Enhancement in Shadowlands: We Got 99 Bugs and They Just Fixed One
Given how many interlocking mechanics exist in World of Warcraft, some bugs here or there are to be expected and much like any spec Enhancement has ran into these with varying degrees of impact for over a decade. Shadowlands however, has ended up with an unprecedented number of very impactful bugs hitting Enhancement that have lasted for an extended time.
Expansions are supposed to be the factory reset on design and community perception, so when harmful bugs remain at launch it ends up staining a spec and Enhancement is one that has struggled to get good attention for a while, which is a shame. Considering this expansion is a revert on a Legion rework and a “return to old form” of sorts, it’s surprising just how many things have been broken in that swap. Below I’ll be explaining the major bugs in-depth, a list of some of the lower impact bugs, and lastly a little section at the end for extreme bugs that have been fixed but existed at launch (in some cases for a while) and warped parts of the opening patch of Shadowlands.
Overview on the Maelstrom Weapon Swing Reset
May 19th hotfix
note caused some confusion about whether our spec had been buffed or nerfed (it was absolutely a buff). Below we’ll be discussing how much of an impact the
swing reset bug had on the flow of Enhancement’s rotation and its overall performance; however, it’s worth emphasizing that the bug wasn’t completely fixed - a handful of abilities still cause the same thing to happen, including:
’s (PvP Talent) secondary trigger.
Why it Was Really Bad
The important first note is that while in some other games an “auto-reset” means that you immediately swing after casting the spell, here it was flushing any progress toward your next autoattack swing and setting you back to zero. This means that due to the Global Cooldown being lower than our swing timer, you could potentially delay it significantly depending on the time cast.
Enhancement has a massive number of effects that are proc based, many that share chances with abilities but autos are a consistent interim source to trigger them as well.
are all core procs depending on build, and having these displaced can have knock-on effects of slowing the rotation drastically and increasing variance.
The bug has probably existed since at least the launch of Shadowlands based on logs checked. The problem is when you look at an Enhancement log at face value, there are a whole lot of events that muddy it up and make it hard to see as shown by the below image - and picking out a bug from mechanics becomes a pretty big task unless you already suspect/know it is there, and can exclude other effects from the log table.
Given that we rely on a multitude of procs, and many of them are sourced from auto attacks, this means that all of this leads to painful droughts. Our best sources of
is auto attacks, but spending
pauses these - and we only expend these when we are capped or out of other buttons to press. Therefore, when you use it often you have nothing better, and nothing to follow up (unless something procs, which is inherently delayed by the AA reset).
How Long Has This Been Holding Enhancement Down?
It’s fairly stark in the below image that after this is fixed the spec has jumped up drastically - more so than any other event in recent logs. The data speaks for itself on how harsh this bug was on average gameplay, and it was something we’ve had to deal with for the entirety of Nathria.
The Windfury Totem Situation
A number of under-the-hood bugs have been negatively affecting the value of
for the entirety of Shadowlands, which hasn’t helped the spec’s already limited desirability. Dual-wield specializations are particularly affected by these bugs - to the point that the benefits of having the totem are barely perceptible for the majority. This has compounded together to increase the already negative community perception of how valuable Enhancement is (
), especially when the one unique tool we have doesn’t encourage players to gamble on giving it a spot in the PvE meta. While the PTR has addressed one of the core issues (the rank 2 bonus now correctly increases the chance to 20% for party members, rather than leaving them with the baseline 10%), other more insidious issues still remain that we’ll discuss below.
The PTR Fix
- Summons a Windfury Totem with 5 health at the feet of the caster for 2 min. Party members within 30 yds have a 20% (up from 10%) chance when they auto-attack to swing an extra time. -
Verified on PTR, but inactive on live
baseline grants 10%, at level 58 our
perk grants an additional 10% raising it to 20% total. This only applies currently to the
, and all allies only gain the baseline 10% - this also extends to if as an Enhancement player yourself you receive it from another.
With the most recent PTR build on the 2nd of June
, this seems to be fixed and is now functional at 20% for all party members.
The Remaining Issues
Dual-wield specializations are doubly penalized by the effect due to the in-built 19% miss chance on autoattacks when using two weapons. Since
can only trigger on attacks that successfully connect, the pool of eligible autoattacks is reduced once by the autoattacks' base chance to miss, and then again by the proc trigger. Essentially,
attacks have to succeed on two autoattack miss rolls in order to land successfully, whereas every regular autoattack only needs to succeed on one such roll.
The larger issue tied to the dual-wield situation is that off-hand hits cannot proc
in any capacity. Given that you are already losing triggers from the miss chance, this hurts any spec in that category even moreso, especially those that rely on volume of autoattack hits or off-hands specifically (e.g.
). In the Beta, they did trigger the effect but a bug resulted in main-hand swings firing instead, and the “fix” resulted in off-hands being removed from the pool entirely. All of this together is clearly shown in prolonged tests where 2-handed melee specs achieve the expected 20% bonus to total autoattacks, while dual-wield specializations only manage to achieve ~8% additional total autoattacks.
converts our auto-attacks into
while active - and although
is technically a ranged special attack, it has been treated since its introduction in Mists of Pandaria as a regular autoattack when defining the effects it can trigger. Some of these issues have popped up in different expansions, and
seems like the new culprit that will cease to trigger if your
from outside of melee range
- undermining a very strong benefit of the effect. Given this is one of our strongest cooldowns (and our party buff!) this seems counter-intuitive.
Imbues Deciding to Stop Working
This is the oldest and most complained about bug throughout Shadowlands for Enhancement players, and it has been happening since Alpha. Both
imbues will arbitrarily decide to stop working if you zone in/out of some areas that trigger a loading screen (especially Arenas/Dungeons). Whenever you notice this happening, the imbues will need to be reapplied to your weapons before they’ll start working again. While the bug can be avoided by remembering to do this every time you encounter a loading screen, it’s pretty tedious (for non-Enhancement players compare it to having to do an un-equip/re-equip weapon ritual every time you zone in) and forgetting it once is pretty catastrophic for your performance because of how many talents and effects hook into our weapon imbues.
All of this begs the question of why they became actively cast imbues rather than passive effects in the first place, since there’s no decision making involved in how we apply them and the other
specializations don’t care about them at all. All the active situation has done is produce this bug and cause issues for players who are confused as to why they suddenly see no
damage anymore. Alongside this, imbues block the use of
s, overwriting the effects. This is not naturally communicated to the player at all - especially since it is not consistent with how other class weapon buffs behave (like
poisons, which stack with the weapon consumables just fine). This inconsistency makes for a lot of confused players asking questions regarding them in the
Bonus Lingering Bugs
Finally, this is a list of some of easier to explain/lower impact bugs that exist for individual spells or mechanics still live right now:
hits are supposed to proc
(stated in the patch 9.0.5 notes
) - It still doesn’t.
are our only weapon-based attacks that don’t proc the
imbue, but they do trigger all other attack-based procs
- see above).
has two (
Shadowlands introduced square root scaling on a number of area of effect attacks as one way of throttling uncapped AoE potential (especially among melee specializations), and this was something that was added to
; however, it was only applied to the on-cast effect, and the splash triggered from
casts during the
buff are still entirely uncapped.
The splash effect from casting
buff also generates
stacks, while not triggering any other on-hit or proc effects (historically, only the
cast itself has been able to proc things). Either this is an accident or it should be triggering everything.
Visual glows have issues with abilities on the action bar:
is parried with
active, the ability goes on cooldown but
is not consumed, resulting in the
icon continuing to glow - this is really jarring for players that expect for the ability to be available for use whenever it lights up.
This visual bug also applies to
despite being on cooldown if the shaman has 5 or more stacks of
can sometimes fail at the tail end of
procs due to the cooldown reduction buff expiring before the global cooldown latency finishes, leaving you with a dead global and a fizzled button press.
with either the new Venthyr
Legendary or the Torghast anima power puts
on CD but not
Honorable Mentions of Very Bad (but fixed!) Bugs so far in Shadowlands
These are things that have been fixed to at least some degree since launch, but were present (or popped up over the course of Nathria) that had a dramatic impact on either the specialization or talent choices. This is here mostly for fun and posterity, but to show just how easily very serious issues can hit live and cause problems, and that if something seems off, it’s worth taking a look and checking.
Probably one of the more famous bugs from Shadowlands - this showed up after a
few clips floated to the top on Reddit
of people being one shot in PvP. This was achieved by using a weapon swap macro that bypassed the usual restriction of
only applying to the main hand, and when combined with the
legendary and a cheeky
cast, it was pretty lethal. In the PvE world, it catapulted Enhancement to top tier damage because of the number of stacked windfury damage multipliers we had access to (
), but it wasn’t widely used or known about.
This bug was found and reported a good two weeks before it was eventually fixed, and while it spread slowly and didn’t become completely widespread,
some logs still exist
from the period and show just how powerful it was relative the strength of both regular Enhancement and other specs at the time. The alarming thing with this was that it was made clear what was causing it, how to reproduce it, but it only actually got addressed when it started interfering with high-end arena. Even worse, within a week of this being “fixed”, it came back with a vengeance briefly and had another few days to cause hell.
It was eventually nerfed in a pretty amusing way - instead of stopping you from doing the swap macro and applying it, you could do it to your heart’s content, but having
applied on both of your weapons would brick the imbue entirely, preventing all procs.
has always kind of read like a Shadowlands talent tree filler that people could enjoy due to its success in the Elemental tree, and could mesh well with
, but it hasn’t yet lived up to that promise. This talent has gone through so many iterations of bugs it’s hard to count, and it has had a real rollercoaster of “will it won’t it” that it’s just a bit sad. A rough ordered timeline is:
Isn’t made instant by
, requires a hard cast set up, scales with nothing.
Made instant by
, but doesn’t scale with stacks after.
Still instant, double dips on both its own buff + current
stacks without technically consuming any, so required you to build back up to 10 stacks total due to scaling past the regular 5.
Excess scaling with
fixed, and now only scales with up to 5 stacks present.
: Reworked to only work on
, buffed up to 300% from 150%, but no longer scales at all with
stacks present resulting in a net loss.
This talent has spent the entire time being a bit of a mess because of all of these weird scale points, and that the ability itself is not all that core to Enhancement relative to Elemental (as it’s buffing a spender for us, and a weak one at that, rather than a generator). It’s also placed on an AoE tier where it will never compete, with the most recent change converting it to
only cementing that as being the goal, it now falls even more woefully short of achieving viability. Every time the spell becomes appealing (pre-patch is a good example), fixes to “bugs” that were keeping it afloat trip it up and send it back to the depths of uselessness on sheer numbers alone.
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