We'll go line by line with the notes and discuss the changes as we go.
- Bloodlust/Heroism: Cooldown reduced to 5 minutes, but Sated and Exhausted now last 10 minutes.
This is a nerf to raids with more than one shaman who were using Bloodlust/Heroism every five minutes. Now, they'll only be using it every ten, and moreover, only one shaman will be necessary to use it. I don't really understand why they shortened the cooldown if they were going to extend the debuff... are they anticipating raids rotating in a whole new DPS group and are okay with that? If not, why have the cooldown come up a full five minutes before the ability can be used again? It seems arbitrary, but it's possible I'm missing something awesome here.
- Poison Cleansing Totem and Disease Cleansing Totem have been merged into "Cleansing Totem." Cleansing Totem pulses every 3 sec, down from 5.
Nothing but awesome here. More pulses and only one totem for both effects is purely good. ENHANCEMENT
- New Talent: Frozen Power: Increases the damage done by your Frostbrand Weapon if it is enchanted on your main-hand weapon by 10/20%, and your Frost Shock has a 50/100% chance to root the target in Ice for 5 sec. when used on targets at or further than 15 yards from you.
The new icon thing is pretty done to death as a shaman joke, so I'll just ignore that. The new talent, though, is fascinating. I don't expect it will lead to any Frostbrand builds for PvE, but for kiting and snaring in PvP it will have some nice applications. Of course, if anyone remembers the Vashj fight, you'll never know when this could have PvE applications as well.
- Spirit Weapons: Now reduces all threat generated by 30%, not just physical attacks.
- Stormstrike charges have been increased by 2, and cooldown reduced by 2 sec.
- Improved Stormstrike re-designed: When you Stormstrike, you have a 50/100% chance to immediately grant you 20% of your base mana.
Spirit Weapons change is pure good. Enhancement DPS became much more balanced between physical and magic with the launch of Wrath, so changing Spirit Weapons to reduce both kinds of threat is a good move. The effect of Improved Stormstrike just got rolled into regular Stormstrike, so I have a hard time seeing that as bad, and the new Imp SS sounds like it will be a positive boon to mana regen. All in all, hard to be unhappy with any of that.
- Toughness: No longer increases your armor. Instead, this talent now increases your total Stamina by 2/4/6/8/10%.
- Unleashed Rage - Reduced to 3 points, down from 5. Each point now also increases your total Agility by 1/2/3%.
The Toughness change may or may not help with shaman health in PvP
. The Unleashed Rage changes bring it into line with similar abilities
and gives shamans a reason to have it beyond the raid buffing aspect. ELEMENTAL
- New Talent: Booming Echoes- Reduces the cooldown of your Flame Shock and Frost Shock spells by an additional 1/2 sec., and increases the direct damage done by your Flame Shock and Frost Shock spells by an additional 10/20%.
Nothing much to hate here, it's a buff. It should encourage elemental to work those spells into their rotations more, especially in PvP if the new enhancement talent Frozen Power is accessible to elemental shamans. RESTORATION
- Ancestral Awakening: This talent now accounts for your ineffective healing, rather than effective.
- Cleanse Spirit now has a new icon.
- Riptide: This spell has a new icon.
We will once again ignore the new icons. The Ancestral Awakening change confused me until smarter healers than I explained that it means that Ancestral Awakening
will now heal for 30% of the amount healed including any overheal
. This is a buff, because if you top off the tank with a massive critical overheal, the Ancestral Awakening proc won't heal someone who is almost dead for an intensely trivial amount anymore.
So far, some interesting changes for shamans all told. It's definitely obvious that PvP on shamans is getting some tuning, and also some damage and mana efficiency issues are also being addressed. The threat reduction from Spirit Weapons is also very, very good news. The nerf to Bloodlust/Heroism frankly baffles me. It's bad and it's done in a very strange manner. We'll have to see, but I call that change the one big nerf in an otherwise excellent patch for shamans.
Since this is the PTR, I suggest you get on there and test and feed back as much as you can, shamans. All of this can change, so don't take any of it as set in stone.
Patch 3.1 brings us Ulduar, dual specs, significant changes to all the classes, and more! We've got you covered from top to bottom with our Guide to Patch 3.1.