Latest in Gaming

Image credit:

Cataclysm: Stat and system changes for enhancement shaman

Rich Maloy

Breaking news: enhancement shamans get the dumb in Cataclysm. Intellect is gone! Are we becoming rogues with mana?

No doubt you've read the big changes coming in Cataclysm. At this point there are a few confirmed points with the rest falling into the "confirmed they'll be changing" category. What do these changes mean for enhancement shamans? Read on.

Base stats

Stamina - more of it. Let's get the easy one out of the way first. Last night in arenas on my 5s team with a DK, warrior, pally, and resto druid I had the lowest health pool by a wide margin. No wonder shaman are the first target of many arena matches. Bringing all classes health levels closer together is a welcome change especially for us shamans who've historically been lower than other classes.

Agility - all agi all the time. We already get 1 point of attack power from every 1 point of agility right now, plus crit. Expect to see more agility on mail gear -- much, much more.

Intellect - gone from our gear, and what int we do get from base character level will give us less mana. We'll still be a mana-based class since our ele and resto brothers & sisters need it. But with int going away from our gear it's safe to say some of our talents will change as well.

Mental Dexterity which increases AP by 100% of Intellect will surely be replaced or revised. Also, it will be interesting to see what happens to Ancestral Knowledge which increases intellect and is a tier 1 talent. This is a core talent for resto builds and a filler for enhance so let's watch and see how Blizzard changes it to balance it between the two specs.

Combat stats

Attack Power - all AP on gear right now will be converted to agi, which will then be converted back to AP. Confused? Don't worry, it won't hurt a bit. Just hold tight and look for the agi gear.

Spell Power - will be converted to int on current gear, and will only exist on on caster weapons. Remember the dual-wielding Torch of Holy Fire fad that lasted about as long as a disconnected rogue in a void zone? I wonder if we'll see any more caster weapons on enhancement shamans?

The change to SP also means Mental Quickness changes. Unlike MD & AK above which may require bigger overhauls this talent could keep its core function of converting AP to SP, just give us more. Again, we'll have to wait and see how this plays out.

With the base stat changes, no int + changes to MD, MQ & AK means the Cataclysm enhance shamans catch da dumb. In game at least. Let's look at some more combat stats and see if we can get the smart again.

Haste - more. More haste. More stuff. More often. This stat will be on gear and sounds like it will continue to be a killer stat for us. Haste will enable us to "recover resources" faster, which I wonder if that means we'll regen mana through haste.

Hit & Crit - will both continue to be on gear. Plus the further along in end-game we go, the more we'll need of both because bosses will scale up in later tiers of content. Rakhman over at Flame Shock had a good take on how hit & crit may play out in Cataclysm's end game.

The downside for enhancement is that we need to look at hit from both a melee and a caster perspective. Right now we cap hit for casting, but additional hit definitely benefits us for our melee attacks. This is especially true with top level weapons where the huge DPS numbers on weapons means huge hits which means hit rating benefits us that much more. At least hit gems will be blue and we can get a few more socket bonuses.

ArP - will be gained through talents. What's an ArP, you ask? It's this thing that's great for hunters and some other people. It's going to magically transform into hit, crit, and haste.

Weapon skill - going away; learn a weapon and you're at max weapon skill level. I think this is a good thing for everyone, especially for our up-and-coming enhancement shamans. I remember getting a weapon in Karazhan and not having that particular skill leveled. I attacked and auto-attacked and attacked some more for hours until I got topped off. With a new expansion coming and faster leveling for alts with BoA gear, leveling weapon skills would be an unnecessarily onerous process.

New tools, new toys

Mastery is the ability to further customize your character's stats once you've dug down into your tree. Reforging is the ability to tweak your gear to trade off more of one stat at the sacrifice of another. Right now the example given is to convert one stat into 50% of another.

With Mastery, Reforging, and scaling hit & crit what does this mean? It means that while our toons get the dumb, we've got to get the smart. It means more ways to play enhance, more ways to adapt and adjust play styles, and for end-game raiders much much more complicated min/maxing. And more reasons to love the game, class, and spec.

I'm looking forward to the seemingly infinite customization. Are you?

May all your hits be crits!

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm will destroy Azeroth as we know it. Nothing will be the same. In's Guide to Cataclysm you can find out everything you need to know about WoW's third expansion. From Goblins and Worgens to Mastery and Guild changes, it's all there for your cataclysmic enjoyment.

From around the web

ear iconeye icontext filevr