Hey, I’m Wordup, the guide writer for Wowhead and a Moderator in the Shaman Discord. You can find me hanging out there or on Twitter
Legion’s Enhancement overhaul brought a razor focus on a more dynamic gameplay style, which BFA is mostly continuing with. Some changes in particular have helped accentuate the core with a more fluid build-and-spend rotation in line with some of the optimisation done within Legion. Equally important to this is the shift of turning Assalto della Tempesta
into Nature damage, which helps a lot with making secondary stats easier to interpret for players, giving Mastery a more tangible value.
Moment to moment gameplay has definitely been subtly optimised with the alterations to Maelstrom. Resource management now feels more important with the reversion to a maximum of 100, alongside making Sferzata Lavica
a more significant spender at 40 per cast with damage appropriately increased alongside it. To compliment this, Assalto della Tempesta
has dropped to 30, and Araldo della Tempesta
now makes it completely free to cast rather than half cost. This has made sure that balancing your Sferzata Lavica
casts is more deliberate and satisfying now that it contributes more to our overall damage, and overspending is more punishing to produce a more rewarding resource system. Between both of these changes, it really has crystallized a fluid cycle, allowing you to predict the momentum of your resource flow in tandem with Araldo della Tempesta
activations even during bad RNG. Finally, in conjunction with this, Assalto della Tempesta
having its base cooldown reduced down to 9 from 15 means that the desperation of no Araldo della Tempesta
procs isn't as protracted, and simply the ability to press it more often reliably has a profound impact on how this reduction in variance alters your gameplay - and I greatly appreciate it. All of this really does add up then, and I feel the changes to the fundamentals, whilst not easily observable or quantifiable, work well together to improve what was already a strong core.
With regards to the loss of the Artifact in the Martelfato
, the traits predominantly had passive effects that were difficult to directly feel, despite how much of a contribution they were. Losing a lot of the strong Assalto della Tempesta
effects has been compensated though via the conversion to Nature damage as mentioned above. Venti del Fato
on the other hand is a glaring loss, and the talent tree itself does not provide a good alternative. It provided a great stop gap in resource generation alongside being a short burst cooldown. Unfortunately this loss is something you can genuinely notice when playing the spec, and would definitely be at home in the tree if it were to return in some way.
The same positive sentiments however cannot be extended to parts of the talent tree. Whilst there are still some good ideas nestled in there, there are some core problems with the options available that are very noticeable upon second viewing. This harms a fundamentally important part of a spec that has a solid base that needs to be supplemented - we cannot build upon that and do so. I would cautiously judge the majority of changes to the talent tree that has come with BFA as negatives, but it’s absolutely not irredeemable and definitely has the space to create something great.
The most egregious examples of weaknesses present themselves quite clearly in both the 45 and 90 tier. There’s also a few other hot spot talents that could do with some love, and some of the new utility additions aren’t quite there.
Tier 45 is arguably one of the most problematic, both Scudo di Fulmini
and Assalto Rovente
present virtually zero gameplay additions. Given that this is a tier seemingly dedicated to “enhancing” your auto attacks, it being so uninteresting feels like a mis-step with Assalto Elementale
existing as an option alongside which grants complexity and an additional rotational component, which is something we really do need. Unfortunately it just doesn’t have the pay-off that the most rotationally altering talent on the tier should have, nor is there a great deal of decision making or ways of differentiating the choice.
Tier 90 on the other hand is a problem that has been continued, given that it has never had enough impetus to warrant an entire talent tier dedicated to our greatest weakness - AoE. It comes with two extremely similar talents in Tempesta Infuriante
and Furia dell'Aria
, the former having an obnoxious delivery method and the latter having the smallest of gameplay impacts. The similarity between Tempesta Infuriante
and Furia dell'Aria
then leads me to believe that there should really be one of the two selected to suit a different damage profile, be that Cleave, Burst AoE, or otherwise, to present a tangible choice to the player. Scissione
is the only talent I would consider successful here (though it is still a bit far off where it should be). Given that it gives players not only an extra active button that has decisions tied to it, but provides both frontloaded AoE Enhancement lacks, and Crowd Control in BFA as an added extra now that it is a more premium effect.Maestria nei Totem
as a new addition to Tier 15 I feel opens up a lot of room to have a more impactful, deliberate talent that can be tuned around how well you can predict your play. Right now, it lacks some of the impetus to sell me on that, but it has room to do so alongside fitting the thematic sense of Totemic Warriors Enhancement is supposed to be. One thing that is sorely missing however, is creating a way of converting cooldown windows into AoE now that Lupo Alfa
is gone with the loss of the Martelfato
. This has room to be developed upon in the tree, and I think this would be a great idea to focus in on now that our cooldown (or lack thereof) is so much less punchy.
Tier 30 as well showed a great chance to shore up the core problem of Enhancement in Legion, that being a lack of defensive options. None of the choices provided really grant a strong active way of doing so without some severe drawbacks or limitations, which feels a lot like a missed opportunity.
The tree also contains some choices that are quite dull passive effects - notably Pugno di Roccia
- that slightly alter parts of a base rotation that desperately needs additional active skills added to it. This isn’t helped by much maligned active choices that were present in Windsong going away, which I feel is the wrong direction. On the other side of that argument, talents like Sovraccarico
and Mano Ardente
are great - you can feel their presence and they sync up quite well adding additional rotational aspects that are much more dynamic when played. Unfortunately with regards to Sovraccarico
, it competes with a talent that is at odds with its effect as it grants an additional expenditure option competing with extra generation. This feels like a trap choice in which it’s very difficult to really gauge what it’s trying to accomplish.
Lastly, there are a few danger point talents I think need to be touched on. Venti Vigorosi
is something I can’t see ever being realized (despite it being an old favourite) due to the texture of raid and group compositions dictating its limited effectiveness too much. What would make it strong would effectively break the balance of melee (allowing it to generate resource and trigger on hit effects), but without that it will remain a poor man’s Stormlash. Spiriti Elementali
is also extremely dangerous given that it provides bonuses to abilities on the tree that can be enhanced by talents, but is entirely unpredictable as to what will be gained from each cast. This could be resolved by having it generate one of each wolf to make it a definitive cooldown enhancing option, but without that fact the possibilities are too varied to play around.