Lately I've been thinking of weapon imbues and how artificial the choice of what you imbue your weapon with is. For every spec there is a deafult choice that works pretty much in every situation, pve, pvp, solo play and so on. As enhance you always go Windfury/Flametongue, as elemental you pick Flametongue and as resto Earthfiliving. There is no real choice, switching to any other imbue will gimp your dps/hps so much that there is no reason to do it. After 5.4 change to enhance pvp set bonus (frostbrand no longer increases your lava lash damage anymore and flametongue gives you slow) there is no reason you would want to use frostbrand there. That essentially killed last weapon imbue choice purpose in any aspect of the game for any spec.
Why are we left with this outdated mechanic? Rockbiter and Frostbrand used to have some use, or at least there was a purpose for them. Unleash Rockbiter is a 'taunt' that's there for those moments when you want to save a healer or kite. It requires you to switch imbue (global cooldown), hope to have Unleash Elements off the cooldown (something you use in your standard rotation) and then waste gcd to change imbue back to your standard, performence enhancing one. Life-saving taunts need to be immediate, it's always a matter of fast reaction if you want to save anyone with it. With its current state, and how gimmicky it is, I doubt any shaman has ever saved anyone with it. Passive damage reduction it gives is laughable as well, and dps loss is huge (probably higher than warrior dpsing in defensive stance) not to mention amount of gcds required to switch. Frostbrand slow is as dead, too high dps/hps cost to use it,and shamans have other slows (earthbind, frost shock, new enh pvp set bonus) so there is no situation that would justify using it.
My idea is to finally make imbue choice a real one. In order to do that (maybe in 6.0) following changes should be made:
1. Make current dps/hps enhancing imbues passive abilities for every shaman spec, learned at level you get the imbue. So at level 30, all resto shamans would learn passive effect called Earthbloom, which would grant you all benefits of current earthliving imbue at all times. Every level 10 enhance and elemental shaman would get passive effect called Firesoul, giving you flametongue benefits at all times. Every 30 enhance shaman gets Windwrath.
2. Keep five weapon imbues with current names but make their perks not affect dps/hps. Earthliving now grants you 15% more healing recieved from all sources, Windfury increases your movement speed by 15%, Rockbiter reduces damage taken by 10%, Flametongue reduces healing taken by your target by 15%, leave Frostbrand as it is (minus the damage portion).
3. Remove Unleash Elements from standard dps/hps rotation and make it enhance imbues for further performance enhancing. It could have longer cooldown (like 1 minute) and make a meaningful cooldown. Unleash Life - increases healing done to you by 50% for 10 seconds, Unleash Fire - further reduces healing taken by your target by 15%, Unleash Wind - sprint, Unleash Earth - taunt (or reducses damage received by 40% and be done with shaman taunting idea once and for all), Unleash Frost - snare, or current 70% slow for 4 seconds).
4. Make Unleash Fury talent affect dps/hps with any imbue, for example, unleash frost now increases your mastery by 15%, unleash wind increases your haste by 15%, unleash fire increases your crit by 15%, unleash life increases all your secondary stats by 7%, unleash earth increases all your primary stats by 5%.
Numbers are obviously taken out of my ass, but the idea is there. What do you think? Is the idea good? Needs some tweaking? Or maybe its awful and weapon imbues should stay the way they are? Or perhaps you have a much better solution to that stagnated mechanic?