Tuesday, 21 April 2009

The Patch 3.1 Post

Because I've not done much except spend the week waiting for the first EB Ulduar run today, I thought I'd do a standard Shaman patch 3.1 post. You know, like this:

Races: General
- Command (Orc Racial): Applies to shaman pets, and now correctly
applies to death knight pets.
This means the Spirit Wolves get a damage boost if you are an Orc.
- Gift of the Naaru (Draenei Racial): The heal has been changed to an
instant-cast heal-over-time.
You Draenei, you get free +1% to hit and now have an instant cast HoT. And are big and blue. What's not to like?

Classes: General
- Armor Penetration Rating: All classes now receive 25% more benefit
from Armor Penetration Rating.
Kam currently has an armor penetration rating of 0, mainly due to it being a bad stat. This change should make ArPen a lot more useful.
- The damage threshold for Fear, Psychic Scream, Hex, Intimidating Shout, and Turn Evil to break early has been significantly reduced.
I guess Hex will be breaking earlier with this change. I used to be able to take around 1/3 to 1/2 of a normal mob's health before it would unhex.
- Haste Rating: shamans, paladins, druids, and death knights now receive 30% more melee haste from Haste Rating.
Hot p**s! Kam has a haste rating of 118, so this is a direct buff.
- Mana Regeneration: The amount of mana regeneration derived from intellect and spirit has been reduced by 40%; however, talents that allow for mana regeneration while in combat have been increased. As a result, in-combat regeneration for classes with those talents will stay the same, while out-of-combat regeneration will be lower.
Now as far as I know, Resto Shaman don't really spend any time outside of the 5 second rule, so this change to out of combat mana regen shouldn't affect us a great deal.
- The Shaman’s Fire Elemental and Spirit Wolves, mage’s Water Elemental and Mirror Images, and druid’s Treants have all gained avoidance from area-of-effect damage similar to what warlock and hunter pets already have.
This means that our wolves and fire elemental should survive a lot longer when taking AOE damage. Hunter pet avoidance reduces the damage taken by AOE by some percentage, so your pet survived a lot better in shadow novas and that sort of rubbish.

- Bloodlust/Heroism: Cooldown reduced to 5 minutes, but Sated and Exhausted now last 10 minutes.
From reading elsewhere, this is a change for raiding so that Bloodlust is available for more boss attempts. The Sated debuff is lost when you die, so you can pop Bloodlust, wipe, then 5 minutes later Bloodlust is available again. Before this change, you would have to wait for 10 minutes before you could pop Bloodlust, even if the raid wiped.
- Earth Elemental Totem: The summoned Earth Elemental should now have significantly more health and slightly more armor.
Always good, this should make the Earth Elemental more useful for tanking, and definitely a better escape option.
- Fire Elemental Totem: The summoned Fire Elemental should now have moderately more health and mana, and its damage scaling has been increased. In addition, the Fire Elemental’s spells now cost less mana.
More DPS from the Fire Elemental and it's a bit tougher with the extra health and AOE avoidance.
- Flametongue Weapon: Bonus damage from spell power now based on weapon speed. Slower weapons will benefit more from spell power.
As posted by Ghostcrawler, Blizzard want Enhancement Shaman to be using slow weapons in main and off-hand, with FT on your off-hand. This change just makes that slow off-hand weapon do more damage.
- Frostbrand Weapon: Damage increased by approximately 20%.
This looks like a PvP change to make Frostbrand more viable in PvP for damage, in addition to the slowing effects it has.
- Mana Spring Totem: This totem has been redesigned. It now provides the same mana benefit as Blessing of Wisdom to the entire party or raid, but is exclusive with that effect.
This is one reason why Kam now has access to better mana regeneration than before. It doesn't stack with BoW but we have few paladins so this won't be an issue to Elder Brethren.
- Poison Cleansing Totem and Disease Cleansing Totem have been merged into Cleansing Totem. Cleansing Totem pulses every 3 seconds, down from 5.
As useful as it sounds - no more choosing between poisons for rogues or diseases for DKs in PvP, 1 less action bar slot and a general cleansing totem for PvE. The pulse duration change is also very welcome, although I think I will still need to use the Poison removal spell on Maexxna. Now can we get curses and magic on this thing please?

- Talents - Enhancement
Earthen Power redesigned: Your Earthbind Totem has a 50/100% chance to also remove all snare effects and make you and nearby friendly targets immune to them for 5 seconds when it pulses.
This will help greatly in PvP when we tend to get snared and sit there waiting to die, especially enhancement shamans.
Flurry: Now provides 5/10/15/20/25% haste instead of 10/15/20/25/30%.
Nerf! I hoped that the 30% more haste from haste rating change affects this, but the wording here is "haste" and not "haste rating", so I think you just get 5% less haste.
New Talent: Frozen Power: Increases the damage done by your Lightning Bolt, Chain Lightning, Lava Lash and Shock spells by 5/10% on targets afflicted by your Frostbrand Attack effect, and your Frost Shock has a 50/100% chance to root the target in Ice for 5 seconds when used on targets at or further than 15 yards from you.
So this buffs the damage on targets affected by the Frostbrand effect, on the spells which an enhancement shaman would use in their DPS rotation (note Lava Burst is not included). This says to me "can Enhancers please use FB/FT on your weapons in PvP". The frostbrand effect slows the target so they cannot run away, which they generally try to do when faced with an enhancement shaman. The frost shock change is clearly to give us options to keep targets in melee. I can see this being very useful for Enhancement Shamans in PvP where you can frost shock a player into chains, close to melee distance then get the frostbrand effect applied to stop the buggers from running away.
Lava Lash now has a new icon.
Very nice it is too.
Spirit Weapons: Now reduces all threat generated by 30%, not just physical attacks.
This is very welcome, as 30-40% of Kam's damage comes from spells, so he will generate a fair bit less threat.
Stormstrike charges have been increased by 2, and cooldown reduced by 2 seconds.
They've rolled the old improved SS into the baseline one.
Improved Stormstrike redesigned: When you Stormstrike, you have a 50/100% chance to immediately grant you 20% of your base mana.
A nice mana conservation talent for Enhancement Shamans. This is working out pretty well for Kam at the moment, although I haven't yet tested it out in a proper raid.
Toughness: No longer increases your armor. Instead, this talent now increases your total stamina by 2/4/6/8/10%.
A PvP change which should improve survivability.
Unleashed Rage: Reduced to 3 points, down from 5. No longer increases agility, but instead increases your total expertise by 3/6/9%.
Well, if you've been reading other Shaman blogs, you will know this is massive for Enhancement Shaman. After maxing out hit rating, expertise is the next big stat to get to the cap. This talent helps immensely. Also the reduction from 5 to 3 points means more points to spend elsewhere.

- Talents - Elemental
Disclaimer: I haven't played Elemental since TBC so I direct you to Baluki's WoWblog and Elemental Adventures for some actual Elemental reactions.

New Talent: Booming Echoes: Reduces the cooldown of your Flame Shock and Frost Shock spells by an additional 1/2 seconds, and increases the direct damage done by your Flame Shock and Frost Shock spells by an additional 10/20%.
Damage increase for PvE...
Elemental Mastery redesigned: When activated, your next Lightning Bolt, Chain Lightning or Lava Burst spell becomes an instant cast spell. In addition, your Fire, Frost and Nature damage spells have a 15% increased critical strike chance for 15 seconds. Elemental Mastery now shares a cooldown with Nature’s Swiftness.
Basically no more NS-EM and they have folded the instant cast aspect of NS into the new EM. However they also changed the guaranteed crit to a 15% increased crit chance, so your instant LB may not crit.
Elemental Reach: Now also increases the range of your Flame Shock spell by 5/10/15 yards.
Very useful as one of the spells you need to keep on a target is Flame Shock.
Lava Flows: No longer increases the range of your Flame Shock spell, but now increases your casting speed by 10/20/30% when your Flame Shock spell is dispelled for 6 seconds.
This is looking like another PvP change for when someone dispells your Flame Shock, you cannot Lava Burst them for a guaranteed crit, but instead can shove some hasted damage down their throats.
Lightning Overload: Reduced to 3 points (7/14/20%), down from 5.
More points to spend elsewhere is always welcome.
Storm, Earth and Fire: No longer increases the range of your Earth Shock or Wind Shock spells, but now also causes your Earthbind Totem to have a 33/66/100% chance to root all nearby enemies for 5 seconds when initially cast.
This is a bit of a pain if ES now cannot have as large a range as your other spells, but the snare effect of Earthbind will allow you to get range on mobs or other players.
Thunderstorm can now be cast while stunned.
Hah rogues, take that!

- Talents - Restoration
Ancestral Awakening: This talent now accounts for your ineffective healing, rather than effective.
Ineffective healing means all of the healing the spell put out, rather than the amount the target was healed by. This is a buff to the AA effect.
Ancestral Healing and Healing Grace have swapped places in the Restoration talent tree.
I think this was done to make Healing Grace accessible in the Resto tree. It reduces the chance DoTs and heals will be dispelled by 30%, which is a big deal in PvP.
Cleanse Spirit now has a new icon.
This one isn't as awesome as the Lava Lash icon.
Mana Tide Totem: This spell no longer costs mana.
Good. This doesn't really need spelling out.
Restorative Totems: Reduced to 3 points, down from 5. Increases the effect of your Mana Spring Totem by 7/12/20%, and increases the amount healed by your Healing Stream Totem by 15/30/45%.
Less points and a greater effect for Healing Stream. I've not healing anything yet with this, but I never used to use Healing Stream in instances anyway.
Riptide: This spell has a new icon.
I liked the old icon fine but whatever.
Tidal Force: Now has a new spell effect.
That is nice... for the rest of the party. Me? I was always too busy watching health bars to be seeing any sort of spell effects.

- Enhancement Shaman PvP Set Bonus: The cooldown reduction of Stormstrike has been increased to 2 seconds, up from 1 second.

Items - Glyphs - Shaman
Glyph of Earth Shield: Increases the amount healed by your Earth Shield by 20%.
This is a very nice Glyph as I would always have ES on the tank in a 5 man, more healing means less actual need to send a healing spell their way. Some testing is required.
Glyph of Feral Spirit: Your spirit wolves gain an additional 30% of your attack power.
Now that Enhsim has support for wolves, I can give this glyph a good simulated testing to see if it is worth dropping some other enhancement glyphs for.
Glyph of Hex: Increases the damage your Hex target can take before the Hex effect is removed by 20%.
I remain unconvinced. The Wowhead comments are right on - this should decrease the cooldown on Hex by 30-45 seconds instead.
Glyph of Riptide: Increases the duration of Riptide by 6 seconds.
This means more healing from Riptide and also you can keep it on 4 targets instead of 3. For raid healing it might be a go, for 5 mans I'm not so sure.
Glyph of Stoneclaw Totem: Your Stoneclaw Totem also places a damage absorb shield on you, equal to 4 times the strength of the shield it places on your totems.
PvP glyph. Want a shield? Drop stoneclaw.
Glyph of Thunder: Reduces the cooldown on Thunderstorm by 7 seconds.
The glyph of thunder already increases the mana gain from Thunderstorm, so this one is for PvP where you need to get those pesky rogues off you. Really they are like flies, if Thunderstorm could have some sort of swatting ability too, that would be great.
Glyph of Totem of Wrath: When you cast Totem of Wrath, you gain 30% of the totem's bonus spell power for 5 minutes.
A pretty nice effect which would make dropping ToW useful even if another Shaman has it down. Wowhead comments also suggest this may be better than Glyph of Lightning Bolt, ymmv.

Cleanse Spirit is now properly in the Nature spell school.
If you get spell locked in the nature school, I guess you can no longer be a'cleansing.
Tremor Totem: Now correctly pulses every 3 seconds, up from 1 second.
Ba****ds. I quite liked it pulsing every second... ;)

- Racials
Blood Fury: The tooltip on the attack power version of this ability will now tell how much attack power it grants to the orc.
This racial and the Command changes makes an Orc a seriously good alternative to a Tauren as a Shaman. But cows rule, you know?


Skraps said...

I'm glad there is another free respec today. There are a few things in my Elemental build I ignored cause they sucked before the redesign. I admit I didn't read the tool tips on the talents, just plugged them in.

I'm resto by trade, and a reluctant Elemental. But maybe I can get my DPS over 2200 in Nax this week.

Anonymous said...

i knew being an orc would come in handy all this time! i used to have to use blood fury sparingly as it had the healing penalty, so in places like arena it was basically a wasted racial -- but it just keep getting better and better! now, as an elemental shaman, i have elemental mastery, a trinket, and can realistically pop this in the rotation without worry about taking random damage and not being able to be spot healed!

good write up -- thanks for the time you put into it!

Anonymous said...

i also guess i will get off my lazy bum and post my "elemental only" thoughts on the changes. i actually disagreed with baluki a lot, though i think you have the general idea of what's going down with us... thanks again!

Rakhman said...

Some more reactions from an elemental player would certainly be useful! If we ever get 3 specs, Elemental will be my third :)

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