Thursday, 10 June 2010

Cataclysm Shaman talent preview

Now that Blizzard have released some preview talents to various websites, I can discuss them again, as if some other leak of talents never happened.

Most of the Enhancement talents are the usual stuff, I did notice Improved Windfury Totem is gone (cry) and now the entry level talents are Focused Strikes, SS damage by 40%, and Ancestral Knowledge now increases mana by 15% at 5/5. Maelstrom Weapon still does not affect Lava Burst in this tree either, which I was looking forward to. Hopefully later.

Ancestral Swiftness is interesting, increasing movement speed by 15% at 3/3. Given than I use Tuskarr's on my boots for the 8% speed improvement, and a previous commenter has pointed out how poor we are in movement fights, this talent might be somewhat compulsory.

The really interesting stuff is further down the tree.

Tier 5 - Searing Flames (5 ranks available) - Causes the Searing Bolts from your Searing Totem to have a 20/40/60/80/100% chance to set their targets aflame, dealing damage equal to the Searing Bolt's impact damage over 15 seconds. Stacks up to 5 times.

Searing flames seems to be an attempt to make Searing Totem some use again. This adds extra damage to targets hit with Searing Totem and the 5 stack is not too shabby. According to Wowhead ST casts every 2.6 seconds, so that is 10.4 seconds from the first to last cast to get a 5 stack. Then it is down to the mechanics how long the 5 stacks lasts, usually when you stack a debuff it refreshes a stack and starts the countdown to the stack expiring again, so this may result in a permanent 5 stack if you can keep ST firing once every 15 seconds. I assume the design here is to make Searing Totem better than Magma for a single target for Enhancement Shamans.

However Searing Flame also plays with another new talent and may add an extra dimension to "playing smart" and give us more to react to:

Tier 10 - Improved Lava Lash (3 ranks available; Requires 1 point in Lava Lash) - Increases the damage of your Lava Lash ability by 10/20/30%, and by an additional 7/14/20% for each of your applications of Searing Flames on the target, consuming those applications in the process.

Improved Lava Lash will increase LL damage by 20% for each Searing Flame debuff on the target. So with 5 stacks thats an increase in LL damage of 130%, but this consumes the Searing Flame debuff. I can only assume the design is that it will be advantageous to wait until Searing Flame is up to 5 stacks on the target, then Lava Lash for the extra damage, removing the debuff and then wait until Searing Totem has got 5 stacks back up again.

If the Searing Flame stack is refreshed with each hit from Searing Totem then we could LL at any time after 5 stacks is reached. If the stack only lasts 15 secs from the first application, then we get a window from 10.4 secs to 15 secs from the first blast to get a LL in, which would certainly make prioritizing LL interesting.

Will LL be worthwhile without a Searing Flame debuff and a mere extra 30% damage? Whether to use the Searing Flame stack or not will also depend on the relative damage of Lava Lash with 130% more damage compared to stuff like Storm Strike, and then we might find using the stack at 4 is good too, which would make things even more fun. Still this is looking like an interesting new mechanic for sure.

I guess I have decided to cover Beta information, when it starts to hit. Usually there is a slow period after Beta starts where the only news about WoW is beta information and anyone who wants to avoid that is reduced to pretty much no WoW news at all. Combined with the summer wind down of raiding activities, there will be not much to talk about here otherwise.

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