Monday, December 21, 2015

Breaking Down (Atomizing?) the New Elemental

We're getting really close to the last of the DPS specs here, but I left out one of the specs that's getting the biggest changes until now. Elemental Shamans are not really changing quite as much as Enhancement, largely because in the divorce, they got to keep the Shocks and Lightning Bolt. But much like Enhancement, Elemental is moving onto a new primary resource other than Mana, which is the new Maelstrom (I don't know what color all of these new resources will be, though if any deserves to be kind of similar to the clear blue of Mana, it's Maelstrom, what with its tides-and-lightning connotations, and how Shamans' class color is a dark blue.)

Elemental still kind of interweaves four spells that are connected to each other in different ways, but a lot of the ways they have been connected has been streamlined into the Maelstrom resource (which is a cool name, but harder to type than mana.) You'll be generating Maelstrom with some spells and paying it off with others. Basically, the generators will be your bolts and the spenders will be shocks.

It also looks like Elemental will be the "default" spec - you'll no longer be spec-less from level 1-9, and instead simply get a free re-spec when you hit level 10 (though since re-speccing will be more like tri-spec, it's more like you'll just unlock the other specs at 10.)

As always, this is Alpha, and with a big redesign like this, you can expect changes to Elemental. It also seems like some of this information is a little self-contradictory, and since Shamans are not yet playable in the Beta, there could be lots of changes.

Lightning Bolt, good old trusty Lightning Bolt, is a 2.5 second cast that deals Nature damage to the target and generates 10 maelstrom.

Fulmination causes Lightning Bolt and Lava Burst to generate 15 Maelstrom (perhaps on top of the base amount, giving Lightning Bolt 25?) Chain Lightning generates 6 Maelstrom (I believe per-target.) It also causes Earth Shock to consume all of your Maelstrom, dealing damage based on how much you had.

Earth Shock consumes all of your Maelstrom (minimum of 10) to deal potentially massive Nature damage to the target.

Thunderstorm is instant cast on a 45-second cooldown, dealing light Nature damage to enemies in 10 yards and knocking them back as well as slowing them by 40% for 5 seconds.

Healing Surge is a 2-second cast, consuming Maelstrom and healing for a decent amount plus up to 100% more based on how much Maelstrom you spent.

Elemental Fury makes your crits deal 250% damage instead of 200%. Elemental Reach just gives you the range to be a real ranged class.

Flame Shock costs 0 to 20 Maelstrom, dealing light Fire damage to the target and then burning them every 2 seconds for additional damage for 10-30 seconds, depending on how much Maelstrom you spent - I assume you get an extra second per Maelstrom.

Shamanism increases the damage of your spells and reduces the cast time on Lightning Bolt by .5 seconds (to 2 seconds) and removes the cool down on Chain Lightning.

Lava Burst has a 2-second cast and an 8-second recharge (it currently says it only has one charge, but I suspect there might be a talent or something that increases this,) dealing high Fire damage to the target. If Flame Shock is on the target, Lava Burst will automatically crit, and it always generates 15 Maelstrom.

Frost Shock deals somewhat low Frost damage to the target and costs 0 to 20 Maelstrom, slowing them by 50% for 5-10 seconds, depending on how much Maelstrom you spend (presumably .25 seconds per Maelstrom.)

Chain Lightning has a 2-second cast, dealing somewhat low Nature damage to the target and jumping to two additional targets, generating 4 Maelstrom for each target hit.

Elemental Focus is a passive that causes your non-periodic critical strikes to increase the damage of your next two spells by 20%.

Lava Surge gives your Flame Shock ticks a chance to reset the cool down on Lava Burst and make it instant.

Fire Elemental is a 5-minute cool down, summoning a Fire Elemental to attack your foes. For 15 seconds after casting this, you generate 100% additional Maelstrom. It says the Elemental lasts until cancelled, but I don't know exactly how that works.

Earthquake Totem has a 10-second recharge (but apparently only 1 charge) and costs 80 Maelstrom, dealing a large amount of physical damage over 10 seconds to enemies near the targeted location, with a 10% chance to knock them down.

Earth Elemental has a 2-minute cool down, summoning an Earth Elemental to protect the caster and his/her allies. It lasts 15 seconds, and for 15 seconds after casting it, you take 30% less damage (and this can be used while stunned.)

Master: Elemental Overload gives your Lightning Bolt, Chain Lightning, and Lava Burst a chance to trigger a second bolt for 75% damage that generates no threat (not sure whether it generates Maelstrom.)

So what I think is cool about this is its flexibility. You can front-load Flame Shock just to ensure it's on there, but when you get more comfortably into the rhythm of your rotation, you can spend more Maelstrom to make it last longer. You can also sacrifice a bit of damage if you need to kill some low-health add with an Earth Shock. So here's how I see the rotation before adding talents or artifact traits:

1. Maintain Flame Shock - ideally at high Maelstrom so that you save on global cool downs.
2. Earth Shock when you're at high Maelstrom - I'd guess 75 or higher, depending on what the numbers wind up being on how much a Lava Burst or a Lightning Bolt generates - you want to do it before you go over 100.
3. Lava Burst on cool down, being sure to watch out for Lava Surge.
4. Lightning Bolt as a filler.

In AoE situations, you'll sub out Chain Lightning for Lightning Bolt as soon as there's a second target. You also probably want to run Flame Shock on all your targets (which shouldn't be terribly hard, as you can toss up a short one at 0 Maelstrom.) Once you get a fair number of targets - I'd guess 4 or more - you'll want to start using Earthquake Totem instead of Earth Shock. And of course Fire Elemental is now your big cool down.

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