Ask The Devs #10 - Damage Dealing (Questions)

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Shadow Priests are regarded as one of the better specs out there. However, it feels like they are too dependent on Dark Intent to do the damage they do and that they need multiple targets to excel. Their single target DPS seems to be lacking. Shadow Power passive was changed to only give 15% damage and that was due to how Dark Intent worked before it was changed. Is there any reason why it has not been reverted or updated to help shadow priests with their single target damage?
Highly Rated
In Wrath, Feral Spirits were our highest priority ability, being a long cooldown and high source of damage. Are there plans to finally 'fix' Feral Spirits so that they properly scale with our character stats in a meaningful way, or at least make them competitive with Shadow Fiends and Treants in terms of damage output?
wheres my damn quiver?! and why do we display melee weapons on our backs instead of ranged weapons such as bows and guns?
How does Blizzard intend to balance around the various extremes and strengths that certain specs have? For example, affliction warlocks generally deal higher levels of DPS against two or three mobs than demonology and even destruction warlocks. How then do you address encounter differences where their damage has to be balanced around both single target and multi-target encounters? Or do you merely accept that one spec will always be used for single target encounters, one for AOE encounters, and one for dual-target encounters?
Highly Rated
Are there any thoughts to giving Enhancement Shaman better raid utility? When compared to the other melee classes, we just don't bring nearly as much to a raid, and every single melee class can bring better DPS, both single-target and AoE. What is the Enhancement Shaman's value to a raid anymore, and why haven't any efforts been made to improve that value for 4.2?

Don't say interrupts. It's great to have a shorter cooldown interrupt, but the ability to interrupt is not unique. It's easy to set other melee to the job, two at most, and then the Enhance Shaman that isn't in your raid isn't a big deal.

For example, if all you need is DPS, you can bring a Rogue. Not just because they bring good damage, but because when a burn phase comes about, they can boost their damage through the roof with their Execute-style moves. Not to mention Tricks is a very useful utility to ensure threat stays on the tank.
Could Shaman maybe get an Execute?
Do you have any plans to change how weapon speed affects damage of the weapon? The way it works right now makes it so a weapon with 3.8 speed is greater then a two handed weapon with 3.6 speed. Even if the itemization on the 3.6 speed weapon is better for the class, the 3.8 speed weapon will produce a higher damage output.
Highly Rated
Subtlety is currently by far the worst spec in PvE (though Frost is almost as bad) and is pigeonholed into a PvP-only role, but many people would like to play Subtlety in PvE; furthermore, despite being the "Stealth and finishers spec", having the finisher damage mastery, and having strong synergy with Rupture and Eviscerate, its finishers currently do the least damage of all three rogue specs. Can you please fix Subtlety?

(Sorry for all the edits, trying to make the post as clear and concise as possible.)
While I would like to ask several questions, I will compromise with one with a detailed account. Skip to (TL;DR) if you need to.

Retribution is a proc-based DPS spec, the rotation itself lives and dies by the luck of several procs, namely Divine Purpose and Art of War to prop it up into an active, constant stream of cooldowns. Unfortunately, this leads to several problems. Feast or famine usually evens out overall DPS, but it can lead to massive gaps of literally doing nothing but watching the swingtimer and in the same breath, can lead to unreliable, but incredibly bursty spikes in damage. Watching a live stream of DPS for Retribution makes it like a wave, it can sail high to 30-40k DPS and drop as low as 3-5k for extended periods.

Haste is, by calculation, our worst stat. Not by far, but enough to gear and reforge away from it. Blizzard, you have stated that you wanted haste to be a valuable stat in all DPS specs, in the case of melee DPS specs, it increases resource generation. However, due to the abnormally high requirement for the 3s cooldown (50% haste), it leaves Crusader Strike in such a damaged state that you'll often be watching that cooldown alongside the swingtimer instead of actually DPSing the boss.

There are two suggestions I can make for making haste more valuable, first, by lowering the requirement of 50% spell haste to reach the 3s Crusader Strike cooldown and second, by scaling our proc-based spec by haste. Our true resource is not Holy Power, it is cooldowns. By increasing our proc chances via haste, you increase our available cooldowns.

Due to the random nature of Retribution's DPS, it makes it unreliable for burn-phases, such as Rohash's Storm Shield on heroic Conclave of the Wind or Aegis of Flame for Ascendant Council, or it could make threat literally unmanagable due to the low melee threat cap and a lucky string proc seconds into the fight. Downtime can be non-existant for the luckiest of Paladins, whereas it can be an absolute standstill at a crucial moment for another.


So far, no changes on the PTR have addressed this state of Retribution DPS and while I have a few suggestions of my own, I would like to know this;

While a proc-based spec like Retribution may be exciting at times, feast or famine can determine your DPS, your reliability for upcoming burn-phases, your threat and honestly, your fun.

(TL;DR)

Retribution needs to have stable, reliable DPS to be viable for raiding. Does Blizzard have any plans to make haste a more valuable stat to normalize and stablize our rotation or smooth out the rotation by making Crusader Strike have a baseline cooldown of 3 seconds?
Highly Rated
The current AoE implementation for Shamans is rife with issues for Enhancement. It requires us to multi-dot, it requires us to equip a Spellpower weapon, it doesn't restrict us from using any of our single-target abilities, it doesn't scale at all with weapon damage, it requires significant ramp-up time (and is thus worthless on small aoe packs), and it is, quite literally, a weaker form of Elemental's AoE.


The Call of Flame change was supposed to address this, but it doesn't address any of our concerns. Not a single one. We have tested the change extensively on the PTR, and it doesn't help at all.

Since 4.0.6 was aimed at making all AoE dps for every spec competitive, why has Enhancement's AoE still fallen short? What are your plans to bring Enhancement up to par?
now that threat is based on damage delt, and there are very few "bonus threat" abilities, are there any plans to either normalize all dps to have threat reduction methods, or conversely, to alter the 110% and 130% thresholds so that melee and ranged DPS have similar risk of pulling threat?

this directly relates to warriors and death knights who dps, as both lack cooldowns and also face the 110% threshold.
Highly Rated
Most specs benefit greatly from one stat, well from another stat, and mediocre from the third stat (out of mastery, crit and haste). Currently, enhancement benefits greatly from mastery, but VERY poorly from crit and haste. If an item *ever* has both Crit and Haste on it, we do everything we can do avoid that item, because it is the lowest DPS boost to us possible. I'd prefer a lower item level piece of gear than an item with Crit and Haste on it.

What solutions have you considered (aside from the previously mentioned possibility of 200% crits) to make these stats more attractive to enhancement shamans, especially since the spec has such a high requirement for hit rating and expertise rating, making it harder to reforge into more mastery?

Highly Rated
Enhancement is widely seen as non-viable in PvP, we are sub-par to every melee in the game despite having solid utility. Currently in PvP, you can replace an Enhancement Shaman with any other melee and get more control and damage whether it be sustained or burst (that requires less setup and micro-management), add in a Resto Shaman into the mix and you get nearly all the utility provided by an Enhancer.

What do you feel are the reasons Enhancement is not seen in higher tier arenas/RBGs and how will you potentially address them? As it stands, our utility and the addition of Seasoned Winds has not helped us out of our current place in the game.
Highly Rated
Melee DPS is becoming more and more a liability to a raid, what niche is melee supposed to play in the coming tier of content?

At blizzcon you mentioned that melee is supposed to be "better with dealing with adds" are there plans to fix assassinations poison ramp up time, or combats bandit's guile talent to make it less punishing for switching targets? Are more movement options in the pipes to make chasing down adds/switching to the boss/getting back on boss after knockback less punishing on melee? Are you adding more damage avoidance options to melee to allow them to actively avoid damage instead of dodging it and losing time on target?
When might we expect class changes to address the issue of the disparity between ranged/melee raid value that the Fireland's Q&A clarified as a class problem?
Highly Rated
In heavy movement fights Shaman have to constantly reposition their totems. Enhancement also benefits a bit of using Magma Totem in trash, but has to quickly change to Searing as soon as there are few surviving enemies. This means in a short trash fight - 10 seconds? 25 seconds? - most of the time an Enhancement Shaman will be repositioning totems or recasting so that Searing focus on the right target. This means a lot of GCDs are burned just on setting up and not so much on an engaging DPS mechanic.

Are Call Spells - Elements, Spirits, Ancestors - being considered to be taken out of the GCD? Enhancement in particularly is already a CD heavy GCD intensive spec and this would greatly alleviate this particular issue.
Berserker Stance has 5% more passive damage than Battle Stance: this encourages Arms to macro stance changes into ability uses (in PvE) to maximize time spent in 'Zerker Stance. Is this intended, and if not, will any steps be taken to correct it?
Highly Rated
Are there any plans or have you considered adding a rogue DOT AOE mechanic? As an example I would point to the Poison Bottle from the Argent Tournament Champions fight.

It would be nice for rogues to have a sustained AOE damage tool since FOK has been nerfed beyond recognition.

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