Elemental in 8.1

Battle for Azeroth Items and Classes
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Part 1/3
Intro Comments

The following changes are my suggestion for mechanics alterations to Elemental Shaman in the context of 8.1 PTR changes. A brief description of the change is given alongside a tier by tier discussion of how such a change hopes to address Elemental Shaman mechanically. The goal is to maintain the Blizzard-stated theme of Elemental as strong in sustained AOE, good in Sustained and Burst ST, relatively weak in 2 or 3 target cleave, relatively weak in target swapping, and relatively weak in overall mobility. By “relatively weak” I argue that, averaged out across all dps specs, Elemental Shaman must work harder and/or be more conscientious (have less room for error) when planning their movement, target-swapping, and approach to cleave fights.

Changes to Flame Shock
Before suggesting tier-by-tier changes, I think 1 overall spec change should be implemented in order to eliminate frustration felt (and articulated) by many Ele Shaman: interaction between Flame Shock and Lava Burst. This interaction has severely limited the Tier 15 row especially (most opting for Echo) but has also curtailed design space more generally for Ele Shaman. The updated change to in-flight Lava Bursts benefiting from FS cast post-LvB only indirectly deals with what is ultimately a mechanic issue related to the timing of Flame Shock. We feel compelled to cast Flame Shock on an add we know will die in half of the duration of that Shock if only to increase the damage of LvB during that window; either choice – to simply cast LvB on targets without Shock, or avoid casting LvB at all – feel fundamentally wrong to the design of the spec. My suggestion is a middle ground:

Flame Shock
15% of base mana 40 yd range
Instant 6 sec cooldown
Requires Shaman (Restoration)
Requires level 3
Sears the target with fire, causing (43.75% of Spell power) Fire damage and then an additional (153.125% of Spell power) Fire damage over 18 sec. Grants Master of Flame buff for 21 seconds, causing Lava Burst to always critically strike.

Master of Flame
Your Lava Burst has a 100% chance to critically strike.
21 seconds remaining

What this change balances is the awkwardness of re-orienting Flame Shock to a priority target with the need for Elemental to make choices about target-swapping. We want Flame Shock to matter, so it makes sense that maintaining the DOT should take priority, but I think it is better for the spec moving forward if Lava Burst is decoupled slightly from the target of Flame Shock. By placing a buff on the player, this opens up Purge potential in PvP, which I think offers interesting counterplay. In all cases this frees up the Tier 15 to offer different approach to dealing with Lava Surge procs, instead of forcing players to take Echo in nearly every instance because the proc cannot immediately be cast without repercussions.
Part 2/3
Tier 15
Earthen Rage – Replace entire talent with following:
Elemental Fury bonus critical strike damage increased to 325% for Earth Shock, Earthquake, and Earth Elemental.
Echo of the Elements – remove LvB charges. Replace with following:
Flame Shock now generates 1 Maelstrom, and Frost Shock generates 3 Maelstrom whenever they deal damage. All Shock spells (Flame, Frost, Earth) can Elemental Overload.
Elemental Blast – Keep Overload not stacking same buff. Add following:
3 second baseline cast time. Damage = 125% SP. CD = 20 seconds baseline. Elemental Blast can overload two times.

Earthen Rage’s current (8.0) passive damage is a missed opportunity to add flavour to the spec and gameplay adjustments even if in a passive form. The goal with adjustments in Tier 15 – in view of the alteration to Flame Shock which de-couples it from Lava Burst – is to offer meaningful engagement with Secondary stats that don’t interfere overly with Lava Surge. Earthen Rage offers better Crit scaling on the spender side of the equation; Echo offers moderate Maelstrom generation for key spells and gives Mastery an extra upside for all three types of Shocks, improving throughput for FrS and ES in a new 8.1 environment where Lightning Bolt carries a heavier load and ES is toned down. Finally, I suggest that EB offer players a significant damage burst – the spell itself, for its animation and thematic power currently does very mediocre damage – increasing both the CD and cast time, but offering higher rewards (the exact damage ratio is not overly important, but EB should do at least 1.5x more damage than LB. This tradeoff is far more appealing in a scenario where you do not have to time perfectly a Flame Shock into Lava Burst swap, and where wasting Lava Surge procs is of utmost importance.

Tier 30
Aftershock – keep the same
Master of the Elements – increase to 30%
Totem Mastery – Alter to 30 second duration, 2 min CD. 50 yard range. Upgrade effectiveness:
Summons 4 totems for 30 seconds that increase your combat capabilities:
Resonance: Generate 3 Maelstrom every second.
Storm: Increase overload chance for Lightning Bolt and Chain Lightning by 10%
Ember: Increase Fire damage by 10%
Tailwind: Increase Haste by 3%

I like the proposed update in 8.1 for MotE, but I think with the above suggested changes to Echo of the Elements, and the reversion to a traditional Lava Surge proc mechanic, Master of the Elements ought to offer more bang for its buck to remain competitive. Aftershock and Totem Mastery offer distinct gameplay opportunities, but Totem Mastery ought to play a more dynamic roll as a choice, rather than a set it and forget it. Cutting the uptime, and increasing the relative strength of each portion makes this choice more meaningful, less onerous, and forces better decision-making for movement. It also introduces an additional CD in light of suggestions for changes in later Tiers.

Tier 60
Call the Thunder – keep the same
Storm Elemental – add:
Lava Burst to the list of spells that reduce the GCD of Lightning/CL.
Liquid Magma Totem – 1.5 min CD, -15% damage, 20 second uptime (or whatever is appropriate to bring it in line), add:
Each time it deals damage, Liquid Magma Totem increases the damage of Lava Burst and Lava Beam by 1.5% for 5 seconds. This damage buff stacks and refreshes its duration each time LMT deals damage.
[Since LMT lasts 20 seconds and deals damage each second, players can expect a ramping buff to Lava Burst/Lava Beam that will last for 5 seconds at full stacks (25% bonus damage) beyond the duration of the totem itself]

There is a clear choice between Call the Thunder and Storm Elemental; but LMT remains a un-interesting and potentially frustrating talent that frequently gets in the way of players choosing SE. It must be competitive in both ST and AOE, and yet its 60 second CD offers very little interaction with the rest of Elemental’s priorities. Storm Elemental encourages (perhaps unsuccessfully before the 8.1 changes to LB) Lightning Bolt spam, but I think Lava Burst becomes very clunky and it is perhaps counter-intuitive that players maintain the normal priorities of casting LvB even though they have access to this insane buff to Lightning Bolt. Call gives players flexibility on EQ/ES timing. I think it would be appropriate to have LMT offer synergy with Lava Burst-oriented builds so as to line up better with Ascendance and Lava Surge, and offer a clear difference in approach from the other two options.
Part 3/3
Tier 90
Surge of Power – change to be more consistent (also fix bugs: in-flight LvB eating buffs):
Earthshock causes the next spell cast to:
Flame Shock: incur no cooldown.
Lightning Bolt: cause an additional two Elemental Overloads.
Lava Burst: reduce the CD of Fire Elemental by 6 seconds.
Frost Shock: generate 8 maelstrom.
Primal Elementalist – keep the same
Icefury – change to be more initially movement friendly (counterpoised with Storm Keeper), but less demanding of GCDs:
Instant Cast. Damage = 70% SP Frost Damage. Generate 15 Maelstrom. Root target for 6 seconds. 45 second CD. Causes next 2 Frost Shocks to deal 150% damage.

Currently on 8.1 the wording of Surge of Power is slightly misleading. Overall I like the idea of the talent, but I think it should be tuned to impact the NEXT spell only in all cases, in part to make its interaction clear, but also to make it consistent with MotE gameplay [As a note, Earth Shock overloads via the proposed Tier 15 talent would not proc Surge of Power]. I am concerned with tying Frost Shock roots to Earth Shock casts, for the implications for managing this talent in both PvE and PvP. In PvE, ES into FrS is often a go-to movement choice for Elemental Shaman, which makes this additional mechanical choice less than ideal if rooting the target (c.f. M+ or Raids) is not desirable; but it also makes wasting the ES buff on Frost Shock problematic in these instances if you are forced to move out of some mechanic to stay alive but wish to avoid downtime. I have suggested moving the Root mechanic over to a modified Icefury talent so that it is clearly connected to a choice to utilize the Frost School. As for the suggested Icefury changes, I believe it is more appropriate for both PvP and PvE. On the PvP side of the ledger, it places a powerful root tool in the hands of a spec that desperately needs it, but it does so in a controlled form that can be predicted. At 45 seconds it is not in Mage territory, but it needs to be at the instant cast speed to be of any value. I think this also goes for the PvE side, where casting 4 Frost Shocks became an awkward game of MotE weaving, or interference with Earth Shock priorities, while granting a great deal of on-demand movment where perhaps far less was required. Shaving this down to 3 casts (Icefury + 2 Frost Shocks) at 45 second intervals makes more sense overall for the spec. In addition, the damage of Icefury should be competitive and attractive (as with Elemental Blast), rather than being only a gateway to buffed spells.

Tier 100
Unlimited Power – keep the same
Stormkeeper – keep the same or slightly nerf(as per 8.1)
Ascendance – keep the same

The changes on 8.1 introduce a better balance of choices between UP and SK because of a renewed focus on Lightning Bolt. Stormkeeper appears to be too strong in PvP in this regard, since it can be stacked with MotE and Surge of Power to produce 2-shot scenarios. Otherwise it is worth bringing this talent into line for ST choices. Likewise, Ascendance remains a flavourful and interesting choice for Elemental, lining up well with Lust/trinket/potion pulls, and other on-demand ST burst moments. This row is a really good example of talents that complement different playstyles with special niches that do not give Shaman all the tools for every encounter.
10/01/2018 02:36 PMPosted by Borgini
09/28/2018 05:39 AMPosted by Gumble
2) Remove Earthquake

Do players seriously ask this just because they don't want to be bothered with ground targeted AoE // getting better tanks who only move things with purpose?

Keep Earthquake. Keep knockdowns, keep instant cast spender for our mobility in those situations. Keep all of it. No crappy CL activated Earth Shock AoE mechanics please.

I'll quote myself....

* - Earthquake Problem..... a unique CC effect that makes Elemental incredibly useful for 5man dungeons and/or CC-able raid mobs. If you make Ele a good all around damage spec with survivability approximating other specs, Ele would be an autoslot for every group, no questions asked. Blizzard is forced to keep Ele doing less damage with less survivability because Earthquake exists. Just imagine if Blizzard randomly knocked mobs down. Would any group ever not have a Frost Mage (and yes, I know how much the slow it currently does makes them nearly an autoslot for all Mythic+).

I don't want Earthquake removed because I cannot target a circle or make a macro, I want Earthquake removed because it is a lodestone that hangs over the head of the Elemental Shaman spec and is justification for blizzard keeping the spec balanced on the lower end.

Because if it wasn't, EQ would be a HUGE problem for any Mythic+ races and contests, as the CC it provides is unique and unparalleled for tank survivability. However, if Ele shaman simply don't bring the dps and cannot survive higher keys, the issue becomes moot because they won't be taken anyway.

Earthquake is a problem.
What you're asking for isn't removing Earthquake then. It's nerfing the knockdown chance, making it DR itself in one way or another, etc etc....

Or don't. They aren't passionate about balancing anything.

Regardless, no need to cut off your leg because of a stubbed toe....
I don't particularly want it at all, simply because I don't find it engaging. Its just brown Blizzard/Rain of Fire/Starfall/etc..... without the knockdown its just a recolored crappy AOE.

Maybe you didn't play Ele back when Earthquake didn't exist, but Ele AOE used to revolve around chain lightning and earthshock.... I just want them to go BACK to that, when Ele was actually fun, and make that playstyle work in a way that lets them finally boost up damage/survivability to the levels other specs enjoy so Ele can just be taken to things on its merit of being a "good ranged caster spec".... not "knockdown bot"
Like the Fulmination days? Where every spell except for Chain Lightning could potentially be pushed out of an AoE rotation where everything was equal priority?

10/01/2018 06:03 PMPosted by Gumble
because I don't find it engaging.

10/01/2018 06:03 PMPosted by Gumble
I just want them to go BACK to that
Yea, hence why all my suggestions is to turn chain lightning into a trigger for a cleave-able earthshock, which would allow them both to be used for AOE/Cleave.

Which makes it as engaging button-wise as now, CL+EQ >>> CL+ES, however now Shaman can be balanced around doing solid damage on fewer targets without the need to factor in knockdown shenanigans.

It could become a good caster, instead of a constant joke.
I found some recording of Elemental Shaman in PvP 8.1


Remove the spaces before the number, I'm actually scared to link this. Might get a vacation.
No way will the proposed changes make it live before stormkeeper gets nerfed from his current iteration on PTR.

Personally I don't love the changes and continue to hold out hope for more dev dialogue. Specifically hoping to hear what their intentions from elementals strength are since we don't seem to be excelling at anything currently.

LB stopped being fun to cast when cast on the move was removed so the focus on making us more of a lightning based caster is not appealing to me. If it gets buffed anymore we will stop casting lavaburst altogether except for surge procs. I enjoy the class fantasy of being a caster of multiple spell schools weaving spells together.

And does the name Lava Burst need to be changed? It hasn't really been bursty since WOTLK
Ele still feels bad, even for AOE. Melee runs in and bursts for 40k+ on AOE and by the time I have enough maelstrom for earthquake everything is dead.
09/29/2018 11:13 PMPosted by Prime
I want to know what blizzard sees as strengths for elemental, because I'm struggling to think of any.

Weak mobility, weak durability, weak single target damage, strong sustained aoe?

I mean if you want elemental to be less mobile, then it should do good damage while standing still right? If you want ele to be less mobile, then it should have more passive and cooldown based defensives right? I don't get it.

Also, why did earthgrab get pruned? The BS reason they pruned gust of wind was "too similar to blink" even though we all know it wasn't. So what was earthgrab totem too similar to? Frost nova? Why do mages get everything?

What are elemental shaman supposed to be good at?
so is there a bug with call of thunder being on 30? or is that what its supposed to be now? cause with it on 30 it makes the game less enjoyable than if it were on 60.
The Flame Shock change is... something. It doesn't really fix the issues of add spawns, instead it just causes it to happen less often. This is not the fix I was hoping for.
liquid magma needs a revamp. It was cool 4 years ago but for the non passive spell of its tier is needs more oomph.

I would like something along the lines of an idea that was suggested by someone of beta. perhaps:

volcanic inferno: summons a volcano at the target location that erupts and does X amount of damage and applies flame shock to 3 targets in an area. Your next lava burst hits all targets affected with flame shock for y% dmg. The downside it this spell would miss out on synergy with master of the elements which has now been moved.

Surge of power makes overloads very reliable and it is a welcome change but I would like the developers to visit and idea Binkstein had to give the chance of overload a static number and let mastery affect the damage of overload. I am worried mastery will become a even worse stat come 8.1especially with people picking surge of power.

The new talents feel incredible to use by the way. If the damage of elemental blast and icefury were to be buffed to be heavy hitters to fit their names, elemental would be incredibly fun at the very least.
A volcano spell would be pretty cool.
10/02/2018 11:32 AMPosted by Traginas
Ele still feels bad, even for AOE. Melee runs in and bursts for 40k+ on AOE and by the time I have enough maelstrom for earthquake everything is dead.

I disagree. While yes, our 365 Frost DK was doing 50k on Zul, I was managing as 358 elemental to pull 47k for at least the first 30 seconds of that fight.
Earthquake problem still exists, don't expect to see Ele get good anytime soon as long as it does.
Flame Shock having a cooldown at its core is frustrating to work around when swapping to adds. For a class based on AoE as its major strength, we either need Flame Shock to give us a buff to maintain or have no cooldown. The new talent that changes its functionality would work great as-is as it will still save us the global cooldown of having to cast another Flame Shock. Weaving LvB-> FS -> ES -> FS for up to three targets with FS on the would be a cool little gameplay loop on those size packs prior to burst AoEing them down.

What would be even cooler is if with that talent, Earthquake had some interaction with our current Flame Shock targets.
I would like to see the lava surge proc chance increased slightly, but only affect lava burst as if one flame shock were active, and then remove the cd of flame shock.

This would give elemental the ability to multi dot, without it causing their lava burst usage to sky rocket tremendously.

I'd also like to see ele either get spirit walker's grace back and/or some kind of survivability buff. Literally every caster in the game has significantly stronger damage reductions than a 40% cd on a 1.5 minute cd.

My personal recommendation would be to make ele shaman's healing surge's cast time reduced, and make it use less mana and heal more when self cast. Although, that wouldn't help them take a raid hit.

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