• Elemental Primer: Mists of Pandaria 5.0.4

    This is a introduction/catch up for Elemental players for Mists of Pandaria (5.0)

    This Primer only applies to Level 85 content in 5.0.4. For a Level 90 guide please refer to the Mists of Pandaria Elemental Shaman Guide

    This article assumes that you're familiar with how Elemental worked in Cataclysm.

    Spell Changes
    The only spell change that you need to be aware of is that Lightning Shield no longer stacks to 9 charges. Instead it stacks to 7 and Fulmination will consume any charge above the first.

    Totems have been revamped to mostly be utility spells. Buff totems have been removed, and in some cases replaced with buff auras. The new totems can be base Abilities or Talents.

    New Totems
    • Capacitor 5 second AoE stun on a 45 second cooldown
    • Stormlash Totem Adds nature damage to allies abilities. 10 second duration, 5 minute cooldown.

    Changed Totems
    • Earth Elemental/Fire Elemental now have a 1 minute duration & 5 minute cooldown
    • Healing Stream 15 second duration with 30 second cooldown. Heals the most injured player nearby. Only useful to push out a little more healing in rough situations.

    By now you’re probably familiar with the new talent tree, but here’s a quick overview: The previous trees are gone, and have been replaced by three cross-spec talents every 15 levels. Each trio of talents has a similar theme, movement, some form of utility, dps/hps output, etc.

    Level 15
    These talents are centred around reducing or responding to incoming damage.
    • Astral Shift is a 6 second 40% damage reduction ability on a 2 minute cooldown.
    • Nature's Guardian reduces your threat & increases your health by 25% for 10 seconds when an attack brings you under 30% health.
    • Stone Bulwark Totem gives you a damage absorbing shield for 30 seconds, refreshing every 5 seconds.

    The best talent to take of these three is Astral Shift, as it fills a hole in the Shaman spell book. You may want to take Stone Bulwark for a lower but more frequent damage absorb, usually for fights with lots of AoE damage.

    Level 30
    To be added later. Essentially free choice between Earthgrab & Windwalk totems.

    Level 45
    Talents based around totems.

    While none of these talents are exciting at first glance, the recommended option is Totemic Projection to allow you to re-locate Magma Totem for AoE damage. It will also be useful for moving Capacitor Totem in both PvE and PvP.

    Level 60
    The level 60 talents are all haste based.
    • Ancestral Swiftness grants 5% haste with the old Nature’s Swiftness insta-cast talent on a 1 minute cooldown
    • Echo of the Elements gives a 6% chance to duplicate any spell (including overloads, but doesn’t affect Flame Shock dots)
    • Elemental Mastery is the third as a half duration Bloodlust.

    The best talent to take at 85 is Elemental Mastery, but it's not much of a gain over Echo or Ancestral Swiftness (simcraft results) based on an un-optimised 4.3 T13H gearset.

    Level 75
    Healing based talents.
    • Ancestral Guidance 40% of your damage/healing for the next 10 seconds is copied as healing to up to 3 nearby injured players.
    • Conductivity 50% of initial damage from Chain Lighting, Earth Shock and Lightning Bolt is shared as healing between all allies in your Healing Rain when you hit an enemy standing in your Healing Rain
    • Healing Tide Totem Heals 5 nearby injured players every 2 seconds for 10 seconds.

    The best talent here is Ancestral Guidance, in a general sense. If you're using Healing Rain frequently on a fight to help out with healing, Conductivity may be a better choice. Healing Tide is fairly worthless without the extra passives from Restoration.

    Level 90
    Level 90 talents are all output focused.
    • Elemental Blast is a new direct damage spell with a random secondary stat buff (Crit/Haste/Mastery)
    • Primal Elementalist gives your Elemental pets extra abilities and boosts their damage by 50%
    • Unleashed Fury gives your target a 10 second debuff that increases Lightning Bolt damage by 30%.

    Primal Elementalist and Elemental Blast are roughly even, while Unleashed Fury is slightly behind (UF is also not recommended as it reduces your movement options when you don't have Unleashed Lightning).

    I'm working on refining the L90 talent information, but as you won't see these talents until the end of September I have some time to work on that.

    Chain Lightning
    Advantage: Increases AoE damage from Chain Lightning by adding two additional jumps
    Disadvantage: Reduces initial damage by 10%
    This glyph is best used when you expect to face 4+ targets, as it's a damage loss when dealing with three targets or fewer.
    Advice: Required for AoE

    Fire Elemental Totem
    Advantage: Decreases the cooldown of Fire Elemental Totem from 5 minutes to 3 minutes
    Disadvantage: Decreases the duration of Fire Elemental Totem from 60 seconds to 36 seconds
    The duration:cooldown ratio remains the same, so what this glyph allows is a more frequent but shorter use of your Fire Elemental. Roughly a quarter of the time this will end up being a DPS gain, but the rest of the time it is a DPS loss based purely on comparing the different uptimes (refer to this blog post for more details). It's also possible to use the glyph to sync Fire Elemental with other 3 minute cooldowns.
    Advice: Optional.

    Flame Shock
    Advantage: Increases the duration of the DoT by 25% or 6 seconds.
    Disadvantage: Decreases the direct damage portion by 25%
    Since the primary function of Flame Shock is to set up Lava Bursts 100% crit chance, having a longer duration makes keeping that DoT up while managing the shared shock cooldown easier. It also works out to be a ~300 dps gain.
    Advice: Required

    Telluric Currents
    Advantage: Lightning Bolt hits restore 2% of your mana
    Disadvantage: None.
    Elemental doesn't have any mana problems even before considering Thunderstorm. This makes Telluric Currents largely redundant, even with AoE burn phases as every Chain Lightning strike has an independent chance to cause Rolling Thunder procs.
    Advice: Not Recommended

    Advantage: Reduces the cooldown on Thunderstorm by 10 seconds
    Disadvantage: None
    As with Telluric Currents, there's no need for this glyph from a mana restore point of view. However, if you are using the knockback function frequently, then the glyph may be of some use. Note: stacks with the 4pc bonus from next seasons PvP gear.
    Advice: Optional, but only when using the knockback

    Unleashed Lightning
    Advantage: Allows Lightning Bolt to be cast while moving
    Disadvantage: Lightning Bolt takes 5% longer to cast
    Whether you continually swap this one in & out for stationary & movement fights is a personal preference. The DPS loss is in the 1.5% range for completely stationary fights, and gives a gain of ~10% with heavy movement. Some will prefer to keep it as often as possible, and drop Unleash Elements completely.
    Advice: Required for movement heavy fights, optional otherwise.

    Unstable Earth
    Advantage: Earthquake reduces the movement speed of affected targets by 40% for 3 seconds
    Disadvantage: None
    Effectively adds Earthbind Totem's slow to Earthquake. Primarily only useful for AoE where the targets must be kited.
    Advice: Optional for AoE

    Wind Shear
    Advantage: Increases the school lockout by 1 second
    Disadvantage: Increases the cooldown by 3 seconds
    This glyph brings Wind Shear into line with the interrupts of most melee classes (4 second lockout, 15 second cooldown).
    Advice: Optional, depending on encounter & interrupt management.

    The base "rotation" or priority order in Mists will be similar to that in Cataclysm. FS, LvB, ES6, LB. The only variations are if you take EB or UF as your L90 talent, in which case EB slots in after LvB while for UF Unleash Elements comes before LvB.

    The single change is around pre-emptive Earth Shocks prior to recasting Flame Shock, in order to avoid wasting Lightning Shield charges. It's now possible to cast it with as few as 3 charges, but it's also worth pointing out that the gains of doing this vs ignoring this and just casting Flame Shock when it's about to expire or Earth Shock when LS charges are at 7 is a massive 200 dps at level 85 (or ~0.44%).

    The AoE rotation doesn't change much either. Pre-cast Magma totem & use Earthquake if you have 5 or more targets, then cast Chain Lightning (glyphed, of course).

    Stats & Weights
    Level 85: Your current weights should be fine (ie: Mastery >= Haste > Crit depending on 4pc/DTR)
    15% hit will be required, which means 1537 rating (or 1435 for Draenei). It's also worth noting that if you're a Dwarf with a mace, you get 1% expertise from it, which now also counts as spell hit, so you'll use the 14% value that Draenei have.

    It's worth pointing out that these are guideline weights only, based on T13H gear, and you should run your own sims via SimulationCraft to get tailored stats for yourself. For example, if I run my own sim I end up having Crit & Mastery valued slightly higher than Haste. The reason Crit is so high is because I have virtually no Crit rating on my gear (Mastery is high because of T13 4pc & DTR), and in Mists we will have to have a balanced approach to secondary stats where you can no longer completely ignore one in the favour of another.

    Dude, where's my DPS?
    By now you've probably realised that your DPS at level 85 is a bit lower than what it used to be. This is because everything is balanced around level 90, and we're missing two critical things right now
    • Ascendance is our class DPS cooldown, which removes the cooldown on Lava Burst. It also turns Chain Lightning into Lava Beam which has no damage jump reduction, but it's unlikely that we will use it for AoE. The reason why Ascendance is so important is that it contributes about 12.5% of our total damage. Most other classes have utility spells at 87, not damage cooldowns.
    • Level 90 Talents are also a big factor, contributing 5-6% of total damage. Four out of Eleven classes have damage talents at level 90.

    When you combine these two factors, we'll be approximately 18% behind in these few weeks between 5.0.4 and Mists, so don't be too stressed about it.

    There are no FAQ's as yet. If you have something you'd like to ask, leave it as a comment.

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