A few weeks ago Blizzard asked – class specific – which kind of changes players would like to see. For us Enhancement Shamans many posts were about Searing Flame, target swapping, AoE, underperforming vs ranged classes and the like. This raised high expectations. Now that 4.3 hit the PTR we can have a first look at what is new.
4.3 First Look, Shaman Changes
You can find the latest Patch Notes in original here, let me quote it for convenience.
- Elemental Fury now removes the cooldown from your Chain Lightning spell.
- Thunderstorm now also reduces the enemies movement speed by 40% for 5 sec.
- Wind Shear now has a 25 sec cooldown, up from 6 sec.
- Reverberation now reduces the cooldown of Wind Shear by 10/20 sec.
- Call of Flame no longer increase the duration of Flame Shock on Fire Nova damage.
- Lava Flows now increases critical strike damage bonus of Lava Burst by 8/16%, up from 6/12%.
- Flametongue Weapon now increases magical damage done by 5%, instead of increasing spell damage by 747.
- Lava Lash now deals 260% weapon damage, up from 200%.
- Improved Lava Lash now increases the damage of Lava Lash by 10%/20% for each application of Searing Flames, now also causes your Lava Lash to spread your Flame Shock from the target to up to four enemies within 12 yards.
- Mental Quickness has been slightly revamped – Your spell power is now equal to 55% of your attack power, and you no longer benefit from other sources of spell power. Also, your instant beneficial, damaging, and totem spells cost 75% less mana.
- Stormstrike no longer increases Nature damage against the target. Now grants you an additional 25% chance to critically strike that enemy with your Lightning Bolt, Chain Lightning, Lightning Shield, and Earth Shock spells for 15 sec.
- Unleashed Rage now increases melee attack power by 20% and ranged attack power by 10%.
- Ancestral Healing got an extra effect – heals you cast increase allies‘ maximum health by 10% of the amount healed, up to a maximum of 10% of their health.
- Cleansing Waters – The heal effect can only occur once every 6 seconds.
- Riptide healing effect has been increased by 50%, from 3725 to 5585.
As you might have guessed already a giant %&$§-storm was launched in the forums – not only due to shaman changes. Greg “Ghostcrawler” Street started a first attempt of damage control erm explanation.
We made changes to Wind Shear to restrict the short cooldown version to the DPS shaman (who have the Reverberation talent) and make Restoration less potent at interrupting. We think Restoration is currently too useful in PvP relative to other healers because of a potent, ranged interrupt. We don’t think this nerf will have major PvE ramifications.
We changed Mental Quickness and Flametongue Weapon to hopefully put a nail in the coffin of Enhancement shaman using spellpower weapons. We want Enhancement using melee weapons. Players who have been doing so should notice no change in their DPS. Players who have been using caster weapons or armor will find that gear is no longer useful to them.
Elemental’s AE damage was still not competitive with the rotations of other DPS specs, so we buffed Earthquake and removed the cooldown on Chain Lightning. These two spells should be the bulk of Elemental’s AE DPS, while spreading Flame Shocks should be an Enhancement mechanic (see below).
We also tried to improve Enhancement’s AE. In this case, the DPS was fairly competitive, but applying the AE was a headache with having to tab through multiple targets to spread Flame Shocks. Enhance can now use Lava Lash to spread Flame Shock (and the bonus granted from Improved Lava Lash has been baked into the base Lava Lash ability, so Enhance should not suffer any DPS loss as a consequence).
After checking in on thousands of raid attempts, we were concerned that Resto shaman were not competitive with the other healers, especially on 10 player-content and on fights where the raid needs to stay spread out. It’s okay for healers to have niches where they really shine, but we felt like Resto wasn’t experiencing enough of these. We buffed Riptide outright and gave Ancestral Healing a new mechanic of boosting the target’s max health. These buffs are also intended to help offset some of the loss of Wind Shear for PvP.
As you can see, we changed shaman mechanics quite a bit, some of which will be met with cheers and others will be met with poo flinging. Please try out the changes when the PTR goes live and offer us constructive feedback if you want us to discuss any concerns you might have. That goes for all of these changes of course.
What do these changes mean?
Flame Tongue change
At first, I’ll look at the Flametongue change, 1047 Spellpower(Elemental Weapons) vs 5% magical damage, via RAWR and some quick napkin math using Myrddin’s profile and some 4.2 data.
Rawr claims that 1047 Spellpower from Flame Tongue Weapon is equal to 565,38 dps and 14819 dps of my maximum 26524 dps comes from magical attacks (2656 Flame Tongue, 4830 Lava Lash, 1635 Searing Totem, 982 Earth Shock, 1105 Flame Shock, 1741 Lightning Bolt, 679 Unleash Flame, 1190 Lightning Shield). This includes the 1047 extra spellpower from Flame Tongue and high Mastery values.
If Flame Tongue acts as 5% mastery I’d do 8891 dps, meaning the new Flame tongue would be 445 dps, resulting in a slight loss, but as I understand Flame tongue weapon will increase all magical damage done by 5% (740 dps) which would result in a slight buff, even if you remove a bit damage from the 1000 spell power loss (this calculation was done assuming I’d have 10600 spell power) we’d end up slightly higher. There is also the Mental Quickness change, granting 55% spell power from attack power instead 50% and also 10% more attack power from Unleashed Rage.
This change seems to not have a large effect on enhancement shamans, probably resulting even in a slight buff. On the other hand the 6% spell power from Arcane Brilliance will no longer affect us and the Orc racial Blood Fury will only grant attack power instead of both.
Lava Lash changes
Lava Lash has been slightly adjusted, meaning they moved the +30% (15%/30%) from improved Lava Lash to the base ability, which was buffed from 200% to 260%. The tooltip on Live vs PTR is 300% vs 312% Offhand damage (don’t foget to take off t11 armor, if you want unaltered values), the searing totem mechanic remains untouched. Meaning it is a slight buff to our dps, looking at above numbers it is a 560 dps buff in full t12.
Lava Lash additionally spreads flame shock to 4 targets within 12 yards that aren’t affected by Flame Shock or crowd control, yet. Nevertheless I am a bit puzzled by the change, as they claimed with 4.0 to remove any form of free AoE damage and this seems to be the exact opposite.
No Buff comes without a prize though ….
Wind Shear change
When you look at the Wind Shear change you really have to wonder how out of touch the Devs are with the class. My personal highlight was the claim that all DPS Shamans would use Reverbation … „Wind Shear to restrict the short cooldown version to the DPS shaman (who have the Reverberation talent)„.
But Blizzard Reverbation is NOT IN ANY high end enhancement shamans dps spec, why would we? I suppose any Enhancement Shaman would take Elemental Precision over Reverbation and Fire Nova, especially with Lava Lash spreading Flame Shocks.
While I don’t mind some added responsibility via purging and interrupting it is not a „fun“ job. Instead as enhancement shamans we are interrupters first class … shortest cd, no dps loss while doing it (technically at least) and I did not mind that. But now everyone will expect us to go on like that meaning we will have 1 crap spec with Reverbation and a DPS spec with our DPS Talents and that is pissing me off, to get punished, losing 2 valuable talent points into an ability that isn’t „fun“ to use the first place.
It also means the death of the Enhancement / Resto PvP spec – see my second spec, the only spec that provided some form of survivability.
On top of all that, increasing its cooldown, you’d have to bring Wind Shear on pair with other interrupt, meaning to massively increase its lockdown period, to simply nerf its cooldown is just not enough.
It seems that we will be seing some buffs to our dps due to having higher attack power, a bit more lava lash damage, flame tongue weapon change. Our AoE abilities will become much better by removing the ramp up time. We will also have a few buffs less to worry about, as we no longer need arcane brilliance to shine on meters.
Ont he other end of the equation stands the Wind Shear change. Personally I don’t mind a change to wind shear, but if you do it, do it correct and not in an half assed attempt by some people who apparently have no understanding about raiding as shaman.
What can we do about it? Complain! Give them feedback in these threads US/EU. I did cancel my Account (no worries I do that each patch, you can reactivate at any time) with the remark, „Reverbation is not an Enhancement Shaman Skill, If you change Wind Shear, do it right!“
Anyway, here is a little Video with Transmogrifying, Void Storage, Reforging UI, new Lightning Bolt animation, Lava Lash in action and the first boss in one of the new instances.