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Totem Talk: Enhancement beta update

Axes, maces, lightning, Windfury and wolves. It can mean only one thing: enhancement. Rich Maloy lives it and loves it. His main spec is enhance. His off-spec is enhance. He blogs about the life and times of enhance, and leads the guild Big Crits (Week 13 now live!)as the enhancement shaman Stoneybaby.

It's been a few weeks since my last beta post. I feel like I'm back in grammar school at good ol' St. Louise de Marillac, "forgive me readers, it's been four weeks since my last beta post. Since then I've been mean to my guild, and I tried to kill my own priest." In game priest, in game! I can't wait to read the letters to the editor about that slip up. Oh well, at least I didn't use the word "casual."

Moving right along to important topics that everyone cares about: beta changes for enhancement shamans! Well, I suppose "everyone" excludes people that are not interested in beta spoilers. Great, two paragraphs in and I've already offended Catholics, priests, and people not interested in beta spoilers. Look on the bright side: at least I didn't use an offensive font this week!

If you are interested in the latest beta changes as they relate to enhancement shamans then please read on. Please note that beyond this point, this post will not further offend your good, wholesome middle Azerothian sensibilities.

Prime glyphs

The latest round of glyphs look very interesting. The glyph list by prime, major, and minor classifications were released into the wild for Shaman as well as another lesser, filthier class. Prime glyphs are the newest category of glyphification, adding an additional three glyph spots for prime-type glyphs. The prime glyphs generally fall into the category of X does Y more. Here are those relevant to enhancement.
  • Feral Spirit - Your spirit wolves gain an additional 30% of your attack power.
  • Fire Elemental Totem - Reduces the cooldown of your Fire Elemental Totem by 5 minutes.
  • Flame Shock - Increases the duration of your Flame Shock by 50%.
  • Flametongue Weapon - Increases spell critical strike chance by 2% while Flametongue Weapon is active.
  • Lava - Your Lava Burst spell deals 10% more damage.
  • Lava Lash - Increases the damage dealt by your Lava Lash ability by 20%.
  • Lightning Bolt - Increases the damage dealt by Lightning Bolt by 4%.
  • Stormstrike - Increases the Nature damage bonus from your Stormstrike ability by an additional 8%.
  • Windfury Weapon - Increases the chance per swing for Windfury Weapon to trigger by 2%.
There's a lot to choose from in there. Leading contenders are Feral Spirit, which will probably end up being a must-have, Windfury Weapon, Lava Burst, and Stormstrike. Glyph of Stormstike could continue to be a possibility because we still apply a debuff to our target increasing nature damage, which includes Lightning Shield, Lightning Bolt, and Earth Shock. This is going to come down to sims to see how it plays out versus some others.

Glyph of Flame Shock in its current incarnation increases the critical strike damage by 60%. The change to increase its duration by 50% is pretty significant, but I doubt it will be viable against some of the other, stronger ones.

The Glyph of Lava Lash was increased from 10% to 20%, but LL is such a laggard in terms of damage I don't see that making much of a difference, especially given the statement that Blizzard does not want our glyphs to change our rotations. The only saving grace for this glyph could be in Improved Lava Lash. If searing plus LL proves to be the killer combo of Cata, then we might find ourselves glyphing for it.

As for Glyph of Fire Elemental, that will continue to be a situational glyph. I'm glad we'll have the opportunity to swap glyphs in and out without having to constantly have a new stack made. Fire Ele glyph is a great thing to have for long boss fights, and a must-have when those fights have adds. Heroic Halion anyone?

Lastly, I might be going out on a limb with Lava Burst being one of or prime choices, but it's such a powerful spell I'm willing to bet that the glyph will sim out as one of our top three prime choices.

As an aside, I'm actually rather disappointed at the inclusion of Lava Burst in Maelstrom Weapon procs. Yes it's a nasty spell. Yes it's another tool to add to the enhance toolkit. Yes it's going to add another layer of richness to the already complex enhance rotation that I love so much. These are all great things. But there's something very, very, uhm, how do I say this? There's something elemental about it. To me it doesn't fit in the enhancement way. I only say this only now, while it's pretty much baked in, and not going to go away because I fear that if it were to be removed there would be an enhancement lynch mob forming for me at Blizzcon. (Then you'd have to answer your real priest, readers!)

But really, I don't like it. To me it's something from the elemental kit that's been ported over to enhancement. Yes we struggle with proc-based abilities so LvB on MW gives us some extra umph when we do get a three-stack of MW, and that's great. But couldn't we get spell increases along with MW, or maybe an enhancement only spell for MW that would be irresistible to use? I'd call it Stoneystrike. A three proc of MW enables you to case Stoneystrike, instantly disabling your opponent in a fit of explicatives and critting their hair for 140% damage. Or something like that.

Major glyphs

  • Fire Nova - Increases the radius of your Fire Nova spell by 5 yards.
  • Frost Shock - Increases the duration of your Frost Shock by 2 seconds.
  • Ghost Wolf - Your Ghost Wolf spell form grants an additional 10% movement speed.
  • Grounding Totem - When your Grounding Totem absorbs a spell, it attempts to reflect that spell on its caster, but the cooldown of your Grounding Totem is increased by 45 seconds.
  • Healing Stream Totem - Your Healing Stream Totem also increases the Fire, Frost, and Nature resistance of party and raid members within 30 yards by 130.
  • Hex - Reduces the cooldown of your Hex spell by 15 seconds.
  • Lightning Shield - Your Lightning Shield can no longer drop below 3 charges from dealing damage to attackers.
  • Shamanistic Rage - Activating your Shamanistic Rage ability also cleanses you of all dispellable Magic debuffs.
  • Shocking - Reduces the global cooldown triggered by your Shock spells to 1 second.
  • Stoneclaw Totem - Your Stoneclaw Totem also places a damage absorb shield on you, equal to 4 times the strength of the shield it places on your totems.
  • Totemic Recall - Causes your Totemic Recall ability to return an additional 50% of the mana cost of any recalled totems.
When I look at this list all I can think about is PvP, BG, and arena. I feel myself being drawn into battlegrounds just thinking about the possibilities. We already have the Glyph of Stoneclaw Totem, a must-have for PvP. Additional Ghost Wolf movement speed sounds great. Hex on a lower cooldown is far better than its current glyph, which increases the damage taken before it breaks. Being able to use it more often is better for both PvP and PvE.

Grounding Totem with a chance to reflect a spell sounds like a fun one, but it doubles the cooldown for only a chance. This needs to be changed to a guaranteed reflection for a 1.5 min cooldown. Lastly on the PvP front, Shammy Rage removes all dispellable magic debuffs. Not bad. I like the look of enhance PvP in Cataclysm.

As for PvE, Glyphs of Lightning Shield and Shocking will most likely be must-haves with the third up for grabs depending on the fight. The new Lightning Shield glyph, combined with the new Static Shock means the only time we'll need to refresh LS is when the time runs out. Static Shock no longer consumes a charge, and the glyph means attacks against you no longer consume charges.

I see some great situational need for glyphs of Healing Stream, Shamanistic Rage, Hex, and Fire Nova. Hex could be good for running 5-man dungeons if CC comes back in vogue. Finally, with all the talk about resistances and debuffs, I wonder if the new raids will place an emphasis on dispelling and resistances again.

Minor glyphs

The only minor glyph worth mentioning, if even that, is the Glyph of Arctic Wolf, which turns your Ghost Wolf form white. I'd rather not carry around any reagents than have a slightly reskinned ghost wolf.

Fire Nova and a new spec

In other news, Improved Fire Nova was moved deep in the enhancement tree, making it unreachable to the other shaman specs. The ability stays the same, reducing the cooldown by 4 seconds and increasing the damage by 20% with two talent points invested. This is going to be a purely situational talent, and to reach it we'll have to sacrifice talents in other areas, perhaps such as Concussion.

I could see a standard enhancement raiding spec being 6/35/0 with a Fire Novaing spec being 4/37/0.

Until the next update, be good to your priests, and may all your hits be crits!

Show your totemic mastery by reading Totem Talk. Whether it's Matt Sampson's elemental edition, Joe Perez's coverage of restoration or Rich Maloy's enhancement edition, WoW.com's shaman experts have you covered.

Filed under: Shaman, (Shaman) Totem Talk

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