So. Patch 5.0.4 released, and I’ve been taking some time to familiarize myself with the changes to some of my 85s. Not all of them… but some.
(Stay tuned for Part 2 to cover some of the non-character related changes.)
While there isn’t as much change to this class as there was going into Cataclysm (hello, resource overhaul!), there’s still a definite shift in playstyle. For one thing, right now Beast Mastery is simming as the highest damage. Well… everyone said they missed TBC, right? Though, to be fair, I still find myself preferring Survival – as fun as it is to be able to drag out my menagerie of exotic pets, I still feel Kill Command is a clunky attack and I’m still very leery of having to depend on my pet as the main source of my damage. The game’s pet AI still isn’t solid enough to trust the bulk of my DPS to a creature that might decide to path halfway through the instance at a moment’s notice.
I haven’t had a whole lot of chance to play with the ‘no minimum range’ change – mostly because anything I’ve been attacking dies in one or two shots. Still, I found it to be deliciously delightful on beta, and I doubt that will change now. The switch to expertise wasn’t as painful as I feared, mostly because stats seem to have been weighted for 90 now, so I could afford the loss of crit/haste/mastery to reforge into expertise. Even capped at 7.5% hit/expertise, I still have about 40% crit, 22% mastery, and 11% haste – solid numbers.
Hunter still remains my favorite class. Ainyan can breathe easy – she’s not being replaced any time soon.
Holy paladin is a bit of a change from what it was pre-patch. For one, the cap on mana is a touch on the annoying side. I went into 5.0.4 with 125k mana, and came out of it with 102k mana. Doesn’t seem like it should be such a big difference – but I definitely notice that I am running out of mana a lot faster now. I’m also not 100% certain I like the change to Holy Radiance. Yes, the fact that it’s a straight up heal is kind of nice – but I really liked the HoT component, I felt it was more efficient against extended periods of raid damage than having to spam HR over and over to deal with the same problem. At least the Light of Dawn change is 100% positive – especially considering as a human, my cone went off at a 45-degree angle from wherever I was facing, making it difficult to properly position it in a hurry. Now that it’s a 360-degree effect, it is 100% more efficient.
I like the fact that Holy Power now stacks up to 5 – makes it less frustrating to have to save HP for a time when LoD/WoG is actually useful and end up wasting all those HP stacks. Now I can afford two more HRs or HSes before I have to seriously think about wasting an LoD/WoG – and if I do have to waste one, I still have two stacks of HP to make up for the three wasted.
Also, Sacred Shield is back! Yay! Except I’m not convinced it’s as useful to Holy as it used to be. Maybe as a nice stop-gap against incoming damage on a low-health DPS… I can definitely see how it would be an awesome ability for a Protadin to take, however – and I did take it on my prot spec. I just haven’t tanked yet to test it out. However! Beacon of Light no longer has a duration! Stick it on the tank and forget it. YAY!
Holy Paladin remains my go-to healer. This may change once I figure out how to Resto Druid or Disc Priest (not even going to bother with Resto Shaman), but Zyriene likely will remain my top healy toon.
Frustration. That’s what I’m feeling with Jujubee right now. As an Elemental Shaman, I remember my DPS on beta being pretty strong. On Live? Not so much. I know my rotation, I’m being very careful with it – but I’m constantly hovering in the middle of the pack, DPS-wise, instead of being on top like I was pre-5.0.4. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong – and I can’t see if I /am/ doing anything wrong because there don’t seem to be any other Elemental Shamans out there. In fact, I’ve only seen one or two Resto shamans and no Enhancement shamans. This does not bode well.
The change to Lava Surge is delicious – instead of being just a mana-free Lava Bolt, it’s now a mana-free, cast-time-free Lava Bolt – a definite improvement. However, I HATE the totem change. Totems were such a huge part of what made a Shaman a Shaman. Now that 99% of them are cooldowns, it no longer feels like ‘I am Shaman’, but rather ‘I am nature Mage’. I loved dropping four totems – I loved keeping track of them – I loved benefiting the raid based on my totem choice. I really, really hate only dropping one or two totems per fight. It changes the dynamic of the class for the worse, and I’m not sure it’s a hump I’ll be able to get over. I understand the limiting buffs and homogenization crap that Blizzard is trying for – but totems were what the Shaman class was all about. With those nerfed into the ground, I’m just not enjoying myself.
Poor Jujubee. I hope I find some way to enjoy her soon or she’s just going to end up being my Jewelcrafting bish.
I haven’t really touched my Warlock, Druid, Priest, Death Knight, Warrior, Rogue, or Mage – and I don’t know if I intend to right now. My warlocks are on my second account, and I may be shutting that one down for a while come October, once I start getting charged for my main account once more. I never really enjoyed Mage – I just leveled one because I intend to have one of every class at max level. Same goes for Death Knight and Warrior.
Druid and Priest… I really, really want to learn how to play a Druid successfully. It doesn’t help poor Naynia that her gear is absolute trash right now – but I really suck at Balance, so it’s really hard to get up the gumption to run instances on her. And as badly as I want to try out Resto, well – undergeared healers make me cry. I really should sit down with Ambermist or Mhairwen at some point and have one of those fine ladies walk me through what it takes to be a successful Balance/Resto druid.
As for Priest, well… I did some messing around with the new Shadow stuff on the dummies, and I might take Cherie out to play around in a raid. I know Trind was crying about the changes, but they didn’t seem that bad to me and she was putting out pretty nice numbers against the dummy. I do agree that it’s a shame to see so many of the dots no longer, well… dots. It does take away from the class. But I still enjoy Priest and would like to give it a shot. Maybe I should sit down with Puntypriest while I’m at it and see if he can teach me how to heal in a Priestly manner.
Rogue. Ah, Ciprys. I haven’t played her only because she’s too well-geared to need LFR. Come MoP, it will be a different story. For now, she, and her legendaries, are going to have a nice, well-deserved rest.