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Class Balance Q&A: Shaman

Alex Ziebart

strong>EleLFlove asked:

With Firelands, elemental shaman DPS was brought up to a very competitive level primarily due to 2 piece T12 and fire elemental. Are there any plans to change the cooldown of fire elementals in the future so that elemental DPS isn't hurt so badly when fire elemental is on cooldown, or any plans to reduce fire elemental damage and compensating for it in other areas?

Celestalon answered:

The 2T12 bonus for Elemental Shamans was very powerful. Too powerful, in fact, as it was going to lead to Elemental Shamans hanging on to their 2T12 bonus for so long. So, we reduced the impact of the set bonus, and slightly buffed the damage of the Fire Elemental for them, along with several other minor (and major) buffs in 4.3. We're confident that Elemental Shamans will be totally viable in 4.3.

Maniac Haywire asked:

During the presentation at Blizzcon, it was announced that Shaman Buff totems are gone, what exactly is going to replace them? How am I going to get those buffs when 5.0 hits?

Watcher answered:

The core shaman buffs (like Strength of Earth and Windfury) will likely become passive auras on the shaman, the way Unleashed Rage currently works. The reality is that originally, the restrictions inherent to totems (the GCD cost, limited range, original group-only restrictions, etc.) served to balance unique and powerful buffs. But in a world where buffs are raidwide and exclusive, those restrictions serve less of a purpose. And as we've noted, there isn't a tremendous amount of interesting gameplay in dropping Strength of Earth relative to something like Earthbind or Tremor.

Revaine asked:

What was the main reason that Shaman-Buff-Totems are going to be deleted in MoP?

Ghostcrawler answered:

We don't think the buff totems were fun to drop and they competed too much with utility or damage totems that are fun to use. As we said above, we'll still have shaman provide the buffs, just not through totems.

Cptpoot asked:

Haste and Crit are terrible secondary stats for Enhancement. Have you any incite on what may be done to increase their value for Enhance? I do 25k on Alysrazor DPS'ing adds, when I go up in the air, I do 26k with 25 stacks. With Time Warp/BL/Hero the rest of the raid shoots by me, and the only thing I can do to prevent that is pot/blood fury/trinket. I feel like I'm cheating when I pot before the pull just to get some extra DPS. People with a proc trinket and no racial must have it REALLY bad. Any thoughts?

Celestalon answered:

While the value of various secondary stats for many specs (such as haste for Enhancement) are unlikely to change in 4.3, we do have plans for 5.0 in that regard. We'd like to bring the value of primary stats down closer to the level of secondary stats (but probably not all the way down; they still will likely be clearly better), and we'd like to bring the value of the various secondary stats applicable to a spec closer together. There will still be some stats that are better than others, but we don't want to have the situation where some stats are so terrible for your spec that you just immediately ignore any gear which has that stat on it. Primary stats being stronger than secondary stats is important to preserve so that higher tiers of gear are more attractive than lower tiers of gear. By tightening up the values of the different secondaries, we have room to bring down the primaries without endangering that.

Raymond Mallozzi asked:

About the level 90 shaman talent Elemental Harmony. There seems to be no limit on it. Does this mean i can place every single fire totem on the ground? or is there a 4 limit restriction like one of each totem?

Celestalon answered:

Elemental Harmony does not apply to Fire totems, and does not allow you to drop multiple of the same totem, just multiple of the same element type of totem. For example, you can drop Mana Tide, Healing Tide, and Healing Stream Totems, all at the same time. You cannot, however, drop three Healing Stream Totems. You can indeed drop more than 4 total totems at the same time using this talent.

Mike asked:

Whenever Ele shaman need a buff, it is always Shamanism that gets buffed slightly. It started out at a 10% modifier in 3.0 and has eventually crept up to 36% in 4.3. Have you considered buffing Ele shaman in a more meaningful and interesting way? Perhaps adding a DoT component to Lava Burst or rolling the new T12 2pc into a talent (a la Feedback in 4.0)?

Ghostcrawler answered:

It is interesting to me that players sometimes view passive buffs as a cop-out of some kind. When we like the rotation then the clear choice for us is to buff damage across the board. Buffing Shamanism also means we don't buff, nerf or change Enhancement's rotation as an unintended consequence.

Lodur asked:

Firelands seemed to do a good job at highlighting a disparity between healing classes and specs. Some, like shaman, have had to struggle to maintain healing numbers that were reasonable for the content and comparable with other healers, while other healers just shot ahead of everyone else with seemingly little effort. Are there going to be systems in place to keep this from happening again? Is this problem something that has been actively reviewed? How will healing balance be maintained while adding a 5th healing capable class?

Watcher answered:

We've made some class-level adjustments to healer balance for 4.3, but healer performance often ends up being as much a reflection of the encounter design in a particular tier as anything else. Healer specs in their current form have strengths and weaknesses, and niches in encounters that play into those strengths. Using your example of shaman, there were fewer situations that were ideal for shamans in Firelands than in Tier 11 (or in Tier 13, for that matter) -- If there had been more encounters like the second phase of Beth'tilac, for example, perceptions might be different.

We feel that it's important to maintain those niches to ensure that the different healer specs feel distinct from each other, and that means that some fights will play to some specs' strengths and less so to others. Of course, just because a fight doesn't fall squarely into the niche of a given spec does not mean that anyone should feel unable to perform adequately in that situation. Our ongoing healer balance efforts aim at ensuring viability in all setting, but particular encounter mechanics will often dictate what is strictly optimal. Our class and encounter designers work closely with each other to keep things diverse and balanced on that front.

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