rotational ability for them as well, so they'll be using it regardless of these talents. If you look at some of our augmented spells (that aren't long cooldowns ofc) - we've got Frost Shock, which is hampered by shared shock cooldown, meaning that we'll hardly ever be able to use Frozen Power in PVE, Unleashed Elements, which is only rotational for one spec (Enhance), although the talent looks would make the spell rotational for Elemental if they took it. Conductivity is nice in that it's based on Lightning Bolt and our healing spells (although it would be nice to add something a little more for Enhance since they'll only do 1/2 LB max in the time it takes for HR to run out, compared to several from Elemental, e.g. Stormstrike or Lava Lash).
Another thing I feel about some Shaman talents, when combined with spec abilities, is that we've got a lot of things that do the same thing. Take healing distribution as an example. We're already one of the best classes at healing grouped up targets with CH and HR, yet most we have several talents/cooldowns which make us even more powerful at that, but don't add anything else to our repetoire - conductivity basically increases the healing to anyone standing in HR (but is useless if everyone's spread out), Ascendance causes all healing to be distributed to "nearby targets" (could do with someone providing me the range on that nearby thing). It's like we've been giving a healing niche where we can outperform the other healers, but are being given more and more ways to do that, when really, we could do with a defensive cooldown to cast on others, rather than MORE ways to heal up a group of people standing close together. Don't get me wrong, Conductivity would be amazing for fights like Ultraxxion, but a fight where everyone spreads out, we start losing a lot of our tools: healing rain, chain heal (unless glyphed), Ascendance. To me, Ascendance, as our "this is awesome" spell of the expansion, should provide a throughput boost in all situations - not just ones where everyone's stacked. If I'm wrong with the Ascendance range and it will hit everyone in the raid then perfect, but otherwise it's limited in its use.
The thing for me is that, all things considered, it seems like they've added a lot of "cool talents/abilities" to Shaman, but there's no overall feel to the talent trees. There's a lot of disjoin, which doesn't exist in a lot of other trees. I'm hoping that's just because Shaman are still further behind than a lot of other classes in terms of talent design. I feel there's definitely room to make more of the Shaman talent tree, by making stuff work together better, and by ensuring that stuff caters to all three specs - a healing tier is fine as a hybridisation point - totally happy with that, what I'm not happy about is talents like Elemental Blast, which is terrible for Resto, and the other 2 tier 6 talents are both very boring for Resto.
Here's hoping there's going to be another pass on Shaman talents.