Elemental in 8.1

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Hey all, so I’ve heard many people talking about how they’re really hopeful for the changes coming to ele in 8.1. As such, I wanted to start a thread and discuss what kinds of things people are looking for - what is it that you feel the current Elemental is missing?

Just to start it off, here’s my own list of changes I’d like to see. Note that I don’t think current ele really needs a massive redesign, just some fine tuning to make it as fun as it has been in the past.

Core Rotation
Just for a quick summary of what I’d like to see with the core rotation is: Make Lava Burst a fundamental part of the Ele toolkit – move echo baseline and make LvB directly interact with other abilities in your rotation. Additionally, add Lava Burst into the AoE rotation to create some more interesting gameplay.

1) Echo of the Elements going baseline: Lava Burst is one of the most iconic abilities of the spec (the only thing that could really compete with it is Chain Lightning). Pretty much all of my suggestions here will be focused around Lava Burst, and as such I think it is really time to make the ability have the modern design that having two stacks of an ability gives.

2) Master of the Elements going baseline and fire spells added (nature, frost, or fire): This would introduce the idea of “lava burst weaving”. That is, we’ll want to try our best to cast lava burst before every high priority spell (earthquake, earth shock, flame shock). Obviously, that won’t always be possible, but it would introduce some high-level gameplay for stronger players to min-max.
Master of the Elements would be very similar in design to the old Elemental Focus, but would some distinct advantages:
  • You only gain one stack instead of two – forcing the player to really think about what the best spell to buff would be whenever LvB is up.
  • You gain the buff on-cast, instead of on-hit. With a lot of our highest priority spells being instant casted, this is an important difference that improves playability.
Note: There’s also currently a bug with MotE where it does not work with Earthquake, despite it being a Nature school spell.

3) Introduce Lava Burst to the AoE rotation: Our current AoE rotation is a very dull build/spend rotation between CL and EQ – losing Lightning Rod removed an interesting proc that I think needs to be compensated for. Introducing Lava Burst to AoE would add a ton of new mechanics to play around, by bringing them over from single target. We’d get to play with lava surge procs, get to weave with master of the elements, and mastery scaling would benefit from adding a new builder that could scale in a more linear fashion (compared to Chain Lightning, where you get a new overload chance with each new target).
To do this, I’d suggest something like the following: Lava Burst explodes upon hitting its target, hitting all nearby targets for 60%(?) damage and maelstrom gain.

4) Remove the Flame Shock Dependency for LvB's Guaranteed Crit: Flame Shock is already plenty high priority to stand on its own, between the damage and it triggering lava surge. Removing the crit allows us to Lava Burst targets that do not have flame shock on them, which would help the spec feel better when swapping targets. We’d then be able to decide whether or not to apply this DoT based on how long we expect the target to live, instead of it acting as a barrier for even casting LvB (e.g. if the target will survive about 5 seconds, it probably isn’t worth it, but if it will survive closer to 12 opening with a flame shock would be great – because flame shock already is a good ability).
This was already a change we had expected to get in BfA, because it was there for almost the entirety of beta. It feels good to have, and hopefully we can get it reintroduced.
1) Introduce new talents to replace talents that have moved to baseline: I think it would be fine to go simple with any new talents that are introduced. Something like an increased flame shock damage/duration talent, or re-introducing Path of Flame (increased LvB dmg and LvB spreads Flame Shock) would be great candidates.

2) Elemental Blast: When Elemental Blast overloads, it gives the player a second buff. However, if the second buff is the same as the first, there’s no gain. It would be nice if this ability could guarantee the second buff always be different from the first, or for it to allow the same buff to be applied twice.

3) Primal Elementalist: Currently, if you have Primal Elementalist taken, you cannot have multiple elementals out. If you try to summon a second elemental, fire elemental always wins. That is, if you have an Earth Ele out, it is dismissed and the Fire Ele is summoned. And if you have Fire Ele out and try to summon Earth Ele, the Earth Ele is not summoned, but the ability goes on cooldown. It'd be nice if Earth Ele was blocked from being casted while Fire Ele is out if you have this talent.

4) Icefury: This ability is just extremely weak at the moment. At the very least, it needs a damage bump. Design-wise, I’d prefer the ability have fewer charges but more damage within each charge. You’d feel less pressured to spend all charges within the 15 second window, and it would play well with Master of the Elements.

5) Ascendance: With this ability going on the GCD, it really would be nice for it to have some kind of “immediate” effect to go alongside the cast. What I’ve seen recommended by a few people is: Apply Flame Shock on cast. Which I think is a great idea – it would ensure you have flame shock for the full 15 second ascendance duration, and would make the GCD the spell costs feel a whole lot better. Additionally, if LvB were to become an AoE ability (as suggested above), it might be safe to remove Lava Beam.

I think how Elemental’s tuning is handled should be re-examined. Obviously, no spec should be OP in all situations, but I think our current niche of sustained AoE on 4-6 targets is a little too specific. Not to mention, we’ve lost our big burst AoE tool in stormkeeper (which has become more of a maelstrom generating ability talent over a baseline burst CD). Hopefully, the changes mentioned above would help with our cleave, by reducing our reliance on chain lightning (and therefor our reliance on roughly 5-target packs).

Similarly, I think it’s important to make sure Elemental will perform well on single target when factoring in the movement requirements of raid encounters. That could be solved by either pumping our patchwork damage up to account for movement, or by increasing our mobility (much more ideal). We keep losing all of our movement tools – lightning bolt, followed by spiritwalker’s grace, followed by gust of wind.

Finally, I do think that Shamans should provide some raid buff, if they are here to stay. Ideally, it would only be given by Enh and Ele (as Resto tends to see plenty of raid utilization), but I could see the reasoning for keeping it simple. Our current utility is not being used nearly enough in raids to justify bringing a Shaman specifically for its utility.

That said, I will say that I think ele is doing pretty well in dungeons. We bring plenty of dungeon utility, and a lot of pulls in dungeons are well suited for an ele. And, I don’t think any of the changes listed above would hurt that (if anything, having another AoE tool in Lava Burst could help to deal with situations where the tank needs to move a lot so we end up with reduced EQ effectiveness – like during sanguine weeks).

Anyway, thanks for reading my big wall of text. Please go ahead and leave your own wish lists of things you might be hoping to see if ele were to be reworked, or go ahead and tell me why some of my ideas might be crazy :P. I'm hoping, like many others, that we can get some fun changes made to our spec by the next major patch.
From a mechanic point of view I am still of the opinion that:

  • Fire Elemental should have some Mastery interaction, even if it's just to let Fire Blast overload
  • Lava Burst should scale with Crit % somehow, even if it requires removing Elemental Fury & the Crit % damage bonus on Ascendance
  • Overload really needs to be a fixed chance with variable damage rather than variable chance with fixed damage. Even with changes in Legion I expect that the 100% Mastery point will be exceeded before the end of the expansion
I would like to see a change that will help us with immediate burst damage in both PVE and PVP situations. And that change would be... constant passive maelstrom generation. Instead of passively LOSING maelstrom, we should instead GAIN maelstrom. This would allow us to start fights with a full maelstrom bar and let us immediately put out some damage to compete with the "one button" melee burst that seems to be the current meta. In dungeons, this would help us on trash packs. And in PVP, this would help us while kiting melee enemies. Our PVP lives center around kiting with frost shock while hoping for lava surge procs for damage and maelstrom generation. If we passively GAINED maelstrom while kiting, we might actually be able to use some spenders on our attackers.

Have maelstrom GAIN passively in all cases.
I fully support everything proposed here! Still hoping that we're gonna receive a little bit of love and care from the Devs!
Great suggestions from Omajarn and Binkenstein! Would love to see some refreshing changes to Ele.
I agree with the above.
One of the absolute worst things about BFA elemental for me after legion is the flameshock CD.
I still haven't really adjusted to it.
If we went back to where we were in beta with no FS requirement for LvB auto crit that would be wonderful, but I would also accept removing the FS cd too.
Huh ye.
TY for your suggestion I'm extremely agree with it.
For me our AOE should be fixed I think when we lose stormkeeper with 3 instants and lightning rod our AOE is so weak because first is when we use CLB from SKP that fine we gain a ton of MS to use EQ but when after that with a very low generate MS and EQ use too much MS I think we don't have much abillity to use in AOE fight

but yeah just my opinion ty
Please give lava beam the storm keeper treatment. each beam overloads on every target but you are able to cast only one lava beam per ascendance. That way lava beam has it's place and you can go back to spamming lava burst after one cast.

Also stormkeeper should turn our next lightning bolt into stormblast (a hard hitting single target lightning nuke with a killer spell animation) and cause our next 2 chain lightning to overload on every target. The plan was to prevent having aoe talents and single target talents together on the same tier. This way picking stormkeeper for mythic+ does not mean you sacrifice single target damage.

These 2 changes will balance the level
Reposting my thoughts from the beta thread:

I really don't understand why the Lava Burst change was reverted. Elemental is now completely crippled on add fights that aren't AoE fiestas just like it was on WoD. I shudder what would happen on another fight like Mythic Archimonde with lots of low HP high-priority adds that Elemental can't effectively DPS. Either Lava Burst needs to always crit of the CD on Flame Shock needs to be removed.

Honestly Elemental's design just feels really unfair. There's no strengths to counteract all it's weaknesses. Its not like Legion Demo, another spec that had terrible mobility but very strong DPS when it could turret. Ele was just mediocore damage (or worse) despite having weak mobility. And the spec doesn't bring any unique or stackable utility either. Everything Elemental can do another spec does just as well without having all the setbacks Elemental has. And what little Ele did bring (mostly burst AoE) as been nerfed into the ground. BFA Stormkeeper is a shadow of itself without the damage multiplier and Earthquake's CC was nerfed due to lower Maelstrom generation and Earthquake's cost.

But above all the lack of communication has really been the most frustrating part. Even with all the changes Ele has gotten there's been ZERO dev posts about it. No one has any idea what Blizzard is trying to do with the spec. Exact same thing happened in early Legion. Elemental players were even promised a post but never got one ( https://us.battle.net/forums/en/wow/topic/20749717575?page=30#post-587 ). This is the third expansion in a row this has happened and it's just ridiculous at this point.
my thoughts are that TOTEMS should be back the way they were once, with so many totems to choose from we could enhance all party members abilities like strength, armor, haste, spell power, give windfury to meele or remove poison and disease, also we should be able to drop tremor totem while feared, and I remember the magma totem that pulses every 2 sec, not because of the damage since it was minimal but because it was a rogue detector, very useful.
The reason why they were never op was because they have low health any one can destroy, they have a radius so it only affects people in that small radius, so they are easy buffs to apply but easy buffs to remove by any class, not like any other kind of buffs that you need a special ability like purge to remove them, also both factions have shamans , not like in vanilla.
Some great suggestions so far, keep it up!
09/10/2018 03:08 PMPosted by Binkenstein
Lava Burst should scale with Crit % somehow
I think the way crit works for us at the moment is actually fine. Blizzard has managed to make crit a very strong stat for us in all situations, despite working with a core ability that doesn't scale with the stat. That said, it is important to remind everyone that LvB does not scale with crit - it's not something I had thought about in my initial suggestions. The more frequently you use lava bursts (both through Lava Surge procs, and through something like my AoE suggestion), the worse crit becomes, so care always needs to be given to make sure the stat remains strong. Of course, making the stat work "normally" for us would simplify things, so it's always good to consider it as an option.

09/10/2018 03:08 PMPosted by Binkenstein
Overload really needs to be a fixed chance with variable damage rather than variable chance with fixed damage.
This is a suggestion I've seen quite a few times, and it's one I really like. Not necessarily because it doesn't cap (I still think it'd be weird if an overload did more damage than the initial hit), but because it would really smooth how the spec played over the course of an expansion. The difference in maelstrom generation between 25% mastery and 75% mastery is staggering, and it really begs what level the spec is designed to play with. Having a fixed chance would help a lot from a design perspective (the stat would no longer reduce its own value by reducing your proportion of mastery-scaling abilities), and it would also help with simply playing the spec.

09/10/2018 10:30 PMPosted by Chandy
Also stormkeeper should turn our next lightning bolt into stormblast (a hard hitting single target lightning nuke with a killer spell animation)
This is a very good point, and really something I should have mentioned in my original talent section. Stormkeeper has almost no single-target value, and I completely agree it needs to have stronger interaction with Lightning Bolt.
The biggest flaw for ele right now in bfa in my opinion, besides the fact that echo and maybe even elemental blast are not baseline, is the way flame shock works. Since lava burst only crits on targets that have flame shock, its basically a waste of a global to lava burst a target without flame shock, as it does practically zero damage. This causes some problems if lets say you have to refresh flame shock on a boss right before a priority add spawns. If flame shock is on cd when you have to target swap, and you don't have any maelstrom saved up, all you can do is lightning bolt the target since using a charge of lava burst is basically a waste. This interaction forces you to save your flame shock cd for the priority add and in my opinion is super frustrating. I would like to see them remove the flame shock/lava burst interaction in 8.1, and possibly remove the flame shock cd by making it cost a little maelstrom or even just making flame shock last a lot longer. Ive been playing ele shaman since mop and I don't ever remember having to press flame shock so often.
I think the Flame Shock cooldown should be removed. Let player skill know when it’s right to refresh and when you’re potentially wasting a GCD. This will also allow some multi dotting. Let Lava Burst always crit as was originally intended for BfA. Destruction warlocks get auto crits on Chaos Bolt, so we know it can’t be game breaking.
Hi everyone. Long time lurker and exceptionally rare poster to these forums. To my mind there are three possible solutions to the Flame Shock issue.

1. Simply remove the 6 second CD like it was in Legion. as others have said.

2. Have Flame Shock simply be a passive DoT that is applied upon the initial cast of Lava Burst with the duration being refreshed upon subsequent casts.

3. Remove the Flame Shock spell and DoT entirely and instead have Lava Surge proc off of other spells, kinda like a frost mage.

I'm not sure which of these options would work best but the spec as a whole obviously needs a bit of TLC and Flame shock would be a great place to start.

Thanks for reading and I hope you all have a great day.
Fingers crossed they fix the damage issues with elemental shamans in 8.1! Even in 349/350 gear, reading icy-veins, following fight mechanics, playing around with talents, watching video guides, AND using addons to maximize damage, many other classes (with worse gear) surpass elemental shamans in dps.

I roll into a Mythic instance with 349 item level and the 315 hunter or demon hunter or paladin is putting out nearly as much damage.

People are starting to realize the elemental shaman lack competitive damage so we're getting rejected from LFG in favor of one of the "meta" classes.
I can hold my own, but elemental shamans definitely do not feel competitive.
Great post! Thanks for taking the time.

I like Echo of Elements and Master of the Elements baseline. It gives elemental much needed depth. I PvP almost exclusively so I will be suggesting from that standpoint. Either make LvB charges baseline (I mean its not like charges dont exist on other classes, see hunter for example) or remove them altogether.

Talent Lvl 30 tier- Aftershock and Totemic Mastery have passive maelstrom, Master of the Elements does not which is why it falls behind. With Master of the Elements baseline a new talent would have to take its place. I would suggest a talent, call it whatever, where Flame Shock produces X amount of maelstrom per tick AND Frost Shock produces say 4-6 maelstrom per cast. Keep the maelstrom lower on Frost Shock than LB as to not replace in priority rotation when you can cast but allow maelstrom generation while movement is needed.

Make LvB auto crit without Flame Shock, you can keep Lava surge tied to Flame Shock.

This is going to come as a surprise to most, but I am going to say it anyways. Nerf Flame Shock and Earth Shock damage. Yeah I said it, it felt good. You can keep Flame Shock damage high enough that it is beneficial to keep it up and Earth Shock can still be the hardest hitting ability in the tool kit, lets just close that gap between IF and LvB between the Shocks. Which leads me to my next point, buff LvB damage and IF damage.

Also, make IF only have 2 charges of Frost Shock but buff the damage each charge has by an additional 100%, making it 200%. By having to cast 4 Frost Shocks we lose out on maelstrom for our major damaging abilities either AoE or single target. Also, 4 cast of it is not really that fun. Think of the synergy this could also create if you take elemental attunement or not, you can get 2 Earth Shocks off once you hit cap if you have passive maelstrom and cast a proc'd LvB currently. Sounds for a more fun gameplay that is smoother.

Make Ascendance castable while moving. No need for Spiritwalkers Grace for DPS specs, just build movement into the CD.

What I was looking forward to the most in BFA was the chance to go back to a more pureist ELE build like BC/WotLK type style of play. When I originally leveled my shaman to play this spec, thank you William Shatter.

Currently LB damage is terrible, it needs to be buffed, period. I understand it cant be a huge damage buff because it is our filler. As such, in order to be able to play a more lightning centric type of spec as ELE, either make Exposed Elements or Stormkeeper (or both preferrably) buff LB damage. (For EE, double what it is now at least) This would make a Lighting build viable.

Blizzard said they want to have every spec fall into 2 out of 3 categories, Damage, Survivability, Mobility. Well we most certainly do not have mobility and kiting ability is weak when compared to other classes, so I'm going to say then want us to be tanky (think lock in Legion). To that effect, give Shaman DPS another Defensive, something like Shamanistic Rage in ADDITION to what we have now.

Also I would like to see a type of Buff totem for each DPS spec. Mages got Int back, priests got Fort. Give us a buff to fulfill our original design. They should be like Totemic Mastery in application that remain there until recasted and unique for each DPS spec.

Above all though, redistribute the damage to LvB, IF, and LB and remove it from Shocks as needed. Elemental is a caster, put the damage back into the casts, while still keeping the instants in a decent place to be used while moving or attacked.
Now that we've seen during the reddit AMA that Elemental is meant to be a low mobility spec, I guess I will follow up on the following part of my original post:

09/10/2018 10:50 AMPosted by Omajarn
Similarly, I think it’s important to make sure Elemental will perform well on single target when factoring in the movement requirements of raid encounters. That could be solved by either pumping our patchwork damage up to account for movement, or by increasing our mobility (much more ideal). We keep losing all of our movement tools – lightning bolt, followed by spiritwalker’s grace, followed by gust of wind.
I am actually fine with Elemental being low mobility, but said flaw does need to be compensated for. If we are meant to suffer on the meters when movement is involved (meaning, a majority of difficult raid encounters), then we need to have our damage pumped up to the point that it can make up for this. We should be one of the strongest patchwerk specs in the game, with the expectation that our damage will not reach these levels because of movement.

I'm completely fine with it, if that's the direction that the spec will take. I appreciate the communication, and I look forward to Blizzard following up on it.

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