the rantings and ravings of a not quite sane cow

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Last Angry Shaman Presents: Overanalysis of the Cataclysm Shaman preview

Without further ado, let us mull over how Shaman will most likely be screwed over royally in another expansion. My comments are in italics, in case your non-cow brains have trouble with the concept.

New Shaman Spells

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.
Meh? It gets replaced by Stormstrike if you level as Enhancement, and Ele and Resto aren't going to use it. I already have an 80 shammy - can't you just make SS a base skill and give us a cool new one to replace it?

Healing Wave (level 4): While the shaman already has an ability called Healing Wave, we're adding another spell to the class's direct-healing arsenal and giving it a familiar name. The current Healing Wave will be renamed Greater Healing Wave, and the intent is for the 'new" Healing Wave to be the shaman's go-to heal. Lesser Healing Wave and Greater Healing Wave will be used on a more situational basis.
Situational basis? I'm a fan of nuke heals - so I should be off to level a Pally in that case. Even without the nukes, I still use Earth Shield, Riptide and Chain Heal for most of my healing.

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.
An extra button we have to push every 15 seconds? I'd rather my existing buttons were made better - maybe I'm just a fan of simple (read: easy) rotations.

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.
      Yay, an almost flat DPS buff for a little while, and a little bit of damage. Yay team Shaman.
      - Flametongue Weapon – Deals instant Fire damage and buffs the shaman's next Fire attack by 20%.
      FS dot + this + Lava Burst? Elemental's gonna have some fun. And then start begging for mercy as I slaughter them for being mutionous dogs.
      - Earthliving Weapon – Heals the target slightly and buffs the shaman's next healing spell by 20%.
      Yay, another heal. YAY! A bigger nuke heal!

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.
10 second duration, 10 second cooldown? Might become a requirement to keep this permanently up in situations where there'd be a lot of AOE damage. Which, you know, is a bad thing. I don't want to heal exactly how people expect me to heal, I want to heal the way I think will be most effective.

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.
Useful for Ele and Resto in situations where you have to keep moving? Sure. For Enhance? I'm just gonna use it to pop off a few Lightning Bolts... again, I'd just prefer a straight increase to damage from what we have now.

Changes to Abilities and Mechanics

In addition to adding new spells, we're planning to make changes to some of the other abilities and mechanics you're familiar with. This list and the summary of talent changes below it are by no means comprehensive, but they should give you a good sense of what we intend for each spec.

  • Restoration shaman and other healing classes will need to pay attention to mana more than they've had to during Wrath of the Lich King. Spirit will be the Restoration shaman's primary mana-regeneration stat.
    Oh god I feel like a squishy already. Nooooooooooooo it's not my time yet. Must... continue... to... leech... off.... MP5... as... long.... as... possible. *Heavy breathing* What's wrong with MP5? Means no calculations to figure out how much MP5 I get from it.

  • We're making changes to which classes and specs are able to dispel magic, diseases, curses, and poison, largely for PvP purposes. Shaman will have Cleanse Spirit as a baseline ability, but it will only remove curses. Restoration shaman will have a talent that will improve Cleanse Spirit so that it also removes magic. Shaman will no longer be able to remove poison.
    So you're removing almost everything that makes me feel like a Shaman when it comes to dispelling, and making me feel like a mage? And then if I'm Resto, make me feel slightly like a priest? I'd prefer to be a SHAMAN when I'm playing a SHAMAN.

  • Cleansing Totem will be removed from the game, as we want dispels to be a decision for players, not something done mindlessly. To that end, all dispels will cost slightly more mana, and you will waste the spell if you cast it when there is nothing to remove. (Currently, the dispel is only cast when there is something to remove, which encourages spamming 'just in case.") We will balance PvE dispelling with this new model in mind.
    Okay, now that's everything that makes me feel like a Shaman.

  • 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.
    This is really more of a buff to Ele, which might make it more fun, which might encourage people to play it, which can only be a bad thing. Why don't they just cut the crap and take Enhancement away altogether, creating one nature spell damage spec, and one fire spell damage spec? With how much Enhancement is casting these days, we're almost there.

  • 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.
    Hate to break it to you Blizz, but if you increase the cooldown, you increase the damage. As for freeing up global cooldowns, why not make us feel like a low level Ret Pally? Auto attack, auto attack, auto attack, judge, auto attack, auto attack, auto attack, judge...

New Talents and Talent Changes

  • Elemental Reach will be simplified so shaman have a more consistent spell range.
    What, like 30 yards? Makes sense to me, so obviously it's a bad idea.

  • We plan to add Earthquake as a deep Elemental talent for targeted and persistent AoE.
    Yes, because they need more AoE. Well, probably, but so does Enhancement - pushing Fire Nova every CD gets old fast - and uses craptons of mana. Give us something like Fan of OP.

  • Spirit Link will likely be worked back into deep Restoration in some form. The idea is that you will be able to link targets together so they share damage. When we had previously tried to implement Spirit Link, it was hard to balance and a little confusing. However, we really liked the concept -- and so did players -- so we are trying to bring it back.
    Hard to balance? Confusing? Just do like Soul Link, except... you know... not between a lock and a demon.

  • Elemental will have a deep talent that allows Spirit (which will appear on the gear they share with Restoration shaman) to boost their Hit rating.
    Ele and Resto Shaman sharing gear? CRAP! Now any Shammy with Resto as a spec will figure they have a good Ele set and start doing that. Again, as I said, leading to the downfall of Enhancement.

  • Ancestral Knowledge will boost mana pool size, not Intellect.
    Yeah, cause I really get AP from my mana pool. Thanks, Blizz. Really needed this.

  • Enhancing Totems will be replaced with Focused Strikes, which will improve the damage of the new spell Primal Strike and Stormstrike.
    Great, now no stupid Shammys telling DKs not to use Horn of Winter since their Strength of Earth is better. And, you know, extra damage never hurts.

  • 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.
    Please, remove at least one of those Enhancement talents to give us a spell which turns us into god for five seconds. That's all we need to change it to a permanent spell.

Mastery Passive Talent Tree Bonuses

Spell damage
Spell Crit
Elemental Overload

Melee damage
Melee Haste
Nature Damage

Deep Healing

Elemental Overload: Your direct-damage spells have a chance to proc a less powerful 'bonus" version of the spell. This will work much like the current Lightning Overload talent, but would also apply to Lava Burst.
Extra spells are cool. You know, all the "end of Enhancement" rhetoric.

Nature Damage: This will provide a passive bonus to the Nature damage dealt by the Enhancement shaman.
Yes, because as a melee damage spec, I really need more spell damage. You know, all the "end of Enhancement" rhetoric.

Deep Healing: Your direct heals will do more healing when the target's health is lower. This will scale to damage (e.g. someone at 29% health would receive more healing than someone at 30%) rather than have arbitrary break points.
I'd prefer to keep people at high health in the first place, you know - maybe you could help me with that.

So the news for Enhancement? It's bad. Wait, no news for Enhancement. The news for Ele? Who cares? The news for Resto? I'm sorry, they want you to pretend you're priests... almost, anyway.

The news for all Shaman? Blizzard doesn't understand you. Nobody loves you. You were adpoted. Your birth parents both committed suicide when they saw how ugly you were. That's about as nicely as I can say it without putting an age restriction on the site.

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