Thursday, November 24, 2011

MoP Talents

Fine. Fineeee. I'll bite. Talent speculation time! First thing to note: these are utility based spells. At this point, we have no idea what our actual damage output is going to look like in the next expansion. We don't know squat about gear and all our other spells/attacks look the same as they will in 4.3. (Except for all the spec improvements that went poof. More on that at the bottom of the post).

Thus, don your tinfoil hat and come with me as  I speculate the valued utility of each of these shiny talents.

Your Frost Shock now also roots the target in ice for 5 sec.
 Single target root. Good for pvp or leveling. I doubt there will be a single target add in raids that will be affected by this talent. In any raid situation with adds that would be able to be rooted there would be multiple adds, making this a poor pve raid choice.
 Summons an Earthgrab totem with 5 health at the feet of the caster for 45 sec. The totem pulses every second, rooting al enemies within 8 yards for 5 sec. Recently rooted enemies will instead have their movement speed reduced by 50%.
Good for pvp or raid/dungeons where there are multiple adds. I wonder if this means shamans will be expected to kite more? I know I kite the last boss of Blackrock Caverns now, with Earthbind and Rockbiter. When talents like this it might become even expected of shamans to. 
 Summons an Air totem with 5 health at the feet of the caster for 15 sec that repels enemies. 
So it's a knockback talent? Again -  I see it's use in pvp or leveling, but I wonder how many endgame adds would be affected by this. I guess it could be like Thunderstorm now, using the knockback to keep the adds from something. But in situations where you're controlling adds in generally makes more sense to have more control. Thus Earthgrab would seem more logical in most cases. But sense I don't know what all the dungeons in MoP will hold, I could be wrong.
Whenever a damaging attack brings you below 30% health, your maximum health is increased by 15% for 10 sec and your threat level towards the attacker is reduced. 30 second cooldown.
Summons an Earth totem with 5 health at the feet of the caster for 30 sec that grants the caster a shield absorbing 5573 damage and refreshes that shield every 5 seconds. 
Seek haven by shifting partially into the elemental planes, reducing damage taken by 50% but also damage and healing dealt by 50%, for 6 sec. 
 I'm lumping all three of these together because they are different sides of the same three sided-coin. (If such a thing existed.) At this point it doesn't look like we're losing wind shear, so the threat reduction from Nature's Guardian doesn't give it much of a leg up. The question is, which of these 3 level 30 talents gives us the most bang for our buck? Is a 15% increase in health better than a refreshing shield or a 50% damage reduction? One is an "oh-shit" button, the second is for sustained damage, and the third is for surviving a massive but quick attack. Also, these need a little bit more explanation: Does Stone Bulwark scale with level like Stoneclaw does? Does Nature's Guardian always kick in when it's off CD, or do you have to put it on yourself, like an extended Divine Guardian? Is it worth the substantial dps loss for Astral Shift?
For enhancement purposes I'm imaging Bulwark to be our normal choice. Astral Shift sounds really nice, but it's just so short. Most damage that dps have to worry about would be sustained, such as Phase 2 Beth'tilac, thus a longer lasting damage reduction would benefit us more.

While in Ghost Wolf from, you ignore the effects of snares.
PvP. Enough said. Unless there's a dodge the snares dungeon, but Blizzard would never design something that class specific. 
Summons an Air totem with 5 health at the feet of the caster for 6 sec, granting raid members within 30 yards immunity to movement-imparing effects.
Unless they would? All these level 45 talents seem more pvp orientated. That means I'm missing something and dungeon mobs are going to be snaring more often, or something? 
Summons an Air totem with 5 health at the feet of the caster for 6 sec, granting raid members withing 30 yards immunity to spellcast interruption and silence effects. 
As someone with healing alts, I love this one purely for it's immunity to silence. So, so many deaths because the healer cannot heal. Only 6 seconds though, so it's for burst pvp damage or maybe for certain phases in a raid, like if Chogall silenced people instead of mind controlled them.

Summons a Water totem with 5 health at the feet of the caster for 10 sec, healing the most injured raid memebers within 40 yards for 2229 health every 2 sec.
Nifty, but I'm betting it scales way better with our healing brethren. 
When you deal direct damage or healing for the next 10 seconds, 40% of that amount is copied as healing to a nearby injured ally. 
Even more nifty. 40% of damage could equal a sizeable chunk of health.  If you're averaging 30k dps, then you're healing 12k a second. Still going to be nothing compared to a true healer, but for instances like upstairs with Beth'tilac, you could probably get away with being the "healer." I wonder if it heals yourself? Probably not...
Allies standing within your Healing Rain receive a 10% reduction to incoming magic damage.
10 seconds of 10% damage reduction. Is it more useful than the direct healing from Ancestral Guidance? Probably in most raid situations, especially where you and the raid have to stack.

When activated, your next Lightning Bolt, Chain Lightning or Lava Burst spell becomes an instant cast spell. In addition, your Fire, Frost, and Nature damage in increased by 15% and you gain 20% spell haste for 15 sec. 
Sup Elemental Shamans, sup?  At first glance it seems it's all for them. Resto shamans might like the 20% spell haste increase, and the 15% fire/frost/nature damage could be a big dps increase for us. No way to tell yet.
Passively increases spell and melee haste by 5%. When activated, your next Nature spell with a base casting time less than 10 sec becomes an instant cast spell.
Look, melee haste! I wonder if that will actually be attractive in MoP. Because right now it does nothing for us. And having an instant cast spell doesn't mean much, especially with hardcasting Lava Bolt/spellpower main hands going extinct in 4.3 (yay!)  If haste is a more attractive stat in MoP, then the 5% passive increase is awesome. Big IF.
When you cast a damage or healing spell, you have a chance to gain Echo of the Elements, duplicating that spell's effect.
The chance that my maelstrom lightning bolt hits twice? Awesome. Earth Shock hitting twice? Cool. Though... the chance that my Flame Shock hits twice? Less awesome. Hmm. 

You may summon multiple totems of the same element simultaneously.
This wins. Hands down. Fire elemental and searing totem out at the same time? Yes please!
If a totem is replaced or destroyed before its duration expires naturally, its cooldown is reduced in proportion to the lost duration. 
So...let me work through this one. You drop a totem. It lasts for a minute and has a 3 minute cooldown. 30 seconds in, the totem gets destroyed. Your cooldown now drops from 2min30sec to 2min. Yay? But if it's destroyed right away it drops to 2min. And if it's destroyed near the end of it's duration, it's still the same cooldown.
I really don't see the appeal of this except in pvp where you need to worry about 30second cooldowns and people actually killing off your totems.
Relocates your active totems to the specified location.
Meh. If this uses a GCD, then it's the same thing as replanting your totems. The exception being if you're moving an Elemental or long cooldown totem. So the only time this seems useful is if you're killing an add this is constantly on the move and you need your Fire Elemental to do it. But then you're wasting all your GCD's on moving the damn totems and not attacking. Also: buff totems are going bye-bye, and half the reason we complained about moving totems was because they were distanced-based buffs.

So there you have it. A couple of these  I can almost promise you I won't take. The rest just depend on the fight. Until we see what kind of bosses we're up against in MoP, we won't know which talent is most useful. The same holds true for the specs. The current MoP talent calculator has base spec spells (i.e. the existence of Lava Lash for enhancement), but none of the improvements like Improved Shields or Ancestral Swiftness. But they do have Searing Flames and Stormstrike.
Which just leaves me confused. Did we loose the others completely? That's a lot of change. Could be good could be bad. At this point I think it's too early to tell what is up. The whole system could be redone between now and the expansion drop. Blizz itself had a post that said everything was basically still up in the air, they just want to get as much out for the players to comment on as they can. Well, we're commenting.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

10 v. 25

Guild attendance has been lacking a bit these past few weeks. I'd blame Skyrim, but it hasn't been out quite long enough to get blamed for everything. Either way it means our 25m heroics have had to drop to 10m. Now that I have perspective on both sides, I would like to add my two-cents to the 10 v. 25 debate:

They're both harder and easier.

Here, I'll break it down by boss.
  1. Shannox: 10m wins this one, but only barely. Heroic Shannox is pretty easy on both, but I find 25m slightly easier because you have more people for Rageface to eat. This makes the DPS race easier.
  2. Beth'tilac: Again, 10m is harder. Less people handling the adds. Someone misses the spiderlings on 25, you just throw another body at them. 10m not so much. 
  3. Rhyolith: Tie. He just sucks. The end. 
  4. Alysrazor: 25m, but only because the caster adds shoot more often and take longer to go down. 
  5. Baelroc: 25man is harder. So. Much. Harder. The whole "25man raids are more difficult because it's like herding casts" argument defines this fight. There are so many reasons 25m makes me want to slit my wrists, while 10m took us 20 minutes and bam! the boss we had been working on for a month is down.
    • Two shards instead of one. That means more people with tormented and one of the shards is in ranged. And it loves healers. 
    • Decimation attacks come way, way faster in 25m. While you have more healers, they're still split over 2 shards and the tanks. The quicker attack time means you can't recover as quickly if a healer gets tormented.
    • 25 people running around like chickens with their head cut off. 10m has SO MUCH ROOM. 25m means someone sneezes and half the raid has tormented. Or the guys with Countdown have to run through people because there's not enough time to go on the outside of 23 people. 
    • Sure, if we were a perfect guild with perfect reaction times, 25m would be no harder. But we are not, so 10m seemed like normal by the time we tried it. 
  6. Staghelm: Tie? I think 10m is harder in normal because you have less cooldowns to eat cleaves with. In heroic you're not taking that many cleaves anyway. I guess 25m wins slightly because you have 14 more people that want to blow you up with their seeds. It doesn't matter how far away you stand. They will find you. 
  7. Ragnaros: Hah. Right. Like we've killed him on heroic. Pffft.
Mind you this is just my experience, so take it with a grain of salt, but overall I'd say 25mans are easier in fights with lots of adds, while 10mans are easier in fights with very specific mechanics. Not rocket science, I know.

What's that? Mist of Pandaria talents? Lalalala I can't hear you. I refuse to make judgments until it's way, way closer to the actual expansion. Or, since I sold my soul to Blizzard for  Diablo 3, I withhold judgment until I get my MoP beta invite.