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Cataclysm Beta: Shaman changes in Build 12984

Thanks to MMO-Champion, we've got a fresh new build from the Cataclysm beta on our hands as of last night. As you might expect, shaman have received a few notable changes; what you might not expect is that the editors of WoW Insider gave me permission to write about them. This isn't the first time in the last month that a priest has ventured in totem territory, so I'm going to guess the shaman community has been slipping something into the drinking water at Team Priest headquarters. What are you guys up to, exactly?

Anyway, right off, you'll notice some huge buffs to shaman weapon imbues, but they're not actually buffs. The increases in attack power, healing and damage are just adjustments to bring the values up to Cataclysm levels. Other major highlights include tweaking to the enhancement tree and restoration abilities, which we'll discuss after the jump. There are cookies.

Or maybe I should have said "cookie cutters." Check it out for yourself.

Enhancement
  • Windfury Weapon now deals damage equal to two extra attacks with 4,430 extra attack power (up from 1,395 attack power)
  • Flametongue Weapon now increases total spell damage by 750, up from 235.
  • Primal Wisdom (talent) is gone.
  • Primal Wisdom (passive) *New* -- Your melee attacks have a 40% chance to immediately restore 5% of your base mana.
  • Unleashed Rage is now a two-rank talent, down from three ranks. Now increases expertise by 4/8 (up from 3/6/9), increases all party and raid members' attack power by 5/10% (up from 4/7/10%)
The most notable change in the enhancement tree is changing the previously mandatory talent Primal Wisdom to a passive class ability. The two free talent points gained from that, plus the one point from the change to Unleashed Rage means enhancement shaman in Cataclysm won't need to make as many compromises (or choices, depending on how you look at it) regarding their spec anymore. Until now, you only had four talent points to spread out over the four optional talents (i.e. Improved Shields, Improved Fire Nova, Ancestral Swiftness and Call of Flame from the elemental tree), and now you'll have seven. This will make the spec much more cookie-cutter, a trend that shouldn't be too surprising if you've had your eye on other classes.

Restoration
  • Earthliving Weapon now increases healing done by 531, up from 167.
  • Healing Wave base healing value reduced by 25%. Mana cost changed to 9% of base mana, up from 6% of base mana.
  • Mana Tide Totem no longer restores mana, now increases the spirit of party members within 40 yards by 200%.
As for resto shaman, you can see Healing Wave (your "normal heal") is getting a bit of a nerf by reducing the amount it heals for and raising the mana cost. Currently in beta, shaman have three single-target heals with a cast time: Healing Surge, Greater Healing Wave and Healing Wave. Healing Surge (previously Lesser Healing Wave) is the expensive, fast heal. Greater Healing Wave is the expensive, slow heal. Finally, Healing Wave is the cheap, slow heal. A change to the mana cost isn't really a big deal, because the spell is already really cheap in comparison to its brothers (about one-fifth of Healing Surge in the last build). But the healing value being reduced is quite a shame, since the actual amount of healing it does is considerably lower than the more expensive Healing Surge, while sharing a long cast time with Greater Healing Wave. Lowering the healing amount further just draws attention to the fact that you're really only casting the spell to be mana-efficient.

It's possible the change is just a tweak to the spell's spellpower coefficient, though (in which case a change to the base value would make sense), but right now it's hard to be sure what the motivation is without more information from the developers. (Priests are actually receiving an identical change this build, if you're curious.) Joe will keep you posted on more details in the future.

The other restoration change to Mana Tide Totem isn't too much to panic about, either. It's likely just to keep with the continuity of healers' using spirit for regen, though I'd expect that it is a slight nerf, since other healers' regen cooldowns have received nerfs in the percentage of mana they return compared to what they did in Wrath. On the plus side, the change will ensure that Mana Tide Totem remains a tool for healers and not any caster DPS (say, an arcane mage.)

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm will destroy Azeroth as we know it; nothing will be the same! In WoW Insider's Guide to Cataclysm, you can find out everything you need to know about WoW's third expansion, from brand new races to revamped quests and zones. Visit our Cataclysm news category for the most recent posts having to do with the Cataclysm expansion.

Filed under: Shaman, Cataclysm

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