WoW 8.0 Elemental – Overloads

After the announcement of Battle for Azeroth over the weekend at Blizzcon it’s probably time to take another look at the current Elemental Shaman design and point out what I think are the problems that need to be resolved.


Going back to one of my regular subjects for Elemental, and probably one where I feel the strongest but also realize that it’s fairly subjective: Overloads, how they scale with mastery, generate additional maelstrom, and introduce additional variation.

Hard Caps

In 7.3 Overload was tweaked from a base 18% chance (2.25% per “point”) to 15% (1.875% per “point”) but increased the damage from 75% to 85% of the original cast. The bonus Maelstrom generation was left at 75%. This was changed, along with some tweaks to Elemental Blast and Totemic Mastery, to reduce the ability of players to hit that 100% hard cap, but this probably won’t be enough.

  • 14,578 hard cap becomes 18,133
  • 12,178 (86.5%) soft cap with Elemental Blast becomes 16,133 or 90.63%

Something I’ve been saying ever since Overload was returned as the Elemental Mastery bonus for Legion is that it’s too easy to hard cap it, which was something we were doing during Mists of Pandaria.

Maelstrom Generation

As overloads can generate maelstrom it adds a bit of variation into resource generation for Elemental. I’m not saying that variation in resource generation is bad, but Overload tends to add a bit too much.

  • Lightning Bolt generates 8 base or 14 with an overload
  • Lava Burst generates 12 base or 21 with an overload
  • Chain Lightning generates 6 per target or 10.5 per target with an overload. Max 30 on 5 targets or 52.5 on 5 targets with one overload.

Without the Swelling Maelstrom trait these values can be directly converted into % of total resources. Going by details gathered from playable copies of BfA at Blizzcon Chain Lightning has already been dropped to 4 maelstrom per target, but that still leaves a max of 35 on 5 targets with one overload.

After playing a few other classes with fixed resource generation (Frost Death Knight & Retribution Paladin) it definitely feels like maelstrom is an afterthought in the Elemental rotation rather than a key component.

Maelstrom Spending

The other half is spending maelstrom, which happens with shocks & Earthquake. As Earthquake costs a fixed 50 maelstrom it means that there’s a very short build/spend cycle, but pooling maelstrom to spend a few seconds later is also a possibility.

With shocks on the other hand, Earth Shock is the primary spender with a variable maelstrom cost. It’s this 10-100 cost that compounds the variable generation issue into a question of making trade-offs between using generator spells and potentially wasting maelstrom, verses using Earth Shock to avoid waste but also as seldom as possible to be as time efficient as possible (2 50ms casts = 1 100ms cast).

This ties into the second post I intend to write for BfA, on “Pay Off Abilities”.


I dislike posting fixes/solutions to problems, partially because there may be reasons that they aren’t practical or that there may be a better solution I haven’t thought of. In this case, plus as we’re in pre-Alpha stage for BfA, I’m less hesitant to do so.

My solution would be as follows:

  • Change Mastery from affecting proc chance to affecting the proportion of damage the overload copies from the original spell. This removes any possible hard cap. Trigger overloads every time a related spell is cast.
  • Remove the generation of maelstrom from overloads.
  • Change maelstrom spenders to a fixed cost rather than variable (more on this in the “Pay Off Abilities” post

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

4 Responses to WoW 8.0 Elemental – Overloads

  1. Anonymous says:

    I was wondering what you would think about having the overload mastery trigger multiple overloads. Ex. 15% Mastery = 15% chance to overload; 115% Mastery = 100% Chance to trigger 1 overload, and 15% chance to trigger a second, possibly changing the coeff in such a way that it’s not too hard to hit 100%, but anything over that isn’t completely wasted

  2. Pingback: WoW 8.0 Elemental – “Pay Off” Abilities | Blogenstein

  3. fatestick says:

    If I have you right, you would have Overload’s occurrence be regularized and no longer generate resources. If so, wouldn’t it then be little more than a percent-damage buff on certain spells, albeit with a neat graphic effect?

    • binkenstein says:

      Essentially, yes. A large number of mastery effects are percent damage bonuses anyway, and this would help with both short window variation and that 100% cap which has already required a few changes in Legion to avoid (lower chance/higher damage for overloads, lowering chance from EB & TM talents)

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