Shamantastic: Patch 4.0 and Shaman Talk
Posted by Jerich on 20 October 2010
Finally, I have a little time to play WoW, which means, wabam, I have time to attempt to entertain you all with information you’ve heard a thousand times! I bet you haven’t gotten a sub-max level opinion on the changes though, so I’ll put some of that in this post too. As a short side story, I was in-game earlier and the world shook. My friend genuinely thought that I was using earthquake and he had just gotten back into WoW so he wasn’t aware of the world effects. The caption of the picture says the rest, heh heh. Anyway, aside from daft guild members and loads of ridiculous homework (can you believe I’m on academic alert for failing a midterm because they wouldn’t reschedule the study session to avoid my three hours of meetings and classes? ) let’s get to some meaty, shamany content.
So perhaps the first thing to do is discuss the new spells that I’ve found in my spellbook. However, before we get into that, while I was gone from blogging for a bit, Jinra took a wild leap into strange new territory and tried out enhancement. I’m pleased, to say the least, though that was pre-4.0 and I switched back to elemental after the patch came in favor of some lava blasting and checking out the new talents in familiar territory. Speaking of which, I’m finished beating around the bush. On to the talents!
I like images, so I’m going to try using more visuals in this post to see if it fits well. Here we go. Jinra is level 66 right now, so this is her talent tree for elemental:
So there are quite a few new things here, some of which are a little confusing and some of which are awesome and straightforward. It’s like there was never anything straightforward before. Teehee. The first thing I want to look at is this new fangled lightnin’ shield that appears to be the new elemental shield. First, in going with our picture theme, lets look at the tooltips conveniently here.
So these are the same old shield we’re used to. The lightning shield, in history preferred by the enhancement shaman, deals damage on hit, consuming a charge. The water shield, historically preferred by elementalists and restoration shamans, acts in a similar mana, but increases the passive mana regen and gives back a little bit of mana on being struck. Here’s the problem though. Water shield is great for its 48 mp5, but if you’re playing correctly, you shouldn’t be getting hit too much. Obviously I’m not talking about leveling here, and perhaps water shield is still favorable for leveling, but in a raid environment, we use water shield for the mana regen and the odd damage here or there that might give us a little mana back. It certainly wasn’t something to rely on. Now with the advent of this talent, things have changed:
If I understand my spell progression at this level, I should be casting Lightning Bolt more than anything else, since it’s our bread and butter skill and has no cooldown. This means that almost every 2 seconds this ability has a chance to proc. The probability that it will proc is good, all things considered. It’s not 100% but 60% means that more than half of the time I will get that proc. Lets make a sample situation in which this skill may proc. Don’t worry about whether or not it’s the best configuration since I haven’t really had time to test anything else.
LB > LB > LB > FS > ElM > LvB > LB > LB etc.
Probability may not work like this in WoW, but assuming it does, this rotation would give me 5 chances to proc. Standard math dictates that out of these 5 attempts, 3 of them will proc Rolling Thunder. That means a total of 6% mana restored (which I’m going to go ahead and assume is from our total mana, though I’m honestly not sure on this one. Each answer would create a pretty different outcome. I feel like it’s base mana, but for the sake of the discussion, going with total for now) which with my current 7335 will give me 440 mana and I get another charge of lightning to build up for the second half of this awesomeness. Each LB is 2 seconds, FS and ElM are just GCDs and with ElM being cast, LvB becomes just a GCD as well. The last two LB have extra haste on them from ElM, but I’m not sure how to calculate the change in cast time so we’ll assume 1.5 sec for the sake of discussion. That means this rotation takes 13 seconds to complete. So that’s about 440 mana per 13 seconds.
If we use the water shield like normal, we get a static increase 48 mana per 5 seconds which nets us 124 mana every 13 seconds. Obviously there are other factors to consider, but in general, based on the statistics (assuming I haven’t botched up, and if I have please comment and tell me so – I want to have correct info in here), the lightning shield talent is a good choice. Taking a quick look at the talent that inherits privilege from Rolling Thunder:
This doesn’t say exactly how much extra damage it does, so testing would be necessary to figure it out specifically, but this talent is really neat. It keeps your original three charges after consuming and seems to make earth shock a good addition to the priority list for when you’re full up at 9 charges on your shield. I’ll be really interested in finding exactly how much extra damage this does. Next up on the list is Totemic Wrath.
This talent begs the question: do I use Flametongue still or can I now use other sweet fire AoE dps totems? Totemic Wrath appears to apply to the caster as well, so the question really comes down to how much extra DPS you can provide with your AoE fire totems over the flametongue spellpower increase. The 10% takes your total spellpower and adds 10% to it. So for Jinra’s 461 spellpower, Totemic Wrath would give her an extra 46 spellpower with a non-flametongue totem out. I’m testing these things in-game as I come to them and it seems as if Totemic Wrath overwrites Flametongue Totem anyway plus it’s got a wider range and more spellpower increase. So essentially this builds an upgraded version of your flametongue totem into any other fire totem you choose, which gives you greater freedom in choosing AoE flame totems for extra DPS. I like this talent!
The last thing to address in this particular post is the mechanical change of the talent trees. There are two ways to come at this change. The first is from the point of view of the hardcore gamer who is only really concerned with complaining to Blizzard that the game isn’t as hard as it used to be and that they’re nerfing the game to the point of it not being fun anymore. Part of me is in this group so I won’t criticize too much, but it’s clear that Blizzard has higher priorities than creating challenging content. They’re most interested in bolstering their numbers and getting more money from us. A complainer might rail off about how this change is just over simplifying the game. News: the game is changing, and most of us like it.
The second point of view is from the new player who’s played a fair amount. I fit more into this group than any other. We see this as a blessing and are thankful for the simplification. For me, the best part is that on some tiers of our talent tree, there is no option really. One could choose to place points higher up in the tree to unlock lower talents, but the tree is so small already that it’s hard not to fill up what you want without having to take too many sacrifices. I’m a big fan of the tiers that lock you into this; you have to get all of their talents in that tier before you can move on. This provides a more clearcut route for building your talent tree and will help newer players a lot more.
Another great feature is the bonus skills you get when you put your first talent in and choose your spec. Most of these skills didn’t used to be available until much higher level. Placing them at such an accessible level will garner more knowledge of class and how to play your character, an issue that has been around forever. Overall I’m in favor.
That’s all I can cover for today, but perhaps next time around I’ll have tested some more things out and can provide better advice as well as a max level talent tree!