Bink’s Suggested Changes For Elemental


The Change List

  1. Move Unleash Flame into Unleashed Fury
  2. Remove Lava Surge
  3. Give Lava Burst charges by default (3)
  4. Give Shocks 2 charges
  5. Earth Shock doesn’t consume charges if used with zero Lightning Shield charges up
  6. Molten Earth becomes a spell cast proc, dealing X% of the damage of the spell (like the MoP Overload, but with the change/damage stuff reversed)
  7. Chain Lightning target count is 5 baseline, remove the glyph
  8. Earthquake is instant cast by default, high damage to start and then reduces as the effect expires
  9. Lightning Shield charges are only generated from Nature spells (Chain Lightning, Elemental Blast & Lightning Bolt)
  10. Reduce the bonus to Lava Burst from Flame Shock to 20%, increase Lava Burst damage by 25% to compensate
  11. Remove Searing Totem
  12. Change Elemental pet totems to be 30 sec/3 min CD pets
  13. Revert Shamanistic Rage to Enhancement only

The Reasons

Single Target

The idea here is not to change much, because the rotation mostly works as is. Removing Lava Burst as a source of Lightning Shield charges removes that awkward ES20 during Ascendance situation, which is exacerbated at the moment via T18 2pc.

The removal of Lava Surge is to allow more changes for mobile DPS, but also to make Lava Burst more of a managed resource than a “hit button now” ability. This will also make Elemental Fusion a bit more engaging as we’ll be able to directly manage it. The charge refresh rate for Lava Burst could be reduced from 8 to 6-7 seconds to balance out the Surge removal too.

Changing Molten Earth to be a direct spell proc rather than a “ranged auto attack” means that it’s a direct % increase to virtually all spells, and will scale reasonably well with all other stats rather than being something we want to avoid. It would trigger from all direct damage casts, and also increase Earthquake damage by the same percentage. The only things it wouldn’t trigger from would be Flame Shock ticks, Fulmination procs and Chain Lighting secondary hits. It would also repeat crits & multistrikes without having its own change to independently generate these.

Target Switching

With 2 shock charges you can decide how to use them. Should a priority target come up it’ll allow us to go FS -> LvB -> ES15 if we so wish. Reducing the bonus Lava Burst damage off Flame Shock also means that it’s not quite optimal to use Lava Burst without Flame Shock on the target, rather than being very un-optimal, while still leaving some spell interaction there.

AoE & Cleave

We’re mostly fine here, although I’d remove Echo so that Earthquake wasn’t quite so abusable, but change the damage mechanic so it hit hard at the start & decreases over time in a similar manner to Execution Sentence. The CL glyph would be removed mostly because it’s good sometimes and bad in others. CL jump range would be increased a bit so that it’s easier to cleave.

Movement

Here’s where the big changes are. First off, Molten Earth is now a proc directly off casts, not a ranged “auto attack”. To fill the void, Earth Shock won’t consume charges if it doesn’t trigger Fulmination, so there is an easy to use mobile filler to use. This would return some of the “difficulty factor” back to Shock management, but only in the case where if you need to move without SWG you’ll need to be prepared & manage shock charges for it.

Talents

There are many changes needed here, but I’ll only cover some of the tiers.

L45: Make Totemic Projection a component of totems that require it, otherwise remove all three talents. In their place have 3 centered around Ghost Wolf: One makes it twice as fast but on a short duration/cooldown to effectively cover the same distance on average, second allows instant cast spells (not weapon based abilities) while in Ghost Wolf, third is a low level movement speed passive.

L60/90/100: Re-arrange & remove some of these.

  • Cooldowns: Elemental Mastery, Primal Elementalist, Storm Elemental
  • Rotation Changes: Elemental Blast, Elemental Fusion
  • Passive Enhancements: Ancestral Swiftness (maybe put this as the passive/easy option for Rotation Changes?)
  • Remove: Echo of the Elements, Liquid Magma

This would make some of the choices less definitive, and allow some basic assumptions to be made.

Rotation Changes: Elemental Blast would be changed to be the same damage/effects as Lightning Bolt with 2 charges. The primary reason for the spell would be the buff it generates, but as the buff would last for 10 seconds and charges would refresh every 15, you’d only be able to keep it up for ~2/3rds of the time. Acts as a heal/healing buff for Restoration. It’s kind of merging the behaviour of Elemental Blast & Unleashed Fury together, but since Unleash Flame is being removed keeping Unleashed Fury doesn’t quite make sense.

Having this on the same level as Elemental Fusion also makes sense, as with the changes to Lava Burst you’ll be adjusting your rotation somehow to account for it.

Cooldowns: Making EM, PE & SE all part of the same level means you either get a short self buff, a better pet cooldown, or a second pet cooldown. Would also remove the need for utility interaction between PE & SE as you won’t be able to have both at once (and tbh, Primal Storm Elemental has virtually no advantages & some potential downsides).

Totems

I’d argue that most totems need to go, and some of the abilities converted to being centred around the player.

Remaining as totems: Capacitor, Earthbind
Converted to self abilities: Stone Bulwark, Grounding
Removed: Healing Stream, Tremor

With the new “self ability” versions, Stone Bulwark would just be a self buff that generates shields in a similar manner to how it works now, but hopefully in a way that scales properly as other shields do. Grounding, on the other hand, would allow you to redirect a spell to yourself (or act as a spell reflect with a major glyph), which you could combine with Stoneskin (one of the new abilities mentioned below) to absorb/immune rather than taking the damage.

New Stuff

Stoneskin: completely absorbs damaging attacks, but breaks after taking X damage. Assuming immunity type abilities remain, like Ice Block, this will be the Elemental answer. Can absorb one massive hit, or lots of little ones before breaking. The cooldown would be a bit longer than Shamanistic Rage, perhaps 2-3 minutes, with a 10-15 second duration. It won’t be able to prevent you from being debuffed or completely nullify damaging abilities like other abilities can, so the cooldown can be a little lower without being too overpowered.

Earthen Grasp: Replacing Hex, this would be a molten hand that rises from the ground, grasping the target and acting as a CC. It’d be in a similar category to Polymorph for PvP purposes, and be able to affect any enemy type in PvP. No cooldown, breaks when taking damage, only one target at a time. The idea here is to add more “earthy” stuff in (while removing voodoo/spirit stuff that doesn’t quite fit the Elemental theme) while also making Elemental CC a bit more practical for PvE.

In Closing

There are areas I haven’t covered, like the L15/30/75 talents, mostly because I’m not entirely sure what to change there, if anything needs changing. I’d say that L75 needs to be completely removed, or the talents mixed into other levels so that you have a choice between throughput or a bit of off-healing, but balancing that may be moderately impossible.

In general I don’t think Elemental needs a massive overhaul, but rather just a few tweaks to make what we currently have better, while retaining most of the challenging factors in the rotation.

Also posted to the US forums: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/18300115836#1

Primary Target Focus for Lava Burst


More words will go here later, but if you’re following me on twitter you’ll have seen my thought about using focus macros to get Lava Burst into a Flame Shocked target, while casting Lightning Bolt & Earth Shock on secondary targets.

Flame Shock Macro

/focus [@focus,noexists]
/cast [@focus,exists,nodead] Flame Shock

Sets a focus if it doesn’t exist, and then casts Flame Shock on that target.

Lava Burst Macro

#showtooltip Lava Burst
/use [@focus,exists,nodead][] Lava Burst

Casts Lava Burst on your Focus target, or whatever target you have if you don’t have a focus.

One other macro should say /clearfocus to well, clear your focus target.

Obviously you’ll need two Flame Shock buttons, one for normal dotting and one for focus targetting (which still lets you use any focus Wind Shear/Purge/Hex macros should you have them).

Questions & Feedback: How To Write Good Feedback


Given that Hellfire Citadel is the “last” raid instance of Warlords of Draenor (quotes because I wouldn’t be surprised at a Ruby Sanctum style instance being released if the next expansion is too far away) it means we’ll probably see a new expansion announced at Blizzcon with a release of maybe April 2016 (taking a guess at this). This means now is a good time to start looking at your class/spec and thinking about posting some decent feedback.

I did say “decent feedback” there, which is important. Often on the forums/twitter/elsewhere there will be feedback posts saying that “X is a problem” or “Y is a problem, here’s my proposed solution”. The issue with posts like these is there is usually not enough information in them to actually highlight what the issue is, often skipping over that to focus on the users favourite solution which in some cases will be either impractical or overpowered.

Back to Basics

Going back to the basics for a bit, in Journalism there are the “Five W’s” of Who, What, When, Where & Why (How also gets added into this set). The important questions to answer for feedback tends to be a series of What, When & Why, ie: What is the problem, Where does it happen, Why is it a problem. Who is generally the class or spec in question, When is largely irrelevant here, and How (as in, How to fix it) should be a footnote at the end or left out entirely rather than being the key focus of the post.

Feedback Examples

A bad post would look something like this: “Elemental target switching is horrible. You should unlink the shock cooldowns to fix this!”. It briefly highlights a problem (and in this case it is a valid problem) but doesn’t explain why it is an issue. The suggested solution is also a bit iffy, as managing the shock cooldowns has been previously mentioned as a “difficulty point” for Elemental players to manage.

A good post would look like this:

“Elemental has significant problems when it comes to rapid target switching. This is because of the shared Shock cooldown making it impossible to use Earth Shock to discharge a high stack of Lightning Shield charges on a new target while also debuffing the target with Flame Shock to gain additional Lava Burst damage. In most cases, the best damage approach to short lived targets (10 seconds or less) is to simply ignore fire spells and focus entirely on Lightning Bolt & Earth Shock. Alternatively Chain Lightning can be used to cleave secondary targets down, but this is only useful when the new target doesn’t need to die as soon as possible. The reason for ignoring Fire spells is that Lava Burst is best used when Flame Shock is on the target, to the point where delaying it for 5 seconds so Flame Shock can be cast is still a better damage option.

Any potential solution would need to allow both Earth Shock and Lava Burst use on a new target within the first three spell uses. The likely candidates here would be to remove the shared shock cooldown or the Lava Burst damage bonus on Flame Shock targets, but both would remove key difficulty points for the Elemental rotation. Another possibility would be to convert the Shock cooldown into a 2 charge system, so that the player can use or save charges as needed, allowing them to use both shocks on the new target in rapid succession without removing the shock management component”

The first paragraph highlights the problem, and then explains why it is an issue in detail. Usually this would be sufficient for a feedback post, but because I know a lot about Elemental I’m able to discuss potential solutions and why they may or may not resolve the problem. It’s important to remember that there are many intentional design choices made by the Developers, so some potential solutions may run counter to their design intentions.

A Final Word

Everyone working on WoW wants you to enjoy the game, and in many cases would love to add in, fix or change everything to be exactly what everyone wants. The problem is that there is a finite amount of resources available to build the game with, and throwing additional people at the problem won’t solve it any faster (I’d guess that there’s some critical point where additional people may actually slow the process down). There’s also the fact that everyone playing the game wants different things, so it’s not going to be possible to please everyone.

So please remember to be polite. Everyone wants WoW to be an awesome game, so lets work together to do this.

Personal Note: Community Expectations from TheoryCrafters


Ok, this is a bit of a /rant, so you’ve been warned.

Recently I’ve been cutting back on the Things Wot I Do. Recently this has included stopping work on the ERC spreadsheet, cutting back on the amount of guide work I’m doing (there are currently 3, and I’m thinking about reducing it to 2, plus I had to turn down an offer to review the Icy Veins guide too), and limiting things like a “Best In Slot List” (which, as an aside, I absolutely despise because a) you’ll never get there,  b) sockets/warforging can make slightly sub-optimal items better and c) sometimes it’s better to take that 1H/Shield combo over a 1H/OH or Staff because it helps gear your raid team) to the recent spreadsheet because that involved a lot of automation.

The reason for this is primarily medical. My partner is currently experiencing gall bladder problems, as yet undiagnosed, which means she can hardly eat anything and is starting to lose weight in an unhealthy manner. The stress of dealing with this is exacerbating my own problems, which is either Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, or a combination of the two (plus an old shoulder injury from the July 2011 earthquakes which has been causing severe headaches & pain), mean that I am usually tired & in pain, taking 4-6 “Panadine” per day (500mg Paracetamol & 8mg Codeine) with maybe 50mg or more of Tramadol if things are really bad.

So as you can imagine, trying to function normally so I can work full time, get some WoW time in to get through the current dailies & Legendary quest stuff, and do what housework I can (more often than not we’re getting someone in for 2 hours each week to help with this) is exhausting my available energy reserves.

This means that when people complain that I am not “willing to put in their soul into the project” or stuff like that I get really angry, because there is no freaking way that I am going to put more time into any WoW related project at the expense of my health, just so someone knows which item is best in a meaningless trade off. To people like this I would just like to say “fuck off”. To everyone else who is being non-demanding, helpful, supportive, etc, all that really needs to be said is “less than three” (and no, I don’t mean two, or even one… but that’s a bad joke I make sometimes).

There is nothing preventing anyone from doing any of the things I do. All it takes is knowledge of your class, a basic understanding of maths (like how multiplication & division come before addition & subtraction), a basic understanding of excel, and the knowledge of how to answer questions yourselves. The only person who is ever preventing you from having the answers you want is yourself.

Here endeth the rant.
Binks

Elemental 6.2 Patch Update


Important!

I’m still refining a few things, mostly around profile generation for SimCraft. I’ll try to keep all the profiles included in a post here as well as putting some more “guide” type stuff, but there may be a few issues to iron out. I’ll get to that once I finish doing 6.2 update stuff. IRC: We have a Shaman IRC on irc.coldfront.net called #earthshrine Guides: I have three guide locations at the moment. Official Wowhead Elemental Shaman Guide Personal Wowhead Elemental Shaman Guide Summonstone Elemental Shaman Guide My Personal Wowhead guide is the one I’d recommend in most cases, as I’m aiming to put as much detail in there as possible.

Talents

  • L60: Elemental Mastery only beats out Echo of the Elements if your legendary ring use is every 2 minutes and delays do not result in losing a use of EM. Otherwise, go with whichever L60 talent you prefer (I’m sticking with Echo).
  • L90: Unleashed Fury is still slightly better than Primal Elementalist on Patchwerk results, but when you go to Heavy Movement sims they’re practically equal.
  • L100: Elemental Fusion wins hands down if you have Core of the Primal Elements (the class trinket from Archimonde). More on that later.

Stats

Multistrike is still first, with Haste & Crit roughly second equal (depending on your talents one will be slightly better than the other). Versatility is fourth, and Mastery is a distant fifth, with a value of 60% of Multistrike or less. For items, in most cases Multistrike wins over Item Level, unless the Multistrike item has Mastery and the higher item has Crit/Haste. Example stat weights will be updated over the weekend.

Trinkets

Core of the Primal Elements extends your Flame Shock by large amounts. This should be your primary single target & multidot trinket. You’ll want to have a Normal version of this over any Heroic trinkets (possibly Mythic too, need to reconfirm this). When recasting Flame Shock, if you have 2 Elemental Fusion charges and the Unleash Flame buff up you can recast it up to 78% of the base duration, or 100% if you’re using Unleashed Fury. This is to make sure that you have a fully buffed dot up at all times. The damage math works like this: 1.00 * (1 + 1.50) * (1 + 0.4) * (1 + 0.4 * 2) =  630% of the base damage with a Normal trinket. Mythic will have up to 756%.

Remaining trinkets Unblinking Gaze > Prophecy of Fear > Iron Reaver Piston. Generally, Heroic HFC trinkets will beat Mythic BRF foundry trinkets.

Set Bonuses

Transition from T17: wait until you can get T18 2pc before dropping T17 4pc. Same with T18 4pc/T17 2pc.

T18 2pc: Don’t change your rotation priorities. ES20 trumps everything, but if you use ES15 & it procs just before Lava Burst comes off cooldown, cast Lava Burst and then go back to Earth Shock.

T18 4pc: Don’t change your rotation priorities here either. You’ll naturally maintain a high buff uptime, and there’s no point in trying to “game” this.

Gear Stuff

If you need to work out what items are best for you, try this handy item spreadsheet for both Elemental & Enhancement (produced in conjunction with wordup)

Simulating Conversation


I’ve set up a bunch of sim “batches” which use the default profiles to generate data. They can be found here. The current sets are for both T17 and T18, currently based around the Mythic profiles, and cover both trinket and talent variations. The question is whether there are any other Elemental specific sim profiles that should be set up like this, so I (or anyone else) can produce the same results with minimal effort (and a lot of CPU power).

I’m not publishing results at the moment, partially because I’m still refining some things (like the recently added Flame Shock refresh conditionals only apply to when you take Unleashed Fury), and partially because PTR updates are still occurring. I should point out that the trinket run takes about 2 hours with 4 threads on my i7-3770, and while the talent one takes similar time normally, it can run for 8-9 hours if stat weights are also being generated.

The current profile set includes:

  • T17 & T18 Normal, Heroic & Mythic Set Bonus evaluations (with stat weights) – Added 17th June
  • T17 & T18 Mythic Trinket evaluations (T17 only includes 6.1 trinkets)
  • T17 Mythic & T18 Normal, Heroic & Mythic Talent combinations

Questions & Feedback: On the Flying Debate


One of the “recent” things over the last week has been the re-confirmation that there will be No Flying In Draenor, with the added possibility of No Flying In Future Expansions. This, of course, has brought much outrage from the community for reasons I’m not exactly sure of. While I’m not discounting the fact that those who want flying back have valid points, I’m concerned with the How of the discussion.

Not Being Listened To

Any time I see someone complain that they’re “not being listened to” because the specific changes they want aren’t being implemented is a bit delusional. Almost everyone is being listened to, and those that aren’t are either because they’re so abusive in their responses that they get banned, or are posting in places where Blizzard CM’s aren’t watching.

As for everyone else, the CM’s & Devs are actually paying attention to what is being said. I’d imagine that internally there may be voices of dissent, where they disagree with the design decision and agree with some of the community, but as an outwards facing group they need to have the same viewpoint which aligns with their design goals.

Incorrect Response

A lot of the complaints about the No Flying discussion has been about how wanting the return of flying isn’t a valid response to the “How can we make your no-flying experience better?”. In this I think the complaints are a bit off, as the way the question has been framed is specifically aimed at not changing this design decision to not have flying.

It’s like responding to “Would you like this in Red, Blue or Black?” with “I want it in Green”. You’re not really answering the question and in demanding that your response is taken seriously you’re beginning to act like a spoiled child.

Wanting Flying Back Is Still A Valid Viewpoint

I’m not saying that this isn’t a valid viewpoint, but I feel that a number of people need to split the responses to developer questions from their desire to get flying back in the game. Continue to make feedback on this, but please remember to actually think about how you respond to questions rather than “I just want flying back”.

One of the examples I’ve seen is that Archaeology is “less fun” without flying. From my own experience, the problems mostly revolve around the fact that dig sites are often too large to cover effectively with ground mounts. A solution to this, and keeping within the “no-flying” bit of the question, would be to reduce the size of many or all dig sites.

Better Feedback Makes A Better Game

Feedback on anything is useful, but only if it’s clear, concise & understandable. Make sure that you understand the questions being asked, frame your responses with that in mind, and together we can help make World of Warcraft a better game.

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