Monday, July 18, 2016

Elementary, my Dear... Shamans... Ok, These Titles are Getting to be a Stretch... in 7.0


7.0 should be live in roughly thirteen hours (though probably later, as these big patches often see servers slow to come back up,) so you'll be able to explore the big changes to all the specs without downloading the PTR build soon enough. Still, I figured we could get one more of these overviews out there in the meantime.

Elemental Shamans might not be getting as much of a radical redesign as Enhancement, but there's definitely some new stuff to go over. You'll still be a ranged caster who tosses lightning and lava at your foes, but you'll do so with new resources.

Ultimately, despite this new resource making things seem pretty different on the surface, the spec actually plays pretty similarly. You'll maintain Flame Shock while you cast Lava Burst on cooldown (and instantly when you get Lava Surge) and fill in with Lightning Bolt, and then let loose big bursts of damage with Earth Shock.

But you have a new primary resource to govern this. Like Balance Druids, Enhancement Shamans, and Shadow Priests, you'll still have mana to spend on things like utility and healing spells, but your damage spells are all going to focus on Maelstrom.

Maelstrom Generators:

You can have up to 100 Maelstrom as Elemental, and you'll generate this through your two big nuke spells, Lightning Bolt and Lava Burst. Lightning Bolt grants you 8 and Lava Burst gives you 12. Chain Lightning, which you'll sub in for Lightning Bolt when you have multiple targets, gives you 4 per target hit, hitting a max of five targets.

Notably, Chain Lightning now does exactly the same amount of damage as Lightning Bolt, and has the same cast time, and every target it hits takes the full damage of the spell, so the only reason you'll ever use Lightning Bolt is if you have just one target to hit, as in that case it will grant more Maelstrom generation. As soon as there's a second target, it becomes better to use Chain Lightning.


Shocks are now Elemental only, and they are the main way that you consume Maelstrom as an Elemental Shaman. Shocks consume variable amounts of Maelstrom, having a bigger effect the more you spend.

Flame Shock consumes 0-20 Maelstrom, doing light fire damage to the target and then significantly more over the course of 15 seconds. Spending Maelstrom on this will extend its duration, with the full 20 giving doubling the duration to 30 seconds.

Flame Shock's ticks still have a chance to reset the cooldown on Lava Burst and make your next one instant-cast, so it might be worth it to cast this at the very beginning of the fight and then refresh it to its longer duration once you've got some Maelstrom to work with.

Earth Shock consumes 10-100 Maelstrom (100 being all of it) to deal nature damage to the target, obviously doing quite a bit if you consume it all.

Frost Shock is mostly a utility/PvP ability, consuming 0-20 Maelstrom, dealing light frost damage and slowing the target for 5 seconds. At 20 Maelstrom, the damage and duration is doubled.

Earthquake... Totem:

Earthquake is now Earthquake Totem, and is the only non-talented Totem ability you have. Earthquake Totem works very much like the old Earthquake spell. It costs 50 Maelstrom and deals physical damage to enemies within 8 yards of it (totems are now generally placed at a targeted area) and sometimes knocks them down. It lasts 10 seconds.

Overload is Back:

With the removal of Multistrike, Elemental is getting Elemental Overload back as its mastery, with Lightning Bolt, Chain Lightning, Lava Burst, and the talented Elemental Blast all having a chance based on the stat to fire off a second spell for 75% damage and Maelstrom generation.


Elemental is now the only Shaman spec that gets to summon elementals, with Earth Elemental available on a 2-minute cooldown and Fire Elemental (which can be changed to Storm Elemental via a talent) on a 5-minute cooldown. Fire Elemental will be your main damage cooldown.

A Familiar Spec:

So ultimately, Elemental winds up playing fairly similarly, even with the new resource system. If you do wind up with absurd amounts of Maelstrom for some reason or another, you'll be able to hit Earth Shock more frequently, and of course more Maelstrom generation means more Earth Shocks not just for the obvious reason, but also because it will be easier to maintain Flame Shock for longer durations, allowing you to spend the resources you get in between having to refresh it on Earth Shock more frequently.

One talent that's pretty interesting for the nostalgic is Totemic Mastery. This will place four totems at your feet for two minutes - one of each element (which is not really a mechanical thing anymore.) Resonance Totem gives you 1 Maelstrom per second. Storm Totem increases your Elemental Overload chance by 10%. Ember Totem increases your Flame Shock's DoT component by 10%, and Tailwind Totem increases your haste by 2%. This has no cooldown, so if you miss keeping up your totem buffs, this one's for you.

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