Patch 1.3 seems interesting!

Nazgum evokes Darkness!

Nazgum evokes Darkness!

Before I go into patch 1.3 let me first say, I finally got my Conqueror shirt!!  Mythic reduced the medallion prices for the RvR gear which meant I finally had enough to purchase it, allowing me to wear 4 conqueror and 2 bloodlord as my set, providing set bonuses of +138 Intelligence, +66 Willpower and +66 Toughness.  Woot!  Not too shabby for a DPS shammy!

Now on to patch 1.3, which is a pretty monster patch!  This will surely shake up Warhammer when it goes live.  I’m only going to cover the parts of the patch which affect or interest me, so if you haven’t yet go read the notes!

To start with, and perhaps the most needed change coming with the patch, is the near global reduction in power of AoE abilities.  AoE completely dominates the game at the moment, both in damage and healing.  I sometimes group heal myself even when not grouped, because it heals for just as much and casts faster!  AoE needed a reduction and this is a very welcome change!

To offset the AoE reduction, Mythic is making a bizarre move however.  They are increasing single target DPS for nearly all classes.  Witch Hunters are perhaps receiving the most benefit, with 18 of their abilities going up in damage!  As someone who sees a lot of 1vs1, I think single target DPS is already too high.  As a DPS shaman I can burst down most classes in less than 20 seconds, and I consider that quick.  But I don’t kill fast, not in comparison to witch hunters, slayers or other true dps classes.  I’ve been hit for over 4000 from a single ability by a witch hunter, and I only have 5000hp (6000 with the +100 wounds potion).  I lose over half my life if a slayer gets in melee range of me for 2 seconds.  Scooter, an engie on Phoenix Throne once caught me and dropped me from full to dead in 5 seconds.  Personally, I think this game would be far better if both healing and damage were toned down some so you had more time to react and use abilities before pressing respawn.

Now for the real goodies!  Shamans are getting their mastery trees shuffled this patch and the possibilities sure look exciting!  Hybrids are being crippled, and Mythic is making you choose to be either a DPS shaman or a healing shaman, but both options each look excellent.  Here’s a few of the changes I’m excited to see:

First up is Eeeek!  This ability is being changed to now snare the enemies it knocks back, and no longer knock yourself back.  There is mixed feelings on this in the forums, and I’m sort of torn over it too.  On one hand, the snare is awesome, and I have way more control with it in combat now.  On the other hand there will be no more amazing escapes by eeeking off cliffs or bridges.

And then there is the tree changes.

Personally I think this looks awesome.  Gork is receiving few changes, but Mork and Green are getting a good shuffle.  The two popular choices for 1.3 will likely be Mork/Green and Gork/Green, and Gork/Green will be Nazgum’s choice!  The healing power of a hybrid is getting nerfed, so willpower based heals won’t be so useful, but Green is receiving our shield and we’ll have 3 lifetaps, which heal based on the damage dealt (intelligence based), so I’m hoping those 3 lifetaps + a shield will be enough.

The final thing that interests me in the patch notes is of course the Land of the Dead.  I’m not very excited about it however, the more I read the more it sounds like a giant PvE zone where PvP may occur, but likely won’t be too common.  I hope I am wrong.

Nazgum’s Guide to Shaman Stats and Gear

I made a post earlier about how I spec my shaman, so I figure I should make a post about how I stat and gear my shaman to go along with it 😉  So ‘ere we go!

Which stats are important?

Shamans, being a hybrid, need quite a few stats.  Willpower for healing, intelligence for damage, and toughness, wounds and initiative to survive.  All 5 of those can can be useful.  If you’re going the pure healbot role you can likely skip intelligence, though it is very nice to have when solo or in a small group.

How high should each stat be?
Ideally, as high as you can get them 😉  But I like to aim for the following:

  • Toughness – 350:  toughness is my favorite defensive stat, it lets you take more damage and therefore makes your healing more powerful. Having toughness below 300 and you definitely die faster, I find up around 350 is usually nice.
  • Initiative – 250:  initiative’s main purpose is to reduce your chance of being crit and help you evade.  In reality the crit reduction doesn’t help much due to the +crit tactics and huge crit %’s dps classes can pull off; but when you start getting over about 220 you get the benefit of spotting stealthers more easily; and at 250 you can often spot them a fair distance off, which can be fun =)
  • Wounds – 600: wounds is the most over-rated stat in my opinion.  You definitely need some wounds to survive burst, I like to run with about 600, but focusing too much on it makes your character weaker, as you can always heal yourself as a shaman.
  • Intelligence – 500: I like having some offensive capabilities, so after I’ve gotten my defensive stats up to a survivable enough level I try and raise intellligence as high as I can.  I find having at least 500 is nice, as your damage output is respectable then and don’t have to sacrifice much to reach that level.
  • Willpower – 400:  Willpower is the stat I worry about the least; it just doesn’t make much of a difference, especially due to all the healing debuffs that exist in the game; and when you really need to play a more healbot role you can equip the +160 willpower tactic, so I never try to raise willpower beyond what bonsues the gear I’m wearing offers.

Where to get the stats from?
I look at it purely from an economics point of view; here’s two screenshots from the auction house on Phoenix Throne:

Wounds Talisman Prices

Wounds Talisman Prices

Intelligence Talisman Prices

Intelligence Talisman Prices

As you can see, wounds and toughness talismans are extremely expensive, far more expensive then intelligence/willpower talismans.  So we want to get wounds and toughness for free where we can.  Wounds cost more then other stats when buying with renown points, so wounds we want from gear.  The 4-piece bonus from the Sentinal set offers +66 wounds, so that is a must in my opinion.  I get the rest of my wounds mostly from jewelry and that gets me up to about 600.

What about toughness and initiative?  That brings me to my current staff, Zaptwig of Light.  It’s the oRvR influence reward from the elven front.  With the 2 talisman slots (i got +19 int talismans in each), it makes for a nice staff with some good defensive stats.  To further boost toughness and initiative I use my renown points; with the first 40 renown points I buy +60 toughness, +30 initiative and +30 intelligence.

That just leaves intelligence.  Along with the 4 Sentinal pieces it would be nice to wear 2 pieces of conqueror (though I personally can’t yet as I have neither the sentinal or conqueror shirt) for the +66 intelligence bonus.  Besides that, I use all of my talisman slots for intelligence.  As you can see in the screenshot, intelligence talismans are nice and cheap.  You can often find the +18 permanent ones for less than 40 gold on the AH.

Don’t forget your liniments!

Along with all your gear, talismans and renown points, don’t forget about potions either!   The liniments line of potions are amazing, +100 to a stat with an extra effect as well, and usually lots in the AH at a decent price.  I like the Liniment of War: Genius (+100 wounds, +3% magic crit chance), but I have 4 different types of them in my backpack and alternate depending on my situation; the short story is they rock – use them! =)

That about sums up my guide, I hope you find it useful!

Upcoming Shaman Changes

In case you haven’t heard yet, shaman’s are receiving some pretty major changes over the next 3 patches, including revamps to our Masteries and our Mechanic.  As my main is a shaman, I’ll share a few of my thoughts on the proposed changes.

Patch 1.2.1: Balance Changes
The first of the shaman changes are already up on the Public Test Server and will likely be going live soon; perhaps even late this week!  These changes are almost entirely buffs!

  • Our damage is being increased by 25% for almost all of our nukes
  • Get’n Smarter, which steals Intelligence from our target, is now also a DoT
  • Big Waaagh! will cost less AP (30) and have a shorter cooldown (5 seconds)
  • Gork’s Barbs is being redesigned to be like Playing With Fire
  • Shrug it Off: Changed to a 30 second buff that instantly heals the recipient when their life drops below 15%

This next patch alone should make shaman a lot more fun to play!  But Mythic isn’t stopping there, we have more goodies incoming!

Patch 1.3.0: Mastery Reshuffle
The second round of updates will focus on changes to the Mastery Paths.  The biggest change is the Path of Da Green is being refocused from Buffs/Debuffs to Lifetaps/Survival; and along with that some of our spells are being reshuffled:

That is a pretty thorough reshuffling; nearly half of our spells are being moved around!  What are my thoughts?  Sounds awesome!  I’ve never been overly fond of the current mastery trees.  With 1.2, a Gork/Da Green mix is just terrible, and our other choices are limited: Mork/Da Green for groups, Mork/Gork for solo.  Patch 1.3 seems like it will bring more spec options, as mixing any of the three trees together seems to have potential.  I’ll definitely be trying a Gork/Da Green spec when this goes live.

Patch 1.3.1: Mechanic Revamp

Perhaps the most exciting news is we may be getting a mechanic revamp.  This is badly needed!  Our current mechanic is terrible and adds little to our career.  In patch 1.1 it was used purely to make our AP drain instant cast.  Now, I pre-build it before a fight for one instant cast nuke and then mostly ignore it.  Our current mechanic needs to go and the new one sounds like a great replacement!

So how will our new mechanic work?  It’s basically a scale from -3 to +3, with the following values:

+3:  160% Mork  /  70% Gork  /  100% Da Green
+2:  130% Mork  /  85% Gork  /  115% Da Green
+1:  115% Mork  /  92.5% Gork  /  130% Da Green
+0:  100% Mork  /  100% Gork  /  160% Da Green
-1:  92.5% Mork  /  115% Gork  /  130% Da Green
-2:  85% Mork  /  130% Gork  /  115% Da Green
-3:  70% Mork  /  160% Gork  /  100% Da Green

Each time we cast a Mork spell, it rises, up to the max of +3.  Each time we cast a Gork spell, it lowers, down to a minimum of -3.  Each time we cast a Da Green spell, it gets closer to 0.

The idea behind this new mechanic is to reward you for continuing to use spells from just one Mastery.  This definitely seems better then our current mechanic, as shamans who heal will do their job better; and shamans who deal damage will do their job better.  The mechanic also helps prevent shamans from becoming over-powered, as nukes and heals will be much less effective if you try and do both; which is good.

However, one side effect seems to be that Da Green will always be a Mastery path you use.  A Mork/Gork shaman would not be as viable as the mechanic works against you too much, bouncing between 70%-160%.  But a Mork/Da Green or a Gork/Da Green shaman would work well, bouncing only between 100%-160%.  I’m ok with this though, as the Da Green line seems to offer quite a bit of flexibility, and it definitely would add more spec options then what we currently have.

My final thoughts?  I like the whole bundle, exactly as described, cannot wait for it to go live!

Bursting with a DPS Shaman

If a DPS shaman is anything its definitely fun!  It may not be the most useful in scenarios or warbands, but if you like to play solo or in small groups a DPS shaman can be a monster!  An evil, bursting with waaagh, little green monster!  I’ve been playing mine for a little while now so I figure I’ll share some of my thoughts and strategies on the build.

Mastery Points
Really I see only one viable way to play a DPS shaman, and thats with the path of Gork.  The path of the Green is the shaman’s utility tree, and while it has some nice abilities, they don’t compare to the Gork ones.  You will be using Life Leaka and Bunch o’ Waaagh while fighting, and its nice to have those at their highest level.  Typically I put 9 points into the Mork tree and buy Do Sumfin Useful, and then dump the rest in Gork.

Tactics

I’ve found tactics make the biggest difference to my effectiveness as a DPS shaman.  I like to run with Mork is Watchin’, Divine Fury, Hurts, Don’t it? and RUN AWAY!.  That gives me a pretty pure focus on offense, while still having some survivability from RUN AWAY!.  If the fighting in the zone is very zergy I will typically swap out Hurts, Don’t it? with Git Outta Here! to handle adds easier.  And if I’m in a bit larger group of 3 or 4 and I need to focus a little more on healing I’ll swap out Divine Fury with Extra Special Mushrooms.

Gear

Ah one of the great things I love about Warhammer.  Gear really isn’t that important.  And you can offset what gear you have with your renown points.  Everyone will use the best gear they have so I won’t really mention much here, other then check the Auction House for some Liniment of the Tolling Bell potions – 60 minutes of +100 Intelligence and +3% Magic Crit!

Casting Order
Casting the right spells at the right time can make all the difference =)  One great trick shamans have in Warhammer is that you can build up your Mork/Gork’s Waaagh before a fight starts; it does not reset unless you enter and then leave combat.  With 5 Gork’s Waaagh built up you get to start the fight with a nice advantage, so make use of it!

  1. Get’n Smarter  (+120 Intelligence for enhanced nuking!  does not expend Gork’s Waaagh)
  2. Brain Bursta (Using Hurts, Don’t it? and gets insta cast expending Gork’s Waaagh)
  3. Bunch o’ Waaagh (only for one tick then interrupt to save AP)
  4. Yer Not So Bad (start getting AP back)
  5. Bleed Fer’ Me
  6. Life Leaka
  7. Don’ Feel Nuthin (usually receiving some incoming damage by now – shields up!)
  8. Big Waaagh! (Gork Sez Die!)
  9. Bunch o’ Waaagh (11s cooldown should be up by now)

Your casting order will often vary quite a bit depending who you’re fighting and the situation, but something similar to the above is what I usually try and follow for most fights, along with tossing You Got Nuthin! on healers when they get low and Gork Sez Stop! when useful.

fin.  coffee time for this git!