The Wrath of the Lich King expansion is set to bring some interesting all-around class changes and shaman are certainly no exception. Shaman get a new crowd control ability, a new ranged damage spell, plus enhancement shaman in particular receive some talents to both enhance their damage output as well as make their off-spec abilities usable. The best new ability has to be Hex and the most dangerous new talent has to be Maelstrom Weapon. Continue reading for a full and updated list of all of the enhancement shaman changes coming in the next expansion pack.
Hex, the shaman’s new crowd control ability, is probably the most anticipated addition to the class. The current tooltip reads:
Transforms the enemy into a frog. While hexed, the target cannot attack or cast spells. Damage caused may interrupt the effect. Lasts 30 sec. Only one target can be hexed at a time. Only works on Humanoids and Beasts.
Not bad, huh? The cooldown is currently set at 45 seconds, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Blizzard decided to raise that just a bit. The intent of the spell is to give the shaman an emergency crowd control ability. The target is still able to move, but they cannot do any sort of attack. This is also a curse debuff which means priests and paladins cannot remove it. Hex is trainable at level 80.
Wind Shock is our new spell interrupt ability (it also reduces threat for those that PvE). Its meant to replace rank 1 Earth Shock now that spell down-ranking is not feasible (see below). It costs 44% less mana to cast than Earth Shock and shares the same 6 second cooldown as the other shock spells.
The spell effect from Heroism/Bloodlust hasn’t changed, but it now grants a debuff that does not allow the haste ability to effect the target with the debuff for 5 minutes. So no more stacking Heroism or Bloodlust.
Ghost Wolf has had a significant bump in its mana cost. It now costs 13% of your base mana to cast, which is up from 100 mana.
A lot has changed with talents both in their location and their descriptions. The changes have a feel for bringing the hybrid aspect back to the shaman. The talent builder at wowhead.com is a useful tool to play around with different talent specs. The values mentioned below are for the highest rank talent.
- Ancestral Knowledge (Updated / Tier 1) – Now modifies intellect by 10% instead of base mana.
- Enhancing Totems (Updated / Tier 1) – Increases the effects of both Strength of Earth and Flametongue Totems by 15%.
- Earth’s Grasp (New / Tier 1) – Increases the health of Stoneclaw Totem by 50% and the radius of the Earthbind Totem by 20%.
- Shield Specialization – Removed.
- Improved Shields (Updated / Tier 2) – Now boosts the effects of each of the shaman shields by 15%.
- Thundering Strikes (Updated / Tier 2) – Now includes spells in addition to weapon attacks.
- Anticipation (Updated / Tier 3) – Now increases your chance to dodge by 3% (down from 5%) and reduces the duration of disarm effects by 50%. Also changed to a 3-point talent.
- Shamanistic Focus (Updated / Tier 3) – Changed to reduce mana cost of shock spells by 45% (down from 60%).
- Elemental Weapons (Updated / Tier 3) – Moved from tier 5 to tier 3. Now increases Windfury Weapon damage by 40%, Flametongue Weapon spell damage by 30%, and healing done by Earthliving Weapon by 30%.
- Toughness (Updated / Tier 4) – Now reduces the duration of movement slowing effects by 30% (down from 50%).
- Improved Windfury Totem (Updated / Tier 5) – Increases the haste rating of the Windfury Totem by 4%.
- Mental Dexterity (New / Tier 5) – Increases attack power by 100% of your intellect.
- Unleashed Rage (Updated / Tier 6) – Moved to tier 6 from tier 8.
- Weapon Mastery (Updated / Tier 6) – Modified to be a 3-point talent and increases damage by 10%.
- Mental Quickness (Updated / Tier 8) – Moved to tier 8 from tier 6.
- Improved Shormstrike (New / Tier 8) – Reduces the cooldown of Stormstrike by 2 seconds and increases the number of charges by 2.
- Lava Lash (New / Tier 8) – Instant off-hand weapon attack dealing 100% off-hand weapon damage. Damage is increased by 25% if your off-hand weapon is enchanted with Flametongue.
- Static Shock (New / Tier 9) – Gives you a 6% chance to hit the target with a Lightning Shield charge when you do damage to them. The proc also increases the number of orbs by 6.
- Earthen Power (New / Tier 9) – Gives the Earthbind Totem totem a 100% chance to dispel all snare effects when it pulses.
- Maelstrom Weapon (New / Tier 10) – When you deal damage with a melee weapon, you have a chance to reduce the cast time of your next Lightning Bolt, Chain Lightning, Lava Burst, Lesser Healing Wave, or Healing Wave spell by 20%. This buff stacks up to 5 times reducing the casting time by 100%. The chance to proc goes up with each rank.
- Feral Spirit (New / Tier 11) – Summon two Spirit Wolves that are controllable by the shaman. The wolves last 45 seconds and come with the following abilities:
- Bash: Your Spirit Wolves stun the target for 2 seconds
- Twin Howl: Your Spirit Wolves howl, forcing all enemies to attack them for 6 seconds
- Spirit Walk: Removes all movement impairing effects and increases the movement speed of you and your Spirit Wolves by 60% for 15 seconds
- Spirit Hunt: Your Spirit Wolves’ attacks heal them and you for 150% of damage done
Totems have undergone some significant changes. The range of friendly totems has been increases from 20 yards to 30 yards. This was previously only possible through a talent in the restoration tree. Totems now effect the entire raid instead of just the shaman’s party. All totems now last 5 minutes. The one downside to the changes is that totem buffs will no longer stack.
- Strength of Earth – Now increases both strength and agility by 155.
- Wrath of Air – Changed to increase spell haste by 5%.
- Windfury Totem – Increases melee haste by 16% (upped to 20% with talent).
- Windwall Totem – Removed.
- Tranquil Air Totem – Removed.
- Flametongue Totem – Changed to increase spellpower by 144.
- Stoneclaw Totem – Health is increased by 5% of the shaman’s total health.
- Stoneskin Totem – Changed to increase armor value instead of reduce damage.
The range of all friendly totems has been increased from 20 yards to 30 yards. The additional range was previously only possible with a tier 3 restoration talent. Totems also effect the entire raid instead of just a single party. The one downside is that totem buffs no longer stack.
Hit, Crit, and Dealing Damage
Hit rating, critical strike rating, and haste rating now modify both melee attacks and spells. This change helps the hybrid classes be hybrid by allowing them to get a bit more use out of the same piece of gear.
The calculation for attack power has also changed. Shaman now get 1 attack power from strength, and 1 attack power from agility. This puts shaman and hunters in competition for the same or similar gear.
Spell Damage & Healing
All items and effects which grant bonuses to spell damage and spell healing are being consolidated into a single stat: Spellpower. This is meant to simplify gear. To make up the difference between the old damage and healing numbers, all healing spells will be modified to receive more benefit from spellpower. The net effect will be no change to the amount of damage done or the amount healed.
Blizzard has decided to change the mana cost of all spells to be a percent of base mana. This change is to prevent spell down-ranking. A common use of this by enhancement shaman was to use rank 1 Earth Shock as a low-cost spell interrupt.
Overall I think the changes to enhancement shaman are very positive. A lot of the changes help enhancement shaman to be more than just melee damage dealers. Shaman will be able to do a moderate amount of ranged damage as well as heal for a reasonable amount at least for a short amount of time. Shaman also received some much needed crowd control all be it for emergency purposes.
Update 1 (09-16-2008) : Updated from the official test realm patch notes.
Update 2 (09-18-2008) : Updated from World of Raids 8962 patch notes.
Update 3 (09-24-2008) : Updated from World of Raids 8970 patch notes.
Update 4 (10-06-2008) : Updated from World of Raids 9014 and 9038 patch notes.
Update 5 (10-28-2008) : Updated from World of Raids 9095 and 9138 patch notes.
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