WoW 8.0 Elemental – “Pay Off” Abilities

Following on from the post about Overload, and somewhat related to it, is the subject of “Pay Off Abilities”. This is something that has been mentioned in developer posts on the WoW forums, specifically around how Earth Shock, Lava Burst and Stormkeeper are all “big” moments in the rotation but having three of them diminishes the rotation somewhat. Stormkeeper itself will be relegated to a talent in Battle for Azeroth (at least, it was based on screenshots taken at Blizzcon) so this is mostly about the other two spells.

Earth Shock vs Lava Burst

Most of the complicated parts of the Elemental rotation come from the use conditions for using Earth Shock. The following is from the Wowhead Elemental guide:

Even though Earth Shock deals 1230% SP at 100 maelstrom, vs the 687.5% for Lava Burst with the auto-crit bonus, it’s usually more important to cast Lava Burst first. This is because Earth Shock should ideally be used as seldom as possible while avoiding wasting maelstrom generation, thanks to its variable cost making it a full resource dump unlike other resource spenders. As mentioned in the previous post two 50 ms Earth Shocks will deal the same damage as a single 100 ms cast, just taking up twice as much time.

Delaying Lava Burst will gradually reduce the overall spell count, so keeping the spell on cooldown is important. The catch with this is that Lava Surge can reset the current cooldown, so even with Echo of the Elements you need to use Lava Bust as soon as possible to avoid wasting surge resets.

If Earth Shock had a fixed cost, or Lava Burst didn’t have a cooldown reset proc, then the maelstrom trigger values in the list above wouldn’t be required. This would result in a fairly clear priority of one over the other.

It’s worth pointing out that the 92/117 or 86/111 values are not the result of calculating anything, but rather the result of trial and error in SimulationCraft to work out the “optimal” use. The variation around these values is fairly small, so being within 5 maelstrom of the trigger point will only see a minimal DPS reduction (ie: 81-91 or 87-97).

A Possible Solution

This is one of the other solutions that I’m okay with posting. The idea is to change Lava Burst to be the resource spender of the rotation, rather than Earth Shock. This would tidy up the base rotation and depending on the resource cost would allow players to save some maelstrom for burst damage when required.

Earth Shock could then be used as a fixed damage, no cost instant cast ability for use while moving, but that’s a completely different subject

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

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