It's been a busy two months for me between wrapping up my current job and doing a bunch of work on a 1900's-era house I bought recently, so I haven't had much time for blogging. I do plan on getting back into it, but it'll be a couple more weeks before I can get back to regular posting. I've been working intermittently on updating the gear calculator spreadsheet, so should hopefully have an improved version when I start posting again, and I'm looking forward to delving into how the 2.4 changes (once they're fully announced) will affect our class. So stay tuned, but it'll be a few more weeks, I'm afraid.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
When Blizzard asked for class feedback, they asked posters to highlight class issues they felt need improvement, but did not want suggestions on how to fix these percieved deficiencies. I can certainly understand why they wouldn't want to clutter the thread with suggestions (especially as many forum posters have a rather short-sighted view of the game — "ZOMG, give us a 'Kill Warlock' instant spell! K Thx Bai!"), but that doesn't keep each of us from wondering "Just what would I do to 'fix' our class?"
I came up with my own list of shaman issues and have had ideas for improvements percolating through my brain since then. The biggest problem when coming up with solutions is to ensure that they're balanced, remain true to the class concept (much as some would argue Blizzard doesn't have one for shaman), and aren't simply going to generate more issues. Not an easy task and one that I've had a lot of fun mulling over the last few days.
Totems are clearly the biggest issue for shaman, but are also our most defining characteristic. I've seen all sorts of suggestions ranging from providing zone-wide buffs, to having their effect centered on the shaman, to having a chance to stun players and mobs when attacked. For the most part, I've found these suggestions to either be overpowered (can you imagine the forest of totems deep in the AV starting caves if they were zone-wide?) or completely abandoning the current system altogether. Although no solution is perfect, I have a couple thoughts for improvements that would help make the system less cumbersome while still maintaining balance for both PvE and PvP.
In general, I think the shaman talents are pretty good, but there's definitely a few issues with them, much like many other classes. Several talents are "must haves" while others are nearly worthless. In addition, the enhancement and elemental trees have very few talents desired by anyone not going deep into them, reducing the synergy that you ideally want in hybrid classes.
Posted by Draezele at 11:18 PM
Friday, December 7, 2007
Blizzard has posted on all of the class-specific forums asking where each class is most in need of improvement - both in general and for specific spells, abilities and talents. They've asked responders to limit themselves to three general comments (of one to two sentences) and five specific abilities, and also specifically asked for responders to not provide suggestions. If you're interested, please take a moment to respond on either the American or European forum. Of course a good portion of the posts I've read have completely ignored these requests, but reading comprehension was never a strong suit on the official forums anyhow.
From my perspective, the major issues with the shaman class are:
As for specific abilities that need reevaluation, I think my choices would be:
Posted by Draezele at 12:32 AM
Thursday, December 6, 2007
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
I'm always creating spreadsheets of gear available to my characters so that I know which items are worthwhile upgrades. They're generally pretty minimalistic and require a lot of manual modification, but after creating the spreadsheet for my Healing Gear Rankings, I realized that I had a great framework to create a more generic tool for restoration shaman gear. It took me a while to create a format I liked and to add all the features that I wanted, but I think it's finally ready for release!
Edit 12/5: Somewhere along the line, I added a column which messed up the profile saving and loading macros. I've uploaded a new version (dated 120507) with corrected macros.
Among the features of this spreadsheet are:
- A (hopefully) complete listing of end-game healing gear available to a restoration shaman.
- Calculates the "Healing Equivalent Points" (HEP) values based on your character's current gear, talents, buffs/consumables, and your playstyle.
- Generates a customized, printable list of top upgrades available to your character based on your raid group's current progression.
- Allows you to save and load two separate profiles for different characters or for different combat situations (e.g. PvE vs. PvP).
Frequently Asked Questions
What exactly are "Healing Equivalent Points?"
HEP is defined as the improvement in overall healing output after raising the bonus healing stat by one. The theory behind the HEP calculations is explained in my Comparing Healing Gear series.
What are the "weights" used with the HEP values?
These values represent the relative importance of each stat. For example, I typically assign a weight of 20% to spell haste as I feel that a 5% increase in casting speed is roughly equivalent to a 1% increase in overall healing output. Likewise, I feel that improving my survivability by 10% is roughly as important as a 1% increase in healing output, so assign a weight of 10% (I further reduce Armor by half since it only reduces physical damage). These values are not hard-coded to allow you to assign your own preferences.
What is saved to a profile?
All user-defined variables (everything in blue text on a white background) are saved to the profile: gear, stat weightings, talents, gem selections, etc. The gear lists are not automatically sorted by HEP, however, so be certain to re-sort after loading a different profile.
What do you mean by "up" time and "use of on-use" items?
These refer to how much of the fight you're receiving the benefits of Water Shield and Mana Spring. A value of 100% means you're casting them as soon as they expire. If you're using Earth Shield on yourself for half the fight and then Water Shield for the second half, you would use a value of 50%.
The use of "on use" items gives an estimation of how consistently you use these items. For example, an item on a two minute cooldown could theoretically be used five times during a 10-minute fight. However, if you find yourself only using it two to three times a fight, your "use" would be closer to 50%. Unfortunately, this value applies to all on-use items at this time.
Are set bonuses included in the HEP values of items?
By default, they are not, but there is an option on the HEP tab to include it. The HEP value then has the effects of the set bonus added to each item, divided by the number of items required for the bonus. I chose not to include the bonuses by default as the value depends greatly on the situation (a third piece has a higher value only if you intend to get a fourth, for example).
What exactly does the "Upgrade" value mean?
The Upgrade value represents the raw improvement over your currently equipped item. This value includes all HEP values, including survivability stats, and is modified by the weightings assigned on the HEP tab. This means that if you assigned a 10% weight to Stamina and the item is a 1% upgrade to healing output and a 5% upgrade to your health, it would have a +1.5% Upgrade value (1% + 5%*10%).
What do the "Use?" columns mean?
This column indicates whether you receive a larger benefit by gemming for the socket bonus. A "Yes" indicates that you're better off going for the socket bonus. A "No" indicates that placing the highest-HEP gems will give you a better value. The difference in HEP value is displayed for all "No" answers to let you know just how close the difference is. In some cases, you may want to ignore the "best" combination, especially when trying to meet meta gem requirements.
I found an error! Something's not working! I have a suggestion!
I'm hoping this tool will be useful to as many players as possible, so if you find an error or have a suggestion, please let me know! You can either post a comment, or send me email (Draezele at gmail dot com).
Posted by Draezele at 11:24 PM