Thursday, July 23, 2009

State of Shamans - 3.2

Well, since I felt pretty terrible this morning, I called in sick and decided to write a post where I could check out the patch notes and take care of one of my promises about upcoming posts. Most of this is going to concern restoration shamans since most of the patch changes apply to that tree.

"Base health increased by approximately 7% to correct for shamans having lower health than other classes."
No one remembers why this was done, all I can say that the increase to fix it ain't enough. That 7% base health works out to around 500 health at level 80. Extra health that won't be helped by any other buffs. I know as ele I don't have a problem with my health in pve, but for enhancement, when I switch on those rare occasions, aoe dmg can smoke you way faster than most other classes. I was hoping to see an increase of more like 15%, or some extra stam on at least the tier gear.

No one remembers why this was done, all I can say that the increase to fix it ain't enough.In general, the increased shock range is beneficial for all the classes, more so for enhancement in pvp, elemental in pve or pvp. The extra 5 yards is never a bad thing. The one concern I have is the changes to earth shock -- "This spell no longer interrupts spell casting, but rather reduces melee attack speed by 10% for 8 seconds (exclusive with similar effects such as Thunder Clap)." While I think that the attack speed debuff isn't a bad idea, I think most people will have trouble using windshock as the solo interrupt where as for so long earth shock has served the dual purposes of damage and interrupt ability. The one nice thing is that they took wind shock off the other shock cooldowns and it remains off of the gcd. This is awesome for allowing both elemental and enhancement shamans to continue a dps rotation while still allowing them the ability to interrupt.

"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." This is ballin' for all specs in pvp. While you can't do anything in this form for the most part, it will allow a large increase of mobility for defensive or offensive purposes. Definitely a nice change.

Finally, the last general great change before moving on to resto shamans is the totem sets. Of course, this is also a slight burden as well. We only get 3 totem sets which means you will still need to have several of your popular/situation totems easy to access. You will probably end up with just 1 set for pve and a couple for pvp that try to counter the most popular comps. At least people will no longer be able to macro kill your important totems -- that's a great pvp change for totems. Even dropping a mana tide and then a stoneclaw to protect it doesn't do much, 2 hits tops from most pets.

  • 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.
    • Cure Poison and Cure Disease: Combined into a single spell, Cure Toxins.
    • Earth Shield: Dispel effects will now remove charges of Earth Shield rather than the entire aura.
    • 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%.
    • Mana Tide Totem: Totem health now equal to 10% of the shaman's health.
    • 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.
    • Nature's Swiftness: Cooldown is now 2 minutes, down from 3 minutes.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    Time for a look at resto specific changes. The ancestral healing should be decent depending on how theory crafters see how it works out. I'm avoiding the ptr as of late so I'm not wasting any time looking at combat logs or anything like that to figure this out. My simple opinion would be a flat 10% reduction in all incoming damage, but that's something Bliz generally avoids so it probably isn't as great as that. At least it will be good for other tanks to gain an extra 10% magic reduction or so from this talent.

    The change from cure poison/disease to toxin just saves a mouseover macro. I suppose it makes it easier for people who can't tell the different on raid frames or something, but really it's not big deal.

    Earth shield only getting dispelled by charges, not the entire thing -- ballin' in pvp. Just absolutely ballin'. Getting a huge mana cost spell just ripped off in pvp sucks. Plain and simple. If anyone on the ptr could let me know if spell steal still takes the whole shield or not, I haven't seen much on it. Mostly because my research time has been cock blocked at work with those damn website filters.

    Mana tide totem -- another pvp change. Specced for maximum health in pvp right now with deadly/furios, I have right around 23k health. This means my mana tide totem ends up with 2300 health. Not very much, but you can still drop a sstoneclaw totem to protect it, so it should get more than a couple ticks off from here on out. Overall, not bad.

    Nature's Swiftness CD reduced -- big whoopty...whatev. I'm sure no one is really all that excited about this.

    The change to tidal waves is interesting. The extra 25% crit gained on a lesser healing wave instead of the haste changes is from a quick lifesaver (sub 1sec dec heal) back to a slower heal, but with probably around a 65% crit chance in a raid setting. The one nice thing is that you can go back to getting haste for output without worrying about your lesser healing wave being faster than the gcd.

    The water shield might be one of my favorite changes. No longer having to refresh water shield to waste a gcd when things get heated and it runs out is a big bonus. Plus the ability for it to proc off of chain heal, that should help the nub ch spammers out a ton for mana longevity. With the increase in the value of mp5, we should be sitting in a lot better place when we are on raid healing -- which leads my to my complaint.

    12.5 Yards for a bounce on chain heal? Only loses 40% instead of 50% of the effectiveness? Super... /sarcasm. The only good thing is that it finally outranges the range meters for raids in Ulduar. It has a chance to possibly actually bounce between ranged. Too bad it's still gonna get the shit sniped out of it by lesser heals that kids love to throw out/max out the meters/then complain about being oom. I would prefer to see it being somewhere in the range of 15-20 yards but I guess beggers can't be choosers. The problem is still that it seems we aren't really great at anything. Holy priests and druids are way better raids healers, holy pallies are still gonna be better mt healers, especially with the ability to put more than 1 beacon on a target, and that beaconed target getting healed for the full heal (effictive + overheal). So where are we? Well, just doin' a little bit of everything.

    Overall, the patch notes for shamans are improvements, there was obviously no need to nerf any of the trees so we weren't going to see that. Were they enough to help out what they were trying to do? I think elemental might benefit the most by not having any direct notes to the patch. We mostly just gain some ground based on problems from other classes. Next, I think resto fared better than enhancement -- if you think I'm wrong don't be afraid to let me know -- but at least they are doing something for us being oom without a mana return.

    B Rab

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