If you haven’t been paying attention to the patch notes for the PTR, you may not know that there’s a lot of goodness coming for us shamans. It’s nice to see Blizzard treating us so nice after years of mediocrity; the last patch had a huge amount of improvements for us, especially for the Elemental tree (yaaay!) and this patch will be giving us extra love, and generally nerfing our enemies. I can’t see anything wrong with that, but that’s over 4 years of playing a shaman speaking.
So. Here we go.
Bloodlust/Heroism: Cooldown reduced to 5 minutes, but Sated and Exhausted now last 10 minutes.
That’s…a little weird. I guess that may be useful for raiding, so you can use BL on every boss attempt. I’m assuming that Sated is removed if you die; I don’t pay that much attention to it.
Earth Elemental Totem: The summoned Earth Elemental should now have significantly more health and slightly more armor.
Fire Elemental Totem: The summoned Fire Elemental should now have moderately more health and mana, and its damage scaling has been increased. In addition, the Fire Elementals spells now cost less mana.
Awesome. I’ve felt like they were underpowered for a while now.
Flametongue Weapon: Bonus damage from spell power now based on weapon speed.Slower weapons will benefit more from spell power.
So, if I understand this right, although the base damage that FT does in melee scales with weapon speed, the bonus it gets from extra spell power it gets doesn’t. In other words, let’s say it’s doing 100 dmg with a fast weapon and 200 dmg with a slow weapon. Previously, let’s say it got 10 extra damage from spell power. With a fast weapon, that’s a 10% boost, but with a slow weapon, that’s only a 5% boost (and these numbers are examples only). This change, if I’m reading it right, will ensure that you get the same percentage boost for fast and slow weapons. Seems like a good change, although I don’t know if this favors slow weapons or penalizes fast weapons.
Frostbrand Weapon: Damage increased by approximately 20%.
Good. Nice to see them making Frostbrand more useful, and this’ll go great with the new Frozen Power talent in the Enhancement tree.
Mana Spring Totem: This totem has been redesigned.It now provides the same mana benefit as Blessing of Wisdom to the entire party or raid, but is exclusive with that effect.
Bah. It makes sense, but I’m really starting to dislike Blizzard’s homogenization policy. What happened to being unique?
Poison Cleansing Totem and Disease Cleansing Totem have been merged into Cleansing Totem. Cleansing Totem pulses every 3 seconds, down from 5.
Hell yes. I’ve been having a hard time deciding between the two totems in PvP, since one is good against rogues and one is good against death knights, my two mortal enemies. Now I can protect against both.
Earthen Power redesigned: Your Earthbind Totem has a 50/100% chance to also remove all snare effects and make you and nearby friendly targets immune to them for 5 seconds when it pulses.
Not really redesigned, but that additional snare immunity is nice.
Flurry: Now provides 5/10/15/20/25% haste instead of 10/15/20/25/30%.
Nerf. Oh well. Hopefully the other changes make up for it.
New Talent: Frozen Power: Increases the damage done by your Lightning Bolt, Chain Lightning, Lava Lash and Shock spells by 5/10% on targets afflicted by your Frostbrand Attack effect, and your Frost Shock has a 50/100% chance to root the target in Ice for 5 seconds when used on targets at or further than 15 yards from you.
Coooooool. Makes Frostbrand worth using, finally. And that root on Frost Shock will be great against runners, and gives Enhance players a much-needed way to close the gap to melee.
Lava Lash now has a new icon.
Hell yes. It’s about time. Seriously, it’s a pretty nice icon.
Spirit Weapons: Now reduces all threat generated by 30%, not just physical attacks.
A good call, since Enhancement is so spell-focused, even moreso after this patch.
Stormstrike charges have been increased by 2, and cooldown reduced by 2 seconds.
So, Imp. Stormstrike is being rolled into the base spell. Nice change. (Remember when SS could only be cast every 30 sec? Ah, memories.)
Improved Stormstrike redesigned: When you Stormstrike, you have a 50/100% chance to immediately grant you 20% of your base mana.
This is pretty nice. Raiders probably won’t care much about this, but it seems like it’ll be nice for PvP and soloing/grouping. I seem to rememer having a hard time with mana during the week that I was Enhance-specced in crappy gear.
Toughness: No longer increases your armor. Instead, this talent now increases your total stamina by 2/4/6/8/10%.
I haven’t crunched any numbers, but this looks like a change that will increase survival across the board, though it’ll naturally make us a little weaker to melee attacks. Seems good.
Unleashed Rage: Reduced to 3 points, down from 5. Now increases your expertise by 3/6/9.
Point decrease AND a buff? Who can complain? Also, note that the expertise only applies to YOU – it’s not part of the buff.
New Talent: Booming Echoes: Reduces the cooldown of your Flame Shock and Frost Shock spells by an additional 1/2 seconds, and increases the direct damage done by your Flame Shock and Frost Shock spells by an additional 10/20%.
This is probably pretty nice for PvP. With this talent and Reverberation, you can get your Flame and Frost shocks down to a 3-second cooldown. The extra damage is nice too, but I don’t think it’ll be very essential for raiders.
Elemental Mastery redesigned: When activated, your next Lightning Bolt, Chain Lightning or Lava Burst spell becomes an instant cast spell. In addition, your Fire, Frost and Nature damage spells have a 15% increased critical strike chance for 15 seconds. Elemental Mastery now shares a cooldown with Natures Swiftness.
Ok, that’s a bit better. The new EM kinda sucks (it was better when it was a guaranteed crit, so I could macro it with Thunderstorm, which is probably why they changed it) so having it be the Elemental version of Nature’s Swiftness is a good choice.
Elemental Reach: Now also increases the range of your Flame Shock spell by 5/10/15 yards.
Just moving the effect to a different, more appropriate talent. Makes sense.
Lava Flows: No longer increases the range of your Flame Shock spell, but now increases your casting speed by 10/20/30% when your Flame Shock spell is dispelled for 6 seconds.
I’ve found it pretty annoying to have my Flame Shock dispelled, making it difficult to land a big Lava Burst crit on my target, so this’ll at least give me a boost in doing so. Not the greatest change in the world, but as long as it’s on something I’m going to be getting anyway, it’s nice.
Lightning Overload: Reduced to 3 points (7/14/20%), down from 5.
Awesome. This talent probably isn’t worth 5 points anymore, since a significant chunk of our damage now comes from Flame Shock/Lava Burst, so it’s nice to see Blizz recognize that. Plus, more points to spend elsewhere!
Storm, Earth and Fire: No longer increases the range of your Earth Shock or Wind Shock spells, but now also causes your Earthbind Totem to have a 33/66/100% chance to root all nearby enemies for 5 seconds when initially cast.
It’ll be a little annoying not having the range on ES and WS (not that I’ve ever had to use WS) but I’ll get over it. The only problem with this change to Earthbind is that my enemies will still be rooted in place right next to me, which is not where I want them to be. Still, combined with Imp. Fire Nova Totem, this gives us 7 seconds of AOE crowd control, which is pretty cool. More, with Thunderstorm. Of course, I’ll probably take this opportunity to drop Imp. Fire Nova, since besides the short stun, it’s basically an obsolete totem now.
Thunderstorm can now be cast while stunned.
HELL YES. TAKE THAT YOU FUCKING ROGUES! NO MORE STUNLOCKING ME TO DEATH!
Ancestral Awakening: This talent now accounts for your ineffective healing, rather than effective.
Uh, what? I think this means that, before this patch, AA was ignoring any overhealing amount and only healing for the amount of actual healing done to the target. In other words, If you cast a 4000hp heal, and your target was only missing 2000hp, AA would only heal for a percentage of 2000hp, not the full power of the heal. Now, it’ll function on the full 4000, otherwise known as Amount Healed + Amount Overhealed.
Ancestral Healing and Healing Grace have swapped places in the Restoration talent tree.
Cleanse Spirit now has a new icon.
Wait a minute, I’m actually against this change. If WoWhead is right, the current icon is a neat magenta swirly glow thing, but the new one is an ugly black & white hand. I call nerf on this.
Mana Tide Totem: This spell no longer costs mana.
I’ve always wondered why we had to spend mana to gain mana. And when will THIS get a new icon?
Restorative Totems: Reduced to 3 points, down from 5. Increases the effect of your Mana Spring Totem by 7/12/20%, and increases the amount healed by your Healing Stream Totem by 15/30/45%.
That’s pretty nice. Not keeping quite as much extra power for MST, but HST is getting a nice buff, in addition to the point reduction.
Riptide: This spell has a new icon.
I like the current purple swirl, but the new icon is nice too, and probably fits the spell better.
Tidal Force: Now has a new spell effect.
Glyph of Earth Shield: Increases the amount healed by your Earth Shield by 20%.
Glyph of Feral Spirit: Your spirit wolves gain an additional 30% of your attack power.
I don’t know if this is good enough to use over other glyphs, but I’m guessing no.
Glyph of Hex: Increases the damage your Hex target can take before the Hex effect is removed by 20%.
I don’t know how much damage a Hexed target can take right now, but I doubt this glyph will raise it above what I can do with a single Lava Burst crit, so it’s worthless to me.
Glyph of Riptide: Increases the duration of Riptide by 6 seconds.
Too bad it still gets removed when you Chain Heal the target. If they eliminated that aspect with this glyph (like Glyph of Flame Shock) it’d be a pretty good glyph.
Glyph of Stoneclaw Totem: Your Stoneclaw Totem also places a damage absorb shield on you, equal to 4 times the strength of the shield it places on your totems.
Whoa. Shaman damage shield! Apparently, this will absorb 4352 damage, and of course it’s castable every 30 seconds. I think I’ve found a new glyph to use. It’ll probably get nerfed.
Glyph of Thunder: Reduces the cooldown on Thunderstorm by 7 seconds.
I love blasting rogues off me as much as the next guy, but there are plenty of better glyphs to use instead.
Glyph of Totem of Wrath: When you cast Totem of Wrath, you gain 30% of the totem's bonus spell power for 5 minutes.
This is kinda nice. 84 extra spell power is nothing to sneeze at, but it’s only worthwhile if you’re dropping ToW every chance you get. Raiders/dungeoneers will probably like this a lot.
Well, there we are. Naturally, these things may change, but we seem to be close to the release of the new patch (my guess is April 14) so hopefully they’re satisfied with most of the changes.