4.1 AoE Changes

Or “How I Learned To Start Worrying And Not Love The AoE”.

To begin, here’s a post I recently made over at EJ.

So, after last nights Heroic Maloriak attempts, I have come to the following conclusions about Elemental AoE damage.

1. Earthquake is virtually useless, and probably only be used for specific heroic encounters via a secondary spec
2. Fire Nova is fairly useless too.
3. Tab spamming Flame Shock to get more Fire Nova bursts out doesn’t make much of a difference.

I compared tab FS with FN spam, single target + CL with FN spam, and my usual single target + CL rotation on the Dark Phase, and there was virtually no difference in damage output, making allowances for things that happened in each attempt (~2.8m for the first, with two dark and nearly going OOM plus aboms, ~1.5m with one dark and aboms, ~1.25m for one dark without aboms respectively).

In short, I’m going to continue not using FN, and I’m going to have a second ele spec for the odd occasions I actually need Earthquake (which is virtually never). If I use both, my AoE rotation will be 7 abilities with differing cooldowns (3, 4, two on a shared 6, 8, 10) vs a much more manageable 5 (3, two on a shared 6, 8). I’m not sure how complicated other caster AoE is, but surely it can’t be as complex as this with such little gain over single target damage.

Expanding on this, I’ve loaded up the three attempts in RaidBot’s CompareBot to have a look at things. Unsurprisingly, damage output for Fire Nova and Earthquake is surprisingly low, less than 1000 dps over the whole encounter. In fact, across all attempts that night, Fire Nova did less damage than the direct damage explosion from Living Bomb (on Vile Swills), and Earthquake was much, much less.

At this stage, the AoE changes for Shaman appear to be worthless.

Doing some basic math, and getting these values unbuffed, Magma does 456 dps per target, Fire Nova 521 assuming you get it off every 4 seconds, and Earthquake does 869. The problem is that the overall value doesn’t get up past 15k dps until you get to 5 FS targets/5 AoE targets, 3 & 6 or 2 & 7. Sure we can still use CL, LB and LvB between Novas, but it then becomes an awkward mishmash of rotation types and cooldowns get pushed back (never mind the fact that having to run in to drop Magma goes against every ranged AoE mechanic except for Demo Locks). In addition, the scaling of each ability is mostly restricted to Int and Crit, with EQ getting some small benefit from Haste. Still, Magma gets an extra 8 dps per 100 Int, Fire Nova 17, and Earthquake a paltry 6. It’s a plausible statement to say that I could do more damage single target than I can with a double flame shock/fire nova AoE setup on 7 targets.

Generally speaking, any AoE damage is good AoE damage, but in terms of output and efficiency, I’d say that Elemental is better sticking to single target damage with some on-CD Chain Lightning use.

The only way forward, to be perfectly honest, is going to be the removal of Magma Totem. Enhancement don’t use it, thanks to their Searing Totem interactions, and the action of running in, dropping a totem, and then running out again is counter productive (a big reason why Fire Nova was de-coupled from totems). Once it is gone, improvements can be made to the rest of the AoE rotation. These are my suggestions

  1. Restrict Fire Nova to the current target affected by Flame Shock. This means no more having to worry about multi-dot AoE situations
  2. Add a new AoE rotation filler, be it a modified CL, a Forked Lightning ability, or some other channelled ability with no cooldown. Otherwise we end up in the situation of having to run our single target rotation in amongst the multi-target rotation, and that’s already complicated enough on it’s own.

Once these play style changes are made, then a damage adjustment can be made, so that a multi-target rotation results in better damage output just like the other casters.

Wind Shear, or Why Do I Have To Interrupt Everything?

Interrupts. You know, those things that stop bad spellcasts. Apparently they’re important on a number of fights (Omnitron, Heroic Atramedes, Maloriak, Halfus, Council, Cho’gall from what I can remember) and on all bar Council I’ve been assigned the job of interrupting those spells. Previously you’d have interrupt rotations with the Rogues or Mages to make sure that every cast was interrupted, but now you get any Elemental or Enhancement assigned to the job.

The reasons that Shaman get the short stick on interrupts is because of the short cooldown and the fact that there will be no resource issues. These two reason make Wind Shear “superior” to Counterspell and Kick/Pummel respectively. However, on any fight with critical interrupts not having enough resources available to use your interrupt is Very Bad, even if your DPS suffers from doing so (hint: ranged interrupts require cancelling your existing cast to use your interrupt, which is also a DPS loss). Likewise, having a long cooldown (ie: 24 seconds) does not make it impossible for you to interrupt either. It just means that you either need to have a rotation team set up to handle it, or it’s a long enough gap between casts that one mage can handle things on their own.

The downside of Wind Shear is that it has a 25 yard range. This means that if you’re an Elemental, like me, you’ll be running more or taking special steps to make sure that you’re in range for your interrupt to work (why we can’t have an extra 15 yards on this spell too I have no idea), which is an issue on anything with much movement. This is the reason why Elementals shouldn’t be the sole interrupter on some fights.

So, a quick run down of the fights I’ve seen so far (3/13 HM).

Omnitrom: Frequent interrupts are needed, which makes Shaman ideal for this.
Atramedes (Heroic): The Obnoxious Fiends can be locked out, which means that you want your long lockout interrupts used. In other words: Wind Shear = Bad.
Maloriak: Both Release Abberations and Arcane Storm are on long cooldowns, which mean that anyone can and should be part of the interrupt team, especially the latter. Just make sure of your range Elementals, especially on the Green Phase. Watch positioning on Blue so you don’t crowd the Melee.
Nefarian: The shorter cooldown on Blast Nova from the Chromatic Prototypes means that Shaman should be able to interrupt all of them.

Halfus: Shadow Nova has a medium cooldown, but there’s no reason why any interrupt setup couldn’t manage it.
Ascendant Council: There’s not really any restriction on interrupts here either.
Cho’gall: The big adds can and should be interrupted by everyone, although the high frequency and no lockout means that Shaman are usually better.

So that’s 2 fights where Shaman should be your interrupters, 1 where they shouldn’t, and 4 where it makes no difference. Once you’ve convinced your raid team that there isn’t any special reason why you’re assigned the interrupt job all the time, the biggest task is making them all re-learn how to interrupt.

Lava Surge, Part Two

In the middle of the comments on a post of Lava Burst by Charles (aka Zamir) over at Planet of the Hats, there’s a little gem by Santux. It reads as follows:

What do you think about a Lock and Load type treatment with Lava Surge? *Flame shock ticks have a 30% chance to make your next Lava Burst not trigger its cooldown* Would definately solve the problem of the 8 second window having meaningless Surge procs.

Read more of this post

A Preliminary Post on Lava Surge

Been working a bit tonight on updating my Lava Surge spreadsheet that I posted on EJ a few weeks back.

I need to write up some stuff to do with it, but here’s a graph of the DPS gain. It’s important to know I made a few assumptions on the math, and they are listed in order of “priority”.

  1. If a surge proc occurs within a single LB casts time of the cooldown resetting anyway, it is “wasted”
  2. If a proc occurs you are able to take advantage of it straight away
  3. Procs will occur exactly 10%, 20%, and 30% of the time

Read more of this post

The (Elemental) Cataclysm and You! Part Two: Talent Builds

Expanding on my previous entry about talents, I’m now going to look at what we’ll do with them. I’ll look at a “standard” elemental build, a Dual Wield build, and a Searing Flames build.

Before I start I should point out that the Tier 2 Enhancement talents are due for a re-work. This has been confirmed by a few Blizzard poster comments about Enhancing Totems being turned into a self-buff when totems are out, and Ghost Wolf being usable indoors (whether this means it will be an instant cast by default or not remains to be seen).
Read more of this post

The (Elemental) Cataclysm and You! Part One: Talent Changes

By now you will have heard of the talent preview for Shaman that was released recently. A number of stat buff talents have been modified or completely removed, while a few new ones have been added in.

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Modelling Searing Flame

Hello readers!

Since I’m trying to be a bit more… approachable & social with this new blog, I thought I’d run you through how I do some of the things I do. The first of which is a little run-through of how I ended up modelling the Searing Flame dot effect. Read more of this post


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