Patch 4.2 has been announced to release next reset, at the 28th June. Apart from all the changes that you can read up on here we will look at the Enhancement Shaman specific changes. You may have wondered that the site hasn’t been updated, bt the ugly truth is, there was nothing to announce for our class. Until the Q/A was filled up with complaints about our current status. Interesting enough, 24h hours later Enhancement Shamans got announced and it was it was a buff.
Exceprt of the World of Warcraft Patch 4.2, Rage of the Firelands Guide. You can find the complete Patch 4.2 Guide here.
- Fire Nova damage has been increased by 15%.
- Lightning Shield and Water Shield can no longer be dispelled.
- Unleash Elements is now in the Nature school, and thus can no longer be used if a shaman’s Nature school has been locked out.
- Unleash Wind now deals 175% weapon damage, up from 125%.
- Water Shield has had its internal cooldown reduced to 3.5 seconds, once again matching other shields. The amount of mana restored when Water Shield procs has been reduced by 50%.
- Call of Flame now also causes Fire Nova to add 3/6 seconds to the duration of Flame Shock auras on targets that Fire Nova damages.
- Lava Flows now grants a 30/60/90% haste buff when a Flame Shock effect is dispelled, up from 10/20/30%.
- Thunderstorm now reduces the movement speed of players it knocks back by 40% for 5 seconds.
- Stormstrike now deals 225% weapon damage, up from 125%.
- Improved Water Shield has been redesigned and renamed Resurgence. When Water Shield is active, Resurgence causes critical direct heals to restore mana (Resurgence rank 2 is roughly equal to 150% of the old Improved Water Shield value when a Healing Wave or Greater Healing Wave critically hits, and scaled down accordingly for faster or multi-target spells).
- Mana Tide now grants 200% of the caster’s Spirit, down from 400%.
- Glyph of Unleashed Lightning (new Prime glyph) allows Lightning Bolt to be cast while moving.
- The 4-piece Elemental shaman PvP set bonus (Gladiator’s Thunderfist set) has been redesigned. It now causes Lightning Shield to generate an extra charge, rather than consuming one, when it is triggered by receiving damage, up to a maximum of 3 (9 with the Rolling Thunder talent).
There was also an interesting Blue Post about Fire Nova. Blizzard knows that the mechanic blows, but have no solution to improve it right now. In my opinion it should have been included in 4.2, judging by the speed these changes come these days we will probably have to live with Fire Nova for the next 8 months 😀 You can read the Dev comments on 4.2 Balancing here in original.
- We previously nerfed Water Shield via hotfix because shaman were gaining too much mana in PvP when attacked (especially by pets to discourage drinking). The 4.2 change is just a more elegant implementation of the same nerf that should keep the same mana per time as they have currently.
- We recognized Fire Nova had some usability issues so we increased its throughput and added the Flame Shock refresh mechanic to help ease some of the inconvenience. This is a new mechanic and one we are still evaluating.
- We introduced the Glyph of Unleashed Lightning to help shaman feel less punished by movement in both PvP and PvE. The impact of changes like this is very difficult to model.
- We nerfed Mana Tide for the same reason we nerfed Innervate — it was just providing too much mana for the group’s healers as a whole. We didn’t want to decrease the benefit to the shaman, so we redesigned / added the talent of Resurgence to help offset the nerf to them personally.
Personally I find the current fire nova mechanic rather tedious, you end up out of melee range or tab a target behind you and ruin your damage. The proposed change that Fire Nova increases the Duration on Flame Shocks by a few seconds does not make it more appealing to use, especially in every day heroic runs, etc … if your FS target dies you stand there without AoE at all. This is why I personally prefer to just skip the AoE and do what we do best, single target dps (occasional Fire Nova of course). Except for very large pulls I seem to pull higher and reliable dps this way.
Enhancement Shaman Weapons
With an eye to the future, we’re looking forward to two weapons suitable for Enhancement in Firelands that do not require killing Ragnaros. One of these weapons can drop from multiple bosses, so you can hold out hope that even if the first boss doesn’t drop what you’re looking for, the next one might. There are also no agility swords this time around to take up those one-hander slots.
This change made me kind of happy. I bought Maimgor’s Bite 3 days into the Expansion and am still using it 😀 (Borked stopped raiding and the only hc weapon drops from Nefarian)
There will be new Item Level 365 craftable weapons. An Agility Sword and a Strength Axe … good choices, aren’t they 😀
Ask the Devs #10 – Damage Dealing (Answers)
Q: The new “assist” pet stance added in 4.2 would work very well with fire totems – is there any reason why totems were specifically excluded from that functionality? – Korghal (NA/ANZ)
A: We’d love to have Searing Totem use the new assist stance, but we felt it was too risky to just flip that switch without a great deal of testing. True pets have a control bar so it’s possible to override their behavior if the default behavior is something you don’t want. That’s not the case for Searing Totem. We’ve just recently been able to get the totem to behave fairly predictably in a wide variety of situations – it has a lot of special case code designed to make it do what players want it to do. (Making an AI behave consistently isn’t that hard; making an AI read players’ minds is the hard part!) If assist works out well for pets, and some of the temporary guardians like Guardian of Ancient Kings, we’ll turn it on for Searing Totem.
The Fire Elemental is even more complicated than Searing Totem because the totem is the master of the elemental, not the shaman. It generally works pretty well focusing on the Flame Shock target, but we plan on rebuilding the spell so that the totem summons the elemental (and killing the totem could still despawn the elemental), but the shaman is considered the master, which will solve some of the problems that arise.
Q: Have you considered reincorporating Windfury as the shaman’s main DPS ability? Lava lash is their best ability (Cataclysm), but it feels nerfed and feels far too predictable. – Saverhagen (LA)
A: Every Enhancement shaman loves seeing numbers fly across the screen when a huge multi-crit Windfury occurs, reinforced by our recent change to allow Windfury Weapon to trigger three additional attacks, rather than merely two. Windfury is ultimately a passive ability, though, and serves as an extension (albeit an awesome one) of your auto-attacks. In Burning Crusade, Windfury was prominent because shaman had very few active buttons to press, and long periods of downtime between them that some would fill by “twisting” totems. Not the most compelling gameplay. In Wrath of the Lich King, they arguably inherited the opposite problem, having so many buttons to press that there was never a free global cooldown, while no single ability felt particularly impactful or meaningful. For Cataclysm, we attempted to pare down the rotational complexity of the Enhancement shaman (removing the need to manually refresh Lightning Shield, removing Fire Nova from single target rotations, etc.) and at the same time created synergies that allow Lava Lash to do impressive damage. As an aside, there were several questions that we didn’t answer about whether Enhancement DPS is too low overall. It is, and we buffed it for 4.2: (http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/blog/2251127#blog)
Q: Currently, Enhancement benefits greatly from mastery, but poorly from crit and haste; what solutions have you considered (aside from the previously mentioned possibility of 200% crits) to make these stats more attractive to Enhancement shaman, especially since the spec has such a high requirement for hit rating and expertise rating, making it harder to reforge into more mastery? – Wickedpissah (NA/ANZ)
A: As we’ve discussed in the past, any time a class has a meaningful portion of its damage only receiving 50% bonus critical damage, it’s going to be difficult for crit rating to be an attractive stat. We’d certainly prefer if haste were a more attractive stat for Enhancement shaman. For many other melee classes, the great value of haste lies in its ability to increase resource generation. Enhancement shaman are not generally limited by any resource, so aside from more auto-attack damage and Windfury/Flametongue procs, haste currently yields more Maelstrom Weapon charges. We’ve thought about taking steps to make Maelstrom Weapon a more central mechanic for the Enhancement shaman spec, which would in turn make haste potentially much more valuable, but don’t currently have any firm solution to announce.
Q: Is anything ever going to be done to decisively end Enhancement’s usage of spell power weapons? – Ragnarok (NA/ANZ)
A: Part of what makes the Enhancement shaman feel like a true hybrid is their even mix of melee attacks and magical ones, and changing the way spells like Lightning Bolt or Flame Shock work might have a serious impact on how Elemental shaman play. We do want Enhancement shaman using melee-oriented Agility weapons, though, and one solution we’re considering is a mechanism that would make Enhancement shaman spells all scale from attack power, similar to what we did with Flametongue procs. In the meantime, we’ve taken steps (and will continue to take them) to ensure that while spell power weapons might at times, with certain gear setups, remain an interesting alternative, they aren’t the strictly superior route.
Now you should be up to date with all information regarding 4.2 and Enhancement Shamans. Being not 100% sure if my math and tests are correct, but the changes to Stormstrike (~750 dps) and Unleash Wind (~150 dps) resulted in about 900 dps upgrade in heroic T11 gear.