Monday, December 1, 2014

[WoW] Enhancing My Shaman Experiences

I'm a little melancholic about the fact this expansion will be my first not healing during raids. Normally I play Holy Paladin, but our raid has more healers than we need for about 12 people (we certainly don't need to be running four healers for Heroic content), and I'm the only one of the four that has a consistent DPS character, so I don't have a whole lot of choice in the matter. On the other hand, I do really enjoy my Enhancement Shaman, so getting to main him through raid content is still going to be fun as heck.

I ripped through the leveling content, opting to ignore dungeons during the leveling experience, so I ran the grand majority of questing content on Draenor. I have to say, I am loving Garrisons, and I loved the leveling experience. Between digging around for treasures while out and about, and the Draenei questlines, I've rather enjoyed a lot of the content. I was concerned it was going to be yet another Orc expansion, and it kind of is, but I've been pleasantly surprised at the non-Orc content (Arrakoa in particular was a fun ride).

Also, complete Yrel fanboy here. Just saying.

I'll be doing a post later on my Garrison experiences, but suffice to say I've found them incredibly engaging, though daunting for more than one character.

While I was leveling, my Enhancement Shaman, as usual, proved to be nearly the ultimate soloing machine. With my copious self-healing, massive AoE, and decent single-target DPS, not to mention a plethora of cooldowns, taking on rares or difficult mobs was cake. I would generally survive most encounters other classes could not. Seriously, how do mages level? I'm not sure I could manage that.

Once I dinged 100 and could start running dungeons, I was there. First up was getting my Silver Proving Grounds. Which was trivial. The PGs don't start scaling until ilvl 615, and I was rocking 598. I ended Silver with about 50% of the time left over every wave. So I figured, hey, bet I could do Gold. Three attempts, and I managed it:

The video is my 4th go, forgot to record my first win, sadly.

After running a few dungeons as DPS, I can tell you that Enhance, despite numerous nerfs to our healing output (I miss you, Chain Heal) is still perfectly capable of playing Healer or Tank if need be. Yes, even in Heroic 5-mans.

Skyreach our rando Tank/Healer combination was terrible, and the first boss I ended up tanking (thank you Earth Elemental, Shamanistic Rage, Stone Bulwark Totem, and Maelstrom Weapon) the last half. The second boss I ended up having to heal because the tank locked the healer out of the encounter, which ended in a couple deaths, but the Paladin tank proved that he was capable of self-healing and staying out of the bad there while I spot healed the rest of us (and him).

Which does remind me; Healers, if your tank dies and you see an Earth Elemental go up, please heal it. It's tanking. I honestly should write a macro that tells them that.

Cakewalk if you avoid the boulders. (Image from Wowhead)
I've also managed to solo the last 12% of Roltall in Bloodmaul Slag Mines, so that's fun too. Turns out that most of his damage is entirely avoidable. He doesn't melee terribly hard.

But given the difficulty of Heroics, I think Blizzard could have easily required Gold PGs and have been mostly okay. Silver seemed too easy compared to the difficulty of content in the 5-mans. On the other hand, most of my runs have been pretty smooth, so dropping the bottom whatever percentage of people who cannot complete Silver PGs seems to have made running random Heroics tolerable since there's a bare minimum skill requirement now. Oh, there's still douchcanoes, let's not kid ourselves, but short of giving us better social tools to handle those, there's nothing we can do about it.

After all of that, color me surprised that a bunch of Enhancement Shaman were upset about our DPS. I mean, if you go look at Noxxic's sim charts, we're relatively low on the totem pole (hah, Shaman puns!). Or we were before our buffs. Now we're solidly in the middle, until we hit 660+ gear. But at least in heroic dungeons before the buffs I didn't feel weak. Until I ran into a pair of Ret Paladins, both 10 ilvls below me, doing 20% more DPS than I was doing with ease...

Then I remembered most of my DPS was tied to my Elementals thanks to Primal Elementalist, and I generally save those for bosses (where I was even with the Ret Paladins) so perhaps I should spec out of that into Unleashed Fury instead? But I hate that so much of my damage is already tied to Lightning Bolt thanks to Improved Maelstrom Weapon, and Unleashed Fury just exacerbates that issue. Liquid Magma is useless for most Heroics, since it's basically Starfall 2.0 last I checked (hooray, let's pull ALL the things! CC, what's CC?), so I'm not really sure. Maybe I should just be fine with my DPS being competitive on bosses and say screw trash.

Once I remembered that half my gear doubles as healing gear, I started running Heroics as Resto because instant queue > 20 - 40 minute DPS queue. I'll talk more about my experiences as a healer in another post, but honestly, I love the new healing model so much.

Raids open up this week, though I'm not sure if my team is ready to go yet. At least one of our healers hasn't hit 100, but otherwise I think we're mostly there. A bunch of us are at ilvl 630 or greater, so we should be ready to walk into Highmaul.

So far been having a blast this expac, and I hope it keeps on rolling! #WorldOfWarcraft, #EnhancementShaman, #ProvingGrounds


  1. I'm new to PGs - there are people who actually cannot complete silver? That seemed easy enough on my priest with shadow and holy but there's also not much margin left until I get better gear. My timers were always tight for the dps check because of shadow priest ramp-up time. As for holy, I am used to being manastarved at the beginning of an expansion and it was no different this time around, I had to heal very conservatively. So from that PoV am glad gold isn't required for heroics.

    I generally like the idea of PGs even if it's not perfect; Blizz cannot really rule out the asshat or carry factor but they can at least put in a very basic check to weed out a few or rather, make sure there's a bottom standard. I can imagine failing at silver PGs does motivate some people to do better until they've got it.

    1. There are people who cannot complete Silver. I've run into a few. Part of it also could be for so,e folks, the activation cost of PGs is too high. Maybe they'd faffing about in heroics in previous expats because they could, but now there's a clear gate on it, so,e folks may not even try. Elitist as it sounds, I'm okay with that. If you can't pass Silver, you're certainly not capable enough for today's heroic dungeons.