Wednesday, September 28, 2011

WoW: Enhancement in 4.3

Let's just work through the relevant first set of notes here, linking the co-related together:

Wind Shear now has a 25-second base cooldown, up from 6 seconds.
Reverberation now reduces the cooldown of Wind Shear by 10/20 seconds, up from 0.5/1 second.
Intended as a nerf to constrain Resto Shaman control in PvP, the proposed implementation has two primary problems with it:
  1. Resto can still get it if they really want to.
  2. Enhancement doesn't take Reverb - the one second really makes no significant DPS improvement - and, furthermore, is now locked to a 25 second cooldown on Wind Shear until Level 82 at the earliest.
Gonna focus more on the later here because it comes down to a conflict between "Classic" Talent Tree Design and "Cataclysm" TTD. In the classic school, leaving Reverb as the Wind Shear cooldown reducer would make perfect sense because you could always hop into the other tree early to grab it if you were looking to Twink out at 60 or something. But, in the Cata school this is not an option because you can not leave your tree for other talents until you drop 31 points in your own.

This means that in a game where people are already predisposed to hating to have to tasked to interrupt you're now giving proto-Enhancement Shaman 82 levels of excuses not to have to do that job before giving them the option of turning into, arguably, the best interrupting spec in the game. That just seems wrong headed and it's also a hefty nerf to any ES looking to join a Twink PvP or PvE guild focused on sub 85 content because the ranged interrupt they need to be competitive in PvP, or the speedy Interrupt they brought to Raids and Dungeons is now gimped permanently sub 82.

So, in the Cata school that reduction needs to be baked somewhere into the Enhancement Spec or Tree if the goal is to not impact either of the DPS specs with this change and Blizzard needs to put more thought into where that could best be.
Flametongue Weapon no longer increases spell damage. It now increases all non-physical damage done by the wielder by 5%.
Mental Quickness has been redesigned. Instead of granting the shaman spell power, Mental Quickness now causes Enhancement shaman spells to behave as though the shaman has spell power equal to 55% of attack power. Enhancement shaman spells no longer benefit from spell power from other sources.
Death to Spell Power Weapons and Caster Enhancement. As much as that will upset some people, good riddance. There are enough abilities in our priority queue without having to come up with buttons for Lava Burst and other Elemental abilities that periodically came into flavour whenever the theorycrafters were smarter than the designers.
Call of Flame no longer causes Fire Nova to extend the duration of Flame Shock.
Improved Lava Lash now causes Lava Lash to spread a Flame Shock debuff from the target to up to 4 nearby targets. This excludes crowd-controlled targets and those who already have a Flame Shock debuff from the shaman.
Improved Lava Lash no longer increases base Lava Lash damage by 15/30%. This increase has been rolled into the base Lava Lash skill.
Death to Tab Target Flame Shock. Fucking A. The only downside to this is that Lava Lash functionally becomes a Cleave by default - as long as you've a Flame Shock on your target it's going to get pushed to the others in the same way Mages can push their dots with Impact. This means you're going to have to be aware of when you're hitting Lava Lash because there tends to be those occasions where to Cleave is bad - think not wanting to pick up all the spiders during the Nightmare Gauntlet in Deadmines.

The simple solution to that is to trade the Flame Shock for Earth Shock when it's absolutely critical to not cleave because you can't spread what isn't there. The long term solution may be for Blizzard to rename Improved Lava Lash something like "Slashing Flames" and have it turn Chain Lighting into Flame Chain Lightning to spread the Flame Shock dot instead of Lava Lash. In this sense, that part of the talent could function in the same way that Frost Mages see Flame Orb turned into Frostfire Orb to better directly benefit them and have our traditional Cleave do the work we're trying to foist on our primary nuke. I suspect the primary problem with doing that right now - other than making the Art Team cry - is the "those who already have a Flame Shock debuff from the shaman" part which could make Chain Lightning pathing... interesting to code.

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