Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Journal of a zombie hunter.

At about the same time as I wrote /envy shamans I picked up my lvl 52 shaman again, who had been stagnant since... some time. Before they made it easier to level 1-60, at least. And certianly before Water Shield.

Because of 3.0.2, all my talent points had been refunded. I specced into Enhancement, since I was planning on soloing a fair bit. Then I headed to Western/Eastern Plagueland to make zombes regret their unlife and grind skeletons into dust. At the moment she's lvl 56, with 0/47/0 build.

Some observations:
  • The change to Windfury Totem (from a weapon buff to allies to a flat 16-20% melee speed buff, depending on talents) rocks. Earlier, it was a totem reserved for grouping with warriors and retribution pallies. Now, it's also a superior self-buff while soloing... in addition to benefitting feral druids, rogues, pets... With Improved Windfury Totem, 20% faster auto-attacks... which synergizes with Flurry and Maelstrom Weapon. I love this totem.

  • The change to Flametongue Totem (from a weapon buff that noone ever had a use for to a spell healing/damage buff) also rocks. Another superior buff incoming, especially with Enhancing Totems.

  • The folding of Grace of Air Totem into Strength of Earth Totem is great as well. I don't feel it directly as I used to have Grace of Air totem out while soloing anyway, but now I can have that an Windfury together.

  • I like the change to Flametongue Weapon as well, using it on my off-hand. I'm packing the Glyph as well. Now I get a slightly less spiky and more stable dps, compared to earlier using 2xWindfury Weapon. Besides, bursts on the off-hand is a lot less interesting than bursts on the main-hand, due to the 50% reduced damage on the off-hand. I will have to try 2xFlametongue. More damage on my shocks at the expense of bursts. I wonder if the glyph works twice then, giving total of 4% spellcrit. I could also pick up another glyph rather than the Windfury glyph

  • Lava Lash is a neat spell to have on my hotbar, but doesn't really pack a lot of punch. But it's nice to have an extra button to push. Especially when silenced. More interactivity is rarely a bad thing. With that said, Lava Lash is the last ability I'll use if several are ready. I did skip Improved Stormstrike. 2 sec less on CD is nice, but significantly worse than most other talents. And the extra charges would be wasted, I have trouble spending them already. With Maelstrom Weapon maxed and Static Shock, perhaps I'd see the point.

  • Bloodfury no longer includes a healing debuff. Sweeet! And 2 min cooldown? It's a superb ability. Better than Berserking (which I have on my priest)? The only downside with Blood Fury is that it triggers the global cooldown unless almost every other metaspell, but that's fortunately getting changed in 3.0.3.

  • The change to spell pushback is a major buff. I can now reliably heal and throw out Chain Lightnings. Of course, Maelstrom Weapon makes it even easier, but I only got the first rank at lvl 55.

  • Mana is a nonexistant problem. Water Shield provides most of my needs (especially with Improved Shields), I use Healing Stream Totem while soloing. When I occasionaly run almost dry, Shamanistic Rage, often combined with Bloodfury, fills up my mana bar pretty quickly. Well, most of the time. Often I end up killing the mob within 4-5 seconds, leaving me with 10 seconds of "wasted" rage. No, I'm not complaining! On the other hand, without Water Shield I would have run into a lot more trouble. I skipped Static Shock because I prefer having water shield while soloing.

  • Thanks to the different talents and abilities (described in an earlier post), I'm packing 500 (!) bonus damage when Strength of Earth Totem and Flametongue totem is out. And then I can hit Blood fury for additional bonus damage. That's a lot! I mean, I didn't exceed that until about lvl 67-68 on my priest.

  • The change to merge +dam and +heal into spellpower is great. Now both my healing and damage spells pack a lot of punch. My lightning bolts hit for about 700-750. Compare that to my priest's smites at about 1000-1100 at lvl 70. Granted, she's healing specced, but even so... Naturally enough, my priest beats my shammies healing by heads and toes. Healing Wave heals for about 1500-1600. Greater Heal heals almost 5000.
  • I don't really feel the change to crit and hit gear (merged spellcrit and physical crit into crit, merged spellhit and physical hit into hit), but I know shammies are really benefitting from it. Looking forward to when I actually pick up +crit and +hit gear.

  • The other change, that 1 agility gives 1 AP (as opposed to 0 earlier) and 1 strength gives 1 AP (as opposed to 2 earlier) is also something I don't feel a lot. But it makes the decision to pick up agility gear easier.

Soloing has never been easier. Yellow mobs? With totems out, Stormstrike, Earth Shock and Lava Lash, complete with a Windfury proc and the auto-attack during the same time are usually enough to kill. Orange mobs? Easily soloed, but it takes a bit longer.

I killed a lvl 60 (non-elite) mob at lvl 55. No sweat. I survived 5 equal level mobs, on three different occasions. Only one of those times did I use a healing potion. I soloed a lvl 57 elite at lvl 54. Piece of cake.

I feel a bit overpowered, but I'm having a lot of fun.

Debating what talents to pick up at 62. Until 61, I'll be more enhancement (0/52/0) then I'm a bit less certain. But heck, that's a minor problem.

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