Everyone’s got to have the sickness, because everyone seems to need the cure.–Metallica
A significant feature/change in Cataclysm was released yesterday as The Blues announced a complete overhaul of the dispel system. At the moment dispelling anything is an after-thought. The game prevents you from making a poor decision and provides some classes with a significant advantage when it comes to dispelling/cleansing. It’s not that it’s clunky, it’s just that outside of The Lich King encounter there just isn’t anything interesting about it. [MMO-Champion]
Putting my arms around these changes from a raiding point of view isn’t really possible at the moment. The current content is designed around the current system, so spending time wondering how the hell we’re going to do certain encounters is pointless. As stated by Zarhym, encounters in Cataclysm will be designed with these changes in mind.
Another expansion, another lost totem. To look at it from a completely objective point of view, Shamans have a clear advantage over basically every class when it comes to dispelling. The only thing we can’t cleanse is magic, and for resto shamans, we can press one button to remove three effects. Couple that with ability to drop a party-wide, pulsing, dual-debuff cleanse, and you can really take care of the raid using very few global cooldowns.
That particular mechanic (one dispel to cure them all) will likely, and should, be given to the other classes.
Giving us the ability to cleanse magic defensively adds a different wrinkle to the discussion that I haven’t seen out there yet (I might not have looked hard enough). That is the impact these changes have on Tremor Totem. A Tremor Totem acts a mass-dispel for fear that you don’t really choose when to cast. A smart Shaman can line up their totem pulse to break a fear immediately, but it’s the same sort of thing that the poison/disease cleansing does, in a way.
Currently, there are only two fights that I drop either of these totems: Tremor Totem on Blood Queen and disease cleansing on Dreamwalker for Gut Spray. It might be a conscious decision to move away from a lot of AoE fear/Poison novas or might be a result of the setting.
Using a Tremor Totem or Cleansing Totem never felt like much of an interesting play choice to begin with. With the latter, you’ll often times find yourself waiting on the first tick when it would have been easy enough just to clique the debuff off. Basically it always boiled down to group setup and number of Shamans. When a fight gets easier as you add more than 3 of a class, something is broken.
A hate to talk speculatively, but I’m going to guess Tremor will be addressed in our class preview tomorrow. The good thing is, it’s impact on the raid can be expanded or contracted easily by the encounter designers. Limiting who gets feared (maybe the tank and melee), gives the players the option to use a couple different fear breaking tactics: Warrior, Fear Ward, Totem, Cleanse. Everyone will have a magic cleanse so that takes the shine off Tremor Totem since you can now remove the fear on demand.
That seems like too limiting a set of choices for a 10 man, and might be why you haven’t seen any real important AoE fears at all in Icecrown Citadel.
Shields Up, Weapons Online
The turn-around time on seeing our changes isn’t too long. I’ll be sure to have a rather lengthy write-up on it when tomorrow rolls around, but there isn’t a whole lot that I’m unhappy with at the moment for Restoration. Shamans could certainly use a huge boost in the AoE department. Fire Nova wasn’t all that great and is nothing when compared to…every other class.
Shamans to me have always been a class that is extremely flexible and is used to really support and enhance your group setup (bad pun). When I go into a raid or party I can examine what’s there and tailor my totem setup/healing style to suit the needs of the party. No other class really gets that kind of flexibility (from a healer perspective).
Hopefully we’ll see some wider trees with some really cool utility. Something that I would like to see, but I doubt they’ll implement is a use for Paladin and Shaman shields other than stat toys (non-tanks for Paladins). If we’re going to have shields to use, why not have them provide something to the raid? A personal survival cooldown or maybe the external raid mitigation cooldown coming in Cataclysm would be a good fit.
Using a shield is one of the defining characteristics of a shaman, not unlike totems or chain heal. Seeing Shamans using staffs and caster off-hand frills just looks silly (but practical, nonetheless). If we’re going to keep the equipment diverse, we might as well utilize it in some fashion and make shields more attractive. Cloth wearers have a hard enough time gearing up as it is without Shamans taking their stuff.
Tomorrow’s release looms large, and I’ll be sure to have a write-up complaining or praising some parts of it. The important thing to note for everyone is IT’S ONLY BETA. CALM DOWN! [MMO-Champion]
Oh, and can we get Spirit Link from pre-Wrath beta back? That’s something I could dig.
Wugan’s take on the PvE and PvP implications over at Flow.