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Totem Talk: Shamans in development

As we've discussed before, Shamans need a lot of development love in order to no longer be the least played class. We did receive some good news at BlizzCon, but what is the first tangible thing that happens? A "hotfix". Nerfing Windfury to no longer work on "yellow" attacks except next swing attacks was so pressing, it couldn't wait for a patch. It seems this change had been in the works for a while, but a hotfixed buff would have been nice to balance it out.

But let's dwell on the positive. There are some changes for Shamans coming up in patches and the expansion: Wrath of the Lich King. Here is a compilation of what development is in the works or at least being discussed for Shamans.

Crowd Control?: I was disappointed that no one asked about the ability to clear aggro, but at both of the BlizzCon class panels, someone asked about Crowd Control. It seems that while this is definitely not something that will show up before WotLK, it is being looked at for levels 71 to 80. They have yet to decide if crowd control is something that they want to add to the Shaman class, but at least it is in discussion.

Totems, totems, totems: The totem system is being looked at. The Mana Spring totem is definitely going to be made more powerful and so are other totems which were not disclosed.

Talents: As Eliah reported, they are working on some new talents for Shamans:
  • Mental Quickness: In addition to reducing the mana cost of instant cast spells, it will increase spell damage and healing by 30% of your AP at max talent points.
  • Shamanistic Rage: In addition to its current mana-regeneration proc, it will reduce damage taken by 30% when it's on.
  • Shamanistic Focus: This new talent is not finalized yet, but currently seems to replace the Two-Handed Axes and Maces Talent. The talent as we saw it at BlizzCon will reduce the mana cost of your next shock spell by 60% after landing a melee critical strike.
Two-Handed Axes and Maces for everyone!: A quote from the official Blizzard description of Shamans says "Shamans can wear medium armor, and even wield massive two-handed weapons in combat." which implies that all Shamans should be able to wield "massive two-handed weapons". The developers wouldn't spend much time on it, but seemed to sorta-kinda-maybe confirm that two-handed axes and maces would become a trainable skill rather than a talent. Drysc has since confirmed that if Shamanistic Focus goes through as is, then the two-handed talent will definitely become a skill.

"Scaling" problem: An interesting comment during the class panel revealed that the developers do understand that Shamans have lost their former glory. While they used to be feared before the introduction of the Arcanite Reaper, Shamans have not scaled so well along with everyone else. So greater PvP viability is being looked at for Shamans.

Free Spell Damage for healers: In the items panel at BlizzCon, it was announced that healing speced classes will have spell damage increasing stats on their healing gear. I'm not sure if this will come in the form of changes to current gear or if it will only apply to gear dropping in the patches and the expansion. But the developers made it clear that the gear that drops for Restoration Shamans will include Spell Damage bonuses so that wearing your uber healing gear will allow you to enjoy the solo PvE content without having to respec and change gear or get on an alt.

Spirit as a useful stat: Currently other classes get some Spirit bonuses to make it kinda worthwhile for them, but that really isn't the case for Shamans. Spirit is definitely going to get revamped so that it will be useful for all classes that use mana. While the developers were clear that the mana bar will never regen as fast as the energy bar, Spirit is going to have a greater effect on mana regen. They are also looking to add another component to Spirit to make it even more attractive. As Chadwick pointed out in the comments for the Druid BlizzCon recap, they are looking into threat reduction as a possible effect of Spirit.

Blizzard does seem to be working on Shaman issues, but it looks like the majority of the love will come from fixes being made for all healers and mana users. Will these changes be enough to return the Shaman class to its glory days? That remains to be seen.

Filed under: Shaman, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, (Shaman) Totem Talk, Wrath of the Lich King

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