I'd like to preface this post with an apology. I'm sorry, shaman. I didn't mean to disappear for the past month, but I started a new job this month, and the ensuing chaos left me neglecting my monster-slaying duties. On the plus side, I didn't leave you guys for Diablo!
Luckily, not much has changed for enhancement on beta since I slipped into solitude. And by "not much," I mean that there's been a single solitary patch note with class changes since I last posted. Flurry has been reduced to a 20% haste increase on crit, and you also gain a 50% additional benefit from haste on items.
This change is obviously intended to address our incredibly lackluster scaling from haste. It's very reminiscent of the change in patch 3.1 that gave all melee classes an additional 30% haste from items. Prior to 3.1, haste was a lackluster stat for enhancement. By the end of Wrath of the Lich King, we were gemming straight haste rating. When Cataclysm hit, shaman were changed significantly to do less passive damage. The 30% haste rating benefit we enjoyed for over a year were reverted, and our benefit from haste rating plummeted.
Too little, too late?
My worry with the buff to Flurry is that it's more useful to the spec of yesteryear than it is to today's enhancement shaman. When 3.1 hit, most of our damage was passive. Static Shock procced off melee hits, Flametongue Weapon had no internal cooldown, and Lava Lash hit barely harder than Earth Shock. So much of our damage was tied into auto-attacks that haste was a cut ahead of nearly every other stat, often eclipsing even attack power.
We don't play that version of enhancement anymore. Auto-attacking is still a significant portion of our damage, but active skills are much more important than they were years ago. Lava Lash hits harder than any other ability in our repertoire with five stacks of Searing Flames, Static Shock is tied into our active abilities, and Flametongue might win the record for most changed ability in the shaman's existence.
Which doesn't mean this change won't be beneficial; it will do what it's supposed to and increase the value of haste rating. Even if the 50% haste benefit is only applied while Flurry is up, haste in Mists of Pandaria will still be better than it was in Cataclysm. I just find the change to be like using a hammer for a job that requires a screwdriver. It might get the job done, but isn't the most elegant or proper solution.
I'm not yet too concerned ...
Though the opening to this article hints otherwise, I'm not truly bitter over the lack of changes to shaman. This is partly because Blizzard's already addressed the issue of the lack of shaman changes in a feedback post, saying:
These are the soothing, placating words that none of us actually want to here. They're definitely not the words that I, as someone whose job thrives on interesting class changes to wax poetic about, ever want to read. Class changes are one of the best part of writing about WoW and are honestly my favorite part of playing the game. I like relearning and rethinking how to play my class, and I love writing about it.
Unfortunately, as much as I enjoy class changes, they're not necessarily the best thing for the class. As Ghostcrawler suggests, as much as we love things that are shiny and new, that shininess fades quickly. Case in point: I didn't even manage to get to the last boss of Act 3 in Diablo III before the appeal faded for me. I don't believe patch notes are necessarily something that we, as players, should always want to see.
... but I am concerned
That said, when I left for my monthly sabbatical, enhancement was a bit of a hot mess, and unlocking level 90 talents hasn't changed this. Elemental Blast seems like a shoe-in for our talent choice, because it works with Maelstrom Weapon and no longer has a cooldown, which is something I asked for last post. I'm really, incredibly glad that Blizzard decided to do this.
It also hasn't been added onto Stormstrike's debuff yet, which makes the 200% crit damage bonus we're getting in Mists of Pandaria slightly less attractive. A critical Lightning Bolt might be worth using more than a non-crit Elemental Blast that buffs our haste. This might be on purpose, to prevent it from being the only level 90 talent we choose. If that's the case, Blizzard's succeeded. The talent is definitely better than it was a month ago, but it could use work.
All said, I hereby promise to not leave you guys without a writer for another month, since I think enhancement is on a course to become the most confusing spec in the game again, much like Wrath feral. I won't forsake you all to the fate of figuring it out alone.
Show your totemic mastery by reading Totem Talk: Enhancement every week. We've got enhancement-specific advice on 4 ways to increase your DPS, the ups and downs of enhancement in Dragon Soul, and gearing up for Raid Finder raids.