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Tseric on Enhancement

Eliah Hecht

Being a primarily Alliance player, I haven't had a chance to play with very many Shaman. There's one at level 70 in my guild, and he's Enhancement; going on Heroic runs with him has showed me the beauty of totems, and possibly made Heroism my new favorite spell in the game. However, despite the fact that I haven't grouped with Shaman very much, the general aura of discontent with the state of the Shaman class is fairly difficult to avoid. So when Tseric posts something that looks an awful lot like "Enhancement is for 1-69, respec at 70," I cringe when I think of inevitable backlash from the community.

Of course, it's important to note here that Tseric didn't actually come out and say "respec at 70." What he said was "Enhancement Shaman have a difficult time in PvP compared to the other trees," as well as "in PvE, while Enhancement can put out some decent dps, they are also seen as absorbing heals by being in melee range for a boss encounter, so they may not be preferable to a plate wearer or someone who can mitigate enough of their own damage cleanly." Now I might just be reacting without thinking through it, but to me, that really seems to read as "Enhancement is sub-par in PvP, and non-preferable in [group] PvE."

Nevertheless, it doesn't look like there are any new changes to announce to the class at this time, and Tseric has specifically said there won't be any sort of "class redesign" or anything. Every time I read a CM saying they won't be redesigning a given class, I die a little inside, because it's really starting to seem more and more like the devs absolutely refuse to make any big changes to the game, despite stressing how balance in an MMO is a constantly evolving thing. I understand the drive not to make huge changes all at once, but on the other hand, it's impossible to arrive at a redesign by way of gradual changes, so by only using gradual changes, it seems like WoW is doomed to be essentially fossilized in its current state.

Tseric's several posts are copied after the cut. What do you guys think? How are Enhancement Shaman doing in the endgame right now, and is it essential that every tree for every class be viable in the end game, or is it more important to simply make sure that every class is viable?

5/9/07 1:14 AM UTC:

After a meeting last week, I had a post written up which I was doing edits on. Issue was, I didn't know what to write for a conclusion.

I decided to forget that and just post what I had, as at least there were points to comment on and refer to later.

If you need to reference something containing developer feedback and want to ignore my other, more conversational posts, then this will probably be it.


Enhancement Shaman have a difficult time in PvP compared to the other trees. While Elemental and Resto are regarded by the devs as performing well in PvP situations, there seem to be a lot of folks who leveled with Enhancement, which lends itself well to the solo game, but the transition into end-game PvP could cause a shift where players either respec or continue with Enhancement. These folks may not want to respec due to their love of that tree or aspect, particular gearing may become an issue that player's may have to review for themselves, etc. This may or may not be the case in all situations, but when it comes down to it, if you really wanted to optimize for PvP, enhancement might not be the best choice for it.

Conversely, in PvE, while Enhancement can put out some decent dps, they are also seen as absorbing heals by being in melee range for a boss encounter, so they may not be preferable to a plate wearer or someone who can mitigate enough of their own damage cleanly.

The devs don't see the class as broken, and while realizing there may be things to adjust in the future, there is no rush for big changes, revamps, gutting the class to rebuild it, or other similar, drastic measures. The changes going in to 2.1 don't show signs of being altered and are seen to place the class in a reasonable performance category.

For the record, there are other specifics which have been brought up many times, which are regarded as issues that the devs and players may disagree on, such as:

  • Counterspell locking out a primary source of damage, nature. Paladins are in the same boat and this is deliberate.
  • Along with that, nature immune creatures. The devs do see this as an issue and are being more relaxed with immune mobs. While these immune mobs may crop up from time to time, it isn't in such a way as to block progress.
  • Mana Tide has been considered for trainability, but it is not seen as a candidate. I'm sure this will come up again at some point, but it has been acknowledged before and the answer doesn't seem to be changing for now or the foreseeable future.
  • Threat generation, or more particularly, the ability to remove threat has been considered, but as shaman, for the most part, share standard 10% threat reduction with other casters, the devs don't see it as a pressing issue.
  • Weapon itemization for healing or damage spec'ced shaman not comparing to wands. The point has been brought up and acknowledged, but there isn't anything to say beyond that at this time.
  • Windfury buff scaling with weapons better than other weapon buffs, making it the obvious choice, which also seems to exacerbate people's concern over the upcoming off-hand buff change. Yes, windfury does scale better and that's fine, however the devs don't see a necessity for buffing the other buffs to make them "more desirable".
5/8/07 2:02 AM UTC:

The Shaman class received positive adjustments in the upcoming patch, however they were quickly dismissed as irrelevant or inconsequential. "Not good enough" is what they say.

Well, it demonstrates the approach of the devs in regards to small, gradual changes, rather than massive revamps.

We haven't gotten 2.1 out the door, yet, so I'm not going to have concrete information about what is coming after that, because that is not where the focus is.

5/8/07 11:25 PM UTC:

Ok, I'll rephrase myself, then. Or approach it from a different angle.

A lot of Shaman spec in Enhancement for 1-69. This really has nothing to do with group-effect totems or talents being aimed at group buffing. So, regardless of the design of the talent tree, a lot of folks are leveling with Enhancement and then become frustrated with the shift of game-play between that and end-game. That is really what I'm talking about.

To follow that, I'm not placing value judgements on it, either. Merely indicating how some Shaman seem to be banging their heads on the wall out of frustration with PvP or what have you.

Do I think Enhancement would benefit from positive adjustments? Absolutely.

Why then, does the whole tenor of this, and other discussions I've had seem to result in people saying "Oh, Tseric's just saying we're fine L2P"?

It honestly doesn't matter how many times I acknowledge an area that needs attention and actually agree with some things people are saying, because the emotional bulldozer is at full speed and can't really be bothered to consider gray areas or complex issues.

"Just gives us buffs" is a blunt sentiment that the devs have heard before, so don't be surprised if it doesn't come to pass.

It should be quite obvious to some of our more astute posters that the devs aren't ignoring the class. If that was the case, Elemental Focus wouldn't have been reduced. Windfury would not be undergoing further changes.

So, if they are paying attention, why is it do you think they aren't immediately implementing the "thousands of clear, well-balanced suggestions" being posted? Is it possible that they do not agree with all of your math? They perhaps consider your suggestion to be over-powered, unable to be implemented under current design or coding limitations? Any one of another thousand reasons by which suggestions may not make it into implementation?

5/8/07 11:31 PM UTC:

Like so many other balance issues, I think it is something that gradually changed over time.

The devs will likely say that it is more important for the class as a whole to be viable, than have single spec's balanced in all fields. I think plenty of us can acknowledge having each spec equally viable in each field is an unrealistic expectation.

However, they also recognize Enhance does have drawbacks and seems to be more limited in its viability compared to other specs, but it still has its usefulness.

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