Life in the Slow Lane

Warp Speed Plz WE NEED TO GO TO PLAID

Warp Speed Plz
WE NEED TO GO TO PLAID

Okay.  Now that Bombelina’s been at 100 for a bit, I’ve gotten the Silver proving grounds requirement done for her DPS spec and I’ve had a chance to run a few dungeons, some normal and some heroic.  The proving grounds weren’t bad once I remembered which waves were what mobs, as NOT GETTING STUNNED helped with polishing a wave off with time to spare, which in turn let me prepare for the next by dropping my Capacitator Combustostunulator Totem, refreshing my Searing Totem and throwing out an Earthquake for the extra damage.

Dungeons?  Well …

We've Earned It So much wiping.  So much.

We’ve Earned It
So much wiping. So much.

Grimrail Depot: Bleh.  Can we talk camera angles?  I can’t see sheeyit, which is an issue, as I’ve accidentally pulled things more than once – I’ll think that I’ve tab-targeted THAT orc right in front of the tank, but it turns out to be that OTHER orc over THERE that I couldn’t see because of some crap hanging from the ceiling.  Also, my camera zooms in and out like it’s drunk.

Should Probably Shut Up Now But what if there are WATERLANDS too!?

Should Probably Shut Up Now
But what if there are WATERLANDS too!?

Shadowmoon Burial Grounds: Oooh, this one is purple, and that’s my favorite color!  But dear Gawd in heaven above, Ner’zhul is killer on dungeon groups who can’t coordinate worth crap.

The Birdhouse Skyreach: I don’t know why, but I seem to be super-challenged by narrow path wind mazes.  That one priest who tried to Life Grip me out had good intentions, but he probably wasn’t predicting that the wind on the stairs would blow me off said stairs to my death.  There’s also lag there, since my computer is old and reacts to the dramatic view distance by freaking the hell out.

Everbloom: What’s going on?  Where are we?  What the hell is with all these stupid golden flowers everywhere?

BOOMERANG ROCKS Who knew rocks could return to whoever threw 'em?

BOOMERANG ROCKS
Who knew rocks could return to whoever threw ’em?

Bloodmaul Slag Mines: Who let ogres have fire?  And who put a boss fight on a narrow bridge with giant stunning boulders of fiery death going back and forth?  Seriously, the only way they could’ve made that more painful for me was by placing the fight on some bridge made of STAIRS.  If I’m not getting my casts interrupted by dodging, I’m getting run over and stunned, and if it’s not either of those, then sorry, I can’t reincarnate right now, because I fell off the bridge and am in the lava.

No Invisible Wall Here Trust me, I tested.

No Invisible Wall Here
Trust me, I tested.

UBRS: Man, I so don’t remember Zaela having a batsheeyit crazyass voice prior to this expac … other than that, WE’RE ALL ON FIRE AND CAN WE KILL THOSE DRAKES OR SOMETHING BECAUSE FIRE NEVER MIND WE WIPED.

Dungeons have also made me reconsider which character I “main,” in the sense that I prioritize some alts over others.

In Cataclysm, I was so bad at shaman healing and so indifferent with elemental, I deleted my never-maxed shaman alt.  Then, I loved shaman in Mists.  Most importantly, the casting speeds were quick enough to work with my button mashing tendencies, while 300k mana meant that said button mashing didn’t cripple me when I got a little excited and went overboard – I could get my groove on with the rotation, if you know what I mean.  The rotation wasn’t too damn complex and it wasn’t overly reliant on procs that I couldn’t depend on (I HATE YOU FROST MAGE), while having just enough shiny button procs to keep things interesting.  The automatic double cast with Echo of the Elements made me feel like a default badass BECAUSE MORE CASTING.  Basically, Echo of the Elements made it like HAHAHAHAHA OMFG LAVA AND LIGHTNING EVERYWHERE HAHAHAHA.  I could use Lightning Bolt while moving, I loved my lightning elemental buddy from the SoO tier gear, and Ghost Wolf was like my next favorite thing ever. Bored while waiting for a pull, you say?  Ghost wolf and /dance!  I could DPS!  I could switch and heal!  I was versatile before Versatility existed!

Of course, the Powers That Be decreed this state of affairs wasn’t challenging enough.

I Miss Mine More Than You Miss Yours Uh, on second thought, since we died because of yours ...

I Miss Mine More Than You Miss Yours
Uh, on second thought, since we died because of yours …

Now, it feels like I am SO FREAKISHLY SLOW unless I get lucky with procs.  If we’re fighting mobs with minor amounts of HP (think the tiny trash spiders in Shadowmoon Burial Grounds), I may not even get a single cast off (depending on the competence of melee).  I’ve also noticed that my DPS has gone down the tubes to a degree that’s beyond “no longer wearing tier gear.”  Not only am I slow – I’m wimpy.  (In those cases where I am the top DPS in a dungeon, which has happened, we are totally slow and sometimes just effed, i.e., Ner’zhul.)  Is it because I don’t get as many spells off?  Is it because I hate the global cooldown triggered by Unleash Weapon when it feels like every freaking second counts if I want to get one damned cast in, and not using Unleash Weapon All The Time reduces your overall output by a crapton?  I’m not looking to be top DPS – I know that I don’t have the gear I used to.  It’s just that Shaman used to be a thing where I didn’t have to be some sort of freaking master gamer to land at #2 or #3 in terms of damage – I just had to pay attention and prioritize.  Now, even when I try hard, I’m still left way far behind.

The slow casting makes my button mashing tendencies worse because I get frustrated.  It’s a good thing that the red “that spell isn’t ready yet” messages disappear off the screen after about three of ’em or so – otherwise my screen would be covered.  I feel frustrated when a mob is already mostly dead and I still haven’t finished my first cast yet, which causes me to hit the buttons JUST BECAUSE CAST ALREADY DAMMIT.  Sometimes, my low DPS makes me irritated because it’s somehow not worth all the time I spent casting.  I also get annoyed when tanks pull two mobs instead of three, because I want the maximum number of charges on Earthquake for Gawd’s sake, HELP ME OUT HERE.

And I miss casting while moving, a lot.  I had one freaking spell I could use like that.  But nooooOOOOooooo that was TOO EASY, or something.  So now, not only can we NOT cast while moving in general (yes yes, I know, Spiritwalker’s Grace, which I use in tandem with Ascendance because OMFG does it PISS ME OFF when I use Ascendance and then have to interrupt my casts in order to move), we got a bunch of dungeon encounters where you have to move or DIE (OMFG NER’ZHUL), which means I get interrupted more often than not because I have to skedaddle.  Since I feel like my casts are slow right now, it starts to seem like getting a spell off AT ALL is something akin to a miracle.  All in the name of “challenge,” right?  Well, I call that sorta situation a PITA.

Not As Advertised Supposed to stop Fear, Charm, etc.  FAILS.

Not As Advertised
Supposed to stop Fear, Charm, etc. FAILS.

Also, dude, WTF, my tremor totem used to be, you know, USEFUL.  Now it doesn’t do a damned thing for Fear effects in dungeons, even though it says it should.  I am filled with small-time hate over that.

I know Blizzard can’t make everybody happy, and part of my problem is hanging onto the idea of the shaman as my main even when it’s obvious things have changed in a way my playstyle is not compatible with.  So my other two Horde options are Thermalix (ye old hunter), and Ignitine (goblin warlock with bad ideas).  From what I’ve seen through Dungeon Finder, neither class is derping quite as much as shaman is right now.  On the one hand, I wouldn’t have to worry about cast times or moving while casting on Thermalix.  On the other, Ignitine gets less crap simply by virtue of not being a hunter, and warlocks still have a lot of oomph.

Tangent: Can I just say I’m terrified of healing right now?  I’ve only done the Bronze proving grounds and haven’t even tried healing a real group, mostly because I’ve been watching the HP in these dungeons, and it seems clear that weaker healers struggle with the current setup.  (This goes for almost every single holy paladin I’ve met so far …)  It’s almost like the game design thought process is, “make mobs hit hard and make healing spells weaker, because keeping somebody at max health isn’t exciting or challenging!”  In practice, when one’s competence is determined by “keeping people alive” and that is most effectively done by keeping their HP as far away from death as possible, not having the same oomph sucks.  “This will limit healing to people who really want to do it,” you say.  “Only the people who are decent at it will do it!”  I guess so.  But putting the annoyance factor so high stops people from healing on the side, trying out a new spec or helping guildies/friends by healing a dungeon for ’em – and that seems like an overall loss.

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11 thoughts on “Life in the Slow Lane

  1. Matty

    Once again you have expressed everything in my head and you added a kitten. You have my undying loyalty and WTF fear totem??? I noticed that too, the bastards.

    Reply
    1. Prinnie Powah Post author

      I have been told there is a magical thread out there somewhere, in which people point out just how bad shaman is currently by making equally bad/actually awesome jokes. My two favorites that were told to me:

      “Shaman is so bad right now, ‘Spirit Wolves’ was renamed to ‘Guide Dogs.'”

      “My shaman is so bad, Honda won’t even sell me an Element!”

      Reply
  2. repgrind

    I …

    Yeah. Speechless pretty much covers it. I haven’t tried healing since the 6.0 patch that changed everything, so I can’t really comment on what healing is like now. I CAN say, however, that based on what I’ve seen while doing all of the dungeons as ret … OMGWTF there is NO WAY I want to even think about going back to healing.

    Reply
    1. Leit

      It’s like they don’t remember early/mid Cata, when they decided to make healing “challenging” and *fucking no-one queued as healer as a result*.

      Sigh.

      Reply
  3. kamaliaetalia

    Re: Tremor Totem — I KNOW! Not being able to use Tremor Totem *while feared* makes it effectively useless because I am not coordinated enough to drop it proactively instead of reactively — not to mention I don’t have the free attention and GCD to drop it proactively, with the way healing goes these days. I also miss the old poison cleansing totem very dearly.

    It only took me two tries to get the silver for healing in Proving Grounds — it felt a bit easier, actually, than the Mists version, but I still probably won’t try for gold anytime soon. Healing LFD as a Shaman has been sufficiently stressful that I’ve found myself reluctant to solo-queue. Thus, I still haven’t seen most of the dungeons or done most of the Inn dungeon quests. That rolling meteor boss in Slag Mines traumatized me so badly the first time I went in there that I’ve never gone there again.

    Reply
    1. Prinnie Powah Post author

      I haven’t done the dungeons enough to remember which mobs cast fears, which makes it hard to drop it proactively. D:

      I keep on trying to write a smarter comment but I just moved and everything is a mess, my brain included.

      Reply
      1. kamaliaetalia

        This past week, though, since the raids opened up, the dungeons feel a lot easier to heal. It’s not that I’m any better geared, given that I haven’t done any raiding yet (and nor have my minions), but that everyone else is. I still lose people, but in general I’m not OOMing and panicking nearly so much anymore.

        Reply
  4. Talarian

    Maybe try Enhance? Get the spell casting pew pew with none of the cast times and still capable of DPSing on the move. I might be biased, though.

    Tremor totem, yes, that made me sad 😦 it’s still useful if you remember in time, which for me right now is about 50/50 depending on the encounter. Nerfed for PvP, affects PvE 😦

    Reply

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