FEEDBACK: Shaman Class Changes

Updated August 11

Elemental Shaman

The current version of Fulmination and Seismic Thunder in Shadowlands has a lot of different abilities generating a lot of different buffs, making things feel disjointed. In this Beta build, we’re removing Seismic Thunder entirely, and pushing more of the core abilities to interact with the Fulmination mechanic.

  • Chain Lightning (and overloads) that strike two or more targets now generate one stack of Fulmination.
  • Lava Burst (and overloads) now generate one stack of Fulmination.
  • Earthquake’s cast time is reduced by 20% per stack of Fulmination, up to a cap of 100% reduction (instant cast), and Earthquake’s damage is increased by 20% per stack of Fulmination, up to 160%. Earthquake now also consumes all stacks of Fulmination when cast.

The recent Totem Mastery redesign hasn’t turned out as well as we hoped, so we’ve scrapped that talent entirely and shuffled some talents around for Elemental Shaman:

  • Elemental Blast has been moved to the level 25 row in place of Totem Mastery.
  • Aftershock now only works from Earth Shock casts and no longer has any interaction with Earthquake
  • Echoing Shock now only duplicates targeted damage or healing spells.

To replace the empty spot left by Elemental Blast on the level 15 row, we have added a new talent, Static Discharge.

  • Static Discharge is an active ability with a 30 second cooldown that requires you to have Lightning Shield active. Using Static Discharge will cause some quick zaps of Nature damage to strike enemies over 3 seconds, prioritizing any target that is afflicted with your Flame Shock debuff.

Enhancement Shaman

We’re happy with the last big round of changes to Enhancement Shaman from a few weeks ago, but had a few talents that aren’t working out. Similar to Elemental, Totem Mastery has been replaced on the level 25 row, and the Cycle of the Elements talent has also been replaced on the level 35 row.

New level 25 talent: Ice Strike – 15 second cooldown. Strike your target for Frost damage, snaring them by 50% for 6 seconds. Ice Strike will also reset the cooldown of your Flame and Frost Shock spells.

New level 35 talent: Elemental Assault (passive) – Stormstrike deals 15% increased damage, and generates 1 stack of Maelstrom Weapon.

April 16

Surge of Power (Elemental) now occurs after consuming at least 6 stacks of Fulmination.

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In this thread, we’re discussing Shaman class changes coming in World of Warcraft: Shadowlands.

Read more about initial class changes in the World of Warcraft blog.

This initial post will be updated periodically throughout the Shadowlands test. Please check back here for information about further updates to this class as they are made.

Thank you for your testing and feedback!

24 Likes

I discovered today that I’ve been chosen as a first wave participant. First, let me just say that I’m honored, and that I’ll do my best to provide the best feedback that I can.

As a long time player of the Shaman class, I figured it was only natural that Shaman ought to be the first class I playtest. This was my first impression.

Universal Class Abilities Versus Specialization:

The design philosophy described in the news feed article highlighted reintroducing class-wide capabilities into the specialized talent meta we’ve been used to since the release of the Legion expansion – which was a time during which all classes saw the kind of divisive mechanical changes that made playing each individual spec a completely different experience.

What I mean to say is that prior to that point, many classes shared abilities across all 3 specs; but, utilizing the talent system, employed those same abilities in different ways.

Speaking as a shaman, I might provide an example:

At one time, the shaman had two primary class-wide casted damage output abilities in the form of Lightning Bolt and Chain Lightning. The Elemental and Restoration shaman simply casted these from range, while the Enhancement shaman utilized Lightning Bolt instantaneously by way of Maelstrom Weapon.

And then, of course, there were other spec specific abilities like Earth Shield, Riptide, Lavaburst, Thunderstorm, Stormstrike and Lava Lash which were essentially spices on top of what was essentially the same core class.

One important thing to note is this: Lightning Bolt and Chain Lightning costed mana. One obstacle that I think the Class Design team is going to have to overcome when removing spec specific resource management mechanics like Maelstrom is going to be about resource.

Currently, I’m seeing that there isn’t any associated resource cost to most shaman abilities when they take the role of a damage dealer.

The itemization and stat options have shifted, resulting in what might be considered a more homogenized version of those systems; for instance, there isn’t any mp5, intellect, or spirit stat option that a player can manage in order to allow them to better utilize abilities which cost resources. That kind of character customization belongs to an inherently older version of the game.

That said, in effect, the Specialization selection talent system isn’t all that much different from the classic point-by-point system which pre-dated it; the only difference is that it inherently locks players into what one might consider a “cookie cutter” build, which presupposes the selection of core talents which designate key differences between specializations. For example, the Elemental shaman comes loaded with Lava Burst, while the Enhancement shaman comes loaded with Stormstrike and maelstrom weapon.

What is inherently different is the way in which spell coefficients are calculated as a result of primary stat having been changed into an essentially universal point-of-reference which changes according to a character’s spec; where as, in the past, you might be carrying around a full set of gear in order to effectively play a duel-spec.

While an Elemental shaman needed to stack mp/5 for longevity and intellect for spell crit rate and mana capacity, the Enhancement shaman could bank pretty hard on Shamanistic Rage to restore his/her mana intermittently during combat.

I think, at some point around patch 2.0, physical attack power became a stat which affected Enhancement Shaman spell power through talents, and so most players respeccing from Elemental or Restoration to Enhancement would likely equip a set of gear which prioritized physical attack power, as opposed to intellect and hard spellpower, in order to effectively play enhancement.

If that particular change had never been implemented, players of the shaman class would’ve had to better balance itemization options which complemented their spells in addition to sources of physical attack power and crit – which, I confess, was one of the things which first attracted me to the class when I first began playing it.

That said, a lot of enhancement players at 60 cap chose to exclusively wear items which maximized agility for the benefit of Windfury. High crit rate meant more frequent flurry procs, resulting in a higher rate of attack, which implied more numerous opportunities for Windfury to proc in the same amount of time – and that was somewhat broken, by all accounts. These players could spend most of an encounter without even really hitting any of their abilities.

That said, maximizing spell crit using some key talents from the elemental tree could achieve a similar effect – but in most cases this was considered a PvP or AoE build, and players who utilized it were the exception, and not the norm.

All things considered, resource management was a major obstacle for all hybrid classes prior to patch 2.0; because unlike the warrior or rogue, who’s resource was consistently generated throughout combat, hybrid classes had essentially finite resource limitations.

In many cases they were extraordinarily powerful when they had mana, and but woefully weak without it – but the same could be said for the mage, druid, warlock, and priest; perhaps to a lesser extent though; as these classes had genuinely better utilities and itemization options to help them manage mana regeneration in combat, and also had the freedom to itemize towards higher mana capacities in most cases.

Personally, I don’t blame class design for this – I blame an overwhelming scarcity of itemized combat regeneration stats for mana resource based classes at 60 cap.

In many cases, mana based classes had to rely on inherent class utilities and/or consumables in order to manage their resource during long encounters – personally, I think, if spirit had been designed to have a more effective role in combat, or mp5 had been more abundant, things might have played out differently; short of requiring a movement towards general class homogenization through essentially removing ability resource requirements for all classes that didn’t fulfill the role of a healer.

I think what I’m after with this is to propose higher limits on the number of casts contained within a singular mana bar, but also propose that it fills more quickly, allowing mana users to continue to have high burst potential when mana is used, but also have set limitations on how frequently they can accomplish burst based on the constraints of their resource.

At the end of the day, I think there’s maybe too many spec specific mechanics going on, and not enough class-wide ones.

11 Likes

So, and I know its still within the first 24 hours of the Alpha having gone live, but I wanted to give my feedback on the Shaman Class. Specifically, exclusively, I want to give my feedback on Enhancement as a spec in its current iteration.

My background with Enhancement: fluff and nostalgia mostly

To start I want to go into my background of Enhancement Shaman just a little bit, kind of seems like right of passage hehe. To help keep this post well organized and not take up too much space I am utilizing collapsible fields. So if you are not interested in the fluff you don’t have to wade through a whole bunch of it to get to the other stuff :slight_smile:

I didn’t start WoW playing Shaman, I actually started as a Paladin and honestly would probably still be playing as a Paladin if not for the fact that Vulpera and Kul’Tiran’s, my two favorite new Races, can not be Paladins. I seriously love both these races to death and am so happy they are a part of the game now.

With that said I started the game as a Paladin but near the end of Vanilla I dipped my toes into Shaman and immediately fell in love! I would be lying if I did not say that those big ol’ Windfury procs were the most enjoyable experience I had ever had in WoW! Seal of Command had nothing on my Windfury! Seeing three numbers pop up in quick succession, the cool wind effect, the sound, it was AMAZING and satisfied every fiber of my being!

So when I found out that Draenei could be Shaman in TBC I was beyond ecstatic! All of my friends were Alliance mains and the only time I ever got to play on my Shaman is when no one else was on. I really enjoy playing this game with friends and still do to this day with mostly the same group from back then.

I would also like to state that I was beyond thrilled that Shaman would get a talent for Dual Wielding! In my younger, teenage, days I thought Dual Wielding was the coolest thing in the world because… well… hardly any games at the time seemed to do it with the Exception of Diablo II and before I came to WoW Ever Quest also did it on select classes. There was just something so… well… awesome about “Dual Wielding” when I was younger and I am not really sure how to explain it haha.

So, mained an Enhancement Shaman through 90% of TBC and even played on a hard core progression raid team all the way into Black Temple! While Enhancement was certainly not the top of the charts by any standard I was the only Enhancement Shaman in our raid, everyone else was Elemental, and our Raid Leader loved him some Windfury Totem haha.

TBC was easily one of the most enjoyable experiences for me and I hold some of my absolute fondest memories of WoW from TBC!

Near the end of Black Temple I ended up deciding to take a break from the server first progression scene and in that time I decided to explore some other classes and make a few alts. I re-fell in love with Paladin at the end of TBC and started getting into Tanking and Healing as they were always in high demand. I messed around with Elemental Shaman again during Naxx and Ulduar but other than that and occasionally seeing what had changed I kind of stopped playing Shaman all together. Especially when WoD hit, really did not like what happened to Shaman in WoD but since then I had been a purely Paladin main.

Fast forward to BFA and the Allied Races! I thought I was going to stay a Paladin main for good. I loved the class and how it played in all three specs! Holy was a blast to DPS and Heal at the same time, Prot Paladins just felt natural to me, and Retribution was a solid DPS spec (Though I seriously missed Divine Tempest from Legion. Bring it back please)

Everything was fine until it was announced Vulpera would be a playable race! I LOVE Vulpera! They are awesome! I love their models so much, they are just so well made! I love their lore, reminds me a lot of the Tauren and their roots, and I was convinced that they would be able to be Sunwalkers like the Tauren.

Boy… I sure was wrong.

So that left me in a position of needing to find a new main class to play. While I feel like I am a Paladin to the core I found myself loving the Vulpera race so much that I gave up my favorite Class, the one I had been maining for YEARS, just to play one.

Reviewing their Class options I was reminded of my love for Shaman and decided to try it out, along with Hunter and Warrior, before making a choice on what Class I wanted to play. Needless to say, I fell in love with Shaman all over again! I don’t know exactly what changed since WoD but I really had a blast with BFA’s Enhancement Shaman and thus decided that it would be my main!

So at this point you might be saying “Er, well gee Byucknah, if that is the case then why are you a Hunter and not a Shaman?”

Because after getting 120 and getting some gear (almost 460) I quickly realized that Enhancement Shaman had some SERIOUS PROBLEMS that gear did not and was not going to fix at all!

The most glaring issue, and one you will see brought up often in the Shaman Forums, was their survivability (which I will be touching on in my feedback post proper) followed by their performance in a PvP setting. It KILLED it for me. I absolutely loved my Shaman but as I was nearing 460 the realization that things were not going to improve hit me hard.

So, since then, I have switched to a Hunter though shortly after that all my friends have returned to the Alliance once again so I switched over to a Kul’Tirian Fury Warrior (450 ilvl) instead and while I enjoy it, its a seriously great melee spec, I still long to enjoy my Shaman but can not get past its flaws.

So now with Shadowlands upon us, with the Alpha test starting and having the absolute pleasure and honor of being in the first wave, I feel like this is Enhancement’s best chance to get some serious love!

With the fluff background stuff out of the way let me get into the feedback I want to provide from my experience so far. As of typing this my Orc Shaman, Stormstruck-The Maw, is currently level 52 and 10% in and I have some very VERY strong opinions of the current state of Enhancement right now as well as some feedback on what I would personally like to see.

What I Like!


Totems
So there are some things that I really like seeing back again! Totems are a welcome sight honestly, ESPECIALLY Healing Stream totem! Oh my goodness do I LOOOOOOOOOOOOVE healing stream totem! It’s healing is actually surprisingly strong and makes doing things solo feel so much more bearable! (Spoilers, Enhancement Shamans are still super squishy. More on that in a bit)

I also absolutely love seeing Windfury Totem making a comeback and that its not a weapon buff like the OG Windfury totems of TBC were, which means it wont conflict with Rogue Poisons, Sharpening/Weight Stones, etc. as well as (and the testing hasn’t been done yet) being a regular buff that also affects the Shaman meaning you can benefit from both Windfury Weapon AND Windfury Totem! Very cool to see that come back and as good as it is.

Shocks
Shocks were such an iconic part of being an Enhancement Shaman to the point there were entire jokes built around Frostshock~ There is just something so iconic about the spell that its cool to see it back for its flavor and its effect, even if it is only Flame and Frost Shock returning.

Maelstrom (Resource)
The removal of Maelstrom as a resource *(Which just felt like a rage bar tacked on top of Mana) is also a nice change. Truth be told, it did bring a bit of “order” to the Enhancement Shaman rotation in the idea of Builders and Spenders but it didn’t feel unique or interesting. I honestly had no love of the resource, though I will admit I also didn’t flat out hate it.

Chain Heal and Chain Lightning
These are just Iconic spells in general and its cool to see that they have been returned to the Enhancement Shaman arsenal, and just having a bigger selection of tools is nice in general especially with the return of Maelstrom Weapon… or at least I would say that, buuuuuuuut…

What I don’t like…


Maelstrom Weapon

So, as I stated I mained a Shaman in TBC and actually experienced Maelstrom Weapon back when it was first introduced. This ability… it has not aged well… at all.

You would think that it would be exciting, building Maelstrom Weapon charges to unleash a strong attack that normally has a casting time! Heck, back in the day I thought that was super cool and it felt great too! However, going from BFA’s setup to what its like in the Shadowlands Alpha leaves me wanting.

To start, this is how it works for anyone who does not know.

When you deal damage with a melee weapon, you have a chance to gain Maelstrom Weapon. Each stack of Maelstrom Weapon reduces the casting time of your next damage or healing spell by 20%

So, this ability stacks a total of 5 times and reduces the casting time of your next damaging or healing spell by 20% per stack and the stacks are consumed upon use of a damaging or healing casting time spell.

You may also notice how I have highlighted the first part, this is important. It only has a chance of proccing a charge from a melee weapon attack. Shocks can’t proc a charge and Rockbiter can not proc a charge. This means the only way to get charges are Stormstrike, Lava Lash, and Auto Attacks and Windfury Attacks and its completely random.

It also specifically mentions that it only affects Damaging or Healing spells, which means if you were eyeballing that “Stormkeeper” talent

Charge yourself with lightning, causing your next 2 Lightning Bolts or Chain Lightnings to deal 150% more damage and be instant cast.

You are out of luck, it will not reduce the cast time of any spell that is not a direct damage or direct healing spell. This includes Hex as well, and casting in Melee has its own problems to begin with.

So, you might be saying “Okay, its not perfect, its random, it only affects a very limited number of spells, that is fine! I am sure the damage is pretty good though!”

Well, that is the thing… Its not. Stormstrike does double the damage of Lightning Bolt, Chain Lightning, or Elemental Blast and your other instant cast abilities do comparable damage in addition to being talentable to do even more such as having a high chance of doubling Stormstrike’s damage.

Truth be told, they hit like limp noodles.

Then there is the healing factor. With Maelstrom as a resource you could pump out several consecutive instant cast heals in a row. With Maelstrom Weapon you get the one before having to generate Maelstrom Weapon again, and to top it off the power of our heals have not gone up in Shadowlands! Its roughly the same healing output but now you can’t even get as many off AND it still costs mana.

While Maelstrom as a Resource was uninspired feeling it created a feeling of order to your abilities and gave you something to build and use in several ways. I find myself, in the Alpha, with Maelstrom Weapon hoarding charges for if/when I need to heal because it does not feel valuable to spend on any of the damaging casting time spells. I feel my cooldowns are better spent on my other abilities. It honestly feels like a downgrade in so many ways to Maelstrom as a resource.

Its like Holy Power if you had no control over how to generate it AND if your spenders did the same damage or less than your builders output.

Also, while I know that someone will want to mention “Elemental Blast” for the secondary stat buff, it has a 12 second cooldown, gives you a random buff out of Crit, Haste, Mastery, and said buff is as strong as half a ring while ALSO doing less damage than Stormstrike and comparable damage to the other abilities.

Agian, Maelstrom Weapon does not feel rewarding as a builder/spender. It feels like going from an uninspired rage system to a worse uninspired and very random Holy Power system in its current state.

What I would like to see change
If the plan is to keep Maelstrom Weapon then I think the best way to improve it is if each stack also increased the damage and healing output of said spells per stack as well as being expanded to all cast time spells with a base cast time of less than 5-8 seconds so you could combo it with Stormkeeper or even use it as utility with Hex. Maybe even re-tool Elemental Blast to synergize with Maelstrom Weapon better.

When I build those Maelstrom Weapon stacks it should feel rewarding to use them on a spell. Simply reducing the cast time when the base spells are nothing impressive doesn’t make it feel good.

Windfury Totem

I really like HOW Windfury Totem functions, that its a flat buff now instead of a short duration weapon buff that gets re-applied. I like that it lasts for a full two minutes, that is a good duration. Windfury Totem is 80% good in my books.

What I do NOT like is its area of effect. To put it this way, Healing Stream Totem and Searing Totem both have a 40 yard range for their effects, Tremor Totem has a 30 yard range. Good, hefty, ranges.

Windfury Totem has a 12 yard range and because its no longer pulsing short duration buffs the moment you leave that range your buff is gone until you come back.

Now, a short range on a totem wasn’t as big of a deal in Vanilla and TBC because most encounters (from trash to bosses) were tank and spank. Modern WoW bosses on the other hand are far more active and involve far more movement! That 12 yards becomes very small very quickly leading to plenty of GCD’s being used to replace that totem because of how powerful it is for the group.

What I would like to see change
I don’t think it needs something absurd like a 30 or 40 yard range but I think it would be a lot nicer if the range could be bumped up slightly to make up for the modern World of Warcraft encounters having much higher mobility than older WoW encounters. There are far more ground effects, far more boss movement, that 12 yards become really small really fast. Please consider making the range of that totem just a bit bigger.

Tremor Totem

Now, this isn’t something new to Shadowlands and as far as I can tell nothing has change. However, I honestly am not a huge fan of Tremor Totem in its modern day iteration. Its duration is incredibly low, clocking in at 10 seconds, with a full 1 minute cooldown. It can not be cast while affected by any of those things either AND it is on the GCD which means you need to know exactly when that fear, charm, or sleep is coming paired with the quick, often instant, cast times of those effects and… well, I honestly just don’t like it and I feel like Shadowlands is an opportunity to make it better.

What I would like to see change
Honestly, the two things I would like to see change with Tremor Totem would be to take it off of the GCD and to make it castable while feared, charmed, or asleep.

I don’t think it should go back to its old school, 2 minute long, no cooldown, pulsing version. I just think that it could be made a bit more user friendly. My experience in BFA has been that a lot of those effects come so fast that you can easily find yourself GCD locked or honestly just caught off guard.

Number of Returning Totems/Empty Totem Bar

Another thing I am kind of bummed about is just how few totems are actually returning in Shadowlands. Where is my Strength of Earth or Stoneskin? Where is my Flametongue alternative to Searing Totem? What about Grace of Air to Windfury? How about Healing Stream vs Cleansing Totems?

I am honestly surprised just how few Totems are actually returning. When I first logged in and saw the Totem Bar I got excited! I mean, not too excited because I quickly found out its currently broken but still pretty excited! Then I discovered that there really aren’t any totems to put on there aside from Windfury. Searing and Healing Stream only last 15 seconds with 30 second CD’s and Windfury is the only 2 minute buff totem we have.

What I would like to see change
Bring back some more totems! Let me use the totem bar again, let me make different totem sets for different situations, let me place them all at once and let me recall/cancel them all at once by bringing back Totemic Recall!

Totems felt at their best, for me, when they all lasted around the same time and could be placed in groups via the Totem Bar or just get rid of the totem bar entirely. There is no reason to have it if we only have a single buff totem and the other totems are all super small duration totems.

Enhancement Shaman Survivability

So I have made mention to this in a few other sections of this thread but I feel it deserves its own section. Enhancement Shaman survivability feels really, really, REALLY bad compared to every other melee class in the game.

As I said in my introduction fluff post it was bad enough that I ended up switching to Fury Warrior. A class that does not have an on demand anytime heal and instead has to fight to heal just because Enhancement Shaman is miles behind every other Melee class when it comes to their survivability.

I honestly do not know what would “fix” it either, though the above suggested fix for Maelstrom Weapon would probably help it honestly just feels like Enhancement takes far too much damage.

To put it this way, out of all the classes I have played and do play Enhancement Shaman is the only one I find myself frequently having to rely on long cooldown abilities like Earth Elemental to survive just open world content at times because of the damage intake.

For wearing the second strongest armor type in the game it feels really bad just how frail I feel on my Shaman in both PvP and PvE. PvE group content isn’t too bad, having a healer helps and a lot of damage can be avoided, but solo PvE and PvP content is really rough.

Again, I do not know what would “fix” this or even know where to start with fixing this but I wanted to state my frustration. Out of every class I have played in BFA, and now from the looks of Shadowlands after messing around on another class on the Alpha, Enhancement Shaman are just very frail and squishy feeling and our recovery does not compensate all that well.

What else?


So, I have kind of covered what I like and what I don’t like but there is one more thing I really, REALLY, want to talk about that is very important to me and this honestly feels like the best, possibly only, chance I will get to bring up my personal desire to see this happen. I saved it for the end, best for last and all that, but it truly is something that is very important to me. Not because its game breaking, not because its a feature that I hate, but because I just would really enjoy it and because of how important this one is to me I am not going to collapse it like the others…

Two-Handed vs. Dual Wield
I know. I know this was only ever really a “thing” in Vanilla, that from TBC and onward it was not the intended way to play, however people still found ways to make it work all the way through MoP and only stopped when Stormstrike was changed to instead require having One-Handed weapons equipped.

However, I honestly feel it has a strong class fantasy to it that I never appreciated in my youth and one that I honestly long to see again. I won’t lie, I won’t sugar coat it, I certainly have nostalgia backing me up on this one however its something I would really like to see become a reality and I know I am not alone in this as its often brought up on the Shaman Class Forums.

Weapon Choice, for me, is one of the most enjoyable choices to make. I played a Frost DK in Mists of Pandaria for a while and can say that I LOVED having that choice of using a big Two-Handed weapon over Dual-Wielding. Yeah, once choice was always going to be slightly better than the other but it didn’t matter to me, it felt cool!

The different look between my fellow frost DK’s, the ever so slightly difference in rotation priority between Frost Strike or Obliterate depending on what you used, it was cool and I still think its cool.

The same with Single Minded Fury vs Titans Grip. I have always been a fan of the fantasy of wielding two MASSIVE Two-Handers, ever since playing Barbarian back in my D2 days. It just screamed brutal power to me and just added that little something to my character. Even now, hearing that Single Minded Fury could very likely return, I am very happy to see choice returning for those who want it. Its very important and helps make that class feel just that bit more unique to you. That you made it that much more your own knowing others took a different path.

Please, please, please… Please consider allowing Shaman the same opportunity and give some legitimacy to the idea of a Two-Handed Shaman. I know that Ion stated in the Slootbag Interview that it would be much more difficult than re-implementing Single Minded Fury or even Dual Wield vs Two-Handers for Frost DK’s and Monk’s. I know it would take some extra work, that there are hurdles to jump in terms of how weapon buffs would work, where would Lava Lash fit in, etc. however I truly believe its worth the time to give that option.

I don’t want to pretend I know what goes into itemization, I really don’t, so I don’t know just how much work goes into it but I do know that there was weapons in the game that can be either Strength or Agility or even Intellect based entirely upon who is wielding them and what spec they are. I don’t want to undermine the work that goes into making that possible, but couldn’t something like that be done with Two-Handed Axes and Maces? I know a lot of people mention itemization but I honestly feel like it could be done.

I know its extra work, and from the interview obviously not something that was ever planned, but its something I would truly love to see happen and I know there have been plenty of threads, tweets, and comments on the very topic.

Please consider letting Enhancement Shaman have the option of wielding Two-Handed weapons once more. Thank you for taking the time to read my post, I hope that my feedback can be of some value and I thank the team for all their hard work on the Shadowlands Expansion, especially during these hard times. From what I have experienced so far, Shadowlands has so much potential and looks like it is shaping up into being something truly spectacular.

Thank you for the opportunity to play test this Alpha and provide feedback on it as well as make my desires heard.

Edit: Fixed some typos

91 Likes

In terms of combat-affecting abilities, I’m enjoying the current round of depruning. What we’ve been given back (the weapon enhancements, the various totems, baseline Lightning Shield, shocks, etc.) has gone a long way towards making Enhancement feel like a shaman instead of a Fury Warrior clone, as has the removal of Maelstrom. I don’t think Enhancement post-depruning feels bloated at all.

I’d like to see the return of some flavorful minor utility spells that don’t affect combat, though. Sentry Totem was always fun to use—if hunters are getting back their equivalent in Eye of the Beast, why can’t we get ours? Additionally, it annoys me every time I do Vashj’ir and the shaman NPCs cast their waterbreathing spell on me when shaman PCs lost that ability ages ago—can we get that back as well? Neither of these have a huge impact on gameplay (so they wouldn’t contribute to overcomplicating rotations, because who uses waterbreathing in combat?), but they’re fun, flavorful abilities and I’d like to see them return.

On the topic of survivability, I have to agree that Enhancement, at least, has a hard time fighting quest mobs in Bastion—they take a ton of damage, and it’s a struggle to keep alive by spamming Healing Stream Totem, Healing Surge, and the various survivability CDs. Pulling more than 2 mobs at a time likely resulted in a death, and there were several points at which I needed to fight quest bosses 3-4 times simply because I couldn’t do enough damage before dying.

33 Likes

One thing I think would go a little ways towards making enhancement open world stuff at least better, would be for healing surge to not use your maelstrom charges when out of combat. I’ll leave combat with 3-4 charges and it gets used healing myself up out of combat when the quick casting aspect is trivial. If it only used maelstrom weapon charges during combat that would be so much better.

11 Likes

I love totems being back. Ele and Enh feel so adaptable with choosing when to drop what totem. To be entirely fair, my only complaint is that there is not much of a payoff or mechanical set to focus on them. I would love to see something on Enh that is a payoff strike scaling on number of active totems, or something on Ele that changes based on what totems are deployed and alive. Totems are what DEFINE Shaman for me, and having more reason for them to be more important while slinging lightning and lava would be deeply motivating.

6 Likes

Oh yeah, I forgot all about sentry totem! That would be cool to see return. Not like it would make or break the game. Wow, I can’t believe I had forgotten about Sentry Totem haha. Its been so long, I was too focused on the combat focused bits to remember the non-combat flavorful bits.

I really like that suggestion :slight_smile:

Ill be honest, It’s been so long that I don’t even remember that spell haha XD I guess it has been a while though.

Truth be told, one of the bits of general shaman feedback I have been bringing up on the forums though is our water walking spell and how nice it would be if we could cast it while mounted like DK’s can with Path of Frost.

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As someone who started playing Shaman (and loving it) in BFA - I’m really intrigued by the extra totems and everything in alpha. One thing I did notice, and maybe it’s just me, is that it feels a bit slower going from flametongue and frostband to the shocks that share a cooldown?

Also, I enjoy hitting things with my elemental maces/etc… Without flametongue and frostbrand we’re down to 3 skills that actually use weapons? Let me know if I’m incorrect there. I just love the option to… smash things with my elements lol.

Personally, the needing to remember to enchant the weapons every hour with the weapon buffs is a bit slower/more annoying than I’m used to… I wonder if there could be a compromise where it’s either set to not expire or if we can apply and then have a button that just reapplies the buff to the current weapon it’s on? I don’t know. I just feel like for binging, needing to open the char sheet and re-apply to buffs to the weapons is a bit slow for me personally. At least, I’m not used to it.

I think that crash lightning could be adjusted still. It’s a skill that (in concept) I love, but hasn’t really been as satisfying for me. Currently, you shouldn’t use it at all in ST and only in AoE. I wish there was something that made it more valuable in a ST rotation? The visual and SFX of crash lightning and stormstrike are my favs. :stuck_out_tongue:

Also, what do you guys think about Natural Harmony? I’d love to see it built in some way to the core class/spec… I found it really fun personally to get different buffs for using different elements.

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It would be awesome to cast water walking while mounted!

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I didn’t play BfA shaman because they didn’t look interesting, but Shadowlands enhance has been quite fun so far. More weapon choices would be really cool, being able to use a 2H or swords and board would give more leveling options. Don’t care if it’s not raid optimal to use a shield, as long as we don’t lose access to abilities it’d be a good choice to have for shaman who want to try out having more defense while questing.

Lightning Bolt and Chain Lightning should do more damage, probably about 2x. Not just for maelstrom, but again just bring back the hybrid and choices feeling; being able to hit lightning bolts for /decent/, not best damage at range if we ever feel the need would add some nice depth to the class.

E: shouldn’t frost shock be doing more initial damage than Flame Shock?

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I honestly think that Maelstrom Weapon charges should increase the damage of cast time spells do by X% per charge so that it more like “Hey! I want to use this damaging ability at five stacks!” where as right now the damage output feels so low that it feels more beneficial to save my maelstrom stacks for healing spells and use my GCD’s on my other already instant attacks.

Also, I know shock swapping has a nostalgic vibe to it and I get it. The whole throwing flame shock up then switching to earth/frost shock until you need to refresh the debuff and all. Honestly though, I already feel like the rotation is all over the place as it is without throwing shock swapping into the mix. Low duration totems like Searing, Vesper Totem, then support moves like Healing Stream, moving windfury totem because its radius is so small.

While shock swapping was certainly cool back in the day, with how Enhancement currently plays I absolutely do not want to have to deal with that in addition to everything else.

Maybe things would be easier to manage with addons but as of right now, playing with zero addons, its kind of hectic and does not feel that great in my view. Where as with Live I feel like I am playing optimal, that every key press has guided purpose, on the Alpha it feels like I just have a bunch of abilities and little in terms of indication of what I should be doing to be playing optimally.

Compared to Retribution Paladin and Fury Warrior on the Alpha, Shaman feels all over the place like there are several conflicting design ideas (As an aside, Retribution and Fury feel really good! Retribution, even with low haste, feels much better than it did at the start of BFA. I have almost none of that “sluggish” feel to it now)

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I agree with you completely here. Enhancement is going for death by a thousand cuts type damage profile but right now it doesn’t feel good. Searing totem doing 24 damage, shocks an initial 100ish damage, etc just feels like it’s piling on buttons that can be pressed without the umf behind them. I find it smoother to ignore frost shock and searing totem and honestly WF will be low on the list because it doesn’t affect you only your party and it’s low radius is just too much upkeep to constantly worry about.

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So I went back and reread the enhancement shaman design philosophy and something captured my attention. This line here:

In Shadowlands, Enhancement Shaman who chain certain abilities in combat will see their efforts rewarded when the time is right (and the elements will it) with the capacity to unleash a powerful cooldown dealing devastating damage.

Now in all my testing I never found this devastating damage, it was all just constant low to moderate damage. Certainly nothing at the level of templar’s verdict, chaos bolt, or other ‘big hits’. So I’m wondering is there some secret rotational combination that causes something ‘extra’ to happen sometimes or is this just fluff and they’re alluding to Stormstrike/LavaLash crits? Since the next line talks about maelstrom weapon charges I wonder if they just meant lightning bolt, but if so it’s not doing nearly enough damage to say ‘devastating’ and since maelstrom doesn’t bolster it there’s no real cooldown component to it either.

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So, I gotta say that while I enjoy a lot of the concept of what is back, it doesn’t feel very smooth to me at the moment. It feels like I just have more buttons to press than retail that don’t really do much.

The biggest annoyances for me personally are imbue weapon skills (it’s just an annoyance to need to re-apply to specific weapons each hour. I’d much rather just roll that buff into flameshock or something the way flametongue used to work (IMO), and much preffered windfury buff as a passive. Otherwise, make it just like all the other class buffs and something we can just cast instead of needing to open char panel and hit buff and press the weapon. It slows down game play. And I’m not sure how it’s going to work with illusions, etc… will it go over our tmog? Will we be able to hide the effect of flametongue? I’m sure I’m in the minority, but I just prefer the way flametongue works in retail and where the buff is just a buff and doesn’t leave a huge trail of fire on my character as I run. I think it’s cool optionally, but would prefer a way to hide it or something since i like to mog more towards the thundery side.

It feels like a few of the skills could just be made passive. Winderfury totem 100% feels like a passive. Cost nothing to summon, only 5 HP, etc… So I’m needing to spam it all the time which would suck lol. I feel like it could be passive based on some kind of proc, maybe on crits or on a windfury attack, etc… idk.

I do enjoy having more totems. My main gripe right now (and I know im in the minority as someone who really only started playing shaman in BFA) is the imbue weps really slow the game down for me and add a lot of weapon effects, etc that may mess with mogs… (I don’t have the yak in alpha so I can’t check).

Worth noting… that grievance could be diminished if it’s possible to write a macro to apply the buffs to the right hands without needing to do it through the character UI. Not sure.

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Here’s two macros that work on alpha:

#showtooltip
/cast Windfury Weapon
/use 16

#showtooltip
/cast Flametongue Weapon
/use 17

Totems are a part of the class though, I don’t think windfury as a passive aura fits. I think searing totem should be made a bit more potent if it is to be worthwhile in dropping it and windfury should probably be a cooldown with a beefier effect since it’s only going to affect the 4 people in your party.

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Thanks for the macros! Even so, I think imbue weapon is… personally, a step backwards. Just more stuff to watch for the sake of it, when the passives being part of active skills was more engaging I think.

For the Winfury as a passive, I guess what I meant was that the totem would spawn passively as an effect of a talent, proc, something. It currently feels like it needs to be spammed right now and that, frankly, there’s more “what do i need to press to keep the buff up” than active combat thinking. It feels mandatory to keep up those totems at all times and it disrupts the combat to me.

Again, I could be totally off-base because I’ve only really played Shaman in BFA. I understand they’re totemic themed, and I like that we’re getting more of it with SL, but I think that there needs to be more reason/action that directly impacts my performance as a DPS instead of just spending tons of GCDs constantly refreshing very short buffs for the team… and trying to squeeze in DPS inbetween.

That’s kind why I personally liked flametongue and the winfury buff as they are in BFA, since they’re part of rotation/DPS and don’t really disrupt it.

EDIT: Even with the Macros, you get a pop up confirmation dialogue to replace the current. It just seems really weird and not natural. :expressionless:

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Oh man, I actually said the same thing in to several people now XD Rockbiter feels soooooo out of place, like it was left over from the Maelstrom build of Shaman and now it feels like its an ability with an identity crisis.

Like, what is its purpose if you do not take any of the talents related to it? It can never generate Maelstrom Weapon because its not a “weapon attack”, and Maelstrom as a resource is gone so what is its purpose now?

Personally, I think if they consider adding in a Two-Hander option for Enhancement it could be retooled to be the perfect replacement for Lava Lash. A big, heavy hitting, rock based attack would thematically go with using a Two-Hander.

With that said, ignoring the wishful thinking of the above paragraph, what really is its purpose? It really does just feel like it was left over and they were not sure what to do with it.

This is certainly the place to do it. Out of the classes I have played on Alpha (Which isn’t nearly as many as others) I feel like Enhancement Shaman is having some serious growing pains. Good to get what is liked and what is disliked out of the way early on for sure.

While I personally felt it was a generic “rage” type resource I think I liked it a lot more than Maelstrom Weapon, at least in its current itteration which feels like a more RNG heavy, weaker, Holy Power/Combo Point builder.

I get the nostalgia of it, but in its current iteration it just doesn’t feel that powerful. Heck, in terms of self healing capabilities it feels like a huge step backwards from Maelstrom as a resource haha.

See, personally I love Crash Lightning. For me its one of the more enjoyable AoE rotations for Melee. I can see how it might be blind but in BFA I absolutely love Enhancement’s AoE. Though, because it feels like Enhancement is in this weird halfway area between BFA and the past it leaves me in a place where Chain Lightning does not feel like it gets its place to shine. Could be cool if Chain Lightning and Crash Lightning interacted a bit more to do some crazy chaining of damage or something.

Though, honestly, I really enjoyed Crash Lightning in BFA.

The Warcraft 3 version where it just passively does damage to enemies close to you?

Honestly… The only real strong feedback I can give on Lightning Shield is this.

  • I hate that its 30 minutes long while Weapon Imbues are 1 Hour, maybe its just the OCPD in me but it annoys the heck out of me.
  • I am glad that it does not do damage the same way it does in BFA. Truth be told, I really hate how much “change” damage we deal. Just little bits here and there that “add up”.

Er, mind you my views are purely from an Enhancement standpoint.

I think when it comes to Enhancement Shaman the focus really should be on “Enhancing”. Breaking off into my own tangent now…

I really hate Forceful Winds. I am not saying Windfury should go back to Classic where its crazy powerful when it does proc but I really hate that it has a ramp-up that resets after 15 seconds. Why can’t Windfury just be its own, consistant, thing without needing a ramp-up on top of the fact that its a proc?

Its such an uninteresting talent just to make Windfury feel like it has teeth once again. Windfury Totem hits harder than actual windfury because it literally just procs another auto attack on a 10% chance whenever you make an auto attack. I don’t know, that’s just me. I would really love it if we got something cooler for that Talent Row and we could just see Windfury Weapon return to its own deal because the current version just feels so weak. It honestly also needs a stronger visual if I am being honest.

Overall, this is my pitch, I think really think that Blizzard should consider allowing Shaman to use Two-Handers. Make Rockbiter a Two-Hander only move and keep Lava Lash dual wield only and Storm Strike as a move that works in both specs.

With Rockbiter taken out of the scenario re-evalute shocks. Evaluate how Flame Shock should interact with Lava Lash and consider returning Earth Shock to better interact with Rockbiter. Stuff like maybe Lava Lash spreads Flame Shocks dot to near by enemies (which I think was something that was a thing once before? Its been a long time so I could be remembering wrong) and maybe Rockbiter and Earth Shock can interact in an interesting way but regardless of weapon style bring back shock rotation. With the removal of Rockbiter for Dual Wield and Lava Lash for Two-Hander it would free up rotational space to make shock swapping more manageable.

I think Maelstrom Weapon should really do more than just reduce the cast time of casting abilities. I think it needs to increase their damage and healing.

Consider making Chain-Lightning interact with Crash Lightning in an interesting way so you want to prioritize it in an AoE situation so you want to let loose that 5 maelstrom stack Chain Lightning in a Crash Lightning situation.

I really think totems should be something you manage but not as in depth as they are now. Having a few “unique” situational totems like Capacitor, Earthbind, Tremor, ect is fine but managing Searing Totem, Healing Stream Totem, and the very short ranged Windfury Totem as “regular” use totems that are expected to be maintained separately feels burdensome. I think if totems like those are going to make a comeback they should be more easily manageable with the ability to plop all four elements down at once and to have Totemic Recall back to call them back at once. I think they should have a standardized duration as well with the exception of the situational ones. Micromanaging is fine and all but its a bit too much on top of maintaining a standard rotation.

Mind you, this is my two cents on Shaman and what I would like to see. I am sure everyone has their own ideas of what they would like to see from Enhancement but these are my opinions in addition to what I had mentioned in my first post.

Honestly, I really like having Imbue Weapons back but I think it could be improved and streamlined more. I think having them back vs being a passive gives it more flavor but you are right when saying its a bit too far a step back.

I think that a fix that would go a very long way is not having it prompt you when replacing an existing weapon imbue with the same weapon imbue. If my weapon already has Windfury Weapon on it then it shouldn’t prompt me when I go to re-apply Windfury Weapon on it. The only times it should prompt you are when you go to apply a different Weapon Imbue OR if the act of imbuing a weapon would soulbind it to you.

I think that if those changes were made it would be a lot better, though I also agree that you shouldn’t need a macro to do this. I do however think that Weapon Imbues add flavor to the spec.

21 Likes

Great feedback, and I agree. I also really love the crash lightning AoE and how it interacts with lava lash/stormstrike. I know people joke about Enhance being budget fury - but I think the complaints of that aspect are more about the builder/spender side than the gameplay interaction of CL > LL/SS (which is basically whirlwind > rampage/etc)

For whatever reason, I’m personally finding in Alpha that my rotations feel clunkier. I feel way more like a half-assed support/side DPS than I do a DPS class. Maybe it’s because I didn’t play Shammy in classic, so to me all the extra totems and CDs that aren’t necessarily attacks feel like a big step back in terms of gameplay.

I personally feel like Shaman in BFA as is minus Maelstrom, with a damage buff, and a couple more totems that that have a bigger effect (and maybe a 30-60 sec CD) would be a better step forward than where we’re at now. Again, could just be my personal experience and luck with procs/etc so far… but so far it feels like I spend more time waiting on GCDs/etc to actually attack, and when I do it feels less impactful than retail currently.

Maybe this could be at least half-solved by increasing the buff times or removing some of the totems/imbue stuff from GCD?

The other thing I noticed is that, since Maelstrom as out we have lost instant cast on Healing Surge which was a great survivability tool IMO. Compared to fury warriors that have a 5% every few seconds, buffed to 20-30% with other skills, and a passive from PVP talents… Not sure why they felt they need to take shaman’s only real regen skill that’s not a 1.5 sec cast. It used to be a savior in PvP/etc IMO. Now the only time we have a insta heal is when it procs.

We can also compare to pally who still has insta heals with their proc being a huge increase in the amount… ours is still the same amount even during a proc. And obviously…we’re just way squishier and have less defensive skills than warr/pally in general - so taking away our insta heal honestly just feels like an oversight from taking out Maelstrom that they didn’t think about.

And finally - I know this is SUPER nitpicky… but the transmog flavor/RP with weapon imbues is questionable to me. Does it override weapon illusions? I personally feel like the imbue GFX are dated compared to other weapon effects that we have now in retail. Either they should be updated or be able to be hidden/tmogged/glyphed.

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I know I’ve seemingly complained a lot in this thread so far lol - but I honestly just love playing Shaman and want it to feel good and viable.

Just played my fury warrior on alpha for a good amount of time, and the difference is night and day IMO.