Regional FlagEnhancement lacks theme, directionSource
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#0 - 2010/08/29 12:30:47 AM
I've played my Enhancement Shaman as my main since I started playing WoW, shortly before the TBC release. The longer I play, and the more alts I level the more I feel that the Enhancement spec lacks an overarching theme or direction. What I mean by that is, all specs have a theme, a point of reference, an aesthetic that dictates how that spec plays, i.e., fire mages set things on fire, frost mages freeze them, demonology warlocks turn into demons, feral druids are savage beasts, elemental shaman wield lightning. I could go on (using up to 29 examples in fact) but I think you get the idea. Every spec in the game has some theme that accurately suits it and its abilities and talents follow that theme. Perhaps I've been too close to it for too long but I feel that Enhancement lacks a defining characteristic in this manner, or that it is less tangible than in other specs.

In Vanilla the spec was pretty self explanatory and straight forward. If you spec'd Enhancement you got to use a big 2Her and WTF-WF people. Throughout BC, WotLK and coming into Cataclysm this has certainly changed and I don't feel like there is a unifying aesthetic to the spec any longer. It often feels like the purpose of the spec (the talents) is to enable us to throw the entire Shaman spellbook at bosses. We're all over the place. We have two melee strikes, but the majority of the abilities we use are spells. We have many mechanics and abilities we use to DPS but they don't converge or have a common point of reference like in other specs.

We have a lot of mechanics and abilities but they don't seem to add up to anything that resembles a common theme. It feels like; here's a mechanic that makes two abilities work together, here's another, and another and a bunch of uncontrollable melee procs. That's the spec. I don't feel like I have a real identity when I DPS as Enhancement. It feels more like I'm just barely managing to utilize damn near every available tool at a Shaman's disposal to DPS, all kept afloat by a few talents that tie 2 or 3 abilities together but never manage to tie everything together. It feels overly complex, as if in the absence of a singular identity that our abilities are referenced to we just use as many abilities as we possibly can. Kind of like fruit cake. A lot of different ingredients that don't really tie together nicely.

Based on the description at the talent tree pane we're supposed to be totemic warriors, using weapons imbued with elemental power. The description, for me anyway, brings to mind the Tauren Warrior-Shamans like Cairne who wield those huge totem weapons. What does it actually translate to though? As Enhancement we have two melee strikes and the imbues we use are the same ones any Shaman could use. We have no real interaction with our totems, whether or not we use them has no effect on our gameplay at all. The only thing that makes us more Warrior-like compared to the other specs is that we melee. Other than that, we actually have less armor than the caster Shaman specs and less health, things that normally distinguish melee. Even the name is no longer apt at this point. We aren't a buffing spec anymore. Enhancement only brings to mind commercials of a man with a creepily large smile and his wife with an even creepier smile.

An example I could give of the kind of theme I wish we had is that I've always thought Shaman might be better off if the specs were renamed "Lightning", "Earth & Fire" and "Water" and were re-organized accordingly. Though, it wouldn't be inaccurate to say that Elemental and Resto already function largely in that regard. It's Enhancement that lacks focus. I'm not offering that up as a serious suggestion per se, the point is I'm sure you can think of ways how that would help solidify a theme for the spec. So, what's the design direction of our spec supposed to be? What is the theme? The flavor? The overarching aesthetic? If there is one I can't discern what it is. Right now the spec feels like a hodgepodge of mechanics, schools and abilities with no common direction.

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#77 - 2010/09/04 11:18:59 PM

In my experience, every time I read one of these "lack of focus" or "we don't have a role" threads, it's nearly always because the players are looking for something very different in the class than what it offers and are trying to steer things in a different direction. As such, we generally don't get much useful feedback out of these "existential crisis" kinds of discussions.

Think really hard about what it is you're asking for. Are you trying to turn Enhancement into a Fury warrior? Are you trying to make a true hybrid that fills many roles at once? Do you just want to be the superhero that always saves your party? Or are you just busting with spell ideas that you'd like to see get implemented? Try and stick with the details and not the big picture from 10,000 feet high. What is the problem you're trying to solve? The intent of the spec design isn't something you need to solve. Figuring out the rough edge that don't feel right is where you can be more helpful.

Enhancement is a spec designed around combining melee weapons strikes with spells. They also have totems and weapon enchants. Almost all of the talents in the tree support that direction. If half of your talents were trying to turn you into a healer and half of them were trying to turn you into a tank or something, then I'd understand the "no consistent direction" feedback. But that's not what the tree does at all. Stormstrike boosts weapon and spell damage. That is the tree in a nutshell. Other talents boost melee damage or spell damage or both. There are a few survival-oriented talents that should have even more use in PvE in the Cataclysm environment, but are still optional.

Feedback on which abilities you like or dislike or talents you find useful or not useful is totally appropriate and appreciated. The whole "we're adrift at sea without a direction" nearly always comes across as QQ at best or "here is my pet list of talents" at worst (whether it was intended to or not) so my advice is just to avoid it.

I'm not trying to shoot down the feedback. I'm trying to steer it into a format that is more likely to produce the kind of results that I sense you're really looking for.