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Michelangelo

Elemental Spells: The Good, The Normal, and The Clunky

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If you've been around the Shaman community, you've seen some things. Forum posts lamenting the class as boring, in-game debates with warlocks over how annoying multi-dotters are, self-proclaimed superiority simply by spamming one button (I<3CL). Once you go through it all, however, you start to see the same points being raised and some creative solutions proposed. Obviously the Blizzard developers are listening, see the proposed changes to Flame Shock to make Crit more viable, but we should always press on in bettering our Class and coming up with our own solutions.

To start, we're going to talk about what isn't broken, or what is barely fractured and could use some duct tape at best. Keep in mind this is opinionated, made up of my own feelings and general ramblings I've heard from the community. As well, I primarily raid Elemental and PvP on the side, so this has a PvE viewpoint first and foremost. Feel free to comment with your own additions or arguments.

The Good

Chain Lightning
Working as intended. Is the Glyph really necessary? I'd take a permanent 10% damage reduction and I'd still be top of the charts AOE spam, and I've seen no one complain about CL. See: "I'm sad I never get to use CL on whichever fight." Or: "What's the point of 7-stack Earth Shock when I can just keep spamming CL?" Spam on, Shammies.

Lava Burst
Brand New in 5.3! Your same old highest priority spell is now stronger, and doesn't get GCD capped nearly as easily! Only complaint, which will continue until the end of time: "Crit doesn't affect LvB so Crit is the worst." I have to say, I hate my 250% crit EB and CLs just as much as the next Shaman... On a serious note, Blizzard will do something to make Crit attractive for LvB without making Crit way more attractive than Haste and Mastery. At least, I hope so. I'll go into detail on my next post.

Ascendance
Remember when Elemental Mastery was our major cooldown? Sure pales in comparison, thanks Blizz!

Earth Shock
I want to be clear, this is only about Earth Shock as a mechanic that builds up and then you discharge all your stacks at once for high damage. I like using it and playing around with the timing. That's all I'll say about Shocks at the moment....

Raid Utility
Dear Blizzard. I love Ancestral Guidance and Healing Tide Totem. I love totems that remove Fear from everyone, or Ground and reflect mechanics, or Stormlash everyone's attacks, or root and slow mobs, et al. Don't take away my raid utility and I won't take away my subscription.

The Normal

So many spells can be thrown in here. Shields, CCs, Totems, Wind Shear, Purge, Astral Recall, Healing spells, Primal Strike is OP, etc.
*I do want to make special note that Water Walking being worse than a Warlock's Water Walking is absolute bullshit and a disgrace to Shaman buffs!*
EDIT: This was retracted, so our WW is now equal again.

Onwards to the good stuff...

The Clunky

Earthquake
Some people will be surprised to see Earthquake as Clunky and not straight Bad, so hear me out. I love the spell, always have. I precast it when I know AoE is incoming or when nothing is going on for free damage. The knockdown is extremely useful (albeit clunky and unreliable), and glyphed you can even use it in raids (Heroic Tortos says hello, that's it really).

All that aside... Really? A super long cast for a powerful Earthquake and it ticks as annoyingly as a flea. Don't worry though, the Physical damage it does gets reduced. Let's face it, nothing is more exciting than that little note on Elemental AOE guides that says "only use Earthquake if you have 30 targets and they'll be alive for the entire cast. AKA spam CL and don't look back." This used to be our ultimate talent choice, I would love for it to be useful (especially for such an annoyingly long cast and specific positioning).

Rockbiter Weapon
The ultimate tell that Blizzard is yanking your chain is this weapon imbue. The only reason it doesn't go under Bad is because I simply have no idea what they want me to do with it. 5% damage reduction and 30% threat generation? I can't contain my excitement. Unleashing it taunts the boss? Well, not to say I haven't actually done this in progression to let a tank drop stacks off once in my life, but it just doesn't feel right that one of the squishiest classes yells "I'm over here!"

The thing is, this thing could have merit for the most bleeding-edge surviving Shaman. Macro it with a shield for incoming Physical damage to pretend you have damage reduction. Better yet, take a look at Unleashed Fury under Rockbiter Weapon. Hell, I'd for sure use a 40% damage reduction if I ever took that talent. Maybe macro Rockbiter + Unleash + Flametongue + Yell "tanks please taunt back." Stop teasing me Blizz and say what you want me to do, I know you dislike survival macros.

Unleash Elements
Clunky is the perfect word in my mind to describe Unleash Elements (and Unleash Fury, the lvl 90 talent). Yes it is useful, it scratches the enemy and makes my next Lava Burst hit harder, which is pretty cool... for a DPS loss. Why must it hit like a wet noodle? Why must I go out of my way to take a talent that (ever so slightly) underperforms and requires me to tunnel my current target until the buff wears off to even be viable when we already have target switching issues, just to use this spell?

Don't get me wrong, I use and love this spell. Interrupting Jolt? Throw a quick Unleash Elements. Annoying adds need to be knocked back or refreshed? Unleash Elements macro for that sweet 40-yard range. I'm just begging to have a reason to take this old bike out of the shed outside of necessity. Twist: We're all doing it wrong and we're supposed to game that 30% Fire Damage buff to cheese meters somehow, someone get back to me.

Totems on GCD
Yeah yeah, I said totems were Normal, but I lied. Outside of maybe Healing Tide Totem, I see absolutely no reason we still have to waste GCD's on totems. The Warrior Banner Experiment shows that 3 mini totems on their own GCD works fine without annoyingly harming DPS for no reason. I can't macro my Stormlash into anything? I still lose a GCD just to refresh the strongest and most reliant DoT in our arsenal (Searing Totem stand up, take a bow)? This is truly "clunky" in my mind, and wouldn't change anything except our quality of life. Totems on a separate CD off the GCD, pretty please. Wouldn't break the game, wouldn't make me destroy meters, and Shaman would thank you for it.

Ankh's Long CD
If there is one thing I had confirmed from Heroic Ra-den progression, it is that Shaman usefulness is partly reliable on Ankh. Granted I wasn't there, and it wasn't used in strategies, but it was important enough for a hotfix specifically so that Ankh would reset after pulls because "waiting around after every pull got old." Hate to break it to you, but that doesn't only apply to Limited Pulls. Ankh is our immunity. It is our version of solo soaking anything. I understand that it is an old mechanic, and that a free brez seems like sacrilege for every fight, but does it? Is it truly different from having complete immunity from otherwise fatal damage every ONE MINUTE when we can take the full brunt of damage and rez with barely any health ONCE IN A FIGHT?

I'll understand if Ankh never gets its CD shortened to 10m, or never gets reset upon a wipe. However, in the current day and age of raiding, when immunities and solo-soaking reigns supreme, I'll say "about time" when a shorter CD and a reset upon wipe do become reality.


That's it for today. Next I'll go into The Bad AKA Shocks, and What's Missing which will be made up of some ideas I've come across in the community.

- Mike

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Updated 27-06-2013 at 09:51 PM by Michelangelo

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  1. Unregistered's Avatar
    I do want to make special note that Water Walking being worse than a Warlock's Water Walking is absolute bullshit and a disgrace to Shaman buffs!

    Fyi they nerfed affliction water walking. It still is water breathing and water walking for a shard, but the water walking component is dispelled on taking damage just like ours now.

    Rockbiter Weapon: if you want to mess with a tank or offtank, just put up rockbiter and use unleash elements and yell "wtf tank" in vent/mumble/teamspeak then put flametongue back up. I do it on trash to my offtank and he quite honestly can't figure out how I pull on trash, mostly because if you aren't a shaman you are very unlikely to know to look as unleash to see it's a taunt. Everyone in my raid except the offtank knows Im doing it, and that makes it even more humorous. Trash only obviously, but it is a "taunt" and that's not terrible to have.
  2. Michelangelo's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Unregistered
    I do want to make special note that Water Walking being worse than a Warlock's Water Walking is absolute bullshit and a disgrace to Shaman buffs!

    Fyi they nerfed affliction water walking. It still is water breathing and water walking for a shard, but the water walking component is dispelled on taking damage just like ours now.

    Rockbiter Weapon: if you want to mess with a tank or offtank, just put up rockbiter and use unleash elements and yell "wtf tank" in vent/mumble/teamspeak then put flametongue back up. I do it on trash to my offtank and he quite honestly can't figure out how I pull on trash, mostly because if you aren't a shaman you are very unlikely to know to look as unleash to see it's a taunt. Everyone in my raid except the offtank knows Im doing it, and that makes it even more humorous. Trash only obviously, but it is a "taunt" and that's not terrible to have.
    Edited, thanks, and love the hilarity on Rockbiter.

    I didn't mean to sound unhappy that we have a taunt. Like I said I've used it during progression you just have to be aware of it. I would love for it to be redesigned somewhat, however. Either give us actual threat generation and actual damage reduction, or make it taunt only. It just seems awkward the way it is, in that the secondary effects of having it imbued are pointless.
  3. Obatala's Avatar
    I must have missed this, what are these proposed changes to Flame Shock?
  4. Michelangelo's Avatar
    From Icy-Veins Patch 5.3 interview:

    "Shamans — Do you have any plans for major spell changes for Elemental Shamans in the near future (as opposed to small percentage adjustments)? For example, what is your take on giving Lava Burst a damage modifier based on crit (much like the Chaos Bolt of Destruction Warlocks) or on removing the cooldown of Flameshock in PvE?

    We’re unlikely to change the Flame Shock CD. We might experiment with Lava Burst benefitting from crit, but we would have to nerf its damage to compensate, which would hurt shaman with lower crit chances. We’d rather find some other way to increase the value crit of the “when I crit, something cool happens” variety. Imagine that Flame Shock tick crits caused Lava Surge instead of just a chance on a tick. It may not be that specific implementation, but something along those lines."
  5. Unregistered's Avatar
    You didn't hit the totem issue fully. In addition to being on the GCD, we can also no longer use them when silenced, since they're considered spells. Also, since the move from "minor long-term buffs" to "more powerful short term effects" with the totem, we're being balanced around totems has being just like other spells we have. The problem is, no other class has spells that can be dispelled with 5 hp of damage. So we're getting the worst of both situations. They're still totems in that you can sneeze and destroy them. But they're spells in every way that limits our ability to use them. Decide what they are and run with it. But don't leave us in this middle-ground where we're getting screwed from both sides.
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