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Cataclysm Shaman Class Talent Changes

June 11, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Don’t forget to check out the other class changes as well.

edit: added more about elemental spec at the bottom

Cataclysm Shaman Talent Preview

In World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, we’ll be making lots of changes and additions to class talents and abilities across the board. In this preview, you’ll get an early look at some of the changes in store for the shaman class, including a rundown of some of the new spells, abilities, and talents, and an overview of how the new Mastery system will work with the different talent specs.

New Shaman Spells

Primal Strike (available at level 3): Primal Strike is a new weapon-based attack that every shaman will learn very early in the game. Our goal with this ability is to make leveling as Enhancement rather than as Elemental more viable, since many key Enhancement talents become available at fairly high levels.

Healing Wave (level 4): While the shaman already has an ability called Healing Wave, we’re adding another spell to the class’s direct-healing arsenal and giving it a familiar name. The current Healing Wave will be renamed Greater Healing Wave, and the intent is for the “new” Healing Wave to be the shaman’s go-to heal. Lesser Healing Wave and Greater Healing Wave will be used on a more situational basis.

Unleash Weapon (level 81): Unleashes the power of your weapon enchants for additional effects (see below). A dual-wielding Enhancement shaman will activate the effects of both of their weapon enchants. Instant cast. 30-yard range. 15-second cooldown. Undispellable.

Here are a few examples of effects we’re considering for this ability:

  • Windfury Weapon – Hurls a spectral version of your weapon at a target, dealing 50% weapon damage and increasing the shaman’s Haste for the next five swings.
  • Flametongue Weapon – Deals instant Fire damage and buffs the shaman’s next Fire attack by 20%.
  • Earthliving Weapon – Heals the target slightly and buffs the shaman’s next healing spell by 20%.

Healing Rain (level 83): An area-effect heal-over-time (HoT) spell that calls down rain in a selected area, healing all players within it. There is no limit to the number of players who can potentially be affected; however, there are diminishing returns when healing a large number of targets, much like the diminishing returns associated with AoE damage spells. This should give Restoration shaman another healing tool that improves their group-healing and heal-over-time capabilities. 2-second cast time. 30-yard range. 10-second duration. 10-second cooldown.

Spiritwalker’s Grace (level 85): When this self-targeted buff is active, your spells are no longer interrupted by movement and possibly even by your own attacks. This will give shaman of all three specs another way to heal or do damage when it’s necessary to move in both PvE and PvP. Instant cast. 10-second duration. 2-minute cooldown.

Changes to Abilities and Mechanics

In addition to adding new spells, we’re planning to make changes to some of the other abilities and mechanics you’re familiar with. This list and the summary of talent changes below it are by no means comprehensive, but they should give you a good sense of what we intend for each spec.

  • Restoration shaman and other healing classes will need to pay attention to mana more than they’ve had to during Wrath of the Lich King. Spirit will be the Restoration shaman’s primary mana-regeneration stat.
  • We’re making changes to which classes and specs are able to dispel magic, diseases, curses, and poison, largely for PvP purposes. Shaman will have Cleanse Spirit as a baseline ability, but it will only remove curses. Restoration shaman will have a talent that will improve Cleanse Spirit so that it also removes magic. Shaman will no longer be able to remove poison.
  • Cleansing Totem will be removed from the game, as we want dispels to be a decision for players, not something done mindlessly. To that end, all dispels will cost slightly more mana, and you will waste the spell if you cast it when there is nothing to remove. (Currently, the dispel is only cast when there is something to remove, which encourages spamming “just in case.”) We will balance PvE dispelling with this new model in mind.
  • Totem of Wrath now will replace Flametongue Totem for all shaman, and dropping this totem will buff the group’s spell power by 4%. Elemental shaman will have a talent that lets all Fire totems provide +10% spell power, allowing them to drop Searing, Magma, or Fire Elemental Totems without losing their spell-damage buff. The 4% and 10% buffs will be exclusive with each other and with the warlock’s Demonic Pact, so you can’t benefit from all of them at once. We’re also considering letting Elemental drop Searing Totem at range.
  • We want to free up Enhancement global cooldowns to make the spec more dynamic to play. We’re considering, for example, increasing the cooldown of Lava Lash so shaman have time to work other interesting abilities into their rotation.

New Talents and Talent Changes

  • Elemental Reach will be simplified so shaman have a more consistent spell range.
  • We plan to add Earthquake as a deep Elemental talent for targeted and persistent AoE.
  • Spirit Link will likely be worked back into deep Restoration in some form. The idea is that you will be able to link targets together so they share damage. When we had previously tried to implement Spirit Link, it was hard to balance and a little confusing. However, we really liked the concept — and so did players — so we are trying to bring it back.
  • Elemental will have a deep talent that allows Spirit (which will appear on the gear they share with Restoration shaman) to boost their Hit rating.
  • Ancestral Knowledge will boost mana pool size, not Intellect.
  • Enhancing Totems will be replaced with Focused Strikes, which will improve the damage of the new spell Primal Strike and Stormstrike.
  • With the Mastery system, we’re also considering removing a number of talents that grant passive bonuses, such as Mental Quickness, Improved Windfury Totem, Mental Dexterity, Call of Thunder, Tidal Mastery, Purification, Nature’s Blessing, and others, to allow players more freedom to choose more interesting talents.

Mastery Passive Talent Tree Bonuses

Spell damage
Spell Crit
Elemental Overload

Melee damage
Melee Haste
Nature Damage

Deep Healing

Elemental Overload: Your direct-damage spells have a chance to proc a less powerful “bonus” version of the spell. This will work much like the current Lightning Overload talent, but would also apply to Lava Burst.

Nature Damage: This will provide a passive bonus to the Nature damage dealt by the Enhancement shaman.

Deep Healing: Your direct heals will do more healing when the target’s health is lower. This will scale to damage (e.g. someone at 29% health would receive more healing than someone at 30%) rather than have arbitrary break points.

We hope you enjoyed this preview, and we’re looking forward to hearing your thoughts and feedback on these additions and changes. Please keep in mind that this information represents a work in progress and is subject to change as development on Cataclysm continues.

Just to clarify a few things:

Meditation – the amount of mana you regenerate in combat as a function of your Spirit.

Also of note, you only get one set of passive talent tree bonuses: the tree in which you’ve spent the most points. Sub-speccing in another tree will not net you those bonuses in addition.

Last but not least, it’s the intention of Primal Strike to let shaman play as an Enhancement at low levels. Currently when leveling in this spec, you end up just using Lightning Bolt a lot so you feel like an Elemental shaman instead. At a higher level, Primal Strike gets replaced by Storm Strike. They share a cooldown so Enhancement just won’t ever use Primal Strike after that, in the same way that Prot warriors don’t use Sunder Armor once they have Devastate or Feral druids don’t use Claw once they get Mangle.

Cataclysm Shaman Talent Mini Q & A

We know there are a lot of additional questions and we’ll do our best to answer what we can. Keep in mind, this is merely a preview of things to come.

Q: Will Maelstrom Weapon include Lava Burst?
A: That’s the plan currently.

Q: How can Elemental Overload proc Lava Burst when Lava Burst already hits so hard in PvP?
A: We’re going to change almost every number in Cataclysm to adjust for everything from single ranks of spells to larger health pools to new combat ratings. With much higher health pools, hopefully burst damage will go back to being a tool and not the only way to win matches.

Q: What happens to the Lightning Overload talent?
A: It provides a bonus to Elemental Overload.

Q: Elemental doesn’t want to drop Searing Totem at range. We want to drop Magma Totem.
A: Searing Totem needs to so more single-target damage than Magma. That said, if we’re happy with the ability to occasionally place totems at range there is no reason it couldn’t apply to any totem. Imagine, “After using this spell, the next totem you drop will appear at the feet of your target.”

Q: Will Elemental have to spend talent points just to get the Spirit to hit conversion?
A: It will be bundled with another attractive talent, such as Elemental Precision.

Q: Will Unleash Weapon work with Frostbrand?
A: Yes. We just provided some examples.

Q: Is Healing Rain channeled?
A: No, it’s not a channeled spell.

Q: Is Earthquake channeled?
A: Probably, but we’ll see.

Q: Will Unleashed Weapon consume your enchants?
A: No.

Q: Does the 10% spell power buff from Elemental scale with the shaman or the target’s spell power?
A: It will scale with the target the same as Demonic Pact and other buffs that bring the same benefit.

Q: Are you supporting two-handed weapons for Enhancement?
A: Once you start to get into the dual-wield talents, then Enhancement is a dual-wield tree.

Q: You didn’t address Enhancement survivability or mobility or X and Y!
A: This was just a preview and is not a comprehensive list of every change. Much more will be revealed in beta and much will change during beta.

Q: You didn’t answer the most important shaman question! What about Sentry Totem?
A: The Cataclysm is a time of great upheaval. Deathwing’s return to Azeroth tore a hole in the fabric of the universe that tragically resulted in the ultimate and irrevocable destruction of all Sentry Totems. Level designers are contemplating a shrine for the Sentry Totem near that of Uther the Lightbringer. We know shaman players will greet this news with grief, but as with all class changes we’ll have to get into beta before anything is final.

Cataclysm Shaman Elemental Talents

Complexity of Elemental in AE Situations
Yeah, I’d agree that Elemental has a lot going on for AE situations. Not all classes do though. We could add AE rotations to everyone, but I’m not sure the bang for the buck is really there when we could also just ask players to use their single target rotations more frequently.


40 Man Raid vs. 1 Elemental Shaman?

November 3, 2008 by · 7 Comments 

In this little gem of a video we have 2 central adversaries…in one corner the might of an alliance 40 man raid, in the other corner a lone horde elemental shaman. The battle for Thunder Bluff is about to go down and there may be only one victor…

Beyond that I think the video pretty much speaks for itself.


Upcoming Shaman Changes

October 7, 2008 by · Leave a Comment 

More pretty big changes for the shaman class this morning. On the elemental front we’re looking at some pretty nice buffs to riptide, which had been looking sub par. Now that riptide can proc tidal waves there should be no question about the rotational significance of the new spell.

Tidal Waves: You have a 100% chance after you cast Chain Heal to lower the cast time of your next Lesser Healing Wave or Healing WAve spell by 30%. In addition, your Healing Wave gains an additional 20% of your bonus healing effects and your Lesser Healing Wave gains an additional 10% of your bonus healing effects.

This change in addition to the increase on initial healing should make the spell an absolute must for restoration shamans.

Some interesting changes on the elemental / enhancement front as well. I like the theory on Blizzard’s reasoning for trying to buff fire for elemental, but it’s a delicate balancing act. Currently an elemental shaman really does nothing in PvE accept drop totems and cast lightning bolt. So adding some sort of situational spells and abilities would be a nice addition. If the devs can work the new lava burst ability into the rotation it would be a job well done.

A small victory for enhancement shamans, initially it was looking like Maelstrom weapon was going to be nerfed to the point it was worthless, but in a last minute change Blizzard have decided to set it aside for the moment. It will certainly make for some very interesting PvP and PvE moments if it makes it all the way through till expansion.

  • Tidal Waves — Riptide now also procs this effect.
  • Riptide — We’re going to increase the initial healing component.
  • Storm Reach — now called “Elemental Reach” and includes Lava Burst.
  • Improved Fire Nova Totem – Increases the damage done by your Fire Nova Totem by 10/20%, and your Fire Nova totem has a 50/100% chance to stun all targets damaged by your Fire Nova Totem for 2 sec.
  • Thunderstorm — We will probably boost the mana return to 8% of total mana. That seems more in line with similar effects. We talked a lot about buffing its damage, but decided that may not be a good idea. With its short range, it isn’t a great rotational spell for a raiding Elemental shamans, and making you run up to hit a boss and run back is giving up a lot of cast time. Instead we’re going to try to keep the damage and knockback more situational (in PvP it will get used a lot) and make the mana return the big PvE raiding focus.
  • Maelstrom Weapon — We have a concern that the proc per minute frequency is too often. According to our numbers, it’s balanced for a two-handed weapon and a bit generous for a dual-wielder. However, this would be a nerf to Enhancement dps overall that we’d have to make up elsewhere, and it seems to be a fun change shamans are enjoying. So we’re going to let this ride for now. It’s something to keep an eye on, but we aren’t going to change it yet.
  • Lava Burst and Lightning Bolt — And now for a few words on Elemental damage. One of the things we were trying to do to make Elemental dps more interesting was to have a Lava Burst + Flameshock variant. We also themed some new deep talents to support this play style. The problem is that lightning still seems to do more damage than fire, which in turn makes the new talents feel lame because they benefit fire and not lightning.

  • Now we think that Lava Burst is doing appropriate damage for its cost and if anything Lightning Bolt and Chain Lightning are a little too good. (Remember they benefit from Curse of the Elements and similar spells now.) However, nerfing lightning would make it harder to level as well as making 3.0.2 kind of brutal for Elemental shamans, since Lava Burst is level 75. Hurting lightning would feel like a flat out nerf, and even though you’d partially make up for it at higher level, overall we think this would feel, um, yucky. So no big changes to lightning spells.

    We talked a lot about just buffing Lava Burst and a deep fire-based talent or two. This will make Lava Burst too good on paper, but it might work out okay in the game itself. We’ll just have to see. We aren’t 100% sold on this course of action, so I’ll update when we decide for sure.

    Once again, these decisions were the consensus of our design team, so please don’t give me the credit. In fact, if there are any changes you specifically don’t like — those I had nothing to do with

Daily Blue and PTR Changes Wrap Up

October 6, 2008 by · Leave a Comment 

The past few days have been a whirlwind of class changes and blue posts. Make sure you haven’t missed any of the past few days worth of updates.

Daily Blue Wrap Up

Other Important Posts

Shaman Resto Changes and Spirit Wolf Buff

October 6, 2008 by · Leave a Comment 

The spirit wolf buff isn’t surprising, every other class with a pet will be scaling in WotLK, it only makes sense that shaman’s should as well. The recent changes to enhancement in combination with the buffed spirit wolves are really bringing the enhancement tree to a level it’s never been at.

All 3 shaman talent specs are just looking great. Blizzard has done a great job balancing each spec accordingly. The one somewhat unknown area for me…at least not 100% known is still restoration. In theory the spec looks fine, but it will be difficult to determine if it will be equally effective in both PvP and PvE situations until level 80.

Riptide and Restoration tree
Riptide probably isn’t going to be a crazy awesome raiding tool *unless* you’re in a fight with a lot of movement, in which case it does its job very well. It is situational, but we actually made a lot of the new spells situational because almost every class already had bread and butter abilities well before LK.

Now, I think it does shine in 5-player dungeons, PvP or in 10-player raids, depending on how many hot-based healers you have. The initial heal could probably be a bit larger. That is something we may change after some more testing.

I know Resto hasn’t gotten as much attention as other shaman specs in this forum, but honeslty we think it’s because you work pretty well. Players have gotten made when I’ve said that before, but particularly in raids, everyone knows what they’re going to get from a Resto (CH and Earth Shield) and I don’t think that is going away.

Spirit Wolves
We might have to lower the healing per damage if the damage goes up a lot with the AP changes. In other words, you might not see a buff to healing and damage.

Spirit Wolves scaling with Attack Power
I said Strength at one point, but they never did scale off of Strength. In fact they never scaled off of anything. They were the same no matter what your level or gear. We fixed that though, and they should scale very well (using AP, not Str). Let us know if that isn’t happening.

Then you’re going to love them next build.

WotLK Paladin / Shaman Glyph Changes

October 3, 2008 by · Leave a Comment 

A few glyphs changes for paladins and shamans in the most recent beta update, build 9038. I like the paladin changes, though the 100 yards on a holy light seems a bit excessive. I would not be surprised to see this reduced to a more reasonable the 30-60 yard range.

The shaman changes on the other hand are flat out horrible. 3 or 4 minutes off the elemental totems are not going to convince any shaman to take these glyphs. There really is no situation where you can say…”yes, If only I had that extra 4 minutes off the totem…” If these glyphs were buffed to a 10 minute reduction or changed from major to a minor glyph you could make a case for them, otherwise I just don’t see any way you’d choose these over other glyphs.


  • Glyph of Holy Light – Your Holy Light grants 10% of its heal amount to up to 5 friendly targets within 100 yds of the initial target. (range changed from 5 to 100 yards)
  • Glyph of Flash of Light – Your Flash of Light heals for 50% less initially, but also heals for 140% of its initial effect over 12 sec. (duration changed from 15 to 12 sec)


  • Glyph of Fire Elemental Totem – Reduces the cooldown of your Fire Elemental Totem by 4 min. (old version was 3 min)
  • Glyph of Earth Elemental Totem – Reduces the cooldown of your Earth Elemental Totem by 4 min. (old version was 3 min)

Shaman Totem Change

September 28, 2008 by · 2 Comments 

Shamans around the world can rejoice today knowing that no longer will you be forced to drag around the obligatory air, fire, earth and water totems. That’s right, the totem tools have been consolidated. Now your requirements will be fulfilled via your relic totem slot.

While it hasn’t been officially announced, it’s assumed that all totem relics will be modified to include this new totem consolidation feature. Perhaps a minor change, but having the extra 4 slots in all shaman’s bags will be a welcome and longer overdue change.

On a side note, no luck for all you lower level shamans. There are no relic totems until level 60, so until then you’ll have to suck it up and use the old school totems.

WotLK Shaman Changes – Build 8982

September 25, 2008 by · 1 Comment 

More changes from build 8982, this time for the shaman class.

Elemental Combat

  • Stoneclaw totem also protects your other totems, causing them to absorb damage.


  • Riptide heal value has been increased. (764-826 to 1015-1099 for Rank 4, 668-722 to 888-960 for Rank 3, etc …)
  • Mana Spring Totem now restores 30 mana every 2 seconds. (Old – 90 mana every 5 seconds)


  • Storm, Earth, and Fire doesn’t increase the effect of spell power on your Lightning Bolt but reduces the cooldown of Chain Lightning by 0.5/1/1.5/2/2.5 sec instead.

Seemingly minor changes to the class, but the new stoneclaw totem in particular is very interesting. Having what essentially amounts to a shield totem, should increase the strategic element of totem placement, particularly in arena. If anything else this should make it a bit more difficult for other players to just snipe an entire totem forest in 3 seconds. Though this will all be dependent on the amount of the absorb.

Riptide just looks better and better every time I see it. Now with nearly +300 healing added to it it’s just looking stacked! (as it shoulder considering it’s so deep in the talent tree). A friend of mine who was lucky enough get a beta invite tried out the new talent earlier today, check out his results. Note: he would have had approximately 2500 healing on live with this gear / trinket / earthweapon.

Additionally, earth shield was healing for around 1300 with trinket up, and that’s without the new improved shields talent, which adds another 15%. All in all, restoration is just looking very improved for expansion.

Shaman Guide

September 22, 2008 by · 1 Comment 

In this shaman guide you will find all current strategy guides related to the shaman class on Zug Gaming. This shaman guide will be continually updated to reflect patch changes, new content, updated strategies, etc. If there’s is an area you think this guide need improvement on please drop us a note on the Zug Gaming forums.

Shaman Arena Strategy

  • coming soon!

Shaman Talent Builds

Shaman Macros

Shaman PvP Videos

Other Strategy Guides

Level 80 Shaman Skills

August 27, 2008 by · 1 Comment 

level 80 shaman skillsWrath of the Lich King is going to have a lot in store for the Shaman class. The new abilities that Shaman will gain promise to help bridge the gap between the crowd control based classes and the movement based classes while keeping the burst damage that shaman have come to know and love. Here are some of the new skills and abilities that shaman will be gaining on their journey to level 80.

Earthliving Weapon
90 Mana
Instant cast
Requires Melee Weapon

Imbue the Shaman’s weapon with earthen life. Increases healing done by 26 and each heal has a 20% chance to proc Earthliving on the target, healing an additional 360 over 12 sec. Lasts 30 minutes.

Earthliving weapon is a spell gained at level 30 and a new rank will become available every 10 levels after that. While the exact values of the effect are not set in stone for all the different ranks, it is fairly certain that this ability will be a staple in any Restoration Shaman’s arsenal.

Some notes on this ability from WotLK beta:

  • The heal proc has the ability to proc off of each jump on a Chain Heal
  • The healing done by the HoT and the threat associated with that heal are both credited to the caster of the heal, not the recipient like Prayer of Mending or Lifebloom’s final tick.
  • Like Lifebloom, the HoT ticks every second.

Lava Burst
655 Mana
2 sec cast
30 yd range
8 sec cooldown

You hurl molten lava at the target, dealing 888 to 1132 Fire damage. If Flame Shock is on the target, Lava Burst will consume the Flame Shock, causing Lava Burst to critically hit.

Obtained at level 75, this ability is not only going to help keep elemental shaman PvE more exciting than spamming lightning bolts but it will be great for a burst damage setup in PvP. If you flame shock, wait a few seconds for your shock cooldown to tick down and get setup for a cast (or cast lightning bolts if you don’t have to move), Lava Burst, Elemental Mastery Chain Lightning, Earth Shock, you are going to be putting out a powerful punch that will be tough for healers to react to if they don’t see it coming.

Some notes from WotLK beta:

  • Enhancement shaman specced for Elemental Devastation and Maelstorm Weapon will see great synergy by keeping flame shock on their target, waiting for a Maelstorm Weapon proc (Instant cast spells after you critically strike in melee 5 times), then Lava Bursting to guarentee a spell crit which will keep Elemental Devastation up (9% Melee Crit)
  • The strength of this spell will cause enhancement shaman to use less earth shocks in times where and interrupt isn’t needed. This frees up stormstrike debuffs for other classes that will be using them like Marks Hunters, Rogues, Elemental Shaman, and Balance Druids.

150 mana
1.5 sec cast
45 sec cooldown
20 yd range

Transforms the enemy into a frog. While hexed, the target cannot attack or cast spells. Damage caused may interrupt the effect. Lasts 30 sec. Only one target can be hexed at a time. Only works on Humanoids and Beasts.

After four years in the making, player-controlled shaman finally get the ability that their server-controlled NPC brothers have had for years. One significant thing about this spell is that it is more like a fear on a long cooldown than a sheep. The target may have slight damage caused to it and being hexed will not cause the target to heal.

Some notes from WotLK beta:

  • Hex is currently a Curse, so only mages, druids and resto specced shaman can remove the spell.
  • Hex uses a polymorph mechanic so classes that have abilities which remove those effects, like druids that shapeshift, will be able to get out of it.
  • The CD is long enough that it can be used in many situations where sap would be used in a 5 man instance. You can also use the ability to re-apply crowd control to a target who’s sap had ended.

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