Sunday, July 5, 2009

Shaman Get Beefed Up

It's always seemed like shaman were a bout half a patch behind the rest of the classes, leading to alot of QQ mostly. I'm not one to cry about things, unless were talking the "fetal position in the shower" scene that played out after my high school prom. (she made me feel so violated!)

With 3.2 looming, it looks like things may change, with many classes feeling nerfed, but finally shaman rejoicing with nothing but improvements. I'd like to share my thoughts on some of the changes...
I know, I'm right on top of the cutting edge in what's going on 2 weeks ago in WoW.

* A customizable totem bar will now be available for shaman allowing the storing of 4 different totems. These totems can be placed on the ground at once in one global cooldown for the combined mana cost of all 4 totems.

I like this because I won't have to waste so much time dropping totems. That is really the only improvement this will provide as I use Totem Timers addon. I suspect that I'll still be using Totem Timers addon if they update for 3.2, the new UI for this appears a little clunky, check it out here at Ailis' Blog I'm interested to find out if Totem Timers will be the addon for this or if plain old Dominos or Bartender will do. Either way I'm gonna be wanting this smaller and opaque and out of the way.

* All Shocks now have a default range of 25 yards, up from 20 yards.
Love it. I clung to my s5 gloves way too long to keep this effect, not a huge deal for enhance, but elementals should be lovin this. Mostly a PvP change, although I have taken Frozen Power once or twice to help DKs control the sparks on Maly, this would make that alot easier.

* Base health increased by approximately 7% to correct for shamans having lower health than other classes.
Just in time for me to drop mining for blacksmithing, yet keep the same amount of health.

* Chain Heal: Jump distance increased to 10 yards. In addition, the amount of healing now decreases by 40% as it jumps to each new target, instead of 50%.
Awesome. Just awesome. Great news for all specs alike, Chain Heal is probably the most used heal of Enhance and Elementals that care about the raid and help top up health from time to time.

* Ghost Wolf: Can now be learned at level 16. While in this form, snaring effects may not bring the shaman below base normal run speed.
Meh. PvP is srz bzniss.. Will be nice for levelling shaman though, of course

* Talents

o Enhancement
+ Shamanistic Rage: Cooldown is now 1 minute, down from 2 minutes. Successful melee attacks now have a chance to generate mana equal to 15% of the shaman's attack power, down from 30%.
I love it. With about 6.5k attack power on raids, the 30% mana regen was overkill. I'd be at full mana and still have 10sec left on Shamanistic Rage. 15% will still easily bring me to full mana, but now I can use this twice as often. This will be nice as I can add Nova Totem to a rotation, and use Chain Lightning alot more often instead of having to conserve mana with Lightning Bolt sometimes. This is mostly a PvP change for the 30% damage reduction Shamanistic Rage gives

o Restoration
+ Ancestral Healing: The buff from this ability now reduces the physical damage taken by the target by 3/7/10% instead of increasing the target's armor.
Very nice. This will reduce alot more damage as it applies to spell damage too.

+ Cure Poison and Cure Disease: Combined into a single spell, Cure Toxins.
Funny how it's mostly discussed in Resto circles just because it's in the "resto" tree of talents. Very nice change for Enhancement and Elementals. Restos already have Cleanse Spirit and would never use this spell. Ever.

+ Earth Shield: Dispel effects will now remove charges of Earth Shield rather than the entire aura.
Meh. PvP

+ Healing Way: Redesigned. Rather than providing a chance of increasing Healing Wave spells on a friendly target, this talent now innately increases the effectiveness of the shaman's Healing Wave by 8/16/25%.
Awesome. It's rare a shaman will spit out 2 Healing Wave spells on a target in a row, unless main tank healing. Even then it'll be rare. Now the first spell will be awesome instead of only a 2nd one being once, up 25% from the previous 18% too.

+ Mana Tide Totem: Totem health now equal to 10% of the shaman's health.
Meh. Pvp

+ Nature's Guardian: Redesigned. Now has a fixed 100% proc rate, has a 30 second internal cooldown, and increases the shaman's maximum health by 3/6/9/12/15% for 10 seconds.
Bleh. PvP. I guess some shaman might raid with this, but why???

+ Nature's Swiftness: Cooldown is now 2 minutes, down from 3 minutes.
Niiiice. Very Niiiiice.

+ Tidal Waves: No longer reduces the cast time of Lesser Healing Wave by 30%. It instead now provides +25% critical strike chance to Lesser Healing Wave, along with the previous 30% cast time benefit to Healing Wave.
Good change. The previous haste on LHW was so fast it was wasted. Unhasted it will still cast hella fast and the crit throughput will more than makeup for it.

+ Improved Water Shield: This talent now has a 10/20/30% chance to be triggered by Chain Heal, and the charges of Water Shield are no longer consumed by this talent.
Luvely, just luvely. Refreshing Water Shield was a serious pain in the arse. And more mana returns on chain heals will be sweet.

Overall the buffs to resto are very nice, and well needed for the top end game. Most guilds are reporting a noticable lag in shaman performance as the jack of all trades, yet master of none. Those guilds with the luxury of being choosy on who they take on 25 mans are taking the other 3 healers over a shaman.
I like Shaman healing because in a pinch I can fill any role effectively, the improvements will just make doing that easier as I don't foresee big results until new content comes out. The resto shaman is being tweaked to use the Jesus Beam more effectively, the only problem is that there are not a lot of occasions in Ulduar where you can take full advantage of chain heal spamming, or a chain heal rotation.

Peace Out!

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