Shamantastic: On Mana and other things

I’m usually not one to complain when my class and spec has become badass, but I’d love to avoid paladins whining and other classes sobbing over their classes being broken and the lack of delivery on that promised pony… However I suppose this isn’t a complaint but more of a glance at what’s going on with Elemental Shamans. Let me reiterate first that they are badass.Aside from the sheer badassery there are a few things going on that perhaps should be toned down:

Lightning Shield

I love the new Lightning Shield mechanic with all my heart. They actually made it useful and moved the water shield ability to be used by restoration only. I haven’t investigated a good restoration spec yet but I need to soon. The problem/awesomeness of the lightning shield ability lies in the talents. Rolling Thunder has a 60% chance on Lightning Bolt or Chain Lightning hit to restore some mana and charge up your Lightning Shield for some sweet damage bonuses. Even with Fulmination encouraging the use of Earth Shock and Healing Surge now in the game to boost your health at the cost of 1k mana, it’s nearly impossible to empty out my mana bar in all but the most intense of situations.

Usually, I sit between 80%-100% mana while chain pulling. I hate downtime so much that I quit my first character, a mage, in favor of a warlock because the downtime was much less. I think that every class should only have a minimal amount of downtime, but alas that is not the case. Even before patch 4.0.1 I had no trouble at all keeping a full mana bar as an Elemental shaman. I have tried enhancement post-patch, but when I was trying out the spec pre-patch I had to eat and drink after every pull. That is a magnitude of difference beyond what I think is normal between two DPS specs. It could be that I had a bad spec or wasn’t doing my rotation very well – and perhaps also that I didn’t use the mana regain spell that enhancement shamans had as often as I should have, but the fact was that it took a long time to get through Nagrand as enhancement.

How to fix it? Well I don’t have the context or information to suggest a finely tuned changed to the developers, but I’d say that maybe Rolling Thunder’s proc chance should be lowered to around 40%. I don’t want to gut the Elemental spec of its mana survivability and I think that Rolling Thunder and Fulmination are two of the best changes for Elemental shamans in the patch, but it needs to be toned down so that I’m not constantly at 100% mana. As awesome as that is, it’s overkill. I can shoot off a couple of Lightning Bolts and by the time the LB reaches the target I’ve got all my mana back. Another solution I suppose would be to increase the mana cost on some elemental spells.

Now, if you’re an Elemental shaman and you’re reading this saying “WTF is he doing?! Why would you want to nerf us!” Well before you go get a tissue and start nerfcrying, hear me out for a little game theory. What fun is a game when you are too good. I like cheats that are available in single player games because it’s fun to play around noclipped after I’ve beat the game or to get past a bug or issue I’m having a certain point that nothing in the game will seem to fix, however if you play the game with the cheats enabled, that ruins the fun, in my opinion. Part of the reason that I’m a gamer is because I like to solve puzzles, work out theories, do math and enjoy myself. If cheats help you enjoy your game, well go for it. But for me, gaming is more of an intellectual release for me. Perhaps that’s why I don’t like playing cutesy games or facebook games (for the most part). Now, I’m not saying that what we have in WoW as the shaman class is a cheat – that’s ridiculous. I am suggesting that we need to be balanced a little more. I’ve heard that some other classes are experiencing the same sort of unbalance and perhaps this is a provision in the design of the game to accommodate Cataclysm. If that is so, then we’ll deal with it (happily) but if that was not in the cards and we’re going to be way too powerful for the new content, then I think a balance needs to occur.

While it may be fun in PvP or in PvE to outperform the other classes and specs, if it is too much of an outperformance it takes the challenge away. I for one, would feel guilty being able to two-shot everyone.

Itemization (on old gear mostly)

I understand that it would be a lot of useless work to go through all of the Northrend gear and re-itemize it for specific class changes, but I’ve found that all the gear I’m getting is terrible. It’s hard, because spell mail is a very niche armor class and for that I’m thankful. I know of reforging but I don’t know anything about how to do it. I know that I can reitemize my gear and have even found guides on how best to optimize your end game gear for the last portion of this expansion, but in both cases I find it hard to care about making those changes with so little time left. Now, I know this suggestion/complaint is fairly useless because of how close to Cataclysm we are, but I felt that it needed to be said. Perhaps the class changes shouldn’t have come so early. Maybe two weeks or a week before the expansion came out. That would have given us less time to boggle over the changes and make awesome posts like the ones I’ve seen around the WoW blogosphere and perhaps made those last two weeks not as boring. Hopefully the Cataclysm launch event will be so engrossing that it will grab our attention and keep us busy right up until the new content is available.

Retaking of Echo Isles

I got to do all of the quests but the actual battle since I just hit 75 a couple of days ago. I’m kind of annoyed that it got removed from the game! I’m not a huge roleplaying fan but I love lore and being involved in new events that are helping to write the new lore. I leveled as fast as I could with homework and finals and dissertations etc. but couldn’t get to 75 in time to partake in what I hear was really awesome. At this point it wouldn’t make sense to put the event back in the game, so I’m not going to ask. I’m just a little miffed that I can’t experience the battle of my people for our ancestral home.

Shamans in Cata

At first I was really excited to take my shaman into the Cataclysm expansion. I was thinking that there would be a lot of elemental turmoil and that as a shaman there might be a couple of quests that resonate well with my character and her abilities. After a little while I realized that unless some changes are made, there’s going to be trouble! I should preface this by pointing out that I didn’t play in Classic and thus never raided Molten Core. I don’t know if Ragnaros was immune to fire damage. However, I’m concerned that shamans will have lots of trouble with mobs and raid bosses being immune to our spells. I’m always annoyed when I have to kill elementals because they resist or are immune to most of my damage types. I don’t want this to happen in top level content!

 

In other news, I’ll be 80 soon. Only 4 more levels to go! I don’t know if I’ll farm heroics or not; I’m not really sure what I’ll do aside from farming Netherwing. I would like to get the red proto-drake and possibly an Ulduar drake, so in that context I suppose I will be farming! :/ Also going to work on a PvP resto spec. Will blog about that when I get there.

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