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[Elemental] Cataclysm Discussion - Patch 4.3


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#1 masanbol

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Posted 06 December 2010 - 03:58 PM

Welcome to the Elemental Shaman Cataclysm discussion thread. This thread is intended to be your primary resource for all Elemental-related information, discussion, and theorycraft.

Last updated November 28, 2011 for patch 4.3.

This topic will be split into three parts:

1. This post, which serves as an introduction and lists the most recent class changes and hotfixes relevant to our spec

2. An Elemental FAQ, which will answer the most common questions about Elemental shamans, such as what spec to use, important stats, the hit cap, etc.

3. An In-Depth Spec Guide, with descriptions of all abilities and talents related to the Elemental spec and how they are best used


Most Recent Changes/Hotfixes

November 29, 2011
Source: World of Warcraft Client Patch 4.3

General Shaman Changes

  • Flametongue Weapon no longer increases spell damage. It now increases all non-physical damage done by the wielder by 5%.
  • Lightning Bolt has a new spell effect.
  • Wind Shear’s base cooldown has been adjusted to 15 seconds, up from 6 seconds.
Elemental-Specific Changes
  • Call of Flame no longer causes Fire Nova to extend the duration of Flame Shock.
  • Earthquake damage has been increased by roughly 75%.
  • Elemental Fury now removes the cooldown from Chain Lightning.
  • Reverberation now reduces the cooldown of Wind Shear by 5/10 seconds, up from 0.5/1 second.
  • Shamanism now increases the spell power benefit to Lightning Bolt, Lava Burst, and Chain Lightning by 36%, up from 32%.
  • Fire Elemental now benefits from 55% of its master’s spell power, up from 50%.
Items
  • : The chance for this item’s effect to be triggered has been reduced.
Set Bonuses
  • 2-piece Tier 12 Elemental has been changed to read: Your Lightning Bolt has a 30% chance to reduce the remaining cooldown on your Fire Elemental Totem by 4 sec.


Please follow all forum rules when posting, and keep in mind that the answer to your question is likely in the first three posts in this thread. Read carefully before posting to avoid infractions!

#2 masanbol

masanbol

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Posted 06 December 2010 - 03:59 PM

Here are the most common questions related to the Elemental spec.

Basics

What spec and glyphs should I use?
For PvE, use this spec: Talent Calculator - World of Warcraft

The three Prime glyphs you should be using for most circumstances are Lightning Bolt, Unleashed Lightning and Flame Shock. For more in-depth comparison and information about Major glyphs, see the guide below.

What are Elemental's most important stats?
At 85, they are as follows:

Spirit/Hit (until capped) >> Intellect > Haste >= Mastery >> Crit

Important note on stat weights: they can and will change based on your gear. The above ranking is based on BiS T12 Heroic gear, and your gear may have different weights. Run SimCraft with your gear profile to determine your own weights if you want a more accurate estimate.

What's the hit cap at level 85?
For non-Draenei, the hit cap is 1742 hit rating, which you can get from either hit or spirit (via Elemental Precision). For a Draenei, the hit cap is 1640 hit rating.

How should I gem?
As many Intellect gems as possible while getting good (+int) socket bonuses using int/haste orange gems and int/spirit purple gems. Your meta, like all ranged casters, is Burning Shadowspirit Diamond.

Keep in mind that since you cannot reforge additional primary stats like Int, it is best to reforge to the hit cap rather than gemming for it, and squeeze as much Int as you can out of gemming (through gems themselves and/or socket bonuses).

What stats do I reforge on my gear?
If you're not hit capped, always reforge to the cap first before worrying about secondary stats. Prioritize reforging crit to hit/spirit above everything else.

If you're hit capped already and have gear left to reforge, follow these simple Rules for Reforgingâ„¢!

If you're hit capped, and/or you have excess hit or spirit, do the following:
1. If an item has hit/spirit and crit, reforge hit/spirit to Haste or Mastery, otherwise reforge crit to Haste or Mastery
2. If an item has hit/spirit and haste, reforge hit/spirit to Mastery, otherwise leave it alone
3. If an item has hit/spirit and mastery, reforge hit/spirit to Haste, otherwise leave it alone
4. If an item has crit and haste, reforge crit to Mastery
5. If an item has crit and mastery, reforge crit to Haste
6. If an item has haste and mastery, leave it alone!

In other words, reforge crit to either haste or mastery whenever possible, depending on the other secondary stat on the item.

If you know how to use it, WoWReforge is an excellent tool for working out your reforging, just make sure you change the stat weights to match your sims!

What self buffs should I use?
Use Flametongue Weapon and Lightning Shield, always, and keep them up on yourself 100% of the time.

What's the standard Elemental Rotation?
In short, we don't really have one anymore. Instead, we cast with a spell priority list.

Fire totem down -> Flame Shock DoT present -> Lava Burst (whenever it's up) -> Earth Shock (7-9 Lightning Shield charges) -> Lightning Bolt filler

Other situations (like movement, or multi-target fights) are covered in the In-Depth Guide below.

What should I use for AoE?
This has changed in patch 4.3, and we now have a very simple and generally competitive AoE rotation. If targets are stationary, drop Earthquake and spam Chain Lightning interspersed with Fulminations at 9 charges (there will be wasted charges due to how CL works). Glyph CL if there are more than 3 targets for increased damage. If targets are in motion, drop Earthquake from the priority.

What totems should I use for most raid situations?
Generally speaking, you should be using Searing and Wrath of Air, with water and earth totems dependent on fight mechanics and buff coverage from other raid members. In addition, be sure to use Fire Elemental as often as possible, as it is a major source of DPS and still provides the Totemic Wrath raid buff. For a breakdown on what each totem does and the raid situations they apply to, as well as tips on best Fire Elemental use, see the comprehensive guide below.

Doing Competitive DPS

What's the best way to wring the most DPS out of the Fire Elemental?
Use it with as many Intellect buffs up as humanly possible. The best time for this is right at the beginning of the fight, with Volcanic Potion pre-potted and all your Int procs, trinkets, and on-use +Int abilities off cooldown. Since the Elemental takes a snapshot of your stats at the moment it's dropped, it will gain substantially from all your procs being up at once.

Any other general tips for being competitive on the meters?
Keep casting. DPS in WoW, especially as a ranged caster, is about pushing limits. Do as much damage as you possibly can while filling your role in the fight without dying, wiping your raid, or pulling aggro. If your DoT uptime isn't really close to 100%, try to recast it just as it's about to fall off. Don't delay Lava Burst casts for any reason, react to Surge procs quickly, and watch your shock cooldown like a hawk. As long as you aren't being distracted and you're keeping your uptime on the boss as high as you can, you will be competitive.

New Abilities

Spiritwalker's Grace is weird. Where is it best used?
Since it's a 15-second duration and a 2-minute cooldown, SWG is not actually all that useful for most periods of movement in raid situations, especially with the Unleashed Lightning glyph. Use it instead for those rare instances of longer movement.

When should I cast Unleash Elements, and what does it affect?
Unleash Flame, the Flametongue-based attack from Unleash Elements, does a nominal amount of damage and boosts the next Fire spell you cast by 30%. UE's single-target damage is pretty low right now, so it's generally not worth it to cast under most circumstances.

There is a "trick" with UE that allows both LvB and FS to gain from a single cast of the spell, which makes it just slightly better than a LB cast, but this applies in only one circumstance: when LvB is off cooldown just before the FS DoT is about to expire. Using this trick under any other circumstance is not a DPS gain.

At what level of Lightning Shield charges should I cast Earth Shock to use Fulmination?
Short answer: Fulmination is best triggered at 7-8 stacks of Lightning Shield. This is due to the way the Shock cooldown interacts with Lava Burst. Casting ES at any point between 7 and 9 gives you more flexibility to work this ability into your rotation while avoiding situations that can cause your DPS to decrease.

Long answer: you can model this yourself, based on your current stats, using a spreadsheet created by Cyfir (thanks!). Link here: http://members.cox.n.../fulminate.xlsx

Earth Shock and Flame Shock won't play nice in my rotation anymore!
This is probably the trickiest part of our rotation now. Without 4pc t10, managing the shock cooldown becomes incredibly important. There are a few things you can do that will help.

1. Put two points into Reverberation. This talent has been largely ignored for all of Wrath, but it can become very important in level 85 raids and dungeons. If you find you are able to work with the shock cooldown without this talent, you can put these points into Totemic Reach instead.
2. As previously mentioned, cast Earth Shock at 7 or 8 stacks of Lightning Shield. This gives you the freedom to use ES when you know FS is not going to be recast in the next 5-6 seconds. If you wait until 9 stacks, you run the risk of either having to cast LvB with no Flame Shock DoT, or wasting LS charges.
3. Take the Flame Shock glyph. This gives you quite a bit more breathing room than you might imagine.

Is there an easier way to watch for Lava Surge procs?
Get some mods. TotemTimers is great for both Lava Surge and stacks of Lightning Shield; if you want something a bit more customizable and are willing to put in the effort to configure it, PowerAuras is a solid choice.

Other Questions

Is there a single macro I can mash instead of having to watch my cooldowns, procs and DoTs?
No.

What's the exact target amount of haste I should get to and then stop?
Stop asking this question. There are no target haste values, there never were, there never will be. For a more complete explanation, see the Haste section below.

#3 masanbol

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Posted 06 December 2010 - 04:00 PM

Introduction



Elemental combat is the ranged magic damage tree for the Shaman class. The basics of Elemental spellcasting, important talents, spells and totems, stats and gearing, and other topics will be covered in this article.

Basics



Playstyle


Elemental is a ranged caster spec. Like most other ranged casters, our spec relies on DoTs, procs, and cooldowns to do effective DPS. As of the launch of Cataclysm, we do not follow a specific cast order or rotation, but rather use a spell priority to determine what to cast next. As with other Shamans, Elemental relies on Totems to buff the group and do additional damage, although the exact totems to use may vary with the situation.

Stats and Gearing


Elemental shaman share gear with Restoration shaman for all mail armor slots outside of tier pieces. Also, with the addition of Mail Specialization, we do not use cloth or leather armor. A basic stat hierarchy in order of most important to least is as follows:

Spirit/Hit (until capped) >> Intellect > Haste >= Mastery >> Crit

More information about stats and their relative importance may be found later in the article.

Buffs and Debuffs


The Elemental spec provides a few specific bonuses to a raid beyond the basic totems given by any shaman: a 5% spell crit aura from Elemental Oath, a 10% spellpower increase from Fire totems via the Totemic Wrath talent, and a 20% attack speed debuff from Earth Shock. Like most class buffs and debuffs, ours are not exclusive and coverage can be found with similar or identical buffs elsewhere.
[table=head]Elemental Buff/Debuff|Alternates|Class/Spec|Notes
Elemental Oath|Leader of the Pack, Honor Among Thieves, Rampage|Feral Druid, Subtlety Rogue, Fury Warrior|All versions of this buff are identical and do not stack.
Totemic Wrath|Demonic Pact|Demonology Warlock|These buffs are identical and do not stack. The spellpower bonus applied is 10% of the recipients' spellpower and is not based on the spellpower of the shaman or warlock providing the buff.
Earth Shock|Infected Wounds, Frost Fever, Judgments of the Just, Thunderclap|Feral Druid, Death Knight (all), Protection Paladin, Protection Warrior|These debuffs are identical and do not stack, but there isn't much cause to worry about being the sole applier of this debuff, especially considering that every tank spec will have it up by default most of the time.
[/table]
For totem buffs that are nonspecific to the Elemental spec, see the Totems section.


Spells



Primary Spells


There are three primary spells in the Elemental rotation.
[table=head]Spell||Base Co-Efficient|Notes
Lightning Bolt|LB|71.43%|LB is the "filler spell" for Elemental rotations, and is a key part of our mana regeneration through the Rolling Thunder talent. LB is typically a sizable percentage of an Elemental shaman's damage, and so talents and glyphs that benefit it have a larger impact on our overall DPS.
Flame Shock|FS|21.40% DD 10.00% DoT tick|FS is our standard shock ability. Primarily used to guarantee a LvB crit and to enable Lava Surges, it is also one of a few spells that are useful to cast whenever you are moving (or just unable to cast non-instant spells while still able to perform actions). The DoT portion of this spell is affected by haste, and it is therefore one of our best-scaling spells. For more about the interaction of haste and Flame Shock, see the Stats section.
Lava Burst|LvB|62.80%|The core spell of the Elemental rotation, LvB is a high damage spell on an 8 second cooldown. This spell will always crit as long as a Flame Shock DoT is present on the target, and as such it should never be cast if FS is not present or will fall off before LvB finishes casting. The automatic crit is useful in that it will guarantee two clearcasting charges, further increasing damage and reducing mana consumption. The Lava Surge talent gives Flame Shock DoT ticks a 20% chance to reset the cooldown on this spell; quick reaction to Surge procs is key to maintaining high DPS.
Earth Shock|ES|38.57%|Earth Shock is an instant cast nature-damage spell with a 20% melee attack speed reduction. In the Elemental rotation, its main use is actually to "discharge" up to 6 stacks of Lightning Shield (accumulated through Rolling Thunder) on a target via the Fulmination talent. This ability in combination with Lava Burst makes for phenomenal one-two burst damage.
Lightning Shield|LS|Unknown|Not a direct damage spell per se, but core to our rotation nonetheless. This ability must be active for Rolling Thunder to generate additional stacks for use with Fulmination/Earth Shock.
[/table]

Secondary Spells


These spells are core to the class but are situational or not part of the rotation.
[table=head]Spell||Base Co-Efficient|Notes
Flametongue Weapon|FT|N/A|FT is the Elemental weapon buff. Provides bonus spellpower. This is the only weapon imbue you should ever use as Elemental.
Chain Lightning|CL|57.14%|CL is a ranged "smart cleave" and our primary AoE spell. This spell should be used any time there is more than one target within range of its cleave; otherwise stick to LB and the rest of the Elemental rotation. For AoE situations with 4+ targets, the Glyph for this spell is highly recommended.
Elemental Mastery|EM|N/A|The primary Elemental cooldown; boosts damage done as well as haste. The 3-minute cooldown on this spell is reduced by casting LB and CL when talented.
Frost Shock|FrS|38.57%|Frost Shock is a close-range, high threat spell with a slowing component that is useful in two major situations: fights that involve kiting, and PvP.
Hex||N/A|This is the Shaman crowd control spell. Will not break immediately upon damage, and does not heal its target.
Thunderstorm|TS|17.14%|Thunderstorm is a spell unique to the Elemental tree, learned when choosing the Elemental specialization at level 10. It is an instant AoE damaging spell with a 20 yard knockback and a mana restore function, which can be glyphed to remove the knockback function and increase the mana restoration by a small amount, and also to reduce the cooldown.
Wind Shear|WS|N/A|A close-range, instant spell interrupt that is not on the GCD. This spell has a 25-yard maximum range (and no talents to increase it), so it requires careful positioning to make effective use of.
Earthquake|EQ|Unknown|An Elemental-only AoE spell. This spell was changed in 4.1 and is no longer channeled; instead it is a targeted AoE ability that should be used in conjunction with our primary source of AoE DPS, Chain Lightning, whenever possible. Remember when using this spell that once cast it is put on cooldown, and therefore cannot be recast if mobs move out from underneath it.
Fire Nova|FN|Unknown|This ability is no longer part of the AoE toolkit for Elemental, and can be ignored.
Unleash Elements|UE|Varies|UE is an instant cast spell on a 15-second cooldown that has a different effect depending on which weapon buff is currently active. For Elemental that will almost always be Flametongue, which results in Unleash Flame. This spell causes a small amount of fire damage and (when talented) increases the damage of the next fire spell cast by 30%. Since the direct damage portion of this spell deals such a small amount of damage, it is not typically worth casting over a LB. However, there is one circumstance where this is not the case, see the notes on this spell in the FAQ for more information. Other uses of Unleash Elements, like Frostbrand and Rockbiter, have a few applications in PvE, and will be covered in more detail at a future date.
Bind Elemental||N/A|A CC that affects on Elemental enemies. Functions similarly to priests' Shackle Undead; any damage to the target breaks the effect.
Cleanse Spirit||N/A|Cleanses one Curse from a friendly target. As of 4.0.1 this is the only debuff removal ability Elemental has.
Purge||N/A|Removes a single magic buff from an enemy target. Crucial for many boss encounters, such as Maloriak, and a primary PvP ability.
Spiritwalker's Grace|SWG|N/A|Allows 15 seconds movement while casting, with a 2 minute cooldown. This ability will likely only be used once or twice in a given fight, so it is best to use it as much as possible to reduce the impact movement has on your spell priority over the length of a fight.
Ghost Wolf||N/A|This ability may be used anywhere, including indoors. If talented, this ability is instant cast. A Major Glyph for this ability increases the movement speed bonus by 5%.
[/table]

Totems


This list ranks totems from top to bottom in terms of their recommended or common use as Elemental in raids.
Air
[table=head]Totem|Usage|Notes
Wrath of Air|Recommended|This is the primary air totem for Elemental raiding. Increases all spellcasting haste by 5% for all raid members in range.
Windfury Totem|Not Recommended|Drop this totem only if you are the only shaman in the group, there are no Frost DKs or Survival Hunters, and the group is melee-heavy.
Grounding Totem|Situational|There are not very many PvE raiding applications for this totem, as most boss abilities ignore it and it is unnecessary for most trash, but it may see some use in certain boss encounters.
[/table]
Earth
[table=head]Totem|Usage|Notes
Stoneskin Totem|Recommended|The general-use earth totem for Elemental. The armor bonus from this totem is exclusive with Devotion Aura and is raid-wide.
Strength of Earth Totem|Not Recommended|Similar to Windfury, drop this only if there are no Enhancement shamans, DKs, or Warriors in the raid.
Tremor Totem|Situational|This totem has been redesigned in patch 4.0.6 to be raidwide and break charm, fear and sleep effects with a much faster pulse rate (1 second, down from 3). Due to this increase in power the cooldown has also been increased to 1 minute.
Earthbind Totem|Situational|Useful in certain fights, this totem slows all nearby targets and, when talented, can temporarily root them as well. Also very useful for PvP.
Stoneclaw Totem|Situational|This totem by itself has little PvE or PvP applications at endgame, but with the glyph can be a useful survivability tool in both environments.
Earth Elemental Totem|Ignore|This totem has little to no use in a PvE raiding environment, due to its pulsing taunt (which most bosses are immune to anyways) and very low survivability. As of patch 4.0.6 this totem no longer puts Fire Elemental totem on cooldown.
[/table]
Water
[table=head]Totem|Usage|Notes
Healing Stream Totem|Recommended|The general-use water totem in raid situations, usually because there are very few other choices that provide tangible benefits. Can be glyphed to add the functionality of Elemental Resistance Totem as well.
Mana Spring Totem|Not Recommended|This totem is primarily used for solo play or 5-man dungeons, unless there are no Paladins in your raid.
Elemental Resistance Totem|Situational|An all-purpose resistance totem. This ability is exclusive with the Paladin aura and has a similar effect (the Paladin aura provides Shadow resistance instead of Nature).
Totem of Tranquil Mind|Situational|Identical to the Paladin buff Concentration Aura. This is useful if your raid does not have paladins using the aura or for soloing.
[/table]
Fire
[table=head]Totem|Usage|Notes
Searing Totem|Recommended|The standard single-target fire damage totem. This spell has a longer duration and attack range than Magma, which puts it over that spell in single-target damage due to decreased GCD usage and placement time. This totem, like all fire totems, provides the raid-wide 10% spellpower buff from Totemic Wrath, so keeping close to 100% uptime is important. NOTE: Fire Nova cannot be used in conjunction with this totem as of patch 4.0.1.
Fire Elemental Totem|Recommended|The Fire Elemental is a free-moving AI-controlled mob (not a pet), but is anchored to its totem. This totem is an extremely effective form of both single-target and AoE DPS. Because it is anchored to the original placement spot, you should make sure that the target it will be attacking is not moved significantly while it is out. This totem lasts for two minutes, has a ten minute cooldown, and therefore should be used at least once per fight. Glyphing this totem cuts the cooldown in half, and so for some fights lasting longer than seven minutes (enough for two full durations of the totem) the glyph is competitive with other choices.
Magma Totem|Situational|A point-blank AoE damage totem. This is intended to be one of Enhancement's AoE tools, but due to its long duration as of patch 4.1 (60 seconds), players wishing to increase their AoE dps on safe, stationary targets can drop this in melee range before starting their typical AoE rotation.
Flametongue Totem|Ignore|The buff provided by Totemic Wrath is better in all respects, and does not stack with this totem.
[/table]

Notes on Fire Elemental and 2PC T12: The Fire Elemental, in addition to its unpredictable behavior, requires some effort in order to maximize its potential DPS. At the moment it scales from a shaman's spellpower only, and also performs a "snapshot" of the caster's stats when dropped, which means trinkets and procs with +Int or spellpower have a disproportionate impact on its DPS output. Generally the best strategy (if possible) is to drop it when every Int proc from trinkets, Power Torrent, engineering gloves, tailoring cloak, Volcanic Potion, etc. are all up simultaneously at the beginning of the fight when their ICDs are all guaranteed to be up. If used in this way you can temporarily more than double the amount of Int buffing your totem for its entire 2-minute duration, and thus greatly increase your DPS. Note that with the nerf to 2PC T12 in patch 4.3, the Elemental can't be dropped more than once or twice in a fight, and may not be up at the beginning of the next attempt.

Talents and Glyphs



Specialization Bonuses


Like all specs Elemental has several passive bonuses and one ability granted by choosing the specialization at level 10.

Elemental's "signature spell" is Thunderstorm, more information about this spell can be found in the Spells section above.

The two passive bonuses granted by the Elemental spec are Elemental Fury, which brings our critical strikes up to the standard 200% damage bonus of all ranged casters, and Shamanism, which reduces the base cast time of our primary damage spells as well as increasing the damage they gain from spellpower.

Elemental's Mastery is Elemental Overload, which gives us a chance to proc a free second spell when casting Lightning Bolt, Chain Lightning or Lava Burst at 75% of normal damage. More information on mastery can be found in the Stats section.

Talents and Talent Builds



The new 31-point talent trees are very straightforward, and for PvE builds there are not many choices to make. A few standard level 85 builds are listed here:

Elemental - 32/9/0 - Convection & Totemic Reach
Elemental - 32/9/0 - Reverberation & Totemic Reach
Elemental - 34/7/0 - Convection & Reverberation

There are a few "optional" points that can be reshuffled or ignored based on your preference; these talents are Convection, Reverberation, Totemic Reach, and Ancestral Resolve. More on them below.

Elemental Combat


[table=head]Tier|Talent|Recommendation|Notes
1|Acuity|Recommended|A straightforward critical strike chance increase.
1|Convection|Optional|Reduces the mana cost of all offensive spells. If you don't encounter mana issues during regular casting, you can safely ignore this if you wish to take other talents.
1|Concussion|Mandatory|A flat damage increase on our most-used damaging abilities.
2|Call of Flame|Mandatory|Increases the damage of Searing, Magma, and Fire Elemental totems as well as Lava Burst.
2|Elemental Warding|Optional|Reduces magical damage taken. A good PvP talent and situationally useful in PvE.
2|Reverberation|Optional|Optional, depending on how you are able to manage the shock cooldown. You may find this talent helpful in decreasing the chances of wasted Lightning Shield charges, but if you are able to manage this ability without it, it can be safely ignored.
2|Elemental Precision|Mandatory|A flat damage increase; also allows for the conversion of Spirit to Hit rating from gear, and therefor absolutely essential since most caster mail will have Spirit on it (without this talent Spirit is 100% useless).
3|Rolling Thunder|Mandatory|Our main source of mana regeneration, and therefore mandatory. Also enables the stacking of Lightning Shield charges for use with the tier 5 talent, Fulmination.
3|Elemental Focus|Mandatory|Another source of mana, but through conservation rather than regeneration. This talent enables clearcasting following a crit, which reduces the mana cost of the next two spells cast. The tier 4 talent Elemental Oath also causes clearcasting charges to increase damage done by 10%.
3|Elemental Reach|Recommended|Increases the range of our shocks and damage spells to the caster default, and also increases the range of Searing Totem.
4|Elemental Oath|Mandatory|As mentioned, causes Clearcasting charges to increase damage done by 10%. This talent also provides 5% spell critical strike chance in a raidwide 100-yard aura.
4|Lava Flows|Mandatory|A multifunction talent that greatly increases the damage of both Lava Burst and Flame Shock, in addition to providing a PvP-oriented "dispel protection" to Flame Shock in the form of a massive haste buff.
5|Fulmination|Mandatory|Enables Earth Shock to proc a secondary damaging effect when cast. The damage done is based on the number of Lightning Shield charges over three on the shaman, up to a maximum of six extra charges. These extra charges are generated by the tier 3 talent, Rolling Thunder.
5|Elemental Mastery|Mandatory|Elemental's primary cooldown. This spell increases damage done as well as haste for a short period.
5|Earth's Grasp|Situational|A PvP talent that enables Earthbind totem to root nearby enemies for a brief period. Situationally useful in PvE.
5|Totemic Wrath|Recommended|Grants any active fire totem the Totemic Wrath ability, which increases the spellpower of all raid members within 100 yards of the totem by 10%. This is exclusive with the Demonology Warlock ability Demonic Pact, and makes casting Flametongue totem redundant.
6|Feedback|Mandatory|A significant DPS increase.
6|Lava Surge|Recommended|Causes Flame Shock DoT ticks to occasionally reset the cooldown of Lava Burst. Using this talent effectively requires some attention, see more in the Spell Priority section of this guide.
7|Earthquake|Recommended|Elemental's primary AoE ability. This spell has a very high mana cost and thus cannot easily be "spammed" or chain-cast. Best use of this spell takes advantage of Clearcasting procs from critical strikes to reduce the mana cost by 40% and increase damage done.
[/table]

Enhancement


[table=head]Tier|Talent|Recommendation|Notes
1|Elemental Weapons|Recommended|Increases the spellpower bonus of Flametongue Weapon and the fire damage bonus of Unleash Flame.
1|Focused Strikes|Ignore|An Enhancement talent only.
1|Improved Shields|Recommended|Increases the damage of Lightning Shield orbs, and thus the total damage of Fulmination.
2|Elemental Devestation|Ignore|An Enhancement talent only.
2|Flurry|Ignore|An Enhancement talent only.
2|Ancestral Swiftness|Recommended|The movement speed increase from this talent is passive and does not stack with run speed enchants, so taking this talent frees up a boot enchant for haste or mastery. Instant-cast Ghost Wolf is also very, very useful for situations that require quick repositioning without the ability to cast. Keep in mind that while it is hard to determine a quantitative DPS gain from talents that increase movement speed, reducing the amount of time spent moving will always be a DPS increase, although with the Unleashed Lightning glyph you will not need to use Ghost wolf for this purpose nearly as often.
2|Totemic Reach|Optional|Increases the effect radius of all beneficial totems as well as the range of offensive totems like Searing, although Elemental Reach makes this talent less useful than it would otherwise be. Does not seem to affect the attack radius of the Fire Elemental.
[/table]

Restoration


[table=head]Tier|Talent|Recommendation|Notes
1|Ancestral Resolve|Optional|A decent survivability talent. Very useful for PvP, and potentially useful for PvE fights with heavy raid damage.
1|Tidal Focus|Ignore|A Restoration talent only.
1|Spark of Life|Situational|A survivability talent. Should only be considered if you are going deeper into Restoration for Totemic Focus.
2|Improved Water Shield|Ignore|A Restoration talent only.
2|Totemic Focus|Situational|This talent is currently the subject of some debate, as it was discovered that the duration bonus also applies to offensive totems such as Searing and Fire Elemental. Given Fire Elemental's high damage potential, it is possible that taking this talent is a DPS increase, especially when combined with the Fire Elemental glyph and 2PC T12 on longer fights. Others argue that this benefit does not outweigh the loss of Ancestral Swiftness or two points in Improved shields that going this deep into Restoration requires.
2|Focused Insight|Ignore|A Restoration talent only.
2|Nature's Guardian|Ignore|An all-around useless talent.
[/table]

Glyphs



Glyphs that are completely unrelated to the Elemental spec will not be listed here. When applicable, glyphs will be listed in order of the DPS gain they provide.

Prime


[table=head]Glyph|Recommendation|Notes
Glyph of Lightning Bolt|Recommended|As LB makes up a sizable portion of our damage, this glyph is competitive with other choices.
Glyph of Unleashed Lightning|Recommended|Allows LB to be cast while moving. For the vast majority of fights in the current and previous tier this is of immense use.
Glyph of Flame Shock|Recommended|This glyph is competitive for DPS and also provides the benefit of making the shock cooldown easier to manage. Read more on this in the Spell Priority section below.
Glyph of Lava Burst|Recommended|A competitive third glyph choice if you do not need Unleashed Lightning for a fight or if you have 4PC T12.
Glyph of Fire Elemental|Recommended|With 2PC T12 this glyph is competitive with other choices, but should be dropped once the setbonus is replaced.
Glyph of Flametongue Weapon|Not Recommended|No longer a competitive choice for the top 3.
Glyph of Shocking|Ignore|Not useful in the slightest.
[/table]

Major


[table=head]Glyph|Recommendation|Notes
Glyph of Lightning Shield|Required|The only truly "required" major glyph. This glyph prevents your Lightning Shield from ever going below 3 charges. Many AoE or directed boss abilities will proc the shield, and this glyph will effectively keep you from ever having to refresh it during a fight.
Glyph of Chain Lightning|Recommended|Increases the usefulness of CL for AoE situations, but reduces its effectiveness against 3 or fewer targets. Note that CL gains an increased chance to proc Rolling Thunder, LS charges and Overloads while glyphed, and will increase the value of Mastery for any fight with AoE.
Glyph of Thunder|Recommended|Useful especially for fights where Thunderstorm's knockback might be used more frequently than once every 40 seconds, such as Cho'gall. Also increases mana regeneration, although only slightly.
Glyph of Healing Stream Totem|Recommended|Bundles the effect of Elemental Resistance Totem into Healing Stream, making it a very useful raid tool.
Glyph of Ghost Wolf|Situational|Increases Ghost Wolf run speed by a small amount.
Glyph of Hex|Situational|Mostly useful for trash or heroic dungeons.
Glyph of Elemental Mastery|Situational|Gives EM an additional defensive cooldown capability, and is therefore mostly a PvP/survivability glyph.
Glyph of Stoneclaw Totem|Situational|Gives Stoneclaw totem a ~16k absorb when cast. Useful in PvP, and PvE where survivability is a concern.
Glyph of Grounding Totem|Situational|Gives Grounding a spell reflect component. Not typically useful in PvE.
Glyph of Totemic Recall|Ignore|The tiny amount of mana restored by this glyph does not justify a glyph spot.
Glyph of Frost Shock|Ignore|A very slight duration increase for Frost Shock's effect, and hardly worth a glyph spot.
[/table]

Minor


Of all the minor glyphs, only Glyph of Thunderstorm has a real impact on any of our abilities. This glyph can be taken if you feel you do not need the knockback component of Thunderstorm, although some raid leaders may have requirements either to have or not have this glyph.

The rest of the minor glyphs are cosmetic or quality-of-life, and therefore up to your preference.

Spell Priority (Rotation)



Basics


The Elemental playstyle has undergone some significant changes. Instead of a fairly static and predictable rotation, we now have many active abilities and procs to watch for on a constant basis. The key to strong DPS as Elemental is to react to these abilities quickly, manage your cooldowns successfully and keep DPS time as high as possible.

Priority List


Elemental uses a priority list to determine what spell to cast at a given moment. This list can very often be affected by fight conditions, so use the following as a guideline rather than a gospel.

The spell priority list, in order of importance from most to least:
  • Fire DPS totem down (Searing, Fire Elemental)
  • Flame Shock DoT on the target
  • Lava Burst (whenever it's up)
  • Earth Shock (7-9 charges of Lightning Shield)
  • Lightning Bolt filler

The most important things to watch for while following this spell priority are Lava Surge procs and Lightning Shield charges. Ideally you will want to cast Lava Burst any time it is up, but do not interrupt a queued cast to start casting Lava Burst, as the loss of time from an interrupted spell will usually outweigh any extra damage from LvB.

Lightning Shield charges via Rolling Thunder stack up to 9, and any additional charges generated are wasted. The ideal time to cast Earth Shock to use these charges is between 7 and 9 stacks; for the reasons behind this, read the next section.

Fulmination, Lightning Shield Charges and the Shock Cooldown


Fulmination, which uses Lightning Shield charges when Earth Shock is cast, throws a wrench in our previously easy DoT management by occasionally causing Flame Shock and Earth Shock to bump up against each other via the shock cooldown. The easiest way to deal with this problem is to give yourself some flexibility on when one of these abilities is cast, and since Flame Shock has a fixed duration the best approach is to use Earth Shock with Flame Shock's duration in mind, ideally at any point between 7 and 9 Lightning Shield charges as previously mentioned.

This serves several functions. Casting LvB without FS present or delaying an LvB cast is always a DPS loss, as is wasting Lightning Shield charges by proccing more stacks of LS while already at the maximum (9). Therefore it is best to cast Earth Shock when it is convenient to do so, i.e. between 7 and 9 stacks of LS when FS does not need to be refreshed in the next 5 seconds.

Other strategies to minimize the impact of the shock cooldown:
Glyph Flame Shock. This extends FS's duration and gives you more room to work with. You will still run into moments where ES and FS could interact, but there will be less of them over a given period of time.
Spec into Reverberation. By reducing the shock cooldown itself, you give yourself more space between Earth Shock and Flame Shock casts to work with.

Movement


With the advent of the Unleashed Lightning glyph in patch 4.2, the impact of movement on our spec has done a complete 180. With this change, dealing with movement has a completely different set of rules:

Predict movement phases as much as possible.
If you know a small movement phase is coming up, try to plan casts of LvB to go off right before if possible. Casting LB while moving is much better than casting nothing, but delaying LvB's cast is still a DPS loss.

Use Spiritwalker's Grace for extended movement.
As a corollary to the above, if it's a longer period of movement, use SWG so that you can continue to cast your complete spell priority for that period.

Stop to cast LvB.
If you're sure you won't die or the boss won't get out of range, stop briefly when LvB comes off cooldown to recast it, then keep moving.

"Clipping" Flame Shock


Cataclysm changed DoT mechanics so that "clipping" a DoT, or recasting it before the existing DoT expires, resets the duration of the spell after the next tick rather than immediately. This means that recasting a DoT on a target with a single tick left causes no loss in DPS, so if possible you should aim to recast Flame Shock as close to this point as you can. This also makes it possible to have near-100% uptime of Flame Shock if you are good about recasting it at the right time, since there will be no gap between DoTs.

Multiple Targets and AoE


AoE for Elemental has been redesigned yet again in patch 4.3. This time, things are simple and there is no ramp-up time. The priority is as follows:

  • If targets are stationary, cast Earthquake.
  • Cast (glyphed) Chain Lightning, as it no longer has a cooldown.
  • Weave in Fulminations at 9 stacks on important targets or those with higher HP. Note that there will almost always be wasted charges due to CL's high rate of Rolling Thunder procs.

Stats and Gearing



Stats



The following is a basic summary of the stats that Elemental finds important and why.

Priority



Our most important stats, in order of DPS increase per point, is the following:

Spirit/Hit (until capped) >> Intellect > Haste >= Mastery >> Crit

Note that this list is based on BiS Heroic T12 gear, and may be different for your own gear, especially if you are just starting out. Run SimCraft to get a better idea of your own stat weights, these are just guidelines.

Spirit and Hit


Hit is the single largest DPS increase of any stat, until it is capped. Once capped it provides zero extra benefit, so you should aim for as close to the cap as possible. With the Elemental Precision talent, Spirit provides point-for-point hit rating.

Reforging is an excellent way to reach the exact hitcap, or very close to it, with almost any gear setup. Reforging crit to Spirit is in many cases the best way to accomplish this. Because you cannot reforge primary stats, it is best to reforge rather than gem for hit/spirit, since you can gem for primary stats like Int instead. See the Rules for Reforging in the FAQ for further guidelines.

Elemental Shamans need 17% total hit to be capped against raid bosses; Draenei shamans gain 1% from the Heroic Aura racial and thus need only 16% from gear. There are no longer any raid buffs that provide additional hit chance.

The hit cap (17% hit chance) for a level 85 shaman is 1742 hit rating, for a Draenei it is 1640 hit rating.

Intellect


Intellect is our core stat, as it is for every other DPS caster. Past the hit cap, we gain more DPS point per point from this stat than any other. Int provides spellpower as well as additional mana, and a small amount of crit.

Extra spellpower on caster weapons is valued only slightly less than Int itself, and can make one weapon disproportionately better than another of a lower ilvl, even if the secondary stats are worse.

Haste


Haste benefits essentially all of our damaging spells (except fire totems, non-DoT Shocks and Unleash Elements) by reducing the casting time of the spell, or in Flame Shock's case by increasing the number of DoT ticks over the spell's duration.

There are a number of abilities that affect your current haste %. Wrath of Air increases all spellcasting haste by 5%, as do group buffs from other classes like Shadow Priests (multiple sources do not stack, so you will only get 5% from your raid or self-buff). Elemental Mastery increases haste by 20%, and Bloodlust/Heroism/Time Warp by 30%.

Haste Caps


Haste has several caps that affect its overall benefit. The first is the GCD cap (50% haste), which occurs when you gain enough haste to reduce the global cooldown of your spells to 1 second (from 1.5). Past this point haste will no longer affect the GCD. This is important because although regular spells appear to have no minimum cast duration, once past 50% haste the GCD will never change, so the effective minimum time between each spellcast will always be the GCD, or 1 second.

This means that every spell has a haste cap that is equal to the amount of haste it would take to reduce that spell to a 1-second cast time, as past that point, haste will provide no additional benefit. Note that for instant cast (non-DoT) spells, the effective "haste cap" is the GCD cap, or 50% haste. The DoT portion of Flame Shock has no haste cap whatsoever, and will continue to provide DPS from extra haste well past 100%, although due to changes in DoT mechanics there are several haste "plateaus" as new ticks are added to the DoT by additional haste.

So what does this all mean? Haste loses some of its benefit for us once Chain Lightning and Lava Burst are haste capped, but generally not enough to change its relative importance with other stats. In any case, at current gear levels haste caps are quite distant, and so even under stacked haste effects we do not have to worry about hitting LB's haste cap any time soon.

Haste "Targets"


There are no haste targets, none, zero. You should never gear around a specific rating number for any of our stats (except hit). This is an extremely common misconception and it will not help you be an effective damage-dealer.

Back in the first half of WotLK, some players noted that at certain haste levels it became possible to add additonal casts of Lightning Bolt to a fixed rotation at specific haste values. At this point these haste values started popping up everywhere as "fixed" values that every Elemental shaman should get to and then stop. With the changes to our spells in Cataclysm this approach does not work in the slightest, as it is impossible to account for Surge procs and the shock cooldown in a fixed rotation, so you should never gear around a fixed amount of haste.

Posted Image
For a more technical explanation: this simple graph illustrates the very linear way in which increasing haste increases our DPS, even in a Wrath-style spell priority where it was possible to use a fixed rotation.

Mastery


Mastery provides a DPS increase by proccing free, threatless extra spellcasts called Overloads that deal 75% of the damage of the initial spell.

Lightning Bolt, Chain Lightning and Lava Burst can all proc overloads, and overload procs from LB and CL can generate Rolling Thunder charges. Chain Lightning's chance to proc an overload is split between each jump of the spell, and all jumps can independantly proc their own overload. Glyphing CL does not reduce the chance to proc an Overload from an individual jump, which means the glyph actually increases the benefit of Mastery for CL significantly. For this reason Mastery may be worth more on fights with heavy AoE.

Crit


Critical strikes increase both overall damage done as well as mana efficiency. With the relevant talents, crits proc two charges of Clearcasting, which is modified by Elemental Oath to increase all spelldamage by 10%. This effect is subject to diminishing returns, as shown by this graph:

Posted Image
DPS gained from Clearcasting decreases with each subsequent point of critical strike rating.

Other stats


Agility, Strength, Attack Power, and other melee-oriented stats serve only one function for us: they boost the damage of our Fire Elemental spell by a small amount. If you like to squeeze out every ounce of DPS from your abilities, being buffed with these stats increases the damage of that spell, but you should never gear for them specifically.

Gems


For most cases with current gear levels, the gems you should use in various slots are as follows:
Red:
Blue: if a socket bonus is attractive (+int) or you are below the hit cap even after reforging, otherwise
Yellow: if a socket bonus is attractive (int, haste or mastery)

It is important to note that is the only meta you should use.

BiS Lists


See the ongoing discussion thread here for more information about best-in-slot gear: BiS gear and set-up discussion

Sets and Set Bonuses


[table=head]Set|Combo|Notes
T11|2pc|Increases the crit chance of Flame Shock (and its DoT) by 10%. A decent DPS increase.
|4pc|Reduces the base cast time of LB by 10%, also worth gearing for.
T12|2pc|Your Lightning Bolt has a 30% chance to reduce the remaining cooldown on your Fire Elemental Totem by 4 sec. In its nerfed form, this is still a sizable DPS increase, and may increase the value of the Fire Elemental glyph or a Totemic Focus spec. However, it is not worth keeping over 4PC T13.
|4pc|Causes Lava Surge procs to make LvB instantcast in addition to resetting the cooldown. This further increases our mobility, although it is also a minor DPS increase in the form of less wasted Surge procs.
T13|2pc|Elemental Mastery also grants you 2000 mastery rating for 15 seconds. A very solid DPS increase.
|4pc|Each time Elemental Overload triggers, you gain 250 haste rating for 4 sec, stacking up to 3 times. Note that the increased Mastery from 2pc t13 scales well with this setbonus.
[/table]

User Interface



The UI of an Elemental Shaman should be primarily concerned with three major things: the Flame Shock DoT and its duration, the Lava Burst cooldown, and Lightning Shield charges. There are a few mods that can help with this.

ForteXorcist: A very useful addon for many classes that can track both cooldowns and DoTs in an attractive package. Best known for its visual cooldown bar, ForteXorcist is a great choice if you want your information right in front of you in an obvious manner (plus it looks pretty cool).

DoTimer: If you want a more straightforward bar-oriented mod, DoTimer is a solid choice. This mod displays both DoTs and cooldowns in a configurable bar format, although the configuration can be somewhat complex.

PowerAuras: A classic from TBC days, PowerAuras is a simple way to track different abilities by making visual cues display on the screen when certain conditions are met, such as your Flame Shock DoT being present on the target or Lightning Shield being at different stack numbers.


For a more general Shaman utility addon, one can hardly go wrong with TotemTimers. This is easily the most feature rich totem, shield and weapon buff tracking mod out there, and it works flawlessly with Blizzard's new totem UI.

Special Thanks


Thanks always to Binkenstein, Pewter and Zamir, my comrades at TotemSpot. Be sure to check out their work at TotemSpot, The 'Mental Shaman, and Planet of the Hats, because without them we wouldn't have half the shaman community we do now.

Copyright Information


This article is a derivative work by masanbol of an original article by Binkenstien (located here). The article and all future versions of the article are licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License. Reproduction of the article in full or in part, or further derivative works based on the article, including translations, are permitted as long as:
  • The reproduction or derivative work includes a direct link to this article and prominently displays the name of both the original author and subsequent authors.
  • The reproduction or derivative work is not used for commercial purposes or for profit.
  • The reproduction or derivative work is also released under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License.
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#4 masanbol

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Posted 06 December 2010 - 04:01 PM

This space reserved.

#5 fhnhf

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Posted 06 December 2010 - 09:38 PM

How should I gem?
As many int gems as possible while getting good (yellow) socket bonuses using int/haste orange gems, plus two spirit or int/spirit gems to satisfy the meta requirement. Your meta will always be Chaotic Shadowspirit Diamond.


Have we gotten confirmation that chaotic metas are going back to two blue? All I remember is an announcement that it would be changed but not what it would change to. Also it should be noted, I heard about in these forums with no source listed.

#6 masanbol

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Posted 06 December 2010 - 10:16 PM

Yes, there was a blue post recently about this. Source: DPS Meta Gem Change...Change it Back - Forums - World of Warcraft

#7 Cyfir

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Posted 10 December 2010 - 02:49 PM

I have updated the modeling spreadsheet for Fulminate to be more user-friendly and more accurate, as well as to update rating values to level 85. I have also added some charts to show the effects of different stats on the model. I did not incorporate crit chance into the model - it affects both spells involved equally, and so is not pertinent to this model. That having been said, it is important to note that the outputs from this are NOT actual damage or dps loss numbers. They are an arbitrary unit of value only comparable to themselves, and are therefore only valuable inasmuch as they help you determine the very narrow question, "At how many stacks of LS is it better for me to Fulminate ES before it screws with FS?" I may make a model that compares "ES at 9, unless you're close to the lockout period" to "ES every time you get above X", but I don't trust my math skills to do something that complex. You can play with the model yourself, but my tinkering shows the following:

1. It is still always a DPS loss not to ES a high number of LS charges in the seconds before doing so would interfere with reapplying FS (e.g. with 6-8 seconds of FS remaining.)

2. As the ratio of damage between LB and a LS charge increases, your cutoff number of LS charges to preemptively discharge increases. Spellpower and Mastery will increase this ratio.

a. Spellpower will increase this ratio logarithmically to a limit of about 3.4:1. This is the ratio between the talent-modified SP coefficients of LB and LS.
b. Mastery will linearly increase this ratio, but at a very slow rate. At the Mastery hard cap (30,120 MR, or 100% chance of Overload,) Mastery has increased the ratio by a factor of 1.92.
c. The basic conclusion of (1) remains true up to a ratio of approximately 14:1. As the highest your ratio can get is about 5.4:1, this would be impossible.

3. As the number of LB casts you can get in during a lockout period increases, your cutoff number of LS charges decreases. Haste will increase the number of casts. Points in Reverberation will decrease it.

a. Above the haste "hard" cap (1.0 sec LB casts,) haste would begin to decrease this value, as the additional FS ticks proc more LvBs.
b. Around 7 LBs/lockout, the cutoff number can hit 4. At that point, the best dps is to ES every time you have 6-8 seconds left on FS. To reach that, you would need 0/2 or 1/2 Reverberation and around 90% haste. This is hypothetically possible under Bloodlust conditions.


A link to the updated spreadsheet can be found here.

#8 Cyfir

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Posted 11 December 2010 - 05:16 AM

Before I discuss your objections, I want to note that after checking my math in light of your response, I did realize I was modeling the proc loss incorrectly, but not in the way you note. I have fixed it and uploaded the fixed spreadsheet. It changed numbers, but again, not conclusions.

It is never a DPS loss to push off your ES cast in favour of recasting FS, if you're doing it right. The DPSC values swing in favour of ES at 7 total charges (ie: when 4 are being used for Fulmination). However, given the fact that if you delay casting a 7 stack in favour of FS now, you will have an 8-9 stack (with low chance of a charge wasted) in the 5 seconds it takes your shock cooldown to expire (assuming you have Reverb), which technically means that no DPS was actually "wasted".


This is not true, because we can't only be concerned with the time after FS when ES will be on CD, but also the time before FS expires where we can't cast ES, because it would cause FS to drop. This means the period of time is effectively double your shock cooldown, which is where the variance from 7 starts showing up. On the other hand, there is also DPS loss from throwing around ES when you have less than 9 stacks of LS, since a "perfect" scenario would involve not spending more than 1 GCD on ES for every 6 charges built of ES. This damage loss is minimal, but is also modeled on my spreadsheet.

Secondly, not having FS up means an overall DPS loss in two parts:

  • The FS DoT is not ticking, which is roughly 750 dps on its own
  • Any available LvB casts would do about 500 damage more than your average LB cast if it didn't crit, ie: big waste of dps.

It is for these three reasons (no actual dps loss from delaying ES correctly, dps loss from not having FS up, dps loss from non crit LvB) that your calculations are incorrect.


I'm not exactly sure what the problem is here, since I'm talking about a method of Fulminate use that is very specifically designed to prevent the scenario you describe. This is about determining how many stacks you would want to get rid of in the moments before you would be forced to wait until after FS is off cooldown, which would mean a full shock cooldown of time remaining on FS's DoT. I apologize if this was unclear.

#9 Bfamredux

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Posted 11 December 2010 - 08:54 PM

Would the Glyph of Flametongue Weapon (+2% spell crit while active) be a DPS boost over an extra 9 seconds of Flame Shock?

I guess the question is: Is 2% spell crit better than the loss of DPS from casting 9 seconds' worth of other damage?

#10 Targh

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Posted 12 December 2010 - 05:51 PM

I just had a quick skim over the official forum and didn't see anything - is how spiritwalker's grace is currently working a recognised bug? The tooltip clearly states 'this spell may be cast while casting other spells', but it just interrupts them instead.

I humbly submit there's a difference between kicking someone when they're down and kicking someone when they're :downs:


#11 masanbol

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Posted 12 December 2010 - 07:02 PM

Would the Glyph of Flametongue Weapon (+2% spell crit while active) be a DPS boost over an extra 9 seconds of Flame Shock?

I guess the question is: Is 2% spell crit better than the loss of DPS from casting 9 seconds' worth of other damage?


The choice of FS over Flametongue has to do with making it easier to deal with the shock cooldown. If the interaction of those spells isn't a problem for you, you can always use a different glyph.

#12 Sharkweek

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Posted 13 December 2010 - 06:25 AM

How does the Unleash Elements portion of Elemental Weapons work for Flametongue Weapon? Would it be correct to interpret it as increasing the damage of your next fire spell by 30% (as in a 50% increase from 20%)? I did some searching around and didn't see any discussion about this. I'm guessing that a 30% boost instead of 20% wouldn't make unleash elements that much more appealing for use in our regular rotation, but my gut tells me that a flat percentage damage bonus to lava burst will look really tasty a few tiers from now when we have a lot more spell power.

#13 Jahamakarahl

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Posted 13 December 2010 - 01:47 PM

When should I cast Unleash Elements, and what does it affect?
Unleash Flame, the Flametongue-based attack from Unleash Elements, does a nominal amount of damage and boosts the next Fire spell you cast by 20%. UE's single-target damage is pretty low right now, so it's generally not worth it to cast if you're standing still (or using Spiritwalker's Grace). Instead it can be used while moving to reduce the impact that movement has on our DPS (and without triggering a Shock cooldown).


To not include Unleash Elements in a Rotation is a huge loss of dps. I've done some calculations and I've come to the conclution that Unleash Elements should be used the Exact second as you throw you LvB, This way you avoid a GC that would normaly come if you use UE before casting LvB. This works only if your standing on a "good" distance away from the Target. With good it's hard to say the exact ammount of yards but You will get the hang of it. Long enough for the UE to be active before the LvB hits the Target, If you fail a new FS DoT is recommended before the UE runs out. Don't throw the FS right away (Unless your FS DoT is about to expire) instead wait and see if you will get a Lava Surge. Then throw your LvB.

Feedback on this is greatly appreciated, If I find time I will make a Spreadsheet otherwise I will gladly compliment if someone beats me to it.

#14 Tielc

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Posted 13 December 2010 - 02:35 PM

So a little birdie tells me the other day that Unleash Elements can effect the dots off from my Flame Shock. Is this correct? It obviously has to do with how I manage my UE cooldown, movement, etc.

#15 Daikon

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Posted 13 December 2010 - 02:58 PM

To not include Unleash Elements in a Rotation is a huge loss of dps. I've done some calculations and I've come to the conclution that Unleash Elements should be used the Exact second as you throw you LvB, This way you avoid a GC that would normaly come if you use UE before casting LvB. This works only if your standing on a "good" distance away from the Target. With good it's hard to say the exact ammount of yards but You will get the hang of it. Long enough for the UE to be active before the LvB hits the Target, If you fail a new FS DoT is recommended before the UE runs out. Don't throw the FS right away (Unless your FS DoT is about to expire) instead wait and see if you will get a Lava Surge. Then throw your LvB.

Feedback on this is greatly appreciated, If I find time I will make a Spreadsheet otherwise I will gladly compliment if someone beats me to it.


I am not sure if that is how casting mechanic work. If that is true then you should be able to cast LvB even with no FS debuff on the target and still get guaranteed crit by using FS right after. The FS will hit the target before the LvB does just like what you propose with UE. However that previous scenario does not work because the spell is calculated when it finishes casting, not when it hits the target.

#16 Torrential

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Posted 13 December 2010 - 04:15 PM

Would the Glyph of Flametongue Weapon (+2% spell crit while active) be a DPS boost over an extra 9 seconds of Flame Shock?

I guess the question is: Is 2% spell crit better than the loss of DPS from casting 9 seconds' worth of other damage?


Two glyph slots are always going to be Lava Burst and Lightning Bolt. For your third 2% crit is better pure dps than the extra 9 seconds of flame shock if you never had a conflict between ES and FS which is really up to a tiny bit of luck and (mostly) your ability to manage the shock cooldown. However if a fight is going to be at least 6 minutes long and allow your flame ele to be useful (lots of fights have mechanics or reasons your flame ele [a dumbass pet] won't be useful) then the Fire Ele glyph is better than both.

To not include Unleash Elements in a Rotation is a huge loss of dps. I've done some calculations and I've come to the conclution that Unleash Elements should be used the Exact second as you throw you LvB, This way you avoid a GC that would normaly come if you use UE before casting LvB. This works only if your standing on a "good" distance away from the Target. With good it's hard to say the exact ammount of yards but You will get the hang of it. Long enough for the UE to be active before the LvB hits the Target, If you fail a new FS DoT is recommended before the UE runs out. Don't throw the FS right away (Unless your FS DoT is about to expire) instead wait and see if you will get a Lava Surge. Then throw your LvB.

Feedback on this is greatly appreciated, If I find time I will make a Spreadsheet otherwise I will gladly compliment if someone beats me to it.



This is not how things work. When you cast a Lava Burst the damage it's going to do is determined the instant your cast is finished. Any flame shock application, UE use, trinket procs etc. while the spell is in flight to the target have no effect.

So a little birdie tells me the other day that Unleash Elements can effect the dots off from my Flame Shock. Is this correct? It obviously has to do with how I manage my UE cooldown, movement, etc.


It does. I like to UE on pulls just before using a macro that casts EM, Blood Fury, and my best on use trinket if I have one and then applying flame shock. That gets a good inital DoT up there. I also like UI on pull just because it gets me attacking so I can then drop searing totem and have it actually do something.

#17 masanbol

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Posted 13 December 2010 - 05:24 PM

To not include Unleash Elements in a Rotation is a huge loss of dps. I've done some calculations and I've come to the conclution that Unleash Elements should be used the Exact second as you throw you LvB, This way you avoid a GC that would normaly come if you use UE before casting LvB. This works only if your standing on a "good" distance away from the Target. With good it's hard to say the exact ammount of yards but You will get the hang of it. Long enough for the UE to be active before the LvB hits the Target, If you fail a new FS DoT is recommended before the UE runs out. Don't throw the FS right away (Unless your FS DoT is about to expire) instead wait and see if you will get a Lava Surge. Then throw your LvB.

Feedback on this is greatly appreciated, If I find time I will make a Spreadsheet otherwise I will gladly compliment if someone beats me to it.


Echoing what others have said here in that casting mechanics just do not work this way. In addition, whether you realize this or not, UE does in fact incur a GCD when cast, which at this point is not a DPS increase over using a LB in its place. As mentioned in the FAQ, it's useful for movement since it does not trigger a shock cooldown (and will boost a FS or LvB cast soon after, thus mitigating the loss of DPS from movement), but unless its single target damage is buffed considerably and its scaling issues are addressed, LB beats it out and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

#18 grrkthekilla

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Posted 14 December 2010 - 01:49 AM

Echoing what others have said here in that casting mechanics just do not work this way. In addition, whether you realize this or not, UE does in fact incur a GCD when cast, which at this point is not a DPS increase over using a LB in its place. As mentioned in the FAQ, it's useful for movement since it does not trigger a shock cooldown (and will boost a FS or LvB cast soon after, thus mitigating the loss of DPS from movement), but unless its single target damage is buffed considerably and its scaling issues are addressed, LB beats it out and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.


Is completely correct, in order for UE to be useful in a rotation, the damage it does plus the bonus damage it applise to LvB or FS has to be greater than a LB. That is very hard to do since FS and UE do not benefit from mastery, and LB generally hits harder.

On a side note, is the stat priotization correct for Cata? Last I had checked mastery was ahead of haste as something to reforge and look for on gear and possibly gem.

#19 masanbol

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Posted 14 December 2010 - 02:39 PM

The mastery > haste stat priorities were for 4.0.1, things are somewhat different at 85.

#20 csarichmond

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Posted 15 December 2010 - 08:00 AM

I don't find that I agree with your advice to omit Unleash Elements from the rotation.

Yes, it is a dps loss when purely compared to a LB cast. However, when using it immediately prior to a LvB, one has to compare BOTH the damage from the UE itself, plus the extra 20% gained on the LvB following it to the damage from a single LB alone.

Looking through my data for my fight on Argaloth a couple of days ago, I found that when I added the average damage from UE itself, plus the extra from the LvB, this came out as roughly 1000 more than an average LB cast (14500 vs 13500).

So, even without factoring the reduced casting time of the UE compared to the slightly longer LB, it seems that this is, in fact, bringing a definite dps boost.




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