sod phase 2 shaman new abilities and talents featured article
  • Author: Strong
  • Date: January 20, 2024
  • Updated: January 20, 2024
  • Expansion: WoW Classic

Hail, friend! With February 8th quickly approaching us, we’re diving into expected new abilities and talents for the Shaman Class in Phase 2. With everything in Phase 1 following the path of original Classic — excepting, of course, the presence of Runes — we have a good idea of what talents and abilities will be available at level 40. Many Shaman players from Classic may remember the next 15 levels as being a wellspring of good abilities and scaling talents for Shaman across all three specs. The hope is that Shaman DPS specs can move up a few tiers from the low status they currently occupy, that Shaman tanks remain competitive, and that Restoration Shamans can finally break into the raid-healing world.

New Abilities

This phase sees a number of signature spells added to the Shaman repertoire. Mana Spring provides another mana solution for all three specs if you’re willing to spare the GCD. Reincarnation and Astral Recall will accelerate Shaman leveling; adding a 60-minute cooldown self-resurrect and a 15-minute cooldown hearthstone will reduce corpse runs and enhance movement around the world. And of course core spells such as Chain Lightning and Chain Heal will drastically change the performance and rotations of each spec.

The three keystone or capstone abilities for each talent tree — Elemental Mastery, Stormstrike and Mana Tide Totem — will only be accessible by allocating your 31st point, which effectively prevents you from splashing talent points into any other trees. Players will need to decide whether these keystone abilities are worth the talent points in Phase 2.

One final but crucial new tool for the Shaman’s toolkit is a proficiency rather than ability, and that’s Mail proficiency at level 40. This will add more mitigation to the Shaman’s arsenal, bolstering Shaman tanks’ ability to both receive and dish out damage, as more passive mitigation means more time a Shaman tank can dual-wield for maximum threat generation.

New Ability
Level(s) Learned
26, 36
26, 36
26
28
28
28
30
30
30
30
30, 40
32
32, 40
34
36
38
40
40 (Talent)
40 (Talent)
40 (Talent)

Of course, the core abilities learned up until now have new ranks, with many spells having closer-to-level-cap ranks, such as Lightning Bolt and Flame Shock, of which the highest ranks at max-level in Phase 2 will be 38 and 40 respectively as opposed to Phase 1’s levels 20 and 18. This will definitely be a game changer for Elemental, which has previously found itself beleaguered by low spell ranks in Phase 1.

On the negative side of things, Rockbiter Weapon‘s last skill level will be level 34 at max-level in Phase 2, which will be a little weaker proportionate to the content than Rockbiter Weapon at level 24 has been during Phase 1.

Previous Ability
Level(s) Learned
26, 32, 38
26, 36
28, 40
28, 36
28, 38
28, 38
30, 40
30, 40
32
32, 40
32
32, 40
34
34
34
36
36
38

New Talents

Shaman has always been highly dependent on gear and the right talents, and Phase 2 will bring new talents, the lack thereof which has proved troublesome for Shaman DPS specs.

Enhancement Shamans will finally be able to max out both Toughness and Flurry, granting increased armor and attack speed respectively, and will have access to the Elemental Weapons talent, which will buff up the Shaman’s weapon enchantments; the 20% increase to Rockbiter Weapon‘s AP at Rank 3 will be a must for tanking shamans. The single point in Parry is also a huge boon for Enhancement in the tank role and PVP and should help tremendously with mitigating damage in PVE. DPS Enhancement Shamans are likely looking to max out both Weapon Mastery and Flurry to be maximally effective.

The Stormstrike capstone is likely a no-brainer for DPS Enhancement Shamans to take, but the usefulness needs to be tested for tanks specifically. The Nature damage increase of 20% won’t help a tank shaman using primarily Level 1 Earth Shock, and most of the Shaman’s threat will come from physical damage from melee attacks; but it does add damage to party members dealing nature damage like Elemental Shamans, Assassination Rogues and Balance Druids.

Elemental Shamans see arguably the biggest upgrades for the Shaman DPS specs, and around levels 30-40 is where they start to shine in single-target damage. Lightning Mastery reduces the cast times of Lightning Bolt and Chain Lightning by .2 for every talent point, increasing throughput substantially. Elemental Fury increases the critical strike damage bonus of your core spells and fire totems by 100%, which effectively brings online critical strike as a must have stat for Elemental Shamans.

The Elemental Mastery capstone offers a useful 3-minute cooldown that can provide huge bursts of damage, which can be devastating in PVP but not as impactful in PVE. Queuing a hard cast spell like Lightning Bolt or Chain Lightning, you can follow up with an instant shock for both of them to receive the guaranteed critical strike chance. Use it on cooldown during boss fights to really squeeze the value out of it, and use it for sudden bursts to kill that pesky Discipline Priest in PVP.

Restoration Shamans are granted some talents focused on throughput and percentage-based scaling along with two major cooldowns. Tidal Mastery will add much needed critical strike just in time for Chain Heal, adding lots of value to those bounces as each has the opportunity to crit. Purification increases heal “effectiveness” at 2% per point allocation, which universally buffs all healing you do. Healing Way is a must for tank-healing Restoration Shamans, and Restorative Totems will make you beloved in any caster group. Finally, Nature’s Swiftness grants the Shaman a sorely-needed instant heal, albeit on a 3-minute cooldown; it’s more of a “panic” button, but it can be used on cooldown for that oh-so-necessary trash parse.

The Mana Tide Totem capstone is non-negotiable for a Restoration Shaman and is the second spell behind Shamanistic Rage that grants mana to everyone in the caster’s group when cast. It’s essentially a free mana potion for everyone in the party to be used at the Shaman’s discretion. Coupled with Water Shield and Tidal Focus, the Mana Tide Totem talent should address any mana concerns that Restoration Shamans may have moving into Phase 2.

Looking Ahead

Elemental

Compared to Phase 1, skills available in Phase 2 look only to bolster the DPS rotation for Elemental Shaman, adding Chain Lightning to the mix, which can be used for its full mana cost or with a well-timed Elemental Focus proc. Along with reduced cast time, increased critical strike chance and a unique 100% increase to critical strike damage, all from talents, Elemental Shaman should be able to lift itself from the doldrums of its lower-tier DPS performance during Phase 1 into something more competitive. Hopefully.

Enhancement

Likely the least-changed spec, as most of the heavy-hitting abilities for Enhancement have been available upfront or in the form of gameplay-transforming runes like Way of Earth and Dual Wield Specialization. The scaling of new Enhancement talents won’t be as impactful as those for Elemental, but the addition of a new cooldown in the form of Stormstrike may be just the magic needed for Enhancement DPS to rise in the charts. We’ll see if the mana bars of Enhancement Shamans will be able to withstand Stormstrike‘s “21% of base mana” cost when already competing with mana-heavy spells like Molten Blast.

Restoration

Another highly-improved spec in Phase 2 will be Restoration, with the addition of Chain Heal, Nature’s Swiftness and Mana Tide Totem. Both Chain Heal and Healing Wave will have their ability levels maxed at 40, so there’ll be a mix of spell-ranks to utilize in PVE content; new talents like Purification make downranking that much better and will bring more value to plus Spell Power, which is the most important Restoration stat for throughput. The new talents available are much like those available for Enhancement: they’re mainly additive and not game-breaking, but they will increase the healing throughput of Restoration Shamans overall. The question remains whether or not raid-sizes will increase to the point where Chain Heal‘s smart healing will make it the most efficient healing spell in the game as it was in original Classic. I guess we’ll see in Phase 2!

 

About the Author

Strong

Thrall is the best Warcraft character; tell me I'm wrong. Long-time Blizzard fan who thinks that gnomes are the worst type of people and rogues don't tip (except into your spine). Flying mounts should never have been added to the game, and playing 12 hours of WoW a day just makes you "dedicated."
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