Becoming a Better Raider

After a couple “failed” attempts, I revised and rewrote my guides on improving yourself as a raider.  Previous attempts have been entirely too wordy as guides so often are, so I’ve attempted a “straight to the point” approach.  One version spent the better part of two years here on my blog, and my earlier attempt took 20 posts worth of space on the official forums.  While there’s a still a lot to consider, this version should be much lighter reading.

Keep in mind that it’s not necessary to do everything here in these guides to be a strong raider.  Now is a great time to make adjustments to the way you play due to Warlords of Draenor being a ways off.  Be it UI changes or changing your control scheme, everyone can make improvements somewhere.

So without further delay, here’s Raiding Guides version 3.

Shaman Weak Auras

I’ve had quite a few people ask me at times if I use any Weak Auras for Shaman specific things, so I figured I’d post this string which includes all of them.

Includes:

  • Maelstrom Weapon 1-5 stack tracking with sound at 5 stacks
  • Lightning Shield 4-7 stack tracking with sound at 7 stacks
  • Main Hand and Off-hand imbue auras (top is MH, bottom is OH)
  • No Shield active aura
  • No Fire Totem active aura
  • No imbue /wrong imbue active aura
  • Lava Lash/Lava Burst off cooldown auras with sound (notifies of cooldown resets)
  • Heroism/Time Warp/Bloodlust active aura

The string can be found here.  You can import this by copying the raw paste data from this link, opening the WeakAuras options, clicking on New and choosing the Import option.  Paste the string in the window that opens.

Weak Auras

Why You Don’t Need To Cast Lightning Bolt While Moving

Currently, there is a very small delta between your DPS while standing still and DPS while moving.

http://www.warcraftlogs.com/reports/kcWtDgMAVa38fXh9#fight=15&type=damage-done&start=4320079&end=4367305&source=15

Here’s a random section of a random Iron Juggernaut log during a part of the fight where movement generally isn’t happening.

Lightning Bolt accounts for 47.5% of the damage being dealt in this stretch of time, which is roughly 40 seconds long.  38% from Lightning Bolt directly, 7% from Fulmination, and presumably about 2.5% from Multistrike.  If you’re moving for this entire duration and happen to lose ALL of that Lightning Bolt generated damage, you’re going to be doing 52.5% of your stationary DPS.

Lava Burst is also affected, so all Lava Burst casts that weren’t cast under the effects of Lava Surge are also removed, which is 29% of your Lava Burst damage lost, or a total of 56.5% of your overall damage lost during movement.

Doing only 43.5% of your damage during movement seems like it might kinda suck… but that’s ignoring an awful lot.

Since this is a period of 40 seconds, a Shaman with glyphed Spiritwalker’s Grace can cast-while-moving for exactly half that duration, reducing the damage loss to 28.25%.  Still pretty significant, but now you’re doing over 70% of your standstill DPS.  Because Earth Shock isn’t pressed on cooldown during movement, you can also add that in a bit more often than it’s being cast in this segment for when Spiritwalker’s Grace isn’t up.  This would increase Earth Shock cast frequency by 100% for 50% of the time, resulting in two additional casts for .75% additional damage, and you can refresh Searing Totem so you don’t need to interrupt your rotation to do it later.

Post Lightning Bolt nerf, damage would be reduced by 27.5% in the above sample.
Currently, damage would be reduced by about 6% in the above sample.

Being able to do 72.5% of your normal DPS during a 40 second window of steady movement is pretty damn good.

It’s not at all like early Cataclysm where Elemental didn’t have instant Lava Bursts from Lava Surge and would suffer much larger DPS losses during heavy movement.  Rarely does an encounter even now expect you to move for that long, and the short movement periods you are frequently asked to make are more easily covered with instant cast spells.

Nearly every other ranged DPS already has a larger penalty than that for movement, and nearly all of them are also getting nerfed by similar degrees.

My Take on Shaman in Warlords

Ability Removals

  • Ancestral Awakening has been removed.
  • Feral Spirit no longer has the Spirit Bite ability.
  • Flametongue Weapon is no longer available to Restoration Shaman.
  • Frostbrand Weapon is now available only to Enhancement Shaman.
  • Greater Healing Wave has been renamed to Healing Wave.
  • Healing Tide Totem is now available only to Restoration Shaman.
  • Healing Wave has been removed.
  • Lava Burst now replaces Primal Strike for Elemental and Restoration Shaman.
  • Magma Totem is now available only to Enhancement Shaman.
  • Rockbiter Weapon has been removed.
  • Static Shock has been removed.Stormlash Totem has been removed.
    • Stormstrike and Stormblast now deal 30% more damage when Lightning Shield is active.
  • Searing Flames has been removed.Water Shield is now available only to Restoration Shaman and replaces Lightning Shield.
    • Flametongue Weapon damage has been increased by 40%, and Lava Lash damage has been increased to 280% weapon damage (up from 140%) to compensate.

There are no surprises here, for me.  Most of these removals are fringe abilities that rarely saw any use or were very passive.  I’m sure most Enhancement Shaman never even knew Spirit Bite existed, and we certainly couldn’t use it actively.

No Magma Totem for Elemental and Restoration is a slight PvP nerf, making it much harder to defend against a Rogue or Feral’s opener.

Searing Flames removal is strictly a buff.  It may also make room for Magma Totem to see some use in PvE, depending on how its damage looks.

PvP changes

Continue reading

Consolidated Shaman 6.0 Patch Notes

Here’s a consolidated list of announced changes for all Shaman specs in Warlords, preceded by a direct quote from the Shaman section of the official notes.

 

Shaman has received a variety of changes, most of which are specialization-specific.

For Elemental and Enhancement, we had a few problems to solve. Enhancement suffers from having their damage split among so many damage sources that none of it feels impressive. We changed the damage of several abilities to try to reorganize their damage into fewer, more impactful abilities, while keeping the net total the same. For a long time Elemental Shaman were one of the specs most impacted by movement, at a time where other casters were increasingly able to cast while moving.

For Warlords of Draenor, we’re pulling back on the ability for many casters to deal damage while moving, and that includes Elemental. They will still have some ability to deal damage while moving, through Shocks, Unleash Weapon, and instant Lava Bursts. For Chain Lightning, we wanted to reduce the impact of Haste soft capping, and so changed Shamanism to increase damage instead of reduce cast time. Additionally, we simplified Wind Shear by removing its impact on threat, which no longer matters.

Restoration Shaman had the most passive and smart healing of any healer, and so received some reductions in that area, along with buffs elsewhere to keep them competitive. One particular change is to Mana Tide Totem, which we made less effective for other players, but still just as effective for the Shaman. We like that Shaman could help other healers out on mana, but it was just too strong, significantly impacting how those other healers gear themselves.

Ability Removals

  • Ancestral Awakening has been removed.
  • Feral Spirit no longer has the Spirit Bite ability.
  • Flametongue Weapon is no longer available to Restoration Shaman.
  • Frostbrand Weapon is now available only to Enhancement Shaman.
  • Greater Healing Wave has been renamed to Healing Wave.
  • Healing Tide Totem is now available only to Restoration Shaman.
  • Healing Wave has been removed.
  • Lava Burst now replaces Primal Strike for Elemental and Restoration Shaman.
  • Magma Totem is now available only to Enhancement Shaman.
  • Rockbiter Weapon has been removed.
  • Static Shock has been removed.
    • Stormstrike and Stormblast now deal 30% more damage when Lightning Shield is active.
  • Stormlash Totem has been removed.
  • Searing Flames has been removed.
    • Flametongue Weapon damage has been increased by 40%, and Lava Lash damage has been increased to 280% weapon damage (up from 140%) to compensate.
  • Water Shield is now available only to Restoration Shaman and replaces Lightning Shield.

Continue reading