Elemental Shaman Changes: The Blue Posts

3 01 2009

  Any of you who play Elemental Shammies have probably noticed at this point that your DPS, no matter how hard you push the proper spell rotation, is simply not matching up to comparably geared players from other classes.

  I’ll give you an example from my own standpoint – Manchego is currently pushing about 2130 spell damage right now with Totem of Wrath out. I’m somewhere about 19% critical strike rating (unbuffed, and without totems or procs) and about 8.5% Haste gain with a lower spellhit of 72 (a bit over 3%, plus 3% from talents).

  Those numbers are probably similar to many of you with Shaman mains; I know that a few of the stats (notably crit and hit) are lower than most raiders would expect, but bear in mind that I’m doing this with dual-use resto gear and some sub-ins for Elemental. That said, I find that most heroics show me pushing out anywhere between 1450 and 1750 DPS (there or thereabouts; I don’t actually use meters of my own) for runs where I’m not regularly supplementing the healer and thus lowering my DPS.

  If you’ve had a chance to read meters for other classes, you’ll know that any comparably (or even lesser) geared DPS class is beating the pants off of Elemental Shammies these days. I see Mages in all Blues hitting for 1800-2000 DPS on a regular basis on runs, with BM Hunters, Fury Warriors and other classes exceeding even that. Bottom line, though we’re nice and bursty for a lot of PVE soloing activities, we’re lacking in overall group DPS.

  Fortunately, the people at Blizzard seem aware of these shortcomings. Recent blue posts have indicated that there will be changes upcoming to the Elemental tree, including the following:

  • Elemental Oath – In addition to existing effect, now increases damage done by the Shaman by 5/10% while Elemental Focus Clearcasting is active.
  • Elemental Mastery – Overhauled. Now increases the Shaman’s critical strike chance by 20% for 30 seconds. Cooldown remains 3 minutes.
  • Elemental Warding – Now reduces all damage taken by 2/4/6% (old- reduces Fire/Frost/Nature damage by 4/7/10%)
  • Unrelenting Storm – Changed from 5 points to 3 points. Now regenerate mana equal to 4/8/12% of your intellect every 5 seconds, even while casting. (old 2/4/6/8/10%)
  • Elemental Shields – Has been removed.
  • Storm, Earth and Fire – This talent has been moved up in the tree, and it’s talent points have been reduced to 3 down from 5. Wind Shock is also included in the range increase (with Earth Shock). The damage bonus to Flame Shock has been increased, up from 10/20/30/40/50 to 20/40/60.
  • **New Talent** Shamanism – Your Lightning Bolt spell gains an additional 2/4/6/8/10% and your Lava Burst gains an additional 4/8/12/16/20% of your bonus damage effects.
  • Glyph of Lightning Bolt – Increases the damage done by Lightning Bolt by 4%

  Ok, so these are blue posts and subject to some degree of change. Still, it’s a solid indication that Blizzard is moving to address Elemental DPS in a big way. I was personally very concerned that they’d do it through something like Fire Totems, or some other similar path that wouldn’t actually address the issue. As it stands, we look to be in for a substantial increase pegged by the developers to be in the neighborhood of 10-12% per round of buffs, with 2 rounds in total. If that is to believed, and we’re assuming somewhere in the neighborhood of 20% overall, then my previous DPS numbers (which I consider to be a pretty average / pedestrian showing that should be easily attainable by most) would bump to 1740-2100 or so. That’s what I’m talkin’ about, baby.

  There are other factors to consider. By moving the Lightning Bolt glyph from “10% less mana” to “4% more damage”, it is increasing mana drain. However, Unrelenting Storm kicks up 2% higher now (representing about 16 MP5 for an 800 intellect Shaman). Additionally, the Elemental Mastery bonus spreading over 30 seconds at 20% is going to mean a lot of Clearcasting procs (40% less mana for your next 2 casts), so I’m fairly comfortable that mana will not be heavily impacted. Regardless, I’ve found my mana longevity to be laughably long in most cases. I don’t even see it dip below about 2/3 in most fights – bosses included – unless I’m making extensive use of healing spells in with my damage rotation.

  Caveat on this is that the changes are said to be sensitive to scaling, and a caster in blues will see less of a return than a Naxx-geared Shaman would. Of course, that’s making the most impact for those that have earned, deserve and need it the most, so I really can’t beef too much.

Changes are reported to be coming in the next 2 content patches.

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