So WoW it coming up on another major sub-version upgrade to 3.2 soon. At the same time that there are critics about what the patch will or won’t contain there is a growing sentiment in the blog community that the thing is just getting old and tired. Some of this is fueled, I believe, by one of the most influential bloggers out there (Tobold) giving WoW a rest. Cries of ONOES! were heard.
I say that the news of WoW’s demise has been greatly exaggerated.
I don’t want to go into a statistical analysis of WoW’s subscription number and such. Let me just bring this thought into the conversation. The original EQ is still running more than 10 years later, 4 years after WoW “killed” it. Now I won’t argue that EQ is still the leader it once was, but it’s definitely maintained a representative percentage of it’s old maximum subscription numbers. If WoW can do that six years from now it would still be the larger than any other MMO to date in North America/EU. So in spite of the call that people aren’t playing WoW in the same numbers as they used to, I think Blizzard is still feeling pretty good about the franchise. It kind of reminds me of the old quote from Yogi Berra about a restaurant that he and his fellow Yankees used to attend; “No one goes there any more, it’s too crowded.” In my opinion it’s just another case of people who like to snipe on the lead dog.
I want to make it clear that I’m not saying that WoW is perfect or that it doesn’t have it’s flaws. Clearly, it does. I’m just saying I’m not seeing rats jumping off that ship yet.
Shaman Changes Upcoming.
In the PTR patch notes on the official WoW site, quite a few changes are coming to Shaman. In my opinion Shaman have been in need of a little love for a while now. And it looks like they are going to get it. There is a great interview here in the Under Development section of the official site. Among the highligts;
A customizable totem bar will now be available for shaman allowing the storing of 4 different totems. These totems can be placed on the ground at once in one global cooldown for the combined mana cost of all 4 totems.
This is big, because in a fight with a high-DPS boss, the time it takes to put totems down near the fight once it has started can be enough to see your tank get smooshed. I have to have to choose between totems and healing. This is especially true if the raid or group needs a cleansing totem and a tremor totem or mana totem at the same time.
Base health increased by approximately 7% to correct for shamans having lower health than other classes.
I read an interview with a developer who is working on the Shaman update who said that no one at Blizzard can even remember why that is.
Chain Heal: Jump distance increased to 10 yards. In addition, the amount of healing now decreases by 40% as it jumps to each new target, instead of 50%.
Welcome back to the top of the heal meters, Shaman.
- Ancestral Healing: The buff from this ability now reduces the physical damage taken by the target by 3/7/10% instead of increasing the target’s armor.
- Cure Poison and Cure Disease: Combined into a single spell, Cure Toxins.
- Earth Shield: Dispel effects will now remove charges of Earth Shield rather than the entire aura.
- Healing Way: Redesigned. Rather than providing a chance of increasing Healing Wave spells on a friendly target, this talent now innately increases the effectiveness of the shaman’s Healing Wave by 8/16/25%.
- Mana Tide Totem: Totem health now equal to 10% of the shaman’s health.
- Nature’s Guardian: Redesigned. Now has a fixed 100% proc rate, has a 30 second internal cooldown, and increases the shaman’s maximum health by 3/6/9/12/15% for 10 seconds.
- Nature’s Swiftness: Cooldown is now 2 minutes, down from 3 minutes.
- Tidal Waves: No longer reduces the cast time of Lesser Healing Wave by 30%. It instead now provides +25% critical strike chance to Lesser Healing Wave, along with the previous 30% cast time benefit to Healing Wave.
- Improved Water Shield: This talent now has a 10/20/30% chance to be triggered by Chain Heal, and the charges of Water Shield are no longer consumed by this talent.
I’m not going over all of that, but let me say that not being able to completely dispel Earth Shield is a big boost to Shaman passive healing.
Yes, I play a Shaman so this stuff benefits me more than it probably does you. Unless you are in a raid with a Shaman healer. Then you have to like these changes.