ToGC: Making it painfully clear Enhancement Shamans need more health

Posted: November 25, 2009 in DPS, Enhancement Shaman, Patch 3.3, Theorycrafting, Tier 10, World of Warcraft, WotLK Raids, Wrath of the Lich King
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It happened like clockwork.

My guild was in its second week trying the 10-man hard modes in Trial of the Grand Crusader, and every time we rushed to the all-important portal switch on Lord Jaraxxus, I was getting my ass handed to me.

Sometimes, it was a combination — the portal AoE would tick, then a Mistress would piledrive me into a Legion Flame, and I’d be dead. Other times, a quick combination of the portal’s AoE tick, along with Jaraxxus’s Fel Lightning, would be enough to two-shot me.

And sometimes, when I was really unlucky, Fel Lightning alone would be enough to send me packing, with combat logs that would read something like this: “Lord Jaraxxus’s Fel Lightning hits you for 21317 Firestorm (1071 Overkill)”

This is one of those weird legacies that has been in the game forever. Nobody currently working on classes can remember why that decision was initially made, so we plan to revert it for 3.2. – Ghostcrawler

Yes, it’s hard mode. Yes, it’s not going to be easy. (And we’ve got him down at this point, so I know it’s possible with some work.)

But the real problem? I’m an Enhancement Shaman with the health pool of a clothie.

Since my first few misadventures in ToGC, I’ve been able to improve that health pool a bit, but I’m still chronically low on hit points. At the time, with a GearScore hovering around 4850, I had about 600 more HP than our Mage, about 1.5k less HP than our regular raiding Hunter, and between 5k and 7k less HP than our resident Ret Paladin and DPS Death Knight.

But, um, wait. Didn’t Blizzard address the issue of low Shaman health pools? Twice?

Yeah. They did. First they wanted us to pour five talent points into Toughness at the expense of essential DPS talents, just so that we could have slightly more health — but still less than every other comparable melee class in the game. And then, in the lead-up to patch 3.2, they finally admitted the ongoing player complaints were right, and pointed to some mysterious, unexplainable game design element of years past which limited Shaman base health pools to about 7% less than every other class in the game.

One-shotted, two-shotted, three-shotted, four...

I say mysterious and unexplainable, because according to Ghostcrawler, not even the developers can remember why our chronically low health pools were put in place.

Now that Blizzard has addressed the issue twice, things are presumably looking rosy for Elemental and Resto Shamans, who do not have to take regular melee splash damage. But we’re up shit’s creek without a paddle, especially when it comes to heroic modes.

Dying to your own mistakes — whether it’s failing to get out of fire on the ground or positioning yourself badly — is part of the game. But it especially sucks when, through no fault of your own, you find yourself regularly one- or two-shotted because you have 5k to 7k less health than the other melee in your raid.

After some trial and error, and after picking the brains of some Enhancement players who have a few week’s more experience in ToGC than I have, it seems the only things we can do are, 1) Use Shamanistic Rage proactively during high incoming-damage phases, 2) Reserving Spirit Wolves for those same phases, and 3) Asking healers to pay extra special attention to us, including hitting us with pre-HoTs to increase survivability.

Despite all that, and despite a markedly improved performance the next time my guild got around to heroic-mode Jaraxxus, I got one-shotted on two attempts before we got the boss down.

Ultimately, this is a design flaw that needs to be addressed, sooner rather than later. We cannot afford to be waltzing into Icecrown Citadel heroic modes with health pools more appropriate to Priests. We don’t have the array of cooldowns Rogues have to minimize — or almost completely eliminate — incoming damage. And when you think about it, we are the only melee class in the game that shares gear with a ranged class. Worse, most of that gear is clearly itemized with Hunters, not us, in mind. (Hello low Stamina budgets and heaping amounts of Armor Penetration!)

What are your experiences in Trial of the Grand Crusader? Got a low HP story to tell? Is your guild thinking of dropping you from its heroic runs because you keel over quicker than a level 73 Priest? I’d love to hear about it. Not because I’m a masochist (although we all are, to some extent, for playing this spec) but because the signal-to-noise ratio on a blog like this doesn’t even approach that of the forums. Maybe if enough of us tell our stories, someone up at Blizzard headquarters might take notice. We can only hope, right?

  1. […] a comment » Last month, I linked to one of the more attractive-looking (stat-wise) craftable mail items that will appear in the game with the release of Patch 3.3 and Icecrown Citadel. The item, Draconic […]

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