#0 - 2009/01/05 12:58:07 AMOver the past few weeks there have been numerous posts asking about specs, rotations, gearing and glyphs for Elemental Shaman. I thought it would be an idea to get all the facts together in one place for easy reference. So here I go. If you notice any errors, please point them out and I will update the post. As best I can, the post reflects the situation once 3.08 hits live. I don't take any credit for the work done coming to these conclusions - that has been the work of many but I would especially like to thank those over at the EJ forums.
The post will be split into four sections:
1. Talent Specs
4. Spell Rotations
Currently, there are 2 main elemental specs Deep Elemental and the 33/38 hybrid build. Since it is likely that the 33/38 spec will become redundant once 3.08 hits due to the buffs in deep elemental and the dropping of Mental Quickness down the talent tree, I will only deal with the Deep Elemental spec.
There are numerous minor variations on the theme but all the talents in the following spec should be considered essential other than Convection, Elemental Warding and Unrelenting Storm which are matters of preference or simply fillers. None of these 3 talents add directly to DPS though at lower gear levels the mana reduction/regen talents will probably be required.
Of the mana regen/efficiency talents (Convection, Unrelenting Storm and Shamanism), Convection provides the smallest gain per talent point and should be the first one to drop.
3.1 Changes : The talent tree undergoes a few alterations in 3.1 and the following is likely to be the best DPS Spec
Even with the changes coming in 3.08, Elemental DPS is all about Spell Power. Whilst Haste is a reasonable stat it does not significantly increase the damage from your Lava Burst, Flameshock or Chain Lightning as these are governed by fixed CDs more than cast time. Crit is a poor DPS stat as it does not effect your Lava Burst damage or the DoT component of your Flameshock which will account for about 30% of your damage. It is only really useful due to it proccing Elemental Focus, however, enough crit should be gained from gear without having to focus on it at all and will still provide roughly 80% uptime of the damage buff from Elemental Oath.
Hit is of course important and top priority should be given to capping this. The cap is 17%. Talents will reduce this by 3% and raid buffs should reduce it my another 3%. Drenai racial will reduce this by a further 1% if available. So the hit caps are:
Horde : 11% = 289 Hit Rating
Alliance : 10% = 263 Hit Rating
Put simply, the priority of stats is : Hit (to cap) > Spell Power > Haste > Crit
By far the most important glyph for Elemental Shaman is the Flame Shock Glyph which prevents your Lava Burst from consuming the DoT and increases the DoT duration by 50%.
In 3.08, the LB Glyph will be changed to increase Lightning Bolt damage by 4% and this will become the second best glyph.
The difference between the Lava Burst and Flametongue Glyphs is not as large but still significant with Lava Burst being better for DPS but Flametongue helping in situations where you might need to heal or are hitting multiple targets.
For Max single target DPS, go Flame Shock, Lightning Bolt & Lava Burst
3.1 Changes : In 3.1, the ToW glyph will grant a personal SP boost of 84 for 5 mins after it is placed. This will make it our number 3 Glyph, pushing LvB out of the reckoning.
The number of different CDs on Elemental spells combined with the variance of haste from one shaman to the next (or even during one fight) make it impossible to create a single best rotation. Rather, a priority casting system is used to ensure that our highest DPS spells are cast as frequently as possible.
In its simplest terms, this means that we should always keep Flameshock up, Use Lava Burst whenever it is off CD, use Chain Lightning whenever it is of CD and then fill in the gaps with Lightning Bolts.
Haste does complicate issues a bit, however, because it is possible that by using the above priorities you will delay the cast of your Lava Burst which will reduce your DPS. This only becomes a significant problem once you exceed about 600 haste rating [edit: experience has revealed it to be closer to 500 haste rating at which you should start dropping CLs from the rotation] , however, and by the time you get there you should have an idea about what you need to do to fix it.
The rotation usually ends up being something like:
3.1 Changes : As haste increases with Ulduar gear, the FS-LvB-5LB-LvB-4LB rotation will become become the norm (from about 550 haste). If gear permits us to get to around 630 haste, we might need to start looking at a FS-LvB-CL-4LB-CL-LB-LvB-2LB-CL-2LB rotation (once again back to the priority casting system). If the announced changes to CL go ahead though, this might change and it might be preferable to leave CL out still.
Hopefully this will answer questions for some and prevent repetitive posts asking ‘How Toâ€¦Elemental Shaman’.