Friday, October 8, 2010

Patch 4.0.1 Testing - Death Knight and Shaman

Death Knight (Draenei, I think)
For a long time the Death Knight starting area was completely broken and couldn't be played. It wasn't so much that the starting area was broken as that Runeforging was broken. Since your second quest is to use Runeforging on your weapon, you can't continue on with other quests until you do, and until you've completed the initial quests you can't really do anything else, new Death Knights were completely unplayable.

While Death Knights are no longer literally unplayable, the experience of playing one has lost a lot. Starting with Frost Presence, which now increases your runic power generation, instead of the old Blood Presence that healed you, makes a noticeable difference in longevity when running from fight to fight. After a few quests you get your first talent point, and I decided to go frost. Much to my dismay, Frost Strike did about 70% of the damage of Death Coil, so I would be foolish to use it, and none of the first tier talents really made me better at all. I respec'd to Unholy, since obviously have a permanent ghoul would be better than the nothing Frost gave me, but it turned out that the difference between Scourge Strike and Blood Strike was smaller than the difference between Blood Strike and Icy Touch, which left me wishing that my death rune ability turned my frost runes into death runes instead of turning my blood runes into death runes.

I felt the Death Knight experience was actually quite a bit worse than it was before the patch. 10% more runic power is a very lame ability to give to new death knights that have never generated runic power at normal levels and who get pretty much zero utility out of it. Ability tooltips were full of bizarre formulas that didn't actually give you an idea of how good abilities were relative to one another.

Overall Grade: C

Shaman (Troll)
Shaman is actually a really neat class in the early levels. You start with Lightning Bolt, then you get Primal Strike which is a low level substitute for Storm Strike and then you pick up Earth Shock. Until you hit level 10 you really are a hybrid caster/melee, using spells at long range and then clubbing things that get near you. Unfortunately when I chose Elemental at level 10 it was a little disappointing. The specialization ability is Thunderstorm which does about three times the damage of Lightning Bolt but is on a 45 second cooldown. It's supposed to be a mana restoration ability, but every Shaman spell is so cheap that there is no need to get your mana back. I decided to swap to Enhancement to try it out, which meant buying a white fist weapon in Orgrimmar. I like enhancement a lot better but it was not without it's flaws. With an 8 second and a 10 second cooldown on your melee abilities, you really just use each one once per monster, which minimizes the decisions that you make. Unlike other healing classes I've played the first heal they give you is the cheap, efficient heal, which ended up costing about 16 mana when I was level 12. I had about 7 spells on my bar and their total mana cost if I could cast them all at once was less than a quarter of my mana. When I got into one particularly hairy situation I dropped a Searing Totem and chained heals on myself for a minute until two of the four mobs were dead. My heal was weak enough I couldn't even afford a GCD to refresh lightning shield but cheap enough that I could have gone on doing that for much longer than it took for them to die.

Overall Grade: B

No comments:

Post a Comment