1. #1

    Weapon Imbue mechanic needs an overhaul

    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    Why are we left with this outdated mechanic?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?

  2. #2
    I still use WF/FB in pvp, slow is waaaaay more important, specially ranged slow than Lava Lash's dmg, which already hits nothing in PvP, be it with FT or not

    I like your idea about Unleash Elements, but you still need GCDs to change weapon imbues, which makes it not really good for reacting, specially as enhance, when you have 2 weapons. So would be in a need to use macros to play on a high level --> which blizzard didn't like
    Last edited by Darksoldierr; 2013-10-24 at 12:36 PM.
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  3. #3
    Moderator Endus's Avatar
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    I've argued for some time now that they should revisit this mechanic. Particularly with Unleashed Fury, there's a lot of untapped utility potential in the system that can't be reasonably accessed because the opportunity cost (GCDs to cast and replace the imbue) is too high for the effect.

    I don't have a real issue with Flametongue Weapon providing a damage boost, but what I'd like to see is a system where the imbues don't cost a GCD to cast, but trigger a 3-5 second shared cooldown when used. So if you really want to swap to Frostbrand as Elemental, you can, but it's going to "lock" you into Frostbrand for the duration of the CD, to prevent you macroing it in so you can imbue, cast UE/UF for the desired effect, and re-imbue your original imbue, in a split second. There'd still be a tradeoff, obviously, but without costing a GCD, it's much more acceptable.

  4. #4
    Agreed - hopefully this is something we can see in the next expansion. The Shaman class itself could really use an overhaul.

  5. #5
    I still remember the days when Windfury/Flametongue was a well-kept secret among the elite Enhancement Shaman, who were hoarding the knowledge for themselves from the poor WF/WF proletariate.

    I'd really welcome a change of some sort, so that there's not universally right and wrong choices. (Seems like pretty much everything about every spec, and some specs themselves, are just straight-up right or wrong choices by now.) Whether they do that with utility like the OP said, or by tooling them to cater to different focuses/playstyles/feels, I don't really care. As it is, it's just another sad reminder that most of the choice in this game isn't choice at all, and is just an illusion and a holdout from a less homogenized era.

  6. #6
    A lot of your suggestions are things I've been thinking about since I started gearing up my Enhancement Shaman.

    I think Frostbrand Weapon can be rolled into the Frozen Power talent, making it "Your Frost Shock roots and all melee attacks have a chance to snare the target for 40 / 50%". This basically copies the DK's Chilblains talent though.

    I'd like to see Rockbiter moved toward being a Shield instead, and reduce all damage taken by 10-15%. I feel this clashes with Earth Shield though, so maybe make Earth Shield simply a spell similar to Beacon of Light so Restos don't overwrite their own shield to heal themselves in solo / defensive situations. That always bugged me about ES, tbh.

    Your Unleashed Fury is a nice mechanic and plays a lot like a Rogue's Shiv, so I don't think it needs to be a long cooldown - maybe something closer to 24-30 seconds.

    I also have a lot of reservations about Hex's use with Ele / Enh and Cap Totem requiring far too much finesse (aswell as needing another talent and glyph to make reliable) and other Quality of Life issues with the Class, but that's all for another day.

    Shamans are a fun class and I hate feeling like they need to copy other classes to make their own spells feel less gimped, but something I've felt for a while is that Shamans feel like a "Jack of All Trades, Master of None" class, and their Quality of Life suffers because of it.

  7. #7
    They should do one thing first and foremost: Decide where this mechanic is supposed to head towards.

    1) During cata beta, they said they would scrap rb because frankly, it never saw any real use except back in vanilla, before we got wf. But what did they do? Keep it, make it a tanking imbue, and add UE and with it a taunt. I was like "wtf?". They kindly reminded us in the very same patch that we were not meant to tank. Awesome, right?
    So unless they plan to make earth warden a reality, or excessive changes to allow imbue dancing for UE/F, I'd say scrap rb, finally.

    2) FT for ele is a boring imbue. It increases magical damage by a certain percentage and that's it. Boring as it ever could be. A proc effecting ele playstyle would be in order.

    3) FT being used by two specs/FB by none (or at best a half, considering enh pvp).
    The OP says he dislikes that there are no real options. I say I dislike enh having that choice in pvp with FT/FB. With the newest change to the set bonus, all fb is useful for is a ranged snare (for a spec that has (talented) frost shock) and a sprint (for a spec with GW and SW). Even before the change, taking FB over the other had so many damage loss aspects attached to it that most did it only grudgingly.
    I say either go the route of firmly deciding which is the go-to imbue for enh offhand, and get rid of that "depends on situation", or make imbues entirely utility based, or considerably lower the damage gain from FT.

    4) They could improve different imbue usage through improving on ibue dancing. Personally if something requires a macro to work, it is not where it should be, yet. It would be a step in the right direction though to remove the gcd from imbues, to allow imbue switching macros for enhancement foremost, but also for resto/ele in terms of rb and fb.

    5) From the get-go, imbues were all about activating it and then forgetting about it, like it is with many other buffs, self-only or party. Changing imbues to regular switches would in some way go against that, so the whole thing is a mood point. Shamans have more skills to manage than some other classes, and making imbues more active would likely cluster ability bars even more, so that's also a point to consider.

    Personally, if they made fb enh only, ft ele only, and redesigned both imbues to make them more interesting, I'd be fine.
    I'd not be to sad though either, if they supported imbue dancing and introduced it properly.

    That said, a lot of FT's bonuses should be baked into baseline. 7% magical damage, 40% ll damage, much higher base damage (gets buffed when pve needs it, FB doesn't), searing flames (8% per stack extra damage on ft hits), UE 20% fire spell mod, UF 30% lb mod...it's simply to much lost damage.
    Bake the magical and ll damage in baseline. The unleash effects aren't thaaat important, so it would be an affordable switch.
    Quote Originally Posted by Angoth
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  8. #8
    Moderator Endus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Omanley View Post
    2) FT for ele is a boring imbue. It increases magical damage by a certain percentage and that's it. Boring as it ever could be. A proc effecting ele playstyle would be in order.
    This is the main reason I think there needs to be an overhaul, to be honest. Earthliving is still relatively "new" for Resto, and provides something identifiably useful, and Enhancement at least gets to use two imbues, and gets special bonuses for Flametongue Weapon on the offhand.

    If they're just a passive effect, though, we gain nothing from putting them on a weapon, and they should just be baked into our numbers. The only reason for FTW to be a damage boost is if the relevant factor is if it's a choice between FTW and another imbue. Which, given the opportunity cost to switch imbues, it really isn't. Instead, it's the kind of thing you check every half-hour or so to make sure it's still "on", or something you just instinctively refresh before every fight to be safe. Unless you're making an actual decision as to what button to press and why, I don't see the value in retaining that button press in our gameplay.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Endus View Post
    If they're just a passive effect, though, we gain nothing from putting them on a weapon, and they should just be baked into our numbers. The only reason for FTW to be a damage boost is if the relevant factor is if it's a choice between FTW and another imbue. Which, given the opportunity cost to switch imbues, it really isn't. Instead, it's the kind of thing you check every half-hour or so to make sure it's still "on", or something you just instinctively refresh before every fight to be safe. Unless you're making an actual decision as to what button to press and why, I don't see the value in retaining that button press in our gameplay.
    Absolutely agree with this and it's something that has been bothering me for some time. Why do I have to press a button to activate a passive ability for which there is no choice being made.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Omanley View Post
    5) From the get-go, imbues were all about activating it and then forgetting about it, like it is with many other buffs, self-only or party. Changing imbues to regular switches would in some way go against that, so the whole thing is a mood point. Shamans have more skills to manage than some other classes, and making imbues more active would likely cluster ability bars even more, so that's also a point to consider.
    I didn't think of that, 3 more hotkey (to find first, then) to learn #.#
    Time is on our side
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  11. #11
    Earthliving also should probably be made a spec passive. It's just a passive, uncontrollable proc and passive spell power. It isn't controllable and doesn't impact gameplay in any way. They could also look at making Shaman imbues use the DK system, where they are permanent enchants that supersede the regular weapon enchant. That is probably a more interesting system.

    I also think that shields should probably be made passive effects as well. Since they removed the ability of both Lightning and Water Shield to fall off when it's charges, they are both really just boring self buffs you click before every pull. Priest Inner Fire/Will and Paladin seals are also examples of the same thing.

    I think both shields and imbues are button bloat at this point. I would get rid of both of them, roll the effects passive, and give Earth Shield the Beacon of Light treatment, where it doesn't have charges anymore next expansion.

  12. #12
    Immortal Raiju's Avatar
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    Lightning shield should only be passive if you get kill credit when it procs.
    Quote Originally Posted by Endus View Post
    which is kind of like saying "of COURSE you can't see the unicorns, unicorns are invisible, silly."

  13. #13
    tbh i would only merge slow from FB to FT without extra dmg and it could not proc slow part on boses that would be enough to resolve so many issues ele would have slow with UE and enh would have slow without losing dmg potential in pvp
    i think tho that blizz dont want us to have perma slow with full burst without any efort like other clases have

  14. #14
    I actually like the current imbue idea...but I'd prefer them stronger and be "semi-perm" like the DK ones (obviously no extra enchant)


    I'd also like for you to be required to do it at a Element specific shrine...yes it would be a pain, but it would give it some flare.

    Like having to go up to Hyjal to put Earthliving on your weapon.
    Or out to Burning steps for Fire
    Stuff like that.

  15. #15
    Immortal Raiju's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jayinjersey View Post
    Like having to go up to Hyjal to put Earthliving on your weapon.
    Or out to Burning steps for Fire
    Stuff like that.
    Only if they last 30 minutes or less, and remove on death again.
    Quote Originally Posted by Endus View Post
    which is kind of like saying "of COURSE you can't see the unicorns, unicorns are invisible, silly."

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Darksoldierr View Post
    I still use WF/FB in pvp, slow is waaaaay more important, specially ranged slow than Lava Lash's dmg, which already hits nothing in PvP, be it with FT or not

    I like your idea about Unleash Elements, but you still need GCDs to change weapon imbues, which makes it not really good for reacting, specially as enhance, when you have 2 weapons. So would be in a need to use macros to play on a high level --> which blizzard didn't like
    The new enhance 4 set makes FT slow so you don't need to use FB anymore.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Kirino View Post
    The new enhance 4 set makes FT slow so you don't need to use FB anymore.
    FB still offers an additional ranged snare via UE and that sprint via UF, so I guess if you're really gap-closer starved and have low uptime, all the extra damage of FT would go to waste if you couldn't make it into the enemies' face.

    Still, it is a bad trade-off. The idea to have to decide between the two is horrible design.
    Last edited by Omanley; 2013-10-29 at 06:36 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Angoth
    I'm sorry that Blizzard won't just gift wrap awesome in a cup and let you drink your fill.

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