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I just decided to create a Twitter account. As I play, I'm just going to post smartassy comments and wry observations as they pop into my head.
I had to choose "wowBaluki" instead of just "Baluki" because that name is already taken. Maybe I'll be able to obtain it eventually, but it's not that important.
You can either continue visiting this blog to see my Twitter comments, or follow me there on Twitter itself. Or, you can follow me on Facebook, because all my comments are going there too.
Vaneras just announced a huge list of changes being made to the shaman class on the official forums, and holy crap. There are a lot of really interesting and really cool changes and additions being made. As always, here is my analysis and commentary on the changes.
Primal Strike (available at level 3): Primal Strike is a new weapon-based attack that every shaman will learn very early in the game. Our goal with this ability is to make leveling as Enhancement rather than as Elemental more viable, since many key Enhancement talents become available at fairly high levels.I hadn't really noticed, but if you're leveling as Enhancement, there's not much for you to do besides shock and auto-attack until lvl 40, when you get Stormstrike. It would be nice to know what Primal Strike actually does (probably just a slightly different version of Stormstrike), but we'll find out eventually.
It's the intention of Primal Strike to let shaman play as an Enhancement at low levels. Currently when leveling in this spec, you end up just using Lightning Bolt a lot so you feel like an Elemental shaman instead. At a higher level, Primal Strike gets replaced by Storm Strike. They share a cooldown so Enhancement just won’t ever use Primal Strike after that, in the same way that Prot warriors don’t use Sunder Armor once they have Devastate or Feral druids don’t use Claw once they get Mangle.
Healing Wave (level 4): While the shaman already has an ability called Healing Wave, we’re adding another spell to the class’s direct-healing arsenal and giving it a familiar name. The current Healing Wave will be renamed Greater Healing Wave, and the intent is for the “new” Healing Wave to be the shaman’s go-to heal. Lesser Healing Wave and Greater Healing Wave will be used on a more situational basis.Ok...interesting. I guess this is Blizzard's answer to the problem that downranking spells used to solve. This will give us a way to cast a medium-sized, mana-efficient spell instead of a quick, expensive spell (LHW) or a huge, expensive (though worth it) spell (GHW). And from what else I've been seeing, it looks like other healer classes will be getting similar medium-range heals.
Unleash Weapon (level 81): Unleashes the power of your weapon enchants for additional effects (see below). A dual-wielding Enhancement shaman will activate the effects of both of their weapon enchants. Instant cast. 30-yard range. 15-second cooldown. Undispellable.Looks like this will make spell rotations much more interesting, even if it is basically just a version of Paladin Judgments. Overall, a pretty cool addition, especially for Enhancement.
Here are a few examples of effects we’re considering for this ability:
- Windfury Weapon – Hurls a spectral version of your weapon at a target, dealing 50% weapon damage and increasing the shaman’s Haste for the next five swings.
- Flametongue Weapon – Deals instant Fire damage and buffs the shaman’s next Fire attack by 20%.
- Earthliving Weapon – Heals the target slightly and buffs the shaman’s next healing spell by 20%.
Healing Rain (level 83): An area-effect heal-over-time (HoT) spell that calls down rain in a selected area, healing all players within it. There is no limit to the number of players who can potentially be affected; however, there are diminishing returns when healing a large number of targets, much like the diminishing returns associated with AoE damage spells. This should give Restoration shaman another healing tool that improves their group-healing and heal-over-time capabilities. 2-second cast time. 30-yard range. 10-second duration. 10-second cooldown.Wow, that's pretty cool. So it's basically a healing version of Flamestrike, or an easier-to-use (but probably weaker) version of Tranquility.
Spiritwalker’s Grace (level 85): When this self-targeted buff is active, your spells are no longer interrupted by movement and possibly even by your own attacks. This will give shaman of all three specs another way to heal or do damage when it’s necessary to move in both PvE and PvP. Instant cast. 10-second duration. 2-minute cooldown.Whoa, really? That's huge. Being able to gun and run from time to time (or heal and run away, which would be very useful for me) is going to be a major asset for us shamans. This'll be a big help for fighting meleers in PvP, and for boss battles that require a lot of moving around.
Restoration shaman and other healing classes will need to pay attention to mana more than they’ve had to during Wrath of the Lich King. Spirit will be the Restoration shaman's primary mana-regeneration stat.This is something we've known about for a while, of course. Personally, I think Blizz has let mana regen become too powerful in WotLK, to the point that you don't really have to worry about it anymore. I purposely avoid any MP5 gear, and I've gotten rid of mana-regen talents, because they're just not useful anymore. I should be ending boss fights with most of my mana gone, not at 50% or so like I do now.
We’re making changes to which classes and specs are able to dispel magic, diseases, curses, and poison, largely for PvP purposes. Shaman will have Cleanse Spirit as a baseline ability, but it will only remove curses. Restoration shaman will have a talent that will improve Cleanse Spirit so that it also removes magic. Shaman will no longer be able to remove poison.Oh crap. I don't like this at all. I feel like Cleansing Totem is the one thing that keeps me from being a guaranteed kill for rogues and death knights right now. Removing my ability to remove ANY poisons or diseases is going to be very bad. Spiritwalker's Grace will help a little bit, but as soon as a rogue or DK gets in my face, I'll still be extremely likely to die. And I can only Thunderstorm once every 45 seconds.
Cleansing Totem will be removed from the game, as we want dispels to be a decision for players, not something done mindlessly. To that end, all dispels will cost slightly more mana, and you will waste the spell if you cast it when there is nothing to remove. (Currently, the dispel is only cast when there is something to remove, which encourages spamming “just in case.”) We will balance PvE dispelling with this new model in mind.
Totem of Wrath now will replace Flametongue Totem for all shaman, and dropping this totem will buff the group’s spell power by 4%. Elemental shaman will have a talent that lets all Fire totems provide +10% spell power, allowing them to drop Searing, Magma, or Fire Elemental Totems without losing their spell-damage buff. The 4% and 10% buffs will be exclusive with each other and with the warlock’s Demonic Pact, so you can’t benefit from all of them at once. We’re also considering letting Elemental drop Searing Totem at range.Finally. This is a huge boost for us Elementals. It's always been a tradeoff between buffing the group with ToW and doing more damage with totems, and now we'll be able to do both at once. I'm sure it also means that we're losing the crit debuff it provides, but that's not unexpected.
We want to free up Enhancement global cooldowns to make the spec more dynamic to play. We’re considering, for example, increasing the cooldown of Lava Lash so shaman have time to work other interesting abilities into their rotation.Ok, sure. If they're increasing the cooldown on LL, I'm sure they're also increasing its damage, because I doubt that they want to weaken the spell.
Elemental Reach will be simplified so shaman have a more consistent spell range.Sounds fine. This probably means that Flame Shock's sniper-like range will be reduced a bit, but whatever.
We plan to add Earthquake as a deep Elemental talent for targeted and persistent AoE.Hell yes. I've been hoping to get Earthquake for a long time now (it was a Far-Seer spell in WC3). However, AoE isn't really a problem for us anymore, thanks to how powerful Magma Totem and Fire Nova are. It would need to have a good secondary effect (like a knockdown or something). Still, it'd be nice to be able to do AoE without having to step into the fray to drop the totem (besides what's already offered by Chain Lightning).
Spirit Link will likely be worked back into deep Restoration in some form. The idea is that you will be able to link targets together so they share damage. When we had previously tried to implement Spirit Link, it was hard to balance and a little confusing. However, we really liked the concept -- and so did players -- so we are trying to bring it back.Hell yes. Another classic WC3 ability. I was really disappointed when they removed it during the WotLK beta, but it sounds like they're really going to be able to do it this time.
Elemental will have a deep talent that allows Spirit (which will appear on the gear they share with Restoration shaman) to boost their Hit rating.Yea, we've known about this one for a while too. A good change, but I wonder if we're going to wind up with as much Spirit on gear as we have MP5 on gear now, and what'll happen once we reach the Hit cap. I guess that's where Reforging becomes useful. Also, how the hell are Elemental and Enhancement going to regen mana?
Enhancing Totems will be replaced with Focused Strikes, which will improve the damage of the new spell Primal Strike and Stormstrike.Ok, sure. I'm not sure where the buff from ET is going. It's probably just being eliminated, so that Shamans and Death Knights can provide the same quality of buff (from Horn of Winter) no matter what. Sounds like Blizz is trying to get rid of most instances where different buffs of different qualities clash.
With the Mastery system, we’re also considering removing a number of talents that grant passive bonuses, such as Mental Quickness, Improved Windfury Totem, Mental Dexterity, Call of Thunder, Tidal Mastery, Purification, Nature’s Blessing, and others, to allow players more freedom to choose more interesting talents.Sounds good. Those talents are boring, and Blizz wants to make talents more interesting. However, they're going to have to add a lot of replacements, otherwise players will be able to get all the talents they want without having to put much thought into their choices.
Not much to say here, except that I really like the Mastery system, and I really like Deep Healing. Also, Lightning Overload will provide a boost to Elemental Overload instead of what it does now.
Elemental Overload: Your direct-damage spells have a chance to proc a less powerful “bonus" version of the spell. This will work much like the current Lightning Overload talent, but would also apply to Lava Burst.
Nature Damage: This will provide a passive bonus to the Nature damage dealt by the Enhancement shaman.
Meditation: The amount of mana you regenerate in combat as a function of your Spirit.
Deep Healing: Your direct heals will do more healing when the target’s health is lower. This will scale to damage (e.g. someone at 29% health would receive more healing than someone at 30%) rather than have arbitrary break points.
The Cataclysm is a time of great upheaval. Deathwing’s return to Azeroth tore a hole in the fabric of the universe that tragically resulted in the ultimate and irrevocable destruction of all Sentry Totems. Level designers are contemplating a shrine for the Sentry Totem near that of Uther the Lightbringer. We know shaman players will greet this news with grief, but as with all class changes we’ll have to get into beta before anything is final.What? We still have Sentry Totem?
Anybody who’s ever been to the Forge of Souls has probably seen Bronjahm, the Godfather of Souls. And anybody with a brain in their head will probably be able to figure out that Bronjahm is really a tribute to James Brown, the Godfather of Soul.
But what’s really cool is just how much work Blizzard put into this boss character. In addition to looking like James Brown and making a lot of James Brown-style noises (“Wabadoooo”) look at his loot tables:
Then, of course, there’s the music that plays when you fight him. If you’re like me and have the music turned off, you probably missed this. Just type it into the game and listen.
I love Blizzard.
As many of you probably already know, in the next expansion, the existing races will have one or two new class options (except Draenei, who already have plenty). Many of the new options make sense from a lore perspective, but some of them are a little…odd. So I thought I’d try my hand at explaining some of the choices, to try to peer into the minds of Blizzard’s loremasters and try to understand why they are allowing these options now.
Orcs already have a strong proficiency at wielding various types of magic. As shamans, they can command the elements: lightning, fire, frost, and so on. As warlocks, they can use demonic magic. It makes sense that they would learn to use arcane magic from the blood elves, who share a similar demonic taint. The orcs don’t have an aversion to the arcane like the Tauren do.
This change relates more to the marksman/ranger aspect of Hunters than the beastmaster aspect. The ranger tradition is probably being pushed by the Forsaken’s own leader, Sylvannas Windrunner, the former Ranger-General of Quel’Thalas. That also explains all the Dark Rangers we’ve been seeing all over Northrend. There’s also Nathanos Blightcaller, another former Ranger-General (who was once human).
These ones make much less sense to me, but probably because the lore is still being written for this.
Regarding paladins, about all we know about tauren becoming paladins comes from the story of Aponi Brightmane, and there’s not much there. The tauren race has never been able to use the Holy Light like normal paladins and priests, and they certainly aren’t going to siphon it from a captured Naaru like the blood elves used to. Apparently, tauren paladins will be called “Sunwalkers”, and will draw their power from their sun god (An’she), just as druids draw some of their powers from the moon god (Mu’sha/Elune). It seems likely that Brightmane will become the first of the Sunwalkers when the Cataclysm comes.
Tauren priests probably won’t use the Holy Light either, and will probably also derive their powers from the Sun, like night elf priests draw their powers from the moon. Still too early to say on a lot of this though, an I hope Blizz adds lots of neat new lore on this subject.
First, the trolls have always had an affinity with nature and the arcane, and traditionally they’ve lived in forest and wilderness areas. Further, shapeshifting is something that many powerful trolls can do – just look at many of the bosses in troll-based dungeons. However, the Darkspear tribe (which is the tribe that all Horde trolls belong to) is much more island-based, so they probably have lost those magic traditions. It makes sense that the tauren have probably taught them the druidic arts, and that the trolls have taken so easily to them.
This one’s a no-brainer. If you can swing a weapon, you can be a warrior (though I still think that gnome warriors are ridiculous). The only reason why there haven’t been any blood elf warriors so far (from a lore perspective, at least) is because they all became Blood Knights (paladins). Now that the blood elves have mellowed a little, the appeal of forcibly drawing martial power from the Holy Light probably seems less appealing to many elves.
I had forgotten that humans haven’t been able to be hunters yet. It makes pretty obvious sense though: we’ve seen plenty of human hunters in Grizzly Hills, after all. Maybe the High Elves have been teaching them the art of the hunter, or something. Not much to say on this one, I guess.
In Northrend, we’ve gotten to see that the dwarves once had a great affinity with the natural elements of the world, especially since they themselves came from the stone. Essentially, dwarf mages and shamans have rediscovered lost aptitudes, and will be able to wield the elements once more. I guess they’ve learned to wield the arcane somewhere else.
This one goes very deep into elven history. Arcane magic is what transformed the night elves into their current form (from trolls), so has always been a part of them. After they nearly destroyed Azeroth in the Sundering, they gave up arcane magic and switched to druidism. Obviously, some of them are overcoming the taboo against the arcane, especially since the night elves now have regular contact with other cultures who use arcane magic freely. Like the dwarves, they’re learning to use it once again.
Gnomes can basically do whatever they want, and they’re willing to try anything. There’s no reason why gnomes couldn’t be priests, besides just being uninterested in it. Perhaps they now see how useful it can be to be able to heal others with magic.
The Goblins and the Worgen are very versatile races, and most of their class choices make a lot of sense. The defining characteristics of a race seem to come from whether they can be a druid, paladin, or shaman.
Goblins can’t be druids of course, since they clearly have no affinity for nature – they view nature as being there for the taking. They also can’t be paladins, since they’re far too undisciplined and crazy. But I wonder why they can be priests and shamans. I suppose they’re especially good at commanding various magical forces to do their bidding (like a warlock), and probably don’t bother to “ask” like shamans and priests traditionally do.
Worgen are naturally proficient at shapeshifting, which makes them naturally good at druidism. They, like humans, have no shamanistic tradition, and the Worgen Curse probably prevents them from accessing the Holy Light in ways that the humans do. In fact, they may even be drawing their powers from Elune light the night elves do, since it’s the night elves who save them from their curse.
Ok, there’s a lot of unfounded speculation there, but I was surprised by how much lore was available to support these conclusions. We’ll see if I’m right eventually, I’m sure.
Two days ago, I was at the meeting. Everyone was gathered in a circle in the center of the room. When it was my turn to speak, I proudly proclaimed, “My name is Baluki, and I’m a WoWaholic. (“Hi Baluki”) It has been 5 months since I last played.” Applause. But now it’s all undone. Yesterday, I reactivated my account.
That’s a lie, of course. My name isn’t really Baluki, and I don’t think I was ever addicted to WoW. I can quit any time I want to, dammit! I stopped playing because I was bored with doing dailies and because I didn’t have time to do dungeons anymore.
But I felt like playing again to test out the new Dungeon Finder, which I’ve heard is very good. And it is. Oh, how it is. Yesterday, I stepped into Trial of the Champion, Halls of Lightning, and Utgarde Pinnacle for the first time, and blew through them all easily. Once I was sure that my skills (such as they are) were still intact (and of course they are – I’ve been playing this game for 5 years) I jumped into The Nexus on Heroic mode.
Four dungeons in 3 hours. FOUR! This Dungeon Finder is amazing. Especially the random dungeon mode. The worst part about doing dungeons previously was just finding a group. “Hey, do you want to do a dungeon?” “Oh sure, which one?” “How about X?” “Nah, not that one.” “Do we have a tank?” “No.” [Three hours pass.] “Hey, I found a healer. But he wants to bring his undergeared rogue friend.” “Well, maybe I’ll hop on my Death Knight and try to tank.” Bleh.
I’m going to be playing a lot more often now.
Unfortunately, at this time I have no guild, and most of my old friends are gone – quit, or transferred. Fortunately I saw Heif and Rev on last night, and I hope it’s still them playing their characters. I’m trying to get a friend of mine to stop server-hopping and settle on mine, so we’ll see how that goes.
Here’s my model viewer, in case you want to see how horrible my gear is. Yes, I’m rocking the dungeons in PvP gear.