Normally, WoW Insider brings me in to wax poetic (or at least punny) about elemental shaman -- but today, I had a grouch. I am dazzled by the new sparkles emitted by paladin friends, and I cheer on my mage friends as they try out Flame Orb and Ring of Frost. There is a gorgeous array of new spells on offer in patch 4.0.1 ... So why do I feel so underwhelmed by my new elemental rotation?
The dust of patch 4.0.1 is not settled and won't be for some time if Deathwing has anything to do with it, but now we start to see the shape of things to come. I've had a chance to settle into the new abilities. I've annoyed more than a few fishers with my Earthquake. I've gleefully retrained my fingers to become reactive, in order to enjoy the full benefits of Fulmination and Lava Surge. My guildmates tell me I am too happy about Totemic Wrath and Rolling Thunder. Good times, all in all. However, I am still a grumpy shaman. I am mostly happy with the new spells, but the effects feel like an afterthought.
The shadow over my happiness is all to do with eye candy. I love Earthquake, but it looks unfinished. The spell has a lovely rumbling sound, but the actual animation stands accused of impersonating a pancake! The satisfactory crack and elegant visual of Chain Lightning has been replaced in the elemental rotation by an invisible Fulmination combined with an uninspiring Earth Shock. Do you know what the audio-visual feedback from an Earth Shock is? Nowt, nada, zilch. My fabulous new ability ends with a disappointing fizzle. We are stormcallers! Spiritwalkers! Masters of fire and thunder! Fulmination has a big DPS impact, as my fellow elemental shaman will well know by now, and yet half the time, I've no idea whether my cast actually queued at all. Combine that with the new ability queue issues and you have a recipe for frustration.
A fix for the ability queue is coming in Cataclysm, but to further compound the lack of effects, Blizzard hasn't coded any spell alerts for some classes. There are minor spell effects for Flame Shock and Earth Shock, but while I am comfortable with my new rotation, I am missing the gratification. Chain Lightning was the maple syrup on my pancake, and now I am going without. Do not deny me my candy, developers!
Now, I am well aware that we are not the only class that is feeling a little shortchanged in the effects department. How are you finding the new spells for you class of choice and their accompanying effects? Are you enjoying the built-in spell alerts? Did you replace them with custom Power Auras? What about the spells themselves -- are they satisfying to cast and use?
This is it! Patch 4.0.1 begins the slide into December's upcoming expansion. It's a whole new game from here on out. Get oriented with our roundup of everything there is to know about patch 4.0.1 and how it changes the game until the launch of World of Warcraft: Cataclysm.