Totem Talk: Latest updates to Elemental and Restoration Shaman
Two weeks have passed since we last spoke, and things haven’t been quiet on the Shaman front since then. The class has seen a flurry of updates so far in the Legion alpha, and things seem to be getting, at the very least, interesting. For me, the best part is that it feels like Blizzard is starting to hit its stride with the classes in Legion. As things start to click and slide into place, I can’t help but get excited. Even the art assets for our Order Halls are being updated with newer visual effects!
So let’s take a look at what’s new and what’s changed for Elemental and Restoration Shaman in the Legion alpha.
Same Resto Artifact, new Resto name
Remember the Scepter of Azshara? We’ve talked about it a bunch, and for better or worse Restoration Shaman seemed to be getting a weapon that had more ties to one of the most powerful arcane magic users in the history of Azeroth than any Shaman. A lot of us brought this up and it looks like those complaints were heard — the name of the Scepter was changed to the Caduceus of Azshara.
Though definitely more “healy” [Editor’s note: I think both Blizzard and Joe were thinking about the Rod of Asclepius], the name Caduceus is normally associated with a staff, not a scepter. The name was better, but still as good as it could be. In the latest build we got a brand new name, Sharas’dal, Scepter of Tides. With the weapon obtained from what is ostensibly the realm of Neptulon, and water being so central to our healing, I can only speculate that the scepter has something to do with the lost elemental lord. However the original description hasn’t been updated, so perhaps this is still a relic of Azshara. We’ll have to wait to see if the name sticks — and if we can get some more story as to who made it or where it came from.
Changes for Elemental
Elemental Shaman haven’t gone unnoticed, and there are some interesting changes and updates for the spec. The big thing is that currently, Fire Elemental is missing. It’s possible that this is an oversight, since the Fist of Ra’den still has perks associated with the Fire Elemental, but our fiery buddy is nowhere to be seen. We still have our Earth Elemental though, so we still have a little elemental representation, but I’m curious if this was an oversight or intentional. Is it possible that we’ll see each spec get a single elemental? It’s certainly plausible, though I’m unsure how I’d feel about that. You can make a case for the elementals to be applied to any of the specs really, so how would such a choice be made? I’m going to bank on this just being an oversight and will look for the living fire to return once again.
Update: It looks like this section was a little bit wrong. The Fire Elemental is not missing, however Storm Elemental completely replaces it if you take the perk. You can no longer simultaneously have Fire, Earth and Storm elemental totems, so no rhythm and soul shaman bands for us at this time.
Thanks to Binkenstein for pointing this out!
Totem Mastery is a level 15 Elemental specific talent that adds an ability which immediately stuck out to me as something of note. Not only does it give us a new totem, it actually gives us four new totems. At the same time this is a nod or call back to the classic and Burning Crusade Shaman era, where we had a ton of buff totems. In Legion, we get one for each element; Resonance Totem generates Maelstrom, Storm Totem increases the chance to trigger Lightning Bolt to trigger Elemental Overload by 10%, Ember Totem increases Flame Shock damage, and Tailwind Totem increases your haste. Pretty cool if you ask me.
Icefury is a level 100 Elemental talent that gives us an offensive ice/water spell, something we’ve only ever really had in the form of Frost Shock. Sometimes it is hard to remember that water can be as destructive as fire and earth — especially since it’s so central to Shaman healing — but this talent is definitely a reminder. With Icefury, we hurl large chunks of ice at our targets that not only deal damage, but also generate Maelstrom while increasing the damage of your next four Frost Shocks by 400%.
Magnitude and Path of Flame seem like two talents meant to go together. Path of Flame increases our Lava Burst damage, and spreads Flame Shock from the target to nearby targets. Magnitude checks to see if a target with Flame Shock is standing in Earthquake. If they are, magma will bubble up from the fissures, dealing extra damage. That’s going to make for a heck of a light show on packs of mobs. The downside is that Path of Flame shares a talent choice level with Totem Mastery at level 15, but Magnitude is a level 75 talent choice. We’ll have to wait and see if it’ll be good enough to take without Path of Flame, but the two were definitely made with each other in mind.
There are new talents at almost every tier, too many to list in this piece — I’ll spend more time talking about them next time, but these were a few that stood out to me as incredibly interesting.
A little love for all specs
Astral Shift is back as a baseline ability for all Shaman. So far it looks unchanged from the live incarnation, which means it serves the same purpose in the same manner. I’ve always liked Astral Shift, not only because of the visual effect, but because I always found it to be an interesting idea. Shifting into the astral plane partially to reduce damage is fun — at least to me — and I really love the idea that everyone gets this spell without having to spend a talent choice on it. To me, that’s a big deal, because spending talents on survival effects always seemed a bit goofy.
The Voodoo Totem talent is something that I’m in love with from a conceptual standpoint: it’s a totem that literally turns your targets into frogs for 10 seconds. It replaces the normal Hex spell, but the idea of a totem we throw down that does the work for us for several seconds really appeals to me. It also has that very distinct Shaman feel, and it’s something I can completely see at home on the hips of a Troll Shaman. The best part to me as well, is that level 45 talent is available to all specs.
There are a lot of cool little touches starting to take shape, and what I like best about it is that each addition feels like it’s contributing to defining the identity of the class. Both Elemental and Restoration over the years have sometimes felt quite generic. It’s a sentiment that many classes share with us, and I appreciate the efforts being put forth in Legion to make each class feel more distinct, and claim long forgotten identities.
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