Feedback Part 3: Mobile DPS
March 30, 2015 1 Comment
In this edition of the Feedback Post I’m going to talk about Mobile DPS for Elemental Shaman, and how this ties back into ongoing problems with the spec. Some things briefly mentioned here will be elaborated in other posts, as both the Rotation & Talent posts I plan on making later on are heavily interconnected with this post.
Molten Earth: Doing the job for us
As I mentioned in my initial post on Mastery, Molten Earth deals a large part of our mobile damage. Combine that with Searing Totem and over 50% is passive damage, which means that a) we can’t do much to improve mobile DPS, and b) not much can be changed while both of these still exist.
100% Player Input
If we’re to return to a state where what we do matters both Searing Totem & Molten Earth need to be removed, so if you’re running and not doing anything you have zero DPS output. On the flip side of that is that you can also have more impact on the results. Having a slider of 0-100% vs 50-100% may seem a bit of a backward step but it means more control for the player.
There’s also the problem of odd ability interaction & behaviour. The biggest two of these are Primal Storm Elemental & Unleash Flame.
Primal Storm Elemental has a small movement speed aura, which normally would be fairly useful except for one small fact: the elemental guardian doesn’t move with you, it just stands in one place. Having a movement buff that doesn’t move is odd, and most likely the unintended result of the fact that the Storm Elemental is tied to its totem rather than the player, as you would see with Water Elementals for Frost or other player pets.
Unleash Flame, on the other hand, is primarily a movement ability for Elemental, a “something extra” to do while waiting for procs or shock cooldowns. It even has a perk to give you a speed boost for 4 seconds. The only catch is that it effectively prevents you from taking the Unleashed Fury talent if there is any movement, or you sacrifice a movement ability in the name of more DPS. Normally for a mostly stationary fight it’s not an issue, but you only need to make up a few hundred DPS via better movement to offset that difference.
For some actual numbers on that Unleashed Fury has a gain of less than 1% of overall DPS over Primal Elementalist. Adding one extra Lightning Bolt per minute, or buffing 1 Lava Burst cast with Unleash Flame results in ~1% more DPS each. That’s a fairly fine line to run, and assumes that your Unleashed Fury uptime is nearly 66%.
As I mentioned, removing both Searing Totem & Molten Earth should happen so that more of a players damage is a direct result of them pressing buttons, not something that just happens automatically. To fill the gap two things could happen:
Either add a new low damage spam-able spell or change Earth Shock to not trigger its own cooldown
Remove Lava Surge, so that it’s not possible to throw out a hard hitting spell while moving (more on this in the Rotation post)
#1 is very important, so that there’s no time where a player can say “I have nothing to cast”, or at least can say that without going through a complicated decision tree of minimal impacts (Do I use Thunderstorm? Drop Healing Stream Totem? Recast Searing Totem that I dropped 20 seconds ago?). Everything needs to feel important, relatively clear, and not overly taxing (executing a complicated rotation while moving generally means you either mess up the rotation or take extra damage).
There’s also the elephant in the corner with Spiritwalker’s Grace. This is a useful cooldown, but is a crutch for Elemental Mobile DPS. This will probably need to be removed for Elemental as well, in order to properly balance DPS both with & without it. Another alternative here is to make it into a “stance” type ability, with some sort of DPS cost to have it up. One option could be that it only works with Lightning Bolt & has a -50% cast speed penalty, making movement an active choice while bringing back some of the mobile LB that many people enjoyed in Mists of Pandaria.
In the end it doesn’t really matter how the mobile rotation is changed, as long as players aren’t faced with gaps where they can’t use any DPS abilities, and that all of the damage is a direct result of actions they take rather than being hooked in via secondary functions.