Popping Totems: Shaman Cataclysm Preview

As of 11:00 am CST this morning Blizzard has released the Shaman Cataclysm class preview.  Below is the direct text with some of my own comments among them.  I currently have a lvl 40 Enhancement Shaman, and so far the notes look promising.


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 thi sability is to make elveling as Enhancement rather than as Elemental more viable, since many key Enhancement talents become available at fiarly high levels.

Healing Wave: Available at 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: Available at level 81 – Unleases the power of your weapon enchants for additional effects (see below).  A dual-wielding Enhancement shaman will activiate 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: Available at 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: Available at level 85 – When this self-targeted buff is active, your spells are no longer interrupted by movement and possible 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 the 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 the WotLK.  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, cureses, and poinson, 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 Speirit 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 dicision 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 the Flametongue Totem for all shaman, and dropping this totem will buff the group’s spell power by 4%. Elemental shaman will haev 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 warlocks Demonic Pact, so  you can’t benefit from al lof 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 ahve a deep talent that allows Spiriti (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 grand passive bonuses, such as Mental Quickness, Improvded Windfury Totem, Mental Dexterity, Call of Thunder, Tital Mastery, Purification, Nature’s Blessing, and others, to allow players more freedom to choose more interesting talents.

Mastery Passive Talent Tree Bonuses

ElementalSpell 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 recieve 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.

Alrighty, that’s the goods.  Looks like Shamans are going to have a lot of fun in Cataclysm.  I am really interested in the Healing portions (the Holy Paladin coming out again).  The idea of Spiritwalker’s Grace, gives me good feelings about the Holy Paladin changes that are coming out on the 16th.  The idea of being able to continue casting while moving is awesome.

My personal favorite, for my Enhancement Shammy especially, is Unlease Weapon.  It is going to turn my dual-wielding shaman, into a blur of spectral weapons and flailing arms… I can’t imagine seeing that flying towards me like an epileptic spider monkey

This preview kind of solidifies the new stat changes, and how Intellect will not likely be increased by talents, and instead mana pools specifically will be increased.  Healing Rain just sounds awesome with the concept of little rain showers all over the raid, HoTing up everyone.  The concept of Deep Healing, is an eye opener.  Some weapons/trinkets have previously had this kind of ability, where the heal was bigger if the health was lower, but making this a baseline Mastery ability is interesting.

Again, can’t wait till the 16th to see what the Paladin’s get.


2 thoughts on “Popping Totems: Shaman Cataclysm Preview

  1. Pingback: Class Previews « Illumination

  2. Unless blizzard release some really good changes to Paladins (or just new stuff, w/e) then i will go back to my old main, my Shaman for sure. Man i can’t wait for Cataclysm :>

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