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From Dubiosity (my other blog)

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Now that the Beta is open, there's all sorts of info pouring out onto the internet. Naturally, I've gotta talk about all the new shaman changes, and offer my heavily-biased opinion of them.

Man, this is a huge post.


Totem Changes

First, in case you didn't already know, Totems are no longer considered spells, so you can cast them when silenced. Just wanted to get that out of the way first. Good change.

Oh, and also in case you didn't already know, Totems will now affect the entire raid. FINALLY!

Strength of Earth Totem increases both Strength AND Agility. This is the same as having SoE and GoA out at once. Very nice.

Grace of Air Totem is gone. See Strength of Earth.

Stoneskin Totem now gives a flat Armor bonus instead of a damage-reducer. Not bad, but kinda boring. After all, Paladins, Druids, and Resto Shams already have armor-increasing buffs.

Windwall Totem is gone. Since Stoneskin now affects all physical damage, it makes sense to trash it. And really, who's going to miss it?

Flametongue Totem now does what Wrath of Air Totem does (increases spell damage). This certainly puts it in conflict with Totem of Wrath, not to mention all the other offensive fire totems.

Wrath of Air Totem now increases spell casting speed by 10%. Sweet.

Windfury Totem completely changed. Now increases melee attack speed by 16%. Um, why does melee get 6% more? This also means that Windfury Totem actually does something for US too! I kinda wish they'd change the name though, since it doesn't do the same thing as Windfury Weapon anymore.

Tranquil Air Totem is gone. Good riddance.


Elemental Talent Changes

Elemental Focus now affects healing spells. That's a pretty handy change.

Improved Fire Nova Totem will reduce the movement speed of all affected targets by 75% for 4 seconds, instead of stunning them for 2 seconds. Overall, a pretty good change.

Elemental Shields now reduces all physical damage taken by 6%, instead of reducing your chance to be physically crit by 6%. Interesting change, and it probably adds up to about the same thing in PvP, but now it's useful in PvE too. Nice to have, but still optional in my opinion. Not that every talent NEEDS to be an essential talent.

Elemental Oath has been completely changed, and definitely for the better. Your spell crits cause a 2% reduction in spell mana cost and a 2% increase in spell crit damage for party members for 15 seconds, AND it stacks 3 times. This is proof that Blizzard loves me. This is the Elemental Unleashed Rage I've always hoped for.

Astral Shift now decreases incoming damage by 30% when you're stunned, feared, or silenced. Very cool, and useful in both PvP and PvE (though less so in PvE). Previously, it decreased incoming damage for a few seconds after you've been crit twice in a row, which kinda sucked.

New talent called Paralysis. I'm just going to cut-and paste this.

Paralysis (3/3)
Your Lightning Bolt and Chain Lightning spells gains an additional 10% of your bonus spell damage effects, and your Lightning Bolt has a 15% chance to Paralyze the target, reducing their movement, attack and casting speed by 75%. The target regains 15% of their movement, attack and casting speed each second. Lasts 5 sec.

No, THAT is proof that Blizzard loves me.'s so beautiful.

Unfortunately, they got rid of Lava Flow, which Increases the amount of spell damage gained while having Flametongue Weapon equipped by 5/10/15%, and increases the damage done by your Flame Shock and Lava Burst by 4/8/12%. That's too bad, because I really liked that talent. Hopefully they'll axe Totem of Wrath and put Lava Flow back in.

Overall some amazing changes, with one exception. However, we're still missing +3% to hit, now that Elemental Oath has been changed and Elemental Precision modified. I'm guessing that we'll just have to get used to it.

UPDATE 8/1/08: They're getting rid of Paralysis too. Sigh. I really like that one.


Enhancement Talent Changes

Enhancing Totems now affects Flametongue Totem too, which is cool. But, it's up to 3 points (it's currently at 2) which is understandable. Remember, Grace of Air is being folded into Strength of Earth, which is why it isn't listed anymore. I'll definitely be grabbing this for my Elemental spec.

Shield Spec is gone! Finally!

Improved Weapon Totems is now just Improved Windfury Totem, which should come as no surprise. It increases the attack speed bonus by 4%, bring WFT up to +20% attack speed.

Improved Shamanistic Rage is gone. And in its place is...

Spectral Transformation
You have a 50/100% chance to remove all movement impairing effects when you transform into a Ghost Wolf, and your Spirit Wolves to have a 50/100% chance to be immune to all stun, snare and movement Impairing effects when summoned.

Not bad. I can definitely see it getting changed though. We still have no idea what these wolves do.

Here's another new one. This replaces a confusing and mostly uninteresting talent that I can't even remember the name of.

Maelstrom Weapon
When you critically hit with a melee weapon, you reduce the cast time of your next Lightning Bolt, Chain Lightning or Lava Burst spell by 4/8/12/16/20%. Stacks up to 5 times. Lasts 15 seconds.

So, insta-cast nukes from Enhance shammies? Interesting idea.


Restoration Talent Changes

Totemic Focus is now a Tier 1 talent, swapping places with Tidal Focus. THANK YOU BLIZZARD! Any interest in making Tidal Mastery a Tier 1 talent? How about Nature's Swiftness?

Ooooh, Nature's Guidance is gone. Interesting. Now we're down by 6% spell hit and 3% melee hit.

Improved Water Shield is new. Activates a water globe every time you crit with LHW or HW. Cool, but this should really grant more charges too, since it's going to be a hassle recasting it all the time.

Spirit Link is now percentage-based, and won't break after a certain amount of damage is distributed.

You link the friendly target with up to two nearby friendly targets, causing 50% of any damage taken to be distributed to the linked targets. If any target takes a blow greater than 30% of their health, or shared damage would reduce a target's health below 20%, the link is broken. You can only have one link active at a time.

It's a bit confusing, but as far as I can tell, that means you won't have to keep recasting it, which is cool. Although, it seems like that 30% limit would make it worthless for a lot of boss fights. Maybe I'm wrong.



I had ideas for this section, but I've either forgotten them or I've figured out that they're actually pretty bad suggestions. So, my only one:

Lava Flow talent
Put it back in! Please!


All in all, some amazing changes. I can't wait to play it.



Sorry about my absense lately, folks. I've been pretty broke, and so I'm taking a break from WoW.

I'm definitely coming back, of course. If not in the next few weeks, then definitely for WotLK. I'm probably more likely to come back in 2 or 3 weeks.

So, what have I been up to besides that? I've been playing a few other games; I tried out Dungeons & Dragons Online (with the free 10-day trial) and it's pretty cool. Very well made, pretty fun, but it's just not as great as WoW. Or, tabletop D&D. I play D&D with a group of friends every few weeks (when our work schedules line up) for about a year now, and the best part of the game is definitely making fun of your friends and fucking with the DM the whole time. We take turns DMing, so everyone has the chance to be ridiculed.

I also just got a copy of Diablo 2 from a friend to try. Can you believe I've never played it? So far, my favorite character is the Sorceress (who wields Fire, Frost, and Lightning...sound familiar?).

I also got back into class for the summer, which is going well so far. One more quarter after this, and I'll finally have an Associate's degree.


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Oooh, at last. The new Shaman talents and spells have been leaked. I'm going to go through them and explain what I like (nearly all of it) and what I don't (almost none of it). Keep in mind that this stuff WILL change. Some stuff will be buffed/nerfed, some will be reworked, some will be removed completely, and some will be added in the future. This stuff is from a very early version of the expansion, and we're not even supposed to be able to see it yet.

UPDATE 6/27/08: I've updated this post with My Concerns. You can read them at the bottom of the post.

New Spells

Lava Burst - You hurl molten lava at the target, dealing 888 to 1132 Fire damage. If Flame Shock is on the target, Lava Burst will consume the Flame Shock, causing Lava Burst to critically hit. 2-second cast time, 8 second cooldown, 30-yard range.

At last, we get a new nuke, which looks pretty awesome. This spell will ensure that we use Flame Shock a lot more often, which itself will be much more powerful thanks to new Elemental talents. Rather than doing nothing but shoot lightning bolts at our targets (in dungeons, at least), we'll most likely be getting new spell rotations ensuring that Flame Shock is always up, using Lava Burst when it's ready, and Lightning Bolting in between. And of course the guaranteed crit will probably proc Elemental Focus.

My Verdict (so far): Great

Hex - Transforms the enemy into a random critter, reducing the target's movement speed by 75%. While moving, the hexed target cannot attack or cast spells. Only one target can be hexed at a time. Only works on Humanoids and Beasts. 0.5 sec cast, 1 minute cooldown, 20-yard range.

Finally, CC! Basically a mini-Polymorph, but it gives the target the ability to try to run away (not that they'll be doing it very quickly). The only problem is that I don't know how long they stay hexed. I get the feeling that it'll only be a few seconds, which would be unfortunate. It would be nice to have a longer (or more frequently castable) hex so we can provide some more reliable CC in dungeons.

UPDATE 6/27/08: There's a video of this spell in use on the site linked at the bottom of this post. Looks like it's about 8 seconds long. Not too bad. Also, the critter is a frog, but there are probably others.

My Verdict: Ok/Great (Depends on how long the hex effect is.)

Earthliving Weapon - Imbue the Shaman's weapon with earthen life. Increases healing done by {50} (scales with level) and each heal has a 20% chance to proc Earthliving on the target, healing an additional 180 over 6 seconds.

Cool, a new weapon buff for healers! The flat stat increase is nice, but getting a new HoT along with it is pretty cool too. I've got nothing bad to say about this.

My Verdict: Great

New 51-Point Talents

Thunder (Elemental) - You call down a bolt of lighting, energizing you and damaging nearby enemies within 10 yards. Restores 5% mana to you and deals 595 to 679 nature damage to all nearby enemies, knocking them back 20 yards. Instant cast, 45 sec cooldown.

This is pretty cool. Finally, a way to get rogues off my ass in PvP. And it's pretty cool to see a knockback effect on one of our spells. Also, it's nice to have another AOE spell. I can see this being fun to use with Fire Nova Totem (especially with the new talent-based stun effect) and it'll also be nice for protecting allies. The mana-restoring aspect is kinda weird, but I certainly won't complain. My only issue is that it seems to be primarily a PvP talent. Not that that's a bad thing.

My Verdict: Pretty Good

Feral Spirit (Enhancement) - Summons 2 Spirit Wolves under the command of the Shaman, lasting 30 sec.

Heh, after all the complaining we did when it was announced before BC came out that we'd be able to summon elementals but not spirit wolves, in a way this sounds like Blizzard's way of saying "fine, HERE are your fucking spirit wolves!" Not that they've necessarily short-changed us. Unfortunately, there's not any other info that I've been able to find on the subject. It'd be nice to know what the wolves do, what the cooldown is, or even what color they are (I hope they're black and purple like they were in WC3). Hopefully they do more than just attack stuff.

My Verdict: Who Knows?

Spirit Link (Restoration) - You link the friendly target with two nearby targets, causing 50% of the damage taken to be distributed to the linked targets. After 2200 damage, the link will sever. Instant cast, cooldown unknown.

Yay, another WC3 spell! This looks like it'll be the new Tank's Best Friend. I can see a lot of potential for griefing though, since it makes the two people nearest to the target to take more damage. Maybe it's not that big of an issue (especially since the max damage that anyone will take will be 550). And frankly, the damage absorbed seems a bit low; maybe instead of expiring after 2200 damage, it should use up charges each time damage is absorbed. Then again, that would make it much less useful when fighting fast-damaging opponents (part of which can be mitigated with Stoneskin Totem). It's an interesting problem, if it is a problem at all.

My Verdict: Love it, shows promise, but may need some work

New Talents

Elemental Oath (Elemental) - Increases chance to hit with all spells by 50/100% when Elemental Focus or Elemental Mastery is active.

Considering that shamans are so crit-happy, and that any well-geared shaman generally has Elemental Focus active most of the time in a fight, this is quite a boost. In fact, it'll probably get nerfed, even considering that they nerfed Elemental Precision down to +3% spell hit (from 6%). Also, Elemental Focus and Elemental Mastery are required to get it.

My Verdict: Sounds pretty good.

Astral Shift (Elemental) - When you are critically hit twice in a row, you have a 33/66/100% chance to shift into the Astra Plane, causing you to be immune to all physical damage for 3 sec. This effect has a 30 second cooldown.

This will be our third talent that only works when we get crit on. I don't like any of them. For starters, they're basically PvP-only. We get crit so little in PvE that it's often a surprise to see them proc. I think they all need to be reworked so they're valid in all (or most) areas of the game, not just PvP, not just Raids (I'm looking at you, Totem of Wrath).

So, how do we fix it? How about changing it so that it activates when you take a certain amount of damage within a certain amount of time? Say, when you lose 40% of your health within 3 seconds? Also, the cooldown seems too long, and/or the duration of the immunity seems too short. Even then, it doesn't seem great.

My Verdict: Needs major work done

Lava Flow (Elemental) - Increases the amount of spell damage gained while having Flametongue Weapon equipped by 5/10/15%, and increases the damage done by your Flame Shock and Lava Burst by 4/8/12%.

This talent (and the next) makes Flame Shock a serious threat to your enemies. For a long time now, its use has been optional, but now it'll be essential. And of course, making Lava Burst more effective is a no-brainer.

But wait, what's this about Flametongue? Sounds to me like it's getting changed to give extra spell damage, which is quite nice. I wonder if they'll do anything for Frostbrand and Rockbiter too, since those are so rarely used.

Verdict: Great

Storm, Earth, and Fire (Elemental) - Your Frost Shock has a 5/10/15/20/25% chance to root the target in frozen ice for 2 sec., your Earth Shock's range is increased by 1/2/3/4/5 yards and the periodic damage done by your Flame Shock is increased by 20/40/60/80/100%.

Wow, that's quite a talent. Let's break it down by element.
Storm - I guess that's Frost Shock. It's nice that we're getting so many forms of CC now, but 2 seconds from a spell that can only be cast every 5-6 seconds seems a little weak, especially considering how many ways a Frost Mage has to freeze you. Other than that, I like it.
Earth - Boring, but decent.
Fire - Wow, that's really nice. That'll definitely make me use Flame Shock way more, AND it gives me synergy with Lava Burst. Plus, with the Lava Flow talent, it makes the combination of Flame Shock and Lava Burst VERY potent. I'd take this talent even if it didn't have the Storm and Earth parts.

My Verdict: Great, but needs some minor changes.

Mental Dexterity (Enhancement) - Increases your Attack Power by 33/66/100% of your Intellect.

That's a pretty significant chunk of AP there, and will definitely help to make Hunter gear more viable for Enhance shamans. Also, it basically makes Ancestral Knowledge essential, since it affects Intellect now. It's interesting that this is a 3rd-tier talent, which will no doubt make it easier for Resto shamans to operate while soloing.

Improved Stormstrike (Enhancement) - Increases the number of Stormstrike charges by 1/2, and decreases the cooldown by 1/2 seconds.

Can't go wrong here. I'm especially happy with this, because it means that when I'm grouped with an Enhance shaman, he won't be gobbling up all the SS charges with his piddly little Earth Shocks, so I can use some of them for my massive Lightning Bolts.

The Rest (Enhancement)

Look, I don't feel like running down the rest of these Enhancement talents. They all look good to me, but I literally haven't been Enhance-specced in years.

Cleanse Spirit (Restoration) - Remove 1 disease, 1 poison, and 1 curse from the target.

Not exactly original, but it's nice, and will give Restos some extra efficiency when fighting rogues, death knights, and now warlocks.

Verdict: Good!

Blessing of the Eternals (Restoration) - Increases spell crit by 2/4%, and bonus +heal from Earthliving Weapon by 5/10%.

That extra crit will be nice to have, since Resto is going to be so much more focused on crits now (see Ancestral Awakening).

Verdict: Pretty good

Ancestral Awakening (Restoration) - When Healing Wave or Lesser Healing Wave crit, an Ancestral Spirit heals the nearest friendly target for 20/40/60% of the amount healed initially.

Wow, this is awesome. I bet that amount is nerfed, but it's still a very useful talent, and will likely make Restos hoard crit gear a lot more than they do now. I sure hope you get to actually see the spirit when it heals. I can imagine seeing shamans standing in the back healing, with a spirit standing next to them occasionally. Neat.

Verdict: Awesome.

Improved Earth Shield (Restoration) - Increases the number of charges by 1/2, and increases the healing done by 5/10%.

All in all, a good talent. However, it doesn't matter how many charges it has if someone comes along and just purges it off of you. It needs a purge-resistance element, like "reduces chance that ES will be purged by 25/50%".

Verdict: Missing something.

...and Tidal Waves looks fine.

Changed Talents

  • Earth's Grasp moved from Tier 2 to Tier 1. Still sucks.
  • Convection now 3 points, down from 5, same bonus!
  • Call of Flame affects Lava Burst now.
  • Elemental Devastation moved from Tier 4 to Tier 2.
  • Elemental Focus now required for Elemental Fury. Still the best 2 points you'll ever spend.
  • Improved Fire Totems now Improved Fire Nova Totem. Gives 50/100% chance to stun ALL affected for 2 seconds! Magma Totem threat reduction element removed (hopefully they'll reduce its base threat).
  • Storm Reach also increases radius of Thunder spell by 10/20%.
  • Elemental Precision nerfed to +1/2/3% spell hit, from 2/4/6%. See Elemental Oath. Also, threat reduction TRIPLED to 10/20/30%, from 4/7/10%.
  • Lightning Overload no longer required for Totem of Wrath.
  • Enhancing Totems moved from Tier 3 to Tier 1.
  • Improved Lightning Shield renamed Improved Elemental Shields, moved from Tier 2 to Tier 1. Now affects Water and Earth Shield as well.
  • Shield Specialization is STILL THERE. Now down from 5 points to 2. Chance to block up to 10% from 5%, amount blocked down from 25% to 20%.
  • Healing Focus reduced from 5 points to 3. Same bonus.


My Concerns

Elemental's PvP Emphasis
I know a lot of people think that the Elemental tree is primarily meant for PvP, but I don't agree. Of course, the signs are certainly pointing in that direction. The new talents Astral Shift and Thunder, along with Elemental Shields and Eye of the Storm, are mostly or entirely useful only in PvP. However, there are also the PvE abilities like Totem of Wrath, Unrelenting Storm, and Elemental Precision that point to the idea that Blizzard wants the tree to be viable for dungeons too.

So...where are the new PvE talents? The Elemental tree still lacks a way for players to buff the group differently from other shamans, besides Totem of Wrath (which is still only good for raiding). Elemental needs its own Unleashed Rage: an ability that triggers when damage is dealt and buffs the whole group in a meaningful way. Or, its own Stormstrike: an ability that causes a meaningful debuff on the enemy.

Here are some random suggestions:

Thunder seems like it'll be useful for protecting an ally for a couple seconds when they draw aggro. How about giving it an AOE aggro-reduction for all allies within its effective radius (10 yards) based on a percentage of the damage dealt?

Eye of the Storm should give you a constant chance to avoid interruption instead of being a crit-activated ability. That would make it useful in both PvP and PvE.

Make Astral Shift a self-activated ability. The affect should probably be nerfed, of course. Say, 50% physical damage reduction for 5 seconds.

We could use a talent that buffs Wrath of Air Totem. Enhancement has 3 ways to buff useful Enhance totems, Resto has Restorative Totems. Sure, we can make our damage-dealing Elemental totems more powerful, but that's about it. Personally, I think Totem of Wrath should be eliminated and replaced with something like this:

Totem of Wrath (3 points)
Your Wrath of Air Totem's effectiveness is increased by 10/20/30%. In addition, it increases your group's chance to hit and critically hit with spells by 1/2/3%.

Elemental Shields is decent for PvP, but how about making it reduce damage taken over a certain percentage of your total health? Like this:

Elemental Shields (3 points)
If any incoming damage exceeds 25% of your total health, it will be reduced by 10/20/30%.

Lava Burst is pretty cool, but I think it could be even better if they gave it a debuff ability when it "eats" your Flame Shock. Something like this:

Lava Burst
You hurl molten lava at the target, dealing 888 to 1132 Fire damage. If Flame Shock is on the target, Lava Burst will consume the Flame Shock, causing the Lava Shock effect, which decreases [armor/spell resistance/attack speed/casting speed] on the target for 8 seconds.

Those may be a bit strong, but you get the idea.


Well, that's it for now. I'm sure I'll think of more stuff to talk about in the future.

[WotLK Information Wiki]