Elemental Makeover Musing

One of the things that has been on my mind lately has been “How would I redesign Elemental in a fair & balanced way that would make me seriously consider switching back?”. Thus, this post.

The idea is to give more control over the rotation, clean up some of the complicated but ultimately meaningless choices and make Mastery more important.

Single Target

  • Lava Burst is now the Maelstrom spender. Costs 30 Ms per cast. Still auto-crits with Flame Shock on the target.
  • Earth Shock has a fixed damage value (significantly lower DPET than Lightning Bolt) for no maelstrom – intended as the “movement filler”
  • Flame Shock has a fixed duration, no maelstrom cost.
  • Frost Shock has a fixed damage value (60-80% of DPET of Earth Shock) & slow duration, no maelstrom cost
  • Fire Elemental reduced to 30 second duration with 3 minute cooldown

The current Maelstrom spending model feels really weird, more a case of bolting something onto the side of the rotation rather that being a core component of it. Making Lava Burst the spender (without charges or cooldowns) means that the core rotation is simplified a bit (ie: no more split second ES vs LvB choices, nor worrying about not getting LvB off CD as soon as possible), keeps the damage from LB/LvB roughly proportional and simplifies what to do while moving.

Some will say that this generation/spend model feels similar to the Destruction Warlock method for using Chaos Bolt, and to some extent it is. The key difference is that changing how Lava Burst is used means players can start using it for generating Elemental Focus charges, rather than effectively ignoring the buff.

Multi Target

  • Earthquake replaced with Lightning Strike: 2 sec cast for AoE damage around target. Costs 30 Ms per cast. Can overload.

The problem with Earthquake is that placing it is somewhat disjointed from the Chain Lightning spam for building Maelstrom, so switching to a target centered spender makes it flow a bit better. Similarly making it an instant cast means there’s no silly additional haste scaling (like with Earthquake) nor a minimum AoE length for it to be worthwhile. Giving it the ability to Overload also helps with Mastery interaction.


  • Remove Elemental Fury.
  • Overload is now a fixed proc chance (75-100%) with the damage bonus controlled by Mastery. Damage bonus also applies at half rate to shocks and elemental pets. No bonus Maelstrom generation
  • Lava Surge now only grants a free Lava Burst cast (ie: no instant component)
  • Lightning Bolt and Chain Lightning are the only spells that generate Maelstrom.

Removing Fury is a better idea than removing Focus, as Fury causes some issues on the PvP balancing side. This also means that Elemental can move back towards being a Haste/Mastery focused spec where it has been for many expansions.

Shifting Overload from a fixed bonus & mastery based chance to a fixed chance & mastery based bonus is more of a personal preference, but it means that the “feel” of Overload can be retained without resorting to things like giving Elemental a free 20% multistrike chance from Warlords.

Removing the instant cast function from Surge is mostly a movement balancing thing, so that Earth Shock damage doesn’t need to be balanced around the ability to cast Lava Burst on the move.

Still no direct Crit interaction for Lava Burst.

Talents – Rearrange & redesign

  • Lava Burst tier
    • Elemental Fusion – more free Lava Burst casts
    • Echo of the Elements – return to the Mists version: % chance for a duplicate cast to occur
    • Path of Flame – Base damage increase (the “beginner friendly” option)
  • Cooldown tier
    • Ascendance – Lava Burst has no cost. Still has Crit % damage bonus. Since LvB doesn’t generate Ms there’s no resource capping issues here
    • Primal Elementalist – Same as current
    • Elemental Mastery – Haste and maybe damage bonus. Being on the same tier as Ascendance allows for better balance
  • Throughput
    • Lightning Rod – tweaked to be a debuff that triggers aoe damage to all targets on nature hits. The basic option again.
    • Totem Mastery
    • Elemental Blast
  • L15 Basic Intro Bonuses, aka “things which work while levelling”
    • Earthen Rage
    • Ancestral Swiftness
    • ?
  • AoE
    • Aftershock – Short duration aoe ground effect after Lightning Strike
    • Liquid Magma – as current
    • ?
  • Remove
    • Storm Elemental – having a second stackable power option on Fire Elemental makes it too powerful
    • Icefury – redesigning movement makes this not as important.


  • Stormkeeper – direct damage ability. Animation would draw lightning down from the sky as current & then direct it out to the target.
  • Power of the Maelstrom – applies to LB/LvB, single bonus overload per cast
  • Static Overload – chance for 1 extra overload on CL cast
  • Master of the Elements – remove
  • Fury of the Storm – replace with chance to summon fire/lightning mini elementals on respective element types
  • Volcanic Inferno – short duration volcano after Lightning Strike casts.

About binkenstein
I'm a geek, living in Christchurch, New Zealand.

9 Responses to Elemental Makeover Musing

  1. Good lord man, go work for Blizzard lol.

  2. Simen Hægeland says:

    This is so perfect man. If they would listen to this i would resub in an instant. Like the other guy said… Go work for blizz and be designer for ele shaman

  3. wttsmooches says:

    Is there a way to start a standing ovation?

    The only thing I reckon it needs is the option for a large nuke (like ES is supposed to be right now but isnt)… But make it a choice versus necessity. For example, LB at 90+ maelstrom consumes all maelstrom for +330% damage… Hell it could be the other lvl 15 talent for some flavour.

    As someone who loves icefury I hate to see it go, but it really clunks up an already garbled rotation.

    These are late night thoughts, take them with a grain of salt as you’re smarter than I.

  4. Gotaga says:

    I overall think this would run alot smoother but I feel the lavaburst mechanic you suggest would play to close to home with a balance druid’s playstyle. While I currently play balance druid I don’t feel they would make the lavaburst damage worthwhile and personally I favor the proc’s for elemental. That is IMO the most iconic part about elemental shaman’s is their random damage and while it is very inconsistent I find that those rare times give me the most joy when I just melt someone(previous expansions ago when lavaburst wasn’t a pillow). Just my thoughts. Everything else sounds great. Maybe we’ll get a nice overhaul to this ancient rotation.

  5. ajheathart says:

    Reading through this, I would play this. Thanks for the hard thinking and work bink!

  6. Mana Bat says:

    Reading through this, it seems really bad. Some of the early stuff, removing maelstrom costs from shocks, could be nice, but all you replaced it with was making Lava Burst cost maelstrom, which sucks, because you didn’t replace lavaburst spam builds with anything at all.

    This would be a net loss for the spec, and not solve the actual issue, which is that it’s simply undertuned.

  7. Blizz please….

  8. Merlin says:

    I would just like to see overload work with maelstrom spenders and Elemental Fury removed. That would make mastery better than crit. Multiple casts is the exciting part of this spec, just like crits are with Fire Mage.

    I do agree with the targeted AOE spender though. Earthquake is annoying to cast while spamming CL.

    • “I would just like to see overload work with maelstrom spenders and Elemental Fury removed. That would make mastery better than crit.”

      Mastery is already better than Crit. :S

      The reason we want Crit and bare-any Mastery right now is that the current talent setup most are taking means the Fire Elemental does a huge chunk of our damage and doesn’t benefit from Mastery at all, while massively benefitting from Crit.

      (Personally I’m sick of Haste/Mastery being the go-to stats. Crit for a change is awesome, and takes me back to the fun times of TBC/Wrath.)

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