Alternative elemental shaman talent tree

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Akos1896
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Alternative elemental shaman talent tree

Post by Akos1896 » Fri Mar 29, 2024 5:52 pm

Hey!

I wanna continue this topic with the elemental shamans. Please note that this is only theorycrafting, nothing more. To avoid misunderstandings, I will use the shaman subcategory instead of the suggestions this time.
This article is the continuation of the enhancement idea thread:
viewtopic.php?f=14&t=13534

I will handle that article as a baseline and will create the elemental shaman talent tree in relation to that (f.ex. supposing that ancestral knowledge talent doesn't exist).

The challenge in recreating the enhancement talent tree lied in the fact that it had to accomodate both melee DPS and tank playstyle within one talent tree. The elemental talent tree poses a different kind of challenge. Elemental shamans are OP in PVP but are lacking in PVE. They should be recreated/made stronger at PVE without further pushing them in PVP.

Why elemental shaman is OP at PVP:
* Very bursty. They usually go 21 into restoration tree for nature's swiftness. That way, if they are within 20 yards from you and nature's swiftness is not on CD, they can burst you with 3 spells with the duration of casting 1 (+ GCD). On a 1 vs. 1 you get a lightning bolt, nature's swiftness+lightning bolt and a shock to finish it off.
* Purge. I won't change baseline in these articles (otherwise would have considered putting WF totem enhancement-only in the previous thread). Would love a small CD for purge but it stays as it is for this thread.
* Bulky casters. You expect a caster to die very easily but these guys can wear mail and can use a shield if they want to.
* Frost shock makes 1 vs 1 a trivialized kiting game if the opponent is a melee.
* In a mass-PVP can provide great support, mostly to a melee team.
* Can off-heal/can heal themselves whenever needed. Nature's swiftness can be used to heal them to full in an instant mid-fight.
* If you're a caster and they are 20 yards max from you, elemental can interrupt you every 5 sec, also disabling the school of magic you used for 2 sec.

Why elemental shaman has problems in PVE (mostly checking raiding):
* Mana problems. Besides ancestral knowledge and a very lackluster mana totem they have no real mana-management talent. Besides elemental focus. It is however worse than a mage clearcasting for example. Sure, it gives 40% mana discount for two spells but having the next spell free is strictly better. It can help you reach the 5 sec limit and start spirit mana regeneration, elemental clearcasting cannot. Most of 5% mana regeneration items give +healing only but some can be used by ele to help the mana issue. Also, tea helps.
* Overly dependent on nature damage. If a raid has mobs with high nat rez, elemental shaman struggles. Only source of sustained damage is from nature school.
* Threat problems. Despite being bursty and sometimes spamming instant shocks between lightnings, it has no threat reduction talent. It has a threat reduction totem sure, but most elemental shamans in PVE are in a melee group either using windfury or twisting windfury and grace of air for the melee. In raids I see elemental shamans die very frequently - they overpull easily then die. Moreover, threat is not linear with damage -> an elemental shaman (5th DPS) consistently overpulls while a frost mage (2nd DPS) does not (they have frost channeling).
* They have aoe - but only kinda. Magma and fire nova totems needs to be placed at melee range and no caster in his right mind would rush into melee range, put down a totem then Scooby-Doo back to max range to actually start casting.
* Lightning spells and shocks have different radius. The elemental shaman either gets way too close to the mobs to deal shock damage, too, or relies only on lightning spells.
* Warlock curses make most schools of magic more potent at raiding. Elemental shamans with nature damage don't benefit from this.
* Elemental can't give any utility which a restoration shaman or an enhancement one can't give.

Changes I've done in the enhancement thread affecting elemental shamans, too:
* Improved ghost wolf is now baseline and becomes a spell at level 60 for each shamans.
* Totem-twisting is disabled.

Change I will do in the restoration article, affecting the elemental shamans:
* I will move nature's swiftness to row 7 (requiring 30 restoration talents) to combat elementals' on CD burst ability.

Change I will do here, for elemental:
* Slightly changing how searing totem works. Not a redesign, so I'm allowing it in this thread. Would only allow searing totem to fire at targets which are actively being damaged by a party member (meaning no ásspulls and no sheeps turning back to enemies).

Talents not belonging to the elemental tree:
* Elemental devastation (already made it an enhancement talent in the last article).
* Elemental warding - an interesting concept but doesn't really help elemental shamans in the long run. Would be more interesting in the enhancement tree but I can't squeeze it in if we keep the tanking talents.
* Earth's grasp - no. No. If you need to make sure that the enemy doesn't close up to you, frost shock him or go wolf (in this theorycraft it can be summoned fast by every shaman).
* Improved fire totems - this talent only affects melee-ranged totems. I have the feeling that originally Blizzard wanted to make enhancement a tank build while ele was some kind of spellhance, starting the fight in distance than as distance closed up, finishing the fight at melee range. It is not how it turned out in the end, this talent is almost useless.

Frees up 10 talent slots.

Talents needing rework:
* Call of flame - you only realistically use searing totem as an elemental shaman since you don't wanna run into melee range. But if this talent only buffs one totem, it needs more buff.
* Elemental focus - 100% discount on 1 spell is better than 40% discount on 2 spells. Reaching 5 seconds without spending mana is key.
* Storm reach - I'd add flame shock here and would make it castable max lightning spell range. It adds variety at PVE. Making it possible to cast earth shock or frost shock from max lightning spell range would break PVP though. Imagine getting the big burst or being slowed from a distance to which you have 0 chance to close in.
* Elemental fury - mostly nice but magma and fire nova totems shouldn't be linked to elemental shamans as they are melee range. Would remove them from the buffed entries.

How I'd change the talent tree:

1st row: Stays as it is. Enhancement can easily access some important shock talents if they want to.

Current 2nd row:
* Earth's grasp (2): Stoneclaw totem HP gets 1,5x bigger, earthbind totem has +20% radius.
* Elemental warding (3): Nature, frost and fire effects' damage dealt to you reduced by 10%.
* Call of flame (3): Increases fire totem damage by 15%.

Stoneclaw totem is unusable, earthbind totem has some niche but this talent doesn't worth 2 talent points. Elemental warding would make an interesting enhancement talent but I was out of slots for them. Call of flame currently buffs two totems which are melee range ones and searing totem.

New 2nd row:
* Improved elemental totems (2): Tranquil air totem reduces the added threat of critical effects by 30% and searing totem damage has an additional 10% chance to crit.
* Elemental precision (3): Further reduces the chance that your target resists your nature, fire and frost spells by 6%.
* Lava burst (1): A new fire spell with a 2,5 sec casting time, no CD. Has a slightly higher damage and base crit chance than lightning bolt but can only be cast on targets with flame shock on them. If the flame shock expires before the lava burst reaches the target, the spell gets resisted.

These changes give the elemental shaman some utility (reducing threat spikes in caster raid groups) while allowing him to deal damage more reliably. Damaging spells get resisted more rarely and now the elemental shaman has an option to switch to maintained single target fire damage if flame shock is on the target. Using searing totem is slightly pushed (the base change to avoid erratic shootings + the added 5% damage compared to the original talent tree).
Didn't use up 2 talent points, will do so a bit later.

Current 3rd row:
* Elemental focus (1): spell or melee crit triggers clearcasting which gives 40% mana discount for the next 2 spells.
* Reverberation (5): Decreases shock CD by 1 sec.
* Call of thunder (5): Increases lightning bolt and chain lightning crit chance by 6%.

Good row but needs some meddling.

New 3rd row:
* Elemental focus (1): Spell or melee crit triggers clearcasting which gives 100% mana discount for the next 1 spell.
* Reverberation (5): Decreases shock CD by 1 sec.
* Call of thunder (4): Increases lightning bolt, lava burst and chain lightning crit chance by 8%.
* Guided hands (3): Improves your spell hit chance by 3%.

This helps elemental shamans reach full spirit mana regeneration sometimes and includes lava burst among the crit buffs. Used up the previous 2 talents and an additional one to give the ele spell hit chance.
Also, 8% +spell crit seems a LOT. I did this because I made tidal mastery useless for the elemental shamans. In exchange of freeing up 6 talent slots for them, I made the obtainable +spell crit 3% less (they get 8% via this talent instead of 11% with the current talents, also going for tidal mastery).

Current 4th row:
* Improved fire totems (2): Makes fire nova totem blow up 2 sec sooner and decreases magma totem threat by 50%.
* Eye of the storm (3): Focused Casting triggers if you receive a crit, you can't lose casting time from damage for 6 sec.
* Elemental devastation (3): Offensive spell crit gives a 9% melee crit chance increase for 9 sec.

This is a bad row. Eye of the storm is valid, elemental devastation got drunk and ended up in the wrong tree. Improved fire totems? To the enhancement tree, you go.

New 4th row:
* Searing shock (from improved elemental totems) (2): Your searing totem crits have 100% chance to apply flame shock on the target (the latest version which you have learnt). If the searing totem has many possible targets, it prioritizes the ones without a flame shock on them.
* Eye of the storm (2): Focused Casting triggers if you receive a crit (with 50/100% success per talent), you can't lose casting time from damage for 6 sec.
* Thundering vitality (1): Each spell crit you or your totems make grants 5% of your mana to regenerate normally during combat for 10 seconds. Can stack up to 5 times.

Further pushed searing totem here, also made it a lava burst enabler. Eye of the storm is mostly as it was but now only requires 2 talent points. Thundering vitality is here to give a unique mana regeneration talent for the elemental shaman. Most caster classes tend to get back mana in either of two ways: allowing x% mana regeneration to conitnue while casting or giving mana discounts upon crits. Wanted to combine the two by adding mana regeneration while casting after spell crits. Also made searing totem a mana regeneration-enabler. Used up 2 less talent points and 'paid' for the 1 extra for spell hit chance, will work with the 2 talent points later.

Current 5th row:
* Storm reach (2): Enlarging lightning bolt and chain lightning radius by 6 yards.
* Elemental fury (1): Making your damaging spells and the fire totems crit for double the damage.

A good row. But meddling a bit.

New 5th row:
* Storm reach (2): Enlarging lightning bolt, chain lightning and lava burst radius by 6 yards. Allowing flame shock to be cast from the same distance.
* Elemental fury (1): Making your damaging spells and searing totem crit for double the damage.
* Ancestral calmness (2): Reducing the added threat of your spell crits by 50%.

For the first two talents I just made some minor adjustments. Regarding the totally new one: my vision is to give elemental shaman a very specific niche in threat-handling. Palas can give a bigger threat reduction blessing but elemental shamans could be specialized on smoothing out threat spikes made by crits. Tranquil air totem has received a similar tweak earlier and here I'm doubling up on the idea. Elemental shamans should be cautious about their base threat but shouldn't really be worried about sudden damage spikes made by crits.

Current 6th row:
* Lightning mastery (5): Reduces lightning bolt and chain lightning cast time by 1 sec.

New 6th row:
* Lightning mastery (5): Reduces lightning bolt and chain lightning cast time by 1 sec and lava burst cast time by 0,5 sec.
* Improved flame shock (1): Increases the damage over time dealt by flame shock by 20%.

Current 7th row:
* Elemental mastery (1): Your next damaging spell is guaranteed to crit and won't cost mana. 3 min CD.

This is an interesting one. It is usually not used in PVP where people tend to complain about elemental because nature's swiftness allows a bigger burst. I like this talent but I also wanna revamp it to make it more synergistic with the things I've established here.

New 7th row:
* Elemental mastery (1): For the next 10 sec your offensive spells and damaging totem procs have an additional 20% to crit. 3 min CD.

This is a strong talent but would not break PVP. No reliable burst and no squeezing 3 spells into the cast time of 1 (+ GCD). The new elemental mastery would help the elemental shamans:
* Reaching clearcasting more often
* Getting back more mana from ancestral calmness
* Helping searing totem to spread out more flame shocks

In the meantime, the crit reduction talent + the modified tranquil air totem helps avoiding overthreat.

What are the core differences between the current ele and this ele?:
* Current ele (with nature's swiftness which I'll locate deeper into resto tree) can be more bursty.
* Current ele has some more survivability against fire, frost and nature spells.
* Current ele can do more damage from melee range (better fire nova and magma totems + elemental devastation).
* This ele is better at handling threat spikes.
* This ele can do sustained damage both with nature and fire spells.
* This ele has a strong totem associated to it, which occassionally puts a flame shock on you.
* This ele has better mana regeneration.
* This ele has some spell penetration.
* This ele has more spell variety from max range.
* This ele relies more heavily on flame shock, which is in turn stronger.

The idea behind lava burst

I wanted to make lava burst a better lightning bolt but with prerequisites. You have somewhat more damage and a bigger crit chance using it but you need to set it up with flame shocks. Also, if you wanna damage several opponents at once, you have to opt for nature damage. I've only given a single-target fire spell alternative.

Would it break PVP?
I don't think so. Purge is the same as it used to be. This ele can't burst you down that easily and its new buffs mostly affect PVE. In PVP you usually don't care that ele has less resisted hits against high nat rez targets. Mana regen is not a top factor in PVP, either. In exchange this ele could flame shock you from further away and would have windows with many crits. You could see very random flame shock on you sometimes, too (also with a bigger dot damage). I still think it's okay because the most oppressive thing the ele can do in PVP (3 spells almost at once) is not possible here.

Would guilds want this ele shaman?
I think yes. It is more reliable, harder to oom, can switch between schools of magic, and most importantly has a well-defined utility only an ele can bring. Does your guild have a big pumper group which sometimes wipes the raid because of some unfortunate crits? If you put this ele in that group, crits will generate less threat than before. Pumper group can pump.
You can also put them in a melee group for windfury and strength totem. Their biggest utility totem (for themselves) is searing so they can use it alongside those two.

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