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Ancestral Swiftness Removal a Bug

July 22, 2010 6 comments

After the new beta build went live yesterday, I offered a review of the changes to the talent trees. Like many blogs, I was mourning the loss of Ancestral Swiftness.

The good news broke today that it’s “removal” was a bug and the talent remains on the second tier of the enhancement tree. You can read the source of the confirmation here.

New Beta Build Brings Shaman Changes

July 21, 2010 10 comments

(Image courtesy of MMO Champion.)

A new beta build went live over night and brought many talent changes to all classes. For the shaman, these are primarily “reshuffling” type changes. The new shaman talent calculator can be found here.

The primary changes that we’re looking at are as follows:-

The first two changes make sense. Elemental Devastation was an enhancement talent purely forcing those players to dip into the elemental tree. Ancestral Knowledge was the same concept for us. The removal of Ancestral Swiftness is a loss for us and I doubt that I’m alone in being sorely disappointed that Blizzard chose to cut this talent. Moving Improved Shields to tier one of the enhancement tree keeps it within reach of elemental shaman dipping into the tree (moving Ancestral Knowledge would have made it otherwise impossible for us to reach this talent.)

As anyone who read my last post regarding potential talent builds, I had been keen on taking Ancestral Swiftness. This brings about the question, where will the remaining points go?

Personally, I will probably be looking at a build resembling this. The obvious core talents in elemental remain the same. You could easily switch between points in Improved Fire Nova and Reverberation.

This build dips into restoration and takes Ancestral Resolve which in addition to Elemental Warding will increase our survivability.

It leaves five points left over and there are some interesting choices to be made here. We can take both Improved Fire Nova and Reverberation where needed. We can take Improved Shields if we want the additional mana regeneration from water shield. We could even look at taking Spark of Life. Slightly reminiscent of a warlock’s Demon Armor could offer an additional 5% healing received and again, increases our survivability a great deal. This build also doesn’t account for Elemental Reach. I’m still hoping on news regarding new mechanics for our fire DPS totems before committing to this talent. We’re currently so inhibited by the range on our offensive fire totems that to gain additional range on our spells is a situational gain. Many elemental shaman will position themselves closer to the boss than most ranged casters to ensure their searing totem has range. Until those totems either gain more range or have another mechanic added to allow us to place them at the feet of a boss, added range on our main offensive spells isn’t a huge gain.

In conclusion, we’ve lost Ancestral Swiftness. If the shaman round table podcast was anything to go by, many elemental players were really excited about this talent if ghost wolf remained usable indoors. However, we do still have some interesting choices remaining. Some of our talents have been shuffled around to a more logical position.

Likely Elemental Builds from the New Thirty One Point Talent Tree

July 16, 2010 4 comments

(Image courtesy of MMO Champion)

On the back of the thirty one point talent tree releases comes my thoughts on how we’re going to be spending our precious points. The skills we now gain upon specialising in the elemental tree are:-

(Image courtesy of wow.com)

Shortly after the release of the trees, I sat down to have a look at our possibilities using the talent calculator found over at MMO Champion. We do appear to have choices available to us, much as Blizzard wanted. You can find the build I refer to throughout this article here.

Tier One Choices

We need to spend five talent points in the first tier to progress to the second tier skills. Here we have the choices between:-

Elemental Devastation clearly has no benefit to us so this talent is obviously redundant to us in our first tier. This makes spending those initial five points very simple. Two go into Convection giving us a 10% mana reductions on our shock spells, chain lightning, lightning bolt, wind shear and lava burst. The remaining three are placed into concussion, increasing the damage done by our lightning bolt, chain lightning, thunderstorm, lava burst and shock spells.

Tier Two Choices

Here we need to spend a minimum of five points again to progress to the tier three talents. Our choices are:-

Call of Flame is boasting a 20% damage increase to our fire totems and a 10% increase to our lava burst spell (with the full two points spent). Even ignoring the benefit to lava burst, come Cataclysm we’re all going to be utilising offensive fire totems. As such, it is easy to see the DPS benefit from this talent and without doubt, two points should be spent there.

Elemental Precision is still awarding it’s 3% increased chance to hit. New for cataclysm is the spirit to hit conversion that accounts for the spirit we’ll be see on our gear. At it’s highest rank, this is a 100% spirit to hit conversion. Hit still remains our most vital stat prior to being hit capped and we’ll be spending three points in this talent.

Tier Three Choices

Our choices from the third tier of our newly designed tree are as follows:-

At this point we have spent 10 points and need 15 to reach tier three.

Reverberation gives us a 2 second cooldown reduction on our wind shear at it’s highest rank. This is pretty high benefit, particularly for those people who focus on ten man raiding where there aren’t going to be a multitude of people available for interrupting. Additionally, it’s too far into the elemental tree for the enhancement shaman’s to duck in and grab it, making it wholly unique to us. Two points go into this talent for me.

Elemental Reach remains unchanged, giving us an extended range on offensive spells in addition to a greater radius on thunderstorm. A greater range is frequently of benefit in raids allowing us to be less restricted by positioning limitations. This said, with the inclusion of Totemic Wrath, unless Blizzard stay true to their promise of allow us to somehow throw our offensive totems into range of a boss (or greatly increase the range on our searing totem), the ability to cast at range becomes less benefit to us. Many elemental players who already use fire DPS totems in a raid environment will know all to well that we’re not restricted by our personal casting range, but rather that of our searing totem. Being able to stand at greater range can be very useful, but not if we then need to move back into range to drop our totem. On encounters where spreading is vital (such as Blood Queen Lana’thel), it’s not uncommon to see elemental shaman’s claiming the closest spots rather than lingering in the back of the room. Why? because running through everyone else to place a searing totem is likely to kill other players at worst and severely impact our personal DPS at best.

Elemental Focus is again unchanged, triggering our clear casting state (and also giving access to the Elemental Oath talent in tier 4). Naturally, you’ll be spending one point in this talent.

This leaves two points to spend before you can progress to the tier four talents. Your choices are from Elemental Reach, or to duck back a tier and take either Improved Fire Nova or Elemental Warding. Since it’s introduction, I’ve been a fan of Improved Fire Nova but we are gaining earthquake as a channelled and persistent area of effect spell. Fire nova is primarily, at present, used for trash clearing. While it’s great fun to be able to contribute highly to this, the focus should always remain on downing boss encounters. (Of course, we don’t know what encounters face us in Cataclysm.) Elemental Warding is always a sound choice purely due to it increasing our survivability (and we won’t do any DPS if we’re dead.) Particularly when learning a new encounter, healing can be stressed and a reduced amount of damage is always a welcomed thing.

Tier Four Choices

The offers from our tier four talents are:-

At this point, we have four points to spend before we can touch on our tier five talents. Unrelenting Storm is questionable at this point. Until we’re experiencing the content, it’s hard to predict whether the additional mana regeneration will be necessary or not. Elemental Oath and Lava Flows remain unchanged and we spend two points and three points respectively in these two talents to gain access to tier five.

Tier Five Choices

We need to spend a minimum of four points at this stage to gain access to the tier six talents and our choices are:-

Here we found our unchanged Storm, Earth and Fire and Elemental Mastery. Clearly there are no changes from our current builds here and we spend three points and one point respectively for these two talents. This leaves our new talent, Totemic Wrath. Frequent visitors to this blog will know how much I’m looking forward to the this talent. Severing the tie between us and totem of wrath is a huge step forward for our mechanics and allows us the freedom to utilise our much loved but frequently neglected offensive fire totems. We complete this tier by spending a final point in Totemic Wrath.

Tier Six Choices

Dropping into tier six we have:-

Shamanism is an obvious choice, boasting a 20% increase to lightning bolt, chain lightning and lava burst based upon on personal spell power. Lava Surge is another new talent for Cataclysm. I’ve spoken at lengths about this talent here before. I really like the concept of it because I think it will encourage more intuitive play. Some people consider the elemental rotation to be quite stale (though I think when you start touching on the correct use of chain lightning, this isn’t such a valid comment), however potentially having our lava burst cooldown reset by the periodic damage of flame shock sounds a step forwards for me. It will hopefully reward the players that pay more attention as opposed to playing in auto pilot mode. The conclusion for me in tier six is that I’ll spend three points in Shamanism and two points in Lava Surge.

Tier Seven

With the above recommendations, enough points have been spent to take our final talent:-

Another addition that I’m delighted to see. With elemental shaman’s being the only caster without a channelled area of effect spell, it’s appearance is welcomed and will hopefully make for less clumsy feeling AoE capabilities for us.

At this point, thirty two points have been spent in the elemental tree. This allows us to either back track up the elemental tree and grab talents that weren’t deemed essential but would be nice to have. Alternatively, we’ve spent enough points to venture into either the restoration or enhancement trees.

From the first tier of restoration we have:-

As per Blizzard’s new ethos of the new trees feeling like their intended role from the very start, restoration is very healing based. While Ancestral Resolve and Spark of Life clearly boast survivability increases, they won’t be increasing our DPS abilities in a raid situation. Tidal Focus is obviously not an option for us.

Looking instead to the enhancement tree, we find:-

Elemental Weapons remains an obvious choice, increasing the spell damage on our flametongue weapon by 30% at it’s highest rank. Ancestral Knowledge is another talent we’re already familiar with and increases our maximum mana by 15% at it’s highest rank. At this point we have four points remaining unspent. Ancestral swiftness has been receiving a lot of hype after it was announced ghost wolf would become usable indoors. A reduction in it’s cast time along with an increase in it’s speed are certainly nice. Ghost wolf’s base cast time is two seconds, so spending a full two points in this talent will allow us an instant cast travel form. I have a feeling this will become a staple part of most elemental talent builds and it was certainly one of the talent’s receiving a lot of love from the elemental representatives at the shaman round table.

If those two points are spent in Ancestral Swiftness, this leaves two remaining points (or perhaps three if you spent the minimum in the elemental tree. I personally spent two in Reverberation.) The choices for the remaining points are most likely Improved Fire Nova or Elemental Reach.

Possible Variations

As I mentioned, I chose to spend two points in Reverberation as I think it’s value in ten man raiding particularly, could be quite high. For some players, this value isn’t going to be as high and I’d definitely be spending the points in Elemental Reach under those circumstances (though, as mentioned earlier, I think the value of increased casting range is debatable until our fire totems have either equal range or a mechanic to place them at the boss.)

There has been some debate surrounding the value of Lava Surge and some theory crafting certain suggests that it’s potential DPS increase isn’t huge. Zamir over at Planet of the Hats ran some preliminary numbers on this talent through his Zap! spreadsheet and found it was suggesting an increase of around 300 DPS (which is relatively small when we’re talking about 10k DPS overall.) You can read his thoughts on this talent here. In addition to the under whelming DPS gain, there has been concern regarding it’s burst damage potential in a PvP environment. While a reduced cooldown on lava burst provides a lot of burst damage potential, it’s sustainable damage increase isn’t that great. Burst damage naturally has the potential of create a problem in a PvP environment so many have debated whether this talent can possibly go live in it’s current format. I’m in favour of the talent, however, due to it’s concept. How it will perform in live and in a PvE environment can still be debated so perhaps it’s possible that this won’t be such a desirable talent ultimately.

There we have it ladies and gentlemen, there is undoubtedly some room for flexibility in the elemental tree as it stands.

Categories: Cataclysm

Talent Shake Up

July 14, 2010 1 comment

With Cataclysm beta now well under way and the NDA lifted, the information continues to flow. While somewhat overshadowed by the saga surrounding the real ID system, the big announcement of last week was regarding a talent system revamp. I had initially planned to make this post in the light of those announcements but took the decision to wait for the changes to be patched onto the beta servers. Last night saw a new beta build released and the new talent changes are now live on those servers.

We’re all familiar with Blizzard’s decision to remove all the talents that added passive bonuses. They stated that all those necessary but boring talents providing, for example, spell power increases would be removed. They’ve now decided to take this one step further and trim the talent trees more, reverting them to thirty one point trees. While it may feel like a reduction in choice, they argue that they’re making the choices more meaningful to players.

(Image courtesy of MMO Champion)

Further to this has come their desire to bring a true class and spec feeling to a new player. In the present system, your early talent choices don’t feel very significant. Blizzard have stated a desire to fix this and want new players to feel like an elemental or enhancement shaman from the very beginning, rather than after they have spent 40 points in their selected tree.

The choices begin at level ten where you choose your specialization (your talent spec). This will provide the passive stats that are associated with your tree. Examples given included a passive 20% increase to all fire spells for a mage player choosing the fire specialization or the ability to dual wield for a shaman player choosing enhancement. In addition, players will gain an iconic spell or ability previously located quite deep within the talent trees. For elemental shaman players, this will be thunderstorm. For our restoration friends, it’s earth shield.

(Image courtesy of wow.com)

In the above screenshot, you can see the three specialization choices available to the warriors (fury, arms or protection). Directly beneath are the iconic skills that you’ll receive as soon as you select your tree and below those are the passive gains.

After choosing your specialization, the other trees will grey out and you will be unable to spend any points in them until after you have placed thirty one points in your specialized tree.

In accordance with the reduction in the number of talents available, players will now receive a talent point every second level instead of every level after ten. The plan is to alternate these with new trainer skills. The result being that you’ll receive something new at every level gained but these will alternate between a new talent point and a new trainer based skill.

The New Talent Trees

As I mentioned at the start, the new beta build went live last night and this included the new, drastically reduced talent trees. Thanks to MMO Champion you can find the new shaman trees here.

What follows is a description of the talents per tier.

Tier One

From left to right:-

Elemental Devastation

Convection

Concussion

My initial thoughts about the tier one talents is a slight confusion as to how the inclusion of concussion and convection adhere to their desire to cut the talents providing passive bonuses.

Tier Two

Improved Fire Nova

Elemental Warding

Elemental Precision

Call of Flame

Again on this tier I’m somewhat surprised to see the inclusion of call of flame and elemental warding (though the latter I’m pleased about as I’ve always liked this talent.) Elemental precision is, as previously stated, being morphed into our spirit to hit conversion talent allowing us to share gear with our restoration counterparts.

Tier Three

Reverberation

Elemental Focus

Elemental Reach

Tier Four

Unrelenting Storm

Elemental Oath

Lava Flows

Tier Five

Storm, Earth and Fire

Elemental Mastery

Totemic Wrath

Totemic wrath, one of our new talents for Cataclysm (and by far the one I’m most excited about) makes it’s appearance here.

Tier Six

Shamanism

Lava Surge

Lava surge makes it’s appearance quite deep in the tree. I’m still liking the concept of this talent as I really enjoy anything that makes for more intuitive play

Tier Seven

Earthquake

There’s no great shock to see earthquake making it’s appearance as our thirty one point talent.

Restoration

Restoration is both my personal offspec and a tree I have a lot of love for. As such, I’m going to be detailing their tree changes here also.

Tier One

Ancestral Resolve

Tidal Focus

Spark of Life

Tier Two

Improved Water Shield

Totemic Focus

Focused Insight

Tier Three

Ancestral Awakening

Nature’s Swiftness

Ancestral Healing

Tier Four

Improved Chain Heal

Restorative Totems

Blessing of the Eternals

Nature’s Guardian

Tier Five

Improved Cleanse Spirit

Mana Tide Totem

Nature’s Blessing

Tier Six

Tidal Waves

Telluric Currents

Tier Seven

Riptide

My Personal Thoughts

Firstly, I’m wholly in favour of the specialization choices at level ten and the addition of the iconic spell immediately. World of Warcraft needs to keep appealing to new players as well as offering incentives for the older players to keep playing. When you make your class and specialization choices, you should feel that they make an impact immediately. Under the present system, when you hit level 10 very little changes. From the elemental tree you can choose from a talent that gives your ranged offensive spells a 1% damage increase or one which reduces the mana cost of the spells. From enhancement there is a choice from two “buff the buff” type talents increasing the effectiveness of the strength of earth and flametongue totems (in the form of enhancing totems) or stoneclaw and earthbind totems (in the form of earth’s grasp) or an increase in intellect talent. Restoration get to choose from a small reduction in the casting time of healing wave or a reduction in the mana cost of our totems. Nothing at this point feels like you just chose to become an enhancement, elemental or restoration shaman.

Thunderstorm is very iconic of the elemental shaman as much so as the ability for the enhancement player to dual wield and the restoration player to have his or her earth shield. These abilities feel much more defining and allow a very early player to feel that they’re already involved with their specialization.

The lack of gear itemised towards elemental always rears it’s ugly head in discussions about levelling. Indeed it was mentioned at the shaman round table event over the weekend. I don’t see this as a hindrance to the actual levelling process. It’s not idea but if you end up levelling in cloth with spirit, it’s not going to terribly inhibit your progress. I do, however, think it impacts upon the experience and the feeling of being an elemental shaman.

I was quite shocked to see the presence still of a few of the talents with passive boosts, particularly given Blizzard’s enthusiasm for removing these. It is, however, still early days in regards to the beta and all the talent trees could still see extensive changes.

Touching on restoration slightly, where is spirit link? Initially introduced in wrath of the lich king beta but removed it was then mentioned again for cataclysm but still hasn’t made an appearance in the actual beta trees.

I’m going to be updating the cataclysm compendium to ensure it’s up to date with these new changes though it will take quite a lot of editing so expect that to take a day before it’s accurate for this build.

Categories: Cataclysm

Cataclysm Enters Beta, Patch 3.3.5 Goes Live and an Update to the Shaman Round Table Event.

July 1, 2010 Leave a comment

Cataclysm

Yesterday came the news that Cataclysm was entering it’s closed beta phase of testing. In addition to this, the NDA has also been lifted so people are free to talk, post and blog about the information that has previously been leaked or becomes available in the future. You can read the official press release here. Furthermore, due to the lifting of the NDA, the official beta forums are now public so for any information hungry individuals, you can trawl through them here.

As a quick reminder for anyone still in the dark, you opt in for the Cataclysm beta through the battle net home page. This doesn’t guarantee you beta access of course, but it is the system they’re using to handle requests.

Patch 3.3.5 and Real ID

Patch 3.3.5 finally hit the EU servers yesterday which also meant the Ruby Sanctum went live. Sadly for the EU guilds out there, due to highly extended down time the “race” for world first kills was heavily bias in favour of the US players.

I’ve already have a couple of people ask if I’m going to be writing strategy guides for this instance. The sad and simple fact at the moment is that my guild haven’t been raiding. We have two raids pencilled in for early next week and I’m crossing everything that these will be Ruby Sanctum raids. While I will be forming some kind of tactics in advance for our own raids, I’d never publish these without having first hand experience of how they work in practice. In summary, I’ll try and get something sorted out but I’m very dependent on other people.

In addition to the Ruby Sanctum, Blizzard’s new Real ID system was implemented. I’d had the pleasure of using this throughout Starcraft II’s closed beta and I did like it there. However I was playing there with my boyfriend and a couple of close, real life friends. The problem is the awkwardness of being asked for your Real ID from someone that you’re not comfortable with. Many players may keep some alt characters unguilded for a reason. For people who play the auction house a great deal, you can risk losing the anonymity of your bank characters. This can be a huge issue for those aggressive economy players (of which I consider myself.) A couple of friends on my server know which bank alts I play as but as a rule, I don’t like any connection between my bank alts and my main characters to be formed and indeed, I go to great lengths to ensure they can’t be tracked.

For close friends, it’s a great idea without doubt. I can now chat to a couple of real life friends that play on other servers. Furthermore I can keep in touch with those same friends when they’re in Starcraft II. Never the less, there is a certain weirdness about trying to politely decline giving out your personal details to people you consider more acquaintances than friends.

The Shaman Round Table Event

I’ve mentioned this in a previous update but there has been some progression with this event since then. Several new names have been confirmed to the list of participants and I’m hoping to contribute myself though, at present, my availability is looking a little bit suspect. (My weekends are precious to me as they’re the only time I get to spent time with my boyfriend.)

The contributors have been asked to both promote the event and try and get some feedback from our readers as to what kind of topics you’d like to see discussed there. As such, if anyone reading this has any specific contributions to make regarding potential subject areas, leave a comment at the bottom of this update and I’ll ensure that the suggestions reach the people in charge.

Blog Updates

Finally, as I’m sure you’re all now aware, I’m back into the swing of blogging. I’ve finally got everything I need to blog running on my ipad which means I’m no longer tied to the desktop PC. (A huge boon with the current summer temperatures we’re enjoying in Denmark.) I’ve got a few articles in the pipeline (including that long promised guide to the feat of strength; Insane in the Membrane) but once again, I’m asking that if anyone has any specific topics they would like to see discussed here, they let me know. These topics don’t have to be restricted to elemental shaman areas so throw your suggestions out there and I’ll do my best to oblige. I am trying to finish off all the boss guides for Icecrown Citadel, including the additional of the heroic guides but they can be quite lengthy to produce so bear with me please.

Categories: Cataclysm, Patch 3.3.5

Shaman Cataclysm Talents: My Thoughts

June 28, 2010 1 comment

Due to my blogging break, I skimmed over the announced talents for Cataclysm but didn’t really make any attempt to discuss them. Obviously, a great deal can change between now and release but I decided it was time to discuss my early thoughts on our talent tree.

Elemental Precision

At present, elemental precision is our simple hit gain talent and has the additional benefit of reducing the threat generated by our offensive spells. It’s pretty much a “must have” elemental talent.

When Cataclysm launches, a number of stat changes go live. While spirit is being removed for all DPS casters, elemental shamans will be sharing their gear with their restoration counterparts. (We’re not the only ones, the boomkins are sharing theirs with their healing buddies too.) Spirit will be the core mana regeneration stat for all healers, including restoration shaman, due to the removal of MP5. What does this mean for the elemental shaman? We’ll have spirit on our gear and we can’t use it. To combat this, Blizzard decided to implement a spirit to hit conversion talent. It sounds overly complicated until you start to consider the benefits, the main one being that we you won’t need additional gear sets if you have a restoration offspec.

In Cataclysm, elemental precision is morphed to include this spirit to hit conversion. The talent reads:-

  • Increases your chance to hit with fire, frost and nature spells by 1% and increases your spell hit rating by an additional amount equal to 33% of your spirit.

We still keep the base hit increase that the talent boasts on live but we also gain the spirit to hit conversion that was promised to prevent our gear carrying “useless” stats. We do lose the threat reduction potion of this talent but this isn’t restricted to us as all such talents appear to be removed for Cataclysm while Blizzard plan on reworking threat management entirely.

Earthquake

Totem of wrath is replaced as our 41 point elemental talent by the eagerly awaited earthquake. The talent reads as follows:-

  • You cause the earth at the target location to tremble and break, dealing 36 physical damage every 1 second to enemies in 10 yard radius, with 30% of knocking down affected targets. lasts 10 seconds.

Regulars to this blog will know my thoughts on elemental AoE; I find it clumsy and overly complicated compared to other classes. I feel bitter when I’m running into mobs to drop down a magma totem, maybe throwing a thunderstorm on my way out while I then stand at range and weave a fire nova, chain lightning and lightning bolt based rotation. Why do I feel bitter? Because the mages, warlocks and boomkins are sat in one spot channelling their AoE spells while giggling at the shaman running around frantically. Don’t get me wrong, I have no objection to more complicated rotations but make them somewhat equal amongst classes.

As such, when earthquake was announced I was bouncing up and down in my chair and that hasn’t really changed. It hasn’t been confirmed but it is looking likely that this spell will be channelled so hopefully it will bring us somewhat close to the other casters. Admittedly I was slightly shocked that this deals physical damage and I suspect the knock down component means it isn’t going to deal the raw damage that our fellow casters channelled AoEs do, but time will tell.

Totemic Wrath

This was the second talent that I was really excited about. It currently reads as:-

  • Causes your fire totems to increase the spell power of the party and raid members within 100 yards by 10%

Basically, this removes our tie to totem of wrath. This is a huge improvement for the elemental spec. Despite all the class tweaks and improvements in the last few months, I still feel that unless we’re free to use fire DPS totems, we are slightly under powered in a highly competitive atmosphere consisting of exceptional players. Naturally we bring additional utility to a raid and as always, a good elemental player is going to out perform poorer representatives of other classes but like for like I still believe we’re lacking slightly when forced to use totem of wrath.

As such this talent is the change I’m really looking forward to in Cataclysm. Not purely due to the additional DPS potential it will allow us but also because it ensures the player can fully explore their totems. So many elemental players don’t get to experience their fire totems because the raid is so dependent upon the spell power buff provided from totem of wrath and that in itself is a terrible shame for a class that is based around the utility of their totems. I will openly admit to finding the fire DPS totem a little clumsy also, much like our AoE capabilities. The relatively limited range of our searing totem can leave us moving around a great deal and thus losing DPS but those offensive totems are still a part of our spec that many players don’t get to experience.

In addition to freeing us to use our offensive totems, our spell power buff will also be dragged into line with the warlock’s demonic pact. The difference between totem of wrath and demonic pact in wrath has been quite unforgivable by Blizzard. Simply put, towards the end of the wrath expansion when casters are reaching very high levels of spell power, the warlock’s 10% spell power increase out weighs our 280 spell power buff by quite a large margin. Equally, the warlock doesn’t have the range issues nor do they forgo using offensive spells in exchange. Blizzard admitted this discrepancy made no sense and that the totem of wrath effect should equal demonic pact but they also stated that they had no immediate plans to alter this.

Demonic pact worked by providing the raid with 10% of the warlock’s spell power. This resulted in demonology warlock’s feeling pressed towards gemming purely for spell power with the aim of increasing the potency of their precious raid buff as much as possible. The initial concern about totemic wrath was elemental shaman’s feeling the same way. However, more recently it was confirmed that the buff provided 10% of the target’s spell power rather than the caster (and that demonic pact will also be altered in this way.)

One additional concern I have regarding this talent relates to it’s use with searing totem. As our primary offensive totem (due to the cool down limitations of our fire elemental), our spell power buff will primarily radiate from this totem. Searing totem has a relatively short duration and one has to wonder whether we will be forced to clip that duration to ensure 100% uptime of our buff. What would be ideal is if we were provided with some “grace period” where the buff stayed active for a few seconds after the totem expired, thus giving us time to replace the totem without clipping the last seconds. Given the annoyance that clipping DoTs has always caused for casters, it would certainly be a shame for us to now be pressed towards clipping offensive totems, even assuming that they do indeed either fix the range issue on searing totem or give us some kind of option to “throw” it into the thick of a fight.

Lava Surge

A new addition to the elemental tree for Cataclysm requiring 45 points spent, this talent currently reads as follows:-

  • Gives your flame shock periodic damage ticks a 10% chance to reset the cooldown of your lava burst spell.

I like the idea of this in that it could make the elemental rotation more dynamic. We’ll finally have a trigger that requires a fast response from us as a player and it will reward the more alert players out there. Charles from WoWhats was one of the lovely community members kind enough to run some maths on the potential DPS upgrade that we would get from such a talent and it’s not overwhelming in terms of the DPS increase. You can read more on the maths here. Still, as mentioned, I do like the idea behind this talent and I’m all for the introduction of more mechanics that reward the better, more attentive players out there via intuitive design. The elemental rotation has often been criticised for being very static and bland (though more often than not, this seems to come from people outside of the elemental community) and I’d personally like to see more procs added to our play style.

The other aspect of this talent to consider is it’s impact in PvP. While the DPS increase it could provide isn’t immense, it does offer rather a lot of burst damage potential.

Summary

For our restoration friends (or off specs), spirit link hasn’t yet made it’s appearance in the talent tree after being mentioned in the shaman cataclysm class preview back in April. I’m sincerely hoping that this is purely due to the talent trees still being in deep development as opposed to them deciding to abandon the idea again, as it was undoubtedly one of the popular proposed changes to the restoration tree.

Categories: Cataclysm

Shaman Talent Preview

June 10, 2010 7 comments

MMO Champion updated their site this morning with a number of class talent tree previews courtesy of Blizzard. Fortunately for all of us, the Shaman tree was amongst those. While we had our Cataclysm class preview quite some time ago, this information gives us a more concrete feel for where each of the new talents appear.

What follows is a huge block of text but thanks to the work of the people over at MMO Champion, the new talents are also visible in a more graphically appealing presentation via their newly launched talent viewer. You can check it out here and specifically, the shaman talents here. Be aware that this site is in it’s early stages so down time is to be expected.

I’m going to start by detailing the elemental talent preview, followed by the restoration preview. As always, keep in mind Cataclysm is still in the alpha stages of it’s testing (though beta is closing in fast), so there is a great deal of time in which the talents may change.

Elemental Talent Preview

Tier One (Left to Right)

Convection

  • 5 ranks available
  • Reduces the mana cost of your shock, lightning bolt, chain lightning, lava burst, and wind shear spells by 2/4/6/8/10%.

Concussion

  • 5 ranks available
  • Increases the damage done by your lightning bolt, chain lightning, thunderstorm, lava burst and shock spells by 1/2/3/4/5%.

Tier Two (Left to Right)

Call of Flame

  • 3 ranks available
  • Increases the damage done by your fire totems and fire nova by 5/10/15% and damage done by your lava burst spell by 2/4/6%.

Elemental Warding

  • 3 ranks available
  • Reduces all damage taken by 2/4/6%.

Elemental Devastation

  • 3 ranks available
  • Your non-periodic offensive spell critical strikes will increase your chance to get a critical strike with melee attacks by 3/6/9% for ten seconds

Tier Three (Left to Right)

Reverberation

  • 5 ranks available
  • Reduces the cooldown of your shock spells and wind shear by 0.2/0.4/0.6/0.8/1 seconds.

Elemental Focus

  • 1 rank available
  • After landing a non-periodic critical strike with a fire, frost, or nature damage spell, you enter a clearcasting state. The clearcasting state reduces the mana cost of your next 2 damage or healing spells by 40%.

Elemental Fury

  • 5 ranks available
  • Increases the critical strike damage bonus of your searing totem and magma totem and your fire, frost and nature spells by 20/40/60/80/100%.

Tier Four (Left to Right)

Improved Fire Nova

  • 2 ranks available
  • Increases the damage done by your fire nova by 10/20% and reduces the cooldown by 2/4 seconds.

Eye of the Storm

  • 3 ranks available
  • Reduces the pushback suffered from damaging attacks while casting lightning bolt, chain lightning, lava burst and hex spells by 23/46/70%.

Tier Five (Left to Right)

Elemental Reach

  • 2 ranks available
  • Increases the range of your lightning bolt, chain lightning, fire nova, and lava burst spells by 3/6 yards, increases the radius of your thunderstorm spell by 10/20%, and increases the range of your flame shock by 7/15 yards.

Elemental Mastery

  • 1 rank available
  • Requires 1 point in elemental focus
  • Instant cast
  • 3 min cooldown
  • When activated, your next lightning bolt, chain lightning or lava burst spell becomes an instant cast spell. In addition, you gain 15% spell haste for 15 seconds. Elemental mastery shares a cooldown with nature’s swiftness.

Unrelenting Storm

  • 3 ranks available
  • Regenerate mana equal to 4/8/12% of your intellect every 5 seconds, even while casting.

Tier Six (Left to Right)

Elemental Precision

  • 3 ranks available
  • Increases your chance to hit with fire, frost and nature spells by 1/2/3% and increases your spell hit rating by an additional amount equal to 33/66/100% of your spirit.

  • Lightning Mastery

    • 5 ranks available
    • Requires 5 points in elemental fury
    • Reduces the cast time of your lightning bolt, chain lightning, and lava burst spells by 0.1/0.2/0.3/0.4/0.5 seconds.

    Tier Seven (Left to Right)

    Storm, Earth and Fire

    • 3 ranks available
    • Reduces the cooldown of our chain lighting spell by .75/1.5/2.5 seconds. In addition, your earthbind totem has a 33/66/100% chance to root targets for 5 seconds when cast, and the periodic damage done by your flame shock is increased by 20/40/60%.

    Elemental Oath

    • 2 ranks available
    • Requires 1 point in elemental mastery
    • While clearcasting from elemental focus is active, you deal 5/10% more spell damage. In addition, party and raid members within 100 yards receive a 3/5% bonus to their critical strike chance.

    Wrathful Totems [PH]

    • 1 rank available
    • Causes your fire totems to increase the spell power of your party and raid memebers within 100 yards by 10%.

    Tier Eight (Left to Right)

    Booming Echoes

    • 2 ranks available
    • 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 spells by an additional 10/20%.

    Acute Overload

    • 3 ranks available
    • Increases the damage dealt by your elemental overload spells by 7/14/20%.

    Tier Nine (Left to Right)

    Astral Shift

    • 3 ranks available
    • When stunned, feared or silenced you shift into the astral plane, reducing all damage taken by 10/20/30% for the duration of the stun, fear or silence effect.

    Earthquake

    • 1 rank available
    • 20149 Mana
    • 35 yd range
    • 1.5 sec cast
    • 15 sec cooldown
    • You cause the earth at the target location to tremble and break, dealing 267 physical damage every 1 second to enemies within a 10-yard radius, with a 40% chance of knocking down affected targets. Lasts 10 seconds.

    Lava Flows

    • 3 ranks available
    • Increases the critical strike damage bonus of your lava burst spells by an additional 6/12/24%, and when your flame shock is dispelled your spell casting speed is increased by 10/20/30% for 6 seconds.

    Tier Ten (Left to Right)

    Shamanism

    • 5 ranks available
    • Your lightning bolt and chain lightning spells gain an additional 4/8/12/16/20% and your lava burst gains an additional 5/10/15/20/25% of your bonus damage effects.

    Lava Surge

    • 3 ranks available
    • Gives your flame shock periodic damage ticks a 10/20/30% chance to reset the cooldown of your lava burst spell.

    Tier Eleven (Left to Right)

    Thunderstorm

    • 1 rank available
    • Instant
    • 45 sec cooldown
    • You call down a bolt of lightning, energizing you and damaging nearby enemies within 11 yards. Restores 8% mana to you and deals 1794 to 2038 nature damage to all nearby enemies, knocking them back 20 yards. This spell is usable while stunned.

    Restoration Talent Preview

    Tier One (Left to Right)

    Improved Healing Wave

    • 5 ranks available
    • Reduces the casting time of your healing wave and greater healing wave spells by 0.1/0.2/0.3/0.4/0.5 seconds.

    Totemic Focus

    • 5 ranks available
    • Reduces the mana cost of your totems by 5/10/15/20/25%.

    Tier Two (Left to Right

    Improved Reincarnation

    • 2 ranks available
    • Reduces the cooldown of your reincarnation spell by 7/15 minutes and increases the amount of health and mana recovered when reincarnating by an additional 10/20%.

    Healing Grace

    • 3 ranks available
    • Reduces the threat generated by your healing spells by 5/10/15% and reduces the chance your helpful spells and damage-over-time effects will be dispelled by 10/20/30%.

    Tidal Focus

    • 5 ranks available
    • Reduces the mana cost of your healing spells by 1/2/3/4/5%.

    Tier Three (Left to Right)

    Improved Water Shield

    • 3 ranks available
    • You have a 33/66/100% chance to instantly gain mana as if you consumed a water shield orb when you gain a critical effect from yourhealing wave or riptide spells, a 20/40/60% chance when you gain a critical effect from your lesser healing wave spell, and a 10/20/30% chance when you gain a critical effect from your chain heal spell.

    Healing Focus

    • 3 ranks available
    • Reduces the pushback suffered from damaging attacks while casting any shaman healing spells by 23/46/70%.

    Tidal Force

    • 1 rank available
    • Instant
    • 3 min cooldown
    • Increases the critical effect chance of your healing spells by 60%. Each critical heal reduces the chance by 20%. Lasts 20 seconds.

    Ancestral Healing

    • 3 ranks available
    • Reduces your target’s physical damage taken by 3/7/10% for 15 seconds after getting a critical effect from one of your healing spells.

    Tier Four (Left to Right)

    Restorative Totems

    • 3 ranks available
    • 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%.

    Focused Insight

    • 5 ranks available
    • After casting any shock spell, your next heal’s mana cost is reduced by 15/30/45/60/75% of the cost of the shock spell, and its healing effectiveness is increased by 5/10/15/20/25%.

    Tier Five (Left to Right)

    Healing Way

    • 3 ranks available
    • Increases the amount healed by your healing wave and greater healing wave spells by 8/16/25%.

    Nature’s Swiftness

    • 1 rank available
    • Instant
    • 2 min cooldown
    • When activated, your next nature spell with a base casting time less than 10 seconds becomes an instant cast spell. Nature’s swiftness shares a cooldown with elemental mastery.

    Focused Mind

    • 3 ranks available
    • Reduces the duration of any silence or interrupt effects used against the shaman by 10/20/30%. This effect does not stack with other similar effects.

    Tier Six (Left to Right)

    Ancestral Resolve

    • 2 ranks available
    • Reduces damage taken while casting spells by 5/10%.

    Purification

    • 5 ranks available
    • Increases the effectiveness of your healing spells by 2/4/6/8/10%.

    Tier Seven (Left to Right)

    Nature’s Guardian

    • 5 ranks available
    • Whenever a damaging attack brings you below 30% health, your maximum health is increased by 3/6/9/12/15% for 10 seconds, and your threat level towards the attacker is reduced

    • 30-second cooldown

    Mana Tide Totem

    • 1 rank available
    • Requires 3 points in restorative totems
    • Instant
    • 5 min cooldown
    • Summons a mana tide totem with 10% of the caster’s health at the feet of the caster for 12 seconds that restores 6% of total mana every 3 seconds to group members within 30 yards.

    Improved Cleanse Spirit

    • 1 rank available
    • Requires 5 points in purification
    • Empowers your cleanse spirit spell to also remove a magic effect from a friendly target.

    Tier Eight (Left to Right)

    Blessing of the Eternals

    • 2 ranks available
    • Increases the critical effect chance of your spells by 2/4%, and increases the chance to apply the earthliving heal-over-time effect on the target by 40/80% when they are at or under 35% total health.

    Improved Chain Heal

    • 2 ranks available
    • Increases the amount healed by your chain heal spell by 10/20%.

    Nature’s Blessing

    • 3 ranks available
    • Increases your healing by an amount equal to 5/10/15% of your intellect.

    Tier Nine (Left to Right)

    Ancestral Awakening

    • 3 ranks available
    • When you critically heal with a single-target direct heal, you summon an ancestral spirit to aid you, instantly healing the party or raid target with the lowest health within 40 yards for 10/20/30% of the amount healed.

    Earth Shield

    • 1 rank available
    • 8635 Mana
    • 40 yd range
    • Instant cast
    • Protects the target with an earthen shield, reducing casting or channeling time lost when damaged by 30% and causing attacks to heal the shielded target for 1609. This effect can only occur once every few seconds. 6 charges. Lasts 10 minutes. Earth shield can only be placed on one target at a time and only one elemental shield can be active on a target at a time.

    Improved Earth Shield

    • 2 ranks available
    • Requires 1 point in earth shield
    • Increases the amount of charges for your earth shield by 1/2, and increases the healing done by your earth shield by 5/10%.

    Tier Ten (Left to Right)

    Tidal Waves

    • 5 ranks available
    • When you cast chain heal or riptide, you have a 20/40/60/80/100% chance to lower the cast time of your healing wave spell by 30% and increase the critical effect chance of your lesser healing wave spell by 25%, until two such spells have been cast. In addition, your greater healing wave gains an additional 4/8/12/16/20% of your bonus healing effects and your healing wave and lesser healing wave gain an additional 2/4/6/8/10% of your bonus healing effects.

    Tier Eleven (Left to Right)

    Riptide

    • 1 rank available
    • 6590 Mana
    • 40 yd range
    • Instant cast
    • 6 sec cooldown
    • Heals a friendly target for 2397 and another 3780 over 15 seconds. Your next chain heal cast on that primary target within 15 (yards, seconds?) will consume the heal-over-time effect and increase the amount of the chain heal by 25%.

Categories: Cataclysm
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