Elemental Feedback – Legion Alpha
January 7, 2016 3 Comments
A collection of notes on the Legion Alpha so far, for Elemental Shaman obviously.
Choices. That’s an important concept within Elemental priorities or rotations over the years. The choice of which shock to use, whether to use Lava Burst or Earth Shock in a given situation, or even if it’s worth using Chain Lightning vs Lightning Bolt in certain situations. These choices will still exist in Legion based on what we know so far, but I’m not convinced some of these are good choices to be making.
For starters, there’s still no clear choice between Earth Shock & Lava Burst when at high Maelstrom and Lava Burst is off cooldown. This has been an issue ever since Lava Burst gained the ability to generate Lightning Shield charges, as previously Earth Shock could be delayed in favour of Lava Burst.
Even though Lightning Shield charges have been replaced with Maelstrom, it’s still the same question, and the ultimate answer will most likely come from multiple SimulationCraft tests to confirm the “optimal” time to use it, which for Warlords turned out to be 15 rather than the 17 various guide sites would have you believe. Given that this can be roughly worked out to be 1.67 times the highest generation of a single spell, I expect the optimal Earth Shock use will be somewhere in the 60-75 Maelstrom range.
There are a couple of potential solutions here. The first is to reduce Maelstrom generation per spellcast, or even remove it from Overload. The second is to change either the max maelstrom amount, or reduce the maximum that Earth Shock can use, so that there is a “buffer” to help prevent wastage. Thirdly, and my personal preference, is to remove Maelstrom generation from Lava Burst altogether, which would mean that we’d return to the days of Lava Burst always trumping Earth Shock.
Target switching is an area where there will be some improvements, although with all shocks using Maelstrom for an additional effect it does have some interesting implications here. For example, if a target won’t live for more than 10 seconds it means any Maelstrom spent on Flame Shock for that target is wasted. Obviously the solution is to Earth Shock first, but if you have a low amount of Maelstrom then the time spent on that resource dump could deal less damage than a Lightning Bolt cast.
In most cases, I imagine the default behaviour will be to target switch with a Flame Shock and then go back to normal priorities.
I’ve been thinking some more about talents, with some suggestions around choices so that there’s an obvious “simple” talent with two more complicated options that would have different priorities based on personal preference, encounter types and so forth. Making sure there are function themes will mean that the relative power for single target or multi target damage will remain mostly consistent. The trick will be making the second & third talents options for advanced players about weighing up choices rather than the current “X is better than Y” mathematical choice.
With the way that some proc effects are shaping up, eg: Elemental Focus (2x 20% bonus damage charges after a crit) or Elemental Empowerment (3% extra Nature damage after casting Fire spells & vice versa) it makes sense that Echo of the Elements would be an ideal choice to use so that rather than simply using Lava Burst whenever it is available, you are instead weaving it in between Earth Shock & Lightning Bolt to get more damage out. In other words, Echo is a “control” talent.
Elemental Blast, on the other hand, doesn’t offer much extra to anything, although it could trigger & benefit from both Empowerment effects. The talent it is replacing, Elemental Mastery, could be a better alternative here as a “burst” talent. This way players have a choice of how they want to play, and where the talent will give them the most gain.
If Magnitude gets moved up to 90 (more on that later) Elemental Blast could easily be moved here as its replacement. I would lean towards a small revamp to it though, so the focus is more on the buff & maintaining it. I’d suggest making the damage the same as Lightning Bolt, removing the cooldown, and making the buff a 12-20 second percentage increase to either damage or secondary stats.
Elemental Fusion has some issues too, most notably that the 10% increase Surge chance conflicts with the no Surge chance effect from Control of Lava. My thought here would be to move the maelstrom generation for Lava Burst into the Elemental Fusion talent so that players can choose whether to have higher resource generation or not.
This tier could be lean towards additional multitarget damage, although I think Lightning Rod needs a redesign so that it’s not something that could be used in the single target rotation with other buffs like Stormkeeper.
Assuming it’s redesigned, Lightning Rod vs Liquid Magma Totem would be a choice for advanced players, but there should be an “easier” option here as well. My thought would be to bring Magnitude up from 75 to 90, and redesign it as a passive damage bonus to Earthquake (which is more in theme with the name than random lava gouts)
With Magnitude moving to 90, Storm Elemental has to make way for it. I would suggest moving it to the Level 100 talents, and merge part or all of Primal Elementalist into the basic elemental pets. This would solve potential issues with the Lightning Elemental artifact trait as well as reducing the potential overpoweredness that would come from having a 5 minute cooldown reduced to 4 minutes via Path of Elements, and then down to somewhere in the 2-3 minute range with other artifact traits. This way all three cooldown abilities could be balanced to be relatively equal, with Storm Elemental being the “easy” fire & forget option.
I’m also still not fond of the changes that are being made with Ascendance, where Lava Burst freecasting has now been removed in favour of turning Earth Shock into “Lava Shock”, a short duration fire dot. This could potentially work if Lightning Bolt also gets a similar treatment, so that as a Fire Ascendant you have a similar rotation to the base one but everything is now fire, as casting Lightning as a Fire Ascendant sounds a bit weird.