Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Enhancement Shaman Love in Patch 3.1

The blogs and fansites were agog today with the official and unconfirmed notes for the upcoming WoW patch 3.1. This patch is a major one and brings in a lot of changes, most of them good, as well as new features such as dual specs.

For solo-ing, I find the Enhancement Shaman fantastic and I love every single aspect of the gameplay. I will discuss in more detail why I love this spec at a later date but for now, I'm pretty ecstatic about the changes to enhancement shamans.

Unfortunately there already was a nerf that didn't sit very well with enhance shammies in patch 3.09. I'm talking about the nerf to Glyph of Windfury Weapon. But hey, with Blizzard you can't win 'em all.

So on to the goodies in 3.1. Now these are all positive changes as far as I'm concerned and I can't wait to play my new, improved enhanced shaman when 3.1 hits the live servers, but other specs might not be as excited by this patch. Nonetheless, here's what I like the most.

Stormstrike now gets the effect of the "old" Improved Stormstrike. Awesome! Makes a great talent even better. Thing is, right now I didn't even pick Improved Stormstrike since I wasn't very sure it was worth the investment, although in the end I probably would've taken just 1 point in it.

Improved Stormstrike is completely changed, and it now gives you 50/100% chance to gain 20% of your base mana when you use Stormstrike. For me, that would mean about 400 mana if my math is correct. Notice that it's "base mana" not "max mana" but beggars can't be choosers. I suspect I'll be getting 1 point in this talent though, because the initial investment is much more important than the full 2 points.

Toughness is changed to give you 2/4/6/8/10% stamina. I guess that's better than the old effect which granted you armor. Let's face it, a shaman is not exactly a tank and stamina should provide more survivability than that extra armor. Since this talent seems to be aimed mainly at PvP I'm not sure I'll be spending any points in it but it's nice to have options.

Unleashed Rage gets the sweetest buff. Not only is it reduced to 3 points down from 5 but it now increases your total agility by 1/2/3% which is really awesome.

There was also some talk of Healing Stream Totem and Mana Spring Totem being combined into one but so far nothing has been officially announced. Let's hope this change makes it to live (hopefully in 3.1) because it would greatly simplify totem usage and improve utility.

So these are the main buffs to the enhancement spec for shammies. It might not look very impressive but at least we didn't get the shaft like other classes. Not only this but we also freed a couple of talents that can be better spent on other things, for example in the elemental tree.

Hopefully there's more good stuff that Bliz hasn't announced. In all cases, patch 3.1 looks pretty good to me.

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