Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Thoughts on Cataclysm stat changes for the Enhancement Shaman

At Blizzcon the new WoW expansion was announced, along with a ton of changes. There was talk of getting rid of stats on gear like Armor Penetration, Attack Power, etc and just having Agility give Shamans attack power.

No more Intellect on gear
But there was also some pretty significant changes announced for Hunters, who will no longer use mana, but instead focus similar to a rogue. So what, my hunter is retired right, what do I care?

I'm still using his gear, see. Well, ok, my enhancement shaman is using mail gear, with AP, int and all that good stuff on it, the same mail items that hunters currently use. The gear that, in Cataclysm, will no longer have any Intellect on it, because hunters won't be using it. Neither will Enhancement Shamans. The panel I watched on a stream said we were getting changes similar to Retribution Paladins (insert predictable Nerf joke here) to cope with pure Agility gear, so here are my thoughts on what this entails.

Talent-wise we currently have Mental Dexterity which converts Int into Attack Power, making the Int on mail attractive. We get some spell power and mana pool size from the Int on mail, but also attack power. Since 3.1, Retribution Paladins have Sheath of Light which appears to be the reverse, converting attack power into spell power (much like Mental Quickness). Ret Paladin gear doesn't have any Int, it is all strength and stamina (and those exotic stats which should be disappearing), so pure melee stats. I think our gear will be similar - with Agility and Stamina on it and no Intellect, so our spell power will come entirely from Mental Quickness, which will perhaps get a small buff.

However this leads to questions about our mana pool size. Kam has 11.7k mana, whereas our full-time Ret Paladin has 5.7k, so a whole lot less. How on earth does she not go OOM all the time? Firstly she has guaranteed replenishment from Judgements of the Wise and we all know how good replenishment is. Secondly she will be using Judgement of Wisdom in PvE for yet more mana return. Currently 11k is just enough for Kam if I use Shamanistic Rage on every cooldown, so if my pool gets cut in half something else needs to change. Will we also get a replenishment talent in common with our melee spellcaster hybrid brethren (please oh please)? Maybe a more effective Shamanistic Rage? Or maybe the new "Mastery" stat for the Enhancement tree will reduce the mana cost of spells? I can rule out a flat spell cost reduction, because Elemental use a lot of the same spells Enhancement do, and Elementals do fine for mana.

Personally I'm hoping for replenishment coupled with the current SR and Imp SS to make up for a smaller mana pool.

No more Attack Power, just Agility
Blizzard reckon they want Shamans to get 2 attack power from 1 agility, so they will put agility on gear instead of attack power. Except for maybe rings and things they want to share among melee classes (so cloaks, trinkets, necklaces and rings). Hopefully this also goes for critical strike rating.

Kam has 1885 of attack power from gear, if this were all from agility (at 2 ap per 1 agility) he would need an extra 942 agility. Now given agility also increases armour by 2 per point, critical hit change (83.33 agility for 1% according to wowwiki) and chance to dodge, either we will become critting, dodging, armoured machines of wind fury crits, or Blizzard are going to adjust some of these conversion figures. For interest, currently that 942 agility gives 1885 armour (21% extra), 22% extra crit chance, and ... some more dodge (the formula is complex, feel free to work it out yourself!), so clearly Blizzard will be adjusting things.

This new Mastery stat replaces Armour Penetration (hurrah) and "makes you better at doing what you do", so it will probably get assigned a weight relative to how much it improves our DPS.

I am a little confused over this one. On one hand they want spirit to be mana regeneration, but not for mages and warlocks. Blizzard said Haste improves the rate of regeneration of energy, runes, rage and focus. Because mana is not mentioned there, I guess us mana users will be relying on our active regen skills like Shamanistic Rage and Haste may be useless to us.

Well those are my thoughts, please share yours here or on your blog. For sure things are a changing.


Skraps said...

I can't quite decide if I am excited about Cataclysm or upset. I like that there are only 5 more levels, as I am kind of tired of grinding levels. But the expansion that encourges people to re-roll, I'm not sure of. I do not know if i want to grind our 85 levels again.

although my son who is a super altaholic he is really stoked about it.

and I haven't even begun to try to wrap my brain around the itemization changes coming.

Pasteurised said...

Yes, definately some very interesting things coming in Cataclysm.

A few points though.. we already get Spell Power from Attack Power right now.

We get Attack Power (not Spell Power) from Intellect, and then we get 30% of our AP as SP.

Also, you would not 'gain an extra 942 agility', as 1 agility is not, and will not be, weighted the same as 1 AP.

It would of course be lovely if things converted over in such a simplistic way, but in reality, itemisation, talents, skill damage output etc will all be redesigned from scratch to ensure DPS levels carry over to the new system such that your damage output is equivalent.

Of course, crit & dodge ratings from Agility will be reformulated aswell.

Rakhman said...

@Pasturised Ah yes Mental Quickness gives increases spell power.

For the agility I meant that if I lose all +AP then I'd need 1/2 of it back in agility, for the 1 agi -> 2 ap conversion to keep me level.

But you are right, they will have to change all the conversions etc, precisely because the current conversions won't work too well.

Merlot said...

I reckon you can definitely hope for a buff to imp ss, a la judgments of the wise. I'm not sure what will happen to replenishment though - if the devs are serious about splitting out healer mana regen from dps, replenishment may cease to exist.

I'd like to see more reason for shamans of different specs to use different shields, it seems silly that we all default to water shield regardless. What if static shock charges also returned mana? And please can ele have fire shield, maybe increasing haste or crit?

Wangari said...

I'm definitely curious about how our spells will work with the changes proposed.
I really like how enhancement is currently a true hybrid, mixing melee dps with a lot of damage from spells. I hope this design is preserved and the playstyle doesnt change.
Regarding the itemization itself, there was no mention to how expertise and hit will work. GC mentioned you might get +hit from reforging, so I assume that stat is still gonna be around. But what about expertise? Is it gone? Folded into hit perhaps?
Guess we have to wait and see...

Pasteurised said...

@Merlot - There shouldn't be any need for using Water shield at all as Enhancement.

Any mana issues we had disappeared back in 3.0.8.

I would however, love to see a new elemental shield of some sort. Particularly one that benefits Elemental shaman.. maybe some sort of fire shield that does something other than just act as a damage shield.

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