Fair Warning; This thread will be un-stickied on October 9th. I'm leaving it up for 2 weeks after the MoP launch, so any returning Shaman can get a quick at-a-glance update info, but it won't serve much purpose past that point.
5.0.4 is looming in a few days, and I thought it was time to review the major changes coming for the Shaman class. We'll review class-wide changes first, and then some spec-specific details afterwards.
First, the fundamentals;
Shaman Changes in 5.0.4
- New Talents system (see below for details)
- New Glyphs system (see below for details)
- Intellect no longer increases mana, instead mana is determined solely by character level. This has major implications mostly to Restoration.
- Hit chance and Expertise have been changed; Casters now need 15% Hit to hit boss-level targets, dual-wield melee need 7.5% Hit and 7.5% Expertise. Expertise also provides Spell Hit.
- No more buff totems; each spec brings their own buffs as auras, as part of the game-wide buff/debuff overhaul.
- Capacitor Totem - A new level 63 totem that charges up to explode, stunning anyone in the 8y radius for 5s.
- Stormlash Totem - A new level 78 totem that empowers raid member's spells and attacks with additional Nature damage.
- Water Shield and Lightning Shield no longer have charges that can cause them to be removed by taking damage, and can stack with other Shaman's Earth Shields.
- Fire Elemental Totem and Earth Elemental Totem have a 1 minute duration and a 5 minute cooldown, down from 2 minutes/10 minutes.
- Guardians such as the Elemental Totems and Feral Spirits all now dynamically adjust stats with the caster, and have improved AI.
- Wind Shear has been increased to a 12s cooldown, with a 3s lockout, as part of a game-wide increase in interrupt CDs.
- Cleanse Spirit now cleanses all Curse effects, but has an 8 second cooldown, as part of the game-wide Dispel overhaul. Bosses with spam Dispel mechanics such as Sinestra and Spine of Deathwing have had their mechanics tweaked to account for this change.
- Healing Wave, and Greater Healing Wave are all Resto-specific.
- Crits are now 200% baseline for all classes, for both spells and physical attacks.
- Ghost Wolf - now instant cast, no movement speed protection (though see Glyph of Ghost Wolf).
- Flame Shock - duration buffed from 18s to 24s.
- Healing Stream Totem - Now single target, and with at most 50% uptime.
- Elemental Fury still adds 50% to Crit damage, giving Elemental spec 250% crit damage on all crits.
- Lava Surge - Now not only resets Lava Burst, but also makes the next cast instant.
- Elemental Mastery is no longer an Elemental cooldown, but a new talent. This leaves Elemental without a personal DPS cooldown (other than the Fire Elemental Totem summon) until we can hit level 87 and gain Ascendance, though you can take the EM talent if you so wish.
- Feral Spirits have been significantly buffed.
- Spirit Walk has been removed from Feral Spirits and made into an Enhancement-specific sprint ability.
- Spiritual Insight now provides 15% chance to hit with Lightning Bolt, Lava Burst, Hex, and Flame Shock.
- Riptide - The 25% buff to Chain Heal no longer consumes the Riptide HoT effect.
- The new mana pools will limit healer performance somewhat, and reduce the strength of mana regen overall.
- Telluric Currents is now a Glyph with less of an effect than the talent had during 4.3.
The talent system is being overhauled. No longer do you receive 41 talent points to select various static buffs and the occasional new ability, instead those have been added to each spec's basic abilities, and the new talent system will provide you with a new, tiered, class-wide system. Each tier provides you one talent point that must be spent in that tier, between one of three talent choices. There will be an additional tier and talent point for level 90, however these won't come into play until the MoP release on September 25th. Remember; this does not mean you're losing all your talents; the critical talents for each spec have, for the most part, been turned into class or spec abilities, or rolled into the abilities by default.
That's what the talent selection screen will look like when you log in. As you can see, the level 90 talents are there, but greyed out, and you have 5 points unspent.
Briefly, here is what each talent allows you to do. Follow the link or see the tooltip for the exact details;
- Nature's Guardian - Increases max and current health if you dip below 30% health.
- Stone Bulwark Totem - Drops a totem that provides you with a passive shield effect.
- Astral Shift - An active damage reduction effect with a short duration.
- Frozen Power - Your frost shock roots the target.
- Earthgrab Totem - Your Earthbind totem becomes Earthgrab totem and also roots the targets afflicted.
- Windwalk Totem - Drops a totem that provides raid immunity to movement-impairing effects.
- Call of the Elements - Resets the cooldown on totems with a mid-length cooldown (not longer cooldowns such as Fire Elemental Totem).
- Totemic Restoration - Reduces the cooldown on totems that are canceled/destroyed before running their full duration.
- Totemic Projection - Allows you to "throw" your totems to a new location.
- Elemental Mastery - +30% Haste cooldown.
- Ancestral Swiftness - 5% passive Haste and allows you to cast one spell a minute as an instant cast.
- Echo of the Elements - Chance to duplicate any spell cast; 6% proc rate for Elemental and Restoration specs, 30% for Enhancement spec.
- Healing Tide Totem - Drops a totem that heals the raid for a short duration.
- Ancestral Guidance - Causes your healing/DPS to heal up to 3 nearby players for 40% of the damage/healing done.
- Conductivity - Causes damage or healing done to targets within your Healing Rain to AoE heal those standing in the Healing Rain.
Precisely which talent you'll want to pick can be changed on a per-fight basis, and in many cases should be. Highly mobile fights where everyone is spread out, such as Warmaster Blackhorn, would not be ideal for Conductivity, for instance, making one of the other choices in that tier a likely better choice for that fight.
Prime Glyphs have been removed. Many Primes, which were static boosts, were deliberately changed to be Majors; this change under most circumstances has resulted in a reduction in power, to be more in-line with the intended value of a Major glyph. This list is complete; all of our available glyphs are listed herein.You may still choose three Major glyphs and three Minor glyphs from the following lists.
- Glyph of Capacitor Totem. Reduces the charging time of your Capacitor Totem by 2 sec.
- Glyph of Chain Lightning. Your Chain Lightning spell now strikes 2 additional targets, but deals 10% less initial damage.
- Glyph of Chaining. Increases the jump distance of your Chain Heal spell by 100%, but gives the spell a 4s cooldown.
- Glyph of Cleansing Waters. When you dispel a harmful Magic or Curse effect from an ally, you also heal the target for 4% of your maximum health.
- Glyph of Feral Spirit. Increases the healing done by your Feral Spirits' Spirit Hunt by 40%.
- Glyph of Fire Elemental Totem. Reduces the cooldown and duration of your Fire Elemental Totem by 40%.
- Glyph of Fire Nova. Increases the radius of your Fire Nova spell by 5 yards.
- Glyph of Flame Shock. Increases the duration of your Flame Shock by 25%, but reduces the initial damage dealt by 25%.
- Glyph of Frost Shock. Increases the duration of your Frost Shock by 2 sec.
- Glyph of Ghost Wolf. While in Ghost Wolf form, you are less hindered by effects that would reduce movement speed.
- Glyph of Grounding Totem. Instead of absorbing a spell, your Grounding Totem reflects the next harmful spell back at its caster, but the cooldown of your Grounding Totem is increased by 35 sec.
- Glyph of Healing Storm. Each application of Maelstrom Weapon also increases your healing done by 20%.
- Glyph of Healing Stream Totem. When your Healing Stream Totem heals an ally, it also reduces their Fire, Frost, and Nature damage taken by 10% for 6 sec.
- Glyph of Healing Wave. Your Healing Wave also heals you for 20% of the healing effect when you heal someone else.
- Glyph of Hex. Reduces the cooldown of your Hex spell by 10 sec.
- Glyph of Purge. Your Purge dispels 1 additional Magic effect.
- Glyph of Riptide. Removes the cooldown of Riptide, but reduces the initial direct healing by 90%.
- Glyph of Shamanistic Rage. Activating your Shamanistic Rage ability also cleanses you of all dispellable harmful Magic effects.
- Glyph of Spirit Walk. Reduces the cooldown of your Spirit Walk ability by 25%.
- Glyph of Spiritwalker's Grace. Increases the duration of your Spiritwalker's Grace by 5 sec.
- Glyph of Telluric Currents.
- Elemental, Restoration: Causes your Lightning Bolt to restore 2% of your mana when it strikes an enemy.
- Enhancement: Causes your Lightning Bolt to restore 10% of your mana when it strikes an enemy.
- Glyph of Thunder. Reduces the cooldown on Thunderstorm by 10 sec.
- Glyph of Totemic Recall. Causes your Totemic Recall ability to return the full mana cost of any recalled totems.
- Glyph of Totemic Vigor. Increases the health of your totems by 5% of your maximum health.
- Glyph of Unleashed Lightning. Your Lightning Bolt takes 5% longer to cast, but may be cast while moving.
- Glyph of Unstable Earth. Causes your Earthquake spell to also reduce the movement speed of affected targets by 40% for 3 sec.
- Glyph of Water Shield. Increases the mana generated reactively by your Water Shield when you are attacked by 50%, but reduces the passive mana generation by 15%.
- Glyph of Wind Shear. Increases the school lockout duration of Wind Shear by 1 sec, but also increases the cooldown by 3 sec.
- Glyph of Astral Recall - Reduces the cooldown of your Astral Recall spell by 5 minutes.
- Glyph of Deluge. Your Chain Heal now has a watery appearance.
- Glyph of Far Sight. Your Far Sight spell may be used indoors.
- Glyph of Lava Lash. Your Lava Lash ability no longer spreads Flame Shock to nearby targets.
- Glyph of the Lakestrider. You automatically gain Water Walking while you are in Ghost Wolf form.
- Glyph of the Spectral Wolf. Alters the appearance of your Ghost Wolf transformation, causing it to resemble a large, spectral wolf.
- Glyph of Thunderstorm. Removes the knockback effect from your Thunderstorm spell.
- Glyph of Totemic Encirclement. When you cast a totem spell, you also place unempowered totems for any elements that are not currently active. These totems have 5 health and produce no other effects.
For the most part, rotation for both Elemental and Enhancement remain relatively similar to their 4.3 versions. Remember to include Stormlash Totem for raid DPS, however. More specifics on exact changes will be forthcoming once 5.0.4 actually hits and we can run some more concrete simulations.
For the most part, statistics are not changing a great deal. However, there are two changes that bear mentioning;
Hit Rating and Expertise
In 4.3, Hit Rating and Expertise are separate stats that do not overlap, and this has caused Enhancement in particular to need a great deal of both Hit Rating (to reach the 17% spell hit cap) and Expertise (to remove Dodges from the hit table). In 5.0.4, these stats have been made more similar, and with some degree of overlap. Casters now need 15% spell hit to hit boss-level creatures, rather than 17%. Melee now need 7.5% hit rating to cap special attacks, and 7.5% expertise to remove Dodges from the hit table. Expertise also provides spell hit.
For Enhancement in particular, this is a boon; rather than having to gear for both caps, gearing for 7.5% Hit Rating and 7.5% Expertise will also provide them 15% spell hit, capping them for spell attacks. Be prepared to Reforge your gear once the patch hits!
PvP Resilience and PvP Power
These stats are replacing Resilience and Spell Penetration, respectively, on PvP gear. The intent is to make PvP gear both more useful in PvP than PvE gear, as well as reducing the barrier to entry for new players moving from either PvP or PvE to the other form of gameplay. All players will have a basic amount of PvP Resilience built into their character baseline, 30% as of this writing, with the gear providing more damage reduction from players. PvP Resilience will reduce the damage taken from other players, while PvP Power will increase the damage and healing you deal to other players. PvP gear will also have a reduced item level compared to PvE gear of that same period, though PvP Power and PvP Resilience will not be part of that itemization value. The goal is that PvP gear will be undesirable in PvE because of the lower item level and that PvP Power and Resilience have no effect in PvE content, while PvE gear will be undesirable in PvP as the comparable PvP gear will be better once you include the PvP Power and Resilience stats they get for "free". However, each type of gear will be usable in the other's content if one does not yet have appropriate gear; PvE gear has the higher item level and PvP gear has a full complement of stats without itemization being lost to Resilience, as it currently does.
Gems and Enchants:
For the most part, there are no changes in this regard worth speaking of until Mists of Pandaria launches.
This list is not intended to be absolutely thorough on every little change, but if there's a Shaman-relevant change you feel was overlooked, please PM me so that it can get included. Please ensure it's Shaman-specific; the purpose of this post is not to cover any of the wider changes to the game, like profession changes or the like.