Posts Tagged ‘Stamina’

The idea of shaman tanking in Cataclysm doesn’t seem to be popular at MMO-Champion, or on the official boards.

But some people are asking: Why the hell is Blizzard giving us taunts and threat-generating abilities in some of our revamped skills and talents?

Here’s the tooltip for Rockbiter Weapon:

Imbue the Shaman’s weapon with the fury of the earth, increasing all threat generation by 30% and reducing damage taken by 5%. Lasts 30 minutes.
( Unleash Weapon : Unleashing this enchantment forces the target enemy to attack you for 5 sec. )

Aside from the fact that few people are going to be doing any serious content with Rockbiter as their weapon imbue, why bother giving a DPS spec a threat-generating ability?

Some point to nebulous rumors about a return to mandatory crowd control and kiting in heroic dungeons, and they argue that with the re-balanced Stamina pools, Shamans might be viable tanks or off-tanks. But that line of thinking got shot down pretty quickly:
“Shaman are not tanks. They are balancing out health pools between dps and healers and casters with *plate dps*, but not tanks’ health pools. Tanks will still have a higher health pool and more tools to mitigate damage than plate dps will.”

Of course, with re-adjusted health pools, forging, gems and careful use of talents, some players are guaranteed to try Shaman tanking, out of boredom if anything else. I tried it a few times myself, including a short-lived and hilarious – but semi-successful – stint as an off-tank on a Karazhan run a few years ago.

But one thing’s for sure – Shaman players don’t want to be tanks, and they’d rather have Blizzard’s designers use development time to fine-tune Enhancement as a DPS spec, rather than make a half-hearted stab at situational tank viability.

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Who will benefit most from Cataclysm’s revamped Stamina system? Some say casters will dominate, others say healers stand to gain the most, but one poster put it best: “Anyone who’s not a Warrior, DK or Paladin.”

In other words, if your class doesn’t wear plate, you’ll see a marked improvement in Stamina balance. And that includes Enhancement Shamans.

Enhancement Shaman Stamina: Improved in Cataclysm?

Stamina Man runs, like Enhancement Shamans do when they see splash damage!

It’s still early, and many questions remain about the overall statistical rehaul, but Eyonix offered the most comprehensive information to date when he detailed the changes back in March.

And while Eyonix was quick to point out special considerations will be made for Balance Druids and Elemental Shamans, who often share gear with healers, curiously absent was any mention of Enhancement’s unique situation: It is the only melee spec in the game forced to share gear with a ranged class.

Along with Enhancement’s other itemization woes — which typically involve using gear made-to-order for Hunters — the melee-spec-with-ranged-gear problem has been a big one in this expansion. Every semi-serious Enhancement player has dealt with it: Some boss abilities, especially in heroic modes, can one-shot Enhancement Shamans, while leaving other melee still standing. This is a particularly frustrating issue for players because it has nothing to do with the much-discussed “skill” involved in raiding.

It’s simple math: If you have 30k raid-buffed HP, and the other melee have 10k more than you, you are going to die more easily and more frequently.

Not only does that effect player perception (a death is a death, and players of other classes aren’t thinking about our criminally low HP pools), it also creates some absurd situations: In my guild, there are ranged classes and healers who have higher unbuffed HP than my Tauren Shaman.

Blizzard hasn’t addressed those concerns in Wrath of the Lich King, let alone Cataclysm. It seems unfathomable that an entire expansion can pass by with such a glaring imbalance left intact, but it’s less surprising when you consider the dev team’s track record when it comes things like this — it’s been obvious for a very long time that class designers do not play the Enhancement spec.

So while there will be a complete rehaul of the stat system and Stamina balance in Cataclysm, there’s been nothing to suggest Enhancement won’t again share gear with Hunters. If that remains the case — and we should assume it will — what does that mean for Enhancement’s health pool relative to other melee classes? Will our joy at a more balanced Stamina system be tempered with disappointment because we’re, once again, limited by stat weights optimized for Hunters?

Stomstrike — and Enhancement players — will be watching Blizzard closely in the coming weeks and months.

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?