3.2 Shaman changes

Patch 3.2 notes have been released, and it looks like there are major changes coming up about almost everything (professions, new raids, new bg, twinking, class changes, more pets etc etc.) It looks to be something on the order of the Sunwell Patch. I’m slightly ho hum about this since we haven’t even cleared Ulduar-10 yet (actually I haven’t even done Malygos yet) but it still does look interesting.

I’ve said that I don’t see why Shamans are supposed to be weak, but apparently Blizzard has listened to the storm of QQ (hooray?) and given us a big bunch of buffs as follows:

Shaman

A customizable totem bar will now be available for shaman allowing the storing of 4 different totems. These totems can be placed on the ground at once in one global cooldown for the combined mana cost of all 4 totems.

That’s convenient I guess. Not really game-changing though since I tend to drop my totems as I’m running in anyway (flametongue+wrath of air first for the casters at range, then stoneskin + healing stream in closer for the melee). But definitely good, especially as you can save 3 separate sets of totems to drop.

All Shocks now have a default range of 25 yards, up from 20 yards.

Good change, I felt that I had to see the tingling hairs in Stormcaller Brundir’s nostrils before Wind Shock was in range.

Base health increased by approximately 7% to correct for shamans having lower health than other classes.

Nice, but note it’s base health and not total. So it’s not a 7% increase in health. If I have 10,000 hp naked this gives me additional 700. No, shamans still can’t tank. As a little jaunt down memory lane, in TBC people complained that Arena geared locks had 10k hp. In Classic, my 60 rogue in blues had just above 2k 😛

Chain Heal: Jump distance increased to 10 yards. In addition, the amount of healing now decreases by 40% as it jumps to each new target, instead of 50%.

Outstanding buff, makes chain healing fights where people like to spread out a lot easier. Also synergizes with the other resto buffs (Ancestral Healing and Water Shield)

Ghost Wolf: Can now be learned at level 16. While in this form, snaring effects may not bring the shaman below base normal run speed.

Zzz. Happy happy for low level shamans I guess, and level 19 twinks?

Talents
Enhancement
Shamanistic Rage: Cooldown is now 1 minute, down from 2 minutes. Successful melee attacks now have a chance to generate mana equal to 15% of the shaman’s attack power, down from 30%.

Seems like a good change. With the low base mana of enhancement shamans, popping Shamanistic Rage was often complete overkill in terms of filling up the bar. Now the mana regen is smoothened out, and I believe Shamans will now benefit from the damage reduction twice as much?

Restoration
Ancestral Healing: The buff from this ability now reduces the physical damage taken by the target by 3/7/10% instead of increasing the target’s armor.

Nice buff. Makes critical heals useful on non-tanks getting hit by adds. Previously, critting a heal on a mage was like putting an extra layer of paint on an egg. Before running over it with a truck. Carrying a house. Also scales better than a +25% armor buff since armor had a cap.

Cure Poison and Cure Disease: Combined into a single spell, Cure Toxins.

More of a levelling change. Any resto shaman that doesn’t have Cleanse Spirit should be forced to heal for a ret pally tanking without a shield in Utgarde Pinnacle. Repeatedly. And we all know that asking an elemental/enhancement shaman to cure anything is just asking for “lolwut? whut spell r dat, it’s not on me bars, does it do damage?!?”

Earth Shield: Dispel effects will now remove charges of Earth Shield rather than the entire aura.

I can imagine cries of Resto Shamans being overpowered in Arenas, since it means you’d have to spam dispel 8 times to remove my Earth Shield. And then I’ll just press 1 button and put up all 8 charges again. Free buffs are great.

Healing Way: Redesigned. Rather than providing a chance of increasing Healing Wave spells on a friendly target, this talent now innately increases the effectiveness of the shaman’s Healing Wave by 8/16/25%.

Nice. I’m rarely using HW and rely more on earth shield + LHW + glyph of LHW for tank healing. This means that the tank rarely has the Healing Way buff on them when it comes to ohshit moments, which is when you switch to HW (most probably with Nature’s Swiftness). This makes that first ohshit heal a lot stronger.

Mana Tide Totem: Totem health now equal to 10% of the shaman’s health.

Um ok. So my mana tide totem will have 2k hp. Still will get 1-shot by most opponents, and totems can no longer be targeted by totem stomper macros anyway.

Nature’s Guardian: Redesigned. Now has a fixed 100% proc rate, has a 30-second internal cooldown and increases the shaman’s maximum health by 3/6/9/12/15% for 10 seconds.

I don’t have the points to take Nature’s Guardian but anything that removes the randomness is good. Can be useful in PvE too but I prefer not to take talents that only benefit me when I’m dumb and stand in fire.

Nature’s Swiftness: Cooldown is now 2 minutes, down from 3 minutes.

50% more instant Healing Waves is obviously good.

Tidal Waves: No longer reduces the cast time of Lesser Healing Wave by 30%. It instead now provides +25% critical strike chance to Lesser Healing Wave, along with the previous 30% cast time benefit to Healing Wave.

This is still slightly up in the air. Personally, I like it. With Tidal Waves up, my LHW already has a 0.9 sec cast time. This can actually be detrimental sometimes as it’s shorter than the global cooldown, meaning I can sometimes miss out on casting a spell if I try to cast immediately after the LHW finishes. Having the haste not apply to LHW will make it slightly harder to heal on the move, but it makes the riptide+LHW combo heal a lot more and LHW is already fast anyway. On a tank with earth shield, the LHW can crit for about 9-10k. Popping Riptide + Tidal Force + LHW will also easily give us a 100% crit rate with average gear, meaning you can ensure a Ancestral Healing proc on the tank when you know he’s going to take spike damage (previously you’d only get a roughly 85% chance).

Since Improved Water Shield also doesn’t consume charges anymore when you crit, the extra crit also gives back significant mana at no cost. Improved Water Shield will also benefit Chain Heal (amazing buff since Chain Heal has multiple chances to crit, and any 1 crit will trigger the full mana refund)

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