Shaman 5.4 - Elemental and Resto Thoughts
by, 09-05-2013 at 03:09 PM (6116 Views)
It amazes me how much information you can find on Resto changes, and how little information there always seems to be about Elemental. It just makes me think that there really is a lack of Shaman in the world.
I found a good posting about Resto Shaman's Totemgate issues... a really good read for anyone interested in reading the journey of the Resto Sham. The article does a good job of listing the 5.4 concerns as well.
The three heal model for Cata really didn't work with the new absorbs causing weakness in HoTs, so now the trend is smart healing. That and "input lag" seems to cause healers a lot of issue. (Just ask anyone who plays a Priest and uses Void Swap. Hey! I got healed to 25% and my target died while a full health pool was on its way.) It definitely caused Shamans totem issues, because their extra tick should have come at 3674 Haste. The extra tick could come more reliably if you had somewhere between 4200-5200 haste. This caused Resto Shams to push to the 7613 Haste Breakpoint to avoid the issue. Well, the RPPM trinkets also were modified by Haste for healers, so that was the nail int he coffin for Haste as the primary secondary stat.
Rushing Streams works great on the PTR. It looks like AG can actually be viable on certain fights, but it has to outweigh the benefit of the Glyph of Healing Stream Totem and be a fight where a burst healing is needed. It gets even trickier because if you're in Mastery boosting territory, then you don't want to stack AG and HTT. Resto Shams are just becoming Cool Down machines.
In 5.3 when they allowed Chain Heal to pass through targets with full health the spell got better, and now with the two major changes coming it may actually be worth casting in 10 mans. First, it no longer lessens the healing per jump. Second, the glyph reduces the cool down to 2 seconds while increasing the range. Both these changes make the glyph and spell a lot more viable. We can stop being Single Target Heal Spammers and not Fail Heal (i.e. casting Chain heal and only healing 1 target) quite as much.
The glyph of Riptide will be one that I'm curious to see how it plays out. We've been trained to keep it up on the tanks for Vigor, and to Chain Heal through a Riptide target. This is mostly the Tank who has Earth Shield and Riptide. (Side Note: You always have to cast Riptide after Earth Shield or your Riptide won't have the increased healing effect.) Since Riptide is a HoT, clipping Riptide is an HPS loss and a GCD waste. It's never been effective to blanket the raid in it.
Earth shield set bonus got buffed from 100% to 300% so it will actually do something. Hopefully that will stick or get a final buff. And well, Healing Rain will still be massively better and Conductivity will just Rot. I really think the idea of Conductivity is good, but it would make a much better passive talent. I'll miss using it to heal LFR in my Ele Spec.
Either way, it still looks like Resto will be falling behind the other healers, simply because the other healers will still be more effective. I really think it's a matter of synergy too - Resto Shams shine when their mastery can work. But absorbs and fast AoE healing have really made our tools weaker. We've had to pump our haste and do anything to maximize our smart healing. I only managed to get a 400K+ Heal off once early in MoP, and I think it was because my other healer had a huge lag spike when the DK tank had Purgatory up.
Elemental Shamans are a trickier subject. The damage curve is like riding the big wave in Hawaii - spike up, crash, and spend a whole lot of time waiting for the next perfect wave. But they need to reduce down the burst and random procs to ease the Ele Sham lucky wins in the Arena. They reverted the nerf to Lava Burst damage, increased the amount of damage Stone Bulwark Totem does, and decreased the cool down of Astral Projection. Do I think this will make me less squishy? Yes, but damn, I hope it shows when Kain is frantically healing me I swear, I use Defensives!
Without the T15 4pc bonus, Ascendance is going back to a 3 minute cool down. This means our burst is going back to the three minute mark and it may have to be saved for a particular mechanic at times for a given encounter. There's always that dilemma of, "Use it now, or hold off for Bloodlust" and trying to mentally figure out how much time is left in the encounter to know if you'll get another one. It may just be based on procs... they're just too good for damage to ignore.
The thing that annoys me most is the Fire Elemental Changes. Elemental Mastery is a decent talent, and when Ascendance was 3 minutes and the Fire Elemental Glyph reduced the cool down to 3 minutes, these things lined up. You could use them together, get another haste boost at 1.5 minutes, and then chain them all together again. Then in T15 Ascendance no longer lined up with everything, and Echoes became the go to talent. Now in T16, Fire Elemental will be 2.5 minutes glyphed and Ascendance 3.0 minutes. It just makes no sense. It can't be a PvP implication, because you're pretty much gonna line that up the first time when you're ready to burst on your target. It really devalues that talent, along with the higher amounts of haste we've been getting from gear. At least the dynamic scaling of Flamer is still present, even though he'll be doing 10% less damage in 5.4.
There's really two topics that seem to be floating around but nothing concrete. First, it's around the T16 bonuses. We've got to track a buff called Elemental Discharge (Spell ID 144999) which gives us a damage buff whose duration is based on how many stacks of fulmination we used. It lasts 2 seconds per stack. It's causing another complexity to shock juggling. As Ascendance lasts 15 seconds, you want to be sure to have a full 14 seconds from a 7 stack Fulmination, while still having 15 seconds left on Flame Shock. It may devalue the temporary procs with Ascendance, as you can work at making sure you Flame Shock ~8 seconds before Ascendance and then Earth Shock into Ascendance. The other theorycraft question on this is whether or not Elemental Blast will be the go to talent for Elemental Shamans. We may be switching to Primal Elementalist, thus increasing our casting of Lightning Bolt to build Fulmination charges. There's only a 60% chance of gaining a charge, it's not guaranteed. That's another thing that makes Chain Lightning awesome, it stacks those charges rather quickly since they eliminated the percentage split. Lastly, we're gonna have the Shadow Orb problem. We won't have a 7 stack at a start of a fight. So we may open with Ascendance without that buff so we can use our prepot and temporary buffs to compensate.
There's also debate on whether or not the 4pc is worth having. The Lightning Elemental (Spell ID 145000 - we got cool spell ID Numbers) went from 20 seconds and multiple copies to 10 seconds and 1 copy maximum. It's essentially the Mage Firelands Mirror Image type bonus. It just gets out there, casts some Lightning Bolts, and disappears. If those Lightning Bolts could generate me Lightning Shield Charges, then I'd be a happy camper. I'm excepting this to be tweaked and buffed through a hot fix at some point. Some people will take it just to take it, some people may opt for off pieces. We'll see... gear is a strange issue. I'll talk about that in a second.
The second thing people are throwing around is secondary stats. Currently we're INT from gear > Hit Cap > Haste > Mastery > Crit since the 5.3 changes to Lava Burst's cast time paired with Haste modifying the RPPM of trinkets. They're changing a whole bunch of temporary procs to no longer scale with haste. Healers are the ones that seem to still have this on old trinkets. (Source: http://www.wowhead.com/news=218917/p...-intellect-dps) So once again we're going to be talking about soft and hard cap haste points for Elemental. I'd expect we'd be trying for the 45% breakpoint for the extra Flame Shock Tick for more instant Lava Bursts, but it may actually be beneficial to scale back to 35% and go more heavily into Mastery.
There's another reason why Mastery may be making an Elemental comeback. Echoes of Elements has been the go to talent even with its 6% proc rate - each echo of Lava Burst reduced the cool down of Ascendance with the 4pc T15 set. We're losing that. And to reduce the RNG wins in the Arena, and echo effect cannot occur more than once every five seconds. The philosophy of "more haste = more casts = more Overload Mastery = more echo procs" is diminished, thus reducing the need for excessive haste all around. I'm not confident that top Shamans are going to really give up that haste, but I'll keeping a line out to Sensations (if he doesn't go back to fully being resto) and Gistwiki to see what they think. It's just going to take some simming and data to figure out the stat priorities.
Lastly, in terms of gear, so much of it has Crit on it. Spirit Crit is great for Resto. Crits proc Resurgence and single target crits proc Ancestral Awakenings, thus lessening the need for straight up mana regen. Then you can convert Spirit into secondary stats, which should be a Haste Breakpoint. But for Elemental, Crit is the stat we really devalue. Lava Bursts are always Auto-Crits on targets with Flame Shock, which is why we need to keep that up on our targets. (It seems to be worth dotting two at most for procs, anything else just makes me want to use Chain Lightning.) Flame Shock isn't very high damage, and it's nice to see Fulmination crit. It means either the Tier Shoulders or Chest piece will be the off piece.
Shoulder off piece: Shoulderguards of Foul Streams (Spirit - Haste - Blue x2) from Earth Haromm
Chest off piece: Chestguard of Toxie Injections (Spirit - Haste - Red x2 - Yellow) from Klaxxi
Thankfully, there is physical damage in SoO, so we can start using our shields again.
So for now I'll keep looking for Ele info and discussing it on the foums. It's so much easier to stay informed with Resto.
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