Latest in Gaming

Image credit:

Totem Talk: 3 reasons enhancement shaman should be excited for Mists of Pandaria

Josh Myers

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Totem Talk for elemental, enhancement, and restoration shaman. Once just the expert on enhancement shaman, Josh Myers has spent most of Dragon Soul as elemental, and he's not quite sure how he got there. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

I'm going to be honest: I still love Cataclysm. I know that it has a lot of problems, but I think a lot of the issues people have with Cataclym are that it isn't Burning Crusade (or vanilla, for that matter), and I'm very much an enemy of nostalgia. Especially in comparison to its immediate predecessor, Cataclysm has a lot of things going for it. Class balance is in a better place across the board than it was in Wrath. Even though Firelands was a giant explosion of red and orange visual vomit, it still doesn't compare to Trial of the Crusader's single room. And, even though we've not been amazing at all during any of Cataclysm, enhancement shaman haven't actually sucked during any patch, much less the entire last year of the expansion.

That said, I'm terribly excited for Mists of Pandaria. Part of the excitement is that for once in my life I'll have a horde race to play that isn't tauren as I hate all the other choices, and The Amazing Panda Adventure was possibly my favorite movie from 1995. Another part of the excitement is that Mists of Pandaria is new and shiny and it's only human to love things that are new and shiny. I love some of the new ideas Blizzard has cooked up for level 90 players, from PVE scenarios to companion pet battles. Yes, I was young enough to play Pokemon when it was relevant, but I'm also old enough to not be ashamed of wanting to play it again.

Most importantly, though, I'm most excited for the potentials changes coming to enhancement in MoP. Enhancement has had some pretty glaring issues for a good part of this expansion, even if we regularly remained competitive. Thankfully, some of the changes that came in last week's updated talent calculator look like they'll be on the road to solving these issues when Mists drops.

Double damage on spell crits!

The first big change coming for enhancement in Mists is that all spells will get a base 200% critical strike damage. If you were a player back in ye olde days of Wrath of the Lich King, you'll know that this is something we once talented into, which was later rolled into being a benefit of speccing elemental in Cataclysm. Nowadays, our spells crit like our melee hits, at 150% damage.

This has been a thorn in our side for all of Cataclysm, as the low crit damage on spells has led to us putting a very low value on critical strike rating on gear. As we simultaneously value haste a very small amount, it ends up that we only really gear for mastery. Any gear without mastery on it is annoying to wear, and even the stuff with mastery on it isn't as good for us as a comparable drop for a class that values two secondary stats highly.

I can't say for sure how high crit's value will be boosted come Mists of Pandaria; that's something that the sims will need to decide. However, going from "pretty horrible" to even "mediocre" would be a nice change, and something we've been needing for a while now.

A DPS cooldown that isn't completely awful

In another throwback to ye olden days of Wrath of the Lich King, enhancement shaman of those days might remember the time when Feral Spirit was an actual DPS cooldown. Not that it isn't a technically a DPS cooldown right now, but our puppies got seriously declawed in the transition from Wrath to Cataclysm. We also lost Fire Elemental Totem as a DPS cooldown, but honestly, that's something I didn't mind losing. Ten minute cooldowns are never fun to have. To verify this, ask any elemental shaman or warlock.

Mists of Pandaria answered my prayers for a cooldown that isn't totally awful in the form of the brand new Ascendance, a three-minute cooldown that turns us into an Ascendant elemental. Even before getting into what it actually does, that's just awesome. I approve greatly.

A screenshot of the talent calculator showing Ascendance
Even better, it actually is going to be an incredibly potent cooldown. It makes all of our auto-attacks and Stormstrike deal nature damage rather than physical damage, which has two huge benefits. First, this means both auto-attacks and Stormstrike will bypass armor for 15 seconds, which is awesome. Beyond that, they'll both gain the benefit of our mastery for Ascendance's duration. As we stack mastery, and it doesn't look like that's changing in MoP, that alone looks awesome.

If that wasn't enough, Ascendance also allows our auto-attacks and Stormstrike continue working at up to 30 yards. As auto-attack procs our weapon imbues, and the rest of our damaging abilities other than Lava Lash are spells, this means we'll be able to deal nearly 100% of our damage from a 30 yard range. This will have a wide variety of uses, from executing a fleeing opponent in PVP to not losing important cooldown time if the boss moves during Ascendance.

Hopefully, we'll see a legendary

This last reason I'm looking forward to MoP is totally speculative, but I believe we might finally see an enhancement shaman legendary. I know many different things go into choosing who gets a legendary and Blizzard tries not to choose based on some perceived need by the community, but I truly think we'll see one this expansion. The last one we could even wield was Sulfuras, Hand of Ragnaros, and the number of enhance shaman who actually had one was miniscule.
A warrior wielding Sulfuras, Hand of Ragnaros
Our main contenders, of course, are feral/guardian druids and brewmaster monks, as they'll be the only class in the game that has never actually had a legendary. That said, Wrath of the Lich King had two legendaries, Cataclysm had two legendaries, and I can't see any reason that would forbid an enhancement legendary and a staff/polearm legendary in the same expansion. If needed, I'll even share my legendary axes/maces with death knights. Not rogues though; if we never see another rogue legendary it will be way too soon.

Show your totemic mastery by reading Totem Talk: Enhancement every week. We've got enhancement-specific advice on 4 ways to increase your DPS, the ups and downs of enhancement in Dragon Soul, and gearing up for Raid Finder raids.

From around the web

ear iconeye icontext filevr