Here are the 4.1 PTR notes showing the changes happening for Shamans. Some of these we have been aware of for some time, others are slightly newer.
- Fire Nova has been redesigned and decoupled from shaman Fire totems. Instead, it now pulses the Fire Nova effect from each target that is afflicted by the shaman's own Flame Shock debuff. It now damages all enemies except the target hit by Flame Shock. The ability's cooldown has been reduced to 4 seconds, down from 10.
What this means: You can have Flame Shock up on about 3 different targets at the same time. For the sake of explaining this, say you only have one mob that has Flame Shock cast on it. Flame Shock will do the DoT damage to its target, but if you "detonate" the Fire Nova off of that target, the Fire Nova will not effect that target. It will however hit every single target surrounding it. If you have two targets afflicted with Flame Shock and detonate Fire Nova, target A's Fire Nova will hit target B, and target B's Nova will hit target A. With three targets afflicted target A's Nova will hit both B and C, and so on and so forth.
Pros: More AoE! And it isn't tied to a totem. Great news for Elemental Shaman.
Cons: May prove to be slightly problematic to track in combat. Invest in a DoT Timer of sorts is my best advice.
- Magma Totem now lasts for 60 seconds, up from 21.
What this means: Magma Totem is less of a pain in the butt.
Pros: Less having to refresh it during AoE situations, more smashing 'n casting.
Cons: I have nothing.
- Stoneclaw Totem's area-of-effect threat pulse no longer affects critters.
What this means: You can no longer deflect angry squirrels/turkeys away from you with your totem.
Pros: No more aggroing cockroaches.
Cons: No more aggroing cockroaches.
- Earthquake is no longer a channeled spell. It now has a 2-second cast time, lasts for 10 seconds, and has a 10-second cooldown. Its damage has been reduced by 40% from its channeled version.
What this means: Elemental Shaman now hard cast Earthquake, and while this spell is shaking the ground, the Shaman can continue to cast other spells.
Pros: Allows the Shaman to cast an AoE on adds while continuing to cast at a boss if they so wish. No need to worry about Earthquake damage being reduced by channel pushbacks.
Cons: It does a bit less damage than the channeled version.
- Improved Fire Nova has been redesigned and replaced by a talent called Seasoned Winds. When an enemy spell cast is successfully prevented with Wind Shear, the shaman gains magical resistance (in an amount equal to what a protection totem/aura would grant, stacking with such buffs) to the spell school(s) of the interrupted spell (except for Holy spells), lasting 10 seconds.
What this means: The Improved Fire Nova talent is going bye-bye. In it's place in the talent tree we will be getting Seasoned Winds. When we manage to interrupt a cast with our Wind Shear, we get a beneficial resistance buff for 10 seconds. This resistance will stack with our glyphed Healing Stream Totem or a present resistance aura.
Pros: Makes for easier healing in PvE, since the Enhancement Shaman will be taking reduced damage from that particular school of magic (I'm sure this will be very handy in Firelands), and of course will make the Shaman slightly more difficult to take down in PvP.
Cons: None that I can see. What could be bad about more resistances?
- Deep Healing now benefits all heals, not just direct heals.
What it means: All heals are now buffed through Deep Healing, provided you're not a noob and manage to not put points into this talent.
Pros: Shaman heals just got sexier.
Cons: Folks healed by a Shaman may get their faces melted off by sexy heals.
- Spirit Link Totem (new talent) reduces damage taken by all party and raid members within 10 yards by 10%. This lasts 6 seconds, and every second it is active the health of all affected players is redistributed among them, such that each player ends up with the same percentage of their maximum health. This counts as an Air totem and has a 3-minute cooldown.
What this means: Shamans get a new talent, which in turns gives them a new totem (much like how a talent point gives us Mana Tide). It essentially makes everyone with in 10 yards share damage.
Pros: Shamans have a defensive cooldown!
Cons: It's a totem. While it fits with our class theme, we will have to really pay attention to where we are positioned when using this totem. It also only has a 10 yard range. We must sacrifice our Wrath of Air totem (+5% spell haste) which will slightly reduce both healing and spell caster cast-times provided there isn't a Shadow Priest or Boomkin present to cover the buff.
Edit: New PTR 4.1 Notes
Grounding Totem cooldown has been increased to 25 seconds, up from 15.
What this means: Grounding Totem can now be used less often. This can be viewed as a nerf.
Pros: None for the casting Shaman. You now have a little less worry about Grounding Totem action from opposing Shaman in PvP though.
Cons: Less tossing out of this totem per minute to negate or reflect (if glyphed) incoming spells to yourself or team/raid mates.
Earth Shield healing done by Restoration shaman has been reduced by 20%.
What this means: Earth Shield is receiving a nerf on the healing it does.
Pros: I'm assuming that this is a balance factor with the upcoming changes with Nature's Blessing.
Cons: While I'd love for Earth Shield to be OP and not lose 20% healing done, it is a necessary evil for the sake of output balance. *Grumbles*
Nature's Blessing has been improved to 6/12/18% bonus direct healing on Earth Shielded targets, up from 5/10/15%.
What this means: Nature's Blessing is being buffed. If you have an Earth Shield on a target, any direct healing you do to that target (ie any Healing Waves, Riptides, or whatever else it is that you Resto folks do these days...any ricochet Chain Heals, Healing Rain, or Ancestral Awakening will not count for this) will be increased by 6/12/18%, depending on how deep you talent into this option.
Pros: More powerful direct heals for your Earth Shielded friend.
Cons: It only works for direct heals. Fairly certain that Earth Shield is receiving a nerf due to this talent buff.
Glyph of Grounding Totem now increases the cooldown of the ability by 35 seconds, down from 45 seconds.
What this means: This glyph allows you to not just misdirect a spell away from you (this totem "eats" a harmful spell that is hurled in your direction, for those of you who do not know) but reflects it at your opponent, at the cost of an extended CD.
Pros: Allows you to use this totem a bit more often, assuming that you make use of this glyph.
Cons: Your Lava Bursts may hit you in the face a little more often in PvP if you're going against a rival Shaman who sports this particular glyph.
This entry has been posted on both World of Saz and on Saz's alternative blog, Feral Spirit. You can find Feral Spirit on the Learn to Raid website.