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

  • Ancestral Swiftness can no longer turn Hex into an instant-cast spell.
  • Earthgrab Totem now shares Diminishing Returns with all other root effects.
  • Maelstrom Weapon can no longer reduce the cast time of Hex.
  • Bug Fix: Glyph of Shamanistic Rage should no longer cause Shamanistic Rage to incorrectly dispel Unstable Affliction or Vampiric Touch that has been modified by the PvP 4-piece set bonus.

Most of these are logical changes.  Improving the clarity of diminishing returns categories and reducing the number of instant-cast CC effects is a huge positive for the game.  Don’t worry if these look like nerfs, this kind of thing is happening to other classes, often to a greater degree.

Ability Changes

  • Searing Totem: Searing Bolt damage increased by 65%.
  • Earth Elemental deals 90% less Auto Attack damage.
  • Primal Earth Elemental’s Pulverize ability no longer deals damage.
  • Unleash Flame no longer deals direct damage, but now increases the damage of the Shaman’s next Fire spell by 40% (up from 30%).
  • Unleash Frost no longer deals direct damage, but now always snares the target by 70% (rather than only when the target is already snared by a Frost spell).
  • Unleash Wind no longer deals direct damage, but now increases attack speed by 60% (up from 50%).
  • Lightning Bolt is no longer castable while moving by default. Effects like Spiritwalker’s Grace can still make the spell castable while moving.
  • Shamanism no longer reduces the cast time of Chain Lightning, but instead now increases the damage of Chain Lightning by 100% (up from 70%).
  • Wind Shear no longer affects threat.
  • Windfury Weapon no longer has a 3-second internal cooldown.
  • Chain Heal now heals each chain target for 15% less than the previous target.
  • Unleash Life no longer increases the healing from Healing Rain.
  • Earthliving Weapon now increases healing done by 5% (instead of increasing healing Spell Power by a flat amount).
  • Healing Stream Totem’s mana cost has been reduced to 10% of base mana (down from 23.5%), and its healing has been reduced by 50%.
  • Glyph of Totemic Recall now only increases the mana returned from recalling your totems by 25% (down from 75%).
  • Mana Tide Totem now increases the Spirit of allies by 50% (down from 200% of the Shaman’s Spirit). It remains unchanged (200%) for the Shaman activating the totem, and it still ignores temporary Spirit buffs.
  • Conductivity is no longer triggered by damaging spells for Restoration Shaman, or by healing spells for non-Restoration Shaman.
  • Shaman: Ancestral Spirit now cost 4% of base mana (down from 90%).

Searing Totemand Windfury buffs.  A removal of the Windfury internal cooldown should slightly improve the value of Haste for Enhancement and remove some of the odd reverse haste breakpoint behavior it had at certain gear levels.  Redistribution of Unleash Elements’ damage to lower overall number of damage sources.  A nerf to Mana Tide Totem should reduce the need for Shaman to gear for raid benefit rather than gearing for personal benefit, and should no longer have a meaningful impact on the gearing practices of other healers.  These are all good changes.

Hit and Expertise Changes

  • Elemental Precision has been removed.
  • Spiritual Insight no longer increases the chance to hit with Lightning Bolt, Lava Burst, Hex, or Flame Shock.

Buff Changes

  • The following abilitiesnowprovide a 5% increase to melee, ranged, and spell Haste to all Party and Raid members.
    • Shaman (Elemental): Elemental Oath
    • Shaman (Enhancement): Unleashed Rage
  • Earth Shock no longer applies Weakened Blows.

It’s about time the haste buffs were consolidated.

Enhancement leveling perks:

  • Improved Reincarnation – Increases health after using Reincarnation by 50%
  • Improved Searing Totem – Increases damage of Searing Totem by 50%
  • Improved Frost Shock – Frost Shock no longer shares a cooldown with your other Shock spells
  • Improved Lava Lash – Increases Lava Lash damage by 20%, and increases the number of targets Flame Shock is spread to by 2
  • Improved Flame Shock – Your Flame Shock ticks have a 15% chance to reset the cooldown of Lava Lash
  • Improved Maelstrom Weapon – Your spells deal 20% additional damage per stack of Maelstrom Weapon
  • Improved Stormstrike – Your Stormstrike and Stormblast deal 20% additional damage
  • Improved Feral Spirits – Your Feral Spirits deal 100% additional damage

Most of these can basically be seen as “more damage” and nothing more.  There are a couple that are interesting to take note of, however.

Improved Maelstrom Weapon’s impact on our rotation could be significant… or it could be minor.  Casting Lightning Bolt or Chain Lightning at 5 stacks will deal double the normal damage, so hard-casting will be a reduction in damage per execution time, but wasted charges will also be more wasted damage, so that may emphasize hard-casting to reduce waste.  It’s hard to say at this point.  Anything that makes Lightning Bolt and Maelstrom management more interesting is an improvement in my opinion.

Flame Shock spreading to more targets, along with a tripled activation rate of what is our current 4-piece set bonus should make the ramp-up of our AoE significantly faster and reduce the impact of messing it up.  I’ve been pretty satisfied with our AoE since Dragon Soul, and didn’t feel major changes were necessary.  These are quality of life improvements that are quite nice.

Frost Shock is the only thing I see as a negative, largely because Enhancement already has a lot of buttons to press rotationally.  If Frost Shock’s cooldown is unlinked, it’s just added to that priority.

Elemental leveling perks:

  • Improved Reincarnation – Increases health after using Reincarnation by 50%
  • Improved Searing Totem – Increases damage of Searing Totem by 50%
  • Improved Chain Lightning – Your Chain Lightning increases the damage of your next Earthquake by 20% per target hit by Chain Lightning
  • Improved Lightning Shield – You can gain 2 additional Lightning Shield charges, and Lava Burst now triggers Rolling Thunder
  • Improved Elemental Fury – You gain an additional 20% crit damage from Elemental Fury
  • Improved Lightning Bolt – Lightning Bolt deals 20% additional damage
  • Improved Lava Burst – Your Lava Burst hits 20% harder
  • Improved Shocks – Increases damage dealt by Shocks by 20%
  • Improved Frost Shock – Frost Shock no longer shares a cooldown with other Shocks.

One thing Elemental has needed is a bit more depth to their DPS priority.  One of the level 100 talents may provide that, and Chain Lightning’s buff to Earthquake certainly does.  The spell having a use again in PvE is a positive, as simply pressing Chain Lightning ad infinitum was not deep or interesting.

Restoration leveling perks:

  • Improved Reincarnation – Increases health after using Reincarnation by 50%
  • Improved Lightning Bolt – Lightning Bolt deals 20% additional damage
  • Improved Riptide – Reduces the cooldown of Riptide by 1 sec.
  • Improved Chain Heal – Increases the healing done to the initial target of Chain Heal by 50%
  • Improved Healing Wave – Increases the healing done by Healing Wave by 20%
  • Improved Healing Surge – Increases the healing done by Healing Surge by 20%
  • Improved Tidal Waves – Increases the cast speed reduction and critical strike chance of Tidal Waves by 10%
  • Improved Earthliving Weapon – Increases the heal of Unleash Life by 50%
  • Improved Healing Rain – Increases healing taken by targets in Healing Rain by 10%

Along with the removal of Healing Rain from Unleash Life’s affected spells, Healing Rain’s actual healing is being de-emphasized.  Every other heal is getting significant buffs in these passives.  Healing Rain will still be important, however, due to targets taking more healing while standing in it.  It’s a good way to add emphasis to spell selection as Restoration without removing Healing Rain’s value.

Chain Heal’s perk isn’t something I’m sure about.  Does it increase all the jumps by 50%, or are they unaffected by the buff?

Talents

Elemental and Enhancement

  • Shocking Lava – Your Lava Burst and Lava Lash increase the damage of your next Earth Shock or Flame Shock by 50%, stacking up to 2 times.
  • Spew Lava – Empower your current Fire Totem to spew lava at random targets within 40 yards every .5 seconds for 10 seconds, dealing X damage to all targets within 4 yards.
  • Storm Elemental Totem – Summon a Air Totem with 6000 health at the feet of the caster, calling forth a Greater Storm Elemental to hurl gusts of wind at the caster’s enemies, and healing nearby allies for 100% of the damage dealt, split evenly.  Lasts 1 min.

Shocking Lava will likely have an interesting effect on rotational priority.  You’ll likely prioritize shocks higher once you have two of the buff.
The other talents are different forms of cooldowns, one with a healing component I fear will make it the “default” option in PvE, while Lava Spew’s dealing damage to random targets is never an attractive aspect of an ability.

Restoration

  • Condensation Totem – Summon a Water Totem with 5 health at the feet of the caster for 15 seconds that collects 5% of all overhealing and grants it to the Shaman as spell power toward their next Healing Wave, Chain Heal, Healing Surge or Riptide.  30 sec. cooldown.
  • High Tide – Your Chain Heal now bounces to all targets with Riptide, and no longer diminishes in power with each bounce.
  • Storm Elemental Totem – Summon a Air Totem with 6000 health at the feet of the caster, calling forth a Greater Storm Elemental to hurl gusts of wind at the caster’s enemies, and healing nearby allies for 100% of the damage dealt, split evenly.  Lasts 1 min.

Condensation Totem being based on overhealing instead of effective healing isn’t something I like.  I feel overhealing should never be rewarded, but the buff to a single spell may make it a pretty interesting talent regardless.
High Tide is another very interesting talent concept that could have a very significant effect on gameplay.  This is a pretty cool idea.
Storm Elemental Totem’s damage dealing component, passive nature, and being a healing cooldown may make it the default choice.

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3 responses to “My Take on Shaman in Warlords

  1. I’m pretty much in agreement with your opinions on Enhance.

    Shocking Lava at first blush seems like it’ll be the way to go for sustained single target DPS in PvE. Opening with a Lava Lash -> Unleash Elements -> Flame Shock, Getting 2 more Lava Lashes to refresh the Flame Shock a few seconds early, then rinse and repeat (maybe getting to throw in a 50% bonus Earth shock right after a Flame Shock) seems like a pretty smooth priority modification for single target DPS. Though I guess with the Lava Lash reset on Flame Shock ticks, it may make it a bit more unpredictable than that.

    Our burst is already high enough that I don’t know if Storm Elemental will necessarily be a great choice unless it does a bunch of AoE and we decide it’s better for groups. They don’t mention it in the talent description, but I cannot imagine it would not lock out Fire and Earth Elemental the same way they lock each other out for the duration.

    Spew Lava just looks dull.

    Honestly, I’m almost sad they weren’t MORE aggressive about removing buttons from our rotation. Because they didn’t remove any. At all. Oh, they rejiggered some of the damage from one ability to another which may adjust our priority queue, but we still end up with the exact same number of buttons. Why not just combine Earth and Flame Shock and be done with it, for example? Otherwise they just removed a bunch of passive sources of damage.

    I am a little giddy about Windfury Weapon losing its ICD. I’m wondering if we’ll get Vanilla-esque moments of 3 windfury crits with a 2H weapon again instagibbing players…I don’t even PvP but the thought of it makes me giggle.

  2. Pingback: Healing 6.0 Alpha | Theorycrafting

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