Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Cataclysm Class Changes: Shaman

Are up here Shaman Changes. Here are some horribly early impressions.

Primal Strike (available at level 3): Primal Strike is a new weapon-based attack that every shaman will learn very early in the game. Our goal with this ability is to make leveling as Enhancement rather than as Elemental more viable, since many key Enhancement talents become available at fairly high levels.

Should make leveling more interesting. A later post clarified that this spell shares a cooldown with Stormstrike and as such, won't be used at 85.

Unleash Weapon (level 81): Unleashes the power of your weapon enchants for additional effects (see below). A dual-wielding Enhancement shaman will activate the effects of both of their weapon enchants. Instant cast. 30-yard range. 15-second cooldown. Undispellable.

Here are a few examples of effects we're considering for this ability:

- Windfury Weapon – Hurls a spectral version of your weapon at a target, dealing 50% weapon damage and increasing the shaman's Haste for the next five swings.
- Flametongue Weapon – Deals instant Fire damage and buffs the shaman's next Fire attack by 20%.
- Earthliving Weapon – Heals the target slightly and buffs the shaman's next healing spell by 20%.

This sounds quite interesting, although with a 15 second cooldown we are likely to be spamming it all the time. I like the "after" effects which may work well when chained with other abilities. If they also increase the Lava Lash cooldown this may be one we alternate with Lava Lash.

Healing Rain (level 83): An area-effect heal-over-time (HoT) spell that calls down rain in a selected area, healing all players within it. There is no limit to the number of players who can potentially be affected; however, there are diminishing returns when healing a large number of targets, much like the diminishing returns associated with AoE damage spells. This should give Restoration shaman another healing tool that improves their group-healing and heal-over-time capabilities. 2-second cast time. 30-yard range. 10-second duration. 10-second cooldown.

Very nice for those encounters where people have to be spread out further than the range on chain heal. Sounds like Druid's Tranquility, which is very handy even if you are not Resto, so I would quite like to have the option to pop this spell should it all go pear-shaped.

Spiritwalker's Grace (level 85): When this self-targeted buff is active, your spells are no longer interrupted by movement and possibly even by your own attacks. This will give shaman of all three specs another way to heal or do damage when it’s necessary to move in both PvE and PvP. Instant cast. 10-second duration. 2-minute cooldown.

This is quite awesome given the amount of movement forced on us by encounters. Of course melee don't suffer that much unless we have to move out of range, but for casters and healers, well... awesome. It might be good for a few lightning bolts on the move, but Enhancement spell damage isn't that good really. If they implement the "even your own attacks" then we're talking, maybe we can be casting Chain Lightning whilst continuing to swing melee hits and proccing Wind Fury.

# Totem of Wrath now will replace Flametongue Totem for all shaman, and dropping this totem will buff the group's spell power by 4%. Elemental shaman will have a talent that lets all Fire totems provide +10% spell power, allowing them to drop Searing, Magma, or Fire Elemental Totems without losing their spell-damage buff. The 4% and 10% buffs will be exclusive with each other and with the warlock's Demonic Pact, so you can't benefit from all of them at once. We're also considering letting Elemental drop Searing Totem at range.

Interesting although it remains to be seen if Magma still beats it even on single targets. The current spell power of FT Totem is around 8% of my spell damage, so this is a drop of overall spell power, but it should have the existing +3% spell crit. Still, Magma always comes out ahead for single-target DPS at the moment. On the Elemental front, dropping Searing at range is ok, but I'm sure we would rather drop Magma at range for AOE, right?

# We want to free up Enhancement global cooldowns to make the spec more dynamic to play. We're considering, for example, increasing the cooldown of Lava Lash so shaman have time to work other interesting abilities into their rotation.

Personally I really enjoy enhancing and feel we already have a good variety of spells in the priority queue (8 at last count), but being able to set off more interesting abilities would be good. Bring it on.

# Enhancing Totems will be replaced with Focused Strikes, which will improve the damage of the new spell Primal Strike and Stormstrike.

Except that currently ET increases SOE effects, so buffs the raid more. I'm not sure I like reducing the unique buffs Enhancement bring.

# With the Mastery system, we're also considering removing a number of talents that grant passive bonuses, such as Mental Quickness, Improved Windfury Totem, Mental Dexterity, Call of Thunder, Tidal Mastery, Purification, Nature's Blessing, and others, to allow players more freedom to choose more interesting talents.

Fair enough if I can have their effects as mastery bonuses anyway. However remember that Improved WF totem buffs the raid more than a vanilla WF totem does.

If this change and the Enhancing Totems change happen, then the Enhancement Shaman goes from providing improved melee buffs to just providing the same melee buffs any other spec of Shaman does. I like the current design where the Shaman is a master of the elements, and for each spec, provides specialisation in buffing for those elements they spec into. The Enhancement Shaman buffs melee, the Elemental Shaman offensive spell casters and the Resto Shaman buffs mana regen and spell casters. To loose this distinction and have Shaman party buffs just be a matter of which totems you drop (no matter your spec) would be a real shame in my opinion.

Ancestral Knowledge will boost mana pool size, not Intellect.
I guess we will be needing that talent then so as to not run dry in 0 secs flat then.

Mastery - Enhancement
Melee damage
Melee Haste
Nature Damage: This will provide a passive bonus to the Nature damage dealt by the Enhancement shaman.

All of these bonuses sound very good and will increase our DPS, so I'll be quite happy to invest into the Enhancement tree.

Overall quite interesting. I'm a bit concerned over the potential loss of spec-specific improved buffs.

1 comment: said...

I am somewhat envious of the Windfury 'unleash weapon' effect, it sounds awesome. I have imaginary cinematics in my head of a tauren shaman covering their weapon in wind and then throwing the spectral weapon at the enemey. And of a draenei elemental shaman surrounding herself with fire to deliver an especially BIG Lava Burst!

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