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Elemental Haste Concerns in 5.2

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In 5.2 there will be two additional sources of haste for Elemental Shaman: the Sinister Primal Diamond and the modified talent Elemental Mastery with a 90 second cooldown. EM isnít new, but with the reduced cooldown itís possibly going to be a tough call between it and Echo of the Elements.

The problem is that Elemental has had some real issues scaling with bonus haste, which has been evident on fights like Alysrazor, Madness and Sinestra.

So whatís the deal?
Elemental has two haste caps, one at 50% and the other at 100%. At 50% all instant and 1.5 second cast time spells no longer scale directly with haste. Indirectly, Flame Shock dots tick faster & add more ticks, Earth Shock will be used more frequently due to the increased Rolling Thunder procs, and Lava Burst will get reset via Lava Surge more often, but the end result is that haste above 50% is worth about two thirds as much when youíre under 50%.

At 100% Lightning Bolt hits 1 second and goes no further. This means the only additional damage from haste is now coming from the Flame Shock dot, which is a fairly minor contribution to our damage. This is where most other casters start running into their own soft cap, but most have abilities with 2.25-3 second cast times.

Generally speaking, haste acts like a damage multiplier (based on your total haste). As soon as you pass these haste caps, it starts de-valuing either the buff, the haste rating, or both. This is where the problem is.

How does this affect us in 5.2?
Time for the obligatory graph.

Click image for larger version. 

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As you can see, the value of haste will diminish as the time we spend above a haste cap increases. The drops are all the same, but some are bigger than others. Note that the X axis is showing the haste percentage from haste rating only. The Spell Haste aura is in addition to this, mostly to keep the X values tidy)
  • 9-10%: Over the 50% haste cap with one 30% haste buff
  • 12-13%: Over the 100% haste cap with two 30% haste buffs (Sinister Meta + either Heroism or Elemental Mastery)
  • 42-43%: Going over the 50% haste cap without buffs
  • 46-47%: Going over the 100% haste cap with one 30% haste buff
The problem is that as soon as we start having multiple sources of a 30% haste buff, the time spent over the haste caps goes up which starts de-valuing haste. It will also be very hard to manage having only one source of haste up at a time as two are on-use abilities while the third is a random proc.

This is a problem because haste has been the ďbestĒ secondary stat for a while, and is still fairly prominent on out gear for the next raid instance (that would be Throne of Thunder). Itís quite possible that weíll end up aiming for Mastery > Crit > Haste or ignoring Elemental Mastery in favour of Echo of the Elements again.

In the end...
The changed cooldown for Elemental Mastery may not be enough to change the current Tier 4 talent distribution for Elemental, even with the slightly higher average haste (6.67%) and the ability to stack with other cooldowns. Echo will still be a useful & practical talent to take, even if it doesnít work on one or two abilities.

Likewise, unless the haste buff is up long enough we wonít end up using the Sinister Primal Diamond from the legendary chain, but if itís up too long weíll end up reducing the effectiveness of haste and reforging into mastery or even crit.

As I mentioned before, these haste issues crop up frequently for Elemental, but nothing has changed to prevent it from happening again.

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  1. WARSTORMS's Avatar
    Interesting. So do we have any data that might tell us the uptime of haste provided by Sinister?

    Also, I'm having trouble understanding your graph. Are you saying that as i get to 40% haste ill only be getting a 20% reduction in the value of my haste? What are E/H/S, H/S and H lines representative of?

    As a basic you are telling me that I should aim for 50% haste(inclusive of raid buffs) before cooldowns and procs?
  2. Binkenstein's Avatar
    Go look at recent WoL parses?

    The lines show how the current weight of haste compares to a base value without any haste buffs/effects. E = Elemental Mastery, H = 5% haste buff, S = Sinister

    No, you shouldn't aim for any amount of haste, as that's wrong information and also not what this article is about.
  3. WARSTORMS's Avatar
    OK that makes sense now. Thanks


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