Friday, March 8, 2013

5.2 Changes for Shaman

Hello everyone and welcome to a new patch! For those of you who were wondering, enhancement hasn't changed a whole lot with the implementation of 5.2. There have been several tweaks made to both our spec and the class overall though, so we're going to take a dive into those changes in this post. Now, if you're looking for a complete list of patch notes complete with spell links/tooltips, I suggest heading on over to Wowhead.

Chain Lightning will now deal the same damage to subsequent targets as it does to the first.
- Stronger AoE for elemental shamans and better cleaves for enhancement? I'll take it!

Lava Beam's damage now increases with jumps. Each jump increases the damage by 10%.
- Lava Beam is Chain Lightning for elemental shaman in their Ascendance form. Stronger AoE for them? I approve.

Shamanistic Rage is now available to Elemental Shamans as well as Enhancement Shamans.
- Giving another survivability tool to our elemental brothers and sisters is a good thing. I know when I was specced elemental on my second shaman, I was always looking for this cooldown! Glad to see both DPS specs with this ability now.

Flame Shock's duration has been increased by 25%.
- In 5.1 we needed to use Glyph of Flame Shock in order to extend FS's duration by 25% at the cost of some initial damage. With this glyph being reworked (see Glyphs below) Blizz has decided to make the extended duration a permanent thing. An excellent change, in my opinion.

Lava Burst base damage has been reduced by 33% but now always deals a critical strike. When cast on targets affected by Flame Shock, it now deals 50% more damage.
- Another tweak aimed at our elemental brothers and sisters. It's nice to see Lava Burst always crit now, and perhaps the increase in damage will help bring their over all damage up a bit. Not completely sure on the math on that one though, so be sure to check on the theorycrafting work done by Binkenstein and friends over on Totem Spot.

When summoned, the Stone Bulwark Totem has health equal to 10% of the casting Shaman's health.
- This was mainly a PvP buff to make it so that players couldn't simply 1-shot our shielding totem.

The talent Nature's Guardian now preserves the player's health percentage when its maximum health boosting effect expires.
- This talent increases your health pool. Originally when this was implemented, if you were at say, 97% health when the buff expired, your health percentage would drop. Now when the buff from this talent expires, your health will remain at the example health of 97%.

Stone Bulwark Totem now absorbs 25% more damage.
- More absorbs mean less damage taken! This is a decent little buff from both PvE and PvP perspectives.

The talent Totemic Restoration now has an additional effect. Any totems that have been destroyed or replaced behave as if the totem had been active for at least 1 second.
- You got me. I'm assuming that this is an adjustment or fix for some sort of unintended behavior from replacing totems too quickly (fat fingering something and instantly replacing it with another totem of another school perhaps, not resetting the original totem as intended?), but as to what that is specifically, I'm unsure.

Elemental Mastery now has a 90-second cooldown (was 2 minutes).
- This change actually makes Elemental Mastery attractive to enhancement in certain situations. By lowering the cooldown to 90 seconds, we can line up every other EM usage with Ascendance, creating some delicious burst situations.

Ancestral Swiftness now increases spell haste by 5% and melee haste by 10% (was 5%/5%).
- This buff makes Ancestral Swiftness viable for use in more static situations. The theorycrafters are still working on the numbers, but this may be the talent of choice for this tier with certain t15 trinkets + the legendary meta gem. More on this later in the 5.2 enhancement Need To Know guide.

Conductivity no longer requires that the target be within the area of effect of Healing Rain.
- To my understanding this means that if you heal someone outside of the Healing Rain, those IN the Healing Rain gain the healing effect. Say for example, you're taking on Feng in Mogu'shan Vaults. Ranged are stacked up in the middle, you place Healing Rain on the ranged. You directly heal the tank, which is over on the side with the boss. Those within your rain get 30% of the direct heal you just landed on the tank. This adjustment was made to make this talent a bit more appealing and slightly less situation bound.

Conductivity now shares 30% (was 20%) of the healing received from Healing Wave, Greater Healing Wave, or Healing Surge
- A buff to help make this particular talent choice a bit more appealing.

Ancestral Guidance now copies 60% (was 40%) of the amount healed.
- While this buff to the healing portion of AG can be applied towards elemental and enhancement shaman, this is mainly geared towards restoration to make this talent choice more appealing to them. For the most part, us elementals and enhancers don't tend to heal while we pop AG, unless we're soloing and near death.

Unleashed Fury Flametongue now increases Lightning Bolt damage by 20% (was 30%), and Lava Burst damage by 10%.
- This tweak is a buff for elemental shaman to make this talent more appealing to them, and a minor nerf for us enhancement shaman, bringing it slightly more in line with the other two talent choices for this tier.

Primal Earth Elemental and Primal Fire Elemental now deal 20% more damage.
- The buff for the primal versions of our elementals (via the Primal Elementalist talent) is meant to make this talent more attractive for us DPS-type shaman.

Elemental Blast now has a chance to increase the caster's Agility for Enhancement Shamans.
- This change is a buff is intended to be a buff/addition geared towards enhancement shaman. The verdict is still out as to whether or not this change is enough to make this particular talent appealing (so far it looks like the other two talents pull a good bit ahead of this one), but it's a step in the direction of talent balance.

Glyph of Purge now adds a 6 second cooldown to Purge.
- A change geared towards PvP balance.

Glyph of Flame Shock has been redesigned. This glyph now causes the Shaman to heal for 50% of the damage dealt by Flame Shock.
- Originally this glyph extended the duration of FS by 25% at the cost of Flame Shocks' initial damage. The made the 25% extended duration baseline, and reworked this glyph so that FS will heal us for 50% of the damage it deals. Over all this is a fairly piddly heal, as Flame Shock doesn't tend to do a whole lot of damage single target. However, if you find yourself in a situation where you don't have anything better to put in a glyph spot for a certain fight, an extra little bit of healing is never a bad thing!

Elemental Specific
Elemental Focus now increases the Shaman's spell damage by 15% (was 10%).
Shamanism now increases the damage of Lightning Bolt by 70% (was 50%).
- Two buffs to help bring elemental's overall damage up a bit.

Enhancement Specific
Mental Quickness now lowers the cost of shocks by 90% (still lowers the cost of other “beneficial, instant, damaging and totem spells” by 75%).
- Not completely sure why this change happen, as we don't tend to have many mana issues at max level. There it is though, and I won't complain any. 

Edit: According to the 5.2 Class Review done by Blizz, this change was geared towards helping out enhancement shaman in PvP scenarios. Apparently with low melee uptime, enhancers were finding themselves OOM. I still won't complain any, as this change can likewise help in certain solo situations!

Spirit Walk now has a 1-minute cooldown (was 2 minutes).
- More mobility is never a bad thing, especially as a melee class. This change is super handy for those movement heavy fights.

As I said a bit ago, most of these changes are really more minor tweaks. A few are quality of life changes, some are simply balancing our talents so that we may choose talents based on either preference or situation, instead of simply choosing a particular talent because "it's always the best one." Naturally, changing certain talents in and out can change your playstyle to a certain degree, but more on that later. Go forth and enjoy the new content!


  1. I'll jump up and post a comment. Us, Roo's are like that!

    Interesting. Almost makes me want to try a shaman again.

    How about heirloom armor and weapons. What would you recommend for shamans or shawomans?

    I'm back :) How ye are Ms Sazzy, ye wee bonnie lassie ye.

    signed - your Roo

  2. Hey Roo!

    You should definitely give shaman a go. They're pretty fun to play once you start getting more of the abilities.

    Heirlooms: Shoot for the mail ones. Agility for Enhance and Intellect for Ele/Resto of course. Assuming you're in a guild that has opened up the various different heirlooms, you can have a BoA for nearly every slot, save for bracers/neck/belt/boots/rings.

    If you're leveling as enhance and only have some Agility leather heirlooms, those can work, though you'll be gimping yourself on armor and once you hit level 50, you'll be missing out on the 5% increase on Agility from the Mail Specialization. Likewise, if you're going to level as one of the caster specs, the cloth BoAs will work in a pinch as well, though again you're sacrificing armor and at level 50 that Intellect bonus.

    For trinkets, as Enhance the Swift Hand of Justice x2 will do the trick. For the caster specs, you can also use this trinket x2, OR you can grab Discerning Eye of the Beast x2. I personally only have one Eye, so I use one of each for my casters.

    Weapons. For Enh go with Venerable Mass of McGowan x2. For Ele/Resto, you can use Scholarly Headmaster's Charge if you already have one, or you can use Pious Aurastone Hammer + Musty Tome of the Lost (or a shield of your finding).

    If you can get upgraded versions of these heirlooms, great! If not, it's not a huge deal. Any bits that you can get will help.

    I'm pretty good, though a wee bit busy these days, haha. How about you, m'dear? It's good to see your name pop up in my comments section!


  3. ok dokey -

    enhanced is the dps'er shaman, then and ele must be the caster dps'er and resto is the healer shaman?

    I have the leather and mail versions of all the heirlooms but with agi for rogues, cat/bear druids, hunters. I've never been a healer type. :( so that might take some getting use too.

    dang, I knew I should have gone for 2 1-hnd weapons instead of that 2-hnd staff for the monk....

    Thank ye kindly m'lady

  4. You got 'er!

    The BoA weapons aren't completely necessary, since you can find weapons aplenty as you level up. Just shoot for weapons with a 2.6 speed if you go enhancement (don't go much faster than a 2.4!).

    Anytime m'dear ^_^

    1. ok, this week-end I tried to level a brand new dwarf shaman. Oh my word, talk about running up and hitting me head on a wall. Weapon swing and something called electric storm (not sure if that is the right name or not). Made it to level 5 before I called it quits. No, I did not delete Ironsnow (I made that name up while I was shoveling 4 feet of it last Monday - when the wind blows over snow, the friction will melt the snow but it dries so fast, that it becomes hard as a sandstone - hence the name "iron snow" :) Now, I don't know if I have sole use of that name or not, or even if I am the only one who has thought it up, but being a cantankerous old cuss, I like to think so....), but brought him to SW and will try playing him more. But at the early stage of the a shaman's life, it is hard. :)

    2. Ironsnow...I like it!

      Shaman, or most classes in general these days, tend to be a bit slow for the first 10 levels. I'm sure the electric storm you're speaking of is Lightning Shield, which is a good spell to keep on at all times! As you keep leveling, you'll start getting more of your damaging spells, which will pick up the pace quite a bit. Once you hit 10 you can specialize, so you'll get a few more good abilities from that as well to make things interesting. It gets better! Just hang in there ; )

    3. Thank you m'lady. I will play him after doing me fishing on me alts. But there are 16 others who made that name up too. :( A bit of hagus for the wee bad folks.