I'll preface this by saying when TBC comes out I intend to roll a Paladin both because nobody else in the guild really wants to and because I'm frustrated by some aspects of the Shaman class, so this is mostly class mechanic discussion with a bit of rant mixed in. As any Horde player will tell you the #1 thing that sets Shamans apart is the Totem mechanic, which is both a blessing and a curse. In some respects totems are incredibly powerful but in other ways they are mind-bogglingly underpowered. Clearly Shamans will be stuck with totems from here on out, so I'm not going to try and figure out how to get rid of them but give ideas on how to improve them, among other things.
1- Why are Totems (and really buffs in general) one of the last mechanics in the game to not get any scaling benefit from gear? Two years after release Mana Tide will finally restore a percentage of mana after being more or less useless for a year. Windfury scales excellently due to it's percentage pased proc. No other totems that people actually use scale. The totems I cast the most are Windfury, Strength of Earth, Mana Spring, Fire/Frost/Nature Resistance, Tremor Totem and Grace of Air. Of all those exactly one scales, and unsurprisingly it's the best totem we have. Why not give us some way to improve the effect of these outside of a flat improvement through talent points? Improved PW:S is the sort of thing that I'm talking about. The initial effect of the totem could be slightly lowered then modified by +dmg, +healing or +AP by default, or better yet a talent could be introduced to increase a subset of totems by +dmg, +healing, or +AP depending on the totem. Wrath of Air and resist totems could have their effect boosted by 5% of +dmg. SoE and GoA could get an additional stat benefit of 5% AP (no counting Rockbiter for this one). Improved Mana Spring could be dropped a tier and changed to improve the effect by 2.5% of +healing. Make them deep talents (30-ish) in their respective trees, and they'be terrific synergy talents as no one Shaman could take them all, and you'd help specialize the role that Shaman has in a raid.
2- Why are all totems 10 HP pinatas? Other than the joke that is Stoneclaw no totem has any amount of hit points sufficient to survive a round of melee damage from a caster armed with a wooden spoon and no avoidance at all. Where is a talent that gives our totems a chance to avoid certain destruction? Totemic Resliency could increase the chance your totem is missed by melee/ranged attacks by 20% and boosts its resistances by 75, or something similar. This would be an equivalent of other class talents that reduce the chance effects will be dispelled, which seem to be quite common in the TBC trees.
3- This is the eternal gripe: there are still way too many useless totems. I realize there's a cyclical aspect to this where you can't over-power one totem to make it rule them all from its previous position of uselessness but there's not really any useful application of several totems, or they just plain aren't worth the mana. Ask a raiding Shaman when the the last time he used Stoneclaw totem was and he'll probably laugh. Some of the under-used totems just aren't as effective as other totems of the same element (Healing Stream, Stoneskin), some have their functionality erased or crippled in PVE fights (Magma, Fire Nova, Grounding Totem), and some are just flat out worthless (Stoneclaw, Windwall). Pretty much all of the Fire totems are currently not worth dropping in raids, unless you can add a few extra damage with Searing totem. Magma and Fire Nova totems remain inexplicable aggro magnets and are relegated to PVP totems. Grounding Totem is helpless against practically all bosses. Consequently the talents that affect these useless totems are worthless as well. I'm sure most Shamans would rather see Improved Grounding Totem have a chance to not be destroyed when it absorbed a spell, for instance. Make Fire Nova totem always detonate when destroyed, but have its damage ramp up the longer it's down. Take another look at some of them and figure out how to make them worth using at least once in a while.
4- Raise your hand if you are a Shaman that has never aggroed a mob because a totem hadn't expired yet and the mob ran across it. No hands? What a surprise. Give us a way to cancel our totems, please. It can be so simple as an ability where we target the totem and click a button to dispel it. Thanks.
5- Thanks for giving us an awesome new direction in the Enhancement tree. It's great. I'm serious. I look forward to beating skulls again to get to level 70; dual wield adds a huge depth component to the class. It's too bad Shamans have no damage threat reduction. Shamans that attempt to DPS will probably become the new Warlocks. It's already possible to pull aggro in streaky WF situations without a full Enhancement build. When people start going over the top in attempts to replace DPS classes aggro will become a serious issue. Giving us a de-aggro component in the Elemental Weapons talent would help avoid generating too much threat for our own good in a full Enhancement build, or it could be a seperate talent that reduces your threat from melee damage.
6- I was very excited to see Unrelenting Storm in the leak information. Finally, a passive mana regen form that didn't require the encounter to be a non-fire damage encounter. Then it ended up being mutually exclusive to the bottom 3 healing talents. Shamans remain the only one of the four healing classes without some form of talented mana regeneration/return in the "healing" tree (Meditation, Reflection, Illumination). I'm not sure what sort of mana regen you're expecting 41 Resto shamans to have, but it's going to be pretty atrocious compared to what Elemental or Enhancement shamans will be able to pull out. Earthen Shield looks pretty awesome, but I'm not sure it is worth giving up 50 mp/5 or more for. By taking the 41 point healing talent you're potentially making yourself a worse healer than if you went for a mixed Elemental/Resto spec that includes Unrelenting Storm (which, by the way, can include Mana Tide as well). That isn't right. Poor mana regeneration has always been the Achilles Heel of the class, and it's part of the reason that the 5 piece Earthfury bonus is clung to beyond reason by so many Shamans. I appreciate that Mana Spring/Tide are group effects, but the other classes that recieve benefit from it have additional options for personal mana regen. Deep Resto Shamans don't, and it makes them inferior in long fights. One potential option is to introduce a 1 point talent just under Mana Tide (to make it exclusive with Unrelenting) to allow the Shaman to get double effect of his own mana totems.
7- Itemization was a gripe of mine for a long time (Ten Storms shoulders, wtf), but between Stormcaller's, Earthshatterer and the last revision of the PVP armor Blizzard is finally on the right track to offer up all the different options Shamans want. Keep it up in TBC and I'll be a happy camper in that respect.
I do like my Shaman. I really do. I was one of the knee-jerkers that thought crossing Paladins and Shamans was a stupid idea but the way that both classes are headed now makes me hopeful that it wasn't the shark-jumping decision I thought it might be. That being said, I feel that without some subtle improvements I'll be a more useful addition to the raid playing a Paladin than if I continue to play my Shaman. I'd love to be proven wrong so I can continue to feel awesome every time Level 60 Elite Tauren Chieftain comes up on my playlist while raiding.
Originally Posted by CheshireCat
Eh, my nostalgia goggles aren't as good as they used to be.
1 - Don't forget that all fire totems now scale. Granted thats not a group buff scaling, but at least your DPS output scales slightly with searing totem or fire nova.
3 - I've found fire nova to be useful after the shaman talent patch in several areas of Naxx, most notably the slime pits before Patchwerk.
5 - I think the entire idea of the dual-wield shaman is to not do serious DPS - see the shaman BC talent thread for more discussion on it, everyone was in agreeance on using very fast weapons to keep the group buff applied through crits.
I still find it awkward that Resto and Enhancement shaman will get to use the scaling searing totem with gear that does not help it much while the elemental shaman, with a load of gear to help it, will have the 41pt totem down instead.
That said in the end I think Shaman got what we were looking for.
An enhancement shaman will be VASTLY superior at melee than a non enhancement shaman. The talents have a lot of synergy and with proper itemization their dps and contribution to a raid will be solid while still adding flexibility to heal.
Elemental shaman will be perfectly capable nukers. They are pounding crit rates from gear in the expansion and shaman still get 10 crit from talents, 3 from totem and a talented/free crit every 3 minutes. I think they have failed to encourage elemental shaman to actually nuke in a raid but there will be no shortage of shaman wanting to play this build even if they still heal in raids.
Resto shaman finally got scaling mana tide, earthen shield will absolutely dominate in 5-10 mans. If they place it on themselves they will have 100% uninterrupted heals forever. Also improved chain heal is sweet. The thought of the new chain heal being even better than it is now is pretty juicy. I find it amusing that Alliance will get some chain heal spamming resto shaman in their raids and be like 'wow shaman rule, those horde guys were just bitching.'
The shaman class will still be collecting a lot of different pieces of gear but the potential for customization is really pretty great. Throw in bloodlust and you have a cool class. Who knows maybe those elemental pet things will turn out to be powerful too. I have heard nothing about them at all.
1. Regarding scaling, SoE/GoA do scale as you get more crit and these totems are affected by talents. Searing totem gets some +damage added to it, and it can even crit (5% chance though).
2. I think 10 HP for a totem is fine, it is just a stick ;).
3. Many classes have worthless spells. Searing is a useful, I used to always use it during raids.
4. I would love a totem recall spell, getting random aggro is silly because you didn't clean up after yourself :rolleyes:.
5. With BoS plus TA, I don't think aggro will be much of an issue, unless you use double rockbiter.
6. I think the now scaling MTT will be all a Resto Shaman can hope to get in order to restore mana.
7. Itemization was weak, but with the seperate spec-based Arena sets and the new socketed armor, I don't see it as much of an issue anymore.
I agree that Pallys (Shaman for alliance) are quite useful to have around, and I am sure your guild is happy that you will be doing it.
Battleshout, BoW, BoM, Pali Auras and True Shot Aura don't scale with gear either. Actually most abilities that buff other classes don't outside of the Feral Druids +3% crit and WFT.
In TBC Bloodlust, Unleashed Rage, Windfury Totem, Shamanistic Rage, Mana Tide, Fire Totems and the new 41pt Elemental Talent all scale with gear.
Methinks you're barking up the wrong tree here
EDIT: Re: 10hp Totems (I thought it was 5hp)
That means they can't be dispelled, and it actively takes someone targetting your totem to destroy it. To me it's six of one, half dozen of the other. It's not like AoE's can hit them, so it's not the end of the world.
1) Mana stream doesnt' scale...but frnakly the only system that does is Innervate (and in the xpack, Tide). We get one of the best dps scaling buffs in the game (BoM + BoK is still better, but WFT is sick). Scaling stuff is trick- especially mana recovery- because they really, really want to be able to measureour mana in/out with a given encounter. As much as I'd like it, I'd like your other idea for that (shaman only) to keep it from getting out of line. For the love of god increase Healing Stream's coefficent though.
2) Good idea on the chance nto to be destroyed/avoided. I'd like to put it in enhance (holdover- for some reason I still consider enhnace the 'totem tree'), but maybe Resto would be the best fit? Tiers 1-2 have always needed more 'oomph' imo, especially for nonraiding builds (the true glory of AH is something we know well, but less obvious to the casual/pvp crowd), and if it's a 5 pointer with limited return it'll be accessable by all builds (and give more good filler to head up to tier 3 for -interrupt). Oh, and did you know Sentry totem has more than 5 hp? Bet you'll just run to the trainer and use THAT gem...
3) Agreed. One particular one that drives me up the wall is NR totem being on Air, which is half of our raiding totems- can we please move this to earth?. Though I've found myself more and more using Searing pretty much every time I blink, and I'm finding more use for some of the wierder ones, the honest truth is most of our totems are marginal or situational at best (I hate you, tremor totem).
4) Indeed, move along.
5) Major issue, I've posted at least 2-3 times on this board and at least once or twice on another. The fact is that there are no real aggro limiting fights in the game because of the salvation issue, and giving ourselves TA gimps our group damage amplification. We need an inherent threat if we're to pass even 60% of geared rogues, and -still- we're going to run into issues. Not to mention the 41 pointer gives mana back, which (assuming it works like Black Grasp of the Destroyer) most assuredly generates aggro. -aggro on the enhancing enchants, or even a tack-on to the 41 pointer would be good (though do make RB +threat- enough casual people OT/MT 5 mans as a shaman to need that). I don't think aggro limited is a thing of the past (judged soley on the -massive- amount of aggro tools added to all raiding dps classes), I think we're going to see fights that require Salvation and TA in conjunction, and I'd prefer to be aggro limited by damage, not lack of inherent -threat.
6) I'd frankly prefer unrelenting moved up to the 35-40 range and boosted significantly, and a 3 poitner in resto added doing exactly what you said (doubling all mana gain from your own totems). Unrelenting is good, but it's not 'enough' for ele dps according to any math I've come up with, and the lack of mana recovery in resto is still very much present. Also vaugely annoyed that balance druids are getting the same talents as ele shaman, only better, but that's another conversation (and yes, I know they're nto happy with the tree layout, nor do I want thier tree, but 3/3 vs 5/5 and the int-> +damage in thier caster tree...huh?). It is just within the realm of possiblity that the base shaman class mana regeneration is going to be amped up so much that this all becomes a nonissue- not something I'd rate as likely.
7) I hope so. Again, we'll see.
Good post overall, thanks for saying. Aren't you scared if they do fix all this you'll be tempted to stay? *grin*
Originally Posted by bartolimu
It makes me want to hit Marge Thatcher on the nose with a rolled up newspaper.
Regarding the buff thing, it is (as I noted in the first sentence of the point) an issue with all buffs. I don't think that totems should be alone in getting improvements to scaling, but when you look at the talent trees there are already talents in place for most buffs, they just increase the buff by a flat rate instead of offering a scaling mechanism. Regardless of how much your gear improves from TBC launch to the next expansion you're going to be stuck with the same amount of stats from a given buff, barring another AQ20 debacle. Improved Battle Shout, Improved PW:F, Improved MotW, Improved Blessing of Might, etc. all exist and you can hardly go down a talent tree without tripping over one. It would require a bit of re-working across the board but I don't think it is outside the realm of possibility, especially if they're going so far as to finally make pets scale.
Originally Posted by CheshireCat
Eh, my nostalgia goggles aren't as good as they used to be.
2) Totems are unaffected by AoE, which is a perferable attribute, imho. Although the totem targeting macros are annoying, I admit that.
3) Lots of classes have useless or very niche spells. Finding a use for these niche spells is part of what makes someone an expert of their class imho. That said, your idea on Fire Nova and Grounding Totem are pretty cool.
1. Mostly non-scaling buffs is probably a good thing. Pally buffs don't scale either, with the exception of BoK and BoSalv, both of which have caused major balancing issues between the factions for two years. Similarly trueshot, battleshout etc etc. The problem with mana spring (for example) wasn't that it didn't scale, it was that it was too low in the first place and occupied the same slot at FR/poison cleansing.
2. Bugs aside, totem vulnerability is more or less irrelevant in pve and generally in pvp I'm pretty happy if someone wastes time targeting a totem (aside from maybe fire nova)
3. The issue of multiple good totems sharing the same slot remains an issue, and it comes again with Totem of Wrath. It really needs to go Earth, as does Tranquil Air. Shamans have been held back by these very small nuances which probably escape most non-shaman entirely.
5. The new direction is great. As far as a de-aggro, I think threat gen for warriors (and druids) is going up and you'll have access to salvation (tranq too on really sensitive fights; give yourself and the party a pre-cast tranq so they can get going earlier and then give them windfury once aggro is firmly established).
6. A non-interactive (though powerful) ability and two "heal bigger" talents are a very lacklustre review of resto. They need to cut the mana tide prereq, and yes, probably provide some sort of regeneration and/or gimmick talent besides just "heal bigger". I would also like to see a couple of late elemental stuff moved up in this very top-heavy tree and some sort of addition "unselfish" talent (improved Wrath of Air?) added below 20 points to encourage raiding elemental shaman even more. 3% crit is not enough (see kin, oom).
The enhancement changes prove they are capable of having a clue about shaman. The resto and elemental prove they're not all the way there yet.