Category: New Hotness

4.0 Shaman Impressions


I’ve been hearing that some people are unhappy with the current state of shaman healing. My view may be skewed, as I never had the opportunity to heal with my shaman much pre-4.0, but I for one find it to be highly capable. I got my shaman to 80 just before 4.0 hit, and I wasn’t planning on doing much with him until cataclysm. Then I found a bunch of cheap BOE armor on the auction house, and since I’m sucker for shiny new purples, bought it. Then of course, I got on a few guild runs into ICC, and now I’ve healed 10/12 in 10 man. So much for my plans not to play him until cataclysm.

Anyway, resto seems to work quite well. I feel like I have a lot of different tools for different needs. Healing wave and greater healing wave aren’t being used much at the moment. I just can’t wait that damned long for a cast to finish. I never experienced chain heal prior to the nerfs, so it might hit for quite a bit less than it used to, but it still feels very valuable. I’m certainly not spamming any heal, but really seem to be weaving skills based upon what is needed.

Planning ahead on totems throws an interesting twist to the healing equation.

Not being able to cleanse disease makes me very sad though. I know this will be less of a problem in cataclysm, where the major things that have to be dispelled pronto will all be magic, but in current content, this can create problems, especially when we try to 2 heal with myself and a druid.



This is what I used to level to 80 with, and it really doesn’t seem to have changed much. But since I’ve never raided as enhancement, I don’t have the experience to really speak about the changes much. I know that while questing in enhancement, I’m still totally unstoppable.

Overall, I still love my shaman, and he’s just still right behind the druid in the queue to get to level 85.


4.0 Druid Impressions

Bear Tanking:

We’ve been hit by the great AOE threat nerf of 4.0 with the changes to swipe.  But other than that, bear tanking is still pretty much pure win.  The only thing I’m struggling with is trying to keep pulverize up.  If I’ve got plenty of rage such that I’m using maul pretty regularly, I find that pulverize has fallen off before I’ve got lacerate triple stacked again.  It’s also kind of a bummer that as soon as I get lacerate stacked to full effectiveness, I’m consuming it with pulverize.  I would love to be able to keep pulverize up and at least a few seconds of a triple stacked lacerate at the same time.

No big deal though, on single target threat, I’m pretty unstoppable, even though I’m still rocking the lovely i200 Staff of trickery.  The great thing about bear tanking over death knight tanking that I’ve seen so far is that I’m not feeling resource locked, and there is always something I can do with each and every GCD.  This makes tanking feel far more active rather than the “pop skills and hope dps doesn’t pull aggro” method of DK tanking.


Oh permanent tree form, how I miss you.  Now I’m just another male night elf doing the horrible male night elf casting animation.  I miss the swaying of my branches.  I’ve had to retrain myself a little bit.  Regrowth is the new flash heal, rather than the long hot, and lifebloom can only be cast on one target now.  So that’s taking some getting used to.  But the first time I cast efflorescence?  I nearly soiled myself.  It is pure awesome.  The first thing I did was walk into the green goo of pretty leaves and bask in the awesomeness of druidity (damn spell check, that is a perfectly cromulent word).

4.0 Death Knight Impressions

Tanking:  Blood spec and blood presence are required.  There are no other options.  A group I was in the other night had to kick a DK tank because he was in frost presence and refused multiple requests in party chat to change.  Don’t be a fail DK tank.  Be one with the blood.

As a DK tank, your aoe threat should be enough to keep mobs off the healer, unless that healer is also dps’ing, in which case, you might be screwed.

Good luck practicing the new tanking methods in current content.  I found that in order to get aoe threat, I needed to get death and decay down, icy touch and plague strike on my main target, and pestilence to spread it around.  By then I should be far enough ahead that dps can begin.  Of course, that’s 4 gcd’s and 6 seconds, and how many dps do you know who want to wait that long to hit stuff?  What usually happened is that I would get off death and decay and icy touch, and the dps (who were at least assisting me) would kill the main mob before I could get pestilence to spread the diseases around and blood boil.  So then I would frantically try to get threat on the rest of the mobs, but they would die before I could really affect anything.
It’s frustrating to say the least.

I’m actually tempted to try some aoe tanking just using death and decay and blood boil spam and see if that’s an improvement.  At least it won’t matter when my primary target dies.  Threat may be crap, but I’m already losing threat to all of the DPS in the group.

On single mobs, I didn’t find that I had many threat problems, except that rune strike doesn’t seem to be available as often as I expected, so I found myself using death coil more often as a runic power dump.  If this gets resolved, then single target threat should go up nicely.

Survivability is okay, but not great, as our armor has been significantly nerfed.  All tanks feel much more squishy now.  Of course, we DK’s now have a plethora of defensive cooldowns which is nice.
The worst part, by far, about blood DK tanking is being rune locked.  This is enough that I might not be tanking with my DK in cataclysm.

After the patch and my addons were stable, one of my guildies asked me to tank a “quick” 5 man for him.  In what I can only describe as an RNG curse, we get heroic halls of reflection.
Gauntlet fights as a DK tank (and possibly as any tank with the overall nerfs to all tanks) are the most frustrating gameplay I’ve ever encountered.

How the fuck does blizzard expect me to tank a gauntlet fight where mobs come in successive waves several seconds apart?  Adds were on the healer and there wasn’t a damn thing I could do about it.  Both taunts were on CD, runes were locked, RP is empty, empower rune weapon is on CD. WTF blizz!?  If there are gauntlet fights in cataclysm like this, I will curse blizzard to the day I die.

Unholy DPS:  Dark transformation is cool.  DPS’ing in unholy presence feels different, but I like the faster rune generation.  Unholy DPS seems to have been buffed in 4.0.  I was able to pull 5k on the boss dummy with no buffs, in tier 9, crap trinkets, and still figuring out the priority situation.  The new default power auras are…interesting.  I would like the ability to turn certain ones on or off, or even turn them all off, as I’m already used to building my own with the power auras addon.

I am going to try to save my general opinions on each role and overall mechanics for another post after I’ve had time to hash out my feelings on the individual classes I play the most.

4.0 Priest Impressions

With my discipline spec, I seem slow.  Between the stat changes and the nerf to borrowed time, I feel lethargic in my casting.  I might try gemming and reforging for more haste to see if that will liven me up again.  I’ve also been running into an issue where my cast bar, action bar, etc. all tell me that power word: shield is ready to be casted again, yet when I try I get the “ability not ready yet” error, so I have to give it a split second more until I can cast it.  I’m not sure what is causing this, i.e. lag, addons, bug, whatever.  It’s irritating.

Heal is a worthless spell at this point in time.  For as little as it heals for and as long as it takes, I don’t see the point.  If mana becomes such a huge issue that I have to resort to casting this spell, then I can only hope that my party is only being tickled by damage.

I went with an atonement spec, because apparently this is the new hotness and it’s how us disc priests are supposed to be healing in cataclysm.  I’ve got my power auras all setup to help me know when I should pop my wings.  In the infinite mana situation I’m currently in at 80, I don’t really need it at all, but when I do pop it, I sure do get some hefty mana back.  I can definitely see this as valuable in a mana starved healing environment.  In current 5 mans, I’ve got plenty of time to smite, and I’m seeing a decent amount of healing from atonement by doing this.  However, I’m concerned about where I’m going to get the gcd’s to actually smite often enough to use this in cataclysm.  With the long casting time of my efficient heal and the pathetic heal amount, I’m just not sure where it’s really going to come into play if I have to be spamming heal just to keep the group up without going out of mana.

In my shadow spec, I really didn’t notice a whole lot of differences.  I’m not attempting the shadow word: death spam tactic, as I know this is already being targeted for a nerf.  I can barely see the shadow orbs, and once again, power auras helps me keep track of the related changes.  Occasionally I see my shadowy apparition cruise over to my target to explode, which is kinda novel.  Other than that, it seems pretty much business as usual.  Since I’ve got the 4 piece T10 bonus, I haven’t been mind blasting much at all prior to the 4.0 patch, especially with my infinite mana.  Now with the shadow orbs, I’ve at least got some motivation to mind blast from time to time again.

On the boss dummy, I was able to pull 7k without much effort, no cooldowns, no cool dps trinket procs (still haven’t picked up any nice ones).

I haven’t even tried a holy spec yet.  The chakra mechanic sounds interesting, but might just turn into another 30 second buff we need to figure out how to maintain.  From what I’ve been hearing so far, holy seems to have more mana issues at 80 than disc, so for now I’m sticking with disc, especially as that’s my given role in my guild raids.